Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are You a Real Girl or a Fake One

Up until last month my answer to this question came without even a nano second of hesitation. I was a real girl. No fake Christmas trees for me. As a kid growing up we always headed to the same Christmas Tree lot where Rick Giddings would help us find the perfect tree. Real trees carry memories for me. The smell, the pesky pine needles, the sap, forgetting to water's what Christmas is all about.

After Mark and I got married and had a family of our own we would drive up the Sierras to a Christmas tree lot in Forrest Hill and chop down our own trees each year. It was the best. They had a horse drawn wagon to take you deep into the property, a huge tree swing to play on ,and my favorite thing of all, a bonfire so that we could stay warm, roast hotdogs and sip cocoa while feeling festive. When we moved away from Sacramento, my festive day at the tree lot became a quick trip to Home Depot. But that didn't matter because I still loved having a REAL tree.

That all changed a few days before Thanksgiving. Mark and I went to Lowes to buy a ladder. While he was shopping I took Matthew with me to enjoy the Christmas decorations. I saw a cluster of fake, pre-lit trees and went over to look at them-- I used to like looking at how ridiculously expensive they are. A fellow shopper saw me looking and started telling me that he had a pre-lit tree at home, at least 9 feet tall and beautiful that he was donating in a few days. Then as he left he gave me his business card and said that I could have it if I wanted it. He left and I felt stunned. Here I was in Lowe's facing a question to which I had always had an answer--no fake trees!!! But, if it really looked like some of these trees (which were over $350) maybe I should take a look?? So... long story short, we went his house. This is the tree. It works great in our living room. But, for the record, I am still a real tree girl.

Monday, November 1, 2010


A couple of cuties, if I don't say so myself.

Our ward threw a great Halloween party on Saturday night. The kids trick or treated, we had carnival games, lots of food, limbo contest (Abbie won her age group), dancing, etc. What a great time!
Pippy Longstocking
Happy Witch--actually she was just a witch, but she looks pretty happy in this picture, doesn't she.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Passing the Week

Who is this kid? I know. Where does he get it, SERIOUSLY!

This week has been a little different around here. Both Mark and Abbie have been gone all week. Mark is back east on business and Abbie is at sixth grade camp. Naturally, we have missed them a ton. Nothing is quite the same when the family isn't all together. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that I have enjoyed the lack of fighting among the kiddos, and that the morning and evening routines are a lot quicker, but I miss my Abbie and Mark. I miss the sound of the garage door going up at approx. six o'clock every night, I miss the smooches, I miss the music, the phone ringing (yes, we have hit the time of life when the phone is usually for Abbie when it rings): I miss Mark and Abbie. We have tried to keep ourselves busy though. I thought I'd post a few pictures of what we've been up to.
Leak detection man, ant sprayer, sewing project, taking missionaries to Roberto's on 101, and doctor's appointments not pictured.

We enjoyed a cute Halloween party today with Matthew's play group friends at a nearby park. The kids came dressed in costumes, they decorated cookies and played to their heart's content. It was easy and they were thrilled.
Matthew is all smiles with his friend Jenna and my cousin's son Logan. I was so glad to see cousin Emily today--bummer that we didn't take a picture together--next time.
I love how easily little kids are pleased.

Earlier in the week I took Emma and Matthew to Wayne's World Pumpkin Patch. It's a groovy kind of place that morphs with the seasons. In a few weeks it will be a Christmas tree lot. Usually it's a funky nursery. Today it was bounce house heaven.
The kids loved the free access to the bounce houses. They played and bounced together for an hour and a half.
They also posed for a picture or two.
I loved that this place was really close to home, and yet still felt festive (I don't like the parking lot one day, pumpkin patch the next style).
It was just what we needed to get over the Missing Mark and Abbie Blues. They will be home tomorrow!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

What are the Chances...

that my kids will eat these??? Matthew spotted this stalk of brussle sprouts at Trader Joe's the other day and we both thought they looked pretty cool. Now they are sitting in the fridge (not even the fridge INSIDE the house) just waiting, and staring at me each time I open the door as if to say, "I dare you". I won't be intimidated by veggies, and I actually like brussle sprouts, but I'm just not sure how to get my little darlings to take a bite. Any ideas? What do you do to help your kids eat more adventurously?

Another Invasion

Imagine waking up in the morning, stretching, yawning, and going to the closet to find something to put on for the day. Imagine seeing these little guys all over your clothes!!!! Ewww!! That was our morning today!
Our little piece of paradise came with a price. The ants love it too. I can hear your question, "why don't you just get pest control??" I know, I know, I have considered hiring a pest control service many times, but when it all boils down, I am pretty cheap AND I have discovered how to get rid of these bad boys--at least for months at a time. The liquid ant bait from Home Depot does the trick. All you do is open the bait and set it out when you see a small trail of ants. Then comes the REALLY hard part. You wait and watch as your tiny stream of ants becomes a huge infestation, swarming over everthing near the bait. The hardest part is watching and doing nothing else. IF you can do this for 24 hours, you will find that your ants vanish, dead.

I am in the watching and waiting stage of the game.
It's disgusting and I am thinking about pest control once again, and wishing I wasn't soo cheap.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Birthday Boy

"Is my birthday here?" This is what Matthew wondered this morning when he woke up to blue streamers in his doorway and Fruitloops on the kitchen table. We love this guy and had a fun time singing to him and telling him why we love him so much. Matthew is the life of the party around here. It is hilarious (most of the time) to hear him repeating all that we say and coming up with some pretty fun sayings of his own. He is loveable, sweet, tough, competely potty trained (yes, I count this as one of the traits I love about him), my helper in the kitchen, a great prayer, not a huge mess maker, loves anything with wheels and has a great imagination. We all feel so blessed that he his part of our family. Happy third birthday buddy!! He'd been looking forward to blowing out his candles all afternoon.

The superhero costumes were as much a present for Mark as they were for Matthew. I don't think Mark liked coming home from work and seeing Matthew running around in Emma's old Snow White dress. Obviously Matthew loves the superhero look too!

Everyone wanted to help Matthew out with his new toys.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Disneyland (With a Camera)

Make way for Emma and Mark!

We love going to Disneyland and have really gotten our money's worth from our passes this year. We don't, however, like to bring our camera. It's too big and fancy and we can't leave it in the stroller, or put it in our pocket (please tell Mark I want a small camera for Christmas) so it stays at home. Yesterday we figured it had to come along. We needed at least a little documentation. Big bummer for me though because we forgot to take any of the very necessary family pictures in front of the castle, or the big Mickey flower thing in front, or the main street cuteness. So, I am afraid that the camera will have to join us ONE MORE time (probably). But for now, here are a few of the shots that we did manage to take at the Magic Kingdom.

Waiting for the train around the world.
The line for Autopia was a little long. I thought taking pictures would help pass the time.
Matthew LOVES the rockets.

You've gotta love how Matthew poses for a picture.
So, this may be all you ever see of the Rowen family at Disneyland this year. But, who knows, maybe I will muster up the strength to bring the camera along next time--and actually use it too.

Easy as PIE

After returning home from Cousin's Camp Abbie felt inspired to learn how to bake a pie. She did it all! She made and rolled out the crusts, cut, peeled and prepared the apple filling (no canned fillings is this house) and baked it to perfection. Look at that beautiful pie crust. She did it all by herself.

Cousin's Camp 2010

Cousin's Camp is BY FAR the most looked forward to event in my kid's lives. Yes, Christmas takes a back seat to Cousin's Camp. Every summer all of my family gets together at Don and Monica's barn to celebrate being a family. The kids swim, do archery, trampoline, play the ukeleli, earn awards for having traits like ancestors (do you call grandparents ancestors?), put on a play, do crafts, listen to aunts' daily devotionals and an uncle's fireside, have cousin buddies, roast marshmallows... Are you understanding why Christmas is sitting in the back? Cousin's Camp is wonderful, and who am I kidding, we adults look forward to it too. Here are some highlights from this weekend's camp. The "Crazy Bunch of Cousins" This year there were 21 campers.

Emma, Ruthie and Madi jamming on the Uke.

Sarah painted the backdrop for the play. This year the cousins re-enacted the love stories of all of the aunts and uncles.
Swimming time. It got hot this weekend, thank goodness for the pool.
Matthew took everything he learned at camp very seriously.
Monica helping Danny, Emma and Evan with archery. "Fire at Will!"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Prayer Time

Everyone loves when it's Matthew's turn to pray. Who am I kidding? It's always Matthew's turn to pray. No matter who Mark calls on, Matthew gets started before they have a chance and is praying before we know it. But we don't really mind. His prayers are so sweet and to the point.

"Father, thank thee for blessings. Thank you for our dinner. Thank you for nursery. Bless us to be kind. Bless us to be awesome."

I felt awesome for the rest of the night when he asked for that; and we all got a good laugh. Awesome. This is why we let Matthew pray for us so often.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

They're Here!

Abbie and Emma have been so anxious about who their new teachers are going to be this year. Aren't all kids? All morning on Friday they stayed close to home checking and rechecking the mailbox for the bright green postcard that hopefully would bare good news.

When the mailman finally came, my girls (with friend and cousin in tow) darted for the mailbox. As you can guess from this picture, as the mailman put the letters in the slot, my girls were there to take them out.

Happy cheers on both counts. Thank goodness!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Birthday Girl

Look who's ELEVEN! That would be my Abbie. Here's to eleven years of tenderness, fun, spunk and enthusiasm. I love Abbie and am so thankful that she is part of our family.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day at The Grove

On Saturday we ventured up to LA to visit the American Girl store at The Grove. What a cool place!! Yes, the store was everything you would expect it to be. There was a salon for the dolls to get their hair done and their ears pierced, a cafe and every bit of merchandise you can imagine. The coolest thing, though, was taking our time, strolling around the area. Here are some of the highlights of the day. Grandma and the cousins inside of the beautiful movie theater. We saw Despicable Me.

Emma is proud of her doll's new look.
We all loved watching Emma's doll get the beauty treatment.
Next to The Grave is the Farmers Market.
We picked up the trolly outside the market and headed towards the cinema to watch the movie.
Abbie found some delicious fruit. We all loved tasting it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lucky Seven

It was a special morning for our Emma. Turning seven is pretty exciting. The day started at 6:15 (yes, you read that right) when Emma woke me up and told me she was hungry. What she could have said was, "let the festivities begin" because Emma has been waiting for this day for weeks. Oh yeah--bring on my breakfast in bed!!! Notice my cute front toothless smile?

Emma passing all kinds of love around to her brother and sister. Who wouldn't be feeling happy when your brother and sister bring you presents, and sing you every rendition of the Happy
Birthday song that they know?
Party blowers and breakfast!
They are all getting into the party spirit. But this doesn't last long. After opening presents, we have to get Emma ready for her special day with Grandma Sedgwick.
Emma and I waiting at the Solana Beach train station. Grandma took the train from SJC to pick Emma up this morning and take her home to SJC.
Emma on the train platform waiting for the "all aboard." She and Grandma are heading up to SJC for a day together--including dinner and a slumber party.
Here they go!! Have fun Emma. We sure love you and are so happy that you are part of our family.

Surfer Baby

Between cloudy days around here, we enjoyed an afternoon at our neighbor's pool.

Oh, yeah. He's a natural.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thank You Note

Yesterday Emma wrote me a note in her Primary Class. It cracked me up.
Dear Mom,

Thank you for being nice to me. I love you and that is no joke!

(cute drawing of the two of us together)

P.S. Call me.