Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Picture Truly Says a 1000 Words

This totally made my day, so I had to share! At Jennifer & Dan's wedding a few weeks ago, we met their photographer, Tracey. It was so nice to meet her- she and Jen have been friends for a long time, so I know that it was very meaningful to Jennifer that she was at the wedding to take pictures. Ever since then, I have been following Tracey's blog. She's amazing! Much to my surprise and delight, her blog post today is extra-special to us... You'll have to click HERE to see what I mean (look for the blog post for June 30, 2011). Not only is the picture significant, but the post that Tracey writes to go with the picture made me tear up. Life really is a gift! Thank you so much for this post, Tracey!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bear's Goodbye to Bearhugs

People often wonder where Jeremy goes during the day when we are working. He has been going to a home daycare called, "Bearhugs." It has been a wonderful place for him- it has been very reassuring to know that while we're working and away from him, he has been well-cared for and loved there. We were faced with a tough dilemma regarding what to do with Jeremy for next year. While the home daycare has been a good and nurturing place, we also know that it might be time for Jeremy to move on- he's ready for a new challenge, and pushing him outside of his comfort zone will be good. We registered too late for Shining Star, the same preschool that Grace went to, so we're 3rd on their waiting list. We also found out that despite not being at Bearhugs all summer, we'd have to pay to keep his spot for when he returns in August... So that led me to look around for other options. We were most impressed with Kiddie Kareland, which is also very close to where we live. We brought Jeremy to visit- he's usually very shy, cautious, and reserved, so it was somewhat reassuring to see him immediately at ease. We're still hoping that somehow, he'll end up at Shining Star- if not this year, then maybe next year... In the meantime, we're relieved that there will be a place for him when the school year starts up- he'll be starting "big boy school" at Kiddie Kareland in August! This past Friday was his last day at Bearhugs and they sent him off with gifts and a party. They've been a huge part of Jeremy's life since he's been there for two years of his three! I get emotional thinking of the significant role they've had in the raising of our son during his early years and now having to say goodbye. We will miss them very much and are grateful for all they've done for Jeremy!

Jeremy with Ms. Mona, the owner(Jeremy with his buddies (Jakey, Jeremy, Andrew, Ralfy)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A "Berry" Fun Day!

Our church's Moms' Group went to a U-Pick berry farm outside of Hanford this past week. I remember going berry picking in and around Edmonton when I was growing up, but that was ages ago! My kids have never gone, and I was excited about this fun and unique opportunity. Unfortunately, Jeremy didn't want to go- this was his last week at his daycare (more on that in a later post) and he wanted to be with his friends. They were having a "dress up day" that he didn't want to miss out on. So, Grace and I got some time to be together just the two of us! It was fun to go with our friends. We ate plenty and picked plenty... I forgot to take a picture of the berries we came home with. We had 3 varieties of blueberries, blackberries, and a handful of raspberries. YUM! Since we were in Hanford, our friends decided they didn't want to pass up the chance to go to Superior Dairy's ice cream shop. We ate lunch on the lawn of Hanford's courthouse across the street, and then headed to the ice cream shop for dessert. Oh... my... goodness! Check out the size of their "one scoop!" I have never been to this ice cream shop before, but I assure you that we will be back! I can see why it's so well-known and why people drive (or take the train from Fresno) all the way to Hanford just to get ice cream. It was a "berry" fun day!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Gift

Happy Birthday to me! Today, I got to relax and do a whole lot of NOTHING- actually, I read, took a nap, blogged... Jason made me an incredible dinner: bacon-wrapped filets topped with gorgonzola cheese and balsamic reduction, steamed asparagus, and rice pilaf. The best part was that he cleaned up the kitchen, too!

I actually received my gift last week! I am thrilled that I now own this:

I received it early because I was counting on it to help me make Jen & Dan's wedding gift. If you read my previous post, Jen & Dan got married this past Saturday. I was pretty busy on Thursday and Friday, working on this:(the bouquet of flowers in the background are not part of the cake topper). There's a story here- it might not look like much, but completing this was quite a feat for me. Baking and cooking are not things that come naturally to me. I didn't grow up knowing how to do anything in the kitchen. I have struggled for many, many years with lack of confidence when it comes to anything related to the kitchen. A lot of it is because my inner circle of friends are immensely talented and I have always been incredibly intimidated by them. I have never "dared" to do anything for fear of complete failure. So... I consider this to be a huge milestone for me. Obviously, as the creator of this cake, I can tell you that plenty of things didn't happen the way they were supposed to, but I think I can lay those to rest because of this one particular incident: At the wedding, we sat with Dan's family. It was our first time meeting them. At one point during the meal, his mom says, "Did you guys see the wedding cake? It is absolutely beautiful. I wonder which bakery it came from." Jason immediately answered, "Actually, Jane made it." Dan's family expressed their surprise and poured on the compliments. His dad said to his wife, "It's a good thing you had good things to say about it!" I made a "first draft" cake a few months ago, and Jason, my family, and several friends gave me many compliments on it. Honestly, I never took their words to heart because I figured they had to be nice. The conversation that took place at the wedding gave me a total boost because it came from people who were essentially, strangers, to me. I am really thankful for so much, but the most significant gift I received this birthday was this amazing feeling of accomplishment- I am so glad to be feeling that today.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jen & Dan's Wedding

Two years ago to the day, we met a guy named Dan. You have to figure that the guy must be pretty important that my sis-in-law would bring him to meet the family for the first time at my birthday gathering! Well, he is a rather important guy, seeing as Jennifer married him this past weekend! It was a small gathering of family and close friends at Jason's mom's house. Jen & Dan's wedding was very special and memorable. Obviously, there is a lot I could blog about, but that would be a very long blog! Here are some highlights that I will remember about their wedding:

*Jason officiated the wedding. He got his license online and did a FANTASTIC job!*Jeremy and Grace were absolutely on their best behavior- as a result, we enjoyed an evening with no need to discipline. The kids ran about with the other kids and pretty much kept themselves entertained*Noah first escorted both of his sisters, then his mom... The four of them held hands as they walked to meet Dan and Ashley*Jennifer and Dan made vows to their kids and presented each one with "family" jewelry that Jennifer had made
*Dan got choked up and emotional during his vows (sweet!)*While they presented the jewelry, the women at the wedding were also given a gift. Jennifer had made necklaces for each of us- the necklace had a piece of seaglass and the word "HOPE." A wonderful gift representing her journey and a symbol of the future.*It was an intimate evening, and Jen & Dan were able to spend quality time with everyone there. *What a wonderful celebration of Jen & Dan's love and the joining of their families! Welcome to our family, Dan and Ashley!

There are tons of pictures in the album on the right.

Happy Father's Day!

I asked the kids, "What makes Daddy the best daddy in the whole world?" Here are their answers:
Grace (6 reasons, since she's 6 yrs. old)
*he goes swimming with me whenever I want
*he's nice
*he plays softball with me and he went to all my games
*he reads to me
*he helps me with my homework
*he loves me

Jeremy (3 reasons, since he's 3 yrs. old)
*he's fun (he actually said "drunk" first, but then Grace said, "Don't you mean "fun?" Fun/drunk- I guess that's pretty much the same, right?! hahaha)
*he wrestles with me
*he plays with me

Happy Father's Day to an amazing, wonderful daddy... We love you so much!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

End of School Year Getaway Trip

With both of us working full-time outside the home, this past year has been incredibly hectic... The end of the school year signifies that we "made it!" Now that we're on summer break, the four of us are pretty much together every single day. It sounds ideal, but for people who are typically headed in 4 different directions, spending every single day together for 2 months can test all of our patience. Gearing up to be with our kids full-time, Jason and I decided to get away for rejuvenation and some time alone. Jason's mom, ever so willing, watched our kids for 2 days so that we could head to the Bay Area. Unfortunately, I caught a cold and was feeling absolutely miserable. I tried to make the most of our time! We went to a Giants game- a treat, since Jason gets to go only once a year or so. Even though we watched Jason's beloved team get clobbered by the Reds, it was very fun being in with all the Giants fans. Upon returning to Oakland, we headed to our hotel in Emeryville to get ready for the evening. We checked out restaurant reviews on Yelp and decided to try the Brazil Cafe. It's a tiny little restaurant near Cal. It was great- probably not authentic Brazilian food, but delicious nonetheless. From there, we walked a mile uphill to get to the Greek Theater. Truly, what a wonderful venue that is! We were there to see Dispatch, a band that split over 10 years ago and has reunited only to put on benefit concerts. Dispatch is a band that Jason has loved over the years. Click here for one of their songs. I've often described their sounds as "Jack Johnson-ish." The acoustic set they performed was awesome. I guess the comparison to Jack Johnson ends there- the second half of the concert had everyone standing, singing, clapping, and dancing... We had so much fun that I even forgot that I was sick! The next day, we slept in, had breakfast, and then headed to IKEA. We got things that we never knew we "needed" before heading back to get our kids. The trip was quick, but definitely served its purpose. We got to spend quality time together, and I am grateful for a husband who I love being with- he is truly my best friend. This week is super busy as we prepare for Jason's sister's wedding... Wish us luck- Jason's officiating the ceremony, and I'm making the wedding cake!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Proud Parents

I am so glad that I was able to attend Grace's last Awards Assembly during the last week of school. She earned a ton of awards- Character Counts, Perfect Attendance for the 4th Quarter, Perfect Attendance for the Year, a Reading pin (for meeting her reading goal), and a medal for High Achievement in Reading. The assembly went on and on for over an hour. Thank goodness I sat through the whole thing because it wasn't until the end that it was announced that Grace was also the Top Reader for all of first grade. She was given this title for earning the most points (53 points) in her school's Accelerated Reader program. Last August, Jason and I had our reservations about how the year would turn out after a rough start to first grade, but she certainly ended up having an amazing year- she learned a lot, was challenged, enjoys learning, loves to read, and made many friends.
Jeremy's t-ball season ended last week, as well. He is quite reserved and reluctant to try new things, but with t-ball, there was never any hesitation. Jason's thrilled that Jeremy has shown such a love for sports. We had so much fun watching him, and will definitely keep letting him try other ones. Next up will be soccer in the fall!

Friday, June 3, 2011

What a Week!

I am still amazed that we made it through last week. It was so busy! We had Grace's last softball game on Monday. We were sad to see her season end... It has been so fun watching her, and she has learned many new skills! We hope she'll end up with the same group of girls next year. On Tuesday, Jason got together with his band. I don't think I've blogged about his band before- I'll need to devote an entire post to that some time in the near future. On Wednesday afternoon, Jason's track team had their championship meet. Many of his kids received medals! Grace's school's Spring Performance and Softball Party were both held on Wednesday night. We went to the performance expecting for the 1st graders to sing first, letting us slip out to go to the softball party. Nope, we had to sit through performances by the school's violins, the orchestra, and the school choir- it wasn't until an hour later that the 1st graders came on-stage. Of course Grace was worth the wait- she was cute and fantastic (as always)! The 1st graders sang several patriotic songs, complete with hand motions. After the performance, we rushed off to her Softball Party. She loved playing softball so much that she would've been crushed if we hadn't made it. We went to the party despite getting there at the same time as when she usually goes to bed. We stayed over an hour, long enough for her to spend some time with her friends. On Thursday, I had my school's Open House. My class and I have worked really hard this year, and I am proud of what we were able to showcase. 28 out of 32 families came- it was a wonderful evening! What a week! Jason and I decided to finish it off by going on a much-needed date on Friday night. Luckily for us, we also got to enjoy a 3-day weekend to relax (somewhat). Can't believe how quickly this year is winding down. Just a few more days and the year's over!