Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wait..did somebody say, PLETHORA OF ROAD TRIPS??

Last weekends trip to Mammy's was the start to our very full summer of road trips and activities. Never have I tried to cram so much into one little summer. Are we insane? Maybe.

This weekend we're off to Memorial Park in Half Moon Bay to go camping. It's supposed to be cold. Brrr. I don't know if I've ever cold camped before. I'm sure it will be fun.

The girls are out of school on June 11th. The week after begins the 2 weeks of VBS. The VBS we're going to is about a 40 minute drive in the mornings. I could go to one closer but we are going with another friend. This year my girlfriend and I are going to volunteer to help and E and J are going to attend their first Pre-school VBS. I hope they do well. They've never gone to anything organized before.

We have the 4th of July next which will be filled with a fun activity soon.

I'm then driving my girls to Arizona to visit Stacey for a week during July. Adam will be staying home. My brother in law is currenlty deployed so Adam would be bored with all of us girls. Plus, I'm sure he wont mind the alone time. Am I crazy making a 12 hour drive without my husband? Probably, but my mother is coming with me. *whew*

A few days after we get back from Arizona, Adam and I are going to take a drive up the CA coast on our way to Anaheim to visit Disneyland for my 30th birthday. I'm so excited that Mickey will be celebrating my birthday with me. And, he's pretty stoked too.

A week after this trip, we go on our now annual week long summer trip to Lake Tahoe. this trip is always a lot of fun. Lot's of friends, kids, sun, water & boating.

I'm working on trying to also plan a Labor Day camping trip to Berryessa. We'll see. This seems like a full summer. It's going to go fast and it's going to be fun!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Lucky J&S Ranch Annual Memorial Day Weekend Lawn Olympics & Family Reunion (whew)

Last Saturday we took our 3rd annual Memorial Day weekend trip to Litchfield, CA to visit my Mammy and Steve at their ranch. It's about a 5 hour drive for us but well worth it. There are tons of things to do and plenty of room for my children to roam. It's almost like heaven.

We made a pit stop in Reno to visit Cabela's sporting good store. Adam was sure happy about that. Cabela's had all the sporting goods you could think of, along with two huge taxidermy exhibits. They were really neat. There was a huge fish tank/aquarium with tons of huge fish & a pretend shooting gallery. The girls found one of the guns with 40 shots still left on it. Score!

It was so nice to be able to go again this year. There are always such fun things to do. A mini-golf course, volleyball, soccer, badminton and this year a Wii bowling tournament, which I'm pretty sure I won.

My girls loved all of the animals. H aka Dr. Dolittle. There was a small litter of kittens that H charmed. She was able to hold them and pet them, before this they were fraidycats. She is such a pet lover, I think she should be a vet. E and J loved Easy & Juice, the horses. A was right there with H all weekend charming cats. Poor K had a fever all weekend and wasn't feeling well for most of the trip. She would have small bouts when her medicine kicked in where she would feel better but she definately wasn't herself. In fact we are still battling her fever today is our 5th day. I'm hoping it will be gone tomorrow.

It was great to see the family this year. We were missing Aunt Terri & Uncle Dave, and Stacey & Wes so that made it a little sad. This trip seemed to go by faster than usual, we were definately not ready to go home. I'm hoping to try and make it up again before the summer is over. We'll see. Once a year is just not enough.

These kids are ready to roll Adam is tooLets get this show on the road

Adjusting the twisted seatbelt

Detour to Cabela's

This store was so cool

One of the taxidermy exhibits

Cool Cat

This was my favorite

E & J liked it

The 2nd exhibit, there were real fish swimming in the pond
the huge aquarium
Look at the fish

testing fishing reels
shooting gallery
blowing out the smoke

Daddy is a great teacher

all future boyfriends better watch out


K, H & A

......And then out at the Ranch

A & H
Silly girl

 volley soccer
Kasey, Tristan & Christy

Cleaning up the tents & tunnels
E heading up to the barn
The beautiful trees in the front yard
Mammy's house
The Bunkhouse
Eww that horse just sneezed
A petting Juice

The Men Resting

H aka Dr. Dolittle

Of course as always there are a few more pictures I still need from Adam's camera.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Couponing is great fun!

I recently started learning how to coupon. I have seen women use coupons on their shopping trips and pay $1.97 for $50.00 worth of stuff. This is just crazy. I've been purposing for the last few weeks to figure this out. After a lot of reading and online studying, I put some of my learnings to practice. I've been able to get stuff super cheap and even a few FREE items.

FREE for me

2 bottles of Kraft Salad Dressing

2 travel size bottles of Purel hand sanitizer

1 bottle of Kraft BBQ sauce

Organix Shampoo and Conditioner full size bottles

Spray on Sunblock

Some things I picked up SUPER CHEAP

Kraft BBQ Sauce $0.23

4 Deodorants 2 Sauve 2 Degree for $0.88 (total)

3 Boxes of Jello $0.50 (total)

2 Boxes of gallon Ziplocks $1.59 (total)

Kraft Salad Dressing $0.58

Full Size Box of Ritz Crackers $0.54

Today was my biggest shopping trip so far. I went to Rite Aid and Walmart and got all this

For Only $36.99

The total for these items w/o my new coupon skills would have been $106.51

I seriously wish I would have known this sooner. It's much fun & K seems to share my enthusiasm.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Grandma Mary

Grandma with little K and Little M

My sweet Grandmother lost her battle with lung cancer on April 25, 2009, 6 months after her diagnosis she was 84. She was a wonderful woman. We were all shocked, to hear she had lung cancer. She was never a smoker, and always very good care of herself.

I miss her more than I could have imagined I would. I've actually even picked up the phone to call her and realized I couldn't. I keep coming up with things I wish I could ask her. Normally I could just call.

Watching someone you love die is such a helpless feeling. I think it's normal for people to want to help those who are hurting. When you can't, it's frustrating. There are so many things I want to say about her and this but don't know how to get it all out. I'm angry this happened to her. At the same time, I'm thankful to God for freeing her from her pain.

I think that she was a lady in every sense of the word. She always did the right thing. She was always sweet and welcoming. She loved her family. She was a beautiful person, genuinely good person.

She was a lucky woman. Her children took great care of her as she went through this horrible illness. I watched my father selflessly care for her. From the beginning he was there several times a week, taking her to her Dr. Appointments, helping her with her shopping, brining her dinners, meeting with her hospice nurse and all around caring for her. It was a wonderful thing to see a man sweetly caring for his mother. As she grew sicker he was there everyday right until the last day. I gained a new respect for him and was especially proud of him. My aunt was there 24-7 in the ending months to help with the things sons just shouldn't. All the while they were respectful of her and did as much as they could to help her keep her dignity. All of her children took care to make sure they let her make her decisions they respected her wishes. Im sure this was hard for them at times. She was a very independent woman and didn't like being cared for. But, they did it. They didn't complain, even though it was difficult. They all came together and took care of their mother. You could see at this moment the kind of children she raised.

I'm hoping this pain eases someday. I know my pain may not be as great as some others, but it's still pain. I've cried every day since she passed. I know I shouldn't, she is better now. I cry for my own selfish reasons. I wish we could have her still. And I'm sad my youngest girls will not remember her.

I was especially moved by the compassion and empathy my daughters showed during this time. This is their first memorable experience with a death in the family. They also are taking it harder than I expected. They are children and they love with all of their hearts. They showed deep concern and a desire to be there with Grandma during this journey in her life. I hope the love and caring they witnessed Grandmas kids give her will stay in their memories. This was an amazing example of how families should care for one another.

There is just so much I want to say about her, but I would be typing forever. I can't even begin to touch on how wonderful she was. I love my Grandma, and I can't wait to see her again.

This is the passage from the memory cards at her funeral

God's Garden

God looked around his garden And He found an empty place.
He looked down upon the earth, And saw your tired face.
He put His arms around you, And lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering, He knew you were in pain,
He knew that you would never Get well on earth again.
So He closed your weary eyelids, And whispered"Peace be thine."
It broke our hearts to lose you. But you didn't go alone,
For part of us went with you, The day God called you home.

My Dad, Cousins and Uncle carried Grandma
Here is where her body was placed, but her spirit has gone on

The Men

Sweet Great-Granddaughters

K dropping her rose

Her Obituary:

Mary O. (Hopper) Siebels Resident of San Lorenzo Entered peacefully into rest at her San Lorenzo home on April 25, 2009. She was 84 years old. Born in Oklahoma, Mary was a retired key punch supervisor for Alameda County. She was a Rosie the Riveter during WWII working for Douglas Aircraft and, in 1945, joined a carpool to move to the Bay Area from Oklahoma. Mary was a talented knitter, enjoyed tending her orchids and was an avid Oakland A's fan, able to give detailed stats on each of the players. Above all, Mary enjoyed raising her children, caring for her family and spending time with her loved ones, especially her morning coffee group at Winchell's in San Lorenzo. She was treasured by all who knew her and will be deeply missed. Mary is survived by her devoted children and their spouses, Barbara & Alton Chappell of Lyman, Utah, Betty & Paul Mikels of Fortuna, Ca, Carol Eckloff of Fremont and Jack & Lynn Hopper of Newark; brother, Bill Price of Oklahoma City; step daughters, Ann & Janie, 21 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, many loving extended family and cherished friends. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 23 years, Edward R. Hopper in 1970 and her loving husband of 21 years, Ted Siebels in 1992. Visitation for Mary will be 11 am to 1 pm on Friday at Grissom's Chapel & Mortuary, 267 E. Lewelling Blvd., San Lorenzo. Graveside services will follow at Chapel of the Chimes Cemetery in Hayward. In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society or Kaiser Hospice Program are preferred. Grissoms Chapel 510-278-2800

My babies aint babies no mo

Finally, here are some pictures from E and J's 3rd Birthday. This year their birthday fell on Easter Sunday, so we celebrated the day before. Our parites are usually huge with the number of family and friends we have so this time we kept it to just our friends/family with little kids. We still ended up with a lot of people. We had a huge 200 plastic egg hunt with super cool prizes. It was a blast. Here are a few of the pics.

It was funny all the girls in our neighbor hood wore the same exact shirt & this was not planned. A is the only one with the same but different color shirt.

Score on the Baskets (I wish I was my kid)

We got big bubbles

Oh, I guess I only have a few pics on my camera. *Sheesh* The rest are still on Adams bad boy camera. Hopefully I can get those on here soon.
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