Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Dear Mom and Dad -

You have been such a wonderful influence over me.  Happy 38th anniversary.  Go for a drive, go out to dinner, and just enjoy the day together.  Love - Me.

Little Ms. Christmas

As with any child, Natalie loves the holidays.  She particularly likes to wear holiday attire.  She received two dresses from my grandma.  Last weekend was mine and April's birthday and she was so excited to get to wear her dress over to my mom and dad's house.  AND, she asked if she could wear the Christmas headband I bought for her a couple of days before.  Here she is...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recent trip

Here are some photos from our recent weekend trip to Mendocino.  We rented a house through (Vacation Rentals By Owner), and liked it a lot.  It was cozy, comfortable, and in a quiet location.  Best of all, we had nice weather when we were there!

Back of the house

Neat eagle carving at the top of the roof.

Front of the house

Living room


Ocean themed bedroom and Natalie loving it!

Our drive to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg

Ern and Natalie after collecting beach glass

Baby Mae in her sheep hat at the beach!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

3 Jack-O-Lanterns in 1

Natalie's class went to a pumpkin farm last week and she got to pick out a pumpkin.  She picked out a small one, just the right size for her to carry home on the bus.

On Friday night, rather than carving the little pumpkin, she drew 3 different faces on the pumpkin, then topped it with cotton balls.

Here are her 3 Jack-O-Lanterns in 1:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Little Tails

This is a drawing that Natalie did this evening.  She said they are "Little Tails" and they live in the grass.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Kitty

Natalie drew this cat in her class a couple of weeks ago.  We have it posted on our fridge.

It's not a very scary cat is it?

In fact, it looks like a very sweet cat!!

HAPPY Halloween!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Natalie

I have not posted for nearly a month.  Most of it came down to sitting there staring at the screen thinking I didn't really have much to share.  A lot of my reflections are done internally, so I guess I either have to feel like sharing, or find something worthy enough to write about.

The other day Natalie asked me to take a picture of one of our dogs Kahlua.  She wanted me to print out a photo of him and so that she could take it to her friend at school.  This picture is by far one of the most wonderful photos I think I have of Natalie.  I have a lot of wonderful photos of her, but this one for some reason really shows what a sweet girl she truly is.

Seeing her face so happy with Kahlua, and so excited to have a picture taken of herself with him, makes me so happy.  It got me thinking about how my life has progressed since a key event when I was 21.

As you recall, my first post to my blog outlined my accident I had when I was 21 years old.  It changed my outlook on life and daily events.  Sometimes it is hard to focus on positive things....things that sparkle.  So I've realized that all I have to do is look at this picture of Natalie and realize this:  existing the one thing that is most important.  Feeling connected to the organic things in life - love, earth, nature, family.  If you keep your focus on those things, then positive, happy things are bound to happen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My painter hard at work

Natalie loves to paint.  She paints with watercolors at her easel my mom and dad gave her when she was 1 year old.  She also LOVES to paint with water.  Yes, water.  It's her creativity I guess.  Here she is "painting" the railing outside on this fine midday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I've been occupied lately with working again, it's hard to want to sit down at the computer in the evening after being at one all day long.

Natalie starts school this coming Wednesday.  Big first grader!

So, again, this post will be short until I can think of something more in depth to think of.  Sorry everyone!  Here's some fun pictures:

Natalie is truly electrifying.....her energy she emits to me and Ern, her love for her Grandma and Papa, and all her other family members.  She has a connection to nature, music, dance.  Her shyness holds her back, but when I see it shine and sparkle, it lights me up!  It's electrifying!

She also ADORES Mae.  Mae B!

Lastly, the swirls have reappeared!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A short trip

We went on a short trip to the Oregon coast this past weekend.  We camped at an Oregon State Park called Bullard's Beach State Park.  These were very well maintained campsite with full hook-ups, hot showers, and each site was very private.  Here are a few pictures from our trip:

Auntie April and Natalie

Coquille River Lighthouse

A Labyrinth at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

Natalie and I with Kahlua at the Labyrinth

My mom and dad's dog Bodhi "relaxing" at camp

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Fountain

Ern's 34th birthday is July 27th.  He loves making water fountains. So, as my gift to him, he is making a fountain.  Here are some nearly finished photos of his new creation.  He designed it, found the pot, and did all the work.  To him, this was much more fun for him than looking online at a fountain someone else made and buying it.  I told him he should go into business.  :)

Friday, July 15, 2011


Here are some pictures that my sister April took of Natalie at swim lessons the other day.  She is doing far better than I did when I was 6 years old!

I apologize ahead of time for the "bars" in the picture.  We were observing from outside the instructor's pool fence.  :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fog in July!

Today I have awoken to cool, foggy weather.  We live 100+ miles from the ocean here in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California.  It's also July 13th, which is very unusual for this time of year.

When Natalie was 2 or 3, Ernie's mom came and stayed with us for a couple of weeks to watch Natalie.  She is from Crescent City, which is the last city on California coast before you enter Oregon.  It is nearly foggy, rainy, and cool all year there, so when she comes down here during the summer months, the hot weather is usually a bit of a shock for her.  Well, while she was staying with us for those 2 weeks, we had a day exactly like this morning.  It was foggy, cool, and smelled like the ocean air.

I don't mind it, but Natalie has swim lessons today, so she will probably be freezing!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Swirls return

We post Natalie's art on our refrigerator.  Not all of it of course, but just some of the ones we're intrigued by, or that touch us the most.

We've had this picture on our fridge for about a month now, but I just now noticed the swirls at the bottom of her guy's shoes.

Here's a closer look:

And this one she painted 2 days ago, which she said is titled "Miracle".

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Father/Daughter fishing

On the 4th of July, we went with April, Joel, and Mae to a lake not far from us called Sugar Pine Reservoir.  Natalie went fishing with Ern for the first time, and now I believe she is hooked.  Ern likes to catch and release, as he just loves the act of fishing.  They didn't catch anything, but they had fun, and that's all that matters.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Time Off

Today marks the first day of my 8 days break from work.  Since my sister April has had the baby, I've come to a realization that work is not as important as I used to make it out to be.  I think I've also realized that having my mom and dad has also created a different mindset for me.

April and I have always said how much we love our parents, but I'm not sure they understand just how much.  My mom is such a creative and loving person.  She truly is one of my best friends.  April and my mom are the first two women I think of when I want to go and do something fun and exciting.  The first two women I will share information with.  I get excited any time when I think about doing any kind of activity with either (or both) of them.

Ernie is my first male best friend.  His personality is so much like me in so many ways.  We are both very neat and organized people.  One day a few years ago, he made the comment to me that crumbs on the counter after making a sandwich or a piece of toast, bothered him.  I too, have my quirks.  He puts the silverware all in one tray in the dishwasher, and I would prefer him to separate it out so all the pieces get clean.  Our daughter has inherited the creativity from both my mom and Ernie's dad, both of which are both artists.  She loves to sing, draw, dance, but all by herself (dancing and singing specifically).  She also loves to collect.  She has collections of bottle caps, collections of feathers, collections of acorns, collections of rocks, and collections of shells.  We try to limit her "collections" and encourage her to focus on those that are most important to her. 

My dad is my hero.  He was instrumental in restoring a Studebaker firetruck for the Georgetown, CA fire department.  One year, he drove the fire truck in the parade after it was completely restored.  April and I teared up and began crying with pride for our dad when he drove by.  I think Ernie has many of the same characteristics as my dad.  He has a dry sense of humor (which you can sometimes take, and sometimes not take).  Many of his personality traits are like my dad's.  So for me, it is probably true when you hear the saying "the daughter's marry those that are most like their father".

One year in high school, April and I were riding with my dad in his dark cherry red VW baja bug on a road by our high school.  We turned right onto a road off the local two lane highway and passed a lady in a car that had a big gold retriever-type dog sitting in the front passenger seat.  Out of the silence of the car my dad says,"boy, that lady's boyfriend is a real dog."  April and I sit there, realizing that his joke was dry and kind of silly, but start cracking up because the statement broke the silence in the car.  We kept replaying the sound of his voice in our heads, over and over and couldn't help but laugh.

My parents have always been there for us no matter what.  They provided us with probably the most normal, loving childhood, anyone could ask for.  I am so grateful to this day to have both of them as parents.

I love you mom and dad, so very much.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The exciting new addition to our extended family

My twin sister, April and my brother-in-law Joel had their baby on Thursday, May 26th at 6:09am.  She weighed 7 lbs. 12.5oz. and 18 3/4" long. They named her Mae, not intentional to go with the month of May or to have it be a funny coincidence of "April and Mae".  Rather, Mae holds a lot of meaning on both sides of our families (you may have read in a previous post that April and I are married to brothers).  Ernie and Joel's grandmother's middle name is Mae.  And, my father's mother and grandmother's middle names were Mae.  It seemed so perfect for them to give her this name, so that both sides of our families could be honored.  

Here is a picture baby Mae taken one day after her birthday, which was 5/26/2011:

Today, my daughter, Natalie, turns 6 years old.  I woke up this morning at 2:45am, the same time 6 years ago that I felt my first pre-labor contractions.  We spent the afternoon at our property where we were building our house, just below my grandmother's home.  By 4:00pm, we decided to head home to my mom and dad's house, where we were living while our house was being built.  We arrived home around 5:00ish, and my parents asked if I was hungry.  I said yes, and so my dad drove into their town to get a pizza.  We had pizza for dinner, and around 6:30pm I said we needed to leave for the hospital.  It was a good hour drive to the hospital where I had to deliver, and we arrived around 8:00pm.  At 10:02pm, Natalie was born at 8 lbs 4 oz. and 20 1/2" long. 

Here is a picture of Natalie taken 2 days after her birthday, which was 5/28/2005:

There is a definite resemblance; as there should be since their mommy's are identical twins, and their daddy's are brothers!  I believe April and I determined that Natalie and Mae are genetically 3/4 siblings. 

April and Joel will most likely be arriving home today.  Natalie will be excited to again see Mae, this time on her birthday!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kahlua and Bear

Kahlua and Bear are our two dogs.  Kahlua is nearly 1 year old, and Bear is the old fart at 8 years old.  They both a love bugs.  Yesterday, while Natalie and I were enjoying an afternoon in the warm sun, Natalie decided it would be fun to put her sunglasses on the dogs.  Here is the result:

This is Kahlua.  Doesn't he just look like he's saying, "yo, Natalie, whatcha doing?"

This is Bear.  I'm thinking he's saying,"this sun is hot!"

Enjoy your SUNday!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Natalie loves playing with her coins from her piggy bank.  Here's one piece of art she created:

Friday, April 29, 2011


The last few weeks I've been occupied with a lot of family events.  My brother-in-law went the hospital the weekend before Easter.  He has recovered now, and is on the mend.  Now, my parents are moving out of their house that my dad built.  I lived there from childbirth until I was 20.  In total, my parents lived there for 37 years. 

On Wednesday, I helped them moved some of their items.  Today, my mom is cleaning the house and my husband and dad will be heading over there to pick of the last of the few items.  My parents are exhausted, as you can imagine.  They have been moving nonstop since they got the keys to the new house on Monday afternoon.  I think they can finally see the end of the tunnel.

Tomorrow, April would like to go to the house to see it one last time.  I'm not sure I will go with them.  Not because I think I would be sad.  But, when I was there on Wednesday, I was surprisingly not sad at all.  I realized that, even though I grew up in this house, the memories are still there.  All the "things" that I remember about the house will still be in my mind:  skipping a step to go up the stairs, how the floor sounds when you walk on the tongue and groove floors, and, as my mom reminded me, how soft and warm the tongue and groove floors feel upstairs when the heat rises from the first floor.  I'm still undecided if I need one more day to say "goodbye".

For this entry it will be my written goodbye.  Goodbye house: you have a wonderful spirit and the new owners will love you just as much as our family did from your birth and for 37 more years....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My memories

Yesterday, April and I went to my mom and dad's house for a few hours.  They have packed quite a bit of their things in anticipation for the upcoming move.  I took my camera and took over 100 photos of their house.  Monday, they are signing the papers to close escrow.  So, even though they will be still be waiting to close escrow on the new house and move their things, the house will technically belong to the new owners.  Both the inside and outside of the house has changed quite a bit since my childhood.  However, as I was walking around the yard taking photos, a rush of memories flooded my mind. 

I felt a mix of emotions, but mostly feelings of at peace.  I realized at that moment that, even if they had never sold their house, I could have stood in the exact spots (in these photos) 25 years from now, and still never be able to relive the snapshots in time, of what was my childhood.  Those memories are mine (and most likely very similar for April as well).  So, the photos I now have, will allow me to revisit the memories whenever I feel like it.  Here are a couple of them that I'd  like to share with you, and hopefully give you a glimpse of just a few of the adventures that April and I experienced growing up there.

These are the three trees that my dad built our treehouse in.  You can see the swing in the extreme right of the photo.  You also might barely be able to make out a rope hanging just to the right of the madrone tree in the top right, just to the left of the swing.

When we were about 9 or 10 years old, one day April and I came outside as we always did.  We heard hammering and sawing.  We walked up past the wellhouse, which we just called "the room" and there was my dad.  Boards were piled up next to a group of three trees.  A couple of large beams were already mounted to the trees.  

I vividly remember both of us asking him,"dad, what are you doing?" 

"Building you a treehouse," he replied. 

We both looked at each other and excitedly screamed,"really?! Cool!!" 

The treehouse was triangular with a wood ladder going up the oak tree in the front of the photo.  April and I would spend practically every good weather day at, or in, this treehouse.  We would ride our blue, Huffy, banana seat bikes underneath the treehouse, pretending it was a garage.  It was our "house".  We built mini towns in the red clay soil with our Hot Wheels cars.  Just in front of the treehouse, there was a stack of  leftover cedar shingles from the house that my dad put next to "the room".  April and I would snag a couple of these shingles and then break them to just the right size.  We would use the thick end of the shingle to scrap out roads in the hard, red dirt under the treehouse for our hot wheels.  All day would be spent driving our cars around in the dirt in our miniature cities, making humming engines sounds.  There is no doubt that there are still some of them buried in the leaves behind the treehouse.  We would also push each other in the swing, which was moved there after a my dad cut down a different madrone tree on the property.  In the summer, the leaves of the madrone would fall, and the skin would curl up like shaved chocolate.  Big, long strips of curled madrone "skin" would lay on the ground under the treehouse.  It would crunch loudly under our feet as we twisted the swing or pushed each other as high as we could go.  We would even push each other so high and fast that one of us could run up underneath the other. 

Here's an old photo that April got from my mom of the treehouse:

And, finally, yes, this just looks like a driveway. 

For me, this is the exact spot April and I would stand to play our version of baseball.  Warm summer breezes would be blowing in the oak trees overhead, and robins would be chirping.  First base was just up the driveway on the right, second base was in the middle of the driveway, and third base was somewhere just off the driveway on the left.  Okay, it was a small baseball diamond!  At the time, the area on the right side of the photo was fenced in with fruit trees.  The cedar barked posts eventually rotted, the peach tree got a disease, so now all that remains are irises, an apple tree, a cherry tree, and no fence.  Standing here yesterday, I remember the shoes I wore playing wiffle ball with April.  Blue, flat, Ked-type shoes.  I remember the sound of the ball when I hit it:  a whack of thick plastic and then a mid-pitch whistle as the ball whirled up the driveway for April to chase after.  I would run as far as I could before April got the ball and chased after me.  Then we would switch places and I would pitch, and she would hit.  We usually played this game in the evenings after dinner.  Sometimes, we would play before dinner, and when my mom had dinner ready, she would ring a metal bell which was mounted to the left of the front door next to greenhouse sliding door.  Ding! Ding! Ding! 

"Dinner!" my mom would say. 

In unison, April and I would call back, "Okayyyyy!" 

We'd usually leave the thin yellow bat and white wiffle ball laying on the ground, run down the driveway to eat, do our chores (wash the dishes & take out the compost) and then come back outside to either continue our game, ride our bikes, or play in the treehouse before dusk settled in.

So, standing there at that moment, the warm, colorful, fragrant, vibrant memories of my childhood came rushing back.  These photos were fun for me to take.  They will always provide that mechanism for me to travel back in time to my childhood and relive all of the experiences I had growing up there.

I think I was one of the luckiest kids in the world to grow up there.  I have nothing but fond, wonderful memories of this place. 

It will forever live in my world, and no one else's...well maybe just one other's.  ;)