Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas. . . oh Merry Part Tres . . . the fun !!

So, referring back to yesterdays "the kids" post, the longboard was a huge hit !! This is a road by our house that I drove up and down no less than a handful of times toting my two "boys" and their boards !!! As you can see the big kid had as much fun as the other big kid !!! And big kid #1 form isn't half bad. . . . so here they go about 1/4 of the way down the road. . . it is a road to the water treatment plant that is never traveled but is very clean so great for longboarding !!!
Now, before all you mothers out there start giving me a hard time. . . on the third run, Sam INSISTED on taking off his helmet for the photo op because he didn't want to look stupid with a helmet on for all to see !! Love that word, stupid. . . how about ALIVE or NOT SCRAPED !!! Anywho. . . check out this sequence where the camera almost go the best of him. . . .

HOLD ON !!!!

"Wow Mom, did you see how close I was to eatin' it !!!" Um, yes Sam, I sure did !! Get your frickin' helmet on and continue with your fun !!!!

Helmet on. . . fun continued . . . beautiful view of the Las Vegas Valley below. It is amazing people think Vegas is a flat desert, but it really has some rolling hils and some mountains that surround us. . . hence, VALLEY !!!

Then day two of fun included a trip to Lee Canyon (Mt. Charleston) which you can see in the above picture on the right hand side. It is our small local ski resort and it has some neat areas of snow play. . . .

Here goes Abigail . . . .
Aren't I just the cutest little thing. . . . until my feet got cold and wet and I whined and I went to the truck and drank cocoa and ate donuts !!!! Oh wait, I wasn't talking about me now was I, sorry, I digressed. . . . Abby. . she was fine and had fun !! Sorry lost focus for a second !!
This is her buddy Alondra who she swims with and hangs out with on occassion. Her family consists of 2 older swimmer brothers so we get to visit with them lots and love it !!!
Here is Sam crashing with the oldest brother Andre !!! They doubled on a sled that barely held one !! Sam face planted but was all smiles and laughing !!! Good times !!!
Solo run for Sam, watch out for the T . . . R . . . E . . . EEEEEEEEE !!!
"Awe Mom, you worry too much !" Yes son, yes I do, and so does your coach !! I can't imagine that call . . . um coach, Sammy skipped practice today, sorry about that, but we wanted to have some family time bonding along with the Lelles', Grothe's, and Tucuyan's (all swim families), and he and Andre crashed and well, they were sledding and um, he broke his leg, arm, face . . . . . . UGH !! Sam, let me remind you that Junior Olympics are one month away !!! Where is your plastic bubble and when did I release you ?!??!?!?!

So moral of our Christmas 3 part story . . . . Live, Love, Laugh . . . what else is there to do !! You can't make everyone happy, you can't sit and pity ones self or ones situation, you have friends, you have life. . . . ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN !!!
Life is good. . . .
But very cold on this day . . . . . sorry, I digress again. . . .

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas . . . of Merry Part Two . . the morning

So Merry Christmas Part Two . . . this is the morning. . .the morning of the "score" as my kids like to call it !! It was much less of a score this year and I actually really liked that my kids understood that and were ok with that. They also understood that Grandma's, Papa's, Auntie's and Uncle's always send money, so if they didn't get exactly what they wanted. . . THEY COULD GO BUY IT THEMSELVES !!! Novel idea hu?

So here is Sam's stocking from Santa complete with new swim caps, swim googles, Speedo suit wash (every 12 year old boy asks Santa for that), swim gear bag, Speedo Fastskin (that was a hit, thanks Santa), and then of course the necessary bandaids, body wash, deodorant, socks, belt, and Halls Fruit Breezers !!! I think Santa was quite practical this year !! And of course, Sam's dog Buddy had his own stocking and Santa brought him his own bone this year !!!!! Too cute if I do say so myself !!!
Abigail'st stockign could have mirrored her brothers, but there was much more PINK !! Here highlights included BLUE and GREEN nailpolish (which was specifically on the list to Santa), a soup bowl for school, swim cap, swim googles, swim suit, swim google bungies, hair clips, bobbie pins, and then not to be outdone, we have the XO Soft Chip Clips (???), body wash, nail file, nail clippers, Campbell's soup container, Ricola's for good measure, and her favorite, a mini egg frying pan that Santa must have seen at Albertson's like she did every week !!! Gunner's stocking was equiped with his bone and he loved it !!
The tree and the stockings. . . . oh yeah, Dad's stocking had a huge bottle of VOX vodka, a new shirt, iTunes gift card, and chapstick. Mom's, it had cotton puffs . . . quote from Tom . . . "we have to do better with Santa on Mom's stocking next year!" Each year . . . it is the same quote and the scariest thing, I hear my dad saying the same thing in my head 30 years ago !!! Mom's do get the short end !!!
Sam has (of course) his new Speedo bag !! Does this Christmas, and the last 4 Christmas' have a theme !!! Speedo stock should go up just from the Sauerbrei's !!!
Sam's Papa Harley sent him the COOLEST long board skateboard and Sam LOVED it !!! I mean, that is an honest smile !!! It is one of a kind, as the wood changes with each board and it has a serial number to register online !! Check back tomorrow for long board photos !!!
Couldn't open it fast enough !!!
Abigail enjoyed a new pair of REAL Uggs from Grandma Harley. She thought those were pretty cool !!!! And check out the cute peace braclet that was in the box too. . . Abby has only taken it off for swim practice !!!
This was Abby's "aw ha" moment when she realized the 3 cardboard boxes stacked up on the side of the living room weren't trash, but her new desk !!!! It literally took her 30 minutes and then the tear started coming down her face and we had to tell her !!! It was #1 on her list to Santa . . . she was surprised !!!
And then mom's #1 score to Abby . . . a pair of clear, plastic Chuck Taylors (converse shoes). She got tons of colored socks and those are now her favorite shoes !! I love the expressions of amazement . . . she had no clue !!!
So that wrapped it up . . . . Tom enjoyed a new GPS for his truck (that he bought himself 3 weeks ago), he enjoyed a new MP3 for swimming (that he bought himself) and didn't like the Keurig I got him, so that went back !!!! And I keep the cash !!!!

I enjoyed a new iPod touch, which I bought myself and some accessories for it from Sam and some earrings from Abby !!!
It was a very nice, casual, relazing, quiet Christmas. Time to relax, reflect (just a little) and enjoy our family of 4 !!!
I hope this helps those family members who are away and still can be a part of our Christmas through some photos and a few words . . . but you know me, more words that photos !!! But, I wouldn't be me if it was any other way . . . . .

Life is Good. . . . .

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas. . . of Merry Part One . . . The Tree

Ho Ho Ho. . . to and fro . . . Ho Ho Ho. . . off we go . . . . or however that silly little song goes !!! Merry Christmas my friends and family !! Hope it all was peaceful, enjoyable, and everyone is now kickin' back saying, wow. . . that came upon us quick this year !!!

I am so behind in life, and have been for a few months, so I am going to do this post in 3 little sections !! Part One . . . . The Tree, Part Two . . . The Kids, Part Three. . . The Fun !!!! You know, how your mom always told you to break it up in little sections and it would be easier . . . welp, that is what I am going to try and do here !!! I have some new readers (hi Sharon and Karren, my sister-in-laws) . . . and I know they enjoy hearing about the kids !! And I promise to go back and recap the State Meet !! Those feelings are still very fresh in my mind, so I can't wait to share !!!

Anywho. . . back to Christmas and our tree. . . . here it goes. . .

Background on "our" tree. . . our tree is fake !! Oh, the shame !! When we first moved to Vegas in 1994, I told Tom we would always have a live tree . . . I never had a "fake" tree growing up and I would never have my kids have a fake tree !! Well, anyone and everyone who has lived or been to Vegas, knows how stinkin' dry it is . . . . so about 4 years ago, I bit the bullet and got this incredible tree !! The last two years have been kinda rough on the tree. . . more tips are falling off, more strands are dark and don't glo . . . but I do love my tree !!! So, here she is this year. . .

I must say, lookin' at her here, she is leanin' a little to the right. . . but then again, don't we all !! My tree isn't themed, or traditional, or organized (well a little), but the thing I truly LOVE about my tree is looking at each ornament and smiling !! Smiling because I think of the memory about the ornament, I think of who gave it to us, or where we bought it !! I think of the significance in that time in our life that this ornament was special !! I found myself this year, not putting ornaments on the tree that didn't give me that feeling. . . so our tree was a little "lite" this year . . . hence Abby's idea of putting the door hanger on the tree !!!

Each year I buy the kids one ornament that reminds me of what the did or are doing during the year. 2004 was a Cub Scout ornament for Sam and a gymnastics ornament for Abigail. 2006 were swimmers logo'd with BCH. 1998 (pre-Abby) is a teddy bear in a Radio Flyer red wagon, because Sam use to LOVE going for rides at pre-school in the red wagon. . . it was give him peace !!! And each year we, as a family, try to pick an ornament during our vacation. We have a bucket of sand from San Diego, a palm tree from Hawaii and a trout from Yellowstone to name a few. Even as I type this, I look over at the tree and smile. . . . . so here are some of my favorites, so favorite stories. . . .

A red, bell with green ribbon. . . what could be so simple for the holidays. I bought this a few years ago and have loved it every since.

This was my favorite for this year. . . don't know why, maybe my insides are just content . . . but JOY is what I felt this season. We got this one during an ornament exchange and it was perfect !! (And notice the man in the canoe to the lower left. . . that is Sam's ornament from 1999 which is half eaten from our previous dogs Dynamite and Boomer. Yes, I put half eaten ornaments on the tree. . . they still have meaning, in more ways than one !!)

This was a gift from my friend Shannon this year. . . I love family ornaments, I love that she gave this to my family this year !! Very special !!!

This one is just beautiful !! My friend Gail gave it to my family 3 years ago when I was coaching swimming for BCH. She is Jewish, which makes this very unique in my mind. I need to remember where she got it because they come in all styles and make great gifts !!!
Again, bought this one myself, but nothing says Christmas like Santa and jingle bells !!!

This is one of our families favorite places to ski each year . . . Alta, Utah. It is for the purest at heart as they don't allow snowboarders !!! The other side of this handpainted ornament shows the lifts and the face of the mountain. We love this place !!

K, sorry. . . first sad one. . . this is our first "child" Dynamite. Dynamite was our yellow lab (before Marley and Me made yellow labs cool) and Tom and I got him when we first moved in together after college in 1991. He was Tom's dog, Tom always wanted a yellow lab. He was a great dog, and he went EVERYWHERE with us. He showed Tom and I what kind of "parents" we were going to be as having a yellow lab, is about as adventurous as having a new baby !!! He was with us for 13 years, and each year when I hang this ornament, I show it to Tom, and the look in his eyes . . . we don't say a word, but we both know . . .

Ok - - sorry Tom for this one. . . Feliz Navidad !!! Have you met our neighbor Felix ?!?!?! He is the vain one with his name on the roof of his house. . . ok, so here is the story. . . and it is alot better in person when you see the tears in my eyes because I laugh so hard !! Tom and I were heading to his mom's around Christmas. Tom was finishing this last semester at Fresno State taking SPANISH. So we drive out of our neighborhood and Tom tooks at me, deadpan, and said "that guy is really vain." And I asked who. . . he said our neighbor. . . I looked at him and said, WTF are you taking about. He said, Felix. I asked, who the hell is Felix. Felix Navadotto. . .you know, they guy at the end of our street, he has his name in lights on his roof. I still am confused, so Tom turns around to go back down our street. . . . where I see our mexican neighbor, who has Feliz Navidad in lights on his roof !!! I about peed in my pants . . . Tom lost it at his point. . . we go to his mom's and I can't keep my mouth shut and tell everyone . . . we are all crying because we are laughing our arsts off !! Remember, he was taking SPANISH that semester !! Needless to say, no one in his family or mine have let him live it down and we now have about 10 Feliz Navidad ornaments on our tree !!!

Life is good. . . .
and sometime very funny even after 18 years !!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Nite before Christmas . . . .

And the lights are strung, the tree is trimmed, there are cookies in the oven, the dogs (and their sister Roxy) are fast asleep on their beds, Tom took the the kids to get the last minute "mommy" gift for Christmas . . . . and I sit here. . . wishing I had more time, wishing I had more energy !!

There was so much I wanted to get done and didn't get done. . . but, I can't change that now. My house is decorated to a minimum, but my favorite things are out . . . my favorite garland is on the banister, favorite Santa's are on the TV stand, favorite ornaments are on the tree. I found a shirt, btw a really cool shirt, I forgot to send to my mom - gotta love that !! I balanced out the Christmas gifts to ensure we had "equality" with the kids !! I wrapped the two gifts Tom bought for himself before I had the opportunity to buy them for him . . . . gotta love that even more !! Wrapped the Keurig for Tom, with the 60 cup variety pack and individual filter . . . just in case he wants Folgers instead of some fancy coffee !! Abby will love it because it makes cocoa !!

No one is here this year at our home . . . folks are at my brothers (they were just here a few weeks ago), Tom's family is all at their homes, my friends - - one has moved, one is in Israel (hence the visiting Roxy), one is in Florida visiting Mickey, three are at their homes (they are locals) with their families, and others. . . . quietly doing what they do over the holidays. We are having the traditional Cheney Christmas Eve dinner of spaghetti and french bread . . . don't really know where that tradition came from, but my kids LOVE it !!
Making cookie for Santa right now. . . kinda cool that Abby still believes, or wants to believe !!! Looking at my Christmas flowers on my table that each year I buy for myself . . . Sam asked me why did I buy them, and I said. . . because they are beautiful and I love flowers !!!

I truly hope everyone has a blessed, happy, healthy Christmas !!! The holidays are smack upon us . . . they will go fast, just like life these days !!!

Life is good . . . .

Friday, December 11, 2009

Today . . . I am Sad (FFF version 3)

Fast Friend Friday, version 3 . . . to my friend Gini Herbst !!!

I shed a tear today because Gini and her family are moving today !! Today !! Friday, December 11th, 2009 !! Today . . . I do not say good-bye, because I will chat with her again, she will follow my blog, she will be on Facebook . . . . but, it is so long !! I won't be able to hug my friend, I won't be able to look her in the eye, directly in the eye and tell her that I LOVE YOU, that I AM HERE FOR YOU, that YOU ARE MY FRIEND !! Yes, she will know that forever, but looking someone in the eye, makes all the difference in the world !!!

So. . . . let me share some things about Gini . . . .

Batman, Robin and the Joker !!!
Woody, Bulleyes, and Jessie !!!
SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward !!
These are my sidekicks . . . me, Gini and Kyle !! Me, Gini and Kyle have spent endless hours on the phone, on emails, in person, coordinating the largest project as of late . . . Nevada State Swimming Championships !! (and people, we are VERY tired here in this photo) People don't understand how we can work together, people don't understand OCD and Type A personalities, people don't see how many hours, pain and suffering we all endured, people don't see the toil it took both on ourselves, but also on our family !!! And I don't care that people don't get it . . . my friends got it, my friends understood, my friends stood by my side and helped, my friends didn't have to ask, they just did !!! These two sidekicks, or one leader and two sidekicks, or 3 leaders working together, we had each others backs - - and we always will !!!!! We all did what we did for THE KIDS !! No other reason ! We did our best, we supported each other, and we were a success !!! This is the most recent Gini, the one multi-tasking, having check lists, running around like crazy, wanting the best and only the best from those around her . . .
Gini, Type A and I love it !!!

See this Gini, Gini is a really funny lady !! Gini can laugh at herself !! I have written it before, "if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at !" Gini liked to laugh !! Whether it was just her spirit, or it was how she coped, she laughed !! She smiled !! She made me laugh and smile !!! Gini opened her home to everyone she met, she gave everyone the benefit of the doubt, she trusted all, and she loved sharing !!! Gini taught me and told me, over and over, laugh often !! And I think over the past 4 years, I have learned to laugh more, thank you Gini !! Thank you for making me be a tin-foil car, for making me smile, for making me laugh !!

Gini is also a kind soul !!! Gini protects children !! She watched out for MY KIDS !!! Here she is riding a silly ride at Disneyland with my Abby - who was scared to go on any rides (nothing like a little anxiety issues). Gini didn't make fun of Abby, she didn't say oh don't be scared . . what she did was hold her hand, she told her hey Abby, I will go on this ride with you, she made her feel comfortable, she made MY KID feel ok !!! She didn't have to do that, she could have rode Space Mtn another 10 times, but she stopped, saw a hurting/scared child, and she opened her heart !!! Gini does everything in life for kids . . . her kids, other kids, strangers kids !! She was PTA VP, she was BCH Swim Team VP, she fought for kids, for fair treatment for kids, whether her kids or not !! Now, her kids were always #1 - rightfully so - but those other kids around her, they were a close second !!!

This is Gini - - this is how I will remember her face !!! Gini LOVES her family, and the look on her face . . .that is what I will remember. Everyone is different in life . . .every friend is different. If we tried to make all friends the same, imagine how boring our life would be. Gini was the friend to me that she could be. . . I never asked for more, I never asked for less. I just asked her to be herself and not be afraid to be that person !!!

Gini . . . may our paths cross again, may you find peace and happiness with this move, may you enjoy being close to the ones that love you most - your family, may you never forget where you came from because it will help you not make the same mistakes again, may you remember that a friend gives what they can and asks for nothing else, may you remember that GARRIN LOVES TRISH (but only when his momma isn't in the room), may you share Conners intensity on the soccer field as you go through life, may you keep Hananh's smile close to your heart everyday, may you smile when you think of the silliness we all shared, may you laugh someday at all the craziness, may you remember Sammy as a 12 year old red-haired boy who you winked at and you smiled often to, may you remember Abby as a scared little girl who you made feel comfortable and understood that she so wants to be a big girl, may you remember the BBQ's, the party's, the swim meets, the travel, the trials, the tribulations . . . may you remember it all, look back and smile, and maybe even wink . . . . . . I will, and a small tear will come down my face . . .

I love you more than Jellyfish !!
Always your sidekick and damn proud to be !!

Life is Good . . . . but today, just a little sad . . . .