**Beach Babies**

We took the girls to the beach for the first time a couple of weeks ago. A long overdue trip! We are so close but it's *just* far enough to not be convenient. Does that make sense? And the water is chilly so you can't really swim...unless you are super brave. (steph? tj?) :) Not to mention the thought of one of the girls eating sand gave me the willies. But now they are old enough to enjoy it and I don't have to worry about sand-poisoning. (or something like that....) ;)

Tony had to go down to the Bay Area for an brief appointment one Saturday so I asked him if we could tag along to have a picnic on the beach. We had to be back in town by 2pm so it was just a quick down and back, but as you can see, we had SO much fun!!
Waiting for the first wave on the toes....brrrr!!

In order of bravery: Ashleigh, bravest. Avery, sort of brave.
Jordyn....chicken liver.

"BYE BYE, OCEAN!!" (Bay, technically)


Overdue Update

Oh my. I know it's been a looooooong time since I've 'officially' written in the blog. It's just been a looooooooong year. I know everything is supposed to make us stronger, but when you are going through it, you feel more like mush than steel. Oh well. I guess that just makes you appreciate the transition more, right??
Well, here are a few things that have happened....
Probably most notably, Tony was on a business trip out of state and had appendicitis. He thought he just had food poisoning at first, but after he passed out in his hotel bathroom because of the pain, he figured it might be something more serious. He had to call 911 to get to the hospital, and after many hours and tests later, they sent him home because "everything looked normal". Well, after the pain meds wore off around 4AM, back to the hospital he went and a few short hours later he was on in the O.R. getting his appendix out. Thanks to the generosity of his "work family", I was able to get a flight out that day. And an even BIGGER thanks to the dear friends and family who took care of the girls in our home. I am so blessed to have people I can rely on when the going gets tough. I'm sure they enjoyed my 10 pages of "notes" on the girls. Hey, what can I say? We are high maintenance. And particular. :)
There were many firsts for me on that trip: My first solo flight, my first time using an airplane restroom (ick), AND it was my FIRST time away from the girls OVERNIGHT!! Can you believe it?? 3+ years later and no nights "off"(...that I can recall... When you are sleep deprived for an extended period of time, your memory can be completely erased. It's totally true.) Too bad my 'freedom' was spent on a fold out chair "bed" in Tony's hospital room. Oddly, I didn't hate it. It wasn't too much unlike home---with the nurses coming in and waking us up every few hours to do their thang. ha! We are glad everything went smoothly and that we still talk to our friends who stayed with the girls! *winks*

Phew! I made it!!
Waiting for my shuttle at the airport.
It wasn't that hot but it was sticky.
I call it 'Texas Glow' ;)
After the surgery, Tony wasn't allowed to do a whole lot for 6 weeks. He pushed himself as much as possible, but at the end of the day some days, he was in a lot of pain. We are glad he's back to normal and carrying the girls around. Pretty sure he thought that was the worst part---not being able to pick the girls up.
The next event was a relatively spontaneous trip to Utah to see family and friends. (spontaneous for me is about a month's notice, lol). Tony had a prior commitment on the Saturday of my family reunion, so my brother kindly flew out from Idaho so he could ride with me and the girls the Friday before it. I'm not sure if he knew what he was getting into, but about 11+ hours later, we made it to our destination, no worse for wear. Despite this photo we took at a potty break:
He's not dead...yet... :)

Here is another shot I took in my side mirror while I was driving: The sunset was SO red and orange that it looked like the mountains were on fire!

Tony flew out and met us that Sunday and we all drove back together the following Sunday. We had a lot of fun and the girls loved playing with their cousins. I only took a few pictures. I am sad I didn't take more. But I think my brother-in-law took a bunch at the reunion that I will post when I get copies.

Jordy and Ave with their buddy Hyatt
The girls and Bossy (Boston)
Ash at the park in her self imposed time-out.

My mom went to check on her and I just had to post this pic. Too funny. LOL

Sissies crossing the 'drawbridge' at the Castle Park

Another picture of her 'alone time'

We appreciate the generosity of family for letting us stay with them and disrupt every aspect of their lives. :) You know you love us! Ha!
Other than that, I've just been busy with just every day 'stuff' and trying to somehow get the household in order. It seems like the harder I try, the worse things get. I've also been super busy with church responsibilities. It's really fun and rewarding to provide service for others...I wouldn't feel complete without that aspect of my life. But it's super draining. Luckily I have tons of help and support from so many people. And I love working with the kids. That's the best part about it all!!

Tony and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on the 12th of September. As part of his gift to me he totally cleaned the house in those two days we were in Utah without him---I mean, bathrooms, laundry, vacuuming, mopping, dusting--the whole gamut! It was super awesome to walk into the house after such a long drive to see everything so nice. Sadly, it lasted about a day...maybe two. But I guess that's just life when you have three young children. It didn't help that the kids and I came home with the "Utah Flu", as we call the sickness we return with every time we visit. It was really bizarre---started out with a bad cough from day 1. No other symptoms for a few days. The girls only had fevers for about a day. We had to double up on Ashleigh's nebulizer treatments, but overall, it wasn't too terrible. Just kept us down for about a week. I'm really glad it's gone. Then I had to play "catch up" with the house. Ugh. It never ends.
Lastly, and it's a pretty big step for us, the girls started PRESCHOOL!! We are only doing it twice a week for two hours, but I have a feeling that will be more than enough for them. :) We started a co-op with a few of the moms from church that have kids the same age as ours. All of them will be starting Kindergarten two years from now (because of late in the year birthdays). My kids make up half the class size! We will rotate homes weekly between the four of us. It's been really fun so far!
So many people have said "Oh that must have been so hard for you---x3!!" (regarding dropping the kids off at school for the first time.)
Should I feel badly that I can honestly say-----I thought the day would never come??! :)
HA! I'm serious! I love my children dearly, but MAN! I sooo need a little break. And they REALLY need the socialization with other children-- and just to be out of the house without mom. Not to mention the learning aspect, of course. My kids are smart, but they will be slightly behind other kids their age for a bit, just due to the fact I can't give any of them 100% of my attention. Everything at home is done in a group setting. Which isn't a bad thing, but they may be at a slight disadvantage never having that "one on one" time growing up. Every stage of their lives is experienced at the same time with someone else. Granted, they are their own best friends! And, don't get me wrong, there are many wonderful advantages to the situation too---always someone to encourage task completion and goal setting. Their own little team of 'cheerleaders'. It's fun. It really is. Here are some pictures of their first day of school:

Ashleigh Noelle
Jordyn Alessa
Avery Bella

In the car on the way there...Ash's change of hair and no Avery.
Sorry. Bad 'photography while driving' on my part. :)

Before they went in. (it was sunny) lol
Such big girls!! Time goes by so fast, but truly, I have felt every day of those 3.5 years! ;) But I wouldn't trade a moment of them for the world.

Well, now that I've thoroughly bored you (haha!) I think I'm done. :) Thanks for sticking with me on the long post.



Almost there....just gotta adjust the font colors, etc...

Man this is fun. And I'm being serious!


under construction

I forgot how to do a custom background. I keep coming up with ones that aren't wide enough.

More studying needed.

I wish I would just be able to remember what I've done in the past instead of trying to figure it out from scratch every time. grrrrz.


{Ariel Jr.}

Little Miss Ashleigh is obsessed with a certain Disney Princess-----ARIEL.

Everything she does, she does "Just like Ariel". I'm told this 100 times a day. "Look mom! Just like ARIEL does!" as she's "brushing" her hair or whatever else she can think of that "ariel does". Luckily, she hasn't tried using a fork yet...at least not that I've seen. Heaven forbid she tries. With that mop we call hair it'd FOR SURE get stuck and we'd have to shave her head to get it out. *crossing fingers* she doesn't try it.
We've watched The Little Mermaid 4 times just today and she has been wearing this green halter dress for three days straight. I know I'm the mom, and I can choose what they watch and blah blah blah.

So I'm an enabler. So what? :)

I have to admit, it's really cute. And I love the music in the movie, so we sing and dance along to the different scenes. Can I tell you how humorous it is to over-hear three 3 year olds trying to sing the famous "ahh-ahh-ahhhhh, ah ah ahhh -ahh ahhhhh" part? It sounds akin to three corpses who've come back to life. But it's really cute. And I think it's helping them hone their pitch and singing skills. I'm ALL for that!
So I walk out of the kitchen to sing my favorite part with them (when she rescues Eric from the shipwreck and she's out in the water, sitting on a rock singing about her longing to be "where the people are" and the dramatically timed wave bursts up behind her. You know what part I'm talkin' about!) and I see Ashleigh on her little green folding chair like this (note the TV screen in the background):

"Part of yourrrrr......WOOOOOORRRRRRRLLLLLLD!"
The chair is her "rock" and she dramatically throws her head back right on cue with the waves. HAAAAA! I had to run get my camera, it was just too funny. She is such a drama queen. And she is convinced that she lives in the castle that they show at the beginning of every Disney show. She is going to flip when we someday make it to Disneyland. In fact she may pass out with overwhelming emotions. {referencing her dramatic ways} :)
Personally, I think all Disney shows are too scary for kids. There is a part in all of them that the girls cry about it being "too scary" and they run and hide. I mean, have you seen Ursula? She's freaky. (Katy, I always think of Lucy when I just say 'Ursula'. That probably sounds terrible to people who don't know what I'm talking about, hahaha!!!)
Anyways, Disney=Drama. It drives me crazy. But I guess they have to make stuff that the adults enjoy too. Oh well. I will enjoy my children's innocence and princess-obsessions for as long as I can. Because I know, all too soon, that will be gone and replaced by other things.....I don't want to talk about it. I'm in denial that my girls will ever grow up to be teenagers.....


Goin' in the TRASH!

I wish my garbage bags were as glamorous as these:
....but then again, you are literally throwing your money in the trash.
(They are cute, none-the-less.)

Anyways, this post is not about cute garbage bags.

It's about reaching a breaking point.

This is what I deal with on a daily, or even hourly basis:

No, no. A tornado did NOT pass through here, despite the tipped over toys and chairs and miscellaneous items strewn about.
This is AFTER Jordyn put all the books and some of the toys away. Yes, this is after a good amount of cleaning.
On any given day, we will spend a good 30-40 minutes cleaning up their mess, only to have it destroyed again a couple hours later. I've tried explaining when they are done with one toy, to put it away before getting out another.
No. That would make too much sense, mom.
And instead of changing clothes 50 times a day, just get dressed ONCE, maybe TWICE if you get your clothes dirty.
And Ash, why don't you try to wear ONE layer of clothes instead of two tops, a tutu, leggings, legwarmers AND socks.....just to change again 7 minutes later. But I hate to stifle your individuality. Oh wait, YOU'RE THREE! Grr.
Can you tell I'm a little peeved?
Yesterday, I had had it with asking, begging, pleading and bribing my girls to clean up. So I said, "Fine. You don't clean them up? I will just throw them all away."
I proceeded to get a garbage bag and approached Avery, who was playing with a MagnaDoodle toy instead of cleaning, "Hand it over!"
She looks at me, sticks her bottom lip out, and in a pouty voice she says, "O-kay..."
She then starts picking up a few toys and putting them in the garbage bag.
I'm trying not to laugh, but I say to her, "Avery, you know that these toys are going in the garbage, right? You will NEVER see them again. They will be GONE Forever!"
She musters a sad, "mmhmm"
So I asked her, "Avery, why do you want to throw your toys away?"
Without skipping a beat she says,
"Cuz I don't want to clean them!"
I was dying. Then I decided that I was rewarding her by letting her throw her toys away. Now I'm back to square one and I'm still left with a messy playroom.
I need a large Mountain Dew. Or six.....


The Livin' Is Easy...

It's summertime!

Last night we went to a Sacramento Rivercats baseball game
(well, we made it to the 7th inning stretch) Cutie Pies!!

Today we played outside in the splash pool. Life doesn't get much better.

Here's a short clip showing our mad jumping-into-tiny-wading-pool skills. Or something like that.....




This picture will make much more sense in a minute. ;)

I was just tucking in the girls for naps and I told them that if they stayed in their beds and took looooong naps that they could have a cookie when they got up. (yes, bribery works sometimes. I prefer to call it incentive.) :)

Avery asked,

"Can you put a candle in it so we can blow it out?"

Thinking this was a little odd, I said,
"We don't put candles in cookies, sillies! We only blow out candles on our birthdays. That's what makes birthdays so special because we do special birthday things!"

And they all responded,
"And make wishes!!!!"

"Yes, wishes too!" I replied, with a slight chuckle.

Avery piped up, "I'd wish for a new doll!"

Ashleigh: "I wish for a new rainbow!"

"OK..." I said (restraining the laughter.)

Then Jordyn says, "I'd wish for a new sarr!!" {aka: car}.

She continued after pausing a moment to think,
"...a BLACK one wif yeyyow wheews!!" (with yellow wheels).

HAA-HAAAA! Good luck with that one, Jordy.

I don't know where they come up with these things. They are too funny.


In a rut...

Nothing to blog about. Sorry about the delay. Just haven't been in the mood, I guess. The blog and I have had another birthday. Woo! And we got the girls zoo and fairytale town passes so we have been enjoying the sunny days there. It's been kinda rainy the past little while, but things are supposed to be nice and sunny for a bit. Yay! Finally! I feel so badly for friends and family who have been having snow! In May, people! That stinks.

I want to update the look of the blog. I taught myself some basic HTML editing, and how to do my own backgrounds, but I have forgotten how already. So I will spend some time working on that. I need to switch it all up and maybe THEN I will be inspired. : /

In the meantime, here are a couple recent pictures of the girls taken a couple Sundays ago before church. Enjoy!

Avery channeling her inner Vanna:

Jordyn perfecting the cheesy grin and pose:Goofy Jordy.
Ashy blue eyes.
Typical Ashleigh pose:


So Precious

I was taking pictures for a new listing the other day and saw this little humming bird nest near the front door. I had to take a picture and post it because its darned close to the cutest thing ever. There is no frame of reference to show the size, but the entire nest itself is close to the size of a silver dollar (which, do they even make anymore?) and the two little eggs inside were like the size of two perfect, tiny, white jelly beans. Precious.


::For Gramps::

My beloved Grandpa, Howard Vincent Schow, passed away March 29th at 2PM.

He was the kindest, funniest and bestest "good doobie" in the world. I feel so blessed to have been able to have him so long in my life and to have been able to spend so much time just being around him. I have not enjoyed being so far away these past 7 years and miss being able to spend time with him, especially saddened that I wasn't able to really say goodbye and that my girls will not get to know their wonderful GreatGramps.

He served in the Navy during WWII and lived most of his life serving the Lord, alongside his wife and eternal companion.

My most favorite memories of Gramps are playing Pollyanna before bed and then waking up to waffles made from scratch (from the Tupperware bowl in the pantry) with real crumbed bacon that was mixed into the batter. In a word: HEAVENLY. (especially when topped off with any of Gram's homemade syrups---maple, strawberry, raspberry, boysenberry, and apricot. Stinkin' Yummy.) But sometimes is was 'cream o' wheat' and toast....I usually skipped that and ate cheerios instead. But cream o' wheat was so Grandpa, too. And I will always think of him when I see some.

Here are a couple of my most recent photos of Gramps with me and the girls. I wish they would have cooperated for them and the camera...oh well. :/
Sweet Gramps just smiled through it all. June '08
(the screaming, the tears the running away...)
At least Gramps and Avery got along this day...
I see such a connection between the two of them in this photo...I just wonder what they are "communicating" to each other. Precious. (the other two....not so much)
March '09. This may have been the last time I saw him.
Avery is hiding this time around.
The following picture is so special, I almost didn't want to share it,
but I am because it's the ultimate depiction of love;
And my Grammy and Gramps last....
I miss you so terribly Grandpa.
But I know I will see you again.


It's a beautful day in the neighborhood....

So my mom and I took the girls to the park. I played like a little kid (after I finished reading the Lands End catalog, of course. I didn't fall in love with anything...darn) It was fun. However, I fear I will be very sore in the morning....pictures of me doing the zipline not included....
(you see me wayyyyyy up at the top?? the girls got NOTHIN' on me....) :)

Avery. With her wild hair.

Ashleigh. Looking a bit uncomfortable....

Photos of the gorgeous Spring foliage. It's definitely sprung here.

Happy Spring, everyone! Now, go swing on some swings! It's sooo much fun!! :)


**happy birthday grandma!!**

My parents and brother are visiting from Idaho and the day they got here was my mom's birthday. The girls waited at the door with their signs for Grandma. This was the best photo I got.... :) (notice the one slipper on jordyn...yeah no explanation for that. she just wanted one. whatever.)

We've had so much fun already. More posts to come about what good times we have had together!