Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years 2008

As the new year quickly approaches I start to dread the question everyone seems to ask; "what is your New Year's resolution?" I don't know why but I hate New Year's resolutions. Maybe its becuase I have broken way to many to count in the past, or becuase it seems that people always pick these huge often unattainable things only to set themselves up for failure. And have you noticed how the media plays on this? The 24 fitness commercials are in full force and right behind them are the Weight Watchers people making new years promises. Crazy really. I mean why can't we resolve to make changes all year? Why is it that I need the clock to strike mid- night on the 31st of every year to get things done around the house or to write that letter or to get back on the tredmill or to eat better. hhmmmm............ok so here's the deal to boycott the resolution thing I started working out, eating better and organizing drawers 4 days ago! He,heeee.........ya' I know what your thinking, I need therapy right? Isn't that what Blogging is? Free therapy! Really I do have lots of hopes and dreams for the new year but mainly it comes down to living life to the fullest I possibly can and to embrace the things God has for me whether they be easy, hard or somewhere in between. In the midst of all that to be content and filled with Gods thirst quenching joy and then to pass that on and bless someone and be blessed would be icing on the cake. :) A safe and Happy New Year to you and yours!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Day 1 of our crazy busy week

The first day of our busy, busy week was Christmas eve. Dan had to work so the girls and I got up early and made the guys a big plate of cookies, grabbed their presents and headed to station 2 for a visit. Of course as we pulled in they were heading to Loma Linda hospital so the girls and I hung out and waited......and waited..............and waited...............until finally.................. yay, they made it back! We always stick the girls on the engine every Christmas so we can see how they have grown.
This isn't the best picture but we can at least say we were there. :)
The girls gave all the guys thier gifts and cookies and we spent a fun afternoon with Dan before heading home to get ready for our family and friends to come on Christmas day.
This is probably the calmest moment we had all week. We were soooo busy but it was all fun stuff. In between all the family, friends and activities I was trying my darndest to get over a really bad chest cold, that was accompanied by the worst larangitis, Ryanne caught it and Morgan is still trying to fight it off. Ugh! That's ok though we made it, enjoyed it and now we are enjoying a few days of rest with nothing to do but lay around in our new Pj's and ring in the new year.

Day 2

Day 2 of our busy week is Christmas morning. Below is a picture of how you know you are doing to many things at once. Seriously I am sooo thankful this child is as old as she is and not freaked out by water or the tub. Becuase I started her a bath, started breakfast, a load of laundry, wrapping up a last gift, putting stuff away, helping Morgan get dressed etc. In the meantime she jumped in and never bothered to call me when the tub started to overflow. Yup, they will call to tell me there is a piece of fuzz on the carpet, a fly on the wall, a commercial I have never seen, or that on them is giving the other dirty looks but to tell me water is flodding everywhere? No I guess not. She was leterally doing laps. ahh.....good times. Luckily Dan thought it was funny (because I was the one having to clean it up) and he grabbed the camera for proof that I get a wee bit distracted at times. :) Here is a shot of family & friends eating Christmas lunch at our house.
Grandpa Ron and the girls with the weapons he bought them. Just a side note; I was lecturing the girls about not pointing guns at anyones faces (even if they were nerf dart guns) and the next thing I know Dan shoots me in the back so being the responsible example adult I yup you guessed it shot him in the neck. Did I mention that Dan & I ran out and bought 2 more of these so we would be armed against our children? I know, not stable and yes therpay for the girls will be outragous!
Morgan makes me a book every year. This year was the best becuase it was called "Everything Christmas" and it was about everything that is important to her at Christmas. First page, a picture of Jesus being born. Ya' she scored major points once again. She also picked out the scarf for me that I am wearing. Dont laugh its like 28 degrees here when we leave for school in the winter.
Ryanne got a baby and stroller and was so excited. She didnt even ask who it was for, she just ran over and grabbed it and said,"this is for me huh mamma?" She loved it! You cant see in the picture but we ot Morgan this really nice swim bag with her name on it and filled it with swim stuff. New cap, goggles, race suit, flip flops, towel, etc. Very fun!

Day 3

On day three of our crazy busy week we went to San-Diego to do Christmas with Dan's brother, sister and thier spouses. Tyler and uncle Dan got some "guy" time together. Dan is laughing because he is flying Tyler through the air and Tyler is just looking at him like he is crazy. Aunt Kim, Tyler and Morgan got into the act of opening gifts. Morgan couldn't stand the anticipation of seeing what he got so she helped him out a bit. ;)
Tyler and I got in a few winks while the others set up a game for us to play. I love when babies lay on you and fall asleep................mmmmmm good!
Leave it to the aunts and uncles to buy things we have never heard of. That dog barked at us all the way home till' we figured out how to turn him off.....thanks guys! ;)
Morgan LOVES being the big cousin and loves on Tyler like no other. Ryanne was with us but feeling under the weather. When Dan tried to take her picture she shot this look that clearly put the fear in all of us and we never tried it again!

Day 4

For Christmas this year I decided to buy my grandma tickets to see the New York City Rockett's who were in Costa Mesa for the first time. To say the show was spectacular would be putting it mildly. They were AMAZING! They asked me to go on tour with them but sadly I am only 5' 5" and the cut off is 5' 6", sorry ladies. ;) We ate lunch at the elephant bar on the way down. Morgan and my mother in law Betty went with us.
Fun was had by all. Morgan didn't move through the entire thing. I think we all liked the living nativity at the end the best. It was very moving and made Jesus birth come to life. Morgan was most impressed by the fact that the animals behaved so well on stage. :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cousin's Christmas Party

Every year Dan's aunt, uncle, cousins, their kids (from his moms side) get together for what is known as the Harker-Popp cousins Christmas party. Or is it Popp-Harker? ;) Anyways, it was at our house this year and so with great excitement Dan & the girls and myself got the house all ready. We ordered our tamales, made some yummy side dishes, cleaned out our closets for the white elephant gift exchange & put on the Christmas music. We always have fun hanging out with everyone and Dan & decided last night watching all the kids grow up together is the best part. Morgan & Ryanne LOVE thier cousins!! Ryanne is smiling here but what she is really thinking is,"I LOVE COUSIN MIKE CAUSE HE"S LETTING ME EAT AS MUCH CANDY AS I WANT!" Thanks Mike!
Here are Nicole, Morgan & Malerie spending time together. I can remember when Morgan was a baby at this party and they would lug her everywhere. Now she just wants to hang out and play with the older kids. Cute. :)
Every year we line up the kids by height & take a picture so we can see them all grow. Tyler got to be in the front this year. Ryanne was very pleased to not by the shortest cousin. :) The twins are due in March so we cant wait to have them join the photo next year. Yay!!
In order we have Malerie,Nicole, Claire, Morgan, Ryanne & Tyler. (Nicole I think Claire is passing you up!) You might have to switch spots.
The adults do it every year but I dont think we are growing anymore. Now we just look back and can see how much older and tired we look! ugh.........maybe we should just let the kids do this. :) And yes as you can see the universe is somehow not right because Dan is all the way at the tall end and I am all the way at the short end..........HELLO!! The worst part is when we all start shrinking I am not even going to show up in the picture anymore! ;)
This year we took one with all the kids in front of thier parents. Suzanne is still hiding hers in her belly! Sadly missing but still loved and thought of were Andrew and Kate. Don't think you can avoid "the photo" for long guys! Also missing were Dan's mom Betty cause she was sick and Aunt Jerri & Uncle Andy were behind the camera taking all the pictures! Thanks guys for coming to our home and making this another great cousins party. We love you to pieces. Oh and by the way, whichever one of you hid your unwanted cheesy white elephant gifts in our bed and bathroom we will hunt you down and find you and they will be returned to the rightful owner. I hate to mention names "mike & vicki" Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Be still my heart

Morgan had her school performance last night and can I just say (even though I am bias) that she looked like a winter princees! I mean she took my breath away. Now please dont misunderstand me; Morgan loves to look like a girl but it didnt stop her from wrestling around with the boys and running and skipping up the chapel stairs in her fancy shoes! ;) That's my girl. Beautiful & tough on the outside but all heart on the inside. Matea & Morgan met in her the pre-k class and have been together ever since. Very cute!
Morgan, daddy & mommy haning' in the lobby before the music began.
Morgan's great auntie went as well as her great grandma who I realized after we had left I didn't get any photos of her with Morgan. Ooppss! Sorry grandma. She LOVED that you were there though.
This is Adam. We carpool with his family. You can totally see Morgan all giggely and girly while Adam is trying to move away like please end this nightmare. Dan picks on him constantly. He says that the dimples are too darn cute and he wants to keep him close so that Morgan doesn't ever get any ideas. ;)
This is Crystal, Ryanne, Emma & Sara. (Adam & Carson's sisters) this is what you do when you are waiting for an hour for the program to start. Why does Ryanne always look onry? ugh!
The kids program was amazing. The music teachers are so talented. I would close my eyes and forget that it was kids singing and playing becuase it was so professional sounding at times. It reminded me that kids have this whole season down. They are sooo excited and full of life. They are able to believe in miracles without being doubtful & they are happy to live each moment of each day. It really doesnt matter who got what gift or how much it cost. It doesnt matter if I have the exact right menu on the table for everyone for Christmas morning. If I don't bake that extra batch of cookies, buy that one last gift, go to that one last party or whatever it doesnt matter. It matters that I stop long enough to breath in my kids, enjoy my husband and be thankful that my God sent his son & that's why I am here and that's why I am celebrating. So Merry Christmas to you for all the "right" reasons.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Firefighters Christmas Party

We had our firefighters party this weekend which always turns out to be soooooo much fun. It was in the ball room at some hotel this year so we all got dressed up and tried to act like the mature adults that we are. ;) I know you cant really tell in the photo below but I have make-up on. Yes, for those that have known me forever it is near a miracle. I am a little ashamed to admit this but I went to a make up counter 2 weeks ago and asked the girl who by the way looked twelve which added to by embarassment to show me how to put make up on. I was a little concerned that when she was done strange men on the street were going to offer to pay me for favors so I washed it off as soon as I could. I did however by an eyeliner pencil and a couple other things that are supposed to do what I dont know and started practicing. The first couple tries; not so good but I got the hang of it a did wear make up to the party. Now today my face is all dry and "yuck" so I am going back to my theory that make up is WAY over rated. But for the record I did try. :) We picked up our friends along the way and a little history here is that Dan & Ralph go waaaayyyyyy back. Ralph is Dans old captain who helped him study and get ready for his test this time exactly last year. We have become friends the four of us and so when we get together we all tease Ralph that he is WAY to up tight! But take off the captain hat, give him a couple of beers and.....................................
Ya' really enough said!
We cant decide what is worse; the fact that Ralph is smooching on Dan or that Mindy is trying to pretend it's not really happening! :) Dan saw that I was posted this photo and wanted me to add a disclaimer. Dan in NO WAY condoned or enjoyed this in any way. He does not believe this is appropriate behavior on or off the job. ;)
I started to feel jelous and like all my efforts to wear make up and look grown up were all for nothing! You can take those guys out of the firestation & dress them up but you CANNOT make them behave! We had SO much fun. Thanks for the memories SB City!
If you want to see the video they showed of our guys hard at work for the year go to you tube and look up San Bernardino City Fire.

Friday, December 14, 2007

All Aboard

We pulled Morgan out of school this week and took the girls on a little surprise family vacation. We took them to the Grand Canyon and then for a ride on the Polar Express train to the "North Pole." It was amazing becuase we woke up Tuesday morning to a dusting of snow at our house and then hit snow on the way there. When we got there the high was like 35 degrees so it REALLY felt like Christmas when we boarded the train. The girls liked all the snow and the canyon although they were scared to death to stand to close for pictures. We had to bribe them to pose long enough for Dan to take a picture. As you can see Ryanne is making a break for it here.
Poor Dan, I should have mentioned that he was about to get hit with a snowball in the back of the head but then I would have missed my shot! ;)
The girls were surprised when we got to the lodge and we had new PJ's all wrapped up for them. They had so much fun and the old train was awsome! Hot chocolate, cookies, a long ride out to the North pole, sining Christmas songs, and just being together.........yup' felt just like Christmas should.
Santa had to move fast so he could get to all the kids but when Ryanne looked up at him with those big blue eyes and said,"Merry Christmas Santa" he just couldn't help but stop for a second longer. :)
Morgan is sitting here watching for the North Pole. I love this picture because you can see her reflexion in the window. Sooooo cute! It was so cold when we got done that all the windows were iced over and their was ice hanging from the train. I tried to get the elf to carry me to my room becuase I was freezing but no go! ;)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tis' The Season

Tis' the season for really busy fun weekends! I LOVE IT! Thursday I got an unexpected treat when a friend who lives up North in Hanford e-mailed and said she was going to be down here and wanted to get together. It was such a treat to get to spend a few hours together, go to lunch and just see the kids hang out together.(Morgan was in school and not pleased when she found out her friends were in town and she missed them) :( Here are Ryanne and Mason hammin' it up for us. They were very cute together.
Aren't old friends the best? I mean they know all the yuck about you, have been through a good part of your yuck, you have endured their yuck and yet when God is present its a blessing rooted far into the depths of your heart regardless of how far apart you live. Though we had a blast hanging out at our hosue and going to lunch 3 hours wasn't nearly enough. The Kane family have been part of our lives for well over 10 years. And we plan on driving them crazy for at least 50 more! :)
After Morgan got out of school Friday we headed next door to my dear friends house who hosted a gingerbread making party for a group of the kids who have all grown up together. It was SOOOO much fun and the kids were in heaven! Thank you Marianne, you brave soul!
Ok, so then Saturday night we bundled the girls up in the rain and headed out to the Mission Inn for our annual dinner and Cinderella carriage ride. It was great and the girls loved their horse "Daisy" This is one of my favorite traditions we have with the girs each year. We sat outside at dinner under this huge umbrella eating while it rained and I kept thinking,"oh ya' we will remember this for a long time!"
Tired yet? Last but not least Sunday night was adult night. We had a semi-formal Christmas dinner at the golf course with our church family. We met up and rode with our friends James and Andrea. The speaker was amazing as he talked about how marriage is so diffecult and like Christmas you will go through seasons. You will go through so many different seasons changing all the time. He said one season you might really not like each other and be just getting by, then you will be empty nesters then another you are having babies or changing careers. But the only constant that has to remain is the promise to stay put through each season and be faithful. LOVED IT! Be blessed this Chirstmas and remember why you are here and why you are celebrating. I was lucky enough this weekend to be able to look around and see how blessed I am by the people who love me and have been faithful in my life as I go through so many different changes and "seasons."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas Photos

A friend of ours was nice enough to take some pictures for us for our Christmas cards this year. If you know our family very well you know we are not the "sit on a stool and pose all perfect" kind of family. For some reason we always look ridiculous when we try and do that. Plus my kids act like little monsters whenever we have tried to go to a "traditional" studio. So this year I had the idea of our friend who does it from home taking our pictures. I suggested we just be ourselves which for me and the girls involves jeans and NO shoes! :) Dan not so much but he was a good sport and took his shoes off. We just hung out and the girls got to be themselves; when Ryanne decided she was done playing nice we just bribed her with candy...what don't act like you dont bribe your kids!! :) So here are just a few of the photos that I already have blown up and am going to hang in the hallway.