Friday, August 20, 2010

Farewell Summer

Summer is almost over-sigh. I will miss the lazy days, the lingering in bed until we want to get moving instead of having to rush out the door, the fun daily activities, the summer reading program, the late bedtimes, and so much more. I admit, I won't miss the constant and incessant fighting between Jack and Dallen.

Probably my favorite thing we did all summer were the three days that we drove down to Cousin Laura's pool and went swimming and then out to lunch. The boys got Wienerschnitzel, me and Laura got amazing pizza or Chipotle. And then we had a picnic. After swimming the boys like to lay out on the concrete to warm up. I used to do that as a kid. And I admit, I still sometimes join the boys in it. (Nathan is being a lizard in this picture, that is why his tongue is out.)

We also did beach days every Friday. I finally braved the beach with my camera one day when my car was parked close enough that I could take the camera right back to the car after I took some pictures:

Laura came only twice-the punk! She was out of town most the summer!
Nathan was digging a really deep hole-hence the strange pose.

My pictures of Jack didn't come out good. :(

Other highlights included swimming lessons (two sessions-wish we could have done more), BBQ/pool parties with the Soelbergs, park days, splash park, and Mt. Soledad. And everything. It was a nice summer and I bid it a wistful and fond farewell. The good thing about life though, is that there is always something exciting to look forward to. Now we move towards Fall and Halloween and then the holidays!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hello Goodbye

Having friends is a wonderful thing. Making friends and then not getting to live close to them anymore is a sad thing.

In Madison we were attached at the hip to the Dickmans-basically spent every single day together and since our families match up perfectly (2 boys each back then, 3 boys each now), it worked great. When we both moved away from Madison two summers ago it was pretty devastating to me. The good news though is that they moved to Northern CA and we moved to Southern CA, so we get to see each other once in a while. And when we do it's like we never separated-so much fun! The kids pick up right where they left off and I feel like I just can't stop talking to Nanci.

One lucky weekend at the end of July, the Dickmans came to town (isn't it convenient that their family has a reunion in San Diego every year?) We spent all day Saturday with them doing some San Diego things like the Mormon Battalion and Mt. Soledad and then we went to the beach with them on Monday. It was a dream come true. Sad that it was short, but it was so much fun while it lasted. Check out this roundup of kids and moms:And because I never have pictures of myself with my friends, I finally got one with Nanci. (I think this is the first and only picture I have of the two of us together):

In the same weekend that we were saying hello and goodbye to the Dickmans, we were also saying a sad farewall, or hopefully see you later, to the Soelbergs.

One summer, two months is all we got with these guys but oh what fun we had. I think the highlight of it all for me was the day at the beach (every Friday we went to the beach) that Sara and I boogie boarded. What a wonderful life it is when you get to boogie board with a good friend while your kids play on the beach with your other friends. It was great. Nathan, Jack and especially Dallen can't stop talking about LibbyJenna and Sara and Joe. In fact, this morning Dallen told me that I am Sara, he is Libby and Daddy is Joe. Honestly I don't think he even knows they are gone. What a wonderful family. Now, check out this brood of moms and kids:

And, because, like I said, I never get pictures of me and my friends, I made sure to get one with Sara:
Friends are a good thing. I am glad for good friends. Justin agrees:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Balancing Act

I was a cruddy mom today. Cruddy with a capital C. Don't try to tell me differently, don't try to soothe me-my kids could tell you the truth, but I'd rather they didn't.

I wish that there was some way to erase those mistakes. There is only one that I know of-and thank goodness for it-but I wish that I could erase it from my kid's minds too.

I wish that there was some sort of balance-if the good you do during a day outweighs the bad, then you win! Cause I did good today-we rode bikes to PQ donuts, we read Ramona, we had a pizza/cupcake/movie slumber party in the living room tonight, we went to the library... ah, but the library is where things turned sour. Two year olds will be my downfall-I am sure of it.

Anyway, I hate that feeling at the end of the day that I messed up and I can't change that. So tomorrow I recommit to live as "if the Savior stood beside me". I am declaring this to the world so that I will do it. I just hope Dallen makes it easy on me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

America's Dairyland

I remember the first time I visited Wisconsin. Josh and I were going to visit his parents shortly after we were married and as we flew in, I looked down from the airplane and saw rolling green hills and large cornfields dotted with large red barns. It was just like the commercials and movies always showed-America's Dairyland, America's Heartland. Wisconsin.

Several years later when the Lord made it perfectly clear that Madison was the place for us to attend Grad School we were a little skeptical. Neither of us was sure that we wanted to live in Wisconsin-San Diego or Boston sounded WAY more enticing. But off to Madison we went.

Wallace Stegner (one of my favorite authors) spent 9 months living in Madison and has this to say of it: (in my favorite book, Crossing to Safety)

"Back in Cambridge some people felt sorry for us, going out to Wisconsin, as if it were Siberia. They just don't know. They don't know how warm and friendly and open and eager it is. And bright."

After living there for 5 years I feel the exact same way.

And now we have been gone from WI for 2 full years. And last week we went back to dear old Wisconsin to visit. We spent the week at Josh's parents' house and one day in Madison. We talked a lot while we were there about what we missed about it, what we didn't miss and how different the culture there is from California.

And here are our conclusions:

Things We Miss:

1. Friends. So very many friends.

Nathan and cutie BrookeSweet and wonderful Paulette and Chris. I also miss Chris giving big bear hugs and calling out whoever got to say the closing prayer after Sunday School.
Erika, Shannon and Jen
Maggie and her little cutie Jessie
And Victoria, er, I mean Valerie. :)
Side note-this list most certainly in not inclusive of all of our friends, and we didn't get to see nearly enough of them, this is just a sampling. Don't feel offended if you aren't on it. :)

2. Getting spoiled by Grammy Pammy and Grandpa
3. Summer afternoon thunderstorms. (Unfortunately all we got while we were there were middle of the night wake the kids up thunderstorms, but hey, at least it was something. I haven't heard thunder in years)

4. The gorgeous, lush green-ness of summertime.

5. Red barns and cornfields.

6. Babcock ice cream.

7. The friendly, we're all in this together kind of feeling.

8. Biking on nice flat roads. I went on bike rides almost every day and I realized how much I miss it. It is hard to bike where we are in San Diego because of hills and our location.

9. The accent. :) Oh how I love to here someone speak in a Wisconsin accent. Josh does a nice imitation if you need to know what it sounds like.

10. The Bratfest. And for those of you not from WI that is Brat not as in a spoiled kid but Brat as in the weeny that you eat on a bun. Hundreds of thousands of Brats in one weekend. (And hot dogs for those of us who couldn't quite handle a brat.)

Things We Don't Miss:

1. Humidity

2. Heat

3. Snow

4. Cold

5. Wind

6. Bugs

7. Snow

8. January

9. February

10. March

As you can see, we mostly don't miss the weather. Weighing those things we miss and things we don't, I asked Josh if he would move back. His was a resounding yes. Mine, I'm not so sure. I guess that shows how powerful of an influence weather has on me. Bad Amber. I am supposed to declare independence from the weather. :) But I would rather just have my friends move here or something. Really though, we love Wisconsin and had a wonderful trip (thanks in BIG part to Josh's wonderful parents-thanks Pam and Tracy!!!)

ps-The things we miss about WI in no way diminishes our love for CA. There are things we love and things we don't about CA too, but let me just say that I think we currently live in paradise and I am happy to stay here for a loooong time. The beach, palm trees, sunshine, millions of fun things to do. Love it.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I took Jack out on a mommy date tonight to get his school supplies for Kindergarten and to get a Blizzard at DQ. While we were chatting about his upcoming school adventures I mentioned that I hope his teacher will let me come volunteer in his class sometimes.

"Would you like that?" I asked.

His reply-"ya, but I hope you don't fart and all of the kids point at you and laugh."

You and me both Jack, you and me both.