Thursday, November 29, 2007

Google Earth

I have a new toy I have been using to see how far my runs are.  My friend told me about using Google Earth to measure how far the runs are.  You can enter any starting point in the world and it will show you a satellite picture of that area.  From there you can create your own route and it will tell you how far you have gone.  Even if you don't use it for running, it gives you a great view of your area and you could find all kinds of paths to walk or bike on.  I'm having fun seeing the different ways I can go to make it more interesting.  That same friend also told me about a site called map my run, where you can go and find what other people have done.  I looked today and found 45 different runs that I could try around Santa Clarita, ranging from .22 miles to 18 miles.  Go check it out, it's good for finding hikes or bike rides too.
On another note, I finally tried Garrett's IPod mini today when I went out running.  A few months back he offered to buy me one to use while I work out.  I turned it down because 1.) I typically do like the time to think, 2.) I also like to watch T.V. on the treadmill, and 3.) When I go to the gym I do a class, so I figured I really didn't need one.  Well, the treadmill has been getting boring so I've been trying to go out more.  Now that I am running further than before I am running out of things to think about too.  So, I used Garrett's today and I have to admit that I actually liked having the music playing.  I found that I could still think (imagine that) and I didn't have to listen to my feet pounding the pavement and my breathing becoming ever so much heavier along the way!  Maybe Santa will be bringing me my own this year. ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Garrett's IPod is for sale

Hey guys if anyone wants an 80 GB Video IPod  that works perfectly and is in great shape......
check out Garrett's link on ebay right here

The Nutcracker

Last year, in Kindergarten, Kevin's teacher told them all about The Nutcracker and they even watched some of it in class.  Kevin loved learning about it and was very excited when he got his own nutcracker for Christmas.  I wanted to take him to see it last year but never got around to it.  So, this year I bought the tickets for just he and I..... it's a date!  I also bought Kevin and Zach their own wooden nutcrackers to paint.  The boys had fun painting them a few nights ago.  Kevin brought his to school today to show his teachers.  I can't wait to see what he thinks of the play!

Kevin's finished product.  He said, "I bet no one will believe that I painted this because I did such a good job."
Zach's finished product.  I bet no one will believe he painted it either!
* As a side note, if you have noticed that Kevin is shirtless in a lot of the pictures it really not because he doesn't have any's just that he prefers not to wear them.  Typically by the end of the evening he is running around at least shirtless.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Disney Pictures

Yeah!   The picture uploader thing is finally working again.  Here are more pictures from Sunday!
We tried to get a picture for our Christmas card, but this one just didn't cut it....
The boys with the Christmas parade in the background.
Zach enjoying Thunder Mountain.
The magical castle at night.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Very Mickey Christmas

Yes, we went again.  We spent most of the day at "The Happiest Place on Earth" yesterday.  It started out the grumpiest place on earth (the joys of parenting), but we managed to work through it.  Everything is all decorated for Christmas and looked so pretty, especially at night with all the lights on.  Garrett was literally mesmerized by the lights on the castle.  I started walking away and he said, "Just one more minute", he's got such a "child-like" heart!  We tried to do things that we haven't done before, so we went to see the Aladdin show.  Zach had seen it before with Garrett, but Kevin and I hadn't.  It was really well done!  We also went to Rudolph's Roundup where the boys got to color and have some candy canes.  At the end of the night Zach was upset because he didn't get to go on Space Mountain.  Although he's tall enough for it, I just don't know if he's ready for it.  He would probably love it though.  He always says that his favorite rides are, "all the fast rides".  We went on Thunder Mountain and he had a huge smile and was laughing the entire time.  We will most likely go again during the Christmas season and then that's least for a month!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Uncluttering Christmas

I was listening to Oprah and Friends on my XM radio in the car the other day.  They have a man on there named Peter Walsh and he's the organization/clutter guy.  So, getting ready for Christmas they had a section about uncluttering this Christmas.  I really could go for that, but the boys I think may not be ready for this.  Basically he was talking about not buying all the toys and gifts that just fill up the house and aren't memorable.  Doing things with the kids, like baking cookies, or going to see lights will be much more memorable over the years.  BUT, as I say this, I know how exciting it is to see the presents under the tree.  The boys have already picked out the things they want from the Toys R Us catalog (which is everything they see) and the truth is I want to get the boys toys and fun things.
How do we minimize the clutter though?  Hmmmm, maybe next year! :)

Zach's first Christmas....2004

Kevin's first Christmas....2001
If only they could stay babies and be happy with a sippy cup in their stocking!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Step Into The Matrix

The boys have a new game they like to play.  One is Agent Smith and the other is Neo from the Matrix.  No, they have not seen the whole movie, but Garrett showed them the parts that he thought they would like.....and they did.  They like to pretend to fight in slow motion and then speed up to real time.  Yesterday we went to the park and Garrett and Kevin played the Matrix there.  After Kevin wore his Daddy out then he moved on to Zach.  Too bad it was a bone chilling 65 degrees at the park so we couldn't stay long!  It took us until 2:00 to finally get out the door yesterday.  We could easily get used to hanging out all day with no school or work!
On another note, I got to go out to my late night scrapbooking last night.  I met a friend and we stayed from 5 pm to about 11:30.  That's late for me.  I was able to do about 6 pages, but it's been so long since I've printed pictures out that I didn't have a good selection of pictures to choose from.  It's always nice to get out though.  Garrett said he and the boys had a fun boys night too, filled with In-n-Out and dancing!  
Today is another day where we are still in our p.j.s.  I think I will head out for a run though soon.  Maybe go for another long one......gotta start doing more long runs to work my way up.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wishing you all the very best Thanksgiving!  We are going down to San Juan Capistrano to celebrate with the Jacobs.  I was talking with Kevin about what Thanksgiving day is all about, how we take the day to think about all the things for thankful for.  He quickly came up with about 12 things off the top of his head.  I wish it was that easy for me to just list off all the things I'm thankful for.  I overthink it all the time instead of just realizing that there are SO MANY things to be thankful for....... this morning here are a few things I am thankful for:

I tried to make a slideshow, without Garrett's help, and I messed it up.....I'll keep working on it.  
In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Imagination At Work

The boys are out of school all week.  We are staying in town all week, with the exception of Thanksgiving day when we are going to Garrett's mom's house.  Yesterday our plan was to do some errands and go to the park.  The boys had a different idea, and since they were playing so nicely together I decided to forget about our plans and just stay around the house.  I also decided to finally get the shower drain fixed that has been not draining for weeks, maybe even months, even after my continual attempts to fix it with Draino.  I have even stopped taking showers in it because it's so disgusting.  I've just moved my things into the boys bathroom.  So, I figured it was about time.  The plumber came out and fixed  it quick and charged us nicely for it!  And, by the way, the plumber said that it wasn't all clogged with my hair as Garrett likes to blame me for!  If only my fix-it mom had been here to fix it like when we were in Bakersfield.  Oh well, at least I can move back into our bathroom.....well, after I clean it because it still is grossing me out. 

The clothes castle.  The boys took apart Zach's bed and threw his dirty clothes all over the mattress to make their wonderful castle.  They were gently reminded that they would need to clean it all up when they were done!
A kids work is play!
King of the castle, complete with homemade crown, sword, and shield.
Today we had a nice long time at the park, since we didn't go yesterday.  Afterwards we went out for frozen yogurt to ruin our dinner.  It's fun to do sometimes!  I think I even got a little sun on my face because it was so nice out.  (I can hear my mom now reminding me that I still need sunscreen even if it's not summer.)  We also had a meeting for the MOMS club at our house.  The boys love when people come over to play.  All the kids played nicely in the play area while the moms talked about plans for January.  Good thing we didn't take the play area apart yet!
Tomorrow is a work day.  I'm only working one day this week.  I tried to get my Friday clients to come in tomorrow, but I think most of them wanted a day off too. Garrett will have the joy of playing with the kids all morning while I'm at work. Sometimes it's nice to get to go play with other people's kids for the morning!

Monday, November 19, 2007


Kevin's AWANA leader calls each week to check in and say hi to Kevin.  Last week she mentioned to me that Kevin isn't participating in any of the games at game time.  She also told me that he doesn't want to try and say his verses until he knows for sure that he can say the whole thing with no mistakes.  This didn't surprise me.  He doesn't like to do freeze dance at an after school program he's in either.  He doesn't like to play the boardgames we have either.......UNLESS he knows he can win.  Since there's no guarantee that he will win any of these things he'd rather sit out and not take that chance.  At cub scouts the other night we had a melt down because they did turkey bowling.  A fun activity where the boys got to try and knock over pins with frozen turkeys or maybe they were game hens.  Anyway, Kevin didn't knock any over after 3 tries.  I saw his whole demeanor change.  He wanted to go home, NOW.  Do I dare say he's a perfectionist?  So, as I hear all these things I start to think about where he gets this from.  Garrett and I always try to encourage him to just have fun.  That winning and losing doesn't matter.  He's done pretty well in T-Ball, but he's not at the point where they are keeping score yet.  
As I was running yesterday I started thinking about how I prefer to run by myself.  Everyone says that it's easier with a partner and while I do agree that it would probably be more fun I just haven't made an effort to ask anyone.   Do you know what's keeping me from finding a partner?  Hmmm do I dare say I'm a perfectionist?  I don't want to run with someone until I feel like I am ready because then that would mean someone would have to see me needing to slow down and walk, or being too out of breath to talk to them.  I started thinking that maybe Kevin has perhaps got the perfectionism gene passed on to him.
So where do we go from here?  I know what my deal is, but how do help Kevin work through his issues? (ok, ok, I know I need to work through mine too)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Coo Coo

This morning I set the alarm for 6:30.  When it went off it looked too dark outside to go running, so I just turned it off and went back to sleep (good discipline, I know).  Then, at 7:20 Zach comes in and I think, "wow, he slept in this morning".  I let him crawl over me into our bed and  I get up and change to now go running.  I head out, thinking I need to get back in an hour because Garrett's Dad is coming over.  I go, I have a good run, I look at one clock quickly to see how long I was gone and I think, "Perfect, I made it back just in time".  Then I get a drink and look at the microwave says 7:30.  I look at the oven clock, same thing.  I come upstairs to the computer.....same thing!  Turns out my alarm clock was wrong and I now have a whole extra hour to add to my day!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Paula!

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday.  We are headed down south to enjoy a lunch with the family.  You can all check out the slideshow that Garrett made for her (NO PEEKING YET PAULA!)  Hope you have a great day!  

Friday, November 16, 2007

Help Save Lives

I received an e-mail from our MOMS club that was passed on from the San Pedro MOMS club.  A little girl from that club has recently been diagnosed with Leukemia and they are encouraging everyone that can to participate in a bone marrow registry drive.  They are having one in Torrance on Dec. 14 and another in San Pedro in January.  I just checked online and you can find out when there will be one in your area if you are at all interested.  I found out they are having one in Santa Clarita in February and if I can't make it to the others mentioned I am definitely going in February.  It's an easy cheek swab and costs $25 to then be on the registry.  Even if I can't help this little girl, it opens the possibility of helping someone else in the future.  I didn't even know a registry like this existed!

Let's Get Cooking

Everyone seems to be talking about the new book "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld.  Denise, Garrett's step-mom, ordered it for me for my birthday and it just arrived yesterday.  I hadn't even heard of it when she told me she ordered it, but now it's all I have been hearing about.  The idea of it, for those of you that haven't heard yet, is showing ways to sneak in vegetables or fruits into kids foods in order to get them to eat healthier.  Of course, it would be better if we didn't have to sneak, but let's face it....especially with my kids, if they know there are vegetables in there they won't go near it.  I made some pasta with alfredo sauce the other day with broccoli in it.  I scooped out some for the kids but Kevin saw the little bits of broccoli in there and then it was considered "ruined".  Anyway, I am going to try some of the recipes.  I have to go shopping first though.  Her way of adding vegetables in is to puree a variety of items and keep them on hand to add into recipes.  It will be like I'm preparing the homemade baby food again.  I'll let you know when I make the first meal or maybe I'll start with dessert and see how it goes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He Makes Me Laugh

Zach was watching Yo Gabba Gabba while I was trying to get the floor clean.  I just had to post this while I was thinking of it.  This little boy makes me laugh, and I especially love it when Kevin imitates his dance too.

Always Someone To Compare To

I've been working my way through this whole running thing.  I am trying to get my legs to go faster and not have my heart burst out of my chest.  I do see improvement though. I was typically running on the treadmill at a comfortable speed of 4.0 to 4.5 miles an hours.  I was thinking at that rate it would take me about 6 hours to run a marathon and that is just toooooo long to run!  So I have now worked my way up to a comfortable 5.5 miles an hour and throwing in 6.0 sometimes too.  I was feeling good about this as I was at the gym the other day.  I got on the treadmill next to this big guy who looked as if he were jogging.  As I get started I look over to see how fast he's going and his monitor says 6.5.  "Oh well", I think, "he's a big guy".  Then this tall girl comes on the other side of me and she starts out at 8.5 and works her way up to 10 mph!  How can I compare to that, I would go flying off the treadmill.  So, I just need to remind myself that I can only do what my legs will let me and feel good about my own improvements.  
Meanwhile, I am having a hard time finding a good time to run.  Now it gets dark so early that it cuts into my outside time.  I have been encouraging Zach to ride his bike so that when he gets better at it I can have him ride and jog along side of him.  Two weeks ago he was barely getting the hang of peddling his two-wheel bike with training wheels.  He kept pushing back and slamming on the brakes after one pedal.  Now he's got it down but still likes to stop a lot along the way.  What can I expect from a 3-year-old?  I love that he likes being outside though because that is where I would rather be during the day.  Especially since it's up in the 80's again this week, maybe even hotter!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Cody!

My nephew is turning 16 today!  I can't believe that he's already that old!!  He's a really great kid, doing very well in school.  Again, I haven't got to see him grow up as much as I would have like because of living far away, but every time I see him he is the sweetest "little boy" around and always great with the boys.  Here's a picture from last Christmas when he and Garrett spent most of the time playing the Wii.  See what I mean about being great with "the boys"!  Anyway, hope this birthday is all you imagine it to be, Cody.  We love you!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Tired

Most days go by with me doing a few things.  We don't typically sit around the house all day, but I also try not to keep the day jam packed with activities.  Today though, it seemed like we packed it all in, even though it was technically a holiday.  Kevin had the day off of school, but Zach didn't.  I could have easily kept Zach home too, but I figured the boys had enough of each other over the weekend so I would give them, and me a little break.  I promised Kevin that we could work on my new Disneyland scrapbook that I got for my birthday.  He has been asking me constantly when we could, so I figured with Zach at school it would be a good time.  Then, on top of that, Kevin has been wanting to create his own ride like at Disneyland.  I've been putting it off because that's a creative side of him that I just don't have.  But today I  decided to let him at it.  He did what he could with a little help from me.  He really wanted to do more, but I was at my limit.  Now, let's add to that the fact that Garrett's wisdom teeth procedure is not healing quite as quickly as hoped.  He went into the doctor's office this morning, and while they don't think it's a dry socket, they gave him some stuff to help with the continuing pain.  Continuing pain means me trying to still keep the boys semi-quiet and out of his hair.  Plus, Dodger started drooling like mad the past few nights, so in between building a ride and doing the scrapbook Kevin and I took Dodger to the vet; something we haven't done since moving here.  Turns out the doc didn't know why she'd be drooling so much, but she did have an ear infection.  So, $140 later we got to bring her back home, still not knowing about the drooling but not willing to pay more for blood tests.  I think she's feeling sympathy pains for Garrett.
Ok, what else did we do today that made me so tired......of course instead of sleeping I am typing this, but oh well.  To once again keep the boys out of Gar's hair I took them outside to wash the car.  I always start out thinking this is a good activity for them but it always turns out to be a recipe for a couple of wet boys.  Today actually wasn't too bad and they did help with the cars a little.

So, throw in a few more activities throughout the day, plus dinner, and bath, and teeth, and stories,  the boys are asleep....and now I think it's time for some ice cream. :)  

The Transformers Ride, new at the Riley house!

After "helping" wash the car.
See the nice "clean" rag Kevin uses to help wash.

My favorite ever picture of Kevin helping wash the car in 2003!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Snow Day

Yesterday the Valencia Town Center (our mall) had a snow day.  The had made some snow and put it around in several areas outside of the mall.  They had a sledding area and all kinds of crafts for the kids.  The boys had fun for awhile.  Then Zach got "stirsty" (his way of saying thirsty).  Once this happens there is nothing else that can distract him from being "so stirsty".  We found a drinking fountain and that helped for a little bit, at least long enough to see THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF SANTA.  Can you believe that Santa now comes so early?  I'm sure that it's this way everywhere now, but I just think it's a little silly.  We barely get past Halloween and everything is already Christmas! Anyway, this was as much "snow" that we can probably expect here in Southern California around Christmas time. (although, now that I write this I'm remembering that we did actually get some real snow here last year....but it doesn't happen often.)

I remember the first time I came down to visit Garrett during the Christmas holidays while we were still dating.  I was amazed to see people still walking around in shorts and even going to the beach.  Not that I grew up where it snowed, but at least around Christmas it was cold and we would sit around a fire.  Lots of times we would travel to my grandparents house in Oregon and we did get quite a few white Christmases.  

Luckily/thankfully, we now have a place to go to get our fill of the snow when we want it.  A few years ago the Rileys bought a place in Mammoth so several time throughout the year we go and play in the snow, ski, and enjoy the real winter feelings.  This year I really want Kevin to get out on skis but I think I have scared him by telling him I was scared going down the mountain.  Hopefully he will look past that this year.  I really like it when we get to take walks while it's snowing and everything is so quiet and peaceful.  Opening day for the ski season there was on November 7th.  I'm not sure when we will get up there, but I am looking forward to a real snow day!
Mammoth, February 2007
2003: Let it snow, let is snow, let it snow!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What Did We Do Before Television?

I don't usually let the boys watch a ton of T.V.  I know all the studies and how it's not really great for anybody.  BUT, today I was thankful to have the T.V.  As Garrett was recovering from his pulled wisdom teeth, I was trying to keep Zach quietly entertained, but still be in the house so I could hear if Garrett was calling me.  So, he watched Peter Pan.  It's amazing how kids can be bouncing off the walls and then the T.V. comes on and all of a sudden they are frozen in time, sitting still, not even blinking.  They can block out all other sounds and distractions and just focus on what is on the T.V.  I used it again this evening when I had to go out and get some things for Garrett.  I took Zach with me but allowed Kevin to stay downstairs  just watching T.V. while daddy rested upstairs...... the T.V. turned into a part-time babysitter I hate to say it.  We do what we have to do in order to get things done, but just what did people do before television?

This one was take a while ago, but see how they just look past the lady standing in front of them to see that wonderful thing called the T.V.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Kevin loves puzzles.  He is pretty good at them too.  When we went to Lake Winnepasaki this summer we worked on a 500 piece puzzle and he did most of it.  Now, since he's done all of our puzzles in our house, he has created his own new puzzles.  He does one upside down and then draws a picture on the back, then he has a brand new one to work on.  Very creative, and it's like recycling!  Here are some of his latest creations.
Peter Pan
Meet the Robinson's/Transformers
Tomorrow I will be busy being nurse to Garrett who gets two wisdom teeth pulled in the morning.  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Bowl Full of Cherries

Yesterday I kept Zach home from preschool because of his incident in the middle of the night.  Kevin then wanted to be sick too so he could stay home but I took him to school anyway.  Zach, at home, was anything but sick.  He played all day long without stopping and wanted me to be his playmate all day long.  I felt like I shouldn't take him on errands because I kept him home from school, so we just stayed around the house.  I was trying to get things done in between playing with him.  It's interesting because a while back my grandma was comenting about how she never played with her kids.  In her day the kids played on their own, or more than likely they were busy helping do work around the house.  Now, both of my boys have me as their number one playmate.  It does help that Kevin and Zach can now play with eachother, but even so they often would rather have me come join them.

I often complain to Garrett about how the house is always a mess and I just can't seem to keep it clean.  I know that I would rather spend my time doing things other than cleaning the house, and so I usually do.  It's more fun to take the boys to the park or play a game.  But then, how is my house going to get clean?  I know some people stay up late, after putting the kids to bed to clean up the house.  I'm done at the end of the day and I don't stay up late, especially to clean.  So I guess I just need to figure out a way to balance the work and the play.  I did get out the chore chart this morning and am hoping the we will actually stick to it this time.  Maybe I need to add Garrett's and my name to the chart and reward myself for getting my chores done!
Anyway, here's what Zach spent his "sick" day doing......

Picking  our cherry tomatoes that I didn't even know were ripe.  
I don't spend a lot of time in the back yard but since we 
were staying home yesterday we did some clean up back there.

Our "bowl full of cherries"......Cherry tomatoes that is!
Playing in the sandbox.

Cleaning up the pool toys to put away for the winter.
Everyone needs a sick day once in awhile, right?