Monday, August 31, 2009

A Walking Machine

Avery is a walking machine now and usually doesn't even have to keep her hands raised anymore for balance.  But she still prefers to walk with things in her hands.  Usually both hands and sometimes arms are filled to capacity, and often the mouth is full as well.
She loves to bring us things, one by one, and say "thank you" as she gives it to us (I remember Sophie doing that as well) and then go back for another thing.  What a funny little girl.  She's truly so much fun and happy all the time.  I often get asked by people what happy pills I feed her because she always has a smile on her face.  It brightens up our home so much and we sure love this girl!
We love this girl, too, even when she's being silly.  Because of course, whenever we laugh at or praise something Avery's doing, Sophie has to show us that she can do it, too.  When Avery was learning to crawl, Sophie would get down and crawl and say "See how I can crawl?!" so that we'd praise her as well.  Same thing with walking.  It's not like we don't give her praise of her own, because believe me, we do plenty!  I guess it's just a normal older child thing.  So when we were taking pictures of Avery, Sophie had to go get blocks and copy her sister.  What a crazy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fun in the California Sun

My family came to town so we partied hardy for a week with them.  We love when family comes to visit!
 We went to Sea World in San Diego one of the first days.  I think the general consensus was that the best show of the day was Shamu Rocks, the night version of the Shamu show.  We loved it!  I highly recommend it if you're ever at Sea World.

Our other favorite show was the Seal and Otter show at night.  The day show has been changed and is pretty funny, spoofing all the reality shows that are on tv right now, but the night show is hilarious.  They spoof other Sea World shows.  We were rolling in the aisle, and the girls loved watching the seals, walrus, and little otter perform.

Avery sure loves her Grandpa Lamb, and so do I!

Waiting for the Dolphin show to begin.  Sophie was glad they didn't soak us this time.

A large tortoise went waddling down the path next to us, so Sophie stopped to pet it.  It was really big!  Slow and steady wins the race.

We had our trusty umbrella ready at all times to be popped open and save us from the Sham Slam, but we never had to use it at either Shamu show--lucky us!

Sophie was in heaven riding on her Aunt Julie's shoulders.

The next day we headed to Seaport Village in downtown San Diego.  Our first stop there was the carousel ride.

This thing is 115 years old but still works like a charm.  And it's cheap and 5 times longer than most carousel rides.  Sophie loved it.

She named her horse Thunder and had a blast going up and down on him.

I admit, I enjoyed it, too.

My parents and grandparents used to bring me and my siblings here when we lived in San Diego when I was a child, so I have a lot of fond memories of this place.

It was fun to watch my girls start making memories of their own.

Avery obviously got pretty attached to Shamu from the day before.  She looooooves stuffed animals, and is usually spotted at home with 2 under each arm as she toddles around the house.  She will be the animal lover in our family I bet.

Julie was in heaven in the hat shoppe.  She was definitely born in the wrong decade.  A century earlier would probably have been perfect for her, though we're sure glad she came when she did.

Avery of course had to chase every bird in sight.  But she always came back to me. :)

While my parents gave me an anniversary gift of time with Joseph, they took the girls to La Jolla beach to play in the sand and water.

Have I ever mentioned that my girls love water?  Yeah.

The next day was spent out on my Grandpa Lamb's boat at Castaic Lake.  I have many fond memories of waterskiing as a child, too, and thanks to Grandpa's fabulous instruction, we were all doing it at a very young age.  Too bad I have so much more to haul up onto skis these days.  It was quite a workout for me, and I should've just tried two skis from the get-go so I wouldn't have spent so much of my time down in the water like this.

It was fun for a little while at least!

My shorts kept threatening to fall down which is why they're all bunched up around me here, but thank goodness no one in the boat ever got a show!

Sophie thought riding in Papa Lamb's boat was awesome and enjoyed watching the skiers pulled behind her.

I'm very impressed that my parents both still ski.  Neither can do slalom anymore, but they both had a good ride on two skis.

Here's Dad up on two.  We were all sore the next day, but it was so worth it.  We had a great time.

My Grandpa Lamb is so patient with everyone and it doesn't matter how many times you have to keep trying to get up, he just keeps going back and giving you that rope again and again.  What a great man.  And the most impressive thing is, even at 80 years old, he can still slalom!  Wow!

The highlight of the trip for me was watching Sophie have a ride on the tube.  I thought she was going to be terrified, but from the first time we mentioned going she was excited, and she absolutely loved it.

As long as her Uncle Geoff held her tight, she was happy.  She loved going next to Austin and Peter, too.  I love the name of my Grandpa's boat.  It truly was an Escape for us!

It helped that my Grandpa started out very slow pulling these kiddos, but even when he got going faster, they were still having fun.  Honestly, the entire ride Sophie had a huge grin on her face.  I was so glad she had a blast.

Abby and I took a ride as well, though a little bit faster than Sophie's and Austin's.  But as much weaving and speeding as my Grandpa did, he never did shake us off.  I can't say as much for Jonny and Peter!

We got to relax in my Grandpa's pool after returning home.  Avery splashed until the cows came home and although we were in there for a couple of hours, she never seemed to get tired of the water.  She's a little daredevil in it, too!  Funny girl.

I like to pretend that I still know how to dive and try a few when I get the chance, the easiest ones of course.  Inwards are still my favorite I think.

But a back flip is right up there, too.  After all, I couldn't be showed up by Sophie who decided all on her own that she wanted to try a back dive off of this board!  It was more like a back flop, but she did it with no tears!  Brave girl.

I love that my Grandpa and Maybeth still get in with the family to play each time we come over.  We revived all our old favorite pool games, like Marco Polo, BePe (one that Peter and I created as kids), swimming all the way around the pool underwater in one breath, and Silence of the Lambs.

We had such a fun time with our family, and sure wished that Joseph and Scott could have joined us in our adventures, too.  Work is so overrated. ;)  Thanks for the fun, Fam!  We love you!

Monday, August 24, 2009

North & South

For our anniversary my Mom gave me this movie.  It's based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell also titled North & South that I read a year ago and loved, and I've wanted to see the movie ever since.  It was only made about 5 years ago and has excellent acting and made the book come alive for me.  It's not a Civil War story like it may sound.  Rather, it takes place in England in the 1800's and is about a girl who leaves her home in the south of England for a dirty town in the north that has cotton factories.  There is of course a love story that runs throughout, but it's only one of the themes of the story.  The bigger theme is the relationship between master and workers at the factories, the union's role in things, and strikes that inevitably occur as they try to see eye to eye.  It's about 3 hours long and reminds me a lot of Pride & Prejudice as pride is the universal sin, but thank goodness it doesn't have the silly daughters and mother in it like P&P.  It's totally clean and I would highly recommend both the book and the movie as I loved both.  Gaskell was not quite the writer that Jane Austen was, but she's still very good and did a terrific job.  So go read/watch it and enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

4 Years, Baby!

Joseph and I celebrated 4 years of marriage on August 18th.  We were lucky enough to have my family in town who so kindly offered to watch our kids so that we could go out together.  We definitely made the most of the afternoon.
We headed first to The Getty museum in LA.  We've been wanting to go since we moved here and enjoyed it a lot, especially the European art with its Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Degas.

We saw the gardens outside first.  How can we get some bushes like this in our yard?  Oh wait, first we have to have a yard.

I'm actually not usually a huge art museum fan, but I really didn't care where we were, so long as we were together and without kids for a few hours.  (I really do love my kids, though, I promise!)

We had a great view of the city up there, though we joked that before moving here we would've thought that this was downtown LA.  It's actually not, because Joseph works downtown and this is not it, but then LA seems to have like 3 downtowns.

The LA Temple is just to the left of my head, but it's too small to see in this.

We then headed to the temple which I think is the greatest place to be together on an anniversary.  It was a great reminder of what we promised each other on the day we were married.

If traffic weren't so bad we would've eaten dinner at a normal hour, but as it was, we got stuck on the I-10 (of course) and didn't make it to The Cheesecake Factory until about 8:30.  But it was so worth the wait.

I am so lucky to be married to this man.  He makes me so happy and I feel blessed to have snagged him somehow.  We still feel like newlyweds most days, but then we look at our two girls and remember it really hasn't just been a few months.  Thanks for making these 4 years so wonderful, Babe!  I love you!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Pillow Talk

Lately Joseph and I have gotten into a very bad habit.  We have been staying up much later than we should just talking!  It's not always really important stuff, either.  Often we're discussing very ordinary and sometimes ridiculous subjects, though sometimes it does center around what we just read in the scriptures or something a little more serious.  Night after night for the past few weeks we keep doing this, only stopping our chats when we're either too tired to talk anymore or it's just gotten too late.  We obviously are not getting the time in the day when we actually see each other to talk, mostly thanks to a demanding 2-year old who likes to monopolize all time and conversation.  But it's been kind of fun, I have to admit, even though we're both highly sleep-deprived because of it.  I'm just grateful that after 4 years of marriage, we still have a lot to talk about and enjoy each other's company and conversation.  Now if we could just start chatting about 2 hours earlier, we'd be fine. (sigh)  Does it ever get easier to find time for each other? :)

(This is totally me and Joseph.  Wait, I cut my hair recently, but not that short, and it hasn't been that blonde since I was a kid.  I wish I could sing and dance like Doris Day, though!  And Joseph does match the tall, dark, and handsome bit, but that's about all that he and Rock Hudson have in common, if ya know what I mean.  Great movie, though.)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Grocery Shopping Fun

I had such a fun experience at the grocery store this morning.  I got up to the checkstand to check out and started to put my huge load of groceries on the belt.  I was about 1/3 of the way through when a guy with two items comes up behind me, proceeds to put down a divider-thingamajig right behind where my current groceries were, and then stand there.  I had a ton of groceries to still put up, and my space was getting smaller and smaller now that my current groceries were moving forward.  Normally, I would tell someone who had that few to just go ahead of me (even though the 10 and under checkout was just 3 down from us), but I was already being rung up when he came.  So now I'm stuck and in the position of either just making all my stuff squeeze into a small little space, including two large gallons of milk, or turning around and asking him nicely if he could give me more room.  I was about to do the latter when my girls both started screaming (of course) and 2 more people came up behind the guy and put their stuff down.  So now I'd be asking 3 people to move back, all while wrestling two octopuses (and don't tell me that it's actually "octopi".)  Grrrrr.  Doesn't make for a happy mama on this shopping trip.  So I just made the stuff squeeze in and got out of there as fast as I could before a true meltdown happened.  Thanks a lot for being compassionate to the moms with kids out there, buddy.  I appreciate it.  Rant over. :)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Reunioning Austin Family Style

I must be taking crazy pills because I returned last week from a reunion with my Mom's family in which I flew alone with my two girls to Salt Lake (Joseph had to stay home to work, sadly), then rode in an RV with my entire family for an entire evening plus a day (and didn't get more than 5 hours of sleep) through Idaho, Oregon, and into Washington to hang out with some awesome people for a day and a half before returning along the same route again, all in about 5 days' time.  But I wouldn't have had it any other way.

It was fun to be with all my siblings on the trip, and the girls sure love their aunts and uncles who take good care of them.

Grandpa Lamb drove the entire way and was even nice enough to occasionally let Sophie and Avery "drive" the motor home with him (shhhh, don't tell Dept. of Child Services on me!)

This camp area was gorgeous, woodsy and right next to a beautiful lake.  Being there with family helped remind me what's really most important in life: winning.  Just kidding!  (Though I will mention that our team did win the competition.  But who's keeping track? :D)  Of course I mean family and the gospel.  All the rest is so superfluous.

We were divided up into teams to participate in various competitions and I was lucky enough to be on the same team as one of my favorite people, Daryl, and his new fiance McCall.  She is great and I really like her a lot.  She rocked the cooking competition for our team, and Daryl held his own very nicely in the Name That TV Show and Name That Movie Quote quizzes.  The other quizzes we participated in were on spelling, geography & history, geneology, math, and a Name that Song quiz.  We also played Family Jeopardy and had to fill out sheets of all the members of the family's names, birth dates, and marriage dates.  Thanks to Aunt Kathryn's excellent memory we rocked that competition.

Mr. Sleepy comes to visit Abby a lot, and he came early this night since these guys got about as much sleep during the trip as I did.  (Nice face, Pete!)

My cousin Ben brought his fiance, Katie, to the reunion, and we heartily gave our stamp of approval.

Dave won't ever gang up on Andrea, the party pooper.  Come on, you're not even newlyweds anymore!

Amy, Brendan, and Jill are ruthless when it comes to getting even.  They look sweet, but believe me: ruthless.

Here are two of my most favorite people, my cousin Joe and his wife Deborah.  They live near Boise and I wish we saw them more often.  Thank goodness for blogs!  It was fun to catch up with them a bit and see their 5 (FIVE!) adorable children.  I didn't get a picture of two others of my favorites, Dave and Karen, but it was also great to see them (and stay up waaaaaay too late chatting at night with them) and their SIX kids.  All in like 8 years, too (and no multiples!)

Here are some of those adorable grandkids.  These are the great grandkids of my Grandpa and Grandma Austin, and there are only a few missing from this picture, so not bad.  They were all super cute and growing so fast!

These are my cousins who were in attendance.  Can you even see little ol' me squeezed into the middle of those tall pillars on the left?  Can you tell that height is our friend in the Austin family?  And good looks, too, of course. :)

We played a lot of field games with our group competitions.  Here was the aftermath of the gummy worm feeding contest.  These are all the mama birds who had to dig with their mouths through bowls of whipped cream to get the gummy worms out and feed them to their 4 baby chicks.  Hilarious.

We were glad Sophie was around for the 4-legged races, though, because McCall and I just tied her ankles to our thighs, picked her up, and ran.  We barely beat out the team next to us for the win.

The last part of the competitions was a canoe race.  While the 5 canoes were out racing, the rest of us waited our turns to go, and for Avery that meant getting into the frigid lake water and splashing to her heart's content.  I couldn't believe her teeth never started chattering from the cold, but she seemed happy as can be.

The last event of the reunion was a variety show.  Sophie and Austin sang a couple of songs together, including a rousing rendition of "Row Row Row Your Boat" at the end.  It was very cute.

For my portion of the show I agreed to do a clogging number with Julie and Scott.  Julie choreographed part of it and then taught it to us.  That unfortunately meant that I had to learn it in the motor home on the way up, so I was less than prepared and stood there looking clueless for about 40% of it.  Scott and Julie did awesome, though.

Peter and Abby also did a clogging duet and my dad and brothers started the show off with a bang with a chin face lip sync number.  Speaking of lip syncs, one of my favorite acts of the night was this dude who waltzed into our show from off of the streets to sing "On the Road Again."  Yep, Willie Nelson a.k.a. Grandpa Austin graced us with a musical treat that was quite entertaining.

All in all we had a wonderful reunion and appreciate my Aunt Betsy so much for putting it all together.  I love being with my family and feel so blessed to come from such wonderful people.  Thanks to all who made it happen!  I love you!