Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dance Recital

This morning was Kirsten's first dance recital. It was so amazing to watch her up on the stage performing. She is a natural. I have always loved to dance and found myself crying as I watched my little angel up on the stage. She has become so independent lately!


Kirsten was lucky to have all three grandpas, and two of her grandmas, two aunts, an uncle, and a cousin at her recital. My mom made the long drive last night from Kansas to be here for the recital. I appreciate her putting in so much effort to be here for me and Kirsten, despite the distance.


We started preparing last night by rolling her hair in sponge rollers. I have never done this before and had no idea what I would get! By the way, we just put her to bed and the curls have not relaxed, at all!


It was a little overwhelming to get her all dolled up, curls, eyeliner, mascara, blush, and lipstick. She loved it though and was so excited to get on stage and dance. Here is her class lining up to go on stage. She is third in the line.
Their first time on stage they performed their tap routine. She is third from the right.
They came back out later and did the Hokey Pokey with the Kindergarten class. In the second half Jeremy's sister Megan performed with her Hip Hop class. She is a natural performer. I guess that is where Kirsten gets it!

During Intermission I got to help her change into her ballet costume. It was hard to get that crown secured around all of those curls, but she was very patient with me.

In the middle of the ballet routine they each get a chance to be the "STAR" Here is Kirsten's turn at her first dance solo!

After the show, each girl came onto the stage and introduced themselves. Kirsten walked right up to the microphone and said "My name is Kirsten, I am three, and I love my Mommy." Well if I wasn't crying before, I sure started then. I love being her mother. She is such a kind, loving, caring, tender little girl. She is truly the greatest blessing in my life.

All of the Dazzlers together for a final bow.

Kirsten and her Aunt Megan. Good job girls!

We are so proud of you Kirsten. We love you so much!

Last Day of School

Thursday was Kirsten's last day of school for the year. It is amazing to look back and see all that she has learned this year. I am so grateful for Mrs Leath and Mrs Freeman, her teachers. They are truly amazing women and have worked miracles with their little class. Kirsten is having trouble grasping the concept of summer vacation, since this is her first one, and I am sure the next few weeks will be tough as she adapts. She loves going to school. We are going back to the same school next year. They only have a two day a week program, and I really wanted a 3 or 4 day to get her more ready for Kindergarten, but we love the school and are going to stay.

For the last day of school, they had a Circus themed Carnival and a pizza lunch. I did not get many pictures of the carnival because I was working the booth in her classroom. Here are a few that I was able to take.
Pizza Party
Kirsten and Nikki
Opening Presents with Mrs Freeman
Duck, Duck, Goose!
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Walgreens

Is anyone else out there totally frustrated with Walgreens and all their changes right now? In May they discontinued their Easy Saver Catalog. So no more store coupons for the month or rebates. They have gone almost exclusively to Register Rewards. I would assume that these RRs work the way they always have, the way that ECBs do at CVS. Nope. You can no longer use RRs to pay for your transaction. They are classified as manufacturers coupons that you can use on any item. That means that if you buy 5 items, you can only use a totaly of 5 coupons or RRs in any combination. You cannot use your 5 coupons and also use your RRs. Also, for example, if you have a RR issued by Colgate, and you buy another Colgate item that will issue a RR, if you use the RR on that transaction, you will not get the new RR. Confusing, right? Even more so, it is frustrating. My transaction today should have been $4 and issued $5 in RR. Instead, it was $23 and only issued $3 in RR. The sad thing was, is they are things that I actually had to have and so I had to pay it. It hurts paying that much for stuff that I KNOW I can get for FREE. The employee I talked to today says they have lost over half their business at that store this month. I wonder why....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My new toy

This weekend I decided to try my hand at scrapbooking. I have always wanted to start scrapbooking but it has been a little intimidating and I never knew where to begin. I decided that our trip to Disneyland was the perfect excuse to start. I very quickly realized two things-
1. I love scrapbooking. I am totally and completely addicted.
2. There are a lot of things that I want to do, but do not have the tools to do.

So after talking to a few friends and doing some digging around online, I told Jeremy on Sunday night that I wanted a Cricut. His response, "okay, go get one." He indulges me way too much. So today I got my Cricut. In my defense, I did find one on Craigslist dirt cheap. It is amazing. Kirsten and I have spent most of the day playing with it and have put together 6 pages already. So much for doing laundry, making bread and cleaning my house!

Monday, May 25, 2009

What we found

We have an area in our front yard where we can never grow grass. Over the past 4 years we have tried just about everything, with no sucess. On Saturday we decided that we would dig up the front yard and see if we could get some better dirt in there. We were in for a big surpise though.
This is what we found.
That's right, an 18x24", 4 inch thick slab of concrete about 2 inches below the surface. I guess that is why the grass would not grow! Jeremy is outside re-sodding the yard right now. We also found a t-shirt, an orange plastic net, ketchup packets, a McDonald's cup and a few chunks of metal. I am wondering now if we should dig up the entire yard and go on a treasure hunt!

Friday, May 22, 2009

San Diego Zoo

This is the last vacation post, but I realized that it is first. I have been blogging in order, which means that they are posting in reverse order. So if you wish to follow our vacation in order, scroll down to the one entitled Disneyland, and read them backwards. Sorry.

Tuesday we headed to the San Diego Zoo. I had heard that it was amazing, but that hardly covers it. I do not think that I will be able to go to any other zoo again. We started in the Reptile House, which surprisingly, she loved. She has decided that she wants a pet lizard, "because it does not have hair, so it won't make Grandma Lowe sneeze, and it will still cuddle with me and let me walk it." She picked out a teal green bearded dragon. Jeremy is entertaining the idea while I am thinking, NO WAY!!!!

Then we took the Skyfari to the top of the hill and worked our way down. That was a smart move, if you ever go you will want to do the same, it is steep. We started at the Polar Bears and then the Zebras. The picture is the one she decided was Marty (from Madagascar). There were a ton of monkeys. I honestly did not know that there were that many species of monkeys, birds, or lizards. The gorillas were fun. There was a baby that came near the glass, so everyone started taking pictures. The mother gorilla then came up and inserted herself between the baby and the picture takers. It was fascinating. There was an otter that I swear was playing with the kids. We spent forever watching Kirsten and the otter chase each other back and forth across the tank. She loved the giraffes and Koala bears also.

The best part of the zoo was of course the Panda Bears. We spent a lot of time watching them and reading about them. I have included several pictures of Sulia that was born 2 day before Kirsten. We got to watch her climb up and down a tree. It was breathtaking to watch. Kirsten of course wanted a stuffed Panda, which she has named Sia and will not part with.

After we wiped ourselves out at the zoo, we found the Marine Corps Recruitement Depot. My brother is in there for basic training, and loves it by the way. We obviously were not able to go and see him, but we thought it would be fun to take a picture to send to him.

That night my cousin Rachel and Michael with his wife Janika and daughter Emily came over for a cookout. Emily turned a year old this week and is totally adorable. She was following Kirsten around trying to copy her every move, which Kirsten loved. It was so nice to be able to meet her.

That brings us up to Wednesday when we flew home. The flights both way were totally uneventful, of course, since Jeremy was with me. Thank you Uncle Johnny and Aunt Verlanne for letting us stay with you and thank you Aunt Marilyn for helping us get to Disneyland. It was a much needed vacation. We had such a great time and can hardly wait to go back.

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By the way, Jeremy got an A in his class, and his is officially Graduated!!!!! Thank you everyone for you prayers and support as he finished. We are happy and relieved. I have my husband back!!

Continuing with the trip

So Sunday we drove through LA and stopped at the LA temple. That is where my dad and step-mom were sealed so I have been there, but Jeremy and Kirsten were not with me. We spent the rest of Sunday with my little sister, Jenny. I do not know how I managed to not take any pictures with her, sorry mom, dad and Anne. We had a great time catching up and Kirsten loved spending time with her Aunt Jenny.

Sunday night when we got back to my Aunt and Uncle's house, we were talking in the living room and all of a sudden the house started to shake. That's right folks, there was an earthquake. I did not know whether to run, cry, scream or laugh. My uncle thought it was hilarious! I was in a state of shock for a few minutes, but we survived, so I guess it was cool.

Monday we met with my roommate from my Junior year of College, Emily Outhier. I guess it is Padilla now, she just got married. I saw her when I first got home from my mission, but it has been over 6 years now. She is one of those amazing friends that it does not matter how long we are apart, it feels like hours, not years. We decided to go hiking, which was beautiful, until a rattle snake passed in front of us. After hiking we drove past the Newport Temple - beautiful - and then on to Balboa Island. We went there during Spring Break of 2001, and so it was fun to be back there with her. We of course had to get Choco Bananas. We ate lunch on the roof top of Ruby's, on the edge of the pier. It was picturesque, and we even saw Dolphins swimming. Kirsten thought that was amazing, and wanted desperately to go swimming with the dolphins.

After lunch we rode the Ferris Wheel. It was smaller than the one at Disneyland, and she handled it better. Then a ferry ride back across, and we headed home.

On Tuesday morning we headed to San Diego and visited the San Diego Temple. I have been there a few times, and it is by far my favorite Temple. I went through it when I was 12 years old before it was dedicated. Maybe that is why I love it so much, it was the first temple I was ever able to go into.
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Weekend

Saturday morning we woke up and made the drive north to Simi Valley. One of my closest friends, Amy Burr, and her family live there. Amy started watching Kirsten when she was 5 months old while I taught trumpet lessons. In exchange, I taught her kids piano lessons. Kirsten loving refers to hr three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Joseph, as her boys.

We went to lunch at In n Out Burger, since Jeremy and Kirsten have never been there. We spend the rest of the day at Oxnard Beach. Kirsten was a little weary of the water at first, but did eventually let it touch her feet and even let Jeremy carry her in quite a ways. She kept telling me that the water was peppery!

We stayed at the Courtyard Marriot that night, which I have to say is the nicest, most spacious, up to date, and cleanest hotel I have ever stayed it. So if you are ever in the area, I highly recommend it.

Sunday morning we played a game of Munchkin, which Jeremy won (or stole!) That was always our tradition when they were here, dinner and Munchkin on Friday nights. It was so wonderful to see them. It is a rare thing that we find a friend that truly is a soulmate on this earth. I can count only three friends like this, Christie, Amy, and Emily, all of which live in California now. I feel truly blessed to have them as friends, but wish they were closer! Kirsten had a hard time saying good bye to her boys, and keeps asking when we are going back.

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Disneyland

We had a wonderful time at Disneyland. We went on Thursday and Friday. Thursday we got there right when the park opened. Mickey, Pluto, Minnie, Donald, Chip n Dale, and Goofy were all in the main street square. We were able to line hop and get all those characters in right away. We hit almost every single ride in the park. Kirsten's favorite was It's a Small World. She had watched the planning DVD so many times that she knew what she wanted to go on. After every ride she would ask "Can we go on the pirates now?" So we finally went on Pirates of the Caribbean after Lunch, and guess what? She never asked again. I don't think she liked it very much. She went on the Matterhorn, the Haunted House and Splash Mountain. She loved being able to meet Winnie the Pooh. My Aunt Verlanne came and met us for a few hours in the afternoon and got soaked on Splash Mountain with us. I was a little worried about the drop since Kirsten had to be in her own seat, but she did great!

Thursdsay night we had dinner at Ariel's Grotto. Each of the princesses come to your table and spend time with you individually. The prince had come out and was teaching the girls to dance like princesses when Jasmine arrived at our table. So she stayed and spent about 10 minutes dancing with Kirsten. I think that she was on cloud nine dancing with Jasmine! I made the reservations months ago, and it was well worth it to be able to have time with each of them!

Friday morning we spent some time back at the main Disneyland park to meet Tinker Bell and to hit a few rides that we missed. Then we headed over to California Adventure. Kirsten particularly love Soarin' over California where it feels like you are hang gliding. This park is fairly new and they have all of the Pixar rides, like Bug's Life, Monsters Inc, Cars, and Toy Story. We were also able to see the Aladdin Musical, which was breathtaking. The day topped off with a Pixar Toy Parade. My Aunt Verlanne and Uncle Johnny came and met us for dinner, and then we attempted to see the fireworks, but Kirsten fell asleep on Jeremy.

We had such a great time. I have to ask though, why she always had to go to the bathroom right before we got to the front of the lines? They are so kind and understanding though and would let one of us wait and the other take her and come back up the exit. I think that this was the perfect age to take Kirsten to Disneyland. She was tall enough to go on almost everything, and it is all still magical at this age. The picture of her meeting Winnie the Pooh says it all. She loved every minute of it, especially meeting the characters. We are already planning our next trip!

I sorted through hundreds of pictures and made a slide show. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We are home

We are home and we are exhausted! We had a wonderful trip. We took 367 pictures, so my job is to sort through them and decide which ones to post. Kirsten will not go to bed, she keeps begging to go back to Disneyland. We were able to go to Disneyland, visit the Burr family, swim in the ocean, see my sister, see my old roommate Emily, see the LA, San Diego, and Newport Temples, go to the San Diego Zoo and visit with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins. I will post details and pictures when I get a chance. I am seriously thinking about playing hookie tomorrow at work, and catching up on things here at home.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Something new everyday

Everyday is an adventure around here and I am always amazed at the new things that Kirsten is learning. Last Monday she told me that she wanted to really learn her letters. So we bought here a workbook. She has done 225 pages in one week. She will come home from 5 hours of preschool and then spend 2 more hours doing what she calls her "homework". In the past week alone she has learned to recognize all of her letters and numbers, and how to write her name. She started into the phonics section today.

This morning she insisted on dressing herself. She picked all pink, insisting that it all matches. The best part was she picked a button down shirt with 8 tiny little buttons. It took her 5 tries to get the shirt on the right way. Then she spent 15 minutes standing on her step stool buttoning each of those little buttons herself. She refused any and all help. As far as I know, she has never done up a button by herself before. Here is her proud result.
Will this insanely sharp learning curve ever slow down?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Husbands of Couponers

I got this from a friend of mine and thought that it was hilarious. Jeremy was in stitches reading it and says that he has experienced each of these.


This is for husbands of women frequently referred to as “coupon ladies” or better yet this is for the husbands of women that have just discovered “couponing”. Here are some rules, hints, and suggestions:

1. “Couponers” have their own special communication/ language that they use to communicate with each other. You will need to learn this language if you ever plan on having a conversation with your wife again. A small example of what your wife might say to you: “Honey, I went to Wags and BOGOed shaving cream which was a MM because it produced a RR. And then I went with my GC to Rite Aid and got the items that were FAR which turned into a MM as well. And then because I had some expiring ECBs went and got some of the MM items at CVS too. We really need to get some more ink for the computer so I can print more IPs.”I would translate that sentence but I got lost at the first BOGO.

2. Real men do indeed shave with pink razors if that is what was free or nearly free in the past few months. You will also find that your shaving cream now smells lightly floral and comes in light pink or green cans.

3. Your favorite foods will become a thing of the past as you learn to eat new and exotic foods. Some you will like. I never knew that ice cream from various manufacturers could taste so different, but I am willing to taste them. Some you won’t like. Kashi – it takes a special man to admit to liking twigs and sticks and this man does not.

4. Your soap now has green netting around the bar of soap so that it doesn’t slip out of your hand while showering or your body wash smells like cucumbers, coconut, melons, etc… I am not fond of the body wash that smells like a Moroccan massage parlor. When you are meeting up with your buds to work on a car you really do not want to smell like a Moroccan massage parlor. But you will learn to smile and hide the pain. Just gently tell her “Honey I think these would be a great item to donate to charity.”

5. You will find stockpiles of items in the least expected places. I went to the coat closet to find my work boots. On the floor instead of my boots were stacks and stacks of toilet paper. Ummm, do we really need to have enough toilet paper for the whole subdivision for the next year? According to my wife the answer is yes. Men, you will learn to respond by saying the following, “Of course dear, you are right.”

6. Your friends and family instead of coming over to watch a football game now come to shop at your home for groceries and green bottles of shampoo and conditioner.

7. You will learn not to disturb your wife on nights when the sales paper comes out. Especially if she has her “coupon binder” and is “matching up sales”. Hint: In the event of a fire – don’t bother grabbing the insurance papers, grab her coupon binder.

8. Do not even think of arranging anything on Sunday’s before or after church as she is busy hitting up the stores with coupons. (For me it is Saturday night and Monday morning!)

9. You will discover that your meek, mild and loving wife turns into a fire breathing creature you never knew existed if a cashier or store manager tells her that the reason she did not get her RR was because she used a coupon or that she can’t use a particular coupon. Pray hard if they accuse her of coupon fraud. If this occurs you will discover her speed dial #s 1-10, well none of them call you. They are reserved for the corporate headquarters of her favorite stores.

10. Never ever ask why she is bringing home 5 more tubes of toothpaste when you already have 100 plus tubes in the guest bedroom closet. Suffice it to say if she brought it home, just tell her what a fabulous shopper she is and how proud you are of her.

11. You will start to recognize other husbands of “coupon ladies”. Look at their lunch. Do they have children’s juice boxes as drinks, packs of starkist tuna (I do believe we have more tuna in the guest bedroom then our local grocery store has on their shelves.), small toothbrushes called Wisps, they smell slightly floral and there is a small handmade coupon good for BOGO kisses and hugs.

There are many more things I could relate to you, but when it is all said and done you will discover she has saved you a lot of money and it seems to make her happy.
And when she is happy …. So am I.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trip to Kansas

We had a great trip to my mom's this weekend, other than the nightmarish flights both ways. It will be a long time until I purchase tickets on American again.

We spent almost all day Friday outside at Lake Shawnee. We went tip-toeing through the tulips and played around the waterfalls.



The highlight of the trip for Kirsten was the fishing trip with Grandpa Starnes. About three weeks ago she decided that she wanted to go fishing. I have no idea where that came from, we are definitely not fishers. The only person I know who fishes is my step-dad. So Kirsten called him herself and asked him to take her fishing when we came. When we got there my mom surprised Kirsten with her very own fishing pole. She is already talking about going again. I sense a tradition in the making.
This is what she thought of the worms
Kirsten Fishing at Lake Shawnee Junior (a stocked lake just for kids)
Her first fish. If you ask her how big it was she holds her hands out about 2 feet apart. She is already a true fisher!
No fishing trip is complete without a little mud!

I somehow managed to not get any pictures of the rest of the weekend. I am so bad about photographing anything that is not Kirsten. On Friday night, my sister, Anne, flew in. We spent the night in Kansas City having a much needed girls night out. Saturday morning we picked my little brother, John, up at the airport and then drove back to my mom's house in Topeka.
Saturday was my mom's hooding ceremony for her MBA. We were so thrilled to be able to celebrate this special day with her. The rest of Saturday was spent maternity clothes shopping for Anne. She is 18 weeks along now, and the cutest pregnant lady ever! Kirsten is especially excited to have a new baby in the family. That night we also had a Happy Birthday and goodbye party for John. He will be 23 tomorrow, and reported for basic training in the Marines yesterday.
Sunday was relaxing after church, and then we came home Sunday night, after more and more delays.....
Here is one more picture I got of Kirsten on the swing in front of my mom's house. They are on the last street that is part of the city limits, and it sure feels a little slower and calmer out there.
So now it is back to life and reality. Jeremy finishes school next Tuesday, so this week will be super busy for him as his gets his program perfected. Kirsten and I are sure looking forward to having him around more.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Airport

So we left our house yesterday at 3 and drove to my in-laws. My mother-in-law then very graciously took us to the airport. We arrived at 5 for our 6:15 flight. Perfect, right? Not!!! Our plane was delayed by three hours. So I spent 4 1/2 hours in the airport with Kirsten. Thank goodness I decided at the last minute to re-pack our two carry-on suitcases into one large suitcase and check it. That would have been brutal. I do have to brag on her though. She never once ran off, not one single tantrum, held my hand the entire time, and generally did everything single little thing that I asked her to. What a heaven sent blessing! The flight was a little difficult, since it was already past her bed time when we got on, but again, no tantrums, fighting, arguing, anything. She did start kicking the seat in front of her, and when I made her apologize, the man said "I have 14 grandkids, and it makes me feel right at home, keep kicking." Another tender mercy. By the time we actually made it to my mom's house in Topeka last night, we could have driven.

My mom had to go in for day surgery this morning. Kirsten and I spent the morning tip-toeing in the tulips by the lake, playing at the park and chasing birds. It is so cold and wet, but she did not seem to even notice. We are supposed to go fishing with grandpa this afternoon so that my mom can rest. Hopefully the rain will stay away long enough for us to go.

My sister, Anne, flies in tonight, and my brother, John, flies in tomorrow morning. I will post pictures when I get home, I forgot the cord.

On a side note, I think I want an I-phone. I am traveling with a cell phone, lap top, GPS, digital camera, Ipod and portable DVD player. An Iphone would do all of that and would sure be a lot easier to transport!