t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.

8.31.2008

Vote for Cap Trappers on IdeaBlob

Friends, family, Cap Trapper lovers, random people reading this blog, stalkers, whomever you may be...I need your vote for Cap Trappers this week on IdeaBlob. The week starts Sept 1st. We are trying to win $10,000. It is so easy. Just head over to the website and vote. Then tell everyone you know to vote too. Heck post your own idea and I will vote for you too. Thanks so much. Try to do it soon...this week is best...we can try again for the next three weeks...but tell everyone you can to help us succeed. Thanks!

Think Big

We are a house full of big thinkers this weekend. Birthdays, Doggy Appetizers, 23 mile mountain runs,Ideablob,and European distributors. Our family was dreaming big.

Let's start with little Pip. She turned 3 years old today. Although she, and the rest of the neighborhood gang, officially act like she is 6. Thankfully we now have a 2 year supply of lip gloss. Apparently, she told everyone she knows she wanted lip gloss for her birthday. Our entire house is now covered in a thin, some places thick, film of sparkly lip gloss. This includes Emmy's large bald head and the inside of his ears. My little Pippy is BIG on personality and smiles. She is convinced she is Shawn Johnson and Hannah Montana combined. All she knows about Hannah Montana is that she is a rock star...and Callista is certain she is a rock star too. I am trying so hard to keep her little and shield her from Hannah Montana....for heavens sake she is only 3!


On to Butter Bean. Little Emmy had his little heart set on a big prize today. It isn't totally clear from the picture but Emmett was intent on eating Brimmy. Those large ears just looked so luscious he couldn't resist. Poor Grandpa and had to keep him from sucking the little dogs ears. I think Brim emerged soaked in slobber but otherwise unscathed. Why settle for rice cereal when you could have a little schnozer?

Myself...I accomplished a feat I think anyone can feel proud of. I successfully ran the "Hope to Hobble" 23 mile run. The intensity and exhilaration of this 3:30 minute run were amazing. I actually felt great the entire run. Compared to this beastly 2000 ft, 12 mile climb, and rocky 11 mile, 3000 ft descent, the St George Marathon will be a piece of cake. Bring it on.

I will confess to some serious lactic acid build up in the legs today. But, besides that, I am none-the-worse for the wear.

Secondly, I have entered another contest. This time on ideablob. I need everyone's help on this one. It is basically a popularity contest for a week. Your idea garners the most votes and you become a finalist for the month. The last week of the month there is a show off between the top 8 ideas. To the winner...$10,000. Not bad. I would love your votes for me and all your friends votes as well. Here is the link. Vote for Cap Trappers. Don't worry I will keep reminding you, on email, blog, facebook... :)

Finally, I got an interesting email from an international distributor. He wants to introduce Cap Trappers to his side of the world. Chief strategist Brent was spurred into action and spent the weekend identifying major European distributors to contact. The first several years of his business, their growth outside of the US was far greater than inside. An interesting was to think big. Globally.

8.27.2008

Happy Teachers Use Cap Trappers

Here is an email sent from a happy teacher in California using Cap Trappers for over 4 months in her classroom...

Thank you for sending the Cap Trappers. I have been using them with my kindergarten class... I am using mine at the dry erase board to organize my teaching colored dry erase markers. They are doing a wonderful job keeping the colors ready to use and in one place where they can be found. I'm using the little hole to string them up so that they hang down and don't get lost behind the books which are housed at the bottom of the dry erase board. Teachers are quite amazed that the trappers can be used for both wide and narrow markers alike. They work perfectly! Did I notice in your photo that they can be used for glitter glue also?

These are a great product...do what they profess to do, they are durable, and priced right. As you well know, teachers are always looking for easy methods to organize materials. The captrappers fit the bill.

Sincerely,
Judy

PInk and Blue Sold Out

Sorry we are all sold out of pink and blue Cap Trappers. They are back-ordered and should be available in several weeks. Thanks for all the orders!

8.26.2008

Follow-Ups

My brilliant scheming to try and contact Kelly Ripa and Elizabeth Hasselbeck to bring them on board with Cap Trappers seems to have gone belly-up. No response. My husband is sure they went to the correct addresses...I don't know. I may try sending some product to the studios...Maybe I will try Oprah and Ellen...I cringe as I write this. Why do I cringe. I think all us mom business owners think we have the most brilliant original products out there, and just because someone else is a woman they will love it. I fall into the trap.

Just a clue at how bad I am...I have put off calling the mechanic to fix the W/D until Sept 8th. What is September 8th? The day they announce the winner of the Whirlpool Mother of Invention Grant. Boy do I want to win the new W/D!

On to more good news and bad news...thanks to the amazing influx of sales from the Deseret News article we have just about blown through all of our inventory! We had several stores contact us to carry Cap Trappers as well as lots of orders on Amazon. In fact I am disappointed I don't have any left to even give to Ellery's kindergarten teacher.

More good news...Cap Trappers will officially be part of the Alison Sweeney baby shower gift bags. Over at Hot Mom's Club (throwing the extravaganza) they loved the unique, fresh, and playful, and useful nature of Cap Trappers. The shower is not until November...again the excruciatingly long time line!!!! I seem to be always butting heads with the calendar.

Finally...I am entering the ideablob contest. It starts September 1st and runs for a month. The idea with the most votes wins $10,000. You have to register on the website to vote, but it is free and no strings attached. I will keep you posted on how to do it...hopefully you will all vote for me. I need more inventory!

There it is...lots of updates and follow-ups.

8.25.2008

Why Cap Trappers Beat out Retractables and Flip-tops

It has been fun to see the comments and massive website traffic and orders from the Deseret News article. I thought I would just talk up why Cap Trappers beat out the new Retractable and Flip Tip markers.

In fact, when I dreamed up the idea, it was solely to solve the lost cap problem, which retractables and flip tops do as well (for the record..these weren't on the market when I first had the idea...I thought of both of these but passed on them because I had no intentions of trying to compete with marker companies).

(photo courtesy of Daily Herald)

What I discovered after using Cap Trappers and talking to our customers is there are a few huge unforeseen benefits that users love almost more than not losing the caps..

  • Portable--Moving your writing instruments around without any thought, hassle or mess is priceless! This includes bags, purses, backpacks, drawers, pencil boxes...I could go on and on.
  • Organized--Cap Trappers keep your writing instruments (or anything with a lid for that matter, glue fits too) visible and together. They are neatly accessible sitting on a table, hanging from a hook or held in your hand.
  • Playful--The "squishiness of Cap Trappers is addictive...they are almost like a little stress ball, fun for adults and children to touch...and safe enough for little ones!
  • Universal--Cap Trappers will also fit all the existing markers you can scrape up around your house, so no reason to buy new ones.
I hope that helps clarify some of the confusion about why Cap Trappers are far superior to mega giant Crayolas flip-top and retractable pens and markers!

Publicity Guru

If I have been successful at anything it is getting publicity! However, I do believe great products lend themselves to publicity. People love to talk about and use Cap Trappers. Deseret News ran a great article this morning in the paper about Savvy May Creations and Cap Trappers. I love the local news. They have been so supportive. As well as local Utahns, who continue to order up Cap Trappers for their homes and classrooms. Check out the article over on their website.

(pictures courtesy Deseret News)

8.22.2008

You Lost Me at Haiku

Today I wax poetic.

Wet, smeared mascara,
Chubby fingers locked in locks,
Cherub lips smother me.


The only way I could think of to describe a moment with Emmett today.


...I ran this by Brent...I asked him if it evoked any emotion in him....

His response...

"You lost me at haiku"

I love you Brent!

8.21.2008

A Proud Mother Humbled

Ellery. My firstborn. Oldest children are usually the smartest, hardest working...at least it seems I remember reading this. They are most likely to be the genius in something. So believe me, I am on the lookout for signs of genius :)

I try so hard to do everything just right. She is my first. Obviously I want to do everything the best for her. So I have been teaching her to read and write and memorize...I feel with some pretty darn good success. Well today I was humbled.


Today she had her kindergarten assessment. She was beyond excited. All morning long she begged me to prepare. She practiced writing her name, insisted on picking roses from the yard, finding the perfect vase, preparing a gift bag of stickers for her teacher (which consisted of a baggy full of 1"x 3" self adhesive labels and about 15 sticker rhinestones, as seen in the picture above, she was sure her teacher would think it would be a wonderful activity to decorate the labels and make beautiful sparkly stickers) and asked me about a hundred times if it was 2 pm yet.

As the assessment began, I quietly listened and my heart swelled with pride as she spouted off perfect answers to each of her teacher's queries. But she was spouting. I became a bit abashed by her extreme confidence. Admittedly bordering on haughtiness. This was a completely different Ellery than I anticipated. I was prepared for demure and shy. Things went from uncomfortable to astounded for me as her teacher started testing reading skills.

The exchange progressed as follows:

Mrs. S... pointing to the word "bat" ... "Ellery what does this say?"

Ellery...glancing for a fraction of a second resolutely responds..."Dog"

Mrs. S...."Are you sure...do you want to sound it out?"

Ellery..."No. That word is dog."

Mrs S...pointing to the word "play"..."What word is this Ellery?"

Ellery...glancing for possibly a second and announcing decidedly..."Doll"

Mrs. S...."Are you sure...do you want to sound it out?"

Ellery..."No. That word says doll."

I was dumbfounded. She was supremely confident and proud of herself. Obviously she felt it would be demeaning in some way to sound out the words...never imagining for a moment she possibly had said the incorrect word. I have no clue what was going through her head.

So much for those months of meticulously pointing to each letter and sounding the words out...

Ellery then proceeded to march around the room, as if she owned the place. Pretty much I was stunned...even a little embarrassed. This should be quite an interesting year. Brace yourself Mom.

8.20.2008

The Taco Bed and 4 Wheeling Freedom

Brent and I ventured into the unknown yesterday. In more than one way. We were alone, wow, and in uncharted territory on a 4 wheeler.

This adventure starts with the "taco" bed. I have been working the last week to get Emmett onto a schedule. At 6 months old, both he and I were ready. I cherish the first six months. Snuggling at night. Just being able to look over at him sleeping. But our "taco" bed started to get the best of us both. The 25 year old California King, adorns our "master suite."


Which is by far the best decorated room in our home. Ha ha. We call it the taco as w all have a tendency, a very large tendency in fact, to roll into the middle. When I say "we all," I literally me all of us. Yes most nights by 3 am you can find all 5 of us in bed together. But as of late, Emmett started waking up a lot and grabbing for me virtually all night. I was like a 24 hour 7/11 for him. It was time. The clincher...Callista started crawling out of the crib. So we transitioned.

I mean look at him...he is sitting up now. What a big boy! I ache with every passing day though, knowing he is growing up...it is just going so fast. And he is soooo perfect. I don't want him to become a toddler :)

Back to the 4 wheeling...with Emmett now asleep for the night at 6pm, Brent and I have regained some freedom. Hallelujah! We try to spend a lot of time together, just the two of us. I don't want to be 55, kids out of the house and look over at Brent and realize we have nothing in common anymore. So my awesome little sister Monica came over to stay with the kids. It didn't hurt I had New Moon and Eclipse for her to read. She is gaga over Edward.

We look official huh? Brent has always been a gear junkie. Is it any surprise he owns a sports gear company? Not really. I remember the first time he took me snowboarding, he had me decked out in pads from head to toe!

We decided to explore the "Hope to Hobble" trail. This is a 20 miler I have scheduled for the 30th. It is sponsored by a local running club. Brent and I have mountain biked portions of it, but never the full stretch. We decided to venture into the unknown on motorized vehicles so I wasn't going in blind on foot!

Wow. The trail is gorgeous. And steep. And long. At least by my standards. I wouldn't describe it as rolling. I would describe it as treacherous. And rocky. Very rocky. I have no idea if I can actually handle it. But the two of us had a great time. Although we were frozen dust bunnies upon our post-sunset return!


It would have been perfect if only we had found a secluded make-out spot. Sigh... Maybe next time :)


It seems like I am always venturing into the unknown...gotta get these cap trappers on store shelves...

8.18.2008

Want to Win some Cap Trappers?

If you want a chance to win some Cap Trappers head over to An Island Life. Another great review of Cap Trappers. As soon as these hit store shelves they are going to fly!

Full Circle Ranch Rodeo

I am convinced my children are the luckiest kids alive. They have the coolest grand parents.

One set lives in ultra cool California, has multiple cats to chase, a backyard pool, and endless shopping trips for little prizes.

The other set live only a couple hours North, on 10 acres, with 4 horses, 2 cows, a really cool dog (yes the one we borrow on occasion), and have a pantry and freezer full of refined sugar galore!

It was Grandma and Grandpa Miller this weekend who threw their annual "Full Circle Ranch Rodeo." This is something I only could have dreamed of as a kid. It was complete with...

Panning for Gold...(this actually kept Ellery occupied for almost 2 hours!) As my mom watched Ellery do this I think I heard her tell the story of "You know one of Rebecca's teachers once told me she works hard but she sure plays hard too..." at least 3 times to different random people.

She amassed quite the treasure!

Here we have a bunch of cow pokes vying for the "Best Belt Buckle" prize. I still don't understand why Ellery's sparkly princess belt didn't win!

And of course, the pony rides. Millie was Callista's favorite.


Note to self...be a really cool grandma when it comes time...

8.16.2008

Help My Kids are Nose Pickers!


I think the reason I have trouble getting my children to eat at meal times is because they are full from picking their noses all day. I am not exaggerating. It seems like every time I glance at my darling little girls, they are engaged in the not-so-darling habit of nose-picking.

Here is another one of those parenting questions. How do I get my kids to stop picking their noses? I can't imagine it is acceptable in Kindergarten. It wasn't 25 years ago, but maybe children are more tolerant now. Not likely. The problem is, it has become a mindless habit for Ellery. Do you want to know when it started? The day we took her nukies to Build-a-Bear and put them into "Headlight" the bear. That night she started picking. I guess it is some sort of comforting replacement for the sucking. I'm sure there is some disturbing psycho-analysis of this.

Callista just picks because Ellery does.

About a year ago we tried flicking her little finger every time she picked. It worked. She stopped for a couple months. And then started again. I've tried handing her a tissue each time I catch her...to no avail.

Any suggestions?

8.13.2008

Is Your Child a Biter?

All this talk of vampires...and Emmett gets bit. A giant chomp on his cheek yesterday morning from vampire baby. Actually there were 2 bites. The first occurred so quick, while our little vampires mom was around, I wasn't sure it was a bite. Emmett just started wailing and his calf was all red. Baby vampires mom pulled him away and scolded him to be gentle. I didn't think much about it. But 2 hours later (it was vampire moms b-day and I was watching her kids for her)Emmett was in his saucer (I thought he was safe), and chomp. This time it was really bad. Who could blame baby vampire. Emmett has lusciously chubby cheeks. I often want to eat him up too. But this was quite traumatizing.

(This picture is of the wound after a day, it looked a lot worse yesterday)

Don't misunderstand, I love vampire baby. He is darling and sweet and only 11 months old. His mom is awesome. A wonderful mom and friend. I love her too. So what do you do when your child is a biter? This is one of those dilemmas I constantly face as a parent. I tell my kids to speak in a kind voice, but sometimes after telling them kindly 6x my tone can become not so kind anymore. Sigh....what to do?

Whether in business or as a mom I have to make choices everyday. With each decision I hope it's the right one. I have to keep on my knees a lot. I need lots of help to maneuver my way through life. Sometimes the clutter, the laundry, the endless bedtime battles, the uncertainty in trying to raise kind, confident, well adjusted children, the ups and downs...it can all be a bit daunting. It takes faith, that's for sure.

8.12.2008

I'm Not in Love with Edward. Anyone Else?

I have held off reading the Twilight series for sometime. They just haven't seemed that appealing to me. But on Friday I read an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal about Stephanie Meyer and the Twilight phenomenon. The jist of the piece was the positive, and meaningful effect Meyers is having on teen sexuality. Government and schools and parents for that matter have been trying unsuccessfully for years to promote abstinence, with no success. But Stephanie Meyers has made abstinence HOT!

I was intrigued. I have always been a firm believer in abstinence before marriage. My husband was as well. I was drawn to the bookstore to support a mother who was helping young women everywhere expect more from relationships. I bought the paperback versions of Twilight and New Moon.

Disappointed. That sums up my review of this book. I could not get into the romance. Maybe if I was in High School, but even then... My husband says I didn't get into it because I have the real thing. A perfect husband, a deep emotionally, spiritually and physically satisfying relationship. He's right. I don't know if that is why the book didn't work for me or not. I'm sure there are women out there with satisfying relationships who liked these books.

I am giving New Moon to my nineteen year old sister for her birthday next week. She is definitely still yearning for an Edward to love and love her.

It is a fascinating study in a vastly popular trend. I have read quite a bit about the development of this "movement." We need a cap trapper movement. Maybe I should put a picture of Edward on my packaging. Then I would really attract some women!

Maybe if I get bored I will finish the series. I read The Host. I actually preferred it. It was far fetched but I admit being quite drawn into the plot. Less romantic. I hope I haven't offended the millions of Twilight Lovers out there!

8.11.2008

5 Minutes for Mom

Check out the review and contest giveaway over at 5 minutes for Mom. They are a great blog site. Leave a comment to enter the contest if you want.

Back to School Shopping

I had my first back-to-school shopping adventure as a mom on Friday. I have so many great memories of shopping with my mom for school. I also will fess up to wearing thick wool sweaters and jeans to school when it was 90 degrees outside because I was so excited to wear my new clothes. Ellery and I headed to the mall. I tried to monitor and avoid the ultra sparkly, teeney bopper clothes that are the rage for the little elementary schoolers. I don't want her to look 14. My goodness she is only 5! I think we only ended up with a glittered hot pink belt, thankfully no Hannah Montana backpacks. I'm glad she is still drawn to Minnie Mouse.


The two of us then headed to Einsteins for some bagels. At one point I caught her gazing off into her own world. I asked her what she was thinking about. Her answer: her new minnie backpack. She is so precious. I hope kindergarten is everything she has built it up in their mind to be.

13.1 Miles


I completed my first 1/2 marathon on Saturday. I have to say I felt great. No knee pain. No hip pain. It was smooth sailing. I tuckered out a bit the last 2 miles because we had to wind around (it was a straight shot out of the canyon before that), but overall I feel great. I ended up with an official time of 1:35.40. That put my race pace at 7:19 min/miles. I have to do 8:23 min/miles to qualify for Boston, so it seems within my grasp. I am trying not to get my hopes up.

It was so fun to run through the shoot and have my little girls and husband calling my name. They always look a bit concerned about me though. (I think I appear to be in quite a bit of pain. Which I usually am for that push at the end.) Of course what they were really excited about was waiting for me so I could get them pancakes and fruit. Oh well. Brent forgot the camera, but he did manage all 3 kids.

One step closer to 26.1 miles!

8.07.2008

Women are the Best

Something I have found while trying to navigate the formation of a viable company Savvy May Creations, is how much I appreciate the help and tips of others. And I think in the network of women/mom owned businesses everyone is especially willing to help each other out. I have gotten some great tips.

My friend Amy over at Super Healthy Kids tipped me off to this email list called Help a Reporter Out. She subscribes and saw a question she thought I should answer. I did. It was about moms who invent. I emailed a response of course all about Cap Trappers . Today I was interviewed by First Magazine. Who knows if it will end up making the cut (with my luck probably not) but what a great tip! Much thanks to Amy. And if you haven't bought one of her plates yet, please do. I have 3. My kids and I both love them. She is also a woman after my own heart with her quest to keep her family eating healthy.

I get emails from this PR firm called ChicExecs PR. I usually delete them because I have zero money to pay for PR, but they gave some free tips out. One was for a celebrity baby shower for Alison Sweeney (host of Biggest Loser) put on by Hot Moms Club. They were looking for items for the guest bags. The bags are given to those in attendance as well as 4 for the press. They said Pregnancy and OK Magazines will be covering the bags. So I emailed. It turns out they are interested in putting Cap Trappers in. Again it is all in the works. If I have learned anything about business...don't count your chickens before they are hatched. But a big thanks to ChicExecs PR. If and when I can afford PR, they will definitely be at the top of my list.

Then of course Startup Princess. I always love their posts and mission to help women. The Mother of Invention contest, of course being a huge tip. They also recently blogged on celebrity gifting. It gave me the needed push to swallow my pride and I dig up those addresses my husband found for Kelly Ripa and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. I sent them off some packages filled with Cap Trappers for their kids. I fully fessed up to my shameless plot for publicity. But even if they don't talk about them, maybe they will just enjoy them. If my husbands sluething is correct and they receive them that is! I have no reasons to doubt his expertise :)

My husband introduced me to a great girl over at Northridge Media. She is a fellow triathlete, so we clicked. She just did the spudman too! She offered me a free quarter page add in Scrapbook Trends and Paper Trends. Awesome publicity. When I can afford to pay for ads you bet I will! But this will be a great trial to see if the ads bring any traffic and sales.

All of these tips were from women. Way to go women. I try to pass along my tips as well. So hopefully what goes around comes around and all of us find a bit more success.

8.06.2008

Read This to Feel Better About Yourself

This post is to make sure everyone knows I am not a "supermom." So let's just keep things real.

Summer Home School. Down the Drain.

Remember that whole summer schedule...well I was dreaming. The girls loved it for about 3 weeks. Then vacation after vacation interfered. All of a sudden every time I try to start our school time, I am greeted with a chorus of "Noooo, it's not fun Mom." So then I have to admit I stoop to comments like, "Ellery you must not want to go to Kindergarten next year." I really have some work to do with my parenting skills. Most days end up like yesterday. Our structured learning time lasted about 10 minutes...and the wild roaming of the neighborhood...5 hours.

Emmett was Smelling Awfully Sweet

I looked down at my sweet son yesterday and realized I couldn't remember the last time I had bathed him. I know. Horrible. I would have probably thought a mother like myself needed to be turned into family services, before I had three children of my own. His vitals were clean, but everything else was getting quite ripe. I bathed him last night so you can hang up the phone.


The Ugliest Bread Loaf You Have Ever Seen

I think I need some sort of prize for the ugliest bread loaf ever created. I have been honing my bread making skills for four years now. I was beginning to feel like something of an expert. In fact I am even mildly well known amongst my friends and neighbors for my bread. So a couple weeks ago I decided I would do a post on bread making. I took pictures from the unground grains all the way through the process. Then something odd happened. My loaves raised funny and they turned into the ugliest things I'd ever made. So I scratched the post to wait and take pictures of the next time I made bread. That happened today. You guessed it. Again. The ugliest loaves. I have no idea what happened. I didn't change anything. Any true experts out there know what my problem is? They do taste great still (to my own defense), but they look horrid. I was getting to confident.


So much for the TV Diet

Remember that big national TV appearance I had...that ended up getting canned...well I lost 10 lbs in anticipation. I put 5 lbs back on. Remember this is at the same time I am exercising like a maniac. I ran 13 miles on Monday. How do you put on weight doing that? Okay, I know. I get super hungry and so I eat a lot. Healthy stuff, but obviously too many calories.

Green Thumb Turned Something Else

My garden is a mess. My tomatoes, beans, peas, melons, everything is either wildly out of control or a dud. My jalepenos are sweet. No kick. My lettuce tastes so gross Brent and I finally admitted to each other we didn't even want to eat it anymore. I did have some kale that I tried so hard to grow last year...it wouldn't come up...that surfaced this year. It tastes good. I am still holding out some hope, but not much. I can't blame it on the weather. My neighbors garden looks like her cucumbers and tomatoes were grown in the Garden of Eden.


There you have it. Just keeping things real. Go feel a whole lot better about yourself.

8.05.2008

"The Traveling Rules"

We taught our children some very specific rules for travel. They could recite them perfectly. Following them.....a whole different story.


video

BTW...when did they start charging $3 for carts? Luckily this one we found abandoned. It provided at least a 20 minute diversion during the layover yesterday.

Discovery Kingdom USA

We had a much more successful day at Six Flags than in the city. We equipped ourselves with tons of food and rented a big double stroller for the girls. I was impressed with the park. There was so much to do for little children. And while it was a far cry from DisneyLand, it was clean and entertaining. My only complaint...the prices. It was super expensive to get in, and then they nickle and dimed you for EVERYTHING once you were in the park.

Before the Log Ride....notice Ellery clutching Brent!


After the Log Ride...not too wet!

Emmett, smiling and kicking the day away. He hung out with Papi in the shade.


These smiles were actually real and continued almost "perma-smiles" the entire day.


Thomas the Train. When Emmett gets a little older, I'm sure the whole family will appreciate this ride more. Ellery and Callista only have a vague idea of who Thomas is. But assured me that Emmett "loves" Thomas.


Mimi's favorite: The Butterfly Gardens. Actually the girls and I loved this too. Butterflies were everywhere. It was almost more than Ellery could handle. She kept grabbing my arm and tugging me this way and that to snap photos.

Another Great Review of Cap Trappers

Check out the review and contest at Boutique Cafe.

San Francisco a view from the Tahoe


I have come to understand the word "vacation" in a whole new light with 3 children. Previous trips to California found us jaunting around to beaches, restaurants, shops, hikes etc. Now it consists of what can we see out the window of my father-in-laws tahoe. This included:

A whiz through China Town (I think I saw some knock-off Prada...not sure...it's hard to tell when you are going 35 mph)



A drive down Lombard Street (My mom grew up in SF, she always believed her dad held some sort record for speeding down the "curviest street in the world." I don't think they let you do that anymore. Pops wasn't up for trying.)




A run out to the beach to snap a photo; we really should have kept the car running. It was freezing. (The smile on Ellery's face, I am pretty sure that was the only one of the day. I think we also must have bribed or threatened her somehow, I have blocked it out.)



A pic at the Golden Gate Bridge. (This time we did keep the car running and Peter Pan playing.)



A stop at Fisherman's Wharf. Ellery agreed to get out because she knew there was a chocolate shop where Papi would buy her something.


A quick tour of Alcatraz. (Okay...so I glanced at it from the raised walkway on the way to the wharf. )

To my children's defense, they were extremely tired. Everything is hard when you are tired. For every season of life there are frustrations and joy. Yesterday...during an especially blissful moment of our layover in Long Beach... Brent told me he was going to put me on the plane with the kids and just disappear. I love him. I love our children. What an adventure is life!

And a tragic side note which added a huge kink into the vacation. We have lost our beloved Premaxx sling. I know Emmett was getting big for it...but ohhhh I missed it. We believe it must be in a potato field in Idaho...it never made it home from the spudman. Such is life.

Back in the Home State

At 11:30 pm last night, I wasn't sure if we would ever make it home. I don't know if I will ever fly jetblue again. Too bad. When we flew last year we had such a good experience. California was great. The children are exhausted. Parents are exhausted. Will post some pics soon.