Carpinteria 2013

Despite my efforts to skip this summer adventure this year, the twins persisted and we spent a few days at the Kent family reunion.  This gathering is only held every other year due to the distance that people have moved over time.  We had family in attendance from Minnesota, Washington, Utah and Arizona.  Early in the week they had up to 60 people camping and eating as a group.  By the time we arrived on Wednesday, the group had dropped by about 15 people and by Friday there was around 40.  IMG_3031

Due to lack of time off and financial constraints, Harley and I both worked up until Wednesday.  We picked Adam and Luke up on the way out of town and arrived in Carpinteria around 8:00.  The kids were so excited to see everyone that we went directly to the campsites. After visiting for a hour or so, we checked into Motel 6 for just one night.  I convinced myself that it would be too hard to get everyone and everything set up after dark.  But honestly Motel 6 was no real treat.  It was barely a step up from camping.IMG_3030The following morning we had breakfast at IHOP.  The kids love eating breakfast in a restaurant.  Emma tried eggs, hashbrowns, and pancakes.   She is getting to the point were she wants to eat just about everything we eat.  Its fun to watch her. 

The next two nights we camped in a tent and didn’t sleep to great either night.  Emma was restless and I was constantly worried she was going to start crying and wake everyone camping around us. She mainly slept on the air mattress with Harley and I. IMG_3028

Highlights of the trip included the beach, the candy store, and Foster’s Freeze. 

All the kids loved the beach.   I don’t care for the salt water and the sand but they don’t seem to mind.  Emma ate a little sand but mostly just wanted to play with it and throw it. 

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Emma actually took a nice nap on the beach one day while the boys were busy playing in the ocean. The used the boogie boards some but preferred just jumping and swimming in the crashing waves. They also enjoyed catching sand crabs and seashells.

IMG_3061IMG_3068We took a walk on morning to the local candy shop which is another long time tradition.  We gave the boys each a dollar limit and they cooperated for the most part.  The both bought a  and thank goodness IMG_3052 lost interest before it was ever completely eaten.   I got some Malt Balls and Harley chose some chocolate covered Honeycomb.  The best part for me was watching all the children walk to the store and interact with one another…. followed by the excitement in their eyes when they enter the candy shop.  IMG_3047IMG_3054 IMG_3051

Another highlight for the children is going out to ice cream at Foster’s Freeze.  Its much more expensive than Thrifty’s was when I was a child but that doesn’t exist anymore.  This picture makes them look so sweet but ti doesn’t tell the real story.  Before and after this, Adam and Luke were teaching Krew how to make fart noises with their armpits.  It was classic…..BOYS….!IMG_3070The trip wouldn’t have been complete without a night out for the adults.  Michelle Hollis watched the boys while we went out to eat at The Palms.  Its a family owned steak house that we have been going to for years and years.  The catch is you have to cook your own meat which Harley thought was ridiculous.  I love it because its tradition and associated with so many great childhood memories. 

We had the opportunity to help cook a few meals while we were there.   We cooked pancakes and sausage for breakfast one morning and prepped all the ingredients for some yummy tin foil dinners.  The boys helped with the dishes one morning and were constantly helping with Emma so we could do our part.  IMG_3037 IMG_3042 IMG_3046

On the way home we made a few stops.  The first was at the Ventura Mission.  With he boys going into fourth grade this year, I thought it would be fun to give them a jump start on the IMG_3077California mission curriculum.   But sadly they weren’t interested in the slightest bit.  I guessing that maybe next summer will be more appropriate once they have been educated a bit more about them. 

Last stop was a visit with the Spendlove’s in Santa Paula.  They are dear friends of Harley’s from his mission nearly twenty years ago.  He thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with them.  IMG_3075IMG_3079   

Summer Fun


After Adam and Luke finished Cub Scout Camp, we drove to San Diego for the weekend.  We hit horrible traffic in Los Angeles so we stopped for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  I had my favorite Thai Lettuce Wraps, Luke had a cheese pizza, and Harley and Adam shared a Shepard’s Pie.  We didn’t arrive in San Diego until almost 10:00.  Our hotel was the Town & County in Mission Valley.  I purchased it over Hotwire so we got a good deal but the beds were tiny!!  Or we have just gotten spoiled by our CAL King.  Saturday, June 15th we dropped the kids off at Don and Cara’s house while we attended my cousin Karleigh and Brandon’s temple sealing.   Following the sealing, we were able to stand as proxy for many of my ancestor’s sealings.  It was a very special experience for all of us.  That evening we attended the reception and visited with some of my extended family.  The twins were bored but cooperated nicely. IMG_2957The following day we went to the San Diego Zoo.  It was a perfect day as far as the weather was concerned.  Emma did well in the stroller in the morning but by afternoon she wanted to be out seeing and doing.  Weighing 21 pounds, we took turns carrying her around.  All in all she was a happy little baby.  IMG_2979


I think my favorite animals to see are always the pandas.   The boys couldn’t decide what their favorites were but I think Emma loved the Giraffes the IMG_2980most.  Most of  the family watched a 4D Ice Age movie until Emma lost the plot.   She didn’t seem to like the movement of the chairs and the air blowing in our face.   We bought a huge drink with refills and we couldn’t seem to keep it filled.  It proved to be an excellent investment for the day. 

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IMG_2984The zoo had a new section, at least one that I have never attended , that was particularly excited for our family…..the Australian Outback.  There was a rather large exhibit of koalas.   The kids had fun pretending to be koalas in the trees.  Its probably the closest we will all get to experiencing Australia all together for a number of years.

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IMG_2997IMG_3009 Although after departing San Diego, we traveled to Los Angeles.  We stopped for dinner at another one of my favorites spots….Cafe Rio in Lake Forest.   The kids enjoyed it and were even more pleased with a Jack in the Box milkshake for dessert.   We stayed in a hotel near the airport for this night and woke early to head off to our day of appointments.  First stop was the Australian Consulate.  Harley renewed his passport and Emma got her first Aussie passport.  IMG_3107Sadly, the boys were disappointed that we weren’t able to get theirs. Then we drove through Hollywood to Kaiser where Adam attended an appointment with the pediatric urologist.  They seemed to have some new ideas which we hope we can implement to help Adam overcome his problem.  He seems encouraged by the doctor too.

It was a lovely weekend away with the family but it sure was great to get home and jump in the pool!!!



Emma at 9 months


Emma brings so much joy into our home.  Harley refers to her as a happy little vegemite.  The month of May we spent a good deal of time traveling in the car. On one trip to San Diego, we only stopped once each direction to change her diaper.  She took her bottle in the car seat and slept the bulk of the way.  She is a trooper!  IMG_2945 She decided this month that she prefers what we are eating and drinking as opposed to baby food.  She just pushes the spoon away if we try to sneak it by her.  She loves watermelon, cantaloupe, and bananas.   She tried a bit of Alaskan cod and wanted more!  She is crawling well and getting into everything.  If you leave the bathroom door open she goes straight for the toilet paper or toilet water.  She really has become more attached to her pacifier which I hope won’t be to our detriment. She has been teething like crazy.  She now has 8 teeth (4 top and 4 bottom).  Her hair is actually starting to IMG_2933grow more like she has a mohawk. She can light up a room with her smiles and laughter. Adam can make her laugh with just one look most of the time.  She claps her hand and likes to play peek-a-boo.  She likes to watch Baby Einstein and wants to follow the boys into their bedroom.  If they won’t let her she sits outside the door waiting for them.  She either gives up or starts crying which none of us can resist.  She’s even cute when she cries.  


First week of Summer Vacation 2013


One of my biggest challenges during the year is summer vacation.   Luckily it is a time when we have Adam and Luke with us half time.   But trying to keep them productively busy and happy is always a hard task. We started off the time by making a list of things they would like to do at home and outside the home.   I was surprised by the length of the list and the thoughtful ideas they had.  We put together a calendar outlining the days they will be spending with us.   Then we began planning the first week.   Highlights of the week included:  going to see the movie Epic at the Wofford Heights theater, swimming and bowling with the Bunting children, a road trip to the Cat House Museum in Rosamond, and finally a trip with the entire family to the Trail of 100 Giants.IMG_2904 The trip to the Cat House went relatively well.  Its about a 1 1/2 hour trip and everyone cooperated in the car.  Adam and Luke practiced multiplication facts and Emma slept most of the way.   We arrived at 11:30 which we a big mistake.   It was 95 degrees already and the majority of the felines we in their dens.  We only spotted a few which was very disappointing to children and myself.  As we went to leave the docent mentioned that the best time to come visit was during feeding time which takes place between 2:30-3:00.  Really????  Couldn’t they have mentioned that on the website.  So we decided to go have lunch and come back later.  We had over two hours to burn in the dead heat of the day.  And was it worth sticking around……..yes I think so.   All of the animals on display, excluding the tiger, IMG_2903 were out on display.  Also around the property are some beautiful peacocks. Adam and Luke wanted to chase them but the docent said absolutely no chasing the peacocks! I think the kids were still a bit disappointed with the day.  They wanted them to do tricks or something to entertain them a bit more.  But all in all it was much better than a day spent watching television and playing video games right?   I think so but I’m sure they would hesitate to answer.

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Harley has wanted to take the boys to the Trail of 100 Giants for a few years now.   Saturday the temperatures were predicted to hit 108-110 degrees.  We decided it would be a great day to go up into the high country and enjoy some of the beauty and cooler temperatures there.  Also 1 1/2 hour drive from home, we found ourselves IMG_2921 surround by some of God’s beautiful creations.  The  Sequoia National  Forest is absolutely gorgeous.  The trees in this particular forest make up half of all those living in the world.  It is estimated that some of the larger ones are 1500 years old.  They are over 125 trees with a base of more than 10 feet in diameter.  The trail was fully paved until two trees whose root systems were intertwined recently collapsed.IMG_2919So we had to go off-roading with the stroller.  After walking the mile trailing and dodging bees, we sat for a drink and snack in a grove of trees.   We finished the adventure off dinner at the Pizza Factory.  IMG_2925

We also set some goals for the summer which include reading and completing a book each week they are here visiting.  And today they will finish their first books.  Thanks to our great neighbors Bob and Jacque they have taken an interest in the Hardy Boys series. 

The boys have been particularly helpful with Emma also.  Adam has a way with her that always results in laughter.  Luke is very protective of Emma and never wants to hear her whine.  They are happy to play with her and give her a bottle.  It is sure nice to have more helpers!!!!!!!!!! 

Since I work outside the home two days a week, the children are subject to daycare.   Luckily we have some wonderful solutions!   On Tuesday, Sandy Yunt come into our home to babysit.  All the kids LOVE her!   This makes leaving for the day easy for a mother.   On Thursdays, Adam and Luke go to Pat Harker’s home for child care.   They love it there because it is a never-ending fun house.  They swim, play tag football, basketball, video games, and play with newly acquired friends.  Emma goes to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Emma’s excitement when we arrive is adorable.  A few times when the front door is locked and we can’t get in immediately she gets a worried look on her face.  That look is instantly changed when she spots Grandpa coming to the door through the window.  What a blessing it is to have so many people that are willing to assist in nurturing and loving our children.

Looking forward to lots of fun adventures this summer.  NEXT UP:   Weekend away in San Diego and Los Angeles

aMazing Month of May

IMG_2672The month of May 2013 has been one of the busiest months is a long time.  We end April by celebrating Adam and Luke’s birthdays and that was just the beginning of the celebrations yet to come.  

My mom, my sisters, and I hosted a bridal shower for Krissy.  We held it at my family’s favorite restaurant in Bakersfield… Rosa’s.   We had about 15 close friends and family their to honor Krissy.  IMG_2670IMG_2674IMG_2671IMG_2682Krissy was showered with some lovely gifts for her new home and some fun gifts for she and Daniel to enjoy.  Did I mention that Krissy likes “playing nurse?”

The following weekend, I was able to take out my endowments at the Los Angeles Temple.  My lovely family accompanied me and my Mom was my escort.   It was a very special day for all involved.   Thanks to Tori Hogue for watching Emma outside the temple that day for us.  From there, my parents jumped on an airplane to St. Kitts for the week. 

A few days before my parents returned, I learned that my Uncle Ray had taken a bad fall and was in the hospital in San Diego.  He had broken five ribs and punctured his lung.    I desperately wanted to go be with Farris but was stuck in Lake Isabella helping with Nicole and Kelly.  I also realized that taking a 8 month old to hang out at the hospital probably wasn’t the best idea.   The day after my parents returned, my Dad, Emma, and I drove to San Diego to see Ray.   By the time we arrived it was determined that his condition wasn’t improving and that he probably wouldn’t live another day.   We were able to visit with him and both Emma and I got kisses from him.  It was a bitter sweet  visit for us because Ray passed away the following day.  I will always cherish that visit and the memories made throughout my life with him. 

Ray was a wonderful man is so many ways.  He was extremely charitable and willing to help me when I lived in San Diego.  I stayed in their home for about 2 months while waiting for my apartment to be available.  He and Farris couldn’t have been more accommodating of me.   They taught me to play Scrabble which I think they beat me every single time.   Ray tried to teach me how to ballroom dance but like many others decided it was hopeless.  He always complimented me and said if he was younger he would have married me in a heartbeat.  IMG_1825

Childhood memories of Ray are plentiful.  Some of my favorites include times spent at the beach in Carpinteria.  Ray was the master chef and spent hours cooking for all of us.   He also taught me how to play bridge and progressive rummy….both games I still love.  He pitched the ball as slow as possible in hopes of making it so I could hit it when we played family softball.   He instilled in us a love for the Padres and was ever hopeful that they would make it to the world series again.  He and Farris always brought a container of Red  Vines and See’s candy for the adults.  Most Thanksgivings they came to Lake Isabella for a visit.   I can still remember the excitement as a child awaiting their arrival. 

Ray will be missed but he leaves behind a legacy of love for his family, his country and our church.  I know he is rejoicing with loved ones on the other side.     Ray’s funeral was planned for the following Saturday (the day after our next celebration…)IMG_2797

On Friday, May 24, 2013, Krissy married Daniel Schultz in the Fresno, California Temple.   It was a simple wedding with immediate family and friends.   We stayed Thursday night at Krissy and Daniel’s new home in Tulare and put together the flowers for the event.  Following the wedding, we had an intimate luncheon at a restaurant fifteen minutes away.  Dessert was cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory! 

IMG_2822 IMG_2834 IMG_2801The following day we left for San Diego at 5:30 in the morning.  We arrived at Miramar Military Cemetery in plenty of time for Ray’s interment.  Ray was IMG_2860a Marine during World War II and one of the few survivors of Iwo Jima .  He was honored  with a complete military service.   We then proceeded to El Cajon where we had a memorial service at the church building.   Nancy, Howard, Craig and my Dad all spoke paying tribute to an incredible man.    The members of the ward provided a lovely luncheon after the service.    Almost all of my Dad’s living cousins were in attendance.

IMG_2857   IMG_2862IMG_2866The month of May ended with the conclusion of the twin’s completing the third 3rd grade and joining us for the summer.  Emma was truly in heaven with them around the house. 

We also celebrated Elle and Kent’s birthdays a few days late due to all the craziness.   IMG_2875 I made them (along with Adam and Luke) lap boards this year for their birthdays.   I think they all liked them.   We are sad that the Tucker children  will be moving to Tulare soon but happy for all the new changes to come in the years ahead.    IMG_2873