Sunday, April 27, 2008

Point Reyes National Seashore

We are trying to create experiences for our children and have decided to try to go on an "adventure" once a month. One of the good things about California is that there are a lot of neat things to do. We haven't ventured down south yet, but will someday. On Saturday we went to Point Reyes National Seashore to see if we could catch the tail end of the Grey Whale Migration. We didn't see any whales, but were able to spend some time playing on the beach, gathering seashells, and poking the anemones in the tidepools.
Jessica found this "cool" mussle shell with "things and barnacles" growing on it.
Anna was worried about losing the 8 million shells they found so she started digging holes in the sand behind this log to hide them in. What a sneaky kid.
Reese is on Shark Patrol. He was right in his element here.
These girls are so stinkin' cute!

Jeff's first trip to the beach. He did well thanks to the Baby Bjorn.
Typical mom, I had all the jackets, monkey packs, binoculars and seashells...and happy as could be about it. I loved watching my family play.
Ben really took his job of "finding things worth seeing for the kids" seriously. It was cute to watch him be a little boy again!

The beach was great, we got to see some of the dreamiest dairies in the world, (they were on the cliffs just overlooking the ocean, I think these must be the happy California cows), and then we ended up in Liberal Land aka Point Reyes Station. I had seen The Cowgirl Creamery featured on Martha Stewart a while ago and being the cheese connoisseur I am, thought we should stop there and get some cheese and ice cream. So we pulled up in our evil gas guzzling SUV with our blatantly overpopulated family (their opinion, not mine). It was a little uncomfortable, one vendor even had a sign that said "Everytime you vote Republican, God kills a kitten." But don't worry, I got my cheese.
We went home through San Fransisco so we could see the Golden Gate Bridge. We were all very impressed, and very touristy as I was taking pictures through the window. We were most interested, however, in the "character" driving his convertible PT Cruiser, wearing His pink sweater vest with his upturned collar, rocking out to Fergie. It was a SF classic. I tried to get a picture, but in my attempts to be incognito, only got the doorhandle of said PT Cruiser. Oh well, use your imagination.

All in all it was a very fun and beautiful day....Next month we think we will try Yosemite! See Ya!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Even Mama Pigs Need a Break

I saw this mama at The Farm in Snohomish Washington. My uncle works there with some friends and I have to say that it is one of my favorite places in the world. She just laid there as her little piglets nursed and pulled at her. They climbed all over her, squealing and fighting, but she peacefully laid there doing her job...taking care of her babies. As we were leaving the petting zoo area a little while later, we walked by her again. This time she was in a totally separate area of the pen, her piglets still in the first area, still squealing and climbing all over eachother. She was standing all by herself, doing nothing but taking nice deep breaths, seeming to enjoy a little bit of peace. I think of her a lot...especially when I have days like I have been having lately. I feel so bad about the mother that I am somedays, like I am being stretched in a million different directions and nothing and no one is being taken care of properly. I get so frustrated and irritated when I should be showing more patience and love, and all I really want to do is either climb back into my bed and lock the door, or go somewhere far, far away and stay there for a very long time. I comfort myself with the thought that it is completely natural for me to need even a little break to gather my nerves up off the still unmopped floor and regroup. I love my children with all my heart, and I am extremely blessed to have them, but even mama pigs need a break.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ben...What a Guy!

This is Ben. As you can probably see, he doesn't really enjoy picture taking, but he loves me so he pretended to not be too ticked off.

This is Ben sleeping. He especially doesn't like pictures of him sleeping, but it is so rare that he is home and able to sleep in his own bed, I thought I would try to capture the moment. I am really happy to have someone to snuggle with. This is Ben's office in California. He is the regional director for Delaval (A dairy manufacturing company). He is in charge of everything west of Kansas, which is why he is gone a lot.

This is Ben playing and singing with the kids. He is taking a break from his favorite Carole King "It's too late Baby" song and humoring them with a little bit of "The Little Mermaid." What a great dad!

Random pictures, I know, but all to celebrate my wonderful husband and MY NEW DIGITAL CAMERA!!! Can you believe it? Last Monday he mentioned that he was in the mood for a banana and I said "There are bananas at Costco! We could go there and get some and also a new camera" and he said "OK"! I hurried and got the kids in the car before he changed his mind. A few hundred dollars later, I had my digital camera and he still had no bananas (they were out). Yea for me, and thank you BEN!

Our New Yard!

I thought I would be clever and post things newest to oldest so that they would end up in the right order, but I messed up, so you get to see the after pics of our yard project first. Scroll down for the before pics.

A new "behind the roses" picture.

Isn't this better? There is actually somewhere for the kids to play!

The kids call this the "Special way". They can run all the way around the tree with this special path. I think it will also make a nice place to play hide and seek. We left the iris' around the pomegranate tree because they looked so pretty and cheerful. The snails love them too.

The kids are really excited about the yard, and even though they can't play on the grass yet, the girls thought they would go out before church today and play barbies on the porch. It was a little chilly for them, but don't they look cute?

Thanks for looking. This has been my focus for the last couple of weeks. Now I can mop the floor. Goody.

The Taming of the Yard

I have written before about our yard. It was quite a jungle. These before pictures are actually after pictures of what it was before the big pruning of December 2008...yes, in the central valley of California we do yard work during Christmas Break. We called it a pruning of biblical proportions. It took us three weeks of ours and our neighbor's green bin to get rid of all the junk. These pictures show what we have done since then.
Isn't this lovely? The scraggly grass is now looking a lot better with the help of a lot of really good fertilizer and plenty of water.
This is what we call "behind the roses." We have a bed of roses (not the Guns 'n Roses kind) in the middle of our yard. They are quite stunning, but right in the way. We thought we would utilize the space behind them so we moved all the plants that were randomly placed everywhere.
I like mint in gum and toothpaste and especially in grasshopper cookies, but not in my yard. Pretty much everywhere you see dirt there is actually mint and/or ivy. I spent hours pulling it out. Good thing pulling weeds is one of my favorite things to do and another good thing that my baby takes somewhat regular naps.


Raspberries transplanted and Madge (the dog) checking our work.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ahh, Sleep at last!

Have you ever seen a sweeter baby?! I love this little guy! He is at the fun, just starting to really interact with us stage. He coos and smiles at us all the time. He is especially wonderful because for the last three nights he has slept through the night!!! I am flying high on 8.5 hours of blissful slumber!

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.....

We have been working REALLY hard to tame the jungle that is our yard. I will post some before and after pictures once we get the sod in this weekend. I am really excited to have a place for my kids to play. The weather is perfect right now and we need to take advantage of it before it gets too hot.

Our yard is full of all kinds of things including snails. I had never seen these kind of snails before we moved to California, but they are all over the place! They look just like the ones in storybooks with their little spiral shells and everything. The kids LOVE to play with them. They make houses for them and give them lovely names like Meghan and Rebekah. It makes me want to throw up to see them with snails all over them, but isn't that what being a kid is all about...being gross? I think that is also why Heavenly Father gave us hot water, soap and Purell. The other day they had gathered up a mass of the writhing things and put them on a piece of styrofoam. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. I have the kids convinced that the snails LOVE the green garden bin and that the city compost heap is like snail heaven. Now they get so excited to put them in the garbage can. Once again, I apologize for the quality of the picture. It was taken on my cell phone. I have given Ben until Wednesday to get me my birthday digital camera before I go and get it myself. Until then this will have to do.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Blessing Day

This post will basically be identical to Libbies because she sent me the pictures. Four of us Reil girls all had babies within 5 weeks of eachother: (Me (Emily:)), Bekie, Libbie, and Tanisha. The three of us who live in the US all got together in my parents ward and blessed these precious babies on March 30. It was a very special day and we look forward to more, like baptisms etc!

Mommies and Babies
Daddies and babies
Silly Daddies!

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Birthday

Today is my birthday, well I think it is still today (April 7) just barely. It was pretty low key with doctor appt and chores. I didn't even tell my kids it was my birthday, simply because I didn't really feel like making myself a cake. Ben is out of town again and I just felt like it was somewhat pointless, but my sweet kids really stepped up and made me this one. It is edible playdough made from peanut butter, honey, milk and flour, topped off with lovely pink sparkles!I am truly amazed at their (mostly Jessica's) creativity! I'll have to play with it tomorrow. I love my darling children and all of you who called/commented to wish me a happy day! Thanks! Sorry about the picture, I dropped the old 35mm (darn it) and broke the back off. All I have now is my cell phone. It really is time for a digital camera. Don't you all think it would make a nice birthday present? Ben, are you reading this???


As much as I wish I could tell you happy birthday in person, this will have to be second best. (I know I am totally abusing the use of your password...) So this post is in honor of my wonderful sister in law Emily, who was born on this day 29 years (or so) ago.

The top 10 reasons I am glad Emily was born april 7

10. She likes to farm at the cabin, and any other place it is available

9.She is the food networks next big show - Dinner is a breeze when you store it in your deep freeze. (I love your freezer meals!) Watch out Giada!

8.She loves a project as much as I do.

7. She is very photogenic with the prettiest skin, lips and fingernails I have ever seen (and wish I had!).

6. She has never had a cavity (as a dental phobic, that is my dream!)

5.She lets me post on her blog without permission

4.She has a strong testimony of the gospel.

3.She has given birth to 6 kids. (this one could stand on its own, but even more, she is an excellent mother to ALL 6 of those cute little rascals:)

2. She models swimsuits

1.There is no one else in this world who could have married (and make happy) my very large, guitar playing, dairy lovin, manure smellin, fox news (sponge bob) watchin, thinkin he is so funny and sometimes is brother. Therefore becoming my favorite sister in law!


I "virtually" picked those flowers just for you! I love ya! Hope you have a fantastic birthday!

Jeff's 2 month checkup

We went to the doctor today and my sweet baby is now 13 lbs and 22.75 inches long! He is such a chub! He did well with his three shots, he only cried for a minute and then was smiling and cooing again. I love this boy!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pre/Post Baby Chub and My Leaking Breasts

After the twins were born, I was able to eat anything I wanted because I was nursing both of them. When I stopped nursing them, I didn't stop eating everything and consequently, gained a few pounds.
One day my neighbor came over. Here is how the conversation went:

Neighbor: "How do you feel about hand-me-downs?"
Me: "I love them."
Neighbor: "If, you are interested, I just cleaned out my closet and I have a bunch of clothes I don't fit into anymore, THANK GOODNESS, and I hope I never fit into them again...."

Now you might think that this is bad enough, but she kept on going....

Neighbor (cont.): "....some of them might work for you now and the rest of them you can use as motivation." (She actually winked her eye at me at this point.)
Me: You need to leave now, lady, so that me and my fat self can call everyone I know and laugh at how rude you are. (OK, I didn't really say this, but I was thinking it and should have said it.)

I guess her form of motivation worked because I worked really hard and lost 30+ pounds. As I was doing so, my other neighbor had another comment for me. He told me that I looked like a 28 year old swimsuit model. Thanks, man. This man is wonderful. A few years ago he had a brain tumor removed and is now somewhat disabled. He says what comes to his mind and you just love him for it, (and don't tell his wonderful wife, who would DIE if she knew!)

So, we went up to Washington last weekend to bless Jeff and we went over to see them. As the kids were in the backyard playing with his son, he told me..."Well, you don't look like a 28 year old swimsuit model anymore....and you're leaking." Dang it!