Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving to all our family and friends!

it is a beautiful, chilly day here in arizona. we had a nice cloudy day all day yesterday with rain off and on all day. we were even lucky to get rain last night and some thunder too! the weather guy says rain today and a cool 65 degrees. i hope he's right. i love cool/cold weather. it's nice to have thanksgiving dinner without your air conditioner running ;-)

it has been an amazing year. mostly ups, some major downs but through all of it i am reminded how thankful i am for what i have and who is in my life. because, without them it wouldn't really be a life worth having.

i am thankful for....
*waking up every morning to the faces i love
*kissing the love of my life every morning and every night (and every chance inbetween)
*having my mom, dad and sister 2 streets away
*my mom being one year cancer free
*my sister straight A's in college
*having beautiful, smart, loving, imaginative, HILARIOUS children who make me laugh every day.
*having the sense to let go of the small stuff
*having a sister in law like julie
*aunt brenda for checking on me and always making me laugh. and always calling me "pervert" when the moment calls for it ;-)
*having the friends that i have~you know who you are...oldest and dearest
*knowing that i am flawed but being loved so much anyway
*being home with the kids and enjoying precious moments i can never get back
*being me ;-)

there are always things we wish we could change or take back or do over. i am no different.
i wish my grandma was here. i wish it every day. this time of year was "her time" to do the things she loved..cook and shop! i miss her so much.
and to my angel baby~there isn't a day that goes by that i don't think of you and wish that you were here with us.

happy thanksgiving everyone

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


well i took pics of the kids on cassandra's bday dinner night but it was dark and believe it or not..THIS was the one that turned out best. dammit!

alyssa on the balcony talking to mimi

shamu rocked

Sea World Galore

watching Shamu
Alyssa was tired!

Showing off her groove moves at lunch
daddy getting some love

come here shamu

Sea World Pics

at the shamu show

the sting rays, yes the 3 big kids did touch them

we all fed and rubbed the dolphins

Hotel Del Coronado Pics

griffin loved the balcony, he talked to everyone passing by!
alyssa liked the nightstand

griffin was trying to figure out sleeping arrangements w/ 5 people and 2 beds LOL

kids playing and shane working

our room before the roll away bed arrived

here are some pics of our room at the hotel del

Photo Tag

Ok, Lea tagged me so here is the 4th picture of my 4th folder in "My pictures" on my computer



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Coronado Island~the Hotel del Coronado

san diego was wonderful. at first i was bummed because their weather was so warm there right now. it was 80 the day we arrived, upper 70's the next day and then low to mid 70's the rest of the days. it actually was nice because we went to the beach and played in the water. during low tide on friday the sand dollars were abundant and the kids picked over 80 of them. i think we made it home with 73 (due to breakage) and they are out on the patio drying out.

we went to the beach on tuesday and friday. sea world on wednesday. sea world was awesome, very empty as far as people went. the kids fed dolphins and were able to pat the stingrays. they loved the shark encounter exhibit. we saw the budweiser clydesdales. they are just magnificent! so clean in that stable LOL. cassandra rode the atlantis water ride with shane and then me. it was good but faster than i remembered from 4 years ago LOL. the weather was perfect that day and actually got very chilly around 3:00 just after we got done on the water ride. literally, it was 75 ish degrees and dropped to 62 (we saw when we got in the car) and a fog moved in.

we saw the shamu show and the walrus/sea lion show. very cute. we missed the dolphin show because most shows were only running once or twice that day. shamu was only once so we had to miss the dolphins to see that one.the aquariums were very nice, the kids loved seeing all the jellyfish. which gave me the heebie jeebies.

we had amazing meals at the hotel del coronado. room service was our friend in the mornings. they had a wonderful coffee cabana that opened at 6:00. alyssa woke every morning between 5:30 and 6:00 so we dressed in the dark and headed down for my coffee and her box of cereal and we walked along the beach. some mornings were super foggy but it was nice. one of the mornings ~ wednesday i think? savannah went with me and alyssa. it was a good thing because there were dolphins playing in the water just off the beach. we watched them for at least a half hour. it was amazing to see them out there in the wild...not at sea world. i dont' think savannah will ever forget that.

thursday was cassandra's birthday. we did lots of walking at her request. we went to the ice cream shop for lunch. she wanted a fancy dinner by the ocean (well as close as we could get) so we all dressed up to the nines and went to dinner for her. our waiter was a jerk which was a bummer because we had superb waiters the whole time we were there except that night. she still had fun.the girls cried the night before we had to leave. they love going there. i think next time i will schedule the guided tour of the hotel. it is 120 years old and has so much history. we got to see the crown ballroom this time which was stunning to say the least. i know they would love to hear more of the history since it's been around since 1888.whew! that's it.....xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

happy birthday cassandra megan

cassandra megan leonard
7 lbs 15 oz
9:10 am
it is difficult to believe that cassandra is 9 years old. it feels like just yesterday i was POAS to find out she was even going to be a part of our life. shane and i had her name picked out when we were dating in high school. who knew that almost 7 years after we graduated high school we'd actually be using that name.
getting pregnant the first time was more work than we thought it would be. you assume that you do the opposite of what you had done to keep from getting pregnant. that is not always the case. to spare you all the gory details, suffice it to say i remember month after month dragging shane into the bedroom to perform his duty so we could have this baby we were dying to have. it took 6 months for me to get pregnant. not that i was complaining about all the activity ;-) but shane was working full time and in school full time and trying to keep up with me and ovulation schedules was more than he thought he'd be required to do.
ahhhhhhhh yes, that first positive pregnancy test. i didn't believe it so i peed on 3 or 4 more to be sure. now i was sure so we called to tell everyone. i have to say most responses were positive. some more positive than others though ;-)
so we did doctor appointments, i worked full time and my bosses offered for me to work from home when the little bean arrived. we planned and plotted. we had 3 baby showers thrown for us. i ate. i had heartburn that rivaled a volcano. i had pre-eclampesia (or toxemia as it was called in the day) so i swelled up 70 or so lbs worth. the tops of my feet split open. it was misery but it was our baby on the way and nothing made us happier.
my doctor was an asshole. i never saw them but 2 or 3 times. the rest of the time it was NP's who just yelled at me for being fat. nobody tested for pre-e at that point. cassandra was due nov 24th but at my doc appt on the 19th i saw the actual doctor who was appalled at the swelling i had so i was induced. i vividly remember the call from the hospital "mrs. leonard...this is chandler regional hospital. are you ready to come in and have your baby???" my answer "well...... i guess so" you know that moment. the one you have longed for and dreaded all at the same time? would you be strong enough? would you be brave enough? would it go ok? would the baby be ok?
we got to the hospital with everything the first time parents show up with. a radio, cd's, massage stuff, phone list, camera, the ever famous "bag" with all the essentials in it. we looked like we were spending the weekend at a resort rather than coming to have a baby.
we learned a lot. like the fact i would have the "on call doc" because my docs weren't working that weekend. nice. thanks for the head's up guys. we learned that labor is called labor for a reason :-) i made it to 8 cm before i was brave enough to face the epidural. i'm glad i did. i pushed for 2 hours and 15 min before the doc decided to try a vacuum. cassandra had the cord around her neck 2x. i had a major tear and lots of stitches and some lovely hemmis to go w/ the package. but i had a beautiful baby girl. what more could you ask for? tons of dark hair. beautiful blue eyes. more beautiful than i could have imagined.
at that moment you realize that it IS possible for your heart to exit your body, sprout limbs and exist outside of your body. i felt more powerful and more vulnerable than ever before. nothing is ever the same again. i never looked at movies the same, songs the same, people the same. everything was that wonderful combination of amazing and terrifying at the same time. such emotions. such love to feel. amazing. i remember not even wanting to put her down so i could pee.
i also felt my first bouts of "failure" w/ breastfeeding. whoever said breastfeeding was natural forgot to emphasize that it's not easy. we tried for 2 weeks and went on formula. while i did beat myself up over it i also had a very healthy happy baby. i wish that as moms we didn't guilt ourselves over so many things. but alas, it's who we are.
cassandra was and still is an amazing girl. she was such a social baby. i took her to work w/ me 2-3 days a week and worked from home the rest. she was everywhere, in bosses offices, with the receptionist, with me. everyone loved cassandra. it was an office of men reduced to babbling "uncles" when cassandra arrived. she brought us all closer.
cassandra is the only one who really got to know my grandma. and what a treasure that was. i remember her baking cookies with her. picking pansies with her. holding her, rocking her and just loving her. i remember hampy in the chair holding cassandra singing to her. they are moments i know she doesn't remember but i have the pictures to show her and the stories to tell her.
cassandra was a riot. she didn't experience the 2's but she did have a wild bout of the 3's. independence was her wish. "i do it myself" was what i heard mostly. thanks to the guys at work and my sailor mouth she learned to use the F word at age 3, in context i might add. ya, that took awhile to break. then came school. i remember laying in bed crying for months before school even started. i didn't want to share her with the world. i wanted her home with me. reluctantly, i took her to school. and she cried every single day. she laid on the ground and she held my leg. i cried every day driving home from leaving her there. luckily, she had the best teacher in the world and we made it through. first grade was a little better but not much. second grade she made a best friend and school was where she wanted to be 75% of the time. now 3rd grade is here and she has many friends and a wonderful teacher who says he wishes he could keep cassandra in his class forever. his words..."never have i had a student who uses her manners so effortlessly. she is a pleasure. no, make that a joy to be around" so ya, i cried during parent/teacher conferences. wouldn't you?
cassandra was a wonderful big sister the first time. the second time and the third time. she is a little mommy herself. she is a sensitive, caring girl. she's a worrier. she wants everyone to be happy, everyone to like her. she'd rather cut off her own arm than hurt your feelings. and yet you see that tween 'tude showing through as she struggles with her new feelings and problems with friends. i don't really worry about the choices she will make. i worry about those around her who will take advantage of her amazing willingness to give so effortlessly. she is my comedian, my psychologist, my assistant, my friend and forever my walking, talking, singing heart.
will she ever know that i feel these things about her? i tell her. but she's too modest to ever really grasp that she is the world to me. as much now as she was when i held her in the hospital 9 years ago.
i love you cassandra
pictures will come this weekend~i'm in san diego w/out my own laptop.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Down on the sheep farm

Savannah with a Karakul Baby

Cassandra on Bill's Tractor

Griffin on Bill's Tractor

Well we spent our Veteran's Day holiday on my friends' farm! Liz and I have been friends for 20 something years and we just don't get to see each other enough. She and her husband raise natural colored Cotswolds and Karakuls. I think she said they had 65 sheep now. It's lambing season so there will be plenty more on the way!
The kids had a blast. Bill let Cassandra and Griffin drive the tractor themself. It went slower than their power wheels so they did fine. Griffin learned how to put the front loader up and down by himself too. They drove all around the sheep pasture and managed not to hit any sheep or any sprinkler heads!
Savannah was more interested in the sheep and the alpacas. Both the girls decided they wanted to try herding sheep. Let me tell you from experience, it's not that easy. Some of you may remember I had my own little flock of 53 natural colored sheep for about 10 years. Liz and Bill also have a beautiful Pyraneese dog that loved Alyssa. It followed her everywhere and Alyssa was not afraid at all even though she was big and puffy!
So Liz is a 4-H leader. Cassandra joined 4-H and Savannah is in the Clover Kids program. That means she can have an animal project but can't show it at the fairs until she is 9. The girls chose goats. I can't wait. Shane can but I can't ;-)
We had a beautiful day outside in the country.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shane's Bday dinner at Mining Camp

We had an awesome time at the mining camp restaraunt for Shane's bday dinner!
There were a lot of people there to tell Shane happy bday~and eat good food ;-) so here are some pics from the restaraunt and at home for Shane's cake and presents

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Before School Pictures

I couldn't resist, on Friday morning everyone was looking so good...I had to take pictures!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shane and Alyssa story time

well alyssa convinced shane to read (and re-read) 'witzy wonders' a few nights ago. they had a good time in the ol' lazy boy recliner reading. the pics were too cute to pass up so here we go. no real story to go with it, i just loved the pics and had to share!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Shane!!!

happy birthday shane!

ahhh my sweetie is the big 34 today! we celebrated low key today ;-) i got him a new xbox 360 game called dead space which he tells me is an "8 out of 10" so i am impressed. and it kept him off WOW which is even more shocking!
we went to dinner at 5&diner and it was delish. we both had rubens. mmmm i so love a good ruben! the kids were good and we had an awesome waitress. she was a gem!

next weekend we are celebrating his bday with his dad/wife, brother/kids, my mom/dad/sis and his best friend/wife (they are our kids' godparents). we are going to a place called the mining camp restaraunt right next to the superstition mountains. very very scenic.

so happy birthday to my sugar bean!


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008

Iron Man, Sharpay (HSM) and Witch
My Little Dallas Cowboy's Cheerleader


the 4 goblins but one won't cooperate lol


the kids had a great time on halloween! we went to our town's "trunk or treat" celebration at desert mountain park. it was wonderful! they had trunks decorated by local business owners. they handed out candy and little trinkets to the kids. you got to vote on what trunk was best decorated, what people were best dressed. they had a dog costume contest, a bus decorated inside as a haunted house, free ice cream, petting zoo, train rides, bounce house, carnival games, a magician/juggler, mad scientist show. i can't even remember it all!
the kids had fun and it was busy but not too busy. we came home and also hit 5 houses at our end of the street. alyssa did great, she never said a peep about the costumes and some of them were pretty icky. she loved the petting zoo! they had piglets, baby alpacas, rabbits, chicks, puppies, goats, and big chickens.
we had a great time!