Monday, June 30, 2008

Best Day of their Lives

On Thursday we took the kids to Mt. Lassen. Several times throughout the day we heard exclaims that, "this is the BEST day of my life!"

There are many more vacation activities and pictures yet to come. This is just a teaser from one day.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Off to vacation! I'll post when I'm able and I promise lots to share in a week!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Story of Us- Part III

The morning of our first date was a beautiful morning...

The first time I saw Ben, he was walking across the street toward me as I stood on my front porch. I saw him wearing shorts and a black button up shirt. He was wearing sunglasses and it was a perfect spring morning with the city park behind him. I breathed a sigh of relief and felt excitement well up inside me. It was wonderful to know that he didn't surprise me by having three legs or a tail or any other freakish physical malady that might have been hidden in photographs.

Upon greeting we hugged and even though I was immediately attracted to him, there was a strange awkwardness between us. Despite talking for endless hours on the phone and feeling that I knew him so well, this was still our first date. Our plan was to go to breakfast that morning. We decided to walk a few blocks to a cute, touristy place. I remember noticing the height difference as we walked and Ben must have noticed too, but reassuringly he told me "You really don't seem as short as I thought you would." Maybe it was because I was wearing 3 inch heels in an attempt to minimize the difference.

At breakfast Ben ordered French Toast, telling me that it sounded good to him even though he normally would never order French Toast. A funny irony since he would repeat the order the next several times that we went out to breakfast together. About 30 minutes into breakfast, my phone began ringing. I had arrangements with two of my friends to call me just in case I needed a mysterious emergency to escape this date. An escape was not necessary and I ignored the calls and later confessed to Ben what my plans had been.

By the end of breakfast any awkwardness between us seemed to have disappeared. We decided to go for a drive. I drove. We went up to Mt. Park, a nearby campground and took a short hike. I'm clumsy, and as we hiked I stumbled once and started to fall. Ben quickly reached out to steady me and I was a goner from that point on. I was shocked that he was so aware of my need for help and that he was so quick to support me. In my mind it was an indicator of how the future would be with this man. We sat down on a bench and talked and talked. Talking in person was just as easy as it had been on the phone.

Next, we decided to go to the Tehachapi Loop. As we drove, Ben took my hand. At that point I thought I would burst.

I wasn't about to let his hand go...

Continue to Part IV

Back to Part I
Back to Part II

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tooth fairy

Last week Ben lost a tooth while eating his lunch. I had a hard time convincing him that it was most likely in his tummy and not stuck to his sandwich. With Big Ben's help he wrote this note for the Tooth fairy.

I guess sometimes, it doesn't hurt to ask! The Tooth fairy didn't give him $20, but she did show compassion on him and his missing tooth and left him $1. He was probably just as excited.

Little Sarah in Big Ben's shorts

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hard Teamwork

Big Ben gives the kids jobs that they can do around the house to earn money. These are typically tougher than normal chores. The last job he gave was that they could pick up some of the last of our lava rocks and some broken bricks. They all worked together for quite a while getting the job done.

High Flyin' Fun

Broc flying out of our pool.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Daddy

I've always been a Daddy's girl! I have one of those rare, wonderful fathers. Yeah, he might not be perfect, but he has been one heck of a good Daddy. I pulled out these pictures from the past this weekend.

Snuggling up with Daddy when I was 3 weeks old

Posing for pictures in High School

21 years old and still laughing with Dad

I talk to my dad at least once a week, usually I need to call him more often than that to ask for his advice on various things. I believe he knows almost everything.

Happy Father's Day Dad! I sure do love you!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Personality Reflections

This afternoon the kids made Father's Day gifts. When they were all completed, I was impressed by the amount that their personalities were reflected in their creations. I have posted the pictures before, but I'd like to point out the artwork.

Broc is willing to try different things, but he is very balanced. Everything in his life seems to be symmetrical.
Ben on the other hand has nothing that is symmetrical. He thinks outside of the box. He does a mismatch of different things.
Maris is our girly, pink princess. She is meticulous about doing things perfectly. And she likes all the extra bells and whistles added to everything.
Sarah likes things pretty, but simple. She likes order and symmetry.

The kids created these completely on their own. I did the glitter drawing, but only with their complete direction and instruction.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Meredith, Milo and Sebastian were here visiting yesterday! The kids had so much fun and the grown ups were VERY tired!

Broc- 9 years old

Sebastian- 8 years old

Maris- 7 years old

Ben- 6 years old

Milo- 5 years old

Sarah- 4 years old

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Teasing and Tattling

Having siblings that are close in age is something that I am personally not familiar with. I've stayed home the last two days all alone, with four kids. I've come to realize just how little I know about living with siblings. I'm finding myself questioning what is normal behavior and what is not. I didn't grow up with an example for how to discipline tattling, teasing and rivalry. I'm left throwing my hands up in the air and saying "Let THEM figure it out!"

I just don't know what to do when Ben is teasing Maris and Maris tattles on Ben. Who's right, who's wrong? Who gets a time out? How do we as parents balance being completely fair with making sure that the most appropriate lessons are learned? What's more... how do I survive? How do I keep my sanity? How do Ben and I not become divided in our parenting?

I read somewhere a family described as a "blending family" because the blending is a process that takes much more than just a wedding ceremony. You can't immediately be a "Blended Family" without putting the work into it. We are a Blending Family. I think we may always be a work in progress. You know, I'm not sure that we ever can or should become completely Blended. We are still two separate families that live under one roof. That doesn't make our love any less, but it does mean we have different histories, different perspectives and some different goals.

This big mess of kids and craziness and dirty socks is EXACTLY what I always dreamed of, though! My kids get what I dreamt of, siblings to play with and argue with.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Friday, June 6, 2008

Fitting them in

Broc and Maris are coming tomorrow! In preparation, we are looking for ways to cram 4 kids into our small house. Ben came up with this idea... He's all ready to be stored under the bed for the summer.

Really, he did it all by himself! It is not child abuse, I promise. He got in, Sarah put the lid on and I just happen to be there to get the picture.

The Proof

The proof is in! I've been saying that I find blogging to be very therapeutic, and now the experts are beginning to agree.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Story of Us- Part II

Then after about a week of emails my phone rang one night...

It was much later than I normally received phone calls and I wasn't expecting anyone to call. On the other end of the phone came an incredibly kind voice. "Hi is this Tina? This is Ben." And from that point there was never a lull in the conversation. We fired questions at each other. We talked about our children. I told him that I had wanted traditional names for my kids, but also family names that meant something. So I named them Sarah **** and Benjamin *****. "Wait!" he said, "Did you just say your son's name is Benjamin *****? You have got to be kidding me." I was stunned for a moment. I couldn't understand what could possibly be wrong with that. Then he explained to me that not only did he have the same first name as my son, he also had the same middle name. This was getting a little spooky.

We talked that night on the phone for hours. Actually, it was more like hours and hours. Ben asked me when he could come up and see me. Even though everything was great, I wasn't sure that I was ready for meeting right away. I had responsibilities to my children for the next little while. I explained to him that I wouldn't be comfortable with him meeting the kids for a while. We set a time to meet about a week and a half away. But I didn't want to wait that long to talk to him again.

We got off the phone late that night with the promise that he would call me again the next day. Our phone conversation the next day was even longer than our first conversation. We were both serious about the fact that if we were going to date someone, we weren't playing any games. We rapid fired questions at each other. I loved making up 'hypothetical' situations and asking him how he would react to such situations. After a week of phone conversations I felt like I knew him better than I had ever known anyone. Our lives just seemed to snap together like pieces of a puzzle. We didn't completely agree with each other on everything, but we totally understood each other.

The designated time that we planned to meet quickly approached. Breakfast we decided would be the best way to start our first date. We could spend an entire day together if things continued to click.

The morning of our first date was a beautiful morning...

Continue to Part III
Back to Part I

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What's a Bubbe for...

My mom came to visit yesterday. The kids had so much fun reading with her and singing and being silly. Sarah was upset that Bubbe was only able to stay one night. She told me, "it's not fair!" And that is exactly what a Bubbe is for!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My baby chick

Tonight we went to Sarah's end of the year program at preschool. She was a little baby chick. It is always fun to see your child in a program they are excited about. However, preschool programs are never standing ovation performances. Half the time we couldn't even see Sarah.

Oh, the things we will sit through for our children.