Friday, December 21, 2007

A Dusting of Snow

It started snowing lightly and Cameron was very excited. He decided to go on a little hike in the snow. While he was hiking Stacey, Mom and I were busy wrapping presents. We wrapped up lots of presents and hid them in my large kitchen shelves that are still very empty. Cameron came home covered in snow and I couldn't resist a picture.

Christmas Lights

Cameron did a great job on the Christmas lights. I love it!!! So I thought I would post how pretty they look this year.

Kindergarten Christmas Fun

On Wednesday the Kindergarten performed a little Christmas program. I loved it. Ali was good for the whole thing, sang clearly and knew all the words. She even was pulled out to sing a little solo up front. She did well and seemed to enjoy it a lot. Ali had a Christmas brunch for her class on Wednesday. It was fun to go and help and I am always amazed with how much energy you need to take care of five year olds. They are very active in Ali's class. Ali also made gingerbread houses on Thursday. Once again I helped and I am now glad that I don't need to help again for a few weeks. Ashling was busy with Aunt Stacey, shopping and playing while we were doing all of these other things. She seemed to enjoy the special attention from her aunty.

Snow sledding

We had some good snow a couple weeks ago. Here are some pictures of the snow events. Sledding in our yard is very fun and a little scary. We have only had a few mishaps including Ali and Ashling sledding in to trees. Ali came up and said Ashling needed a little ice since her face hurt. After I gave it to her in a bag and she put it on Ashling's face everything was fixed. Also Ashling comes in all the time with no gloves on. But in general the kids love the snow and we are praying for lots more.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Girls with Santa

Cameron's work had a Christmas party for the kids. It was an open house and right when the girls walked inside they had their names and had the girls sit down on Santa's lap one at a time. Then Santa talked to them and gave them a Christmas present. They also had crafts to do and a little treat for the kids. It was so cute and well thought out. Ali got a barbie that sings and Ashling got the Dora magical castle. They both love their presents.

Winter Has Arrived

We had a great rain storm that came on Friday November 30th. It rained and rained and rained. The girls and I had lots of errands to run down the hill and got soaked with rain even with our bright pink umbrella that Ali convinced me to buy. We were very excited about all the rain but then on Saturday we had even more excitement. It started to hail a little and then it snowed about an inch. We were all so excited to see the snow and it was perfect for us. We enjoyed a little playing in the snow. Cameron and Ali fought over who was going to shovel the inch of snow off the driveway, decks, sidewalks and other things around our house. It is good that they like to shovel so much because I never have to shovel at all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Dresses

I just wanted a post with my cute girls in their Christmas dresses. They feel as if they are princesses and we know they are. They were so cute on Sunday in these dresses. After church was over Ali and Ashling saw each other and gave each other a big hug. I am glad to know that they love each other so much.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope that everyone is doing something fun for thanksgiving. Write and tell me what your thanksgiving plans are. Ali had a feast in her class for thanksgiving. It was so fun. Each class made something for the Thanksgiving feast. Ali's class contributed pumpkin pie. They had turkey, mashed potatoes, pop corn, pumpkin muffins, and sweet potato pie. They dressed as indians and pilgrims and the indians gave all the pilgrims necklaces. I love how this school is able to cook things and celebrate holidays. They refuse to destroy the holidays for everyone like some schools are trying to do. After the feast I took the girls to the park. We are not supposed to get any snow yet but it is cooling off for the weekend. So I thought the girls should get their wiggles out before it is too cold to. Happy Holidays and Happy Haliday shopping.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

uhh...what happened to winter, guys?

So, here it is, the end of November, and yesterday, my daughters were playing outside at 9:30 am IN THEIR BATHING SUITS, UP HERE IN THE MOUNTAINS! This just isn't right. It is as if I am being mocked for believing that moving to the mountains would provide me more seasonal weather patterns than in Murrieta. I guess I blame it all on global warming. Isn't that the "hip" thing to do? C'mon everyone, there's a band-wagon, let's get on it!

Okay, I believe in global warming. I also believe in global cooling (Some places in the antarctic have recently been found to contain record depths of ice). I also believe in random weather patterns and repeating weather patterns which have very little to do with the influence of human activity. But hey, if driving a hybrid that costs $5000 more than the non-hybrid helps you sleep at night, more power to you. Just realize that when you plug that thing in, the electricity is likely coming from a COAL FIRED power plant out in Utah or Nevada somewhere.

I actually don't mind the sensationalism. I truly am environmentally minded at heart. Just ask my wife! She can tell you the crazy notions I have about how our forests are used and destroyed. Fortunately, the above mentioned sensationalism is what it takes to get folks perked up about environmental issues. So yes, I blame global warming for this unseasonably beautiful weather. I am sure Shane is loving it, as he always says "this is just beautiful weather...gorgeous day!" There are times when I would pay money for the kind of days we are having right now, but we also need to realize that if we don't get some serious rain this winter, rationing is likely for all of so cal next summer!

In other news - I am no longer a man. I sold my soul, err truck I mean. Yeah, you know that big ol' truck o' rid of er'. I am now a true urbanite driving a much more practical vehicle. I may sound bitter, but don't be fooled by me imminent sarcasm. I am glad to get rid of that truck because the mileage is killing my budget. I have to say though...props to Ford. My 5.4 lilter V8 in my lifted truck with 107000 miles delivered endless power and 15 mpg! Some guy I talked to at the gas station last week who drives a brand-spankin' new Titan said he's lucky to get 11 mpg...Sheesh, feel sorry for that budget! I liked the Ford, but hey, gotta do what you gotta do, right? So now I drive a new Subaru Impreza. I like the car a whole heck of a lot already, and I didn't take long to remember how to smoothly operate a clutch after a 6-year hiatus from manual transmissions. I can again feel the exhilaration of driving the legacy GT I used to own running in my veins again...Hopefully tickets don't offset fuel savings.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Home for the Holidays!

I am very excited because Tony, Stacey, David and my mom are coming for Christmas. And it is even better than last year. Now everyone is coming and staying for awhile! It is very nice of everyone to come here and I am grateful that they all can come. I guess sky miles do come in handy sometimes. Now all I need is ideas of how to keep them all entertained and not going crazy with two small children asking them to do something all the time. At least Ali is in school part of the time. That should make it easier. Any ideas on fun things to do with the family?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day Weekend

The weekend has been pretty low key for us. We went on a hike up to Keller Peak with the girls. Ali hiked very well. It was the best she has hiked ever. I think she is finally getting ready for some longer hikes. There were tons of roads cut along the trail to provide fire support. We also saw some one taking advantage of these roads to 4 by4.

We also helped a family in our ward who lost their house to the fire move in to a new house. They seemed in such high spirits that I was impressed with their ability to cope with life. This particular family did not have any insurance and were mostly just making do with what others had given them. But they were happy. I guess we do not need possessions to be happy. It makes me wonder why I think I have to have so many things when really we do not need most of them. Gives meaning to the scripture that we should lay up our treasures in heaven and not on earth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mommy what are we doing today?

Well we are lucky because we have not had any problems as a result of the fire. Cameron was able to work so we still received a paycheck, we didn't have to stay in a hotel thanks to Chalon and Todd and most importantly our house didn't burn so we still have a place to call home. But there are still the little things. We still are not in school. It will not start until the 12th of November. So I am constantly having to decide what to do to keep one very busy 5 year old who wishes to be in school busy. We have been doing many things this week. Ashling got a hair cut-she was convinced it would hurt and very scared but behaved very well under the bribe of a cookie. We went to Toy's R Us and the kids told me what they wanted for Christmas. That was very fun.

Yesterday we went to the Zoo with our friends The Holmes. That was a blast! Although we discovered we probably could have just let the girls play at her house and they would have been just as happy. I was very impressed with the playful Zebras. They were wrestling and having fun. Also the gorillas had babies which are always entertaining but it was especially interesting to see one angry mama clobber another gorilla who got too close to her baby. The highlight of the day was two tiny baby monkeys in the cribs at the nursery. They were as cute as newborns. I wanted to hold one. Then we got lost in San Diego for awhile and were saved by mapquest and her husband. We had dinner at Red Robbin and then let the balloons go in the parking lot. (This is a very good way to not have to worry about what to do with a dead balloon in the morning.)

Today the girls had gymnastics and we spent the whole day down the hill. Ashling loved doing flips today and Ali loved being able to get on the bar all by herself. We also went to the park where the girls tried to get rid of energy. Ashling had a doctor's appointment and behaved as well as an adult after the bribe of a milkshake if she laid still. We also went to Chalon's and the girls played together for a little while.

I am tired and out of ideas for what we are going to do for the five more days until school starts so any ideas?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Home Sweet Home and Halloween pictures

We are home at last. Running Springs is not devestated. I have not driven by the burn area due to the fact that I have not had time but while driving to my house you can see burned areas but everything is not devestated. Our house is not smoky and you can not tell there was a fire from our house. I guess we were very lucky. I could see some burned areas but overall the fire seems to have preferred houses to the forrest in general. I am sure that I will find more as I get out and look later this week.

Halloween was fun. We went trick or treating with the cousins. It was a lot of kids and they were able to do most of it themselves. Ashling got tired and gave her pumkin to daddy to carry for awhile about half way through. Then the big kids wanted to go dump their pumpkins. Ashling decided that she had enough candy and did not want to go walking anymore. Instead she loved handing out candy. Ali also tired before the other cousins. Here are some pictures to go along with the post.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Today is Halloween and we are still down the hill at Chalon's. It has been fun but very crazy with all of the kids and their different needs. We get to go home tomorrow and I am very excited for my own house. I have to admit that it is pretty easy to get used to not having a lot of furniture but the one thing I really miss is a washer and dryer. I would not like living in a time without those luxeries.

Yesterday Cameron and I went miniture golfing for a break from the routine. It was fun to get out. I saw one of my old students from colton. I was weird because I haven't been a teacher in so long that I don't think of myself that way anymore. I didn't recognize her but I guess that is what happens when you have 200 kids coming through a day. I think it would be nice to teach only 30 kids for a whole year instead.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Church

We went to church today and met with our ward and the Lake Arrowhead Ward. It was a very nice meeting. Our Stake President said that in the Southern California fires 57 families have lost their home within the church. We are still not 100% sure of everything in Running Springs as they have not assessed the property damage there yet. He said that one family got a reverse 911 call and just had time to get in the car and down the street before their house was engulfed and destroyed. So we are very lucky right now. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and our branch president gave a talk about accepting whatever help we need and giving whatever help we can give in the coming weeks.

I know that I will make some changes to the way I do things and I have one big reccommendation. In the event of an evacuation grab your dirty clothes laundry basket. There will be somewhere to do laundry where you go and it will have what you need since it is the clothes that you wear.

We are thinking we will still be here for most of the rest of the week. But Lake Arrowhead gets to go home today. Lucky them!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Still Evacuated

Well Cameron did not have work yesterday due to the power going out. We are not sure why the power was out there. WE spent the day trying to figure out what to do. One thing is that being evacuated can be boring. We got an incredible package in the mail with lots of stuff for the kids to do and even some clothes for us. Thanks to my wonderful sister and her husband for that!

Mike (Cameron's dad) also visited the mountains yesterday. He got the inportant stuff from our house for us. Butterfly wings and a princess costume and then a bucket of dirty laundry. Hopefully we will have enough stuff for our evacuation now. It will probably be at least another week but we are very lucky because our neighborhood is still standing. Mike said that if you look from our house you can't even tell that there was a fire. What a blessing. I guess we were indeed led to the right house when we were picking houses to live in last month.

We went to an apple orchard yesterday in Oak Glen and enjoyed the cool air and the atmosphere that they created. We are ready to go back in the mountains just as soon as the fire is all out.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We are still in Highland

We had a calm day today. I cleaned the house a little and the girls worked on some "homework". Then we went to Norton air force base to collect the mail. After that we went over to orange show to the evacuation center. The red cross is amazing! Go red cross. It seems that everyone is doing fine there. They checked us in and took our information. Then they gave the kids some coloring books and stuffed animals and fed us. They even had a razor for Cameron so he can stop being the hairy monster :) Our last stop was the church where we worked on some humanitarian projects.

As of now our house is fine. Mike is going to be going up the mountains to check out the damage and hopefully get our halloween costumes. I think the fire may decide to leave most of the town standing. Although there are plenty of houses that were completely destroyed.

It is still smoky and it will probably be awhile before we can go home.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

smoke in the air

We woke up to smoke in the air that was thick enough to cause the smoke alarm to go off. Not a good thing for scared little kids. We got the alarm to turn off and now have the house fan constantly on. Hopefully it will keep the smoke down a little. We are going to apple tree to play with toys because all the schools in Redlands are closed!

The good news is that for now Cameron's parents house was spared. It was confirmed! But at least two if not three people lost their homes from our ward over night. I am sad for them. We don't know the condition of our house. It may be okay and it may not. There are some reports of houses being lost on keller peak and we are not sure where they are refering to.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire Progress

Today we collected food for the fire fighters in the mountains. It was Erin's project and Cameron helped quite a bit as well as Chalon. I think it was nice to let the kids have something to do. There was a lot of food collected and then someone in charge came to collect the food. He gave us a report that as far as he knows Cameron's parents house is okay. That is great news. Hopefully the fire will stay away from it from now on. We will see. He is going to drive by the house and see it tonight if it is possible. we will post a confirmed report.

I am also hearing from friends in San Diego. The Abreu's house was saved but the ranch did not fare as well. Dan stayed and fought the fire with Sean which is probably why it is okay.

The fire is headed towards our house tonight. We would appreciate all prayers that the fire will stay away from structures.

Thanks and please post if you visit our site so I know it was worth it to post.


We woke up Monday morning to sirens and high wind. Not a good combination. We kept hearing sirens as it got light and then found out there was a fire in Lake Arrowhead. We figured that this fire was far away from us so we decided we were okay and Cameron got to work. At 8:00 he called me after barely sitting down to his desk and asked the status. I realized that there was now another fire in Green Valley Lake-the town right above where we live in Arrowbear. I told him to come home and that I was going to go pack. Then I made a mad dash through the house running as fast as I could to collect our important belongings. I got the pictures, my wedding dress, and computer. We also packed some clothes (although they do not match very well,) and a few toys for the kids. I did not really have time to think much about the fact that we would have to live where ever we went. I was just trying to get the important stuff. I got a phone call from the sherriff's ordering a mandatory evacuation around 9:30. Cameron arrived home on fumes because he forgot his wallet and couldn't buy gas down the hill. After he got home we sent the kids down the hill with Chalon and continued to pack. We soon realized we would not be taking everything and just decided that we should go and help others.

At that point Erin (Cameron's sister) called and said they couldn't make it up the mountain due to the road closures. So the 'people' we helped were his parents. I drove down the hill in my escape with no gas (the car Cameron had driven to work.) The gas stations were not working due to the power being off. I made it just fine to the gas station and found out that we would be staying in Chalon's empty house with her and her girls. (She just closed escrow on Friday and was not planning to move in for awhile.) Cameron helped his mom until around 1:00 and then they drove down together. Right now we are there and safe but there is a chance we might be evacuated from our place of safety later tonight as the fire is coming down. Not to worry anyone but please pray.

We will have a website on the favorite websites that you can go and check.

It is also here

We will post if there are any changes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pumpkin Patch and gymnastics

Sue, Ali, Ashling and Melissa went to the Pumpkin patch on Tuesday afternoon. It was a fun experience where we were able to pick out some great pumpkins. We also went through a tree maze, and the girls jumped in a bouncy house. Ali was bit by the cute looking little pony which made her convinced that she never wants to ride a horse. We are not sure why it bit her but they put a sign up afterwards to not pet the pony.

Later we visited one gymnastics studio and then on Wednesday I took the girls to another studio. They both loved the gymnastics. Ashling and Ali both had their first opportunity on a regular very large balance beam. Ali even did a foward roll on the beam (with a spotter.) The girls were very excited to do gymnastics again and my schedule seems much busier now that I have to take them to gymnastics during the week too.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A short vacation to the land of the steep

Dad (Mike), Ali, and I all went up to Bishop on Friday and camped until Sunday while fishing, exploring, and soaking in the scenery. We camped at the foot of Mt. Tom, an impressive peak which APPEARS to stand independent of the rest of the range, and which is nearly 14,000 ft. tall. In fact the peak is attached by a ridge, which would make approaching from the west a possible future hike! It rained Friday night while snowing down to 7,000 ft. which made for a beautiful sunrise on Saturday morning with a clear blue sky.

We caught lots of fish. Let me re-phrase. Dad caught tons of fish, I caught some fish, and Ali helped me catch three fish. It is interesting that we can go to a spot which has been fished three times over in one day, and we even saw people fishing in that spot- And yet we were still able to pull out beautiful fish from that spot! I guess being trained by one of the "Eastern Sierra's Best" (in his own words), it is hard to not catch fish.

Please see the link (soon to come) for viewing the photos from this trip. Make comments about the photography!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

One Nice Fall Day

It was mostly a lazy day today. I got pretty good sleep last night, and spend most of the morning doing chores in slow motion. Winter is just around the corner, as evidenced by the fact that Sierra's water was frozen this morning. In fact, yesterday just before dark we had some snow-ish material falling from the sky. The only place any accumulation to be noticed was in the corner between the windshield wipers and windshield of my truck. I digress.

The afternoon was much the same as the morning, except that late in the afternoon I took the family for a walk on a trail I discovered just up the street from our house. We followed the trail through early autumn colors and fallen bark-beetled trees amid the healthier and greener trees that survived the drought. The trail is pretty and offers 1/2 mile access to Keller Peak vicinity. It was nice to just grab the dog and go, and I am sure we will venture down this trail many times in the future.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sick House

I took Ali to the doctor yesterday and they said she had pretty severe bronchitis. They put her on a breathing machine and then gave her an inhaler. It was nice how calm she was while she was sick but now that she can breathe she is once again very busy and looking for trouble. She didn't get to go to school today so the girls have been busy playing in the backyard and doing homework. They are now eating a picnic in their little play house. We love our new house with the big back yard. We will post some pictures soon of the house.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hello all, You see, we conform too, sometimes

So here is ours...update your favorites links with the address to our new page. Hopefully we will be good about posting to it, and keeping you all up to date. Feel free to ask me anything...anything at all...almost. So does anyone have any Thanksgiving or Christmas vacation plans? Also, does anyone know what they want to do for a vacation next summer? Melissa and I are going to attempt to re-establish our tradition of a trip to Mammoth in the fall, before season tourist rates go up during the ski season. Last time we stayed in a 2 bedroom suite with a kitchen and living room and balcony for 59.99. Not bad eh? Hopefully we can find the same deal again, or else there is no chance of going again. Let us know what your plans are!!