S: The year of our Lord - 2011
FC: The Story of 2011
1: Happy New Year! Kaiah is the big winner!! We celebrated New Years with the Bradley's and for the second time Kaiah finished in the top 6. She finished first and boy was she excited! Couldn't have happened to a more generous or giving girl. She loves to buy gifts for others so now she has more fuel.
2: Welcome Baby Maxime! Sweet baby Maxime entered our world on 1-11-11. Such a chubby little thing even at birth, he had the biggest umbilical cord I had ever seen. A few days later we welcomed him home. The kids could hardly wait to hold him.
3: Father-Daughter Dance Kaiah was such a happy girl getting to go to Tri-City on a Friday night for a Father Daughter dance hosted by the cheerleading squad. It was really fun to get her all dolled-up to go out with Sean. She had a great time.
4: A Romantic Getaway to Laguna Beach | Sean and I stole away for one night of yummy food and lots of R & R. We drove up to the Surf and Sand, a delightful hotel on the beach in Laguna. We dined at Studio, a restaurant nearby that served some incredible food. We even got to talk with the chef, Craig Strong, who had a recipe in January's Bon Appetit magazine. We were introduced to two new foods: enoki mushrooms and finger limes. I got to wear the beautiful dress Sean had bought me for Christmas. Such a wonderful time!
6: Tide Pooling! We took the other Tubbs kids tide pooling down at La Jolla Shores when there was a -2 tide. That's the lowest tide I have ever tide pooled. It was great. Lots of starfish, sea cucumbers, anemones and Sean almost caught an octopus. We all had lots of fun except Jax who was totally unimpressed and even a little distressed by the experience. He did however have fun playing with the crumbly cliff rock.
8: Hunting Elijah and Kaiah really wanted to hunt with Sean. So, on the last weekend of the season he took them to Julian. They were great about waking up early and really enjoyed the time with Sean even though there were no ducks. | Afterwards, they stopped at a small cemetery just outside Ramona. They met a man nearly 100 years old who had lived there his whole life. He knew most of the people buried in the cemetery and had great stories to tell Sean and the kids.
9: Living the life here in California...wish you were here! -Levi
10: Super Bowl 2011 As always, we celebrated the biggest football game of the year with Mike and Joan Bradley, etc. Its always such a fun day with tons of yummy food (even Celeste's spinach balls!) and two T.V.s in 2 rooms both broadcasting the game. I love having the chance to visit with the extended Bradley clan and our Bible study friends. And of course watching Sean and Kyle make crazy bets about which can of cat food Frankie will eat out of first is a highlight. That seems like a safe $100 bet. Right?
12: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." -Pablo Picasso Kaiah creates the most beautiful artwork. Whether it is with something traditional like paint or untraditional like hot glue and glitter, everything is truly inspired. I love when she gets a spark of creativity, she begins to move around her craft room with such purpose collecting the things she'll need to create her new masterpiece. Her actions are uncalculated yet extremely exact as she transfers what was in her head to something tangible. As with all artists there are usually several drafts before she is satisfied. The best part is the final piece...the smile that spreads across her face when she is happy with her work.
13: Cemetery Night Shots Sean and Shad headed back to the cemetery that he had found with Kaiah and Elijah for some spooky night shots. I love night pictures that Sean takes where you can see the star trails. It is so cool to see visible truth of our rotating planet.
14: La Familia 2011 Ahhh..like a warm comfortable sweater..the girls! We all really needed some time together and so even though Monica and Kate couldn't come | we got together in Carslbad. It was supposed to be at my house but I just needed to be away from all of life. Sophia had just had Max so she came and went as she could. Our first night together we went to a mexican restaurant and had margaritas and yummy food and laughed so hard. Then it was off to Albertsons for food
15: and snacks. The next morning we made eggs, bacon, and lounged the morning away.It was awesome! Sophia joined us and we were out the door to get pedicures and then we caught dinner at Harney Sushi (instead of Chinese food) and then saw a movie. The next | morning we had an awesome breakfast at Honey's in Encinitas and then went to the Forum. We hit Anthropologie and Black and White and then we headed for Nordstroms. Jamila embarked on a 75 minute bra ordeal which was ultimately successful and I got some great boots and a fun outfit from H&M. Lastly, we headed home, changed and went out for great fare and spirits from 333. Other then Jalyn accosting our waitress for every misstep, we had a great evening. I was so sad to see everyone leave the next day. Our time together was like water for my thirsty soul.
16: Lakers vs. Clippers What a great brother! Sean's Christmas present from Rich was a trip to a Lakers game in awesome seats. So, on a rainy January evening they headed out for the game at the Staples center. They got to watch their favorite sports reporters broadcast before the game because it was too wet outside.
17: Then it was time for the game. They saw and photographed lots of great players like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. They even caught a dunk by Clipper Blake Griffin. The highlight of the night, of course, was a Laker victory complete with a confetti/steamer snowfall. Quite possibly the best gift Sean has ever gotten.
18: Happy 40th Greg Kim threw Greg a stellar 40th birthday party at a beautiful estate owned by some friends of theirs. They rented bouncy houses for the kids and made delicious margaritas and had yummy snacks. Greg has the most delightful group of friends and they toasted and celebrated him all night long. At one point his dearest friend Chris Orwig serenaded Greg and then presented him with a group gift of over $850 - enough money to apply for U.S. citizenship. The picture to the left shows the line of children which formed in about 5 seconds for birthday cake. We had the delight of arriving early in
19: It was really fun to celebrate this milestone with Greg and as always we had so much fun with them. I got to wear the glittered "princess" shoes that Kaiah had bought me for my birthday. They were a hit especially with Macy, Phoebe and Stella who took turns wearing them around the house. | the day to help set up for the party. Sean did tons of the food prep with Kim while I took care of the kiddos. We stayed in the house with Kim and Greg and had lazy breakfast and cleaned up from the party while the kiddos lazed around together. Then we had lunch in town and went back to their house for lemon drops.
20: Its a kid funfest! I was getting my hair colored and cut but that didn't stop Sean from inviting over all the kids we knew for a night of frivolity. The night started with a giant pizza for dinner. During dinner Sean started a silly string fight which soon moved to the garage. Next they played with colored bubbles and then attacked a sponge bob pinata. In the midst of this Cecile went to the bathroom where she noticed a goldfish swimming
21: in the toilet. It turns out that before Shad left he sneakily placed him in there. That little goldfish went on to grow to about 3 inches long in our fish tank. The kids had lots of candy and lots of fun. Sean's so cool.
22: Opening Ceremonies Elijah decided he wanted to play baseball for the first time this season. He was placed on the Vista National Little League team, the cubs. In early spring we went to the fields to celebrate opening ceremonies. Somehow, we only ended up with picture of Levi playing baseball.
23: Levi loves to swing. Sean captured these adorable pictures of him when we were at the park one weekend with Grandad Duane.
24: was extremely elating for Sean because of his enthusiastic love of guns. They had a blast, literally, shooting all of Sean's favorite weapons. And Elijah has turned out to be a pretty good shot. He got a bullseye shooting the rifle. | One night when we were tucking in the kids, Kaiah mentioned how she would like to have a "date night" with us separately. She wanted to go with me and Elijah would go with Sean. The next time we would switch. For our night out, we went to Clay and Latte and then to Coco's for pancakes. Elijah and Sean went shooting at Escondido Fish and Game. This
27: The Circus came to town.. One day we were driving home from school when we saw a sign advertising Circus Vargas at a dirt lot just off the freeway. The next day to our amazement a huge circus tent had been erected. I had always wanted to go to the circus and decided this was the year to make that dream come true. Sean and I took Elijah, Kaiah and Cecile and sat front row. It was so cool. Lots of "death-defying" acts. No animals however, thanks to years of protests from animal activists. Afterwards we hung around to talk with the circus-folk and learned a lot about their very interesting lifestyle. Many of them were raised in the circus, traveling from town to town and are now doing the same with their children.
28: One day after school everyone wanted a popsicle. So, as I handed them out they sat down right in a row, crossed their feet and began to eat. Is that a photo-op or what?
29: Date Night | Sean sure knows how to do it right! We had been wanting to get out for a special evening so that I could wear the beautiful dress Sean had given me for Christmas. So one night we made reservations for The Sky Room in La Jolla. As if that wasn't enough, he swung by Tiffany's to pick up earrings that matched my heart necklace. We had a fabulous dinner including abalone.
30: Balboa Park We joined Shad and the girls for a day of adventure at Balboa Park. Celeste was scrapping. We hiked around | Next we went to the arboretum and the coi pond and had snacks. We saw several weddings going on which totally captured Kaiah. | the back woods and even tresspassed onto an archery course until we saw a guy with a bow pointed at us then we high-tailed it out. | We went up to a few of the brides who were doing their photos so the girls could see their dresses up close. We ended our day at the big fountain where all the kids played in the water.
32: John Mayer Heartbreak Warfare Tour Shayne and I treated ourselves to a night of fun and great music. The concert was held in El Cajon on a warm spring evening. The concert was opened by Owl City who sang their very popular song "Fireflies"
33: Then it was time for the incredibly talented John Mayer. I had no idea he could play the guitar so well - wow - is all I can say. Despite his obvious dark side and crazy facial movements, it was a great concert and it felt well worth the drive to El Cajon and worth losing my ATM card which fell out of my purse :(
34: 1st Day: Seaworld 4th Day: Legoland and Legoland Aquarium | Spring Break We were the last people we knew to have spring break so we were ready by the time it came. We made a list of all the things we wanted to do and slowly checked them off the list. | 2nd Day: Playwerx | 3rd Day: Old Town
35: Such a fun week but boy was I pooped by Friday. It was really fun to do stuff with all three of them. We had so many laughs. Favorite trip: Old Town
36: Easter Egg Coloring | This is our third year decorating eggs with Sophia and her family and it is always the messiest activity. Sophia and I have no self-control so we buy like 8 different dye kits and boil 3-4 dozen eggs. Trying to keep all the different parts of each kit separated is impossible and we end up eating egg salad for weeks. And of course, Cecile and now Cora end up with purple hands. Its like a Marquis family tradition to end up with purple hands.
37: Easter morning | The first thing Levi did with his easter basket is open the chocolate bunny and bite the ear off. He did that last year too.
38: Easter Day This year American easter and Greek Easter were on the same day so, Sophia and I decided to offer an east meets west dinner buffet with two full menus for both the easter traditions. One the Greek side we had Sean's scrumptious lamb chops plus spanikopita, red dyed easter eggs, and a feta and orzo salad. On the American side we had honey-baked ham, an incredible quiche that Sophia made, a spinach/strawberry salad, and crossants. Then for dessert we had mom's Heavenly cheesecake and a chocolate fountain that was a HIT with the kids.
39: Nothing can top the easter egg hunt. Sean hid eggs in the chicken coop which was hilarious. And as hard as we tried we could not get Cora to sit still for the group shot.
40: An Epic journey - Antelope Valley - Horseshoe bend -toadstools -the wave -bryce canyon neon cave
41: antelope valley
42: Horseshoe bend
44: The Wave - at night
45: the wave
46: bryce canyon
47: neon canyon
49: Of course sean plans these epic trips to see the amazing things god has created and he is always left breathless but what makes these trips is who he goes with. shad, kyle, jon and rich are simply the best friends a guy could have!
50: "I'm having some problem with these darn goggles" | "Well, I can see a little better but now I can't breathe."
51: Ahhh..the last day of school. Such a fun day. Kaiah was awarded the kindness award. Mrs. Leaver said she never heard Kaiah say a bad or unkind word about anyone. Elijah was given the math award. We celebrated with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese with Eli's friend Jon. Summer, here we come!
52: We decided to kick-off the summer right with a trip down to Palm Springs. We spent the day playing in the many pools and jacuzzis and the water slide. The Lawlers joined us for the last 2 days and what a hoot we had. Other then losing Levi in the hotel for 15 minutes (he got on the elevator alone), we had a great time.
53: Just some of the fun: -riding the elevators -smores -video games -chair hopping
54: What a cute little noodle!
55: One of Elijah and Kaiah's favorite things to do on non-school-nights is to sleep on the floor together. They make this big bed with all their blankets and pillows and stuffed toys. Then they make up games. Levi decided to join them one night for a big slumber party. Sean texted me this picture when I was out with some friends and I could not believe that Levi would fall asleep right there with the kids. I later learned this was all staged and everyone including Levi were pretending to be asleep. | Happy 15 year Anniversary Sean and I celebrated our 15 year wdding anniversary on June 15th. We left just 3 days later for Ireland so a toast in the glasses we toasted with at our wedding was as elaborate as our plans got that day. I still love being married to Sean. He is my perfect match and our lives together are full of so much laughter, joy, love and memories.
56: Kaiah performed in her very first dance performance the night before we flew to Ireland. Her school, A Step Above, performed iDance at the Carlsbad Performing Arts Center. She was in a ballet routine to the music "Journey to the Past" and a tap routine to the music "We got the Beat". She did great and it was a joy to watch her perform. She has a great teacher, Mrs. Chelsey, and has made some great friends.
58: Kaiah Turns 7 Kaiah's birthday began, of course, with presents before Sean went to work. Highlights of gifts were an ipod shuffle, Taylor Swift CDs, a CD player and black sequined high-tops and lots of fun new tops from Auntie Thea.
59: Then we picked up Cecile to go shopping at Nordstrom Rack. The girls shopped the racks looking for things in either of their sizes (their diligence and perseverance made me proud - my finest accomplishment- I have trained Kaiah to be a good shopper). Then we had sushi at Sushi on the Rock followed by a trip to Justice and the Disney store where Kaiah got a birthday crown. Lastly, we got icecream at 31 flavors.
60: Lastly, we had cake (an ice cream cake from 31 Flavors) and presents with the other Tubbs, the Marquis', Nana and Papou, the Bradburys, and Auntie Marilyn.
61: Its just wrong. He doesn't know any better. Its just so gosh darn funny to put Levi in Cora's bathing suit. Although it backfired because now he wants to wear her bathing suit all the time.
62: Happy Birthday Kaiah
64: Coconut Bowling | Hot Coconut | Cupcakes | Face painting | Presents
65: We had the funnest birthday party for Kaiah the weekend after her birthday. She wanted a tropical birthday party and basically planned the whole thing. Per her request we had a monster water slide, banana smoothies, hibiscus cupcakes, a treasure hunt, hula dancing and face painting. We had the perfect group of girls and had such a fun day. The weather had been gloomy and gray for weeks but the day of Kaiah's party dawned hot and sunny. We were greatful! We partied long past the end time of the party.
66: Well that's not good. Poor Luke's eyebrow met Elijah's forehead during a waterslide mishap at Kaiah's party. An insane amount of blood gushed out of Luke's wound while the adult's rushed around figuring out what to do. Ultimately Brad and Melissa decided to forgo the E.R. and go up to Walter for a beyond expert stitch-up. Luke ended up having 16 internal stitches and 14 external stitches. A far better job then he could have gotten at any ER. Brad and Melissa and the kids ended up staying the weekend and we had lots of fun at Balboa Park and breakfast at Honey's in Encinitas. In the train museum, Sean grabbed Brad's ATM and swiped it through the "dippin-dots" vending machine seventeen times prompting a call from their bank, disabling the vending machine, and incurring a charge of $54 on their account.
67: The girls let me straighten their hair and put on make-up and then they treated us to a fashion show. What true beauties they really are. | Beauty Parlor and a Fashion Show
68: Elijah moved onto double digits. He opened his presents first thing. He got a new beyblade stadium from Levi, a bumble bee pillow pet from Kaiah (-his favorite gift), Wii Sports Resort, a decade of Hershey's bars, and a huge bunch of Rokenboks. For his day, he wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese with Jax, Jack, Oliver, and Walker, then come home to play Rokenboks, video games, and have a sleep over. In between the playdate and the slumber party, all our family and friends came over for cake and presents.
70: We went camping in late July to Big Sur with the other Tubbs, the Shadleys, the Lawlers, and Michelle Wycoff. We had a BLAST! My favorite camping trip to date. | Quick stop near Morrow Bay to see the seals | Its a Levi-go-round
71: Camp Life | Even campers need fine -dining!
72: We were held hostage for 2 hours while visiting the historic lighthouse in Big Sur. For some strange reason once you are part of a tour you may not depart the immediate presence of the docent for the entire 2 hours. Even the gates are locked restricting your ability to leave the grounds. The tour was extremely slow and could have easily been done in 45 minutes. We were all a little cranky about it. The lighthouse was cool and we enjoyed learning about it, but would probably not have done it in retrospect.
73: The squirrels of Big Sur were beyond pesky. Their brazen acts of food theft were so irritating that Shad trapped this 1st squirrel effortlessly. Once trapped, the squirrel made noises you wouldn't think a squirrel could make. | The Squirrel Chronicles So, it all began when Shad trapped a squirrel in a box. The power of needing to "one-up" inspired two days of rodent "catch and release" that ultimately included skunks too. | Next Shad fashioned a "squirrel catapult" using a camp chair, a large rock, a rake, and some rope. One squirrel actually did a complete back flip! | So then Greg managed to lasso a squirrel by some act of magic/trickery. The squirrel was none to pleased and began to run around so Greg pretended he was at the Westminster Squirrel show and paraded his squirrel around much to the dismay of a "tree-hugger, PETA member" walking by. | The final squirrel trap was a small plastic jar. But the woodland-creature-olympics were far from over. During our campfire that night we were being constantly disturbed by skunks digging in our trash. Greg decided to "be the man" and he got close enough to pet it. Not wanting to be outdone, Shad trapped one in a box. But Sean was awarded Camp Champ when he grabbed the skunk by the tail and flung it 6 feet. No one got sprayed.
74: On our last day at Big Sur we went river rafting/ rope swinging at the Big Sur river that flowed through the camp. Sean was trying super hard to not get wet because he didn't have swim trunks on and fell while carrying Levi into waist deep water. Neither one of them were pleased. We had such a great trip. Our campsite was just a short bike ride from the gift shop so there were lots of candy trips for the kids. And I was a happy camper because of laundry and hot showers and no bugs! What really made the trip was the group that went: so many laughs and good stories!
75: We did another round of beauty parlor this time with Cecile, Maria, Reece, and Kaiah. Reece opted for no primping but loved watching everyone else
76: Go | Padres! | Opps- These pictures were actually taken in 2010 but were left out of last years album. While Sean was in Alaska, I took Laural, Jax, and Elijah to a Padre's game using the season passes we got from Rob Jacobs. It was a really fun afternoon. The boys were totally into the game which was surprising to both of us. I have no idea who the Padre's played that day or if they won or lost. I do know we had a lot of fun with our boys. About halfway through the game we got a call from Jon Bradbury who was also at the game with Oliver. They came and sat by us in some unused seats.
77: Our little Levi is such a joy. He learned to swing on the rope swing all by himself. Both of us are excited about that one. It kills my arms to swing on the rope swing with him. He still loves a good snuggle in his rocking chair with his two blankies (blankie blue and blankie white)...he calls it "rocky-rocky". We got out some hand-me down clothes I had saved from Jax and Elijah. The striped PJs, below left, have become Levi's favorite PJs because they were Jax's. They were already worn down but by the time Levi was done with them there was a hole in the toe.
78: Santa Maria La Familia August 2011 | What? Can it be? A third La Familia in one year? How did we get our husbands to agree to this? We got word that Kate was moving to D.C. and we knew we had to squeeze in one more La Familia. Amazingly enough, we were able to get 5 of the 6 together on super short notice. We had such a marvelous time together. We met on Friday night at Olive Garden for a yummy dinner (except for Jalyn who got food poisoning from the Chicken Parmigana). | Sophia and I followed these cute girl's motorhome for miles through LA traffic. We had a fun conversation writing notes on paper and holding it up to the window.
79: We decided to head out of Santa Maria on Saturday morning. So after breakfast and some sleeping in, we headed for a small coastal town north of Santa Maria called Avila. First we had drinks and lunch followed by a walk along the beachfront. Katie was wearing some kick-ass shoes and I just had to photograph them.. They were sexy and sassy and I coveted them.After lunch and strolling the town, we stopped and had the best coffee and just chatted. That is what I love about this group, there is so much great dialogue. Lots of personal sharing followed up by encouragement and shared wisdom or just compassion . Around 6, we left Avila and headed back to Santa Maria.
80: La Familia (minus one) Jordana, Kate, Jamila, Sophia, Jalyn
81: On our way out of town, I stopped at a convenience store and bought a lottery ticket using all of our birthdays. I thought it would be a really cool "Lottery-winner story". Alas, we did not win. We did end up going to see a double-header movie. We saw Crazy Stupid Love and Horrible Bosses.. The first movie was so cute. We all loved it. The second movie was trash and I felt like I should repay everyone their ticket cost because it was my idea to see the second movie. It was fun just to live so frivolously. We all crashed when we got home. The next morning we all decided we were super hungry and wanted a great breakfast so we drove to a nearby town and waited for what felt like 2 hours to eat (actual wait time was probably 45 minutes) Jalyn was so hungry she felt weak. But we finally ate and then went for pedicures. Jamila got a call from Tom - the first since his release from prison - so that was some drama. Then we had to say goodbye, boo-hoo!
82: Sean is such a cool Dad. I got a text at home one day that said "I'll be home at noon. We're going to Disneyland." The kids and I started screaming we were so excited. We had the best day! Levi loved Pirates of the Caribbean but was scared of the gunshot on the Jungle Cruise. He also loved the Buzz Lightyear ride. Elijah and Kaiah saw Fantasmic for the 1st time (Levi fell asleep right before and slept until the next morning) and thought it was awesome. It was by far our favorite trip to the Magic Kingdom yet. And such a fun surprise! Sean Rocks!
83: What's a trip to Disneyland without riding Its a Small World and standing in line for 2 hours to meet the princesses? While Kaiah and Sean waited in line, Elijah and I saw the Disney parade. Super cool!
84: What? It can't be! Is it time to start school again already? Bummer. As always, summer was such a wonderful time that none of us were ready for it to be over. It felt like the days just flew by. Elijah started 4th grade and got both his teacher of choice, Ms. Wright and his best friend Jon Contreras in his class. Kaiah started 2nd grade and will have Mrs. Means for her teacher.
85: We were blessed with a beautiful full double rainbow just out our front door.
86: 8th Annual Alaska Trip Well, after 8 years it finally happened...bad weather and bad fishing. The bad weather caused the cancellation of their halibut charter and even when they were salmon fishing the numbers were way low. They only came home with about 15 pounds of salmon instead of the 100 pounds they had caught in the past. They still had a blast as always.
87: My cousin Tori came to visit along with my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Bob. Tori just graduated in June so it was fun to hear about all her plans for college, etc. It seems like yesterday that Sophia and I drove to San Diego airport from Santa Barbara to see her for the first time when Aunt Cathy and Uncle Bob were taking her home. She is such a sweet girl and my kids absolutely adore her. We look forward to all her future successes.
88: Stonewall Peak It was a typical Saturday in our house...Sean was trying to enjoy lazing around and I was scratching to get out. I won! I told him I wanted an adventure with the kids so he took us out to a great hike near Lake Cuyamaca. The Stonewall Peak hike was a pretty rigorous hike and we heard our fair share of complaints from the kids because not only was it a steep hike but it was really hot outside (high nineties). We just took LOTS of rests and kept reminding the kids it would be worth it. They totally agreed with us when we got to the top. The view was awesome! We made it back down in no time and then went and hung out at Shad and Celeste's house for the night. Sean got a lazy Sunday the next day.
90: Kaiah joined a girl scout troop being lead by a mom from Tri-City. So far she has earned her sewing badge and another learning badge. Its been a really neat involvement.
91: Go Kansas City Royals! Elijah played Winterball through Vista American and had a great season! Winterball is designed to be less competitive with emphasis on gaining skills and experience. Elijah struck gold with his coaches, a group of five guys who played highschool and college ball and wanted "to give back to the community". His greatest improvement was in the area of hitting where he went from often striking out to hitting outfielders routinely. Such a thrill. Most importantly, he loves it and is thrilled to go to practice and games.
92: Welcome Baby Ari - September 10, 2011 Lucky for us, little baby Ari Gappmayer was born nearby in Encinitas. Because of insurance reasons, Anthea and Reed had to have their baby in California. So, they made the trek from Klamath Falls, Oregon to Carlsbad, California for Ari to be born. They rented a beautiful two-story home in Carlsbad right across from the beach and right next to the pool. It was such a joy to have them near by and we had lots of fun days at the pool before and after baby Ari's arrival.
93: Welcome Home! | We welcomed home Baby Ari and celebrated Reed's birthday with banana-cream pie (Reed's favorite) and cupcakes for the kids.
94: The No-Tan Lines Club! Levi and Cora are such silly friends. They love to play in the "cuzzi" as they call the Jacuzzi and then lay out on the hot pavement. Of course all of this is best when there is no clothes involved! | NTLC
95: Klamath Falls or bust! A few weeks after Ari's birth, Kaiah and I flew up to Klamath Falls to visit Anthea, Madeline, Mikas, and new baby Ari. We got to be on six different airplanes during the round-trip flights which Kaiah loved. We flew on everything from a tiny prop plane that sat 20 people to a 777 jet that sat over 300 people. The trip as a whole was great. I loved getting to spend so much time with just Kaiah and Kaiah adored getting time with Madeline - they were great playmates! I also loved that with just one child, I could really devote time to helping Anthea with Ari. My favorite moment of the trip happened on our way home. Our flight out of Klamath Falls left at 5:15am, before sunrise. As we were on our way to San Fransisco, Kaiah suddenly gasped and pointed out the window across the aisle from us. She then said, "Mom, look out the window, what is that?" When I looked out the window to the west I saw a pinkish, purplish sky with a small bit of light at the horizon. Before I could answer, Kaiah muttered with a voice filled with awe, "That's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen". I explained to her she was seeing the sunrise. We took the two pictures above of the reflection of the sunrise on the propellers of the plane.
96: Ugh! While returning the couch to an upright position (I had them overturned to make a fort for Levi) I shattered the large (5ft x 5 ft) picture window in the living room. It happened shortly after returning home from school with all the kids. As the couch corner moved toward the window, I knew it would shatter. But all time slowed to a near snails-pace and I couldn't move fast enough to stop it. | I cringed and then shrieked as I heard the "pop!" and then the slow crackling as the cracks moved up the window. The kids just looked at me, mouths wide open, as if I might spontaneously combust. I slouched down onto the couch and just whimpered. Wanting to give Sean a heads-up, I grabbed the phone to call him right as he drove-up. "What a horrible start to his weekend", I thought. The kids ran out to his truck eager to tell him the news. I sat paralyzed. Sean walked in, let out a loud laugh, took a photo, and promptly put it on Facebook. It took me about an hour to recover. The process of getting the window replaced was harder than I thought it would be. It was as if this was the first window ever broken since the dawn of windows. The window had to be replaced by Anderson in order to get matching glass (apparently glass comes in various shades of blues and greens obvious in large sizes). The company no longer makes this style of window so special parts had to be manufactured. And then the whole thing had to be shipped by ground from Pennsylvania. The window which was broken in early October was not replaced until 2 days before Christmas.
97: Sean gave me the birthday of my dreams this year. He got up, got dressed for work, and took the kids to school. Before he left he handed me an envelope which instructed me to open it at 8 am. When I opened the card I was instructed to be ready to go "somewhere" at 9am. At 9 am Sean walked in the door, changed his clothes and took me up to South Coast Plaza for shoe shopping then to The Crab Cooker for lunch. Sean and I had gone there many times when we were dating. It was so fun to be back there. We had the same thing we used to have as teenagers, the King Crab legs with romano potatoes and coleslaw. The restaurant hasn't changed at all, including the wait-staff. Lastly we stopped at Performance bicycle to get a bike...something I had wanted for a while. After dropping off my bike at home we headed back to school to pick up the kids. In the pick-up line Elijah handed me a small bag which he announced was my last present. In the box, which had been at school all day were amazing diamond earrings. OMG! The day ended with cooking lessons with Justin and Sophia at Sur la table in Carlsbad where we learned to cook french food. Such an amazing, awesome birthday.
98: Kaiah participated in the cheer camp again this year with the highschool cheerleaders from Tri-City Christian. The girls do such a great job befriending the little ones, teaching them the cheers and keeping them involved on Homecoming night. I found Kaiah the cutest sparkly ruffle skirt to wear with her cheer sweatshirt...she fit in just great.
99: Family Heritage Kaiah's first big project for second grade was her Family Heritage Report. The first step in the project was to create a paper doll wearing authentic-looking clothing from one of the countries where Kaiah's relatives came from. Next, the children created a movie down at the Apple Store during a class field trip.The third step was to interview a relative from that country and learn about life past and present. Kaiah chose Greece as her heritage and interviewed my dad for her report. Lastly she had to make an authentic Greek recipe and bring it to school on Family Heritage day. She made Baklava, almost entirely by herself! On Family Heritage day each student came dressed in costume. The students then presented their dolls and told a little bit about their country. Lastly we all got to indulge in the delicious ethnic foods.
100: So so sweet...that's our little Kaiah! She planned breakfast in bed for Sean and I one morning. She made a precious card and signed it from all the kids, even though she did all the work. The night before she sneakily asked me what I loved to eat for breakfast. The next morning she presented us with a tray with all my favorite things. This is the kind of stuff that Kaiah loves to do. She loves to think of someway to make someone feel special.
101: Isn't this just like Sean? | Sean doesn't waste his brain power on silly things like world peace and global hunger. No! He strives to conquer far bigger giants like "Just what do you need to order at Starbucks to get them to fill in all the squares on the cup?" He perservered and was triumphant when he ordered a Pumpkin latte, half-decaf, with 4 extra shots, 3 and a half pumps of syrup, and light foam. Onward Christian soldier!
102: Sophia and I took Cora and Levi to Seaworld in the fall. Cora is absolutely in love with Mamoo as she calls Shamoo. We could of spent all day looking in his underwater tank. We made it to the Shamoo show and inadvertently sat in the "soak" zone. By the time we figured it out the stadium was packed and we couldn't move. We fretted the entire show thinking we were all going to end up drenched. We got lucky! People got wet all around us but we managed to be spared.
103: On our way out, the kiddos spotted Ernie and Elmo in the kids play area. The were so excited to get to hug them, it was adorable.
104: In late September we joined Shad and the girls for camping up near the Sequoias at Three Rivers. We got up their late on Friday night and quickly set up camp. Shad made us margaritas in plastic margarita glasses while we sat around the camp fire. | The next morning we awoke early thanks to the trash truck, ate breakfast, skinned a rattlesnake that Shad found the day before, and then jumped in the car to go up and see the BIG trees. Shad gave the kids presents which caused much tears. Kaiah cut her finger on the camping spoon/knife/fork and Levi cut his finger on the fan he got from Shad. We had a good chuckle that he injured 2/3 of our kids in just a few minutes. | The trek up to the Sequoias was LONG due to road work. The kids complained much. Once there we had a picnic lunch and hiked through and to the big trees. The size of those trees is truly impressive...a natural wonder. The highlight/low light of the hike was a pinecone fight that ended bad when Elijah got thunked on the skull and then retaliated. It really is true..."it's all fun and games til someone gets hurt."
106: Quite possible the coolest part of our trip was spotting a black bear while we were on our way to go play in the river. Black bears are very common in that area and this one didn't seem the least bit upset by our presence. Actually it seemed like he was just waiting for us to leave because a family had left their picnic nearby to play in the water. I think he had spotted it and was going to do a Yogi bear as soon as we left. | Once we peeled ourselves away from the bear we played in the ice-cold water. The kids, of course, didn't notice the freezing water and played in the gentle rapids. Our clan got cold and hungry pretty fast so Sean and I and our kiddos headed back to camp to make dinner and get dry while Shad and the girls stayed longer to play. The gnats at camp were pretty fierce so we lit the campfire to drive them away.
107: Campfires! I love campfires. Everyone snuggles in close, good talk and lots of laughs. Especially when Elijah and Coco are together. Their crazy tight bond has not changed and it is a joy to watch. Sean took some neat night shots with the glow of the fire on the trees and the star trails.
108: With the weather being so mild we were able to sleep without the fly on for the first time since we got our tent. It was so cool to wake up in the morning and look up and see the sky starting to lighten-up and the moon still out. We sleep so cozy in our tent thanks to the memory foam queen and twin mattresses and our Big Agnes sleeping bags. We got a double bag this year (named the King Solomon) and Levi and I cozy up together in that bag and sleep great. Kaiah and I woke up first so we drove down into Three Rivers for coffee and pastries. We saw tons of deer and turkeys. Then we rode bikes, packed up, and were gone by 10 am. We stopped in Bakersfield to play at our favorite rest stop, John's Incredible Pizza.
109: Silly Boys Levi loves his older cousin and brother and loves to do what they do. Jackson had invented this new look and all three of them were running around like this.
110: Taylor Swift Rocks It was emblazoned upon our t-shirts and we could hardly wait to see her actually rock. Laural and I took Kaiah and Maria to see the one and only Taylor Swift in concert at the Sports Arena. We wore white pants (because Taylor Swifts favorite color is white, according to Maria) and black t-shirts that we decorated with glow-in-the-dark t-shirt paint (per Kaiah's request). We arrived early and got our Taylor Swift memorabilia - the girls chose calendars. Then we posed with the larger-then-life Taylor Swift poster and then found our seats...which were fabulous.
113: The concert and Miss Taylor did not disappoint! She was energetic and appropriate and sang all our favorite songs. Halfway through the concert she made her way to the end of the arena to a small stage RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR SEATS! We were bananas! The girls and Laural and I danced and sang the night away! During the second to the last song (Dear John) Kaiah laid her head in my lap and fell fast asleep. Not even the fireworks at the end of the show woke her up. So, we left at the end of the song...it was 10 pm and both the girls were pooped-out. We missed "Fearless" and all the traffic. Such a fun, fun night!
115: Ahoy Matey! This year everyone wanted to be a pirate. I had so much fun making their coordinating costumes and even managed to get one together for myself. We trick-or-treated our neighborhood this year with Sophia, Justin and the kiddos and with Shayne, Walker and Auntie Marilyn. Sophia's kids were Princess Frostine, Lolly and the gum drop monster from Candyland. We finished the night off with some homemade pumpkin pie I made with one of Shayne's homegrown pumpkins.
116: While we were trick-or-treating Sean and Rich were busy handing out candy to more that 250 trick-or-treaters who descended upon our door. Sean has been giving out full-size candy bars for the past 5 years and the word has spread. This year he handed out Toblerone to the parents as an extra-special treat. He also set aside a special box of candy to give to the 100th trick-or-treater. The kid was totally jazzed and his pack of friends envious that they weren't in the right spot.
117: Ouch! | Elijah was eager to help Sean prepare for a pizza party one night, so Sean assigned him the task of slicing the bell peppers on the meat slicer. After lots of instructions and review of safety Sean and Elijah both felt he was ready for the task.About 3/4 of the way through one pepper, Eli's middle finger got to close to the blade. I came home from a hair appointment to find a wad of bloody napkins and one sad boy. Luckily it was just the tip and he was perfect in a few weeks.
118: Legos, legos, legos! Levi is a lego kid. He loves to look at the lego magazine, he loves to look on the lego website, he loves to help me build lego models, and he especially loves the little lego people. He has a big bowl of lego people that he plays with...mostly he switches around the peoples heads and bodies. It is fun to see him so passionate about something.
119: Bible Study 2011 We love our Bible Study group. Mike, Joan, Shad, Celeste, Tim, Sue, Chris, Kathy, Mike, and Michelle make it such a unique place full of love and learning. We completed our 15th year of being there and continue to grow in our understanding of God thanks to Mike's awesome leadership and Joan's amazing hospitality. We studied Ephesians this year | and were amazed at how this book, which we have read from for years and years, contained so much incredible information about God and all He has for us. We feel so blessed to be a part of this group. One night, Shad and Celeste brought Shyla and Coco's new bunny. Levi was in his glory .
120: Give Thanks Indeed! We love Thanksgiving! Lots of yummy food and great family time without the stress of Christmas. Sophia and Justin hosted it this year and prepared for us such a tasty feast, I salivate just thinking about it. It was a beautiful sunny crisp Autumn day and the kids played outside on the swing set and ran outside in the yard before dinner while we adults enjoyed cocktails and unshelled walnuts. | Kaiah had just studied about the pilgrims so she was a walking "Thanksgiving-wikipedia". She had learned a Thanksgiving song and really wanted to sing it so she and I practiced her song and sang it right before dinner. Dinner was noisy and chaotic as are all dinners with 9 children but super joyful as well. After dinner we hung out ate pumpkin pie, mince meat pie and pecan pie thanks to Auntie Marilyn. Then we relaxed on the couch while the kids did a puzzle with mom. Such a fun day.
124: The day after Thanksgiving we packed up the kids and headed for Santa Barbara to visit some of our favorite people Greg, Kim, Macy, Phoebe, and Stella Lawler. We stayed at a cute little hotel in Goleta with a warm outside pool. The weather was gorgeous so the kids spent hours in the pool together. It served a great complimentary breakfast which we enjoyed very much every day. Kaiah loved it and even left a sweet note to tell the hotel just how grateful she was to be there. With two rooms there was enough space for us to be comfortable
125: Our hotel room was a suite with two queen beds and a pull-out sofa. Both rooms had T.V.s so everyone could watch their favorite show at night. Sean and Elijah snuggled in to watch Gold Rush on Friday night while we waited for room service to bring us french fries, chocolate cake, a pizza and a host of other late-night snacks. I love little family get-a-ways like this. There are no distractions for any of us and we end up having such a great time...talking, being silly, snuggling.
126: On our second day in Santa Barbara, we drove north and hiked to a waterfall. It was really cold under the shade of the trees and we had to move fast to stay warm. Levi stepped in a stream, thankfully we had a spare pair of shoes. After our hike we headed up to Solvang where I was in search of the perfect abelskiever. We were recommended to the Red Viking and after a long whine-filled walk (mostly Sean) we finally arrived and I indulged in some yummy abelskievers.
128: We got a little carried away while we were swinging Levi during our hike back from the waterfall. He kept telling us to go "higher and higher"...so we obliged him. The last swing went so high that he actually did a complete revolution. He was "none to pleased"! Greg thought for sure we had ruined his rotator cuffs. We were just happy Greg got the whole thing on film.
129: Anthea came out to visit for Thanksgiving. After the holiday and the fanfare died down we had a little fun together. We took all the "big" kids up to Zoomars for horse rides, train rides, bunny petting, and play in their giant corn sandbox. Levi was especially interested in locating all the goats "poo holes". We had a blast. Zoomars never disappoints.
130: Fun at Zoomars
132: A Very Disney Christmas | We decided to do things a little different this Christmas with Grandad and Nana Cher. Instead of presents we decided to spend the day at Disneyland together. So on a COLD, WINDY Monday in December, we pulled the kids out of school and headed for the happiest place on earth. We had so much fun!!! The park is all decorated for Christmas especially Its a Small World which is totally transformed into a Christmas spectacle. We raced around the park trying to do as much as we could before 9 pm, when the park closed. However, our kids petered out at 7:30 and we were home by 9 pm. The other Tubbses went the distance and didn't leave until 9:30. Highlight of the day: Eijah, Jax, Rich, and Cheryl riding Splash Mountain twice!
134: Alcatraz Sean was give the "opportunity of a life time" to spend the night at Alcatraz in a prison cell. It took him about 1 second to decide he was going after Greg Lawler invited him to join a non-profit group touring the island. They got to the island and were given a crazy in-depth tour by one of the park rangers. They performed about one hour of "community service" on the island and then were turned loose to roam the entire facility alone. Greg and Sean scoured the place until 2 am and then crashed in their cells.
138: We kicked off the holiday season with a family-gingerbread-house-decorating-night. Always fun to be together. The kids are so silly. These are the times we love.
139: Christmas Week Christmas was put on hold when we heard the devastatingly sad news that my cousin's nine year old daughter Grace had passed away. I flew up for the funeral and came back extremely heavy-hearted, struggling to find the motivation to "do the whole Christmas thing". All that changed when I awoke the next morning to my sweet kiddos, on Christmas break, eager to be a part of the holiday. Thus began a two-day baking extravaganza. We also did puzzles, watched Christmas movies and drove through the Parade of Lights at Del Mar fairgrounds (all the kids and Sean hated it...Levi and I loved it). Despite the fun, my mind and heart were often on my cousin and what I knew was such a sorrowful time for her and her family.
140: My boys I "caught" Elijah being a great big brother, showing Levi the ropes of video game playing. I love to see them interacting together despite their 7 year age gap.
141: Grandpa Larry: Better then a roller coaster!
142: Tubbs Family Christmas Rich and Laural hosted the Tubbs family party this year. It's always nice to be just a short walk away. As always, we had a great time catching up with everyone.
143: Gill Christmas - Part 1 Everyone got to our house around 2 pm. We indulged in yummy appetizers: roasted shrimp cocktail, Christmas celery sticks (celery filled with cream cheese and topped with pomegranate seeds) and herbed bread twists. Sara curled the girls hair which turned out so pretty. Next we sat down and played "Pass the Popcorn", a movie trivia game. We were surprised to discover a movie trivia expert among us...not only has Matt seen every movie but he remembers them too. We were waiting for the sun to set so that we could head up to Rich and Laural's deck to take family photos.
144: Gill Family Photos - December 2011 From left to right: Levi Tubbs (3), Jordana Tubbs (38), Sean Tubbs (39), Sara Leeds (29), Matt Leeds (30), Kaiah Tubbs (7), Laural Tubbs (41), Maria Tubbs (8), Richard Tubbs (40), Becky Shultz (27), Elijah Tubbs (10), Adam Gill (26), Larry Gill (61), Jackson Tubbs (11)
146: Becky and Adam
147: Matt and Sara
148: Rich and Laural Jackson and Maria
149: Sean and Jordana Elijah and Kaiah and Levi
150: Gill Christmas - Part 2 After photos, we headed back to our house and indulged in Sean's famous pizza and Christmas shooters.. The shooters are served at a famous bar in New York City around the holidays. The shot is layered with grenadine, apple schnapps and Goldshlagger which creates a red, white, and green drink with flecks of gold in it. So pretty and so good. We did several rounds. Next we did presents which we did one at a time instead of the regular madhouse . We ended the night with Grandma Gill's famous cream cheese pie deliciously made by Laural. Such a fun night!
152: Yay! It's Christmas Morning!
153: The kids awoke early, as kids do on Christmas morning. It was straight to the living room. They opened their stockings and their gift from Santa but then had to wait for Grandpa Larry who always likes to watch them open their presents. I passed the time eating Nut Bread that Sophia and I made for the first time this year. Mom made Nut Bread every year and it is what we ate on Christmas morning. I have been to afraid to try it until this year. It was delicious and made Christmas complete.
154: Waiting for Grandpa Larry to arrive from Temecula was about the most difficult thing my children have done in their lives. So, when his car was spotted coming down Coventry, it was all cheers because now present opening could commence!
156: Mom and Dad always stop by after having had breakfast with the Marquis'. It was fun to take a break from the present mayhem to celebrate Christmas morning with them. I was anxious to have Pop's try my Nut Bread and give me the "two-thumbs up"! Mom and Pops gave the kiddos cute piggy banks, each a different character. They stayed and had coffee and nut bread for about an hour and then were on their way.
157: Granddad and NanaCher came around noon. I was so grateful that they made the trek. It was really special to see all our parents on Christmas day without being in a car with 3 children. We celebrated with a | special brunch of homemade BloodyMarys and Eggs Benedict made with prosciutto and chipotle hollandaise sauce. It was delish! While we cooked, Grandad helped Kaiah make some muffins.
158: Christmas Day Celebration #3 We hosted dinner at our house for Mom and Pops, Auntie Marilyn, the Marquis', and Shayne. It was chaos! One of these years I will realize that a sit-down dinner with young kids just doesn't work well. The kiddie table collapsed at one point breaking several plates. We did manage to get the meal out and it was wonderful especially Justin's short ribs which were so flavorfull and fall-off-the-bone tender. Despite the crazy it was special.
160: Happy Birthday Levi! So, finally Levi gets a real birthday party. On December 29th we got all his favorite people together for giant pizza and cake and ice cream. Levi loved all the attention and knew this was his special moment. Earlier that day I took him and Eli and Kaiah to see Chipwrecked and to our favorite pizza joint.
162: Hampsy AKA Smokey the Bear Hamster Hampsy came to live with us earlier this year as a tiny little baby. She has "blossomed" into quite the little critter. Kaiah had been wanting a hamster for awhile. The deal was after she had cared for the chickens and fish for 30 days straight she would have proved her ability to care for her own pet. It took her several attempts and a re-negotiation to 20 days but she finally did it. Hampsy is a "bear' hamster which is how she got her original "Smokey" name. Hampsy escaped once to a spot behind the kitchen cabinets. It took us 2 nights to figure out that the scratching noise was not mice in the ceiling but Hamsy. Thirty minutes, a saw-zall, and one whole in the cabinet later, Hampsy was rescued. She has been a fun pet and Kaiah has been a caring responsible owner.
163: And so the year is over... New Year's Eve at the Bradley's house signals that the year is really over. Shad built a beautiful new racetrack and had tons of prizes and, as always, it was a super fun night. None of the Tubbs went home as winners but we still had a great time.