Monday, January 31, 2011

Jury Duty

On Tuesday I went downtown because I was summoned for jury duty. Yippy Skippy. The fog was heavy that morning and so was the mood in the jury waiting room. We were told the case would last about two weeks. Uh. I could practically see the wheels turning inside every head in the room, trying to figure out how they'd get out of this one. Fortunately for me I didn't have to do a thing. When the judge was ready, the jury room employees ran our names through the computer and called about 80 people from the group of 100. My name was not on that list. Rad! So they read our names from the short list, told us we had fulfilled our obligation and were free to go. Whew. Best jury duty ever.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My entry

There is a photo contest I entered this week and this shot is my entry. The theme was snow or fog and honestly the fog hasn't inspired me to go out and shoot with my camera lately. I took this photo last Sunday in Shaver while we were up in the snow.

Now, honestly some of the other photos that have been submitted in the contest are amazing and mine is the only photo with a person in it, but who cares, right? You all know how rad I think it is to enter contests, even if I don't win.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flip Out

Lately Maggie's learned lots of new things and here is a skill she finally accomplished yesterday. When she's practiced somersaulting in the past she usually ended up sliding to one side halfway through. Today she finally did it correctly and was able to go straight around. Getting it on camera was a task, but we got it, so here you go.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hearts

On Monday Maggie's little play group gathered at our friends' house for an art party. The toddlers (and me) made these little hearts. Maggie wasn't really into it and kept looking at me strangely when I ripped the little bits of construction paper. I don't think she wanted either of us get in trouble. Obviously, just like with presents at Christmas, learning which paper is acceptable to tear and which is not is going to take some time. She didn't like having messy glue on her fingers either, as you can see from her facial expression in the photo. I think she's still a bit young for arts and crafts but I plan to keep working on it and will try to patiently wait until she's ready. She did, as always, enjoy playing with her friends though and loved pointing at and telling me when she saw our friends' cat. Cat. Cat. CAT! Sorry, Maggie, we will not be getting a cat.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trial Run

















On Sunday Chad, Maggie and I made a spontaneous trip to the cabin. Chad wanted to spend time with Maggie playing in the snow so up the mountain we went with our winter gear in tow. We test drove Chad's new sets of snowshoes and to my surprise they were actually really fun. Much easier to figure out than I thought and a great way to climb hills and thick snow banks. We had fun breaking them in and are looking forward to our first real trek out in the snowy wilderness.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oh yes we did

On our way home from the fish hatchery last Saturday Chad decided he wanted to eat locally in Friant. Having never been there before we didn't know what the little town had to offer. We drove past a couple uninteresting restaurants but then we saw...The Dam Diner. So of course we stopped and ate our lunch there! Can you blame us? (You can see the dam on the left side of the top photo, which might help explain how the diner got its name.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fish Hatchery

Saturday morning Chad, Maggie and I took a little drive up to Friant to check out the San Joaquin Fish Hatchery. This specific hatchery is one of the largest in the state and produces fish for lakes and streams all over Northern, Central and Southern California. The focus is on varieties of rainbow trout, but there is a small hatchery there for Kokanee salmon as well. We were able to feed the fish and they loved us for it. Walking along the troughs we saw small, medium, large and double-big-gulp-super-sized monsters that would pop my arm off if I caught one on my fishing line. Apparently some of the larger fish in the hatchery are 3+ years old and weigh over 10 pounds. Hello! Anyway, the three of us spent the morning watching and feeding the bigger fish before going inside to see the actual hatchery with the little baby fish. They look like feeder fish and there are billions of them. Before we left we got to see a man (I don't know if he was a ranger or just a regular State employee, but he was a man so...) drive a golf cart type thing along the rows of troughs. This little car had a mechanical spout that shot food out at the fish. When his cart came near the fish they went wild, splashing, frantically swimming and acting like crazy happy fish. It was interesting to watch and a neat way to end our fun morning at the hatchery.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hobby Lobby

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new Hobby Lobby in Visalia since last year when they announced it would be replacing the empty Mervyn's building in the Sequoia Mall. This Hobby Lobby is the first to open in California. My first impression of it, besides being huge, is that there are tons of home decor items in there. Knick knacks, mirrors, silk flowers, frames, reproduction art, candles...stuff like that. They also sell craft materials and tools, party supplies, fabric, and Christian-themed gifts. I wish there were more craft aisles, but who knows, maybe they'll add them in someday.

Interesting fact: they don't use scanners at the register. Every item in the store has a PRICE TAG and the cashier has to manually enter that price when you go to check out. The receipt has no mention of what you bought, just the price. Weird and old fashioned, huh? For such a big and new store, I'd say so.

One more interesting fact: they are not open Sundays so don't make plans to shop there then.

It's hard for me to say what this store is like. I'd say maybe a combination of Jo-Ann, Michaels, Party City and (cheap) Home Goods with some Christian book store thrown in to top it off?

Hobby Lobby was busy on the Friday afternoon we went to check it out. It's a good addition to Visalia and I'm sure will be successful there. I know I'll pay them another visit next time I'm in town. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter Swimming

Maggie and I went to Swim America this morning for a little play time in the pool. While outside it was cold, foggy and dreary, the pool we went to was indoors and heated so we were plenty warm. Maggie had a ball splashing around with the other 11 toddlers and played with the many floating toys they had for her to use. She held onto me a good part of the time because the center of the pool was 2.5 feet deep--just slightly too deep for her to stand and still be able to breathe. The edges were shorter and she could play on her own there, but of course I stayed near her to make sure she was safe.

Mags did forget a couple of the skills she learned from last summer's swimming lessons, so we'll need to work on those again. We can't be too hard on her though because she hasn't been swimming since August! A few moms in the group said that 18-24 months is a tough age for swimming, so we'll see if that holds true for Maggie.

Anyway, the above photo shows Maggie in one of her new swimsuits just before we got in the pool.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

San Joaquin River Parkway
















Thursday morning Maggie and I spent a few hours with friends at an area called the San Joaquin River Parkway. The nature center has a trail for kids so we walked along it and explored animal homes, looked at the various native plants growing, and saw beautiful birds, fish and even a bunny. The weather was perfect and we all had such a great time. If there is anyone out there interested in going with us again sometime, let me know. We're totally game.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Super Cool Glasses

My dad had an eye exam on Friday and came home with this super cool free sunglasses. Maggie was totally intrigued by them and enjoyed looking at herself with them on. She also liked wearing them as a bracelet. Surprise, surprise. I'm going to keep them in her diaper bag so she can wear them while we're out and about.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Maggie and I recently went to visit my parents. While we were there we helped my mom celebrate her birthday. Happy birthday, Mom! It won't be long now before you get your first SS check. We love you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Light-socket Lass















This photo of Maggie was taken with my phone earlier this week. The weather was sunny and warm so we trekked down to the park. I captured this shot as we were going down the way-too-big-for-her-to-go-alone slide. She never got to see her hair this way because it was only this crazy cruising down the slide, but I think she'd love it. I know I did. Happy 18 months, Maggie!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Give me an M
















Chad surprised Maggie and me by getting her some letters for her room for Christmas. He hung them up on Sunday afternoon and now when Maggie goes in there she points and smiles. She likes them and they fill out that wall nicely.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Krazy Fun Pak












Our friend Kim sent us a fun package of goodies last week. While there were a few pieces of junk in there, a few things were super prized in our house. Thanks for thinking of us, Kim. We miss you!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Activity table
















For Christmas Maggie's great grandma (GG) gave her this super awesome activity table. We decided to put it in our breakfast nook/casual dining room area since there is plenty of room. We had to rearrange a few things and overall are happy with the result. Obviously now we need some new large art for the wall and I have a feeling it won't be long before Maggie makes us something for it. Anyway, here are some photos of Maggie today after we set up her table. She tried out each stool and thinks it's pretty cool having something her size in that area. As you can see, she really likes it. Thanks again, GG!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cubicle Farm
















For Christmas Maggie got this cubicle bookcase from my parents. She can now look at her books and toys without having to dig around in her closet. So far she's enjoying it and I'm loving both the functional and aesthetic aspects of it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gamers























Our vacation in San Diego went by fast. We had so much fun planned and just a short amount of time to get it all in. We played lots of games. There were individual kicking competitions (check out my kick...), team competitions (balloon-stuffing-into-Bass-Pro-Shop-brand-long-underwear anyone?), fend for yourself games (marshmallow PVC shooters), and miscellaneous made up games (whirligig contests). There were other games too, but these are the ones of which we have photos. It's probably better that way.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Gift Exchange

For those of you with smaller families, this is what a Christmas gift exchange looks like when there are 12 adults and 11 children in one small room. Chaos, but so so fun.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Um, yeah, there were seatbelts




















Last weekend in San Diego Chad and Mags took a spin on a go-cart made by our super crafty brother-in-law, Todd. They both enjoyed the ride and fortunately for me Chad didn't drive way too fast with Maggie in tow. The speedy unsafe driving was saved for the other kids.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year! (The Storm Edition)



















We had a wonderful weekend in San Diego celebrating Christmas, the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. I'll post more about that this week, but here's how we ended our trip: getting stuck in a blizzard! Hurray for us! We left San Diego at 9:30am hoping to avoid some of the storm. We figured we'd hit some of it in the mountains, but not nearly as much as we did. Take a look at the photos in this post. These were taken long after we had escaped the worst parts and were home free. Hard to believe. (Getting out my camera and documenting the experience were two of the last things on my mind earlier that afternoon.) We experienced an excessive amount of snow and wind, plus ice, sliding cars, sitting in traffic, crawling in traffic, me being scared, cars on the side of the road, Maggie being an awesome passenger, Chad being a rock star driver and finally freedom after four hours of being in the stormy mountain. Turns out they had closed the Ridge Route at some point while we were up there, but we were already inside so... The good news is that we made it and the whole ordeal is over.