Sunday, August 30, 2009



the best decision I've ever made

bewildered that you chose me

amazed that I have such a great partner 

laugh at your jokes

love your sense of humor

admire your responsible nature

stunned by your ability to figure something out

appreciative of your character

find you quite good-looking

want to grow old with you

August 1st came and went this year without a proper tribute.  
Happy Anniversary to my amazing husband, with love from a very happy wife.
22 years and counting...

Special thanks to Jessica E. for permission to use her wonderful format to express my love.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

From Toddler to Bride

Today my girlfriend's daughter, Jessica, was married.  Her mom and I have been friends since junior high.  I met Jessica when she was two years old.  She was such a beautiful bride!

The girls waited patiently outside the temple today while Kelly and I were attending the sealing.  Jessica had younger sisters (20 and 16) and a brother (11) who waited with them.  It was a little warm, but they were able to wait most of the time in an air conditioned waiting area.

These girls love wedding receptions.  So many yummy desserts and drinks to choose from!   Man was it hot though.  I could see their little red faces just wilting as the afternoon wore on.

Kelly tried to entertain Jenna who was wearing out fast.

In the end, she just gave up.  She fell asleep in the car on the way home and didn't wake up transferring from the car to the bed.  I'm glad she has a comfy dress on!  It was really a beautiful day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

There really isn't any place like home.  I love my home which is a good thing because we spend lots of time here.  As much as we love home, it was fun to travel this summer.  It wasn't planned that we would leave and be gone most of the summer, but as opportunities kept presenting themselves and things fell into place, we took one journey after another.  The Peterson family has definitely enjoyed a summer of travel, and folks kept asking us, "Where are you going this time?" At one point I did stop and look at our travel to scan for frivolity.  Maybe we were being a bit excessive in our journeyings?  It is the first summer that the girls have been old enough to handle this much adventure, and the first time I've been able to handle lots of traveling due to their being more independent.  I also experienced an extreme need to bend with the wind after a seriously scheduled school year.  Maybe I went a little overboard in my planning?  What made me do it??  I don't know, but I started to look at what we've done, and I was very satisfied that there was some real quality family time involved. The connections with my family and friends are what make my heart soar.  So, this list is for me, but I'm blogging it just in case anyone is curious.  I'll probably think of more later, but for now, this is an okay list. Enjoy!

Summer Travel Review 2009

• Traveled to the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado
• Traveled to Northern California 
• Reviewed some California economy and history with Heather including farming and agriculture, the CA Aqueduct and Gold Rush era
• Visited 3 of 4 cousins on Melissa's side
• Visited 1 of 2 living Aunts on Melissa's side
• Melissa spent time with her only sister
• Kelly spent time with his only brother
• Our last living Grandpa made one of our trips with us
• Girls had several fun experiences including horseback riding, playing at aquatic centers, playing at a bounce house, playing at a water park, riding a ferry, visiting San Francisco, riding a trolly car, riding the subway, touring the California Academy of Sciences and spending a day at an amusement/animal discovery park
• Girls connected with little cousins and bonded with them
• Girls got to know their great aunt and uncle, aunts and uncles and older cousins better 
• Spent two of our vacations with our Daddy which is always fun
• Spent time with our immediate family camping at the beach
• Melissa got to visit with several girlfriends (okay, that part was selfish--ha, ha)
• Girls got to play with friends and neighbors while we camped
• Girls and Mom experienced a Victorian tea
• Lots of swimming, hot tubbing, beach days and wonderful food at new places
• Fun sleepovers at both a nice hotel and a boathouse on the water
• More fun with cousins, friends and family than we could ever ask for!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

San Francisco!

Well, two days down and one to go!  Our third day found us traveling from Alameda to San Francisco via the ferry.  It was a first for our girls, and they loved the adventure!  

We walked from the Ferry Building all the way to Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf.  It was a long walk, but a beautiful, sunny and cool day.

It was a fun surprise to find a double-decker carousel among all the shopping throughout Pier 39.  The girls took a ride on the bottom level, and then on the top.  We did a lot of shopping for souvenirs, and then the girls ate corn dogs and cotton candy off a hot dog cart.  

The adults had lunch at the Boudin Bakery.  Well, that was the plan.  The girls shocked us and ate a second lunch at the restaurant!  I guess all the walking made them hungry.  After a yummy lunch of clam chowder in fresh sourdough soup bowls, we toured the bakery.

There were a few interactive things and plenty to read.  There was even a bit about the Gold Rush and some real miner's tools on display.  Heather just finished a unit on the Gold Rush in 4th grade so that was a fun find! 

One of the fascinating things we found during our walk was a huge gathering of seals off Pier 39.  Just a few.  It's actually a felony to pester the seals so they reside here peacefully.  We watched them sleep and bark and fight each other for real estate.  It was quite entertaining...and smelly.

After our shopping, lunch and bazillion miles of walking, the girls had their first street car ride.  We took the trolly from Ghirardelli Square to Union Square.  It was a chilly ride, but very fun.
When enough people got off, the girls got to ride on the runner.  They thought that was pretty neat.

We left the trolly to catch the subway.  Also a first and very 'Harry Potter'.  The girls remembered him riding the subway in one of the movies.  We rode it for just a couple of stops for the girls to have the experience.  Then it was off to catch the 6:25 p.m. ferry.  We had to run!

From the subway, we literally ran to catch the ferry.  It was a good time to leave as the fog was rolling into the city.  What a fabulous day!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Discovery Kingdom - Rides

Today we spent the day at the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA.  It was a bit of Sea World, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, Knotts Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain all in one.  We were able to do quite a bit as there were very few people.  The normally long lines for rides were non-existent, the seating for the shows was fabulous and the weather was beautiful.  Couldn't have asked for a better day!

Our first mistake, I mean, our first rides were the Medusa coaster and the Kong coaster.  Kelly and I rode Medusa.  We were feeling a little jostled afterward.  Jenna wasn't tall enough for Medusa, but she was okay for Kong.  Daddy, Uncle Kevin and Mommy went with.  We (Dad and Mom) needed several hours to recuperate.  Heather?  She was just plain chicken.

Mommy and Jenna were the only ones up for Thrilla Gorilla.  It wasn't actually that bad.  It reminded me of a ride I used to love as a girl at Knott's Berry Farm, so I gave it a shot.  Just one track up and down in a circle.  Very fast.  We did just fine.

Auntie Beth isn't a roller coaster gal, but she did some slower stuff with the girls.

After several roller coasters, including a wooden one that made me long for my chiropractor, I did this one with the girls.  The hitch?  The whole car spins while on the track.  Really, if it weren't for my head getting thrown against the back of this car, I would have been fine.  There isn't one ride at Disneyland that makes me queasy or gives me the neck aches I got today.  We still had a lot of fun hanging out.  It's a great park.

Discovery Kingdom - Animals

We were able to see several marine and animal shows.  Here we are at the dolphin show.

The girls got to go down close to the pool to get a great view.

I think the tigers were our favorite.  These are the two Bengal tigers.  The Siberian tiger was huge.  They all took a swim in the water to show us how they hunt their prey.

The elephant was fantastic.  The girls and I got to go down close and touch her skin and tusks.  Very cool.

Over at the giraffe enclosure, there was a feeding going on where you could walk right up to the giraffes!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA

Beth and Kevin planned this activity for today.  We had no idea what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised.  It's like our Long Beach Aquarium, the Natural History Museum, and the Griffith Observatory all in one.  Plus more!  There was just so much to see that there is no way we could post the nearly 200 pictures we took.  Here are some highlights...

The jaw of a Great White Shark

Waiting in line to enter the rainforest exhibit...

Heather and Jenna under a menacing T-Rex

Jenna holding a of many that fly freely through the rainforest exhibit

Jenna, Heather and Aunt Beth nearing the Emergent level of the Rainforest exhibit...

Jenna bravely exploring the tide pools...

The girls visit Africa...

After the science center, we drove around other areas of GG Park.  It's HUGE.  We'd need a week to explore it all.

We wanted to see the Dutch lighthouse that has been restored and is working again.  The property has lovely flowers covering the grounds.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Uncle Kevin and Aunt Beth's House

We arrived late this afternoon to Kelly's brother's house in Alameda, CA.  The house backs to the water and is really beautiful.  They have worked hard to make everything look so awesome!

The lighthouse mailbox...

The swing on the deck.  The boat house (guest house) is in the background right.

Walking from the house to the deck and dock area.

The gangway down to the "Jonathan", their sailboat.

Inside the lower part of the house.  They have worked so hard to make everything so lovely.  Kevin and Beth live in this lower portion which is like the basement with an outside entrance. They rent out the main house above it.

Uncle Kevin's New Car

Yeah, it's sweet.

Porsche Carrera...My girls don't even grasp what they're sitting in.

Last Hours With Our Cousins

We spent our last evening and morning with our cousins playing and visiting.  Aunt Kim made S'mores for the kids while we watched the Hannah Montana Movie (not as bad as I expected). These little ones had so much fun together.  It was hard to leave today.

S'mores and Movie...

Jenna cuddles with Zeus

KC and the kids.  No mission call yet.  He'll call us when it comes in.

Heather gives Zena a hug good-bye...

2 more...

Had to include these...Heather, Nick, Jenna and Connor spent quite a while in the regular pool.

Nick and Jenna take the inner tube run.  When Heather and Jenna did it together, you could hear them screaming all the way down.  Kim and I were kinda loud too.  Hee, hee.  There were no pictures of us.  Too bad.  We were pretty hysterical especially when we kept tipping the tube as we hit the water!  This is something we couldn't picture our own mothers doing at our age so we were feeling pretty glad that our kids were having fun watching us.  They just don't understand that we're still young and silly on the inside.

Antioch Water Park

Kim took us to the water park over in Antioch today.  For the reasonable price of $7 each, we got to play for hours on the fun slides and in the pool.  My girls love swimming pools and slides!

Jenna shoots the tunnel within a tunnel...

Heather crosses the lilypads all the while pretending she's on Wipeout...

Heather speeds down the body slide...

The girls try some waterfall action that's more like water assault...

The girls loved this large slide that could take up to 3 at a time.  Mom liked this one too.