Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rare Celestial Phenomena!

Venus, Jupiter, moon lining up for rare group hug among stars.......
We celebrated Thanksgiving this past week in New Mexico at Danny's sister, Darlene and her husband Doug's 160 acre ranch. What a unforgetable experience. When Brian had asked what it would be like I told him, "Brian, at night, you will see more stars than you had ever seen in your whole life!!"
It's so sad to think that my kids haven't really even seen the milky way. Yes, we've been out to CA deserts and Utah but not in a spot like out in the middle of nowhere, Pie Town, NM, population 182! The sky was so black and yet decked out in beautiful, sparkling jeweled stars and a shimmering choker milky way of stars! My kids couldn't believe it. We were also treated to shooting stars! I remember as a kid, living in Utah, sleeping outside on the lawn with my friends in late August and watching meteor showers. It's sad to think my kids don't have that treat of nature. So what a joy it was to share this with them.
It was so weird, but looking up in the night sky, I could see these 2 HUGE stars, which I knew were really planets. I assumed they were venus & mars but they were so much larger than I remember.... it looked like this (but not my pic, mine wouldn't come out)
That's because they weren't venus and mars but venus and JUPITER!! It turns our that we are being treated to a rare celestial phenomena! Danny looked it up on-line and figured it out

Venus, Jupiter, moon lining up for rare group hug among stars....... (from an article Danny found on-line)

WASHINGTON – It's not just families that are getting together this Thanksgiving week. The three brightest objects in the night sky — Venus, Jupiter and a crescent moon — will crowd around each other for an unusual group shot.
Starting Thanksgiving evening, Jupiter and Venus will begin moving closer so that by Sunday and Monday, they will appear 2 degrees apart, which is about a finger width held out at arm's length, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine. Then on Monday night, they will be joined by a crescent moon right next to them, he said.
Look in the southwestern sky around twilight — no telescope or binoculars needed. The show will even be visible in cities if it's a clear night.
"It'll be a head-turner," MacRobert said. "This certainly is an unusual coincidence for the crescent moon to be right there in the days when they are going to be closest together."
The moon is the brightest, closest and smallest of the three and is 252,000 miles away. Venus, the second brightest, closest and smallest, is 94 million miles away. And big Jupiter is 540 million miles away.
The three celestial objects come together from time to time, but often they are too close to the sun or unite at a time when they aren't so visible. The next time the three will be as close and visible as this week will be Nov. 18, 2052, according to Jack Horkheimer, director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.
But if you are willing to settle for two out of three — Venus and the crescent moon only — it will happen again on New Year's Eve, MacRobert said.
So if you're reading this tonight, you still have a chance to see it tomorrow night too. It really is such a wonderful display of how wonderous nature is!

Friday, November 7, 2008


This was our first Halloween in Murrieta. After much debate, I decided NOT to drive all the way to Huntington Beach to go trick-or-treating in our traditional neighborhood. It was a hard decision. We have been hosting a dinner and trick-or-treat with our friends out there for as long as we'd lived in our H.B. house, about 9 years. I decided we might as well integrate ourselves into our new community. that and the fact that Tyson HATES the car. It wouldn't have made his 1st Halloween (that he can actually participate in) very fun if he had to spend it in the car. So we stayed.

We kept our tradition somewhat alive and invited our new old friends the Campbells for dinner along with our new new friends, the Cubettes. We had soup & pizza before we all ventured out into our seperate groups to make sure all could maximize on their Halloween fun:

Who's behind the face of death? Kierstin of course. No cutsie Barbies like her cute friend Callie Campbell! I was able to snap this shot before they went off to their friend Lauren's for trick-or-treating and fun.
I didn't manage to get a before shot
of the older crew before they rushed off but here we are gathered at the end. The older crew consisted of (in orange Corbin Cubette, Bradley (tall death) Connor Campbell - cool hippie,
(back to left) Ellis Cubette, Brian - skeleton, Bryce - phantom, front, princess Hannah & of course "superbaby Tyson" which is fitting since that is what Brian seriously wanted to name Tyson; superbaby. Brother Campbell & Cubette took the older guys around, they must have wanted a work out!

Rochelle Cubette and I got to take the younger crew, can you tell I was with them? Poor Rochelle had to stop probably more often then she'd like so I could snap a pic for posterity's sake to post on my blog:
Here they are gearing up!
Tyson's first hit!! He couldn't believe strange people put a candy in his pumpkin! He was stoked!

Here we are in process, Tyson was so curious about everything, especially all the various candle holders!
kids loved this one!

Tyson sharing his trick or treat skills now that he's experienced. Dad missed the party but got home in time to pass out all the candy while we were out! (Sis Campbell went to her home to pass out candy. We all felt she deserved it as she was due any time and ended up having sweet Matthew the following week!)

Here's the younger crew, enjoying their spoils and relaxing their footsies!

Here are the older kids, trading for what they like. We ended the evening by having Connor, Ethan, & Corbin for a sleep over.

Kierstin ended up home at 11:00 with a smile and a nice booty of candy. Sucess and fun for all!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

On Monday, October 27, we realized we had failed to uphold a time-honored 14 year tradition of going to the pumpkin patch. However, we had gone to the same pumpkin patch for 14 years. On the corner of Edinger/Goldenwest in Huntington Beach. This year, we had to change the location but we still honored the tradition. After inquiring of some local friends, we decided to try Peltzer Farms off Rancho Ca in Temecula wine country. It is an actual farm, kinda cool!

It had a petting zoo we all enjoyed.

And a cool tractor collection the boys enjoyed
Something you won't get in H.B.; a corn maze which we all enjoyed! Kierstin decided to explore herself. It was really kind of cool since it was nighttime. It was spooky enough that Tyson wanted to stick close but not spooky enough that Bryce and Brian felt they could venture off with a flashlight by themself. Even though I have no evidence, I think Kierstin even enjoyed that part.

Of course they had pumpkins too. Tyson sure enjoyed testing his strength on them; seeing which ones he could heft on his own.
However, we did not buy a pumpkin there. We did not feel like spending $40 on pumkins. We never usually bought pumpkins at our old patch either. We'd usually buy them at the grocery store on the way home.
Although we did carry on our pumpkin patch tradition we unfortuantely did not get to the purchasing of pumpkins that night or any night. We were just too tired. We did not even carve jack-o-lanterns this year. We will have to continue through with that for next year.
I know Bryce and Brian were disappointed but I told them we had many more years to come and some years you just have to be happy with what you do get.

Dad's turn for FHE

A few weeks ago I was telling the boys they had to get their homework/chores done early because tonight was family home evening.

Bryce got really excited and said, "oh yeah, dad said we're going to McDonald's to win $100,ooo for FHE!!" I raised a skeptical eyebrow; "he did, did he?"
Bradley interjects "yeah, they're playing the Mormon Lottery there and the prize is $100,000!"

I've heard that term before, Mormon Lottery. It's Danny's jingo for Monopoly Game that McDonald's does every so often.

Of course this warrants a phone call right away to dad to verify what I know is going to unfortunately be true...
"Danny, I hear we are going to McDonald's to win $100,000 tonight for FHE!"
The laughter I hear on the other end confirms it.

This is one of those cases where I am not going to push a no. Mom gets sick of being the bad guy and I hate making dinner. This is an excuse to get out of it.

So off we went that night to McDonald's:

As you can see, like father like sons. They boys' enthusiasm can scarecly be contained as they play their game.!
Although Tyson is clueless, he can feel the excitement and he gets fries out of it after all!

However, my attitude is clearly reflected in that of Kierstin... what kind of FHE is this? Let's go home. Maybe we should skip dad's turn next time!! I do love you dear.

October 24, 2008
Well, He's not the first one to lose a tooth in our family, but he is the first one to lose a tooth in kidnergarten! Everybody else has waited until 1st grade to lose their tooth.
The toothfairy prize..... $1.00 in shiny new issue state quarters (the kind you can put in the state quarter map!)

Happy Birthday 14th Bday Kierstin

Happy 14th Birthday Kierstin!!

October 22, 2008

Kierstin's Birthday was on a Thursday which meant she had to go to school. I made her favorite breakfast of cottage cheese pancakes before she went off to seminary with her traditional warm up birthday wish (one candle on your fav. breakfast). We just celebrated as a family that night. Her favorite food is Thai so I found a Thai Restaurant out here in Murrieta and picked up some to take home. She also preferred to have a Marie Calendar's razzleberry pie to cake. Easy enough. We ate a late

dinner and had pie and ice cream.

This is what Kierstin looked like most of the evening. She is so blessed to have so many friends and family to call and wish her happy birthday; Aunt Mary & Ann & Karalee & Derek, Uncle Michael, Gpa Robin & Gmas Carol & nancy, Opa Fred, her friends from H.B. etc.

She got a straightening iron and a coupon from dad that said she could go choose a new cell phone as her old one is not working so well. It was pretty low key this year.... or so she thought!

Little did she know I had planned her a surprise party. It actually started with her good friends Renee Neishi, Kelsey Brookfield (her cousin) and Emily Pitt asking if they could come out around lunchtime on Friday after school and decorate her room and surprise her. I thought, what a great idea, let's really surprise her and have a big party. I have a big van, why not fill it with her friends and bring them out here for a surprise. It started with about 6 friends but by the time Friday rolled along I ended up picking up 10 girls.

I asked their parents if I could get them out of school at lunch and pick them up and bring them out here for a slumber party. So Friday, I went out and picked them up. Unfortunately, there was an accident on the way out that made me 45 minutes late and put me late on the road home so I got stuck in traffic. To add to the drama, this put me 45 minutes late in picking Kierstin up from school. Her cell phone hasn't been working so she didn't have it for me to call her and let her know what was going on. Fortunately, Bradley's school is right next to hers and he gets out 40 minutes later. So I knew that she would walk over there and wait. Poor Callie Campbell was stuck on the waiting too but at least she knew what was in store. While it was a bummer to be stuck in traffic, I giggled to her friends cuz I knew she would be livid that I was late which would make her surprise all the more dramatic.

I dropped the girls off at my house, armed them with silly string and poppers and went to pick up Kierstin. Sure enough, she was fit to be tied. She was practically fuming smoke! It was all I could do not to giggle. She was so upset she didn't even notice Tyson wasn't in the car. I'd left him home with the girls. (I later told Kierstin she owed Ty the most as he had to sit in his carseat for 4 hours straight and he hates the carseat!)

(Renee & Aubrey waiting)

Anyways, so we got to the door and she opened it to a complete onslaught of silly string, confetti, etc.

The look on her face was priceless!! She was clueless and totally surprised!! I wish we would have got a better pic but this is the best we

could do!


Shocked, but happy and now apologetic for being so upset!!

I love all of Kierstin's friends; However, I'm usually not a proponent of slumber parties at this age. Let's face it, girls get tired and cranky and can take it out on eachother. I wasn't looking forward to the giggling and squealing all night.

I had a few games planned; a scavenger hunt, a bertie botts every flavored bean tasting contest and a how well do you know Kierstin quiz.

The girls also played their own games like big bootie (?!)

I did a non-traditional dinner. I'm trying to encourage my kids to eat healthier and figured these girls are older and can handle it. So I made a couple of Kierstin's favorite things; potatoe-cheese soup with chinese chicken salad and corn-bread. Surprisingly, it went over really well (except for our dear picky Natalie, who we fed a corndog and corn-bread).

The girls laughed and had a great time. I thoroughly enjoyed them all. They were courteous and good with eachother even though they didn't all necessarily know eachother very well. The biggest shocker.... they were all asleep by 12:30 a.m.!! I miracle. I couldn't believe it. I guess seminary played a factor with the church girls and the fact that Kia had to go to an MUN conference the next day helped. But the put on Disney's Aladdin and fell asleep! Angels!

We woke by 8:00 for muffins and bagels with cream cheese and kiwi and bananas and then hit the road. Kia had to be back and I had to have the boys to a primary program practice in H.B. by 10:30. We were there by 10:25.

It was a perfect party! Mostly, I was so impressed with Kierstin's choice of friends. They are all so sweet, courteous and have good moral values. I enjoyed each one of them. I hope they all know they are sorely missed but we hope to stay in contact. I hope they all enjoyed themselves as much as I did. I know Kierstin had fun and that was what counted to me!

The H.B. Crew
back row starting with cute girl w/glasses; Natalie Boardman, Summer, Aubrey,
front: Callie Campbell (only Murrieta girl but former H.B.), Emily Pitt, Kesley Brookfield, Renee Neishi, Kyra Jensen, Kia Tahman with Kierstin seated in front.