Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Little Gradon!

It was one year ago I was laying in a hospital bed staring at the most beautiful baby boy sleeping soundly next to me. What an amazing blessing this boy has been in my life.

July 2010

A few things I love about you right now at age one: you love music, you love to sing and dance and clap your chubby baby hands when you hear a song you like. In the morning when I pick you up out of your crib you like to give me a big hug and pat me on the back for a few moments, it's one of the highlights of my day. You are becoming quite the little clown, I guess that is what happens when you have two big sisters and everything you do is funny to them! You are a crazy fast crawler. You have been taking baby steps recently. I am not ready, please slow down. This year has gone by too fast, as my friend Jeri said the other day, 'its like we missed three months!' true. I don't know where the time has gone.

Today was a great day. We didn't have our dad here with us to celebrate, (we are waiting for him to come home) but we did do a few fun things. Today we made cupcakes and took some friends to the pool with us. I also made some fresh salsa. The girls swam like little fish. I am amazed at how well Ellie is swimming this summer. It was a great day. I'ts been a full day. Now I am tired. I have a fun photo shoot planned for Gradon tomorrow. Happy Birthday Gradon, we love you so much!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

California Trip, Disneyland, part 1

Our last leg of our trip was at one of my favorite places...Disneyland. I love this place. Maybe I love it becuase I have so many memories from my childhood, or that people there are so nice and so friendly and the place is clean and the people who work for Disney are amazing. Really. They are amazing. Another reason why I love this place so much is that we always have a great time, and no matter how many times we go back, it is magical, for everyone.

My parents have a time share with Disney and boy do they love going with their kids and grandkids to the happiest place on earth. We were so fortunate to be able to go, my folks were very generous and made this fantastic vacation possible. Let's talk first about the hotel, The Grand California resort and spa. This hotel is amazing. It is beautiful, it has everything you could possibly want for an extended stay. The pools, the food, the incredible craftsman style architecture, and the rooms are amazing. I don't know why I didn't take any photos of the hotel, I think I was simply too busy. Shame on me, next time. But here are a couple from the web.

Our first day in the park was June 21st. My girls were excited to dress in their favorite fairy costumes so off we went, to the new Little Mermaid ride. One of the nice things about staying at the hotels is you get in early to the parks. The Grand California has an entrance inside California Adventure, so we ate breakfast and the girls and I headed out. Sophia and Ellie both loved the new ride, once Sophia had ridden she determined that it was her favorite ride.

In line for Ariel, first thing in the morning!

After Ariel, we headed to my favorite ride of the week, Midway Mania! The new toy story ride. My folks, Chris and the baby, my sister and her hubby as well as my brother and his family met up for this fun ride. Even G got to ride. It is SO fun.

This might be one of my very favorite pictures of the whole week.

After midway mania we rode the paradise pier carousel and met this little lady:

Sophia was thrilled. Thrilled!

This was just the beginning! Whew! =) Next would be more rides and lunchtime. After lunch we would leave California Adventure for Disneyland and Astro Blasters, the Buzz Lightyear ride, the NEW Star Tours ride, and a little time in Fanstasy Land. The girls had been begging us to go to Cinderella's castle.

In line for buzz lightyear!

Star Tours!

Yay, we made it. =)

Dinner that night was made by Javier, homemade enchiladas...yum. The girls and Chris headed to bed and Anna, Javier and I headed back into the park until late with a walk down into Downtown Disney and then ice cream at Hagen Daas. Fantastic first day!

Friday, July 22, 2011

California Trip, Chapter 3

This is the post where I get really sentimental.
(Just to warn you before you delve deeper)

I really enjoy going back to California. I love to see my family, pop in on old friends, visit places that hold memories. This time was no different of course. This time I also tried my best to capture some more simple moments with my camera so I would remember them more accutely. I have found that unless I document everything in my life I just don't remember it like I should. This realization has gotten me to the next thought- that in my own way I have become a historian for my family. I am not much of a writer or journal keeper, but I love photos. Thank goodness for my camera. I actually remembered to take some photos ofmy mom's wonderful garden. She is a master gardner you know, has amazing roses, daylilies and magical corners in her yard.

A few of my favorite sentimental moments from our trip last month were driving up and down and up and down California seeing stretches of road that I have driven a hundred times; (literally) and they still look the same. (We did lots of driving this last trip) Same worn out roadsigns, same run down shop fronts, same green orchards and farmland. It's interesting how these places really don't change for us as we grow up.

I loved watching my girls spend time with my folks. My girls had an amazing time playing at their grandma and grandpa's house. They spent hours playing upstairs in my sister's old room with dolls, books and toys. Oh the messes they made. They made cookies with my mom, played and dug in her garden, and oh yes they swam swam swam swam. They played with their cousins. They discovered my treasures that I played with as a child. It was a joyful time of memory making.

Photos of my mother and her sisters, her with her whole family, and on right- her parents

Assorted family photos of me and my family growing up

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend Recap

I was totally dreading today. I laid in my bed last night wondering how I was going to do another week at church without Chris...with my wiggly squirmy overly tired baby...or my pouty and disagreeable 6 year old or my defiant 4 year old.  Why does church sometimes bring out some of the worst behavior in my children?? Oh yeah, and it's my month to do sharing time too, and we have been short handed all month in primary because of the summer break. I went to bed feeling very anxious but said a prayer asking for help to get through the day.  

Sacrament meeting turned out to be one of the longest hours of my week, the minutes seem to crawl by and yes G was hard to manage and yes my girls argued about the only Dora coloring book in the church bag. (*eye roll* they don't even really like Dora anymore and there are so many other great books in the bag to choose life is always about economics it seems) So with part of my sanity in check I left a few minutes early from the meeting to attack the chairs in the primary room and get things going. I also had to get the baby to sleep somehow and collect my thoughts.

Luckily my 2nd counselor was totally on the ball today to help me...she is wonderful. I don't know what I would do without her...and she always has chocolate in her bag to share. I love her to bits. I got the baby to sleep quickly in his seat and was able to pull everything together for both my sharing times. (Sharing time is the part of our childrens' class where a teacher gives a lesson about the gospel. ) My sharing time for both hours went really well. I have to say we had a great time and talking about the temple really helped me put everything in perspective.

Baby slept for an hour which was so needed for everyone. Whew.
Now we are home and getting ready to head out to dinner at Chris' brother's house. We miss our daddy. We are so looking forward to having him home soon. All in all we are doing fine, but Sundays are the hardest. I miss having his calm demeanor to keep me in check and another pair of hands to wrestle the kids.

I must say, I am so proud of his accomplishments!
He is doing so well in his first rotation...learning a lot and getting great experiences. We also got great news about his step 1 test scores... he rocked it! I am so relieved and pleased and grateful that Chris is going to have the options he wants in deciding his specialty. Nothing is worse than feeling like you are stuck with what is left over. Step 1 is over and we can look forward to our last couple of years and come up with our next plan. I can't believe we are even getting to that point in this...but it's quickly.

As for Friday and Saturday night we spent our time at the park near our house. It's one of my favorite parks, has a great view of a man made lake, and the kids literally are happy for about 2-3 hours there. Last night we took a picnic and stayed until Gradon was tired...then we got ice cream.

Three weekends down, only a couple to go without our dad. We miss you honey. Thanks for working so hard for us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


 photo on Dan and Kelly's front porch prior to the drive to Anaheim
I have been a HUGE U2 fan for several years, maybe half my life...tells you just how old I am. =) I have been wanting to see them in concert for just as long, and have missed out on a few opportunities to see them over the years. On June 18th I FINALLY got my turn. About 10 months ago Chris and I were planning our trip to California and we realized that U2 was going to be in Anaheim over the dates that were planned to be in California for my family's reunion. We decided to include Chris' brother Dan and his wife who also live in central California. We also planned to surprise her with the tickets since the day two concert date fell on her birthday. For the last several months I have beens staring at the four U2 tickets in my dresser drawer, counting down the days to the concert.

Saturday afternoon we picked Dan and Kelly up in Hanford and made our way south we were kind of in a time crunch and of course hit traffic. Dan was great withhis smart phone navigating us through the worst of it, and helped us find a crazy burger joint for dinner. We arrived right on time and found our seats. It was a fantastic show. Lenny Kravitz opened the concert and until this point I had always liked his music, but his music live is another story altogether. Intense, powerful, soulful, blazing with a smoking brass section and back-up vocals, he almost stole the show. *almost*

After Lenny did his set, there was about an hour in between U2's opener, and I found myself on the hunt fora particular tour t shirt...I finally found one and got to meet several die hard U2 fans in the lines, amazing how friendly everybody was, It was so fun listening to fans tell their stories of concerts they had attended over the years, one fan who has seen nine concerts this year alone, and who has met Bono in Dublin. As I was finally making my purchase I heard the opening strands of David Bowie's  'Ground Control to Major Tom' echoing through the stadium. ( Space travel was a theme for the tour.) 

I grabbed my bag and RAN back to my seat in the stands. 'Even Better than the Real Thing' was the opener, fabulous. They played 4 songs from the album 'Achtung Baby' in a row, which was great for me, it's my second favorite album behind Joshua Tree. The night was full of song surprises, with interesting choices by the band stretching their  30+ year career. I wished it would have lasted just a wee bit longer...but isn't that the way it always goes? You just want one more song? I do wish they had played 'Bad' one of my very favorites and a classic song from the band's 'Unforgettable Fire' album, but all in all, I am so happy. I got to hear 'With or Without You' and 'I Will Follow' live. If you want to check out the complete set list you can view it here. It was a great night, a night well worth the wait.

midway through the concert via Kelly's iphone

Sunday, July 10, 2011

California Trip, Chapter 2

Going to California is always a treat. I love going home. I love spending time with my family, I love seeing old friends. This time was much the same. We had a fantastic time. On Monday June 13th we drove from San Diego to Fresno where my parents live. The girls were ridiculously excited to arrive. Both girls had been talking about Grandma's pool and Grandma's toys, and Grandma's garden, and making cookies and well the list goes on. Grandma's house is a big favorite. Once we arrived the girls suited up for the pool and Grandpa served them a plate of cookies. All was as it should be.

The next few days were much like this, in the next morning Sophia appeared in our room bright and early dressed in swim gear. This child LOVES to swim. By the time we left California she had no need for the swim vest. =)

During the week I was content to sleep when I could and enjoy a slower pace. Wednesday we drove Hanford where Chris' brother Dan, and his family live. Dan is also in the Navy and flies Hornets like Chris did once upon a time. Dan and his wife Kelly have three kids almost the same ages as ours, so of course we all get along well.

Zoe, Ellie and Sophia

Zoe, Ellie and Mason Cochran

Time with the Hanford Cochrans was complete with pool time and smoked brisket. YUM. Thursday we spent with my family and invited Dan and his family up to our house for dinner and more swimming.

Chris with his brother Dan, and his daughter Penny

Ellie and Zoe

Friday my brother David and his cute family arrived just in time for the weekend fun and for our Disneyland trip starting the next Monday.

Trina and David Enns

Saturday was a very special day, the day of the long anticipated U2 concert, which will get it's very own post. =) Chris' folks also flew into LAX on Saturday, with plans to spend time with us and the other branches of the Cochran clan. They helped out with Dan and Kelly's kids while we were in Anaheim for the U2 concert. We drove back up to Fresno on the morning of Father's Day after the concert. Chris took Ellie and Gradon to church and I stayed home with Sophia who had a nasty fever.

Father's Day dinner was so fun. My dad 'the grill master' grilled about 5 tri tip roasts, mom made various sides and treats and we all feasted heartily. Gifts were exchanged to all the dads and it was fantastic having both of the Grandpas together with our kids for Father's Day. The girls painted ceramics for Chris and for their grandads. I was so pleased to have everyone together. It was a great day of celebrating our fathers. 

Eating dinner, Zoe Cochran on the left and Hailee Enns on the right.

Charlene Cochran, my mom, and our dear friend Paulie Hutchings

Hailee Enns, my Dad and Mason

Deford Cochran with a few of his grandkids

Friday, July 8, 2011

Small things

I was reading in our church's issue of the Ensign this month, and I found one of the articles particularly interesting. The title, Getting Out of Debt for Good has some wonderful principles for people trying to finally becoming debt free. This brother who wrote the article talks about the technique called 'snowballing' where you pay off your small debts first and then use the money that you were paying to those small debts to the larger ones. In effect, you have created a snowball of cash, and the money you used for the small debts is put to use towards the bigger debt, and with that larger amount your debt is paid off more quickly. This is a new concept to me. I had never thought that paying off the small things would be smarter than dealing with a larger more impressive finanical burden. But really, it makes sense.

Monday I spent the evening at the pool with some of my favorite people and we brought up the term 'emotional bankrupcy' in reference to dealing with our children and how hard parenting can be sometimes. We laughed about it casually but then the tone shifted to 'debt consolidation of emotions'. What if the answer to dealing with our big problems is really dealing with the small issues first and THEN tackling the big stuff? That way you have more energy and strength and may I say faith to deal with the larger looming struggles that seem to plague us at one time or another. I have been thinking a lot about this. At the gym today the scripture came to my mind, 'by small and simple things are great things brought pass'. (ding!)

I made the connection. When I work my hardest and doing the little things in my emotional life, I will be stronger and better and more able to tackle the bigger goal, the dream, the pot of gold, or even further, a pain or sadness. The momentum will be so great that I will be able to achieve my goals and find peace along the way.
I do feel like I am getting better at this...(perspective again) but then I have hard days like yesterday when I feel so frustrated or bogged down...and then I remember how much progress I am making, and how GOOD my life is, and how blessed I matter what. My emotional and spiritual bank account need constant attention. I have always known that. But this experience has helped open my eyes that the little things do matter and are in fact, the key to the big picture.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of July

Was fantastic. Pancake Breakfast at the church, pool time with friends, bbq with more friends and beautiful fireworks to top it all off. I have to say that we are so lucky to have such wonderful friends here. I am so thankful for them, they are truly fabulous people.
(I am sorry I don't have any photos to share, I think I maybe took four pictures yesterday, I just didn't stress out about taking pictures.) It would have been perfect if Chris was here. He starts rotations today! I think he is going to do really well. I have a great feeling about this year for him. Today we are off to the movies and more pool time. Happy Summer!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

California Trip, Chapter 1

We flew into LAX on June 9th around noon. I love flying west, you get 3 whole hours added back to your day. =) We had an extremely easy and mellow flight, and we gathered our bags quickly once we landed in LA and got our rental easily. We hopped in the car and made the 2 1/2 hour drive to San Diego, (Pacific Beach) where we would stay with Chris' brother Grant and his wife Alene. Chris' brother Flynn and his wife Jamie also live in San Diego. The girls and I were so excited to arrive. We had a relaxing dinner that night and made plans for Sea World and other adventures in the coming days. The next morning I was not feeling well at all. My temperature was climbing and my throat was in terrible pain. I laid in bed most of the day, only leaving the room to get water and ibuprofen. The kids had a fantastic time however, and spent their days hunting for snails, climbing in the back yard, digging in the dirt and playing with their cousin Penn and Niko's scoot bikes. We loved those, we need to get one for our Gradon at some point.

(click on each image to see it larger)

Later that day I had had enough of being sick so I headed out to see an urgent care doc who gave me some antibiotics for strep throat. Saturday we spent the day at Sea World which was really fun. I was grateful my temp was back to normal and I had some energy again. We loved the Shamu show, and because we were late comers to the show got a front row seat, which meant we got SOAKING wet. Penn wasn't thrilled with the water, neither was Gradon, luckily we dried off quickly. That night was Sushi night for us, at my favorite place, Yoshi Sushi. You get all you can eat for $25. Yes, ALL YOU CAN EAT! It was amazing. I am glad I had my appetite back so I could enjoy everything. Sunday was church (Apparently, Grant and Alene attend the same ward as Mitt Romney. He was not there that day.) and we headed out after church to a great park at the Marine Base for a picnic. Later that afternoon I snuck away and visited with my good friend Julie and her daughters, friends of ours when we lived in Italy. Dinner that night was a yummy BBQ at Flynn and Jamie's house.

Our visit to San Diego seemed too brief. We would have loved some more time with our Southern California Cochran family. Chris and I loved the beautiful weather that accompanies southern california living. We are thinking more and more about a possible residency in San Diego. We will see what life brings! It would be fantastic to live close to Grant and Alene again. Monday we headed to Fresno, chapter 2 coming soon!