Friday, August 31, 2012


So for little Dennis who is just a few weeks shy of 4 months.

With each baby I think, they could seriously not be any better than this....and then they are.

Dennis is dreamy. He came with the usual late nights and poopy diapers but quickly found his rhythm in our family and has taken to our schedule (or us to his) quite well. At this point, he sleeps through the night from about 9pm until 5pm without waking to eat and in his own bed in the nursery. He started doing that sometime last week consistently. I've noticed he can only make it till about 3pm unless that last feeding was from a bottle with formula, then he can stretch it out to 5 or even 8am. I just don't make that much milk in one sitting to get him through much longer than that but he's totally willing to drink that much. He's a champion eater and sleeper.

He started rolling over a few weeks ago and last week started blowing raspberries, small ones but definite. He loves his taggy blanket that has a crinkle layer in it and never fusses in the carseat if he has it. In fact, he never fusses (well okay he does now and then but really almost never). I often feel that because he is so chill I have to be diligent to give him more attention than he is asking for.

He lights up to see Daddy. After sleeping when we go get him he gets so tickled to see us he usually squeals with glee.

He talks to Penny a lot and tolerates Michael's hugs and games of pat-a-cake. Dominic loves to go get him when he wakes up and snuggle with him in the mornings because he is warm and cozy.

Dennis weighs in at just over 18 pounds. He fits in 6-9 month clothes and I have to clean between his fat rolls or he gets really stinky. He loves to kick and splash in the bath.

He prefers his thumb over a pacifier at night and will only take his pacifier a few times throughout the day. Maybe this will be my pacifier-less baby....but if that is true I think it will only mean that he's a thumb-sucker as he definitely finds comfort in having something to suck on.

He laughs and coos and rolls over from his back to his front. It takes about all the energy he can muster to get rolled over and his arms out from underneath himself but once there he can hold his head straight up but can't really get his chest off the ground. When he's sitting in my lap facing out he will often turn his head to look up and behind himself so that he can see me, usually to tell me he's hungry but sometimes to just stare and listen to me.

He is such a good baby and we feel really REALLY blessed to have him and have him be so healthy. I look at my family of 4 kids though and still feel like we're not complete. Whenever we go to the park I count noses and then have to remind myself that there are ONLY 4 noses to count. I keep thinking there are a few more than there really, no we're not done.

We definitely need a bigger house though.......this one is bursting at the seams.

Monday, August 27, 2012


and Michael;

Michael is beyond cute sometimes. We have a hard time remembering all the silly things he says all day long. He thinks he's really funny a lot and will squint his eyes, bend over a little and pronounce, "I'm dust kidding!" Cracks. Us. Up. The other things he says are, "maybeeeee" or "You're stinkin cute" or "If I waaaaaant",  "I'm _____ than you are" example. "I'm hairer than you are" (meaning I have hair on my head and so do you).

His favorite movie to quote is Rio. "rock, paper, scissors shoot! Yeeeeeesss! Nu-uh, scissors cuts rock.  Awwww man, how come  you always weeein."   There is never a time when he says this quote that I don't smile. I love the gestures he uses.

He loves to sing. If I could count all the songs he knew it would be in the hundreds, from nursery rhymes, primary, signing time, PGY, movies etc....he sings all the day through. When he's playing, he's singing. My favorite though is at bedtime when we sing "Let us Gather in a Circle" together. He's been singing this one since he was probably 13 months old. Never gets old to me.

He loves to wrestle and is quite good at knocking people over. He hangs on and drives till they fall. Its pretty funny usually. If he wants you to get back up he walks behind you and tries to lift you up by your head as he grunts.

Its getting a bit ridiculous  how much he likes his plug lately (his pacifier). He "meebs" it all the time. Up until about 2 months ago it wasn't really that big of a deal. If he had it in his mouth we would tell him to take it out and put it in the drawer. He would and we would move on. He rarely had it at all and if we left it at home it wasn't a huge thang. But, he doesn't get a nap all the time anymore and so he's really tired for the afternoon. That is when he wants his plug, when he's tired and he walks around the house with his plug in his mouth because he is tired but he won't go to sleep or its too late for him to sleep other times. Its a mess of a situation really. We tried to take it away tonight but it was sooo very sad to listen to how much he wanted it that we gave it back. He was in tears and skipping breaths when trying to talk about it begging to please find it somewhere. He offered suggestions of where I might be able to find one, (in my purse maybe, or in Dennis' crib maybe). He even asked if he could just use one of Dennis'. Breaks my heart. I gave in and brought one to him and as I walked into the room he was so delighted I couldn't help but want him to stay a baby a little bit longer, maybe just one more night. Tomorrow we will do the ceremonial cutting of the plugs (not while he's watching) but its always been such a hard thing for me really. It is so hard for them......I really wouldn't care except Dennis has started sleeping through the night the last few weeks and the last 3 nights Michael has woken me up because he can't find his plug. Deal with it kiddo, if you need it so badly that you have to wake me up in the middle of the night when I'm already sleep deprived (I love you to pieces I really do) then you are too addicted to it and it needs to be gone. Such a sad sad thing.... I sang him a song to put him to sleep and Dominic got a little emotional. I asked him what was wrong (thinking he was sad because Michael was sad) and he told me that was the song I always sang to him as a little toddler and it just made his heart miss being little kinda. He was right. I was happy that he remembered. I have the sweetest boys ever.

Michael loves nursery. He never complains about going and talks about his teachers Sister Knight and Sister Hunting all the time. They are so good with the kids in there (there are only 5 of them if they all show up) and Michael has never once cried about going. In fact that is how I get him to get ready for church, bribe him with the fact that he gets to go to nursery.

He has never enjoyed playing the water in the past but this summer he has gotten really good at water play. He doesn't mind jumping in the water and going under (well, he minds but he tolerates it and will do it over and over and over). He loves to find his "guys". Meaning, he loves to fetch his superhero dive sticks in the pool. He will put his face under trying to get them, we usually put them just barely out of reach. He loves getting a gumball at the end of our visits to the gym and its funny to see how big that gumball is in his mouth. He can finally chew a piece of gum without swallowing it.

He loves veggies and fruit and whenever we are headed to the farmers market he chimes in with the song, "to market to market to buy a fat pig. Home again, home again jiggity jig. To market to market to buy a fat hog. Home again home again jiggity jog."    Some of his favorites from the market are pistacio's, carrots, peas, blueberries and strawberries. All my kids love the market really.

He doesn't like to be called anything but Michael. If you call him Mike he tells you, "no I'm just Michael." If you call him Bud, same thing. Especially if you call him Michael Jarom Matteson. Then his brow furrows and he gets very serious, "No, I'm not Michael Jarom Matteson. I'm just Michael." One time he got into a little trouble and it was a time when I would have used his whole name and I asked him to stop and he looked at me and said, "I'm not Michael Jarom Matteson mommy, I'm just Michael." I hadn't said it.....but he knew. Sometimes when Penny is being a stinker she will call him Mike just to get under his skin. Yup, thats the kind of cruelty my kids play with eachother. hahahah.

He loves his daddy. If Sean is at work in the mornings Michael will come into my room and crawl into bed and tell me how much he wants his Daddy. When Sean comes home Michael will say, "Daddy, you went to work. I missed you." He loves to snuggle with Daddy.

Daddy get you some Daddy get you some. Daddy change me Daddy change me. Daddy brush my teeth. Daddy brush my teeth. They have a rhythm of how they say things to eachother and Michael never misses a beat. Its cute. 

We love this kid. He and Penny play really well together and its fun to see he and Dominic play legos. He fits right in to this family which is great....we're forever like that.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


and now for Penny:

Penny has been an absolute silly monster. She likes to trick us with things. She will tell me she isn't dressed when she is, that she couldn't find her shoes when she did etc. She's a trickster just like her dad. Should be interesting. But all that silliness has reminded us all to relax. I've been a little uptight and it seems with each child I get a little more uptight and less inclined to just be silly with the happenings around me. I become more logical and less silly. She's helping me (and the whole family) relax a little, and sometimes she gets a dose of her own medicine and we have to remind her to do the same.

She hates having her hair combed. Ridiculous really....and paybacks for all the drama I gave my mom as a child when she combed my hair. She loves gymnastics and has really made strides in swimming this year. She can swim but freaks out when she has to tread water because she just barely can keep her head above water. Swimming lessons are giving her confidence though and teaching her to swim in several different ways.

Penny is an awesome reader and often asks to do school work during Dominic's school day. She doesn't start kindergarten thing year but will start next year but since we will probably homeschool her anyways, she's just learning from wherever she is at anyways. She's a great student and self taught really (the workbooks and ipad did much of the teaching when it came to her writing and math).  It always baffles Sean and I that a child who can read so well can't regurgitate that information to writing. Just because she can read the word doesn't mean she knows how to spell it when asked. Phonetic writing is so fun to decipher. She reads every night at bedtime. We are at the library every few weeks getting new books. She likes to read about 15 books in that time but reads her favorites from that 15 over and over and over. She is up to level 2 and 3 books now and will probably by November or December be ready for shorter chapter books like A-Z  mysteries or Magic Treehouse. It is fun to hear her read to Michael.   He really enjoys a good story at bedtime too and it has freed me up to be able to tend to Dennis or whatever else while she reads to him. Sometimes I join in also.

She memorized the American's Creed in a little over a week. She's not better at memorizing that Dominic is (though he doesn't have it quite memorized yet. Close, but not quite) but she just really read it a lot more than he did and was found saying several times an hour to herself. That kind of repetition leads to memorizing something quickly. She even taught Michael the first 6 lines.

She's growing like a weed! Many of her pants from last year definitely won't fit her this year and her shoes are the same story. She's learned to ride her bike, loves to bake and hold her brother. She rarely buckles into her seatbelt on the 1st, 2nd or even third time. In fact I would say that I have to ask her on average 4 times to buckle up before she actually does it. Ridiculous, maddening and again a does of my own medicine from my childhood.

Lately her conversations are focused around what Jesus wants us to do and what Satan wants us to do. She is really trying to understand the promptings of the spirit and how to decipher them. She has a very tender spirit and does a really good job trying her best to do what is right. There are many times when she doesn't want to share or listen or have fun but I can redirect that negativity to positivity when I remind her what Jesus would want us to do. She almost always makes the right choice from there.

Lately she has been needy. Two babies still in the house have led to her wanting to stay a baby too, but this mama isn't okay with that. She's 4 and its high time she grew out of some of her baby-ish behaviors. To name a few: baby talk when she's sad or upset, grunting/squeeling when something doesn't go her way, crying profusely when she doesn't get her way or if her sibling frustrates her. Its really out of control but in the last few weeks we have made great strides just by me remaining calm (because how can I tell her to calm down if I'm not calm myself) and standing our ground on how we expect her to act. Each tantrum has been less and less than the one before and after each one is over (and they have lasted upwards of 30 minutes at times) I show an increase of love and affection for her finally deciding to make the right choice. Really what she wants from these behaviors is to have love and affection. Thats what babies get really, all the time. So, I'm trying to teach her that she can still get love and affection when she acts like a big girl too. It seems to be working as she seems to be doing these behaviors less and less lately....but its a big job amongst everything else that goes on around the house too. We're making strides and she's, I hope, getting the love and affection these behaviors were seeking anyways.

Penny is a great little girl. Stubborn at times, but has such a good heart and loves her family. When Dominic was gone she had some separation anxiety. She didn't want to go to friends houses because she said she would miss her family. I think she wasn't sure who else would leave while she was gone. She really really likes her brothers and I love that about her. I hope we have another little girl but if Penny is the only girl we have so far, we got pretty lucky. She's pretty great.

She's trying to night time potty train and as long as I take her to the bathroom at around 1am she's dry 95% of the time. If I don't take her potty at all, she wets the bed 95% of the time. I was just so done with buying pullups and sometimes she was just being lazy and peeing before she even fell asleep. So. Not. Okay with me. Paybacks for the many MANY years I wet the bed as a child. She's still young yet, but I'm hoping that she can get this done and over with soon...I've washed many a-bed-sheets in the last few months (again paybacks I'm sure).

Penny is the slowest eater known to mankind. She can't stop talking or fidgeting long enough to eat. It drives me batty and one of the reasons why mealtime is one of the hardest times of the day for me (3 times a day! so fun!). For the longest time I would just help her finish up and get her plate eaten just so it wouldn't drag on for hours but that has led to a 4 year old who can't figure out that one bite at a time gets her plate clean.....she often sees the whole plate of food instead of one bit at a time.

She loves to do see her hair in different styles lately. She stands in front of the mirror and pulls it up in different ways admiring how she looks with it pulled back this way and that. So stinking cute to watch and scares the crap out of me all at the same time. Who is this little fashionista? Love her.


bear with me as I catch my blogging journal up on my kids for my own sake. I realize hardly any of you will probably read this.  Starting with Dominic  =)

          After a long 8.5 week stay in Alaska visiting his dad, he came home. His hair was really really long but his heart was still soft. I love this guy. I worry, I do...about him being gone for so long....will he be the same as when he left? Will he be different? I know that he will be different, he changes everyday, after all. But how different? He is such a good kid and really does have a good heart and I have to calm my mind that we have taught him well and trust that he can make good choices even when we are not there. I was very proud of him this year, he was a really good kid this summer. We have had many MANY late night talks since he has been home. He's been staying up late in Alaska, I think and can't turn his clock back to going to bed at a decent time. I can't get him to get in bed before 10am, let alone fall asleep. One night, he even read in his bed until 12:15. He had finally gotten to the Animorphs book that he's been so excited to get to (#19) and couldn't put it down. He read the whole thing that night. He likes to chat and goes on and on about random things. I love how chatty he is and sometimes can hear the words that he says, but find myself just staring at him in awe that I created him. This is my handiwork. He has made himself who he is today, but I actually made this kid and he's wonderful.
        Another year of school is underway and he is really doing well. We are two weeks in and we have accomplished a-lot. We picked up with the weekly checklist that we left off with last year and that still seems to work just great for us. I write down everything he needs to finish in the week and he checks them off as he completes them. He can do them in any order that he likes as long as they get done by the end of the week (though I try to guide him to space out all the easier topics amidst the hard ones so he doesn't put all the hard stuff for the end). This last week we added swimming lessons to our midst and it has made our lives a bit crazy, but it is good. Dominic hasn't had swimming lessons since he was probably 5 because he's gone in the summer. He can swim fine, but I want to be able to swim laps with him at the pool and he just needs some technique. I tried teaching him, but I really don't know how to teach it and he really wasn't interested in learning from me. He's doing great with his teacher and really making great strides (pun intended!). Its actually funny that many of the things I was trying to get him to do are the same things his teacher has been doing. I love it when that happens cuz I can pat myself on the back and say, "see, you knew what you were doing." It will be fun to hone our swimming skills together.
        Another thing he wanted to learn this year is how to bake so I have been letting him take a more active roll in cooking this year. He has made fruit salad (cut up all the fruit) and spaghetti sauce (which he ate just fine unlike when I make it) in the last week. He's on a roll to becoming master chef at this house.
       His guitar playing has improved in the few short weeks he's been back at it (he didn't get to play all summer bc he doesn't have a guitar at his dads). One of the things I am most proud of is that he is working on having a positive attitude. He is often a negative thinker. When given a task, he sees all the obstacles in his way that will keep him from doing it well. I'm coaching him to think differently and hopefully provide some self confidence.  Thinking positive and seeing himself as able to do anything, even if he fails in his efforts, is still a great thing and he's working on that. Just today he told me that he was having a hard time with guitar because he didn't think he was ready for the book he was on. I told him he was being negative because it was hard and that his teacher thought he was good enough and he needed to trust that his teacher knew what he was doing. I reminded him that last year some of his songs were hard the first time he played them too but with practice, he mastered them in a short time. Then we set to practicing his songs that he needed to play. In 10 minutes he had them down mostly and then said, "thanks for believing in me mom, now I just have to believe in myself." So sad to hear kinda, but I'm glad he was able to see how his words sometimes block him from doing things. A different mindset can often be the only difference needed to be able. He's caught himself being negative and then re-said the statement in a positive light.
          I got back his STAR testing from last year. If it had come back and said had tested poorly in everything I still wouldn't have changed anything that I did last year. I felt that good about our year. He did really, really well last year in his studies and I felt like we blossomed as a home school family. So, it was great to see that he tested well too. He tested a 480 in math (97%), which was on the high end of advanced; and a 379 (71.5%), which was on the high end of proficient in English-language arts. Dominic's brain gets math. Its easy for him, mostly. He is less naturally gifted with the other subjects but with practice is learning to do well in it because we put a lot of our focus there too. I was very proud of his English-language arts score because we really didn't know what we were doing this year and he tested exactly the same as last year. This year, I feel I have a better idea of what he needs and how he needs to learn it and so I'm thinking we will see that number come up a bit more. Also, in years past they have prepped them for the testing. There really was very little of that this year so those are truly what he knows.......not what he memorized so he could pass the test. Our area of study was actually probably more broad than what they tested!
         I noticed when Dominic came back from Alaska that he was still sniffling all the time. I mentioned it to my mom. I mentioned I thought it was a nervous tic or some type of sensory thing. She thought the same thing as she had noticed he did it too. Its interesting, he's been doing it off and on since he was in kindergarten. That is when it started. It was the worst that year as he would wrinkle up his nose along with each sniffle. It was very excessive and annoying and the harder I tried to ignore it, the worse it would get and the more annoying it was. I resorted to making a chart and each time he told me, "I fixed my nose." before I had to tell him to fix his nose he would get a tally mark on the chart. If he got a certain number of them I would let him get something (anything! He loved that part) at the Dollar Store. It went away in a few weeks not to return till sometime in second grade. But, its not going away now. Its been since March that he's been sniffling and sometimes its three or four in a row. However, now that I've labeled it as a tic and not as an actually sniffle, it has stopped bothering me. I've talked to Dominic about it. He tries to notice it and fix it, but he really just has this tic that he can't control (I think). He sniffles and sometimes clears his throat with it. So, we started going to the chiropractor as they can often help with autonomic nervous system stuff and we'll see where it goes. He's only been a few times. Anyways, I've tried to look at other things he does to see if he fits in any autistic umbrella or anything and as far as I can see, he doesn't. Just has this one  sensory behavior. I'm hoping its an isolated symptom of nothing really.

        He got orthotics for his feet again. His arches are horrible and the last custom orthotics we got were awful and hard to get into his shoes which meant that he just never wore them. So, we got another pair and they seem to be helping his gait. He started running with Sean. 2 miles on Saturdays and then plays his DS in the car while Sean runs another 2 miles. Pretty soon he'll be running the whole thing with him, its pretty hilly so it wears him out pretty good right now, but Dominic is enjoying it. He's excited to bring a few friends along next week.
       And, lastly...he got a haircut. He is one handsome bugger! Its still long, but it looks cleaned up and nice now. I really like it. Will have to post a picture soon.

I love my Dominic guy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Brenna and Gma Visit Day 3

So, as if day one and two weren't busy enough, we planned to go to Six Flags on Day 3. It was a little bit hot, but all in all not too bad. We left in the early afternoon around 11 or so and arrived a little after noon. We ate lunch in the car before heading into the park and then I pushed Dennis in the stroller while my mom took everyone else on the Trolly to the park entrance. Even though we have season passes, this place never gets old. The animals and the rides are such a fun combination, I think. My kids get to see something new each time we go. We still haven't caught all the shows at the park yet.

So this time the new show that we saw was the elephants. I don't think they have had the elephant show ever since I have gone. They have done elephant rides, but have never had the show and you could never walk over to their play area. I'm glad we ventured in that direction as we weren't purposely going that way. It was neat because they were about to start the show and they had to walk the elephant down the path that we were standing on. It walked right next to fence or barrier between us. I wanted to reach out and touch it but was afraid I might startle it (though come to think of it I wonder if it would even feel a light touch). Anyways, that was kind of a neat thing to start off with. Dominic brought his friend Austin along and Sean was going to meet up with us after he got off work so they had to hang with us and were a little bit bored but even they said this was pretty cool.

The elephant walked down into the water and laid down to take a bath. Penny had just asked me a few days previously how an elephant gets water in its trunk and sprays it out so far (the swimming pool we go to has an elephant spray structure and the water squirts out of its nose. She knows its fake, but she also knows that elephants can really do that so it got her thinking). It was fun to see and explain what the elephant does and why.

She sprayed and sprayed water. Penny was in awe (and so was I). What a fun treat for us to see. We didn't actually stay and watch the elephant show because the girls really wanted to go on some rides (and this day was for Brenna to have fun and do some rides really) and so we got moving, but I can't wait to go back and sit in and listen to the show.

The boys waited patiently for dad to show up while the girls went on rides.

Michael and Gma got to go on some pretty neat rides too. 

One of my favorite exhibits is the butterfly house. It is really hot and humid, but there are some of the most beautiful butterflies in here and they are EVERYWHERE. They have mirrors at the exit and you have to check yourself for butterflies before you leave.

Follow the finger and you'll see one.


One of my and Dominic's favorite chips are the Kettle brand  Sea Salt and Vinegar chips. So yummy. I brought a bag and found out that Michael really likes them too....he also likes how his fingers taste after eating them. He had both hands in his mouth licking all the salt off his hands.

Silly kid

The shark exhibit is always cool because they have the flat escalator that goes through the shark tank and they swim over you. It really isn't dark, but since the flash went off it looks that way.

We had to go through this exhibit a few times because escalators are always fun.

Train rides are awesome any day of the week. These girls were giddy with each ride and just wanted to go again and again and again. We had to convince them that there were other fun rides too. 

They did the swings probably 4 times.

I love Brenna's hands in the air.

this guy was snug as a bug.

Dominic and Austin succumbed to the water structure. They got soaked and then rung out their shirts and let the sun dry them. Their shoes never dried out though.......which makes for a log day as your feel become huge raisins inside your shoe. They were pretty good sports about it though. I only heard complaining about it on the walk to the car when all was said and done.

Found his thumb. I think this is the reason he has started sleeping through the night as of late.

Poor Penny let Brenna sit in the pink booster seat and she just sat in the regular one (she things its a treat to sit in the one without the back on it).......this is why I purchased the one with the back on it, so that she would have a place for her head on long trips. Good thing brother was there to lean on. Poor thing. Look how tuckered out Brenna looks! We wore this girl out!!!

Found that thumb again. 

On DAY 4 we just chilled at the house. We went out in the morning to the local farmers market, but really we just relaxed at the house and let the kids play. Penny and Brenna played Just Dance Kids 2 a bit and had some good giggles about that. They were a little bit bossy with each other at times but mostly it was because they were tired. We wore them out over these 4 days and it started to show on day 4 but really, they had a great time on Wednesday playing outside, gathering flowers, playing polly pockets and reading books.

It was so fun to be able to have Brenna come along with Grandma for the visit. We can't wait till next summer when we go visit them!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Brenna and Gma visit Day 2

So, Sunday with Gma and Brenna came and went without pictures really. We picked them up at the airport, came home and ate breakfast, went to church and had Dennis blessed and then afterwards fixed dinner only to get ready for bed and get some rest. They had flown with Dominic ALL NIGHT LONG and were pretty darn tired.

Penny and Brenna started out in Penny's bed. They read books that night by lamp and giggled. Halfway through the night though Brenna decided she would like to sleep by Grandma and she shuffled downstairs to find her. We found her on the couch by Grandma in the morning where she would decide to sleep each night thereafter.

So cute with their arms tangled together.

The next morning we woke up late-ish, headed to Folsom and on the way stopped and got a flat of delicious strawberries and an under ripe watermelon (oops). It is amazing how many strawberries you can buy for under $20. It was enough to feed an army later that afternoon and have leftovers. We then went to Chick-Fil-A for a take-out lunch because mom and had never eaten there before and to support the founder's stance for traditional marriage. Milkshakes with our lunch hit the spot. We stopped at Sean's work and dropped his milkshake off and then headed over to the temple to eat our lunch (he works 5 minutes from the Sacramento Temple). Being that it was Monday, the temple was closed and the water fountain was off, but we stopped anyways.

The kids played in the sand while I fed Dennis, ate my burger, and changed a few diapers.

Brenna got some squeezes on Dennis. She loves babies and its pretty obvious. So cute.

I realized I didn't do Penny's hair that morning. Oh well, we were headed to go swim after the temple stop so whatever, it was gonna get messed up anyways.
Girly cousins!

Then Brenna decided to chase Penny around and try to spank her on the bum. Loved the giggles.

Dominic was the monster chasing everyone around in circles.

And after all was eaten and clean, we walked up to the temple to see the flowers.

It always amazes me how clean the building looks and how big the Angel Moroni is. I love this candid shot of all the kids with the temple spire in the background.

After being in the sun for only a few minutes we walked under the arches for some shade. Brenna decided she had seen enough of the temple and wanted to get back in the car with the AC. Coming from a rainy, cool summer in Fairbanks this hot weather was a little too much right in the middle of the day. Nobody protested, we were all ready for the cold air the car would provide (I later told my mom I was so glad that we had air conditioning in this part of the country....only to have my air conditioning go out on the suburban less than a week later).

After that, we headed straight to a friends house for a pool party. My friend Liz was in town with her amazingly cute family (*ahem* amazingly cute because our kids could pass as siblings. See below.) I didn't see Dominic for like 3 hours as he was mostly underwater the whole time playing games. Such a fun day!

See these two? This is only one matchup of ours that look alike. Our girls could pass as sisters too. So funny because we (the parents) don't necessarily look alike.

Penny and Brenna posed after swimming. Penny's hair only got worse. ha!

At home they bathed while my mom and I cooked dinner. Turning the jets on and making bubbles was in order for more fun.

Then some Dennis snuggles.

And after dinner we headed off to Marshall Gold Discovery Park. This is an area of California rich with gold-rush history and Fairbanks, AK is another Gold Rush area. I love Coloma and many parts of California for this reason, I feel like I'm a little bit at home. I knew my mom would appreciate it and so we squeezed the trip in for our family home evening. It was the perfect outing.

Checking out the Teepee's

This is a replica of Mormon Cabin. The mormon's who worked at Sutter's Mill lived in this cabin together.


Sutter's Mill is a neat piece of California history. Some of the original parts were found in the river and on the banks and a drawing from Sutter's diary helped them reconstruct the mill to what it most likely looked like 150 years ago. Very neat. Once they found gold the mill was abandoned. They even found old logs that were milled and they have those on display as well.

Michael stuck his head in a water cannon.

A replica of a trappers cabin.

This is the jail cell that was kept in the old courthouse. Doesn't it look barbaric? It kind of scared Penny. Such a cool piece. Barbaric, but cool.

And then this is the actual site of the old jail. You can see all the jail cell platforms  on the ground as they are the squares of stone. Many of the walls have obviously come down but a few of the cells are still intact. I really love the look of stone and the texture it has as a background in pictures.

They were pretending to be in jail. 

Quick posers. 

Brenna pointed out that it looked like the hill was on fire and it indeed did. It was really pretty as the sun had already hid itself from the hill we were on, but not on the west side of the hill adjacent to us. it was beautiful.

And then we trudged over to Lotus Park where we threw rocks in the river. When you go in the evening it is a little high because the dam has let out its water for the day but this river is my Chatanika (a river from back home that we would throw rocks in on our way to Central (outside Circle City)). It is a beautiful area.

I tried to convince Brenna that the water was warm and then she stepped her foot in and giggled...."its cold!"
I like Michael's dirty bum shot.

Learning the rules of rock throwing proved to be a little stressful and we had many close calls. There were some big rocks tossed into the American River.

Rule was in order to throw there could be nobody in front of you. I think Brenna got it, Penny still didn't quite understand what we meant by it. 

And after that we all slept really, REALLY well.