Monday, November 29, 2010

GivingThanks for Family

What did you do for Thanksgiving?

For me and my family. We went to Eric & Jeannette's house. To spend time with....

And to.....
for what we are most thankful for. Which by the way is family. Next to that, I would have to put eating turkey and all the trimmings.

There were 17 of us for dinner. So we needed 3 tables. I only took a photo of this one table. And yes, we used my turkey plates. It's not Thanksgiving without the turkey plates. At least for our family.

Whenever food is involved, you will find everyone gathered in the kitchen. Here is Mom, Mike & Jesse.

This is the newest member of the family. Her name is Tonks. She is actually Taylor & Michael's new puppy. Taylor & Michael had gone to San Clemente to celebrate Thanksgiving with some of Michael's family. So Eric's family was babysitting Tonks. She is such a cutie pie. Everyone fell in love with her. Except for her biting. But Jamey took care of that. He just bit her back. It seemed to work, for at least a little while.

Here is Danica, Mom, Jesse & Andrea eating the snacks that we had while dinner was cooking.

Brandon & his Pepsi.

I should have taken photos of the food. It was very good. The turkey was so moist. Jeannette brined the turkey the night before. I made green bean casserole & our family Thanksgiving jello salad.

Before everyone left, we took some family photos.

This was Andrea's family "most normal" photo. I'll post the other ones on facebook. I took like 4 or 5 and this was the "most normal" shot of them all. Andrea's family doesn't do "normal". From left to right is: Simon, Nate, Andrea, Jamey with Noah in the front. Zak is on a mission in Michigan. But I hear that the ward members there, hooked him up with food.

Danica loves her brother Cade.

We had to get a photo of the pets as they are part of Eric's family. Jase is holding Tonks, Cade is holding Jack and Danica is holding Luke.

Eric's family minus Taylor & her hubby Michael. From left to right: Jase, Cade, Eric, Danica with Jeannette in the front.

And my family minus my stepson Brandan his wife Crystal and our grandson Gunner. From left to right: Brandon, Kim (me), Mike, Jesse.

And last but not least, Jodi, Mom and Dad.

We sure missed not having Todd's family with us as well. But we did talk to Todd on speaker phone for a few minutes after dinner. So it was almost like he was there. NOT!

It was so nice to get together with family to celebrate Thanksgiving. The food was great and the company was better. It took me a long time to make up my mind which of the two was better. It was a hard choice, but in the end, family wins.

I loved having Thanksgiving at Eric & Jeannette's house. I didn't have to clean my house, I didn't have to cook (only a little) and I didn't have to clean up. But the down side of not hosting Thanksgiving is, NO LEFTOVERS! Boo hoo.

What did you do for Thanksgiving? And do you like white meat or dark meat better? I like the white meat. Yum!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that each of you has a fantastic Thanksgiving.

I will be spending the day with most of my family at Eric & Jeannette's house. Everyone in our family will be there except for Todd's family. We will miss you Todd, Mari, Julianna, Daniella, Erin Grace & Tyler. And Taylor and Michael have gone to Orange County to spend the day with Michael's family.

We will also miss my stepson Brandan, Crystal and my grandson Gunner. But we already had a Thanksgiving dinner with them a couple of weeks ago.

Oh and we can't forget my nephew Zak who is on a mission in Detroit. But I hear they had lots of offers for Thanksgiving dinner. So I know he won't be going without.

And Colin. How could I forget about my nephew Colin. Colin is serving in the military in Iraq. But I'm sure the military fixes them all up with a tasty dinner.

Even without the missing family, we will still have 17 people for dinner at Eric's.

I want to take this time to tell you what I am most thankful for this year.
1) Family
2) My Faith (yes I do still have it)
3) My health
4) That I have a roof over my head
5) That I still have a job
6) That I still get to enjoy doing the things I like to do. Even if not having money sometimes gets in the way.
7) My blogs. Gives us a chance to all be connected.
8) Friends

And I know there is more, but I don't want to tax my brain too much this morning. Plus I still need to go to the grocery store to buy milk so I can make my green bean casserole.

So Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I wish that everyone in our family could be together today to celebrate. But if we can't all be together in person. We can at least be together in spirit.

Love to all of you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy 25th birthday Danica!!!!

Today is Danica's 25th birthday. Danica is Eric's oldest daughter. So she is also my niece.

Happy Birthday Danica!!! Hope you have a fabulous day. We love you!!!


Aunt Kim

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Day Out with Thomas the Train & a Pre Thanksgiving Feast

On Saturday Mike & I, along with our grandson Gunner and his parents Brandan (Mike's son) & Crystal (daughter in law), went to "A Day Out with Thomas" at the Orange Empire Railway in Perris, CA.

And if there are any of you who don't know who Thomas is, you must not have little kids in your life. Thomas is Thomas the Train, silly.

Our Grandson Gunner is obsessed with Thomas. I mean OBSESSED!!!!

So when I saw that the local railway museum was having a Day out with Thomas. I knew Gunner would want to go. This was our birthday present to him this year.

Finally the day arrived. We could hardly wait for Brandan, Crystal & Gunner to arrive at our house. They were suppose to arrive about 11 am.

The morning didn't start off like we had hoped. Mike woke up about 7am with extreme pain in his back on the left side that radiated around to his side & to his abdomen. He was in so much pain that it was causing him to vomit. The pain came on suddenly & intense.

I told him that I would take him to urgent care at 11am when it opened. But that would mean we would miss going to see Thomas with Gunner.

But by the time Gunner & his parents arrived, the pain Mike had been experiencing all morning, disappeared as fast as it came on.

And not a moment too soon.

So we were able to go & see Thomas afterall.

We had to wait in line for almost an hour to buy tickets. I could have purchased them online (which was my original plan), but the online fees added up to almost $20.00. So to save $20.00 we stood in line for an hour.

But it was OK. Thomas the Train went by a few times while we were waiting. So Gunner got so excited to see Thomas. Problem was, he kept wanting to run after Thomas. But his little legs just couldn't keep up with a train.

Once we got inside, we went to the petting zoo. Our tickets to ride Thomas the train wasn't until 2:30pm. So we had some time to kill.

I have a hard time getting photos of Gunner as the kid never keeps still for very long. I finally got this one of him and the piggy.

Next we went into where the model trains are. And what was Gunner's favorite train? Why Thomas, of course.

The Orange Empire Railway Museum has lots of cool stuff to see.

I loved this locomotive. It was fabulous. Especially the big lantern.

Mike enjoyed the area with all the old train signals. Most had buttons you can push to see how they work.

All Gunner wanted was a Thomas the Train balloon. So his mom got him one.

Except, we should have gotten it on the way out. Do you know how annoying it is to deal with a huge helium balloon all day?

Finally it was time to ride Thomas. Gunner can hardly wait. He kept looking down the tracks to see if Thomas was coming to the station.

Finally Thomas arrived. Gunner waved "Hi" to Thomas.

Here is everyone inside the train. Gunner sat with Grandpa Mike. Crystal & Brandan sat behind. And I sat on the row in front. Me and the huge balloon.

Finally I got Gunner to look at the camera. If only for a split second. He kept saying "All aboard" to everyone that was getting on the train.

Here is proof I was there. And you can kind of see the huge balloon next to me.

Here is Gunner saying "all aboard". I wish I could have gotten him to say it when I was doing a video. But no, this kid only does things when he wants to. Not when you want him to.

After riding Thomas for about 15 minutes, it was time to return to the station. By now, we were all tired so it was time to go home. Plus it was time to take the turkey out of the oven for our pre Thanksgiving dinner.

Once outside, Gunner had to see Thomas one more time.

"Is Thomas ever going to come?" Finally he did. So Gunner was happy to see Thomas one last time before we left.

We got home about 5 minutes before the turkey was done. How is that for great timing? All we had to do know was to put everything else in the oven that we had prepared & peel and cook the potatoes.

Finally it was time to eat.

Mike had decided ahead of time that since Brandan's family was coming up and we already had a turkey and the fixings, that we would have Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks early. We rarely get to have Thanksgiving with Brandan's family. So this was an extra special treat.

I had set the table prior to going to a Day Out with Thomas. I used an old lace curtain for the tablecloth. The black & white dishes are a Christmas gift from Mike a couple of years ago. I usually use my turkey plates for Thanksgiving dinner, but this year I chose to use these plates instead.

So now you will know the real reason I used these plates. Bigger plate = more food. Yum!!!

Mike always cooks the most perfect turkey. The trick is buying a Butterball turkey and cooking it in a bag.
Gunner was too busy playing with Uncle Jesse's Nerf shotgun. And Grandpa gave him a new fishing game.

Here is everyone enjoying dinner. From left to right is: Mike, Brandon (mine), Crystal (my DIL), Brandan (Mike's), Brin (Jesse's girlfriend) and Jesse. Obviously I am taking the photo & you already saw what Gunner was busy doing instead of eating.

And to get all of you all in the mood for Thanksgiving. Doesn't that look yummy? We had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, corn, yams and mini croissants. My turkey is covering up my stuffing & corn.

I normally make a green jello Thanksgiving salad. But I didn't for this meal. But I did miss it.

All in all, it was a fun filled day. And Mike's mysterious pain never came back. I'm just glad it went away when it did so that we could enjoy the day with our grandson Gunner.

But when it was all over, I was bushed. I felt every year of my age by the end of the day. I even fell asleep before 9pm. And I normally don't go to be till after midnight.

But I am so thankful for the chance to spend the day with my family.

Now on to the real Thanksgiving in a little over a week. Where I will get to spend the day with my extended family. We are celebrating this year at Eric & Jeannette's house. Looking forward to eating more turkey. And seeing the family.

What did you do this weekend?

P.S. Here are some videos I took of our Day out with Thomas

Friday, November 5, 2010

John & Sarah's Wedding Weekend-The Rest of the Story

It was 2 weeks ago today that John & Sarah got married. In case you missed it, I did post about the wedding & reception last week.

Since we were up in the San Jose area for the weekend, I will now give you the rest of the story.

Last time we spoke about the wedding weekend, it was Saturday morning & I had just returned from picking up Mike's inhaler from Kaiser pharmacy and getting him some Gateraide from 7/11.

Our original plans for Saturday was to visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. Mike had always wanted to go there & now was our chance. However, Mike was still not feeling good Saturday morning. But he didn't want to miss going. Plus he thought he might feel better if he got out of the hotel room & did something.

So we met up with Eric & Jeannette downstairs in the hotel lobby. We purchased our tickets from the front desk for $20.00 a ticket instead of the usual $28.00 a ticket if you purchase them at the Winchester Mystery House. They did tell us that we could upgrade them once we got to the house for $5.00 more to include the behind the scenes tour. So once we got to the house, that is exactly what we did.

Our tour of the house was to begin at 11:15am.

They don't let you take photos inside the house. Only outside.

While we waited the 15 or so minutes until our tour was to begin, Mike & I looked around this museum area inside the gift shop.

Mike showed me this old waffle griddle. I have one very similar that we just picked up from a local thrift store at home for about $4.00. Except for mine is Hotpoint (I think) and this is a Winchester.

Finally it was time to begin the tour. We were to meet out in the courtyard area. Then we went inside the house where the tour was to begin. The tour guide started telling us the story of Sarah Winchester and how the house came to be built. The house was built over 38 years, 24 hours a day. If you want to learn more about Sarah Winchester & this bizarre house, you can visit their website here.

During this time I'm looking over at Mike & I can see that he is not feeling good. Then he tells me that he thinks he might pass out. The tour guide has just told us that we will walk a mile throughout the house & climb numerous stairs. It is then I tell Mike, I don't think him going on the tour is such a good idea. All he keeps saying is, "I think I'm going to pass out". I tell him if he is feeling like passing out, he better bail now. Won't be a good thing to pass out half way through the tour.

So I did what any good wife would do, I told him to bail and to go outside and sit at a table & rest while I continued on the tour.

What? Isn't that would you would do? We were already forfeiting $20.00 for 1 ticket, I wasn't about to forfeit on another one. And no, the tour guide did not offer to refund our money or give back the ticket so that we could ask the ticket office for a refund. But he did let Mike out the door back into the courtyard.

The house was beautiful and bizarre. It was definitely worth seeing. I just wish they would have let us take photos inside. It seems some movie company is going to be making a movie & they have the copyrights to all photos inside the house.

Most of the rooms don't have furniture in them. And the ones that do, the furniture didn't belong to Sarah Winchester, but are from the same time period to give you a feel on how the house looked during the late 1800's/early 1900's.

There are I think 160 rooms in the house with 10,000 windows. A lot of the windows are Tiffany leaded glass. Yes, that Tiffany. Sarah loved the number 13 & it is apparent everywhere.

The inside house tour took about an hour and a half. Once we got back outside we found that Mike was feeling better and he was able to go on the behind the scenes tour. But he was so mad that he wasn't able to go on the house tour.

On the behind the scenes tour, they take you around the grounds, into some of the out buildings and down in the basement. Here is one of the bizarre things in the house. The door to nowhere.

We had to wear hard hats on the behind the scene tour. Mostly while we where down in the basement.

I love how they have trimmed this bush to be the number 13.

And all the parts of the house that are painted black, they are the parts of the house that were unfinished when Sarah died. They have been boarded up & painted black. It seems that when Sarah died, all the carpenters quit working, some quit right in the middle of hammering in a nail. And why? Would you continue working if you thought you weren't going to get paid?

Here is Mike, Jeannette & Eric inside one of the out buildings. I think this was a machine shop of some sort.

Jeannette & Eric resting inside the greenhouse.

I loved these spiderweb Tiffany windows. And so did Sarah Winchester. She loved spiderwebs as well as the number 13.

Eric & Jeannette outside the house.

The house wasn't always so Victorian looking. It used to have a 3 story tower & looked more like the Munster house. But during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake the 3 story tower fell. They never did rebuild the tower but they changed up the exterior to make it look like it is now.

I love the look of it now. I just don't think I would want to live in it. Too big. And I really don't like ghosts.

Mike & me.

Did I mention ghosts? That is the whole reason that Sarah was building the house. To appease the spirits or ghosts of the people the Winchester guns has killed over the years. She held seances every night in the house to ask the spirits what she should build next.

Did we see any ghosts? Well I did think I saw a flash of something leave the room to go back down a hall. I thought it was someone from our group. But I looked down the hall & didn't see anyone. So who knows???????

The whole front of the house got the most damage in the 1906 earthquake. In fact, Sarah shut off the entire front 30 rooms after the earthquake & never went back into them. When you tour these rooms inside, you can still see all the damage the earthquake caused. Only the outside was fixed up after the earthquake.

The grounds of the estate are fabulous to walk around. I would love to have a yard like this.

This is the water tower on the property. It used to have a huge water tank on top. But there was a fire years ago & the only thing that burnt was the tank full of water. Go figure.

Another out building with lots of tools. Carpenters needed lots of tools to be continuously building.

The house cost Sarah Winchester over $5,000,000 to build. After she died, the house & all the property was sold at auction for about $150,000. Someone got a screaming deal.

After the behind the scene tours we went into the rifle museum. You know boys, they love to see guns and rifles.

Mike was in heaven.

There were some pretty cool guns/rifles.

We were at the Winchester Mystery House for about a total of 3 hours. It is definitely worth going to see if you are ever in the San Jose area.

Afterwards we went to Mimi's for lunch. We needed some place where Mike could get some soup to eat. I had never been to Mimi's before. It was soooo yummy. I had turkey dinner to get me in the mood for Thanksgiving.

After lunch we went back to the hotel & our plans were to just hang up & relax at the hotel.

The Bunkers had all gone to Sarah's (as in John's Sarah, not Sarah Winchester) parents house for a BBQ. But since it decided to rain, I think they had pasta instead. We were invited to go but decided to go to the Winchester house instead.

In the early evening Eric called me to say that John had called him to invite us to meet them at some sushi place. Aunt Joni was going and some of Marti & Becky's kids. Mike wasn't feeling well enough to go so I did what any good wife would do. I left him at the hotel & went to party with my cousins & aunt.

We all met up at some place called Cherry. There was about 20 of us if you include some of John's friends who also came.

I've only had sushi once & I didn't really like it. But Aunt Joni & I decided to be brave & order some. This is what we got. It was called The Green Dragon. It had shrimp inside & was wrapped in avocado. It was pretty good. But I highly doubt I would go to another sushi place or order sushi again. Unless I was partying with my cousins.

Marti's son Ian had this sushi. The presentation of all the sushi was fabulous. But I didn't want to eat any (except for what Aunt Joni & I had ordered).

Aunt Joni talking to John. The people in the background are John's friends.

Here is Marti's daughter Katie, her husband Seth and their daughter Anna.

Marti's daughter Lauren, Kira, Kira's daughter Kylee and Becky's daughter Jessica on the right. Marti & Becky had already gone back home so that is why they weren't there on Saturday night. And Emily & Tyler's families went to San Francisco. Not sure if Rick's family went home or went to San Francisco.

Aunt Joni & I shared a 2 item combo plate as well. We had tempura veggies/shrimp and some chicken dish with noodles. Both were very tasty. I would order these items again.

From right to left we have Ian (Marti's son), Tina (Becky's daughter) and Sarah (John's new wife). The girl on the far left is one of John's friends, so I don't know her.

Jeannette holding Kira's new baby boy Tyson.

The happy couple, John & Sarah.

I was so glad that we had this little spur of the moment get together. It gave us a chance to get to know Sarah. John made a fabulous choice in a wife. We all loved her. They are so cute together.

Not only did we get to visit more with John & Sarah. We also got to visit more with Marti & Becky's kids. I loved spending time with all of them.

Got back to the hotel around 10pm. Found Mike eating left over Chinese food from Friday's lunch (hurray for mini fridge & microwave in hotel room). I asked how he ate it without a fork. He said he used the coffee stirrers as mini chopsticks. Whatever works. At least he was feeling better. So I didn't feel too bad when I left him again to go down to Aunt Joni's room.

I had so much fun talking with Aunt Joni, Tina & Jessica. Stayed in their room until midnight.

On Sunday morning we ate breakfast down in the dining area of the hotel. Cost was $12.95 a person which was a bit steep. But for $12.95 you could eat from the buffet, order off the breakfast menu, or both. I opted for both.

Ordered an omelet from the menu, then had a pancake, bacon and hashbrowns from the buffet. The food was good. Mike didn't eat breakfast as he wasn't feeling good. Besides Eric, Jeannette & I, Aunt Joni came down to eat breakfast with us and to do some more visiting. She then called Tina & Jessica to come down as well.

I just love visiting with family. I could have visited all day. But alas, we had to go home sometime.

We left the hotel about 10:30am for the 7 hour drive home.

But before we left, Jessica, Tina & Aunt Joni did a little dance for us.