Friday, July 31, 2009

Vacation Day two: Beach Bums=0)

What a perfect day at the beach!
No Comment! =0(
Lee and Adree attempting to body surf...
Drake and Seth jumping the waves
Lee after his walk on the beach=0)
Adree making drip castles
Hmm...not one of my better looks, drowned rat that is!
Adree after a little body surfing...=0)
McDonald's under the pier
Lee and the resident short people on the longest pier on the west coast in Oceanside
What a funny pelican he was perfectly content to sit and people watch!
Lee at the end of the pier looking back at the beach

Of course we were gone for 4 days not including two whole days of driving. This vacation really took place in two days...short and sweet! On Tuesday we got up and rolling and drove the whole 4 blocks from our hotel to the beach. It was perfect timing, about 9:45 and the morning fog had just burned off the shore, we were able to easily find a spot to set up our things by the bathroom. (crucial with little ones) If you can see from the pictures the sky and the water were the most awesome shades of blue and green and Oceanside is known for having a constant curl, so we were entertained by surfers by the pier as well. Drake and Adree have been to the ocean, but were just babies when we moved back to Utah. This was an awesome adventure for everyone!

What I was saying in my last post was that I was really impressed with the beach at Oceanside. I've been to Newport, Balboa, Huntington, San Clemente and they were fun, but always really crowded and sooo commercialized. They have tons of restaurants, shops, and businesses all the way up to the beach. Oceanside was great, it was just beach! Of course there were the token hot dog stands and ice cream and Ruby's was at the end of the pier, but other than that it was just people laid back and enjoying the sun and surf. We have decided that we will have to go back again and enjoy it some more!=0)

The kids and I amused ourselves by body surfing and jumping the waves while Lee took a long walk. I showed the kids how to make drip castles and only had to rescue Seth once when he got knocked over by a wave and was tossed end over end backwards and emerged dazed and blinded by salt water! Poor baby, he's so light that he was just washed up on shore like the sea weed! After a quick dip to rinse off the mud and a quick trip up the beach to his beach towel to wipe his eyes, he was as good as new! After a couple of hours of being knocked about by the sea and moving our things three times because people were just parking on top of them, we packed up our stuff and walked over to McDonald's under the pier. The kids thought it was pretty cool eating Happy Meals at the beach!=0) After McDonald's we walked over to the playground, but that didn't last very long...I think the kids were pretty pooped! We walked up to the pier and slowly made our way to other end, stopping to talk to the pelican who was watching us and watching surfers catch waves and ride them to shore. Lee asked someone where to get T-shirts and what not, so from there we drove a couple of blocks to a huge T-shirt shop. They had tons of touristy shirts and I ended up buying a shirt for everyone (two for Lee) for only 23 dollars! Not too bad I say! We ended the day by shopping at Ross (our fave!) and eating at a big Chinese buffet for dinner. (Lee's fave) We went back to the hotel to sleep in the ocean air one more night and packed ourselves and the kids and the dog in the car for an uneventful ride home on Wed. (my fave!)
All in all, it was a pretty good vacation and an escape from the relentless heat! Hope everyone else had a great summer, we start the new school year in a week and a half. It's been a good year so far...I'm sure the best is yet to come!=0) Best Wishes to you and yours from the characters Among the Lambsfold...=0)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacation day one: Lego Land!

My cast of characters with their favorite character....Lego style!!=0)
I spy a Lamb kid...I love this picture!=0)
Adree and Seth cooling off....
My kids (and many, many others...) cooling off at "Swabby's Deck" in the late afternoon
Of course, Adree was the only one that wanted her face painted!
Dolphins are her favorite!=0)
Adree scrambling up a palm tree in the "Adventure Zone" fear at all!
Adree, Seth, and Drake racing down the slides...
I'm not really sure what the purpose of this ride just shook you a lot!=0)
Lee and the kids waving in line at the "Test Track" a Lego race car
that drove around in the sky...
Seth (red hat) and Drake (black hat) watching the Lego characters move in Mini-Land
Me and the resident short people with the Lego Land tourist
Drake had the little Lego man he usually carries in his pocket stuck to the tourist's hat...
yes, most things in the park were made out of Legos!
All of us riding on the Dragon ride, notice Seth's little hands up in the air! No
fear at all! Adree either!

As you can see from all the pictures, we spent most of this week in So. Cal. on vacation!=0) This year Lee promised Drake that if he was able to improve his grades, he would take everyone to Lego Land! Drake struggled most of the school year last year. Actually, it was what alerted us to take a closer look at what the underlying issue may be. I'll blog more about this later though and Drake was able to show us he was willing to try harder and earned a trip to Lego Land. Drake is absolutely obsessed with Legos and we knew this would be a great fun trip!=0) It was!
Sunday we drove to So. Cal., I wish I had been more alert on when we were leaving and insisted we go Monday through Thurs. instead. We sat in traffic with all the other people going back to Cali from Vegas...ALL THE WAY FROM VEGAS TO BARSTOW!! Anyway, once we got past Barstow the rest of the trip was really quite lovely! We took the 215 which turns back into the 15 until we were able to take Coast Hwy route 76, thank you to Tom Tom for taking us that way, the drive was beautiful along cliffs and fruit stands and cool coastal air all the way to our hotel in Oceanside. I lived in Cali myself for a couple of years, but had never been further south on the 15 than Temecula...Wow! I missed out!=0) I've been to the beach many times in Orange County but, really the way to go is in Oceanside! Our hotel was just a few blocks from the beach and we slept with the window open (on the third floor) and enjoyed sleeping in the ocean air, it was heavenly!=0)
Monday we got up and going stopped at Wal-Mart to get our food and hopped the freeway for a 15 min. drive to Carlsbad to Lego Land. If you haven't been, let me be the first to recommend it for kids 10-12 and under. The first question out of Drake's mouth was directed at the ticket taker, he had to know if her name tag was really made out of was! It was great family fun!=0) All the rides and attractions were geared toward families to enjoy together!=0) Seth (who's 6 and pretty little for his age) was able to ride on every single ride as long as he had an adult with him and Drake and Adree were tall enough to ride all the rides by themselves if they had wanted! So, the whole family was able to take part, We actually enjoy Lagoon as well, but not all of the kids are big enough to ride all the rides. This was a great opportunity for us all to enjoy having fun together! All together I think we spent 7 hrs in the park and the kids could have gone longer, we needed to feed Lee though, so we packed up and left.=0) If you looked at the pictures, take a look at Drake...notice he is smiling in almost every picture, I think he had a good time!=0) Just think, a whole entire place made out of Legos...and it was!=0)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I'm sooo glad that summer is nearing it's end=0)

Let's hear it for fast and easy projects for bored kids!

I imagine that I'm not the only one that is glad for the end of summer...with all the "I'm bored" and incessant bickering we all hear especially toward the end of the summer. The kids enjoyed a quick and easy project that they were able to complete easily and didn't involve a lot of planning for Mom (my fave!). Thank you to the "Dollar Tree" who has youth sized "Hanes" t-shirts for a dollar a piece and fabric friendly paint pens, available at "Wal-Mart" $5 for a package of four, I believe. This was a fairly inexpensive art project as well.=0) I remember doing similar projects ( I still have one of the shirts I designed actually) with puff paint. I also remember coloring the toes of my canvas shoes with puff paint as well! The fabric pens are much more user friendly though.=0)

I just let Adree have at it, she is always creative and loves any kind of art project. The boys, on the other hand, needed a little help with what to draw. The boys love to draw "comix" so, I suggested they put those on their shirts. I helped Seth draw squares for his cartoons as well as helped with some spelling. Drake has a bit of a communication difficulty (involving speech and writing) so, I helped write things into word bubbles for him. Seth's comic is called "The man who got eaten by a T-Rex" and Drake drew several short comics titled "The world of comix."=0) Adree decided she needed hers to be a bit more elaborate.=0) I helped her draw a fish bowl and she drew a girl behind it looking at a Dolphin and a poor dead fish in it with the caption "I didn't do it" Then she drew the same image in reverse, as well as, the words reversed on the back of the shirt!=0) It always amazes me at what my kids come up with when they are just having fun!=0) Quick and easy and you have wearable art when you are done, fun stuff for the end of summer!=0)
The backside of the wearable art and who's that animal in the background?=0)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's at the end?

So, at the end of the path is what?

So, have I mentioned that I hate house hunting? It's true! After 6 months of looking on and off, I have decided that house hunting really sucks! You get so really like a house and something goes wrong and then you are disappointed and it really is stressful and dragging everyone around to look and...and...okay, so here's what has happened since I blogged last...
1. We found a house that had everything we needed as well as a yard, close to the kid's school, plenty of space, we really liked this we put in an offer. Thank you Mr. stupid banker who reviewed our offer and decided to counter back at above the asking price...yeah. Unfortunately the house wasn't in greatest of areas, but the little pocket of the neighborhood was on the far end of the not the greatest neighborhood and we figured that was okay. The counter offer was above market value and I'm sure this back-east banker was definitely more interested in lining the bank's pockets than in even following fair market value. So, we let that house go.
2. Upon learning about the bank's counter offer on the house we REALLY liked, Lee went to go look at a house that HE really liked. I was still annoyed at losing the house we REALLY liked and begrudgingly went to look at it. I hated it! I couldn't think of anything I liked about the house HE really liked. I'll come back to this one though...
3. We went back to look at a house that was near our current house, we looked at it in March and I liked the house. It had 3000 sq. feet, 3bd, office space, huge kitchen, huge family room, Master suite, the works. The only thing was it wasn't in the right school area and it didn't have much of a yard, even though that wasn't that big of a deal though because it was across the street from the park. When we looked at it in March, there was some person who was acting as a 3rd party to the home owners...well, supposedly. We knew this guy wasn't legit. and we didn't do anything about it. We went back to look at it over the weekend...whoever had possession of it last stripped it. Yep. Light fixtures, door knobs, the hot water heater, dishwasher, the master bathroom toilet, the heat pump manager...nice. That was disappointing for sure, although it's all stuff that could be replaced. The house was listed for 210k, Lee found out from the bank who had the house what would be the best offer for it, 170k. There was a was another offer that had been put in on the house, but the people were having a hard time getting their financing together, Lee has his ready so we felt really confident that the bank would just accept his offer. You couldn't be that easy! Well, the realtor and the listing agent called Lee the next day and told him that there was a multi-offer situation in place and that Lee better bump his offer up by 10k. You know there was something just not right with that. The offer from the people who couldn't get their financing together had expired and we knew there weren't any other offers. Lee was furious! As was I. Actually, we had an estimate done on the house and it needed to be completely re plumbed and had mold issues in the basement besides all the things that needed to be replaced. At a price tag of at least 74k, plus the price of the house, would have put it at above fair market value.
4. Well, in the meantime the house I hated...Lee had put an offer in on it. I haven't decided if I was more annoyed about him putting in an offer on a house I hadn't seen (yes, he did! It's all good though...and I still love you!=0)) or if I was still annoyed about losing the house we REALLY liked. Lee had actually called the agent and told her to kill the offer, she didn't listen. Lee got a call that his offer on it had been accepted!=0) After the fiasco on the house near our current house, I had put a lot of thought in on the house I hated. This has been such a long process and we have to get more space....this house was ours (practically!), Lee called the agent to see if we could still get it. WE CAN!!! After going there yesterday and spending a couple of hours with a contractor getting estimates on what needs to be fixed, I like this house the best! 2500 sq. feet, 4bd, 21/2 bath, formal living, formal dining (we really wouldn't use it and will steal it for office space), huge kitchen/family room combo, master suite, walk in closet, huge yard, in Santa Clara, quiet neighborhood, in the right school area...etc.=0) The moral of the story you ask? I'm not sure other than keep at it and you might very well find what you really wanted at the end of a very long path...=0)
The house I hated...and now it's the BEST house! Oh yeah, did I tell you how much Lee offered on it? 108k, was sooo much work though!=0)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wait a sec!

Apparently you can have it all...

So, if you've been following my recent blogging, you would have read my last post. The one describing our recent house hunting and how we found a great house with everything we could want, with one fatal yard. When I say no yard, I mean non-existent yard. You know, as in open your back door and fall off a cliff, no yard. Yeah, you can imagine my hesitation not only with the kids but, the dog as well. When walking through the huge house with no yard the listing agent mentioned a house that he was listing today. As he described it...close to Santa Clara almost as big, yard for the kids. We said "okay" and he e-mailed Lee the specs and the pics. Thanks to technology one never has to leave their house to zoom in on locations via google and so, that's what we did to see exactly where this house was. Hmm..anyone remotely familiar with St. George knows that if you want to live any where good it wouldn't be Dixie Downs. From the satellite pics, it looked like it was right in Dixie Downs...of course, first thing out of my mouth is, "NO WAY, that's not close to Santa's fricking Dixie Downs!" We looked at the pics and the house seemed nice, I really didn't think about it again until Lee called me excitedly from in front of the house this morning. He had made an appointment to take a look anyway, obviously ignoring my protests. "It's got a great yard with mature trees and an upper deck and a side yard for the kids to play in...", "Oh, and it's a lot bigger than what the pictures looked like..." and "it's not in a bad neighborhood at all, newer houses with well kept yards..."=0) I told him he would have to call me back because I needed to get back to work. I got home just a few minutes before he did and when Lee walked in, he told me he had put in an offer on the house right after looking at it and had been at the bank getting his financing all together! =0) We just got back from taking a look (the whole family), what a great house! 3150 sq feet, 5bd, 3 ba, formal living/dining, fireplace, huge kitchen family room combo, laundry rm, 2 car garage, huge master suite, enough room for an office, guest rm, and kids bedrooms!=0) Really all it needs is paint, flooring and changing out of a few appliances/ know, normal stuff you would expect to have to do when you buy a house.=0) The kids could even walk to school (accompanied by Mom of course!). No more driving ten miles a day just to take them to and from school. Okay, keep your fingers crossed...I think this is it or maybe wait a sec...=0) Oh, yeah did I mention how much? Listed for $190,500, Lee offered $175k.=0)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Time to move on....

Another opportunity...
The Santa Clara house

As I mentioned before in a previous post, Lee and I were bidding on a house in Santa Clara. 2500 sq. feet 3 bd 2 ba formal living room, formal dining, good sized kitchen, lg laundry rm, deck off the back, view of Red Mountain/Snow Canyon, and did I mention storage? Something our current house seriously lacks....anyway, short sale as it was, takes forever. Forever it seems may have been an opportunity in disguise. Over the course of the last few of months, Lee was curious about the particulars on this house and so he did a little research. The house needed some had settled and was in need of some structural work. Really not that much of a problem if you can steal a house (125k to be exact), the layout, neighborhood, the house all seemed ideal, we'd fix it. Next door we noticed there was a house with a huge lot that seemed to be abandoned. Lee was able to determine through the city of Santa Clara, that the house had been left to someone who is going to put five houses and a cul-de-sac next door. This would not only partially block our view that was so great, it would inevitable disturb the ground around the house we wanted significantly. With a house that already had had settling issues this was the final straw.
Did I mention opportunity? Okay, so I did. After looking at several houses before we settled on the one in Santa Clara, we were really not that interested in looking anymore and the kids kept getting their hopes up and you know what I mean, it gets wasn't until the end of this last week that we decided to look through the listing book and see what else was out there. I have lived in the St. George area on and off for the last 13 years (shhh...I am not old!) and I am well acquainted with the different neighborhoods and where the kids will go to school when we live where and so on and so forth, so I am really picky as to where I am willing to live. We actually love our current area. South Gate or the south west side of the city off the Bluff Street exit. Our neighborhood is out of the way and quiet and not that well known, unfortunately it seems to be a haven for retirees and snowbirds, that means not a lot of families. So, when we found a house near by and in the right school boundaries, as well as, enough space I insisted we go and take a look. Wow! Was I surprised!...3782 sq feet, 6 bd rooms, 3 1/2 baths, 2 laundry rooms, kitchen/great rm, huge family room with enough rm for a kitchenette...more storage then I've ever seen in a house! Listed at 200k, you can't beat the price! The catch? It has no yard. None. Great for everyone's allergies (Lee especially), but with a house so huge and several parks and walking trails near by would it really matter? That is the question of the day! As it seems we've been given an opportunity and as much as I really liked that house in Santa Clara, I think I would be upset if we miss out on this opportunity. It must be time to move on.=0)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Lebbon family reunion 2009

The Lambslee family, July 2009 (thank you Peggy!) Thank you Jamie for taking this and a huge thank you Amy for letting us exploit your talents!=0)
Now you can't tell that these girlies are related can you? =0)
My cousin Cam the singing cop... great job Cam!=0)
My kids call ol' Uncle Sterling Mr. Mountain man...for good reason me thinks=0)
This would be My Grandpa (in the hat), my Dad, and my Uncle Ken's wife Lisa taking it in...
Seth watching the show from the lawn=0)
My Uncle Doug, My Cousin Jamie and her husband Chris and their son Trey. Along with my Aunt Carol (with her arm up) my cousin Dayna's husband and some more of my cousin's kids and my Grandma in the background=0)
Adree amusing herself with her dolly with my Uncle Ken, his wife, my Dad and my Grandpa looking on=0)
My Mom on stage singing karaoke style, with Seth on the stage and Lee (Mr. D.J.) on the phone...big shocker! =0)

Now where can you get together with what seemed like a hundred kids, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncles, Aunts, cousins, Moms and Dads, and eat a little dinner, sing a little karaoke, dance, have your picture taken and get caught up on all the happenings?...whew!=0) Why the Lebbon family reunion, that's where! This is what we spent part of our Independence Day weekend doing! It was truly a blast! Everyone in the family joined us, with the exception of cousin Mike and my Cousin Manny and his family. Who we really missed...Manny is a contractor and has been out of work for a while and has a brand new time!=0) My Mom's side of the family sure is full of crazies! Thanks to Lee and his karaoke set-up, everyone who can at least sort of sing (and some that don't at all!) took a turn up on stage belting out ridiculous renditions of Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton-John, the Brady Bunch...wait, that was Cara, Mom, and I! As well as, whatever else anyone knew the tune well enough to sing! Actually, at one point all the women in the family crowded up on stage and sang "I Am Woman." You know if you can't be ridiculous with your family for the fun of it, then what is the point of getting together?!=0) The Willow Glen Inn, where we held the party, is a great place full of lush trees, grass, lazy porch swings, and winding paths that the kids all enjoyed exploring. My cousin's kids also brought some scooters with bicycle wheels and the older kids (that includes adults!) took turns rolling across the dance floor when not in use! At the end of the evening everyone danced to "Thriller" and the 'YMCA" of course!=0) What a great time and Grandma if you are reading this, we totally need to make this a semi-annual tradition and let a different family be in charge every other year! What do you say! I'm in!=0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandma=0)

Isn't this the greatest picture? This would be a picture of my grandparents (maternal) on their wedding day 60+ years ago!

Today would be my Grandma's birthday and since I have been stuck working really bad hours with little time for anything else, I didn't have time to send a card. I know that my Grandma is a frequent reader of my blog (mostly because she is on my e-mail list) so, I hope doing a little feature on her will do! I love you Grandma!=0)
Grandma hails originally from Buffalo, New York, she and Grandpa raised my Mom and her brothers in the rural countryside of New York state. With plenty of free space and animals that any child would love! After all their kids were grown, except Ricky (my Mom's little brother) Grandma and Grandpa moved to Cedar City, Utah where my Grandpa retired. I remember visiting them in Cedar and my Grandma owning her own realty office, it was always so much fun to come and visit! We would go to lunch and Grandma always took us to plays at S.U.U.!=0) She always traveled with us to places like Salt Lake and she would go shopping with us and ride on the rides at Lagoon with us! My Grandparents were professional roller skaters and I remember her taking us to roller rink and skating with us all the way until it closed when I was probably 15 or 16! I remember when I was 20 my Grandma came to St. George and took me to lunch and told me was going to retire...sure! Well, she did...sort of! All though I've been told she dabbles in real estate still!=0) My purple Grandma loves anything purple! That makes you so easy to shop for my dear!=0) I hope that this birthday (the # isn't important, age is just a # anyway!) is wonderful! I hope that you are able to feel your state of mind, age is all relative anyway! Grandma you're the best!