Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Halloween Lookback!

Didn't realize I never EVER posted a family pic of our costumes from this year!  Good thing I still had one left on my phone - not sure how but all others got deleted without being downloaded.  
We went as Harry Potter characters - and it was so much fun!
We have Mad-eye Moody, Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter, Dobby, and a cute little Hedwig!
We had a great time at the trunk or treat (pictured below!)

Earlier in the month we had a fun visit from the Browns who came over for Fall Break!  We had a great time, and Ivy even learned to like her Grandma Betty by the end!

Happy Movember Day!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Loss of a Dear Friend!

Words can't begin to express the feelings I had when I learned on Monday that one of my dear friends and neighbors growing up, Ryan Runia, had passed away earlier that day.  At first I was in shock, then disbelief, then a little bit angry that someone so great would get taken away from his wife and four kids, and then overwhelmed with sadness for his family.

I would like to just copy the words his bishop wrote in his post titled "Friends at First are Friends Again at Last!" because I think his tribute to Ryan was perfect in every way of describing his character and the person Ryan was and is today. However, his words were more of knowing Ryan and interacting with him the past few years and I had most of my interactions with him and memories of him back in the 90s.  Although I haven't interacted with him that often since we were both married and lived in different states, I have kept up with the goings on of his life through his family members when I have visited and through his dear wife Cari's instagram posts and pictures.  Thus the loss feels even deeper.

I moved across the street from Ryan when I was 11 years old.  He was 10 and we have a lot of fun memories of night games, street hockey on rollerblades, dodgeball on the tramp, speed with the hose spraying out of the basketball hoop, church ball, YM/YW activities, Youth conferences, and family activities.  One of my favorite memories is of Ryan and Dane always coming over and sneaking into our outside freezer to get cookies.  My mom usually had extras stored in a big tupperware out there and Ryan wasn't afraid to get in and get a few.  Once my mom came out to the garage and they had just got them and put them behind their backs.  She asked them what they were doing and with his hugest grin ever, his trademark smile, he looked up and said "guilty.....we got some cookies!"  How could she be mad - I  think she just told them that one wasn't enough and they might need a few more.  

But this smile and happiness is what defined Ryan.  He was always smiling and had the ability to include everyone and spread happiness every where he went.  I had a HUGE crush on him most of my HS years, and although I chased other boys and liked other boys too, I always went back to crushing on Ryan.  I realized later on what my draw was to him - it was how happy he was and how much fun you always had with him around and just how happy you felt when he was around.  He lived life to the fullest and made every day great.

I attribute much of his character to the teachings of his parents.  He has great parents and I admire and love them both.  Bishop Runia was my bishop during the hs years and he always asked the question at the end of his interviews: "are you happy?" with a big smile on his face.  I remember that being my favorite thing about him, that I really felt he wanted me (and everyone) to be happy and cared that we were.  I feel like he passed that trait down to Ryan and Ryan emulated his dad's teachings in every aspect of his life.  He was always happy, his eyes would always crinkle up into little moons just like his dads as he would laugh and smile and happiness just exuded from him all the time.

I remember numerous different drives with Ryan, testing out the jeep, "running out of gas" in the green jeep, Canyon Crest, drives at Christmas time in the snow in the Red Jeep doing donuts at Centennial, and many other interactions and drives where we had good talks and Ryan inspired me to be better.  He was always trying to be better.  He was a good listener and would listen to  what I would say and think before responding.  He was funny, and when he was around you always felt safe and protected - like you had your own personal bodyguard.  

I also remember a favorite memory that we never told him about.  Ryan liked to do pranks and have fun, and was often doing them to others.  One day a few of us girls in the ward decided to do a prank to him, or rather the Runia family.  My parents were out of town and so it was the perfect opportunity.  Lindsey, Collynn, Angelina, and Emmy all joined with me at my house for a sleepover and we decided to toilet paper the Runias house.  We got them GOOD!  We used so many toilet paper rolls (sorry mom for wasting all that toilet paper) and it took us a LONG time to get it.  We threw it in the trees in front of their house, we threw it up on their roof, the entire front yard was COVERED in toilet paper.  We were careful and tried to be so quiet so as not to get caught and then ran inside to check out our work.  The next morning we woke up and expected to see Ryan out there cleaning up the mess, maybe a little bugged that he was having to do that or something.

But that was not the case. Instead, Ryan was out picking up toilet paper and Scott was filming with the video camera!  What?! we thought, so we opened the window to see if we could hear what was going on.  Ryan had the same grin he always had on and he was going around looking at different pieces of toilet paper, picking them up as if looking for something on them.  Come to find out he thought he was getting asked to a dance (we did so in creative ways back then) and so was going through and looking at each piece to find one with the girls name on it who might be lucky enough to ask him.  He was so joyful and found the silver lining for sure in picking up all the toilet paper. Too bad he never found a name or the question right?!  

Actually, after watching him out there with the video camera all morning cleaning up and searching we all felt too bad to ever tell him it was just us doing a prank of the old school toilet paper fun!  

Looking back though this experience once again shows his happy spirit and that he could find the silver lining in any situation, and always did!

Ryan later found the love of his life in a friend of mine from HS - Cari Wright.  We used to see them come home from scooter rides and spend a few minutes smooching in the garage before going inside and knew from the beginning that this relationship was going to last. I remember his wedding reception, and how for once his smile was even bigger, if possible then normal, and how happy he was!  It was snowy and cold, but there they were inside, Cari looking gorgeous and celebrating and ready to start their life off as a new family.  They have four beautiful children, who to me look like mini Runias and I have enjoyed seeing the posts of the fun family nights and activities they have done with them.  It is easy to see where the kids get their big smiles and happy spirits.  I think that just comes with being a Runia!

I am thankful for my memories and from the things I learned from having Ryan as a friend.  He will be missed and although it is hard and we are so sad and devastated for his family right now, we are so grateful for the plan of salvation and eternal families.  I am grateful to know that he will be reunited again with his wife and kids and that the separation now is but for a short time.  We love you Ryan Runia, and I am grateful to have known you for most of my life!  Til we meet again!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November is passing, and we are FULL of Thanks!!!

This is our month of gratitude and we have so much to be thankful for.  We have started a jar on our kitchen table where each day we write down one thing we are thankful for and put it in.  We plan on reading them all on Thanksgiving.  It has been really fun to hear the kids come up with their different ideas, and also for us as parents to be able to think about how much we have to be grateful for!

Also, we are thankful for warm park days in November.  Mom isn't so grateful for 80+ degree weather, as she loves the fall, but she is grateful the kids can play outside and we don't have to bundle up or worry about getting sick out there too much!  And the kids love playing at Cash's school big playground after we pick him up almost daily!

Ivy is our little daredevil and tries to keep up with the boys.  There is nothing she can't conquer at the park, or at least thinks there is nothing she can't do!  She scares me half to death, but she LOVES the park and squeals in such delight before going down the slides I can't help but let her go up against all those big kids.  She has learned to hold her own!

We have 3 ninjas who are always saving the day for mom!  They crack me up here - esp Ivy in her one shoe and trying so hard to do what the boys are doing!

 Hands up!

 Griffin LOVES to play with these cards he got from his Chic-file meal!  He and mom have plenty of alone time while Ivy sleeps and Cash is at school!  I treasure the time with him as it is the time of day he is usually the sweetest for me!

 Bath time is a GREAT time at our house and this little girl LOVES Bubbies (bubbles) as she calls them.  She always wants to help wash everything and everyone!  And look - she has enough hair for a little troll do!!!

 We have a LOT of dance parties - and we are grateful to be able to dance and move our bodies how we want!

 We also have great neighbors who play with the kiddos outside on the driveway almost daily.  A great present to mom as I am cooking dinner or need them to be distracted for a few.  Thanks to George, Stella, and Billy for this!  Griffin even told me Billy is his girlfriend (yes Billy is a girl!)

 We got another tree this week - a little 6 ft. one to decorate for the upstairs.  I am obsessed recently with Christmas trees and really wanted to do one in our room.  So we got it, went and got a bunch of decor for it from Michaels from the sell on saturday, and went to work.  The kids were REALLY excited - Cash was too, even tho here he doesn't look it!

 Love Ivy girls face as she watches Cash!

 The tree looks more like a Charlie Brown tree then I thought it would - guess that is what happens when it is only $40 off amazon!  Needless to say I wasn't sure I would be happy with the result.  However, we were grateful to have it and decided to just go with it

And here I am grateful my children participate in prayers and remind me even sometimes to say them.  I did peek to get the shots of them during Cash's nice prayer!

 Ivy did too apparently!

 Grateful for cleaning supplies and this new mop to get the floors a sparkling!  Ivy likes the mop too, but more as a flying tool then a working tool!

 I am grateful for the kids loving to draw and do stuff as Cash does his hw.  Griffin and Ivy often join in, and she LOVES to draw!  Here she was saying "cheese" and doing great!

 Here was our first attempt at putting things on the tree - however we waited to put the ribbon on til last and mom didn't like it so we had to take everything off and start over!

 Mom decided to add some tulle in it too for a little more white and the ribbon went on much easier without all the ornaments this time!

 The loot before it went on the tree!

 Ivy and Griff after we finished!

 Turned out fantastic!  We love Red Peppermint!!!

Grateful for the sabbath to revamp and get ready for the new week.  Here's to a much better, cold-free (hopefully) week!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013!!!

Good thing we have had other days this month where mom has taken pictures of the kids in their costumes because today flew by and we hardly took any.  Oh well!

However, we did get up early and get out the door to go to Cash's school parade at 8 am.  We are not used to this early schedule so we were a bit frazzled (since he is in afternoon kindergarten) but we made it and the kids had fun.  Ivy and Griffin dressed up in their costumes too!  

I was actually a little disappointed in how disorganized the parade part was - it was outside on the blacktop of the school and was so chaotic and disorganized it made it hard to want to wait around and see the whole parade - not to mention the kindergarten classes were VERY LAST!  Hello - not the way to do things!  Anyways, while we waited and waited we took a few cute pics of hedwig and dobby!
Love these two!

Then we finally got to see Cash parade by very quickly in the video below!

 The highlight of the school stuff was Cash's kindergarten performance of the songs they have been working on.  I have loved hearing him singing them as he is around the house the last few weeks, and he had a special part in his class number so that was a lot of fun!  He did great - and it is a must watch to see his, perhaps Hollywood bound, debut;)

Here he is before just getting settled into his spot!

 Got his little ghost on for his part - he was Ghost #3!

 Serious Cashee!

 The whole kindergarten!

 Ready for his part!

After school it was home to hang out til daddy came home and then off to trick-or-treating with friends.  We had a blast and it was nice and warm again, as always, here in sunny California!

I will say that our street is so boring that no one even comes trick-or-treating to us.  I went and bought a HUGE bag at Costco to have to hand out and we had 1 person knock on our door.  Granted we were out trick-or-treating ourselves with the kids before that, but we were home by 7 pm, and 1 person after that - BORING!!!! 

And so I have a LOT of candy left and need to find a good place to store it where I won't be tempted to eat it all - why did I buy the ones with Almond Joys (my favorite?!)  Hopefully I can exercise some self control - esp since I am going off sugar for the month of November!

Happy November ya'll!
I have taken all the Halloween decor down and packed it back up, and we are ready to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Christmas music is currently playing and I am searching online for a white Christmas tree to add to our decor - will use it for a thankful tree this month and then keep it up for Christmas!

Yes I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas and the holiday seasons SOOOO much!