Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day was spent doing things that Steve loves to do. We went to church, took a walk, played in the yard, "helped" Steve in the garden, played some music, and gave Brundibar a bath. Here are a few shots of the day:

They don't look all that happy, but I promise that they were having a grand time.

Brun wasn't excited about this part of the day.

After his bath, he rolled around in the dirt. Because that's what dogs do.

And after all of that hubbub, we went over to Doug & Marsha's for some tri tip BBQ. We were able to Skype with my parents to wish my Dad a happy Father's Day and my Mom a happy birthday. After dinner, Delaney played in her tunnel and entertained us all.

We really had a great day celebrating our favorite guy, Stevie. Delaney is such a lucky girl to have a Dad that will always keep her best interests in mind and love her no matter what. And a big thanks to both of our dads and my Gramps Rasmussen who have done the same for Steve and I.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Colorado 2010

At the beginning of June, Delaney and I had the opportunity to head out to Colorado to meet my Great Uncle Dick and to see his ranch. I was excited about this trip, but nervous about the traveling aspect. This was to be my third time flying by myself with Delaney, and all of you mamas out there know how enjoyable flying with a squirmy, independent monkey child can be! We actually flew to Salt Lake, had a 2 hour layover, then flew to Albuquerque, where we meet up with my parents. Then we got in a car and drove 4 hours to Colorado. All in all, it all went ok, but I'm not anxious to do any of that again.

Once we were in Colorado, we were joined by my brothers Jimmy and Jeff, and Jeff's girlfriend Evie. Our time in Colorado was limited, so we did some pretty big things in just a few short days. The first main attraction was Mesa Verde National Park. This park is home to many Ancestral Pueblo Indian ruins. The third grade teacher inside of me loved every minute of this experience and wished my students were there with me. We hiked down to the the most famous ruins, Cliff Palace, and it was breathtaking. Delaney was strapped to Grandpa's back and she enjoyed the ride.

Before the hike...

Cliff Palace

Grammie & Grandpa...with a little Delaney head poking out

On the way back up...Uncle Jimmy was Delaney's spotter to make sure her head didn't get knocked into a rock

After our time in Mesa Verde, we headed over to my dad's cousin's house. We meet my Dad's cousin Rick and his wife Helen, as well as their son and daughter-in-law and kids. My Great Uncle Dick was also there and this was our first time meeting. He is almost 92, in great spirits and health, and a really fun guy to be around. He kept saying goofy little things to Delaney that really reminded me of my Grandpa Lee, who was his brother. My Grandpa died when I was 9, so it was extra special to spend time with his brother and hear all of his stories.

At Rick & Helen's house. Delaney was entranced by the horsey.

These are Delaney's third or fourth cousins...I don't know, that stuff makes my brain hurt. As you can see, Delaney has no problem warming up to boys that she just met. Please start praying for us now!

Here we are with my Great Uncle Dick. He took a real liking to Delaney, and she to him. My favorite goofy little song he had for Delaney was "You're a pretty little lady with a pretty little figure. You can like the boys, but not 'till you're bigger!" Classic stuff.

Jeff & Evie. So cute!

Dad & Uncle Dick

This meadow was the original site where my Uncle Dick's log cabin used to be. They would run their sheep up to this meadow to graze and stay in the cabin. It was a very beautiful, serene place.

This is the pretty little lady with a pretty little figure that I was talking about...

After spending time with my Great Uncle Dick, it was time to head home. This time around my parents, Delaney, and I drove to Salt Lake, UT to catch a flight. Yep, we drove for 6 hours, and then boarded a plane. A major bonus of this travel plan was that we were able to stop by Arches National Park for just a bit. Our time there was short, but WOW! That is one amazing place. I'm really thankful that my parents have taken us to so many amazing national parks and sites here in the Western U.S. There is so much to see and so much diversity in a relatively small region.

The bug and I. Can you tell we're a bit tired?

Bye, Mom & Dad. Thanks for the short-but-fun adventure!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Steve's New Opportunity

I am so proud of my husband, for many reasons. The most recent reason being that he was appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger to serve on a commission to make a recommendation to the legislature regarding the adoption of national standards. Steve is only one out of eleven teachers throughout the state of California that were selected to serve on this commission. He will be flown to Sacramento three times over the period of the next month. This is a big deal, a very big deal! Steve is such a humble guy and he won't toot his own horn over this, but I have no problem tooting it for him. Check out this very official press release.

Congratulations, Mr. Dunlap!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Home Projects

I like to document our house projects on our blog, mostly for my sake. I tend to get a bit overwhelmed at what we still have left to do on the homestead, but when I look at pictures I am reminded of the many improvements we have already made. August will mark our 3 year anniversary of buying our home, and we really have done a lot. The following projects are more aesthetic than functional, but they deserve a shout out too.

Way back in December of 2009, we commissioned my very talented best-friend-in-law Jake to paint us a picture of an orange tree. Riverside has a very rich citrus history, which we just love. I sometimes need to be reminded that it wasn't always cement and smog down here. My apologies to Jake regarding the poor quality of my pictures. The actual painting is much more stunning.

I bought the frame at an estate sale and then we painted it and gave it some TLC. I wanted to do a family tree of sorts, and I love the end result. In case you can't tell, those handsome son-of-a-guns are our parents on their wedding days.

Speaking of estate sale finds, Steve and I purchased this cedar chest last summer at an estate sale with the purpose of upholstering it. We need all the storage and seating we can get in our comfy abode. This chest is a prime example of how ideas in Karen's brain turn into a huge family affair. I bought the foam and fabric, and we hauled the chest over to Steve's parents on Super Bowl Sunday. My intent was to have the guys watch the game and have Marsha watch the baby while I worked on the chest. In the end, Steve, Doug, and Mikey did the grunt work while I supervised. I think that I make an excellent foreman.
Camera one

Camera two

We planted a garden once again, and it is thriving despite our losing battle with the weeds. Delaney loves to help Steve in the garden, and watching them together amidst the corn and tomatoes brings me the most wonderful sense of contentment. If I could freeze these moments in time, I would.

I've been wanting to do an art piece focusing on our non-human family members for sometime, and I finally got around to doing it. I chose to create silhouettes of Charlie, Imogene, Brundibar, and our human child as well. If you think it's odd that I would want to decorate my home with pictures of my animal friends, we have clearly never met. While they've moved down a notch or two since the arrival of Delaney, our pets are sort of a big deal to us.

All lined up in a row. Just to clarify, Delaney's the one in the middle.

Charlie & Imogene



This year, Steve and I celebrated our 30th birthdays. Instead of buying one another something special, we commissioned each other to make something. Steve requested a sign for his garage and I requested that Steve re-purpose an old stereo cabinet that we have into a buffet. I held up my end of the deal; now Steve needs to deliver! Again, the idea for Steve's gift was all in my head, but Mikey and Doug (Steve's dad and brother) are really the ones who did all the work. Mikey found the parts and welded them together, Doug helped me with the border, and assembled the whole thing. I love how it turned out, but I think Steve loves it even more.

Close up before it was hung

Who thinks that our next project should be painting the garage?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

For Fiona

Miss Delaney is sporting this fabulous African dress from my dear friends the Kikers. Awhile back they started a fair trade company in Oregon called The Andando Foundation. This organization does wonderfully meaningful work. Please take a moment to check it out. Fiona, if you're in need of an incredibly white baby to model for you, I think Delaney's your girl!

Aquarium of the Pacific

Last week my Dad gave me a great birthday present- he sent me my Mom! She was in need of a Delaney fix, and it also corresponded with her favorite daughter's birthday. So everyone wins! We spent my special day at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Have you ever been to this aquarium? If you live in the SoCal region, you must go. Or else Delaney will karate chop you.

Here Delaney is doing her karate chop...nope, just kidding. She's signing "fish." And this is the last picture of her in her stroller that you will see. Like I discussed during my previous post, she is 100% toddler, and toddlers and strollers don't often mingle well.

Yea, things we can touch without getting into trouble!

Here's one of the few pictures my mom was able to snap of Delaney actually facing the camera. We have plenty pictures of the back of her head, but we won't bore you with that.

That's me, pulling the monkey off the ledge.

This might have been one of Delaney's happiest moments of the day. On the outside level of the aquarium they have a splash area with dolphins that can shoot water at innocent bystanders. There were many school aged children scurrying about, and some of them thought it would be a good idea to squirt water at the baby. My mom and I actually heard some of the kids yelling, "Aim for the baby!" They soaked my girl. And she loved every minute. She is a performer, and the splash pad was her stage. Did I bring a change of clothes for the bug? No. Good thing we were in sunny Long Beach.

The aftermath. She was not happy that Mama pulled her from the water.

We don't have many pictures of Grammie, because she was taking the photos. This was taken at the end of the day, when things were getting a bit dicey.

All in all, toddler melt downs aside, we had a great day. Thanks for visiting, Grammie, and we'll see you soon!