Sunday, November 30, 2008

So Much To Be Thankful For!

What a wonderful week/weekend we were able to enjoy together! While I know we are supposed to be mindful each and every day of all the blessings we enjoy, it is nice to have a holiday where the whole point is to evaluate ones life and recognize not only the big/major things we are grateful for, but also to see the small and simple blessings that make our life rich and full.

I am grateful for so many things, that I know I could never list them all, but I would like to express my gratitude her on my blog, (as this functions also as my journal).

In no particular order:
-I am grateful for the full and true gospel of Jesus Christ, and the many blessings which abound thereof.
-I am grateful for a good, kind, and loving husband. In fact he is the joy of my life, and I could never fully express my feelings towards him.
-I am grateful and lucky to have wonderful families, that are also our best friends. I am grateful to serve them, and see the blessings that come from having close ties to those whom we love.
-I am grateful for this blessed country, even in trying times like these.
-I am grateful for a job that I enjoy doing, and one which allows me to be with good people, and especially Wes. Truly I feel blessed knowing my job helps and makes people happy! :)
-I am grateful for this over-priced home we live in... and that I love.
-I am grateful for nieces and nephews... children and the sweet light they bring to this world. Especially the one that joined our family TODAY! :) yeah!!!!!!!!!
-I am grateful for trials, REALLY! What wonderful blessings come from them, and what wonderful lessons are learned when we reach the end point, though I supposed there really is no end.
-I am thankful for my pets, cheesy yes, but I love my pup and he makes me happy and laugh. I expect mockery from this one, but I am willing to live with it.
-I am thankful for education, the ability I have to learn. For my mind to function somewhat properly. For the books I read, and the history we have.
-I am grateful for the physical abilities I have. What fun comes from it. Hiking Mt. Rubidoux on Thanksgiving, Wes playing in fun basketball leagues, etc. I can't imagine not having my body.
-I am grateful to laugh, cry, and feel emotions each and every day.
-I am grateful to be alive today... right here and right now!!!!

With that said, I will now share my Thanksgiving experiences from this week. And, while it was incredibly relaxing, it was also incredibly fun and a great time to spend with family.

Thursday, Thanksgiving:


We started the day early by hiking to the top of Mt. Rubidoux in Riverside with my brother Danny, his wife Sarah, their 2 kids, Ryan (my nephew), my mom, and Wes and I. This was a sad attempt to burn off a few calories before ingesting probably quadruple the amount later at dinner. Really though it was such a fun way to start Thanksgiving. Plus, we did it with some family members who wouldn't be at dinner later that night. Then, we headed back to the houses, started cooking, showering, relaxing, and football watching.



I also have to say that hiking Rubidoux this time was a different experience from any other time we have gone. My mom bought this book called, "Weird California" that shares ghost stories, weird tale tales, etc about different parts of California. Stories about Rubidoux were on page 1. Therefore, while on Rubidoux we looked for the strange things mentioned in said book, such as:

-Attack midgets. The book states that there are attack midgets who reside on the Mt. They have small rock piles, ie: weapons scattered about the mountain. Every so often you might hear the rocks showering down around you.

-A hidden underground tunnel, which leads from the castle turret on the mt. to the Mission Inn in downtown Riverside. Many have looked, none have found it.

-It is also said that a mysterious figure lives there and protects the cross located on the top. This figure supposedly keeps the cross clean on graffiti. (This person/figure must have taken a holiday, because the cross was littered with graffiti).

I know there were more stories surrounding the mysterious Mount Rubidoux, but I cannot remember them. As many of you know, I have a slight obsession with small people, and I could only focus on the attack midgets. In fact I plan on attending the midget convention one year in Salt Lake City, and needless to say, when I met Wee Man, I was in heaven!


The boys at the beginning of the arduous hike.
Reaching the top... this is right before Danny went behind Wes; and Wes put his arms in the air and pretended he was flying... "I'm King of the World."


I think Snoop must have smelled something under the turret.

Attack midgets...



At dinner that night we enjoyed a good ole' fashioned Thanksgiving feast. It was actually my first time cooking anything for dinner. And, since Wes and I alternate years with family, we made Wes' mom's famous creamed corn, and green bean casserole. If I don't say so myself, they both turned out quite lovely (please imagine me saying that with an English accent). Also, I made the cutest little pilgrim hat marshmallow treat... which also turned out better than expected.

My little mallow treats.


We were joined by my parents, naturally; Heidi, Ned, and their son Asher, Hayley, Ryan, my cousin Louise and her 3 kids. It was a lot of fun! :)

I apologize that I took no photos later on Thanksgiving day, I was too busy gorging myself.

Because Wes' family goes to St. George every year for Thanksgiving, we stayed in Chino all week to be with Wes' Grandma Jean. She had Thanksgiving with some of her grandchildren. Really, one of the best things for me this week was being with Grandma. She is so sweet, and such a fun little lady. I enjoyed being with her, although because of our time conflicts we only saw her in the middle of the day. She said such a nice (and true) statement while we were there that touched my heart and I really wanted to write it down for the future. Being that she is quite frail and has a hard time standing, walking, moving, etc. Wes and I helped get her food, and drinks throughout the week. In the past Wes has also helped her with more personal things, which just shows what a great guy he is. But, at one point when Wes and I were helping her with dinner, she looked at him very seriously and told him what a great, sweet guy he was. She went on to say that he has been like that since he was a little boy. I just thought what a nice compliment that was.

Anywho... moving on.

Friday... or as some like to call it Black Friday (now say this very darkly).

In our sad and pitiful attempt at deals, Wes and I slept into 10:oo am, and decided to see if we could get deals on electronics... most of you seasoned black Friday shoppers are probably already shaking your heads in disgust, but hey, it was our first time. We thought we found a fantastic deal on a laptop and drove to the Montclair mall to claim our precious. Of course by the time we got in there and asked someone for help, we were informed that deal was a door buster. CRAP! We saw another deal that looked good, but didn't want to buy on impulse and went home to compare. We found nothing better, so Wes drove back to pick it up. The box was there, but he was informed that it too was gone long ago. So, in our frustration we found the same deal, but with shipping and ordered it online, bypassing the crowds, yet still getting some of the perks of the day. So now we wait for it. The remainder of the day we took grandma to get her nails done, and relaxed.

That evening however, we attended the Christmas light/firework show extravaganza at the Mission Inn. Word to the wise, get there early, and don't try to squeeze through the masses to get to your family members. A moment, I don't particularly want to relive. However, the show was fun, the strollers sucked, and the people mean.


In my haste I left my camera in the car.. others took some photos, so I had to rely on others..






That night all my family, minus Adam who was at work, and Ella who went to Utah with Ned's mom for Thanksgiving met together at my parent's place, and all watched the movie "I Am Legend" together. We then drank cocoa, ate spinach dip, and talked until pretty late in the night. It was so nice to all be together... and for that I am thankful.

Saturday we worked and then at about 9:oo pm headed out to Camarillo to watch Jaime and Matt's kids while they went to the hospital to have their child. :)

Today,

The majority of the day was spent at the hospital visiting Matt and Jaime's new baby girl... whom we like to Call HUFFLEPUFF HUEFNER into the world.

Baby Girl Huefner (obviously still waiting on a name)
Born at 10:31 am
Nov. 30th, 2008
weight: 8 Ibs 1 oz
height: 22.5 inches
dark hair
cute little face w/ chubby cheeks

We are happy to say all went well and we have a new member of the Aleman/Huefner family. Long awaited as Jaime had been induced last week, which failed. Glad we were on call to help the kids out in this scenario.

We picked the kids up last night from one of their friends house and brought them back to Matt and Jaime's to sleep. I now know why parents are always so sleepy. Brinley woke up at 5:00 am and came in and joined Wes and I on the bed. She kicked, grinded her teeth, grunted, and breathed stinky breathe in my face all morning... we didn't sleep at all. But, it was all worth it when she opened her eyes saw it was Wes and I and cuddled closer. She at one point put her arm on Wes and slept right on him, it was so sweet. Thankfully, she did this for almost 3 hours, so at least we didn't have to wake up too early.

Wes' family all drove down from St. George at about 3:00 am and were in Camarillo for the event by the time everything transpired.

Tyler was a little disappointed it was not a boy, though he put up a good front. And, Brinley, who has anxiously awaited the arrival of this little baby, was instantly depressed, jealous, weirded out, who knows; but she was not happy about the news. And, would go no where near the baby, Jaime or anyone else near the bed. We think she was a little freaked out with everything, the hospital, small baby (that looks slightly different than her dolls). We basically had to force her onto Matt's lap for the family photo in the hospital. Have to admit it was slightly entertaining.

Jaime holding her little girl... they didn't find out the sex of their baby until today, so it was such a fun surprise!
The Huefner family... Brinley, Matt, Jaime, Baby, and Tyler

Matt and Brinley watching the baby... from a distance. :)

Getting all her measurements... it was nice because they did everything in the room with us all there.

Tyler showing what a good big brother he is.

Brin and me enjoying the scene.

Ashleigh showing Brin her new little sister.

My hot hubby and the babe. :)

I do have to say that while this week was actually pretty relaxing, and a whole lotta fun, I am glad to be back in my own house. Ahhhhh.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Before Thanksgiving...

I wanted to write about my last week and what has happened before my busy weekend comes.

Friday, Hayley my sister and her little boy Ryan, came over to our place to just hang out and spend the night. Hayley brought some Taco Bell, and Wes and I bought the goods for root beer floats, and we had a rousing time!

Actually, Hayley fell asleep early (like at 8:15) and Wes, Ryan and myself put on The Never Ending Story, thinking Ryan would like it. To our dismay, none of us did. I think it was a little too mature for Ryan, and a little too cheap and weird for Wes and I.

Don't get me wrong, that used to be my very favorite movie, along with the cartoon version of "The Hobbit," and the cartoon version of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe." But, wow, re-watch the movie and you'll see what I mean.

So, the remainder of the evening was dedicated to Wes and Ryan playing Legos: Star Wars on the x-box 360... all night. Wes just couldn't help turning Ryan into a regular little boy, man, old man... well, just a male in general- with his love for video games.

Then, Saturday, Wes and I accompanied Heidi and Ned in looking at their new house they are buying in good ole' Perris. It is a real beauty! We had some paperwork we needed to go through for the sale, so we decided to make it a business lunch and headed over to John's Incredible Pizza, in Riverside. We ate LOTS of pizza, and then went over everything and had a gay ole' time.

Sunday, Wes' sister Jaime was induced, and was expecting to have her baby... we still don't know the sex, name, or anything else. So, the whole family went out to Camarillo to be with them, and their kids, to await the arrival of little Huffy Huefner. What a HUGE disappointment for Jaime and Matt when the inducing didn't work, and they were sent home very sad, and depressed at 7:00 pm. Who knows how long it will be now, as they are due Dec. 5th. I have a feeling this baby is going to be a stubborn little thing. :) We all felt so bad for them, but we had a fun time hanging out at their house (while they were at the hospital) and being together as a family.

Also, I have to admit, that we spent way too much of our time this last week watching movies, and tv shows. For those who don't know, x-box 360 and Netflix joined forces, so now we can watch all of our instant movies on our tv streamed through the computer. And since we don't have cable, we have been taking full advantage of this. In fact in the last 2 days we have watched all of season 2 of "The Office" and part of season 3. Yes, that's more than 22 episodes. We know, we are pathetic... but you are allowed to be a little more pathetic when you don't have kids, right?

So, we wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays, and enjoy Thanksgiving, you know we will!!! :) See ya in 5 pounds!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1st Place Losers!!!


So, Wes has been playing in a basketball league out in Menifee with some fellows from the Stake. The competition was very challenging and kept them on their toes. They did relatively well, and made it to the championships. Last Monday was the first round of playoffs, which they won.

Tonight, they played their first game against the best team in the league. Our team went 5-4 during the season, and the team they played went 9-0... yes they were undefeated. However, tonight was a different story. We played our little hearts out, and in the end won 58-56. So, we moved on to the Finals!!! I tell you there was A LOT of cheering during that game. I too was pooped and hoarse afterwards!

The second game we played the 2 time champions. They only lost 1 game this season, against the team we had just beat. The game started and we jumped ahead quickly. At the half we were up 6 points. With 10 minutes left in the second half we were up 14, but our team was pooped! We slowed down oh so slightly, and their team picked it up. With a minute and a half left in the game we were down 6. We tied it with less than a minute to go. After that the game went back and forth, back and forth. With 4.7 seconds left in the game we were down 2, and the foul limit had been reached. We were shooting 1. Our team missed the free throw but recovered the rebound and shot to the best of our abilities... but missed. The final score was, well I can't remember now... but we lost by 2.

Bummer!!!

The good news is that all the team left with a t-shirt and they played 2 very fun, very close games.

Good job boys and see you next season!!! :)

And Jimmy, we can't wait for the team bbq!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh... California!

Here is some of the fun we in California have been enjoying over the last few weeks.

First, as I am sure most members of the church are aware, are the protests occurring in front of the LDS temples. Particularly the Los Angeles Temple.

I have a friend who had to be escorted into the distribution center during the early protest days. I also heard rumor that our old Stake Center (Chino), where we held our reception, had threats sent to it about protests for Wed. So all activities had to be cancelled. Now I may be wrong, but I think this is actually called persecution? Stats prove that we as members of the church only had 2% of the vote for yes... but, I guess we are easy targets.



Second, are these terrifying fires going on all over the place. Saturday, on our way to the car dealership we could see the flames in the hills on a neighboring freeway. Our friend's ward, my parents old ward also had to be cancelled due to mandatory evacuations. Wes' brother, Shaun, had 2 people from his work whose homes are now completely destroyed. I have never seen anything like this before.

The fires in 2003 were terrible... I remember not having to work at good ole' Big League Dreams in Mira Loma for a few weeks because the air quality was too bad; But, I never knew anyone whose homes were actually destroyed.



Lastly, why the devil was it in the 90s today. Hello... where is my FALL weather. How am I supposed to get into the Holiday spirit if I can't wear my sweaters???



What has happened to good ole' California? Maybe, Wes and I did cross the border and we didn't even know it... that explains the mariachi music at least.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You Know You're in Perris When...

Your neighbors have a live mariachi party on a Thursday night, and you can barely park in your own driveway.

What the h*%$!!!

Only in Perris.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Freakshow of Venice Beach

This past weekend, Wes and I had a very fun getaway at our friend's, Ryan and Taryn's, in Santa Monica. We got there late Friday evening and enjoyed pizza and a little A.D. (Arrested Development).

Saturday morning Taryn and I went to her ward's Super Saturday and had a super fun time. We took classes about fun ideas for Christmas day, and enjoyed samples of everything. The teacher was wonderful and provided everything at no cost to us, and I have to assume that her samples were NOT cheap. It was so fancy and so delicious. We then took her second class about fun drinks to make during the holidays. I was amazed at how good she made cider, hot chocolate, and lots of other things taste. We all left her classes in a sort of sugar comatose! Taryn and I also took another class where we made Gospel ABC books. They were so beautiful and sophisticated, I am not sure kids will really enjoy them until after they are married, but I love the way it turned out!!!

During all of this the boys sat home and just waited for our return... yeah right! :)

After we got back we decided to head over to Wenice Beach for a "hip n fashionable time," as said by Gerhard Reinke.



"See I got this clip on ponytail 'n mustache."

For the sake of all that's good please watch Gerhard Reinke!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFHimSt3L1c&feature=related

Really though, it was a true freak show.

We were bombarded by weed, people advertising "medical marijuana", cool jokes by the town drunk, the worst painted man in the world, very very good break dancers (they were truly incredible), and lots of dirty, strange people... in fact I went home feeling very high class.

We ate at a small Mexican restaurant, and filled ourselves up for the rest of the day. And, as shown above the boys just couldn't resist going into the freak show to see 2-headed turtles, pigs, giant rats, and other strange creatures.


One strange creature I met at the bathroom had an entire discussion with me while waiting in line about watching out for the birds that fly in and like to poop on you. Needless to say I was very cautious of the birds while using the restroom. Thanks strange speedo man!


Our favorite character of the day was "smiley." We kept running into this guy that walked around with a huge joker grin on his face. Apparently he liked to smile at people.

The boys also couldn't resist checking out the competition at the pick-up game court, for the next time we visited.


Wes and I also did a nice work out at muscle beach... we showed those shmos what was up... yeah baby!


That night we had planned on eating at Roscoes Chicken and Waffles, but after all the early morning sugar, probably poisoned Mexican food, and lots of other snacks it just wasn't sounding that good to any of us. Especially Taryn who read the menu full of giblets, grits, liver bits, etc. So, after about an hour of trying to decide where to eat (this included random drawings from a hat, long discussions and Ryan's lists) we came to the conclusion of eating at The Cheesecake Factory. All went well, the food was pretty good, Nate slept the entire time, etc. --- until I chipped the inside of my bottom tooth and had a slight aneurysm, which everyone else thought was very funny... thanks guys, j/k! It really was fun, and my tooth is fine now!
So, to end the day we rented the Hulk and went back to the McCook's to watch it... for about half an hour until we all conked out.

We stayed Sunday and attended church and their ward's linger longer. Their ward was very friendly! We hung out, watched the rest of the movie, ate some BOMB baked pasta and played a very fun game called Settlers of Catan; which, I now want for Christmas. We left late that night after Ryan strategically kept the game going... he he :)

We always love visiting friends, and this was a very fun trip... thanks again guys!!! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Day at Disneyland

Last week after work, Wes and I headed over to Disneyland. We rode Buzz Lightyear of course, and then we spent a long time checking out Innovations... we had never been there. While it was fun, I don't anticipate us going there often. We were actually searching for the voice-over place, so if someone can direct us there it would be great.

You think we do this ride often?


The Peter Pan room in Innovations... we tried riding the segway, but they don't do that anymore. :(


It was such a nice day, because in all honesty it was relatively empty, not extraordinarily empty, but so much better than the last time we had gone right before Halloween. (You can read all about that day at our friend's Amber and Spencer's blog...http://ajones-keepinupwiththejones.blogspot.com/2008/10/group-date-pumpkin-patch.html).

Ryan, Wes, me and Hayley


After we had been at Disneyland a while, my sister Hayley and her little boy Ryan came and met up with us. With them we went on Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, and the Jungle Cruise. Ryan was absolutely comedy on Indiana Jones... he was slightly scared before the ride (though he has been on it before), then in line he was fine. Until... the worker in joking said a comment something like, "if you look into Mara's eyes, the ride will stop," while looking directly at Ryan, who slowly and with wide eyes nodded. The worker then looked at us and explained how he had told another little boy that earlier and it happened. Well, after that Ryan wanted nothing to do with the ride, but we adults, who still wanted to ride, basically forced him to continue forward. He was fine again, especially after he saw a man in line who was dressed like Indiana Jones, and Ryan waved.

In line for Indiana Jones


We had to give the kid a few drinks to calm him down see... j/k


Well, then we got on the ride. Ryan grabbed Wes' arms and held them over him so tight. His little face never changed expressions, he just stared wide eyed, until at the end he saw Indiana Jones again. Then, he looked at us and started cheering, "Indiana Jones saved us, he saved us," and gave us all high-fives. He did this little hand cheer with some funny words that for the life of me I can't remember... tell me if you can Hayley.

So, needless to say we had a great time!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Model Citizens

WE VOTED!!!!

Please everyone keep California in your prayers today!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Our Happy Halloween

We had a very fun, and very busy Halloween weekend.

We began the festivities Thursday night after a very stressful work day, and when I say stressful I mean the day from hell. So, after we got home from work at 8:45 pm, we went and got some Little Cesar's pizza, watched some Arrested Development (which, always makes us laugh and puts us in a better mood), and then we carved our pumpkins/ jack-o-lanterns, while listening to music.

The hardest part about pumpkin carving is: a) figuring out what the devil to do, and b) the actual carving. I always seem to mess something up or knock something out that is not supposed to be.

We had to share a pumpkin, because Wes' pumpkin was already rotten before we even carved. Needless to say that was disappointing. So, we each took a side, and went to work.

Wes' rotten pumpkin disappointment...


The planning process...


Carving our pumpkins...


Acting our own out, or in my case I should say a very poor attempt. I obviously can't smile out of one side of my mouth, and this just made Wes laugh and laugh, which in turn made me laugh and laugh, well, and you get the picture now I hope...

The end result...
mine

Wes'

Then, Friday we went to our ward's trunk-or-treat Halloween party. We ate some carn bread (yes, I know I spelled carn), chili, and all the goods that accompany a ward party. We even passed out candy to the kids, though I would have preferred trick-o-treating myself. As we were one of the few adults dressed up.

Happy Halloween!!!!!!!!


We then went home, and made a semi- early night, as we had a big day ahead of us. With what you might ask??? Well, the next day was the day we were asked to come and BE ON family feud. So, we needed to get our ridiculously bright outfits ironed and ready for the early morning that awaited us.

Then, Saturday, we taped our game show "Family Feud." It is kind of a long story, so I won't share it all here, I believe it deserves it's own post; but I will leave a picture which basically sums it all up...

Our Team Todd picture after our taping...