Thursday, October 23, 2008

Food and Family

Gotta be my 2 favorite things.

Now, I know we just went to Souplantation last week, but we had 2 very good reasons to go again this week. First off, Mom had 2 coupons for free meals (which comes with a good story.) Mom is on the taste-test panel and for some reason, there was a glitch in the e-mail responses and EVERYONE got all the e-mails sent to Souplantation. Some people were very bitter and angry over the whole thing (some even melodramatic) and Souplantation got some nasty e-mails sent to them. Well, Mom got a kick out of the whole thing and had a great laugh. So, she sent an e-mail to Souplantation telling them just that and they responded saying she had been a ray of sunshine and sent her 2 free meal vouchers! So, it pays to be nice!

And the second reason...
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Cups! They've had these before and they are soooo good! Since they were only bringing them back for a week, we decided we'd better jump at the chance!

Then, afterwards, the family got together and watched Enchanted. What a cute movie!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Date Night

Last night we went on a date to Applebee's and got the new 2 for $20 deal. We shared an appetizer and each got our own entree. Can I just tell you how much I LOVE Applebee's honey bbq wings? Yummy! Then Douglas ordered a steak and I ordered shrimp. It was so good!

Then we finished off the night by going to Wal Mart! We went grocery shopping and had fun in the Halloween aisles.

Look who we spotted - Hillary Clinton!

Then Douglas tried on the John McCain mask. When he went to put it back, he couldn't figure out where to put it so I said to put it next to Hillary because that's where I found it.

So he reached up to put it on this rack. I thought that was funny!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Family Home Evening

Every 3rd Monday, our family gets together with the Busaths for family home evening. We have dinner, play games and LAUGH. We always have a TON of fun. Last night, we had meatball stroganoff and chocolate and pumpkin cakes and then we played Phase 10! We only got through 7 phases before it got late. (I only got through 2 so I came in last place.) What a fun evening!

Mom, Barton, Claudia, Caitlin, Caelum, Josh and Douglas

Isn't Caelum the cutest?

Caelum and Mommy (Caitlin)

Caelum and Daddy (Josh)

Douglas took my hand and rested his head on it. It looks distorted.

Monday, October 20, 2008

California Wildfires 2007

One year ago on a Sunday in October (the 21st to be exact), we went to church and did all the normal things we do on Sundays. There were a couple fires around the county, but nothing out of the ordinary. Since they weren't close to us, we didn't think anything of them. We went to bed thinking the next day would just be a normal Monday. We had NO IDEA what was in store for us in the next week. We were woken up by a phone call at 4am. It was a recording from the Escondido Police Department. I was a little dazed as I answered the phone and all I got from the message was that there were evacuations being ordered in parts of Escondido. Not knowing if that meant us, we decided to turn on the news to see what was going on. Literally overnight, practically the whole county (and several other counties) had caught on fire. The ward set to work calling people to see if they were ok and to inform them of what was going on. At this point, there was no way we could go back to sleep. At 8am, we were informed by Brett (our "landlord") that the police had just knocked on their door and told them to evacuate. Since we are in the backyard, the police couldn't have known about us so we knew that was our cue to leave. We packed up some important items (pets, instruments, important documents, some clothes, etc) and headed out. Only later did we realize that we had left our wedding pictures, my wedding dress and other things we wished we had brought. Since my family had not been evacuated, we drove to their house (a whopping 7 minutes from our house.) We received calls from friends all over the country who were hearing about the fires wanting to know if we were ok. I got many texts from friends around the area (who were going through the same thing we were) wanting to know if we were ok and to give us updates on what they were going through. I originally had the day off Monday, but Tuesday I was scheduled to work. After some investigating, I found out that the Welk (where I worked at the time) had been evacuated and I was not to come in to work the next 2 days, but I would get paid anyway. (We were asked to come to work on Thursday even though it was still evacuated so we could call EVERYONE who had tickets to shows that week and give refunds.) The Welk was not the only company to lose money. Since I am self-employed, I don't get paid for off days and of course students were cancelling right and left and I lost some money, too. At least I had some extra money to get by with. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we basically sat at "home" watching the news and checking the internet for evacuation sites and confirmed houses burned down. Periodically, I would call our house phone to see if it would go to the answering machine and confirm our house was still standing. On Tuesday night, one segment of the news showed a reporter standing in front of a blaze with firemen and helicopters all around. "I'm standing in front of Lake ____ ..." he began. At that point, we honestly did not know if we still had a house or not. The next day we decided to drive around the area to see things firsthand and get a break from the news. We went to the stake center (church building) which was used as an evacuation site and there were cots in every room and TONS of food and necessities. Thank goodness for the church humanitarian services! The church also got the pleasure of housing the National Guard. At one point, the church building was issued an evacuation order but thankfully, that order was lifted soon after. We also drove as close to our house as we could and were able to get a few blocks away. We saw flames coming over the mountain and that was a scary sight! There were people all around trying to get a better view. Some were standing in the middle of the street crying because they knew their house was gone. Everywhere you went, the sky was orange and there was smoke in the air. The smell was awful. In order to breathe well, the best thing to do was to stay inside. It felt like we were living in a nightmare. We didn't know what was going to happen next, whether we would have to be evacuated again, whether we would still have a house, when it would end. I just wanted to wake up and find out it was all a dream. On Thursday I went to work and while I was there, Douglas decided to see if the road to our house was still blocked. He later informed me that we were free to go home. I came home to a house still standing. The air was awful, but the fire was gone. Even though there were several houses in the neighborhood that were gone, most were saved because of the large amounts of water available right there. The Navy helicopters poured water around the area and literally saved our home. I can't imagine the horror of coming home to nothing. Thank goodness we had a happy ending. Slowly but surely, over the next several weeks, the fires became more and more contained and more and more people were allowed to go home. The smell went away, the sky became clearer, the air became cleaner, the ground became greener and life in southern California (for the most part) got back to normal.

This was taken in the fall of 2005 but you get an idea of what the view from our house used to look like.

This is the after picture. When we were allowed home on Thursday, this is what it looked like. The fire came up to the property line, about 20 yards from our front door.

This is our view today. Even though there is no green (there usually is), there is no more black and it is pretty much the same as it used to be.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Proposition 8

Dear friends,

I feel very strongly about this issue and have done a lot of research on both sides. Please know that I am not against gays/lesbians. I know many people who live that lifestyle. What I am against is same-sex MARRIAGE. This has been a struggle for me to post because I don't want to offend anyone. But, I wanted you to know the reason why I am voting YES on Proposition 8. Those against Proposition 8 will argue that it only affects them, that they simply will be given the same rights as traditional marriage (which, by the way, they already have with civil unions.) They say it is UNFAIR to same-sex couples to eliminate the right of marriage. I believe legalizing same-sex marriage will bring severe consequences to those in favor of traditional marriage. Let me explain. We have the right of freedom of religion. Yet, by redefining marriage, schools are forced to teach children that same-sex marriage and traditional marriage are the same thing, thus taking away the parent's right to teach their children religious values and beliefs, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Don't believe me? Massachusetts (the only other state to legalize same-sex marriage) has already done that! In addition, a class of 1st-graders in California was taken to a school-sponsored trip to a gay wedding! And to top it off, parents have no right to oppose. That, to me, is UNFAIR. Not only will schools be affected, but churches as well. Those individuals and churches opposed to same-sex marriage would refuse to perform anything but traditional marriage, which could then result in losing their authority to marry. Already, some clergy have had to retire in order to preserve their precious values. Proposition 8 is not about discrimination, it's about preserving our morals and religious rights. It will not change anything but the Supreme Court's 4-3 ruling in May 2008 to legalize same-sex marriage. Traditional marriage has ALWAYS been the standard. Yet, we are fighting this fight because of ONE extra judge who decided to overturn California voters' decision that only marriage between a man and a woman is legal. PLEASE consider the future for our families if this does not pass.

Visit this website for more information:

Our church's view on the subject:

An awesome blog my friend, Mary created with information on both sides:

Here are some wonderful videos that portray the points I am trying to make:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandpa Gray!

Today we celebrated Grandpa's birthday by going to Souplantation. We had a great time. Happy birthday, Grandpa!

Love you, Grandpa!

3 generations of Grays

Jared is such a goofball. He asked me to take his picture like this

It doesn't get much cuter than a 6-year old eating a cookie

And here's all of us (except Mom who is taking the picture)

Mariachi and Doo Wop!

Last Friday night, Douglas, Mom and I went out to eat at Mi Guadalajara and then to the Welk to watch The Alley Cats. The food was delicious and we were serenaded by a Mariachi band, which wasn't all that bad. They were pretty good. The Alley Cats were exceptional, though. It was the 4th time we had seen them perform. They are a doo wop a capella quartet that sing songs from the 50s and 60s. Apparently, there are around 25 singers total and we have seen 9 of them. This last group was brand new to us. The harmonies weren't quite as tight as I've seen from the other performers, but they were still good. And they're hilarious! Douglas got a kick out of the fact that 3 out of the 4 of them hit on me during the show. But, that's what you get from sitting in the front row center. If you ever get a chance to see them, this is a very entertaining show that I highly recommend.

This is what we were greeted to as we left the house in the evening

Mariachi music!

And Doo Wop!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Miramar Air Show

On Saturday, Oct 4, I went to the Miramar Air Show (on the Miramar military base) with Dad, Jordan and a couple of Jordan's friends. It took almost 2 hours to exit the freeway, wait in line, park, walk to the site and wait in line some more before we FINALLY were able to get in! Jordan ran off with his friends, so Dad and I spent the day together. We had lunch, walked around and looked at planes and watched the air show. If you don't sit in the stadium, it's free so we chose to bring a blanket and sit on the ground behind the stadium. I think it was much more fun that way because we could see the planes on display and get a better view of the show because the planes would fly behind the stadium part of the time and you could just stand up and watch. The weather was crazy. It would be hot and sunny one minute and cold and overcast the next. The difference in temperature must have been around 10 degrees. I left my sweatshirt in the car because it got hot but then it got cold when we left the parking lot. It would have been nice to have when it was cold, but it probably would have driven me crazy to keep having to take it off and put it on again over and over. As you can see from the pictures, sometimes it's pretty blue sky and sometimes it's gray. Luckily, it didn't start raining until after we had left. It was LOUD there. Since the planes are traveling so fast, you get no warning until they are right above you and the noise is piercing. So cool, though! The Blue Angels were the best part of the show. There are 6 planes that do all sorts of cool tricks. After they were done, we left and it took us 45 minutes to walk to our car. Sheesh! So, I was late to a babysitting gig but it turned out to be no big deal. The whole day was so much fun!

One of the first things going on when we arrived. I'm not sure what it was but it was cool

They let me pose in a plane!

Cute little planes

Army helicopter

I just thought this was cool

Random tank

That's one big helicopter

The top flips open!

I thought this looked cool

That thing was ginormous!

There were 2 military personnel chilling on top of the wing waving at passersby

Aren't those cool propellers?

It looks like it's gonna eat us

Underneath a wing

This was typical. While we were walking around, a random plane would fly overhead with pretty much no warning. Everyone would stop to watch and kids would plug their ears

This was a bit scary-looking

And then the Blue Angels

This is a crazy stunt. They fly towards each other and then at the very last second, they both angle away from each other

I don't know how they do it

They started out right next to each other and split up to form this. Much cooler to see on video but I didn't catch it

Flying around in circles

At the end, all 6 of them came together. This was AWESOME!

Jordan did 50 pushups to earn a free t-shirt!

The Blue Angels! Warning: It's loud!
(Notice the wheelies in video 4!)

To my LDS friends:
Wasn't conference awesome? We are so lucky to listen to inspired leaders who teach and guide us. We enjoyed the Saturday morning session before the air show and got to watch all of Sunday. It was great!

I love our prophet

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Yes, I took pictures of the tv

Dad and Jared chilling and watching conference