Friday, May 18, 2012

Life Changing

For being the first post I have done in over a year, this isn't the one it should be. On May 15th around 3:30pm the lives of our family changed. Our home of 7 years was destroyed in a fire. Tiffany had returned home from dropping off the babysitter around 2:30pm and put Callie to sleep in her room upstairs. Tiff and the 3 boys were upstairs in our bedroom watching tv and playing on the iPad.  Tyler smelled the smoke and told Tiff. She walked into the hallway and could see black smoke all downstairs. Tiffany woke Callie from her nap and took her into our room with the other children and called 911. A few moments later, a police officer came into the smoke filled house and led Tiffany and the kids out. Tiffany held one twin and took one of the boys by the hand and the police officer took Riley and the other  boy by the hand and went down the stairs.  Tiffany's purse was on the washing machine in the kitchen where the fire was started. The police officer ran back inside to the burning house to recover her purse. Everybody made it out safely, but the police officer had to go to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation. We are truly thankful for the courage and determination of Officer Pacheco of the Monrovia Police Department. He is an amazing man, who had the courage to enter into a house, unable to see and know the layout of the house, to rescue a family and belongings. I (Cree) was on my way home from work in San Bernardino, about an hour away from home, when I received the call. I tried to make it home as fast as I could, but some california drivers don't know that the right lane is for slow drivers. Once outside and safe, we finally realized the magnitude of the fire and response. 2 cities responded (Monrovia and Arcadia), 8 fire trucks, 6 police cars, 1 motorcycle officer, fire chief, fire battalion, traffic control, 1 ambulance, 2 helicopters, news reporters, fire investigator, insurance adjuster, half the street closed, and numerous spectators. The fire is still undetermined how it started but is narrowed down to the kitchen near the stove. Fire inspector still needs to remove the stove, hood, and electrical outlets in the kitchen to get a better idea of cause. We were able to go into the house after the fire department was sure the fire was out and it was safe to enter.  It is amazing how the fire wasn't what caused the most damage. The smoke and soot from the fire destroyed every inch of our home. Even the smallest nooks and crannies were infiltrated by smoke. A bottle of tylenol, with the lid on in a medicine cabinet upstairs away from the fire, had the smell of smoke on the pills. Linens in a closed closet had signs and discoloration of smoke between the two sets of sheets. Anything that was plastic has melted or is warped. Lamp shades upstairs started to fold in on themselves from the heat. The smell of smoke seeped into the wood of anything it could. Our bed, the children's beds, night stands, book cases, books, shelves, anything it could, was permeated with the smell of smoke. Pictures were melted to the inside part of the glass. Luckily most of our photos were digital and can be replaced. Tiff, Celia, Shauna and Mike Miller, and other family members have been helping sort and clean items nonstop in hopes to save them. Tiffany and crew did 18 loads of laundry the day after the fire at a local laundry mat. Apparently vinegar, although smells horrible and is good for easter eggs, gets the smoke smell out of clothes when put in the washing machine. Pretty cool, just hope we don't have to use this tip again. We are thankful for all of the prayers that have been said for us and the generosity sent our way. We have had many many offers of children's clothes, but we have been able to clean most of theirs. Thank you though. Although we are without a home, we are not homeless. We are staying at the Reeds in Duarte until we are able to get back on our feet. We still have each other and everybody is healthy. We have the love of our family and the gospel to keep our heads up. We will keep you updated with our progress as this all unfolds. Thanks to everybody who has helped, is helping, and will help.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Has it Really....

been almost 5 months since my last post? I have seriously fallen down on my documenting job as a mom! Here are a few pictures to show you that we are still here and we do venture out occasionally.

Here are the kids in front of Methodist Hospital back in January when my grandpa Roy was there for a few days.
This is a typical picture during the month; almost any given month we are in line at a Disneyland ride.
Jensen had his first taste of Grizzly River Rapids at California Adventure. He got to go with his daddy and he loved it. He got a bit wet but that is all part of the fun!
Okay this picture is two of my favorite obsessions! Planning parties and Friends. (The TV show.) Back in March I got to plan a girls weekend with some of the girls from my freshman year at BYU. Three of my friends flew here from Arizona and Utah and the rest of us were already residing here. Needless to say we had a blast! We got to go to Warner Brothers Studios where my dad works and spend the afternoon there and have him take us to all the cool things there. We even got to go to some very off limits places that I had not even been to! The above picture is from the small set/museum/shrine they have of Friends and we got to take pictures and relive some Friends moments. I still watch Friends most nights in reruns and I love it still 7 years after the show ended! I am already looking forward to planning the next girls weekend!
This is me and the three out of town girls just shortly before they had to go back to the airport. We of course had to end at the beach because how can you be in Southern California and not at least get a glimpse of the ocean?!

So now let's try not to let five months go by before I get more posts in. Any bets on how well I do?!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Some Pictures Before Christmas

Here are some pictures that have been sitting in my camera and I wanted to post them before I took Christmas pictures tomorrow.

Just a really cute picture of all 4 kids in the bath.
My friend Jennette and I drove down to San Diego to see our friends Desirae and Mandy both of whom we went to college with. It was really fun and it was so fun to see Mandy who we had not seen for a while and to see where Desirae lived. We hauled our kids down and they all had a blast!
Our Halloween costumes. Riley was the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. My mom helped me make the babies costumes and the older boys wore costumes that my mom had made for my brothers some 20 years ago.
Jensen the jester and Tyler the clown.
Callie was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. She decided not to be very photogenic here.
My mom and Riley in front of the Mickey planter at Disneyland.
My mom and Callie in front of the Mickey planter at Disneyland.
Tyler's 3rd birthday present. A Black and Decker tool table. It is a big hit at our house with all of the kids. They will stand and drill forever.
Tyler chose a birthday cake that was actually called a sea monster in the book but he called it a caterpillar so we went with that. It actually turned out okay.

A random picture of Tyler and Callie. Tyler is so good with both of the babies and they just love him.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mai piu si mangia spaghetti per cena

We thought it would be fitting to have the title of the post in Italian seeing as we had quite a messy dinner of spaghetti tonight. The title translated to english reads: Never again will we eat spaghetti for dinner. Here are some pictures to give you a visual of what dinner time is like with 4 children under 5yrs old.

Even before dinner has started cooking, we had a starving orphan fall on our kitchen floor in protest of not being fed. (notice the kitchen floor, clean....for an hour)
Yes, that is 5, count them, 5 pieces of spaghetti clinging to his face in an attempt to evade the mouth that could possibly consume them.

"You see, they are stuck right here"

Self explained

The 5 hitch hikers didn't make it. Although there seems to be a lone ranger trying to hide in the fold of his elbow.

And here's where the shenanigans start.....

Hit the plate, shovel as much spaghetti in as fast as you can, and pick your plate clean (never mind the floor, table, chair, face, arms, or booster seat though)

"Daggum, lost a few on the floor.....and here's some milk to go with it.

Still shoveling, still picking plate clean

Riley had finished what was on his plate and it looks like he is trying to steal Jensen's plate while Jensen is busy "painting" his face with the sauce he has managed to get everywhere. (even the bottoms of his feet)

As if it doesn't get worse. Once 1 starts hitting HER plate, the others join in

I don't think we have ever had a more peaceful evening of dinner than tonight. Can't you see the relaxation on Tiffs face as the children are being so well mannered?

This is just a glimpse of the floor during dinner

Ok, don't be fooled. We aren't that good to have the mess cleaned up right after dinner. This is another day. Tiff found these mini Popsicles that are just right for little people.

Riley eating a yellow popsi........what in the world? Why is Jensen stealing the picture?

We have found that the twins love love love fruit salad. We have found that Cree hates hates hates having the twins eat fruit salad. (not really. how can you get mad at faces like these?)


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hollywood Bowl, Beach and Birthdays

We have been having fun this summer and there are a lot of pictures to show for it. I have been trying to be better about taking pictures for the things we do, but I realize that keeping track of four kids at these events usually comes first and the picture taking falls by the wayside. But I have managed to get most of the things we do on camera.
My mom and dad and I got to go to the Hollywood Bowl in July to the "Warner Brother's Bugs Bunny at the Symphony" show. It was a great night and so fun to see some of the Warner Brother's cartoons on the big screens and hear the Philharmonic Orchestra play the music along with the cartoons.

I took the kids to the beach a couple of Saturday's ago to meet my mom and dad there for the Young Men/Young Women's Stake beach party. My kids had a blast and the stake kids were so great to play with them and love them. Jensen building a sandcastle (the beginning stages).
Tyler playing soccer on the sand and making one of his usual camera faces.(It really wasn't that sunny yet.)
The babies usual place, the beloved (or dreaded) pack and play. (To me the beloved, to the babies the dreaded). They did love the beach and they did not have to stay in the pack and play for too long, there were plenty of people to take them out and carry them around.
We had cake and ice cream at my mom's house for my dad's birthday and for the twins 1st birthday. They got some fun things and loved their cupcakes. How can a year have gone by already?!

The best picture we could get of the twins together and holding still for a second.
Looking at the candles and wondering what to do. They had help blowing them out but did not need help eating the cupcake part.

On the Thursday of the twins birthday my whole family went to Golf 'n Stuff to go miniature golfing. My boys had never been before and they loved it. They have been asking everyday since when we are going miniature golfing again.
My dad is never in any of my posts as my aunt pointed out the other day so I am trying to get him in here. It was his birthday after all just 2 days before the twins!
My youngest brother Cory and his wife Christina and their 10 week old baby Kailyn (in the Snugli).

The closest Callie and Riley got to golfing for this trip. Maybe next time they can walk around on the course!

So here we are now just a couple of weeks from Jensen's first day of preschool (do I really have to send him? I am just dying thinking about it!) the twins are walking all over, Riley is climbing everything he can, Tyler has become quite the chatterbox and life just continues to get more and more fun!