Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jury Duty

Instead of taking a vacation this summer I got chosen for jury duty. I think I learned more in the past 6 days than I did in my summer school class for graduate school! All kidding aside, I truly learned so much about so many things. Since the case is officially over I can now freely talk about it. Basically this case was about drug trafficking, specifically meth. There were 4 defendants and two are not US citizens, they are from Mexico. The one with the most serious charges has been deported twice, has previous felonies, has served jail time on other offenses and today we found him guilty on 3 of the 4 charges against him. He will more than likely have a long jail sentence for these crimes. Already he has been in prison since last August. He is just a few days younger than me. For some reason that hit home with me. He has a wife and children. His children have more than likely been exposed to drugs being present in the house as well as weapons and ammunition just sitting around. Literally, a bag with 1,000 rounds of ammunition was found on the dining room floor during the search warrant. It is so disturbing. The other three men were the drivers in the drug bust. I learned how drug traffickers work, their methods and roles they play and how a deal goes down. I also learned about "cutting meth" and actually held a one pound bag of meth (it was in an evidence bag). Wow, that sure was something I never thought I would know so much about. Hopefully this will be information I will never need to know again for anything in my life. I really feel sorry for the poor security guard who was just going to work. It seems he arrived for work and parked right next to the car with the drugs just as the whole drug bust went down. Poor guy. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wonder if they let him go home for the day to recover from the shock?? Probably not. This was not a very good area of town. Anyway, that was it in a nutshell. When the jury walked in to render our verdict my heart started pounding so hard I thought it would burst right out of my chest. Then my hands began to sweat. I did not doubt that we came to the right conclusion, it is just such an awesome responsibility when people's lives are put into your hands. Seeing them all lined up to hear our verdict was a very intense moment. I am glad it is over. I am glad I can get back to my summer with my boys. Tomorrow I get to watch Travis at baseball camp. Even though it is three hours long and in the very HOT Arizona sun I will be so happy to be there to watch him grow and learn new things. Going through this experience has made me look at our country in a new light. We are so lucky to live in a country where we have so many rights, including the right to a trial jury of our peers. I always knew the role of having a jury was important in our country, but being a part of a jury just gives you a whole knew perspective on how our democracy works. I will be thinking of so many new things this year as I watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July and I hope you will too. Happy 4th!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

What A Week!

Well, as if we didn't already have enough going on lately I got called for jury duty this week. I was hoping I would call in and be dismissed, or at least go down and spend one day and then be dismissed. As it turns out I got picked. This case happens to be in Superior Court, and it is pretty serious. I am learning a lot about things I never knew about before. In some ways I feel like I will be a much more informed citizen after this. Not only am I learning more and more about the judicial system I am learning about another way of life that exists in our world. I am not allowed to talk about this case, and that is so hard!! I find myself arguing and asking myself questions as I am in the shower (don't worry, Daryle is gone to work by then!) and in the car as I am commuting an average of one to one and a half hours to and from downtown Phoenix every day. Now I have to go three days until we have to return and hopefully then we can begin to talk about it. That is, unless I turn out to be an alternate. Which could happen. If that happens I just might burst! Hopefully they will wrap it up on Tuesday and we can either make our decision on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how much time we have. As I have been sitting in a large, comfy leather chair diligently taking notes my children have been carrying on without me. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS FOR GRANDPARENTS!!! If it wasn't for them I don't know what I would do! So far I have missed 4 days of swim lessons and Connor's first trip to see Sesame Street Live. At least Daryle was able to take a vacation day to help out on that day and ended up being able to take Connor and Travis to that. (It was one of his birthday presents.) I did finish up the summer school course this week and now I only have two more classes to take in the fall. I am SOOO excited!! Graduation can't come soon enough. It was so exciting to fill out my application for graduation. Sorry, no pictures for now. Mommy wasn't home to capture those moments! Yesterday I did hear good news though... Connor used the potty 5 times!! Slowly but surely we are getting there!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Connor!

So far we have had absolutely no problem keeping ourselves busy over our summer break! This week we celebrated Connor's 2nd birthday which also happens to be the exact day we picked him up from the orphanage one year ago. June 15 will always have so many things to celebrate for our family. The crazy part is that he just happened to be born on Father's Day in 2008 and we all went bowling to celebrate. I have tons of pictures and wrote about the whole day here on this blog. It's so neat to have those memories for him as he grows up. Here are some pictures capturing some of the more fun parts of our week.Travis decided he didn't need to do just one puzzle but rather it was way more fun to do as many puzzles as possible in one afternoon! We had fun working on some of them together.Look at this little cantaloupe stealer!! The look on his face says it all. He just LOVES fruit. He kept telling me, "I pick! I pick!" so I just let him put his hands in the whole bowl since I knew he was going to eat it all up anyway.
Another thing I noticed this week is that Connor has somehow figured out how to correctly hold a pen. We didn't show him how to do this, he is a natural I guess! He loves to draw and color, it keeps him busy for a few minutes anyway.
Tuesday was Connor's actual birthday but we had to celebrate on Monday night because I had class on Tuesday night. Nobody even knew the difference. As long as cake and presents are involved nobody is going to dare complain. As you can see there were no shortage of gifts either! We can always count on the grandparents for lots of things to open up.
We did get Connor his own tricycle. All of his bikes have been Travis' hand-me-downs. Of course nobody was complaining. But as I watched him ride around on faded toys my heart broke a little. It was then I knew what we needed to get him for his birthday. He LOVES it and rides it all over the house.
Cake making is not in my future, but it sure tasted yummy!
As you can see he also has a sweet tooth, he LOVES cake too!
Here he is on his actual birthday, he got to enjoy all of his presents for the whole day! He is growing up and changing so fast, I love him dearly! Right now he is at that stage where all he wants is "Mommy" and I am soaking up every minute because I know it will not last forever. He is such a cuddle bug, he loves to give big hugs and wet kisses all day long. He finally will come to me, rest his head on my shoulder and let me hold him for a few minutes at random times during the day. I love it and it lets me know that he feels safe. He is such a joy! Travis got this cool digging kit from Uncle Billy for his birthday and I suggested that we wait to enjoy it for a summer day when there wasn't much going on. So, this week we broke it out. It was so cool and Travis had an awesome time being a scientist!
The glasses, chisel, pick and magnifying glass all came in the kit. In the end there were 5 small spiders and one real spider preserved in a plastic case. It included a string so he can wear it like a necklace. It was a success!
I guess that about sums things up. Today is Father's Day so Daryle is enjoying a day of peace and quiet... well I think that lasted for a few minutes anyway! Oh well, we tried! At least he got his annual breakfast in bed and he really likes that. I am lucky to have such a wonderful father for my kids. I couldn't do it without him! Happy Father's Day!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's All About the Little Guy

Time flies. Boy, does it fly by. And my kids aren't even teenagers yet! I can hardly believe that just one year ago tonight we spent our last night in this house without Connor. Amazing. We were packing bags for a family of 4. We knew Travis would be a good traveler but we were a little apprehensive as to how Connor would do on the trip home. We just were hoping that Connor would be healthy (he was sick two weeks prior, when we were there for court. We only saw him for a very quick minute from behind a glass window.) Thankfully he was completely recovered when we arrived to pick him up. Fast forward one year to now. Connor has grown 6 inches and has gained about 8 pounds. He eats everything, is talking up a storm, is learning how to handle his big brother, and now he is telling me he wants to be potty trained! Yes, he is quite interested in this activity. Travis was over 3 1/2 when he was ready and Connor will be 2 on Tuesday. This is one amazing kiddo. For the past two months he has shown interest, so this week I broke down and bought a little potty chair, pull ups and tiny underwear. I have very low expectations. However, he has gone in it 3 times already! He is averaging one time a day. So far so good. I really think that he just hates diapers and anything to do with them. I also think he idolizes his big brother and wants to be just like him. He has realized that "big boys" use the potty! LOL
Earlier in the week I heard Travis yell, "Mom, get the camera! This is a good picture for you!" (yes, he is a complete HAM!) So, I sort of strolled in and I found these two sitting up on Connor's changing table. It seems I have two monkeys on my hands!
Of course he was right, it was cute. But then I get myself into trouble because they think "Mom thinks this is cute and we can do it again!" So I quick took a couple of pictures and followed it with, "Now, we are NOT going to be doing this again, right??" We will see! (They really did look pretty cute!)
This morning I caught Connor dancing to the Wiggles on TV. Boy does he love any show that has music. He dances around and tries to sing. He is just so cute!
Tonight Connor and I are on our own as Travis and Daddy are at the Diamondbacks game. Since the towels were in the dryer I got out this old towel and Connor looked so cute wearing it. It was a little big but after a few minutes he got used to it.
On Tuesday we will celebrate Connor's Second birthday and the day we picked him up forever. I have been working on a project for the past three months. I will post my final results on Tuesday. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

So THIS is what they are up to while I am gone to summer school!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Family Time

Around our house one of our favorite TV channels is Sprout. Travis used to love the shows (and still does!) and now Connor will watch some of the programs too. (The word "watch" is used loosely. Neither one of my kids sit around with their eyes glued to the TV. Travis is not a big TV or movie kid and Connor is just too busy to watch anything for more than 3 minutes!) Anyway, every evening on the show they do a craft. Well, this craft caught their attention and right away Travis wanted to try it out. The craft was making these animal headbands. They actually turned out pretty cute and were so easy! Lucky for us we had all of the supplies on hand too. It was nice to have a little project that both of the boys could do together. Connor only needed minimal help and Travis did his all on his own.
Today we went to a Diamondbacks game, the whole family! We approached this with low expectations so that we wouldn't be too disappointed. In the end we actually had a pretty good time (but that could depend on who you ask!). However, I don't think Connor will be going back until next season. It is just too exhausting chasing him around the stadium. He got mad at me because...sheesh... I wouldn't let him run down the stairs to random seats or run away from me. By the end of our time there I wouldn't even let him down. Period. What kind of mother am I anyway? We did leave in the 5th inning, plus we were there about 40 minutes early (we HAD to get the free batter helmet give way...duh!). I did get some cute pictures of the boys, so here they are.

In the car, ready for some baseball!

Playing in the toddler area. (We are thankful they let Travis in, since he was the one chasing Connor around in there. I had to guard the doorway so that he didn't run out!)
Here are the boys with Baxter, the mascot.
Sitting in a giant mitt. This one was so quick and random yet turned out to be one of the best of all of the pictures.
I needed proof that I was there too! We took this shot on our way out the door. We are exhausted. On the way home I told Daryle all I wanted for dinner was ice cream. It was delicious and I am sure we burned off every calorie at the game today!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer Fun

We have had a pretty uneventful, mostly relaxing week together. I finally have the boys sleeping until around 7 am.... much better from the 5:30 we were dealing with last weekend! I think all three of us are enjoying being together, I think my boys were in much need of some "Mommy" time and I was in much need of spending some quality time with my boys. It has been a busy few months so it has been nice to have some down time to spend together. I also decided it was time for updated pictures of the kids. Call me crazy, but yes, I decided to take both boys in for a photo shoot this morning. (A HUGE thanks to Grammy for tagging along, this would not have happened if she had not been there to help me out! Thanks Mom! XO) Travis is a regular, he knows the poses and what to do for the camera. It took YEARS to get him to cooperate like this! Now I have to start all over again with Connor. When Travis was 2 we only got one pose because he was crying, kicking, screaming and running away at every turn. At least with Connor I did get a few cute shots, and many crazy shots, so that when I am old and he is graduating from high school or college or getting married I can clearly remember days like this! I try to enjoy them because I am sure one day I will be missing them.Travis' 7 year old pictures. He is growing up too fast, I can't believe he will be in 2nd grade!
We finally got Connor to stay on this block because I put him there, ran fast, and the girl was ready with her camera. Good thing, because the next two pictures after this were of him jumping off of the cube and then running away! I am thinking these studios might want to invest in some playground equipment for the active kids. lol

I LOVE this one, only problem is he looks like a little boy rather than a baby! (sniff, sniff)
This is the cutest one of the boys together. I know there is a chair in the background, but the ones I bought have the chair erased out. That is the good thing about studios, they have lots of magic touches! (If you are wondering why there is a chair there in the first place, well, we were trying anything to get Connor to sit and he really liked those little chairs. Plan failed, as you can see!) Overall this was an exhausting morning, but well worth it to preserve memories of my boys. They just grow up too fast!