Saturday, February 24, 2018


To be done or not to be done???  We have been trying to sort this out.  I would love to help in some capacity, but the county hasn't gotten their plan together.  About a year and a half ago, they asked for temporary foster parents to be there on a short term basis while they figured out where best to place them.  We said, "YES!" and then nothing happened.  We kept checking in but the county had to put resources in another area and this went to the backburner.  Then, in September, they announced that if you didn't take a placement by the end of the year, your license would expire.  Life was busy, we had travels planned and they kept calling for newborns and sibling sets, which were not appealing.  There were a couple that I called back for and said we would take, but it was only temporary due to our travels and they decided to place somewhere else.  I do get that they don't want to move children all over the place, but it was getting down to the wire for us.  There were several other families in Livermore in the same boat and they didn't take placements for very good reasons, so it was frustrating to all of us.  Well, all the calls had stopped for a couple of weeks, so we left it in God's hands.  I put in a prayer request to my bible study and that afternoon, I got a call for a newborn.  I knew we had to jump or be done, so we went for it, knowing we were heading to Washington in a couple weeks and this would be short-term.  One of the families here had been stockpiling stuff for a few months with plans to take a newborn, but she ended up with a 2 year old, so she gave me everything, bottles, formula, diapers!  Another woman who fosters babies had two of a lot of stuff, so she also hooked us up with the car seat/stroller, clothes and a moving bassinet.  The next day, I made the trek to Highland Hospital in Oakland to pick up a 3 day old baby!  I  had to go through the ER to get to the nursery and that was quite an experience....kind of like a scene from a t.v. show. 
The nights were long and he was pretty fussy, but he slept a lot during the day and I was able to be productive.  But, I was so tired!  Finally, the weekend came and Ryan started helping at night and what a difference that made :o). 
I was doing the leg work to find the next place for the baby to go and there were a lot of options, but the best seemed to be a single mom in Livermore who happens to attend our church and wanted to adopt again and also was in need of a placement by the end of the year, so I called her to see if she would be interested and she came over to meet him.  She was on board to take him during our vacation and long-term.  The social worker came the following week and was not very appreciative that I had solved her problem.  Also told me I should have never taken the placement if I didn't want to adopt.  Her judgement went on and on and she was very, very rude, but God had a plan I do believe this was it!  The new foster mom needed that extra time that we had him to get things in order.  The social worker made the process very stressful for us, but in the end, the plan worked and he seems to be on the fast track to be adopted (we both adopted around the same time the first time, but her process was finished in 5 months and ours was over 5 1/2 years, so we were at the most opposite ends of the spectrum and we got a good laugh about that, but it is looking like it might happen this way again for her which is unheard of!!!  But, good for her!). 
The new foster mom had a trip planned in January and asked if we would take him for the long weekend (she has a 3 1/2 year old and traveling with a newborn just wasn't in the cards).  We have had him a few times since and it has been great to be able to support her and give her a breather (I have no idea how she does it night after night!).  And, it is awesome for us to be able to see him grow and the kids LOVE him.  He is smiling now and much more alert and even Reggie is a fan.  I usually have to ask him to take the baby for a few minutes, but he is willing and learning how it all works.  Not sure what is next but we are trusting God and hoping it becomes clear when the time is right. 
Here's a picture, although it isn't very good because we can't show his face due to privacy.  Funny story though, I thought he was a white baby until I changed him at the hospital and noticed his balls were black.  I was confused and asked the nurse if they knew his nationality and she said he was african american.  I guess they start out light and get darker (he is very dark now).

The cat was not a fan and our house was in disarray!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

End of an era

Ainsley was on a role in the fall with gymnastics and made level 8!  She competed in her intrasquad meet in December and did really well.  Unfortunately, her body failed shortly after (back and wrists) and she's been trying to recover since.  She has been going 1/2 time since January and was feeling great, so she started doing many of the skills she hasn't been doing and her wrists flared up after the first practice and acupuncture hasn't helped this time.  So, the time has come to move on and her last day will be next Saturday.  She is really, really sad.  It is hard for her to not be able to do what she really loves and be with her best friends.  I'm sure we will have a transition :(.  
Ainsley is, however, excited to play volleyball for her school in March and we are trying the Omni Fight Club kid class and trampoline this weekend.  There's lots of options out there and we're hoping she can find something she loves as much as gymnastics.
Sorry you can't hear the music....
She corrected a mistake on bars and actually changed her routine after this meet and it is now much more consistent, but she won't get to compete it...too bad you can't pick and choose your events!

I can't seem to get her beam to upload (which is a real bummer because it was a beautiful routine).  The file is too big, so I will see if I can compress it somehow.

The life lessons this sport has taught her has been priceless....from how  to deal with difficult coaches, to overcoming fear, to working through the pressures of competing to dealing with disappointment when things didn't go well to trusting God's plan when we moved gym's and dealing with the frustrations of a failing body and not being able to do what you love.  She has come away a more mature, better individual with a faith in God that I hope will stick with her always.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


After our trip to Las Vegas last year, it was clear that Reggie was a pretty good volleyball player and I told him we were going to give it a try.  He was very reluctant to try something new, as usual!  He has told us over and over that he doesn't like team sports, but he hasn't tried one since baseball when he was 8, so it was time to give it a go.  He came home the first day and was really angry that he had to do it, but the 2nd day he said it was pretty fun.  He is definitely not the most comfortable kid out there (which is unfortunate because if he were playing against his family, he would kill it!), but he's made a ton of progress since the beginning....he was moving out of the way of the ball and letting his teammates get it at practice.  I have to admit that I bribed him...$1 for every hit.  He is trying to earn a computer and we've been really impressed with all the things he has done and now we know how capable he is (he even folded the laundry!).  Back on topic, he likely won't ever play again on a volleyball team and I'm so glad he had this experience.  He was definitely out of his comfort zone, but that's life and better to get some coping skills now and it couldn't have been a nicer, more supportive bunch of boys on his team.  Very impressed at the teamwork and kindness of these 8th grade boys!!!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Maui and mom

Over the summer mom was having issues with what she thought was a sinus problem but after lots of tests and MRIs they found a brain tumor :(. They scheduled surgery for right after Thanksgiving and because of all the testing they were unable to come for their regular fall trip.
My sister suggested that we crash there Maui trip on mom and dad’s expense and surprisingly they were up for that!!! This discussion happened in early October and their trip was scheduled for mid November through Thanksgiving, so we quickly had to find airfare and a place to stay. It all came together and off we went!!!
Shortly after we arrived mom and dad made an announcement that she wasn’t having her surgery because it was too risky. We were all silent but then they told us that wasn’t true and Mom’s symptoms had gone away so she really wasn’t having the surgery! How rude...not the best joke!  But, what a relief for all of us (aunt Sue and uncle Rich were there too). Unfortunately, a few days later her symptoms came back. They still did not think surgery was a good idea based on what was happening and recommended an MRI to check to see if it had grown.
Even with all the ups and downs, we still managed to enjoy Maui! We headed over to Lahaina one day for lunch and enjoyed the waves at Fleming beach. 

We also spent lots of time at little beach (clothing optional-this was a little bit uncomfortable for the Rinehardt’s, but I think after playing in the waves the kids hardly noticed). 

Reggie Bodysurfing
Grandma was the bird whisperer and the kids were trying to feed them like she was:

We snorkeled with the turtles at secret beach which was wonderfully amazing (the new masks are so much better!) and hiked into the Haleakala crater. I don’t think the kids were really impressed with the view until we actually hiked in a good 1/2 hour. 

The kids enjoyed all the amenities at the Maui sunset.... tennis, shuffleboard and the the pool. We found a great dinner happy hour place and enjoyed celebrating Reggie‘s birthday dinner a little early! 

And lastly, we went to a luau. We had never been so it was good to experience but I’m not sure that I would do it again.

 The weather was just about perfect. Very different than when Ryan and I go in March though. The sun was a lot weaker and it was quite a bit cooler. I’m very glad that I bought a jacket at Costco when we arrived (there were many people eyeing it at the luau because it got very chilly there!). It was a wonderful family trip and we all have lots of great memories. Thank you again mom and dad!!!  Wade made a video that was's the link:
I had planned to fly to Washington to be there for my moms surgery and since that’s where my ticket had me going, I had to go!!! The rest of the family headed back to California and Grandma Peggy came the next day and spent the week with them! That was helpful for Ryan since he had to work. And I came home with all kinds of little surprises that Peggy had done in her boredom (like washing the windows) while the kids were at school, thank you for that!
In Washington, we had cookie day with aunt Pam and made several different varieties of cookies (molasses and shortbread are my favorite) and I made some toffee which turned out fabulous!  Just what we needed after stuffing our faces in Maui.  Later we enjoyed a wonderful turkey dinner prepared by Wade!  The rest of my time there was very relaxing, mom and dad hosted the Seahawks game and we had game night with mom and dad’s friends. It was a really nice, slow paced time for me ☺️.

 Mom had her MRI and the tumor stayed stable so they are just going to continue to monitor and check every few months, praise the Lord! 

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Elsa continues to make our lives interesting.  I heard a ruckus in the middle of the night, but didn't want to get up and deal with it (Ryan was traveling), so I told the kids in the morning to be on the lookout for a critter.  I took the kids to school and this was my welcome back:

Elsa was sitting in the kitchen, looking up and when I followed her eyes, boom!  I thought I'd just get a towel and throw it on top of the rat, but I underestimated its speed.  Elsa had no sense of urgency whatsoever as it was running to the other side of the house.  I knew we had traps, so I YouTubed how to set it.  Just about that time, Laura came over to walk and I was telling her of the dilemma and as I was setting the trap it scurried out from behind the armoire and there was nothing but shrieking from Laura.  It did give me an idea though...see my success below.  Probably should be on YouTube as a way to get rid of a rat!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fall activities

We had such a mild fall in Livermore which allows us to enjoy lots of outdoor activities.  We went popcorn picking at Ardenwood farms and got a nice stock pile.  I've decided microwavable popcorn isn't so healthy, so we have been blowing through our ears of corn pretty quickly, but I do think we got enough to last us for quite some time.  Our family is big on eating popcorn!
Ainsley's best bud, Makayla joined us.  We were sure sweaty by the end!
I also enjoyed lots of hikes with friends at the backside of Lake Del Valle.  It is such a peaceful place.

We also joined the Livermore rocks movement and painted/decorated rocks and placed them downtown.  Hopefully, we brightened someone's day.  These rocks were unique because they traveled all the way from Lummi Island in Washington.  I think we will make it an annual thing.  It was a very fun activity and didn't require much effort.

Ryan and I had a date afternoon, wine tasting!  There is a wine trolley that drives all over Livermore and we decided it was time to see what that was all about.  We packed a lunch and rode our bikes downtown to catch the trolley and tasted at 3 wineries.  We split the tastings at 2 wineries, thank goodness because by the last one, I was having a really hard time functioning properly.  Wine is very strong!  They were all delicious, especially the last place we went, ha ha!  It was quite a comical ride home for me, laughing all the way.  Not sure if its legal to drink and bike, but I'm pretty sure I would have gotten a ticket.  We made it home safe and sound!

 I just so happened to find someone else's rock that day :)

This was the first Halloween that Reggie did not trick-or-treat with us.  He went with his friends, but at least he was in our neighborhood.  We got stopped by a police officer who was handing out full size candy great was that!  And we saw our favorite pig :)

 Khalif blends right in the with the decorations at this house!
Ryan flew to Asia the next day and Grandma Pam flew in!  Reggie had a field trip that day that I was chaperoning, so I couldn't even pick up Aunt Pam from the airport (that goodness she has a friend who lives close to us).  Reggie's field trip was really neat....we learned about refugees and experienced just a tad of what they deal with.
Of course, his field trip was long, so she got thrown into our crazy schedule and had to take Ainsley and Khalif to piano.  It is a good thing she had Siri and maps and was able to navigate.  It is really hard to make the schedule work with one person, so thankfully, she was able to come visit and help out!
This was the next morning....Ryan's tire had been losing air and he just kept putting air in it...I happened to look at it after picking up one of the kids from piano and saw the nail :(.  I drove it anyway since the repair place was only about 1 mile away.  Usually things go terribly wrong when he travels and I was worried this was the start of a crazy week, but that was it!

Playing Taboo of their new favorite games.

We kept busy while the kids were at school, going to the gym, delivering food for meals on wheels and having lunch!  Aunt Pam went all out at Sauced.  This is the biggest sweet potato I've ever seen!
 So full

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Level 8?

Ainsley was a bit behind after the summer because she had a lot of fear.  Ryan gave her a pep talk and let her know awhile ago that she only had a month and a half to learn her new skills.  She came home in tears that night, freaking out that she was running out of time.  I told her, forget 8, let's do level 7 again and have fun, no stress and let it go.  She was much better and somehow after that, she decided she was going to get her skills and it has been amazing to see her overcome her fear and see what she can do when she really wants to.  She is supposed to find out on Friday if she moves up, but you can see from the videos below, that she has her skills.  I am happy for her, but she has lots of aches and pains that we are constantly working to overcome.  Part of me was wanting her to do 7 again (the vault is a little scary to watch) or try something else like trampoline or volleyball, but she lights up when she is at the gym and loves her friends so much. 
I bought a rife machine, so I have been treating her much like the acupuncturist and it has been amazing!  Her Achilles have been bothering her at times, her wrists, her back, ugh, but the frequency treatment is really effective for her.  We have been using CBD ointment (medical marijuana) and that is pretty amazing stuff.  I also bought a cupping set and have been using that on the whole family.  Surprisingly, Reggie's back is always the worst.  He feels just fine though!  The chiropractor seems to have fixed his headaches because it has been several weeks without having one, so thank the Lord for that!

Floor-layout full

I don't have a recent video of this, but she is up on high beam, making these almost every time.

Sleep :(

It seems that when I turned 41, my body started falling apart.  Started with my groin, that was irritated for 6 months on the right side and then finally went away, only to show up on the left side a week later.  My left shoulder has also been freezing up and causing pain, but, my upper back has been the most life interrupting.  It started in early June and was intermittent at first, but now I can't sleep through the night.  It has been months since I have had a good night of sleep :(.  Starts at about 3:30 a.m. and every time I move, it feels like my upper back is going to break.  So, I have been getting up and sleeping in the recliner couch for about a month and it has helped a lot.  I've been doing chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and physical therapy and now instead of sharp shooting zingers, it is a deep ache, so I guess that is some improvement.  The foam roller has been the biggest difference maker and I'm now realizing that stretching after exercising includes your upper body!  I'm hearing the same things from everyone, that I'm very tight and need to stretch and stretch some more.  I need to do yoga, but it isn't something I enjoy, but I will have to start doing it on a regular basis or I might be in pain forever.  Here's a few picture of my therapy (torture)...clearly there are issues!
 This hurt sooooo bad
 I didn't even think I was bruised after this treatment, but no such luck

Monday, October 30, 2017

Firsts for Khalif

Khalif had his first swim meet this weekend and it was perfect weather!  Mid 80's!  Unfortunately, he learned a very important lesson....check your goggles before you dive.  I guess he forgot to suction them to his face and they slipped right off his eyes and it made for a very rough swim.  He was a bit rattled, started with the wrong stroke, but pulled it together and finished.  He was very upset, but we were very proud that despite the curve ball thrown at him, he finished! 
Video of his race: 
The night before the swim meet was multicultural night and there were all kinds of booths and new foods to try and we agreed that the shortbread was best, but the Chupati (sp?) from Kenya was a close second.  There was a booth from Norway, but no treats, just cool sweaters.  Khalif's grade did a song in Spanish...doesn't he look excited and comfortable having the spotlight on him??!!
Ainsley was at practice and Reggie was with his friends, so Khalif got all the attention!  

Multicultural night was part of UN week and since we are an IB school, they have a lot of awareness around that week.  The kids played games from other countries and cultures, had guest speakers from other parts of the world and did Kids Against Hunger again and put together thousands of meals to be sent to Puerto Rico!  2nd grade is the first opportunity to actually pack the food and I just happened to be volunteering when Khalif's class went through!
 Isn't his toothless smile just the cutest!!!