Friday, August 29, 2008

Flashback Friday: Friends and Fresno

Jason and I are transplants to the Central Valley. I remember driving down Herndon Avenue in October of 1998, shocked by the billboards advertising homes in the "low 100,000's, " and wondering if this would be the city where I would raise my children.

In Fall 1998, Jason was a 2nd year law-student at McGeorge School of Law and I was teaching 8th grade General Science in Rio Linda. We were headed to Fresno on that brisk October day for a summer clerkship job interview. It was his second interview with a reputable employment and labor law firm. Scary! Jason was so excited and nervous for this interview and I was relieved to have a day off from teaching; a break from my sweet and innocent 8th graders and a morning to enjoy morning sickness without my 8th graders watching. Little did I know on that Fall morning in October 1998, Fresno would become my new home and that the truest of friends would be found.

We moved to Fresno in June 1999 for the summer and then officially packed up our little townhouse on Wexford Circle in Citrus Heights in August 2000. (Actually, Jason did. I was still in Provo finishing a graduate course.) There were many tears shed upon my move to Fresno. I was lonely and now a stay-at-home mom. No more 8th graders to tend! I relied on the Lord to help me overcome my struggles and I prayed that I would find friends. Eight years later, we're still in Fresno and I am fortunate to be encircled by true, genuine friends. Here are just a few of them.

Gwen Hawkins: Always has a smile on her face and something new to share. We met in 2002 and I happily remember the weekly scrapbook nights at her house. We can go weeks without talking, but then we pick up right where we left off. I love her.

Barbara Godfrey: The off-color humor. Her obsession with the word "naked." Her willingness to take my kids so I can run marathons. I love how Barbara doesn't ask how she can help -- she just does. I consider her family. I also hold her responsible for my running addiction.

Sue Ashcraft: I love, love Sue. She's my 5 am workout companion. My bobsie twin. She's my shoulder to cry on. I love to giggle with her. My hair looks good because of her amazing talents. I couldn't live without her in my life. She's my sister.
Nicole Madsen: The talented and beautiful Nicole. Always an honor to accompany her when she sings. She is wise. She'll tell you how it is. I admire her for her strength. My birthday buddy. I hold her responsible for my blogging addiction. I love her.
Wish I had a picture of these women to post:
Alice Barberich: An awesome cook. Shares her wisdom and cries with me. Laughs with me, too. Honest. Hard-working. Helps you become a better person.
Kelly Wood: I met Kelly in January 2002. We've been through a lot together. She's beautiful. She'll be the first to help you. She reaches out to other people. Has an awesome body. Grew up in Oregon, too. What's not to love?
Michelle Palmer: I met Michelle in early 2002. She has always been someone I can easily talk to --about anything. I love Michelle's laugh. I love Michelle's desire to help others. I love how she's laid-back and mellow. She rocks.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"You're It!"

Tagged by my dear friend, Nicole.

4 random things I like about my husband:

His deep-set, intense hazel eyes
His obsession for BYU football
His ignorance to our credit card statements
His love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ

4 movies that I would watch more than once:

Dumb n Dumber
The Amazing Human Machine (the nerdy science side of me)
Watcher In The Woods (an old, scary Disney movie)

4 people who e-mail me regularly:

My mom
Travel Zoo

4 favorite foods:

M&M McFlurries
Orange chicken served with brown rice
Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

4 things that I am looking forward to in the coming year:

Visiting my sister, Jessica, and meeting her newborn, Jack
A Girl's Weekend with Sue and other friends to see Wicked
Learning to swim "the right way"
The smiles of my children on Christmas morning

4 people that I have tagged:


Monday, August 25, 2008

Hooray For The First Day!

Hooray for Olivia, Chandler, and Davis! They're off to school for another year of academics, sports, friends, and good times. We love Dry Creek Elementary! Go Panthers!

Olivia with her good friend, Natalie Malan. They aren't in the same class this year. Bummer!

Olivia is in a combo 4/5 class. She is a 4th grader in Mr. Dose's class.

Oh how we love Mrs. G! This is Chandler's second year with Mrs. Garabedian. Mrs. G taught Olivia for 2nd grade, then was moved to 1st grade and taught Chandler, and now is back to 2nd grade with Chandler again. We are so blessed to have her experience and love for children -- three years in a row!

Chandler survived his first day! What's up with the backpack on the front? It's not a chestpack!

Smiley Davey! He is in Mrs. Mayberry's kindergarten class. Olivia had Mrs. Mayberry for 1st grade and we love her! She is very patient and kind. Davis was excited to see his buddy, Logan Palmer, in his class.

Climbing the Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom tree.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our Family Grew By 4 Feet

We adopted this cute, little Terrier mix from PetSmart. A few days ago I took the kids to the pet store to look at the puppies in the PetsHotel; not sure what I was thinking! We returned today during Pet Adoption and fell in love with Scruffy, a two-year old male rescued from the SPCA. Jason thinks he looks like the famous dog, Benji. Driving home the kids thought of new names for Scruffy and Jason kept his fingers crossed that this new addition would like the reigning King of the Parkin Backyard. The kids narrowed the names to "Skeeter" and "Skittles" but quickly decided that Nikkie would be a perfect fit. Willie and Nikkie are now buddies and all is well in the Parkin Backyard.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Flashback Friday: 1st day of School 2006

It's hard to believe that school starts this Monday! I was browsing through some photos and saw this one taken in August 2006 on the first day of school. A few months shy of three years, Davis was a Guppie at the Learning Tree Pre-School and wished he could go to Olivia and Chandler's school. Big 5-year-old Chandler was about to learn "everything he would ever need to know" as a Dry Creek Kindergartener. And seven-year old Olivia was a 2nd grader in Mrs. Garabedian's class and excited for the new year. This Monday Davis will embark on his journey to learn "everything he would ever need to know," although he'll be the first to tell you that he already knows it all! I'm excited for the kids to start the new year but I'm not looking forward to my baby starting elementary school. Bring on the Kleenex!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Last night I had a nightmare about work. For about 20 minutes this morning I debated whether I should take a "mental health day" or suck it up and go. In the end, I dragged myself out of bed and off to work I went. As I was driving on HWY 168 I saw papers and other debris flying around and a man chasing after pink invoices. My heart sank for this stranger. I even thought about pulling over to help him gather his paperwork because it was blowing every which way and I'm sure they were important invoices. At that moment my mental vision focussed and I thought, "You know, I could be chasing down papers on a busy freeway. Go to work and be happy." I thought about this man all morning and I told myself that no matter how disappointing I may think things are at work, at least my paperwork isn't blowing to Eygpt. It's all about perspective.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Baby Jack

Congratulations to my sis, Jessica, and her husband, Wade, on the birth of their son, Jack Ian Ardern. Jessica and her beautiful family live in Logan, Utah, and I can't wait to visit her. I miss her so much.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Flashback Friday: The Binkie

The hot-topic at work today was pacifiers, binkies, nukkies, or whatever name you prefer, and how to get a baby to take one. Davis was my only baby that would suck one and some days I wish I could still pop it in his mouth!

Chandler (4), Davis (2), Olivia (6)

Jason's 32nd birthday, February 2005. Love Davey's smile behind the binker and the drool on the shirt! Like father, like son!

May 2005. Yosemite Valley. Looks like Chandler is puckering up, too.

Lake Arrowhead, June 2005. Calling on the power of the binky to free Davey's head.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fun At Work

I could not survive my job without my good friend, Marty Martucci. Don't get me wrong -- I love my job. I love teaching, I love my students, and I love the teachers. However, there has been a lot of unhappiness and discouragement this year and some days I just want to give-up. Marty keeps it real and keeps it alive. Here are just a few reasons why I love Marty.

1. Fart machines strategically placed on campus. Even I was the "butt" of this joke. I now own a fart machine and it's a huge hit with my boys.

2. An Annoy-A-Tron hidden in a picture frame on his desk. It's a device that sets off beeps throughout the day. Check out to purchase yours.

3. T-shirts worn to staff development. These include: "I'm only pretending to listen" or "May be lying" as well as "It rubs the lotion or it gets the hose."

4. I-phone pictures. He loves to take pictures of our Admin doing "Not-So-Admin-Things." These are top-secret pictures and I giggle everytime I see them. The picture above was taken today while we were in a staff mtg. We sat in the back with Wendy and took pictures. It was such a boring meeting. Marty even took pictures of the people in front of us -- well, the butts of the people in front of us. Again, top-secret pictures! This is a picture of Demitri, our Educational Director, texting during a staff mtg. Look at the sleeping teachers in the background.

5. The toesie socks. I have never met a man that wears toe socks proudly. As a gift for Valentines Day, Marty bought me two pairs.

6. He sneaks out to buy me pretzels, Diet Cokes, lemondrops, Quiznos -- 'cuz I check his files.

7. Stories from his amazing life as a funeral home director or sailor in the NAVY (He reminds us at school that N.A.V.Y. is an acronym for "Never Again Volunteer Yourself.")

8. Dressing up as a CrescentView Super Hero for Halloween. He even wore revealing tights and cape!

9. Notes that randomly print from my desk printer to cheer me up. His computer is linked to my printer and just when it's super quiet at my desk, my psycho printer turns on!

10. He still smiles even though he has been moved to a new campus. Marty the Martyr.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Davis and His Quest to See Batman

Davis and I had the cutest conversation while he was in Utah. Although this picture was taken about two years ago, I pictured this devious look as we chatted.

Davis: "Mom, when I come home can we eat some popcorn?"

Me: "Sure!"

Davis: "Can we eat popcorn at the movie theater?"

Me: "Perhaps. Is there a particular movie you want to see?"

Davis: "Yes, Batman."

Me: "Oh, Davey, Batman is a very scary movie."

Davis: "That's o.k., Mom. You can stay home."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Things You May Not Know About Me

My family calls me Becky.
I love to sing karaoke.

I'm a nerdy science teacher at a charter high school.
I once sang Pat Benetar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" in front of 500 people. Sober.
I love to giggle and be goofy with Vegas Sue.

I detest jalapenos.
I majored in Biology Composite Teaching, B.Y.U.
I minored in Music and play the piano.

My hometown is Beaverton, Oregon. I was born in Portland.
I couldn't live without M & M McFlurries.
Jason and I took wedding pictures on our first date.
I love buttercream frosting.
I love "fuzzies" and have destroyed countless blankets pulling them out.
I've traveled to England, Ireland, France, and Mexico.

I love to lay out and tan.
I love James Patterson books.
I will not eat walnuts.
I prefer brown rice over white rice.
I love to mow the grass.
I love flowers.
My favorite color is aqua blue.
Most of my clothes are black.
I prefer to be barefoot. ('Cuz you don't get blisters)

I love Asics running shoes and recently spent 180 bucks on a pair.
Chandler is my maiden name and the name of my second child.
My brother, Mike, calls me "Gugz."
I'm an exercise freak.

I love rainy days. They remind me of home. No umbrella needed!
I have never learned how to dive.
Jason calls me a "Walking Diet Encyclopedia."
I'm secretly in love with Rob Thomas.
I'm undiagnosed A.D.D.
I love Pink-Lady apples.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Quick Visit with Kari

At the last minute we decided to drive to St. George, Utah, to meet Shawn, Vonnie, and the kids. It was easier for Jason's dad to drive straight home from Panguitch and Shawn and Vonnie wanted to attend a session at the St. George Temple. My good friend, Kari Kamnikar Snow, lives in St. George, and as luck would have it, she was home with her beautiful family. We were roommates at B.Y.U. and have stayed in touch since we graduated. Every few years Kari, Natalee Nielsen Mueller, and I meet up for a Girl's Weekend. From weddings to trips to San Diego and Mexico, we're always ready to go and re-connect. In February of this year we took a 3 night cruise to Baja, Mexico. We had fun talking, eating, ordering room service, laying out, talking, giggling, and just picking up where we left off five years ago. I miss these girls! Natalee and I met in first grade and it's hard to believe we've been friends for almost 30 years! Kari and I met in 1992 and I love her dearly. (She didn't want a picture taken today so I've included some fun photos from our cruise. She and I are alot alike -- absolutely no pictures when the hair isn't done!).

Rebecca, Kari, and Natalee. Somewhere in the Pacific.

Kari and me. February 2008

Kari, me, and Natalee waiting for the Vegas-style show on
the cruise. We played bingo while we waited -- of course, we lost,
but the money spent was well worth the giggles.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Viva Las Vegas: 08-08-08

Jason and I are headed to Vegas on this lucky day: 08-08-08. Tomorrow morning we'll drive to Mesquite to meet Dave and Carol and the kids. We've had a fun week but we miss our Angel and her brothers terribly. We saw the same movie twice, ate dinner at Yosemite Ranch and Baja Fresh, finished painting Olivia's room, attended the Temple, took a Sunday drive through the foothills, spent lots of money on home decor, and had some long talks. One more night without kids and it's in Vegas on the luckiest day of the year -- Viva Las Vegas!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Two Grandmas -- Not Enough Time

Carol, Olivia, and Ann

Carol and Ann with grandfishes! Swimming at the Tanglewood Pool.

Olivia, Chandler, and Davis had an unexpected visit today from Grandma Ann. My mom, Ann, is helping Jessica with her newborn, Jack, in Utah. It just so happened that Ann was visiting her sister, Jean, in Layton when the kids were at Dave and Carol's house. Jean lives only a few houses down from the Parkins. How fun for the kids to see both grandmothers together!

Sadly, I never met my Grandma Elizabeth Simmons who died 3 months before I was born. My Grandma Mary Chandler lived in Gridley, California and visited often. She passed away almost 20 years ago. I hope my children know how blessed they are to know both of their grandmothers.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday's Missionary Moment

Today my good friend, Tim Bezzerides, asked me how he can receive help with his family history. He casually walked over to my desk, sat in the student chair, and said, "Hey, your church is big on ancestors, right?" I told him about the church website and family history centers. I taught him that family history is an integral part of the Mormon religion. Tim said he felt inspired to research his family line and wanted help from the L.D.S. church. I told him that I would go with him to a family history center and we tentatively set a date for this week. He wanted to know what to bring. We talked about pedigree charts, books, my mom and her quest to commune with the dead, and President Ezra Taft Benson (Tim says he's related to President Benson somehow). Wow! What an amazing missionary moment! I felt the spirit at my desk today.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Chandler and Olivia are reunited after 2 weeks of missing
each other! Look at their smiles! Makes me want to cry!

Carol, Davis, Jason, Olivia, and Chandler.

Grandpa and Grandma Parkin. Still smiling!

Jason left with the boys on August 1, 2008, and drove to Stateline, Nevada, to meet his parents and Olivia. The boys are spending the week in Utah with Dave and Carol, Olivia, and some cousins. They missed Olivia and couldn't wait to see her. Want to know the true reason for their big, gorgeous smiles? They are excited to be free of mom and dad for one week! Freedom!