Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day Away

Yesterday I spent almost all day out, helping a friend by driving her to a very important appointment and taking her home after.

It was far enough away that I didn't want to go home in between, so I managed to get all my errands done in one big swoop.

I 'did' Old Navy, thanks to not one, but two left over gift cards...plus a leftover Visa gift card that had $18.00 on it and basically have a new summer wardrobe.

Which in the end cost me only $38.14. Love that.

I then found a Target. I love Target. Lots.

Next up...the Crystal Cathedral, which I found by accident. It's big. And crystal looking.

And then I found the 'hot donuts now' sign all lit up and well?

Couldn't pass THAT up...made my boys happy when I got home!
I also spent some time just drinking iced tea and reading at a charming little spot. One of my sons is giving me a run for my money....God wants to make sure I am always being tested in the parenting department, so it was nice to have some quiet time away to take some deep breaths. Nobody tells you about this part of parenting when you have that cute little baby...

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Brian is off to summer school already this morning...he is taking band with a bunch of friends and is loving it already. Alex has practice; games start tomorrow (can't wait!), and Matthew is an hour away (and staying the night) at rehearsal.

I am going to conquer the laundry today...so many beach towels on top of everything else, plus run to the bank and pick up some groceries. I can't seem to keep us stocked up with all my big boys and their late night eating. Last night it was grilled cheeses and quesadillas...at midnight.

Yep.

Midnight.

Gotta love summer.

=0)



Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cucumbers Galore

I just read an article in the newspaper (which was thrown on my front porch this morning even though I cancelled it) on the economy...and that more and more people are choosing to stay put in their homes (for now) rather than buying bigger and bigger.

People are even choosing to live in smaller homes.

It went on to say that if you live in a small house, paint helps. Paint your small house a cheerful color and you, too, will be cheerful.

So THAT is the secret to living happily in a small house. Paint!

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My answer to saving money...keep using duct tape on the youngest shrubs shoes.

The cukes have won. I picked a dozen today and a dozen last Thursday. And more than I can count are still growing away.

That's alotta cukes.

Oh, and I have learned that I am the only one who really likes them in my family...guess I should've remembered that before I planted them.
I did find an AMAZING recipe for refrigerator pickles and thanks to my handy dandy mandolin have made 8 quarts of them.

Eight.

That's alotta pickles.

(and that is not including todays haul!)
So, if you come for a visit, expect to go home with a jar of pickles.

Thank you.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Little Supper

The edits are done on the website and I am so thankful to those that have worked so hard on it.

You are a blessing.

=0)

I spent the latter part of the week making a last minute order for 20 of these...the director of a local VBS program ordered them for all the teachers and aides.

And yes, this one is mine...I screwed up the flower.

Thursday evening we had our first official summer (since June 21st!) supper in the backyard with a rather sweet and silly trio of women...
...who somehow talked me well into the evening and after a bit of bubbly, to show them our wedding pictures.

The 80's pictures.
The estrogen, for ONCE in my little house on my little street, outweighed the testosterone....at least until these hungry people crashed our party.

But it's OK...I like them.
And the first part of the evening ended with a little dancing...cuz there is nothing like dancing to Frank Sinatra under the stars.
So thank you ladies....come back soon! Girl power!

=0)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Garden Gone Wild

Cucumbers gone wild.

Tomatoes gone wild.
Zucchini gone wild.
We have had such mild weather so far this summer with temps in the high 70's...and my garden is loving it.

Or maybe it just loves my talking, because I spend an awful lot of time time discussing life's current batch of problems while I am weeding.

=0)

Finished Book 6 of Harry Potter and had every intention of stopping...at least until after I see the movie in a few weeks.

But hello?

I just couldn't, so on to Book 7....which I had forgotten how great it is.

So instead of doing all the things I should be doing, I am reading.

Hellooooo.....summer vacation!

=0)
And just to give you a taste of what makes me happy right now (aside from the fact that my jewelry website is FINALLY almost finished...all that editing takes for.ev.er! Thanks, A!), this is the new ringtone on my cellphone:


Yes.

I am a nerd.

=0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Good Book

I decided to reread the 6th Harry Potter book since the movie is coming out in a few weeks.

And I cannot put it down.

Matthew (and my car) are at an all day far and away rehearsal, Alex is at practice and Brian is at a friends house swimming.

So me 'n 'Arry are shifting between the backyard and my desk.

And that's pretty much my plan for the rest of the afternoon.

=0)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Is Here

I was home alone the other night, so I made some cannoli.

I don't even like cannoli, but I've got a family that does...and I like my family.

=0)

I tried a new recipe and it was OK. Definitely edible, but not a keeper.

School has ended and so did my cell phone. Sadly. I'm moving up in the world and got something a little more fancy schmancy...only because it was free.

But, and this is a big BUT, Brian is now part of the cell phone community.

Yep.

Tackle football AND a cell phone.

Pretty sure we lost our brains somewhere along the way, but whatever.

=0)
Saturday evening was somewhat warm and for the 5th year in a row, M and I were sitting at this same drum and bugle corps show watching Matthew perform.

Never. Say. Never.
A spot opened up and what can you do, except not tell his trumpet teacher because he is marching mellophone....and it's a different somethin' or other.

Mouthpiece?

I dunno, but it's different.

And secretly, OK not so secretly, we are so happy for him. I think this is exactly what he needed to do this summer.

Sunday was church and during his sermon, our Pastor asked us to turn to the person next to us and share our testimony...which absolutely rocked. And I realized, while M shares his faith story quite often with his students and I share my mine quite often with my friends and at my various bible study's...that it is not something we have shared with our boys.

Gulp.

And yes, we talk about Jesus in our home and we pray with our kids daily, but I am not sure I had ever told them my testimony before.

Eye opening.

It made for some great car talk on the way home.

=0)

Lunched at Subway, which was actually quite icky. But that's OK.

Came home, some napped, others watched An American in Paris, and then M pulled out a bottle of special wine...
...and I cooked the ultimate man meal.

It was Father's Day, you know.
We ate outside and then decided on a late movie...The Proposal, so left the boys and, I am embarrassed to say, ate popcorn AFTER eating the man meal.

With butter on it.

Not good.

Not good at all.

=0)

Today was a housecleaning day for me...I love when the floors are shiny, which never lasts long. Matthew is at an all day rehearsal, Alex started basketball (and is SO happy!) and now has friends over...they're going to the pool in a bit, and Brian is somewhere around the 'hood with his tribe of friends. That guy that I like so much worked a chunk of today and has to go back tomorrow, too...not much of a summer for him.

Bummer.

Supper tonight is going to be a simple risotto with whatever veggies I can find and a huge salad on the side. Pretty much my favorite meal...plus, the Bachelorette is on, too.

Gotta love the day after a man meal.

=0)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Two For One

Twenty three years ago, I made a bunch of people who I loved dearly wear this dress....and my cousin actually kept hers all these years.

Which I find just a little bit scary.

Almost scarier than the dress itself, but not quite.

So before I go any further, I just want to say that I am sorry to all of them.

And that it was the 80's.

=0)

(and thanks, Rachel, for modeling it...your mom owes you $5.00 for making you do this!)
Anyway, we met a quarter of a century ago at a party.

And thought we'd never meet again, until a few months later our paths crossed on a football field.

The 40 yard line, front hash mark to be exact.

I was marching my soon to be 3rd year of drum corps and he was the newest instructor. I was sitting and sunning myself and he told me to get up and move.

And I said 'no'.

And he said 'move'.

And I said 'no'.

The skinny bleached blond guy (that I didn't like so much) then said to me, "you are the rudest person I have EVER met" and promptly spun on his heel and walked away.

Which, if you know him in real life, is totally something you can picture him doing, now isn't it?

I went back to sunning myself and my girlfriend who was sitting near me shouted out:

"You are SO going to marry that guy!!"

=0)

Now, twenty three years (and I have only aged 19 years...how cool is that?) and three sons later, we have, quite literally, grown up together. We've weathered many storms and even more rainbows...peaks and valleys, feast and famine.

But through it all, hand in hand, our eyes have been on the One who gave this life to us.

On a silver platter.

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And so, Michael, I am thankful for each morning that I wake up next to you. And I am thankful that our boys have you as their dad.

It's a two-fer for you this year...two for one.

Happy Anniversary.

And Happy Father's Day.

And BTW...I love you. Thank you for being one of the strands of my cord.

If two lie down together, they will keep warm. but how can one keep warm alone? Though one can be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:11-13.








Friday, June 19, 2009

OK

Dear Michele,

This is a letter to remind you that it will all be OK, because sometimes you just need a reminder of that.

It is OK to not like technology. It really is. I am sure I will like my new cell phone soon...I just don't right now, but at least it doesn't shut off every time I receive a text message. But why oh why does it have to have so many new buttons on it?

It is OK to (GASP) be tad bit upset at the cats for knocking over the pitcher full of water and flowers that was on the table last night. It is just a little sad to realize that they might not be perfect, but I will never admit that to that guy that I like so much.

It is OK to lose things, like birth certificates, because sometimes you'll find something just as valuable in the search. Like the missing memory card from our last Italy trip. And it is OK to dream of this spot, around the corner from the La Fenice Opera House in Venice, and hope to go back soon. Very, very soon.


It is OK to have a messy house while there are 5 people living here for the summer. I have always wanted a houseful...and I am thankful for it. I just wish the houseful could figure out how to pick up their stuff. Someday they will have wives who will moan and groan that I didn't teach them to pick up after themselves and I will just smile and bite a hole through my tongue...and then secretly dance about knowing that it is now their problem to deal with.

And it is OK to feel just a little bit of joy over that.

It is also OK to have funky tan lines in June. Not in July, but in June.

It is OK to play funky music in the backyard and to dance around while drinking Sangria and playing badminton. Summer is here.

It is OK to still use the word funky. Because I said it is.

It is OK to drive a really dirty car just because I feel like it. I mean, REALLY dirty. Like off road driving kind of dirty.

It is all OK.

Sincerely,
Michele

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Skating And Dirt

Tuesday after school, Brian (as usual) arrived home with a bunch of friends.

They needed an outing, so I loaded them up and off we went.

And yes, it is 2 days before school is out and they are working on homework in the car. Whatever.

Guess I am not supposed to say that, but whatever.

=0)

Across town we have a skate park...and these boys love their skateboards.
Gear on and getting ready to go.
Crazy...but then again, I have suddenly become old.
They skateboarded for awhile, had a snack and then moved on...
...to football, the current craze.
Today is Wednesday and I have somehow escaped the after school crowd of 5th graders, though Matthew and Alex are both home.

I finished the teacher gift for tomorrow and bought snacks for the pool party.

I worked in my garden. Alone.

=0)
I gave Matthew a mohawk.

Because he asked. And because he is 19.

=0)
What I have not done is clean. Or cook. Or anything else house related, like laundry, and it shows.

So if you come to my house, please do not remove your shoes, cuz you'll stick to the floor. Or ask to use the bathroom, because my 3 sons share the guest bath and I haven't touched it (or mine, for that matter) so far this week. And pretend to not notice that I am wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday. And the day before yesterday.

And if you are hungry, well, we have no food...so bring pizza. We are hungry, too.

=0)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Girls Gone Wild

Once upon a time, there were three women.

Friends.

The kind of friends who are neighbors and have been friends for-ev-er...the bestest kind of friends who hadn't seen each other for awhile because of life and stuff.

Like kids. And school. And work. And birthday parties. And sick parents.

You know, life and stuff.

So via text messages, cuz that is the best way to communicate even if you do live like only 10 feet away from each other, they schedule lunch out.

And via text messages, they keep changing times and drivers (well, one of the girlfriends never offers to drive because the other two are kinda control freaks about it...and it's not the person writing this story) but finally get it worked out.

Lunch.

At Cheesecake Factory.

Soon after being seated, the stories of all the things they are all going through start to flow...as do a few tears.

And then the laughter starts. Real laughter...the kind where your belly hurts from laughing so hard and so long and so loud.

The girlfriends all eat salads, with dressing on the side. Who knows why, but that is just what they do. And not wanting to go home yet, they walk a little ways to burn a couple of calories from all that lettuce.

And find the bestest place ever.

Ever.

The Sweet Shoppe.

The girlfriends continue to laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

With cupcakes in their purses, they buy tickets for the giant ferris wheel and board the car.
As they circle the world way up high they eat cupcakes...coconut for them and vanilla vanilla for the one writing the story, all the while laughing and snorting as the wind blows their hair and rocks their car.
The sun was hiding, but the girlfriends don't care. They were too busy eating. And talking. And (you guessed it!) laughing some more.
And then they came back down to earth and drove home to houses full of kids and laundry and hungry bellies.

But the text messages kept coming...and the best one said:

"So glad that in this stage of my life...life's simple pleasures r the best."

Amen, sister. Amen.

The End.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Saved The Shoes, Mom.

Brian's new, as in one month old, shoes started to fall apart. Mind you, he has another pair of rather new shoes that were for basketball and are ready to wear, but he likes these shoes.

So, I caved and we tried super glue.

Yep, we're the type of family that superglues shoes together....especially when there are only 4 days of school left and the kid'll be in flip flops all summer long.

Anyway, the superglue worked for a day.

And then Alex (who, by the way had a great first time back on the court training session with his pro-baller million dollar trainer and is now feeling so much better about things) offered to help.

I can fix them, Mom.

(and I just keep saying 'wear the other shoes, Brian' but that apparently is not an option because, by golly, people might think we are normal.)

So I let Alex fix them.

And, in the meantime, I don't check to see exactly how he has fixed them. Until after Brian has come home from school.

Lovely. Double lovely.

Introducing the wonders of multi colored duct tape!

=0)



Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Last Couple Of Days

Walking around Cost Plus on Friday night, we not only ran into some really good friends (and sat in comfy chairs and talked for an hour) but we discovered some wines worth photographing.
I actually bought one of these to go in my little man outside...he likes to hold a bottle of wine, and Angry Housewife seemed perfect.
My garden is CRAZY...tomato plants close to 6 feet tall and FULL of flowers. And there continues to be one very hungry rodent, despite my best efforts to keep him out.

I feel like the farmer in Peter Rabbit.

I've picked a half dozen zucchini in the the past few days...here we go again!
My jewelry business will, once again, be getting a makeover...and my blog will, too. Not sure when exactly, but it is being designed now. And not by me. My current website doesn't do certain things that I need it to do or handle the traffic that it is getting, so a bit of a facelift is going to happen.

Who would've thought? Crazy, isn't it?

=0)
Church was quiet today and the message was good. After, we took Karen (one of M's former students...I can say that now because she just graduated!) is interning over the summer, so we took her to lunch. Cuz it's just nice to have a little more estrogen present at our Sunday meals.

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Poor thing was probably hoping for a nice light salad...but a burger the size of her head was a close 2nd.
My neighbor needed fridge space (and can I just say how much I LOVE my new fridge??!!) for a fruit bouquet thingy...and my poor boys kept opening the door just to check it out. We've got huge fruit eaters here and the temptation was almost more than they could handle!
It's now Sunday evening before the last week of school. Both of their last days are Thursday, though Brian will be at his end of the year pool party while Alex is taking finals...but then it. will. be. over.

Tomorrow is an early gym morning for me...I didn't go all last week, which means that I have been really grumpy. Not that going to the gym makes me not grumpy...but it does make me too tired to care.

=0)


Friday, June 12, 2009

Celebrations

The hottest item lately...believe. I need to make one for myself!

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I cannot find Brian's or Matthew's birth certificates and I need both of them by tomorrow morning. I had them a short time ago when renewing their passports, along with Alex's...but the only ones in the box are Alex's, mine and M's.

Grrr.

SO...up into the attic I climb, even though they shouldn't be in the upstairs files. But maybe oh maybe I will come across extra copies? You never know...

As I was digging through a box while sitting in my toddler rocking chair (not an easy fit, mind you) I accidently knocked over a box that contained some of my dads things.

It's been 4 years now since he has died and I still haven't gone through everything...in my mind, I picture myself sitting on the floor in my pj's, watching Top Gun while the cool night breeze blows in through the open window as I sort through his 'last effects'.

I'm funny that way.

Anyway, the box dumped. I grumbled.

And as I scooped everything up, there was an envelope. With my name scribbled on it.

Michele.

And it was sealed.

OK...now what are the chances of THAT happening? I actually looked around and said out loud, 'you have GOT to be kidding!'

And then...

Decisions, Decisions.

Sit up in the attic with the termites, abandon the search for the AWOL birth certificates and open the letter?

OR, finish what I had started...search high and low for the birth certificates that probably aren't even up there and THEN read the letter.

Yeah, right.

I chose to stay wedged in my childhood rocking chair in the middle of my big attic with all the termites plus my two cats and read the letter.

My letter.

Written for me. About me.

A letter that I would never have found if I hadn't misplaced the still (as of now) missing birth certificates. A beautiful letter that my heart was not ready for until now.

I never did find the birth certificates and had to order duplicates online, which by the way, is not an easy task. But I did find something incredibly touching and moving that I needed to find.

=0)

Tonight is a Nick's night. A celebration of sorts for making it through the school year, which we have 4 more days left of...and a farewell to meals for 5 as Matthew rejoins his drum and bugle corps family. He does have a whopping 3 days off this whole summer, though not consecutively of course, until he gets home from his 10,000 mile jaunt around the country on a bus...and will then be home for a full 2 weeks before moving back into his dorm.

It is also a celebration of the fact that Alex has been cleared to play, although he is struggling a bit with some self doubt...which I think is VERY understandable. Will the knee hold? Will he earn that starting spot back?

Lots of questions running through his mind and he could use some prayers...

And also, a celebration for Brian. In an extremely crazy move on the part of his parents, he has (after months of begging) been signed up for tackle football. Yep, you read that right. Full contact tackle football...the one sport I swore my sons would never play.

But Brian, our future attorney, wore us down and the million dollar check was written...in fact, does anyone want to buy a raffle ticket? We had to purchase 100 of them (!!!!!!) to sell. Or keep. Yowza...we are not in Kansas anymore!

And finally, a celebration a few weeks early (but remember...all my children will not be together all summer) of our anniversary. I'll write more on that later, but I can always find something to celebrate!

So off to Nick's we shall go...

=0)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Concert

God truly does have a sense of humor.

He gave me 3 sons. And they share a bathroom.

The guest bathroom.

Unfortunately, my sense of humor over that situation is shot.

~~~~~

Tonight was Brian's end of the year concert. M had to lead a rehearsal at church but the big boys came with me to cheer their baby brother on. They wouldn't have minded normally, but the Lakers were playing. They were getting cell phone updates, so all was well.

=0)

Relaxing a bit before hand...they truly are double trouble.
The smallest shrub and his trumpet.
A trip to Dairy Queen after...nothing beats a blizzard!
One week from today and school will be out...we are sooooo ready for summer!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Disney Day

Who me?

Yeah you. You've got a feather hangin' from your mouth!

=0)

A month or so ago, little Sophie curled up next to me and told me that we needed to go to Disneyland.

Just the two of us, with 'none of those other people'.

Meaning her brother and sister. We finally picked a day and she leaned over and invited her Uncle Michael to come along...but no one else.

Just us.

So this morning, we got Brian off to school and Alex (along with his fever) cozied up on the couch and went to pick my favorite very chatty 4 year old up for an adventure.

And drove to Disneyland.

Once there, we rode the train...in the caboose. Still not sure people are supposed to ride in the caboose, but Uncle M said it would be fine.

=0)
We started off on Soarin' Over California, park hopped over to Disneyland and knocked out Pirates and Winnie the Pooh.

And introduced her to the Haunted Mansion.

(sorry about that one.)

Oh, and our own children NEVER get a treat...so shhhh! Don't tell them!

=0)



Monday, June 8, 2009

Fresh Fish

One of my very fondest memories is of a b├ęchamel lasagna that I ate in Rome.

Ok...it does come after many other happy memories...like my wedding and the births of my sons.

Except lately my sons have been driving me crazy, so maybe I will push the lasagna up a notch.  At least for today.

Anyway, after much trial and error...a mostly cheese-less lasagna was born.

=0)

This is the boys final full week of school, with their last day of school being next Thursday.  We still have a concert, a classroom party, a grade pool party and a baby shower for one of the 5th grade teachers.

So today Michael and I (once again) left town.

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When we 1st moved here almost 14 years ago, we were sandwiched in between 4 air bases...all but one are now closed.  The one closest to our house has been turned into my new Costco, among a bunch of other stores, but the blimp hanger is still there.

Cool.
We started there (for gas.  At Costco.  Which still cost us $2.93/gallon.  yikes.) and headed south on PCH...that's Pacific Coast highway for you non-California-ites.  
We were going to go to Laguna Beach, but decided to keep on driving.  the top was down, the sun was shining, the ocean breeze was...breezy.
My stomach was growling at Dana Point, so we stopped along the water for lunch.
Probably the bestest ever fish and chips.  Ever.
Not sure we liked it.

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The view was amazing and there were lots and lots of boats for sale.  Anyone want one?  
Hopped back in the car and drove the 20 minutes home...just in time for Brian to call and say he was going to a friends house afterschool.
Took Alex to the orthopedist (cleared for play, with a brace...hooray!). finished the laundry and watched that guy that I like so much cook an amazing supper...and then clean it up.

And tonight is the Bachelorette...life is good.

=0)

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