Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer Is Ending

The door to summer feels like it has slammed shut and even though my younger boys are still in the lounge around all day mode (school starts on the 8th and 9th of September for them), I am back to work.

And I'm having trouble managing my time...I'm only paid to work a certain number of hours and what I need to do is just stop when that period of time is up.    

One of the few cons to working from home.

We are approaching that time of year that I love so much and I've been in the mood to cook things that go in the oven for a few hours...the kind of things that are almost always served with mashed potatoes.  Or homemade bread.  Or dumplings or noodles.  Or any other thing you can think of that causes one to add a little extra padding to themselves because it tastes oh so good.


But we're not quite there yet.  For one, my freezer still has ribs and brats and strip steaks in it and two, I am just not ready to lose my outdoor dining room.  I love it so much back there and even though we have a heater, it's not the same as those warm summer evenings.
she's gonna kill me.  =0)

Brian has had the most incredible (and expensive!) summer ever...a month of music summer school, skateboard camp, basketball camp, the pools and beach and water park and skateparks and six flags and just plain 'ole hanging out with friends.

This week?  There's nothin'.  Absolutely nothing and he is bored.  Totally, utterly bored...but I'm not feeling too sorry for him.  He's had fun and now it's time for boredom.

He'll live.

Alex on the other hand...well, he's living life to the fullest.  I can't believe I'm about to have another senior in high school...
he's gonna kill me.  =0)

Next week will find us back into some sort of routine...the boys will be back in school, which means bedtimes and breakfasts on the go and (gasp) homework.  But for me it also means the return to bible study and some girlfriend time and floors that stay clean for a few hours during the day.

I like clean floors.


How about you?  Happy summer is ending or no?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Busy Week

Summer is winding down and my boys are milking it for everything it is worth...staying up late and sleeping until noon, which means this mama has had some quiet mornings.

Makes up for the extremely loud (and active) evenings.

Though who I am kidding.  No quiet mornings for me...I'm back to work.  I was hired back with the same company I worked for before (which I really, really like) doing kind of the same job plus lots more (still part time) and all of it (for now) is from home.

On the phone.

And we all know how much I love talking on the phone.

Not. At. All.


And why is it that we cannot seem to get a burger WITHOUT cheese from the golden arches for my non-cheese loving baby boy??

(and why we are even eating at the golden arches I'll never know...but I do like their new mochas!)

So, where was I?  All these phone calls are frying my brain!

Oh salsa.  Definitely a far cry (thankfully) from the golden arches.  Was life complete before I made this?  Pretty sure the answer is NO.

Sweet mangos, cilantro, creamy avocado, crunchy cucumber, spicy jalapeno and SALTY CHIPS...let's just have a moment, or two, of silence.


(and a word of WILL get green stuff in your teeth if you eat this.  It's just the way it goes.)

I love this time of year (heck, I love all times of year)...but especially this time of year when a slight chill settles in as the sun goes down.  We've got a basket full of afghans that we pull outside for whoever might want one...the other night we actually bundled up and watched Roman Holiday in the backyard in the candlelight.  

Dreamy and romantic, even with green things in my teeth.

Today, following a ton more phone calls where I am interviewing people on the phone who don't speak much english (and my four years of high school spanish isn't helping a bit, but I still stand by my 'everybody understands friendly' motto, even on the phone), I'm sneaking in a little lunch date with that guy that I like so much. 



So tell has your week been?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Highlights

what I am thankful for, weekend addition:


a house packed to the gills with family.
a ginormous cake.
flea medicine for the cats.

a big 'ole family dinner at my sister in laws.
did I mention the big 'ole cake?
cousins playing in the ocean and skateboarding and playing with a pogo stick.

a moment in church I won't soon forget involving Isaiah 40:30-31 that made my middle boy sit up and take notice.  It says:  

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.

He leaned over and said,  'MOM (cuz my boys can't seem to say it quietly)...I totally get that!' is Spring.


playing wii sports with teen boys.
italian beef with sweet peppers.
'you is good.  you is kind.  you is important.' - The Help, such an important story that needs to be remembered.

boys who wanted a new, end of summer video game and a mom with a houseful of windows that needed to be washed.  win, win.
a 3 way cable tv splitter. more shout out for the ginormous cake.

cooler evening temperatures that mean a blanket on the bed.
palmolive dish soap.
brothers.  this time, grown up ones.


Thursday, August 18, 2011


I have fallen in love with Pandora radio over the last few months and love more than anything to hop in my car and after doing a rather unconventional way of hooking my phone up with my car stereo, turn it on and select a station.
bowls of spaghetti...

The station depends on what kind of mood I am in (though it ALWAYS has words...sorry, guy that I like so much!) and is anything from The Weepies (my drive to the beach, feelin' kinda mello) to Bob Seger (feelin' kinda old school) to Bob Marley (thanks to my middle son!!) to The Carpenters (when I feel like singing at the top of my lungs).

But my current favorite is Francesca Battistelli, a Christian artist who is all over the radio.  

I like her music.  A lot.
...and meatballs...

One of her songs is called Motion of Mercy (which I thought was called Mercy in Motion when I started writing this but when I looked it up saw that I was wrong, so now this isn't going to make as much sense because my brain thought it was something else)  and it got me thinking.

Gotta love when that happens.

(that means Whoopsy Daisy, in case you were wondering...)

...followed by a long nap on your mama's bed.  is there anything better?

Anyway, the song had me thinking about mercy and how warped my sense of mercy has been.  I've often thought of it as something I ask for when I (gulp) demand it (which is often) during a crisis (Lord...please?) but not as something that is ALWAYS there.

And yeah, I demand.  When things are rough I tell God that 'I need mercy NOW' cuz I am bossy.  And self centered.  

 I forget about the daily, never ending gift that it is.  As sure as the air I breathe, his mercy is just always there.  Day in, day out.  24/7.

It's constant, with no peaks or valleys.

I need to be less about me and more about being thankful for the amazing gift he has given me.  
yep.  sleepovers with cousins are better, or so I've been told.  =0)

Life in my little house is full right now.  Summer is winding down and we are no where near ready to let it go.  There's been beach trips and Six Flags visits and water park experiences and teen driving adventures and fresh figs off our very own tree.

It sounds crazy busy, but in reality it is calm and fun...and for that I am thankful.  We haven't had much calm 'round these parts the last few months, so I'll take it.  I'm not looking ahead to tomorrow while trying to figure it all out...just finding the joy in the simple.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Growing Up

For 30 hours this weekend I had all three of my offspring living together under one roof...30 hours of me walking around with a smile on my face that couldn't have been wiped off if I tried.

All just seems right in my little world when I know where everyone is sleeping and eating and breathing and watching TV.


They look like a motley crew, now don't they?  It makes me laugh because I was such a mum of appearances when they were younger...they all had the cute haircuts,  clean faces and wore little sweater vests and black patent leather shoes.

And best of all?

They always matched.

I can't even remember when it happened...the un-matching part, that is.  I'm sure it happened overnight when one boy or another had a growth spurt and suddenly didn't fit into a planned outfit.  I'm also sure I was totally thrown off balance at that moment and now that I think about it I have to laugh because I probably thought the world was coming to an end.


My boys no longer match.   They don't always dress the way I'd choose or make the choices I would choose or say the things I would choose.

But here's the thing...I accept them for who they are.  All three of them are so different from who I thought they would be when I rocked them as newborns, but at the same time are exactly what I prayed for them to be.

Strong.  Vulnerable.  Polite.  Wickedly funny.

Summer is winding down in these parts, though school doesn't start until September 8th.   It's a rather big year for us...three of my three will be celebrating milestones this school year.  We'll have a college grad, a high school grad and an 8th grade grad all within a few weeks of each other.

Graduations seemed so far away back then.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Waking Up

I just want to say a big THANK YOU to all my friends...the in real life ones and the online ones.  You are all so important to me...more than you'll ever know.


I have always loved the idea of 'tomorrow' and the chance to make a fresh go at whatever it is that I want to make a fresh go of...and I often think how God could have easily left out the darkness part of creation and just had us live in light all day long.

But that waking up time...that time following darkness and then seeing the light of the morning, squinting at first at the brightness and then allowing your eyes to fully open and see...I mean, there is nothing quite like that.

And I feel as if I have woken up again.

Summer is coming to a close around these parts and while school doesn't start for us until September 8th, that guy that I like so much is back at work (and has been for weeks already) so we've gotten back into that school year schedule already.  

You know the brewing first thing in the morning, a little watching of the weather on the TV and then a quick kiss goodbye before heading out the door.

Except (and this is a BIG except), I then get to go back to bed.  Glorious.  There is nothing at all like climbing back into a still warm bed with a cup of coffee and a fun book to current is A Wrinkle In Time which I am savoring every word of.  These just might be my favorite moments of summer.


This week Brian is at skateboarding camp from 8 - 1pm and while he is gone it's just me and one sleepy 17 year old who doesn't usually crawl out of bed until after noon anyway.  So I've been plotting...picking paint colors and deciding which of our 1, 282 sq ft to paint first and what colors and where to re-hang old pictures to make them look new.

It's time for a makeover, baby.

(but the yellow's not going away.  I just can't do's just so HAPPY.  But my laundry room?  well, it's gonna make me feel like I'm washing clothes in Greece...cuz washing clothes in Greece has gotta be more fun than washing clothes in SoCal?)

In Matthew in Indianapolis is his very last performance of his drum and bugle corps career.  After 7 years, well...this is it.  

Make it a good one, baby.  


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


We have a garden center nearby that is more like a botanical garden than a regular 'ole garden place and while the prices reflect that (hellooooo, pricey!) it is a really fun place to go and browse around and get ideas from.

Which is exactly what we did on Sunday afternoon...the Sunday afternoon where we overslept and missed church.


In the midst of strolling hand in hand with that guy that I like so much,  I couldn't help but think about last weekend and how I was in Chicago,  escaping from all the worry and stress I have been going through in the last few months...and how thankful I am that I was able to take some time away for just me.

I was feeling broken and worn down and sad and frustrated and like a total failure as a mother.  I'm sure everyone has those feelings at one time or another but this time, with me, it had reached a head.  I needed to escape for a bit, to recharge.

The worst part about all of those feelings is that I had lost my ability to pray.  I didn't lose my faith in my God, I knew he was there, but I lost the ability to pray to Him.  I just didn't know what to say anymore...I mean,  I would start out praying and then just let it fade away into nothingness.

But that nothingness is still heard by God's ears because He knows my heart and so I knew that He was hearing me...and I was OK with that.  

But I missed my God.  I felt like He was very, very, very far away.

And then it happened.  It was my 2nd night in Chicago and I climbed, exhausted from a very full and loud and fun day, into bed.  I texted with that guy that I like so much (wishing more than anything that he was with me, but thankful he was holding down the fort back home), made the pillows into a 'v' shape (laying myself smack dab in the middle of the bed...which is exactly where one should sleep when they are sleeping alone) and started my nightly prayers.

 I felt myself at Jesus' feet.  I felt his hand on my head.  I felt him and I heard him whisper to me.

And for the first time in a very, very, very long time...I listened.  I gave it all to Him.  I surrendered.  

And then I slept.  Deeply.

(just had to buy ANOTHER lemon tree...this time a meyer lemon)
I guess what I need to constantly remember (and be reminded of) is that I am not walking alone.  Or even just with that guy that I like so much.  I need to stop trying to figure it all out, all the time, all by myself.

I need to surrender.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Tomatoes?

This morning I turned over and did that first morning stretch (don't you just love that first morning stretch after a full nights sleep???), grabbed my glasses (because I am blind as a bat) and looked at the clock.

And saw that it was 10:00am.

Problem is it is Sunday and we'd missed church...which is very, very, VERY unusual for us.  We're one of those families that just never ditches church...but I guess we needed the sleep.

I also believe God had his hand in this.  Last night that guy that I like so much was grumpy, Brian was grumpy, Alex (to his credit) was fine, I was weepy and we all just needed a good nights rest so that we could wake up and start over, fresh and rested.  And don't you just love the fact that every single day is a chance to start over again?

So there you have it.  We overslept and skipped church.


I know I've been sharing lots of food pictures today, but last night I made something super yummy using (you guessed it!) tomatoes.

Sorry.  I'm on a tomato kick lately.

Anyway, cut a bunch of romas in half and lay them in a pan.

Sprinkle them with some dried oregano, a pinch of sugar and a some kosher salt. Also, if you want, add a few whole cloves of keeps the vampires away.

Then, pour in olive oil.  Lots of it.  Like, it should come half way up the tomatoes.  I know what you are thinking...that that is WAY too much oil and you'll be tempted to cut down the amount, but don't.  The oil is the best part when all is said and done.

Throw the pan in the oven and roast them at 350 for 30 minutes.  Turn the tomatoes over and put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

In the meantime, I learned how to make a martini...not that I would ever drink one but that guy that I like so much loves a good martini.  Dry, like Winston Churchill...who once said that waving the bottle of vermouth over the glass is dry enough.  My guy likes a little vermouth so that's how I served it.  With olives.

When the tomatoes come out of the oven, let them cool just a bit and then serve them with crusty bread and all that yummy olive oil, which will keep for a long time in the fridge...just let it come back to room temp before using it.

SO good!

What are you doing this weekend?


Friday, August 5, 2011

From The Garden

It's that time of summer again...that time when the tomatoes are ripening at a lightening fast pace and every meal revolves around how to best use them all up.

I personally think that BLT's are the way to go, especially if the tomato is still slightly warm from the summer sun.  And white bread is a must.  Don't even try and convince me otherwise.


The best way to eat a true BLT is standing up at the counter, with the juice of the tomatoes running down your arms.

Last night we used tomatoes in another amazingly amazing way and while I didn't take ONE SINGLE PICTURE of it, it was too good to not share.

1 lb tomatoes, chopped
3/4 C fresh basil, chopped
1/2 C olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T capers

Mix all together and serve with any grilled meat (we had salmon last night, but it would be great on chicken or beef, too!)


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