Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Year In Review

Alex plays ball.  Really, really well.  A blessing, following a 9 month recovery from surgery.
That guy that I like so much re-enters (after a 5 year hiatus) the life a church worker.
Grad school auditions for Matthew (and a visit with our niece).
The garden gets groomed.
I get a ticket.  Sigh.
Time with friends grounds me, as does the study of James.
Matteo turns 22!
Matthew has his senior recital.
A turkish feast changes us forever.
Basketball season is officially over; Alex makes All League and then hangs up his shoes.
Growing boys mean we can date.  Alone.  =0)
Our toes begin to thaw after the long, harsh So Cal winter.  =0)
Brian is confirmed.
I hang out backstage at Dancing With the Stars.
Spring comes; the garden blooms. God is good.
Matthew graduates from college and then leaves for a month in Europe. Without technology.
That guy that I like so much and I celebrate our birthdays at Club 33.
Alex (and his posse) go to prom.

Alex graduates. Grad night. Brian graduates.
Matthew returns home.
The parents cry, then sleep, then exhale, then smile.

Brian makes the high school we go again!
I hike. And run.  Who would've thunk?  =o)
My annual Chicago pilgrimage.
Many, many, many suppers in the garden.

All the cousins hang out at the lake.
Is it possible to have too many garden parties?  The answer is NO.
Our fig tree grows tons of figs, enough for us and for every bird in the neighborhood.
An early morning at Disney.
A quick trip up north for Michael's college reunion.

Matthew moves away and begins his new, rather poor, life in grad school.
Alex starts college.
Brian starts high school.
The brother barber shop is always in business.
Garden parties continue because that guy that I like so much is on Sabbatical!
Many Disney days, even though So Cal is hotter than ever.

Sabbatical means fun.  Parties in the garden continue.
The boys at home grow taller.
We visit the boy who is away.
I hike many, many miles.  75 miles, this month alone.
Basketball with the baby, who isn't a baby any more.

Alex votes in his first election.
That guy that I like so much and I fly to St Louis to see Sir Paul McCartney.  Just because.
Thanksgiving means a wonderfully full house.
Alex turns 19!  

Our tree, hand picked by boys.  They're hired.
A rather big party that made me consider selling our little house on our little street and buying a new house just so we didn't have to clean up.  =0)
Magic snow at Disney.
My work gives me a promotion...and a fancy new car!
Feeling content. And thankful.  And blessed.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Years Past:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Surrounded By Love

I'm sitting on the floor in my family room right now and it is utter chaos around me.  Our little house on our little street is packed to the gills and there is currently a major wii basketball game happening and the volume is at a 10 out of 10....all the cousins are having an all out war, egged on by their Uncle Michael.

Fun times...and memory making for everyone involved.  That, to me, is what the holidays are all about. Quiet will come later...but quiet is always so much more appreciated when it has followed chaos, just as chaos is always much more fun when it follows times of deep silence.


We've had lots of big family dinners this week...the kind of dinners where a massive amount of food is prepared and then gobbled down in about 5 minutes.  Sometimes that drives me crazy, but then I figure it would be worse to not have anyone around inhaling the food that I make, so instead I focus on what is really happening around me...people talking and laughing and eating and taking a few minutes out of their day to sit and spend time together.

More memory making.


In between all the cooking and cleaning up, there has been time spent in gyms watching the youngest of my bunch play basketball.  There's also been a few quiet moments for me....time I spent on my favorite trail followed by a few minutes where I slipped into a pew in a neighborhood church and had a few minutes thanking my Savior for being just that.  My Savior. 

Boy, do I ever need Him.  And boy, does he ever continue to show His presence to me.  

I've been thankful for many things this season so far...thankful that while the money going out is more than the money coming in, the bills still somehow keep getting paid.  Thankful that this holiday season I have been able to keep my heart (and head) focused where it should be.  Thankful for my little house on my little street.  Thankful for my family...and especially thankful that this year was much easier in the boy raising department than the previous year.  Thankful that I have a guy that likes me so much...even when I am not especially likable.

Not that I'm unlikeable very often.


I am not even close to being tired of the Christmas decorations yet this season and believe it or not, I am not even close to feeling like I've had too many parties in 2012.  Just the I sit here I am thinking that there has to be time enough to squeeze just a little more out of this year. 

Anyone up for a cocktail?  


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Scenes From A Christmas

A very sweet tree surrounded by many, many brown paper packages all tied up with string.

Christmas Eve church first at one church to hear Matthew play trumpet and then a most beautiful late night service with candles and carols and harp...finished off with people gathering around the piano to sing the Hallelujah Chorus.  Probably one of my very favorite services I've been to.  

Home after midnight where my boys modeled their new Christmas jammies and binged on Christmas cookies.

Christmas Day.  Cooking, presents, more cooking, more presents, cooking, dishes, cooking and more dishes...and not one family photo.


And yep,  they're tall.  And yep, I'm not.

Christmas crackers filled with fun hats and little toys and bad jokes.  I'll be picking up confetti for days, but so worth it!

My houseful...all cozied up watching the Nuggets play.  

So happy with this present.


After the busyness of the day, a hot cup of really yummy tea, a soak in a very bubbly tub and a Hallmark movie watched while laying in bed.



Seriously, is there anything better than Christmas cookies?  

It's been a whirlwind...a good whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless.  I'm soaking up as much time with my boys right now...loving that they are all sleeping under one roof for a few nights.  Our house is anything but calm and quiet, but I'll take it!

Hoping you and yours had a very, merry Christmas indeed.


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Week Before Christmas

Christmas Happy Hour with the girls.  Man, I love these women.  All strong.  All successful.  All real.  

All a bit sassy.  


Christmas gifts for my supervisors.  I found the little bowls at Crate and Barrel and while I was extremely tempted to keep them for myself, I filled them with homemade buckeyes and wrapped them up all pretty.  

It's fun playing Santa.


My oldest boy is home...along with many shoes and many trumpets.  It's nice having my whole family sleeping under the same roof, though there is stuff EVERYWHERE.  My males all seem to regress when they are all together which in turn makes me crazy...though I seriously think they enjoy watching me rant and rave.  In fact, now that I think about it, they all sit back and quietly watch when I start muttering things like 'you people' and 'lazy slobs' and 'I'll show them' and then they smile and go about their way.


  This is where I work when I am not out and about and yes, that little lit tree helps.  A lot.  And yep, there are ALWAYS piles and piles of papers everywhere either waiting to be scanned or faxed...the amount of paper I deal with is obscene.  I have been working SO much the last few weeks and at 4:30 pm on Friday afternoon I am going to jump up and down with glee and turn off my work phone for two whole weeks.  

I can't wait.

Vacation is always a good thing.

 We had two basketball games this week and at the one away game, Brian couldn't wait to tell us about the crazy bus driver who cut the corner a little too close.  


The boys were fine but the bus wasn't. 

Happy day that the world is supposed to end!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jesus and Disneyland

Last night I was supposed to be at a party that at the last minute got cancelled (please say a prayer for my girlfriend's husband...he's having emergency surgery this morning) and suddenly we were left with a night off.

Within 30 minutes, we were at one of our happy places.  Just me and that guy that I like so much, thankyouverymuch.  Like, on a date.  Again.

Seriously getting used to this.


What we didn't realize was that Disney holds a candlelight processional every night and we just stumbled onto it.  In fact, we had no clue it even existed.  Suddenly, we were standing in a crowd of people listening to the story of Jesus.  In public.  At Disneyland.  With choirs and orchestra and handbells.  And Molly Ringwold reading the story of Jesus' birth.

It didn't matter if you were Lutheran or Presbyterian or Catholic or Baptist or whatever...this was a crowd of thousands of people who were craving to hear the story of hope.  And to be in the midst of all those people, singing Silent Night, was one of those magic moments.

I had tears just streaming down my face.  God knew where we needed to be last night and what we needed to hear.  He knew and he put us there at that exact moment.

I'm so thankful.

And then...then, it snowed.

If you've never seen magic snow, well, then you've never never seen magic snow.  


We sat in the Carnation cafe and sipped cappuccinos and shared a piece of (just so-so) coconut cake and then wandered the whole park, arm in arm.

I'm not ready for Sabbatical to end.

So we've still got some shopping to do...the big things have been purchased but I still need to go out and get the 'filler' gifts.  Just a few little things to make Christmas morning a little more fun.  I know it's not about the presents, but it is so fun to watch people open a gift that you've spent time and thought picking out for them.

And...there are cookies to bake.  I'm excited for this part because nothing smells better that a house where cookies are baking.


The weather in SoCal this morning is chilly and rainy and kinda gloomy.  The house is warm, though, and so is the coffee.  Sadly, I have to go out and about for work...though it's hard to complain when I get to drive the fancy new car they've given me.  There's a basketball game (at home...finally!) this afternoon followed by a happy hour with some of my favorite peeps followed by a long, hot, bubbly bath followed by some sort of Christmasy movie.

Somewhere in there I am going to make a pot of potato soup and some homemade rolls (this rocks!) for boys to eat on the run.   Rainy weather and soup just go hand in hand, don't you think?


Monday, December 17, 2012

Sadness...and Carrying On

They say that you always remember where you were and what you were doing when you hear about life changing events and for me, I know that to be true...and now I can add Friday to that list.  My first thought was of a quote I had just read:

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world."

-Mister Rogers

Gotta love Mister Rogers.  


I am choosing three things that I can do.

I am choosing to pray.  I am choosing to mourn.  I am choosing joy.

Life, as it tends to do, carried on this weekend.  We lunched at Le Creperie and even split a split of (really bad, but it's the thought that counts) champagne.  We watched our youngest play basketball.  We cleaned up our backyard and caught up on laundry and helped a son register for classes and ate pot roast that cooked long and slow during the afternoon.

We did the normal things people do.  There was a sadness about all of it, a heaviness, but we kept plugging along.

 The weather has been cold and dreary for the most part...and just when it seems too much, the clouds parted and the sun peeked through.  Not enough to take the chill away, but enough to make the daytimes seem a little more cheerful.

On Sunday that guy that I like so much sang in a concert and after, my favorite moment of the whole weekend...we watched Midnight In Paris and ate cheese and drank wine.  We texted and emailed and scheduled a dinner party on the only free night we have between now and Christmas because suddenly all I want to do is be with people I love and spend time with them in our little house on our little street.

  I want to hug people and feed people and laugh and cry and pray with people.

Tomorrow begins a new week and I am ready...there's some shopping to be done and some gifts to be delivered and some goodies to be baked and some friends to love upon.  Just regular things that I am going to try and accomplish with a joyful heart rather than an 'I have to do this' attitude.  

I'm going to make that simple thought my everyday thought.  I'm going to choose joy for the limited time I have on this earth.

And FYI...the cheap seats at Segerstrom are really high up (but are super comfy) and not too high to go unnoticed by Santa.  Kinda fun.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Supper At Home

Today, we thought about Christmas shopping.  We thought about it all the way to lunch at Jerry's Wood Fired Dogs (where I ate a burger and not a dog because I just wasn't in the mood for a dog) and then, after eating their super yummy homemade chips sprinkled with celery salt all we could think about was going home and being lazy.

There's always tomorrow.  Right?

I've been busy with jewelry orders, having survived the great website crash of 2012.  It's back up and running again after being down for 10 days and after hours and hours of dealing with people I hope to never have to deal with again.  There, I said it.  


That guy that I like so much had a church choir rehearsal tonight and I did a quick clean up of the house followed by a long, hot, extremely bubbly bath while watching The Notebook.  It was so lovely and relaxing...although the sounds of boys throwing each other in to walls did put a slight damper on my otherwise lovely time.  

It's all OK.  I am a mother and I don't forget anything.  It's a gift.


Suppers have been eaten on the run thanks to so many rehearsals and basketball games...all in different places and all at dinnertime.  But tonight I actually cooked and it felt so good to be back in my beautiful little kitchen...a big pot of escarole soup and a loaf of homemade sausage bread.  Is cooking a love language?  It is to me.


I'm so happy it's Friday...we've got a weekend that is full of fun stuff.  Basketball, concerts, peppermint schnapps, repeat.


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