Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The End of the Year is Coming

It's a grey and gloomy and rainy (with the possibility of snow flurries...in Southern California!) and so I did what anyone would do on a day like today.

I baked muffins (eggnog and chocolate chip) for the sleeping boys (mine plus a few spares that ended up here last night) and then ran a bazillion errands all around town.

And, for the record, it was COLD.

Our poor dog.  He's so over loved that he just doesn't stand a chance of living the life that I think he would prefer...the life where he'd be allowed to hide in a corner all day long.

Instead?  Instead he is smothered day in and day out.

And that's not gonna change.


 Here's our Christmas photo, 2014.

Brian is 16, Alex is 21, Matthew is 24.

BuddytheDog (one word) is 3.

This photo was one of 581 and the only one in which they were all looking at the camera.  My crew doesn't make it easy, that's for sure.  In fact, I may have had to shed a tear and threaten to talk about my feelings in order to get this picture.

Exhausting, but it worked.


Our little house on our little street has been rather full lately...even Maggie the Cat has moved on to another town.


The last basketball game of 2014 was played today and they eeked out a win on the final day of this tournament.  Our team is...well....developing.

That's it...developing.


That guy that I like so much and I have had lots of time this vacation...lots of time in the car and lots of time at home.  It's been nothing short of much, much needed and I am actually feeling recharged and ready for whatever it is that is coming next.

And I think what's next is New Years Eve.  It's going to be a cold one but we'll be all cozied up inside.  The plan is to feed all the big kids something nutritious for supper before they head out where they are going (no driving is allowed, so they need to go and stay put...I worry too much) and then we are having a party here.

I hope they ask to see the attic because right now that is the only clean space in our whole little house.


It's strange but I haven't thought about the years end until now...and it's happening tomorrow.  I've been too busy just getting through each day, running a household, cleaning an attic, cooking for my family, loving on my dog.

I'm thankful for that because more than anything, I feel rested.  A tad bit lazy, too...and that's ok for right now because once this week comes to an end, that feeling will become just a far away memory.

I''m hanging on to the reality of it right now, though.  Hanging on tight.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Post Christmas Bliss

Another Christmas has come and gone...although we are still basking in the afterglow of this one.  We've celebrated 30 Christmas's together...more than each of us ever spent apart.  It's interesting though because while we have created so many incredible traditions that are 'ours', we still strive to hold on to the traditions that we grew up with.

The whole not wanting to let go of the past...but wanting to forge ahead into the future thing.

We moved away after our 2nd year of marriage and after that lived far away from any family, which meant any holiday traditions we had needed to be recreated by the two of us.  We were both so young and this was before the internet had even begun, so we were truly on our own.  The traditions we've created are the perfect marriage of our two childhoods...and I have to say, they pretty much rock.

 New this year?

This dog.  Seriously...can we love anything more???

The best part about Christmas falling mid-week is the fact that we were both off work for the whole week.  Brian's basketball schedule was in full swing so we have spent a lot of time on the road, but it's been fun.  Lots of time in the car, lots of time sitting in bleachers, lots of losses (sadly) and lots of time grabbing food after as a whole family.

Matteo has been in town and so our house has truly been a houseful of boys once again...
and it's been fun.

Loud, but fun.

The weather in SoCal has been rather perfect...warm and sunny and fair.  I actually considered having Christmas dinner outside...we could've easily done that with the help of the outside heaters and sweaters, but it was just a tad bit too chilly.

It was still flip flop weather though.


The shopping and the wrapping were all done a few days ahead of time, as was the cookie dough making.  There is so much work that is put into making the holiday seem effortless...so. much. work.  Lists and shopping and prep work...it's exhausting.  Anyone who's done it before gets what I am talking about...and on the actual day, while running around like a chicken with your head cut off and smiling and reapplying your lipstick a few hundred times, you just make it all seem so simple.  
Like it was all just thrown together.

But then everyone eats (in two seconds flat) and leaves and then the clean up happens and you finally put your feet up and think...wow.  It's over.  All that and it's over.

I love all of it...the planning and prepping and dabbing of lipstick and the cleaning up, but man oh man, the exhaustion that settles in afterwards?


So Christmas Eve...there was a candlelight church service that left me (sadly) wanting more.  We came home and opened the standard Christmas Eve present of matching pj's 
and toasted in Jesus's birth with champagne.

My mind is always on Mary on that night, on riding a donkey and delivering a baby in the cold and then of the knowing....the knowing that he didn't really belong to her.

My human self cannot even imagine how she did it.  

The present opening happened rather late the next morning...our boys aren't young anymore and sleep is more important that anything right now, so we made breakfast first and then opened gifts.  And then I did the whole thing where I've become my Grandmother and I can't help but wonder if this will be my last Christmas?  

Life...it just seems so fragile now.  Will we all be together next year?  Will all my boys be home?  

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur.

Cousins came over.  The volume grew and more presents were opened.

More food was cooked.  


Football was played in the sunshine.

Cars were dented.

A little.


 Cookies were eaten.

Many, many cookies.

And now...now it's all over.  All that work...all the preparation and planning and worry 
and it's all over.

Time to plan the New Year's party.


I'm thankful for much this year...for a houseful of boys that were all here, for the rest of the family that filled our little house on our little street, for good food and champagne and super great gifts both given and received, for sunshiney weather,  for sleep that came at just right the time.

For Jesus. 

This week leading up to New Years is here.  We're off of work and school and aside from a quite a few far and away basketball games, we'll be home.  We began a huge new project...an attic clean-out project that seemed like a great idea in theory, but is now making me completely stressed out because we pulled lots down and are reorganizing and repacking and purging.

And, truth be told, swearing...because seriously, 
where did all this stuff come from and why did I feel the need to save it all?

Ah well...it will feel good once it's all done.  Soon, I hope.  
First up is sleep though...wonderful, glorious sleep.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Giving

The week leading up to this one was so full of activities that at one point I almost texted myself my own address...I was out more than I was in.  

Work was a bear but for the next few weeks I don't need to think about it and I couldn't be happier.  The shopping is done and so is the wrapping...and I will continue to sing the praises of online shopping and shipping.  

And now?  Now, we wait.

That guy that I like so much and I were heading down to San Diego for a breakfast at Snooze when our 21 year old ran out and invited himself to the party.  Such a great morning to spend with him...he's one of my favorites.

I have three favorites, in case you were wondering.


Pancakes and benedicts and really great coffee...plus time with our boy in the middle?


Our little house is decorated to the nines...I'll do a little house tour tomorrow so you can all see.  

I need to take pictures...and clean.


Brian's basketball season has begun and we've had a crazy tournament schedule.  He's even in a tourney this week and plays every day this week except for Christmas eve and day...and yeah, I am really, really going to miss this season of life.  

Well...not the smelly shoe part.

Our friend Hans owns an INCREDIBLE cheese shop in SoCal (www.vingoat.com) and they have some of the best events around...wine and cheese pairings, classes, and this week there was a harbor cruise as part of the Newport Boat Parade.

That guy that I like so much and I went along and man oh man oh man.  The food.  THE FOOD.  Cheese (of course) and wine and gumbo and salami and I could go on and on but then I'll get all depressed because it's over.  


The weather was perfect and the company was really fun...it felt like a grown up date night.  Oh wait...we are grown ups.

How do I know that?  Because we have a leaky shower that can't be fixed and an out of control animal that keeps using my son's bed as an outhouse and a pile of bills that are waiting to be paid.

But also because we get to go on fun dates.  


Our tradition of watching White Christmas while wrapping presents continues and yesterday we did the thing we do...and I think we're in good shape.  The presents are smaller this year and for the first time, the numbers aren't even.  Well...the dollar amount is even but the number of packages per person aren't even.

I struggle...I'll admit it.  I like to buy gifts for my peoples.  I find joy in giving and I strive to teach them the joy of receiving.  And of paying it forward.  It's hard for me to find that balance of how much is enough and how much is too much...we live in an area where most have more and most have better and while I gave up long ago trying to compete with that myself, I don't want my boys to feel without.

I know they need to and trust me, they do.  The struggle is mine and fortunately, it's not a struggle I share with that guy that I like so much...so he's my voice of reason.

A strong voice of reason.


The parties continue...some at other places and some here.  This morning while my sink was full of warm soapy water I had my prayer time.  I'm feeling so thankful this season...it's been quite a year for us and I feel like it's been such a gift.  

But there's sadness, too.  I want all my loves here, with me.  I want them safe and healthy and happy.  I want them to want to be here with us.  I want time to freeze on the happy parts and to zoom over the ugly.  

I want to live, with my whole heart, what I'm taught in Proverbs 31...to be a woman of noble character, to put others first, to serve (hello rude emails that are to come...but yes, to serve) my husband.  To manage my household with honor and kindness.

I want to shine a light...a light of what blessed looks like.  I want to shine hope.  And forgiveness.  And love.

I fail more often than I win.  But I know I'm forgiven and I cling to that...even when I'm weary.  

I can't wrap that gift and put it under the tree...it's already been opened.   That lesson though...it's the greatest gift I can give my boys not just on Christmas but every day.  And my prayer this season is that they see that and hear that and believe that...come, Lord Jesus.  Come.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014


1. Depression candy.  We've eaten so many batches of this stuff that I am actually too embarrassed to tell you about it.  OK...so 3 batches in 2 days.  The recipe is incredibly hard:

Lay saltine crackers, salt side down, in a large jelly roll pan. Melt 1 stick of butter.  Stir in 1 cup of brown sugar.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Pour over crackers.  Bake at 350 for 5 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with 1 package of chocolate chips.  Let melt for a few minutes and then smooth out with a spatula.  Refrigerate for a few minutes and then break into pieces, eating every piece that isn't perfectly shaped.


2. Sunday morning cookie making with these two crazies.  The cookies were incredible, FYI.  

No. More. Sugar. Please.

3. This guy.  I like him SO much. 

4. This guy.  I like him, too.  He was home for 36 hours, though I saw him for 36 minutes.  It's ok...I'll take whatever I can get.


5. Family dinner with our friends who are more family than friends.  Our families are so intertwined and the best part?  Our friends are now their friends and we have become this big fat greek (even though we're not greek) family and every single day I am thankful for them.  

The food.  Oh, the food.  OH, THE FOOD.


6. Tis the season for christmas crackers and white elephants and cocktails and naps.

7.  It's cold in SoCal and once I get a chill, I just can't shake it.  I've resorted to (gulp) socks.  Yes, the flip flop girl has been wearing socks.  

Warm toes are a good thing.

Today brought coffee and costco and a roast loin of pork with fennel and then 5 hours working the basketball snack bar.  I'm home now and we're curled up watching the Family Stone, shopping online for a few last minute gifts for ourselves...mainly for an oven probe so I can cook some sort of massive piece of meat for Christmas.  

What today didn't bring?  Laundry, floor sweeping or house cleaning.  Tomorrow is a new day, right?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014


And just like that, we slowed down long enough to take a bunch of deep breaths.  Life has felt very fast lately; very full, too.  It's the season...not just the busy holiday season but also the season of our lives.  The middle part...the part where we work hard to keep our noses above water and laugh and play and shuttle boys to and fro.

I like this middle part of life.  

Even writing about life last weekend feels a bit crazy to me.  We've been busy...just last weekend there were 5 concerts, 2 parties, 2 basketball games and a partridge in a pear tree.

And actually, it's a crow in our neighborhood tree...and he crows all. day. long.

For reals.

All I want for Christmas is a bb gun.  And good aim.

The interesting thing about this season is that it doesn't feel rushed or overwhelming or stressful.  It feels...right.  We come home and grab what we need and head out and hope we're wearing the proper attire for whatever event we're going to.

I'm choosing this season to be present and to just roll with the punches.  I'm choosing to put my Jesus time first, to celebrate Him.  That baby being born?  Life changing.

The shopping, thanks to Amazon prime, is pretty much completed.  I didn't go overboard this year...in fact, just the opposite.  My boys are at the the ages where that flat green stuff is what they'd truly like so the amount of actual gifts bought was pretty minimal.  

But still...there will still be a few little things to open.


And now...today.  Today things have slowed way down.  Last night that guy that I like so much and I bundled up and went to Disneyland.  I was a bit worried because parking was crazy but once in it wasn't so bad at all.  We had a quiet dinner at Naples and then just strolled both parks, watched the fireworks and magic snow and came home.

We were actually both pretty quiet...not the bad kind of quiet but the kind of quiet where we were both in our own thoughts but happy to be out together.  He's coming off a huge concert season and is now in Christmas prep and I'm still working this week so there are lots of things swirling around in both of our heads.

We needed quiet.  We needed to hold hands and walk and just be.  Just the two of us.

There are some errands to be run today...we need things like fabric softener and paper towels and string cheese which means we will be at our 2nd happiest place.  I actually get all a-fluttery when I think about Costco and can't wait to walk through those doors.

Other than that, while the tree is up it has no prettiness on it so that needs to be done.  Our little tree is so pretty this year that she almost doesn't need ornaments...wonder if anyone would notice?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tis The Season

I've been quiet lately...on purpose.  In all honesty, I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Tis the season, I guess.

I have to say that there have been great moments of happy thrown in amongst the overwhelmedness.  Late night classic movies with that guy that I like so much in our little house on our little street.  I can't get enough of them...the costumes, the hair styles, the shoes, the glamour.  



Another love?  My love for Vietnamese food has grown by leaps and bounds and we have so many great places all around us.  So many fresh veggies and rice noodles and the sauces are so yummy...add in the fact that the price is comparable to fast food?  

Win win.

I made some time to make some jewelry and it felt so good...Christmas music (loving Pentatonix!) playing, a quiet house and me and my hammer.  

I miss times of being able to create things but there just haven't been enough hours...but this week was a good reminder that I'm not ready to give up on it.  

I think this cutie needs a Christmas sweater.  Might have to make that happen.

Seriously....how did we ever live without a dog?  And please don't ask that guy that I like so much...his answer is most likely a bit different than mine.


Homemade olives.

A moment of silence, please.

So early Monday morning I was out front with BuddytheDog (all one word) and it was cold.  We'd had a big, kinda crazy after concert party and there were some things left around my little house...a jacket thrown over a chair, a pair of socks, a fancy hair pin.

Normal, after party stuff.

I grabbed the (really cute and I'm totally going to steal this coat that was left at my house...I mean, you snooze, you lose!) jacket and threw it on over my pj's and was walking, barefoot, out front when my neighbor drove by on her way to work.  She stopped to say 'hi' and then said 'hey! That's my jacket!'

Caught red handed.  Bummer.


The annual bible study brunch.  

These women bless me, pray for me, encourage me.  I'm thankful for each one of them.


The rest of this week is full...and it's promising to be wet.  The storm of the decade is rolling through so I've stocked up on cookie making stuff and candles...not that we'll need the candles but then again, one always needs more candles.  In the midst of the busyness I am hoping for time to do some baking and maybe even some more classic movie watching. 

Next up?

White Christmas.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...