Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Notice anything?

The last one to join the club! The 4 eyes club!


Here's Billy...one of M's best friends from college and an amazing choral conductor. From broken piano benches and FANCY restaurants in Europe to permed hair (it WAS the 80's, after all!) and Pub pizzas, they were scary together! I personally think Billy's greatest claim to fame is his wife, Holly! =0)

Monday, July 30, 2007


For all these years, I have been weighing myself the wrong way! Life is about to get just a tad bit sweeter!


It's Monday and we are home for the week. Michael is back at work, Matthew is in....hmmm...Texas? Yes, he is in Texas today. Alex is hanging out with friends until practice at 4pm, and Brian is down and out with the stomach flu. I have just finished emptying the hall closet and laundry room and am now staring at all the stuff. I'm thinking it has to be put away...but where?

I saw a very, very cute movie yesterday...No Reservations. The perfect Michele movie. Michael and the boys were one theatre over watching Transformers. After driving lots of family to the airport, we went to church (awesome class on missionaries in North Korea!), followed by lunch and the above mentioned movies. Came home and made Arancini...Italian rice balls. A favorite of ours from Rome...so we ate, drank some Chianti, and scoured the internet for farmhouses in Italy. And dreamed. =0)

My quiet time this morning was spent reading Psalm 128...how I love these verses!

1Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.
2You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.
4Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.
5May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
6and may you live to see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Aunt Grace

Last week, Michael's Aunt Grace died after a relatively short bout with cancer at 72 years young. Today we drove north a few hours to attend her funeral and were once again amazed at the kind of woman she was.

Michael had the opportunity a few years ago to conduct a mass choir for a convention, and his Aunt was singing in the choir. He hadn't seen her in many, many years and after the concert, we all went out to dinner. For hours we sat and laughed while she told story after story (and I thought I was a story teller!) and by the end of the evening, my face hurt from laughing so hard. Our paths crossed a few more times since then and she always made us laugh. She was a woman who LOVED her family, and has left behind quite a legacy.

The 'undiluted' Busch family!

The day was hot, the service a bit sad, but the company was great. Michael had so much fun reconnecting with his cousins...most of whom he hasn't seen since he was like 10 years old. We stayed at the reception for as long as we could before heading home. Traffic was horrible both ways...gotta love Los Angeles!, so we stopped in at Nick's and brought home a pizza to share with Alex and Brian...
...and drank a bottle of champagne so we could toast Aunt Grace.

The Days and Dirt

Grandma and Grandpa Day came for a visit Thursday and Friday and helped pick tomatoes and corn. Yes, MORE tomatoes and really tall corn! I made some yummy zucchini cupcakes with caramel frosting that didn't last very long and have made quite a few batches of marinara and roasted tomato soup for the freezer. Maggie and Mollie are doing really well...I didn't think we would love them this much! Maggie (the striped one) was quiet at first and is now the boss, while Mollie just likes to play. Last night they both ended up in bed with Alex....surprise, surprise!
Brian went and played with Nico and they decided a mud bath was in order. The two of them have been best friends since birth and next week are going away for a whole week to camp. Sleep-over camp. Without us.

Matthew was in Utah yesterday and Denver today. He said they had an amazing show at Invesco stadium...poor Michael has been waiting on his laptop for scores and they aren't in yet. Tonight they head for somewhere in Texas where they'll be competing for a few days...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tomatoes Anyone?

Picked and picked and picked this morning...3 grocery bags full, and I haven't even made a dent!

Plus a huge colander of Romas...

which became this...

and then this...

and finally, my very favorite...baked gnocchi!

(OK...it looked better before we ate it!)

Plus, the very funny melon that grew alongside my Tuscan melons. It looked like a squash, but inside was a 'normal' melon. Guess that's what you get when you bring back seeds in your pocket!

Strange, huh?

Tired of my garden yet?

The kitties have settled in and daddy has decided both are staying.


A little Sangria, some Sinatra, and baked gnocchi...he was more than willing for us to get a goat for the backyard, too!

Matthew has been at drum corps the last few days, plus tomorrow. Relatively local, involving only 2 hours of driving each day.


Thursday he leaves for his 2nd tour, which starts in Colorado. Alex spent today at Wild Rivers with friends, came home, and is at the movies with Jacob and Kyle. Brian is at camp every afternoon, and has been coming home and having a major meltdown, which is VERY unlike him. Lots and lots of sun, so today I picked him up and had a popsicle waiting in the car, which helped loads. He is having so much fun with all of his friends...so much so that I had a houseful after camp.

This afternoon, we met with the architect who is designing our house remodel. The plans are beautiful, as is the price tag. So, we pray. And wait for guidance.

It will come.

Monday, July 23, 2007



...and Mollie Speedo!

Daddy has said only one is staying.

(For now... )

Sunday, July 22, 2007

All Done!

With Harry, that is. I won't give anything away, but if you've read it....CALL ME!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sophia and Harry

Happy Birthday, Miss Sophie! We had dinner at G & J's house to celebrate Sophie turning 3. She is such a spark...we love you, Sophie!

Alex and Grandma Sandy...how much food can one person eat? Meaning Alex, NOT Grandma Sandy! That boy kept eating and eating and eating...he told us on the way home it was the best meal he has ever had. =0)

I am so glad little Logan came along...he is inheriting some really cool boy toys!
That was some mighty fine wine!!! (And hello? When did you both start looking alike?)

And this morning, Harry arrived! Brian came running in with the long awaited package. We actually got up this morning and listened to JK Rowling read the 1st chapter out loud, online. Very cool. Years ago, Matthew and I met her at a book signing and we had promised him that we would go to London for the release of the final book. Drum corps took over and he is OK with that...maybe we'll go for the release of the final movie!

And now, NO MORE BLOGGING until this book is finished. Ready, set....GO!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Rollercoaster Fun!

Thanks to 1-800-brother-in-law, I can now post videos! Thanks, Greg!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

High Dive

Yesterday was a day spent at Knott's (I have a great video, but cannot figure out how to upload it!) and out for dinner at Nick's, where we ran into a former student of M's and his new wife. Today we ran a few errands, I did my Meals on Wheels run, and then an afternoon at the high dive pool. This pool is my least favorite or the 20 or so that we have to choose from in our neighborhood, but Brian really wanted to go there today. The boy has no fear!

Over and over and over again!
Matthew is back at drum corps, Alex is off to a movie and dinner with some friends of ours, and I am ignoring the incredibly messy house. For a few minutes, anyway. I am worried about one of the woman on my MOW route; she was having a really rough day and didn't look well at all.

Also, just found out that Michael's Aunt Grace died last night. She had been battling cancer for a relatively short time and was such a vibrant person...she will be missed here on earth. Her laugh was contagious, as was her love of God. I am sad for her husband of many, many years...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Early Morn

I woke up early this morning to a very quiet, not moving house. It's hard to find quiet moments during the daytime, especially when you live in a shoe.

A small shoe.


During the school year, it's easy for me to find those quiet moments...but during the summer, not so much. I am NOT complaining. I love the chaos that summer brings, but more than that...I love having everyone home.

It's a pretty fun house.

But I've been feeling a bit out of it lately and have been struggling to keep up. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, driving...it's hard to keep up. Normally I take everything in stride, but lately I've been feeling like I am a hamster on a wheel. Always moving, but never going anywhere.

So I made the most of the quiet. I made myself a cup of tea, slipped into a chair in my backyard, and opened my Bible to this verse:

In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.
Isaiah 30:15

He knows my heart so well! I realized that I have been neglecting my time with God. My quiet time. I was slowly starting to weaken and not hold it all together, but by spending a few minutes of my day ALONE with Him, He will give me the strength to be the wife and mom that I was made to be.

What a blessing!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Champions, Drum Corps, and a Melon

The 1st Tuscan melon was picked...

Matthew had a show last night and they performed really well...

AND, after playing all weekend...Alex's team won the summer championship!

Brian and the Chicken

Brian spent most of yesterday at his 'cousins' farm. OK, they don't really live on a farm...they just have a few farm animals.

For a few more days anyway.

Nico's class at school hatched baby chicks, and then had a drawing for the chance to bring them home for a short time before taking them back to the pet store.

Nico won the drawing and brought home a cute, teeny tiny baby chick. In the morning, he woke up to find that the teeny tiny baby chick had drowned in his water dish.

Pure trauma.
Can you even imagine?

Being the perfect parents that they are, Nico's parents ran out to buy him a new chick, and were soon talked into a pair of chicks.

Which they were to keep for a short time.

Fast forward a few months, after moving them from a box in the play room to a dog run in the side yard, the teeny tiny chicks grew up. One became a chicken (see above) and the other became a full fledged rooster.

That crows.

At 4:30am.

Like clock work, every morning.

Yesterday morning, the police showed up at their door because apparently it is against the law to have a rooster in your garage.

The chicken and rooster now have until Monday to find a new home.

Over chicken nuggets at McD's, Brian told me just how sad he was.


Friday, July 13, 2007


It's Friday. Already? Here's the past few days...

*We all went to see Harry Potter together. Is it appropriate for an almost 9 year old? Probably not, but being the youngest, he does many things his brothers haven't. Sigh.

*Three boys plus one husband are now wearing new shoes, plus throw in a pair of new soccer cleats and a new pair of basketball (court only) shoes, and remembering when I could feed my family for a whole MONTH on that same amount of money.

*Our neighborhood pool. Followed by snacks and tree climbing at our house. Can life get any better?

*My whole family is sleeping under the same roof again. Makes me happy, even if he's been gone everyday between choir camp and drum corps. His bed has still been slept in, and that is a good thing.

*No suppers together, but today was lunch out. All together. Lobster tacos with Mango salsa. Again. And again and again and again.

*An evening out with my girlfriends.

*Playing lots of cribbage while sipping Sangria in our very beautiful backyard.

*Finished reading HP books 6 and 7 (in 4 days!) and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the last book next week. Or should I say books. I ordered 3 copies, because we just don't share well. =0) After we read them , one copy will go to G & J, and another will go to a neighbor. The 3rd will be kept in our family library.

*Cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning of our attic, which is HOT. Really HOT. How many toys can one family have? Anyone need a lamp? We obviously thought that the 20yr old lamps might just come in handy, which is why we saved them all. How about some dishes? I have 5 sets of mismatched dishes. And about 50 (no kidding!!!) coffee cups with various mismatched saucers.

* And for fun...we turned our house phones off when we went on vacation (we had a student staying here), and we cannot figure out how to turn them back on! OK, so we NEVER answer the phone anyway, but it is so strange to suddenly hear voices from the answering machine. I am sure there is a manual somewhere, but no one has tried hard to find it. Maybe we never will...

*Off to dinner. I've been missing my friend Nick. More on him later! =0)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How the Garden Grows

The corn is tall...

the Tuscan melon is growing...

and the first of the heirlooms were picked.

Today brings basketball practice for Alex, music camp for M and M, and a play date for Brian, though they haven't decided whose house to play at yet. I've got 2 eggs left and I'm not shopping until Friday, so something that calls for only 2 eggs will get baked. I've already spent an hour in my garden, and other than that not much is going on - except for the normal cleaning and laundry stuff.

It's a quiet summer day and I'm kinda bored.

Which reminds me of a story.

Last month we were at a party and I was cornered by a woman I know. She has 2 small children, and she asked me what I do.
Now, this is a question I get alot, especially as my boys get older.

"I'm a stay-at-home mom."

Anyone who knows me, knows how proud I am of that title. I wear it with honor. It's a decision M and I made together, and have sacrificed much for, and that I am so, so proud to be able to do.
I have very few talents, but I am a good homemaker, even though I am rarely at home, as I am mostly in my car.

Anyway, she looked at me and said, "Don't you get bored? What do you do all day, sit around and drink coffee?"
And she repeated this...not once, not twice, but three times.

She threw me for a loop.

I felt myself getting a tad bit defensive.

And then I realized that she was up nursing an infant by night and chasing a toddler by day, with a husband who works alot and a house that needs to be run. She's longing for a little boredom.
Boredom seemed so far away back then.

But I sure do appreciate it when it happens now.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Close your eyes and picture 3 boys.

Sharing a bathroom.

The GUEST bathroom.

Feel my pain. =0)

Monday, July 9, 2007

We're all Home!

Matthew flew home on Sunday, and after saying 'hi' crashed on top of his bed and woke up 14 hours later.

He's 17. =0)

He's also very, very tan and very, very tall. I'm thinking he may have passed his dad up by now. I tried to get a picture, but he wasn't willing. Yet. I'll wait until I have a plate of food for him in my hands...works every time!

I've been doing lots of cooking with all those blueberries, with the favorite being Ina's Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins. I made 4 dozen on Saturday and there is 1 left. Not 1 dozen, but 1 muffin.

Matthew has choir camp tonight, and so does Michael. Alex has basketball and Brian has a friend coming to play. As for me? I am going to sit in my very peaceful backyard and continue to read about Harry...I sure wish I could conjure up a spell to mop my floors!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, July 6, 2007


...to mounds of laundry. I handled it the way anyone would...left it all and went to the movies and then to the pool! Came home and am now letting the washer and dryer do their thing.

Alex had practice tonight, Brian's been out with the neighborhood kids, Michael is taking an online class, and I am about to sit down with a movie. Probably 'To Catch a Thief' since it came in the mail today. Gotta love Blockbuster! Not only that, but a friend dropped off 2 bags of books on our front porch today, so I am set for awhile. I am almost done with Harry Potter...I am rereading The Order of the Phoenix before the movie opens on Wednesday. Can't wait!

Matthew is in Allentown, PA and has a big show tomorrow night and then flies home Sunday afternoon. He said the tour started out rough, but things have gotten much better and they are all having a great time. Thank you, God, for text messaging! =0)

Madonna Inn, Wine and Blueberries

Time for the drive home. We passed a lot of fun places on the way up, so we decided to take a few 'field trips' on the way south. The first stop was the Madonna Inn, which we discovered while traveling with friends many, many years ago. It's worth a stop just to go to the bathroom, especially if you are a boy. (I actually went in there while in college, but I was too chicken this time.) It's just one of those places you have to see in order to believe!

Normal looking sign!

Normal looking front doors open to...

PINK! Everything pink! Joanna commented that she had never seen so many twinkly lights puked up in one place...lol! My favorite are the pink leather booths!

But the best part is the mens room. There is a waterfall urinal that is every boys dream, though none of them would pose for a picture, so they got Logan to do it! I promise to remove this picture when he gets older, but I love it!

Next stop was the Laetitia winery. After all that pink, we needed a drink! =0)
So beautiful...it's located on top of a hill near Paso Robles.
Our cars!
Pretty kitty!
Tasting! Micahel and I did the sparkling tasting and ended up joining their champagne club, so we'll be getting a fun surprise in the mail this December. We took the 1st shipment with us, so we have 4 bottles waiting to be opened!
Last stop...blueberries! Joanna and I had both noticed it on the way up to Cambria, and we just had to stop.
They give you buckets and point to the fields. We were the only families there...probably because it was the middle of the afternoon and very, very hot!
Alex picking. He basically picked one for the bucket, then one to eat!
And yes, I used the slightly slanted porta potty!

This is half the berries we brought home...the other half are already in the freezer. They are so sweet and juicy...the boys cannot stop eating them!

(Matthew update...they are now in Ohio and tonight scored their highest score yet. Only 3 more days until he's back home, though he won't really be 'home' until mid-August...but at least he'll be close!)

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