Monday, January 30, 2012

Say Cheese

Sunday.  Multiple people.  Multiple churches.  

One lunch out after.

One Papa.  Three brothers.  One girlfriend.  

And one Mama wanting a picture to remember the day by.

My oldest?  He's the dark haired kid/grown-up/rule following peep in the middle.  Point a camera toward him and he smiles.  No grumbling...he just loves his mama so much that he smiles to make her happy.  He's perfect, that one.


My middle boy?  The one on the left?  Sigh.

He is ALWAYS smiling and ALWAYS laughing...until I want to take a picture.

One picture, baby.  That's all mama wants.  In the meantime?  His older brother smiles on.

Matthew then tells his girlfriend to ignore his younger not laugh and add fuel to his fire.  It's useless.

OK.  Two out of three ain't bad.  Right?

 Poor Breanne.  Matthew smiles on.  Papa threatens no food.  Mama sheds a little tear.  Youngest brother, sitting directly across from him?  Laughing hysterically.  

I am thankful for digital cameras...whoever invented them had a son like mine.  I believe that with my whole heart.

They're crazy, but I love them.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ten Things From This Week

1.  work was a nightmare this many. problems.  My favorite was having to go and break up a picnic one of the crossing guards I recently hired was having on a corner.  Why, I asked her.  Because, she said,  the sun was shining and I felt like it.  And then she offered me a cookie.  In exchange I offered her a drug test.  

2. lunch with a friend at the food trucks.  Sweet potato fries make everything better.

3. Alex spent some of his Christmas money on a handset for his iPhone.  He kills me.  He walks around talking on it and people just stare...too funny.

5.  A 5 mile hike on Friday morning and I am SO sore...but there's something about a long hike with a friend that just grounds me.  So much cheaper than therapy...and more fun.

6.  A very special date with that guy that I like so much.  We had brought a wine (a brunello!) home from Italy for our 25th anniversary and never got around to drinking it, so we brought it with us last night to The Bungalow...a really great restaurant in Corona Del Mar.  We sat on the beautiful outdoor patio by the fireplace and had a most amazing meal...followed by a walk around Balboa Island.  It was one of those dreamy evenings that we needed.  So blessed.  

 7.  Alex's current basketball picture from the paper.  And yep, he made the basket.  I love his happy face!  

8.  The gentleman sitting near me...well, he needs new socks.  

9.  One of my very favorite things...a huge hunk o' parmigiano reggiano cheese on the table after supper.  The norm for us is to sit at our table for an hour or two every night...just hanging out and munching on little bits of cheese while listening to Frank and Dean and Nat and Rosemary and Judy.  

10. Matthew has a concert today, so we are going to that.  Alex is at practice and Brian has team pictures.  In between, mountains of laundry and a Costco run because we (well...not me) somehow managed to blow through 6 gallons of milk and 36 eggs since last Friday.  Not even sure a farm would be able to keep up with my houseful of boys!

Happy Saturday...what are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Time

Winter in southern California is an interesting season.  Last week...COLD (as in the low 40's at night) and rainy.  This week...80's.  Our grass stays green all year (we steal water from NorCal...but we're worth it) though most of our trees do shed their leaves.  

It's rough, but I can deal.

Today, after a SUPER icky day in the life of crossing guards (in the real world I am in charge of the crossing guard programs for alotta cities...everything from the hiring, training, payroll, scheduling, therapy and gulp, firing) because shouldn't be late on your very first day, I met a girlfriend for a quick coffee...and oatmeal.  Peet's now sells oatmeal, complete with almonds and dried blueberries and I have to say that it is AMAZING.  For reals. 

Guess where I will be tomorrow? 

One of the things with my job is that I listen to people complain ALL DAY LONG.   At least I am paid for it...when my boys complain, no one gives me a dime.


So far this week...two whole suppers at home.  I think that's a record during basketball season.  There's a big (REALLY big!) game tomorrow night and then we have a whole weekend at home.  A whole weekend.  I'm close to hyperventilating just thinking about fact, on Saturday I might just stay in my PJ's all day long.

Doesn't take much to make me happy.


Supper tonight...chicken piccata.  A Tyler recipe and a staple in our little house on our little street...I don't use veal and instead use the 'chipper chicken'  (can you guess that movie???) and I also don't measure anything because it is just too much work.  But this recipe?  You can't mess it up.



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I've Missed You

Hello?  Is anybody here?  Hello?


Been awhile, that's for sure.  Basically, if it's not eat, sleep, work or cheer for a basketball game then it just hasn't made it's way in to my schedule.  Which basically means I have no life right now.

I did sneak in a visit to IKEA last week...I mean, a house without candles is just that.  A house without candles.  And a house without candles is just boring...which makes me laugh because the last thing I'd say about our little house is that it's boring.  But without candles it is, hence the trip to IKEA.

Following that?

And if at IKEA during breakfast hours, splurge on the $.99 breakfast...and where oh where is the cent sign on a keyboard?  Anyway, it's cheap yet yummy, especially if you happen to have a Sidney Sheldon book in your purse.  Which I did.

Basketball continues.  The fun part is when former teammates verse each other and then go out for a burger after.  I love that about teen boys...beat each other up on the court and then break bread together.  Who cares what side you are on...just pass the ketchup, please.

We could all learn from that.
(Alex, 2nd from the left.  These boys played together in elementary school!)
 That guy that I like so much had a date night with our oldest and our youngest after a recent game...a four-way date that included a pizza at Nick's.  And a bottle of wine for the over 21's, which means my oldest is part of that crowd.


I mean, I'm still like 27...right?

Saturday Matthew had an audition for the masters program at a major university a few towns away...he walked in, played a few notes, was cut off and told thankyouverymuch.  Ouch.  The upside of the day...spending time with my beautiful niece who is a student there.  The other upside?  Today Matthew was accepted in to a program at a different school...exciting!  Still more auditions at other schools, but it's lovely to have one in the bag and to know that without a doubt, a Master's degree is happening.



I've missed you!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


1. I love three day weekends.  
2.  That guy that I like so much, after having a very deep conversation with the lime tree about the amount of limes it doesn't produce, punished it and chopped off a very large limb.
3. I walked outside, saw the large limb and proceeded to (in a calm manner) have a discussion with that guy that I like so much that might have included the words 'you're crazy'.

4. Things then got real quiet around here for a few hours.
5.  See the lemon tree?  Shaking in it's boots.  Or roots.

5. I cooked.  Lots.  It felt so good to have the time to not just make a real meal but to be able to sit down and eat it...not that I had everyone all together at one time.  But that's OK...I fed a boy or two at every meal this weekend.
6.  What did I cook?  A pasta dish with sausage and eggplant in it (a family favorite...meat for them, eggplant for me), chicken stuffed with a sausage stuffing and braised low and slow in a bottle of chianti (perfect garden party food...), and something else I can't remember.  So nice to eat sitting down.  Did I already say that?

7.  TV this weekend:  Bridges of Madison County, Golden Globes, and an episode or two of House Hunters.
8. Oh, and the tail end of Miss America.
9. Seriously?  Pop-ups for Miss America that say things like 'her favorite food is french toast?'   Really????
10.  I could go on and on but I am going to refrain.  But it's not easy.

11.  This is one of two of the most perfect cats in the world.
12.  This is one of two of the most perfect cats in the world.
13.  This is one of two of the most perfect cats in the world.

14.  Last night...cheese.  Champagne.  Radishes with kosher salt.  
15.  If you haven't dipped a radish in kosher salt, then you really should.  It's yummy.

The best part about this weekend is that I feel rested and ready to face the rest of this short week...after all, we only have 3 basketballs games, various practices, a choir rehearsal, a grad school visit, bible study and work.

Ready.  Set.  Go!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Playing Hard

The last few weeks have been exciting ones around our little house on our little street.

It's basketball season and the high school team that Alex is on....well, this group of boys (the majority of them anyway) have played together since elementary school.  The players are like brothers, their parents are our friends and their games are the majority of our social life.  

And this season?  This final season?

We're all having a ball.  Literally.

Alex has worked so hard and been overlooked time and time again...and refused to allow us to get involved.  His reasoning was that if he was going to succeed, he was going to do it on his own merit and not because his parents called the coach.  We (reluctantly, gulp) agreed to stand back...watching him overcome injuries and surgery and rehab and a new position to play and then a five game in season suspension, consequences from last year, all of which resulted in losing his starting spot.  Most would have quit.  I would have.  

But this kid of ours didn't.  I asked him last night (after watching commentators talk about him on TV) why he didn't just give up when things seemed darkest.  His answer?  'God didn't want me to.  It's as easy as that.  He kept telling me to not quit.'

 Being named to the Dream Team?  Cool.  Being on TV and in the paper?  Cool.  Watching my boys' faith not just stay steady but to grow through the process of darkness and dawn...well, that's beyond cool.

Way beyond cool.

In the meantime...our youngest, the 8th grader, is loving the high school student section where he is (thankfully!) watched closely by his older brothers best friends.  Brian is SO ready for high school...better fasten our seat belts!


This journey that we are on...whew.  Exhausting.  Trying.  Scary.  Overwhelming.  Sad.  But now?  Now we're just having fun.

It's been a long time coming, so we are just going to run with it for awhile.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Annie Sloan

Annie Sloan is my BFF. 

Or at least her paint is.  I'm telling you, this stuff is AMAZING.  

My kitchen cabinets?

Annie Sloan in primer red with black wax.  Not a day goes by where I don't stop and thank her for creating such fabulous paint.

Got beadboard that you want to paint?  

Annie Sloan is the answer.

 On top of the armoir my brother-in-law custom built for us (live in northern CA and need a cabinet maker?  Call Andrew!) there sits a wooden basket between the cute black clock and the vase we brought home from Italy.  The one that looks like an urn.

It didn't look like an urn in Italy.  It looked like a really pretty piece of pottery.  In America?  Still pretty...we just tell people it houses Uncle Vito.


In the middle of these photos...lunch break.  Butternut squash ravioli with brown butter, sage and pine nuts...left over from last night.  Lucky me.


 Anyway, back to the basket.  With Annie Sloan's paint, you don't need to do any prep at all.  Just paint whatever it is, as is.  The other thing?  It only needs one coat and that one coat dries super fast.  It'll feel weird...dry, like a chalkboard.

Steps two and three?  Wax.  First the clear, followed by the black.  It gives whatever you are working on a lovely aged look.

The finished product?  A little punch of color!

Just part of a really wonderful day where all I did was laundry, paint and cook a pot roast.

Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Back to the real world tomorrow, I guess...but that's OK.

Unless I find something else to paint.


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