Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What I Did Yesterday

I stared at this all. day. long.  

Our attic stairs are broken (and stuck open) and I need a handyman (two,'s a two person job) to come fix them and I can't find one (or two) and seriously, it's annoying.  The cats jump up there, the cold comes down, the boys hit their heads and I can't get to my dryer.

Want to know how I really feel?


So I laced up my shoes and hit my favorite trail and decided to run out my frustrations.  That lasted for about 10 yards before I realized that I pretty much walk faster than I run.


So I walked...and talked to a friend on the phone, and walked some more.  

The weather here this week?  


Before I knew it I was rounding the last corner at mile 5 and I burst into tears.  This body might move slower than it used to, but it moves.  My brain moves a bit slower these days, too...but it works.  

However, the prayers that flow from my lips are 100 times faster than they were when I was younger.


The big garden is being weeded today (thanks to one of my boys...Merry Christmas to me!) and I've got to get some winter veggies planted.  I've just spent the last 4 hours working on paperwork for work; looks like my afternoon will be spent much the same.

Now to find that handyman.  Soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Settling Back Into Real Life

This weekend while I was away, I pretty much felt like I was in high school again...minus the big hair and the sneaking out and the boy crazy attitude.  Us girls talked and laughed and on the very last night stayed up until the very wee hours of the morning milking every minute out of our precious weekend.

And then I drove home and suddenly aged 30 years in a short 6 hour time period.  Back to work, back to laundry, back to males who were hungry and needing permission slips signed and reminders to study for finals.

From high school girl to middle aged mom.

And all day today, all I could think was 'thank you, Jesus.'  This life that I have been  Is it perfect?  Nope.  Is it always easy?  Nope.  Is it without worry and frustration and broken attic stairs and ants and a dog who suddenly barks?  Nope.

But I am so very, very blessed.

In the midst of work today, I drove to my very favorite little Catholic church.  I like to pray in quiet churches, sitting on wooden pews that smell slightly of Lysol and have a bit of a chill to them.  I'm not sure why...but I just do, and Catholic churches seem to always have the 'unlocked door' policy.

So I drove to my favorite little church and spent some quiet time.  I have a lot on my mind...a friend with an ill mom,  another with an ill brother, a son of mine who is struggling with the 'what to do next' syndrome, a parent in the hospital.   But there was much more today.  Praises.  So many, many praises.

This life is fleeting...and I realize that.  It's all just temporary.  But I have been given so much and I am so very, very thankful.

The weather this morning was so warm that I actually walked the dog barefoot.  Around noon the temperature seemed to drop and it began to sprinkle....all while the snow began dumping in other parts of the country.    I'd love a good snow storm right about now...a day to stay in and make a pot of soup and catch up on Gilmore Girls but sadly, that's not in the cards.

It's been kinda hard to come back to real life.  Real life means there are some things I need to take care of that I'd rather not, deal with some things I'd rather not...real life means being a grown up.

Putting on my big girl shoes now, ok?


And part of being a grown up is dealing with what is going inside the four walls of my little house on my little street.  The issues in here have reached a boiling point...are you sitting down?

One of our two cats is peeing all over my sons bed.  Not sure which one it is but we are all at wits end...I mean, seriously, have you ever smelled cat pee????  It's happening over and over and over and we are all just about done.  Yes, the litter box is clean and yes, we try and keep his door closed and yes, we need to take them both to the vet to see what's what but if nothings up then it might be time for them to go live a happy life somewhere else.

For reals.

And our sweet, scaredy dog?  The boys taught him to bark (lovely) and he's been caught getting into the trash at night so I'm going to have to put a child lock on the cabinet door.

1,200 sq feet.  One husband.  Two large sons, plus a third who shows up now and then. Two (peeing) cats and one (barking) dog. 

Anyone got a partridge in a pear tree?  It's the only thing we're missing.

Happy Tuesday, y'all.  It's a new day....let's make it a good one.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Going Home Again

There's a saying out there that you can't go home again...and for a long, long time I believed that.  Why I believed that, I have no clue...but I did.

When I graduated high school, I ran as far away as I could.  I had no desire to remember, no desire to look back, no desire to ever go back.  In my head all I could think of was all the negatives and somehow, somewhere, sometime, all the good memories...the happy memories, were pushed so far away that if you were to have asked me, I would have told you that life back then was hard and ugly and bad.

But it wasn't all that.

This past weekend at the gentle (and not so gentle) prodding by some of my best girlfriends, I went back for a mini reunion.  Us girls hadn't seen each other in (three) decades and it just felt like it was time.  I almost backed out a few times along the way because, well...I was so nervous.

A woman's overactive brain is an interesting organ.


I just arrived home from my weekend away and I cannot for the life of me wipe the smile off my face.  These people...these are my people.  All those negative things that I dwelled on were actually little speed bumps in my life...normal speed bumps that everyone goes through but when you are 18 they seem like mountains.

Those speed bumps were character building and brought me to this place I am now.  While I was choosing to remember them as all negative, they were really surrounded by fun and joy and love.  The memories that we share...that bond is so much stronger than I could have ever imagined.

I am so thankful that they made me 'come home'.

One of the best parts was a surprise visit by one of our friends who flew in from Nashville for a 48 hour visit.  He was my next door neighbor and we spent countless hours hanging over our back fence planning our lives and sharing our deepest darkest secrets (as deep and dark that your secrets can be at that age) until our parents finally put a gate in to save the fence.

30 years is too long.  Too long.

The other best part?  The girl time.  These girls...these women, are each so remarkable.  Their lives are not all easy...real life never is, but you wouldn't know.  They are an example to me of what love and compassion look like and I can honestly say that I will never run from home again.

I love how our memories are kind of like a puzzle and each of us have a few pieces.  When we get together we put them all together and they become whole and complete.

And funny.  Very, very funny.


I came away from this weekend smiling.  And happy.  And wanting to never lose touch again.

I also remember that driveway (that we spent hours sitting on) as being bigger.  Or maybe we were smaller.  

One of those is true.

So now I'm home.  I'm exhausted thanks to late, late nights and early, early mornings.  It was hard to leave but then as I drove away my focus shifted from my past home to my current home.  By the end of my drive I couldn't make that car go fast enough because of what I knew to be waiting for me.  

My houseful of boys.

I now know that you can go home again...and I am so very, very thankful that I did.  That past has shaped so much of my present and is such a gift, so forgive me if I can't stop smiling (and maybe even laughing out loud) for the next little while.  

I can't wait to do it all over again.  One weekend was just the beginning.


Monday, January 19, 2015

The Most Lovely Kind Of Weekend... a 3 day weekend.


My favorite time of day is the morning time when the sun shines in through all the (rather dirty and grimy) windows.  Outside, the birds chirp at each other while the animals (of which we have quite a few...but please don't bring that fact up with that guy that I like so much if you ever talk to him in real life) who live inside with us go on high alert.  

This weekend brought the return of son #1, who is an instructor with a drum and bugle corps and needs to come back to town every few weekends to work.  He's the guy on the far right in the baseball cap...the one who is doing the same pose his dad does when he's thinking about something real serious.

The apples don't fall far from the bush.  Or Busch.

Our lime tree...the one we threatened to pull out because each year for 10 years it gave us one lime (yes, that's TEN limes in TEN years) went absolutely over the deep end this year and produced more fruit than we knew what to do with.  We bought this handy dandy squeezer thingy and juiced the last 50 or so limes of the season and after making some rather great caipirinha's and a killer key lime pie, I froze 12 cups of that liquid gold juice.

And now the lemon tree is bursting with fruit.  Southern California, aside from it's real estate prices, is groovy.  Very, very groovy.

I, along with my credit card, was invited out to breakfast with my two oldest boys.  Mom's, and their credit cards, are invaluable (literally) to their children.


Breakfast was at a GREAT breakfast place in Huntington Beach...the Bread Crumb Cafe.  If you go, order a piece of french toast for the'll thank me.  Or's kinda caloric.

But worth it.

The time with those two guys?

Worth every dollar and calorie.

I walked to go get a coffee the other day and stopped to take it all in...the blue sky and the mountains and green grass and the pretty lake and all this is literally in my backyard.  I've been struggling with contentment lately...kind of feeling like maybe the grass is greener on the other side and then wham.  Every step I've taken in the last few weeks God has made it so clear in such bold ways that I have been walking with my eyes closed.

It's so easy to overlook what is right in front of your face, isn't it?

I was called up for jury duty and thought I'd have a relaxing day sitting in a cubby catching up on work and maybe even watching a movie or two.  But no...I was called into a courtroom where the trial was expected to last for 8-10 weeks and I spent an agonizing 5 hours watching the attorneys grill the possible jury.  

They went through 45 people and I was #46 and man oh man...I just didn't want to serve.  The case is a gnarly one...a criminal one and I started to panic at the possibility of missing work and basketball games and a girls weekend that's been planned for months and having to be away from my happy little home for weeks and weeks.  I began texting all my loves...texts of 'please pray I don't get chosen' and finally, FINALLY, I just gave all that anxiety to God.

I knew if I was meant to serve, I would serve.  And the moment I settled into that, they chose a jury and I was sent on my way home at 4:18pm.

I am so very, very thankful...and I also know I would have found peace if I had to serve.  His will is not always my will and I'm glad because my will isn't always so reliable.

Alex has been out of town, Matteo left for his home in another state and so it's just Brian at home today...though he's got basketball and a team lunch.  I'm making a meal for a family that's been sick, catching up on laundry and gearing up for the Bachelor on Tv tonight...because even though I promise myself that I am not going to watch it, I (embarrassingly, sort of) get sucked in each and every time.

Yep, I do.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Bit Of A Break

I don't think I've ever been away from this space for this long of a time.  I don't even have a reason other than life has been going by so very, very fast.  So here's a quick update:

It's basketball season for the youngest shrub in our family and somehow I was once again 'volunteered' to run the snack bar.  It's such a big job and takes so much of my time and I can honestly say that I no longer find joy in it.  It's like pulling teeth to find helpers (which I just don't get) and I end up missing some of Brian's games because of it.  But...I am sticking it out, forcing myself to smile and selling candy and nachos and hot dogs to lots of people who probably shouldn't be buying candy and nachos and hot dogs.  

Next year I'm retiring.  For reals.


Work has been overwhelming lately, too.  I've got programs on two separate coasts that I'm managing and it's not easy with the time differences...and if you haven't noticed, crossing guards work early in the morning.  And early in the morning in Florida is REALLY early in the morning in California.


Things should settle down soon and I'll go back to my same old routine...and I love my same old routine.

Oh...and BuddytheDog?  Sweetest thing ever...even if I occasionally catch him where he shouldn't be.

I had lunch with my middle born, extremely tall, boy yesterday and it was one of those lunches where I left feeling like I have done it all right which makes me laugh because last weekend I was feeling like I had majorly failed at this parenting gig.  

I there ever a middle ground?

In between the busyness of our days, we've managed to create some really lovely evenings.  The thought of going out socially during the week is too overwhelming to think about...I've been needing the quiet that comes with the sun going down.  

As quiet as a houseful of boys can be.


Rain, glorious rain poured down from the sky in southern CA.  We needed the rain and everything is so green and feels so fresh...and muddy.  

The annual college student party (of 50!) happened last weekend and we had a full house.  It rained all day long and then stopped an hour before the party...we had just enough time to set up the garden and turn on the heaters.  It was so pretty out there with the twinkly lights and the candles and it was actually a warm(ish) evening.

These parties are so. much. work. to prep for.  So. Much. Work.  But then I look around and I see the fun that they are this little house on our little street somehow stretches to fit all who enter, how there is always plenty of food, how happy it all feels.

It's not me.  Or that guy that I like so much.  It's all God.  All God.

The annual pig clock.  We play a huge white elephant gift exchange game and this clock has been around for a long, long time.  Seems a lot of people have gotten engaged while it's in their possession so there are always a few who fight over getting it.


Eureka!  I have found my new family room rug.  Doesn't fit in my car so I'm going to go back with one of my boys to get it...I hope it's still there.  Merry Christmas to me if it is!

(This came up on my phone and I am so glad I have the reminder!)


Yesterday I drove all over the free world for work...or at least it felt like it.  I ran on in to Porto's, thanks to a huge gift card I received and gobbled down a cubano sandwich.

Ever had one?

Oh my.  If you're a pickle lover then this is the sandwich for you.  And I am, so it is.



And now, today, I am sitting in the courthouse in the heart of Orange County doing my civic duty.  Yep, in the madness of real life I was called in to serve.  I've got a cubby, a laptop, wifi...and soon, Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  I'm behind the times (and the mother of all boys) so I never watched this show and I'm in love love love.

So that's my day.  I'm treating it as a vacation because what else can I do...though now I'm wishing I had that sandwich to keep me company.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Happiest of New years

Our New Years Eve was really fun this year...low key and easy and the perfect way to usher out one year and welcome in another.  Friends came over, the boys were in and out and we ate,  played some wild and crazy games and laughed the night away.

It was exactly what we needed.

This whole break was exactly what I needed.  Sure, there was lots going and Christmas and parties and Christmas and New Years and Christmas and on and on and on.  But it felt restful, too...and I needed rest.

I feel like we've had an honest to goodness vacation and we never left home for longer than a few hours.  There was even a day in there where I never got dressed...I stayed in my pj's all day long and watched movies.

Perfection, I must say.  Perfection.


The morning after New Years Eve and there were a bunch of teens in the house.  Pancakes seemed like too much work so I made a big batch of buttermilk waffles.  Yum.  A little sausage on the side and a big thing of juice and all were happy.

Win win.

Tis the season for new apps on my phone.  Ready?

1. Waze.  (but only if you're the passenger because it's so distracting!)
2. iRunner.  Farewell NikeRun...I've found something new.

And last, but certainly not least is...
3. TriviaCrack.  Get out of town.  Way too much fun!

The cold weather came to town and helped me to realize that I like it warm.  Not hot, not cold...warm.  75 and sunny and fair is perfect in my book.  

Flip flop weather.

This 30's business?  No thank you.  My citrus trees and I are ready for you to depart.

And just like that, the cold did pass on.  I'm back to my hiking trails and while it is so hard to get myself up and and out the door, once I am there I can't help but wonder why I even question going.  It's so much more than just physical exercise for's much needed quiet time and a place where I can think and talk to myself and question and cry and pray.

I've spent this vacation thinking a lot about how I see this coming year playing out.   More quiet time spent reading.  And praying.  And hiking.  And loving on my loves.  

All little things that add up to bigger things for me.

Today, the last day of a two week vacation and the house is dark...or at least it feels that way after the Christmas lights come down.  The decorations are put away for another season and I actually wasn't quite ready to be rid of them yet...but the timing was right.  We had a big family lunch at our friends house today and it was just the most perfect way to end out this break.

And then tonight, in an effort to prepare myself for going back to work early, early tomorrow morning, the texts and emails started coming.  I answered a few and then shut it all down...tomorrow will come soon enough and I'm ready to hit the ground running.

It's a New Year.  Let's make it a good one.


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