Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving and a Birthday

This group of boys have been friends since the days of sharing a lunch table and trading away their snacks.  The boy in the middle is mine and he's 22 today...the boy on the left is as good as mine and he turned 21 a week ago.

Our families are like family and so we all packed up and went on a grand trip to Las Vegas.

Here's an overview:

Alex and his darling girlfriend, Emily.  

The drive was long, especially since one of my boys talked. the. whole. entire. way.  And it wasn't the normal chatty one.

I can't confirm or deny, but I do believe at one point that guy that I like so much may have used the words 'shut' and 'up' together in a sentence.

And not in a nice way.


Here is our big, blended family.


 Matthew lives there now and we were able to spend lots of time with him, too...and nope.  Not one family picture.  NOT ONE.

Christmas, people.  Prepare yourselves boys...I want a picture!


 Oh, and we met Matthew's girlfriends parents.  And we liked them.

A lot.

They could easily be 'our' people but I'm not saying that out loud.


 Aren't they cute?

 And then we drove the 4 hour drive home in 8 hours because every Tom, Dick and Harry was on the road driving we stopped and rode the roller coaster at State Line.

It was scary.  And bumpy. And totally worth it.

Poor Brian...he has a big 'ole cast and can't do much but we snuck him on this rickety, totally not up to code and not inspected since 1978 roller coaster.

We're good parents like that.

 We also stopped and ate at the Mad Greek and it was SO GOOD.  



Sorry for yelling.

So we drove home on Saturday and all I could think about was cooking a real Thanksgiving dinner and so, like a crazy person, the texts started going out and before I knew it there were 30 people in our little house on our little street the next day.  


I slept in, had some coffee and then made all the sides while the turkey roasted.  It was all so relaxed and made me so happy...all my favorite people sitting in the garden.


 The annual 'are you a pilgrim or (unpolitically correct) indian' picture.

They look thrilled but they were such good sports.

Menu board courtesy of my niece, Sophie.

The baby turkey calling for it's mom just killed me.


Buddy the dog got a short rib, which he buried.

I love that silly dog.

And today, this is all that's left.  A lone wine bottle and the tables all empty.  

I'll clean it up soon but our house is under construction right now (dry wall work in our kitchen) and I can't get in or I'm basically hibernating and doing all my online Christmas shopping.

Works for me.

So today my middle born is 22.  How can that be?  He's so grown up and so fun and man oh man, do I ever like him.  

Happy Birthday, Alex.  I'm going to cook you a yummy supper if I can ever get into the kitchen again.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Getaway and Back Again

That guy that I like so much had to work this weekend at a church educators conference and before I knew it, I was packed in his carry on bag.

The thought of a night at a swanky hotel was too great to pass up....especially since I've been missing him so very, very much.  That whole church worker/Christmas thing...well, in real life it looks like this for him:

tons of extra meetings
tons of extra rehearsals
tons of people needing him
Jesus' birth
a long, long nap

It's all a blessing and nothing new in our little world but when the chance to sneak away for 22.25 hours came up it was a beautiful gift.


I have been feeling pushed lately...and I'm not even sure how to put it into words.  Pushed to do some new things and I'm trying to just sit back and listen to the whisper.  I tend to quiet out those whispers, push them aside, and continue to bulldoze through my life as if I'm the one running the show.

But the whispers are becoming a little more insistent...more like whispers followed by taps on the shoulder.  God is speaking and it's a bit scary, a bit uncomfortable, a bit exciting.

But here it is...I'm writing a book.  A book along the lines of all this.  I've got a working title and an outline and, gulp, someone who wants to read it.  Will it ever get to that point?  I have no clue, but for now...just to say it out loud, is a big deal.  For now I am writing because of the whisper.


So, back to Palm Springs and that incredible hotel.  Oh my.  What is it about a night away in a fancy hotel, sleeping on fancy sheets that most likely were not bought at Target, and knowing that someone else will be washing every one of the 18 towels you used to get ready that morning that makes me want to cry?

Ah.  Bliss.

That guy that I like so much had to do the music for the opening worship service and once that was done, it was done.  We took a little walk and splurged on a fancy dinner out and then made our way back for cocktails at the hotel.  We saw so many old, old friends...the Lutheran church worker circle is big, yet tight, and it's fun to see how all our friends circles have overlapped too.

It felt like Homecoming.


And then we ditched.  Hopped into that guy that I like so much's cute car and took the long way home because I had lots of things to talk to him about.  

Important stuff, like the palm tree in the garden that needs to be cut down ($$), the drywall in the pantry that needs to be replaced ($$$), the car that needs to be fixed ($$) and the boy of ours who, like his brothers before him, has a wicked case of senioritis.

This too shall pass.

It felt good to get away.

And it felt good to come home.

I've got some short ribs in the fridge that I'll brown later and cook long and slow in a bottle of red wine and serve with some smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli.  There have been lots of extra people around our table lately and so I just always cook for a's such a blessing to have a full table.

It's one of my favorite meals and I'm hungry already.

There is a long list of things to do today and I'll just plug along slowly but surely.  The main thing is to buy a big 'ole turkey and to, hopefully, get my toes all fancied up.  A hike would be nice, too...and the laundry is patiently waiting for some attention.

One thing at a time.  


Friday, November 20, 2015

Oh Hey, It's Friday.

I need to find my way back to this space...this little space where I journal our day to day.  Work has been pretty busy lately and then there's the boy who is recovering from surgery and the household that needs running and a family who needs to eat and then there's this guy.

How did we ever live without a dog in the house???

He's gone from being this scared, shaky thing to being so cute and lovable and boy oh boy, are we ever smitten.


The million dollar Christmas fruitcake (you gotta use real candied fruits and not just the fake candied fruits...although I'll eat either) is slowly soaking in a blanket of rum.  Hello?  How many days until Christmas?  I love really, really, really love fruitcake.  

I know.  I don't get it either.  But I do.  

 That guy that I like so much and I have been like ships sailing parallel to each other on completely separate oceans.  It's pathetic but it's the season we're in.  There is the shared 5 minute morning coffee where we do a brief 'have a good day' and a 'hey, I really miss you' and then go our separate ways.  The daytimes we text and sneak in a quick call and then our evenings?  

We're all over the place.  Sadly.  

But, I hear through the grapevine that Thanksgiving is coming soon and with that, maybe that guy that I like so much and I might both actually be home at the same time.


In fun and exciting news, my arm is slowly healing.  It takes a bit to get it moving every morning and then I'm good to go...still hurts but no where near what it did.  Wow...has this been an eye opening experience for me.  I've taken moving parts for granted, that's for sure...and I've also learned to hear the phrase 'well, woman of your age...' without wanting to jump off the roof.

Because apparently, I'm no longer a spring chicken and dude, that's a wake up call.

And Brian?  Man, is that kid a trooper.  10 more days until the next X-ray and cast change...only 7 more weeks of casts to go.  I think we can, I think we can, I think we can.

I'm putting duct tape in his stocking.


Buddy the Dog and I have been taking long hikes together every day and it feels so good to be back on the trail.  My brain is full of thoughts and the time in the quiet gives me time to sort everything through.  

My days just seem to be calmer if I've taken that time and even though some days I'm literally forcing myself to go, I am always glad I did.

I'm trying to finish up all my work so that I can be off next week...I've got a few errands to run and then the weekend will be here.  I'm actually thinking of cooking a real meal tonight...something that sits in the oven and makes the whole house smell good.  Beef stew, maybe?

Happy, happy Friday.


Monday, November 16, 2015

A Real Weekend

This weekend ended up being such a gift...for the first time in I don't even know how long, we had a whole weekend with absolutely nothing on the calendar.  Nothing at all.  No concerts (well...I think that guy that I like so much might've ditched one or two but please don't tell), no sports, no get togethers or parties or places we had to be.  

Just church on Sunday morning and nothing else.

In breaking news...I cooked.  Like real food rather than throw together food.  This whole one armed thing has been so sad and difficult and one of the things I have missed so much is cooking.  And eating.  But things in the arm department are slowly improving (though I had a super bad experience with a Dr and have for the first time ever decided to report a dr and get a 2nd opinion because this dr has been so rude and condescending) and I had a guy that I like so much here to help with the heavy lifting this whole weekend.

We're all happier.


Yesterday, on a beautiful, chilly Saturday, that guy that I like so much and I took our scaredy dog on a long hike that somehow started the whole day off to a really sweet start.  Lazy errands were run (and we kept running in to fun friends everywhere we went, which made it even more fun) and then we just hung out with our one armed boy.

He's healing, his pain is finally manageable and all is good.  8 1/2 more weeks in a cast, but who's counting?

The greatest thing about the weekend was that time seemed to stand still.  There was no where we needed to be and it felt like such a beautiful gift...a gift we are not taking for granted because from here on out, there is something every day of every weekend until Jesus is born.

And by the time He comes, we are all exhausted and need a nap.  Welcome to the life of a church worker.


The weather has finally changed here in SoCal and went from hot and humid to really super chilly...the kind of chilly where you wish you had the really great blanket from pottery barn but alas, your son had surgery and now you can't afford it kind of chilly.  The kind of chilly where you make a big pot of soup and watch hallmark movies.  The kind of chilly where staying in pj's all day is all you really want to do.

It's fabulous.  On a weekend, anyway.


Not much of anything important got accomplished this laundry was done, I didn't touch a broom, the bed never even got made.  All that is ok and it just didn't seem to measure on the 'what's important' scale this weekend.  I mean, I would have loved it if it would have magically all been done but tomorrow will come soon enough and I'll catch up all over again.

And that's perfectly ok.

I needed the down time.  The quiet.  Our whole family has been on the go and to be given a weekend to regroup?  Absolutely lovely.

But there was hard stuff, too.  Paris.  It's scary and so easy to point fingers and judge but wow, it's not an easy world that we are living in.  But I do know that all this, everything here, is just temporary and that is what I need to focus on.  But Jesus...come soon.  It's just too much.

And I'm ready for the week to begin.  There is work to be done and a house to be loved upon and it all seems ok right now.  I'm rested and I can honestly say it's been a long time since I've felt this way.

What a blessing.


Friday, November 13, 2015

We Are Healing

I've been thinking a lot about life stuff - about the way friendships evolve and change and fade away while others become bigger and brighter, about how much I miss my garden, about the fact that the pantry still needs to be done, about vacations and pedicures and work and telemarketers and work.

My brain is on overdrive with the weird and unusual.

But the big thing I've been thinking about since a friend and I had a coffee date is this....on my dying day, what will I regret not doing?

Will I regret not having a clean kitchen?  Will I regret the fact that my floors were not mopped?  Will I regret not traveling more or not wearing nicer clothes or ever paying off my mortgage?

It was an interesting conversation and our responses were so very, very different.

I guess my main regret would be that my people wouldn't know how much I love Jesus.  Plain and simple.  And that I'll go easier if I know they do too.


We've been in a flurry of hurry up and wait over here in our little house on our little street...tis the season for that guy that I like so much to be super busy every day and every weekend.  Work for me has been super busy as well...I'm choosing to look at it as job security rather than as a negative.  I've been stalking my oldest, who is vacationing in tropical paradise, trying to keep up with my middle, who has started an amazing new grown up job and then there's the babe of the bunch who was broken and is now healing.

The broken part was no fun but the healing part is all good...or will be once we can keep his pain level managed.  Poor thing.

In the quiet of the mornings I've been writing out scripture...focusing on verses of thankfulness.  It's bringing me a sense of peace - having a broken elbow myself, worrying about Brian's hand...well, I need to be reminded of the promises that are there for us and that this isn't all about me. 

The days then begin and seem to blur all together.  The weather has changed and I'm dreaming of cooking long, slow meals and eating in the chill of the garden by candlelight but alas, I am still one armed and cannot chop, let alone lift a pot into the oven.  

And Brian is no help at all either.


Can we all just say 'OUCH'?????

Tiny little screw turned into a big ginormous screw.  He'll live with that thing in there forever...or at least that's the plan.


We broke down and bought new chairs...our Christmas present to ourselves, purchased before the youngest shrub needed a very expensive surgery...and because they were custom fabric they were uncancelable (is that a word?) and therefore unreturnable.

Thank you, Lord, for credit cards.  

They are so nice and comfy and don't require bricks to hold them up.  Maybe we do have class.  And maybe I should take a picture to share....cuz they are very, very pretty.


And now, in the blink of an eye, it's Friday again.  We've got a few Drs appointments to go to, I need to go buy some essentials at Costco, Brian 'thinks' he wants to go see the big football game tonight with me in tow, and then it's the weekend.  

Our plans are simple.  Lots of laying low and hanging out at home.  Let the healing begin.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Can I Take It Back?

This has been the week of all weeks and today I became 'that' person on the phone with someone who didn't deserve to be treated the way that I was behaving and now I feel totally bad but there's nothing I can do about it except remember and be nicer next time.

But seriously, I'm dealing with a boy with a super badly broken hand and dealing with insurance and schedulers and trying to get the MRI people to talk to the surgeon and oh, by the way, you had your MRI at the wrong place and now you need to have the whole thing done over again before your son's surgery can be scheduled and who cares if he needs to miss even MORE school and STOP THE ROLLER COASTER NOW.

Thanks for listening.  I needed to vent.


But let me talk (again) about my little neighborhood.  I texted my girlfriend and practically begged for her to make turkish tea yesterday afternoon.  Here's the deal...turkish tea isn't just the (delicious) tea, but it's an event.  It's how we treat espresso.  It's hot and brewed in a cool looking pot and then poured into these cool glass cups with glass saucers.

It's just neato bandito, man...and I just needed some badly.


While drinking my (two, very caffeinated) tea, I watched her make enchiladas...chicken enchiladas with squash and the next thing I knew my whole family was around their table.

Wednesday night, not planned, nothing fancy....and it was one of those really great, much needed nights.

Today, prior to being rude to all the people on the other end of the phone who didn't deserve it, I had an online work meeting.  I'm good at multi tasking and got so much work done during the meeting and at one point I looked up and this was what I saw:

I just love my little house on my little street...especially at this time of year.  The light in this house is out of this world...we have tons of windows and the light in the early part of the day is simply glorious.

It just made me happy.

I should have bottled that feeling and pulled it out later in the day.

Oh well.  Tomorrow is a new day...right?

Happy Friday, my friends.

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