Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Picture Tells Most of the Story

My middle born son, is 22.  

EVERY SINGLE YEAR since he was born 22 years ago, EVERY SINGLE YEAR he has had a medical emergency of some sort.  Stitches, weird scary diseases that no one has heard of, broken bones, more broken bones, ligament name it and this kid has had it.  EVERY SINGLE YEAR since 1993.

He walked at 8 months and has that kind of personality that you would describe as 'fun' and 'bigger than life'...the whole 'go big or go home' kind of personality.

All that's great if he was someone else's kid because seriously, enough with the injuries.

Blown out knee.  I'm not even going to talk about how it happened.  Waiting for the surgery to be scheduled because hey, it's a new year and he obviously felt the need to break it in well.  No pun intended.

I'm the chick in the blue shirt sitting next to him.  The words spewing out of my mouth, as you can tell by his body language, were kind and loving and worthy of the 'mother of the year' award.

Of course.


PS...I really do like him but for reals, a mosh pit?  REALLY?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Quick Little Update

I'm still here...just a tad bit spread thin right now.  I had a big work thing happen and had to fix it and it caused me to work a lot of (unpaid, of course) overtime and on top of it life kept moving at at a record breaking pace and I was just trying to smile and sleep (occasionally) and keep this household running the way it should be run.  Kinda.

Deep, deep breath.

In the biggest news, the youngest shrub...the one with the two inch screw holding his wrist together, has been cleared for all activity.  Apparently my thoughts on this subject weren't taken into consideration.

Deep, deep breath.

My computer was running slow...the kind of slow where my morning routine resembled this:

turn on computer
unload dishwasher
make coffee
walk the dog
throw in a load of laundry
check's almost done!
take something for dinner out of freezer
chat with that guy that I like so much while he shaves
wake up Brian
pour coffee
it's ready!

That guy that I like so much ordered something for it and then my brother in law installed it and told me I was one step away from a major crash and I panicked (though everything is in the cloud, whatever that means) and now?

Turn on computer and it's on.

Whew.  But my morning routine is shot.


Matteo popped home last weekend and nothing, absolutely nothing, makes my heart pitter patter more than watching this trio of mine interact.  They're loud and funny and rude and big and I just like them all so very, very much.

Except when they're loud when I'm trying to sleep.  But that's ok.  I can be VERY loud in the early morning.


In the corner of the big garden there was a rogue radish...check this puppy out.  

I spent some time planting...blackberries (uh oh) and artichokes and brussels sprouts and broccoli and cauliflower and beets.  

Digging in dirt is the best therapy ever.

Food is being cooked and food is being eaten.  Easy stuff...pretty much anything that can be thrown in the oven and cooked all together.

I took all the leftover roasted vegetables from this meal and pureed them into a soup...potatoes and fennel and brussels sprouts and carrots.  Blended them until smooth and added them to homemade chicken stock and a splash of heavy cream, warmed it all gently together and it was the nastiest soup ever.

There's a reason why you haven't heard of brussels sprouts soup.

I tasted it and sent a boy to pick up a Costco pizza.


I blew out yet another dryer.  For reals.  Took EIGHT HOURS to dry two towels before I caught on.

It's now been repaired (but still is only warm) and my favorite appliance repair man told me to stop messing around and just buy a whirlpool and next time, I'm listening to him.  No more fancy brands.

But he replaced the coils (which he said burned out WAY too fast) which means we have another clog  near the roof.  The vent guys are coming today but last time this happened...well, animal control had to be called because the clog was a (GULP) roof rat.

I'm praying for regular old lint this time.  I'll keep y'all posted.

And yes...there's ANOTHER nerf dart on the floor.  They are flippin' everywhere.

Welcome to ahousefulofboys.

So the night that I made the nasty soup and sent the boy for pizza, the same night that the dryer wasn't working, I called my neighbor (who was really sick) and ended up at her house with a load of wet uniforms that had to be dried and ended up eating dinner at her house.  That guy that I like so much had a rehearsal and I was tired and grumpy and just wanted a home cooked meal.

Turkish neighbors, even when they aren't feeling well, still cook for their families.

I'm now changing my wishlist from 'I want a wife' to 'I want a Turkish wife'.


I interviewed and hired and trained an absurd amount of people in the last few weeks and I spent a whole lot of time at the golden's my favorite place to meet people.  

I end up smelling like french fries...but there are worse things.  

He's back, which means the parental unit is back to cheer him on...even if he sits on the bench.  

Guess what?

You don't get hurt while sitting on the bench and that's good because he's met his quota for sports injuries.


Let's see...dryer repairs.  Computer repairs.

Car repairs?


That cute convertible cost us $1,000 yesterday.

I threw on my ratty housewife sweater (which I love and actually thought was cute until I saw it in this is now the early morning dog walking sweater, thankyouverymuch) and we went for happy hour.

Except we missed happy hour and had to pay full price and after spending that much money...well, what's another few bucks anyway.

Amen.  Again.

My boys beloved Bronco's have done it again.  Yes, they are the underdogs.  Yes, I tried to get tickets.  Yes, I laughed when I saw the prices.

But there's always the winners parade at Disneyland after and if they win, we'll be there.  With Siri.

So that's it.  We're plugging along here.  There's more going on, too...Lent is starting next week and I'm ready for that time of spiritual quiet.  I've been praying 'on the fly'...while driving, in the shower, when the dryer broke.  So many prayers were answered this week and I haven't been giving the best of me...a dedicated, set amount of time each day. 

For now, it's another day to try again.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Going Back In Time

This year is a big year.  A really big year.

I'm turning a number that begins with a five and ends with a zero (gulp!) and in the middle are achy hips and creaky knees and three kids and a guy that I like so much and a dog and two cats and a mortgage and dinner that needs to be cooked and laundry that needs to be done.

But the thing about approaching a number is trying, hard, to not focus on just the number and focus on the gift that this life that was breathed into me long ago really is.  The blessings.  The good stuff.  The bad stuff.  The ugly stuff.  The fun stuff.

And the fact that that big number is still a few months away helps...but whew, it's coming up quicker than I ever thought possible.


Last year I went 'home' for a high school reunion...back to a place and to a group of people that I hadn't seen in over 30 years.  I was one of 'those' kids...the kind of kid that couldn't get out of dodge fast enough and so, on the day after that sweet little diploma was in my hands, I left town and never once looked back.

Back then you could do that because we had no cell phones and no facebook and once gone, well...I was gone.  I didn't give a thought to what I was leaving behind and instead threw myself into everything that was right smack in front of me...a new husband, a move out of state, a beautiful smiley baby.  

Life for me just kept moving along.  I didn't forget the past but it really did become just a memory...mainly because of regular old life stuff that kept me from looking back. did we live life without peeking at social media every 5 minutes?

And then a few years ago, thanks to the wonders of facebook, a girlfriend from way back when 'friended' me and it all came back like a rushing stream.  I had had this group of friends who I shared a history with and suddenly I knew...that history we shared was so much a part of who I had become and I never had the chance to tell them.  

And suddenly....I was ready to go 'home'.

I just got back from going back 'home' yet again.  There was laughter.  There were tears.  There was quiet time and loud times and lots of time just spent talking...and eating really yummy food.  We talked and talked and talked and it just felt like a bunch of giddy high school girls getting together...and then reality would hit every time I had to walk, slowly, up the stairs.


As I was sharing parts of my life I realized that when said all at once over the course of a glass of wine, that things sound a lot more tragic than when they were actually lived at the time...that when you talk about events that have spanned 30 years in the matter of 3 hours, well, even I was getting depressed.  

But this life of mine...and I see this the more I begin to share bits and pieces of me and who I am, is such a gift.  I was a girl back then...I'm a woman now.  But bigger than that...I am truly a daughter of Christ.  I see His hand in every stage, every hurdle, every beautiful and tall son that I am blessed to have been given the privilege to raise.

I drove up north with a girlfriend who flew in by me and then hopped in the car and together we road tripped the 7 or so hours north.  She was going to be staying longer there and I was all set to drive the long and windy ('s actually straight as a board but windy sounded better!) road home and was ok with that....I've got satellite radio and planned on a BIG bag of snacks to keep me company when all of a sudden that guy that I like so much booked a flight and together, we drove home together.

Man, I like him.

We stopped half way and spent the night at an Inn on the beach and ate one of the most fabulous meals I've ever eaten at the Ocean Grill in Avila Beach.  Oh my, was it fabulous.  And then as we sat for hours (hours!) in a hot tub, we talked and talked and talked...I was full of stories of the past and of the present and he was full of stories of the boys and Emily while I was away.  

I'm always surprised...and I'm not sure why but I am, that we still have so much to talk about.  It's kinda cool...and probably annoying as all get out for him since I talk just a tad much.

It is what it is.

Oh...and we listened to the podcast of Serial.  Crazy good and crazy creepy.


I came home feeling like I'd had this major vacation and came home to major chaos at work.  I was quickly reminded that while all might seem calm and all might seem bright it totally hasn't been and frankly, it's been stressful and busy and overall icky.  But this too shall pass and in the course of a few hours I had come up with a game plan and will continue to put one foot in front of the other like I always do.

But it's not easy right now.

This reunion had been in the works for months and while there is another one planned for July, it just went by so fast.  Life feels fast lately, too.  I sit down at the end of the day and can't help but think that it's all just speeding by and I want more than anything to not waste the time I've been given....and I think 'have I been a good wife today?' and 'have I been a crazy annoying mom today?' and usually I can answer those in a somewhat positive way.

But the biggest questions I find myself asking...have I been His hands?  His face?  Have I loved the way He loves?  Have I forgiven the way He's forgiven?

And sadly, I don't always....but wow.  He loves me anyway.

I'm hoping to come up for air in the next few days but until I get my feet under me at work, that will be my focus for now.  The laundry is piled up higher than ever and I've thrown together meals the last few nights...we've eaten well, but I'm in need of good, home cooked meal myself.  

Basically, I'm in need of wife.  I asked for one for Christmas but Santa delivered a pretty necklace instead.  I'm ok with that.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

In The Morning Darkness

My alarm went off at dark o'thirty this morning and by noon I had worked a full work day and then spent the rest of the afternoon yawning like crazy.  Some days there's just not enough coffee to keep my eyelids from wanting to close...and today was one of those days.

At one point the lull of the washer and dryer had me believing that I was laying in the warm sand under the warm sun near the warm water...and it was glorious.  Until my phone rang and brought me back to real life.

The lotto is over 1 billion dollars and like everyone else, we're dreaming a bit of what we'll do when we win.  Pay off our little house on our little street is at the top of the list followed by a little trip aboard the orient express...first class, of course.  The kitchen cupboard that is being held together with duct tape and the scary electrical issues we have going on...well, those will be resolved, too.

But then?

Pretty sure that money doesn't make heaven come any easier or quicker and in the end, what more is there?  But yeah...I still dream about 'stuff', too.

I did a little update on my computer last week and that little update caused a whole lot of grumpiness.  Apparently this little space where I journal about what I'm thinking and feeling and eating is not mature enough for the new software and is making my life a bit more difficult.  I like things I know and this new way of doing things?  I just don't like it...and apparently it doesn't like me either.

And that guy that I like so much?  He loves, loves, loves figuring out the new unless it involves trying to explain it to me because I just hear one thing and it sounds like blah, blah, blah.

I'm an old dog and I like things to stay the same.


I've been cooking lot lately...a ribeye roast with scalloped potatoes and creamed spinach, a pork roast slow braised in white wine and milk (yeah...milk.  It's an italian thing and sooo good) with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus and then in between those two big meals was take out pizza from the next city over...eaten while sitting on the couch in my pj's with the golden globes playing on the tv.

There's also been a few late night runs to neighbors houses in search of chocolate.  Good friends are the kind who have candy bars hidden in their freezers.


Early morning work days have their plusses though.  I've been waking up so very early that even the dog doesn't wander out to be let's too cold and he's still snoozing away along with all the other males in my house.  I don't blame them...but there is something about the dark and the quiet, about making a pot of fresh, hot coffee and sitting in the kitchen and giving God a little bit of my undivided attention before life wakes up.

I've been digging my heels, and my heart, into the story of Naomi and Ruth...and gleaning all I can about being devoted and kind and loving.  

Three qualities I would love to have in abundance...three qualities I would love to shine with.  

But I often don't.

Tonight is a C.O.R.N night...clean out refrigerator night.  There are so many leftovers that need to be eaten and so I'm going to put all the containers on the counter and everyone can fend for's almost like throwing a bone to a dog in that whoever gets there first gets the really good stuff and the last person standing gets a glass of wine.  

That'll be me.  And that's perfectly fine.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Real Life

My girlfriend is in Hawaii and keeps sending beautiful pictures to of what her real life looks like right now.  Blue skies and fancy cocktails and sandy beaches and chickens and smily faces.

Here's my real life right now.  I like hers better:

It's been cold and rainy here which means a whole bunch of things in Southern CA but mainly, we can talk of nothing else.  Every time the rain comes it's all that can be talked about because it's such a foreign thing,  but I will say rained hard.  And for a long time.  

I've become a boot person and while my toes are warm and dry, they're already missing flip flops.  Wait a minute...wasn't I JUST complaining about how hot our summer was????

I've been bundling up and taking long, drizzly walks...the kind of walks where my brain can quiet a bit.  There hasn't been much quiet inside the walls of my little house even though most have returned to work and/or school.  It just seems like there is always something to be done...laundry and dishes and cooking and work and animals that it's just better for me to lace up my tennies and get some fresh air.

There were so many puddles yesterday and my feet were soaked by the time I got back home...I grumbled a bit at the beginning but then slowly found myself relaxing and holy cow, walking through  rain is such a cool thing.

Especially followed by a long, hot shower and a cup of tea.


There were a few minutes in the middle of my day yesterday, in between meetings and the need to be out and about for work...that guy that I like so much and I were on the phone and suddenly he and I and two of our boys were out to lunch for a bit. 

 Sounds lovely, but it wasn't.

I swung home to pick up the boys so we could drive together to go meet Michael but they decided to (and this is not unusual, sadly) take their sweet time (annoying me with every passing minute) and I kept asking them to hurry up (getting nicer every time...not) knowing we were on a pretty tight time frame.

But they did their thing, their annoying slow moving thing, and so I left them and drove by myself...all the while telling myself that in a perfect family they would have been listened the first time and I wouldn't had to have left.  They actually made it there soon after me and were very, very apologetic but still...they are old enough to know better. And once again I beat myself up over it because I should have taught them better...but I did teach them better, didn't I?

No awards for mothering.  Only guilt.  Pass me a cocktail.


 Here's to another week in the books.  The first full week of 2016...whoosh.  Brian has a basketball game tonight but he's still benched and not even suiting up so we're not going...I'm thinking we'll head to Disneyland for a few hours instead. 

Sounds like a nice kick off to the weekend.  Big plans tomorrow...I will be vacuuming right outside the boys bedrooms at a very early hour Saturday morning.  I'm most productive in the it's a bit of payback.  Make me wait and I'll interrupt your sleep.  


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Not Belonging

Yesterday I had a work meeting...the kind where the big bosses call and want to take you to lunch at a fancy steakhouse kind of meeting.  I put on my spiffy shoes and drove up north while letting my brain play funny tricks on me...thoughts of 'maybe I'll be ubering home because I'm being fired' to thoughts of 'maybe I'm getting a totally big raise'.

No ├╝ber was needed and the raise wasn't totally big and there is a fancy new title and lots of sweet words were spoken and a really great swordfish was eaten for lunch so yeah, it was all good.

Happy New Year.


I've been feeling lately like I don't belong...not all the time, but some of the time.  I feel it sometimes with work, that I'm on the fringe but not in the midst.  I feel it at parties if I don't know anyone.  But most of all, I've been feeling it at church.  

A lot of that is me.  I'm married to a church worker and have spent more time alone in church (with a houseful of squirmy boys) than I have with him sitting by my side.  And now, I'm often truly alone in church due to boys and that whole growing up and moving away thing that they insist on doing, and I'm feeling those same feelings of aloneness that I felt when we were first married.

The difference now is that I believe there is a reason for those feelings...and I'm just trying to keep my heart focused on that.  That the worship is not about me being comfortable and social...but more about me being quiet and in His word.  

It's a reminder to me that church isn't about a 'feeling' and it all comes back to me listening...with both ears open.  But sometimes I forget that as I'm slipping into a pew alone.

It's not easy though.

It's a super rainy day in SoCal today...the words super rainy are used to describe a steady flow of raindrops that fall from the sky for more than 30 seconds.  It's a novelty here and the word on the street is that this is going to be a wet winter.  

I knew it was coming yet didn't make it to Costco yesterday and had one rather grumpy teen grumbling over the fact that we are out of both eggs and bread.  Add it to the list of homemaking failures, my son.  Add it to the list.

I suppose a great mother would have made homemade oatmeal or maybe even pancakes but I'm not trying to win any awards any longer so I handed him a bowl and a box of lucky charms.


I'm sitting in a quiet house today (in my pj's) and will be dashing out for a fun, much needed girlfriend lunch soon.  

Gotta love girlfriends who listen to you overanalyze everything and then tell you to move on.  


At some point I'll run to the store in order to make tomorrow morning a little bit happier for one of my boys and I'm thinking tonight is a good night for soup.  Probably chicken tortilla soup...the pioneer woman posted a yummy sounding one a few weeks back, so I think I'll go with a variation of that.

Plus it'll make the house smell really good and since it's a basketball night, it can be eaten in shifts.

Brian had X-rays done of his wrist yesterday and has two more weeks (and probably two more after that) in a cast.  He's bummed but the Dr is super happy with how he's healing...slow and steady wins the race.

Unless you're 17 and just want to play basketball your senior year in high school. 


The Christmas decorations have come down and the house feels so bare.  And yellow.  It is in dire need of a fresh coat of paint and I'm thinking February is the time to do it.  I've got a long girls weekend coming up as well as a work trip to Florida so once both those are behind me, I think I'll spruce this little house on this little street up.

Still yellow because it makes me happy, but maybe a little different shade.  We'll see.


Well, here I go out into the wild wet yonder.  

Umbrella?  Check.
Cute boots?  Check.

I guess I've covered all the bases, right?


Friday, January 1, 2016

It's A New Year

 We celebrated the end of the year with our close friends...we ate and sipped on (a rather incredible) champagne punch and ate some more and danced to Abba and played games and laughed and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016.

Here we go, new year.  Here we go.

 I have had so many things swirling around in my head lately...the normal thoughts of resolutions and changes and words of the year and all there's all kinds of clutter happening in my wee little brain.  I'm not even sure how to spit it out onto this place...but this is my own little journal and over the last decade (!) of writing here I've come to realize that for me, just writing things out helps me to process.

I used to be really big on choosing a word of the year...a word to help me set the tone for how I wanted life to go during the coming year.  But I've found that when I do that I end up drawing a line in the sand and I find myself stuck.

Stuck because of a word I over focus on.

One year I chose the word 'bloom'.  I wanted to grow, to expand, to bloom.  I grew a business...probably bigger than it should've been at that stage in my life, I jumped in to doing things a little more than what I really had time for, I gained 10 pounds.

How's that for blooming.


 But I do love the beginning of a new year and I love the chance to start something new, to set some goals, to challenge my thinking.  It's how I work...I'm a planner and a list maker so this kind of stuff feeds me.

But the thing is...I just want to make it out of this new year unscathed.  I'm laughing (and cringing at the same time) but it's true.  I want me and my houseful of boys and my family and my friends to find ourselves sitting pretty, healthy and whole on the flip side of this year.

I'd also like my dog to stop barking at every dog that crosses my front lawn, a mysterious $10,000 to show up in my checking account, and to be able to fit into that super cute black cocktail dress that's tucked in the back of my closet...but now I'm sounding greedy.

 My trio were all home and I had them all three sleeping under our roof together for two whole nights.  I've come to realize that not all their lives will be running smoothly at the same time and that giving (often excessive) advice is job security for me but so totally not what they want to hear over and over.  And over again.

I'm good at repeating myself until I'm sure I'm heard.


Boy #1 has a lot going on, lives far away and I want to swoop in and fix everything that needs to be fixed because I, being older and wiser, know everything.  Boy #2...and are you sitting down for this?  Boy #2 has become my easy child.  For reals.  And Boy #3?  He's a senior in high school and has parents who have senioritis just as badly as he does and the sooner he realizes that (once again, I know everything) the easier it'll be for all of us.


But having them all home, watching them relate to each other...I just need to let life happen.  If I swoop in and don't let them stumble...then what good will it be in the end?  I want them to learn to be be strong and sensitive and while it's hard to watch, I need to let them each figure things out all the while letting them know that the net is here just in case.  But only just in case.

This parenting gig doesn't get any easier, does it?

So this year...this brand spankin' new year, I want to concentrate on one thing.  I want to listen to God.  Not just the nod my head kind of listen but the real deal listen.  I am being pushed and pulled and I feel like He is being very clear in what He's telling me...and I'm not paying close enough attention.

I know I need to spend more time in the word...and more time sharing those words I'm spending time in.  But He's leading me to serve better, to be his hands, to grow...and I've been slowly opening my eyes to how that looks and that He wants of me.  I'm being asked to speak more and this space is being shared more...but is that it?  

Listening involves patience...and I struggle in that department.

 So here we go.  2016!  Remember all the scare about the year 2000?  That was 16 years ago and we're still here...and we still have electricity and water and, thankfully, Costco.

 Last night that guy that I like so much bought himself a brand new punch bowl set and made the biggest batch of champagne punch you've ever seen.  Think brandy and frangelico and four bottles of prosecco and a whole bunch of other stuff and an honest to goodness ice ring with fruit frozen in to it.

He made an ice ring.

And I might've laughed about it but every single person who walked in the door looked at that massive bowl of punch and commented on the ice ring.  

We're bringing back an oldie but goodie, friends.

The morning after serving a massive bowl of punch meant a lot of texts from friends this morning.


This morning we had a lazy morning...I made a frittata with lots of fresh veggies in it and for lunch we had a big salad.  In between we took our pup on a long 2 1/2 mile walk around our lake.  The laundry is going strong, I have a huge pot of Sunday Gravy in the oven...basically spaghetti sauce with sausage and meatballs and a pop roast in it, and I've worked my way through a couple of dvr'd hallmark movies.

This vacation has felt good...but' it'll feel good to get back to a regular routine.  Am I really saying that?

I'm still working on my end of the year post but in the meantime, Instagram chose my top 9 photos of the year:

1. florida. work for me and play for him.
2. tiffany's.  worth the wait.
3. disneyland
4. i'm short. they're not.
5. dapper boys
6. new pantry
7. haha. love my boys.
8. pizzelle's.  yum.
9. hawaii.  can we go back???

Happy New Year.  


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