Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's Next?

Max has been feeling his way around becoming an adolescent lately. He has always been an old soul, but he has a certain sophistication about him now that wasn't even there at the beginning of the summer. Just today he told my Mom that he was sure his "grown up voice" was coming. Oh-kay!

Recently with me he has been testing phrases and behaviors. Not necessarily pushing the limits (like some other little person who lives here) but just tossing things around to see what gains traction. Last week after a hockey game and a playdate he told me

"Man, Pierce was so pissed at me!"

Insert raised eyebrow here. We talked about the word and why it's inappropriate for young children and what better words he could use to express that emotion. Yes, I do know that's funny coming from me.

I worked from home this morning while he hit golf balls outside. Later I took him to the beach with some friends on my lunch hour(s). It was an idyllic day - pretty weather, well behaved boys, just good stuff. They all spent 90% of the the time on boogie boards and Max got tossed off hard a couple of times and ended up with his feet over his head and sand running out of his nose.

We were chatting at bedtime tonight and I asked him if he had a good time. I always ask

"what was your favorite thing?"

"Mom, it's hard to pick my favorite thing. It was all good except for the sunscreen in my eyes and busting my balls open."

Raised eyebrow . . .

"I'm sorry, what did you say?"

"It wasn't so good when I busted my balls open. You know my whiffle balls when I was playing golf this morning?"

Riiiiiiiggghhhht - right there with ya, babe!

I'm taking it one day at a time, my friends. Please pray for me!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not Me - Not Today

It was only a week ago that I got on board the Not Me Monday bus thanks to MckMama. Now today she is waiting for her 9 month old son, Stellan, to be airlifted to Boston where she is desperate for medical intervention in his rapidly declining situation.

I can't say anything clever or silly today - I just can't. I don't know this woman personally or any of her children, but I AM a mother and know that her heart hurts terribly today. As I follow along with her family's antics and the path of Stellan's heart condition I am cosntantly awed by her faith. Instead of Not Me Monday I am praying.

I pray for the safety of Stellan and his family as they are transported to Boston.

I pray for strength for Stellan's parents as their hearts are breaking and their hands are helpless.

I pray for peace for Stellan's three older siblings who are surely confused and hurt as their family swirls out of control.

I pray, I pray and I pray for this family. And I Give Thanks for my own family. God Bless us all

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Praying for Stellan

I follow a lot of blogs for different reasons. Inspiration, a laugh, decorating ideas, tips on motherhood. My recent favorite has been My Charming Kids written by MckMama. I love her wit and her faith and think she's a little bit of a parenting super hero. She is not a super hero right now and needs prayers.

Her son Stellan was born with a heart condition and is struggling horribly right now. He had a scheduled hospital admittance on Friday and things are not going well. You can choose to follow her story yourself at her blog http://www.mycharmingkids.net/ or you can just offer her the power of prayer.

If you're at home, or the coffee shop, or wherever on your laptop it means that you're not in Intensive Care with your infant. For that, give Thanks.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Flashback Friday

Girl's Weekend - August 2006

Three years is a LONG time in Mom years. The last time I was able to get away with my Ya Ya and Camille for some fun was 2006. We've been waiting a long time for another one. We've finally managed to pull it together for Girl's Weekend in September and I am can hardly wait!

These are the girls I grew up with and that know me better than ANYONE. Miraculously, they are still my friends. God Bless them for that! Geography keeps us from spending too much time together, but they are always in my heart.

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. ~ Emerson

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


My Dad and Stepmom, Lana (I wish there were a better word, she is SO much better than that) were our house guests this past weekend. There's always a certain amount of anxiety attached to having ANY guest for the weekend, but my Dad was coming. Aaaaayyy!!!

Life got in the way of my usual preparations and my rapid transformation of our chaos - my magic. I did not scour every flat surface, launder every single sheet, pillowcase and towel in the house and stock the fridge and pantry with everything I thought my guests may like. Any other time I would have had an itinerary planned down to the 1/2 hour and would have the kids clothes laid out for the entire time we had company. I'm either getting more mellow in my old age or lazy - we'll go with mellow.

I knew when I left the office to pick them up from the airport that all of my shots at perfect were gone. It was just too late. No chance for the magic touch. What a blessing that was.

They arrived needing a break from life and gave my family a break we didn't even know we needed. We ate when we were hungry, had ice cream way too close to dinner time, went to bed early and had no particular plans.

A picnic. A museum. A cup of coffee. An afternoon walk.

3,000 miles is a long way to come for something so simple, but this time simple was . . . magic. Life is cruel and my heart knows that those opportunities may never come our way again. If they never do I still don't think I could cherish this time anymore.

Magic is forever.

Fashion Victim

Max and Sophia were doing their choirs tonight and I asked them to get their clothes out for tomorrow. Pia goes through her typical circus of this skirt with that tank top - all to the answer "no".

Max goes through his stack of clean clothes and matches the shirt on top to the shorts on top. They're the same shirt and shorts he wore yesterday.

Me - "Punky, you can't wear that. You just wore it yesterday."

Him - "Mom, people don't like me for what I am wearing. They like me because I'm funny."

Touche', my sweet boy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Do Over

Remember when you were playing as a kid and you tripped over your own shoe and caused your team to lose? Your friends were bummed, you were bummed and you spent the rest of the day thinking about how you wanted to do that differently? You needed a do over. That’s me today. I need a do over. I tripped over my own stiletto this morning and ruined everything.

In my typical haste to make breakfast, make lunches and dole out vitamins I was careless and rude. I didn’t take the time to ask my husband how I could help him prepare for his trip. I didn’t offer to make him any breakfast. I didn’t look right into his eyes and tell him how much I love him. I didn’t even know that I didn’t have to be in such a hurry because he had already filled my car with gas to save me the hassle. Do over, please!

He’s leaving on an airplane for the rest of the week and I ruined it. There is no do over. I am smarter than that and I deserve to feel as rotten as I do right now, but man it stinks. I will pray for his safe return and the chance for forgiveness so I can do it better next time.

Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

NOT ME Monday

I love, love, love other people's blogs. My favorites are mostly other Moms and I love getting ideas from them. Decorating, gifts, music, educational toys – you name it. Blogs are my current reading material of choice.

My recent obsession is MckMama (http://www.mycharmingkids.net/) She is super clever, incredibly articulate and the mother to 4 children under the age of 5. HELLO! Her Mondays recently had the title NOT ME Monday where she quite wittily lets it all hang out about the slightly imperfect things she did NOT do. You know, she does NOT store her makeup in a gallon Ziploc bag.

Today is a NOT MY CHILD Monday and most of the time I could have a field day with that one. Sadly, to be quite honest, my children were as close to perfect as possible while we had house guests this weekend. I can’t say one thing about them today that would qualify them for NOT MY CHILD Monday. Not one.

Unless maybe you want to count that it was NOT MY CHILD that completely melted down this morning over the shorts she had chosen to wear and failed to say goodbye, or hug, or kiss her Grandparents who were flying back to Florida. That definitely was NOT MY CHILD.

And it was definitely NOT ME that left her sitting on the chair with tears streaming down her face for her Daddy to wipe while I drove away to have breakfast with said Grandparents before their flight. That’s not something I would do.

And I know it was NOT ME that checked as many things as possible off of my personal to do list after I got to the office, because after all I had asked for the day off before I knew how early my parents were leaving. I would NOT book a DMV appointment, a Dr’s appointment, upload photographs and search for a babysitter on company time. Not me.

Mostly it’s NOT ME that has been thinking all day about how I can get out of making dinner tonight and getting everyone into pajamas by 7:30 PM. That’s not me. I am more energetic and concerned with my family’s health than to try and feed them convenience food and bathe them before dark just so I can go to bed early. NOT ME

What haven’t you done today?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Flashback Friday

August 2004 - Tallahassee Vacation

My Dad and his amazing wife are here with us for the weekend, and it takes me right back to my first trip home after Pia was born. Max was 2 1/2 and she was 7 or 8 weeks old. I was not working, but Ed was so I went home for a couple of weeks with the babies. After it took us 24 hours to get back to California I remember thinking "Man that was hard", but looking back I wouldn't trade those memories for anything in the world.

Max at Carabelle Beach

Pia meets Nanny - still my favorite photo EVER

3 trips to Urgent Care confirmed that these were bug bites, not Chicken Pox

Cruisin' in Granddaddy's shop

Playtime with Nana Lana

Big Boy's first trip to St. Marks Lighthouse

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My life is my job

“My life is my job”

This was published in an article over the weekend and realized that it’s exactly what I’ve been thinking and unable to articulate for a really long time. Work is what I do to earn a paycheck. My job is to care for myself and the people I love to ensure our happiness and success. My burning question is “how do I do both of them well?”

I am a Certified Meeting Professional and take business very seriously. I had to work in my field full time for five years to even be eligible to apply for the CMP designation and then had to meet the requirements in what seemed like a thousand other ways to qualify for the CMP exam. I have to maintain my status in the industry to recertify every five years and have to be recommended by colleagues and business partners. Blah, blah, blah . . . As important as all of that is to me, and it is, it doesn’t come anywhere near comparing to the importance of my job.

Work is an escape (no really) and an opportunity to contribute to something strategic and far reaching. I manage budgets in the millions and organize groups by the thousands. I develop content, write contracts and edit websites. It’s good work.

My job is a series of carefully crafted answers to adolescent questions like “Why are Jesus’ hands nailed to the cross on my necklace?” That question REALLY came out of Sophia’s mouth. You can’t tell me that’s not a job.

My job is life changing. Not so much for me but the two gorgeous gifts that God trusted me with and the man I am lucky enough to call my husband. The answers that I provide to their mind blowing questions, the attentiveness with which I listen to their concerns and whether or not I wash the t-shirt for that week’s camp have an impact far beyond a careless response to a business question at work.

Lately there seem to be too many days when it’s ALL falling apart.

Work is tense and hectic. It hinders my ability to do my job well.

My job currently requires a lot of paperwork, money and schedule planning and hinders my ability to work effectively. Is there an answer? I have no idea. BUT, what I saw recently and believe to be true is this –

The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

I am praying a lot more lately than I ever have and believe that caring with all my heart has to count for something until I can figure it out. Until then, I’ll have to use my free time to think of answers to the questions like:

“When a dog dies can he still bark in heaven?”

Wish me luck . . .

Sunday, July 12, 2009


We're practicing for our Yosemite trip later this month. The four of us and our VERY happy dogs set up our tent and roughed it in the backyard last night. Max is madly in love with his new Easy Day Hikes book and Pia is tolerating us. Good enough for me.

Saturday night under the stars, Kramer begging for food, and a game of Go Fish. I don't know what I ever did to deserve such a gorgeous life, but I will cherish it for every second it's mine.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Flashback Friday

October 2005
He was 3 1/2 and in charge of story time in his preschool class. His teacher emailed me this video of him sharing a book with everyone.

I thought then, and still do, that this is just the most charming thing. I love his little boy voice and the way he swings his feet while he's talking. I love the animated feedback from his classmates. I love the chance to take a peek at a time that disappeared so darn quickly.
My 2nd grade guy is bigger and more sophisticated now, but for me he will always be this sweet little boy who says "is that disgusting guys?"
The soundtrack will play in my mind for a lifetime. Lucky, lucky me!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Free Food

I don't wanna cook tonight and have a list of errands that need to be run. Sadly, my kids will still demand to be fed. I just know it.

Ed and I have been a little offended lately by the fact that every meal for a family of four sets us back by about $50, and that's nowhere fancy. As much as we like to go out it's just become harder and harder lately to justify the tab.

LUCKY ME!!! I found a great site that lists all known "Kids Eat Free" deals and there's the option to sort by zip code and night of the week. Brilliant! Go ahead ~ you don't have to cook either!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer So Far

I didn't have any profound words on fireworks or the blessings of patriotism. I only know that my family relishes in summer ~ all of it ~ and we are loving it so far. If every day could only be as good as our last 4 weeks all of life would be a sunny summer day.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mr.& Mrs. Stefanski

There was a lot of excitement a few years ago when Ed's darling cousin, Michelle was finally to become Mrs. Kevin Stefanski. Their romance is a little bit fairy tale, a little bit real world and a LOT sweet. We were lucky and excited to be part of their wonderful celebration in Philadelphia on this weekend two years ago. They're such a sweet couple and we always hold them in our hearts from far, far away.

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Michelle & Kevin!

We miss you guys and hope you have a great anniversary. Lots & Lots of Love from San Clemente ~ E, K, M & P

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The 4th of July

From the Montoya Family ~
God Bless our family and friends on Independence Day. We are so lucky to live in a country where we can be anything we choose to be and every dream is possible.

Enjoy the time you have with the ones you love. Tomorrow is not a guarantee.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Flashback Friday

July 2006

Over this same weekend three years ago the four of us were just “hanging” at home and I still remember everything about this moment.

I love the sweet grin on Max's face and his summer hair.

I love the blueberries stuck in Pia's back teeth and the little dress she had just gotten from her Granddaddy and Nana for her birthday.

These are the moments that I live for. Spontaneous. Charming. Magical.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday weekend! God Bless America

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Main Entry: hol·i·day

2: a day on which one is exempt from work ; specifically : a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event

3chiefly British : vacation —often used in the phrase on holiday —often used in plural

4: a period of exemption or relief

I choose option #4 for the Montoya definition of holiday. We could certainly use a period of exemption or relief at my house. Exemption from schedules and commitments. Relief from pressure and stress.

Cheers to everyone for a long, relaxing weekend with those we love.


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