Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best Thing About 2010

I've seen several tweets today regarding "the best thing that happened to me in 2010. There is no one thing. My blessings and happiness abound.

The best thing{s} that happened to ME in 2010

I woke up 365 times.

I cooked approximately 192 meals for my family in the home that we own.

I kissed my two healthy children at least 1,673 times. Each.

I collected 26 paychecks and one annual bonus.

I flew to Texas, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Washington DC, Hawaii and Canada and landed safely every single time.

I told my husband how much I love him. And meant it.

I did NOT visit anyone in the hospital or have to say a final goodbye to anyone I love deeply.

I smiled, laughed, sang, danced and swam.

I lived another year and loved every minute of it. Thank you Lord for the opportunity.

Happy New Year!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness

Today I am thankful that this is my blog and I can accelerate my list.  My patience has worn thin and I want to move on and talk about how great my kids are and what a blessing the holidays are in our home and our community.  In no particular order - here are the things I am most thankful for.  It will cover the rest of my thirty days and THEN SOME.  The one thing that I can claim over and over again is that I am thankful.  I do not take one minute, of one day of our precious, crazy life for granted.  Not one.

My family. The three that live with me, of course.  I am also deeply thankful for our extended family.  Both sets of parents, our aunts & uncles, cousins, one living Grandma . . . Especially at the holidays I am so grateful to be surrounded by people that I love deeply and that love me in return.

My friends. Near and far I have been deeply blessed with wonderful friends. I am a quality, not quantity girl and think my friends are absolutely top quality.

Our Church. The holidays are the most spectacular reminder to me that our church is the House of the Lord.  It represents so much happiness for me and my family and I am thankful that we have a church that we love.

Food, shelter and warmth.  My family does not know what it means to be hungry or cold.  I am truly, deeply grateful.

My marriage.  As another year comes to a close I am so appreciative and prideful of my marriage.  E and I are creating a foundation for our children and their children that we treasure so much.  Our union has not always been perfect, but for that reason we know how much work we have to put into it and the rewards are immeasurable.  I have not ever in my life been so happy and felt so deeply loved.  I am so thankful for a peaceful, true relationship.

Every time we remember to say "thank you", we experience nothing less than heaven on earth. -- Sarah Ban Breathnach

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 23

Today I am thankful for the holidays.  I really love the extra little sparkle on everything.  Store fronts, otherwise average neighborhoods and Starbucks cups.  I love sending and receiving holiday cards and saying Advent prayers over our wreath on the kitchen counter.  And sometimes I wish that everyone would be so festive all year long.  And then I remember that this much sparkle and special is only appropriate for one reason.  And I am even more thankful for our season of joyful anticipation.  This is my favorite birthday ever.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 22

Today I am thankful for all the teachers, coaches and adults that are role models to my children.  For everyone of them that recognizes what an impact they have on our kids, there are three more that don't.  THANK YOU to the ones that "get it" and do it so well.  I am so thankful for what you do.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 21

Today I am thankful for the stack of books in the Princess' bed every night after she's asleep.  I do wish she would close her eyes a wee bit sooner, but love, love, love that she is so enamored with reading.  Bookworms are cool!

Thirty Days of Thankfulness

Day 20 ~ December 7

Today I am thankful for paid sick leave, wireless networks and PDAs. Being freaked out by deadlines is one thing, but being freaked out because I think my family won't have grocery money is entirely different. I truly can't imagine how stressful it would to be manage any sort of recurring absence and have to worry about not getting a full paycheck. I really can't imagine and so truly thankful that I don't have to.

Day 19 ~ December 6

Today I am thankful for prescription narcotics.  Perhaps inappropriate, but so true.  I don't write about my back injury because it's not very glamorous or interesting. Sadly, being in bed AGAIN makes me realize that it has defined me for most of this year.  That sucks.  I've had xrays, MRIs, epidural injections and neurosurgeon consultations and the biggest problem with all of that for me is that I am way too young and fantastic to be disabled for even one day of my life.  I am going to pursue acupuncture and maybe a second opinion.  After Christmas.

For now . . . I have Darvocet, Flexorall and Soma to get me through.  And I am very thankful.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Eighteen

December 5

Today I am thankful for my Nanny.  If she were still here it would be her 91st birthday.  She took a tiny piece of me with her when she left here, but what she left behind was so much bigger.  Her legacy of love and compassion is broad and warm.  She left behind small children who remember her gentle way and easy smile.  She left behind adults who miss her hands and the smell of her powder.  I am so thankful that she was mine for the first 33 years of my life.  So thankful she was mine for even a minute.  So thankful for my Nanny.

Happy Birthday, little bird.  I miss you every day.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Seventeen

Today I am thankful for  My kiddos opened their letters from Santa this morning and you would think that the jolly old soul was standing in our kitchen himself.  Happy Holidays are well underway!

Thirty Days of Thankfulness

Day Sixteen ~ December 3

Today I am thankful for Friday.  I could not possibly handle one more of THOSE days this week.

Day Fifteen ~ December 2

Today I am thankful for my sense of humor. If I weren't able to laugh at the nonsense that makes up the majority of my day I would surely be a manic, chain-smoking alcoholic!!

Day Fourteen ~ December 1

Today I am thankful for elementary school bedtime and the glass(es) of wine with my name on it.  This tired Mama needs the nighttime wind down in a very big way.
photo courtesy of

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ten Things - November 2010

It's a new month {AGAIN!} and time to share the ten things this month that made me smile.  I am sure that I had more than reasons than usual to smile this month, but here are ten of my favorites.  You should see Emmy's Ten Things, too.  There's a photo of her kids that should be in a magazine and SHE'S the photographer.  Way to go, Emmy!

Seeing Colbie Caillat in concert in San Diego

The fun and fellowship of a family get together and wacky kids who have taken up arm wrestling!!!

Finally getting to the bottom of the giant stack of medical correspondence and billing from my back injury this summer. Good insurance is a great reason to smile!

Celebrating my tenth wedding anniversary.  Right behind motherhood, marriage is hard work!  I am so truly grateful to be married to someone that I love even more now than I did when we got married.

Celebrating our anniversary and the Thanksgiving holiday in Hawaii.  We did not one serving of pumpkin pie, but I more than made up for it with pineapple mojitos!!

Volcanoes, rainbows and stunning sunsets all make me smile

Coming home to a clean house, dogs that were well cared for and homemade cupcakes.  Love you, Megan!

Fawning over a simple holiday wreath in a shop window and successfully making it myself.  SERIOUSLY! 
I am NOT a crafter so just you can't even imagine my delight

My kids.  I could not possibly love these people any more. Could not.

Getting into the holiday spirit

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Thirteen

Today I am thankful for my "Brown Girls".  The laughter, the tears, the memories that have made us who we are . . .  I'd love it if we could spend more time together, but geography dictates differently.  I love you, my friends and miss you so much.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Twelve

Day Twelve  - November 29

Today I am thankful for perspective. It is truly a gift to know that grass is NOT greener on the other side. Even on the days when it seems like it has to be!!

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Eleven

Day Eleven - November 28

Today I am thankful for sweet kids who still believe in magic. We saw Santa after church and my very grown up, mostly serious 8 year old son says to me "I'm probably too old to be this excited, but I just can't help it!!". L<3VE it!!!

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Ten

Day Ten - November 27

Today I am thankful for the Seminoles! I've been a long way from Doak Campbell Stadium for a long time, but I still love FSU football. Let's go 'Noles!!

WOO HOO!!  My 'Noles scalped the Gators after this post.  Way to go Seminoles!!

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Nine

Day Nine - November 26

Today I am thankful for home. With the scratched wood floors, closets that could be bigger and garage that desperately needs to be cleaned - it's home. It's where Santa and the Tooth Fairy know where to find my children and where all of our best memories are made. There really is no place like home.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Eight

Day Eight - November 24

Today I am thankful for my in-laws. They are fun loving and easy to be with and the very best Grandparents around. I feel so lucky to have married into a family that I can love just as much as my own.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Seven

Day Seven - November 23

Today I am thankful for memories. We returned today to a snorkel spot that we haven't been to in 10 years. The day before E and I were married we went there with our bridal party and had a wonderful time.  There's no sand.  Just black lava that flows directly into the ocean and an unbelievable coral reef.

I loved remembering our time there with our friends and making new memories with our kiddos.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Six

Day Six - November 22

Today I am thankful for my parents. I am so blessed by their love and generosity even as an adult. It doesn't matter how far away I am or how long I have been gone, they love me unconditionally and completely.  It's absolutely true that parenthood never ends and I am so thankful for that gift.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Five

Day Five - November 21

Today I am thankful for Sunday service in the magical little church where we were married. Sitting in in the pew w/ E and our kids is an opportunity I can't possibly take for granted.

I have to add a footnote to this.  The church where we were married makes me endlessly happy.  It was built in 1845 and is made entirely from indigenous materials to the islands of Hawaii.  Shoes are not permitted on the koa wood alter and the building sits about 100 feet from the ocean. 

The building and location are definitely magical, there's no question about it.  But a lot of the magic comes from their pastor, Reverend Kealahou Alika.  He is native to the Hawaiian islands and holds a very, very special place in my heart.  He is kind and warm and witty and was my favorite part of our wedding celebration (besides my husband!!!).  Ten years later and I still feel the same way.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Four

Day Four - November 19

Today I am thankful for my healthy, energetic family. I love them for their curiosity, passion for life and physical ability to do it all. Good health is truly a blessing.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Three

Day Three - November 18

 Today I am thankful for my wedding anniversary. I can't believe it's been 10 years since that sweet afternoon with our family & friends in Maui, but am grateful for every minute of it. Happy Anniversary to my E.  You truly are my better half ♥

Catching Up from Island Time

I am a blog hypocrite, I know.  I made a proclamation to share my thirty days of thankfulness and stopped with Day Two.  I didn't actually stop, but while I was in Maui (!!!!) the wireless reception was spotty.  The last thing I wanted to do was spend my island vacation chasing a wireless signal so I chose not to.  I did keep up with my thirty days of thankfulness.  Here comes the countdown . . .

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day Two

Today I am thankful for the blonde haired, blue eyed spitfire that is my 6 year old daughter.  She is a book loving, rule breaking, limit pushing, swimsuit wearing, kindergarten dynamo.  She reminds me daily of what it's like to feel invincible and keeps me on my toes with her antics.  My Sassy Girl is such a treasure.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thirty Days of Thankfulness ~ Day One

Somewhere at the beginning of November I missed the bandwagon on thirty days of thankfulness.  There might be a video and some details that go along with the concept, but I'm not sure.  The idea has stuck with me though and I see nothing wrong with being thankful for the last half of November right through Thanksgiving and into Advent.  It's perfect, really.  Thirty days could never be enough to truly give thanks for all that I have and love.  There is not one bedtime story, trip to the grocery store or call to my parents that I am not grateful for.  Not one.  I am far too aware of how quickly it can disappear and I constantly am aware of how good it is.  Thankfulness is in my heart.

Today I am thankful for my amazing 8 year old son. He was honored at school this week for being selected to the John Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. He IS academically talented, as well as warm, generous and hilarious. He is a precious blessing to our family that I am thankful for every single day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What I Should Have Said

Last week I hosted a small birthday soiree for my girlfriend. I also spent three of the five day week at home because I wasn't well enough to leave the house. Fever, sore throat, pounding headache - not a great combo when you have 15 women showing up to celebrate. Working in my favor was that I had sent invites for a "Cozy Night In". Definitely better than a dance party, but still some work for my temporarily limited entertaining abilities. There was no way I would back out so I got all souped up on Dayquil and had a couple of glasses of sangria. Let me just say - not my finest work.

After cleaning the popcorn maker for about three hours on Sunday I realized that the reason it was smoking and dripping butter from the doors was because I never bothered to put the lid back on it. That would have certainly helped. Around the same time I was cleaning the popcorn maker I found the appetizers and ingredients for the creme brulee shots that I never served. Maybe next time.

My girlfriend and her girlfriends insist it was fun and that it was really gracious of me to host. I said multiple times that it was my pleasure. And truly, it was. The guest of honor is "That Friend" to me. That Friend is the one you would call in the middle of the night when you've made a bad choice and need to discuss it with someone immediately. The one that could see you in all your naked UNglory and choose to compliment you on your new eye shadow. The one that holds your hand through the very darkest moments when no one else dares approach. Yep, That Friend. And if I'd had all my wits about me I would have made a toast to That Friend to celebrate her birthday in this year of her life. I really meant to, but the sentiment got lost somewhere in the custom playlist, forgotten shots and failed game plan.

To you, my friend. "That Friend". A toast in honor of your birthday

Ten years ago we had been working together for about 6 minutes and she was invited to a bridal shower that the office was hosting for me. She didn't know me and I didn't know her, and all we had in common that we were the well dressed twenty somethings in the office. And she came to the shower for me (who she didn't know) with a generous, lovely gift that was both from my bridal registry and perfectly themed for my upcoming destination weekend. And I thought "that is the most thoughtful girl I've ever met".

In the last ten years we have laughed so hard that we've peed our pants, we have cried so much we could fill a swimming pool and have seen the very best and the very worst in each other. Together we've been on prime time television, run a small business and drank too many cocktails. We've shared clothes, recipes, luggage and life. She was there on the day that both of my children were born and again when they were baptized. She was there more than once when I would have cried alone because I feared for the life of my unborn child and we have mourned together for the lives of her tiny unborn babies. She is a role model to me sometimes and others the most humbling reminder of imperfection and weakness. And I still think all the time "that is the most thoughtful girl I've ever met".

There's not one thing in the world that I wouldn't do for my friend. Not one. And to host a party for her is the smallest act of kindness I could possibly grant. The burnt popcorn and missing appetizers were just a bonus.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ten Things

There were so many beautiful reasons to smile in October. 
Ten of my favorites

Cozy fall accessories and toasty warm smells in my home

The Princess having a great month at school, in soccer and Girl Scouts!

Getting the opportunity to plan a birthday party for my BFF

Receiving multiple compliments on the wonderful gentleman that is my son

Celebrating 9 years with sweet Isabella

Having something to look forward to

Fairmont Kea Lani ~ Wailea, Maui

Making some time to read again

Taking my first business trip since June - and surviving it (barely!)

My hard-working husband being everything I need and still making the time to be what they need, too.

The very precious blessing of kids just being kids

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What's Not to Love

You say. "what are your plans for Halloween?"

I say "I don't love Halloween."

The clever costumes elude me and scary stuff freaks me out. I am not a huge fan of my kids walking to strangers front doors and asking for candy that I will throw away after Christmas. Halloween is not my LEAST favorite thing in the world, but I don't love it.

And then the four of us are around the island in the kitchen. They're scooping and he's carving. The oven is heating for pumpkin cookies and the television is not on football or the Disney channel. Seeds and gunk cover the counter and both of my kids are laughing at their Dad.

I don't love Halloween, but for tonight there's nothing not to love.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

I'm on a business trip this week.  My husband is on a business trip this week.  We're both a little bummed about it.  One kid has free dress.  The other one has a project due and baseball practice.  And a social studies test.  And no Halloween costume.

Got Random?  I'm all over it.

I keep being very proud of myself for getting all the laundry done and then can't quite bring myself to take the clean clothes out of the basket, fold it and deliver to it's true home.  That doesn't really count as being done, huh?

It's been raining in Southern California for a solid week and I am over it.  A solid week except for Sunday afternoon at the Athlete's baseball game.  I look like a raccoon who vacationed on the surface of the sun.  Not a good look when it's pouring rain a mere 12 hours later.  It's more than a little odd.  The Athlete said to me this morning "um, Mom - maybe you should have taken off the sunglasses or put sunscreen all over your face".  He's a lot funnier when he's not right.

My family leaves in three weeks for vacation in Hawaii.  I've been telling myself for the LAST three weeks that I should stick to a diet of twigs and berries so I won't be miserable in a swimsuit for that whole trip.  I ate half a pint of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch on a conference call today.  There's always tomorrow . . .

The dog has been laying under my feet  I've rolled over his legs twice with the office chair and he still hasn't moved.  I should be grateful for the unconditional love.  I think.  I really just wish he'd be that still and quiet in the middle of the night insteading of snoring and begging to go outside.

Go see the UnMom if you're feeling random, too.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dear Someone

It's been a million years since I've done Letters and I have a little steam to blow off this week.

Dear Someone letters are written to that special someone who you would say that special thing to if (1) you wouldn't be fired over it, (2) you wouldn't be arrested over it OR (3) that someone spoke English.

Dear Murphy's Law,

Why on earth do you feel compelled to show off in SUCH A BIG WAY this week?  The violent thunderstorms, the DOG, the under the weather crying children and work.  Oh brother, work.  I am {mostly} a good girl and respect that the universe is in charge so you really didn't need to go and flex your muscles quite so big this week.  I'm going to keep trudging along because I always do, but I am asking nicely for you to chill out.  It's almost Friday and I am sure you need a break.  I certainly do.

Respectfully Yours,

Exhausted, Exasperated and Soaking Wet

Dear Mean Girls,

Get a freakin' life.  It's completely beyond me that you have the time to meddle in someone else's business so regularly and that while you are so busy meddling that you don't notice how little I care about what you think.  And since you're so dialed in on everything that I am saying you should have known that I wouldn't back down from what I said.  I would never say anything ABOUT someone that I wouldn't say TO someone.  I am more than a little shocked that you don't know that about me since you seem to know everything else.  You'll have to find someone else to be jealous of now.  All of my dirty laundry has been aired.  Thanks for that.

Mrs. M

Dear $.99 Store,

Where have you been all my life?  I am smitten and looking forward to spending more time together.


Your New BFF

Dear Very Old Dog,

Bless your incontinent heart.  I know it's not your fault that you are very old and rickety and lack control of most of your bodily functions.  I know all of this.  I just need a little time to clear my mind when you wake me up whining every.dang.night and then think my son's bedroom floor is a canine litter box.  I love you a lot and always will, but I am losing patience.  Work with me.  Please.

Love Always,
Your Human

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Because I Don't Scrapbook

I have given up on trying to stay current with my blog and always writing something meaningful.  These days I am lucky to get all the laundry done and keep the car filled with gas - I have zero time for meaningful writing.  What I don't want to give up, though is the chronicle of my family.

I started blogging so that my family could stay current on what's happening at our house and have an ongoing dialogue with my adorable kids.  That can't end.  We can't skype enough or buy enough cross country airplane tickets to stay truly current.  And there's a historical quality to writing about young children.  My first posts were just a diary of what my kids were up to and how grateful I was for our life.  None of that has changed, it's only gotten better.

My kids are bigger, smarter and funnier.  We are busier, older and happier.  All of those things are inevitable and worth writing about.

A Gentleman Never Panics

Before The Athlete actually attended his first Cotillion last week I am not sure I knew exactly what to expect.  I was so pleasantly surprised and let me just say that a large group of third and fourth grade kids learning how to appropriately interact with each other is OVER THE TOP DARLING.

Gentlemen are required to wear dark suits, a white dress shirt and a tie.  Young ladies must wear a dress and white gloves.  They gather once a month and and learn how make polite conversation, dance with a partner and the necessary ettiquette of a formal meal.  This month's session focused on the Cha Cha and sharing refreshments with your partner.

60 Second Cha Cha Video

Following the dancing, the Host and Hostess showed the ladies how to fold their gloves and give them to their partner to hold while enjoying refreshments.  I panicked on behalf of my boy, because I knew that the tailor had taken so much material out of his suit that he no longer had functioning pockets.  The Host, being a gentleman as well. said to the boys --

"and what do you do if you're wearing a brand new suit and your pockets are sewn shut?  That's OK.  A gentleman never panics and should not look like he is going to cry because he doesn't have his coat pocket available to hold his partner's gloves.  It is perfectly OK to take her gloves and put them inside your coat."

It was a really nice thing for him to say, but this bit of advice also wasn't going to help my son.  His pants had so much material removed from them that the pockets are sewn into the seam  now. There wasn't anything I could do to help him so I continued to watch and love every minute of it.

He seemed to make it out of his first event unscathed and delighted to have been part of it.  He couldn't stop talking about how much fun he had and he practiced ALL of the manners he learned . . . it was truly the sweetest thing.  He didn't even mention that he danced with girls twice his size.  I am pretty sure he was loving it so much he didn't even notice.

Later that night I asked him what he did with his partner's gloves.

"Mom, a Gentleman never panics.  I just put them in my back pocket."

Well, maybe I need the lesson in social graces more than he does.  Dance on handsome.  I'm just as excited about next month as you are.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ten Things: September 2010

It feels like Emmy posts her Ten Things earlier and earlier each month, but it could just be my increased dismay with the entire year slipping right past us. I admire her efficiency and always love that she shares her grateful heart so easily, but I can't post one day sooner than the end of the month.  I need every day I can get to savor the moments and little occasions that may never come again.

The kiddos getting off to a great start in the new school year

The YouTube video that E found that helped him teach The Athlete how to ride a bike in less than five minutes.

AND the Athlete loving riding a bicycle {his sister's} so much that he proudly went to the bank to withdraw his recycling money from savings to buy his own two-wheeler

Our kids making memories with their only living Great Grandparent

A belated birthday gift that included margaritas, a great concert and some much needed adult time with my One and Only

The Princess playing her first season ever of soccer, and loving every minute of it
Go Rainbow Superstars!

This crazy clown who thinks he is ALL business with his new student desk

My little rose garden that reminds me of my Nanny

A gracious, and patient Lord that lets me be my cranky, ugly, ungrateful self for as long as it takes and welcomes me back with open arms.  No questions asked
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
~ Psalm 23


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