Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ten Things to Smile About: September 2013

The best news of the day is that I will have this posted at the end of the actual month it represents.  We're turning over a new leaf around here!

Ten Things to Smile About: September 2013

Nearby soccer games on the same day for two of our sweeties and a cheering section for both that was full of darling cousins!

Being able to make good on a promise to go to Disneyland.  We went three times this month and had a blast!

Doing good for someone else.  The circumstances of the situation don't make me smile, but putting my sadness to use does.  We've raised $4,125 in a little over two weeks.  I was really hoping to get to $10K.  I might have been overly ambitious.  There's still time to give if you'd like.

Having our tiniest niece, C, for a sleepover. Don't let those curls and the angel face fool you.  She's no amateur!

Our {slightly} bigger niece, B,  starting preschool and carpooling with us on Thursdays. Auntie loves taking her to story time and her cousins are extra proud to have her with them at school !!!

These clowns thinking they're so grown up but then begging for a ride in the cart at Costco.  How can I say no to these faces?!?!?

Hosting a low key bridal shower brunch for my girlfriend who's getting married next week.  Yep, that was fast!!

FINALLY, clearing off my desk in the kitchen and reclaiming the space all for myself.  It's seriously like winning the lottery.  I pray it stays organized and tidy.

Spending all of my down time with these three and loving it.  I don't know how I let myself get so off track for so long, but it won't ever happen again.  Ever. 

Regaining my time back with them by saying goodbye to a very painful phase in my professional history.  There's no turning back now!

Link up with Emmy Mom to recount all of your great reasons to smile this month.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hot and heavy

This bit of goodness about tending to marriage fell in my lap today and I just ate it up.  

Promises are much harder to keep in the making-breakfast-doing-laundry-carline-and-work filled days. I believe it’s called monotony. And it can kill your marriage.

None of the details are news to me, but it was one of those "right place, right time" things that hit hard. And I loved it.  And I think all of us who are threatened with the deadly doing-laundry-carline life should read it and take it to heart.  It is important to want a hot marriage and actively work for it. 

The full post can be found HERE

To: Kristen from We Are THAT Family ~ thank you so much for the reminder.  Please let Mr. Montoya know where to send the thank you card.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


loving: one on one time with my precious nieces, B & C

reading: nothing.  That would mean that I am at home and sitting still longer than it takes to type this post.
waiting: for fall.  The late summer heat wave in Southern California does not impress me.
excited about: the approaching end of the worst professional decision I ever made.  September 19 will be a wonderful day in my history.

trying to: practice what I preach about making healthy choices, putting family first and being a kind human being.

working on: reorganizing, repurposing and refreshing our much neglected home.

enjoying: Our Disneyland annual passes.  LUCKY US, I know!

using: only reusable shopping bags.

wearing: red nail polish.  That never happens and it will probably only last a couple of days, but it's a nice change of pace.

planning: a bridal shower brunch for my dear friend.

needing:  to spend more time alone with God.

learning: that nothing is about me.  If I am true to my heart then I am all about loving my family and giving back all the goodness I've been given.  There is a limit to my joy when I am focusing on my independent successes. 

listening to: A jumbled up playlist of current and not so current singles.  

Royals: Lorde
Holy Grail: Justin Timberlake and Jay Z
I Hold On: Dierks Bentley
Roar: Katy Perry
Like Jesus Does: Eric Church
I Want You: Kings of Leon
Blurred Lines: Robin Thicke
Paris: Grace Potter
Moonshine: Bruno Mars
Magic: Colbie Caillat
Come & Get It: Selena Gomez
Better Than I Used to Be: Tim McGraw
Hey Ladies: Beastie Boys

doing: final call outs for the 3rd grade cotillion roster.

dreaming of: Maui.  Or the Big Island.  Or The Kahala on Oahu.  It might be safe to say anywhere in Hawaii

So that's me; right here, right now.  

What are you currently up to?

This post was inspired by Emily at Jones Design Company.  You can see her and all of her beautiful, current goodness HERE.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grieving for good

The internal pictures of my early childhood include a series of things ~

My Nanny in all her wonderfulness.  Her hair like sparkly spun sugar, the gold filigree ring she wore and the hand mixer she used to whip meringue

Putting pennies on the railroad tracks before it was a bicycle trail

My Mama's big green sedan with bench seats and no heat

And the Strickland family

They were this hilarious and wonderful mix of sisters, aunts, mothers, daughters and one amazing old man we called Grumps that was my friends' Daddy.  Everyone spent their time with this family. They always had room for one more and I have absolutely no memory of anyone in that family ever being unkind to me.  Ever.

Miss Evelyn was my Girl Scout leader for what seemed like forever.  She also used to make these wickedly good butter cream cheese treats that I think are called chess squares.

Sherry is the youngest daughter of that family and one of my dearest childhood friends.  I loved to spend the weekend camping with her family at the beach.  We slept in a tent outside while her parents slept inside in their camper. Those weekends were the coolest ever and we would spend all day long on the sand with her boom box singing to heaven knows whatever song and dancing like loons.  The first s'more I ever tasted was in her backyard.

Wendy was Sherry's older sister and was just total coolness.  She never treated us like her little sister's bratty friends and was a blast to be with.  I don't actually remember spending time with my friend Sherry when Wendy wasn't there.  She was our choreographer, the ultra loud ring leader, the super cool high schooler when we were in middle school and the best possible entertainment on road trips.

My memories with their family are sharp, meaningful and happy.  My Mama is still very close to them and spends a lot of time in their company. They are still this hilarious mix of wonderful sisters, aunts, mothers and daughters.  They sadly lost Grumps a few years ago leaving only the constant of the girls.  Miss Evelyn, Sherry & Wendy and all the wonderful Roberts aunts.

Sweet Wendy went to heaven to be with her Dad last night.  Her condition was pronounced terminal just last week and it was a blessing that she was at home and her aunts, her Mom and her sister.  Leaving home for heaven is not tragic, yet my heart is still broken.  It is not right, not fair, not POSSIBLE that someone so young and so extraordinary can be gone from this life.

My heart hurt an awful lot last night as I selfishly processed what that loss meant to me (and to my sweet Mom) and as I grieved for the women she left behind who love her so endlessly.  The idea of someone else hurting always goes straight to the softest part of my heart.  Thinking of the loss her Mother has suffered threatens to undo me.  I won't even pretend that I can imagine what it feels like to make plans to bury your child.  That statement alone leaves me numb and swimming in tears.  Again.

Sadly when Wendy was admitted to the hospital she was still too new in her current job to have medical insurance or life insurance.  And because even critical care is a business, Miss Evelyn had to charge the {exorbitant} cost of the long distance ambulance transfer on her credit card.  This particular element of tragedy gave me purpose.

The negative energy I was bringing into my home and my own heart last night wasn't helping anyone and I wanted to do something. Anything to make it better.  So I am using my grief for good.  The Wendy Shaw Memorial Fund  launched today.  It is a non-profit donation site where friends and family can give as little or as much as they're able, to help offset the unexpected and overwhelming cost of Wendy's urgent medical care and funeral arrangements.

There will most likely never be a day at the beach with the Strickland family, but I can go back to it in my heart just as I do with memories of my Nanny and all of my other favorite things.  For every s'more they served me and every happy moment we shared, I honor them.  It won't help the hurt, but it can't hurt to help.

 If you are so inclined, even $10 would help their family.  You can help by donating here

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ten things to smile about: August 2013

Part of playing catch up on the blog is being sure that I am adequately documenting the goodness of our every day and my gratitude for every moment.  Every month this year has a draft version of "Ten Things" but first things first.

Ten Things to Smile About: August 2013

My dear friend finding her happily ever after.

And it doesn't hurt that these kids are the cutest things ever.  God Bless this sweet family.

A special sleepover for my darling niece in honor of her 4th birthday.  Sunday morning brought breakfast, some dress up and a dance party.  Love you little B!!

Absolutely everything about our 5th annual family vacay to Yosemite National Park.  E's parents came this year, as well as some dear family friends.  It was truly the best ever.


Riding bicycles through a meadow in the rain with my little girl. 

Learning how to play Spoons for the first time.  Seriously the most fun!

Celebrating my E's birthday

Bob being invited to play on an Elite soccer team with girls from her 5 on 5 winter team.  We are very excited and proud for her.

A day of spa treatments, pool time and a dinner date with E.  It was an absolute luxury that I don't take for granted for even a minute.

The first week of school being filled with enthusiasm for what's to come in 3rd grade and 6th grade. 

Ending the month knowing that God has big, wonderful things in store for my precious family.  Having so many reasons to thank Him at the end of the month is a wonderful blessing.
This month I am linked to Emmy Mom again and am grateful for her always gracious and gentle reminders that another month is over.  Cheers to a great September!
10 Things to Smile About: Emmy Mom


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