Friday, January 5, 2018

So Many Feelings

One of my favorite parts about taking Christmas down is going through all the cards one more time before wrapping them up for storage. Then, when I put them away, I go through one stack from a previous year. This year, with Bella on the verge of leaving for college, I won’t lie, I was a bit of a mess. So many cards from so many beautiful families that we’ve done life with. I’m feeling overwhelming gratitude for this community and I cherish the life we’ve been blessed with.

And see the Beacon Point Climbing Tree ornament in the picture? When a huge branch was cut from the tree at the end of our street - the tree that ALL the neighborhood kids grew up climbing - our sweet neighbor made these so we’d always have a piece of that priceless memory. (I’m bawling!! Aren’t you bawling?!?!)

So as we put a wrap on the crazy, busy, hectic, happy, beautiful and bountiful holiday season, I hope you can find a way to ignore the annoying mess and soak up the fleeting memories. Because all too soon, we tie them up with a ribbon and pack them away. ❤️

#feelingdeeplytoday #ALLtheemotions #letscommittolesscomplaining #lifeisreallygood #godbless2018


Monday, December 25, 2017

Family Christmas Poem

Family...You are the:

Happy to my holiday.

Jingle in my bells.

Nut to my cracker.

Fruit to my cake.

Present under my tree.

Ho, Ho to my Ho.

Wish to my star.

Home for my holiday.

Candy to my cane.

Kiss under the mistletoe.

Holly to my jolly.

Winter to my wonderland.

Deck to my halls.

Ginger to my bread.

Happy to my heart.

Milk to my cookie.

Joy to my world.

Star atop my tree.

Love of my life.

Merry Christmas!!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween...Really!

Happy Halloween! What a fun holiday, especially if you have kids who still dress up and go TOTING (Trick Or Treating), like all youthful candy-hoarders do. I'll admit, I've really enjoyed the annual excuse to eat too many Twix bars and Butterfingers. I have very little willpower.

When the kids were younger, we had them dress in coordinating costumes. How much say should kids under five really have about their costumes, right? My favorite year, our boys were the brave Prince and cuddly Gus-the-Mouse to match Bella's Cinderella costume. (Photo reference above...SO CUTE!)

When the kids were younger, we used to determine exactly how many pieces of candy they could ingest on Halloween and each day after, for roughly one week. At that point, the Candy Fairy would visit and magically whisk the candy away (except the Twix bars and Butterfingers), leaving a delightful treat in its place, sure to bring just as much joy to our candy-addicts' sugar-overloaded hearts.

When the kids were younger, we'd share a pre-TOTING meal with friends - chili, salad, cornbread and some sort of Autumn-blend, micro-brewed beer. Then we'd take pictures with ALL the neighborhood kids before setting out through elaborately decorated streets, dodging ghouls and collecting goodies, all the while capturing photos and video at each doorstep and reminding them of their lines: "Trick or Treat" and "Thank you!"

When the kids were younger, we had a little more control of the Halloween festivities. But now that they're older, the holiday has taken on a new feel. Today, our kids have their own thoughts on costumes and there's no way you'd find them in any sort of coordinating set. Dorothy, a Ninja Turtle and the Headless Horseman don't go together, and that's okay. Today our kids have their own hidden stashes of their candy favs and they don't have to ask for permission to indulge, and that's okay. Today our kids have their own plans for Halloween - parties and hanging with friends - and none of those plans include mom and dad following closely behind with a video camera, and that's okay too.

Today is a different Halloween and I'll admit, I'm a little sad about it. Not simply because they're growing up, but because the festivities lack the luster when the kids aren't around. So friends, keep those kids close and gobble up those Halloween memories. You never know when it's going to be the last one with them.

Happy Halloween! I'm going to make myself a cocktail and have a Twix (and maybe a Butterfinger.)


(This post was originally published in 2014 but applies this year. I'm happy to report the ditching didn't hurt as much this year. I'll call that growth. Or maybe concession.)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Who Likes A Routine?

I love the fall. I love the crisp air and the crispy leaves crunching beneath my feet. I love all things apple and pumpkin. I love making soups and stews and breads and cookies. I even love the time change.

But what I love most about the shifting seasons this time of the year, is the family ROUTINE. Kids are getting up with their alarms so there's no more morning blanket tug-o-war. Afternoons are filled with productivity and I know where all my kiddos are. Family dinners happen occasionally and sometimes, if we're really lucky, I'll pop popcorn for some good old fashioned family TV-viewing. Oh, it's so glorious!

So, here are some ways to get in the spirit of a new school year and fill your heart with all-things-autumnal:

1. Get yourself a planner or calendar, maybe even a pretty one that you can decorate with washi tape and stickers and pretty pens.

2. Schedule all the essentials: work events, sports/activities, BTSN, date nights, holiday parties, etc., but leave room for much needed downtime and family fun. (I bet you didn't know it but you can actually say NO sometimes. Try's very liberating!)

3. Sign up for some family volunteer opportunities, maybe at your church or a local food bank. It's amazing how much your heart grows when you help others.

4. Make a priority of checking in with your family members and close friends, cultivating those relationships, careful not to overextend yourself.

5. Chart out your goals for the year and have your family do the same. Add some silly ones (for example, I really want to learn how to replicate CP's chocolate chip muffins), and some not-so-silly ones (like, I really need to organize ALL THE CLOSETS AND DRAWERS AND GARAGES AND THINGS...UGH!)

6. Then, watch the routine and progress make things sweet.

So bake with your kids, dance with your partner, plant some pretty flowers, light a candle or two, use the good stuff, and LIVE life full and out loud. There's no better time than NOW.

Happy Fall Y'all!


Friday, September 1, 2017

Ten Things I Learned Going Back To School

Well, we made it through the first week and this is what I learned (or re-learned) going back to school:

1. No matter what grade, no matter how many years your child has been in the same school/district, there is a boat load of paperwork to fill out on day one. (Though it's getting a bit better with the parent portal - right, CUSD friends?)

2. It never fails, when shopping for school supplies, you will not get ALL THE THINGS on your first trip. It will take MANY trips to many different stores to secure ALL the things. Don't be discouraged. I'm pretty sure it's a test.

3. School clothes shopping is not just for parents anymore. Grandparents are out in droves. I've seen them, mostly grandmas. They're covering their ears cuz "the music in these stores is sooo loud." They're shrugging their shoulders when their grandkids come out of the dressing room. They're ringing their hands, "will your mom and dad approve of that?" If this happens in your family, be a love and send grandma with a list and any applicable dress code details.

4. If YOU are the one shopping, good luck to you. That is all.

5. Homework happens immediately. With earlier testing dates, higher standards and a changing curriculum, there's no easing them (US) back into it. Get ready.

6. Fundraising. School sports and/or performing arts. Boosters. School pictures. Yearbooks. Get a second job. Or a third one. Go. August and September are more expensive than December.

7. Electronic devices need to be shelved for a bit. It's called DETOX and it's necessary for everyone (at least in my family.) It's painful but it's the only thing that will cure DIDBD - Device Induced Brain Drain Disorder. If that isn't a thing, it will be soon. Just wait. I bet it's on Webster's list already. We're trying the NDDSD - No Device During School Days - treatment method. If you see my kids and they're twitchy, or RUDE, you know why.

8. School is magical. At EVERY age. But for very different reasons. ASK your kids. All of them - the sullen, non-verbal teen, the moody (scary) tween, the precious little - and find out what part of school induces that twinkle in their eyes. Just listen. Don't try to influence. It might be the cute boy in chemistry or the cow eyeball dissection in science or the "Super Duck" (shoot me now) fundraising prizes. Whatever form it comes in, celebrate the magic.

9. Teachers are SAINTS. This isn't new news, but I really mean it. Your kid might not always get his/her/YOUR favorite teacher but no one does the job of educating and preparing our kiddos for the next steps in life better than the professionals. Remember, this week is approximately 28-32 times harder on them. Be kind and patient.

10. Peace is a choice people. Going back to school is stressful, for EVERYONE. The only way to soften the blow is to find a few moments each day to relax. That goes for the stressed-out-because-she-already-has-two-tests-AND-the ACT 12th grader, the can't-get-enough-sleep-cuz-has-to-be-up-for-surf-at-5:30 9th grader, and the fell-asleep-doing-homework 8th grader. The same applies for you, mom and dad. Carve out some time for a pedicure or a bike ride, a great work out or a date night. And if time permits, maybe work intentional PEACE into the rotation. It's good for all.

Sooo...tell me about your week. Learn anything?


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

They Say You Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends...True??

Help! I'm just not sure how I'm going to manage the emotions of this year. Bella is a senior and will be leaving for college in about thirty-two seconds. Logan is a freshman and made the surf team, so SHARKS. And Noah will graduate eighth grade, which means his childhood is gone. GONE!!

So you may need to send a therapist. Or a priest. Or sugar. (How the hell could Cinnamon Productions leave me?!?!) Or vodka. Or all of the above. I'm really concerned for my sad, sorry self. And all those around me. But mostly me.

That is all.

(Please don't forget the vodka.)


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Anniversary Checklist

Twenty-one years.

Three babies that somehow turned into teenagers.

One beach rental, one condo and two houses.

Two churches. Eight sacraments.

Two Bachelor's degrees; one Master's.

Two school districts; one City.

Four SUVs. Zero minivans.

Two sedans.

Four dogs; only Magic remains.

Four cats; only Columbus remains.

Three bunnies. Thumper's still hopping.

Three snakes. Snakey's still slithering.

Two turtles, both rescued and released.

Too many departed fish to count.

Thousands of books read.

Hundreds of movies viewed.

Innumerable games played.

Seven international vacations.

Dozens of camping trips and domestic adventures.

Thousands of beach days and park visits and play dates.

Block parties, birthday parties, amusement park visits.

Concerts, recitals, Taekwondo tournaments.

School plays, school fundraisers, talent shows.

Arguments, illnesses, bedrest.

A few curse words and several tears.

More apologies and unlimited forgiveness.

Thirteen photo albums and forty-seven pictures framed.

Countless memories with cherished family and friends.

Endless potential for blessings as this well-loved life unfolds.

Happy anniversary, my love.