27 December 2009

Christmas wrap

This is what Christmas looks like in my neck of the woods.  The greatest and most amazing thing about this here tree is that those balls stay there in their full glory, in an unbroken state throughout the whole holiday.  They are attached securely enough that the wind won't blow them off but, not so securely that if some punk thug wanted to steal one, they couldn't.  But they don't.  Year after year after year.  And that really is cause for celebration in my book!

This was my front porch Christmas display this year.  All my decor is stored away while we remodel the cottage so I improvised.  This was so simple.  So beachy.  I didn't miss my old decorations at all.

On Christmas Eve I snapped this photo on the way home from mass.  Breathtaking.  Hopeful.  Peaceful.

This Advent the lights shone brightly.  Every moment was busy and hectic and I am thoroughly exhausted.  I'm looking forward this week, to relaxing and playing back all the moments, all the memories in my mind.  And not having any expectations, a million things to do, things to accomplish before...  So, a recap -

Lets start with this.  Bria Rose.  This is my favorite part of Christmas.
The babies.  
We were blessed with a brand new one in our family this year.  Isn't she precious?

The kids all together and not trying to kill loving each other.

The small but precious moments.

Captured unawares.


And I know Him too.  But now the cake is all gone and the Nativity is put away.  There are Valentine cards on the shelves at Hallmark for goodness sake.  

That about wraps it up for our Christmas holidays.   I hope whomever you are and wherever you are, whatever holiday you observed, there were precious moments involved that you can play in your mind from now until you celebrate again.  I'll just be hanging around recovering, waiting to bring in the New Year.  I think I'll start thinking up a New Year's resolution.  How about you?

20 December 2009

Mommy Bliss

Mommy bliss.  This is it.  There is nothing better than having your kids, usually spread far and wide, doing their own thing, making their way in the world, HOME.  Home for Christmas.  Only one is missing but, she's tucked in comfy with her own family today.  I will have her too, in just a few days and I'll post another picture then.  But, the babies who haven't chosen a convent or the priesthood  gotten married or moved out yet, made me completely happy and content today.

It started out when we went to mass this morning and everybody came downstairs dressed nicely, modestly, church shoes on, hair combed and ready to go - on time.  Nobody yelled, "shotgun", or wrestled each other to the ground trying to get the front seat.  Everybody chitted and chatted happily all the way to Nativity.  I know what you're thinking but, no, I did not put Zanax or even Benedryl in their cereal.  It must just be the season.  It could be that their dad let them sleep through 7 am and 9 am services, and let them go to 10:30 am.  Could it be that they are rested since it's been 3 days since the last final and they've had plenty of sleep?  Maybe it's the novelty of being together again, yet not for so long they're sick of each other yet.  Whatever the reason, I DON'T CARE.  It's absolute bliss.

When your kids are little and you have 5 of them and you're so busy wrestling them in and out of the car, walking them up and down outside of restaurants when they cry, or scrubbing behind 10 little ears every night when you tubby them before bed,  you don't have time to think about the fact that one day they may all go their separate ways.  You take it for granted that you will always be together living, crying, laughing, fighting, loving.  Then one gets married and you're family is smaller even though it grows.  You aren't waiting up until curfew for that one anymore.  She has her own husband, her own family now.  If you are really, really, lucky like I am, her family lives close by and you can still see each other at a moments notice.

Then you lose one to University.  Off she goes to a whole other state and you have to learn how to use the text mode on your phone or you don't even get to 'talk' to her.  Then the next one is off to follow his dreams and although he's only two hours away, lives on both ends are so busy that you only see each other on school breaks.  Like now.  Now that they are all home on break, for just a time, before they all carry on with their individual lives.

Now when they all come home and you are sitting in your pew at church and you kneel to pray you peek to your left and there they are.  All together in God's house saying their prayers, and you know that you are blest.  You look to your right and there is your beloved.  He also has his head bent in prayer, and you know you are the luckiest woman on earth.  You think of two of your dear friends who lost children this past year and you say a special prayer for them.  Dear God especially bless the Breda and Pastel families.  Give them the peace that passeth all understanding.  Bless their little saints in heaven to watch over their families until all are united again.

I wanted to freeze frame all of it.  I took a picture in my mind of that moment.  These are the  moments which make the memories that make up our lives.  I had my camera in my purse.  I always have my camera in my purse.  But Monseigneur Purcell frowns on flash photos in church.  Especially during prayer.  I don't know why.  Before I do anything I say to myself, "self, what would Jesus do?"  And seriously, I think he would take the picture.  Really, I think he would grasp the opportunity and snap away with a big smile on his face.  Because that's the Jesus I know and love.  But I can also appreciate Monseigneur's point of view and besides I'm a scaredy cat.  I don't like to draw attention to myself and I hate to get yelled at.  I avoid getting yelled at at all cost.  So I just appreciated the moment in my heart.  And my heart was near to bursting with BLISS.

Someday I know there will be holidays when all of my kids won't be home at the same time.  I know they are growing up fast and I'm on borrowed time. Moments like this don't happen every day when your kids get older.  But today they did, and I truly appreciated that and thank God for it, photo or no.  And Jesus, just so you know, I did take that picture in my head.  So if it wouldn't be a bother, could you just make sure that I don't loose my mind any time in the near future so that I can reference it whenever I want to?  Thanks Jesus. Oh and Jesus, I love you more than all the pictures I have taken in my mind that I pull out again and again to remember the moments that make up the memories that are my sweet life.

Now  I'm going to share a picture I just took of the sunset with you.  Because nobody was there to yell at me and it's exactly what Jesus would do!

  It's the last week to get ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior.   Blessed Advent!


15 December 2009

Peace, Christmas, Fertility Doves Anyone?

His Holiness Pope John Paul II blessed humanity for many years.  It is well documented that he had a fondness for white doves.

The white dove is sometimes called the sacred dove.  It is one of the most important birds in the bible.  It was the poor man's sacrifice, the denizen's of the heavens, as divine revelations.

The dove was the bearer of heavenly messages of guidance.  It stood for godliness, immortality, power and victory.  The ancient Greeks believed the dove to be the symbol of a fertility goddess.  Aphrodite rose from the sea as she was born from an egg, brooded by a dove and finally pushed ashore by a fish.
I myself have alway had a fondness for white doves.  When my eldest daughter Tara got married we bought two doves that our youngest named Tara and Jason after the new bride and groom.  They sat on the porch and greeted each guest as a symbol of married love.  I kept those lovey doves for a long time, enjoying their soft coo's outside my window.  Soon there were several tiny, pale blue eggs which they took turns lovingly sitting on and caring for.

They never hatched so I went to the pet store and asked, "what's up with that?"  It seems that it is almost impossible to tell if a dove is a male or a female but, when a female lays eggs, if the eggs never hatch the problem is that you have two females and no manly- man to fertilize the eggs.

It was truly sad.  Those beautiful ladies (now renamed, Tara 1 and Tara 2), sat day after day in hopeful expectation that their babies would hatch.

Able to stand it no more, I hightailed it back to the pet store and purchased another white dove, hoping that it would be a male and that between the two females back at the house he would fancy one and they would fall in love and fertilize the eggs and we would have baby doves.  And yes, if you were wondering, I did use all this as an opportunity to teach my kids all about the facts of life, moral and political correctness and peace.  Soon we had baby doves and then more baby doves and we pretty much populated the city with white doves.  You're welcome.

 By the way,  click here and see how It worked for Tara and Jason!

Then I went through a chicken phase but, I'll leave that for another post.

I started decorating my Christmas tree with beautiful white doves.  They were so life like.  They looked exactly like our live doves and I festooned the tree with them.  They sat alight the branches and I sighed in content repeating the Hebrew word Yonah, which of course means, dove.
I told my children, doves are the most important bird in the bible you know.  They represent a saved soul.

Apparently, as I discovered last year, my eldest son, Cooper, did not hold the same sentiment regarding the dove ornaments that I did.  He had never said a word about it as through the years I read passages from the Old Testament; A Song Of David in Psalms.  Yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. But when I got the boxes of Christmas ornaments down during Advent, all the while rhapsodizing the virtues of the dove, he looked at me one day and said,
"Those things freak me out."

"Those birds are creepy."
What, said I?  These doves are ancient symbols of peace.  They symbolize victory over death!  They stand for purification for Mary after the birth of Jesus!

"They're totally creepy."  "Could you please just not put them on the tree this year?" 

But, doves are mentioned 20 times in the Old Testament alone.  They are the most revered bird in the entire Bible, I said with a sniffle. Could I maybe just put one at the very top?

So, here are my doves. Perishing resting in the bottom of a red tupperware container. It is a disturbing sight for me.  I am pretty sure there is a message, or perhaps an omen somewhere in there. I can't stand the thought that they are not out spreading the love. So if anyone would like to enlighten their tree with a message of peace or immortality, or if you're just trying to conceive a child and you want a symbol of fertility on your Christmas tree, give me a call.  I'm here for you.  I have an entire container of these sacred doves in my garage.

Love you more than all the feathers on all the doves in the world,

Peace on Earth and Blessings to all,


14 December 2009

Happy Birthday My Big, Beautiful, Baby!

When I married him, my husband came with his own set of Christmas ornaments.  Score!  This guy I thought, is smart, clever,  capable of putting up with a ration of my sh**  patient,  has the most amazing blue eyes and is a good kisser.   Plus, plus!  He comes with his own decorations. 

With some unabashed bragging, since it's my own blog and all, let me tell you about some of the traits that make up the man that is my husband.  His parents have 5 kids and he's by far the best of the bunch.  (Just kidding in-laws; only testing to see if you read my blog.)

Scott has limitless energy, yet is capable of falling asleep anywhere, which is a gift really.  He's a thoughtful guy and a very good sharer.  His favorite game to play is basketball, which he still does religiously 3 x per week at 4:30 AM. Yep, you read that right. 

He is a self made business man who has worked incredibly hard and smart for the past 35 years. Scott has a child's heart, is as honest as the day is long, and would do anything for a friend.  He always puts his family first and is very protective.  He can fix anything, build anything, and he thinks that 95 percent of my hair-brained great ideas are brilliant and supports me in bringing them to fruition.  My guy is supportive, always upbeat and positive and looks on the bright side of every situation.  He is a wonderful father to our children, a first rate story reader (unless he falls asleep during the story), has wrestled everyone he ever met whether they wanted to or not, (you know who you are), and is a first rate snuggler.  Did I mention that he came with his own Christmas decorations?

Today is his birthday.  There is nobody, and I mean absolutely not any body, who enjoys celebrating his birthday more than my husband.  Some people would rather have a quite evening all tucked in, wanting no fuss over the fact that they are getting older and have already celebrated a bazillion birthday's.  Not my man.  He wakes everybody up, jumping on the bed at 12:00 pm on the last minute of the day before his birthday every year, asking if he can open his presents yet?  But have I mentioned that he came with his very own Christmas ornaments?

In true family fashion and it seems in our tradition, we kicked off his birthday last night with the first of the parties, although his birthday is officially today, the 14th December. This evening, we are going out for a celebratory dinner with friends, and at the end of the week,  our two college kids will come home after their finals and I'll making his favorite dinner because they'll want to celebrate their Papa as well.

Some people feel sorry for those whose birthday's fall near Christmas time. It is a common belief that their special day will get lost in the hubbub and rush of the holidays and the celebration of Jesus' own birthday.  That's not true in this case.  Do not feel sorry for him because, he is a first rate birthday celebrator from the day before his birthday right on up and until Christmas Eve, when he will finally hands it over to the man upstairs.

Happy Birthday Jesus!
My husband is a man of faith, values and ethics.  Qualities that I highly value and appreciate.  AND he came with his own box of ornaments to boot! 

I love this one.  This santa is made of real wood! There is something traditional and lasting about a guy who comes with his own ornaments.  Every year when I haul them out of storage and dust them off.  I find a special spot on the tree for each one.  As with all the ornaments my kids have made by hand, these ornaments hold a special place in my heart.  Even as they get old and faded and musty and smelly.  Wait, sorry, I got carried away with that last sentiment there.  It's been a long few days of decorating and parties. Let's begin again. Even as the ornaments get older, and their colors fade, I am reminded that these are the things of which memories are made. These things, and this man, are truly treasures to me that I will cherish forever. But if anything ever happens that ends this marriage - warning good news to whom ever gets him next - "He comes with his own ornaments!"

As if all this wasn't  too good to be true, he also came with his very own, hand knitted, Christmas Stocking.

So, to my great, big, beautiful baby- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  I Love you more than all the parties we will have to celebrate your day, and honestly, love you more than anything else in the world!

God Bless You,


Note to my mother-in-law:  I've always thought you were a wise woman and you've proven it once again.
N I C E  way to get rid of all the old ornaments times 5!

Note to all my kids still living at home:  When you marry, you shall go forth to your new home with your own box of Christmas ornaments.  After all, it's tradition.

A quote from my eldest daughter as she left our home for married life:  "Mom, please don't give me any more of your old stuff."

Note to the birthday boy:  This is your present. {grin}

Please feel free to scroll down and leave a birthday wish for Scott in the comments section.  I know he'd love to hear from ya'll.

11 December 2009


"Pentair Water"   ROCKS THE HOUSE!

Did I mention that the company that took us on vacation to Hawaii  last week was, "Pentair"?  Double click on the blue link above and you can read all about their products.  Not only do they have the best swimming pool equipment, they are some of the nicest, most fun people you'd ever want to hang out with. 
 For example, this cute family here. They are stellar.  They are, each and every one of them, a delight to spend time with. 

There were aquatic splash sporting events all week.

These guys take their splashing sports to a whole new level.  

Here's to those who got their game - on in the extreme,  basketball to the hoop, water wrestling, no holds barred,  no rules, everybody's a winner, pool shenanigans.  You guys were very entertaining.  Hopefully some of the skin has grown back on the bottom of your feet by now!

Our trip to Kauai last week was a little slice of heaven. Our hosts, Pentair Water, most awesome and gracious as always!  The weather was a picture perfect 84 degrees every day.  We ate in restaurants which were culinary delights.  We visited and made friends with people in the swimming pool industry from all over the country.  Some whom were escaping several feet of snow and frozen tundra on the home front.  You have never seen fun until you've seen people who have come from frozen to thaw for one week, before they go back to frozen again.  These people define fun!

Oh yeah.  They're all about that.

Some of you may not recognize that tattoo of an angel on my arm there. It's not my fault.  I did not go out and get all liquor'd up and spend my hard earned money at a tattoo parlor.  I did not do what I've told my kids not to do every time they leave the house on a Saturday night. I did not.  Pentair did it.  

I typically sit at home on any given day, between piles of laundry and ironing and minivan driving - carpooling;  and I  daydream just like everybody else.  I realize I'm in way over my head most of the time and I need to escape.  Sometimes, up in my room where I can look across the train tracks, over the Pacific Coast Hwy route 101, at the tattoo parlor all lit up in neon lights and such.  I think to myself, holy crap!  That must hurt.  

Last week though, my life was all about cool Tat's and bitchen Harley's.  Lord help me.   

Yep.  Tat's and Harley's and my old man.   

Here's my other Hog.  This is the one I leave parked out in front of my house.  It says, I'm bad.  I'm not just a G rated, minivan driving, carpooling mommy/housewife.  I'm bad and Pentair made me bad!

It wasn't just little old ladies like me involved either.

  There were little children too.  Like Mack here.  

No, really.  There were hundreds of innocent men, women and children involved!  No one left unscathed.

I want to Thank you, Pentair.  Thank you for forcing helping me to realize my innermost fantasy of being a bad ass, motorcycle riding, tattoo'd mama.  

I hope you realize though, that, there is no turning back after this.  I had fun.  I had so much fun that I cried like a little baby when I had to come home.  So I'm gonna have to go back and do this all again in Cabo next year!  Just try and make me stay home.  I'm bad.  I'm bad.  I'm really, really, bad.

Before I left the island I went to confession at the oldest church on the island of Kauai.

After all my Pentair induced sinning, I sure hope it took.  

Umm, whoops.  There she goes again.  I guess it's a personal thing. 

Did I mention that Pentair is Eco Friendly?  Check it out here.  Pentair is Eco Friendly & Green!

As for me and my tats.  We'll just be dreaming about laying beside the lagoon drinking Pina Colada's.

I love you Pentair!  And all your little friends too.

P.S.  Oh and by the way.  Note to the Ansara Spa at the Grand Hyatt, Kauai regarding the 20 gallons of luxurious  Coco Mango body lotion that disappeared from your location.  I'm not ashamed to say, I ate it.



08 December 2009

Flashlight Envy

I had a bad day today...  My golf hero Tiger Woods is allegedly a sex addict. I found out my kids hate me, and the last 15 years of devoted parenting has been in vain. I know these things to be  true because the sources were impeccable, in the following order.  People magazine and the mouth of a 15 year old girl with PMS.

It also turns out that, when taking the new sump pump to the cottage tonight, the boyz needed flashlights.  Look who came out on the short end of the stick.  Great!  Now I have a husband with flashlight envy.

I'm going to take an Ambien and go to bed.  If I get up and drive, run into 4 objects before I get off my street and Scott is found smashing in my car window with a golf club... Call People magazine because I'm pretty sure my 15 year old won't lift a finger to save me.


02 December 2009

Water Is Life, Especially If You Need Your Sheets Washed


We are in Hawaii on the island of Kauai.  It's the rainiest island in Hawaii, but apparently we are on the sunny side.  Who cares if it's raining anyway - were in Hawaii!

We arrived at sunset.  The wind was blowing so it was a bumpy landing.  I looked out the window and thought well, if I'm gonna die, this wouldn't be the worst place to do it.

No, not bad at all.

Poetry.  I guess it wasn't time to meet my maker after all.  It's a good thing too because I don't think I'm totally prepared.

Anyway, from the beautiful Kauai, "E'Komo Mai" (Welcome) and Aloha.

Our room overlooks the ocean and has a breathtaking view.  The hotel covers 50 acres so I have a feeling I may spend a little lot of time being lost here.  Well, you know what they say, the best adventures are had when you're lost.  I don't know what kind of ijiot said that.  Helene.

The island of Kauai is lush and green.  It is the garden state and the wettest of all the islands.  But also, they have recycling containers inside every room and everywhere you go outside.  'He Wai Ola' - 'water is life', is the slogan here. ' E pulama mai kakou i ko kakou aina aloha' means, together we can make a difference and preserve the resources of our island home.  Translated that means, 'we're not gonna change you sheets or towels unless you ask us to'.  Crap.  Me ask?  I'll just go dip 'em in the stream I saw around the bend and call it a day.  I love being green and all but, can't we be green and clean?

Whilst looking for a stream to rinse out the sheets I saw this guy.  I whispered, 'dude', if you're going to be shy about your private parts, maybe you shouldn't be running around naked and all!"

Then I saw he had a little friend and both of them were in the buff and neither of them looked too comfortable about it either.  Then the one in the back said, "hey you, little red-head with the Cannon, we're covering up because you're stalking around in the bushes trying to take a picture of us when we're about to perform our native ritual."  "We have to find a stream and bathe and then we have to run back to our huts naked because of 'E pulama mai kakou i ko kakou aina aloha', and all.  "Oh dude!"  "So sorry",  I said.  "I have the same problem and I totally get ya."  "I'll just be going now." " Bye, bye."'

 'He Wai Ola' 
 'Water Is Life'

The sights around here are breathtaking.  I don't quite get the preserve water thing though, since it's the rainiest island and all.  I see a lot of water around here.  Pretty much everywhere you turn there's water.  Fresh water, salt water, tap water.  For a Californian that's a sight to behold.  Perhaps we don't have enough water back home because I'm constantly washing towels and sheets.  Now I feel bad.  It's probably all my fault.  I'm going home and changing my ways.  I'm gonna be all over that ' E pulama mai kakou i ko kakou aina aloha'!

Until we meet again, aloha and remember, I love you more than all the water in Hawaii!