Archive for Around the House

Sunrise…Sunset

Yesterday was an unusual day for clouds here in Southern California.  We do not get treated to the picturesque clouds of the Midwest, the mountain ranges of Colorado or Wyoming too often.  But, yesterday was a day filled with clouds, and we were treated to a great cloud filled sunrise and sunset.  And just as luck would have it I was able to capture both ends of the day at just the right moment from my back yard.

Sunrise:

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Sunset:

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I found myself humming “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof as I captured the sunset picture at dinnertime last night.  A wonderful, beautiful sight.  Wishing you all a wondrous Wednesday.

This Family Had a Moment – One Year Ago.

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In honor of Miss Madison’s first birthday over the weekend, I wanted to share my story of how our family learned of her arrival here on planet earth.

Have you ever been together with your family and experienced some news together, collectively?  One of those moments when you all look at each other, and you know in your heart of hearts that you are experiencing a moment together, that you will all remember, and talk about for years to come.

My family had this experience just a little over a year ago now.  We were having dinner together on a Saturday night, actually it was an early Thanksgiving dinner for us.  My sister and her husband had planned to be with us for dinner on this particular night.  Unfortunately their plans had changed and they could not join us on this special occasion.

The other event taking place on this particular day was that my oldest daughter had gone into the hospital early on this Saturday morning to have her labor induced.  Remember awhile ago when I shared with all of you that Evan would be a big brother soon?   Well, this was the day.  Evan spent the night with us on Friday night, and his parents checked into the hospital early the next morning.

All day long we’re checking in with my son-in-law at the hospital getting updates on how Naomi was doing.  I’m sure we pestered him a little too much, but he graciously kept us informed all day long.

In the early afternoon the family members started to arrive, and we were preparing dinner, and getting the table set.  Our family loves to gather around my kitchen counter for all of the snacks and noshing.  It’s always a fun-filled time of eating and conversation.  Lots and lots and lots of conversation.  All in all I think we ended up with 12 of us or so at the dinner table that night.  And in between all of the conversing and eating we are still getting updates on my daughters progress from her husband, Brad.  At one point during dinnertime Brad had sent me a text that the baby would be delivered at 8:00pm.  So, we’re all thinking great!  The baby will be here tonight, and then Naomi will be a lot more comfortable.  She was quite uncomfortable during the last week of her pregnancy, and her mother needed to know that she was just a little bit more comfortable.  It’s a Mom thing.

So after our great turkey dinner we’re sitting around the table – some us drinking coffee, some having wine, some getting ready for pie.  And if I remember correctly this is how our moment happened.  I was on the house phone with my sister in Montana, who could not be with us.  We were giving her an update on Naomi.  My brother’s girlfriend, Elaine, looked at the clock and said, “Hey it’s 8 o’clock, I wonder if the baby’s arrived yet?”  My brother was looking at something on my cell phone, and we got a photo message from “Brad Dad”. It was a picture of the nursery scale with the babies weight, 9lbs. 15oz.  No words with the picture, just that cute little picture.  In that moment we all looked at each other, and I say to my brother, “Is the baby really here?  Text him back and find out!!”  We get the confirmation that it is indeed the babies’ weight, and she has arrived!  the moment we have all been anxiously awaiting.  The entire household is just elated, collectively, all in that same cherished moment.  Miss Madison Kay has arrived.  Woops, hollers, and woots reverberate through the house.  I’m still on the phone sharing this joyful moment with my sister.  My Dad is on the phone with my grandparents, Madison’s great-great-grandparents, and we are all sharing this moment.  From California to Montana to Illinois a poignant family moment.

And I remember Evan.  He was so cute.  He went running through the house cheering for his Mom and Dad.  He was an excited big brother.  As I am typing this right now I can picture this entire moment in my head.  This moment hung in the air for just a bit.  It reminded me of watching a feather float around in the sky.  Watching everyone, and seeing everyone’s reactions.  And my Mom, she had her own precious moment.  She was sitting at the table soaking everything in, and the emotions just overwhelmed her and she started to cry.  Travel Man came and got me and said, “You need to go and sit with your Mom.”  I sat with my Mom, we had a mother – daughter moment.  The day could not have ended more splendidly.

Madison meets her Great-Grandparents

Madison meets her Great-Grandparents

There are always moments in your life that become part of  your personal history, or your family’s history.  But nothing compares to having a family moment, surrounded by almost the entire family.  Savor these precious moments, cherish them, and keep them close to your heart.

This post has been linked to the GRAND Social linky

An Eye Opening , “Power-less” Day.

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Transformer repair – lots of trucks and equipment.
Photo courtesy of tspindigital.com

Today is Saturday, October 26.  It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and we’ve been a neighborhood with no power since 5 am this morning.  It’s not our entire area just our little block of a neighborhood.  Weird huh?  When I called Southern California Edison to report the outage the customer service rep says, “Are you sure your power is out Ma’am? I’m not showing any outages in your area.”  I was the first one to call in.  And then she proceeded to ask me if we had checked the breaker box.  Ha!

I have to admit I was not planning on spending today with no power to the house.  It’s somewhat inconvenient,  much quieter, and  really making me want to take a nap, and I am not a napper by trade.

We are hosting a birthday dinner/party tonight for our oldest daughter.  My Mom will be handing out flashlights when everyone walks in the door.   It will be an adventure!!

In light of this change in our Saturday plans I have compiled a list of ten things I have been enjoying or will be enjoying with no power today.

  1. What’s that you say, no laundry can be done today? Whoopee , no problem there.
  2. Can’t run the dishwasher, that’s ok, we have lots of paper plates in the pantry.
  3. No TV during the power outage- that’s fine, I probably watch too many home improvement shows as it is.  However, I would like the power to be back on for the World Series game tonight.
  4. What? I can’t be on the wireless internet either? That’s fine I probably spend too much time on the computer.
  5. No baking or cooking (my stove requires electronic ignition) .  Honey, let’s go to Olive Garden for lunch? Yum.
  6. Birthday dinner will require paper plates and plastic cups! Easy cleanup! No problem.
  7. Watching our two cats interact with one another.  They have this love-hate relationship going on.  The older cat is always growling and hissing at the younger guy.  Even when he is doing absolutely nothing.
  8. I’m noticing that having  a technology free day is not a bad thing! Maybe I should do this once a week.
  9. Maybe The Party House needs to “disable” the wi-fi for family gatherings.  Hmmm??  What would the twenty-something crowd do with themselves??
  10. Having Travel Man home today to start-up the generator -priceless.   He loves going into “survival” mode.  It’s a guy thing.

An interesting side note to this day- the power did not get turned back on until 9 pm on Saturday night.  We strung a few lights in the house via my Mom’s RV generator for the birthday dinner.  The conversation was great, not a lot of cell phone surfing going on.  Oh, and my kind brother and Travel Man hooked up the TV so we could see the last few innings of the World Series game.  My family is so great.  Happy Monday everyone!

A Lovely Backyard Wedding

 IMG_0026What does it take to throw a backyard wedding?  First and foremost is a big backyard, which we have. Check that one-off of the list.  Then the bride and groom have to be willing to pitch in and get the backyard ready for a wedding.  Check, we have that.  Then we limit the guests to no more than 70 people.  How do we know this is a good number you ask? We’ve had lots of parties and lots of people in our backyard, and this is the number that works and is controllable.

The remaining major supplies to get our backyard ready for a wedding went like this-  Over 20 strings of white lights, 350 ft. of speaker wire for the PA system and the music,  around 20 poles for the lights to be strung up on (this was for the Mama Mia effect!), an amazing misting system (put together by our favorite uncle), a newly painted deck for dancing the night away on, rented tables, chairs, and table clothes, lovely centerpieces crafted by the bride, lots of big bags of ice, and lots of helpers to get it all set up on time.  Plus we were really hopeful the weather would cooperate, which it did.

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2013-08-25 15.12.39Our youngest son got married in our backyard towards the end of August, and due to the nature of our “stressful” summer there were a lot of plans that just ended up being put together at the last-minute.  This was a 5pm wedding, and my son’s vision was to have the backyard lit up with white lights for a truly memorable evening, once the sun went down, and I think we pulled it off.  We had around 65 guests (that’s my closest guesstimate), in our backyard.  A party this size has not happened since the ladies of ZTA (Kappa Theta chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha) graced our backyard, as we were the host of their annual Bid Day  (there were around 70 giggly, gaggling girls in attendance that day!).

The weather was not too hot, which we were all thankful for. The temps stayed somewhere in the 90’s, and cooled off quickly after the sun went down.   The California summer heat swooped in the weekend after the wedding.  I think it was around 105, the Saturday after!

The wedding ceremony was performed flawlessly, everyone looked so wonderful, and then it was time to party.  We had an amazing caterer who brought in Mexican food, some of which was cooked on the grill right before our very eyes.  This was a great set-up and the food was spectacular.  Drinks were kept simple; just soda, beer and wine.  A cake was brought in by a friend of the bride (it was delicious!).

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And then it was time for the dancing.  My most memorable moments from the dancing were watching my baby boy (he won’t like that I called him that) dance with his Grandma, and seeing the daughters dancing with their dads.  Of course,  the first dance by the bride and groom was memorable too.  Such a cute couple.  My favorite dance of the night was our deck filled with party-goers dancing to “The Macarena”!!  That was fun!

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This was definitely a ceremony/party to remember.  One for the ages so to speak.  I loved the toasts that were given from the heart.  I loved the fact that almost all of our family got to be here with us to celebrate this special occasion.  I loved the fact that all of my kids were so helpful on “The Day”, and made everything fall into place for their baby brother. And our backyard wedding would not have been complete without this amazing ring-bearer.  He carried the rings in his pants pocket, and was so grown-up and handsome when it came time to pass the rings to the groom.  He made his Grandma’s proud.

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Congratulations to Brookelynne and Zachary.  May all of your dreams come true.

14148_301855763290495_708671988_nPicture credits for this post go to: Erica B., Elaine Z., Naomi D., Hilary J., and Mary W. – Thanks Ladies!!

Today is July 3, 2013

Today my youngest son, the “baby” of the family is turning 22.  I wanted to share the post that I wrote last year for his 21st birthday.  Happy Birthday Zach! Wow!  How did this happen?  It seems like just yesterday I was in the hospital getting induced, and 28 hours later Zachary Gene came into the world.  And he came into the world with a vengeance. 10 lbs, 10 oz, and 22″ long.  He set a record at the hospital for a while.  A beautiful bouncing baby boy.  Jet black hair, a broken collar-bone, and blue, blue eyes.

Zach and I went home from the hospital on the 4th of July.  I had gone  into hospital on the 2nd,  and was determined not to be in the hospital for the holiday.  I wanted to see the family, and introduce Zach to his brother and sisters.  We’re now a family with four kids, and Zach’s name started with Z for a reason.  He was the last one.

Zach was the mellowest baby of all of my kids.  A very laid back California guy.  I remember before he went to kindergarten I had let the back of his hair grow almost to his shoulders.  He really looked like a little surfer dude then.

My sons’ had some life experiences that you wouldn’t wish on anyone.  Diabetes at age 6, leukemia at age 9, philosopher of life at age 10.  Zach’s perspective on life after SURVIVING his battle with leukemia is something that sets him apart from his siblings.  He’s thought about dying, he’s had to learn to accept his diabetes, but he’s a survivor.  A survivor that has a unique perspective on life.

Zach’s very creative; artist, photographer, singer, actor.  He pursued all of these activities in high school.  It took a little while for him to find himself, but he did.  Two of my favorite moments when Zach was a senior in high school were; watching him perform the role of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.  Outstanding performances, unforgettable.  The second moment was when he sang Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like you Were Dying” at a choir performance.  There was a moment when he looked directly at me.  A moment in time that I can recall in the blink of an eye.

We’ll be celebrating Zach’s birthday with family tomorrow on the 4th.  We’ve done that a lot on his birthday.  For quite a few years he thought his birthday was on the 4th, the fireworks were for him.

For this Mom, I’m celebrating the fact that my sons’ health is in good order. I’m usually reflecting on that fact around  his birthday time.  It soothes my soul to know he’s ok.  Happy Birthday to my son, I just can’t believe your 21.

Update: This post has been linked to the Grand Social linky.  Check it out!

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