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It’s Been Too Long

IMG_0033It’s high time I got back to my writing.  It’s  been a long time coming, too long as a matter of fact.   This summer’s been somewhat different here at the Party House.  It’s been unusual, eventful, sad, happy, and all of the emotions in between.  Let’s see,  we’ve been dealing with the loss of my Dad, helping my Mom to keep putting one foot in front of the other, flying back and forth across country, driving across country, planning a backyard wedding, throwing a backyard wedding (quite successfully I might add), and moving my parents RV to our house.  Whew!!  We have definitely had a busy couple of months.

My writing got put up on the shelf for a bit just because I could not find a way to put the words onto paper (or should I say type them on the computer).  The loss of my Dad was unexpected and devastating.  I just did not have the mind power to extend my thoughts and words to writing.  I will admit though that I have missed my writing, and story sharing.  So it’s good to be back here in the blog-o-sphere.

IMG_0036There are numerous new tales to tell, and stories to share.  I’m looking forward to telling you all our summer tales, and sharing our ups and downs.  This summer will definitely go into the family history books as a summer to remember.

IMG_0034And now, already,  fall is right around the corner.  I’m amazed that my Ash tree in the backyard already has a few yellow leaves.  Wasn’t it just June, and the 4th of July?  I blinked and now it’s September.  We’re looking forward to some special , grandkiddies birthday celebrations, and having it cool off enough to actually do some baking, finally.  I have missed my baking, but it’s just been too hot and humid the past few weeks to turn anything associated with heat on inside the house.

So, it will be back to my writing, back to my baking (soon I hope) and sewing, and onward to my favorite time of year, Fall.  Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday.


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!

The Grocery Paradigm Shift

grocery picFor many, many years our grocery budget always seemed so out of control.  Managing meals and buying groceries for a houseful was always a daunting but necessary task. Trying to keep the grocery budget under control and being able to  provide good meals for everyone was part of my weekly life mission for such a long time.

Now,  we fast forward to only one of our twenty-something’s left in the house with us.  Being minus a few bodies to feed is beginning to open up a whole,  new grocery shopping world.  This is a big deal for us because we had been so used to feeding an army for so, so long.  Particularly when the boys got to their teen years- Yikes!!

Pre-empty nesting,  lots and lots of ground beef or ground turkey was purchased.  Lately we have been eating a lot more steak, of the New York strip variety!!  Travel Man gets home from a trip and he likes to grill.  So of course we run over to the store for a couple of steaks.

Also, our hot dog menu has changed.  Pre-empty nesting,  I would only buy whatever hot dogs were on sale.  ( I’m on a budget here people). Now, since there are a few less bodies to feed I only buy Hebrew hot dogs.  These hot dogs used to be a “special ” treat for us because they are a little more expensive when you are feeding an army and trying to keep on a budget.  Do you realize how many hot dogs a family of seven can eat in one sitting?  The other reason we only buy Hebrews now  is that it is the only hot dog Travel Man will eat.  He has been working in the hot dog manufacturing plants.  Only all beef hot dogs  in our house.

We have also discovered that everything, and I do mean everything is better with butter.  For such a long time we bought the ginormous tubs of margarine at SAMs Club.  Nowadays we are buying the little tubs of butter, and I am cooking with butter all of the time.  Yum, yum so much more flavor in the food when you cook with butter.

At the rate we are going with buying ourselves the goodies we like,  the budget for groceries may not be dwindling anytime soon!!  Travel Man actually brought this to my attention in the past few days.

The one thing we are looking forward to is switching over to organic milk.  This is a silly little thing, and we would  probably be ok taking that plunge now.  But we do not want to go whole hog in our first month of The Great Grocery Shift.  We do need to leave a few food treats until the next month or so.  We should have some delayed gratification right?

These are just some simple, little changes with the groceries.  However,  they are noticeable and distinct changes.  I suppose for me because it is signaling a change in the times in our home.   A change of routine for sure, and a definitive change of lifestyle.  Kind of like a rite of passage.  We have made it  through the child-rearing years, and are coming full circle into a time all our own.

Our Nest is Minus One.

A little over a week ago one of my twenty-something’s flew the coop and went out to conquer the world all on her own.  Hilary has lived away from home before, but this time she’s striking out on her own to live the independent life.  I’m a little worried about her (because that’s what I do), because of her seizure in February.  But when you have kids with chronic conditions you have to let them go, let them learn to be their own person, and let them find their independence.   Just like all of your other kids.

The way the family dynamic has changed with the kids moving out on their own is not something I had really ever contemplated too much.  I knew it would happen someday, one day; way, way, way down the road.  And now suddenly here it is staring right at me.  When you are in the throes of raising your kids, and working full-time you don’t always have a lot of time to ponder these thoughts.  If you’re like I was, you would put your nose to the grind stone, get everyone where they needed to be on time, and then you moved on to the next day.

Now,  with only one of the birdies left at home it is sometimes, slightly strange getting used to the quiet, calm, and peacefulness of the household.  I can remember the times when we would be having dinner, going to someone’s school event,  getting homework done, and then getting ready for the next day.  It could definitely be a tiring grind, but in the end, as a parent, always rewarding in one way or another.

It seems as if I am rambling on here, mixing new experiences with old memories.  I think the new experiences bring some of the old memories back to life momentarily.  At least that’s what happens in my head.

I can remember back to a few conversations Travel Man and I had when the kids were all in high school.  We would talk about one day, someday having the house all to ourselves.  At the time we had those conversations it seemed like those years were a million miles away.  And it’s funny now that, that time is right in front of us it seems like our time with all kids with us under the same roof,  through all of the ups and downs, was so short.  Here and gone in the blink of an eye.  That is such an irony for me.  Just a crazy, crazy irony.

Entering this new phase of life has been interesting for me.  It’s been a learning experience for me to let the kids go, and do and be.  I always, always wanted each of them to be independent spirits, and successfully find their way in the world.  But I have to admit that letting go of the “mom cord”  can be very difficult.  I am doing it though.  I’m working on getting back to some old hobbies that had been neglected, and discovering new hobbies.  It’s a whole new world for me.  A new world at home, and a new dynamic added to the relationship with the kiddies that have flown the coop.

One thing is for certain though, the love you have for your kids never, ever fades.  They may think that it wanes occasionally, but it never does.  It is and always will be unconditional.  Nothing stands in the way of a Mother’s love for her children, no matter how old they are.

My Family is Great

My birthday was a couple of days ago, and I was reminded in quite a few ways how great my family is, and how much love there is in my awesome family circle.

My Travel Man is on the road, and will not be home until next weekend.  So, he was not able to be here for my birthday. But he made me feel so special.  You see on the morning of my birthday I got a wake-up call at 6am.  It was my sweet, adoring husband on the line singing “Happy Birthday” to me.  He has such a good singing voice.

Then my day began, and here’s a list of all of the little things that made my day!

> I got a big birthday hug from my oldest son.

> I got a beautifully worded e-card from my parents.

> My baby brother called me on his way to work and sang “Happy Birthday” to me(am I a lucky sister or what!).

> I got some Happy Birthday text messages from my other kids.

>My baby sister called me to wish me a “Happy Birthday”, and we had a great chat (we call this our “coffee clatch”).

> My dear hubby called me again to see if a package had been delivered for me.  (Ooh a package!!  How fun).  Look what he sent me.  Like my Mom said, “Absolutely decadent!”

2013-04-04 10.29.592013-04-04 10.38.41

> My Mom called me to say “Happy Birthday” and we had some girl talk for a while.

> My sons arranged to make me dinner, which was absolutely lovely.  They are quite a pair in the kitchen.  We had grilled steaks and asparagus.  Some sautéed veggies ala Zach, and some garlic bread.  Aren’t they handsome?


It was great what a treat to have them cook for me.  I had no idea they had it in them to put together a meal and get it all on the table at the right time!  Parental Success!!

For dessert we had a cheesecake, and the kids put a candle in one of the pieces, and while we were Skyping with the grandkids they ALL sang “Happy Birthday” to me.  Evan was leading the group from the computer screen.  As you can see Madison was entranced by watching everyone.  It was very sweet.

Video call snapshot 4

Oh and throughout the day I got birthday messages from friends and family across the country on Facebook.  That is always such a nice treat.

I’m a lucky girl.  I’m lucky to be surrounded by such a great family circle.  They take the meaning of the word family to an entirely different level.  People often tell us that our family is really different.  We’re not so different; we’re just caring, compassionate, loving souls.  We take care of each other in good times and bad.  We have been through a lot together, and we survive together.

My eternal hope for each and every one of you reading this is that you are surrounded by the same sort of amazingness.  Happy Weekend everyone.

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