Wednesday, July 16, 2014

More Summer Randomness

1. Tonight, TONIGHT, is our very last summer basketball game.  I thought I'd be happier...I mean, they have all been at dinnertime and are 30 minutes away.  But they've been fun...Brian has really come into his own and is anchoring this team and I'm loving watching him play.

Before you think we will have loads of free season officially starts next week.

FYI...the coach in the plaid shorts?  He's 7 ft tall.  For reals.


2. We've come to realize that we are not big TV watchers.  Sports, yes...I mean, I do have a houseful of boys.  But rarely do we watch regular shows unless they are recorded.  We're loving Netflix lately and are watching new to us series this summer.  That guy that I like so much tried to cancel most of our cable package but everything is so intertwined that it'll end up costing us more money to have less.

Go figure.

And then, after I complained a good bit about that, I found a good movie on HBO.

It's meant to be.

3. That guy that I like so much makes the BEST lunch salads ever.  Seriously.  They are always different and amazing.  

I'm not ready for him to go back to work.  I love me my summer salads.

4. Finally....we cleaned out our closet.  He got rid of 5 old polos and I got rid of 1 shirt BUT everything is now folded and hung and neatly put away.

Whew.  I was worried we wouldn't get anything accomplished this summer.

5. I'm normally a Bon Appetit reader but was just gifted this magazine and I absolutely love it.  Full of stories and really good articles.  I haven't tried any recipes from it yet (it just came yesterday) but I'm hoping to soon.

It's been gloomy sunshine for the last few days.  I'm hoping it burns off today so I can spend a little time outside in the warm sun in between Brian's school and practice and game.  Leaning towards meatloaf and mac n cheese for dinner...seems like a good night to give the grill a rest.  

Happy Wednesday.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Busyness

I was called back into work last week for a project...only a few hours a day for right now with it slowly gaining speed until the end of my summer, which is sometime around the first of August.  My plan so far has been successful...get Brian dropped off for summer school, work while he is gone and then pick him up and let summer vacation resume.

So far so good.

Here's what's been happening in our little house on our little street.  First up...BuddyTheDog.  I'll be honest, I was a bit worried when we got him.  He was so sad and scared and's been almost 6 months now and he has become so...normal.  

Hence the child lock on our trash can.


But seriously...those ears.  Sigh.

Garden parties continue to happen and whew...we've had more than a few.  We do it easy...ask everyone to bring the wine and then make BIG platters of food to set out.   I am not ready to close up shop quite yet...this little garden of ours is my true happy place.

(grilled zucchini salad)

I've been feeling restless lately.  I had all these grand plans of things to accomplish over the last month or so...things like clean out my closet and paint the house and make big batches of jam for the freezer and work on a new to me bible study.

I've done none of it.

I have had coffee in the quiet of the garden with that guy that I like so much every morning.  I've returned to my hiking trail for long trail runs...though run is a relative word in my case.  Jog? Trot? Limp?  I've walked my dog, hung with my boys, spent time with friends.

It's all good...and I need to remember that rather than worry about the things that have gone undone.

(tuscan chicken grilled under bricks)

This stage in life...well, it's an interesting stage to be in.  We're on the cusp of something new and exciting and a little bit sad...this cusp of where 2/3 of our houseful of boys have entered adulthood (and all the financial things that go along with that) and the remaining 1/3 is going to be a junior in high school.  We have this new found sense of freedom...freedom that will become even greater once the babe gets his drivers license in the next few months.  

It's...strange.  And different.  And, I'll
(grilled artichokes...I could live on these!)

We married young and had our first babe young.  The rest of the babes were spread out, so we've been knee deep in this hands on parenting gig for quite a few years.

In fact, this will be our 11th consecutive year at our local high school.  And we've got a few years to go.  I feel like they should erect a statue of us sitting in bleachers as a memento.

It's all fun and I wouldn't trade fact, just the opposite.  It's just that I see the tide changing and...well, I like it.  I love seeing these boys become their own men.  I like the girls my bigs are dating.  I like the paths that they're choosing.  I struggle with some things, their faith strong enough?  Will they go to church on their own without a text or reminder from me?  Will they be a strong spiritual head of their families?

These are things I can't do for them.  I can't decide for them.  I can't make them.  

I can; however, pray unceasingly for them.  And continue to nag just a bit.

So far?  It's working.  Mom guilt for the least right now.

(Matthew's daily schedule...definitely not easy!)

My garden is finally getting with the program and I have to say, I had the BEST sandwich ever the other day...bacon, lettuce and a still warm from the garden tomato all piled high on white bread and slathered with mayo and salt.


 Sunday...two basketball games, drive-thru church, world cup finals, a concert on the green and a picnic supper.

Packed full yet super fun.  

By nightfall I was in my pj's watching House of Cards and oh my, oh my, oh my.

Loving that show.

So here's to a new week.  It's a bit gloomy here this morning...June gloom has spread to July, but the joy of the warm sun is so very, very close.  By noon I'm hoping to be napping at the pool because summertime naps are simply the best.



Thursday, July 10, 2014


Summer had a bit of a blip in this week...a blip that involved a call from work to help with start up for a new out of state program.  I simply took my laptop outside into the garden, plopped myself down and did what needed to be done.

Summer?  It's back today.


I had all these grand organizational projects planned...things like my kitchen cupboards and pantry and my bedroom closet but as of yet, none of it has been done.

What I really want to happen?  Someone to come over and take everything out of my cabinets and put it all back away neatly while I sit and watch and sip iced tea and tell funny stories.

Any takers?


Instead, we've spent a lot of time in the garden.  It truly is such a happy little space...lots of twinkly lights and pretty flowers and trees, but what makes it so special are the people that continue to fill it.

I guess the organizational stuff can wait...but it would still be nice to have it done.

Oh well.

It's an interesting stage of life that we are's almost like we are on a bridge.  Two of our three are adults now; no longer teens.  The baby?  He's 15 and on the brink of a bit more freedom...he'll be a junior this year and will hopefully be driving soon after he turns 16.

Poor Brian.  In our community you cannot go into a non-lifeguarded pool without an adult until you are 18, which means our pool up the street won't work with his card.  (We have 22 pools in our community, so he still has plenty to choose from.)  Brian won't turn 18 until he's already in college...old enough to go away to school but not old enough to swim without mom.

Curse of being a smart thing who started school early.

(fyi...he's a water baby.  the kid could swim pretty much before he could walk.) neighbor made baklava for a party and try as I might, I couldn't wait.


And then there was one.  The last of our wedding crystal because we were married in the day and age when people registered for the expensive stuff which they would then pack away and never use.

We married young and never got that memo, so we've been using our crystal the whole time...which means after 28 years we've had a few casualties.

11 to be exact.  As of last night we have one lonely one left.  

In dog news?  

He's more perfect than ever.

And in case you think I don't love my cats anymore, you're wrong.  They are still perfect, too.


Today's plans involve a long hike, a little more work, driving Brian to and fro, to and fro,  and then friends coming for a garden party.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The 4th Of July

There was a little of this:

(my dryer broke. sigh.)

And some of this:

(our very own grapes!)

A big 'ole this:

(annual block party.  fun!)

Some crying about this:

(neighborhood kids...all grown up!)

Many of these:

(s'mores.  probably one of my favorite things.)

A walk around this:

(love my neighborhood.  so pretty.)

An eviction of these:

(new ones delivered on July 5th.  similar look, different brand.)

 And not enough time with them:

(all together for one night.  happy mama!)

Brian's schedule is doing us in...summer school across town, learning to drive, football practice, basketball camp, basketball games AND a social life.  Fun times, but we are on the go A LOT.

Alex is working days again; comes home early and then his day really begins.  =0)

Matteo is on the road for the summer; Utah yesterday and Colorado tomorrow.  

That guy that I like so much and and I?  Lots of driving, lots of sitting, lots of time together.  Lots and lots of parties in our garden almost every single evening.  A little food, a little wine, a few friends and a lotta really great music.

Hello, July...I like you.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Summer

Summer has arrived for many of us on our little house on our little street.  Garden parties, late nights,  fabulous grilled meals, old movies (last night?  Houseboat with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren.  She is...dreamy.  So is he!) and the dream of re-organizing the whole house which as of yet is still just that.  A dream.
(tuscan chickens grilled under bricks)

Enter in the babe of the family who didn't seem to get the memo of the fact that it's summer vacation.  School ended last Wednesday and he had two whole days off before life kicked into high speed.

He's taking two summer school classes across town (an extra English class to boost his GPA because he is his father and a slight overachiever and health, which is required and he couldn't fit it in his regular schedule) and then is playing not one, but TWO sports.  Football and basketball.  

Basically, we are on the road all. day. long. between school and camps and games.  

And you know what?

I. Love. It.

This is what I do best...driving boys everywhere.  Load them up and hit the road.  I've been doing it for so many years and I see the end...he's the baby after all, and it makes me a bit sad.  

Meals are eaten at strange times and there are football practice bags and football game bags and weightlifting bags and basketball practice bags and basketball game bags and this babe of mine, who has been organized and a go getter since conception, keeps it all straight.

I just get in the car and drive and occasionally (ok...often) pull protein bars and chilled water bottles out of thin air at just the right times so that he still thinks I'm super mom.
(fried fish. be still my soul)

Oh...and I do his laundry, too.  Or at least I did until Saturday when my dryer decided it was all done. Perfect timing.  So we cancelled our little fun getaway we had been planning in order to be mature (sigh) and we will have a shiny new one on Friday.

Being a grown up means making decisions that aren't always fun...but are necessary.

And that's ok.


There have been lots of moments to hike the trail, too...and the garden is quite literally blooming before my eyes.  Because we were traveling I was a bit late to plant and only got a few things in the ground...12 tomato plants, 4 zucchini, 2 eggplant, and 3 peppers.  I still want to get in some cukes and radishes and carrots and beans and peas but you know what?

It just might not happen this summer.

And that's ok, too.


In other family news:  Alex, after being off for a few weeks (such is the life in construction) is back on and working full time.  He comes home dirty and tired and...happy.   Matthew is somewhere or other...seriously,  drum and bugle corps during the summer is like Where's Waldo.  He, too, has found his thing and I have come to realize that that is what parenting a bunch of older kids is about.  

Let them find their thing knowing that their thing might not be my thing but then again my thing today is not what my thing would've been 25 years ago.  And my boys?  They're doing just fine.   They all work hard, say please and thank you and are pretty fun to be around.

Not one of them can pick a wet towel up off the floor, though.


Todays plan?  More driving with Brian.  Carnitas (in the crockpot) for dinner.  An away basketball game at 5:00pm.  Yet another old movie to discover. 

And maybe, just maybe, a closet will be cleaned out.  There's a few to choose from but it's just so hard to direct myself inside when the sun is shining outside.


I will leave you with this:

Buddy the Dog.


How did we ever live without him?


How did we?


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our Anniversary

 This weekend we celebrated.  Well, we tend to celebrate something or other every weekend, but this past weekend we celebrated 28 years of wedded bliss.  

We're no longer kids, no longer young (or as young), no longer naive to what life will be like.  We've lived different places and had multiple boys and added various pets.  

It's a ride...and I'm glad we're on it together.


Matthew has left for the summer and Alex was gone for the weekend, so pizza was bought for Brian and his friends back at home while we headed to one of our favorite haunts.  Dinner was...healing, especially after the week I had just come out of.  We shared a pizza and some sparkling wine and talked about life and love and highs and lows and sin and forgiveness.  We talked about friendships and love and the past and the future.

We pretty much covered the gamut over the course of that pizza and that bottle of wine.  That's the beauty of a relationship that's been around for a never run out of things to talk about.


We then moved on to real food and a real (great) bottle of wine.

Life is good.  We are blessed.


A walk afterwards was needed and we found ourselves shopping for a few little things...some fancy lotion for me (origins ginger soufflĂ© favorite) and a shirt for that guy that I like so much.  Home to watch House of Cards (totally addicted!) while sharing a totally incredible dessert and it was a rather perfect way to spend a day.

I like him.  A lot.

I'm looking forward to year 29.


Monday, June 23, 2014

A New Week

Last week was one of those ugly, it would be nice to forget about, weeks.  Sure, there were moments of sunlight but for the most part it was just ugly.

Work for me was stressful.  Summer has now arrived and all is well, but before that there was a lot of darkness.  Work needed to be done 'now',  blame was needing to be cast and I am middle management.  It reached a boiling point with one of my boys, who decided at the wrong time to push my buttons over a simple request I had made of him and it happened.

Words were said.  Words, which once out there can never be taken back.  And because I take this role of mothering so very, very personally, I will now forever remember the words I said and they will over shadow all the good and right I have tried so very, very hard to be. 

Basically, I feel like I failed.

And yes, I know that's not true but then again I don't.  This mom gig?  It's complicated.  I'm real.  That guy that I like so much is real.  My boys are real. 

The 'I'm sorry's' have happened and life has gone on, but I'm struggling to put it behind me.  I want my boys to know me as the mom who has it mostly together, as someone who loves them unconditionally, who listens, who laughs, who cooks big bowls of food and who talks with her hands in the air like only an Italian mama can do.

But then, I want them to know that I'm real.  That their words and actions...that if they hurt me, their mom, then they can easily hurt another.  And now I question, once again...have I taught them well enough?

Like I said, there were moments of good.  The grapes on the trellis should be ready to eat this weekend.  Every morning we wander out to the garden and look up and can't help but smile...I know they are just grapes but it's just so cool to me.

There was a supper at my sister in laws, which meant in the midst of my crazy I didn't have to cook one night.  

A blessing for me.


And then?  Life returned to normal. Work was completed.  Summer has arrived.  Sleep came. Friends stepped in.  An anniversary was celebrated.  Lists have been made and summer projects are beginning.  Forgiveness has happened for the boy and for the mom.  The mom now needs to forgive herself.

I'm thankful for a new week, for new beginnings, for repentance and forgiveness and for life lessons that are needed to be taught and learned and lived.

Happy new week, everyone.


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