Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving


I'm worn out.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and with it, all my oompf has gone with it.   Between the cooking, and the cooking, and the cooking some more, and the house being full 24/7 with boys and their friends, and having to spend time worrying about the easy child who decided to not be so easy, and the broken washing machine and the two (not one...but TWO) broken down cars, and the lack of exercising and taking care of myself...well, I'm just plum tired.

But at the same time, I'm happy...so go figure.

Women are allowed to be complicated.

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So much is going through my head and it's not even worth trying to spell it all out here...and really, I just think I'm tired and feeling a bit like God is preparing me for something.  I'm not sure that even makes sense, but I'm feeling unsettled and I'm not sure why.

My normal course of action is to lace up my shoes and hike my trail and talk it out with my heavenly father, but today He sent rain...much needed rain for the ground but not for my mental state.  And so I did what most everyone else in America is doing this weekend....weeped my way through the four new Gilmore Girls movies.

A hike would have probably been better but it felt good to be lazy today too.

Our Thanksgiving was really nice and thanks to the fact that almost the whole meal can be made in advance,  the weather was close to 80 which meant we could eat in the garden and that every person who walked through our door could be put in the 'easy' category...it was just a super fun day.  

The cousins spent hours playing corn hole and football, we ate around 3:30pm, hung out for a few hours outside because it was so beautiful and then the annual family viewing of the movie Elf...and half way through the movie everyone tackled, and demolished, the leftovers.

No one went hungry.

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The night before Thanksgiving we celebrated Kenan's birthday...he and Alex have been best friends since kindergarten.  They're all grown up now and have the best group of friends....I'm not sure if they have more fun or if the parents do.  

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then:

now:

Thanksgiving night and early into the morning, grown up cousins sat around the table playing board games.  Big kids are just fun...super fun.  

Fun, yes...but not always easy.  Lots of lecturing and frustration go along with the fun parts and I finally retreated one afternoon to my bed to watch the hallmark channel for a bit with my sweet, never talks back, kitty.

Sometimes moms just need to hide.  

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That guy that I like so much spent hours on the roof hanging Christmas lights but inside we are still firmly planted in Fall.  I guess I'll get to decorating the inside this week at some point but in all honesty,  I was just too tired to even think about it today.

It'll get done at some point.

In happy news, our boy in the middle is working as an electrical apprentice and saved us a ton of money by diagnosing our electrical issue...and then fixing it.  I now need one son to become a plumber and another to become a mechanic and we'll be all set.

The Bronco's are playing tonight, supper will be pasta amatriciana, and I'm thinking it'll be a quiet night.  Brian is settled back in his dorm room and Matthew's been down for the weekend but is heading home soon.  I do like having them all home, sleeping under our little roof on our little street...they're a loud crew but I like them all a whole lot.  But tomorrow is back to school and work for all of us and I guess I'm ready for the routine to start again too.  And I"m praying for a small window of time to hike...I'm really needing that time.

Oh...and I did the majority of my christmas shopping online and it feels super good to be ahead of the game.   Poor,  but done!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Week


To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven...

This season...this new for me season, is keeping me busy.  This season where my housefulofboys is no longer a house full of boys.  This season where my work life has taken a step forward and yet it has me questioning.  This season where I am feeling both lead and held back, where I've been feeling both joy and sadness.

I guess I'm just turning and turning and turning.  Just like a washing machine should...yet mine is not.  Again.



The annual christmas fruitcake has been made...candied fruits and dried fruits and toasted nuts, all baked together in the most delicious simple batter and then gently wrapped in rum soaked cheesecloth and stored in the back of the fridge for the next month.  

It's hard to not sneak a taste but it's so worth the wait.

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Our little house on our little street got a fresh coat of paint.  

Happy, happy paint.

The one thing I wasn't prepared for...well, I guess a better way to say it is that I had never really thought about it much in the busyness of raising boys, was how much I would like them as grown ups.  These boys are just so fun to be with.  Each of their personalities is so different from each other yet so much alike and I just love hanging out with them, talking about what's up, watching them  work hard and become adults.

It's super fun and I'm glad I didn't rush the ealry messy stages thinking about them becoming adults...but I'm just enjoying them all so much.

Mainly because they are all quirky.

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Middle borns are never, ever dull.

Thank goodness.

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This little house has become a weekend refuge for many.  It's pretty normal now to have the garden full on a Friday night not just with our guests, but our boys friends too.   They like to 'pre-game' with us and then head out to whatever awaits 20-something year olds on weekends...and then they all make it back to sleep.  

It's just....well, fun.  

Quiet is overrated.

That guy that I like so much and I went out to dinner to Houston's the other night...he's been working crazy hours and we just needed a night out where someone else did the dishes.

And sometimes you just need their hot fudge sundae...it's probably one of the best things you'll ever eat.  I have no idea why it's so good but it is...just trust me.

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The weather in SoCal has changed and suddenly there are times of day when I just can't seem to get warm.  I do like the shorter days...they remind me to unplug a bit.  To cook meals and spend a little longer at the table with a glass (or two) of wine.

I'm missing the garden...it's still there but is beginning to enter it's 'sleepy' phase.  It'll be back in all it's glory soon...and I'm already looking forward to spring because of it.

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Thanksgiving is this week and I'm ready.  The shopping is done, the cooking will begin tomorrow and on Thursday we'll fill the garden with a bunch of hungry people.  All the boys will be here and I'm thankful...it's been a few years since we could swing that.

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I have been getting my fill of Hllmark Christmas movies and am thinking of starting the christmas cookie baking this next week.  I've got another cross country work trip coming up and so I've got to plan things out a bit more than usual.

Plus Brian is home from college this week...he's busy spending time with his friends who are home too, but we're squeezing in some lunches out together too.  It's fun to spoil him a bit but I've got to admit, his schedule is doing me in...he heads out late and comes in early and it's so hard ot not worry.

Growing pains.

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Last Few Weeks


I've been travelling....yet another whirlwind east coast trip.  They're exhausting and challenging and i'm glad to be back home...for a few weeks at least.

But before I went...the middle born boy got a 2nd degree propane burn at work and I'll spare you the picture of what it looks like unwrapped.  But let's just say that he fainted and I almost did too...and I've handled A LOT of injuries with my houseful of boys.  But this was bad.

It's healed now and he's clear to go back to work tomorrow morning.  


I am so blessed by my people.  I was tired one night and just needed something...anything.  One quick text message later and I found myself at my girlfriends house with wine and cheese and a listening ear...just what I needed.

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Fall is my very favorite season, hands down.  The colors and the smells and the sounds and the dark that settles in earlier in the day...I love all of it.  

And yeah, home is where there is a football on the floor.  Make that two footballs.

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We've had a few evenings with quiet...the kind of quiet where turning on some music, mixing up a cocktail and playing a game or two of cribbage are the perfect ending to the day.  Oh...and Trader Joe's blue cheese/pecan dip is the best thing ever ever ever.

Our little stripey cat is fierce.  When she wants to be.

My work week was spent in south Florida...this time in Key Biscayne.  There are definitely worse places I could be sent but this was a hard one...not enough hours in the day and more work than I could physically do in the time I was there...which meant my trip kept getting extended.   How many times can one person change their flight home???  Only 3 this time!

But there were blessings, too....like flying into St Louis at the peak of Autumn.  

That box?  50 lbs.  FIFTY POUNDS.  That suitcase?  50 lbs.

All work supplies.

My little carry on suitcase weighed 21 lbs because I was only supposed to be there 2 days.  

I like what I do though...most of the time at least.

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I had a few free hours on a rainy day and the thought of sitting in a hotel room bummed me out, so I popped into a local museum with the most beautiful gardens.  If you're ever in south Miami, visit Vicayza...it's super pretty.

Oh...and the empanadas in that part of the country are perfect in every way.  I know, because I ate them for every lunch and dinner.  On purpose.  Because I could.

And then I came home and all was right in my world.  Sent boy #2 for chicago pizzas and opened some wine and invited the neighbors to the garden.  I love home.  A lot.

Some people thrive on travel and I do love it...but that whole coming home thing is so perfect.  I was in bed by 8:45pm and slept straight thru until 8:45am...and thankfully woke up feeling human again.

And then the next night I made a big pot of beef stew and set the table in the garden.  Boys wandered in.  Friends wandered in.  Music and heaters were turned on.  Wine was poured.  The conversations were heavy in that the election is right around the corner but the laughter was loud.  

I needed a weekend so badly....and I got one.

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This morning we were at two separate churches and met afterwards for brunch.  With a super yummy coffee cake, lemon butter and rhubarb preserves.  And prosecco!  It was so simple yet so decadent...yum!

This whole weekend has felt like a God breathed weekend.  I was so tired and am struggling with a work email that needs to be sent, but one that I am having trouble phrasing correctly.   I'm ready for the week to begin...there's work to be done - laundry and a house to clean and a dog who needs a bath so badly.  This early darkness has me ready to climb into bed early....sounds good to me.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Overbooked


It is pouring rain outside...it began late last night and has continued all day long.  My cats aren't sure what to do, the dog isn't sure what to do, I'm not sure what to do.  It's like the whole world has stopped and everyone is waiting for the 'ok' to exhale.

But the weekend itself?

Perfectly Fallish.

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Speaking of not exhaling...that's what our whole weekend felt like.  We way overbooked ourselves, though it didn't feel like we were overbooking at the time of booking.  We ended up with a typical Friday night dinner in the garden and there were not only our friends but lots of kids that wandered in and ended up staying, which is always fun.  

I, at 4:15pm, decided to roast a couple of big chickens and a huge tray of roasted vegetables...brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, onions, fennel, garlic and then made a big salad to go alongside and by miracle of miracles it was all put together and on the table in 2 hours.  

Opened a few bottles of wine and called it a party...not bad.  Not bad at all.



That guy that I like so much had to work on Saturday and I met up with an old friend for a super long coffee date.  I had enough time to run home, change and out the door we went for OktoberFest at the local German club.  It's an annual tradition and it's loud and loud and did I mention LOUD?  

But aside from loud it is SUPER fun.


I had invited pretty much everyone and we ended up with a small group of 27.  We got there early, set up our tablecloths and watched the night unfold.



There was beer.  Good German beer on tap...my favorite being the Spaten Oktoberfest.  I like it in the bottles when I can get it but on tap it's so good.  

There were pretzels.  And schnitzel.  And potato pancakes with applesauce.  And more beer.


There were friends.  So many fun friends...both old and new.  There was great music and the building of the cup tower (we won...or at least we think we did!) and then, after all that, there was dancing.

The chicken dance.  The polka.  The hits.  The nots.  





We must've danced for 3 hours straight and I've gotta say, I've had a hard time getting out of bed the last few mornings.  Oh, and I can't seem to lift my right arm over my head...probably from all the toasting.

Those Germans?  Well, they sure throw a great party.  And that's coming from an Italian girl.

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And 3 hours away, Matteo was at his own OktoberFest with his friends, so we compared notes throughout.  We missed him!


We got home at a time when the moon was high in the sky and slept for a few hours...that guy that I like so much had a 6:00am call time with his choir the next morning.  Ouch.

But God created coffee...hot, strong coffee, for that very reason.

I ended up rolling out of bed and with a very raspy voice, got myself to church in time for early service.  His choir this year is huge and they were singing at a former church of ours and I'll admit, it's a hard place for me to go back to.  There's a history, as there often is...and a story that still hurts when I think about it...sometimes a bee sting is still felt even after the mark is long gone.

But it was all good and I felt so at peace worshipping there that morning which was definitely God at work in me...in my heart.  And I'm thankful for that.

After, we went to a former students beautiful home and had such a lovely time with them.  They cook...as in we had the most amazing meal ever and felt so pampered by the time it was over.

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We climbed into bed last night and I realized we had spent more time away all weekend than home and just as I was settling in with my book, the rain drops started.  That sound...what is it about that sound that is so calming, especially to us in the dry state that we are in?


And that brings me to today...Monday.  I'm moving slow and thinking slower.  Work is always a bit crazier when it rains and there's always stranger than normal problems to solve and today has been no different.  I'd love to be curled up on my couch watching a movie but that's just not going to happen...but tonight I'll be curled up while I watch our beloved Bronco's play.  

I hope it's still raining.

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