Thursday, July 21, 2016

What Summer Has Looked Like


This summer has been all about simple, easy meals...mainly because I've lost my cooking mojo.  I just can't seem to figure out what to make and to be honest, nothing has really sounded all that good.  Well, except for bbq sauce...but I live with a bunch of people who don't share my love affair with bbq sauce and that's all I seem to want.

Oh well.

Big bowls of fresh pastas to the rescue.  Lots of pesto this year because the basil seems extra sweet right now.  And it's super easy.

Good, old fashioned mood rings have been the hot topic.  Thanks, Amazon, for a few things...prime being one and mood rings being two.

I've learned I'm moody...haha.

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Daily walks around the hood with a pup in tow.  Buddy the Dog still doesn't love the great outdoors...or rather, the big open outdoors, but he's still the sweetest thing ever.

I do think he needs a buddy.  A buddy for Buddy.

That guy that I like so much is not in favor of that.

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My nieghbor has the magic touch when it comes to grapes...and lighting in their garden.  

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Lots of girlfriend time...though it never seems like enough to me, spent in one garden or another. Lots of dancing, lots of wine, lots and lots of laughter because hello, our world is too heavy right now.  

 The cousins were all in the same place for a whole weekend and I love how much fun they have together.  Round three is heading to college this fall and so they had a fun beach weekend to celebrate.


 We recreated a favorite family photo and probably will every time they are all together.

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They might be getting older but it is NOT getting any easier getting them to cooperate.

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 We had a family dinner party that slowly trickled down to just the two of us and suddenly we had 11 extra chairs at the table.  It was all good...but I will say, I don't get the sitting on opposite sides of a long table thing.  We've always sat next to each other at the dinner table and never across from one another and it just feels so far away that way.

Or maybe we're just weird.


I'd ditch a family dinner for the beach too.

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And hey, we're late to the whole cornhole thing and now can't get enough.

Actually, that's not true.  We only play it once in awhile but when we do we like it.

Sometimes, you just need a pb & j.  I could eat one every day.  My family that doesn't share my love of bbq sauce also doesn't share my love of peanut butter.

Who are they????

Operation house purge is still in full swing.  We've dumped tons and my car is loaded for a 5th trip to goodwill.  The youngest shrubs life is being separated into two worlds...the stuff that is going to college and the stuff that's staying home and we're checking things off the list.  We've done this before and feel like pro's, but it's still a lot of work.

And I've realized that for the first summer in forever, I'm not washing endless sports uniforms.  And to be honest,  I don't miss it.  Yet.  Maybe I will?  Or maybe not.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summertime Stuff

 We've settled into summer so well and so easily...I'm thinking once reality hits we're going to have a pretty rough time.

But until then it's all good.  Like really good.

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 One of my favorite quotes is by Emerson:

'The earth laughs in flowers.'

Isn't that the best?  And true?


So many goings on this summer.  So many parties and travels and people to see.  So much fun.

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 These boys (and the moms) have been friends for so long that I cannot even remember when it all began, except that it's always been fun.  

For them and for us.


 I'm loving that others are inspired to have garden parties...have you had one?

I highly suggest it.

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Ugh.  

We're packing for college.  He's got his physical today and the bins are being packed.  I'm still smiling, mainly because this is the easy part.  

He's so ready and so excited and it's kind of infectious, but boy oh boy is this houseful of boys going to be quiet.

My neighbor blessed us all with a 4th of July neighborhood breakfast and she did everything for it...all the set up.  All the food.

All we did was walk out the front door and a cup of coffee and a plate of delicious food was handed to me and I'm not sure she'll ever know what a gift that morning was to me. 

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The mornings have been so quiet this summer and I'm loving that....even though sometimes they are happening really super early.  A little known fact about me is that I have nightmares...like wake up screaming and crying nightmares, and have since I was very little.  Not a big deal if I'm with that guy that I like so much...he wakes me up and then he goes right back to sleep.  Me though?  I'm usually up for a bit and over the years find that a cup of tea and reading my bible help.

For some reason this summer...and I am so relaxed this summer, it's been worse than usual.  Not sure what the trigger is but I'm sure it will pass soon.

My girlfriends house IS my happy place.  Or one of them anyway.

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Snooze opened here and we scored an invite to the free soft opening last week.  We've all been a bit homesick for Boulder and Snooze helps with that just a bit.

Seriously...their pancakes ROCK.

In fact, we went back again today.

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Oh man, the garden is SO BEAUTIFUL this year.  Like, beyond beautiful.

This is my #1 happy place...especially when it's filled with people.

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Even our little cherub feels happy here.

 Summer cooking has been pretty spot on this summer....lots and lots of simple grilled meals and big salads.  And a few more things that aren't as simple...like paella and since I can't afford a trip to Spain, making it at home is the next best thing.

Yummy...especially when it's made on the grill.


 Have you heard of Pokemon Go?  The boys got us hooked and now we're all walking around town trying to catch pokemon and hatch eggs and it's all so stupid and so very addicting and really fun.


We've met lots of new people while we are out there catching the little buggers and hmmmm....maybe it is time to go back to work?

Seriously, I think we have a problem.

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And that's about it.  Sleeping.  Eating.  Garden.  Pokemon.  We still haven't watched any TV shows but House of Cards is waiting for us...but it just seems like a waste right now to spend our beautiful summer in front of the television.  

Oh...and Operation House Purge of 2016 is in full force.  I'm on a roll and it feels so good to go room by room and clean out the clutter and I'm pretty proud of myself.  For such a little house we had way too much stuff...the goodwill guys have been my best friend.

Feels good. 

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Home Sweet Home


And in the blink of an eye and a final swipe of the credit card, resort life came to an end and we were back to the life of flying coach on the way home.

But that whole upper class kinda life?

Totally fun while it lasted.

The one thing that happened on this trip to the pretty island was the quality of my sleep.  Not just sleep,  but I experienced real, restful, deep sleep.  No kids coming in at all hours of the night.  No dogs having bad dreams.  (yeah...Buddy the dog is like a toddler in some ways.)  No cats meowing at weird times.  No worries about unanswered emails or facebook or sticky floors or bills that needed to be paid.

There was none of that...only the sound of ocean waves in the distance.

I'm not sure the last time I experienced that kind of deep, restful sleep and it was so very, very needed.

I am so thankful....but also a little concerned that I will only experience that if I stay on a little island at a 5 star resort, because if it comes down to sleep or the amount of room on my credit card, well, I'm out of luck.

Yawn.

But seriously, the pillows at that hotel!  I really want those fancy pillows.  And the big bathtub.  And the housekeeping service not once, but twice, a day.

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I do think the very best part about traveling is the coming home part.  Boys were waiting.  Pets were waiting.  Laundry was waiting.  I was rested, happy, and feeling the love for about 3.2 minutes and then was just a tad irritated at how needy everyone was.

Job security.  Job security.  Job security.

And let's face it...the only real housekeeping service is, well...me.  

I made a long 3 page list (while in Hawaii) of every home improvement project that needs to be done in the 4 weeks I am off of work...there's everything from 'clean out under the boys bathroom sink' to 'tackle the attic' to 'paint the whole house'.  But then, in an effort to make me feel like I'm not such a failure because we all know none of these things are going to get done, I put things on there like 'sweep out the pantry' and 'dust the bedroom lamp'.

Whew.  At least some things will get accomplished.  That whole list making thing seemed a lot more manageable when I was laying on the beach with a cocktail in my hand.

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Today we walked around Balboa Island with coffees in hand, spent a fortune doing a restock at Costco and then came home and took turns playing Animal Crossing on wii. 

I'm sure those things are buried on that home improvement list somewhere.


I'm beginning to think I should have made a different sort of list...one that looked like this:

1. chill out and don't feel guilty about it
2. see  #1

Hmmmm....I'm liking that list.

The summer heat came and the grapes ripened over night...they are so sweet this year!  Not enough to do anything  with but pick and eat and that is perfectly ok...we just cut them and put them on a cheese board and munch away.

Summer grilling is in full swing and we're keeping things super simple around these parts.

My favorite part is that I just stand by and watch.  That guy that I like so much does it all while I stand by and eat bon bons.  

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Can you smell how good that smells?

Toss a BIG salad and sound the dinner bell and voila!  Dinner! 

And on this night all boys somehow jumped ship with better offers and this ended up being dinner for two...though a whole crowd showed up a bit later and gobbled the leftovers up.  

Not quite sure how the whole 'cooking for two' thing will ever work around here?


It is nice to be home.  We were both tired of restaurant food (for reals) and that whole turn down service at the hotel got old too.  Not.  But maybe if I say it over and over I'll start believing it.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Resting.

This year, specifically 2016, has been a year of change.  I have a new boss at work, the youngest shrub had surgery (twice), graduated high school and will soon leave the nest, the oldest shrub moved back to California and is now a little over an hour from us and the middle born settled into a new career job, complete with his own (better than ours) health insurance at the ripe age of 22.

I get the whole 'change is good' thing, but God created me as a true 'creature of comfort.'

Add in everything that is changing in (and of) this world.  Friends attacking friends - not in person (over a coffee or a glass of wine) like we should, but on social media and via email.  All the hate...and I'm not sure why it's affecting me so deeply except for the part where I was created, like I said,  as a creature of comfort...one who doesn't like confrontation.

I'm weary.

Beyond weary.

Or maybe a better word is sad.

Then there's that guy that I like so much who has been on his every other year teaching overload semester...the one where he is spread so thin that time with him is always at a premium.  And finally, it just all came to a head last week when the dishwasher broke.

I crumbled.

 I often think of strong women who have come before me and how they handled real life stuff.  Eve, in the garden and watching it all fall apart.  Ruth, burying a husband and then finding herself in a new land and caring for a mother-in-law.  Esther, who risked her life to save her people.  Mary...oh sweet Mary, who bore a baby boy and watched him crucified.  My Grandmother, who left her own homeland to follow her family.  My husband's grandmother, my mother-in-law, my own Mom, my girlfriends...they all have stories of their own too.

I realize it all circles back to the span of life...that when our stories are read in one quick book that it all seems more dramatic because the trials become the focus, but they all (I'm pretty sure) had a lot of ordinary days too.  But I often wonder...did they crumble, say things they regret, cry and maybe slam a door or two when the dishwasher broke?

 But just when I found I couldn't handle much more...that my cup runneth over, so to speak, and not in a good way but in a stain the white sofa way, God swooped in with quiet.

This long planned, we really can't afford this, trip happened.

There have been hours upon hours of quiet.  We haven't turned on the television and actually have no clue as to what is happening in the world.  The boys are connected to us via text message and a few 'how do I buy pizza at costco with a credit card' (which you can't...life lesson #129) phone calls.

We both needed quiet.

 Every day here begins the same.  We watch the sun wake up our resort after sleeping on the most heavenly bed ever created, while sipping coffee on our lanai.  Around 9:00am we head to the beach, where a cute young thing gets us settled in our chairs under an umbrella and then our day officially starts.

We nap, swim, walk the beach, sip mai tai's and sigh (over and over and over) at how incredibly blessed we are to have this time.

 I can't decide what is more beautiful...the beginning of the day or the sunsets.  It's an even tie, I think.

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 We've ventured out here and there...drove the road to Hana - or being us, only halfway to Hana.  We've eaten at super fancy places...Ko (at our resort) and Capische (for our anniversary...truly one of the best meals we've ever eaten) and then some not so splurgy places like Nalu (fabulous!).  But for the most part we've stuck close by the beach because seriously, why would we ever want to leave?

I've written sporadically and I thought I would've worked on this silly book a whole lot more.  It seems that the words come easily until some stranger gives me a deadline and then I just can't seem to figure out what to say.  And then they give me ideas, bits from this place here which were never meant to be more than just a little diary for my family, and I immediately get even more of a writers block...and I've never had that problem before.

So instead, I've done what I've needed to do.  Held hands with my boyfriend.  Sipped mai tai's.  Prayed.  Sent lots of texts and posted lots on Instagram.  Napped.  Read a really great beach read.

It's all been good.

Tomorrow we will venture home.  I'm ready...but also bracing myself.  Have you ever left a houseful of boys, two cats and a dog alone for a week? 

It's all good.  I've missed them so much and am bringing home a really good mai tai recipe to help get me through.

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Sunset.  Wine.  Macadamias.

Oh...and we're revamping how we do garden parties.  Now all we need are some guinea pigs so we can test it out.

Any takers?

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Acai bowls.  The perfect breakfast food.  They're all the rage back home too...but they just taste so much better here.

The road to Hana.

Hiked through a rain forest.

In flip flops!

And discovered paradise.  

Amen.

Oh...and I got a new necklace, too.

This whole 30 year business is pretty fun.


OH....and Monkeypod!  We love this place...best mai tai's (I'm now an expert) and incredible food.  

Come to SoCal, please.

Aloha, Hawaii.  

You've been good to us.

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