Friday, May 30, 2008

Alas, she's gone -

I know. You're probably all wondering where the heck I've been. Well, I've been helping get my little girl out the door and into another country.

We've been anticipating this day for several months now, and the day has finally arrived. Our week started off with Kacey trying to find the largest suitcase ever made, which just had to be placed in the farthest region of the attic as to not make any part of this excursion easy.

Last night was filled with lots of tears as she said goodbye to all of her guys ... and one special boy. Two of these friends will be gone on their missions (one to Paraguay and one to Chile) before she gets home. The scene after this was really quite sad!

She cried herself to sleep in my bed at about 2:00 a.m. and this morning we left for the airport at 6:30.

I have "encouraged" this experience since before she even began college. So why am I questioning the fact that I just put her on a plane with tears in her eyes? Part of me wanted to grab her and say "Nevermind! I don't know what we were thinking!" But most of me knows that this will be a step in a very productive direction. If it is a terrible experience, I will take all of the blame. If it is a positively wonderful adventure, I will be so thrilled. Whatever the case may be, she's gone to the faraway land of Guanajuato ... and I already miss her.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bipolar -

Nope, I'm not posting about any kind of humanistic tendencies, I'm talking about our weather. Remember my last post? Scratch that. I'm sitting here looking out the window at big drops of rain and I'm wearing a hoodie! It's 4:30 in the afternoon and it's only 59 degrees! This is approximately 50 degrees difference within just a few days and I for one can't get enough of it! I'm calling it a gift from heaven and I seriously love this kind of gift!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Triple Digits -

It's official. Arizona had its first hot flash this weekend. Today in my little neck of the woods (or gathering of cacti), it's supposed to hit 107. This is when the phenomenon of finding the shaded parking spot at the places we frequent becomes the most important and strategic move we make all week. Driving around looking for the slightest hint of shade covering from a dumpster, a building or possibly a tree. Unfortunately, most of our trees look something like this.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's going to be a hot one. Put on your swimsuits and plan on staying under water for the next five months.

What is the weather like in your neck of the woods and what do you do to stay cool?

Friday, May 16, 2008

My daughter the zebra -

This is my cute daughter's only hint of rebellion. Why have one shade of hair when you can have two? She's like my little reversed skunk!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Oh dang. Occasionally I get a hankerin' for the won ton. When my sister married her Vietnamese hubby, I was introduced to a whole new world. Granted, our tastes differ more often than not, but when it comes to some deep fried heaven there is no denying the traffic-stopping goodness that should honestly bring countries closer together than ever before. Ya, it's that good.

My sister's niece, Chareena, was kind enough to come over to my house and TRY desperately to teach me the art of won ton making. She just whipped things up and made it look so perfectly easy.

We added a touch of this and a pinch of that ...

Before long I could feel my arteries sobbing, but I didn't care.
Ya, it was that good.

It took care of my hankerin' for awhile, but inevitably the cravings come back.
What does everybody else get a hankerin' for?

P.S. Thanks Chareena!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I mean ... Happy Mother's Day!

Pardon my last post. Bad Day. Moving on.

Wow what a great Mother's Day! Mother's Day for me actually started on Saturday. Gary must have sensed my blue mood and decided to take the kids to the lake for the whole day and give me a day to myself. So I did what any girl would do. I called my sister and I went and bought me the best Mother's Day gift in the territory. That's right, I am now the proud new owner of a gift that truly sucks!

The Dyson 25 ... quite possibly the coolest vacuum in the world.

Then we went to lunch and went to see this!

I loved this show! I'm so happy that Robert Downey Jr. got his act together in time to give us a fabulously entertaining flick. I love all movies, so you might not want to take my word as a true critique, but my word is that this was great and I look forward to the sequel.

Then the fun really began at about 9:00 p.m. (because midnight in Florida is only 9:00 p.m. here in the West!) Yep, as soon as midnight came and Mother's Day was official somewhere in the world, I heard Matt's voice saying "Happy Mother's Day!" We had a few nice chats throughout the day and it was obviously fantastic to talk to him.

Mother's Day morning started out with my ten-year-old chef whipping up some heart-shaped pancakes, scrambled eggs (overcooked since he knows I don't eat "snotty" eggs) and burnt bacon (my favorite) all formed in the shape of a heart and placed on a LARGE happy face tray. He gave me a happy face for sure.

Then we went to church, where I was able to hear special musical numbers performed by three of my five kids. I got to watch Jake pass the Sacrament after Keaton blessed it. We came home where Gary handled dinner and we all watched Enchanted for the billionth time. I don't care how many times I watch that movie, I'll never get tired of the ballroom dance scene. Oh my gosh they gaze into each other's eyes and twirl around the room so madly in love just waiting for true love's kiss! Okay so I'm about to tell you the highlight of my entire day and quite possibly of my entire life. I'm so serious right now!

Maybe all of you have spent your lives dancing with your husbands, well congratulations but that isn't how we do it over here in the Shaker Shack ... except for today! That's right. Gary danced with me to the song that is played during that oh-so-romantic scene of Enchanted. Kacey gave me the soundtrack for Mother's Day, and Gary gave me the dance. I am seriously about to shed a tear! So what if he couldn't keep a straight face through the entire song! It was everything I could have asked for in a dance and it was all I could have imagined in a day ... especially a Mother's Day. Moving on.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Frickin' Mother's Day -

Because I'm not into drama and it takes a heck of a lot to get me teary eyed, this sad (and I mean ridiculously sad) story will be short and ... well, just short.

Today marks 33 years since my mom died. I hate this time of year, I hate this holiday and I particularly hate today. Every year I tell myself that it's just another day. Every year I try to stay very busy and not let it all creep in. Yet every year (barring one year when I had a harshly high fever and I couldn't care less what day it was ... that was good) creep in it does.

It seems like it was just yesterday that my Dad was sitting on a stool next to my bed with his face in his hands sobbing as I've never seen before or since as he had to tell me that my mom (his high-school sweetheart) was not coming home. It's a scene that will never leave my mind or my heart.

I was nine years old and I was the oldest of five little children that were now left with my Dad. My Dad is my hero because he did it (with the help of two sets of angelic grandparents). Blood clots had formed during pregnancy and obviously the Lord had other plans for this young mother of only 27-years-old. When I get to the other side, this urgent need will be the first thing that I inquire about.

This is the last picture I had taken with my Mom. She was pregnant with Julie and these were our brand new, hand-sewn Easter dresses. A few weeks later, she was gone.

Two of the people in this picture are gone now, but they're together. I think it's symbolic that the two in the center are the ones who have passed away because they left a very large whole in our family. My kids are now all older than I was when I lost my mom. I have prayed and prayed that this would happen. So on this Mother's Day I am grateful for that. I am grateful that I am a mother and that I have been given the opportunity to raise such wonderful children (as I typed this, Garrison just slammed my door ... brat). Anyway, I am grateful that I get to talk to Matt in two days! I am grateful that our family is intact. I am extremely blessed and I know this, but for now ...
Happy Frickin' Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Wonder Years -

My little Jake (and I use the word little very loosely) is throwing me a curve ball. J just turned 12 and he already seems to have his life planned out. I think of myself at age twelve and I was far from having my future mapped. I am sure that his mind will change a million times between now and the age of 14, but for now, he's pretty solid.

The part that has me stumped is the occupation that he has chosen. For several years now, Jake has had a true affinity to pilots. He loves airplanes and helicopters of all kinds. A couple of weeks ago it was Spirit Day at our Elementary School. The kids could dress as their favorite celebrity. While most students resembled Hannah Montana and other rock stars, my boy dressed up as Charles Lindbergh. Yep, I said Charles Lindbergh. The kids at school shockingly didn't know who he was, so he made himself a name badge and proudly wore that thing.

So here's my angst. Jake just got through presenting his ELP report to me on his chosen career as an Air Force Pilot. He will present it to his class this week. This shouldn't surprise me because he has talked about this path many times. Each time, I have made sure to point out the dangers and the downside of this choice (because I am an incredibly supportive parent). Obviously I have scared him none whatsoever and maybe I am calling to his inner rebel and actually making the career choice stick. I don't know. I don't know because I haven't had to deal with this yet! Matthew has decided to be a rich and famous singer/songwriter ... BUT he has agreed to get an education in case the fame doesn't pan out. Kacey is getting a degree in Spanish/Education and will use it for something amazing. Keaton, as of now, is following in his Dad's footsteps and is planning on taking over the family plumbing business but will also get a degree. These choices may all change drastically in the coming years, but so far they're all something I can wrap my brain around. But the Air Force? I have no good thoughts about my kids in any type of military situation. Why can't I support that? I am sure that my fear is overriding any feelings that I would like to have of patriotism. I am sure that if the time comes that this is actually the choice that Jake follows, I will learn to hide that fear and muster up the support that he would need. But for now, I will continue to hope and pray that my children will be able to follow their dreams and attain them in safe mode. Stay tuned.