Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Every once in a while I throw caution to the wind and say "ta heck with watching what I eat! I work hard - I can afford to live a little".  And that is when it happens.  I loose all self control and head to the nearest fast food restaurant as fast as I can.  Don't get me wrong - I love good healthy food too but there is something about a greasy burger that just hits the spot sometimes.  And oh did it hit the spot today......all $6 of it.  Yes, I had a $6 guacamole bacon cheese burger from Carl's Jr.  I savored every bite and licked my fingers to boot.  I couldn't believe I hadn't experienced this phenomenon before.  It was like heaven wrapped up in white wax paper - mmmmmmmm.  Of course it did not last long.... it wasn't but a few hours later when I was teaching jam class that the burger decided to become a brick in my belly.  So tomorrow I will work a little harder in pilates and maybe try and eat light.  For the moment though it was bliss and so worth it.  

Now if I could only look like Paris while eating it - that would be a feat!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Free Date Night!

John came home temporarily today and had a business dinner to go to.  He invited me to go with him and I reluctantly said yes.  It ended up being a great night.  Our neighbors watched the kids in exchange for letting them come over to watch 24 on tivo - and our dinner was at the Edna Valley Vineyard.  We walked in and had our choice of wine as we mingled and then we moved to the dining room and the wine just kept coming through dinner and dessert.  I think the food was quite nice but the wine was all I was thinking about.  Edna makes my favorite Chardonnay so I was quite happy and they have a sweet dessert wine (called sweet Edna) that I truly enjoy (and I don't like sweet wine).  All in all it was a very nice and unexpected evening.  I was able to spend time with my amazing husband and schmoozed with the president of the company for quite some time.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monsters VS Aliens

John has been out of town so today I took the kids to see this movie (they loved it - and I had a good nap).  I also decided to re-caulk the shower.  Now that was monsters vs aliens.  I was the alien and the old caulk was the monster.  It seriously took me several hours to just get the old stuff off.  It was nasty and disgusting and I was swearing at it the whole time.  Of course I did win this battle in the end ( I wouldn't have it any other way).  It only took 5 minutes to put the new stuff on.  Sometimes I wonder why I take on such projects when I could easily play the "girl" card but in the end I really do feel some satisfaction from taking on "manly" jobs.  Now, if I could just change the oil in my car.....

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Is it bad to be proud of someone else?  Especially if they are your own children?  Today was a day where I couldn't be more proud of both of my kids.  Julia performed her little heart out twice today for the school talent show.  For a little girl who loves to sing but maybe isn't quite sure about performing she blew me away.  She was comfortable on stage (or seemed to be) and I saw her relax and enjoy her time up there.  Her voice grew louder and her movements grew stronger and I caught a glimpse of who she is turning into.  Jack picked up a quite challenging book a few days ago and has jumped in with both feet.  Jack has never really been one to go out of his way to read and today I couldn't tear him away from it.  I can not tell you how happy it makes me to see him ignoring me to read a book instead of playing a video game or watching TV.  I guess I should enjoy these moment and document them and remember them - I know not all days will be like today.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fish fry and Shorts.....

Every year our church has a fish fry every Friday during lent.  It is quite the event.  It is sponsored by the Italian Catholic Federation.  Picture for a moment a bunch of long tables like at a school cafeteria and a whole lot of people (mostly seniors) talkin and jabbering away.  You can hardly hear yourself think in there but the fish is SO good.  I crave it all week long so that is what I am really looking forward to tonight!

On a completely different topic.  I was at the store today and came across those short OP cord shorts I used to wear in junior high (did you ever think those would come back?)..... think I can still pull it off? ;)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Julia's new book

Julia is putting together a Story book and has made these characters for it.  Aren't they cute!  I love the big headed guy and the hat on the little ones head.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Dads shop

So my Dad is an amazing woodworker.  He specializes in custom furniture and can make almost anything.  He currently has a great little workspace and plans on filling his time with his talent. He focuses on "lifetime" pieces with incredible craftsmanship and fine hard woods.  His wife Sally is also very talented in another genre. She is an amazing seamstress and is currently specializing in small quilts that you might keep on top of a table.  This may not sound very California-ish  but think of those relatives that live in the mid-west.  Anyhoo, if you need any amazing furniture or are looking for a beautiful quilt custom made let me know - I have connections ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lunch meat?

I am recovering from a nasty bout of food poisoning.  I believe it was from some lunch meat I ate.  Before I knew I had it I ate enchiladas for dinner........  Yuck.  Here is to wishing this never happens to you!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


In the dim light I can make out the yellow "livestrong" bracelet the man next to me is wearing.  His knee is bouncing up and down at a rate of about 500 times per minutes and his eyes are closed as he leans back and listens to his ipod.  Behind me I hear the conversation of a nice looking intelligent young man trying to make conversation with the young woman sitting next to him.  She has a very short skirt on and her words are even shorter "um", "kinda" and "sorta".   The conversations fizzles.  I look down on my lap and there lies the sweet head of my daughter.  Her perfect skin, her soft breath.  Her body is curled up on the seat next to me..... not as small as it once was.  I close my eyes and hope for sleep but my senses are suddenly more acute.   I can't seem to block out the sound of the crinkling potato chip bag and the cough of the man sitting in the front.  My knees ache from leaning up against the seat in front of me, my feet are asleep and my eyes are dry.  Then, without notice, a jolt and the wheels are down.  I feel myself exhale.  Home.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


As we were leaving from the airport today Julia said "I hate goodbyes".  That pretty much sums it up.  I had a hard time holding back the tears as we walked towards the security gate.  

Michael - It was amazing to see you again.  You have so many interests and talents and an amazing mind.  I know you are going to achieve great things in life.  Sometimes life doesn't give you the answer to "what should I do now?" but I think you will find it if you keep reaching toward the things you love.  Thanks for taking me for a spin in your speedster.  I LOVED IT.  That is what life is about in my mind.  Cruising down the street on a beautiful crisp day with the sun roof open and the tunes blaring.  You have the key to so many things just in that.  Make sure you keep learning and achieving, trying new things and stepping out of your comfort zone.  Just a little sisterly advise from your big sis.  Take it or leave it.  I love you Mike!

Sally - The hostess with the mostest!  I had almost forgotten what an amazing cook you are!  It comes to you so easily and goes down even easier (gym here I come) and I admire how you fly in and out of the kitchen and magically this beautiful meal appears.  Your artistic talents are too many to name.    You seem to really find joy and peace in your sewing and writing and your eye for beauty is natural.  Thank you for treating Julia and I to a wonderful vacation.  We had such a great time and it was so nice to see and visit with you again.  Thank you for showing us your part of the world and sharing your extended family with us.   I hope your dream of doing what you love becomes a reality - I have no doubt that it will.  I love you!

Papa - You may not feel young physically but you are.  You are strong and a fighter and you came through surgery like it was a walk in the park.  Your body wants to heal and grow even stronger so take care of it.  The next few months might be full of challenges but I know you will face them head on and overcome them with success.  One step at a time, one moment at a time.  It makes me happy to know you are happy - so make yourself happy!  I love you!

Julia and I miss all of you already.  Lets make sure less time goes by the next time and lets talk more in between.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Today was a really great day.  I was able to go to lunch with my Dad - just the two of us.   We went out for Chicago style hot dogs at a dive restaurant and it was perfect.  We talked about all kinds of things.  Mostly deeper subjects.  It was so nice to have that kind of conversation with him again.  It is hard to do that on the phone, especially with children in the background etc.  It has been almost 4 years since I saw my Dad last and that is far too long.  I miss him.  I hope he knows how incredibly talented he is, how intelligent he is, how kind and compassionate he is, how much he is loved.  I hope he knows that he deserves a wonderful life, a fun and successful life, a life full of adventure, love, faith and joy.  I want him to know that yes he does deserve it and yes he can achieve it - just like all of us deserve and can achieve our own dreams.  Life has handed him many ups and downs and I pray that this next chapter is a steady climb up.  I love you Papa.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Today my Dad, Michael, Julia and I went to the science center in Des Moines.  We watched a fun "Under the Sea" movie on a huge imax dome screen and then Julia played around a bit.  The weather has been extremely mild (much like California).  Julia has been spending her time stealing my camera and taking her own pics and playing with their two dogs - Charlie and Lola.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fun day!

Today Julia and I woke up quite late for this household at almost 9am. We had a fantastic breakfast of banana bread, smoothies, and coffee and then headed out to see my Dad's workshop. It is amazing and I will post pictures later of this one with some more details about what it is. Then we hit the mall (can you believe it? a mall!). We walked around and I was surprised to see things like P.F. Chang's and The Cheesecake Factory there (those things are only suppose to be in California right?). Anyway it was fun. My Dad and Sally took us all out to dinner at a fine Mexican restaurant that had a special on margaritas - we are completely stuffed! These are pics of the inside of their house and a pic of my rich brother Michael's porshe.......ahhh the life of a 21 year old.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We made it!

We are a bit worse for wear but after a fantastic and amazing meal made by Sally we are all better now. My Dad's house is SOOOO COOOL!!!! I will post pics tomorrow. Everyone looks great and it is so nice to see them in person! More later......gotta get some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Flight from hell

I am off to see the family.   Julia and I will leave the house at 3:30am tomorrow, drive to Santa Barbara, fly to Phoenix, change planes and fly to Omaha, get in the car and drive 2 hours to their house.  So think of me while you are enjoying your breakfast.  We are looking forward to the visit just not the traveling.  I will try and blog while I am there but may need to catch up when we return.  Have a great week!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Julia's career

Julia performed in a talent show yesterday.  She did very well.  I tried to upload the video but for some reason it isn't working.  I really admire her courage - especially for being 8 years old.  She just loves to sing and you can tell.  She wants to be a singer and an entomologist.  Maybe she can study the effects of singing to bugs....  I wonder if she likes bugs because they mostly go unnoticed, are small and for the most part they are gentle creatures.  I think sometimes she can relate.  She flies under the radar often because she is quiet and has Jack for a big brother - I can't wait until the rest of the world gets to see how special she is.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another word of the day

This one was made up by Julia about 4 years ago.

Blushery - I nice way of saying athletes foot.

Friday, March 13, 2009


I was just thinking today how quickly things can change and most of the time we don't even realize it is happening.  In light of the drastic economic downturn which appeared to have happened overnight (and we all know it didn't) I was thinking about the first house my parents bought.  It was around 1980 in Boulder, CO and they bought it for about $70,000.  A mere 16 years later John and I bought our first home in Highland Ranch, CO for $228,000.  In 2001 we bought our current house for almost half a million dollars and a couple of years ago when the housing market was at its highest we probably could have sold it for almost a million.  That is pretty crazy when you think about it and that is only one element.  Think of everything else that has happened in the last 30 years.  I realize I am starting to sound like an old person.  "I remember when a gallon of milk was only a nickel....." but it does boggle the mind.  I wonder what this world will be like in another 30 years when I am 70.....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Iowa here I come....

I am off to see my Dad, his wife and my brother on Tuesday of next week.  I am taking Julia with me so it should be fun to have a little bit of girl time with her.  I have never been to Iowa.  I am sure it is very exciting ;).  Actually it will just be great to see the family -  I haven't seen my dad in about 3 years.  Let me know if you would like me to pick up some corn (or whatever it is they grow there) for you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I am horrible at remembering dates - birthdays, important dates, etc.  I just don't operate that way.  I especially don't remember years.  If  I am lucky enough to remember a birthday I certainly don't remember the year.  I know the year Jack and Julia were born and the year we were married (but only because I drilled it into my head so I wouldn't forget).  I remember things by events or what was happening at the time.  So I found it interested when I came across an article noting the ten year anniversary of the Columbine shooting.  We were living in Littleton at the time and it rocked the community to the core.  I had my young son who I though we were raising in an extremely safe area.  This was also the year I decided to become a catholic.  I had decided long before the shooting and the church we were attending had several members who were directly affected by the event.  So then it came to me that I will have been officially Catholic for 10 years this Easter.  It took an entire year of classes.  God walked me through every single step of the way - like I was a 2 year old and he was spoon feeding me.  I heard him louder then.  I heard him in songs on the radio - while driving and asking him question the lyrics presented the answer.  I saw him in the face of young Jack.  I even saw him through circumstances within the Columbine shooting.  My decision to become Catholic was completely my own.  John was raised Catholic but he never once pressured me to become a Catholic - nor did his family.  I may never remember the year it happened but I certainly wont forget the surreal and amazing night that it became official at the Easter vigil.  We were lighting candles outside of the church and as we were talking about the Holy Spirit a great wind came and blew them out and then the electricity went out in the building.  Our entire ceremony (it was 3 hours long) was performed by candlelight and the church was extremely quiet so we could all hear the priest without a microphone.  Towards the end of the service he spoke of the "light of the world" and all of the lights in the church came on.  Freaky, I know, but it was just a confirmation to me that he was there.   I don't believe Catholicism is for everyone but it is for me.  God chose it for me and I listened.  I am happy I did.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Word of the week

Arn - you are or are not; maybe.  You arn going to school.

This word was completely made up by Jack yesterday.  Do you think it will catch on?  I wonder what his english grade is right now.......

Monday, March 9, 2009

Uncle Rico part III

My husband finally came to the surface after almost an entire week of "epic" sessions with buddy Joe Walsh.   They had a "bitchin'" time together cruisin' the coast and searching for waves.  Along the way they "tagged" almost every public street sign, restroom, dumpster, etc. with these fine stickers from his surf camp in Costa Rica.  Doesn't it look lovely on the rust covered hood of Uncle Rico?  I am sure he would be more than willing to send a few your way if you were interested (free advertising right?).  Actually his surf camp is quite the thing these days.  He is booked all of the time and his camp is uniquely situated right in front of a great surf break.  He also has a wonderful restaurant and bar.  Check out his website www.witchsrocksurfcamp.com.
Costa Rica is a very family friendly vacation spot with fantastic wildlife, fun people, and beautiful views, and the surf is OK too ;)  Of course I only know this from John's 3 trips there......maybe he will take me one of these day.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Forward?

All day today I have felt like I was racing against the clock.  Every time I looked at my watch it was so much later than I had anticipated.  I didn't even wake up late - in fact - we woke up quite early to go to 9 0'clock mass.  I think it is funny that one hour can make such a difference in our lives.  Our internal clocks get so thrown by moving things one hour.  I am sure this whole week will feel the same - tired and trying to keep up.  Don't get me wrong - I love it lighter in the evenings and having daylight savings so early in the year is fantastic - it just takes some getting used to.  What do you think?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

For Sale

My very good friend Mary is selling some furniture before she moves into a new house.  Let me know if you are interested.

Bedroom set
Roll top desk
Entertainment center
Electric scooter
Basketball hoop
Antique table
Fur coat

Friday, March 6, 2009

Simple Pleasures

AAAhhhhhh  the simple things in life.  A handful of teddy grahams, a new dog toy.  If only these things could make us happy all of the time......

Esther was thrilled when I gave her a couple of cookies and she thrilled me with her more than cute little voice "cookie".  She is like a little doll I love to play with.

Ben has been carrying this stuffed pheasant around for 2 days now like he is the King of Egypt and it is the most prize possession imaginable. 

Thank you Ester and Ben for clearly pointing out the pleasure we can take in small things.  Something we all should probably do more often.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Missing persons report

White male. 5'10"  dark hair, blue eyes.  Rather handsome.  Last seen carrying a surfboard off into the sunset next to a dusty ol' camper van.  Goes by the name John - or more recently - Dude.  If found please clean him up and return him to his proper home.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Growing Boy

Tonight after class I took the kids to dinner at Coco's and met someone we know.  She hadn't seen Jack in awhile and said he was a foot taller than the last time she had seen him.  He proceeded to order a large lemonade and a bacon cheese burger off of the adult menu which came with sweet potato fries and a cup of soup (which he ate with a basket full of bread).  After he cleaned his plate he ordered a piece of chocolate cream pie....   We are now accepting donations for the "Jack Food Fund" in any denomination - unfortunately it will not be tax deductible.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


My dear friend Sally has become quite the knitter.  She told me she really can't stop (she's addicted). She loves little projects that only take a few days so.....  I told her I had seen these hats on people but couldn't find them anywhere and would she mind making me one.  She immediately went to work and finished it in a day and a half.  From the time we spoke until I had it on my head it was only one week.  This beautiful hat flew half way across the country and I know she worked so hard on it (it is exactly what I was hoping for).   I also know she knew I needed some cheering up and when I opened the package I could feel her love pouring out.  Thank you Sally for being such an amazing and true friend and knowing that this token of love would mean the world to me.  We may live hundreds of miles apart but you have a huge piece of my heart.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Uncle Rico part II

So today John brought Uncle Rico's (the van) owner home to meet us.  John met him when he went to Costa Rica to surf one year and then they both went on a surfing safari last year from Costa Rica to Panama.  Everything is making more sense to me now.  I mean this nice, easy going, guy kind of fits with the Uncle Rico persona.  I think if he could walk around with some rust around the edges and some really cool surf stickers on him he would.  John is having a blast cruising up the coast and checking every surf spot along the way.  It is nice to see John so comfortable with a new friend.  At dinner tonight they were laughing themselves silly (and I must admit.....so was I).  I guess the surf culture really draws similar people together.   JW thanks for coming to visit and having a play date with my hubby - I can't wait to meet the rest of the family.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Today my friends and I painted Stephen's new store.  Don't I have beautiful friends?