Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Excellent E's

It's not my best list ever, but I did manage to find ten E words that I'm thankful for...

1. Earrings. I like 'em.

2. Eggplant. The color, not the vegetable.

3. Early. I am always early.

4. (The) Emperor's New Groove. A super fun movie.

5. Easter. The celebration of the Resurrection, the traditional meal, the strawberry shortcake, The Ten Commandments and occasionally my son's birthday. I love Easter.

6. Eggo Waffles. I don't like normal waffles, but every now and then I get a hankerin' for an Eggo.

7. Effervescence. I know a terrible joke that starts with the word effervescence, so whenever I hear the word, I giggle.

8. Efficiency. It pleases me.

9. Elliptical. My cardio machine of choice.

10. Eskimo Pies. Yum.

Check out Crayl's site to see what other people are thankful for today!

Friday, December 19, 2008


How is it that these Fridays keep coming so fast? It seems like these days I'm only blogging my list on Tuesday and my Flashback! Oh well, hopefully after the first of the year things will settle down a bit and I'll get back to writing regularly. Anyhow, for your entertainment, a few pictures from 1988...

Ah, here we are. I was in 7th grade, finally a part of ...drum roll please...youth group! I was the youngest in my circle of friends, so my 6th grade year seemed to take forever, waiting until I could join them! In this picture, we're on our way to Winter Camp. Don't I look dressed for it? Earrings, layered look complete with shoulder pads...

What am I doing here, you ask? It was my thirteenth birthday; my grandparents took me out to dinner (where an older guy tried to send a drink over to me...that didn't go over so well with my grandma!) and while we were eating, my folks set up a surprise party for me at Grandma and Granddad's house. Apparently Mom or Dad pulled out a camera and caught me spinning around once I realized that we were coming back to a house full of people.

Seventh grade, seventh period, Study Hall, skinny! Man I wish I still looked like that!!!

My best friend and I, playing the offertory for church. I'm the one playing the piano. We did Thy Word (Amy Grant). Honestly, we sounded pretty good...

Here we are, at our friend's older sister's wedding. We were the punch bowl people, or cake people or something like that. Oddly enough our friend and her sister are AC's cousins, so now I'm related to them. Funny how things turn out sometimes.

First day of 8th grade. This was kind of a big day for me. From Kindergarten through 7th grade, I'd gone to a private school; this was my first day of, gasp, public school. It only lasted one semester.

Remember that talent show in 1987 where Debbie and I were the do-op girls? Same church, same talent show, only this year it's Dana and I doing a Laurel and Hardy number. It was quite fun. I don't know why I didn't take the time to slick my hair back like she did though, it would have looked so much better!

This is the only Thanksgiving that I've ever spent away from my family... I'm not sure why we did this on Thanksgiving weekend, but for some reason, I went with Dana and her folks on a quick trip to San Francisco. We had Thanksgiving dinner at a Sizzler. This picture has always made me smile. I really, really like it. A few years back, AC and I were in San Fran with the kiddos, and we have a picture of me and the boys sitting on the wall about where the guy in the blue jacket is standing.

See? Horrible pic of me, but I had to show the proof! :-) (Summer of 2005)

I had to post this one for two reasons. One, well, Dana and I for some reason were very happy to find a Rice-A-Roni trolley car. And two, well, see for yourself....

In August of 1995 AC and I had been married for seven months and we were on vacation. We found out in Oregon that I was pregnant with John. On our way back, we stopped in San Francisco, and I really wanted to find the trolley car that Dana and I had posed by. It wasn't the same one, but still, it was a Rice-A-Roni car!

Wow. That was like a double bonus; pictures from 1988, 1995 and 2005. Sweet! I'd like to think that next Friday I'll post, but really, it'll be the day after Christmas and we're getting up at 3am to drive to Monterey. It might not happen. But stick with me! I'll be back, I promise!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Delightful D Words

My offering for the day...things that I am thankful for that begin with the letter D.

1. Dad. My dad is the best. I'm quite thankful for him!

2. Dessert. Need I say more?

3. Direct Deposit. I hate going to the bank...

4. Daffodils. I love to see daffodils in my kitchen; they make me happy.

5. Disneyland. Truly the Happiest (or Merriest) Place on Earth. Really. I love it that much.

6. Def Leppard. One of the best bands ever. Hysteria (the album, not the song) rocks. I blew out a speaker in my car listening to Pour Some Sugar on Me. It's easily one of my top five all time favorite songs; it has to be loud.

7. Diamonds. Specifically my engagement ring. I don't know anyone else with on like it. My man did real good.

8. Dishwasher. Until about three years ago, I was the dishwasher. Now, I can't imagine life without one!

9. Dogma. One of my favorite movies. If you pay attention, it actually does make some good points about organized religion.

10. Dude. I love the word. It can mean so many different things, depending on how you say it. AC calls me Dude when I'm frustrating him; it makes me giggle. The Bud Light campaign was great!

Head over to my friend Crayl's site to see what other people are thankful for today!

Friday, December 12, 2008


After a two week hiatus (due to Thanksgiving and Disneyland), we now return to our regularly scheduled Flashback...

This isn't all that interesting of a picture, as pictures go. It does, however, represent the time in my life when I started singing on a regular basis. Yes, if you are doing the math, I'm only twelve years old here. But around this time, started singing with Debbie (with me here) and Nicole. We'd sing special music in church, things like that. By the time I was fifteen I was subbing on the worship team. By sixteen, I was a regular member of the worship team.

On this nifty occasion however, we were not leading old hymns of the faith or moving worship anthems. This night, at our annual church talent show, we were the do-op girls as the worship team let a fabulous rendition of Surfin' USA. "Inside, outside, USA...inside, outside, USA..."

This would be my sixth grade graduation. My best friends in the whole world, all older than me, came out for the occasion. Don't they look thrilled to be there? The ceremony itself was sweet...our whole class sang The Greatest Love of All. Yep. Whitney Houston, baby.

This is the first apple pie that I ever made by myself, from scratch. Don't know why we took a picture, but we did.

Now this was a real hoot. My mom, who taught the 4th - 6th grade girls Sunday School class, was going to do a craft with them that required thousands of matches that had been struck and then blown out right away. They needed to be full length, but with the black tips. So, we had my best buddies and our youth pastor over, we sat in the back yard, and struck and blew out matches all night. It really was a lot of fun!

I loved these girls...

Finally, I will give you a quick peek into my room. Note the excellent pastel bedding, with the purple flashlight to match. My electric guitar is propped up in the corner; oh yeah, I was so cool. And the product...check out the number of product bottles on the dresser. Those with a trained eye can also behold the bracelets that I'm wearing. They're made out of chain that I bought at Handyman. I picked out several feet of the one that I wanted, and my dad made bracelets for me.

That's all I have for tonight folks. See you in 1988 when I, gasp, become a teenager!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ten on Tuesday, Christmas Edition

Since today's Ten on Tuesday letter is C, I thought I'd list ten Christmas things that I'm thankful for. Fun, huh? So here they are...

1. Christmas Ornaments. Our tree would be naked without them. Each one has it's own story...I love taking them out of the box each year and thinking about so many wonderful memories.

2. Christmas Lights. Few things make my insides as happy as driving around after dark looking at all of the beautiful lights. We put ours up on Thanksgiving, they usually come down shortly after New Year's Day. I love lights.

3. Christmas Carols. Many of you know, I'm a Christmas music junkie. Singing Christmas carols (with someone, so as to have the proper harmony) is one of my favorite things to do.

4. Christmas Sweaters. I know this is going to sound goofy, but I do love Christmas sweaters. I don't actually wear them, but I love to be out shopping and see someone in one. They can be quite cute.

5. Christmas Cards. I enjoy purchasing them, writing them, mailing them (on December 1st) and receiving them. One of my besties sent me a card in the mail every day for the whole month of December a few years back. It was truly the best present she could have given me. Come on, people, get your cards out!

6. Christmas Presents. I love giving Christmas presents. I love to get things for people, and bring them joy. Kind of odd coming from me, I know, but I really do love giving gifts.

7. Christmas Cookies. Seriously, Christmas cookies rock. I should probably also mention Christmas Candy with this one. I have several cookie and candy recipes that only come out at Christmastime. Yum!

8. Christmas Trees. I love our tree. One of my favorite things to do is sit on the couch with my hubby with only the lights from the tree on. It can turn an ordinary evening into a magical evening.

9. Christmas Parties. The Christmas Party encompasses so many things: the lights, the cookies, the trees, the carols and even the sweaters. SO much fun. I have one to go to this Saturday and I can't wait!!!

10. Christmas Luminaries. Each year, our whole neighborhood buys luminary kits from the Boy Scouts on Christmas Eve. We each get 25 of them, and we put them along the street and sidewalks in front of our houses and light them at dusk. They're long burning ones; they go until past midnight. It's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. After dark, with everyone's Christmas lights on and thousands of luminaries lining the streets, it's a perfect holiday scene. If you have nothing else to do, I highly recommend heading this way to check them out. It's my favorite thing about living here; and what I'll miss the most if I ever leave.

Head on over to Beyond Black and White to see what everyone else is thankful for this week!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Letter B

Wow. In my relaxation after the end of NaBloPoMo, I almost forgot that I have to post a B list today! Geez, I'm slacking! :-)

Here they are, in no particular order...

1. Bananas. I could eat them every day.

2. Bras. They have a job, they do it well.

3. Borders. One of my favorite places to hang out.

4. Boys. Specifically mine. God knew that I needed to be a boy mom, and not a girl mom.

5. Butter. Face it, everything is better with butter.

6. Board Games. I love games...I wish my hubby did too.

7. Beer. I finally found a beer that I like. Unfortunately, it is only sold in Dusseldorf. It'll probably be years before I get to have another one.

8. Blockbuster. I'm not into Netflix, or even Blockbuster online. I just go to the store, wander the aisles, and rent my movies. I'm old school.

9. Boondock Saints. A fabulous movie. Everyone should own a copy.

10. "Bork, bork, bork." As said by the Swedish Chef. One of the quickest ways to bring a smile to my face.

To see what other B words everyone is thankful for, check out Beyond Black and White.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


We finished getting all of the Christmas stuff out today. I am so thankful for the memories that came with each decoration as I pulled it out of the box...

The advent calendar that my Grandma made me is in place. She made it when I was a baby; I don't remember a Christmas without it. It's old, yellowed and so very sequined, but she made it...for me...I love it.

The tree is up in the boys' room. So very bright, so many lights! But we had so much fun decorating it tonight. I will always cherish moments like this.

Matt wanted to put his nativity scene on his dresser this year. I love that even though it only has seven pieces, he spent about a full five minutes placing them exactly how he thought they should go. I also love that he didn't let his (autographed) Tony Gwynn Rookie Card get too far away from the action. Precious.

I couldn't resist snapping this one. My babies are getting so big! John's on top; that's his foot. Matt's on the bottom, snuggled up in the blanket. The pink thing hanging over Matthew is a post-it; he has something that he wants to remember for tomorrow so he wrote himself a note. And the other white thing hanging..socks. In case his feet get cold in the night. Sigh. I love my boys.

Finally, I love that if you head downstairs, you'll be greeted with the "glow of electric sex". Classic.

Many more decorations fill the house, each with it's own memory. And just think...we are beginning a whole new season for memory-making!

As November draws to a close, and so does NaBloPoMo, I would like to thank you for visiting me every day. It's been fun!

Goodnight, and may you have a very blessed Christmas season!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Hmmm. Once AC got our tree nicely tucked in it's corner,
he realized that he was stuck in the corner with it!

Never fear! AC made it safely out,
and I commenced with the decorating.
Sigh. I love our tree.

Yay Christmas!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday, Thanksgiving Style

Good Evening, Friends and Fans!

While today is indeed Flashback Friday, I didn't feel right moving on to another year of pictures. It is, after all, Thanksgiving (for me). In fact, I'm still quite in the middle of Thanksgiving, Day Two! We're having a lovely day with my family. I was proud of myself yesterday...I didn't overeat. I was quite comfortable. Today? Not so much! I feel like a slug. A content slug, but a slug! :-)

I thought I'd combine a Flashback with Thanksgiving and offer this sweet picture. It is from October of 1982; I was seven years old. I was the best dressed pilgrim on the block! Note the sweet cornucopia for candy collecting? Oh yeah, baby...even my accessories matched!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Join me next Friday for my regularly scheduled Flashback. Hmmm. 1987. I'll bet I can dig up some winners!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving, Day One

Well, Day One of our Thanksgiving celebration is drawing to a close. It was a wonderful day!

While getting everything ready that I needed to take with me today, I was sure to place a charged battery in the camera, and put the camera in my purse. You know, so that I could dazzle you with pictures of our festivities! Well, I never once took the camera out of my purse. In fact, the only picture that I took all day I took with someone else's camera! Oops.

As is tradition around our house, the Christmas lights had to go up this morning; I like to come home to the lights on after a long Thanksgiving. My parents came up bright and early, we enjoyed coffee and hot chocolate while we nibbled on some of the candy that I made last night, and then the lights went up. My dad messed with the electrical part (he always does that for us) while AC and I strung lights. Totally fun....first kid on my block with the lights up, baby!

We spent the afternoon at AC's mom and dad's house. It was a reasonably small gathering; there were only 18 people. Still, it was a lot of fun. There was plenty of delicious food, a time of sharing what we're thankful for, many laughs...I really do love AC's family.

This evening we went over to AC's aunt's house. Most of the family goes over there each year; we just usually skip it since I always have baking to do once I get home. Tonight, though, we went with them, and I'm SO glad we did!!! It was the perfect end to our day!

We got home a little after nine, and I set to work in the kitchen. Thanksgiving starts all over again tomorrow with my family. I have two pies and some cinnamon sugar "kisses" (as we call them) cooling on the table. The last two pies are in the oven. I just may make it to bed before 12:30am!

Two highlights from today that stand out in my mind as I think back on the day...

This is going to sound silly, but at Aunt Lissa's house, there were three golden retrievers. They totally made my day! I didn't realize just how much I missed having goldens (I grew up with them). They were gorgeous and well behaved and so much fun! If I could have gotten away with sneaking Lulu into the car with us and bringing her home with us, I think I would have! See, I told you it would sound silly.

Secondly...seeing how much my brother-in-law likes Spongebob seriously cracked me up. He was like a little kid! The (actual) kids were watching it on TV and Keith kept totally pausing in our conversation to pay attention to it. Keith always makes me laugh. I loved spending the day with him and Ruth!

Well, as is usually the case, I've rambled on long enough. I'll go check the pies. Then we'll sleep for a few hours, and then start it all over again!

Goodnight, folks. And Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


My mother-in-law is doing all the cooking. (Yay!)
My sister-in-law is making all of the pies. (Double Yay!)
That leaves me with the candy.*

2pm - Gathering all of the ingredients

4pm - My kitchen table, aka: the cooling rack

8pm - The finished product.
Two trays of fudge, peppermint bark
and chocolate almond candy.

*This is for day one, tomorrow, with Andy's family.
Tomorrow night, I'll be baking for our
Thanksgiving with my family on Friday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amazing A's

Thanks, Crayl, for circling around to the beginning of the alphabet again! Very fun for those of us who weren't linking up when you started!

This week, number one really is my number one. Beyond that, they're mostly random. Here they are, my favorite A words:

1. Andy. He's my world. There aren't words to describe my love for him. In Jerry Maguire, they use the phrase, "You complete me." Corny, yes; but so very appropriate. Without AC, I truly am incomplete.

2. Avocados. While I'm not a huge fan of plain avocados, they are the key ingredient to guacamole, which is the nectar of the gods. So I am very thankful for avocados.

3. Amazon. Shopping made easier.

4. Antibiotics, Advair and Albuterol. All of them are keeping me breathing at the moment, so I am quite appreciative of them.

5. Arsenic and Old Lace. One of the best old movies around...a true classic.

6. Anniversaries. AC and I have quite a few little dates that we remember throughout the year in addition to our actual wedding anniversary. It's always fun to celebrate.

7. Aerosmith. When you think of good ol' rock and roll, you have to include Aerosmith. They're awesome.

8. Apple Crisp. My mother-in-law gave me her recipe years ago and I love it so very much. Hot, cold, with ice cream, without...doesn't matter. It's the best!

9. Arse. Yes, it's a word for, well, you know; mostly used in the United Kingdom. But it really is a great word. Especially when said by the likes of Sean Connery or Ewan McGregor.

10. Agent 007. I know, I know. I'm reaching a bit with this one. However, I saw Quantum of Solace the other night and my love for Daniel Craig was rekindled. He really is the best Bond ever. EVER.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

It seems like only yesterday that the boys were branching out and watching grown up movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean.

And frankly, it seem like only a few days before that when we were watching things like the Wiggles and VeggieTales.

Tonight, for Family Movie Night, we watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Sigh. Where did the time go? My boys must really be growing up.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Choosing Sides

Several of today's NFL match-ups left me in a bit of a quandary. I didn't know who to root for...

- Do I root for the Titans because they're undefeated and I would love to see them go all the way; or do I root for the Jets because, well, how can one not be pulling for Favre to have a good year?

- Do I root for the Broncos because no self respecting San Diego girl would dare root for the Raiders; or do I suck it up and hope for a Raiders win since a Bronco defeat would significantly help the Chargers?

- Do I root for the Chargers? I should. But how can I when I love Peyton Manning and the Colts so much?

These are the thoughts that plagued me today.

In the end, I was just happy to be watching football. This was our first baseball-free weekend; we had football on all day yesterday and all day today. I loved every minute of it!

p.s. I ended up choosing Titans, Raiders and Colts. Two out of three wins isn't bad!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Very Very Very End.

We'd been saving it for a special occasion; the last Aztec game of the season seemed appropriate. So as we sat in our seats, in a near empty stadium,watching two terrible teams play football... we opened the very last bag. Sigh. There are no more.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Greetings, Flashback Friends!

Technically it's still before midnight, so it is Friday. (Although, by the time I get my pics in and post, it may be later. Still, my buddy assured me that as long as I'm typing before midnight, it's all good...and since I was out goofing off with her tonight, I'm going to take her at her word!)

1986 was a fun year for me. When I listen to Bryan Adams singing Summer of '69, my mind takes me back to '86 and '87. They were great years; I loved them!

I have a lot of pictures, and it's really late, so I think I'll just get to it!

School pictures, don't you love them???

While I met AC in 1985, I really started hanging out with him in 1986. This is his family in the summer of '86. (He's the stud in the USA shirt.)

This is me and my best friends. I'm on the left, then Dana, Debbie (now my cousin) and Nicole. We were inseparable for quite a few years!

Um, yeah. This is what happens to Jr. High girls very late at night.

Is there really any better fun than singing into a hairspray bottle? I'm actually singing the word "hell" because Stryper's "To Hell With The Devil" had just been released. I have no idea why I remember that.

Ah, yes; these pictures. There's a whole series, we got in trouble for taking them.

This is John (AC's brother), me, Nicole and AC. The reason we're dressed alike is because in the fall of '86, we were on a Christmas Album, and we went around to local churches singing and promoting the cd. One night, we took these after a concert. I liked John, Nicole and AC were a thing. In some of them, gasp, we're even holding hands!

We took this one of AC a few weeks later at a different concert. Nicole liked AC so much that we put our allowance money together so that she could get it blown up to a 5x7. We walked to the Deans Photo kiosk down the street from her house and did it. Funny thing...she later gave it to me...I have the 5x7 in an album downstairs.

This is the album cover of our Christmas album. That's my (now) Aunt Pam and some of AC's cousins. Funny how life works...

In case any of you are doubters, here you go...proof. My name, forever tied to this project.

For those who are paying close attention, you'll note that AC's name isn't on there. He wasn't in the choir...his voice had changed and he no longer sounded childlike.

It's kind of fun to bring this out each Christmas and remember the good old days.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stocking Up

While I was at Vons this morning, I decided that it was time to stock up for my holiday baking. Here's what my pantry is now loaded with:

20 pounds of flour
15 pounds of sugar
8 pounds of brown sugar
3 large cans of Crisco
6 pounds of butter
8 bags of chocolate chips
2 bags of mini M&M's
2 bags of sliced almonds
2 large cans of pumpkin
2 jars of marshmellow fluff
12 large Hershey bars (for baking)

With my pantry full and my spice rack loaded, I am ready to commence baking. These supplies certainly won't take me through Christmas, but they should get me through mid-December!

I'm off to make a pumpkin pie!

(In case anyone was wondering, this is why Susie looks amazing and I look like me! :-) I'm stocking up, while she's signing up!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just What I Needed

I had a rough day yesterday.

I had a particularly icky orthodontist adjustment that involved new wires, new chains, new rubber bands and tooth shaping. Believe me, it was (and continues to be) no picnic! I am so tired of hurting. It's been almost three years now that I've been on this road with my mouth and it's issues and I'm weary. Frankly, I was not in a happy place yesterday afternoon.

But God is good. He knew what I needed last night.

My buddies were praying for me. I love them so very much. Without their constant encouragement and support, this journey would be unbearable.

Coincidentally (I think not!), our dear friend Curt from Monterey just happened to be in town for the evening. We all went to dinner where I was able to get some soft, squishy, cheesy lasagna down. Then after a quick stop at the grocery store for ice cream (everyone agreed, it was necessary), we spent the evening at my parents house where Curt taught my boys the fine art of Table Football.

Was I uncomfortable? Ha! That's an understatement...I'm in so much pain, even now. But God has given me a beautiful family, incredible friends and sweet memories!

I will praise Him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Zany Z Words

The end of the alphabet already? Wow!

Here they are, a list of my favorite Z words. They're not in any particular order until you get to the end...#10 is my absolute favorite!

1. Zippers. I hate button fly jeans.

2. Zoinks. Always a fun exclamation.

3. Zenith. Our first color TV was a Zenith...it was huge...I loved it!

4. Zwiebacks. I love them. I can't chew them, but I love them.

5. Zippo Lighters. If you're going to get a lighter, get a Zippo.

6. Zinnias. So beautiful, they make me so happy.

7. Zombies. Specifically zombie movies. AC and I have seen some real winners.

8. Ziploc Bags. They must be Ziploc, never, ever any other brand.

9. Zzyzx Road. It means you're almost to Vegas, baby!

10. "I'm Looking For The Z." Can you handle the cuteness? Think so? It'll blow your socks off. Turn up your volume and check out a video of my guys from about eight and a half years ago...

To see what my buddies are thankful for, cruise on over to Beyond Black and White.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Misunderstanding

Before I tell you about a funny exchange that happened while we were dining at Claim Jumper recently, you need to know two things.

1. Our dear friends raise, then sell bison; you can find them over at Glacier Grown. They're making a run to San Diego later this month and we have been discussing which cuts of meat we'd like to purchase.

2. Due to the many, many ear infections that he had as a toddler, Matthew has permanent hearing loss in both ears. It's especially difficult for him to hear if we're in a noisy place, with lots of background noises.

Now that you are properly informed, I can continue with my story.

The waitress, Lori, came over to take our drink orders...

Lori (to me): "What would you like to drink today?"

Me: "A Lemon Drop and a glass of water, please."

Lori (to John): "How about you?"

John: "Barq's Root Beer, please." (He always orders root beer using it's brand name.)

Lori (to Matt): "And for you?"

Matt: "Dr. Pepper, please."

At this point, Matt dropped something and leaned down under the table to pick it up while Lori was talking to Andy....

Lori (to Andy): "And how about you, sir? What are you drinking today?"

Andy: "I'll have the Hefeweizen."

Lori thanked us all, and walked away.

At this point, Matt pops back up into his seat, looks at Andy with big eyes, and says, "We're going to buy HALF A BISON????"

Sunday, November 16, 2008


No, that isn't the code to disable the parental controls on our TV. Nor is it the combination to my locker at the gym. It isn't even my area code.

2-7-1 is the final record for John's fall baseball team. I realize that those numbers don't generally reflect a very good season, but before you start thinking sympathy thoughts, I need to explain a few things. While Matt's team rocked this year, so did John's team; you just have to look a bit harder to see it.

John moved up a division in August; he is now playing at the Juniors level. It's primarily thirteen and fourteen year olds, with some twelves (like JC, who will be thirteen in the spring) and a some fifteens (who will be moving up in the spring). It's on a much bigger field than he's been used to as well, they now use 90 foot base lines, the same as the major leagues.

We knew going into the season that it was going to be a time of learning, of getting used to the new division. However, there were a few things that we weren't expecting...

- We didn't expect that eleven out of the thirteen on our roster would also be newbies. We only had two players who'd played at that level before.

- We didn't expect that we would be the only young team in the division; that the other teams would be filled with travel ball players and high school freshmen.

- We didn't expect the manager and head coach of the team to quit and leave the boys out to dry after the second game.

- We also didn't expect three of our players to quit because we weren't "good enough", and two others to have to quit due to injuries. Do the math...that left us with eight players, not enough for a full team. Most days Matt ended up playing with the team just so that they wouldn't have to forfeit!

Needless to say, it became clear very early on that this was going to be a challenging season.

The first hurdle was solving the coaching problem. If no one stepped up to coach, the season would have folded after week two. Being the incredible man that he is, Andy chose to take on the team. While he never played ball himself and he doesn't have vast amounts of baseball knowledge, he loves his son and his son's friends and he didn't want to see those kids let down. So Andy became the manager of the Gray Team on September 21st. Three other dads graciously stepped up to help and together they took this group of young boys and turned them into better ball players.

And that took a lot of work! You'd be surprised how much moving to a bigger field effects their play. It's a lot longer of a run between the bases, it's a lot longer throw to get an out (especially from third over to first) and it's a longer throw from the mound to home plate. These kids, some of whom were incredible players down at the Majors level, looked like rookies out there! They really had to get down to the basics at practice. However, I'm astounded at the difference it made. We had games at the beginning of the season in which we had upwards of 15 errors in a game, and by the end of the season, we were down to just 1 to 3 errors in a game. Andy and his guys really helped those kids! I'm tremendously proud of him.

John grew personally this season as well. He's always been on winning teams, more often than not, on a championship team. This season, he learned how to lose with grace. He learned how to encourage his teammates, even when it wasn't going well. He learned that others looked to him to be a leader, and he rose to the occasion. He was the starting first baseman, an amazing catcher, he had incredible numbers, and he increased in character. I am a proud Mama.

Since I've kept you this long, I wanted to share the scores from the games with you, just so that you can see how far they came. Our boys never gave up, they fought till the end. While most people won't see much to be proud of in these numbers, I look at them and see determination, teamwork and growth. I see a baseball team.

Game 1: Tied 9-9
Game 2: Lost 13-4
Game 3: Lost 23-3
Game 4: Lost 20-6
Game 5: Lost 12-1
Game 6: Lost 7-6
Game 7: Lost 12-1
Game 8: Won 13-4
Game 9: Won 10-2
Game 10: Lost 7-5

I didn't get a team picture of them, I wish I would have. But a blog from me just isn't complete without pictures. So here you go, a few shots of my boy this afternoon.

I love you, John. I am so very proud of you!

Andy? You're pretty swell too!

Congratulations, Gray Team, on a great season!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

And Then There Were Two

For years, the older ladies in my family had a tradition: they would take one day each year, usually late November, sometimes early December, and it would be Family Shopping Day. Once all of us kiddos were dropped off at school, they would meet for breakfast at Carrows or Coco’s, someplace like that. After breakfast, they would all head to Fashion Valley for some Christmas shopping. They didn’t’ stay to together the whole time, there were too many. They’d break off into twos and threes and fours and start knocking things off their to-do list. Usually they’d meet at some restaurant in the mall at a specific time for lunch and compare progress. They must have had a blast; they all looked forward to it so much!

I remember always wishing that I didn’t have to go to school so that I could go with them. I was so excited when, in 8th grade, I started home schooling. That meant that if I worked ahead and got everything done, I could go too! So much fun!!! We kept it up for several more years.

Over time though, it started to change. Some moved away, some got too old to walk around that much, some died. It became a thing of the past, as far as the whole family goes. Grandma, Mom and I kept going, though. We’d have breakfast, shop all day, have lunch or dinner together. It was a tradition that we determined to keep up, even if there were only three of us.

Grandma died on December 1, 2006. That year, mom and I didn’t really do any Christmas shopping; we had to use our time out to buy clothes for Grandma’s funeral. Somehow, I think Grandma would have liked that; that we still got out and shopped.

It’s more difficult these days to make it out; we have to work around baseball games and other craziness in our schedule. We made it last year, though, and today, we’ll do it again. Mom and I are meeting for breakfast at 9am this morning and then we’ll hit the malls. It’s not the same with out my Grandma, I really do miss her. But we’ll have fun. We’ll do some shopping, have lunch, and maybe even hit a movie.

Some traditions you just have to keep alive…

Friday, November 14, 2008


Double digits! I finally made it to ten years old. What a milestone!

I only have a couple of pictures for you today, and they're not very exciting. I offer my deepest apologies. I promise that next week will make up for it though! :-)

Okay, let's get to it...

Can anyone guess what grade I'm in? Yep. Fourth. Here's my mission project. I remember being totally upset about this. My parents didn't help me at all, they said that it was my project so I had to be the one to do it. I don't have a problem with that, especially now that I'm a parent. However, the kid that won a prize for "Best Mission"...you could totally tell that his dad did the whole thing. I was quite miffed.

While this is not a spectacular picture to the casual viewer, it is special to me. This was taken in the little town of Bisbee, Arizona. My grandma moved to Bisbee from Illinois when she was just an infant, and she lived there until she got married. My granddad moved to Bisbee when he was around junior high age. My family has tons of history there, and we would often, along with many cousins, have family reunions in the cute little town.

On the right side of the picture is the town's water tank. The little house just to the left of the tank is the house that Grandma grew up in. The town has one main street, one hotel (at the time), a red light district, everyone knew my family, it was great! Good memories in Bisbee!

This is my final offering for today. Remember my cousin, Tammy, that received the matching purple sweats with me a few years back? Well, here we are again. I dare say we look more goofy here than we did in the sweats! I don't remember exactly what we were trying to achieve here. This wasn't how we normally looked, so I'm sure that we were trying to imitate the pop stars of the day. Maybe I was going for the Madonna look...it appears that I darkened the mole on my cheek. Don't I look great?

Something quite important happened in 1985 that unfortunately, I don't have a picture of. During the 1985 holiday season, I met AC. Little did I know then that in less than ten years, I'd be married to him!

Be sure to tune in next week for my 1986 pictures...I promise there are some good ones!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bring It On, Starbucks. I'm Ready.

Last year, I wrote a post (back when I was blogging on MySpace) about the amount of work that goes into receiving the perfect Gingerbread Latte. It should not be the ordeal that it is. Sadly, my struggle continues.

This year, instead of topping said latte with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, Starbucks has decided to call it a Gingersnap Latte and top it with whipped cream and crystallized ginger flakes. (I call them ginger pebbles, because they're totally the size and shape of Fruity Pebbles.)

While I was unsure about the change, I gave it a try. The other day, when I had my first Gingersnap Latte of the season, I drank it with the ginger pebbles. You know what? Not a fan. They sink into the drink when the whipped cream melts and while they probably do enhance the ginger flavor, they don't dissolve, so when you get to the bottom you have chunks that fit through the hole in the lid. And seriously, who wants chunks in their mouth when they're drinking coffee?

So, I've now had to add another instruction to my drink order.

I would like a Nonfat, Extra-hot, Gingersnap Latte with whipped cream, no ginger sprinkles, add nutmeg.

What a mouthful.

I ran into another problem last year after the latte post. Several of my local Starbucks stores ran out of nutmeg. And not for a day or anything, for like, several weeks. I asked about it and was told that the supplier ran out. I'm thinking, what the heck? Go to Vons! Buy nutmeg! But apparently, they can't do that.

SO, in an effort to avoid any further problems with my Gingerbread Lattes in the future (that's right...I said "bread", not "snap") I have solved the supplier-running-out-of-nutmeg problem.

On Monday, while at Vons, I purchased the following:

Yes, folks. My very own, purse-sized container of nutmeg. I will never again be subjected to an incomplete Gingerbread latte.

My family's thoughts on this matter:

AC: While he's not thrilled with the cost of my continual visits to Starbucks, I think my determination and creativity have impressed him.

John: If I go, it means there's a chance that he'll get a frappuccino, so he's all for it.

Matthew: "Mom, you're obsessed."

I think Matt's probably right.