In early June we took a nice week off and went camping in our little house, just Bill and I. I was about to head out for the summer to Europe, (More about that and that asshole Harvey later. Yes, we got hit. We are all fine. We evacuated to my inlaws ranch. Our house survived with some damage, and miraculously so did the trailer. Tough little beast.) so we wanted to spend some time together before we were apart.
I love my home and am grateful to still have it, but boy do I prefer the trailer and its simplicity.
Pics of our week together.
Bill never shaves on vacation.
Post surf breakfast.
This little guy got stuck in between two rocks and we got him out and to freedom.
Every night is mojito night in the trailer.
Mia joined us on the last couple of nights that we were there.
The park we normally stay at in Port Aransas was destroyed as so many other iconic island places we adore. Hurricane Harvey pretty much annihilated our town and the island. We are a strong community and are working hard to get our towns back up on their feet. I will post more about it in the coming weeks.
Many years ago, we used to take off in a 34 foot trailer with the 4 kids and find our alone time.
Part of that alone time included movies on the flat screen TV in the trailer, after a full day of sun, sand and salt water.
My kids basically grew up watching the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, in an Americamp 5th wheel ta boot. Every time a new one came out on VCR or DVD, we would grab it and watch it in the trailer….over and over again. When we moved here, we made a family outing of going to see the newest release at the movie theater.
Last Spring, the much anticipated Dead Men Tell No Tales was due in theaters and I sent a text to my college boys saying basically “Come home. Dinner and a movie Pirates of the Caribbean weekend time!”
And you know what? My 22yo and 19yo drove home from college to go to a Disney movie with their family.
This, my friends, is the definition of us.
My kids rock.
Family first babies.
And never forget the rum. Arrrr.
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I am a child, 4yo, running through the trees, chasing my brother to the creek. He is far ahead of me. He didn’t have to sneak out and put a stick in the back door so mom would have to go around the front of the house to chase him down. I did, so I have to run hard to catch up.. I hate being inside while she cleans the house. . ..I like to climb trees, chase snakes, catch tarantulas and black widow spiders and hide them in the garage to keep them safe from Dad.
I like adrenaline, but I don’t even know that word exists. I exist and I climb the fence while Dad is napping and leap from the top of the house because it makes me feel excited, free and real.
It is me.
Adrenaline: A stress hormone produced within the adrenal gland that quickens the heart beat, strengthens the force of the heart’s contraction, and opens up the bronchioles in the lungs, among other effects. The secretion of adrenaline is part of the human ‘fight or flight’ response to fear, panic, or perceived threat.
Endorphin: A hormonal compound that is made by the body in response to pain or extreme physical exertion. Endorphins are similar in structure and effect to opiate drugs. They are responsible for the so-called runner’s high, and release of these essential compounds permits humans to endure childbirth, accidents, and strenuous everyday activities.
I am 52 and I still climb things but when I jump down and land, my feet hurt. I do it anyway. I leave my house, put on headphones and I take off running. I can’t stand pavement, but seek out little trails off the path to run. I come home with scratches, stickers in my shoes and an occasional tick, but filled with endorphins.
I have come to realize that I surf because I love the feeling of floating on the top of the water while toothy creatures swim beneath me unknown. I like to surf bigger waves. Not big, thumping, dumpy shore break, but the big rolling swell way outside of the pier. They scare the hell out of me on a longboard, but I love that feeling of free falling. That rush. Adrenaline.
The afterglow is endorphins, and they are the opiate addiction of every athlete. I have been addicted since childhood. The wild child that was hard to tame.
There are types of adrenaline that I do not like. Fear for my husband or children’s safety makes me panic. That adrenaline can bite me. It paralyses me with the fear of loss and I just come unglued with it. I am a Barbie with this and I fear I will never conquer it. I just won’t and I honestly think as a mother, we are not supposed to ignore it.
I also DO NOT enjoy adrenaline due to hypoglycemia. OMG, two middle fingers to it. The bodies last ditch attempt to raise a blood sugar that can’t sustain life. I am lucky in that I have learned how to recognize it and I know it isn’t going to kill me even though it makes me feel that way. I override it now and try to make it mine. It is just doing its job and I ride it out.
But that wonderful mechanism of adrenaline and endorphins that God created in our bodies in response to thrill? It is the most incredible high that no drug can ever mimic.
Bill and I are both adrenaline/endorphin junkies. We are both well into our 50’s at this point with Bill closing in on 60 in a matter of months. He is starting to have issues with his joints and can’t really run much anymore. He broke his foot badly a few years ago and because of this he also avoids long hikes and such. I can’t tell you how hard this is. I miss him and this part of our relationship. He has always been my exercise junkie partner. We would seek out the crazy and hard activities in life and indulged in them together. He still surfs, and rides a bike here and there so we still get to do this together but it is different, and I miss it dearly.
Yesterday I ran 4 miles and afterwards was thinking how magical it feels to be so satisfied and full of endorphins. I let my thoughts roam to a time when I won’t be able to do that anymore and I had to slam that door shut. Can’t go there. I can’t imagine a me that is not able to run, bike or surf.
Almost 9 years my senior, Bill is always reminding me of my mortality. He sees it every day in his profession and he has accepted end of life as the natural outcome of our party here on earth. I can be having a conversation about wanting to do this or that before I physically can’t, and how I just can’t sit back and allow the day to end without seizing it, and he will say “One day it will Jody. It is the one outcome we can count on.”
This. Makes. Me. Crazy. Of course we are going to die. It is truly inevitable. I get that. I just don’t want to have it be THE beacon of light in front of me, or the so called reality slap when we feel too good.
I am 52 years old. I grab my longboard and paddle out into the Gulf past the pier. My board is so heavy and when the big sets come I take a beating trying to make it through the white water. I am not as strong as I used to be but who cares. I make up for it with pure will. If you tell me I can’t or that I shouldn’t, you can bet that I will. I love the feeling of adrenaline as I see the sets rolling toward me…..butterflies in my stomach. I turn and wait for the biggest wave and then paddle for it. I want to free fall from that surging dark mass of water that the breath of God created.
I knock out trail miles until I can feel my heart thumping in my chest to the rhythm of my pounding feet. I run grassy trails, leaping surprised over coral snakes; adrenaline surging like warmth into my arms and legs. I feel the glow of endorphins for hours after as I go about the daily tasks and chores of life.
I want to do this every day of my life until I cannot anymore. I feel an urgency to it. The tick tock of an invisible clock. Right now, I can, but there will come a day when just to walk will be monumental.
At that point I will close my eyes and feel the warm shingles of the roof under my 4 year old feet. I will remember the thrill rush as my body surges over the edge and my feet land in the cool moist grass.
I will have my memories. I will exist in the present and the past.
Combined together it will be me.
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Trying to catch up here is like herding cats…..that just saw a dog. They scatter in every direction, while you stand there trying to figure out how you can possibly round them all up again while the dog is still standing there.
That is my life. At least that is how it is in my head. I don’t do well with a full plate, and tend to just sit there with my fork, overwhelmed, pushing stuff around wondering where I should start.
(Do you see what I just did there? Stealth Easter insert)
We have 2 weeks of school left, a big surf contest, I have been sick, we have 3 trips planned with everyone going in different directions within the same time frame and I don’t have any trash bags.
We have been out of them for 34 5 days and every morning Bill has a variation of passive aggressive reminder syndrome going on.
“We need trash bags.” Ok, I will get them today.
“These grocery bags are little?” Oops, no. Forgot trash bags again. Will get them today.
“Today is trash day”. I actually went to the store and bought everything….except trash bags.
“Did you go to the store?” Expectant eyebrow raise.
And the not so subtle “Can you please remember to get trash bags today? Is that possible?” Look! Something shiny.
Today is going to be the day! Trash bags or bust.
I don’t think I had this much ADD when the kids were little. I think they pretty much didn’t give me time to exercise my ADD properly, and I am making up for it now that they are mostly grown.
Anyhow, my OCD is going to trump my ADD today and I am going to get some stuff done. The bank, car wash, a run, groceries, TRASH BAGS and a post here are on the list.
Mia is on the Texas All Star surf team, and they took a trip to California this spring.
They got to surf some beautiful waves, compete in 2 contests, and work with the US Jr. National Team coach, Joey Buran. That is a huge privilege, babies. He is a Surfing Hall of Famer, Pipe Master Pro and an awesome man ta boot. Here is the Baby on a wave while working with him.
She came home with a wealth of knowledge and skill that she put to good use at the last contest in South Padre, bringing home 3 podium finishes (2nd, 3rd and 3rd).
I don’t know if you have noticed lately, but the Baby isn’t a baby anymore. She turned 13 this spring people.
THIRTEEN!! I seem to have lost all of my littles and don’t know where to find them anymore. What a weird concept for a mother who has been parenting small children for 22 years.
Anyhow, where was I? TRASHBAGS!! No, wait! Trips! This summer is the summer of crazy. We are taking a trip in the Little Bitty House, one of us is going to Hawaii and 2 to….well, that is a surprise.
Here is a hint.
Can you guess?
*All the photographers whose wonderful images I posted on this blog can be found here, here and here.
For spring break Quinn (16) and I boarded a flight to the Cold Nawth.
I didn’t really research the weather much before we went. There was no point, because the whole reason for the trip was to go see Quinn’s favorite team, the Raptors, play basketball on their home turf. We bought tickets for 3 games, and then planned the rest of the trip around those dates.
Landing in Toronto, we took a train into the city and walked outside. It was 17 degrees. Quinn was in shorts. Seriously. Only a Texan would wear shorts to Canada.
Holy Mother of God, it was so cold. I had on a full length down parka, and Quinn was in shorts and a hoodie. Being 16, there was no way I could convince him to change, so we walked most of the way to our Air BnB apartment like that. I finally made the decision to duck into a restaurant to grab some quick lunch in hopes he would go in the bathroom and change into something less likely to get frost bite of the knees. He did, and was much less numb.
I know there are horror stories out there about Air BnB, but after such a positive experience in Japan, I can’t imagine not trying it each time we travel. This one did not disappoint either. Here is our view…for around $88 a night.
What can I say about Toronto? We loved it, in spite of the fact that the week we were there was so damn cold. Like 11 degrees. We were frozen for the first 2 days, then you sort of get used to it…….after you buy big scarfs, better gloves and learn to layer your clothing.
Let me take a moment here to make an observation: I am not sure how people fall in love in the Cold Nawth. Everyone is so bundled up and covered from head to toe. How do they see each other? I was all hunkered down in my giant scarf thingie, trying to keep my nose from freezing off my face and thinking this must make socializing interesting. And hat head. Seriously, static was off the charts. I finally started braiding my hair so it wouldn’t end up in dreads. Cold Nawth problems.
This city is so easy to navigate by foot. Our apartment was on York street near the waterfront, and we walked everywhere. We took the subway one time just for the experience. We put in 7-11 miles a day, and there is simply no other way to really explore a city than on foot. You see everything, and run into so many treasures you would miss if traveling destination to destination underground or via a bus. I highly recommend this because it is all about the journey, so find those gems on foot!
When it snowed, we hit the streets. It was gorgeous walking around that city with a soft snow falling on us.
As cold as it was, I am really glad we hit Toronto that week. I think it snowed for 4 of the 10 days we were there. This was Quinn’s second time to ever see it and I think it was just magical.
Kensington market was for sure a favorite. All the little vintage shops were a blast to comb through. Bonus points for more snow!
I think we walked up there almost every day.
We got street tacos from Seven Lives.
Ducked into coffee shops to get warm cocoa at every opportunity. Here is one from Dolce Gelato.
We even found a warm fire to drink chai lattes in front of at Jimmy’s Coffee.
Chinatown was another favorite.
More snow from 13 stories up.
For a month before this trip, I blew my Pinterest board up with Toronto stuff. I had a pretty good idea of the things we should see. It seemed that food was the theme of my Toronto Board, and Toronto delivered. I won’t go into detail, but here are a few pics. Toronto is an ethnic melting pot so there was so much variety. I knew some of the places I wanted to hit, but many of them were just holes in the wall that we wandered into and scored on.
Sansotei Ramen was one such place. There was a line outside, after dark, with temps in the low teens. It was well worth the wait.
Cold hands and hot green tea.
Oh mah gawd, it was delicious.
I haven’t had good Ramen like that since japan. And the Sakura crepe cake was amazing.
Burger Priest was delicious. We had to wait a long time for our order, and when I asked, apparently the order never got to the cook. So what did they do? Made our food very fast, added fries and shakes to the order AND gave us our money back even though we insisted they didn’t need to do that. Best burger joint in Toronto IMHO.
Ice cream around Toronto
Wonderful noodle bowls we stumbled on in Little Italy.
This place was amazing, and I cannot remember the name of it. The dipping noodles were killer. I have all of the places saved on Trip Advisor, but I am much too lazy of a blogger to look them all up today. Le sigh.
I did not like this macha and red bean ice cream though. Blek blek blek.
Pizza and stuffed meatballs from Scaddabush. You cut your pizza with scissors.
And I cannot tell you how amazing hot beverages are in this city.
This right here….it was like drinking melted chocolate. This place is in the Distillery District and it is a must do when you go to Toronto. Total indulgence.
More hot cocoa. I had some espresso and hot cocoa’s several times a day. Boing!
We also got lucky and there was a small maple syrup festival going on down the street from our apartment. I believe it was called the Sugar Shack Festival. Maple snow candy was the bomb. It is rolled around in snow and has a sweet, cold, crunchy thing going on. Very good.
We also had to do the CN Tower. I am afraid of heights, and when I walked out on the glass floor, a bunch of kids started jumping up and down on it as hard as they could. Little maniacs. I died 1000 deaths.
Kudos to the weirdo who thought this one up.
Graffiti Alley. Incredible street art.
We toured a castle. This place was a bit odd. It was built during the Victorian Era and was decorated as such, but the tourist board had all kinds of medieval castle decor too….. ….complete with jousting and some gargoyles thrown in for good luck. It was confusing.
Aaaaaand Raaaaaaaaptors basketball!! So much fun.
The first game was kind of a dud, but the last game of our trip was excellent.
And then the next morning we took off for home.
What a fun, eclectic city Toronto is. So glad to have spent time there one on one with my son.
I am pretty sure that even doing a triathlon didn’t make me feel as badass as hooking up the trailer, towing it and setting it up by myself.
We have an Equil-i-zer sway control hitch, (do not tow without one) and those bars are a bitch to get off. They are getting easier the more I use the trailer, but unhitching the Little Bitty House can make my eyes pop out. Hitching isn’t as bad, as you have a leverage bar that pops the bars onto the hitch, but dayum, you need some guns. I refuse to let Billy help me. At all. I really want to be able to do it all from start to finish without help so I can tow confidently by myself, get things set up early so all will be ready when he gets off work and honestly, I think it is prudent to know your trailer inside and out in case something happens to your spouse while traveling. I am not a damsel in distress type of wife, so I have read the owners manual top to bottom and am devouring RV forums for knowledge. Am small, powerful, menopausal woman…hear me roar.
I got to the beach at sunset of Friday, and set up in the failing light. Note to self: get there earlier. Setting up was no problemo, but the creepiness factor of being on the beach after dark alone was no bueno. There were some campers scattered down the isolated beach but they were far off. It was beautiful and quiet save for the waves, but I got setup quickly, took off to have dinner with a friend, then was back at the LBH by 10.
This was my first time to boondock, so I was curious to see how it would go. I don’t have a generator yet, but I do have LED lights, a fridge that runs on propane (with just a bit of electricity), stove is propane, the TV runs on 12v (not that it will get used much) and 12V outlets for charging LED lantern and phone. I have rapid chargers for charging as well, and that is what I used as needed. I don’t use the AC and did not need the heater this time, although it runs on propane with just a bit of electricity for the fan. Every morning I would plug into my truck and top off the battery for a bit. There are mixed opinions on RV forums of whether you should do this or not, but it worked perfect for a long weekend. I for sure want a generator in the future for longer trips, but this was fine for now.
I set us up right on the beach. By God this was so wonderful. I got up early on Friday, put coffee on, opened the windows and door, and watched the sky go from black, to light grey to blue with streaks of pink. Goosebumps because I was living a dream I have had in my head for over 12 years now.
I had coffee, went for a run, ate some breakfast and then just chilled reading books all day. I took long walks, and combed the beach for sharks teeth while Bill was at work and the kids at school. Who the hell do I think that I am??
I left to meet up with Bill at Quinns basketball game and he handed over the girl child to me to bring back to the island. He would join me in the morning. The man is a saint. He went home to pick up Quinn after the game and take care of the dogs so I could head back to the trailer.
I had great company for Friday night with Mia and her friend Maddie joining me. At around 3 am something woke me up and I could not figure out what it was. I realized I had left the window shade open and the moon had come out from behind the clouds to illuminate everything. I tried to wake the girls to see, but had no takers. This image does not do it justice. The moon was 3/4 and so bright it lit up a wide trail of light across the Gulf. I lay down in my bed watching it for an hour.
We had a quiet morning at the trailer watching another sunrise while the girls played Mancala.
More book reading.
A banana pineapple freeze from Da Island Market
And then Billy arrived to entertain us with his Bien Hencho brah boy puppet. Yo!
The man is pure nuts, but I love that idiot.
The sun was out in full force and we got in some surfing. This is my spring suit that child is wearing. How the hell did that happen?
We have a great group of friends on the island and they all have kids that surf. My friend Marie made some gourmet pizzas to bring to the trailer that evening after the kids were surfed out, and we had a bonfire that night. S’mores, sausage to roast and a warm fire with friends.
I think 90% of the sausages ended up in the fire. The coyotes would have a feast that night.
Sunday was another pink sunrise,
and some migas for breakfast in town.
Bill took off for home late afternoon and the girls spent the night at Maddies house, so I had the trailer to myself again.
Thoughts on this. It is very sandy at the beach. By Sunday evening there were buckets of sand in every crack and crevice. It was gritty. So I cleaned. I de-sanded the LBH. I love to have some alone time here and there. I think it is good for the soul to have peace to clean, read, reflect, listen to music or whatever floats your boat. I did this and enjoyed it, but you know what? I think I prefer the trailer full of life and sand. Embrace the sand, people! Children grow up and sand will no longer coat everything they come in contact with because they will have moved out and gone to college!! leaving you with your jaw open saying “WTF just happened here? I just changed your diaper LAST WEEK for the love of God!!” I have to remind myself of this and give sand a chance.
In the wee hours of the morning, a storm hit. It looked like this
and it was very impressive from inside of a 16ft of travel trailer on the open beach. Rain, rain and more rain. But the LBH held steady and hardly even rocked. I opened all the window shades and watched from the snug warmth of my bed under a feather comforter. Bill called to see if all was okay and I told him I was safe and warm and he said “You are Glamping” Oh, hell no. I am not and will never be a Glamper. I flush the toilet with a Gatorade squirt bottle and forgot to brush my teeth for 2 days. Nothing glamperous about that people.
It for sure is a step up from the people next to me who were in tents with a generator running AC inside them. When the front hit all hell broke loose at that campsite.
Here is a tent after a night of heavy wind. The only thing holding it down were the drunk people inside of it.
I was glad for the sunrise so I could see that the beach was not flooding, and the sunrise behind the clouds was lovely.
The kids were wanting to do dawn patrol, but I was not keen on that until most of the storm blew out. They finally got in the water for some surf. Current and lots of of duck diving. Mia was tired when she paddled in.
And with more storms looking to come through, and high tide coinciding with them, I opted to pack it up early and head home. And what happened? The surf got good and the sun came out. Oh well.
I was glad to get home. Billy had torqued the hell out of his knee surfing on Sunday (won’t be surfing for a long time with this injury), and could hardly walk, so he was not able to go in to work and I felt the need to get home to help him. He was fine for me to stay another day, but honestly it was so good to be back home with he and Quinn.
I spent most of Monday evening and Tuesday morning getting the trailer back together again. Cleaned it up inside and out, then sadly put it back in its little storage spot until next time.
Before the next trip, I have a list of things to get and mods to do to make life in it easier. Top of my list is a generator. I didn’t think I would need one with such a small space, but for longer trips there is no way I would do it without one. The truck did a great job of keeping it charged but that is neither economical or wise to keep doing regularly.
This right here is one of my happy places.
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After Christmas, Mia and I made a quick trip up to my moms house to spend some time with her.
My mom is in her late 80’s now. I never thought I would turn 52 and still have my mother with me. For that I am a very lucky woman.
We made Christmas cookies with her at my brothers house and it was so sweet to watch her decorate her gingerbread man.
Mia got some one on one time with Coco Man the pet squirrel. Coco is a rescue, and is blind and deaf so he can’t be released. My brother and SIL rehab baby squirrels, raise them and release them back into the wild, but Coco will be with them for his lifetime, and he seems to like that just fine.
We came home to cold at the coast. And fog. It was the month of soup.
And homemade bread.
We also celebrated the 12th night. Candles, good food and talk about Christ and the Three Wisemen. It is the only time I will purchase a beef tenderloin. Ch-ching. Once a year splurge, but dang is it good.
Then Billy went on a trip to Costa Rica with his friend, Ted. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure happens once a year and they have a blast. I got to stay home with these knuckle heads.
And when he was due home, I did this……
But he didn’t make it home. His flight from Houston got cancelled so I didn’t get to see him until the next morning. But I sent him the pic. Somehow after 9 days away, that wasn’t the same. Imagine that. (yes he got the candle works the next night)
We also got some surf. This is Mia’s friend Maddie. She rips. Dolphin photobombs are the best.
And our friend Scott Ellwood at Gscottimaging grabbed this sequence. In case the title of this blog fools anyone, she is not a baby anymore. But I do still sing to her here and there the Mama Mia, Papa Pia baby’s got the….well you know the rest. Stop-ah, Moooom!!! I am sooooo annoying.
And he got this one too.
January was also basketball month for us. Quinn is on the JV team and it has been a blast to watch these young men play. They have been playing BB together since 6th grade, so they are a solid team.
We are now in February and the flu hit our house, dammit. I am going on week 4 with remnants of it. Yes way. My gut is very messed up from a week of antibiotics. I am up and about, have surfed a bit, but still just dragging. Take your vitamins, babies.
It is always so hard to get on and post after a long absence. Every year I think, “I may just stop”, but there are still stories to tell and until my last one flies out of the nest, I think I will keep writing.
Christmas came and went. I say it every year: I miss Christmas.
It is a time of coziness and tradition and I look forward to it each year, but especially this one. My 2 boys came home from college and we were a family of 6 again.
We didn’t do much of anything really. We saw the new star Wars movie together.
We watched movies, cooked, went out to dinner, made cookies and all the usual stuff.
I threw tons of soft blankets on the couch and had peppermint in the diffuser. Things that Billy would never think of, nor the boys, but I think they enjoyed and appreciated the warmth.
Christmas Eve we had the feast of the 7 Fishes. We will never skip that one again. Last year just didn’t seem the same without it. Even the boys commented likewise.
We made the usual pasta. When they have families of their own, I hope they will remember how to make it. I know I did. My grandmother showed us from a very young age and they are the best memories.
On Facebook one of my very Italian cousins from New York stated “Our Texas cousin, with those funny names (no vowel endings) is the most nearly ITALIAN of us” and that make me so so happy!!!
We had oysters. That’s a Texas thing, I do believe.
And a feast with 7 types of fish in it. This year we made a huge pot of cioppino. Shrimp, snow crab, king crab, calamari, Littleneck clams, mussels, scallops in a rich seasoned sauce with anchovies. Wait thats 8. 9 with the oysters. Ya know what, it never matters the number. Some families use 11 fish. The point is a meatless night. OMG it was amazing and will be our go to each Christmas Eve from here on.
Christmas Eve dinner is pretty casual here….no elaborate decorations, plates or grandeur. Just us…. and lots of good, Italian vibe.
We decorated some sugar and gingerbread cookies after dinner….
….and after we watched “A Christmas Story”, we lit some luminaries along the front path.
This year I brought out some candle clips that were my great grandparents. My fathers paternal grandparents came from Denmark and brought with them the traditions of a Danish Christmas. He told me stories of Christmas at the farm and had memories of lighting the tree and dancing around it with his family. I found some small candles in Fredericksburg a few years ago that would fit in the clips, and this year we had the time to light a small tree and see how beautiful an old fashion Danish tree could be. The ornaments were my great grandparents as well.
It was so pretty. I don’t think those candle clips had been used in over 80 years.
In spite of no believers (except me!!!) in the house, Santa came sometime in the night. Magic, babies!
Breakfast was ebelskivers…plain or with Nutella. Every last one was eaten.
Somehow, for the last 15 or so years, the Christmas cactus bloomed again on Christmas morning. Every year, Bill stands there with his coffee looking at it and says “How does it know?”,
More magic, no doubt.
It was a very Merry Christmas this year, and I hope yours was too!
The holiday season is always so crazy, and I added into the mix a trip to California for Mia and her surf buddies…..for the entire Thanksgiving week. We had a blast, but we missed our boys back home so much. While we had turkey and all the trimmings at my SIL house, 2 of the boys went to their grandmothers house and Quinn and Bill stayed home and had this:
When he texted me that pic I said “Oh wow. Sausage.’ And he said “Nothing but the best.”
With there being less than 2 weeks to Christmas, I just want to do a quick little update post in pics.
The Little Bitty House got a lock and a safe storage area until I can hook it up this weekend and take it to the island again. Plans are to deck tout in season cheer and chill in it before Christmas. I sent Bill this pic and said “Bitches can’t steal the Lil’ Bitty House.” and he replied “Yo”.
Snug in scenic storage.
California was so fun. It rained there for 3 days out of the 8 we were there. Weird for California. Below just a few pics of surfing etc. The girls worked with a wonderful coach and had a great time surfing from Carlsbad down into San Diego. The surf was perfect and dumpy….just how they like it. Me? I like a more gentle rolling wave, and with my bad shoulder, the dumpy ones were hard for me so I bowed out and shot pictures most of the time.
Their coach, JB.
It was hard to leave such fun waves, but so good to be back home.
Honey was really glad when I got back. She missed her cuddles on the big bed.
I hit the ground running when we got home. I got a tree at my favorite place in Corpus. They have beautiful, fresh trees and the man that does the flocking always flocks mine right then and there so I can watch. We hug and wish each other a Merry Christmas each year. Love this tradition and look forward to next year.
I got it up on my own while Bill was at work, got the lights on, and stockings up. I decided to go with big colored lights this year, and everyone likes them so much, they didn’t want to do anything else to the tree and we love it.
The dogs got small colored lights too. 😉
Aaaaand then a surf contest got called on and we spent the weekend freezing our buns off at the beach. Mia got 2nd and 3rd in her divisions and I made both of my finals in both Longboard and Shortboard, and ended up with 2 4th place finishes. Very stoked, especially for making my Womens Shortboard final. One of the oldest women to surf a shortboard final in TGSA history….if not the oldest period. Pics to come!
On Monday the 5th, Mia made cupcakes and we had a nice evening watching The Santa Clause for the Eve of St. Nicholas. This is one of my favorite times during the holiday season. St. Nick comes and fills the stockings and on the 6th we wake and see what he left. Very sweet and peaceful before all the hustle and bustle of Christmas time.
Yes, he came….even for the 12 year old middle schooler.
This year will be the first time in 22 years that we don’t have a believer of Santa in the house. Obviously, at 12, Mia does not believe this year, and boy is it strange to go into the season without a youngster excited about that Jolly, sweet man. I told her that I believe in Santa…..who he was, and that now we all pass on the magic of that Saint who loved Christ and his teachings so very much that he gave generously to all around him in a Christ-like fashion. It is different, but Santa will always be a very close and dear friend to me. I spent 22 years passing on the love and magic of his spirit and by God, he will always be in this home.
Proof of the existence of Santa Claus…..and he SURFS!
Shopping is almost done, Christmas jammies are being worn constantly, books are being read, lots of hot chocolate with marshmallows, and the Christmas Llama is up out front. (What, you don’t have one?)
AND we had a very strong front come through dropping temps into the 30’s and another on its way this week.
I should have known there was no escaping it. Once I clicked over and saw the first images I was captivated and completely drawn in. I was hooked.
I had found this website in the summer of 2005 via comments on my friend Chris’ blog, The Big Yellow House (I know, she needs to blog again). I can’t remember what the comment said, but I clicked on the blog link and my eyes were filled with images of the Gulf of California and 4 children, very similar in age to my own, playing on the beach in Baja, exploring Colonial Mexico and swimming in the Caribbean.
I spent the entire weekend pouring through the blog entries, and when I was finished I walked the laptop over to Billy and said “If you love me, you will read through this blog and take me away like this. I need this.”.
There was one picture in particular that had just sold me on the idea. It was just a snapshot of someone else life, taken through the door of a trailer with the Gulf just steps away. The husband had a handful of clams he was passing through the door. A child was darting through it, and there was cilantro and tortillas on the counter. It was so real. So perfect. I think right then and there I mentally transported my family to that same beach and I knew that I simply could not stay where we were for another year.
We became friends with Kathy and her family, and in Fall of 2005 bought a new truck, and in January 2006, a giant 5th wheel to live in. Then we began clearing out the “stuff” inside our house and waited for the school year to end so we could start our road travels.
Life has a funny way of changing your plans, and by May, we knew we could not leave because Bill got pretty sick and, well, if you have followed this blog you pretty much know that story. If you don’t, head over to my archives on the right.
I was pretty devastated, but also so grateful to have Bill with us that it took a way back seat in our lives. We did take that giant 5’er on many adventures, one of which led us to where we now live. Fate is pretty cool like that.
When we moved here, we honestly didn’t use the 5’er much anymore. I think we took it to a wedding and then spent a Thanksgiving on the beach once, but for the last 9 years it has essentially been in storage. We could not bring ourselves to sell it. So many precious memories and we were both sentimentally attached to it. That giant thing had essentially been our ticket to our life at the beach. The memories we made in it with our children were absolutely priceless.
From time to time I would look online for a new trailer. Something smaller, with a bit of flair. I looked at Shasta Airflytes, Airstreams, Riverside Retros and Sero Scotties. We found several we liked and I posted about them here, but never pulled the damn trigger because, honestly, it was a hassle. Most of the dealers were hours away and that meant hooking up the Little House and hauling it there after it had just been sitting for years and years. Daunting.
A couple of weeks ago I was looking online at some Rpods and Bill casually told me to take a look at the dealers website in our town. I clicked over to it and he walked to the computer and clicked on a trailer he had been looking at. Bingo.
We went to see it and felt right at home in it. It was perfect. Small, easy to tow , very well made and slept 4. It isn’t retro, vintage, or flashy, but it sure felt right. We told the dealer we would call him in a day or two, and went home to think about it.
On Sunday I woke up very early, made coffee and logged in on the computer. I went to Way Back Machine and searched up Kathy’s old blog and started at the beginning and made my way through it. In the past, from time to time, I would scroll through her archives… especially if I was down or missing my life with all my kids. It is like reading a good book and it always cheers me up.
When I was finished later that afternoon, I sat down with Bill and said “You know, it will be different this time. 2 of our kids have moved out and Quinn is not interested in it at all. Mia is, but that won’t be the case for long. This trailer will basically be for us….one day soon we can travel together in it. I don’t know how I feel about that.”
He listened and then asked “Is that why you were reading Kathy’s blog again?”
Yup. I am not sure how it will be not seeing everything through my children’s eyes… experiencing all those places without them. Will it mean anything anymore? Will it be as special? I needed to see if reading it from that perspective would still enchant me like it did 11 years ago.
The answer was a resounding yes. It did. It was magical, beautiful, raw and full of adventure and love. It again captivated me and drew me in.
In answer to my other questions…..Honestly, once you have experienced things through the eyes of a child, I don’t think it will ever be as colorful, vibrant or exciting again without them present. I wanted to see those places with my 4 kids. To watch my sons swim in those warm waters, dig for clams and see Mia playing with her My Little Ponies in the tide pools. I can’t tell you how bad it pains me to know that when Bill said “It’s now or never” in 2005 that it would be “Never” in regards to traveling there with my young children.
But! what has been happening with these kids leaving my damned nest so fast is that I am starting to see my life again with Bill. That life we had, pre-babies. It was pretty darn good and I am starting to think all is not going to hell in a hand basket when Mia takes flight. No, it won’t be the same at all. Seeing those places will not be as special through my own adult eyes, but it will be mighty fine.
Two days later we made a deal to trade in the Little House for a 2016 Lance travel trailer.
They got it ready and by the following Wednesday it was snugged into our driveway.
We have already taken it to the island for the maiden voyage. 5 days at our old spot, #19 at IB Magees. I towed it there, backed it in and set it up by myself. Stoked!
Bill and Mia joined me on Saturday morning and we spent the weekend surfing, exploring and just kicking back in the Little Bitty House. I stayed to give her a good test until Tuesday.
It was most definitely not the same without all my babies, but it was damn fine for sure.
Scenes from the maiden voyage:
Post run brekkie.
On Monday and Tuesday it poured. And poured. I was snug in the trailer, reading, drinking coffee and Mexican hot cocoa and watching the rain.
And then Bill came and stole me home.
So, you may ask, was it still the same?
Well….. Same same, but different. Instead of being filled with my own kids, the trailer was filled with Bill, Mia and her surf buddies.
There was laughing, walks on the beach, donut shops, skate parks, movies, hot cocoa (made with almond milk because I forgot to get milk)….
….dirty feet, sand, ice cream, late nights talking, laughing, pelicans, rain, coziness in a Little House and I am happy to say that Never can go straight to hell.
The first cool front finally made its way down to the coast and the evening and morning temperatures are making me frisky!
We get up very early here. After letting the dogs out, feeding them and making coffee I have been sitting outside with the fire pit and sipping my hot coffee prior to waking the kids. Bliss.
I unboxed all the Halloween decorations and put them up on the 29th. Well, I had been sneaking them out for about a week, but whatever.
We had a busy weekend coming up, so we had our Fall dinner and scary movie night that evening.
Mia was wanting to watch something scary this year, so I got Interview with a Vampire. I remember it being scary and kind of bloody, but no sex etc. I made some sticky BBQ ribs and “bat” wings for dinner.
For desert we had bloody red velvet cake ice cream on chocolate waffle cones. LOL Skye WANTED!
We then got pillows, blankets and curled up on the big couch for the movie.
We made it about 20 minutes in and decided that it has not survived the test of time. Super awful and awesome dumb violence.
We voted and popped in the Ghose and Mr. Chicken and all was right with the world again. Don Knots has indeed survived the test of time.
Very cozy, fun evening for all of us.
The next morning I got up and ran with temps in the low 60’s. CAN I HAVE AN AMEN!! OMG that felt so good. I have been slogging through my runs in absolute sweltering conditions here at the coast. Humidity in the 80’s with temps soaring well into the 90’s. Coastal running is tough due to the humidity and is a true test to ones endurance. If you want to know if you are in shape, come here and bang out a midday run of say, 5 miles. Sufferfest. I rewarded myself with a fall smoothie. Pumpkin, banana, almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 4 dates. Yum.
I will leave you with a little vintage andbabymakes6 fun. This is Mia, age 6. Billy had just removed some stitches she had in her chin. He brought home gloves for her to play with. LOL
Quinn got to go to his basketball playoff game, we got most excellent sleep, and after 2 nights in the Weirdest Place in the US, we loaded the truck back up and hit the road for southern California.
We shot straight there and Mia got her first glimpse of the California Pacific ocean.
We were there to visit close family and get in a little surfing as well.
Out of respect for my SIL and her families privacy, I won’t be posting much about our time there. We had an incredible visit, as we knew it would be. They are so very fun and generous and I look forward to more trips to see them in the future.
Some highlights of our 2 plus weeks there include, disney, surfing, a pro surf contest, and lots and lots of family time in their lovely home.
Mia met some of her favorite pro surfers. She got to free surf and visit with Dimity Stoyle and Laura Enever one morning.
And got to meet all of her favorites including Courtney Conologue, Coco Ho and her very favorite of them all, Tatiana Westin-Webb,
She got to surf all of the spots she has heard about from her friends who have been there multiple times, and she did so excellent. And I have not one picture of her surfing there. Why? Because I was surfing with her.
Apparently when train goes by, this is what you do, then make a wish.
Best smoothies evah.
How Mia feels about California.
And then it was time to go. We stayed forever and I hope that we didn’t wear out our welcome. My husband has pretty much the best sister and BIL ever.
We I had plans to stop along the way at some ruins in New Mexico just outside of Albuquerque , and to see White Sands, but the kids were hell bent on getting home, so the journey went out the window and it became 100% about the destination. We stopped to sleep near El Paso, then Cody got us to San Antonio, and switched back to me for the final push to the coast.
And that is how we spent our July and August. Road trip was deemed a success!
I am looking forward to more trips like this in our future, and we have some irons in the fire to make it happen more regularly.
For now, we are enjoying the heck out of Fall, and I guess I need to post in real time again. I had every intention of posting daily as we traveled, but you can see how well that went. I think it lasted until Durango and I fell off the wagon. Lack of internet was a big factor in this once we hit Mesa Verde and Utah.
Ending the Road Trip 2016 Blawgfest with a gorgeous California sunset.
How many times on this trip did I wish for more time?
Way, way too many is the answer.
Lake Powell and the Page area is just not a place to blow through.
The reds, the blues…..so “caribbean meets the desert”. Eye candy for sure.
Does that middle child ever smile?
I had hoped to go see Antelope Canyon. I wanted to book Canyon X and do some photography. It is kind of a bucket list item.
We broke camp to get there early so we could get a good time, but when we got to the tour area to get tickets, it was absolutely packed. So, so many people with the same idea. Honestly, I could not justify the cost of the tour for 4 people just to pack into the canyon with a bunch of strangers like sardines. It was hot, and that sounded like a sufferfest.
We drove away and decided to save it for next time. That was tough because this was one of the things I had reaaaaally wanted to do. Oh well. Stay flexible when spontaneously road tripping, because that is one of the downfalls of not having a plan or reservations.
No worries, we carried on to Flagstaff and found a really nice campsite in the mountains. After pitching our tent, we hit the local Starbucks in town and I got some work done. I tried to do this regularly on the trip, but it was pretty impossible to get much completed. I need a good 2 hours of computer time to get 1/2 of what I normally do in a day, so I had kind of given up. The kids really wanted some online time, and the Evil Empire was not crowded so we gave it a go. I got a good solid 2 hours of work done, the kids got their texting/Pokemon Go fix, and what appeared to be a pervert spent the entire time watching us and making me uneasy. The dude even followed me outside when I tried to get a quieter spot to make my work calls. He had his phone on and it sounded like he was watching porn. Awesome bad.
I gathered the kids and we got in the truck, and what do you know, he got in his car too to follow us. Needless to say, I wound about town going up and down side streets to make sure the SOB wasn’t following us before we headed back to camp. For this one reason, we were absolutely not fond of the actual city of Flagstaff. At all.
We did enjoy our spot in the woods.
That evening we actually had cell reception to follow some basketball games that were going on in Las Vegas. We were keeping our fingers crossed so that Quinn’s team would win. And win they did. More on that later.
The camp ground was very quiet, clean and we hiked after breakfast from our site to an area called, I believe, Climbing Rocks.
After our hike. we had to pack up and hit the road again. As I wrote above, Quinn’s team had won, so we purchased a ticket for him to go to the playoffs in Las Vegas, baby.
By evening, we were staying for free, courtesy of my SIL and BIL, in Paris on the Las Vegas strip.
Its a weird place, baby.
Strippers, people in costumes roaming the street, and overpriced food. What a weird, weird place. We even found a Ramen hole-in-the-wall that made me feel like we were right back in Shibuya, Japan. Weird, baby.
Can I say weird too many times? Not for Vegas.
But that luxury hotel had hot water, showers, very soft beds and we are so grateful for the generosity of our family. I think about 10 lbs of Utah and Arizona dirt washed down those fancy drains on the 11th floor overlooking Sin City.
Posted inLife's good|Comments Off on Page to Flagstaff and Vegas, baby.
When we last left our band of wanderers, they had been greeted by a small fox in the desert. Pure magic.
After a quick breakfast, we packed up the tent for the 93 time and loaded up the truck. Let me clarify what exactly that means.
Remember those Rubik cubes? The ones where you have to spin the colors around trying to fill each side with its respective color? There is only one solution and you damn well better remember how to do it.
That is my truck for more than 2 weeks. Below you will see the contents BEFORE the kids added all their bags.
Every single time we unloaded to camp, the truck bed had to be emptied and then when we loaded it, everything had a specific place.
By Gawd, if one piece was out of place the whole damn thing was screwed. With 4 people loading the truck, can you guess how often that happened? Right. Pretty much every time was Rubik cube fun. If anything was screwed, the surfboards would not fit without the Bacflip crushing them. It is a miracle from Heaven that they made it to California with not one single ding in them.
So, we got the Jack In The Box back into the truck bed and headed on to explore Canyonlands.
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There is a sheer drop off in front of Quinn in the pic below. They had run on ahead of me and I was walking up behind them to snap a picture before I realized. So, if you go here with young ones, keep them close and don’t let them wander ahead on the trails in Canyonlands……because, low and behold, there are indeed canyons.
As you can see, this area did not disappoint. So, so beautiful. Again, I could have spent a week here hiking and exploring, but we needed to press onward towards Arizona.
Page, Arizona to be exact. I had a couple of must sees on my list, and one was Horseshoe Bend at sunset.
I have no clue what I was thinking. Remember how afraid I am of heights? Well, this one pretty much was one of those places that I would have lost all my marbles if all the kids were crawling around it at once. It is a sheer 2000 foot drop with no railing what-so-ever.
I told the kids they could go one at a time with me. Unbelieveably the boys completely bawked at going to see such a splendid place to freak their mom out. They were tired, hot and ready for camp. AND, they had no desire to listen to me flip out when they explored.
But Mia thrives at stopping my heart so she hiked to the cliffs with me. She wanted to get right up on the edge and dangle her feet over, and that was met with a big, giant, echoing HELL NO. I let her get on her butt and scoot toward an area that had a small shelf underneath.
You can see how thrilled she is here. And do not be fooled by my smile. I am suffering greatly here.
In this pic, you can see the little “shelf” is about a foot wide and full of sand and crumble. Honestly, this was pretty much the spot in which I very nearly puked and had an aneurysm.
It wasn’t that I was concerned Mia would trip and fall to her death (yes it was)……it was the freaking tourists giving the big middle finger FU to fate, gravity and everything in between. They were jumping from edge to edge, jostling each other and honestly acting like God was all “You don’t need your brain. Let there be life without common sense in thee” and just left it out of their skulls to give to someone else who actually might use it.
Exhibit A. I almost screamed “OMG MY DAUGHTER IS GOING TO WATCH YOU FALL, SCREAMING TO YOUR DEATH. GET AWAY FROM THE EDGE IDIOT”. I wanted to run up to him and yank him back. But instead I let out a little whimper and prayer.
One mother let her very young children WALK AND JUMP (do you see my use of caps here) along the edge. The boy was maybe 5. That crap is for sea level playgrounds people. He had no sense of his mortality AT ALL, and when the mother called him away from the edge he said “NO”. When she tried to grab his arm and pull him back he YANKED AWAY FROM HER, JERKING TOWARD THE ABYSS. Mind you he was literally standing on the very edge. I aged 363 years right then. I could hear the angel wings as they fluttered and pushed him from behind so he wouldn’t fall.
And then we left, Amen.
We found a spot along Lake Powell to camp and it was so pleasant to not be high up on a cliff flaunting death. The kids asked later that evening if we could go back in the morning to Horseshoe Bend.
I think I gave them a death glare and stammered “Do you think I am stupid? I mean, seriously people. WTH?”.
And they never asked again.
This is a place for parents who are calm, can keep a firm grip on their children and are not outnumbered.
It also might help to take a huge swig (or two) of rum before you go.
What can I say. Moab is by far one of my favorite places ever.
We made a beeline from Mesa Verde to Moab and were able to find a fairly cheap hotel. By fairly cheap, I mean $119 per night. Seriously, the prices are insane in this town now. Major tourist trap for sure. I wanted to camp, but the crew was spent and really wanted some showers and air conditioning. With temps in the 100’s the splurge was fine by me.
We ate Ramen in the room and fell asleep in soft beds.
Early the next morning, got a ridiculously expensive breakfast and hit the road. By expensive I mean $10 for pancakes. I honestly don’t remember Moab being so very expensive last time we were here. Granted, that was 25 years ago…..but $10 for pancake? In Durango a plate like that probably cost $4.
Anyhow, I assume you get that Moab is now pricey. What it lacks for in cost, it makes up for in beauty. We drove around looking at different campsites first and found some gorgeous spots. We mostly looked for BLM sites, and there were plenty to pick from, My favorite and one we will go to the next time we pass through was called Moonflower Campground. You park in a small lot, and walk to one of 8 sites. The Ranger told us the back sites had lots of mosquitos and gnats so we looked at a gorgeous spot toward the front under what I believe was a huge cottonwood tree. The ground was deep sand, so it would have been super soft to pitch a tent on. There was also soft, fluffy cotton-like tufts covering it and floating through the air. It was like a fairy land. For $10 a night it looked perfect.
So, why didn’t we stay? Well, there was not a soul around and I just had a gut feeling that we shouldn’t stay. I can’t explain it, but there it is. We would have had to pitch our tent and leave it alone for the whole day while we explored and there was not a soul around at all. I just kinda had an instinctual feeling that we needed to save it for another time. When we go back with Bill next year, we will for sure pitch our tent there.
With so many BLM sites available, we took our chances and didn’t claim a site that morning. We took off for Arches National Park for the day.
I have so many many wonderful memories of our honeymoon at Arches. We were camping in September back then, so we were able to secure a campsite in the park, and it was to die for. The kids and I went there first on the off chance there was a site left, but no way, no how. All were reserved but about half of them were empty. Apparently people reserve the sites and then don’t show up. They risk the $20 no show fee so that can secure a site in case they decide to go there. If someone is a no show, the site is held until check out time the next day. Seriously. So a gorgeous spot stays empty. Just an FYI in case you want to camp there next summer. Book early! The park system needs to make the National Parks first come, first serve. Period.
Anyway, we hiked the Windows section and it was just gorgeous.
The kids climbed all over the rocks and enjoyed the majestic scenery.
Can you find Mias head peeking out somewhere up there?
We then had mutiny. It was triple digit heat, and I was the only one that wanted to hike in it. Have no clue why. 😉 We got in the car and toured the rest of the park via very short hikes and lots of overlooks.
I was slightly pissed. I had really been wanting to show them this area for YEARS, and not by car. LOL Anyhow, an epic family melt down ensued.
After it fizzled out, we left the park late afternoon and carried on towards Gooseneck State Park, hoping to camp there for the night.
We drove back down the road and checked out Cowboy Camp, but it seemed too exposed. Driving on we found Horsethief campground and it was perfect. Only one other couple in the park and absolute silence. I think it was $12. Can’t beat that. I love BLM spots. It was much warmer than we were used to in Colorado, but the temps dropped into the cool 70’s early in the night, thank goodness. The stars were incredible. The kids managed to watch a movie when we retired to the tent.
I love being in a tent or a camper with my family. Best times ever.
We enjoyed it so much, but I truly fell in love with the camp the next morning when a little fox wandered right past me while I enjoyed my coffee.
I could have spent a week there, but we had a loose schedule to keep, so we packed up and made our way to Canyonlands.
We spent one more night in Durango, then got up bright and early, had coffee and hit the road again. Reluctantly.
I could have stayed in Durango another week or more. Love that place and we barely saw the tip of the iceberg there.
Mesa Verde was our next stop, and I am so glad we finally made it down there. I have been wanting to go for 26 years now. It did not disappoint.
There are many cliff sites to see, but we were only there for a day trip so we chose two: Balcony House and Cliff Palace. Spruce Tree House is closed because there is a fault in the rock above it which is quite dangerous. Erosion has caused this and has made the cliff above the dwelling very unstable. The two pictures below are Spruce Tree House.
A word about the park. Be sure and get there very early to make the most of your day. I would also suggest camping there a few days so you can see more. It is well worth a stay.
We had time before our first tour to Balcony House, so a ranger suggested a hike into the canyon to see some petroglyphs. He thought for sure we would be able to make it in and out in time, so we took off at a fast pace. It was a gorgeous hike, but about 3 miles or so in my blood sugar crashed. Smarty pants here had only eaten a Power bar and a latte for breakfast and we were hiking some tough terrain at a very clipped pace.
I didn’t even realize what was going on. I felt the adrenaline rush and panic that sets in, but thought that maybe I was overheated and needed water. I sat down and drank some water and poured it over my head, and told the kids we needed to keep going. Cody calmly sat me back down and said “No, we need to rest. You are overheated” but apparently I got back up and said “No, I need to keep moving and get OUT OF HERE”.
When my blood sugar crashes, I get this absolutely horrible adrenaline rush and it feels like I am dying. Basically I am, because you can’t survive with a blood sugar of 30-40. I also get very irrational and impulsive. Luckily for me I have reactive hypoglycemia, so the adrenaline rush gets my body to release glucose and my numbers climb up to around 50-60. I can’t eat or swallow well when it is super low, so it can be a problemo.
The kids said I took off like a bat out of hell and kept saying “Why am I having a panic attack? What is this?”. Funny how none of us realized what was going on.
We got to the petroglyphs and basically did a “Yup, there they are. Let’s go.” and took off up the cliffs to hike a shorter way back around via the top of the canyon.
Once on flat ground I was able to choke down some cliff bar and when my haze of brain starvation cleared, realized that my blood sugar had bottomed out. How awesome that that happened with the kids, in a canyon with temps over 100 degrees. From there on I made sure we had juice and candy in the backpack at all times.
Food in my system, we made it back to the car and drove to our first tour. Balcony house.
This place is awesome, but it is NOT for small children. My kids were fine, but there was a 5yo on the tour and his mom almost had a coronary on the ladders. I would say that maybe ages 7 and up would be fine, but think hard about taking any that are younger. It is a long way down if they trip.
We were with a smallish group and the ranger let us explore the cliffs at a slower pace.
I was completely enchanted with Mesa Verde. I wanted to stay so badly, but we ended up skipping the second tour because it was getting late in the day and we needed to get on the road to Moab and secure a campsite before dark.
Next time we will stay several days there and really explore the park.
Wandering around Durango was the perfect way to spend the next day. I have always loved this town and all the nooks and cranny shops you can find. We spent a week or so here on our Honeymoon and 1 year anniversary, so it holds many many good memories for me. I could live in this town for sure.
We shopped, ate some delicious pizza, and literally had a very chill day after all the traveling and hiking.
Getting off the main street there were all kinds of little eclectic shops. We wandered into a used book shop and got lost in it for hours.
I think this place has been here since the last time we were here in ’09 and maybe even when we were her in 1990. It is a couple blocks off the main street and there were books stacked everywhere. We lazily sifted through them and found 3 to buy, but for the most part just had fun being together. I absolutely love books. The smell, the feel of them in your hand. I had been reading most of my stuff via Kindle for a few years because my close up vision was failing, but after last years trip to Mexico I went back to good old paper books and never looked back. Honestly, this day and the book shop will be one of my best memories of this trip.
Of course, we also revisited the horses. Hell yes!
At their new sizes there was no way I would let them climb on the bronze horses. Not to mention we are missing their big brother. (sob) But the contrast is pretty crazy, no? My babies grew up!
Posted inLife's good|Comments Off on Lazy day in Durango
I have always wondered about the families that post or talk about their travels and it always sounds as if life is GLOWING, PERFECT and AMAZING. With the exception of the Bumfuzzles and my friend Kathy, who pretty much keep it real.
Somewhere on the road between Alienville and Pagosa the teen in my teenagers came out. I have no clue who started what, but the gist is that Cody was teasing Mia, as he is known to do, and she exploded. Just simply had had enough, reached around and smacked him in the face. He then unbuckled, turned around and said “If you hit someone then you should expect to get hit in return” then he whacked her hard on the head. Tears, drama. Drama, tears. Lots of “OMG, did you just do that Mr. NineteenYearOld?” Yes. Yes he did. All calmed down and aside from some muffled sniffles things got quiet really fast.
Seriously, write about the real deal folks. Families fight and by God they do it in style on the road.
When we last left our little red truck full of travelers they were in Pagosa. After the second night the kids all voted to head on to Durango. We were sort of ambivalent about Durango last time, but decided to give it another go. I am not sure what it was last time that turned us off, because it is one of myself and Billy’s favorite towns. Maybe it was how big it had grown from what we remember. Or the filthy hotel room we had to sleep in. IDK but we spent one night there and made a beeline back to Pagosa in 2009.
We tried to secure a campsite at Lake Havilland and that was not happening. Full to the max, as were all the other campgrounds in the area. We ended up finding the last spot at a KOA just outside of town.
I don’t really like commercial campgrounds and prefer being out in the forest, but it was better than paying a fortune for a hotel (peak season) so we took that lone spot.
The KOA in Durango is awesome. Clean as a whistle, soft pine shavings to pitch the tent on and a vegetable garden that they harvest and GIVE away bags of fresh veggies.
Fresh, delicious and FREE! Yum!
They also had a pool, mini golf area and a place to mine for gems. You buy a little bucket of dirt and then rinse it out in a trough to uncover all the little gems. I think the buckets are between $7-14 dollars and Mia had fun identifying all the treasures.
I figured there would be only a few things, but there were actually several dozen rocks and minerals to uncover and identify in the bucket.
We took a drive up to Lake Havilland and hiked the area as well. Waterfalls, streams, ferns, and absolutely no one on the trails. It was so perfect.
Witness my daughter jumping across the top of the waterfall while I remained poised with the camera allowing her to explore without freaking out. Score one for mom.
The kids were HOT and TIRED and OMG CAN WE STOP HIKING so we loaded into the car and made the drive to Silverton.
Over a mountain pass.
Have I ever mentioned my fear of heights on here?
Yep, I literally panic. Not for me, but for anyone I am around. I can sit next to sheer cliffs, but get my kids near them and I get just this side of hysterical.*
The drive there is along a sheer cliff……almost all the way there. I did so good, until we got to the switchbacks and I had to pull over to chill out and take some deep breaths before driving on. Holy Mother of Our Lord, you people who live there are some kind of crazy. How can you drive those roads in the ice and snow? Do you have a death wish? Do you have mega life insurance policies?
I belong at sea level from here to eternity.
We made it to Silverton without careening off a mountain and wandered around town looking at all the various shops. We had some of the best ice cream I have ever eaten at a shop called Rocky Mountain Funnel Cakes. Good God it was amazing. Do yourself a favor and go there if you are ever in that town.
We headed back down the mountain just before dark. There was no way in Hell (I have now mentioned Mary, God and Hell in one post) I was driving down in the dark, so we hustled to the car after the ice cream. I think Silverton would be worth a couple nights stay next time.
Mia made pancakes on the fire that night and we roasted marsmallows for the 3rd night in a row**.
Just like rum, there are never enough marshmallows.
* my kids video taped one of my GET AWAY FROM THE CLIFF freak outs in Utah and no, you will NEVER see that video. I laughed my ass off when I found it on the Go Pro.
**the beginning of the 5 lbs I put on during this trip in spite of all the hiking and surfing.
My first night camping in almost 25 years was filled with going from freezing cold to sweltering hot inside one of the sleeping bags that Bill and I used on our Honeymoon.
They are the mummy type bags and when we used them back then we would zip them together.
Awwww. So sweet.
Well, alone, and as an individual bag there is not much room. I have this giant, down body pillow that I CANNOT sleep without and yes, I had to bring it, and, yes, it made a tight space even tighter.
I can’t imagine why sleeping on the hard ground in a tapered sleeping bag with a huge pillow would be uncomfortable, but there you go.
I was up at 6 and the kids were fast asleep. Kids are so resilient. Give them a sleeping bag and they could sleep like babies on a pile of rocks. Never ceases to amaze me.
We broke camp around 7, got coffee and pastries and made our way up the Piedra River to make camp on some Forestry land. We found a sweet spot at Bridges Campground and pitched our tent.
We hiked the Piedra river trail again and it was beyond gorgeous.
2009. We missed Billy and Cory so much on this trip.
When we did it in 2009 the kids were so tiny.
Now they are so grown up.
I can still see her tiny body walking down that trail.
I let the kids climb pretty much everywhere on this trip. One of the perks of traveling with big kids is the worry factor is much less. Except near sheer cliffs, which I will discuss in another post.
This is blurry, but I love it. I was trying to make Quinn, the Boy Who Will Not Smile, smile and was laughing myself.
Afterwards we drove into town and hit Kips for some good food and fun. We loved this place from our last visit in 2009. They have surfboards and surf pictures on the walls so we felt right at home. We brought with us a T-Shirt from the Texas State Championships this year and gave it to the owner and she said she was going to hang it on the wall. Love it!
Elk burger. Oh yea.
Smothered in chili pepper goodness.
They love having their picture taken.
We ended the evening at our campsite with the sound of running water, a crescent moon and the bright stars above us.
We got up the next morning and hit the caverns again. Mia didn’t remember it from last time, 7 years or so ago and the boys were good to go again.
Last time I had a 4, 7, 10 and 13yo. We all stuck together because I am 100% sure one would have ended up falling into one of the bottomless holes scattered throughout. This time they all took off and I lost sight of them before I even made it into the cave.
Where did they go?
I didn’t catch up with them until about 30 minutes into the cavern.
Walking out of the cool caverns we were hit by temps of around 103. Ouch.
Mia was set on seeing the alien town of Roswell. I guess her memory of our big trip years ago had the highlight being the alien museum. The boys vetoed the museum so we just wandered around in the sweltering heat and dust . Peanut butter, jelly and crackers on a bench in 103 degree heat surrounded by alien statues. Seriously hilarious.
From there we started the climb to Colorado. Right before we left Bill and I traded in the Mazda for a truck. I have always wanted a Toyota Tacoma, and with the kids flying out of the nest we honestly didnt need the big SUV anymore. I am sooooo glad we did this. The truck has handled all the terain and altitude climbs like a champ.
We had our sights on BLM camping in Chama, but our timing was just terrible. We got there at dusk and had to make a choice…$100 buck for a room or plug ahead to Pagosa and camp. We went with option 2, and will have to wait for next time to explore Chama.
We ended up at a commercial camp ground after dark and set up camp for the night. A fire, Ramen for dinner, soft grass to camp on and a river nearby was the perfect start to our camping adventures.
I honestly thought we would bicker while in the car for long distances. Three teens in a Toyota pickup with their menopausal mom could have been a disaster in the making.
To my surprise we had a blast talking and listening to Codys playlist. That kid has some great taste in music. He loaths todays pop-rap stuff and instead listens to the likes of Modest Mouse, Ugly Casanova, Bright Eyes and has a mix of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s tunes on his phone. Some super cheesy but fun.
We had a choice to head to Ft. Davis mountains or make a beeline north to get to Chama or Pagosa and cooler temps. Temps were in the 100-103 range so the kids voted to hit Ft. Davis on the way home and hightail it to double digit temperatures.
West Texas, including the Edwards plateau and Chihuahuan desert, is stunning. Desert splendor meeting up with red rock cliffs of the plateaus made for an amazing backdrop for that part of the drive. So amazing to know that this is part of our home here in Texas. The kids oh’ed and aw’ed over the scenery until we hit the windmill farm planted on top of the plateaus as far as the eye could see and the incredibly unlucky city of Pecos. Honestly, thanks to the oil industry that place looks like the portal to hell. It is a dust bowl ghost town filled with nothing but white Ford diesel trucks and 18 wheelers. The dust storms that are kicked up from all the workers plowing through the fragile desert made us think we were in Arabia. Some dust so thick on the road, we had to pull over due to visability of zero. Mia started a spinoff to “I Spy” and called it “Count the White Pickup Truck” game. When I say they have destroyed that area from Pecos all the way up about 3/4 of the way to Carlsbad, I am not kidding. So very sad. I can only imagine what it is like to the east.
We got into Carlsbad in time to watch the bats fly from the caverns.
We have been there before to see it about 7 years ago, and loved it as much this time as when the kids were little. We sat and enjoyed the hush and quiet as the bats began to swirl out of the opening and the faint smell of cave that their tiny wings swished to us. Such a gentle little show of nature.
I have to do a shout out to a fantastic hotel in Carlsbad. We tried to camp but the office at the one commercial campground nearby was weirdly closed. It was much too late to find a dry camp (after 10pm), so we went on the “exhausted kids and mom, no room at the inn” scavenger hunt. Seriously. Hotel prices of close to $200 for us to use for about 8 hours was a no go.
We lucked into the best kept secret in Carlsbad; Best Western Stevens Inn nestled off of Canal Street. I have to give them a shout out because after all the driving, bats and hotel hopping to find a descent room at a fair price, we finally scored. Clean, very nice rooms and the staff went out of their way to get us anything we needed. Free breakfast with protein!! Eggs, canadian bacon, sausage, and fruit instead of the usual carb loading at most hotels. I think we paid $119. Still about $40 more than I would normally pay but pretty much the cheapest on the fly for this time of year. We would make up for this little splurge with dry camping.
We are having an incredible time but miss Bill, Cory and the pups immensely. We have got to figure out a solution to the dog issue. Skye is so very freaked out by change and strangers so boarding her is simply not an option. It would kill her as she gets bad stress gastritis which causes a bit of intestinal bleeding. I need to find an in-house pet sitter. I have a serious taste of travel now and want to get away like this with us all together in the future, so I will be getting on that when I return. Our motley pack of pups are just not traveling dogs inbetween blindness and scaredy cat tendencies.
Bill, thank you for your selflessness and generous love in supporting my crazy travel ventures. Love you!!!! More manana!!
If you want to get to know your tween and teen kids, cram them, 2 surfboards, a 6 person tent, sleeping bags, an ice chest, backpacks, coats, hiking shoes, a cooler, two plastic crates full of food and cooking gear and a basketball (random) into the back of a truck and goooooooo.
One would think that after sending the first child off into the world and crying for weeks on end that I would be stronger and more equipped as #2 prepares to head out.
The difference here may be the fact that Cody decided the day after graduation and took me completely by surprise. I was anticipating another year of him at home, working and going to school. This was unexpected.
I spent years building my nest for this family. My whole being went into every twig, every fluff of soft down used to line it with.
I built this thing to last forever.
At least until they started kicking it apart. Strong legs that Bill and I helped develop….legs meant to walk solidly away at the appropriate time…..are kicking this nest of mine to shreds.
I sit back and watch with pride, wonder and pure terror.
Everyone tells you “It is how it is supposed to be”. Hell, you tell yourself that, because by God it is true. It is one of the wonders of the world and should be gazed upon with awe.
The truth is, it is terribly painful. It is the end of a simply beautiful phase of your life and you can’t go back and do it again, no matter how badly you would like to.
It is a written and published chapter of your life. There are no re-writes.
I think we did it correctly for the most part. We were present for our kids childhood in a way that many parents are not. Our family cohered together to form a very strong body and we let the world just sort of spin around us in a blur while we lived our lives together….everyone and everything else in our periphery.
It wasn’t and isn’t perfect. God knows we have had our share of drama and heartache over the years. That is what happens when six individual beings share the same home together. It is certainly what happens when the little people you are sculpting become miniature grown ups and are ready to break out of the mould.
They are leaving at an alarming rate and kicking my nest all to hell. I am desperately trying to piece it together again in a different fashion, whatever that may be.
If you tell me that you are happy when your kids leave, I have to question why. Sure, I am proud as all get out of them and happy that they have their whole lives ahead of them…a clean sheet of paper to start writing on. They are so lucky because they are just starting! But happy for myself? Certainly I am curious about the future. How will it be in a months time to be just the 4 of us. How will it be when Quinn leaves and it is just Bill, Mia and I? And what happens when Bill and I are driving home from taking the last baby to college? My little girl!
What happens next?
I have devoted almost 22 of my 51 years to being a mother and I can’t turn it off, just like that.
Bill and I will probably buy a trailer, take off and travel around when Mia moves away. We will surf, enjoy some beers and relax on a secluded beach one day and it will be good. It may even be truly great.
But there will be 4 holes punched through my heart that cannot and will not ever be filled by anyone but them.
I wonder if when God said “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” he didn’t mean just childbirth. Maybe he was also talking about the emotional sorrow of letting them go as well. The anxiety of putting them forth into the world and allowing them to soar.
I know very well that once launched, they come flying back from time to time. I look forward to these moments and they bring me so much joy. One day they will come home with a family of their own to share with us.
In the meanwhile, I will still have 2 of the 4 here at home to finish raising, and will try very hard to live in the presence and not look too hard into the future.
When I was in Japan last month, I snapped a picture of something that set in motion some good changes I have made in my life. I was walking by a booth at an open air fair and had to do a double take.
There were people kneeling down to pray with the monks, and there, in front of God and everyone, was a monk on his freaking cell phone. WTF?
Seriously, isn’t it bad enough that everyone is on theirs all day, every day and everywhere. Do we really need monks scrolling FB while leading a little prayer time?
Anyhoo, it got me thinking about how often my kids ask me to put my phone away. I have a love hate relationship with it that has actually got to stop. Last week I deleted the FB app from my phone and I went cold turkey for several days. And you know what? I liked it. I don’t feel as stressed out, nor do I feel so very ADD. With Son # 2 leaving the nest, I do not want the distraction that comes with my phone, so I have basically stopped using it with the frequency I was before.
We are heading out on another journey and I want to be 100% present for it. I have this last summer before my son moves out and I want to make some great memories with my kids. Bill will be staying home to care for the house and the dog pack, and the kids and I are going to camp our way across the US.
I have to work as we go, so I will be bringing my laptop and will be logging our travels here.
I remember clearly the moment you were born. My pain meds had worn off and I felt ever single moment of it. Every tear, every contraction, every single push. It had been a long 2 days of labor and I could hardly believe that you were ever going to come out.
After pushing for well over an hour, you finally decided to make your grand entrance….. All 8lbs 6 oz of you. I reached down and touched your head as you crowned and was so overwhelmed with love. I had been so worried about how I could have enough to give to another child after loving your older brother, my first born, so fiercely.
You were born in Llano, Texas and had brown eyes and a full head of brown hair. Such a stark contrast from your blue eyed, blond haired older brother. I loved that about you. Different from the start. A beautiful baby boy with those big brown eyes.
Whatever worries I had were gone the moment I held you in my arms. You were huge to me! You felt so right in my arms and in the days that followed I could not put you down. I kissed your dark hair over and over again and marveled at your beautiful face. We all were just smitten with you and you complimented our little family so perfectly.
To say you were an easy child is an understatement. From day 1 you only fussed when it was time to eat and the first 3 months were so perfect. Cory spent hours with us on a blanket in your room, sunlight streaming through the window, showing you his toys, playing peek-a-boo and touching your toes, fingers and hands. He also covered you with a blanket, including your head which landed him in time out a time or two. And so began your friendship that had you inseperable for the first 9 years of your life.
It was during those precious days in the sunlight that we would play a tape full of lullabies to you. You loved one in particular. It was called Teeter Totter. You would kick your feet and smile when it came on and from that time on we called you Teeter Totter.
Teeter, you got very ill when you were 3 months old. You abruptly became a screamer. You cried all night long, but during the day you seemed fine. There was no fever or anything we could see from the outside. Just the crazy change in your nighttime routine. I remember one sleepless night after another. Your dad had started sleeping in with Cory so he could function at work during the day so I was it…..I was on 24 hours a day. I remember one night crying with you in absolute exhaustion and placing you right in the middle of our bed and stepping into the den and yelling “Bill, you need to get in here now because I can’t take it anymore.” and your father came rushing in and scooped you up. I was beside myself because I could not make it right for you and had no clue what was wrong. You had been to the doctor and they checked you over and found nothing wrong. It was a mystery.
We went to Papa and Nanny’s house for Christmas, and your nighttime crying spilled over into the day. I could not even put you down and I told your father “This child is sick. There is something wrong with my baby and I want to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW. I am getting our things and going to the car.”
In the ER at the Children’s Hospital in Austin, the resident told us that he thought you had bilateral ear infections. He said that your ears were fire red, and your crying sure indicated that you were in pain. But when the attending came in she did some kind of a stupid test on your tympanic membrane and stated that she was not going to treat you because the test did not indicate a problem. We argued with her and said “But your resident said they were both fire red and inflamed and he is crying non stop.” but she insisted that the new test she did was more accurate and that “red ears does not mean they are infected”. This, my tech savvy son, is a stark example of the difference between using your eyes, ears and brain together vs depending solely on technology. Please take note.
This was the first time I ever saw your dad loose his temper in public. He is such quiet and gentle person, but can really blow his top when pushed hard. An hour after Dr. Technology left the room, the nurse still had not come in to discharge us, you were crying, and I was freaking out. Your father was pissed. He told me to gather our stuff because we were leaving. As we were walking through the ER to leave AMA, and past the nurses station and doctors, your dad kicked the door to the waiting room open as hard as he could and yelled loudly “We are leaving and going to a REAL hospital”. It was spectacular and I think I fell in love with him all over again at that moment.
We went straight to the house to pick up Cory, said our unexpected and premature goodbyes and loaded in the car to head to the hospital you were born in.
When we walked into the ER, at a REAL hospital, the first thing they heard were your high pitched screams. They rushed toward us and took us into an exam room. The doctor looked in your ears and said “OMG, his ears are fire read and bulging. Lets get him some relief” and he had the nurse put pain drops in your ears. Within moments you went silent and were able to nurse yourself to sleep while I cried tears of relief.
And so began the off and on doctor visits that went on for the first 3 years of your life. Your white blood count never went below 15,000. There was even a point when you had a white count of over 30,000 and your dad and I sat one Saturday morning at the kitchen table holding each others hands as we waited for the oncologist to call and tell us the results of a blood test to determine if you had some kind of cancer. Thanks be to God you did not.
Through all of that, you were joyful and easy going in between bouts of illness. You were an absolute joy to be with and everyone you met adored you, my sweet boy.
Something funny about you that we loved….when you started to crawl, you would sit up and twirl your feet and hands like you were getting revved up like an engine, then you would launch yourself onto hands and knees and take off. We called you “Twirly feet and Hands” at this stage and you would smile and laugh.
You also loved your Pooh Bear and he was your best buddy next to Cory. I will forever wonder where he ended up when you dropped him by accident rushing through the airport to catch a plane.
At 3 years old you had your tonsils, tubes and adenoids removed and have hardly been sick at all since then. You can thank your father for that as he was the one who made a referral to a specialist who said “Let’s get this boy well once and for all”. And he did. For the first time ever, your white count fell to normal levels.
Teeter, we loved watching you grow. You were such a sweet and gentle child who loved to be outside. Dirt was your friend and you played hard in it with your little dirt bikes.
Right before your 3rd birthday you decided that you wanted to ride a dirt bike like your older brother. We told you that when you could ride a bike without training wheels you could ride the Honda. For your 3rd birthday you got a bike, and the first thing you said was “Wow!! Take off the training wheels please”. Dad did and you took off and never looked back. Within a day or two you were jumping curbs and racing around the cul de sac in front of our house. It really freaked people out when we would go for walks in the park and you would race around like a maniac on your tiny bike meant for training wheels. This picture below reminds me of myself at your age. There really isn’t enough fun and dirt in the world when you love life the way we do, my son.
And yes, we let you get on the dirt bike and you gave me numerous heart attacks when you took off around the track jumping the jumps and trying to do Travis Pastrana tricks like you saw in the Mini Warriors tapes we watched over and over again with you three boys.
You were also hell on wheels with a Razor scooter and gave the old ladies at the nursing home across the street a heart attack every time you and your brothers set up the ramps in the backyard to jump. They would spend hours watching you all play out their windows and I know it gave them great joy.
I could go on and on about your childhood. It was pretty much a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.
You can thank Shiner for that and all the beautiful memories of our friends and the house on N. Ave E.
All you need to do son, is scroll back through this blog and read. It is my gift to you and your siblings.
The last year has been so precious to me. There was a point when you were young, that we wondered if you were a bit slow due to all the ear infections and maybe some hearing loss during that time. By 4th grade you made it apparent that you were quite the opposite. You are brilliant. You devoured the entire Harry Potter series in 5 weeks time the summer we moved into the trailer. You were 8yo. Your speech was deliberate and advanced. You graduated a year early from high school, finishing the entire curriculum in less than a month and have spent this time working and reading information on everything from computers and technical gadgets to black holes and quantum physics….. You also built your own computer from the ground up. Goals completed. We have spent a lot of time together this year and I love the moments we have shared, especially our trip this past May to see the one place you have always talked about seeing….Japan.
I will treasure all the memories we made together there. Even the “which restaurant” battles. 😉 I know you will go back again as soon as the opportunity arises, and the thought of you that far from home is hard to imagine.
College looms now and we are so very proud that you have decided to attend. We are excited for this new journey you are about to take, but we will miss you down to the very core of our beings.
One more baby flying out of the nest.
But fly you must.
For me, you will always be this little guy no matter how big you get or how far away you fly from us.
I love you so, Teeter Totter. The road less traveled is out there waiting for you. Take it and enjoy the journey.
I took my son to Tokyo for almost the entire month of June. It was an amazing trip for both of us, and I will treasure it. He will be off to college at the end of the summer and I am going to miss him fiercely.
The nest is emptying, one by one.
Posted inLife's good|Comments Off on Through a window in time….
Meet the new Texas State Surfing Champion for Menehune Girls. Yes way!!
She was also selected for the All Star Team. 7 kids were chosen based on a combination of points and their standing at the State Championships this weekend. We are over the moon proud of her. The waves were really big this weekend with many of the sets coming in way overhead on the men. She absolutely charged them and it was a blast to watch.
She has come a long way from the day she was afraid to reel in the fish she caught. LOL!!
Through the years as we have moved hither and yon, I have made friends with some wonderful people. I would find a group that was meaningful to me and everything would click together and I would tell Billy “I think I found my people”.
Some of these people were agonizing to leave when we moved, because I loved them so. It hurt to the core each and every time we left. The last time, I withdrew from wanting to make new friends because I didn’t ever want to feel that kind of sadness ever again.
After 5 years of living here I started to let my guard down and started to meet people. So many, many nice folks in the world but when Mia started to surf, I met people who enjoyed the same things as our family and I slowly let the ice melt from my heart and made some new friends. I remember telling Billy “I think I found my people again”. I have this extended group of some of the best people I have ever met. And it is good.
We have now been here for 9 years and I find myself pulling back. The ice is creeping back in. There is not one single precipitating factor. Nothing anyone has done. Like many women, I have gone through a tough time the last 2 years since nearing and hitting 50, with some weird hormonal stuff going on in my body. Most days I am myself, but then spontaneous combustion happens and all hell breaks loose. It usually is the straw that breaks the camels back that ignites it, but when it blows, it blows. I don’t have patience for stuff that I used to which is very unlike me.
A week ago, we thought I had a miscarriage. It was exactly like all the others that I had , but at 50 it was down right mind numbing scary. I was terrified, sad and confused. I told my husband and 2 other people about it and then waited for the weekday to come so I could get in with my doctor. I went to the doctor and apparently have an almost 4 cm cyst on my ovary that if I understand right, quite possible threw things off a bit and made my body have something called decidual bleeding, where basically the lining of my ablated uterus was expelled. Along with it I get to have all the hormonal dysfunction of a pregnancy loss. It happened early last Saturday morning, so for the weekend my body was telling me that I was pregnant, not pregnant, pregnant, not pregnant. It was awesome bad. I didn’t find out until last Thursday what was going on and today I am just leveling out from all the crap, sort of.
This weekend as I was driving in the car, I had my music playing and the song “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” came on. This song is engrained in my heart and soul. I call it “our song”, meaning our families song. It can fling me back into the year 2006 like nothing else, and it is never a bad thing. For those of you who have followed this blog for over 12 years now, you know that 2006 was a tough one for us when Bill got sick. I won’t go into details, but like I have said before, there is nothing like an illness to bring clarity into your life. There is a fine line between what is important and what is not.
As I was driving and listening to this awesome song, that clarity hit. I thought “As much as I love them all, my friends back home were not my people. The ones in the town before were not. And these wonderful friends are not my people either. ”
My family. My husband. My children. Those are my people. They have been with me all along and always will be. You can have good friends and love them dearly, but when the chips come down, your family is your rock. When my self doubt and self worth falter as everyones does from time to time, all I have to do is look at my husband. If he can love me for almost 30 years, knows my heart better than anyone else in the world and after all that time can still tell me how much he likes me and loves me, in spite of my faults, then I know that all is okay. Nobody else matters.
Your family is the single most important thing that God has ever given to you. They are your people.
Throwing work into the mix of kids, school, surfing, basketball and trying to find time to come up for air for some “me” time really takes a bite out of the time one has in the day to do much of anything.
Work is great. I am doing my nurse thing but not in a hospital setting. I do chart review and that is about all I can say. I make my own hours and am paid per chart so while it is quite flexible (I sit here at 10:35 typing this) there are a kazillion charts to go through so I have to make sure I keep on top of things or I won’t get through them all each month.
What is great about it is I have mobile access so can work from home if I choose, and can also take it with me when we travel.
But I miss my old life. Just being a mom, wife and….home.
Enough about work and onward to the kids. They are leaving the nest one by one as you have heard ad nauseam. Son #1 has only 3 semesters left of college. After that, our bank account will have approximately 1.5 years to breathe again until son #3 starts. My second son is about to graduate (technically he did that last September but is going to walk the stage for pomp and circumstance yada yada) at the end of May. #2 wants to move up north and work in the tech industry and I know he will be very successful with this. He is so brilliant and has a love and knowledge for all things electronic. I will be crushed when he leaves, as he is my buddy and the one that shares my love for dreaming and scheming, but will be so proud and happy for him.
I was thinking in my head the other night (the same head into which you do not want to venture too far into…..it is loaded with things and they are swirling round and round like some kind of neurological tornado that may suck you in) and I realized my last one will be leaving the nest in 6 years people. That may seem like a long time, but it parenting years (much like dog years) it is but a heartbeat.
Exhibit A….the baby.
I used to rock and nurse that creature.
#3 son is about to get his drivers license and he is taller than Billy. He is the only one so far that inherited a mysterious “tall” gene from someone in our family tree. When we line up in chronological order it is short, short, short, short, TALL, short. He was also my smallest at birth weighing 6lbs 13oz. The others were 8lbs 5oz, 8lbs 6oz and 8lbs 3oz. He is a giant to us all at around 5’10” (or 11″?) and growing still. With a giant in the house, the food disappears quickly. I have no clue what our grocery bill is because I don’t keep track (am just starting a budget again and we will soon be in shock and awe with the reality of our grocery bill) but he goes through roughly 3 gallons of milk each week I believe.
Anyhow, in spite of the growing children and the idea that we should be downsizing, I am hell bent on buying a van to start transporting all the surf crap and sand that we lug backhand forth to the beach almost daily. And I am talking about a big ass van. No, it is not cool, but you just watch what I will be able to do with that sucker. I will be able to stack surfboards, wetsuits, luggage, the 10lbs of sand we track in and the oodles of groms that pile into our car now. We will also be able to load up the fam plus dogs and hit the road for some road trips of epic proportion. Think cargo van and you will get the idea. Bonus will be the ability to tow something and just maybe one day…..
Today, I will leave you with dog at the beach pictures with a bonus of the “baby” being in them.
“Stop telling your big dreams to small minded people”. ~ Steve Harvey
I need this quote tattooed next to my wave as a big reminder to myself that outside my family of 6, there are not many people that care nor need to know my innermost dreams, feelings or thoughts on anything beyond the weather.
Posted inLife's good|Comments Off on Keep on dreaming and scheming
They say you can never go home again, and for many things this is so true.
I will never be be able to ride my bike down the Big Hill with no hands! again, nor wake up with my brother and sister and experience the magic and joy of Santa Claus coming.
I will never curl up in my fathers lap again to fall asleep, nor stand next to my mom as a toddler holding her wedding rings while she washes the dishes.
I was born 25 days after my parents moved into our house, so it has been the one and only home I knew growing up and it holds so many, many memories. As in any family, most were great, but some not so great (Italian mother and Danish father = oil and water at times). As I grow older and wiser, I have learned to embrace the great ones and try to let the not so great ones take a back seat.
While I can never be 8yo and free to roam our old neighborhood as a scalawag, I can go home and remember those experiences with my mother and siblings and let the memories flood over me like a healing balm.
It was the focal point in our home, just as my father intended when he helped design the house. It always had a fire going in it on winter evenings (and I mean always), as you can see from the charred interior.
Today there are still ashes in it from the last time my dad lit a fire many, many, many years ago. There was a small, thick area rug in front of it on those flagstone floors and we would put our pillows down and roast in front of it while watching TV or playing pick-up-sticks. We also sat there while my dad played the mandolin for us or told stories of growing up in Wisconsin. I fell asleep in front of it often, and would wake just a little as my dad carried me to my room down the hall to tuck me in. I can still hear the whoosh and hum of the gas heater igniting as we passed by it.
In recent years the kitchen and bathrooms were remodeled and as beautiful as it is now, I wish my mother had not done that. There were little blemishes that are now erased: the gouges on the cabinet and doors where I used a spoon over and over again to pop the doors open, (on and aside not, my mom gave me that set of silverware and I now have those spoons. LOL!) and the area on the breakfast bar where I sat on my high chair and teethed on the formica edge as a tiny toddler.
The kitchen backsplash had stainless steel, 4×4 tiles and the countertops were Textolite formica in Silver Gray Twilight. 1965 at its best.
We are going to be putting new counters and a backsplash in our home here at the coast and I have spent hours scouring the internet looking for identical formica and tile to bring a little of my childhood to our own home. They don’t make the sparkle formica anymore, but I have found some that is very close.
When my mom passes one day we will have to sell that house and it just kills me to think of someone else living in it. I love that house, that my father built for his family, with my whole heart. Bill says “It’s just a a house Jody”, but he has no clue. He lived in several homes in his young life and moved numerous times because his dad was a doctor in the military. This home has been with us for 51 years. It isn’t just a house. It is dark stained mahogany and stone, embracing memories that are too many to recount.
My mother left my fathers small closet intact with his things still on hangers. I can open those doors, step in and inhale the scent of him 21 years after his passing. When I walk down the halls, I know every piece of flagstone on the floor and when I run my hand along the rock fireplace I can show you where each stocking hung at Christmas.
It is where I grew up and when another family is living in it, their new memories will swirl around mixing with ours and it will be hard for my brother, sister and I…but it will be as it should be.
No, you can’t go home again. But you can visit, drink some Limoncello and red wine, eat pizza with your siblings and conjure up those priceless memories.
When I am there, I can close my eyes, breath in deeply and pretend I am 8 yo again in the stone house on Juneau Rd.
I was scrolling through a friends old blog this morning and realizing how glad I am that so many of us took the time out of our lives to make notes and document the day to day life of having and raising our kiddos. Absolutely priceless memories, jotted down for our kids to read through one day. I consider it a gift. One that I never really knew would be so in depth and full of details for them.
I have 2 kids that are done with high school, one that is finishing his freshman year of high school, and one in middle school. The Baby has turned 12 and that means we have a mere 6 years and our nest will be empty.
This is the Baby of And Baby Makes 6.
It is just not possible, right?? It is not fair how quickly it zoomed by. I am conflicted with the fact that they are leaving so fast. I have absolutely TREASURED raising my kids and it is pretty much what defines me. Who will I be when I am no longer caring for a large family in my home?
Bill and I have so many plans and I really do look forward to a time when it is just he and I, but for the life of me I can’t imagine doing anything without a pod of kids tagging along. We have talked about taking off in a trailer, van or small motor home and heading out west and to Baja, but I want my kids with us. I want them to experience all of the things we planned when we bought the Little House, but Bill got sick and we had to shelve that idea.
We were recently discussing a surf trip for just he and I, but all I could think of was how weird it would be to not share the adventures with our children. I know I will get over that, and once we are there I’ll enjoy the hell out of surfing with Bill and having him all to myself, but!!! I am so used to traveling with kids in tow, I can only imagine it being sort of empty without them. Bill promises it won’t be. Hmmm. What does he have in mind. 🙂
Which brings me back to this website. With my new job and trying to balance work and my family time, I have not been taking the time to write like I used to. Going back and reading my friends blog this morning reminded me that there is so much I know I will forget, so I need to take the time to write even if it is just once or twice a month.
So, in that spirit I will continue this blog…..admittedly much more sporadically than I used to….. for as long as I have kids at home and possibly after they leave as well, which (SOB!!!!) won’t be very much longer. Because, look at this!
They are growing faster than their mother can take.
Once upon a time, the little family by the coast had a quiet little Christmas that was intimate and precious.
It started December 1st with cupcakes and Christmas movies…
And on December 6th St. Nicholas came…
There were many Christmas treats to be baked and eaten..
and the flowers bloomed just in time.
Christmas Eve they decided to change things around for the first time in over a decade. Instead of celebrating the Italian Feast of the 7 Fishes, they made a Danish feast to honor their Grandfather, John Rasmussen and their Viking roots. Crisp roast duck, red cabbage and Brunede Kartofler.
Santa Claus made his appearance in the wee hours of the nights.
And this scene, that has unfolded every Christmas morning for the last 21 years, was soaked up by the parents in their hearts and souls.
There was even a little something under the tree for the mom. She was stoked.
We really had a great Christmas. So much so that it was hard for me to post pics about it and share. I think we stayed in our pajamas curled up on the couch most of the week watching The Office. Seriously. It was just what we all needed.
12 days of Christmas are taken literally around here and on the 12th Night we had a little celebration like last years, but this time Bill was missing.
He had hopped on a plane to Costa Rica for a week to do this.
The anticipation of seeing him after 9 days was insanely delicious. I might have even texted him some (tastefully) revealing pics to his phone….which my daughter saw (because she combed through my texts to see what dad had to say) and said “Seriously mom? You guys are really weird.”
Posted inLife's good|Comments Off on Christmas wrap up and beyond
We did not drop off the face of the earth. Life has just been super busy with the holidays and then my computer crashed. And then I got a new job. Yes, a J.O.B. Oy!
More about the J.O.B. later.
For now, here are a few catch up photos.
Christmas stuff was out before Thanksgiving week. This year I was good with that. I had so much to do and it was nice go be able to start my shopping early and get a bit of it done.
We went and got our pagan Peppermint Frappes. Seriously people, the cups were muy bueno for Christmas cheer, so I have no clue why everyone was freaking the hell out over them. Ho ho ho.
I actually got to go to Thanksgiving in Galveston this year instead of staying home with the dogs. My 15yo volunteered to stay and babysit this year. I brought him gravy, pie and brownies with his turkey. I do Thanksgiving take-out the right way. (Take notes billy).
I love the trip there and back. It is a long day but fun to be in the car with my family and talk, listen to music and be goofy.
We have had an outstanding fall early winter surf season so far. Lots of big, clean waves every time a front comes through. It has been epic and there has been much stoke in our surfing family here in the coastal bend.
1st and 3rd at her home break! Yeeew!!
With surfing comes injury sometimes. I took a board to my head and split the crown of my head open. Mia came up to me as I got out of the water and said “Mom, why is your hair pink. OMG that isn’t pink, its blood!” and ran to get a friend on the pier because my husband thought I was motioning to him that I was going in and didn’t get the whole “I NEED YOU I AM BLEEDING” yell across the waves memo.
You could see my skull and I got a concussion. When the wind shoots your board up in the air and it comes down tail pin straight onto your head, things are going to be not so right.
It took about 5 days for the headache to go away, but I was back in the water about 9 days after it happened. AND I scored waves!
Which brings us up to Christmas time. I have no clue how I got up all the decorations amidst all the chaos, but somehow it was complete by December 1st. AND!! The first gift of Christmas arrived at our home. Goodbye Big Red Couch. Peeling leather, shark bites via Frankenpoopy, AKA Kona the Poopy Puppy, led to its decline. In its place is the Dick Van Dyke.. retro baby!
Will finish catching up in the next few days.
I will leave you with parting shots of thrilled dogs at Christmas time.
I love October and Halloween, so we try and do lots of crafts and baking to enjoy all the silliness of this fun month.
We made Boomeringues one night. So easy and fun to decorate. Whip up your favorite meringue recipe, place in a pastry bag with a large fitting, and make goofy ghost shapes. Bake according to your recipe directions, then decorate.
Pumpkin shaped cookies were made and decorated. Tasty little, calorie riddled things.
Mia made monster cupcakes one evening. And they were gone by noon the next day. I think Quinn must have had 6 of them.
Another night we had a Mexican Layer Dip complete with a spider. This was super easy, especially if you cheat and buy already prepared guacamole and pre-chopped pico with jalapeños instead of the tomato layer in the recipe. CHEATER!!
I have been wanting to make this one for a couple of Halloween seasons and finally did it. Isn’t it fun? Love my monster photobomber….
Craft wise, in addition to the Raven plates, I also sewed a couple of cat pillows that I saw in Woman’s Day magazine last year. Super easy and cute. Skeleton tested and approved.
Decorations went up on September 30th and included these La Catrina statues that I bought while in Mexico. I searched high and low for these and love ’em. The story of why you will find La Catrina in most homes in Mexico during Dia de los Muertos can be found here.
Bats before bed…
And across my walls…
And a few ghosts and skeletons.
All Hallows Eve finally came and we started the day off with an early morning surf. The waves were so dang fun….it was chaotic but they were big, head high and over, steep and breaking hard. I told Billy they were Halloween monster waves, complete with gaping mouth and teeth. It was awesome and adrenaline filled.
Later that day Billy and Mia got to carve the pumpkin. I love that he has done this with the kids since day one. Awesome tradition for them to remember one day.
We had a spooky, fun dinner before Mia went T or T’ing.
Buffalo meat chili, and lots of dry ice on hand.
And yes, we used the Raven dinnerware.
Too cute, eh?
Can you spot my little glowing ghost? Love, love, love that she and her BFF decided to be simple ghosts. So, so cute.
While the girls were out getting their candy loot, I made some cookies. One Halloween when I was very little, I vividly remember coming home after T or T’ing and finding my mom in the kitchen decorating spooky cookies. It is a memory that fills me with warmth and nostalgia so I like to do this every Halloween. My dad had a fire in the fireplace and we turned on the TV and found spooky movies to watch as I fell asleep in front of the fireplace with my dad in his favorite chair watching over me. My Halloween memories are wonderful and many, and I know for sure that this is why this month is so special to me.
Coming home from a night out in the ‘hood getting more candy than anyone ever in a million years could need, she found Mr. Skeleton waiting for her by the door, peering out the window. Buwahhahahahahaha.
We are going to miss that weird dude.
I can’t believe Halloween fell on a Saturday night finally! We had great plans to watch spooky movies, but by the time we curled up on the couch and put in the Corpse Bride, it wasn’t 10 minutes before Mia was totally out.
I hope you all had great month full of Fall fun, and a spooky but family filled Halloween!
Posted inLife's good|Comments Off on We got our Halloween on, babies
Every Halloween Eve I read my kids Edgar Allen Poe’s story The Raven. It is a fun little tradition that started years ago and by the time I am on the last few sentences, the little ones are usually sound asleep.
Except Quinn. Each year he listens and we talk about the poem and what Poe was writing about in his anguished prose.
A few months ago I was looking for ideas for a Raven inspired Halloween dinner, and I stumbled upon a fun little craft that I absolutely loved for its simplicity. I got the supplies and set out to make 6 place settings.
It took me one Sunday morning to complete and I think they turned out pretty good!
I am not going to post the “How To’s” on this blog because you should go here to Brooklyn Limestone to find them. I absolutely loath when people blog How To’s as if they were the original genius behind a craft. I found the idea on Pinterest and copied it because I loved what she did.
They were very easy to make. When you mess up, simply wash the paint off and start over again. Easy day. I didn’t use the tape though. Too much work. I just eyeballed it and I like the haphazard freehand look that came from that. If you try to do these, don’t get too caught up in making them perfect. The point is a handmade memory, complete with imperfections.
Now my kids have a fun heirloom with my handwriting on it. I am pretty sure they are thrilled. Well, sort of. They thought they were cool and then left the room and I was all “THEY ARE AWESOME!! LOOK AT MY PLATES!! I wanted them to gush but they didn’t. I told them “One day I will be long gone and you will have these plates with my handwriting on them and you will cry when you take them out of storage each Halloween.” I know they will because I do that with the Santa pitcher and mugs my mom made. Me? I am handing down plates that have a poem about a crazy mans dead lover on them. BUT I LOVE IT!!
Now go be a copy cat too! Your kids will be luke warm with joy!
**I got my plates at HEB. They were $1.99 each and I got ceramic paint pens from Hobby Lobby. That’s all you need!
The last time we were in Barra, I was absolutely fascinated with the large dome oven that was very obviously built by the family.
Alonzo, Señora’s son, told me it took a very long time to build. It is much more complicated than it looks. Below the oven, in the foundation, there is actually broken glass to help make it very hot. You can watch this video and see basically the process that they use. I want one in my backyard!
On our trip in July, I got to watch Señora make some tortillas on the side “grill” area, but they usually only fire up the big oven to make a huge batch of whatever they are baking.
Fresh tortillas! Mmmmm!
When I went back just recently, the family had a big celebration in honor of the life of her son who passed away 7 years ago. It is a huge celebration of life, and the whole town attended. The morning prior to this, I woke early to find Señora in the outside kitchen with a huge wooden tub full of fluffy, risen dough for bread. I was soooo stoked to see this. Her son had come in the wee hours and kneaded that huge mass of dough for her. Love this family. Let me go down a rabbit hole for a minute about that. I LOVE how this family works together and provides for each other. I fear that we have lost much of this in the states. So many are geared to personal gratification that the art of family has been lost or pushed aside. I won’t let that happen in my family.
Anyhow, I spent the morning watching Sere working the dough into balls, and after a second rise, she baked them in the big brick oven.
Absolutely beautiful!! There is nothing so wonderful as home baked bread, and add to that the fact that it was cooked outside in a brick oven and, well….. oh Lord have mercy, it was heavenly. Just a hint of sweetness and perfectly crisp on the outside but soft on the inside.
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Nemo is chapping my last nerve with this flat flatness.
It is my hard to come home from 11 days of epic surf to zero, zilch, nada for over a week.
The other day I finally decided if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em and I grabbed my board and headed to the pier for a paddle workout. I am so glad I did. The water was crystal clear and there were fish everywhere! A friend was there and she loaned me her paddle board and I tried that for the first time ever.
I am totally hooked and am begging Bill for one for our family now. So fun to glide over the water standing up and seeing all the sea life swimming beneath you!
I also brought the GoPro and gave it a whirl underwater. This is how clear it was.
This has to be the best photobomb evah! Check out the jelly right under my neck. So glad it wasn’t a man-a-war. LOL!!
A gorgeous day on the water for sure and I am so glad I went.
It is the weekend! It has been raining hard off and on today, so looks like it could be a cozy weekend to hang at home.
I have been looking forward to September 30th all year. So much so that last week while I was in Mexico (yes, again) and on a burro trail through the mountains in a F150 pickup bypassing a protest, I was thinking how much I wanted to survive it so I could be there to ring in October with my family. Yes way. LOL!! More about that later.
Ever fall we spend an evening together as a family ringing in a month of Halloween fun to come. Good food, a fun scary movie and time to be just us.
At Mia’s request, I made some chili and some chips in ghost and bat shapes.
They were also very easy to make. Put vanilla bean ice cream and milk in a blender and pour into glasses. Whip up some heavy cream with some sugar and pipe on top via a pastry bag. Add google eyes, and a sparkly crow your husband places strategically for optimum photo effect.
Then we got cozy and turned on The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Such a fun, fun movie to enjoy. Spooky, but funny too.
Happy October!! Bring on Mr. Skeleton and all the fun!
Posted inLife's good|Comments Off on Now it feels like fall, even if it is still 90 degrees.
One of the things on my agenda while in Mexico this summer was to find some hammocks to bring home.
We have always had one hanging since we moved here, but have been without one since last summer. The puppy ate it. She somehow climbed up into it and ate it from the inside out. It was awesome.
Bill is a practical man and he would not invest in another one knowing that the dogs would tear it up again, so I have been hammockless for a year now.
In Mexico, the hunt was on!
After 15 days , searching for The One every time we went to town, I finally found two beautiful hammocks when we stopped at the bank on our way to the airport to leave. I ran to the market with only 5 minutes to shop and by luck found a shop with hammocks like I wanted.
With all the turmoil the last 5 weeks brought us, they sat, unused in the garage.
Two weeks ago I told Bill “Today, by God, is the day we were hanging one of the hammocks.”. I decided since the dogs would for sure destroy it, we would put it in the front this time.
People, The Hammock has been hung.
Just a little tighter, slave.
Ahhhhhh! Coffee in the best spot ever.
I got a two person hammock again so that Bill and I can enjoy it when the kids are not around.
And then all hell broke loose. Kids, dogs….
On school days though, after a run or surf, this is my quiet spot to nap, read or just think. Shaka babies.
In other news, I still fit in my wedding dress. Yeah baby!
Oh, and yes, we did have back to school. We had dinner, but it was at our local crab shack and I got zero pictures. There was a long table loaded with crab, shrimp, snow crab legs, king crab, crawfish, corn, and potatoes…spicey as all get out. Use your imagination.
And then Monday came and I tried to get a picture of the frown family.
I got one shot at it and then Quinn was like “You are done, woman!”
Halloween decorations are coming out in 2 weeks and I am so ready. Looking forward to our little fall celebration and the month of October.
But first, I have some surfing to do and it is going to be epic!
On the day I married you, I remember the first thing I looked for was your shoes as I walked down the aisle.
Everyone had been in to the “bridal chamber” freaking out that the groom and groomsmen were all wearing the craziest shoes ever and my mom was livid.
“We can go get some black shoes…we still have time. Oh Jody, this isn’t right! They are hideous!”.
“Mom, I made a deal with him that he could pick his shoes. The shoes are here to stay. Get over it”.
We’d had a rough summer with the wedding thing.
When you asked me to marry you, it was a very unconventional proposal. We had started dating in December of 1987, moved in together in August of 1988, and started talking about marriage by Fall of 1989.
You’d had a very, very hard time with a previous relationship. It ended horribly, but that is your story to tell. To put it mildly, marriage was the last thing you ever wanted to do.
With that in mind, December 9th, 1989 started off with a talk in the car about getting married. You abruptly shut the subject down and put me on edge, as was the case each and every time marriage was discussed. We were on our way to go get your boat and sail it down from the marina in Kemah, and it was a miserable, wet, cold day to be doing it. If I remember correctly, it was in the 30’s. The boat had no cabin and the trip took all day. We didn’t get it to Galveston until almost dark, and we were frozen down to the bone.
To warm up we stopped in to the Captains Table to have drinks and dinner. Dinner never happened.
We sat at the bar, and the conversation went back around to getting married (raises hand as the culprit). We spent hours discussing the pros and cons, ordering rum and cokes for you and draft beer for me. We sat on the stools facing each other, the buzz from our drinks hovering seductively between us and our wind chapped cheeks glowing in the muted light. It felt like we were in a pub in England. Cold and wet outside, but warm and dry and candlelit inside. The only thing that could have made the setting more cozy would have been a roaring fire.
You took a drink and said “Okay, here is the thing. If I marry you, what is going to happen is that your mom is going to go nuts with this huge fancy extravaganza and I just cannot do that Jody. I just can’t do it and I won’t”.
I sat stunned. I thought that your reluctance was about marrying me, period. Here you were telling me that it was because you could not handle the circus of a wedding.
You wanted to marry me!
“Billy, we don’t need to have a wedding. We can elope. We can do whatever you want. Just say the word”.
And you hatched your plan. We would get married on April Fools Day 1990, in the mountains of Switzerland, then we would spend a month mountain biking through Europe and camping. What girl could say no to that? This was your way of proposing and it fit just fine with me.
I turned to the bartender and said “Did you just hear that? He asked me to marry him. Um, I believe he has had too much to drink and won’t remember this in the morning.” She smiled, handed us each a refill and said “Oh wow, congratulations. I’ll tell you what. He needs to sign an agreement so he can’t back out of this in the morning.” And she wrote up this note:
She handed me a pen and I scrawled my signature and handed the pen to you. You looked at me, took another drink of rum, smiled and signed your name with a drunken flourish.
I will never ever forget that night. No, you didn’t get down on one knee and profess your love. There were no hearts and flowers. What you did was far braver. You put a heartbreaking past behind you and stepped with one foot gingerly into the future.
We stumbled out of the Captains Table with a different perspective on who we were together.
In the morning, head throbbing, I unfolded both the agreement and the bill. The tip area read “Judge and Notary Fee” and the agreement had the drink tally at the top: 9 rum and cokes and 9 draft beers.
Laughing out loud I handed them to you and said “Look at the drink bill. It took 9 rum and cokes and 9 beers to decide we want to spend the rest of our lives together. Scared much? Here is your moment to wriggle out of it……”
“I’m not backing out. But I am dead serious about no wedding and Europe.” So we made the call to our parents. Do you remember what my dad said? God I love that man. When we told my dad he said “By God, that sounds like the perfect wedding to me. When I married your mom we didn’t have a wedding, but her mother gave us the money we would have spent and we were able to set up our house and life together. I will do the same for you.” ……and then he handed my mom the phone.
She about lost her ever loving, Italian, formal wedding dreaming mind when we told her we would not be having a wedding. I remember her crying and saying, “Your sister didn’t have a wedding and now you! You are being selfish” and I heard my dad say in the background “No Jean, it is YOU who is being selfish”.
When we got off the phone I was in tears. You said “I told you so”.
She is a New Yorker and Italian. Italian weddings are huge because of all the family and they are very elaborate. She wanted that for me….and for her. I did not.
Over the course of days, the phone rang and I was caught in the middle each and every time. In the end, you pulled me to your chest and said “If your mom needs a wedding, we will have a small one. Set the limits Jody, and don’t let it get away from us.”
The date was set and we told her 30 people could come. She died a million deaths. How could she not invite so and so…..The numbers were renegotiated daily until the list hovered near 200. There were plans of flowers, cakes, tuxedos, bridesmaid dresses. What did we want to drink. Beer at a wedding? No, you need wine, champagne and no beer. It became someone elses dream wedding. I let go of the tendril of control I had over the whole ordeal and slowly detached from the plans.
You withdrew and got quiet. You didn’t participate and by June you were acting strange. One night you came to bed and said “I can’t do it. I can’t go through with this. I don’t want to do this anymore. The wedding is freaking me out in every aspect and I just CAN’T do this. Jody, this should be a marriage, not a wedding.” I cried rivers and finally said “I don’t need the wedding. I want you.” It was agreed that I would call my mother to tell her.
The non-refundable deposits. Wedding invitations already printed and ready to mail. I had to call the woman who gave birth to me and was looking forward to this marriage and wedding to tell her it wasn’t going to happen. We were going to get married in Europe. It was pure hell in my head. So many tears, until you said “Don’t call her. Lets just do it, but trim the guest list down. And I get to pick my own shoes to wear….and the groomsmens shoes”.
So, 3 months later there I was, walking with my dad down the aisle. I had to keep pulling his arm to slow him down. He was so preciously nervous. As we got closer I anxiously peered down to see what you had picked out that was causing all the hand wringing. I smiled and rolled my eyes and laughed. I had no idea what the guests thought, but all I could think was “Oh my God. That is sooooo my Billy. They are perfect”. I was never so happy to see you in my life. The shoes were Vision Streetwear, high tops with the word “Vision” in white all over them. When you and your groomsmen kneeled down to take communion, the red, black and white marbled bottoms were there for everyone to see. It was beyond awesome.
The shoes were the 2nd best part of our wedding….the first being you.
And that, my husband, has been how our life has gone ever since. Others chose a wedding over their marriage, and they fell apart.
We chose marriage, and ours has been rock solid. We made history Go Go man.
I remember lying in bed one night, when you were so very sick years ago, and thinking “I am not going to get a 25th anniversary with this wonderful human. I feel so cheated”.
Well, today I have been married to you, my best friend in the whole world, for 25 years. This is the big one, baby. We made it. I know that we already did the big anniversary trip this summer, but I hope we celebrate today in true Billy and Jody fashion.
We sat in that bar more than 25 years ago and hatched a plan. I never in a million years dreamed it could become what it is today.
I don’t need a huge house full of stuff. I don’t need lots of money. I don’t need the hearts and flowers and I didn’t need a big wedding and you on one knee.
The making of tamales in Oaxaca is nothing short of a labor of love.
Our guide arranged a celebration meal for us to celebrate the birthday of our friend Greg, who organized our trip down to the T-shirts we wore on the plane. Awesome friend and I can’t thank him enough for his hard work. Here he is with Señor Leo, our guide Odi’s father.
Odi’s family prepared traditional tamales for us, homemade all the way down to the banana leaves harvested from their land. Senior went out early that morning and chopped them down and brought them to his wife.
The señoras then cut them to size, and even used the stalks to line the bottom of the cook pot. No waste there at all.
She then tied and steamed them to make them soft and pliable.
All morning they had a pot of mole cooking on the stove. I was told there were 37 different ingredients in it. I tried to get the recipe, but it is a family secret. Shhhh.
They made a masa paste, and spread it over the banana leaf with a sheet of plastic wrap..
Added boil chicken and a couple tablespoons of mole, then folded the banana leaf around it all.
I watched for a few minutes as they made preparations, then asked if we could join in. I really wanted Mia to experience this unique moment of culture and they were happy to teach us!
Here is Mia and A making some Oaxacan tamales.
The kitchen in our hosts home.
Remember the stalks I said they lined the pan with? Well, they then poured water into the bottom and it created a steamer. The tamales were then staked in a spiral on top of the stalks.
This pan was staked to the top with tamales. Mmmmmm.
With the left over masa paste, the Señora added a bit of red powder (maybe ground beet?) to color it pink.
Then we added some sugar to it. This was then put in a banana leaf to steam for sweet cakes.
Senior made a fire on the kitchen floor…
And the tamales were steamed for around an hour and 15 minutes.
No words. At least he washed the sunscreen off for the most part.
Finished tamale. These were simple to die for. Sooooo delicious and special.
And the sweet cake. Best birthday cake for sure.
Here we are feasting on the most excellent and delicious of meals while we were there.
For Christmas this year, I have decided that we will make these tamales on Christmas Eve. Just have to find a mole recipe similar to Señoras.
I really hate the initials FIL. They stand for father-in-law, and I don’t really feel that they represent how I feel about you. The word “Law” represents what is recognized in court, so I prefer Father-In-Marriage. Why? Because God sanctified my marriage and therefore forever sealed you, Papa, in my life through your son, Billy.
I went on a run this morning after 5 days of some serious grieving and processing. Running is where I relax. I know that it worried you and Sue at times that I always go so intense and obsessive with my sports. You knew I was very ADD….also very prone to ramblings and run on mouth. I know it drove you crazy at times and at others, when you were in that classic “Bill M.” form, we could talk and laugh until tears were rolling down our faces and we could not get words out. I loved our morning chats. I want need, you to know that when I exercise, my brain slows down and I am able to think more clearly. It clears away the cobwebs that everyday life can coat so thickly with oppressive weight and it grounds me. That is why I do it, so no worries.
So, this morning, after an emotional send off to you this weekend and the days in its wake that had me close to losing it after writing your obituary, I finally ran. I ran hard, punishing my muscles, sweating and thinking of you and your beautiful life. I thought about how you stepped into the role of father to me 21 years ago when my own father passed on, and took over where he reluctantly left off. You did good, Papa. If he could thank you I know tears would be involved.
As I ran and the heaviness left me, I had the silly thought, that if you were a vegetable, it would be the wild, sweet onion. No, not because it stinks. See, I beat you to it! ;*) Nor because it makes you cry. No, it was because getting to know you was like pulling up a wild onion from the soft earth and peeling off the first sweet layer only to find another more beautiful, shimmering one underneath it. As a whole, those layers were opaque, but each one on its own was transparent and beautiful.
You were a man of so very many layers. Mostly there were layers of laughter and fun that bubbled up and tickled us like the effervescence of soda.
There were layers of love that you shared from the depth of your very soul. So very much love!! You were an affectionate and demonstrative man, which is rare indeed in this world. Your hugs were the best and Quinn has the best memories of making “Nap Forts” with you to slumber away the afternoons at the ranch. When we would get off the phone I would say “I love you” and you would say “Love YOU!’ every time.
As with any person, there were also layers of complexity that had us in tears with frustration. Just like your son, you had your quiet, and private ways at times that were difficult for those who loved you. We could get so very angry with your abrupt nature….your need for order and to be apart from us. But listen to me……it was a frustration fueled from disappointment because we wanted to be with you. We were drawn to you and loved you so much. We wanted to know each and every layer of your being because we had, so many times, peeled off the sweetest and most wonderful ones from your soul and we wanted more of those.
Over the years we created layer upon layer of memories, most wonderful and some hard, that formed a foundation upon which this beautiful family grew.
I had a moment of clarity as I looked around the room on the day of your 81st birthday, the day after you left us. You do know that we threw you a grand party with your Mama Woofie and almost all of your baby Woofies gathered for the first time in many years under the same roof? I’m pretty sure you were there. There was Mexican food and ice cream for Pete’s sake. Of course you were there!
Anyhow, I looked around at all the children, spouses, grand children and your little great-grand daughter and thought “One man started all of this.” It is amazing to me that a family this large began with you…a young, brilliant doctor with glasses who had a couple of children in his first marriage, then married the love of his life in Sue, gave us another beloved sister and from there things just multiplied into a family that, on your last day on earth, literally climbed onto your bed beside you to walk part of the way to Heaven with you. We were all there in that place that is neither here, nor there, but between….we were on Holy ground with you. I hope with all of my heart that you knew we were there and felt the absolute love present in that room as we took that walk in the clouds with you.
What an honor and pure blessing was granted to us to be present as God called you to join the chorus of angels and saints.
As we each start our walk on earth without you….missing you so much… we will remember all the layers of your beautiful heart that made you uniquely you, Papa.
A heart that was beautiful, complex and deep in its layers, but always transparent in love.
I’ll love you forever Papa.
Oh, and don’t forget to give my father a huge hug for me…one of those that neither of you can let go first. He’ll know it’s from me.
After a long drive down a rough dirt road, we came to a stop and climbed out of the truck. Our first view of this place knocked the wind out of me. Unspoiled, completely empty of another human being and raw beauty. The water was crystal clear and you could see the rays swimming below your board. This place absolutely enchanted my family. If I had to pin down a description of it in one word, the only thing that comes to me is “Wild”.
Here is Mia, surfing the Wild, somewhere in Oaxaca, Mexico.
My #3 son, who you never see on here these days, actually exists. He is not a figment of your imagination. Quinn just does NOT like to be photographed. Teen to the max.
He is absolutely NOT a surfer, but super gifted in football and basketball. Basketball being his favorite.
In addition to playing with his school, he also on a select team and travels to tournaments.
I got a few shots at the last tourney, but they are so blurry due to very low light and constant motion.
After downloading the shots, I decided that I like the blurry ones, as they represent Quinn to a T. Constant! Motion! He has been this way since he was a baby, and it has never stopped.
It is so interesting to me that, even though he was born with clubfoot, it has not slowed him down one iota. He is such gifted athlete, and if you look online, that seems to be a trend with folks born with this disability. Honestly, it has never been a “disability” for him and has never defined who he is. He just took the ball and ran with it….literally.
He made the shot above. It is a blast watching him play because he studies basketball videos all the time and works on getting all the moves down, so there is never a dull moment when he has the ball.
We don’t call him The Mighty Quinn for nothing. Since he was a baby we sang this to him. His theme song and he sure has lived up to it. His goals are to get a basketball scholarship to a certain college, and I have 100% confidence in him as he strives for this goal.
“Come on without, come on within, you’ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn.”
Texas was freaking out last week about a little storm called Bill. People were cleaning out the shelves at the stores of all food and water, and there was much hand wringing and angst.
We went surfing.
Even the Minime got in on it.
We don’t poo poo off storms, but it was striking well north of us, and when they do that, we usually get some clean, beautiful waves.
We were not disappointed.
On Tuesday, as the wind clocked around to the north and the wind started blowing offshore, things got epic on the island.
Here is Little Bit on the one and only good wave she caught. It was REALLY hard to drop into them, as the wind was pushing so hard offshore, blowing us out the back so we could not drop in. It was tough for the adults and with Mia being so light and the smallest and youngest out there, she just could not drop in. So glad my friend Kay, who was on the pier with my camera, got these shots.
I had a blast surfing on the north side, right next to the pier. The waves were coming in over there about waist to head high and it was beyond fun.
I was thinking I might be able to get tucked into a little barrel here, but….
…it broke on me.
This is what a head high wave looks like. And that is on the inside sand bar in water about waist deep. Sooooo fun!
Such a fun day and I am so glad we decided to go.
There are no pictures of Billy. He got off work early, but when he came home decided he didn’t want to deal with the crowds. I put my hand on my forehead in the shape of an L. Seriously. That afternoon he looked outside and saw that the wind had died…..apparently when that happened it got even more epic if that is possible. Bill missed his namesake storm. What????
One of the things that most bugs me about the kids growing up is the fact that they get to a stage where they will NOT allow photographs. It drives me up the wall, and I swear sometimes I find myself superiorly pissed off as they put hands up, dodge under covers and run from the room. There is a span of time in each of my boys lives where they are virtually absent from pictures that don’t involve a holiday.
I am not sure why I am so hell bent on photographing them if they don’t want to be, but honestly I feel like one day they will regret not having pics of themselves. Maybe not, but I know I sure will when I am sitting on my rocking chair thumbing through pictures absolutely devoid of my male children between the ages of 12-18.
Surprisingly, Quinn allowed me to take some pics of he and Skye the other evening. I had just wandered in with my camera, and asked him to pose with her and SHOCK AND AWE he did. (Note to self: drag dog into all future photo attempts).
I give to you a rare glimpse of Malechildtresica quinncatus and his dog Skye.
Yes, he has indeed grown up before your very eyes. He looks just like my father did at this age. It is uncanny. We spent years wondering who this kid looked like, and then I saw a picture of my dad and it all came together. I think he is so incredibly handsome.
We rarely sleep in, but when the weekend comes, Billy tends to linger in bed while I wander in for coffee. Weekday habits of early morning rising die hard with me, but he is so laid back, he is able to roll with the flow of life in a way that I can’t seem to fall into.
When I look at this picture, part of me wants to climb in bed beside him and wrap my arms around him, put my head on his back and be lulled to sleep with the strong, slow rhythm of his heartbeat. The other part wants to watch him, his breath rising and falling slowly; his relaxed face transformed into his 30 year old self.
We wandered over to the island yesterday to spend the day with a friend, and afterwards did a little shopping, swam laps at the pool (Mia 500m, and 1000m for me), some skating and then grabbed a snow cone.
You can sit on picnic tables there and they have several games you can pull out to enjoy while cooling off with your beverage of choice. They also have margaritas and beer. Only in Texas can you get a frozen marg at the snow cone stand.
I pulled out the checkers mat and asked Mia if she wanted to play. She shrugged and looked doubtful. I said “What? Do you not know how to play?” and she was silent. Seriously? How did this happen? The child can play chess but does not know the rules of checkers?
Oh no, we were playing at that point.
We sat in the shade and it took all of 2 minutes to teach her the rules.
Half way through she was beating me….but…
…..after 30 minutes, we ended up in a draw. She asked, “Does this game ever end? It is kind of boring. I think I am going to forfeit.” LOL!
After over a week of flat Gulf conditions, the surf is finally going to be popping up starting today, so no more boring checkers for us. In fact, there is supposed to be ground swell, which is big rolling waves generated by way offshore storms. Groundswell is superior to wind swell because it is clean and big, as opposed to the choppy, sloppy stuff we usually get from the wind.
Parting shot….Mia came into the den the other morning and said “Okay Mom! I’m ready to shave!” I turned around and saw this.
I love summer and my kids being home.
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A friend of ours took Quinn on a fishing trip Saturday night. It was on a fishing party boat, and they went out all night, offshore. They each caught their limit of red snapper, and my son brought home the bacon for us to eat on Sunday evening. This is one of the perks of having big boys. They love to fish and they clean it themselves. Hooyah!
Bill fried it up for us, using a mix of flour and cornmeal to dredge it in.
Get off that phone old man.
While Bill fried away, Mia and I made a pineapple upside down cake. I picked my brain to remember if I have ever eaten this kind of cake before and the answer was a surprising “no”. I am not sure how a person lives for 50 years and never has a bite of this yumminess cross their lips, but I remedied that.
Pretty easy skillet recipe found here. I did half whole wheat, half white flour and did not use the nuts. I also used half rice milk and half whole milk instead of buttermilk. Next time I will use all rice milk. Almond would also be really yummy. Have you noticed I hack recipes every time I find them online? I honestly love to tweek things when it comes to cooking. I think next time I will try and use all whole wheat flour and see how it turns out. I also found dye free maraschino cherries at HEB. My oldest was allergic to some red dye, so this was a good find. Oh, and be sure and reduce the butter that you add to the pan…the recipe calls for 2/3 cup. When I flipped the cake to the cake plate, there was too much liquid left over. It was probably a combo of too much butter and the fact I used fresh pinapple instead of canned. I flipped it back into the pan, drained the excess butter off and added it back to the oven for 10 more minutes…then I tried again. Flip! Perfect. Also, let the cake sit and cool for a bit so the sugar/butter glaze on top gets firm.
My little helper.
After putting the cake in the oven, Mia came out with Roxy to visit with us because nothing says ‘cooking with clean hands” like a ratfink snuggle. I present to you proof that you can indeed kiss a porcupine.
The fish was so fresh and delicious. We gobbled it up.
There are several layers of fish on that plate under those paper towels, and we ate all but one piece. Superb.
A ways back I posted about some trailers that we have been considering. Well, the Shasta finally came in and we passed on it. Serious quality control issues and Bill said “I want to go camping and traveling with it. I don’t want to spend my time off fixing their design flaws”. Well alrighty. We also vetoed the other one and have decided to trade our 5th wheel in for a travel trailer that will fit all of us, including dogs. The bottom line was that, I want this thing to hold up to travel in Baja and Mexico one day, and the little ones I was drooling over were both too little and not sturdy enough to handle that kind of abuse. One of them didn’t even have enclosed tanks. Actually, the entire underbelly was exposed…wires, pipes, the whole nine yards. That would never work at the coast.
We are putting this off until sometime in late July, but it is looking like this will be The One…..unless something catches our eye in the meantime. Ya never know with us. Yes, that is a fireplace. My daughter about DIED when she saw this. That is not why we are buying it, but it sure is kinda coolio. The reasons we are buying are: bedroom has a door, dinette and couch make out into beds, tons of storage and the kitchen bar is uber cool and brings a “home” aspect to it. And it is smallish but not too small. And not too big. The Little House (5th wheel) was just a mammoth and we are ready to downsize.
Parting shots….how we plan to save on airfare this summer.
Working for the local paper, I got reaaaally sick of using my camera, and I put it down…for a long time. It just felt like a chore, and I hated that. I love photography, but when it started to feel like a job all the time, I got burned out.
I did pick it up here and there, but for the most part started using my iPhone for pics and videos.
While those pictures are great and it was convenient, I really started to miss always having my good camera nearby to capture some of the every day moments with my family.
I recently took all my photo equipment in for a good cleaning and tune up, and they are working brilliantly again, so I have started shooting again and it feels oh so good.
But…boy am I rusty.
So, I have challenged myself to several things this summer in an effort to fine tune my photography and capture those last fleeting moments with my kids before the fly the nest. I plan on doing a 365 day challenge, and also several day in the life posts for the summer months. I print each year of my blog out for my kids, so this is basically my journal of sorts. There will also be selfies. Oh yes, there will. My husband rarely picks up the camera, and I don’t want to be like Bigfoot in our family album one day.
On Facebook, I frequently see people post negative articles about selfies, calling it narcissistic and self centered. I have to laugh at them because, it seems like it is okay to have someone else take the picture of you, but if you take one of yourself, you are labeled a narcissist. They pose for pics with perfectly coiffed hair, makeup and clothes, but this isn’t self centered at all. No. As long as you hand the camera to someone else, you are a beacon of selflessness.
I take selfies because I want my kids to have pictures of their mother, doing the things she loved. They will have these after I am long gone. I am usually sweating, my hair is soaking wet, or I am blue from the cold after a surf session. Real life, that I hope will translate into my kids remembering their crazy mother for who she was…in love with life and living.
So selfie away folks, because you won’t get any grief or high horsed attitude from this woman.
One more iPhone pic for the road.
We have some pretty cool adventures planned for the summer, so keep your eyes peeled.
I have decided that blinking is a bad thing. Every single time I do it, one of my kids grows 2 inches. What is up with that? A friend suggested I tie bricks to their heads to stop the insanity.
I just can’t believe that for the first time since I started this foray into childbearing and rearing, I do not have a kid in primary school anymore. How is this to blow your mind…..my daughter rang the bell and graduated to middle school last week. Hooyah, yes she did. The BABY of And Baby Makes 6 is certainly not a baby anymore. My kaboose is killing me, Smalls.
And to not be outdone by his sister, my youngest son rang the bell and graduated from middle school. Yup, that is right. My youngest son is a freshman in high school. Mind! Blown!
And Baby Makes 6 has a Junior in college, a senior in high school, a freshman in HS and a 6th grader. WTH????? Do you remember all those babies I had? All the diapers, nursing, co-sleeping and…well, everything baby and toddler-ish? It is a big Over and Out, good buddy. Can we pleeeeeease hit the rewind button? OMG, I will spare you my angst, but seriously, if you have small children, live in the moment with them. I know you have heard how fast they grow, but the realization of it is quite shocking and you will not be prepared. Over the years, I know you have heard me say this again and again but…just put the phones down, turn off the computers and be present 100% babies. This is your one shot at loving these precious beings. Give it your all, okay?
Your proof that time does not stand still…..exhibit A.: The Baby.
Right. She is huge. And that is the front seat. While I still make her sit in the back for long rides, she is a front seat rider around town. This was a huge milestone for her, as she was so sick of riding in the back in her Britax. Bye bye 5 point harness restraints a year ago …I swear, she is such a little bit, she did not meet the weight requirements by the DPS, so she was in a Britax until then…which, I gladly accepted as it kept her little self secure and safe, but she Did Not Like It At All.
With Thursdays bell ringing behind us, summer is now in full swing. The ocean is flat right now, so we are swimming to keep arms in shape for a big trip we have on the books.
Also, Mia has decided she needs a new iPod for our trip. She wants one with a camera because hers is ancient and the camera is blah. Oh, and it died, so there is that. So, she is working non-stop doing chores to earn money to get the iPod before our trip. To kick off the I Want A New iPod campaign, she has washed and detailed my car. Note the white stuff on the back of the seats….that is surfboard wax and it is impossible to get out. At least it smells like coconut.
Bill has this change bowl on his dresser, and she asked him if she could have the change. She counted it out, and then I took her to the bank and put it in a sorter. $34 bucks. Bam!
One of my favorite things about the hot, hot weather here is running in it (not). Heat plus humidity is rough. Sunday we took it slow and easy, having coffee outside, so my run was a bit late in the morning. I got Bill to come with me on the bike and it made it go faster, but hooo-wee, was it warm, and it is only going to get worse.
Parting shot….summer dessert in a cast iron skillet. This recipe is the best:
3 (I used 4-5 for the large skillet) cups blackberries
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
Extra butter to butter the skillet
Mix berries together with sugar. Set aside. Combine all dry ingredients. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry knife. Whisk together egg and milk, then add to flour mixture. Butter the skillet, pour in berries, then put dough on top by spoonfuls. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then gobble it up!
That is a large skillet, so I upped the berries a tad (dunno…maybe 4-5 cups?…just eyeball it) and mixed black berries with raspberries. To die for! Go make it.
May is on its way out this weekend and summer will begin for us.
This month flew by and was filled to the brim with activities and life for us, so here is a little recap of the last month or so, in pictures of course!
Running, because it is what frees me.
Sea glass, electric jellies and mountain bike rides in paradise.
We got to meet one of our favorite people….Robert “Wingnut” Weaver. Great surfer and human being.
Lots of great waves to be had by Minime.
And lots of “surf tired” to go around.
Surf contests galore.
And lots of trophies!
The dogs found a baby opossum in the yard in some logs.
We named it Sydney.
We delivered him to a game warden, who in turn took him to a licensed rehab lady. See Sydney smiling in the pic?
Lots and lots of surf training. Here are Mia and her friend, holding rocks and walking on the bottom of a pool.
And here is lap swimming to get strong paddle arms. Swim, grasshoppas, swim!
And of course actual surfing.
And God created the Mexican who invented the carne asada taco, and God saw that it was good. And so did all the surfers. Amen.
As I am sure you have heard, Texas has had LOTS of rain and flooding. It used to be that 4 kids ended up in my bed during storms. Now it is the dogs.
Speaking of which, here is Skye sleeping on her favorite wall.
“OMG I love this wall soooooo much!! Muy amor!”
And this is what ends up on my phone if I put it down around these characters.
And for all of you who think that I don’t have my older boys anymore due to their absence on this blog, I give you a shot of one of them. Here is Quinn after seeing the eye doctor due to getting his eye poked during a basketball practice. It is fine, thank goodness. But seriously, this is the kind of pictures I have these days of my boys.
And Bill too. Parting shot of Bill’s hand.
Onward to summer and some seriously good times. We are fast approaching our Silver wedding anniversary and there will be a summer full of celebration! 25 years of marriage with this dude is worth a party for sure.
A few weeks back, Bill and I were sitting on the bed with Quinn and Mia and he said “You’re biceps are bigger than mine now”.
I laughed and said “No way! That is impossible!”. Bill replied “It is all that surfing. I swear they are bigger than mine” and he grabbed something to measure our arms with.
And yes, mine are bigger than his now. LOL!! I am not sure how I feel about that, but the kids thought it was hilarious and they decided we needed to arm wrestle.
So it began…
As you can see in this picture, I am giving it my all and Bill is hardly straining.
And he let me take him down. Cheater. I called for a real re-match and of course he beat me.
My muscles may be bigger, but his are compact and strong as the dickens. He has almost no body fat, and is pure muscle. He is a small man, but so powerful. Always has been and always will be. It is what makes him such a strong surfer.
Which is my goal as well. I have been working hard all spring in the water and this summer we have some big plans that involve lots of surfing. My running and biking has taken a back seat as I just cannot do it all. It will make me sick.
Quite honestly, the idea of road biking vs paddling out into waves is just….well, there is no comparison. As for the running. I like to push hard and it isn’t good for me. Bill told me the other day “You’re running is ruining your surfing. Your muscles are too tight from it and it is hindering your movement on the board. Not to mention the day you run AND surf you always come home saying you surfed like a kook.” Um, so true. Problem is, running is a huge part of who I am. I love it and it is a huge stress reliever when there are no waves. I guess that is the key…do it when there are no waves?
Which leaves me at a cross roads of sorts. Should I keep trying to race? I was talking with a fellow surfer yesterday about endurance sports and I told him about how sick I got 4 years ago. I said something like, “I love it so much, but my husband says the training is getting in the way of my surfing. It tires me out and then I feel terrible in the lineup. Not sure what to do.” Something he said just kept ringing in my ears all day. He shrugged his shoulders and with that surfer inflection in his voice said, matter of factly “Now you have your surfing. You’re a surfer now.”
You know those moments when someone says something that just resonates with you and they have no clue the effect they have had?
Just one small sentence hammered home what has been nagging me for months and months….hell, years even….4 to be exact: my season has changed again but I have been reluctant to leave the last one. Sort of like clinging to Christmas all through January and into February….that holiday season is over and it is time to enjoy the next one.
That simple sentence, spoken as only a surfer can, was a turning point. That evening I said to myself “Move on, little girl. Luscious waves await you, and it is time to walk into the next chapter in time.”
And just like that, I did.
“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go. So make the best of the test and don’t ask why. It’s not a question but a lesson learned in time……It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right. I hope you had the time of your life.”
And in keeping with the Easter theme for the last 3 years, one of us was sick so we stayed home from church and gathered in the den and watched the last Hobbit movie, because nothing says Easter like a good medieval fight scene with hobbits and elves. Right? Le sigh.
Happy Easter…..hey! at least I got the post up during April, eh?!
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Once Upon a Time, my dogs went into heat back to back. It was awesome, but not awesome good. It was much like awesome dumb.
Have you ever had a dog in heat in your home? If not, take it from me…it is gross.
I know they make doggie Maxi-pad thingies, but on our dogs, those would last about .0002 seconds and they would be off…..chewed up and scattered about my house. That might be almost as bad as when Honey got into the diaper pail years ago. Almost.
Both dogs went into heat in the days before their spay appointments, so we had to cancel them last Fall. Lets just say, I never want to experience a dog in heat again, so we re-booked. Skye’s appointment fell well before she started again, but due to no appointments available until last month, Kona’s was a close one. She had started exhibiting some signs….digging, mood, humping, etc etc.
Thankfully she didn’t really start, and we took off for her Big Day.
Going to the vet was pretty traumatic for her….and me. She had really never been before, and was super freaked out about me handing her leash over and walking out the door. I might have called Bill in a panic. I love my woowies and hated to leave her so afraid.
In spite of this, she did wonderful for the surgery, but post-op, things were rough. She was so uncomfortable the first 2 days. Honey was very empathetic. Skye, her mama, licked her for about 5 minutes and then was gone. So much for the puppy bonding thing. Not.
Poor baby. By the second day, things started to get weird. She got very clingy, and seemed moody. I started wondering if she was having some hormone issues.
And then it happened. Things got very wanky when she latched on to one of her chew toys. It is a leopard head with two flaps hanging down….and a squeak toy in the head. Awesome baby material.
We nick named it “Baby” and it went everywhere with her. OMG, it was adorable/heart breaking. She picked it up so very gently and would carry Baby from room to room with her. She would make little nests and curl up, hugging the weird little puppy.
She was very protective of Baby around the other dogs and would growl and snap at them if they came near. Her breasts swelled with milk and she would try and nurse it. (Daggers through the heart).
Baby lasted for about a week. During this time I looked up information about ghost pregnancies and found that she most likely had been in the early stages of starting heat, so when she was spayed, her hormones dropped suddenly, signaling her body that she had delivered puppies. It also stated that you should take away the “puppy” to help them speed through the process. Billy gave a huge thumbs down to this. When I told him he said “No way. Would you want YOUR babies taken away from you like that?”
Um, does college ring a bell? Right.
And so, Baby stayed and Kona spent the week being a mother for the first time.
During week 2, Baby slowly became a chew toy again. And she started to stink really bad so outside she went.
Friday night all the kids were gone at various spend the nights so Billy and I had the house to ourselves. Holy cow! Rare moment. We shared a bottle of wine and listened to Spotify. Lil Wayne came on and OMG the lyrics were so crude and stupid. Billy got in character and flashed some gang signs. The man is a hilarious idiot.
I seriously cannot believe how crappy todays music is for the most part. Makes me cringe thinking about what our kids are listening to. Monitor those iPods people, because little minds are being flooded with some pretty bad stuff. Cursing doesn’t bother me as much as the crude sex talk, cop shooting references and general disrespectful ghetto language and references. It is uncalled for. (steps lightly off her soapbox).
Ahem…I did look at those trailers, which has confused me even more. Loved both of them and now can’t decide. Bill wants something bigger, but I want something small I can tow. Here are a few images of the two I saw.
The first is the Riverside Retro 181B
Isn’t it cute? I absolutely love the interior. The seating is comfortable, beautifully made and makes into a huge bed.
And there are bunks. Big thumbs up.
The next one was the Shasta Airflyte Reissue. This is an exact replica of the one Shasta made in 1961. We have a deposit on a seafoam green 19 footer, but it is refundable and we are still on the fence about it. They only made 1941 of them, and then there will be no more. Almost all of them are already sold, so we wanted to make sure we could have one if we decide it’s The One.
Is this not too cute?
That dinette folds down into a full size bed.
Love this trailer but have some concerns about how it will hold up to what we will be using it for…hard core camping for surf trips.
The back makes into a big twin and there is a bunk above it.
So, we have to decide what we want to do. Of course another option is keeping what we have, although its size is a huge factor in that decision. 34 ft is just not what we need anymore.
I enjoyed my little trip and major bonus of it was I got to eat lunch with Cory in his college town. So great to see him.
Sunday was fun day surfing with Billy. Sun was out, waves were waist to stomach high and we wore spring suits! No more full wetsuits necessary! Whoo hoo!!!!
Post surf grub. Mmmmm.
We are surfing every afternoon this week. When there are waves, we are on them. I pick up Mia and her friend from school and off we go. Love this time of year with the spring swell coming in and the start of warm air and water.
I also run daily…..sort of like a run/swim brick but with a surfboard. Fueling for this involves protein smoothies and I can really tell the difference that adding protein makes to them. Get a good rice protein and try it. This one is strawberry, fresh pineapple and rice milk with 2 scoops of protein.
Fuel your body right peeps. Get rid of the sugar and all the processed garbage. seriously. You only have one shot of this life of yours, don’t fill that precious body with the bad stuff.
And with the sun coming out of hiding, lather on the sunscreen and keep your head covered and cool. (I’m wearing the Reflective Race Hat in neon yellow. Can you see me now? Click through to the link. Monica is why I wear neon and crazy colors.)
As always, click on the icon below to get to the hats I wear.
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I had no idea there was such a thing as a selfie stick until my daughters friend got one, and then Mia got one for her birthday (more no that later). Let the narcissistic fun begin!
Bill and I grabbed it for some parental exploration the other day.
I had to delete and crop a few. I won’t tell you why. Men. Just sayin’. Ahem.
Yesterday Mia and I took off to another town to watch Quinn at his track meet. There was lightening, and thunder and rain, oh my! so we took refuge in the car until it all passed. We were in there for 30 minutes or so, which, for someone who did not run that day, was a very long time to sit still. I grabbed Mia’s selfie stick and went to work tormenting her.
It started out like this. What exactly am I looking at?
I asked her where I was supposed to look so I didn’t have that far off, longing gaze.
She gave an eye roll and said “OMG mom, the little round thing in the top called the CAMERA.”
Oh Em Ghee, I found it!!
Camera falling off SeLFIe sTIck.
Mia, look up. Be in the picture with mommy!
Um, no. Up went the leg shield.
I think I said something like SEEEEELLLLFIEEEE!! here.
And then things went wild with us girls.
Enter the blanket.
I have to stop and mention that all the parents had retreated to cars, so they were all just as bored and probably gazing around the parking lot and at us with the selfie stick. Mia said “mom, stopah!!” This is how we all say “Stop!” at our house. Cody started it after mimicking how Mia does it when she is super annoyed with the boys. You say it loudly like this: STOP-AHHH! in a super whiny voice.
Reaching out to include her.
Then she started laughing.
She kicked to try and knock the sElfie StIcK out of my hand, but I remained Calm and Continued On.
She eventually went in the back seat and made a tent to es-ca-peeee her crazy mother.
I am her cross to bear.
And now it is the weekend! Saturday I am heading out to go check out a travel trailer in another town. I should bring the selfie stick and take you with me on my epic journey. 🙂 We are trading in the Little House for a much smaller surf mobile and are narrowing down our choices to this, this or this. It has to be able to go off the grid, be durable and we want one that will be around for after the last child leaves the nest in 7 years. Bonus points for looking cool. Which one do you think we should get? We are divided right now with Bill wanting one and me wanting another. I bet you can guess who wants what.
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What they do for the worlds most endangered creatures is extraordinary and I am very thankful for the fact that they put their lives on the line to do this.
I could go on and on about the countless numbers of animals whose lives were spared from poachers by Sea Shepherds, or their vigilant watch over the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan that has brought awareness of it to the world, but the tally of whales saved by their antarctic interventions alone speaks volumes.
In the last 9 seasons, Sea Shepherd has saved over 3600 whales in the Southern Ocean from illegal whaling by the Japanese. Yes, you heard that right. Over 3600 whales swim free because of their direct intervention against illegal whaling by the Japanese.
As a result of Sea Shepherd’s tireless effort year after year in the Southern Ocean, the International Court of justice revoked Japans permits for “scientific” whaling. “In a vote of 12 to 4, the ICJ ruled that the scientific permits granted by Japan for its whaling program were not scientific research as defined under International Whaling Commission regulations. It ordered that Japan revoke the scientific permits given under JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits under that program.”
This was HUGE, and I have always prayed I would see this happen in my lifetime. Neptunes Navy never compromises.
Some people call us pirates. The fact is that Sea Shepherd has never harmed a human being in its existence. Nor has it ever gotten in the way of a legal activity on the land or seas. I am proud to always raise the Sea Shepherd flag on all of my boards and gear to represent. In Paul Watson’s words “Arrrg, we be gentle pirates because pirates get things done.”
Well done, gentle pirates!!
If you want to be a part of Neptunes Navy, you can shop to support them here.
Posted inLife's good|Comments Off on One of my passions
The ocean has been flat for a couple of weeks and we are itching for some surf. Contests cannot run with ankle snapper sized waves, so when I got the call that the last Open contest had been postponed due to lack of surf, I pulled the trigger and registered for a local 10K.
Spontaneity in racing is just not something I do. I like to train for events so I will actually race them well, but the thought of a weekend without something to do just was not appealing to me. I had the race on my list of races for the year, but was pretty sure a contest would be run, so did not really put a lot of training effort into it. My original plan was for the 10k, but that pesky lack of training was in my mind. I had been running pretty consistently so I figured a 5K would be easy day. Problem is, it sounded too easy, and then the race director talked me into the 10k.
I haven’t run a 10K distance in months. Surfing has pretty much consumed us and, lets face it this
is so much more enjoyable than this
Not to mention I had a chest cold on top of the lack of training. Awesome.
I know my marathon readers are rolling their eyes, but chest cold plus surfing legs pretty much does not commute to a well run 10K.
Anyhow, in keeping with my tradition of everything needing to be a death march, I registered for the 10K
Race morning was gorgeous. Sunny skies and very chilly. I wore some cold gear tights, which I usually do not do for a race, no matter how cold, but I could not get warm that morning (fever?) so opted out of my shorts.
I took off at the start and had a great pace for the first 1/2 mile. My family was waiting for me to pass there, and we did some fist bumps and I heard my husband say “take off that long sleeve…your going to get too hot”. Whatever.
By about 2 miles in, pace was still good, but I was HOT. I peeled that sucker off and on my return passed it off to Bill, who gave me a knowing look. I was reconsidering my tights decision at that point as well, but peeling off pants wasn’t an option. I kept thinking “when have you EVER worn tights in a race, genius.” Not even at Enchanted Rock in March, which was freezing cold.
Anyhow, by 3 miles in my pace started to slow and my chest got super tight. Thank God I didn’t start hacking and coughing my brains out, but that feeling of not being able to get in enough air was epic.
When I started this race I was thinking my pace would be somewhere in the 9:00/mi area. I am not a terribly fast runner. Most of the time I pace between 8:30-9:00 on road. I have been running lots of trails and not timing myself (for about 2 years now) so apparently those paces are long gone. Factor in the chest cold and you have a turtle pace for this race.
In the end I finished 5th in my AG (I was 3rd the last time I raced this) and 9th woman. If I had run the 5k, which is what I should have done, I would have been 1st in my AG and 1st Masters Female. LOLOL!
I did not start hacking and coughing until the finish. Trying to eat an orange while I coughed up my right lung was attractive. Ask my daughter. She was all “OMG mom, gross.”
Lessons learned for myself:
Never wear tights unless you are running north of Lattitude 36° 59′ 45.4992″ (Oklahoma/Kansas border).
Stop running when you are sick. You are ALWAYS doing this (ran 1st half marathon with a stomach virus. Those 2 do NOT go together. It was as epic as it sounds.)
Quit being a Barbie when it comes to those last 2 miles. Really. Suck it up, buttercup. I know I could have pushed harder, but lack of air had me holding back. At least I didn’t walk.
In spite of being sick, I had a great time at this race. It has been a long time since I have raced due to all the overtraining stuff, so this was a great start to racing season for me.
Oh, and I won another drawing after the race. A beautiful wind chime made by a local artist from treasures found at the coast.
Next up for Mia and I another Open surf contest and then the State Championships. It is almost time to store the wetsuits away, and I am soon ready for some warm water surfing.
A few weeks ago I got a call from my sister that my mom was having pain in her lower leg.
As a nurse, I knew that her history of Atrial fibrillation could mean that that pain was a blood clot. To make a long story short, it was.
My brain exploded. I had to get kids, dogs, house and husband organized and, in 2 hours time, catch a flight that a friend found for me…..it was the last one leaving to get me there in time for her surgery. I made that flight with 30 minutes to spare. HOOO YAH!! Super Hero time!
I drank wine on the flight there, because, OMG, my brain was in overdrive. Freaking stess city. All the what ifs were running through my medical mind and the possibility of them all happening were quite high. At 85, my mom is in dang good shape. She does not look her age at all, but her heart has been grooving to its own beat these days, and it has created health issues that are no bueno.
Landing in DFW, I was feeling fine from the red, red wine. My sister was supposed to meet me there, but you have to know my sister to understand that I did not have high hopes of hopping in a warm car straight off the plane. Instead I ended up having to beg a shuttle dude to take me to the hospital. My driver was from Africa. In Texas. In fact, all the drivers were from Africa. The randomness of why they are in Dallas was making me laugh in my red wine induced state. I sent this pic to a friend with the caption “I’m home! Haha!! The guys taking me in the shuttle is speaks my African. Wtf? Too fun”. To which she replied “Lol!! Are you drunk?”.
I replied “I wish”.
I won’t get into the details of my moms hospital stay, as that is her story, but I will say that she sailed through the surgery and is now clot free, thank God!. Her stay up until my last night was pretty uneventful. Went out with a friend for dinner, and I returned to the hospital to chaos. She had gone into atrial fib and some genius decided my 85 yo mother needed some Ambien to calm down. We called it the zombie drug when I worked on the medical surgical floor, because the patients sleep for about 30 minutes, then are up all night climbing the walls. It is truly a vile drug for the elderly.
I had to catch a plane the next morning, had slept a grand total of 6 hours since Friday, and it was now Monday night and my mom was absolutely going bonkers on the stuff…..climbing over bed rails, hallucinating…you name it. When the nurse walked in to see what was going on, she said “Oh my.” and I looked at her and said “that’s okay…it’s why you wear a name badge”. I! WAS! PISSED! When she informed me that they gave the Ambian to relax her, I gestured to my mother who was trying to catch imaginary bugs in the air, and told the nurse “She is 85yo and has never had a drug like this. To whoever decided this was a good thing, may a million camels piss in their yard”.
Needless to say, I literally did not sleep at all. The next morning her awesome and hilarious day nurse agreed that ambien was a poor choice and put these signs up in her room. LOL!
Here is my mom with the best nurse ever! Seriously.
Before I threw on my backpack and caught my plane (again a shuttle….my family is seriously time challenged) I drew happy faces in the “a’s”, “o’s” and “b’s” on his awesome signs.
My beautiful mommy!
She is home now, and doing well. I am so so very grateful to my friend who found a flight that would get me there in time to hug and kiss this beautiful woman before they took her back to the OR. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I didn’t go, and something had happened to her.
All I can say is, don’t ever take for granted the opportunities to love that God puts in your path. He never, ever guarantees tomorrow, but today is a sure bet.
With all the cold, we have been doing some little art projects around here.
I had some quotes that I learned in Sayulita that were meaningful to me and I wanted to do something that would give me a visual reminder of my time there with friends and of living more carefree and simple, as they do in Sayulita. The greeting there is not “Hola” but “buena onda” which basically means good wave/vibe. I loved that and it fit our life so well. “Live what you love” is all over the net, but I believe it originated with Pacha Mama and her art, in which she incorporated the phrase….from there it showed up all over Pinterest and started a trend. I have some shirts that are silk screamed from Pacha Mama, Sayulita and this saying is on it. It resonated with my friend Shelley and I.
These were pretty easy. I got some stick on letters and spray paint. For the one on the right, I sprayed the base Sea Glass, let it dry, then applied the letters and spray painted over all with white. Peel off the letters and there you have it. For the one on the right, I just put the letters on blank canvas and spray painted on the Sea Glass.
Mia made one for her room too. She painted on different shades of blue, used a paper towel to create a “waves” effect in the paint colors, let it dry, put on the letters and then spray painted it white. Peel off the letters and there you have it. Easy day and so cute for her room. Simple and so her. She always has salty hair and smells of the sea. My mermaid.
I am trying to learn how to paint with acrylics. I am not very good but I sure have fun. I saw a painting on the internet and thought it would be fun to paint, and here is the result. I like how it turned out. I can only do abstract and silhouettes at this point but hope to do more realistic waves in the future.
The weather will be warming back up for the weekend here, and we will be getting some waves so I am hopeful to be back outside for a few days before the next front the following Wednesday. I am so ready for winter to make an exit and spring to take her place. Wetsuits are for the birds!
Have a great weekend! Oh, and if you didn’t know, And Baby Makes 6 is on Facebook now. Go give us a “like”! See you there!
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I think in each and every person there is a moral compass…but sometimes, each and every one of us decides to put a magnet next to it. Just sayin’.
Having said that, I am not fan of the current administration, but this quote by Michelle Obama really spoke to me today. Even though she seems to already be living it without prompt, I plan on instilling this into this stunning creatures heart so that she embraces it in her life as a given.
“We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” ~ Michelle Obama
My husband came back from Costa Rica deliciously Tico on me. Tanned, surf lean and with a whole new set of priorities.
That is one of the things I love so much about travel….it opens your eyes to a whole new perspective.
He walked in the door tanned, exhausted and full of stories of amazing surf and good times…then we promptly had an argument. Seriously. WTF? My fault and I realized it 2 minutes into it. Then we made up 5 minutes later. The making up part was beyond awesome. Just sayin’.
His days in Costa and mine in Texas contrasted significantly.
At one point were were texting and he sent me this image.
I replied with this.
To which he sent this to remind me how awesome his week was while I was on vacation in the hill country back in November.
The days after his return have been such a blessing. He was absolutely worn out from the trip, but also so mentally rested which is what I was hoping for. And he came home ready to go back.
Our 25th anniversary is this year, so to celebrate we are heading to Costa Rica. I CAN! NOT! wait to see him surf those waves, and help me drop in on them as well. They are big, steep and barreling so my motivation for getting in shape will focus on our trip and my goal of charging those waves. When I asked if we would stay a week he replied “Or more”.
In the meantime I am just so incredibly glad he is home. It kind of felt like the right side of my body was missing until he walked back in the door.
One of the things he has decided since his trip is that the Keurig must go. He had some really good Costa Rican coffee every morning down there, so Donut Shop coffee was not going to cut the mustard anymore. The morning after he got home he said “Lets go buy some CR coffee”. We found some, but it was not the same, so I got online and ordered the coffee he had in Costa and he sent me out to buy a new drip machine since our old one died. When we go to bed we say “I can’t wait to wake up and have coffee in the morning.” Weirdos.
I leave you with a parting shot. A couple mornings after he got home, we were sitting at breakfast and Mia burst out laughing. She pointed at his head and said “There is a wave on your head where you are peeling”.
La buena onda!!
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The human body has almost the same proportions of calcium,sodium and potassium as the ocean. It pulses in our veins.
Some people meander through life completely unaware of the pull of our bodies toward the sea. They enjoy the ocean, but when they leave, they dust the sand off and transition back into terrestrial life without blinking an eye.
Then there are those of us, young and old, who can taste the saltiness of our being everyday of our lives. We are pulled toward the ocean as if by some invisible, magnetic force. It doesn’t matter how far inland we are born.
We migrate to the sea with precision and purpose as soon as the cords to our childhood are cut. God has set our internal compass to lead us toward a salty body of water; like birds migrating south via some ancient, ancestral, homing instinct.
It’s a way of life. A need. A yearning. It hums in us everyday. We swim in the water like otters. It cloaks around us like the warm fluid of the womb.
Stepping out of it we don’t feel the need to rinse it off. Our eyelashes are dusted with salt and our sun-bleached hair matted with it. Our skin always tastes of salt. We are different and it is obvious.
Those who pack their bags and head home have shells and pictures of a great time at the beach. Memories.
Surfers never really leave the ocean. We know it is inside us. Perfectly matched, life sustaining and flowing in our veins… the beat of our hearts thumping with the waves on the incoming tide.
With an urgency much like a fish on land gasping for water to fill its gills with oxygen, we need the salty ocean to fill our souls.
I love cold, foggy, drizzling days and especially love to run in them……said no one ever.
I am in shorts, not because it was warm, but because I am in denial. The temp was hovering around 40 degrees and there was a constant drizzle coming down. And it was foggy. Blek. It is reeeeaaaally hard to get motivated to go outside when it is like this. I tend to procrastinate. Sip my coffee a bit slower. Spend way too much time on the computer. I got a pair of Christmas long johns and they are so warm and soft I loath changing out of them. Time to break that habit.
Do you want a chance to win a Headsweats race hat? If so leave a comment over here about what is motivating you to get in shape for 2015 and the rest of your life! Is it losing a bit of weight to be healthy for yourself and family? Are you training for your first 5k? First marathon? Or are you just getting in shape for a big trip you have planned? Tell me about it and I will select at random a winner on Monday.
Cold is relative until you surf for 1.5 hours in water below 50F and can’t feel your hands, feet or face anymore.
It is also relative when your husband is in Costa Rica, Face Timing you from a hammock after catching overheard barrels for breakfast.
The dogs are all sleeping in our bed…on your side. I did not tell them to do that. It was a natural instinct when they sensed the alpha male was gone and left for Costa Rica without his alpha female. We are all fine here, just very, very cold. We are not using the outside hammock because the dogs ate it, so I will be face timing you from bed in my long johns and Christmas socks, covered in down blankets and 2 inches of fleece.
The surf here has been awesome too….as long as you put on a wetsuit, hoodie, gloves, booties and crank the car heater to 90 degrees and have it blowing on you as you try to take off all your gear without any feeling in your hands. Mia wanted no part of this, because she claims surfing should be fun. I have no idea what she could mean by this.
Skye is feeling better after her hysterectomy. I can tell because she is jumping off the back of the couch again and flinging her head like a stallion, wagging her tail fiercely while skootie ootieing with her butt around the tile floors at full speed. This is helpful because it spreads all the buckets of sand that they bring in, from the now grassless backyard, to the edges of the rooms and I only have to sweep 32,000 times vs 32,001. The Christmas socks help me to ignore this.
It was awesome to hear about your head high barrel. Glad you are getting epic surf and are SO WARM while surfing it. That makes me feel warm here, too. Right? Did you get the picture of me in the car after taking off my wetsuit? The white balance was not off…..my entire face was indeed blue.
I miss you so much and as much as I want you home, I want time to stand still for you there so you can rest, surf and soak up some of that Tico vibe. I am beyond stoked for you to be there. You work so hard here and deserve some Pura Vida. Bring it home with you to get us through the rest of winter. Okay?
Holidays are over people. Time to get moving. If you are like me, a month of great food, cold weather and the flu has had us inside and the stir crazy has set in.
I am ready for some waves this weekend. Yes, the water temp is 56F and the air is 36F. We have surfed in worse for sure. Last year one of the contests had water temps of 49 degrees with air temps about the same. With fog. Ouch. In this picture, she was so cold she could hardly move.
Excuses aside, it is time to lace up our shoes, dust off our bikes and grab our boards.
I have been going through pictures of when I was racing to get myself motivated for competition season 2015.
This one makes me cringe because I am about 7 lbs heavier now and my luv handles are giving me grief. Seriously. The surgery I had last spring has really done a number on my abs and I have middle age gut. Ugh. I need to get out of my post flu fog, off my hind end and clock some serious miles to get anywhere near this point again. I am not sure it is even possible at this stage of life but I will give it a try.
For this, I think a giveaway is in order. I haven’t done one in ages and want to share the love and one of my favorite pieces of running, cycling, surfing, heck anything gear…my Headsweats hat. Everyone is always asking where I got my hat (because good gravy I have one on every day….my uniform). These things are part of my every day wardrobe. I wake up, throw on a hat and start my day. To me, hands down, there is no other hat that comes close to the quality of these and you know I have put them to the test. They stay put in heavy wind at the beach, keep the sun off my face and cool my head down on the hottest and longest of runs.
You want one of these? Okay, I am giving one away randomly via comments. You pick the color. Post a comment about what motivates you after the holidays to get moving and active again for the New Year. Tell me your pain. But, you know my motto….no whining.
The only easy day was yesterday.
**and this is NOT a sponsored post. Just some bloggin’ love.**
As our Ho Ho Holiday continued, Mia slowly recovered, and I hit the wall hard. I had a dry cough on Christmas day and by the next day was horribly achy and started running fever late in the night. By Saturday morning I was feeling like hell. At 3thehellinthemornig, I actually cried and asked Bill to take me to the hospital for an IV so I could get pain meds…..that is how bad my bones hurt. Holy cow, it felt much like I had been hit all over with a bat, and I could not get comfortable. And no, he did not take me. Instead he gave me Motrin. Motrin. I wanted IV pain meds and got ibuprofen. Not…the…same. I think the last time I felt that sick was when we lived in Shiner and I got the flu. Hands down that was the worst, but this was a very close second.
Sunday he took me in to his clinic and did a flu test. + for Type B. Oh really. The great part about this is it was too late for Tamiflu. It took a good 12 days to start feeling better. I am down 6lbs, but my appetite is back and then some, so I am sure it will pile back on.
This happened. No we are not cruel. The pup could sleep through a tornado….or hot sauce, peppermint marshmallows and spice drops stacked on her.
This scene played over and over in the week following Christmas day. Me in bed, a curly dingo and my girl keeping me company.
I have been reduced to walking since Flumageddon which is just fine with Skye. Fluffy Husky butt alert.
We had our 2nd annual 12th night celebration. In keeping with last years theme, the flu preceded, so it felt just like a tradition should. We really looked forward to it this year as some quiet family time to reflect on the birth of Christ and the Magi’s visit to him. Teaching the kids about the true history and not just the feel good story in songs and cartoons is important to me. These ancient astronomers (they are not sure if there were 3, 4 or 12) walked the road to see the Christ child over the course of a year or more. They left everything and followed a celestial “sign” that they saw and knew to follow. You can read more about them here, here and last years 12th Night celebration here.
Shirt and shoes not required.
I got a picture of this young, evasive man over the holidayz. Love my 17yo to bits.
And a few of this one too.
I have a million of her. She has not become a teen and camera shy like her brothers.
And on Epiphany, the decorations came down. I am not sure why, but this was particularly hard for me this year. I spent the day packing things away, weeping here and there and feeling very sad about the end of another holiday season. Santa was a big part of the holidays this year as Mia is 10 and the magic of him and anticipation is so happily there for her. Maybe next year she will not be as into it. I hope that is not the case! I still believe! Santa has been visiting our house now for 20 years, (and at my childhood home for 30 years before that!) bringing smiles and joy to us all and I am hopeful that “Believe” will still be on all of our lips next year, as I can’t imagine him not paying us a visit. He is a very, very old and dear friend and I would miss him.
Here are some scenes from Miss Mimi’s room, which she decorates every year. Her Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer collection….
Various, festive hedgehogs.
And her little mouse house gets decorated with lights, a tree, candy cane jars, a gingerbread house, cookies on the stove and Santa Mouse and Elves make a visit. This right here kills me with the preciousness of it. And I am crying again, OMG. I keep thinking “Will she be too old for this next year??” I hope not.
Coastal Christmas details are so fun. Taking them down, not so fun. Sniff.
Mia made this ornament.
She made 12 and gave them out to our neighbors as a Secret Santa on the Feast of St. Nicholas Day, December 6th. (Last years Secret Santa gift here.) She typed up a note telling them she was leaving this gift in the style of St. Nicholas. She explained who St. Nicholas was and why December 6th is his day. The most precious one was a man who lives alone on our block. He has no one but his 2 dogs. We never see any family there and he is always alone. We left his under a chair he sits on in his driveway every day. Watching from our window we were able to see him as he came home from his walk and found it. He stopped and stared at it for a few moments, then bent down and read the note. He then picked up the ornament and held it to eye level to see. He walked to the end of his driveway and looked around, then went in his house. Be still my heart. Mia said “Out of every one we gave out, that one made me feel so good mom.”
And to leave this post and Christmas season 2015 on a humorous note…..a parting shot of Morty the dog/human who sleeps with a pillow and covers. Not kidding.
Mia rallied Christmas morning and was up at her usual 5-6am hour asking to wake the boys to open presents. She climbed into bed with us and dozed until nearly 7, then, in her words, we “FINALLY” got the boys up. She was still a bit weak from the flu but was able to really enjoy Santa’s visit, which I am so grateful for. At 10, she believes in the magic and I know these things are precious and to be cherished, so I was so happy for her when she woke feeling excited and better.
This year I started a new tradition. Aebleskivers! in honor of my father. My dad was Danish….his grandparents came over from Denmark in the 1880’s….and I remember him telling me stories of them speaking Danish to him and singing him songs to sleep in their native language. He taught me “This Little Piggy” in Danish when I was a small child. I have long forgotten how to recite it, but when I hear it, it brings all the memories flooding back. He was so very proud of his Danish heritage. When I would come to him with sadness or unsure of myself I remember him telling me firmly “You are a Rasmussen! A Dane! By God! you are a Viking!! Straighten up girl!”. It is time to introduce my children to their Danish side. Next year we will celebrate Lille Julaften instead of the 7 fishes. Thank you Stephanie Nielson for posting about this. When she wrote about it 2 years ago, I realized that as much as I have introduced my children’s Italian heritage to them, I have almost forgotten to teach them of their strong Danish roots. Time to rectify that. So, we started this year with Aebleskivers on Christmas morning. I bought a pan a few weeks back, and scoured the internet for recipes. They are super easy to make and absolutely incredible to eat. I made some with chocolate filling and they were fantastic. Next year I will make these….or maybe New Years morning, because who can wait a year to have yumminess like this again?
After the kids opened presents, Bill and I exchanged gifts. I had no clue what he was getting me, and when he led me outside, I thought “what could possibly be outside?”. In the driveway was a brand new, bright red mountain bike! Freaking awesome surprise!!! I have been riding the mountain bike he bought me for a wedding gift almost 25 years ago. The gears were shot, it had no suspension, but for sentimental reasons I was still riding it. When I rode this one for the first time it was so easy it was crazy. I cannot wait to get in some deep sand with this one. It will float right through it! You da man Bill! Seriously, he so nailed this one and for the first time ever surprised the heck out of me. Now if I can just get over this flu so I can ride. Yep, I came down with it Christmas day afternoon and tested positive for influenza on Sunday. I have been hit hard and am just now starting to feel alive again. Looking forward to being well and getting a chance to ride my Christmas present.
Bill got a trip to Costa Rica and a new surfboard to ride there. This will be his first surf trip in over 30 years. I am so stoked for him to go to Playa Grande and tear those waves up! Hopefully he will take some pics that I can share, but don’t count on it…it would never occur to him to take pictures. He is a live the moment kind of guy. LOL
Merry Merry Christmas time to you all!! Remember, there are 12 days of Christmas! Celebrate them all!
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The day before Christmas Eve, on the Eve of the Eve as Mia says, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Temps were in the 60-70 range and skies were blue blue blue. By afternoon the wind picked up and a cold front made its way through, but the morning was amazing.
Mia sent her letter to Santa last week, and we were all amazed when she received a letter back from him. No joke here. It most certainly did not come from me. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!!
We made some pizzelles for the first time.
Fresh and warm, straight from the iron, we sprinkled them with powdered sugar and they were sooooo good! These were almond flavored as my kids are not huge fans of anise but will have to try those next time.
On Christmas Eve we made our traditional homemade pasta and decided to have the feast of the 7 fish. It honestly would not feel like Christmas to me without it, although next year I am going to try something different at Bill’s request.
We had king crab legs and lobster to start off…
Then for the main course orecchiette ai frutti di mare.
The fish: anchovie in the sauce, crab legs, lobster, shrimp, calamari, Little Neck clams, scallops and cod fish (fish in foil for St. Nicholas). Yes, you counted that correctly. That is actually 8. We are making up this year for the fact that last year we only had 6. Ahem.
The kids decorated gingerbread men. Bill joined in as well. See Mia there? She got the flu. Boooo!! Seriously, how bad can that stink to get the flu Christmas week and have the worst day of it fall on Christmas Eve? Poor baby.
In spite of this, we had a very sweet Christmas Eve, staying in our jammies all day. (except Bill who thought we were too funny).
These bells once graced my great-grandparents and grandparents Christmas trees.
I have a box of all their ornaments and this year pulled them out and made a special “Danish” Christmas tree to hang them on. There are even little clips to hold candles on that were traditionally lit on my great-grandparents and grandparents Danish trees. I even found wee little candles. We will light them on the 12th day of Christmas.
I have looked repeatedly in the stores for some vintage looking deer to decorate with and have not found any that I liked. Lo and behold the little deer below was in my grandmothers box of Christmas decorations.
It was a very cozy, sweet night for us all. I have said it before, and I will say it again: Christmas Eve is pretty much my favorite day of the year.
Merry Christmastime! Remember, there are 12 days of Christmas. Make it a point this year to keep your holiday spirit alive through the 12th day and beyond!
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I got all my shopping done early and for once I actually wrapped everything before Christmas Eve. (Fist bump happened with Bill, because usually Christmas Eve he takes the kids out looking at lights hours while I wrap endlessly…..and he calls asking “can we come home yet?” several times). This year I will get to go with them. Whaddayaknow!
This week I am enjoying some time with the Bill, the kids, dogs and the flu. We have had 3 of the 4 down with it, and now Bill has something or another. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a row of antibiotics on the counter.
Scenes from the last week or so follow…
Le Christmas tree. I absolutely love a flocked tree.
Skye ate a few of the sand dollars off the tree. Yes way. Butthead.
Mia and a friend made a french vanilla cake cake with peppermint buttercream frosting. It was delicious and so sparkly and sweet.
We did this and they liked it.
Getting a quick run in while shopping. Stress reduction to the max.
Gingerbread house made. Check.
Even the dogs were tired from all the activity.
She sleeps like this all the time. We love hers so much. Even when she eats our ornaments and fights with Honey (another story).
I am planning Christmas Eve and Christmas day food. Bill wants to do something different for Christmas Eve but I can’t imagine that day without the Feast of the 7 Fishes. At first I was all “Over ruled!!” but then thought maybe this year a change would be fun. Looked into Danish meals (my fathers grandparents were from Denmark and we are Vikings, by God!) but we will see.
Hope you all are having a Merry Christmas time! Make it count!
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Bill hauled the Little House in to have some much needed repairs…among them first and fore most was a new AC unit.
The last time we took her out was sometime back in July of 2009. It was during a record breaking heat wave, and temps in the shade were hovering well above 100F. And yes, you got it, the AC went kerplunk. When we came home, we cleaned the 5’er and made a mental note to get the AC repaired.
5 years later we finally got around to it.
While it was getting recaulked, new AC, slide maintenance and some other little facelift stuff (leak in bathroom vent caused some water damage on doorframe so vent and doorframe are now new), I got out the shop vac and went to work.
Bill cleaned the outside with some bleach and now she is as good as new.
At this point we are not sure what we are going to do with her. The plan was to sell, but then Billy spent the whole day cleaning and came home saying “I think we should keep it”. A gentle probe revealed that he spent the day going through all the awesome memories he has of our time in it with the little kids and he is not sure he can part with the Little House.
Me? I waffle back and forth. One thing we have in the wings is a possible purchase of a much, much smaller unit that is uber cool. We actually have a refundable deposit on one. It would be something Bill and I can use once all the kids have flown the nest, but will also work right now for us.
Decisions, decisions. The repairs will be complete in a day or two, so things are rolling around in our little haeds.
Vintage ABM6. June, 2007 when we moved into the Little House.
The cutest corn eating baby ever.
The command center. Fresh fruit, dirty dishes and booze in the blender.
Cody reading to us. We still had our house and probably went home all of 2x that summer.
Playing “Ocean” in the trailer.
Evening bike fun with other park kids.
Cleaning…Honestly, it took all of 15 minutes.
Cody got the camera one afternoon.
Doing school work.
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The days just fall away it seems lately. One day it was Thanksgiving and the next was St. Nicholas Day. Don’t blink babies.
St. Nick is one of my favorite times during the Christmas season. I am not sure why, but it just seems like Christmas once we hang the stockings for St. Nick.
I made some cute cupcakes for the kids and for our local surf shop.
I think it is important to note that I did not get to eat one single cupcake. Out of 2 dozen made, I think my kids and Bill ate over a dozen in 24 hours time. I am so not kidding. This recipe is amazing…devils food cake and peppermint buttercream frosting. Recipe? Simple. Bake a box of Duncan Hines Devils food cake mix (cupcakes or cake, your choice) then frost with this: 1/2 stick crisco, 1 stick room temperature butter, 4 cups powdered sugar, 2tbsp milk, 1tsp peppermint. Cream together crisco and butter, alternately add powdered sugar and milk, then add peppermint extract. And there you have it. (I will make a cake with the same ingredients and will horde some if I need to to get a piece.)
We went to the island and enjoyed the company of friends at the local surf shop, had some wine (adults, natch) and shopped. This was the annual Christmas walk and it is so festive and such fun to be on the island during Christmas time. Such a great way to kick off the Christmas spirit for surfers.
And St. Nick did come, bringing sugar for all.
The wolf dog thought the stockings were awesome good.
“Maybe if I just get a bit closer…”
Inching closer yet…
No chocolate for you Skye!
Mia still loves St. Nick and Santa. At 10 I am so pleased she still believes in the magic.
And again this year, Cory’s still hangs waiting for him to return home from college. Not sure I will ever get used to all my kids not being here with me.
And because I could not resist:
“Then he got an idea!
An awful idea! THE GRINCH
GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!
“I know just what to do!” The Grinch Laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, “What a great Grinchy trick!
“With this coat and this hat, I’ll look just like Saint Nick!”
“All I need is a reindeer…”
The Grinch looked around.
But since reindeer are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch…?
No! The Grinch simply said,
“If I can’t find a reindeer, I’ll make one instead!”
So he called his dog Max. Then he took some red thread
And he tied a big horn on top of his head.”
Hell yes, I did this. We have 1/2 a sled team at this point and if how they drag me on my run down the street is any indication, I think they could take off and fly.
Finding this sweet face on my phone when I am uploading to my computer?
Happy Friday everyone! Tonight St. Nick comes! You can read about St. Nick here, and how he ended up in my grandmothers home town of Bari here. It is a wonderful, magical time for kids and we treasure this sweet evening and day. Browse through the website and start your own St. Nicholas tradition for your family! If you go to “Around the World” on the page, you can find your heritage and begin there. I love it in particular because it gives us a chance to discuss the man who became Santa, and how he so loved Christ. Buon natale!!
The kids and I went to see my inlaws at the ranch the first part of Thanksgiving week. Bill had to hang at home with the canine crew and work. Boo yah! What follows is a series of texts between us on the second day.
Yes way. My Big Red Couch suffered via Frankenpoopy, AKA Kona the Poopy Puppy. Mind you, they have never chewed furniture ever before. Nor pooped all over the house. They missed me and I got an epic dog greeting when I got home.
I can just see Skye hanging on her pillow with her ears laid back in a snotty “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” sneer, watching Kona eat leather. One day I will snap a pic of this special look to share. We call her a butt when she makes this face.
And here is Thanksgiving day. Morty came home to visit with his boy and it brought the dog count up to 4. I stayed home to dog sit while my crew drove to Galveston for the day to see all the family. Yes, I was alone with dogs on Thanksgiving day. (insert sad violin solo here)
No turkey for you, Jody.
My family had a great time, took zero pictures and brought me home turkey, dressing, potatoes, rolls and…..fruit. No pie. No gravy. WHO DOESN”T HAVE PIE ON THANKSGIVING? Bill said “I thought you would like fruit more.” Yes. With pumpkin pie and whipped cream on the side. And maybe some cheesecake to put the fruit on. And heap some of Nana’s carrot cake with cream cheese frosting next to it all. And then pour giblet gravy all over it because, also, WHO DOESN”T HAVE GRAVY ON THANKSGIVING? Me, that is who.
It was the pathetic, pieless , gravyless Thanksgiving of 2014. Bill said “At least no one ate poop or the couch for you”.
The first week of November had me on a plane flying to Sayulita Mexico. I was meeting a friend there to celebrate our 50th birthday year together.
I rarely travel (but plan on doing it more often) so I am not used to all the hustle and bustle of getting to and from airports, hauling luggage and dealing with the crowds. When I went to Costa Rica a couple years ago, I traveled with Mia and some good friends.
This time I was solo.
I stayed the night before my flight at a hotel near the airport and ate dinner in style.
There is nothing like hauling a surfboard around with you at 3 am so you can make your 6am flight.
I highly recommend US Airways. They did not charge me for my board on either leg of this trip. Hoooyah!!! That is huge, as it would have been $400 for the board on another airline. Seriously, how some airlines can justify those charges is beyond me. While we are on the subject of $$ for travel lets go down a rabbit hole: what makes them charge less for a layover flight than a straight non-stop flight? I mean, the added costs of unloading a plane full of luggage and transferring it to another plane plus the fuel costs can’t be cheaper than a one shot flight. It makes no sense at all other than to make it a hassle for their customers. I miss the old days of air travel for sure.
My friends and I met up at the airport in PV, and took a shuttle to the grocery store and loaded up on way too much food. Everything looked amazing. Look at these pastries!
America needs more bread and baked goods to display like this instead of all the behind glass sanitary paranoia. Just sayin’.
The house we stayed in was absolutely perfect. Lots of river rock, stucco and open spaces.
The bedrooms had A/C and the rest of the house opened up to the patio and pool. It was amazing.
We got there early enough to hit the beach the fist day. There were some small waves so I was really glad I brought my board. I actually had considered renting there, but in hindsight was super happy I did not. The shops that were there had a limited selection of short boards and they were pretty beat up. Now, if we go back I would totally consider renting a long board there, but will for sure bring my own short board with me.
The town itself is amazing. It is a very laid back surf community and I loved the hippie vibe. Yes, there are lots of tourists but it seems like they are mostly there for the surf, so my kind of folks for sure. The break can get very crowded and the waves are pretty much focused on a very small area. This can make for lots of snaking and dropping in. The first day I was very reserved and only caught 2 waves. The second day one of the locals told me to get aggressive and scratch into whatever I could, so I did from there on out and had a blast.
The waves while I was there were around waist with occasional chest high sets. It breaks on cobblestone and at low tide they can be a foot or so below the surface.
Covering these rocks are sea urchins. At one point a guy paddled over and asked me to pull some spines out of his hand. Yeow! Basically, don’t fall. I made a special effort not to but still ended up with a knee full of painful spines while kicking up onto my board after a dip to cool off.
I asked one guy how to get them out and he told me to wait until they got infected, and then they would come out with the puss.
I spent a good hour back at the house digging them out with a needle while drinking red wine. And yes, it hurt to get them out, but the waves were worth it.
The town is located at the foot of some hills, so there is lots of exercise to be had going up and down “Gringo Hill”…
…and the streets are cobblestone. I just loved how they had a pattern and were all hand laid. I can just imagine the workers taking the time to make them look like this.
Every now and then we would come across a heart, obviously placed with care to be seen by those walking the town.
We stayed for 6 days, enjoying the beach, surfing, eating awesome food and walking about shopping at the many artsy and eclectic shops there.
All the different, fresh salsas.
This was the stairway to the bathroom at a taco spot. Simply awesome.
Some Halloween decorations still up.
I absolutely loved the street dogs. Most had collars and were obviously pets….folks just open their doors and the dogs go roam the town like little tourists.
I loved this guy who appeared to be guarding Hotel Hafa. He was like a Royal Guard and would not look at us or move from his post. Loyalty.? Or just a dry spot on a rainy day?
All the colors!
One of my favorite shops there was a place called Pacha Mama.
The artist that owns it makes these beautiful leather and Tahitian black pearl necklaces. Surfers all over the town wear them. Historically, surfers brought them back to Hawaii from Tahiti: a single black pearl on a leather cord. At Pacha Mama they had those (which is what I got), but also some beautifully unique necklaces such as the one my friend got.
“Live what you love” is now her motto for her 50th year on earth.
You can read about the Mignot sisters here. While shopping there we met Nathalie, one of the sisters and owners of Pacha Mama. She was a joy to talk with and when I asked her where she lived, she said “Come here. Let me show you” and took me outside and through a door up to her home looking over the entire beach in Sayulita. All I can say is, WOW! It was amazing. Very simple, Bohemian and peaceful. Hammocks hanging from the ceiling, multi-stories of open air living areas and the most beautiful views imaginable. What a gracious soul for opening her private home for me to see. The shop and a few pics of the house are here. The image of the stucco balcony overlooking the water? I stood there and the view took my breath away. A great memory.
Feliz Navidad Coca Cola.
This thing was huge. Must have weighed 5 lbs.
Crepes that were so incredible.
Yes, the surf board went everywhere with us. It was a steep, longish walk up Gringo Hill to our house, so to avoid going back and forth I pretty much brought it down and it traveled the streets with me after being put to proper use in the water. Here she is holding up a wall in one of the finer restaurants.
And joining us for a beer at a taco stand. 🙂
I will for sure go back to Sayulita, and I want to bring my family. I can’t wait to share this sunset with them.
My friend who was there with me speaks fluent spanish and she said that in Sayulita instead of greeting with “Good morning”, “good night” or “good day” everyone was saying “Bueno onda” which means “Good wave”. My single black pearl will always remind me of this. Good wave. Good life.
I have no fear of turning 50, although recently I have aches and pains I never had and I seem to be slowing down…which is inhibiting my ability to go 90mph in everything I do. (Which quite frankly is pissing me off). This morning I had some issues after a very hard day of surfing. I went to the clinic and after Bill checked me out he assured me it was just more of the overuse stuff I have continued to have from time to time since 2011. “This is really PISSING me off” I told him through tears. His exact words were “You just can’t push as hard as you used to. Stop over doing it.” Switching gears will be hard for me. I really don’t know how to sit back and enjoy the scenery as much as I should. For my body’s sake it is time to learn how to do that a bit more often.
Through my life, a wave has traveled. It started as a ripple in 1965 and year after year it rises and falls with the rotating moon and sun. Sometimes it is huge, harsh and slamming. It pounds me when I fall, thrills me and makes my body ache. I have enjoyed that ride immensely. Other times it is a small, gently rolling swell that carries me along on an endless left…a goofy footers dream. I have been so fortunate with what the wind and tide have brought me so far in life. Every year it is different and there is honestly no way to predict what will come rolling in.
I have learned to paddle hard and not fear the drop as it makes its way through my life.
There was a time between October 2009 and July of 2012 where I rarely wrote here, if any.
Most months were a single post with a picture, and not much else. Let’s call them “The Missing Years” of And Baby Makes 6.
You know how you feel sometimes when something really great happens, and you just don’t want to talk about it because you want to savor it? Right. That feeling.
Our life changed dramatically when we moved to the coast.
New home, new job, new schools, new life. It was such a magical time of exploring and every day was priceless.
Our first Christmas here was in 2007. It was was so precious, I wanted to bottle it up and keep it on a shelf so that anytime I was feeling down I could open it up and feel all the magic and love that was there during that enchanting time.
I didn’t want to share it with anyone.
I traveled home during that season to spend some time with my family and never posted a word about it.
I think that is one of the things about reading a blog that can be so intriguing….that space in between posts that leave so many questions.
OMG, her face in this pic. I want to eat her up.
There were a lot of spaces in between in our life online….especially in regards to Christmas.
Our Christmases were never blogged about much.
Like the year my mother and I handmade blankets for each of the boys.
They still have those blankets and sleep with them. In fact, Cory took his away to college with him.
Yoda was a treasured gift. We still have him too after all these years.
So many cookies decorated and baked….
And left for Santa…
Special gifts that will always be remembered.
Many St. Nicholas days gone by.
There were many Feasts of the 7 fishes engrained in our memories that I never shared.
And Christmas days hidden from view of all others.
This blog was, for me, a place to write down all of the things I knew one day would be enveloped in a misty haze.
Scrolling through the years here is like a cold front that comes in and whisks that fog away, revealing the memories clearly.
As we approach this Christmas season I plan on sharing more than I did in the past. Mainly because when I look back at all the things I did not document here for my kids, I sort of regret the missing years.
And honestly, I don’t have patience for regrets.
“Regrets are the natural property of grey hairs” ~ Charles Dickens.
Halloween is over. Yesterday I boxed up all of our decorations, and we said our goodbyes to Mr. Skeleton for another year. I just love the month of October and all the fun it brings. Sad to say goodbye to this one.
Yet again, it went by too fast and we didn’t do all the things we had hoped. Many spooky movies were not watch, but I have to focus on what we did do, and that was loads of fun.
Bill was able to be home early since it fell on a Friday, so he got to carve the pumpkin with the littles.
Ewww… pumpkin guts.
She got her hand in the mess too.
This year the pumpkin took on a happy face. Seriously cute.
I made some cookies and black bean chili while they were carving the pumpkin.
Bill and Quinn gave out candy with the help of that skinny dude.
Mia and her friend were witches. Seriously adorable witches. They got themselves ready and did their own makeup, complete with witchy moles.
They also decorated their brooms.
Spooky bats hung from the trees…
A silly ghost blew in the wind…
and pumpkin lights hid in the bushes.
A perfectly spooky evening and fun for everyone.
(my photographer for the evening got in a selfie)
From our house to yours, we hope you had a fun, spooky and awesome Halloween.
Spooktacular week is here, and we kicked it off with Mr. Skeleton picking the kids up from school. Love that dude. Here he is last year…I forgot to take a pic yesterday.
We will be cooking fun Halloween themed dinners and treats all week…..last night was Jack-O-Lantern stuffed peppers. They were really good and pretty easy. I baked mine for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, and Bill wants me to add rice to them next time, so I may try that. Make them for the kids!!
Our spooky treat was this Halloween puzzle cookie. Very fun to make and tasted great. I doubled the dough and flour to make a larger cookie.
And we will be watching fun, spooky flicks before bed. Hotel Transylvania was the movie of choice for last night.
I was reading some blogs yesterday via the Pinterest rabbit hole, and the recurring them with moms was “I love Halloween! What am I going to do when all my kids have grown and moved out?” Me? I will still be doing all of this. Bill and I get a kick out of it too. Hopefully one day we will some grand babies to share our spooky fun with.
Happy Halloween week!! Get on it and have some fun with your kids! They won’t stay little forever!
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I have been a bit nostalgic for days when all of my kids were little.
Time blows by so fast, sometimes I think I missed some of those moments that you can only appreciate in hindsight. I wish I had spent more time savoring the seemingly insignificant stuff: diaper changes, tupperware all over the floor and a toddler sitting in the big drawer said tupperware was housed in, night feedings, car seats, the smell of a newborns head or just the simple but awesome blessing of a babies arms wrapped around your neck.
I was talking to my friend Chris (You remember Notes From The Trenches? I know, I miss her blog too. I am lucky to have a forever friend thanks to that blog) a few months back and she said something I was nodding my head furiously about….”Sometimes I feel like I wished it away!”. Perfectly put, because how many times have you found yourself looking forward, instead of living the moment.
I am notorious for this. I am a dreamer by default. It is a good thing and can be an annoying thing, depending on the day. I day dream out loud to Bill non-stop and at times it overwhelms him because he is decidedly not a big dreamer. He is a here-and-now kinda guy and the chaos of my mind spewing forth over coffee makes his head spin. Why? Because I am always shaking things up and bringing in some new thing that we need to do. Remember the 34 foot 5th wheel that ended up in our driveway and lives? Right! He kind of likes the status quo and can be heard saying things like “Oh my God, no we are not going to Chile and Peru. How about Port A, Walter Mitty?”.
With growing kids I am really feeling the pull to slow things down and smell the roses so to speak, so my mind starts to wander to grand adventures with just my little family. In spite of this website, we are a very private family and we like our time alone together. It can be hard with friends, commitments and just day to day living for me to get that alone time that is so important. Just us.
I feel almost a melancholy panic that my kids are leaving the nest at an alarming rate, and I want to do something to enjoy the last few years before they break out on their own. In comes my scheming and day dreaming.
I frequently tell Bill “It’s now or never.” and he responds “Jody, we did that. It was awesome and now we are doing something different. Every day.” Or I will say “I want us to be extraordinary, not ordinary”, and he shakes his head and says “We are. Go look back at your pictures”. And I do, which makes me oh so very nostalgic. Full circle.
I have to learn to see that each day is Now or Never. We tend to live that way even though I often seem to forget. We have always been a curiosity because we tend to live the moment more than most. In general, we are a Hail Mary family in a world full of obligations and people who Do Not, absolutely Do Not, live for the moment. Remember, there are Things That Need To Be Done!! It can be one conflict after another, and even the most simple decisions can be made into hand wringing worryfests. I think it is the mindset of the world to be too busy. It rubbed off on me for a season. My anxiety level and frustration got to me like it has never before. I can’t buy into it and I won’t ever again.
My kids are now 20, 17, 14 and 10. No more single digits. It is a whole new phase of our lives and as much as I long for the days when they were small, I am learning that this new season of our lives is also precious and must not be “wished away” or missed by being stuck in the past….a beautiful past full of tiny hands, butterfly kisses and the stuff that magical memories are made of. A season of life.
Where we are right now in our lives is another precious season, and as much as looking back is fun and can make you feel very wistful and misty eyed, you just can’t get stuck in that mindset. Nor can you fall into the trap of being average and not thinking big…..it’s all about being somewhere in between. You know what I mean?
We may not head to Peru tomorrow, but I am still scheming and driving Bill nuts. That 5th wheel sits unused and honestly, I think we need to remedy that pronto. Don’t you?
I started this blog 10 years ago in May of 2004. I have shared my life not only for the fun of it, but as a diary of such for my kids to have one day. Each post was just a snippet of our day to day life…a glimpse so to speak. The photos I posted were a very small bit of the thousands I have, many of which I kept to myself to treasure. In the coming weeks and months, I will post some of those that you haven’t seen to celebrate 10 years in the life of our family. I hope you enjoy them and can see a deeper glimpse into these people I love so much.
Surfboards in the car at pickup can only mean one thing….surfs up.
That means homework gets done in the car on the way to the beach.
And we surf until dark.
At one point, the sun was setting over the island, the moon had risen over our heads, and the sky turned pink and red, casting those hues on the surface of the water. Paddling over the glassy pink surface of it was surreal. As it got dark, the girls told each other shark stories in between sets, taking turns catching waves. I wish I had had my Gopro to film them. Next time.
As it got darker and the sky glowed an even more insane color of red and pink, Mia and I took off at the same time together on a wave. I peeled off right, and she took off left. I turned my head and watched her tiny body glide across the pink hued surface of the water on a wave that was over her head, and I thought “this is a moment I won’t ever forget”.
Just a little moment in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
Surf popped up for us here for a solid week of good waves. I took full advantage of it and surfed every day, sometimes twice a day. Surf tired was in full effect by Wednesday and by Friday I came down with a virus, which put on end to my wave obsession.
Mia also got in some great sessions. We went after school each day except Tuesday and Friday and she is also surf tired.
Her surfing has progressed nicely over the summer. She is making turns and really ripping up the waves.
She has also nailed the “duck dive” which is a huge thing for such a little girl.
Here you see her pushing under the waves:
And here you see her punching through to the other side. Good job Mia!
It really is a game changer. Now she can duck dive through the big shore break when the waves are pounding and make it to the outside. Huge step, and we owe it to her coach and lots of hard work on her part.
Here are some pics from last Wednesday of her surfing.
She is taking off and turning into the wave in what we call “backside”. It is a hard way to surf…sort of like writing with your left hand if you are right handed. I think she did a great job.
We had our little Fall celebration yesterday and broke out all the Halloween decorations. We usually do this on the last day of September, but Tuesday night is game night, and that makes for a late evening so we postponed it. It worked out great because the kids had a half day of school and could help decorate.
Hello Mr. Skeleton and company! You will see more of this dude in the coming days.
The dogs were not too impressed. Eeyore says “(insert Eeyore flat affect inflection) What’s this on my baaack? New dogs and now thiiis. I might as well crawl under the bed and never come oooout.”
This is Skyes “WTF” face. She also does this when her 4 month old puppy tries to nurse or we lock her out of the bathroom so she can’t eat toilet paper off the roll.
Kona was afraid of Mr. Skeleton, but I am sure that in the coming days we will have to watch to make sure they don’t start making him their newest chew toy.
We made some fun pizzas again.
The owl was adorable.
The ghost not so much. I might have made Skyes “WTF” face when it came out of the oven. If you look at it long enough you can see a skull head or possible a microcephalic cartoon character? The mouth was an epic fail. There is not much ghostness there but it tasted good.
We had Spider Venon (AKA cherry cokes).
And made some fun ghost cupcakes. Super easy. They are white cake with almond buttercream. We used chocolate morsels for the fall trees and they melted quickly after removing from the fridge. I put them on and made everyone come over really quickly to see them before they collapsed. Picture the Grand Canyon scene in National Lampoons Vacation and that be us. Just make the trees out of chocolate melting disks so this doesn’t happen to you.
One more…because you can never have too many cupcakes or pictures of them.
For a spooky movie we watched the awesome “Ghost and Mr. Chicken” with Don Knotts. A few years ago our movie was “Halloween Town”, then for a couple years it was “The Corpse Bride”. This year the kids voted those out due to the fact we have a 17yo and 14yo who are not much into cartoons. Le sigh. Mia is my only little one these days and I am thankful for her joy and excitement for these fun little celebrations. If you have little children, don’t wish these days away for easier times. They will be grown soon enough. Proof below….check out my man-child Cody.
Kona missed most of the movie. She was too busy sleeping in the most uncomfortable position I can imagine. This is her “spot”and choking on the office chair leg doesn’t wake her at all, but the snores it causes are hilarious.
Skye is a couch dog. I have tried everything to keep her off it and have finally given up. She just wants to be near us and that is all good for a dog that was treated badly in her past life.
Frankenpoopy joined us when she woke from her nap. Yes, she is a couch dog too. Thank goodness for bonded leather.