Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Come and Gone

Wasn't it just 2008? I blinked my eyes for just one second and here we are in 2009! This year has been full of accomplishments, growth, life lessons, changes, and lots of love! I've learned above all things that sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone is just what we need. How are you going to grow if you never take a step forward? This year I took a lot of steps forward as my friends and I hiked Half Dome. I felt pushed to the limit with life circumstances that my friends were (and are) going through. Cancer has been my driving force this year, since I know many people who have been diagnosed this year. It has caused me to love outside of myself and look beyond the superficial. I never thought that giving of myself would feel so good. I've learned that I'm not in control, even when I feel like I am. I've learned to lean on God more then ever this year. Don't get me wrong.....to grow....you've gotta feel some growing pains.....but looking back it was all worth it. 2008 has come and gone and I'm looking forward to 2009!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Slow Down

You all know the routine! October hits and the Christmas stuff is already out at Costco! The race has begun and there is no stopping until New Years day. I always say that I'm not going to get caught up in it all... but somehow it slowly creeps into my life. There has been many functions this last month and I have had the mentality of not thinking ahead. One day at a time (and I feel like busting out in the one day at at a time theme song from the 1970's sitcom). Anyways, (see how easily I get sidetracked)..... I've been trying not to feel how tired I actually am. When the exhaustion sets in, I grab another cup of denial and a mug of coffee. Well...it has finally hit. Let me just say, that if you don't take care of yourself, your body will eventually break down. God decides to throw you down like a Sumu wrestler. He will arm wrestle you down! So, if you haven't guessed...I'm sick. And I hate being sick because the world doesn't stop. But I am blessed that I have 3 days off this week...to just slow down. Just one more day of work....just one day at a time!

Monday, December 15, 2008

MRI

Gianna has had headaches for about 8 months now. I've taken her to the doctors on several occasions and they seem to think that they are just classic migraines. But the doctor wanted to just make sure, so today she had an MRI. She did really well, except for that fact that she was starving when she woke up from the sedation. When we first made the appoinment, the doctor wanted to know if she could stay still for 30 minutes. HMMMMM!? Does it take a rocket scientist to figure out if a 5 year old can sit still? Let me answer that. NO! She can't sit still for more than 30 seconds. Anyways...when she woke up she was starving and I swear she drank her 7 Up in about 3 seconds and downed the saltine crackers, like she was starving from a third world country. Daughter like Mother. Also, while we were being wheeled in a wheelchair to the recovery room, my friend Nina was being wheeled in the same hallway. She is getting her lumpectomy today. We both stopped in the hallway and held each other's hand. Meant to be!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh No ......He Di'int


"Hey, Hon? I'm going to the store to by shaving cream....do you need anything?" Wow, what a nice gesture....thinking beyond his own needs. We really are going somewhere in this relationship...or so I thought. "Yes, please. I need some hairspray," I replied with a little sexiness in my voice. If he gives to me...I'll give to him. I get the kids ready for bed, while he goes to the store to get the needed items. He comes back home, excited that he got my hairspray on sale. " I can't believe it was on sale," he says joyously. "WELL! HELLO!" I yell as he pulls out the propane size container of Aqua Net! "This crap is always on sale!" Are you trying to kill me? Have you ever smelled this crap! I didn't even know they still sold this stuff.....isn't it illegal? What year are we in? 1980? Never trust a man to buy you hairspray!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Did You Miss Me?

Well... Hello blog. Did you miss me? I just blinked my eyes and here we are in December. My life is still back in June and can't seem to catch up. Oh well... if I live to see tomorrow all the things I have to do will still be there. Lots going on. Brandon is practicing for his first music concert. He plays the recorder and will be playing Hot Cross Buns and Gently Sleep. I can't gently sleep because I have been hearing him practice for the last couple of weeks. Isn't it funny how we want our children to be well rounded and to learn an instrument? And then they get it home and your thinking......why? Why do I put myself through such torture! Maybe in 20 years, when he is in a rock bank, I'll appreciate it. Gianna is practicing for The Nutcracker. And of course, she is A Flower. Any music that comes on, she does her flower routine. Very Cute. And like there isn't enough to do.....I'm in the church play this Sunday. I hate getting up in front of people. I know! I can hear you through these pages saying. "What? Rochelle, doesn't like to get up in front of people?" Well, no I don't. I'm afraid I'll forget my lines. I can get up and get crazy in small groups. But always seem to be a nervous wreck when it isn't impromptu. Oh well, if I want to get famous, I guess I have to start somewhere.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

GIVING THANKS

I'm thankful for:
Waking up every morning with a roof over my head and the smell of coffee that my husband makes for me every morning. Cuddling my children in their beds and the smell of their freshly washed hair and jammies. For my job that provides me money to live. For all the ladies that I work with - they are more than just co-workers, but friends. For my health. My husband and children. I'm thankful for my friends and the little blessings that they give to me on a daily basis. I'm thankful for the gift of humor - for without it I don't think I would have made it this far. For Starbucks and Subway, my two favorite places. For SPANX, which hold in the fat rolls when you want to "appear" thin. I'm thankful for fuzzy socks that keep my feet warm at night. The way my kids whisper mommy. The way my friends hug me tight, even though I just was with them yesterday. The way my husband kisses me in the morning when I'm pretending to sleep. I'm thankful for God, who has never failed me and never has let go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE











It all started with a simple trip to Walmart. I found this silly 70's costume and wanted to put it to use. But how? My question was answered as I was blasting my radio in the car. I WILL SURVIVE came blaring out of my speakers. "Lets do a spoof video for our friend Shannan to this song!" To say the least, I was totally excited. I told some other girls and they looked at me like I was nuts! Okay.....I am nuts, but that is beside the point. It took a lot of convincing, a couple shots of tequila, and a few glasses of wine to get these girls to step out of their comfort zone. And We Did IT. I just wished someone would have told me that my butt looked like the entire Home and Garden Center at Home Depot in those flowered pants. Who says the camera adds 10lbs? But the amazing thing is that all of these ladies pushed themselves out of their comfort level, all in the name of love for a friend. I got an email earlier today from my friend Cheryl who thanked me for making her do something that she would not have normally done. And it is always so much more fun to do new things with a group of friends! And THEY SURVIVED! Who knows? We may be the next GIRL BAND!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

KALEIDOSCOPE

Loose bits of color surround us in life. Joy. Happiness. Laughter. Then there are the little pieces of unwanted plastic. Sorrow. Illness. Pain. Whether bits of plastic or colorful glass in our lives, it reflects who are. It may seem chaotic in the moment as our days turn and no clear picture can be viewed. Our lives our constantly changing. But then we see it. The Beauty. All of it comes together. And its God's hands who turn our kaleidoscope. Last night was such a blessing. The kids and I went to visit Shannan. She will be leaving on Monday for Stanford to begin her long journey - radiation, chemotherapy, and bone marrow transplant. As I sat and talked to her, I was overwhelmed with how beautiful she was. You can't help but love her, even though she makes you sick with how good she looks at 97lbs and a bandana on her head. If I wore a bandana on my bald head, I'd look like Mr. Clean. But her spirit is beyond any words that I can place on this blank page. With everything going on in her life, she is still amazing. Trusting that the One who holds her life in His hands, will turn this into something beautiful.

Monday, November 17, 2008

PMS

P M S! If anyone says its not real.....look me in the face right now and you can see the PMS rage fuming from my eyes. On second thought...you better not ask because you may not want to suffer my wrath (I do have a sharp object within hands grasp). I don't even like myself at this time of month. And it takes me a week before I realize why I hate life so much. I should have realized it when I ate a whole (deluxe movie size) box of Milk Duds in two seconds flat! Oh Yeah! Duh? My period is coming. I hate everything and everyone around me. I can't explain it. I feel like I'm being swallowed up by a silent force. Things that normally don't bother me can quickly get under my skin. I can see it happening around me, but can't stop it. It's as if I'm watching my life from a movie screen. Or when you see something bad happening and you can't get the words out to stop it. And then its too late. Your snippy, crazy, hate life attitude, has already reared its ugly head. Words have been said that shouldn't have. I swear sometimes my husband must really love me because he just hangs in there! The period starts and Boom! I feel better. So for those of you who don't believe in PMS---come to my house around the 10th of each month--you will change your mind!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HEART STRINGS


Parenting. Mistakes. Exhaustion. Forgiveness. Just breath, I tell myself on a moment by moment basis. I swear Lamaze was not for the birthing process, but for the hard parenting moments in life. Breath in. Breath out. But in the end, there is a blessing that you can hold on to. I never knew parenting could be so difficult. I thought I had it all figured out, since I was such a great babysitter when I was younger. It is so much different when the children are your own. Brandon and I are two peas in a pod. We both wear our hearts on our sleeves. Saturday night, we had some battles. Did I also mention that Brandon is so much like me when it comes to his hard head? Well, he decided that he wanted to move out on Saturday night. It was about 9:00pm and it was storming out. I told him go ahead, but he couldn't bring anything with him, since it was all mine. No pillows. No blankets. No food. He second guessed himself and I still have an eight year old living under my roof. We ended up having a good discussion after that. I told him that being sorry is changing your behavior. I think he understood, since I got his heart wrenching letter, that was placed so gently on my pillow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

COMMUNITY


Everyone wants to be a part of something. That is the way our human minds and hearts were created - to have a sense of belonging. What good would life be if you lived it alone? I am blessed to live in my community. I have always said, "If something goes wrong, I know I will have meals for years!" Last night, was my friend Shannan's fund raiser. I believe over 400 tickets were sold and people actually had to be turned away at the door. Even though they were turned away, they still donated money. Pints upon pints of blood were also donated in honor of Shannan. Men jumped in and moved tables and carried heavy filled ice chests. Women sliced bread, stirred spaghetti sauce, sold t-shirts. Children ran around like "little gophers" retrieving what ever was needed. It all came together for one purpose. For Shannan. It always amazes me how just one life can effect the lives of others. And sitting in that room last night, I felt the love of so many people. Shannan always says ,"Live and Love like there is no tomorrow. Make this day the best day of your life." Leukemia was not the deciding factor of how Shannan lives - she lived that way before she was diagnosed. And the community is better off for having her in our lives.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halla Ween


Happy Halloween Everybody! Peace Out!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

HELD

As I sit and write this, the blank page feels like a mountain to climb. I can't even find the right words to even say. I truly feel like I'm in a little fog. So here we go again! My friend Nina was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday! WHAT IS GOING ON? Two friends in two months? I'm just struck with heavy emotions. Here's the deal though! I know she'll get through this. Nina is strong, funny, and loved by many. She will be held by those around her and carried by God, who is always there in joy and sorrow. That is a promise that Nina and those around her can hang on to - TO BE HELD. When our arms are just not big enough, God wraps himself around our hearts. And He gives us friends around us, that can uplift us when we are discouraged. I am remembering back a few weeks ago when Shannan was diagnosed with Leukemia and I received an email from Nina. Nina has already answered life's question.....What is our purpose? To love. She said that she just wanted to go home and hug her children tighter. And I'm sure she did that last night. I love you Nina Bonita!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LAUGHTER IS NOT SILENT ON DEAF EARS

There were a lot of parents that attended the overnight field trip to Pepperwood Preserve last week. There are 20 kids in Brandon's class and about 18 parents toughed it out! That is itself is amazing. But one mom intrigued me. She is deaf. My heart went out to her because I could see that this was not a comfortable situation for her. She sat in corner and just "people watched." I got my nerve up and went over to her. I introduced myself and very awkwardly played word charades with her. It was cool because she was so good at reading lips. So, off we went on a beautiful hike. The ranger stopped us and told us to look up at some birds that were nesting in a tree. I put my hand on Lynn's shoulder and told her to stop. She shrugged her shoulders and mouthed the words "What?" I enclosed my fingers in little circles, put them over my eyes like glasses and said, "LOOK" I bent my elbows to my sides and flapped my wings like a bird and said, "Bird". She started cracking up, which made me laugh. And she said in her deaf voice, "That is not the sign for Bird! You just told me we were looking at a chicken!" Who said I couldn't make deaf people laugh?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quick Updates on Many Blessings

I feel like my life has been stuck on the fast forward button! I haven't had a chance to sit back and just be thankful. First of all - my friend Shannan's test results came back on Thursday. The second chemo worked and they see no cancer in her bones. So now she needs to build her white blood cells up, eat and gain weight, to get transferred to Stanford. Once she gets there she will have more treatments and then a bone marrow transplant. Her sister was a perfect match! Can I hear an AMEN?!! That is something to be truly thankful for! Next - I went on an overnight field trip with Brandon on Thursday to Pepperword Preserve. It was so nice to have one on one time. I really took advantage of just spending those moments with him. His eyes are so open to the little things in nature - he made me appreciate those things that I take for granted. Saturday, was Gianna's last soccer game, that she really didn't want to go to. And then the game clicked for her. Midfield she kicked the ball, followed through, and scored her very first goal. I didn't know whether to just watch or click the camera. But life is so different from behind a lens. I let the camera down and just relished in her first soccer goal! Yesterday, we did pumpkin carving, a hay ride and cookie decorating at my mother in laws. All in all, a good week. Do you know why they call it Fall? Because your sooo busy - you are going to fall down in exhaustion! But Blessed!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not Just an Ordinary "Graham" Cracker


I knew early on that this boy did not come from an ordinary mold. Any teenage boy that can put up with preteen girls is pretty special. I remember spending the night at my friend Tasha's house and her brother Graham graciously getting through the night. But then when the breakfast came out - WATCH OUT- he would pick on the skinny girls, like Vicki. She'd barely put a bite of pancake in her mouth and he would say, "Are you going to finish that?" I'm sure Vicki wanted to stab him with her fork. And then in a blink of an eye, 20 years flew by, and he is married to one of my best friends. My heart has grown fonder of this man, day by day. The little things that I see him do for so many people (including for me) is always done with a pure heart. He even made his wife VEGAN Brownies! What a guy! A couple of weeks ago he was outside with Gianna hula hooping. I wish I had a picture of that because it was the sweetest thing. He is such a gentle giant. Happy Birthday Graham! You are no ordinary cracker!

Friday, October 17, 2008

BOO HOO! ONLY ONE SHOE!

Don't you hate when your routine is a little out of whack? You just can't shake the feeling that something will go wrong because just one thing is off? Welp! That was me yesterday. I cleaned out my car in the morning, threw the kids in their seats, and we were off to school. It was my first field trip that I was going to go on with Gianna to the Pumpkin Patch. When we arrived at school I loaded them out, only to realize that Gianna had only one shoe! One freakin shoe! I swear I started to sweat. I started stalking mothers as they drove into the parking lot, not even waiting for them to get out of the car. By the way, I don't know any of these people. It was called DESPERATION! "Excuse me! You don't know me, but do you have any spare shoes in your car?" Its not like I live around the corner and can just go home to get her shoes. I live 40 miles from the damn school. The whole time, as I'm holding a 54lb child on my hip with a loaded backpack, Gianna is whining in my ear...."Mommy I don't want to wear boys shoes! If someone gives me boy shoes, I won't wear them. I will just wear my one shoe and one sock!" Okay, like that will work. Thankfully, I ended up with three pairs of shoes in 15 minutes and yes...they were all pink!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tasha Bo Basha!




Picture it.... 3rd grade. A little blond girl, purple shirt, with homemade braided plastic barrettes in her hair, quite as mouse, ,wouldn't hurt a fly, and sweet spirited. Now picture this... dark brown haired girl, tousled hair like a rats nest, ragged jeans, loud, tomboy (some would even say a bully) and funny. Some would say that this friendship would never work! You may even go as far as to say, that the quiet one never had a choice, cuz the loud one just demanded that they be friends. But obviously it worked because it has been 25 years of true friendship. I love Tasha's quiet spirit and it is something that I truly value for many reasons. One is...when she talks, I really listen. Two...when she is funny, she is really funny. Three...what she says always has importance. Four... I don't have a quietness about me and I appreciate it. There is a pureness about it - that one can lead there life by example, not by their words that are spoken. That is my friend Tasha. The last couple of years, our friendship has flourished. We have climbed Half Dome together, laughed and cried at Women of Faith, and screamed together on California Screamin! We have had a blast. And I look forward to many more fun times! Happy Birthday Tasha. You are the best!

Monday, October 13, 2008

LETS GET TOGETHER! FOR A FRIEND


My friend Shannan Wirt has been diagnosed with AML Luekemia. She has been through quite a journey for the past several years, beginning with her son who was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. Then two years ago her husband was treated for Lymphoma. And then this August, thinking she had strep throat and Mono, she went to the doctor. And we all wished that is was the strep and Mono, but it was an unexpected diagnosis - Leukemia. Have you ever felt hit in the stomach and you can't catch your breathe? Well, all of Cloverdale lost their breathe that day. She is the most positive person I know and is using her story for good. How can all this happen to one family? She is rallying for someone to step in and admit that it is in our environment and we need to do something about it! Please visit her journal at http://www.caringbridge.org/ and type her name shannanwirt under "enter website name. Please forward her journal to anyone you know because you never know who's hands it will get into. We all need to rally together to help our friend and our community! And pray, pray, pray!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

FREEDOM OF FRIENDSHIP


A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself-and especially to feel, or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at any moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what she really is. And that is why it is so easy to love my friend Tina. It's her birthday today and I wish her many more years of happiness to come. Our friendship is "A God Thing", as Tina would say. She has been passing through my life ever since we were teenagers. And then at the toughest moments in our lives, God brought us together. And it has been a wonderful journey ever since. We've laughed, cried, shared our deepest thoughts, and even shared the "ugly parts" about ourselves. Speaking of ugly parts - we've even showed one another the cellulite on our legs - now that is true freedom and letting go. I truly am blessed with her friendship. Its funny because a lot of people think she is so quite and reserved. And I see the exact opposite. I see a silly, laugh to your stomach aches, kind of girl. Her heart is bigger than anyone I know. She makes me want to be a better person in so many aspects of my life because of the way she lives her own life. Happy Birthday Tina! I know that we will grow old together, but our friendship will always feel new! You are so easily loved by me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Good Ol" Halloween

I'm usually on top of the Halloween decorations. I love this season. The ever changing colors, changes in weather, and the smells of the fresh ground. Time passed by quickly and all of a sudden, the first week of October was gone. The kids reminded me that we hadn't put our decorations up yet. I dusted off the cobwebbed Rubbermaid's in the garage and spent 3 hours decorating the inside of the house. I am "a little" anal retentive when it comes to decorating. After the kids went to bed, I placed the pumpkins and ghouls in "just the right spot". You should have seen where they placed things. Gianna had 15 different candle holders on a 12 inch table. And Brandon tried to scotch tape a skeleton costume to the fireplace mantel. UMMM...doesn't work. Scary that I can't just let some of that stuff go. The other scary thing? Costume discussions. On our 40 minute ride to school this morning, Brandon wanted to be about 40 different things... army guy, policeman, rock star, mad scientist, skater, surf boarder, Scream(which is way out of the question), a snickers bar, a zombie prisoner, a motorcycle rider.... and on and on. Gianna? Simple (for once thank God) - a cheerleader! I remember my favorite costume as a little girl (my Aunt Cindy made it for me) - I was a bag of Jelly Beans. That was when Halloween wasn't soooo commercial. What happened to the good ol' days of Halloween? What was your favorite costume when you were little?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Rhyme All the Time

"Mommy, I know how to rhyme now! Hat, Cat, Pat, Mat, Sat." "That is soooo great honey." I crept closer to her face. "What rhymes with miss" I said as I puckered up my lips. "PISS!" she shouted.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

STORIES

What's your story? Everyone has one. Where your born. Where you grew up. Where you've been. And where your are today. I was almost to work when I saw the most beautiful thing. Thank you God for that precious moment. A homeless man was sitting on the curb with his garbage bag full of cans, held tightly over his shoulder. His only possession. Another homeless man quickly hobbles down the street toward the man on the curb and they embrace. They held that embrace, not afraid to hold on. I kept driving as my heart smiled. And then before I knew it, my minivan turns around like Knight Rider and I'm heading back toward the two men. I stop Knight Rider in front of the man with his one possession and blurt out, "Excuse me, but can I buy you breakfast?" Whoa, poltergeist! Who just entered my body to speak for me? He comes up to my car and says, "No, thank you. I have a food card." "Are you sure? I really would love to do it. I just saw you hug your friend and it made me smile." He still declined and I sat talking to this man for a good five minutes, as cars buzzed around our conversation. What's his story? Maybe it was his life today that made me look at my own this morning. No matter what our story is, or walk of life, we can love and be loved. I simply can say, I am in awe and wish all of you could have seen that one embrace between those two men. It certainly would have changed your heart this morning.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Friend Madelyn!

Happy Birthday to you, Madelyn! I could never pinpoint when we actually became friends. We passed each other so often in life and just never made that connection. Until we finally were forced to become friends since our husbands were best friends. And how long did it take us to say we were good friends, besides always explaining that our husbands were friends? I think we do more together then they do. And what do I love about you? You are real! I never have to guess what you are feeling or thinking. You say what needs to be said in a diplomatic way. I also love the fact that when we haven't talked for weeks, I can pick up the phone, and we are right where we left off. You let people be who they are without judging them. I love you for that. And the kids.....oh the kids! You crack me up when it comes to motherhood. You even tell your kids how its going to be! So...Happy Birthday to MY friend Madelyn, who I wished lived closer!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Humor in the Unexpected

Yesterday, was a challenging day. The school called and said that Gianna had thrown up. I was right in the middle of an important call and had a client waiting in the lobby. Being a mom and working at the same time is quite a challenge and gives a whole new meaning to multi-tasking. I went into overdrive, dealt with the moment, and flew to the school like Wonder Woman. I still had stuff to do at work, so I brought her back with me. I set her down at my desk with every type of coloring supply known to a 5 year old. We all know that five years olds are egocentric and she kept interrupting me, while I was on the phone. Before I picked up the phone to talk to my client, I said, "Gianna, you can't interrupt mommy right now because I have to talk to a very grouchy man." And she replied, "Are you talking to Daddy?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Little Sister Syndrome

My sister Linda and I are five and a half years apart. And there was not a day growing up that she didn't tell me how bratty I was. To this day, she rubs it in, I mean tells me, the story of how I would hoard things. Our Papa would buy us candy and I would watch my sister eat hers until it was gone. When I knew she was done, I would whip my candy out and eat it slowly in front of her. I guess I couldn't help myself - maybe a little control issue? Last night, I could hear my own mother's voice cursing inside my head "I can't wait until you have kids". Well her wish finally came true, when I experienced this same scenario with my daughter. Tic Tacs Vs. Gum. Brandon vs Gianna. Gianna placed her gum in a secret drawer. While Brandon was taking a shower, she snuck into his room and ate the entire (except for three) plastic container of Tic Tacs. Now, if I was her, I would have hidden the fact. But NO! Not her. She joyfully skipped, with plastic colorless box in hand, to the shower, where Brandon unexpectedly was waiting her demise! Needless to say, he was upset. And it all came flooding back to me, how my poor older sister had to deal with her little sister!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beyond Skin Deep

Words cannot come close to scratching the surface of my soul. Last night was incredible, amazing, fun, sad, uplifting, moving and full of gratitude. How can one even come close to describing a group of women coming together for one person? A group of women, from all walks of life, but yet working side by side, to accomplish one goal. There was so much love in one room, I actually got choked up a little bit. I felt that familiar lump in my throat and I knew if I paid attention to it, I just might break down into that "ugly cry." We raised $1302.00 in just two hours for our friend and sister Shannan who is battling Leukemia. AMAZING! There was so many incredible thoughts and words of encouragement that were sent out to Shannan. I just know that if I were in her shoes (which I'd have to squish into, since I wear size 11), I would walk in the knowledge that I was not in this alone. And I just have to say that you women are awesome! We have the capability to kick it into overdrive when one of our sisters are hurting. We can get past what is skin deep, look beyond the surface, and get down to need.

Back to School Fright

When I was little, I always loved the back to school nights. It gave me a chance to show my mom all my hard work, my desk, and the little seeds that grew in the Clover milk carton. As a parent, it is a whole different ball game - I see it with different eyes now. Last night, I was surrounded by questions that didn't matter and parents that bragged about their four year olds reading an encyclopedia. "Listen hear!" I wanted to shout. "I don't care that your little Tommy can read. Do you want a gold star? Or how about I just slap you in the back of the head?". Okay, so I know that was mean to say... but I don't think a back to school night should be a time of bragging rights in front of a group of adults. But secretly I was looking at my own children's work, notating in my mind, that they were the best! Didn't mean I had to shout it out loud or post it on a billboard!

Monday, September 15, 2008

No Mom... I Didn't


Why do kids always think we won't find out? They always test the boundaries - even if those boundaries are edged with poison oak. If I haven't said it a million times, I will say it again...Don't go in the creek. And the answer I always get back is... I won't. Even though I see it with my own eyes, Brandon will still deny that he even went within inches of the creek bed. But the truth will prevail, even at its darkest hour - like 5:00am. His scream this morning pushed me out of bed as I scrambled like Helen Keller to get to his room. I walked across the hallway, arms out in front, using braille as my guide. I finally got to his room to find that he could barely open his own eyes. He was itching from head to toe. I spent this morning at the urgent care trying to subdue the "itchies". The doctor asked, "Has he been near poison oak?" Brandon's reply (not looking at me)... "Well, maybe." Well, that was sure a different story on Sunday when I asked him the same question. But sneakiness always has a way of revealing itself - even with swollen red eyes!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tower of Terror

The glass elevator looked so inviting. Yes! Finally a nice hotel. Holiday Inn Express here I come. Believe me- I've had my share of shady hotels. This past summer I stayed in one where a murder took place. I can tell you that if I would have known that before, I wouldn't had stayed. Needless to say, I get happy with the small things in life - a glass elevator. I anxiously pressed the up arrow, excited to get inside its glass windows to see the view of L.A. The doors opened and invited me in. They shut and I was transformed into a whole new world. It was like I was in a gas chamber in a concentration camp. It must have been a 150 degrees inside! I could have survived that, but the worst was its stench of fart. I could only imagine myself clawing at the glass, gasping for pure clean air. I finally was rescued as the doors hesitantly opened to let me out of my prison. Why? Why fart in an elevator people? Well, I found that answer on my own. Because it takes you 1 hour in LA traffic to go 4 miles. And from personal experience you never want to get the unexpected poo cramp while sitting in traffic because you have no where to go! By the time you get to the hotel, your body's instinct knows that you are almost there to be rescued by the porcelain bowl. Your body has no other choice to just let it all go! Thus, the Tower of Terror!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

OVERWHELMED

I am so overwhelmed with so many emotions as I write this blog today. A gnawing depth of sadness that I can't shake, gratitude for my life, a thankfulness for dear and real friends, helplessness beyond my own understanding, and a voice within me that wants to just cry out and wail. Why? Why does one of my friends have to have leukemia? It hurts. What is the message? I have had so many other friends email their thoughts and I weep as I read them. Because it is such a deep understanding between women. We are mothers, wives, and friends, and we feel for those women around us that are hurting. We are able to put ourselves in their shoes and say What if it was me? What about my husband? What about my children? I go back to yesterday's blog and am renewed with the promise that there is Hope. Even though we can't see it through the pain right now, I know there is grace in it all. To know that as women we can lift one another up,without even question, is a blessing. Please pray for my friend Shannan and her family. Please pray for the women around her that we will know how to love and comfort her at this painful moment in life.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Infinite Grace
















The Women of Faith conference this past weekend was so good. I love going to these conferences...1. to get away with friends 2. to learn something about yourself 3. to know you are not alone 4. to renew yourself 5. to survive a whole other year until the next conference! Infinite grace was the theme this year. Boy, did I need that! Have you had those moments when you don't know why you are going through those hard times? What is the purpose? You beat yourself down and feel so unworthy? But as we go through them we have a connection with God and those people that He brings into our lives. We build our character and our stories in life can be shared with those that are going through those same stories. That is how I see my life. Would I be the person I am today, if I didn't go through hard times. Would I have the same compassion and empathy toward people if I hadn't gone through those? Our human minds cannot grasp the understanding of WHY? We may not know in the moment, but later could be blessed with the infinite grace that somebody learned from your life. It is in what we say or do, what we live for and how we make others feel around us. I'm looking forward to using my stories to encourage those around me - YOU GOTTA LAUGH THRU LIFE!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Weekend Fun

Wednesday night, Tina and I headed for L.A, the car filled with deli sandwiches, Old school cd's, and expectations. A seven hour car ride with a friend seems like a blink of an eye. We finally made our destination-Tasha's house. I got to sleep in the Superman room since I felt like a superhero, since we made it to L.A in the dark and all in one piece. Thursday morning we skipped on to Disneyland. I swear that God made that day just for us. You know that there is a God, when you can walk right on all the rides without a wait. It couldn't have been anymore perfect, if I planned it myself! I have to say I'm getting a little old. Don't tell anyone! I never thought I'd get sick on some of those roller coasters. But I did it. Tower of Terror was so much fun - laughing and screaming at the unexpected. I came off Splash Mountain, looking as though I'd taken a shower with my clothes on. If Tina could have worn a hairnet she would of! But that's why I love her so dearly. Friday and Saturday we went to the Women of Faith conference, which was the whole reason why we went there in the first place. I have so many stories to share that I will have to do one daily. Thanks Tasha and Tina for one of the best weekends I've had!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Dreaded Costco Shop

This past weekend, Justin informed me that we had to do a Costco shop. "We only need the basics", he tells me. Well, I know how that goes..... $350.00 later! It's like I sit all day at work to blow my entire paycheck in one 2 hour shopping excursion. Seriously, I hate shopping and I hate Costco even more. My heart beats faster, just thinking about it. So, I figure since I spend so much money there, they might as well feed my whole family lunch. The kids love it. Where can you shop and try tons of samples as you walk along the aisles? So, Gianna goes up to one table and puts her hands at the edge. The table moves forward and the old lady, dressed in her checkered apron with matching hairnet, starts yelling at her. "This is the third time today this has happened! Don't put your hands on the table!" Listen lady, if you don't like your job, Prada hairnet, or children, don't work here. I'm sorry you hate serving thousands of people a day with one little toaster oven, but don't take it out on my kid. It's not her fault. But I don't say any of those things except for this....."Maybe you need a stable table.....Mable!" I cracked myself up and even both kids cracked up! You should have seen the lady's face......priceless!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Baby's Got Back...........pain

Last Monday, (on the first day of school I might add), I was making the bed. As I tucked in the bed, I got the most excruciating pain in my lower back that radiated down both my legs. Needless to say, I couldn't move, and laid in a fetal position on top of the bed, which seemed like forever. I drove the kids to school that morning and walked them to class, which looked like I had a stick up where the sun doesn't shine. But I got them there! Why couldn't I have hurt my back heroically? Like on Half Dome? Or jumping out of a two story window to save someones life? Making a bed? Come on now! I am truly old and I am sounding like my mother more and more these days. But I must say, I am filled with gratitude this morning because I am finally feeling better - a whole week later. Ahhh the simple things in life! I never took notice of how much I loved my back, until it was hurting. The pain was so consuming and it literally exhausted me. I'm back in business this week with a whole new attitude. Thank God because Disneyland here I come. I'll see Mickey on Thursday with my friends/sisters Tina and Tasha. Even if my back still hurt, I would have taken a wheelchair. Who knows? I would have gotten on the rides faster!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Throw Them To The Wolves

Like changing schools and starting Kindergarten isn't hard enough....my husband, the leader of the wolves, dropped MY kids off at school on Tuesday. I guess I have to be a little more specific. "Okay, dear. When you get to school...park your car. Get out. Take your children out of the car. Give them their backpacks and lunches. Walk to their classrooms. Make sure they see their teacher. Get them settled" But, oh no! I didn't tell him that. So instead, on the second day of school, he practically pushes them out of a moving vehicle. He might as well have accelerated his Hyundai as he passed through the school circle, pushing the kids out an open back window. What the hell? I swear men don't think. Brandon told me Gianna got lost and couldn't find her class. Of course, crying throughout the whole thing.Thank God for Brandon, who brought her to his classroom and asked the teacher for help. I'm thinking to myself.. Self? Why would my husband think it would be okay to drop a just five year old off in the middle of a big school? Why not just throw her in a pool without floaties and let her drown? Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Or should I say, Women think with their heads, Men think with their Penis!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Sweet Aroma of the First Day of School




Yesterday our household woke up to the sweet smell of a crisp morning. I hugged each kid good morning and could smell their freshly washed hair. I love that smell and I could just bury myself in their locks of bedhead. I helped them get dressed in there freshly washed clothes - Brandon in his rock star shirt - Gianna in her little pink tank top. I love how a little dryer sheet leaves its whisper behind. We could hardly sit down at the breakfast table, the excitement of the first day of school was just to much to bear. Fresh coffee brewed and pinched me into reality - my babies are growing up! I opened the fresh loaf of bread, its newness and comfort, nudging at my heart. It brought me back to when I was little and how excited I was on my first day of school. The kids opened up their backpacks and stuffed their lunch boxes in. I love the sound of a new zipper buzzing in my ears. We got into the car and set off for our first day. We talked about making new friends, field trips, and teachers. We got to school and Brandon was off to his class - I bent down and kissed his minty lips. I walked Gianna to her class with a lump in my throat. She didn't care! She was off and running. I could taste my sweet and salty tears as I let my last baby go!At the end of the day I asked them both what they did on the first day and they told me.....NOTHING! Leave it to kids!

Friday, August 22, 2008

We Will Miss Lavon!

Today is another milestone for Gianna - it is her last day of daycare/preschool. You have to understand that Lavon has been a big part of our family's life for four years. I think I'll miss her more than Gianna. How do you thank someone for taking care of your child for the last 4 years? I want to share with you, the poem that I framed for Lavon, along with a picture of both Lavon and Gianna together.

We entrusted our child to you,
It was hard to let go
She fell into your loving arms
And this is what I know

The gratitude we feel could never be measured
You had a part in shaping who she is,
And that will always be treasured

You guided her with a gentle hand
Wrapped her in your love,
We were given such a gift, from heaven up above

You loved her like your own, as the days turned into years
You became a part of her life’s journey
Through the laughs and through the tears

We love you Lavon!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

PORN IN THE MORN!

Okay! I got to get out of Cloverdale. Or better yet, this crazy world! The story continues from yesterday's blog. I shared my story with my sister-in-law, who can get information out of a turnip. It must be her beauty (whatever! I'm jealous). But she tells me that there is a porno guy, that rents out these great big houses, hires young people, and tapes his porno movies. Apparently, the night before, the penis "actors" drank a little too much and were vandalising the area around them. Monday morning, the police went to the SUPER 8 motel to arrest these guys (did you expect that they would be staying at the HILTON?). The one guy jumped out of the SUPER 8, second story window. Can I just say, porno man , "The sign says super eight, not superman!" And thus, that's where my friend and I come in. Aiding and abedding a porn star. How many years in jail do you think we would get? I feel a little better that he wasn't a murderer. Although, I'm sure they are not the best caliber of people to let ride around in your minivan with your children in the back seat. The police must have been nervous because you never know what type of porn star you are gonna get! I guess you can say, my friend and I, got a little porn in the morn!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What If?

What if on Monday morning I had left five minutes earlier? Or what if I had left five minutes later? It could have made a difference of whether my friend remained dead or alive. There are no coincidences in life. She knew that she shouldn't have let the stranger in her car - she had that aching feeling. But being the woman that she is, she didn't want to seem mean. I pulled out of my driveway and I knew something was wrong when she stopped me. She said that this man hurt his foot and needed a ride to his friends house. He insisted. So I followed her, thinking it was going to be around the corner. We started driving into a remote area and I knew something was wrong. He noticed that I was following her and started to act weird. She finally let him out of her car. Later, she went to the police station because it just didn't sit right. They had advised her that she was lucky that she had someone follow her because that same morning they were in pursuit of him with a canine dog. They lost his trail. They wouldn't tell her why they were following him. God had His hand in this situation. He kept us safe! And I was ready to ram my cute little minivan into hers if I had to! I kept thinking, "I'm gonna have to close my eyes and accelerate!" But thank God, I didn't have to!

Monday, August 18, 2008

KOA
















Okay... so I lied. Our last fun thing before school starts was our KOA camping trip this weekend. We set out late Friday with our travel trailer and met our friends Vicki and Shaan (they rented a KOA Kabin). There are so many things to do at a KOA for kids... petting zoo, hay rides, swimming, a fishing pond, arcade, spooky walks, karaoke, and the hokey pokey (which Julia stole the show). There really wasn't a lot of time just to explore or relax. RELAX! What's that? Maybe you should ask the men of our camp. Since they had the luxury of just hanging out while the women entertained and watched the children the entire time. Hillary Clinton was partially right when she said "It takes a village." But what she left out was that it takes a village of women. A village of women who can feed the children, get them dressed, keep them safe, and discipline them. You know you are great friends when you can yell at each other's children and not care. I think Vicki and I established that. "Don't do this! Don't do that! Why did you poop in the forest? Don't whine! You can't have that! Because I said. Because I said. Because I said." I know the kids had a blast, but I have to say... I really wanted to take a nap when we got home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's A Zoo Out There!

Yesterday was the last big fun thing before school starts in a week in a half. My cousin Jenny and I decided to take the kids to the San Francisco Zoo yesterday. I kind of did it for selfish reasons too - to beat the heat of Cloverdale. I always think it is funny how I play these family outings in my mind - I work myself up. "It's going to be so fun! We'll pack our lunches and have a picnic. The animals will be so adorable. This will be such a learning experience!" But soon I am reminded (5 minutes into the car ride), that it is my children who are the ANIMALS! They fought like animals in the back seat. Gianna was scratching and pulling Brandon's hair. Brandon was yelling at her. I was praying, "Please Lord! Once I get to the zoo.... let a tiger escape and put me out of my misery!" I was half hoping there would be a cage that I could place my two kids in... just for a couple of hours! It turned out to be an good day in spite of their bickering. On the ride home, Brandon and Gianna talked about their favorite animals. Brandon loved the meerkates and the Wolf Spider. Gianna loved the lemurs and the flamingos. I loved the little squirrel monkeys. I'll have to post some pictures later, since we got home late last night.

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's been Hell. It's been Heaven. And it's only been Eleven

What can one accomplish in eleven years? I have accomplished to buy and sell two houses, push two children out of my body and into the world, keep the same job, and all with my husband by my side. I can't believe that tomorrow we have been married for eleven years. We met at church when we were only sixteen. I will always remember one of our first dates at the movies. He took me to see Arachnophobia. He was sly and so suave, as he slowly put his arm around my chair, as the spiders came creeping down the large movie screen. It took him months to kiss me and now I can't keep him off me! Love was so uncomplicated back then. It was so simple. There was no responsibility attached. And then we got married, bought a house, and had kids. We have had our struggles through the years and there were moments that I felt like walking away. Too easy! So we've endured life's ups and downs together. One of the first things I was attracted to was Justin's laughter. Laughter has kept us together when life has been too tense. I have learned many things through marriage - Patience, Patience...... have I mentioned Patience!? So, Happy Anniversary Justin! I'm looking forward to a good dinner tomorrow. And yes.... you may get a little dessert!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Change - I hate it!

The summer is almost over, which means the kids will be back to school. There is a time for everything and this year is a time for change. Brandon will be in 3rd grade and Gianna is starting kindergarten. We are sending them to a new school this year, which leaves my heart topsy turvy. I have woken up in the middle of night, waking God up at 2:00am in the morning, asking Him, if I am doing the right thing. So far, He hasn't bellowed down in a large voice telling me what to do. Sometimes, don't you wish it was that easy? God what to I do? And you actually can physically hear Him lay the plans out for your life! I hate not knowing, but that is where the trust and faith kick in. Not only are the kid's lives changing, but mine as well. I will be giving up a day off in the middle of the week, so that I can work shorter days and be with the kids after school. I am blessed to be able to do this, but still not sure of it all. We also just signed the papers to put our house up for sale. I don't think I can handle one more thing! I am so mixed up about everything. Should we move? Should we not? I love it here! I hate it here! I feel like someone has put me in a blender and has pushed the button on "tear you heart apart". All these decisions just don't affect me...but the kids as well. I'm sure I'll look back at this someday and feel okay about everything. But I sure hate the change when I'm in the middle of it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

SHOP TIL' YOU DROP

Yesterday, my friend Heather, her little little girl, and Gianna and I, had a our first annual school clothes shopping trip. We started out bright and early in the morning - 8:30am. The first stop was Target. We bought all of Gianna's school supplies, including an adorable frog backpack and a $14.00 High School Musical Thermos. You should have seen the dressing room with two five year olds. It was like a hurricane came busting threw. I don't even think you could see the carpet on the floor. At one point, I didn't know who's clothes were who's. It was funny because both Heather and I were totally sweaty. No need to do step aerobics, just go shopping with two kindergartners! Then it was off to Old Navy. The music was loud, as if to say, "Don't pay attention to the prices, just buy, buy, buy!" I could feel the adrenaline rushing, along with the music, as I swiftly went through the racks. No Luck though! So we went to the mall to refuel at Fresh Choice. We ate way too much - I have to get my money's worth, you know! The shopping didn't seem to end. On, on, and on! Gianna is so funny though because she certainly has her own style. I have learned just to let her pick her own clothes because I know she will wear them. But all of her pants are plaid! Her teacher is going to think we got a deal in bulk with all the plaid we bought.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I don't think you're ready for this Jelly

The dreaded postcard came in the mail! I can feel my face burning as I read "It's been a year, since we've seen your rear". My doctor really doesn't say that, but they might as well. I hate going in for my annual pap. So, I took a lunch today for my appointment. I usually try to make them in the morning when everything is "fresh, fresh, exciting". I don't want to mess with the middle afternoon sweats. But before I leave, I go into the girls bathroom to find a little "Woot, Woot Spray" to give it a little lift me up. As I go to spray the bath and body, I decide just to take another look..... and what I read just about cracked me up. Garnier Fructis Hairspray! Can you imagine? " I'm sorry doctor, I don't know why I can't open my legs to get them in the stir ups. They seem to be stuck together!" I finally get to the appointment, as I laugh the entire way there in my car. People must think I just escaped the mental ward. The office has no air conditioning and I'm sitting with no bra or underwear on, just the beautiful starchy gown. I feel sweaty all over my body. The doctor's hand practically slips off my boob and onto the floor because they are dripping wet. Why? Why? Do I deserve such treatment. I'm not ready for this jelly!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Belated but Blessed


Wow! How long has it been Vicki? 29 years as friends and still going strong. I can't imagine my life's journey without you. Who would have known that the two little five year girls in Ms. Johnson's kindergarten class, would stick together like glue their whole lives? There is a saying that "if you lived to be a hundred, I would want to live one day less than that because I couldn't imagine my life without you." And that is how I truly feel. You make me laugh like no other person, you listen with your heart, and you understand me. Sometimes I think you and I are exactly alike, only you weigh 100lbs less than me. Wench!!! There are so many memories that I will cherish forever.... our road trip to Oregon, hiding behind your green Volks bug on College Ave, watching Beaches just to make ourselves cry, going on our daily 7-11 trip to get Pina Colada slurpees, lifting your leg to lay a big one, shouting out "I'm from Yuerba Buena". trying to teach you how to put a tampon it (one of my favorite memories), celebrating my birthday in the dark. Just way to many too list and many more to come. Thank you for being who you are and allowing everyone else around you to do the same. Happy Belated Birthday! I love you more than words can say. Sometimes I wish we were young again so we could hang out more - I miss those times.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You say.......Vacation?

Last week we packed up the travel trailer with $400.00 worth of junk food, took out a small loan to fill our diesel tank, and traveled 250 miles to Butt Lake. Do you know why they call it Butt Lake? Cuz only stupid asses camp for vacation! First of all, who in their right mind would travel that far with children in a car? And then go camping with a husband that is a clean freak? "Sure honey... we will delouse, de dirt, and fumigate ourselves before we enter the golden home on wheels!" Since I'm on a roll now.... Who wants to clean their private parts with a wash cloth for a week. I'm sure my gynecologist is thanking me for not scheduling my appointment the day I got home from camping. And then you have to haul water back and forth like you lived in ancient times. And then there was the cooking aspect of it all.... complaining that the bacon was too crisp, the scrambled eggs not good enough, the toast too burnt. Well, let me just say... the last time I looked down at my shirt, I didn't see a pin that said "IHOP serving you since 1980". Then there was the lake, that was struck by drought! Geese everywhere, which means geese poop everywhere. It was like swimming in a goose toilet bowl. Okay - I'm done. Lord have Mercy! I need a vacation!

Friday, July 11, 2008

SHE'S FIVE AND I'M STILL ALIVE!




I can still hear my fear when I found out I was pregnant 6 years ago.... please let it be another boy... I don't know what I will do if it is a girl! Obviously, that is not how it played out. I remember taking Lamaze classes and thinking.. this is stupid! But Lamaze was not for the labor and delivery... it was for the aftermath of parenting. Heeeee Heeeee Hooooo! Heeeee Heeeee Hooo! I practice this on a daily basis when my kids test my patience - and boy do they. But I am so glad that I had my little girl because she has taught me so much about myself. The funny thing about her is that we are so different, but alike. She cannot walk past a mirror without looking at herself, fixing her hair, and then applying her strawberry mango lip smacker several times, until it is smeared outside of her lips. The best thing? Kissing those lips! The worst thing? The sassiness that comes out of those lips. I can't believe that she is five years old today. Time has gone by so fast. Time has gone by so slow. I look back at baby pictures and I feel like I have lost a little person. Where did that baby go? Who will she be later? Happy Birthday to my "big" girl! Can't you stop growing? Gianna also shares her birthday with her cute little cousin Jaxon. Happy 3rd birthday Jaxon!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

GOTTA HAVE FRIENDS


I have been truly blessed by many good friends in life. I don't mean the one's that come and go, but the one's that you know you will grow old with. There are many things I have learned throughout my journey with my friends.........


-You can fart at the table with your friends and not get grossed out..(that one is for Vicki, who -actually lifts her entire leg to let one go)

-You can take your bra off at night and let the "girls" hang out and not be judged that they look like hackey sacs

-You can get in a swim suit in front of one another and know why each of you has run into the hot tub-because we all know that we have cellulite on our legs

-And because we have cellulite on our legs we all share a gallon of ice cream together with all the toppings

-We can ask for prayer from one another and not feel like we always have to be perfect

-We can talk about our weakness with one another and then feel stronger than ever-because we have been built up by our friends

-We can get our exercise by laughing so hard that our stomach muscles ache

-I have learned that I can never have done it on my own

And last but not least, I wanted to say Happy Birthday today to one of my best friends (since I was 5) - Happy Birthday Heather!!! I love you and miss you! I'll eat a piece a cake for you today!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

STRANGER

Have you ever had a moment in life where you know you could beat a stranger's ass??!!! You know where this is going... don't you? I totally had that moment this morning! I'm driving to work this morning, radio playing, singing like I just won American Idol and I see it. The devil herself driving a black Camero. I think she thought she was exempt from all rules and regulations. You know the kind...."I don't have to stop at this stop sign. I'm driving the worlds best car." She had platinum blond hair and black roots that matched her Camero. How do I know the color of her hair? Because she came that close to hitting me as she ran through the stop sign, which was for everyone else but her. And then she had the nerve to flip me off! What I really wanted to do, was grab those roots and pull them out of her head. She was lucky that she was protected by the encasing of her vehicle. I think that my minivan throws people off. "Oh, here goes the soccer mom in her red minivan. She won't mind if I just run this stop sign... she'll stop to protect her family." But what they don't know is that I only drive this vehicle for convenience. If I wasn't running late for work, I would have turned around and followed her. Isn't it funny, how one incident can change your mood in an instant?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Simplicity

It is not what we leave behind when we die, but it is those who we leave behind that matters. A year ago, Nono left this world. But I guess after 92 years on this earth, he was ready to move on. It was with heavy hearts that we let him go, but he will never be forgotten. The admiration that I have for Nono is unmeasurable. Simplicity of spirit is how I would describe this man. He worked hard for his family, barely, if at all missing a day of work. He didn't live in a mansion, but that is not what makes a home. His love for Nonnie was something that you could not put words to. I remember many conversations with him, after Nonnie died, and it was as though someone stole his heart, lost without her. He was not a man of many words, but his presence was strong. There have been times in the past year (at birthday parties, bbq's, holidays) that things just don't seem right and then I remember.....Nono isn't here. A week before he died, Gianna and I sat on a porch swing with him, eating licorice, and tracing our hands with pencil and paper. It's the simplicity of the memories with him that will be traced in my heart. Love you Nono!

Monday, June 30, 2008

BECAUSE YOU CAN!


I know you all are probably tired of my stories of Half Dome, but I have to tell you, so much happened in those 14 hours! As we were walking on the trail and the terrain got steeper and steeper, I said with a groan, "Why? Why?!" And this lady that was just ahead a few feet, turned around, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Because you can!" I really needed to hear that. Many of my friends tell me that I can make new friends just about anywhere. And this trip was no different. I met one of the neatest people out in the wilderness. Her name was Francis, but we named her Grandma Francis. She told us all about her battle with drugs, her children, her marriage, her weight loss. And the most amazing thing was that she was climbing Half Dome on her own. We ended up walking awhile together and lost contact with her once my friend "Charlie the leg cramp" took over. 4 or 5 hours later we saw her on the trail again and we walked with her all the way back to her camp. She shared with me that she kept repeating the verse, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Which I thought was amazing, since that is my life verse! Its funny the people you can meet by just going out on a limb - or in my case... going out on a rock!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN TOO HIGH.... to fart

It was a total serious matter. I was going straight up - completely vertical for 425 feet - and I wasn't about to lose my focus. Let's just say, I got real familiar and friendly with my REI hiking boots. I was not about to look up and I wasn't even going to attempt looking down. My mind kicked into the "This means business" mode. Holding on tight to the cables, or should I say, clinging to my life on a metal thread, I started to descend the granite rock. My biceps were burning, and if my toes could of clawed into the rock, they would have. Just about the middle of the descent, a man was passing me, coming up the cables. There was a large step that he had to throw his leg up on and then pull himself up. As soon as he pulled his body up off the ground, I heard it! "BBBBLLLLLLLTTT" He freakin farted. Not a little dainty fart, but a "I just ate beans for dinner fart!" In normal circumstances, I would have busted up. But with the fear that had consumed me, I was so afraid to move any other part of my body. As soon as I got down and knew I couldn't fall, I let my head throw itself back and I laughed my butt off! Ain't no mountain high...to fart!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD (in Yosemite)


Hello? Lord? I know it's 3:45am and you haven't yet hung the sun out , but I really need you today. Please keep us safe! Okay, it's 5:45am now, and it's the most you've heard from me in such a small amount of time. But we are ready to begin on this trail - please keep the bears hibernating, the mountain lions busy, and the rattlesnakes hidden far beneath the earth! ....Wow! Lord this is amazing! Thanks for this beauty around me. Sorry that I take things for granted. I am so small in this world, yet my heart is so full of gratitude for my place in this world. Okay, God. What's going on? Why am I getting this cramp in my leg? Oh, I get it now. I will never be mean to my legs again! I don't care if they have cellulite. They have brought me this far. OH MY GOD! (okay so i just yelled your name in vain) But I'm gonna climb THAT! What was I thinking? Please keep my friends safe. ... I can't believe I made it to the top! How am I gonna get down from here. I can feel my heart racing in my ears and I just heard a bird fly within an inch of me. This is not natural! I think I'm gonna freak out or call the REACH helicopter. Please be with me... please be with me.


And then I felt a peace, like no other and I heard..."Rochelle, I got you up this mountain and I will get you down!"


Thank you Lord!

Monday, June 23, 2008

INDISCRIBABLE






The journey of man cannot be measured until you walk in their shoes. My journey to Half Dome is so hard to put into words, unless you were to walk in my hiking boots. This was not about getting to the top, but about the steps that got me there. I have come full circle and learned so much. I AM STRONG! Physically and mentally. In my fourteen hour trek, I have grown emotionally, physically, and spiritually and all with the help of my friends and my GOD! I could have not done it alone. I was so full of anxiety, expectation, and hope throughout the hike. There were times that I thought that I could not carry on. I was tired, weak, thirsty, and I would turn a corner and the most beautiful waterfalls would mist over me - renewed and refreshed I was able to carry on. And so is life! Through the trials of life, it is so hard to see the blessing, but God provides such renewal in the midst of it all. I am so small in this world, but yet I still matter. I am loved. And I am alive!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

UNWRITTEN

We all begin our days with a blank page. We are the authors and we determine how the story will go, but sometimes the ending doesn't always end the way we want them to. Tomorrow, I set off to Yosemite and on Friday the long hike to Half Dome. I have so many expectations, fears, and excitements going on - and I can't wait to see how those experiences will fill my blank page. This little entry is also to just let everyone know, how much I love them - my kids, my husband, my friends, my family - just in case the ending is tragic. Just know how much I laughed through life - laughing with people, laughing at myself, and laughing at the big stuff and small stuff in life. Thanks for all your prayers on Friday as I begin a journey filled with newness. I love you guys and can't wait to share my Yosemite Journey.

Gianna' Recital

So you probably think I lead a boring life, since I haven't blogged in awhile. But the truth remains, that I have been so busy that I haven't had a chance to catch my breath. This last weekend Gianna had her dance recital. It started on Thursday, with full hair and makeup, pictures, and then dance rehearsal on Friday. And then the big day on Saturday. It was a whirlwind of craziness. Thank God she hasn't tried out for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. I don't think I can handle that yet. As she came out on stage, the tears started rolling. I am such a sap. Although, I think part of the tears was true relief. One thing down, 107,256 things to go! Vicki started laughing with me. She said, "She's not getting hurt! She's dancing for goodness sake!" Leave it to her to put it in perspective. But I think it is a combination of things. I want Gianna to have fun. I want her not to be scared. I want her to do her best. I truly can feel all those things whirl around in my head as she whirls around the stage. I haven't had a moment to post pictures, but definitely will next week. But you can check out her dance on youtube. The address is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NykdxAXbv8. My friend Heather made the video, since her daughter was in the same class as Gianna. It was so touching because Gianna and Natalie have been friends since they were born. So, to watch them do something like this together, was just the icing on the cake. By the way, she wants me to remind everyone -that she is the one in the middle.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It Was So Nice To Meet You.... Again

Before I had children I wore the black and white glasses called judgement. Everything was black and white to me and I was always had the answer - there were no shades of gray in my eyes. It was so easy to say, "My mom should have... and why didn't she... and she could of, should of, would of." And to be quite frank, it distorted my view of my mother. I got the opportunity to meet with her with brand new specs. I took her on Friday night to see The Temptations. As we drove to the concert, she put on a song that we both loved to listen to when I was younger.. Me and You Against the World by Helen Reddy. I forgot what a beautiful voice my mother had and how she can belt out a tune. I could have listened to her for hours. And we actually welled up in tears together. I forgot the look of happiness and joy in her face, until I saw her bust out in a full on dance as the Temptations sang - her arms above her head, letting all of her worries erase for that one moment in time. I felt myself tuck that look in her face in my memory file - note to self... don't ever forget your mothers look when she is experiencing pure joy. Tuck it close to your heart and relish in it. My intention was just to take her to a concert for her birthday, but I think I am the one that received the gift.

Friday, June 6, 2008

JOY WITHIN THE SORROW

My teenage years were the best time of my life. No worries (except for the occasional final exam), no responsibilities (except to keep my room clean), no bills (except for extra spending money for TACO BELL). I had good friends (still do) and we all had a blast at Youth Group every Sunday night. Our Youth Group Leaders, Gary and Julie, had their hands full with all of us crazy and silly teenagers! Yesterday, Vicki and I attended Gary's memorial service. What a bittersweet moment. It was unlike any other service I have attended. There was such Joy in the room. Memories filled the air - such a sweet sound. Gary was an ordinary man, with an extraordinary love for God, family, and friends. It was so nice to see people there that I haven't seen in years. And an overwhelming feeling came over me - how just one man can bring all these people together. I thought, "When I die, I want a total celebration - with singing and dancing!" Life isn't over just because our bodies our not on this earth anymore. What we planted in peoples hearts will live forever.
P.S to all my girlfriends.... if I die before you... you better play BRICKHOUSE at my funeral!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Oh the noise, noiSE, NOISE!

I can remember so vividly when my kids were babies. I couldn't wait for the day, they uttered the words, MAMA! It was such an amazing sweet sound to my ears. Just the slightest whisper out of their mouths could make my heart swell. Fast forward eight years, and now ask me how I feel when I hear the word MAMA 50 times in a one minute interval. CRAZY! CRAZY! CRAZY! I feel like there are moments I could just explode. Don't get me wrong - I love my kids dearly but I seriously need some downtime. How am I going to get this time to myself? I was going to send my kids to daycare today and take a mental health day off of work - until I realized how much I truly have to do at work. Well, I guess that defeats my purpose. So, I guess I will have to wait until the middle of June when my friends and I hike Half Dome. I am going to fight off miles of uphill, battle the wilderness with a 10lb backpack, may encounter bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes - for what? All to experience true tranquility and peacefulness and to clear the noise I am feeling in my life. And then come back to reality and to appreciate the name Mama from the two sweetest lips that I love to kiss at night.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Proud Mama

Every since Brandon came out of the womb, eight years ago, I knew he was special. But don't we all think that about our own children? There is a certain connection Brandon has with nature. I swear he is going to be the next Crocodile Hunter or Austin Stevens (the snake adventurer). He has such a love for reptiles, insects, nature, and how the world works. When I was his age, I was interested in cartwheels and dancing to BEAT IT! He can tell you the habitat of a certain species of snake, what they eat, look like, how they reproduce, and has no fear of picking one of those slithery things off the ground. What amazes me is the beauty he sees in the smallest of creatures. He just finished his second grade year yesterday (in writing that - i think I just got 50 more gray hairs- I feel so old), and just got his report card. All Excellents! All 4's! He received the award for spelling and science in his class. Surprise! Surprise. His teacher is amazed of how much he actually knows about nature and science. He has taught me a few things. I am so proud of him! So in celebration of his great efforts, we are going to the movies tonight to see Indiana Jones. Good Job Brandon!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sometimers

Memorial weekend was filled with lots of places and things that were definitely worthy of hauling out the expensive camera for. I made sure, before we left for the weekend, to charge the battery, bring both lenses, and bring the camera case. First stop was my dads house. We haven't seen him in two years and you all know when you have kids that is long time. I measure time by how big the kids are. Gianna was excited to see grandpa and the way she giggled around him was just priceless. I was going to whip out the camera but was distracted. The next day we took Brandon and Gianna to walk through a lava cave. Or should I say, I walked through the cave with Gianna's face buried into my chest. Then it was off to visit family at some property they had just bought. It was a picture moment - all of standing out in the middle of the woods, warming our bodies by the campfire. Justin carefully took out the camera, put on the mega zoom lens (the kind that notices a zit on your face, before you do), and snapped some photos. But it wouldn't work. What the hell? I forgot the camera card!! I swear I have Sometimers. Sometimes, I remember-Sometimes, I don't! The rest of the weekend, I carefully notated in my mind, the special moments that I would have to take snapshots of in my memory. That nobody else could share or reminisce with me. They were mine alone. And sometimes that is nice too!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why God Gave Me a Big Foot!

I'm sure many of my friends have heard this story, but every once in a while, I think about the times I have wanted to crawl under a rock because of something I have said. My philosophy in life is whoever you meet in the day... try to make them feel good with something you say or with something you do - they will remember the way you made them feel. So, I had this client who came into my office. A very sweet lady who was very over weight. Believe me, I know that uncomfortable feeling of being over weight and just meeting someone for the first time. I wanted to make her feel comfortable. She had a blue strap around her neck, that fit snug, with a white decoration that protruded out from her neck. I complimented her necklace as we sat down together at my desk. Until, she very nicely advised me that it was not a necklace but her tracheotomy! Can I just crawl under my desk??? Right this moment! But if that was enough.. I say, "Well, you can always decorate it!" Size 11 foot goes directly into the mouth! I guess my philosophy of making someone feel good that day, really didn't work. But it sure makes me laugh at myself!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

Nothing is an accident. People come come into our lives for a reason. Four years ago, I was looking for daycare for Gianna. She wasn't the easiest baby and there were moments when I (her own mother) didn't want to watch her. But I kept hearing this name around town.. it whispered Lavon.... Lavon.... Lavon. So I finally got this angel's phone number and fell in love with her instantly. I think finding daycare is one of the hardest things that a parent has to do because of course...no one can love our children the way we do! But this is not the case with Lavon. She actually loves her daycare kids as much as her own. It was such a glorious day when she took my kids in as one of her own. But what I didn't expect was the friendship that has developed through the years. She is one of the most honest, respectful, intelligent, funny, loving, and thoughtful person I know! And it also happens to be her birthday today!! Oh Happy Day! Happy Birthday LAQUANDA GIRL! We love you more than words!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Human to Human

The earthquake in China is devastating at so many different levels. The loss of buildings, homes, business', loss of life, loss of control, loss of self. I can't imagine one day living a normal life and in a matter of seconds, forever being changed. I can barely watch it on television because I seriously can feel for them. It seems too much to comprehend. My heart really feels for the mother's who sent their children to school and then will never have the chance to hold them again. You know that they are just praying for that one small miracle that their child will be pulled out of there alive. It doesn't matter if we are American mothers, come from a third world country, live in a remote village, or live in upscale New York - mothers feel the pain of other mothers no matter what walk of life we come from. Tragedies like this make us human again. It enables us to feel for those around us - beyond ourselves. I pray for their families and for their country.

Head On!

I'm driving to work this morning, when I feel something staring at me. Such an uncomfortable feeling. I look up and there is a big, fat, hairy spider sitting on my visor. Not a daddy long leg, not a small baby spider, but the type of spider where you can actually see his eyes and fangs. He is staring at me head on! There is nothing I can do, since I'm on the freeway, so I gently push my seat back. It looks like I'm leaning like a chola - all i need now is a tatoo on my neck and eyeliner lipstick. I am practically driving from the back seat. So I keep driving for the next 15 minutes to work and as I'm pulling into the driveway, I hit a bump. The spider moves quickly towards me, I scream, and almost hit an oak tree! I finally get out of my car and beat my visor with Gianna's princess hairbrush. That ought to teach that fanged creature to mess with a princess!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Smother Mother Day

I have decided (along with my friend Heather) that a mother is not allowed to enjoy her day until she is 85! Why? Because that is when you are old enough for your own children to care and your husband to finally appreciate you for all you have done. I guess part of the mother's day thing is that I expect to much. The saying still holds true - don't expect and you won't be disappointed. What is it that I exactly want? Well, I'll tell you. You can't wrap it up in a tidy cute bow - its called REST! And again, I won't get that til I'm eight five and in a REST HOME. So, I want to know - do all mom's want to rest on their day? Do you want to spend it with your kids? Time alone? I'm interested to see how the mom's out there want to spend the day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mind Over Splatter

Beware for those who's stomachs are weak. Do not read on. For those of you who dare to go on - we need to talk about a serious disease that strikes every woman at least once in a lifetime. SYBC, otherwise known as Squeeze Your Butt Cheeks. It usually strikes when you are in the middle of no where. For example, the other day I was on a four mile walk and the stomach pains began. I was doubled over, sweat beads started to form on my upper lip and forehead. I could barely go on. My ears no longer could hear anyone, but my inner self saying, "Squeeze hard. You can do it! You only have 3 more miles to go!" When this disease strikes, it makes your mind think of things that you normally would not do. I started to think... maybe I can knock on that dilapidated mobile home's door (sitting out in a field, surrounded by pit bulls). I don't care it there is a meth lab in their gated community or marijuana plants in wine barrels. I just need to use their bathroom. Who cares if Grizzly Adams answers the door with no teeth. I NEED TO GO! But the stomach pain subsides and I am snapped back into reality. Thankfully, I did make it home, just in time. The only cure for SYBC is a nice cold porcelain seat and a good magazine!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ready or Not!











"I'm not ready!" I could hear myself scream through the joy and excitement of my four year old. "Mommy, let go! Let go." Hesitantly, I pried my hands of the back of her bike seat, and let go. And there she went, full of pride, independence, and confidence. I stood in the middle of the street, emotions swirling around me - happiness, joyfulness, sadness. This was my baby who was so ready to ride her bike without her training wheels. It was a monumental step for both her and I. As I was standing on the hot rocked street it was as though a semi truck hit me - SHE IS GROWING UP! I want to stop it. Am I bipolar? There have been so many times that I have uttered the words - "I can't wait." And I wish I could take them back. I was so glad I got to experience this bittersweet moment. This is just one of many steps in the growing pain process. As parents, we guide them and they may fall down through it. But it is our job to gather them in our loving arms, just to let them go again.