Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's a New Year-Thank Goodness


The calendar may read December 29 but to me that means a new year.  No, not 2013.  It's the beginning of a new year for our family.  On December 28, 2011 my father in law expectantly passed away.  That was the beginning of a pretty cruddy six plus months.  QUICK recap: my father in law and dad died; head on car crash; multiple concussions.  The year finished much better than it started.  QUICK recap: vacation to Montana; daughter driving; son accepted to first (and only) choice for college; family feeling better. 

I don't tend to dwell in the negative but, truthfully, I have been looking forward to today to begin a fresh start.  Bring on the new year. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Almost Christmas

I guess I have to blame the holidays and work for staying away so long, at least that's what I'm going with.  Sorry about that.  Work keeps me busy, I'm glad I love what I do.  Always something new to learn and put into practice.  That's the way work should be, shouldn't it?  Thankfully, I have that.  I've been there for five years and have no plans to leave.  I always tell my boss he is stuck with me whether he likes it or not.  So far he seems OK with it.  Smile.

Is it just me or is Christmas sneaking up on you too?  During Thanksgiving weekend it seemed like Christmas was so far off and there was so much time to get everything done.  Now, it's almost here.  I did procrastinate a bit with my decorating.  My daughter wasn't happy about that - she loves the house full of decorations.  Usually I get everything out and up during the Thanksgiving weekend.  This year I did get the lights up outside.  Then within the week I got the tree up.  Then a few days later most of the decorations were out (but I didn't put everything up as I normally do).  Then the last of what I was going to put out finally went up about a week ago; that includes our toy tree, which you can read about here

This week I can say I am caught up and ready for the holiday, except for the food.  I still need to get our Christmas dinner prime rib and all the fixins'.  But my shopping and mailing is complete and even my gift wrapping is done (I am ALWAYS wrapping Christmas Eve so it will be nice this year not having to worry about it).  Don't hate me because I happen to appear organized one holiday out of my lifetime.

The kids love the tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve then they have to wait for all the others, and Santa's gifts (yes, Santa will always visit our home even when the kids are gone) until Christmas morning.  This tradition started when I was a kid.  My grandparents (Christmas Grandma and Grandpa as we called them - you can guess why) would come visit and the adults would open their gifts on Christmas Eve.  They did this so they would have little to open Christmas morning (Santa always left them a few gifts too) and would be able to watch us kids open our gifts.  We all had stockings (hand made by my mom and each unique and completely different from the others) with goodies as well.  Of course, as kids, watching these adults take a couple of hours to open each gift, one by one, was excruciating.  My parents relented and allowed us to open one gift.  This was just to shut us up, I'm sure.  My hubby and I don't open our gifts Christmas Eve, but we do allow the kids to open just one.  Then Christmas morning is a fun time opening gifts, going through the stockings and listening to Christmas music.  Later we watch football games and then eat prime rib. 

I love the casualness of the day.  We stay in PJ's and enjoy family time.

What family traditions do you celebrate at Christmas?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Likes and Dislikes

Some random likes and dislikes of mine.....
 
Likes:

1.  Flavored salts.  Have you tried these?  They are great!  I keep a bunch on my table in a cute wooden carrier.

2.  My job.  I am completing five years there and really like what I am doing.  I'm so thankful I can go work at a place I enjoy.

3.  Volleyball.  Specifically when my daughter makes her first choice team for the club volleyball season.

4.  Brussels Sprouts.  This is my new favorite vegetable.  I like to cut the ends off and remove any bad outer leaves.  Then cut in half length wise, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt then bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until brown.  Hmm hmm good.

5.  The political season has ended!  Enough said.

6.  Words with Friends. 

7.  My son receiving his acceptance letter to the college of his choice.  And by the way, the only one he applied to.


Dislikes:
1.  Volleyball tryouts.  The whole process is nerve wracking and stressful.  So many girls vying for so few spots.
 
2.  Anything with Christmas before Thanksgiving.  I'm sick of seeing Christmas trees, ornaments and hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  Let's celebrate one holiday before the other shows up.

3.  House cleaning.  And my house reflects this dislike, unfortunately.

4.  Scooping the backyard (we have dogs).  Sorry about that one.  Just did it since it is not currently raining

5.  The political season. 

Hopefully these were not the typical answers you were expecting.  So what are some things you like, or dislike, that not too many others would know about you?









Wednesday, November 7, 2012

College Search

A few weeks ago I took my son to preview a college.  Having a senior in high school has a whole new set of issues to worry about, plan, prepare....so many things to keep track of.  A few months ago he wasn't sure what he wanted to do after graduation.  Junior year is a very tough year, academically.  Coming into his senior year he was getting pretty tired of school. 

Who really knows what they want to do with their life at 17?  Not many kids do.  So he went from taking a year off next year to looking at a trade to now the engineering field.  He was looking at one university out of state until I talked with a coworker, who mentioned another university to consider.  As we looked into that school more, my son realized he wanted to pursue that school. 

We decided to take a day off and head over to check it out.  I loved it!  But better yet, my son loved it!  He already applied and we are waiting for the acceptance.   The more we looked at the school and talked about it, the more it was feeling right.  We had many friends tell us they know people who went there and how much they got out of their education and a successful career. 

I'm still a bit shocked that I have a kid who will be old enough to graduate from high school.  It doesn't seem possible.  But I look at him and am so proud of him.  My baby boy really is becoming such a fine man. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Workouts - This is Pathetic


leisure,Photographs,sports,weightlifting,weights

I've made a discovery.  Maybe it's more of a revelation.  It is not significant and doesn't change the world but does make a difference to me.  I don't know why I didn't figure this out a long time ago. 

What have you discovered, you ask?  I don't like to work out to videos (or DVDs).   Earth shattering, I know.  I have quite a few DVDs and kept avoiding them at all costs.  Silly I know.  There is no reason for it. 

To make this discovery even more pathetic....I also figured out that even though I know how to use the weight machines I seem to not be able to come up with my own workout plan.  I tend to do the same few exercises over and over.  I finally figured out that my successful workouts are ones that are mapped out for me.  I used to follow a blog that almost every day had a workout routine.  Unfortunately, that blog is no longer active. 

I need your help.  Do you follow a blog that provides a new workout routine most days?  I don't have Facebook so I need a blog.  I also don't have a smartphone so an app won't work for me either.  I like cardio (I am not a big runner, and when I do it's almost always on the treadmill) and I like weights.  Any ideas you can shoot my way would be greatly appreciated.   

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's Happenin, Hot Stuff?


Gedde Watanabe as Long Duk Dong.

"What's happenin hot stuff?"

If you loved watching movies in the 80's (yes, some of us are that old) then you probably remember that line.  It's from Sixteen Candles.  A movie I can quote a few lines from - I don't know if that is a good thing or not.

OK, on to the real post which consists up mundane stuff that has been going on in my life.  Ran into a friend at Costco.  Great to see her and catch up for a few minutes.  Actually, I think I was the one catching her up more than her.  I have a way of doing that - me talking too much.  I love the random runnings into of others.  This one was a planned-from-above running into. 

The back story:  My son is looking at what he wants to do after high school and has gone through a number of career ideas.  Each one seems to be built upon the previous and he's now into engineering and thinks he's narrowed down a specialty.  He started scouting out schools for a previous career path and we were led to look at a specific school.  As he explored this new school's different majors, he kept going back to one in particular.  He may have found the major to pursue.

Now I'm in Costco and run into my friend.  I was telling her about my son's pursuit and she mentioned the same college.  I love those divine interventions.  The more we look into this school and the options available, the more it feels right and that this is the place for my son.  We are going to visit it later this month.  I'm very excited to see it all in person. 

Here's the good news - This school is out of state for us but they have a program with surrounding states that allow out of state students to pay a reduced rate.  When all tolled, to attend the out of state university is cheaper than attending either of our two largest in state universities.  So it's cheaper to leave than to stay.  How sad is that!

My daughter came home sick today.  She's been fighting a cold (actually, we all are) and finally needed an afternoon of rest.  She plays volleyball so she hasn't had any down time.  As soon as she gets home she eats, showers and does homework.  Hours of homework.  She is an honor student and this year has some very hard classes.  She's actually working on some homework while hanging out on the couch right now.  Poor thing.

This is my busy week at work.  All our bills have to go out and we are putting on a training class, which I have helped organize.  I love the organizing part.  Had some great BBQ delivered for lunch!  Tomorrow is oriental - yum!

I've been missing my dad lately.  I think it's because my hubby and I are in a small group and the topics lately have been on heaven and hell and it makes me think of Dad.  I know he's in heaven.  Plus, I found out yesterday an elderly relative who dad loved passed away over the weekend. 

I've lost my motivation to work out.  Anyone have any tricks to jump start a desire to exercise again? 

It's starting to cool down.  Fall is coming.  Now I can break out the sweaters and sweatshirts.  I like to bundle up.  The electric blanket has already been turned on the last few nights.  I'm trying not to crank up the heat, but I think I'm going cave soon because it's getting cold inside.  I just checked...our temperature says 65 degrees.  That's inside the house.  Brr.

So I ask you, "What's been happenin, hot stuff?"

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Good Read

I'll admit it -- I'm not much of a reader.  I've heard it said that if you meet or know of an intelligent person odds are they are an avid reader.  So I guess I'm not very intelligent.  So be it. :)

But I did enjoy a good book recently, Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo.  It's a few years old, so you may have heard of it, or read it yourself.  Basically, it's a recap from a father's perspective of his little four year old boy who had an emergency appendectomy and experienced heaven and Jesus.  It's told by Todd, the dad, and how his son, Colton, began to reveal amazing details of his first-hand accounts of Jesus, heaven, Todd's dead grandpa, and Colton's sister (who he never knew about because his mom had a miscarriage). 

 
It was a very easy read; and a quick read.  Things I like when I read a book.  If you are looking for a nice read on an afternoon and want a bit of a spiritual challenge, then I highly recommend this book.  If you just want to have an enjoyable read - then I recommend this book.  If I can get my kids to read something other than school work (not because they love school work but because they have so much of it) then I recommend this book to them.

Happy reading all you intelligent friends.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grateful

As I was driving to work today a rush of gratefulness came over me.  Do you ever get those moments, where out of the blue, you start reflecting on something?  Or an idea or thought comes to you that was not related to what you were doing, where you were going, or what you were planning?  I love it when that happens.  I cherish those quick, spontaneous, out of the blue, moments.  I know it's God's little whisper to me, just between us at that moment. 

So this morning, I'm driving and I was reminded of how blessed I am which allowed me to appreciate all that God does for me and my family.  Here's a list (not all inclusive, of course) of some of the things I am so grateful for, and in no particular order....

1.  My kids.  I have really good kids!  I trust them.  They are honest (at least as far as I know, smile).  And, they are ultra intelligent! 

2.  My job.  I have THE BEST job!  A big part of that is because I have a great boss.  How many people get to say that?  No, he doesn't read this or know I have this blog.

3.  Related to #2, I only work part-time.  What a blessing.

4.  My hubby.  He is my support in all ways.  He is strong, intelligent, confident, and loves me.  With all that we've gone through the first part of the year I think many families would have a hard time coming through it stronger.  We have.

5.  Our cars.  There are four drivers in this family and each has a working car to drive.  What a blessing for us all!

6.  Our finances.  We don't have much but we don't owe much.  Makes for a good end of the month.

7.  My extended family.  I grew up with a great family.  Had fabulous parents (I don't know how they did it!).  I can now say I love to be around all my sisters.  Confession:  I didn't always like a sister or two at a time or two when I was young.  I know they felt the same way about me and I have a scar to prove it.  I know, I never let you forget that.  But really, four sisters have so much fun together.  When dad was ill and we were all together visiting he had to tell us a few times to quiet down.  I also have the best, and most fun, Uncle and cousins. 

8.  My faith.  I have a God who loves ME.  I am selfish and stubborn and He loves me anyway.  And to top that, He even had His Son die for me.  My small group just looked over some scripture about what happens after we die.  How grateful I am that I won't be where there is gnashing of teeth but instead with the love of my heavenly Father and Son, Jesus.

9.  My friends.  What support, love, and laughter we have. 

10.  Life.  I am grateful that I get to live a fabulous life with all the above.

I hope you can spend some time this weekend thinking of what you are grateful for.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chili Recipe

One of my favorite dinners is Chili.  Especially in the fall with football.  I don't know about you, but I think they just go together.  I love my recipe because it's so easy and quick and I think it has just the right amount of spice without being over powering. 

I love chili "Hawaiian style".  I call it that because the Hawaiians eat chili over rice.  Anyone that knows me or my family know we are huge rice eaters.  We go through 50 pounds of rice about every six weeks.  So we eat chili over rice and top with onions and cheese - mmm, yummy.



If you need a new idea for dinner, try my chili - I hope you like it.

Easiest Chili
Can = about 15 oz, give or take

1 pound Ground Beef
1 can Corn, drained
1 can Kidney Beans, drained
1 can Black Beans, drained
1 can Tomato Sauce
2 heaping tablespoons Chili Powder
1 heaping tablespoon Cumin
Brown ground beef in a large sauce pan (or dutch oven).  Drain fat.  Add remaining ingredients and heat through.  Can simmer for as long as needed.  Stir occassionally.

And that's all there is to it.  Eat over rice and top with shredded cheese and onion. 

Optional versions - brown diced onion with ground beef.  Add green chilis.  I've used a can of beer and added tomato paste.  Once I had two New York steaks and cut those into chunchs and used that instead of ground beef and put all in the crockpot and cooked for 6 hours.  My son loved that version.  So you can personalize this to your tastes but the basic is good as is. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fore

Last weekend my hubby and I had a day out.  We were invited to play in a best ball scramble.  That's golf, if you didn't know.  The course was a pretty drive a half hour away.  My hubby golfs all summer - he coaches baseball to feed his summer golf habit.  He had never golfed at this course.  So half the fun for him was trying out a new course.  I consider myself somewhat athletic.  I can goof around in most sports but golf is one I haven't played much.  I know and understand the game, but just don't play.  Basketball is the other - I can barely dribble a ball let alone shoot. 

A best ball scramble is the best format for this duffer.  We play as a foursome and everyone tees off.  Then we pick up our ball and move to the best ball hit.  Then all hit from there and continue to move to the best ball until we hit it in the cup.  The one main rule is each team has to use two drives from each person.  After that, it's fair game as to whose ball is used. 

Last year I played once and I've matched that amount of playing time with this tournament.  As I said, my hubby hadn't golfed here before and my golfing son was jealous (he wanted to play but I bumped him off the team and took his place).  We decided that he doesn't want to play this course.  It is laid out so tight and some holes criss-cross over each other.  On some holes we didn't know which direction we were supposed to hit.  Thankfully the couple we played with had played the course a few times and knew it (and they had a GPS for accurate yardage - huge advantage!).  I apologized to our teammates before we started since they are frequent golfers. 

We wanted to do this because it's a stress free time for me to play; hubby and I get to spend a day outside together; and the fee went to help a missionary family in Bangladesh.  How could we pass all that up?  I'm so glad we did it for all the above reasons.  And also because we WON!  Whoo hoo!  We shot a 16 under and won gift cards to a sporting goods store and a restaurant.  Bonus!

This weekend is a take-it-easy weekend.  College football starts (we've already watched a few games) and it's the last free weekend before everyone is back in school.  And it looks like we'll have nice weather to boot. 

I hope everyone has a great Labor Day Weekend and hopefully will have some fun activities planned - or maybe just take it easy.  Either way, enjoy!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mini Va-Ca

I recently took a few days off work so the family could spend a long weekend away.  We packed up and headed to Montana.  Whitefish to be exact.  We drove through Montana a few years ago on our way to Mt. Rushmore (fabulous trip by the way).  This time we got off the main freeway and took a few smaller highways to get to Whitefish.  It seemed like a long drive but really wasn't too bad (only 4.5 hours).  At times it was a pretty drive.  Definitely different landscape, which I enjoy seeing. 


The drive to Whitefish

We found a condo to stay at that was located right in the village at the top of Big Mountain.  What a gorgeous view!  The town is as quaint as can be.  Too bad we had kids with us.  Hubby and I love to walk through the shops and explore.  Boring for the kiddies.  Plus, we didn't have a lot of time.  It was a quick long weekend. 

The boys golfed one day while the girls spa'd.  Everyone was happy that day!  The golf course had spectacular views of the mountain.  We also lucked out because the weather was perfect - clear and sunny.  Who doesn't want that when they are on vacation?

We also went into Glacier National Park and did a 2 hour horse back ride.  Glad we did it, but wouldn't do it again.  It was like the pony rides at carnivals except the horses went in a straight line with a guide and not in circles.  I could have fallen asleep on the horse and still made it back to the stable if it wasn't for the two kids who talked the entire time.  No wild life sightings happening on our tour.

Our other adventures were riding the alpine slide and zip lining on the mountain.  What a blast!  Big Mountain is set up for Summer adventure.  The entire family loved these two events.  There is also a ropes course available to move at your own pace and a jump/slide blow up thing that is great for the kids - no matter your height or age. 

The food - Oh my!  Almost all of it was delicious, some of it not as much, but no loser meals the entire time.  Expensive, but tasty. 

This is one of the few places we really want to come back to and spend a week at.  So much more to do.  We would like to take the tram to the top of the hill and mountain bike down.  Whitewater rafting is another adventure we plan to do.  There is a longer zip line we would sign up for.  And the hubby and I will walk the shops - kids, you are on your own.  There is Whitefish Lake and spending some time hanging out there would be a nice relaxing day.  Of course, more golf for the boys.  So that would mean more spa for the girls.  Ooh, I'm liking this already. 

I have to admit I was the bad mom this trip.  Don't ask me how I could forget, but I left the camera at home.  I'm a dork.  I tried to take a few pictures with my cell phone (I don't have a fancy phone, just a text and talk phone) needless to say, they didn't turn out well as a camera.  I was able to get the one view on the drive above.

This spot is now on our consider retirement area list.  Of course, we are not skiers, snowboarders or outside winter people.  Being Whitefish receives on average 300 inches of snow each year we'd have to rethink that retirement option until we have a chance to visit in the winter.  We'll have to see what comes of that. 

What fun activities or vacations have you done this summer?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Surprise

My hubby and I love each other very much but for our birthday or Mother's or Father's Day we don't do much for each other.  It's just one of those things we both agree on.  Many times we don't even give a card.  Same with our anniversary.  And we are both totally OK with that.  Neither of us feels slighted.  We definitely give best wishes to each other on these days but that's close to all we get.

I do make a prime rib roast for our anniversary and Valentine's Day.  He usually does stop at the grocery store and brings home some flowers for me for Valentine's Day.  Normally, though, those Hallmark days pass and Hallmark loses money on us. 

Christmas is another story.  We both try to get a couple of items the other has been wanting.  Many times they are practical items and that is fine because it's something we've been wanting.  I always make sure the kids receive gifts for their birthdays.  I won't deprive them (or me) of that fun and joy. 

So imagine my surprise when the man carrying a huge bouquet of flowers came into my office and presented me with those flowers.  He asked if it was my birthday or a special day and I said no.  He saw my stunned look and said to smile and just enjoy it.  He said those are the deliveries he loves to give because they are surprises.  Yes it was! 


My dear hubby had flowers delivered to me, just because.  He wanted to send me love and let me know he was thinking of me.  I am so blessed.  And are you just a little jealous?  Oh, they smelled delicious.  Too bad you can't smell them too.

Have you had any fun surprised lately?

Monday, August 6, 2012

I've been tagged


My friend, not just in the blogging world but in real life, Jenn of Four For France, tagged me for a Q & A blog.  I think these are fun because you get a chance to learn a little bit more about your friends.  Some answers you may be able to guess, but many are surprises. 

So here are my answers to the following questions:

1. What color are your socks right now?
No socks.  I am sitting on the couch.  No I'm reclining on the couch with a blanket over my lap with laptop warming my thighs.  Athletic socks are white or black.  Dress socks usually black and a couple brown.  I'm pretty bland in that area.

2. What are you listening to right now?
The Olympics on TV which is currently showing Race Walking.  I guess I really do love the Olympics, no matter what is being shown.  And my dogs deep breathing as they lie next to me.  Now my daughter showed up and I'm hearing her ask why race walking is even a sport.

3. What was the last thing you ate?
Yum, Noodle Express leftovers from yesterday's lunch.  My favorite part is the vinegar slaw.

4. Can you drive a stick shift?
Oh yes.  My car is an automatic, which I prefer.

5. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Texting doesn't count.  I spoke with my hubby on my way home from running errands - hands free of course.

6. How old are you today?
That is a funny question.  46.  I'll be 46 for about 335 more days.

7. What is your favorite sport to watch?
I love to watch baseball, the Mariners.  I know.  Most people don't find baseball too exciting, but I do.  I missed out on being at the perfect game pitched against the Mariners earlier this season.  I drove right past the stadium and walked around downtown Seattle and was tempted to take in the game, but hung out with my sisters instead   I also love to watch volleyball.  Both indoor and beach.  I prefer the women, but the men are exciting too.

8. What is your favorite drink?
Hmm.  That one is a loaded question.  Depends on the time of day.  Morning - coffee with french vanilla creamer; during the day - water, evening - Sauvignon Blanc wine.

9. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Highlight it every 6 - 8 weeks.  Tried going a bit red once, but that didn't work out.

10. What is your favorite food?
Rice.  The rice pot never leaves the counter.  We go through 50 pounds of rice every 1 1/2 months or so.  No kidding.

11. Do you sing in the shower?
Usually not. 

12. Favorite day of the year?
I have to agree with Jenn with Thanksgiving, but I am also partial to the 4th of July.  I love putting out the flag and bar b q'ing.  And there is usually a baseball game on TV too.

13. What is one place you want to visit?
I'm going to cheat on my answer:  Europe.  I've never been out of North America and would love to tour all over Europe.

14. What was your favorite toy as a child?
I had a doll, about 18 inches tall.  I think her name was Ruth, but I don't remember.  She had chestnut brown hair that I could pull out from the top of her head to give her long hair, or turn the nob in her back and shorten it to a bob.


15. What is your favorite season?

I think Fall has to win out.  It is still warm, but getting cool.  I love to pull out sweaters and college football is on every Saturday which my hubby and I love to watch.  OK, add college football to question #7.


So now you know a bit more about me.  Feel free to answer any or all questions and we all can get to know you more too.

Friday, August 3, 2012

One Year Ago Today

This exact day last year was when I made a conscious decision to stop being out of shape.  I had been gaining weight and becoming such a sloth and having basically no activity.  The scale kept climbing and I kept sitting.  Then, on August 3, 2011 something clicked, or snapped, and I decided to be proactive against where my body was heading. 

I'm not where I wanted to be, weight wise, but pretty close.  I am using the excuse that the first six months of 2012 have been pretty darn hard on me and my family.  An excuse, yes, but I do think I do have a reason to use that excuse....the death of my father-in-law, the stress of my dad's inevitable death, my daughter receiving two concussions in 2 1/2 months; traveling to bury my f-i-l, the death and burial of my dad, and to top it off my hubby and daughter being in a head on crash (by a gal on meth) and all that goes with dealing with a crash (doctors and car hunting).  I think that pretty much sums up those months. 

I was hoping to be 25 pounds lighter and much, much stronger.  I'm actually 19 pounds lighter (I did drop to 23 pounds during the stress of my dad's illness but have since gained a bit back due to the above).  I am much, much stronger.  I know that I made the right decision to get healthier.  I saw the difference this summer.  I play softball and hit far better than I ever have.  In my first game I hit a triple.  I don't know if I've ever hit a triple in my life.  To call me quick on the bases is a HUGE lie.  I am more of a turtle.  But this season I felt faster and even a teammate commented that I was running faster on the bases.  So I know that even though I have a bit more to go, I can see results, and that helps to motivate me to get back in the swing of exercise. 

Some things I've learned in the past year:
1.  I Do Not do work out videos.  I've tried but it just doesn't do it for me.

2.  I do like to crank the tunes on my MP3 and tune everything else out when I work out.

3.  You don't need a gym to lose weight.

4.  I have to decide to work out every time.  It's still so easy to not do it.

5.  Gaining weight is so much faster and easier than losing it.

6.  My family is the best and I cherish them!

I hope your weekend is spent cherishing those you love.

Monday, July 23, 2012

4.3 Miles

Yes, I actually ran 4.3 miles!  I really can't believe it, but I did it.  So did my hubby!  We signed up to run in a road race and the proceeds are used to help bring clean water/wells to the people of Kenya. 

 
Aren't these kids just too cute! 
How can you not want to help out?


I really don't like to run, but am trying to run a couple of miles just to add something more to my exercising.  Confession:  I really haven't exercised since my dad died and really need to get back into it. 

I was worried how I would do, but kept at a nice slow and steady pace.  Then I think about these little guys and they have to haul their water from that dirty river (look - the animals do all their regular animal stuff in there).  This is the water they cook, clean, drink and bathe in.  We take our every day ease for granted, at least I do.  I run to the sink to wash my hands.  Turn on the hose and water the lawn and flowers.  Wash the dog dishes and fill with clean water every day.  Flush toilets.  I know I have it so easy and am blessed beyond my dreams.  My hubby and I were happy to sign up and pay for this race.  We plan to run again next year and have our kids either run or volunteer. 

I hope your weekend was fulfilling.



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Welcome Back

What a surprise I had at Costco.

Before I get to that let me catch you up on my day.  I didn't sleep well the night before and to top it off woke up even earlier than I normally do on a weekday.  Yuk, why is that???  Nothing that a couple of cups of coffee can't help.  So I drank my coffee, read the paper then ran on the treadmill for 2.5 miles. Another side note....I signed my husband and me up for a 7K run in July (yikes!  That's 4.3 miles....I had to look it up).  I haven't run in a race for probably 15 years, and then only did a couple, but this one is sponsored by our church and helps Kenya with clean water.  So I'm focusing on running, which is NOT a natural thing for me to do. 

Back to the story.

My kids were gone for the day on their own adventures so it was nice and peaceful in the early morning.  I got ready and hubby and I went to lunch then headed over to Costco.  We needed fertilizer, but they were out.  We did manage to find many other items to fill the cart, though.  Isn't that always the case when you go to Costco?  It is for me.  I will try to go in for only a couple of items, then walk out with more than I planned (Yes, that is another post and issue to discuss about self control). 

We made it just past the TV's and there was my surprise.  A friend I haven't seen in five years was there.  She and her family have been in Germany for the last five years for her husband's job.  I knew they were headed back to the states this summer, but didn't realize they were already back.  They have been back for only seven days she told me.  I could have talked to her for hours - luckily we didn't and our husbands were very kind and patient in the 15 minutes or more we did chat.  It was such an unexpected treat to run into her and made my day!

Mrs. O had been one of the first attendees at my coffees.  One of the things I love the most about her is she asks probing questions.  Not the kind that are invasive, but truly inquisitive and thought provoking.  She's a thinker and challenges me.  And always with such kindness and sensitivity.  That's her heart and her nature. 

Since I take the summer off from coffee hosting I now can't wait for Fall to have my next coffee and know there is a chance she can make it. 

Have you had any fun surprised lately?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day that wasn't

This was the first Father's Day without my dad.  Sunday was actually OK.  It was Saturday that it hit me that I would have a Father's Day and not be able to call my Dad and tell him how much I love him.  Writing that right now brings tears to my eyes.  Oh, how I loved that man!  He was such an amazing Dad.  Saturday was actually a pretty quiet day and I had the chance to think about not having my dad around.  I know it's a part of life, but that doesn't mean it is going to be an easy life.

I find that I really miss him when we worship at church.  Funny.  I think it's because the praise songs remind me that dad is in heaven and one day I will join him, but in the mean time, I'm here and he isn't.  I tend to tear up during the worship.  Why can't I ever remember to bring Kleenex with me?

Sunday we focused on my hubby.  He had the first Father's Day without his dad, too.  I've decided that I don't like both of us experiencing these "firsts" together.  Hubby has an ability to get through it very matter of fact-ly.  Me...not so much.  But it was F.D. so we celebrated hubby and after church went to brunch and had a great late breakfast.  Then a casual rest of the day.  Dinner was prime rib roast and it was delicious.  Our daughter saw this t-shirt and had to get it for him.  He will wear it proudly.

Despite not having fathers to call, we got through the day with my husband as the Dad to celebrate.  I am fortunately though.  I was able to send wishes to my Uncle (my Dad's brother and only sibling).  I have the VERY BEST FAMILY!  As dad was ill, my Uncle told each one of us girls (dad had 4 daughters) that he would proudly step in and be the surrogate dad for us.  How luck am I! 

I hope you all were able to celebrate Dad's day in your own unique way.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We Need A Car

Yes, that red car is, or should I say was, our car.  By God's grace our injuries weren't as bad as they could/should have been.  My husband was driving with my daughter and the other driver clipped a city bus and hit my husband head on.  The broken windshield is from the airbag, thankfully, not my daughter.  Here's a link to the story that the news covered along with more pictures.  (The added comments below the story are others who know nothing about the accident except what they read.)

After saying our blessings, we are now a bit put off because we are in the throws of car shopping-yuk.  We really liked this extremely reliable and affordable low mileage car.  Trying to find something comparable has me pulling my hair out.  I hate the idea of having to replace something that didn't need replacing prior to this and I'm not finding anything similar. 

The drama we've been experiencing these past four plus months is getting old.  I don't live a drama filled life and am ready for the "excitement" to subside.  I think we are on our way because my son has been golfing very well and that has been exciting to see him improve during the school season, which just ended the other day.  As he reminded us, now he has to start paying for his golf.  Time to find a job, I think, to help pay for all those tee times.

I am planning on having a coffee soon.  This will get me to clean the house and get back to a more typical "normal".  I've already decided that I'm not worrying about making fun treats (something I love doing) because that's not important.  The local grocery store can supply the goodies this time.  It's the company around the table is what I crave and enjoy and are what the coffee times are all about.

Enjoy and appreciate your families today.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Not Back to "Normal"

I really didn't expect things to change much after my dad passed.  Call me naive, but I honestly thought I'd get right back to where I was and trudge on.  This is one of the lessons my parents taught me.  You keep on because there really isn't an option.  It's normally the right lesson.  But I've surprised myself, and I am not moving on as I figured I would be. 

Dad lived across the state and I didn't have a chance to see him much, but we did talk frequently.  So I figured after his services, I'd go back home and life moves ahead because I have a family and work and a life to live.  Practical, yes.  Callous, possibly. 

But I'm not trudging forward.  I still have our luggage from our trip to Hawaii to put away.  I still have my suitcase from traveling for Dad to unpack.  I haven't worked out in weeks, and unfortunately I don't feel like it.  It feels like there is so much to take care of around the house and I just walk past it. 

No, I'm not depressed, just temporarily overwhelmed.  I do miss my dad!  And I'm surprised at how much.  I knew this day was coming.  I actually hoped for it to be sooner than later to alleviate any pain he would be in.  But now that it's actually here, it's so final.  (I do have hope because we will be together again in heaven.)

If you have a moment, please pray for me.  And especially for my dad's wife.  This is so hard on her and she misses him terribly.  As hard a time as I'm having with moving on I can't imagine what it would be like to lose your spouse.

My head knows what I should be doing but my heart is heavy and hurting.  Today is just a day of grief for me.  I was told to be prepared for an overwhelming sense of unexpected sorrow to hit.  I think it has today.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Memory of Dave


I'm back from my dad's funeral services.  It's so hard to say good-bye to someone you dearly love.  But, I do have hope because I know he was a Christian and loved Jesus and one day I will be with him again in Heaven.  Until then, I have joy that he is with Christ.

I also had a wonderful time being with my family.  My family is close and we always have fun and laugh, no matter the circumstances.  And we were able to laugh last weekend.  My uncle did a fabulous job speaking at the church and sharing about the early days and our family history.  We all learned something new about dad, and the family, which was wonderful.  Thankfully I video taped the services so I can go back and write down the history. 

Dad was in the Air Force for 20 years and retired a Lt. Colonel.  Because of that he also received a military burial with the folding of the flag, taps played and a gun salute.  It was beautiful and so deserving. 

I also spoke at the funeral and gave a daughter's perspective of dad.  Here's my tribute to dad and what I said....

I’m Peggy, the 2nd of the 4 daughters and I want to share a few memories of dad.  As I look back on my life growing up, so many memories of dad come to mind, and most of them are the snapshots of everyday living:
           - Dad in the garage listening to baseball while tinkering on something.
           - Having a fire most nights, even in California.
- Teaching me how to balance my bank statement – and I still do every  
   month.
- For our birthdays going to dinner, without the sisters, and dad usually
  remembering what he had at every restaurant – he loved food.
- Tail-gating before Stanford football games.
- Watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie, “The Birds”.
- Coming home from work and reading the paper and not hearing anything
  going on around him.  We’d talk with him and he could tune all of us out.
- And the family favorite: trying to say our name but going through  
  everyone in the house, including the dog, before getting it correct.  This
  has been passed on to each of us.

But dad had a few traits about him that stand out above all.

First and foremost, dad was a family man.  His family meant everything to him.  He loved his kids, his brother and niece and nephew, all his grand kids – he loved everything about the family.  If it had been a bit since he’d talk to us he’d call and say, “hi toots, it’s your daddy” and find out how we were doing.  It didn’t have to be a long conversation, he just wanted to check in and see how we were.
           He loved his four girls and we knew it.  When he and Carol married he gained a son and another daughter and he welcomed them as his own.  And I know they felt the same about him. 

           Dad was also a man of faith.  He wasn’t charismatic about it; instead he lived his faith.  I don’t think I ever heard him say a mean word about anyone.  He was honest, kind and had the utmost integrity.   He loved being a part of the men’s Bible study for both the learning and the company.  He enjoyed serving at the church and ushering. 

           Dad was also a provider.  He worked hard and loved his work.  He instilled a strong work ethic in all of us by his example.  He loved what he did.  I remember him telling us that he had done such a thorough job at Boeing that he streamlined himself out of a job.  I think he was proud that he was able to improve operations so well that he wasn’t needed in that area anymore.  Thankfully he did move into another position.
           All dad’s jobs were top secret, but he had a way of telling us about a project he was working on and it seemed like he told us everything when, in fact, he disclosed nothing.  Dad had that story-telling ability, which I know he got from his dad, and so did Uncle Harold.

           I don’t have that story telling gift, but I will still tell you a few stories and memories of times with Dad.
           Many of you might be surprised that dad would occasionally break out into a tap dance around the house.  The time that stands out the most when dad danced was when we moved to Sunnyvale.  Dad and I were in the back of the moving van, just hanging out, and two girls were poking around trying to get a peak of the new neighbors.  Dad prodded me to go out and say Hi.  Believe it or not, I am shy at times and didn’t want to.  So dad made his move and tap danced down the ramp of the van.  I could hear giggles.  Being the cool 2nd grader that I was, I was mortified (maybe that was a bit of dad’s motivation??).  We did become friends with those girls, so no harm done.

           Dad loved baseball!  Like I said, he would listen to games on the radio on the weekends when he worked in the garage.  And I know I love listening to the Mariners on the radio because of him.  He played on men’s softball leagues for many years.  It was very hard for him to give that up because he was traveling so much and then physically couldn’t do it anymore.  He coached many of my and Karen’s softball teams – it was great having a coach that knew the game and how to teach us.  Sometimes after a game, dad in his jeans and me in my uniform and cleats, would find an open house or new construction in the area and check it out. 
           Many Sundays after church we’d make our sandwiches and sit in front of the TV and hang out and watch whatever game was on – either baseball or football.  Here’s a hint I learned from dad – the best sandwiches always include pepperocini peppers.

           We are all blessed for knowing dad!  He was an honorable man.  He was a hard worker and proud of his family.  But I think the best gift he gave us is being a loving father.  Because of his example, the ability to accept and understand that our God is a loving Father is so natural.  That is such an easy concept because dad was a great example here on earth.

He will be greatly missed – no doubt!  But it was a special Easter this year knowing that while we celebrated the risen Christ, Dad was WITH the risen Christ. 

And it doesn’t get any better than that!          

                                                      I love you Dad!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Tribute to My Dad

I have been deeply saddened this past week.  My wonderful dad lost his 12 year battle with prostate cancer on Saturday, April 7th.  Easter was significantly more meaningful to me this year because of Dad.  I know he's in heaven and had the privilege of spending Easter WITH the risen Christ IN Heaven.

We arrived home from Hawaii Saturday morning and that evening I received the call that he was gone.  I hope everyone can say they have the best dad ever, because I certainly can.  I have been blessed with the family I was born into.  I have two emotions running simultaneously - sadness and joy.  The sadness is obvious because I adored my dad.  Joy - because...
  1. Dad doesn't have to be frustrated with his physical condition anymore. 
  2. I saw Dad two months prior to his passing. 
  3. Dad was always alert to the end. 
  4. Dad is home in Heaven.
  5. I never once questioned my dad's love for me.
I have so much to say, yet it's so hard to say.  I am shocked at how well I am taking all this - thank you Holy Spirit for your comfort during this time.  So I will write more at a later date, but for now I grieve.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We're Back!

We recently had our spring break and this year we took a trip!  We NEVER go anywhere on spring break.  This was a trip that was bitter-sweet.   We had my father-in-law's memorial services during the trip, but we also had some play time.  We went to Hawaii.  Yes, this was our view from our hotel. We were spoiled.


My FIL lived on the islands for over 50 years and his wife is buried there, so of course he was buried there as well.  The entire family came out and we had a beautiful church service to remember him and saw family friends and colleagues.  He was a very bold Christian man and we were honored to remember him and his stories.  We had a couple of women perform a hula interpretation to the Mercy Me song, "I Can Only Imagine".  I'm sure you can imagine it was beautiful.

We also had a military service at the VA cemetery since he had spent a few years in the Navy.  I was so impressed by that.  To see the two men walk so ceremoniously, display the colors, hear Taps, and have the flag presented to my husband was such an honor to be a part of. 

We were able to have some fun, too.....

We had a great time at a luau. 

Swing bridge at the zip line.

 The crater of a volcano.  We walked around half of it then walked the floor back to the start.  Steam was still coming up in some places.
Here we are on the volcano floor.
 Here is the more active volcano.  We couldn't drive to the other end because it wasn't safe.

 Good advice to follow!

 The other hotel we stayed at.  This is how the "other half" vacation.  We enjoyed it because we usually don't stay at places like this.
 Not only were there wild cats (and darling kittens) but wild turkeys roaming the hotel grounds.

The reasons that got us to Hawaii were solemn ones.  FIL passed away a few days after Christmas so we had time to process his passing before we left and enjoy being back on the islands and remembering him.  We also knew he would have loved knowing his family was together and enjoying the state he called home.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

HAPPY EASTER!

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!

I pray for a blessed Easter for you and your families. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I need a maid

   I HATE cleaning!  Seriously, I am the worst housekeeper.  I can pick up any room lickity split, but when it comes to actually cleaning - that's another story and it doesn't have a good ending.  That's one of the reasons we had kids - train them on how to clean so I don't have to. ; o)

We have a joke at my house....my husband asks if I'm inviting anyone over soon because the house needs cleaned.  True?  Yes.  Pathetic?  Yes.  It is a joke, but it is also my sad reality.  We were in one of those dirty places and it just so happened that my daughter's volleyball team was looking to have a get-together to view film and have some team bonding.  Perfect.  My excuse to clean.  So I offered our home and the girls came, ate pizza, watched game film and even tye-dyed t-shirts.  And my home is clean!  I even vacuumed the stairs.  So come on over and see the clean house.  Oh, wait.  By the time you get here I'm sure it will need another cleaning.  Somehow the clean doesn't last long at all.  Oh well.  You can come anyway, just look past the dust and dishes and whatever is causing a mess.

What do you do when you have to tackle a task you don't want to or don't like doing?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekend Update

"Good evening.  I'm Chevy Chase, and you're not." 

I know I'm dating myself because I remember Chevy Chase doing the Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.  I didn't watch SNL this weekend (actually, I don't watch it anymore) but I did have one of the best weekends in a long time!  It was a non-stop weekend and I didn't feel like I needed a weekend from my weekend. 

Everything started with installing a new sink and faucet in one of the bathrooms.  We were without one sink for a week as we tried to work on it last weekend and it didn't come together.  So we left it for the week and tackled it again on Friday and we got it in, and ..... it works!  Cooked some Mahi Mahi for dinner then on to my volleyball match for the night.  We didn't win but I was up and ready for the games.  I had fun despite the losses. 

Best of The Brothers Cazimero, Vol. 3Saturday was a quiet morning with coffee and the paper then on to a great workout (you'll understand why in a few lines).  Ran a few errands and met up with my husband to finish some shopping.  Back home and got ready for a date night.  We almost forgot what that was, it had been so long since we've gone out.  Went out to a fantastic dinner.  Here's why I had to work out:  sourdough bread, clam chowder, a heavenly salad (spinach with bacon and a creamy dill vinaigrette dressing - a taste explosion when I took my first bite), sturgeon for dinner with a creamy lemon sauce, of course wine to drink, and crème brûlée for dessert.  I belonged to the clean plate club, and if we weren't in public, I would have considered licking those plates clean.  But the night was not over.  Off to the symphony and seeing The Brothers Cazimero perform.  No, they are not a circus group.  They are brothers, duh, who are Hawaiian singers.  I love Hawaiian music and this was a fabulous night.  (Here's a link to one of my favorite Hawaiian songs, "Pua Hone") There were also a few Hula dancers and we were so close we could smell the lei's fragrant aroma.  Oh how I wish I was in Hawaii right now!

Sunday was a full day of volleyball for my daughter and her team made it to the finals of the consolation bracket.  Too bad they didn't win but they were playing pretty good volleyball in the end.  My daughter missed the last tournament because she got a concussion from an errant ball that hit her in the head.  She is feeling much better and was very excited to play again. 

It was a great weekend and I hope yours was a good one too.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm Back

So sorry to be gone so long.  These past 6 weeks have been something.  I am surprised as to how consuming the passing of my father-in-law.  We rejoice that he's in heaven and blessed his passing was quick, but it did put us in a funk for a bit.  Then add all the things that are involved in dealing with the death of a loved one.  That alone has filled our free time.

Then on to my busy month at work and putting in extra time.  January is a hectic time for me - closing out the previous year and getting everything ready for the new year.  But, I really like my job, so even when it gets busy I know how fortunate I am to have this great job.

Now my dad is gravely ill.  I've spent the last few weekends visiting him.  My sisters all came out to visit at the same time and what a blast it was to spend time with the girls.  That rarely happens anymore since we are spread across the country.  We all spent time with Dad and laughed so hard over the weekend.  I think the fun was cathartic for us and Dad.  Yes, we got a bit noisy at times and he had to tell us to quiet down, but isn't that what dad's are supposed to do?  I am so thankful that I was able to visit. 

I welcome your prayers over my dad, his wife and my family. 

So, the plan is to get back to sharing the goings on and any other fun stuff that comes along.
See you soon.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Missed it by this much


And I’m good with that.  I set a goal to lose 20 pounds in 22 weeks. Before I let you know how I did (I think you know a bit by the title), let me take you back to how this came about.

I was one of the lucky ones growing up.  I was always thin and didn’t have to worry about weight.  After two kids I never dropped back to pre-baby weight.  I began to gain extra weight a few years ago (up to 10 pounds then dropped  a couple) and last summer put on another six pounds in just a couple of weeks.  I was watching the scale climb and not liking it.  I knew I needed to cut back on the treats, watch portion size and begin exercising.  I knew what to do, I just didn’t have the will power or literally, the get-up-and-go to do it. 

One day I was reading blogs and clicking around on the web and came across the site, Two Girls on the Go.  They just so happened to be running a daily challenge for the month.  Any other day I would have continued my surfing.  Not that day.  I followed that monthly plan only missing three workouts.  The first week I thought I’d drop at least three pounds.  (When you are a “Biggest Loser” watcher you expect to lose like they do.)  Nope, I lost just one pound.  A bit discouraging.  The second week had to be a couple of pounds lost.  Again, just one.  After four weeks, four pounds.  Ok, so if I keep at this, in another four weeks I should be around 8 pounds down.  I was beginning to see that one pound a week really is a good thing. 

During the 22 weeks I caught a cold and had little energy for three weeks but maintained then lost again.  I also made it through Thanksgiving.  Then the two weeks surrounding Christmas did me in.  I succumbed to eating all the goodies and couch potato-ing.  There was also the passing of my father-in-law.  The motivation pretty much was gone during those few weeks.  Which brings us to today.  So here are the numbers…

I lost 16 pounds.  I started out at 154 pounds, jeans were pushing into a size 12 and my size 10 work slacks were tight.  I know some people would love to have my weight “problem”.  I know I was very unhealthy – and this is the problem.  I had very little muscle and mostly fat.  I had no endurance.  I struggled to run at a 12 minute mile pace – I could only last four minutes on a good day.  Today I am 138 pounds, jeans are a size 8 and dress pants size 6.  Trust me, I don’t look like someone who should be in a size 6.  I still have that thick layer of fat; it’s just in a smaller circumference.  I can usually run two miles on the treadmill at a 12 minute mile pace.

My first major goal is to get to 134 pounds.  Ultimately I would like to be down to 130.   I’ll admit, the numbers are important to me (it’s nice to see results), but they aren’t the most important.  I want to be strong and healthy and this is what I’m most excited about. 

I share this to hopefully inspire anyone else feeling they need to get healthier.  Trust me.  If this mid-40’s gal who could never say no to a sweet treat can do it I know you can.  I still have a treat but not every night.  Instead of a bowl of ice cream I have a spoon of sherbet ice cream.  I will still eat treats next Christmas, but I will sweat and burn some of those calories instead of letting them settle in my rear.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Going Home

I've been away from the blogging for a bit.  We've been a bit out of sorts and pre-occupied the last couple of weeks.  My father-in-law passed away expectantly the week after Christmas.  That caused my husband to be out of town for a few days and all that goes on with the arrangements and overseeing everything is more consuming than I realized.  So that has been taking up most of any free time we have.  I think in the next week things should be slowing down and at a more manageable pace.

We are sad about our loss of him, but we are also rejoicing in the fact that he loved and lived for Jesus!  That man loved to share stories and his love of Jesus.  I know, without a doubt, that he is home in heaven, Jesus was there to greet him, the angels were singing and dancing and his wife was waiting with open arms. 

His passing also reminds me to share Jesus (something I have to admit I'm not good at).  Also to let those I love know I love them.  When I shared the news with my family I also took a minute to let them know how much I loved them. 

Don't let time steal you away from letting your loved ones know how much you care about them.