Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.

~Author Unknown

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good Times

I came home from finishing up some Christmas shopping to music blaring. As I entered our family room, I could see two free spirits getting their groove on. Nessa and Diandra were dancing up a storm while baking cookies. As soon as I was in their sight, they grabbed me and we all started dancing. It continued after I got home. Big sigh ~ I am so smiling!

I am enjoying this time with my family so much that when I wash my face at night, I have noticed that my smile lines around my eyes are soooo deep. I know that I am getting older and that is to be expected, but I just smile looking at myself in the mirror even more knowing how they got there.

Rob is spending most of his time with his dad helping him at work. When they first got here, Charlie was working and all Rob kept asking was, "When is dad coming home?" He couldn't wait to see his dad.

I am really happy! Although the time feels like it is just flying by. I am relishing every minute!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Nutcracker

my collection of Nutcrackers

My collection of Nutcrackers started years ago, when my aunt Sandy gave me my first two for Christmas. I have always loved the story of the Nutcracker. When my children were young, I decided to take them to the Nutcracker ballet. We went all dressed up and it was a day I will never forget. Rob and Diandra got to mingle with the sugarplum fairies, while cookies and punch were being served.

This was their first ballet and they didn't quite know what to expect. Rob loved the fight scene and I will never forget how big his eyes were while watching it. Diandra asked how come there wasn't any talking. I explained to her they were talking, though not out loud but instead through the expression of dance and the movements they were making. Diandra has said, "starting out so young in dance (3 years old) this was when it "clicked" for her. I got it! Dancing changed for me."

The San Fransisco ballet was showing a performance of the Nutcracker on television the other evening. Diandra made some hot chocolate and we sat and watched. I will have to get the video. It is a keeper.

The display of Nutcrackers is a favorite in our home and brings back a warm memory. When Rob and Nessa first walked in the house, after many hugs, they gravitated to the them. Nessa expressed how she always went every year. It is truly a family favorite!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Planes ~ Trains? and Automobiles

Santa at Monterey Fisherman's Wharf

“Life is what happens to you while
you're busy making other plans”

John Lennon

It is good to make plans, but it is also good not to count on them because life always has it's own plans. That is when being able "to go with the flow" really kicks in. You need to be flexible; be able to bend. I feel like I have been doing the human pretzel this past year.

Rob and Nessa's plane was supposed to arrive at 9:50 P.M. last night. With all of the storms, they were told it could take up to two days to get to their destination. We were very disappointed to say the least. We had to look at the bright side and know that getting here safely was priority. On the plane from Omaha, Rob said that when they boarded the plane they had to wait for people to volunteer to get off because there was too much weight. About seven people volunteered and the stewardess's had to pick the remaining three. Rob expressed it was the worst feeling.

They were stuck at Salt Lake City Airport all night. The hotels had to stop their shuttles to the airport because of the snow. Rob made a makeshift tent with their jackets and the chairs (That's my boy; taking care of his girl and making the best of it). He said they woke up this morning to people sitting in all of the chairs around them. Can you imagine?

At one time, we were trying to figure out how to get them here sooner. We talked about driving to Utah or seeing if the train was in route to and from there to here.
After having to switch airports, the plane is on schedule today and they should arrive here later (We didn't need the train..). We have lost half a day of our visit but arriving safely is what really matters.
It is better than two days!
Rob and Nessa are exhausted and can not wait to get here.
I can not wait either...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Past

My mom (the oldest), uncle Jim and aunt Jackie

One of my most favorite things that I like to do, is to look through our family albums. I can remember sitting at my great grandma and both of my grandmother's homes, looking through them for hours. I learned very early that there was a story behind each picture by asking the "why, who, where and when." My grandma's would love telling me what was going on and I would always learn more about our family in that way. I loved not only learning about my family, but also admired the objects that filled the picture.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy visiting, feasting, and laughing with loved ones. Most of all, savor every minute of Christmas at your home or where ever you are.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

* Home Comforts *

A sparkling frosted wreath hangs in front of a mirror.

A snowman on our kitchen island to greet us.

A simple touch of Christmas past here and there where you would least expect it.

I love adding an ornament to the nobs of the hutch or curio doors.

Did you know? The first snow globes, reminiscent of paperweights, are said to have come from France in the early 1800s.

Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate

6 cups milk
2 cups half-and-half
1 (24-oz.) bottle chocolate syrup
2 tsp.vanilla extract
Miniature marshmallows (optional)

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with miniature marshmallows, if desired.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

As I Sat

As I sat watching the waves crash against the rocks, I could only thing about how great God is.

My husband asked, "What are you thinking about?"
I said, "Nothing."
He said, "How do you think nothing?"
I was silent and only smiled.
He then grabbed my hand and said, "You look the most relaxed I have seen you in a long time ~ Peaceful."
I said, "I am. I'm not thinking about an MRI, C-scans, tests, cancer, school or eating disorders. I am looking at that (pointing to the ocean) knowing that there is a God."

Praise to God

Let us always offer to God our sacrifice of praise.
Hebrews 13:15

You are a great God.

Your character is holy.
Your truth is absolute.
Your strength is unending.
Your discipline is fair....
Your provisions are abundant for our needs.
Your light is adequate for our path.
Your grace is sufficient for our sins....

Your are never early, never late....
You sent your Son in the fullness of time and
will return at the consummation of time.

Your plan is perfect.
Bewildering. Puzzling. Troubling.
But perfect.

Grace For The Moment

Friday, December 12, 2008

Can I ...


I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

I don't know....

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you get bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too

Oh, take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down.

written by Stevie Nicks-

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Annual Day Trip

San Francisco Bay Bridge

Square Garden

face on Forever 21 building

The famous San Francisco cable car

beautiful architect with old iron fire escape

my sister Jess took this photo ~ I just love it!

Always looking up

Christmas tree at Pier 39

This last Saturday, I went to San Francisco. It has started out to be a tradition of sorts that every year my Nina charters a bus. It is such a treat to not worry about parking or paying attention to driving while visiting and catching up with everyone. This is my second year that I have gotten to attend. It lands on the first weekend of December which is also one of the biggest shopping days. We start by christening the trip with a glass of mimosa. We also had a raffle on the bus to see who could win their bus fare back. It was foggy in the valley but beautiful and clear in the city of San Francisco. The city was decorated with all of the Christmas trimmings and bows. The bus let us off at Square garden where we all went our separate ways. Then we shopped ~ shopped ~ shopped! We were supposed to get back on the bus at 4:00 P.M. to go to Pier 39 to do some more shopping and go out to dinner, but my sister Jessica and daughter Diandra weren't ready, so we met with everyone later. We finished up our shopping and went to Starbucks to refuel with some caffeine.

We had to take the city bus (which looked like an old bus back in time) to the Pier and that was really neat in itself and was a first for me. We went through Chinatown and it felt as if you were really in China. I couldn't take in everything fast enough. I just wanted to slow it down. It was wonderful! I loved watching... people. There was an old lady who looked like she had stepped out of the 50's. She had a sheer scarf tied around her head and then there was... well I could just go on and on. I had my camera in hand and whispered to my sister what I saw with the people. Beautiful moments. It was just a moment I didn't want to forget. I could see these moments captured in photos, done in black and white in some photo book. I started to fidget with my camera and my sister whispered to me, "You take one picture, I am running as fast as I can away from you." She made me laugh out loud so hard, that we both started laughing uncontrollably. At times her laugh was more of a nervous laugh; she knows me too well.

We had a yummy dinner at the Pier and really enjoyed each other's company. I am already looking forward to next year! This day starts as early as 5:30 A.M. in the morning and we don't step back into our home until 10:30 P.M. ... but, it is soooo worth it!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Too sweet not to share

The Wisdom in Hot Chocolate

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking
at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now
retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about
stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the
kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment
of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive,
some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said:

‘Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving
behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only
the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.
The cup that you ‘re drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot
chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases
even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot
chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups.
And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and
position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and
contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality
of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail
to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot
chocolate, man chooses the cups.

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make
the best of everything that they have.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

And enjoy
your hot chocolate!!

* My Nessa sent this to me ~ Author unknown

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's starting...

to feel a lot like Christmas!

I can feel the magic in the air.


Can't you?

My heart is filled with hope.
Thank you for all of your comments on my previous post.

I have a brand new niece that was born today!
18 days and counting until my kids come home!

Wishing you all ~ love and happiness!