2010, I RESOLVE...

I am already giving serious and thoughtful consideration about this coming year and some resolutions for me for 2010. Here they are:

1) Eat whole foods and make better food choices more consistently

I want to be healthier in 2010. Though I have done much better in eating whole foods, whole grains and switched to brown rice, whole wheat pastas, whole grain breads and including fresh vegetables and fruits into our meals every day, and have seen the results in my excellent cholesterol numbers, I want to BE CONSISTENT all year long. I aim for drinking 3-4 litres of water a day too...again, my goal is to be more consistent, since I tend to be more lax on the weekends.

2) Exercise in some way, everyday

In addition to my regular exercise time in the mornings and our Bow-Flex workouts during the evening weeknights, my resolution is to integrate some hikes, bike rides, and shoreline beach walks. By April, I resolve to sign up for Beach Boot Camp classes for the 2010 season (April - October).

3) Become more involved at my church, The Rock

Though we attend services, I want to become involved through a small group, Bible study and/or outreach

4) Less TV/more reading/more writing

These three go hand in hand. I resolve to use more of the time I spend watching television on more reading (which I love, but I have let the "boob tube" rob me of that pleasure) and working on my writing projects.

5) Volunteer/Selflessness

I resolve to give more of myself this year. More of me to my husband, family, friends and charitable endeavors.

Those are my five. Have you thought about your resolutions for 2010?



Yup, I am sick...still another day.

Today, some new symptoms to this cold virus. I feel winded and my eyes hurt. I am still sneezing, coughing and blowing my nose. But I do feel a little bit better than I did yesterday. It sure doesn't sound like it though, does it?

Bruce got me a really cool laptop pad for Christmas. It's called an e-Pad. It makes working on my laptop from the comforts of the couch (or bed) so much nicer! It is much better than trying to juggle it on my lap or from the arm of the sofa (which is a terrible angle for my neck and back when I work for any extended length of time).

I have been getting lots of use of my new e-Pad!

So, what else is new?

I am counting the days until we get to fly to Utah and celebrate Gracie's FIRST birthday!! Has it really almost been a year since that sweet baby girl was born? Yep, it really has!

I am compiling my list of things to pack for our trip to Utah and watching the calendar, marking off the days...one by one.



We celebrated Christmas Eve at my parent's house with a delicious Italian feast and a gift exchange! We had a smaller gathering than usual with some cousins not there and missing our sweet kids who live out of state. Nonetheless, our celebration was festive and warm and full of love and laughter.

I, unfortunately, am sick. I started with a sore throat last Saturday--24 hours after the dude at Sardina's coughed over his shoulder right at me--and on the morning of Christmas Eve, I began to feel REALLY awful, but I was not running a fever. Christmas morning, I woke up at 6 a.m. feeling EVEN WORSE....AND on top of it, I had a horrible migraine headache. After Excedrin and a cup of coffee, I began to feel better...Bruce and I opened our stockings together (sitting in bed) and enjoyed another cup of coffee.

We finally got out of bed and opened our gifts to one another, enjoyed some delicious Stollen Bread for breakfast. Sweet daughter, M was still fast asleep but was up and ready when the rest of the kids all arrived around 1:00 p.m. I had already happily chatted with our son, T, in VA and our daughter, A, in Utah and we all wished each other Merry Christmas.

Our house filled with laughter and exchange of gifts to and from all the kids. "Santa" brought us another Mystery Puzzle to work on during the afternoon, before we all gathered with plates of hot food into the living room to watch the football game. T, called us to let us know that he and buddy had driven the 6 hours to Nashville and were on their way to LP Field to watch the game!

At game's end, everyone said their good-byes and went on their way. Bruce, M and I settled in with cups of cocoa and tea and watched "Pelham 123" before calling it a night. I finished my evening with a dose of Nyquil and got a really sound night of sleep.

Today is a lazy day. In my jammies. Fire in the fireplace. Sipping mugs of hot tea and being very diligent on taking my cold meds with a box of tissues at my side.

That's it from our house...how was your Christmas?



I live in a beautiful city where the temperatures are moderate and it is often called Paradise. It is known as "America's Finest City".

This time of year is particularly beautiful. Our downtown streets are decorated with lights and full of bustling people making their way in groups full of happy conversation and laughter as they walk up and down the sidewalks to shop, eat at the restaurants and celebrate Christmas.

On these same streets are another distinct group of people. They are homeless. Dirty, destitute, drunk, addicted or simply without resources to get them through a rough patch they find themselves in.

Their presence is hard for the rest of us to look at but impossible to ignore. We do not make eye contact with them. Some of them are clearly mentally ill. They shout obscenities and wave their arms about, so we cross to the opposite side of the street to avoid them. But even if we turn away, we can smell them and we can see and smell the result of their having to live on the street. It is offensive to us. We try hard to pretend that they are not us and that we could never be like them.

I drive to work very early in the morning--just before sunrise--and every day, on my route, there are several adults in sleeping bags, sequestered away under the bridge, on the hillside and out of the sight of all but the occasional passing car, who have taken shelter there for the night.

I can't help but think about the homeless, on nights like last night, when the downtown temperatures dropped into the high 30's. While I was in my warm house with a drawer full of sweatshirts and socks and blankets to keep me comfortable and a pantry full of food -- they shivered hungry, hungover, and alone in the night and many are alone in the world.

That reality gnaws at me.

Who are these people? What happened to them? What is their story? I am sure they were all at one time in their lives, like you and me. They had families, friends, jobs, homes. But somehow, somewhere, along the way, through either bad decisions or unfortunate circumstances, they lost everything. Everything.

I have shivered in a sleeping bag for the duration of two very cold nights. I know what that feels like. It was not from homelessness, but by choice as we were tent camping in the California desert during a very chilly November. The temperatures were easily in the mid 30's. The first night I could not sleep at all. It was agony. Even the second night, better prepared wearing a hooded sweatshirt, socks, and layered shirts and sweatpants, I was still very cold. I was miserable. I have not forgotten what that felt like. I think about those nights when I see homeless people in tents along the Park median and huddled under bridges.

This post is not about condemnation or blame. But it is about humanity. And remembering that the homeless, though they have very little else, have not lost their humanity. And that --they --are us. And we--could be --just like them.

"There, but by the Grace of God, go I...."



I have been busy being one of Santa's elves. Well, not really one of his official elves, but I feel like one of them and I love that feeling!

All of our out of state packages are on their way and on time! The rest of our Christmas shopping is just about done. I have some stocking stuffer shopping (for our boys and Bruce) to finish but our major shopping is all done.

Oh and here is some really great news! We were thrilled to get a call this week that we had been given a family to adopt for Christmas and I had fun choosing warm clothes for two sweet little boys. Bruce is going to go get them some Matchbox cars and books and pick up a commissary grocery card for their Christmas dinner. And we're going to try to find some Christmas feety-pajamas for them, too. We are so excited about bringing Christmas joy to a sweet military family. It really IS better to give than receive. Our military families sacrifice SO MUCH for all of US.

We got together with a group of friends last night at Flemings for appetizers and cocktails. It was so much fun. We got two booths in the bar area and enjoyed the most delicious array of tasty treats including Jumbo Lump Crabcakes (huge chunks of crab with only a light coating of breading with roasted red pepper and lime butter sauce), sweet chile calamari (oh my...again lightly breaded and served with strips of red pepper), fresh bread with butter and their famous spread. I had two glasses of a delightful Petite Sirah. The guys said that the Prime Burgers rocked too!

We're going to a Christmas Party on Saturday night with a huge group of high school friends. We are all bringing something to share--I am thinking a nice bowl of warm artichoke dip with tortilla chips or sourdough bread and a bottle of wine, of course!

Saturday, I'm co-hosting a cookie-exchange party with my momma. It will be a very festive event with lots of sweet girls! I love this time of year with all of the parties and events!

I baked my 3 dozen cookies last week at a girls' baking day at another friend's house! We mixed and baked and decorated from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Such a fun day together and a great way to knock out all of our Christmas baking! There were 6 of us and all brought an appetizer to share and we sipped champagne and giggled all day long.

Tonight, I must get my nails all prettied up again! It's a "me" night. Get in my jammies and some fuzzy socks, and settle in by the fire and probably catch a nostalgic Christmas movie on the TV while I do my nails.

So now you know what we've been up to this past week (or two). What have you been up to?



I bet you all thought I lost my way to Blogville, didn't you? Not lost, just a few detours along the way.

Christmas is a little more than two weeks away. My to-do list is still full but we have made a good dent in our shopping. Every day is a busy one and we are looking forward to the parties and festivities coming up on our calendar.

Last weekend we got our tree and now, we have all of our outside lights and decorations up (Bruce gets all the credit for that! Thank you, baby!!), our Nativity scene is displayed, and we have our tree decorated, Liberty Falls Town set up and our home looks and smells like the Christmas season.

I saw my son and Navy boy, T off at the airport early yesterday morning to return to JAX. His two week visit flew by and as I stood out there in the chilly darkness curbside, hugging him good-bye, I fought back the tears I knew would come on my drive back home. I just hate the good-bye part of visits, don't you?

He made it safely back and today, he will begin his drive to VA to report to his new duty station and next adventure. I am happy that he will be near his friends, Bobby and Sarah again.

I have packages to mail out this week....which means I have to get busy wrapping! Tonight! And I must get my Christmas cards done too. My to-do list is much too long...where are elves when you need them?



It's been a bit of a long week without my hubby. He has been on travel with work...in Maine. It's cold in Maine. It's been cold here. But...it's COLD in Maine. I digress...

The first night, our dog, Kona was on hyper-alert...roaming through the house, prowling back and forth between our bedroom and the front door. Growling and occasionally letting out a bark. I wasn't too worried about there being any real threat. Getting past our 80 pound part Rottie-part German Shepherd-part Golden would be tough.

The second and third nights, she decided she could protect me best from Bruce's side of the bed. She stayed most of the night beside me and we both slept good.

Tonight, my daughter, M is coming over. It's a girls' night for us. I am making a Margherita Pizza and after dinner she's going to whip up some "pink stuff" for a potluck at her work tomorrow. What is "pink stuff", you ask? Pink stuff is the name my nephew D, gave the yummy pink gelatin salad his mama made every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I have no idea what the real name is. But it is soooo good. It is made with soft cream cheese, cottage cheese, strawberry Jello powder, Cool Whip and a large can of drained fruit cocktail.

M is going to spend the night tonight, too. She is on her way here from work. I have been home for awhile and I have a nice fire in the fireplace and I am sipping a glass of Maui Blanc (pineapple wine). The house is quiet except for the crackling of the fire.

So relaxing. Tomorrow is Friday. My hubby will be home. Life is good.



We are back from Disneyland.

We had an amazing time wandering through the park and taking in all of the shops. We rode a few of the rides: Pirates of the Carribean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, King Arthur's Carousel, Star Tours and Astro Orbitor. We tried to go on Indiana Jones...but it broke down (again, according to the girls in line ahead of us) while we were in line, so we missed that one. I figured it was better to miss the ride than get stuck on it.

We were not too concerned about getting on all of the rides, because we opted to buy an annual passport and go back again. It was a deal since my one-day pass and Bruce's free birthday pass counted toward the cost of our passports and being California residents, we could do the easy monthly payment plan on the balance after the deductions. We are thinking about going back while T is here visiting.

We stayed at the Doubletree and they have a Disney Welcome Center there. We stopped in on Thursday night after we'd checked into our room and had dinner. Joy, the "practically perfect" Disney Rep working there, gave us some good tips on where to go and what to see and tried to get us reservations at the Blue Bayou for dinner...apparently you have to call serveral days ahead of time to assure a reservation....oh well, live and learn!

We ended up heading out to Downtown Disney for dinner Friday night....went to Tortilla Jo's...and we got there before happy hour ended (5:00 pm--thank goodness we are used to eating dinner early!) Our waiter was very cool! He hooked us up with a free order of guacamole...so our dinner was comprised of two margaritas, guac, chips, salsa, and we each ordered a taco and shared a dish of ice cream for Bruce's birthday. We sat outside on the patio under a patio heater and had a great meal. We walked back into Disneyland for the evening and took the ART back to our hotel at 9:30 p.m.

I am starting to think about Thanksgiving, since it is just a short couple of weeks away. I will work on making my lists and getting organized so I will not be running around like a crazy woman that week!

Tomorrow, I start back on my early morning treadmill workouts. I took most of last week off. I had been feeling so tired last week, so I think a break was needed.

I got my CT scan and labwork results and everything is good! I was super pleased with my cholesterol numbers! They are all great! The benefits of eating good, healthy food and working out is showing! I still have a ways to go on the scale, but the results are already reflected in my health which is the best part.

Taking it easy at home today...we have a fire in the fireplace this morning...football on TV (we so love our Samsung flatscreen!) and still hanging out in my jammies.



I have finally finished all of my medical "to-do's". I have had a mammogram, bone density scan, annual blood tests and finally my 'follow-up' CT scan--all within the last 7 days. whew! Plus an unscheduled crown replacement at my dentist's office today. It's all good.

Tonight I am just relaxing with a nice glass of red wine--Yellow Tail Shiraz. Ahhhh, so warm and delicious.

I have so much more to look forward to over the next month and a half. Disneyland is coming up later this week. Two days away and Disneyland celebrating my sexy hubby's birthday.

I am looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house with family. I am so happy that my son, T will be home on leave with me for Thanksgiving. I wish my daughter, son-in-law and grand-daughter could be here too. All the kiddos together makes me such a happy Momma (and Memaw).

December is a month full of fun events too, including a day of baking with my friends--Linda and Catherine (and a bunch of other girls); a cookie exchange party that my momma is hosting; and a festive, fun Christmas party at some friends' from Poway. Christmas Eve at my folks' house this year...dinner, gifts, Christmas Eve service and gift exhange afterwards. A warm holiday night with my family.

Details to follow...



I feel like I am neglecting my blog lately. Pooh...

I am not sure if it is because I really have had nothing terribly newsworthy to write about or that I just have not been creative enough lately to come up with something witty. Maybe both.

It has been a busy week since Halloween and I am beginning to feel like November through the end of the year is already filling up with lots of social occasions, deadlines, and appointments and that is starting to stress me out! Yikes. (Breathe)

I don't want to feel like that. I want to make sure I carve out some "down time" and time to enjoy special holiday traditions and not feel like the entire time is all hustle and bustle. I want to savor the season and all the festivities and joy that come with it.

There are lots of fun things coming up for us. We are going to see the play "The Lion King" this weekend. Bruce got me tickets for my birthday. I can't wait! We're going out to dinner and then to the play. It will be so much fun.

Then next week, we are going to Disneyland for Bruce's birthday. This year, Disney is offering free admission on your birthday and so we are taking advantage of it! Believe it or not, it has been close to 18 years since either of us have been. So in a way, it will be brand new for us. There are so many changes and new rides and improvements since way back then. And also it is a bit sad to know that some of the attractions that we so fondly remember, are no longer there.

My son, T will be coming home for two weeks, beginning November 25 until December 8. I am so excited! We are hosting Thanksgiving and I am excited about cooking for him and having family over while he is here. After his visit, he will be reporting to his new duty station in Norfolk, VA. I miss him very much, but I am also so very proud of him.

I know T is thrilled that I am not writing another post about my nails. I mean I could. I have plenty to say about that subject, but for my son's sake, I won't. This time. Love you, buddy!



It's nearly 7:30 p.m. and we've only had a handful of trick-or treaters tonight.

That started me thinking and I was wondering how many people kept their kids home tonight in fear of H1N1? It's a beautiful night here in SoCal...not raining or sleeting or even cold here tonight. I have to think something else is keeping the goblins home.

Just a thought....how about at your house? Were there less trick-or-treaters at your house this year?



I have to admit that I usually choose more traditional colors when it comes to nail polish. And most of the time I am only a shade off of the pinky reds I am drawn to. So when I was browsing polish yesterday, I was suprised to be drawn to Norra.

Norra is the ZOYA shade that I think resembles blackberries. It is darker than I normally wear. It is more purple than I normally wear. But I really was seduced by the mysterious depth of color in the bottle and even more infatuated once I painted it on my nails. Ahhh, yes, this may be my new color. At least for fall. I may have to go back again to find another luscious color for winter. But, it will be hard to break me away from this one.



Apparently I spoke too soon, or am a victim of Murphy's Law (again).

You see, the weather in So Cal can be very different from one day to the next. What I mean is that my fireplace nights have been interrupted by a "mild Santa Ana", which in plain english means that our temperatures are warm again.

Yeah. I am not excited.

Instead of enjoying the coziness I was envisioning in my last post, we have our windows wide open and fans whirring during the day to keep the house cool.

How glad am I that I didn't move those fans to the garage already? I knew better. October is famous for Santa Ana conditions creeping in unanounced. I am really over summer weather. Way over. Totally over. SOOOOO over it.

I pushed my Uggs back in their place in the closet and slipped into my flip-flop sandals when we dressed to go to Costco last Saturday. It's just so hard to shop for pumpkins and fall decor when it's 87 degrees outside. Ya know what I mean? Well, maybe you don't.

Okay, enough whining and complaining....

I do have a small pumkin sitting on our coffee table beside a pretty silver bowl of whole walnuts for snacking. Once November arrives, and cooler weather is here to stay, we will have more fall inspirational decorating done.

We've been whittling down our bodies via diet and exercise (treadmill, elliptical and Bowflex). It's gotten easier and feels good (finally). I look forward to our Bowflex workouts on weekday evenings and Saturday morning, though my treadmill sessions during the week at 4:40 a.m. are harder to get excited about, I still always feel good afterwards. And that makes it so worth it!

This weekend, the weather is perfect. It was 74 degrees today. Not hot, not cold. We slept in until 7:30 this morning, had our coffee and breakfast, completed our Bowflex workout, showered, and ran errands, did our weekly grocery shopping, and came back home to relax, cook dinner and enjoy a nice glass of wine.

Tomorrow, I plan to work on my nails and my novel. I need to apply a coat of acrylic to my nails so that my polish will adhere. I've been giving them a break for a few months--and goin' naked with no polish, but I just love nail polish, so I painted on my base coat, put several coats of a deep brownish red on and a clear top coat earlier this week. It's not held up well. I have added more polish and top coats, but it's just not cutting it. Time for reinforcements! Bring on the acrylic.

Time to get some shut-eye. Good night readers.



Yes, it appears that Summer has faded away and Fall is here to stay.

Our temperatures have been on the cool side for a couple of weeks now and this morning we woke up to rain. More rain is predicted to continue through tomorrow night.

Yes, I am happy to announce that it's fire in the fireplace--autumn spice candles burning--pull on some fuzzy socks--wrap up in a blanket-- weather. Mmmmmm. Can't you just smell that pot of chili bubbling on the stove?

Fall's chilly nights let you to bury yourself under the down comforter for the night (and late on the weekends)

Fall weather encourages you to invite the 80 pound dog to sleep on your feet (oh wait, that's my house)

It's also time to get all wrapped up in your Fall television shows

What better time to rent a movie, pop a bowl of popcorn, snuggle on the couch with your honey?

Need a better excuse to run out and get a hot caramel apple cider from Starbucks? (the best fall drink!) I don't!

I do believe it is my favorite season...



I am keeping busy.

With lots of little stuff. Or big stuff, depending on how ya look at it.

Smashing Fat. I am working out every morning and shedding the L B's. We've been planning meals and cooking dinner every night...and we have been taking the leftovers for lunches. Eating more vegetarian kind of meals...and not meat at every meal. I'm likin' it! We have incorporated a lot more fresh fruit in our daily diet too. Yumm. I make a fresh fruit smoothie for breakfast on the weekends, which have been so refreshing with our warm weather. Yes, we are still having warm weather (for all you readers in other area other than SO CAL).

Heathy choices. I made my doctor appointment for my "yearly" and will get my mammogram once I get the referral from my doctor. Have you ladies had yours this year??

Technology Tricks. Trying to figure out my new Blackberry Tour...and lovin' it. It's a lot easier than I thought it was going to be and I am already hooked on all the conveniences and cool features. Yeah, I can be a gadget geek.

Health Instant Replay. Another new good habit... we switched over to half-caf coffee in the morning...we tried to go cold turkey but we couldn't get off caffeine completely. What can I say...a girl's gotta have her caffeine fix first thing in the morning. It's a baby step.

Social Scene. We are excited about attending the upcoming Brad Paisley concert wtih our friends, Shannon and Jennifer. We had such a blast with them at the Toby Keith concert last month...I know we are going to have another great night together at this one!

Top Gun. I'm also stoked about getting to go to the Miramar Air Show this year! We are going with my high school BFF, Theresa--she had extra tickets and offered them to us! I'm looking forward to seeing her again and getting to hang out with her!

Summertime Still. Last Sunday afternoon, we got to spend some float time in the pool...the water was 86 degrees...it was a "calgon, take me away" kind of afternoon in the water....I was so relaxed when we got out of the pool to make dinner. Happy. Happy.

Looking Forward. I am staying focused with my focus on my goals! What goals have you set or accomplished recently? Please do share.



Weekend mornings are such a welcome change from my "get up before dawn, workout, shower, get to work" routine Monday through Friday.

This morning, I am sipping my second mug of coffee as the morning sunlight slices through the fog and our neighborhood begins to wake up. It's still quiet here this morning. I am planning my day....I browsed the paper and read that it is supposed to be 91 degrees here today, so floating in the pool is high on the list.

I have a short "to-do" list and I am feeling lazy.

We went to the Beach Boys concert last night, which was a blast. During that second half of the concert, they were playing songs that the everyone was singing to...louder than the band. The ages of the crowd were folks in their 70's down to little kids...most were our age. We were sitting behind a family....Dad was in his 70's and three "kids" aged early 20's....the kids were all singing to the songs and one of the kids turned around and high-fived us after one of the songs. It was so great to see multi-generations enjoying the same music.

The Beach Boys is simply a feel good concert.

Today is simply Saturday....and I am feelin' good.



Where has September gone? No, really...what happened to it?

This is not that exciting, but here it what have I been doing this month:

* working

* started the Fat Smash diet on the 8th....I am down 13 pounds

* working out...hitting the treadmill for 30 minutes at 4:40 in the morning, 5 days a week and another brisk 30 minute walk at lunch 5 days a week.

* had my hair appointment for cut and color-- back to brown with a few blond highlights thrown in for good measure--took an inch off the length, but didn't go for the cut I was contemplating...I'm still mulling that over.

* worked on my novel

* celebrated M's 22nd birthday

* signed up for the Croptoberfest scrapbooking event I attend every year

* actually bought two Christmas presents already...but shhhh...not telling who they are for.

* got some new pillow covers for our living room sofa and re-arranged the furniture.

Yep, that about sums it up most of September for me....

Tonight, Bruce and I are going to dinner at the Brigantine and then to the Beach Boys concert at Humphreys, which is an outdoor venue right on the bay. Lots of people sit on their boats and listen to the music.

We'll float in the pool to stay cool this weekend...since we have had record high temperatures. I need to start organizing my photos for my scrapbooking event...I want to be ready to just start placing my photos in my books. Maybe I can get that started over the weekend.

And I am carving out time to work on my writing and churn out some more pages of my novel.

All in all, it's been a very good and productive month at our house! How about at yours? What's been keeping you busy?



I know that this post is very late....but, better late than never!

Here are a few visual snippets our week with the kids.
I snapped this shot of Gracie wearing her Pepaw's Navy ball-cap....look at that smile!

A visit to the San Diego Zoo....

Memaw and Gracie...
Gracie is one tired little girl...with her adorable little graham cracker smeared face....

Gracie's day at the beach...

Lots of backyard pool time in her "wave runner" pool float....

Gracie sporting her "Hollywood" shades with her momma for her day at San Diego Sea World... Petting the rays....
Could she be anymore relaxed and laid back?
T and me....having my youngest home for a visit and seeing him with his brother and sisters and new niece was amazing!

Here is my crew with Grace. Together again! We'd gone out to dinner to celebrate A and my momma's birthdays (A was born on my momma's birthday) and we all posed for family pics! A very fun night with the family!



My daughter, M loves the beach and began learning to surf several years ago. College classes and a full time job has been keepin her busy and she has missed her time on the waves.
This summer has been her return to the waves. She has two more friends that are taking up the sport with her and they have been going out as many days as they can after work and on the weekends.
As M would say, Peace out....



Where have I been and what have I been doing? Aside from working (and concerting and high school reunioning), I have been getting ready for the much anticpated arrival and weeklong visit with two of my children (A & T) and my grandaughter, Grace.

T flies in Friday night and A and Grace will fly in the next morning. T is staying until the following Saturday the 29th and A and Grace are here until Sunday the 30th. Everyone is so excited. The excitement level around here is way up...Bruce and I are like kids on Christmas Eve!

The four siblings will be together hanging out, going places and doing things...we have lots planned. The other two siblings, C and M are taking time off during the week too. We're having a big family BBQ; trips to the Zoo and Sea World and of course, the Beach!! Our weather has been so absolutely perfect. Mild temps. It will be about 80 degrees at our house when they arrive. Our days have been warm and breezy and our nights cool. Perfect. Warm enough for the pool and cool enough for the firepit in the evening. Tiki torches on the patio. Grill fired up. Lots of good family time together.

The kiddos are going to split the week between our house and their grandparents--Nana and Papadaddy. We will have T with us the first part of the week and A and Grace the latter part of the week. But there will be a ton of overlap all week long!

Besides all that planning, Bruce and I went to see Toby Keith/Trace Atkins in concert last week...what a great concert those two artists put on!!! (I was hoarse for two days from screaming and singing). We met some friends early to tailgate beforehand and then tailgated afterwards while the parking lot thinned out. Again, we were blessed with perfect weather for an outdoor concert!

Saturday night was my 35th High School Reunion...and it was held downtown at Taste & Thirst on Fourth in the Gaslamp--a casual affair of drinks and appetizers, mingling, hugging, laughing and sharing memories. There were so many there that I knew! The best part, I reconnected with my high school best friend and we are going to be getting together a lot more now. She does not live that far away (Los Angeles) and comes down to San Diego every 6 weeks.

It's been such a great summer and it's about to get better...I can't wait to have my sweet kids and grand-daughter home for a visit and spoil them all.



Looking back at a few photos that captured previous recent summers...

There was the summer of the puppy. (who is now going on 4 years old)

And the summer trip to Tennessee--camping at the lake and up to Kentucky.

Last summer's anniversary brunch at La Valencia hotel.

And this summer includes a week long visit coming up with Gracie. This is a pic from the 4th of July.

I hope to have some new pics to put up on the blog soon. This weekend we are going to have some good old fashioned down time and go out to practice our photographic skills in our beautiful and interesting city. Bye for now.



It's so hard for me to believe that it's already August....and three days into the month, no less!

For the past several weeks now, I have been busy gearing up for our annual summer party ...and for the past 24 hours, recovering from putting it on! Yesterday, I was so tired. I tried to take an afternoon nap, but only got about 20 minutes worth. Got almost 8 hours of shut-eye last night, but it was not enough.

I'm still catching up. Gimme a week. I'll be back to "normal".

Now that all the party tables have been taken down and stashed back in the garage, the patio back in order, the grill cleaned and we have stashed the leftover food, sodas and waters and a few bottles of wine in our garage refridgerator, I can turn to planning for another wonderful event!

In 18 days, my youngest child/son, T will be flying out for a week with us! He is taking leave time from the Navy for a vacation.

Wait, there is more!

The very next morning, A and Gracie will fly in for a week as well! I am so excited to have them all out to visit !!!! It is going to be such a fun week with the four siblings all together again!



Stellan is back in the hospital...please join me in praying for this precious baby and his family.



News flash!

I was chatting with A on her way home from work tonight and we were talking about all the new things Gracie was up to....trying to crawl, getting from a sitting position to her knees, "talking" (ba-ba-ba-ba-ba) and her newly acquired fear of men and I remarked that it was probably time to lower the crib down to the lowest setting, because the next skill she would master would be pulling herself to stand.

Grace is now 6 1/2 months old and I said she'd probably start pulling herself up by 8 months old, so looking forward, it would be a good idea to plan for that now.

It was not a half hour later that A texted me this picture with the message "Speaking of pulling herself up! I literally just sat her down in there and turned back around and...surprise!"

Look at that face...she knows exactly what she did! Little miss....you are so smart! Is she precious or what? Can you tell I love my grand-daughter?



The Renown is a beautiful yacht. It was a fairy-tale wedding on the water in San Diego. Surrounded by family and close friends. A day in paradise. A day I will always remember. The day I married my soul-mate and best friend.

We were married aboard the Hornblower Yacht 'Renown' on July 20, 2002. Here we are that day with Captain Goben, who married us.

And we began celebrating our 7th anniversary by going on a Hornblower Brunch Cruise on Sunday. It was a beautiful day to cruise the San Diego Bay. We were aboard the Hornblower Inspiration, a much larger vessel than the Renown.

And the Captain was Captain Goben, who married us seven years ago! How cool is that?? He posed for a photo with us.
Later that day, we attended a digital photography class together. We learned so much about our camera and taking good photos! We are so excited to get to start capturing wonderful images.
On Monday, we took the day off of work and spent it together, working a bit in our yard and floating around in the pool in the afternoon. Then it was off to enjoy a delicious dinner at the Fish Market. After dinner, we took some photos using our newly learned skills from our photography class. Here are a couple of the photos I took.

I am so thankful for my husband and our marriage. He's the BEST and I am a very blessed woman.



I'd love to hear from all the wonderful visitors to my blog. Please introduce yourselves (if your new to commenting here) and just gimme a shout out, if you've wandered in before.

So to get the conversation going, I'd love to know what your favorite summer guilty pleasure is.

Mine is a stack of magazines, a tall ice cold drink, a comfy chair in a quiet shady spot where I can spend the afternoon reading.

What is yours?


I have a home do-it-yourself project story to share.

It involves about 15 trips to Home Depot and 8 times more frustration, labor, money and time than we planned to invest.

It does end happily--thanks to the efforts of my husband and "baby" brother, David. I am so grateful to them both.

But I am not going to tell that story tonight.

The memory of the whole ordeal is still too fresh.

For all three of us.

Instead I am going to share another Home Depot Story. It's short and sweet.

This, of course, is our grand-daughter, Grace, who just turned six months old on July 10th and is sitting up by herself and taking her first real cart ride! What a big girl!

Oh my. Not only is she smart, beautiful and an accomplished shopper, but she is also very fashion forward, coordinating her bib color with the cart and Home Depot theme. Precious.

Now, isn't that better than a story that will probably scare you off of home improvement projects for a long time?

I think so, too.



I didn't take nearly as many photos as I wanted to, but here are a few that I did. This is the view from my parent's deck out toward the ocean. The "marine layer" was coming in and so this picture is not that clear.

We had a great time together. There was lots of delicious food -- hamburgers, corn on the cob, yummy fruit salad, coleslaw and a "to die for" turtle cheesecake! *swoon*
The weather was just right for relaxing on the deck.
Here are some photos I took of the fam....my baby brother:

And my eldest son, C and his beautiful girlfriend:

The hosts of this great party, Mom and Dad (whose birthday we were also celebrating):

My younger brother (yes, I am the firstborn) and his beautiful bride with our mama:

And last, my sweet hubby and me:

Here is one cool photo of the fireworks shows that were in the distance. There were about eight different shows going on at the same time. I know you are asking about those green lights in the sky--wondering....could that be a UFO?
It does kind of look like the Mothership, doesn't it? Right out of a movie....the movie, Independence Day....and it WAS Independence Day, after all.
Well, hang up the phone. Don't call Art Bell or consult the media.
Those green lights in the sky were a reflection from the high school ball field stadium lights at the at the bottom of the picture.
I know...I was disappointed too.
But it's still kind of cool isn't it?


Saturday, July 4th was a glorious summer day.

Here is what I posted about that.

"We lounged on the patio and in addition to getting some sun, and noshing on some fresh fruit for lunch, I went through about one third of the piles of magazines that have collected and put away for a day exactly like that.

We are going to be going to my parent's house tonight to celebrate both the fourth of July as well as a belated celebration of my dad's 75th birthday with our family! My parents have the most beautiful covered deck that has a view all the way to the ocean and we can watch a variety of fireworks shows at the same time.

It's supposed to be in the low 80's today and we're going to be enjoying our yard and pool today.

Float around and relax. Stay cool. Refresh. Revitalize. Well, that may be going a bit too far. I may need a spa day to actually revitalize myself, but floating around is very calming and such a great stress reducer for me. Our pool is surrounded by lots of greenery and flora which is a calming influence.Ahhhhhh....and the pool temp is 80 degrees.....Calgon, take me away.......or is that going too far?

Hope you all are having a wonderful Saturday, too. "
We're going to be doing more of the same this weekend too!



My son, T has been in Jacksonville (going to school in the Navy) and we last saw him in December, when he was home for Christmas. Since he has been in school, he is unable to travel home.

However, T was able to get away for the long 4th of July weekend and visit his friends, Sarah and Bobby (and meet their brand new twin girls) in Virginia Beach. He sent this picture of the three of them. It is such a good picture. He looks great!

(Wow, new mama Sarah looks fantastic! It is hard to believe that she just had twins 10 weeks ago! Dontcha think? ) Their precious baby girls are adorable too! Congrats again Sarah and Bobby!
T is planning to come home for a visit in August, the same time that A and Gracie come for a week! Yippee! It will be wonderful to have all my kids here together!