Friday, December 30, 2016

a christmas dinner for a king

My linens are usually starched.
The china is dusted.
The silver might be polished.

This year we moved it all outside.
Brown paper covered the tables.

The men did almost all of the cooking.
(sort of like camping in my world)
One pot has shrimp, corn and potatoes .. in some sort of order ...

crab legs ... pound after pound ..

in a pot big enough to feed a few.

Out of the seasoned hot and into the hot cooler they went.

Bridget had a few firsts today.
Shrimp ...I'm not suppose to eat those little feet?!
Or it may have been the look on my face when Jari missed the discard pot
and hit my drink glass instead.

Something being shared over there.

Our dear Char who cleaned up everyone's crab pieces.
Her family doesn't waste a bit of it ... she's a pro at this business.

I had forgotten about this drink until Blayde reminded me.
He has taken this drink of Denise's, from a shared holiday in Alaska,
and made it his holiday tradition.

This is the first time we've done this and I must say we stressed a little bit.
Was it going to be too spicy?
How were we going to cook it all?
Was it even going to work?
We learned a few things along the way and it was
Seasoning straight from heart of Louisiana.

Crab flying, finger licking, lip tingling, laugh producing, stomach filling
downright goodness.

Not to mention the best company one can ever have.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

the quiet of christmas eve

I really don't like to leave ornaments in the box and not hang them.
Prelit trees? Well ... maybe parts of the tree.
The rest of the unlit tree ... it doesn't matter to me this year.
Barriers to keep the littles out of the wrapping paper ..
because we learned quickly that they do love paper!

Skype with dear parents far away.

Candles lit everywhere because this Christmas Eve we could.
Only the three of us together this quiet evening with music filling the air ...

It is a time of life with traditions that change as they need to.
Christmas Eve has always been our evening for a large meal following 3pm church service.
For 30+ years we have opened our gifts Christmas Eve.
This year we enjoyed the quiet, a nice soak in a newly acquired hot tub, games and prune tarts.
Jari kept sending the kids messages through GroupMe that he was opening gifts.
I think he was wishing.
We're ready for tomorrow .. I think.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

and so this is Christmas ....

Christmas can be such a crazy busy time of year for some.
For others, far away from loved ones or perhaps alone in the world, it can be the loneliest time.
For yet others, such as our own household, some appreciate the parties filled with crowds of people and others cannot handle that at all ... preferring small and quieter gatherings.
So we have to decline some invitations that would be so much fun to attend .. just too much for some to handle.
That's okay.
We make it to others.

Last Thursday evening we joined a smaller group for some Christmas festivities and visiting.

where we were heralded by carolers ...

and spent some precious moments visiting.

Friday morning it was up bright and early. The only day on the schedule for baking was filled. The girls came and helped ... and we filled containers with enough goodies to make it through the Christmas weekend!

Little helpers shaking on the sugar and stacking dough balls in a most precious way. Checkout that cookie sheet pile going on.

While yet others had a deep connection going on with a dear aunt.

Don't we all just have a favorite? Forget the cookie ... just dig out that chocolate!! He's a boy after my own heart for sure. You're really missing out if you've never seen his joy at seeing a piece of chocolate.

The babies who patiently, or impatiently, waited for moms to be done with baking business. Aren't they just precious?!

We were finished, and the mess cleaned up, in time for Jari and I to leave at 5:00 for the weekend. For several years now, we have vacated the house on this particular weekend, leaving Tia and her friends free to have a birthday party. Last year we were in California at a conference for me. The year before .. it was hotel time. This year .. we hoteled it again. It really isn't a bad deal. The Christmas shopping, creating, wrapping and shipping has been done ... with the exception of one Amazon thing I'm waiting on. The Christmas baking is done. It was a good weekend to relax and enjoy the company of dear hubby. We don't do that often enough anymore. And as I'm reminded in nearly every post on a new Caring Bridge site lately ... I need to focus more time and energy on the relationships I value in my life.

Which brings me to the Christmas season.

I have so many dear loved ones with whom I cannot stay connected. Life is crazy busy for me as it is for many of you. And for some of you ... it isn't busy. The days are long and lonely. Which ever walk of life is yours, you aren't alone in it.  There are others traveling that same path. Find a way to celebrate this beautiful season ... whether that way be a boisterous joy filled way or a quiet one .. celebrate the peace.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Sunday marked the end of the teen years for us as parents.
In our community, the number of years we have been parents of teens might be considered minimal.
However, sometimes I thought it might never end.
Other times, I dreaded the day it would.

She turned the big 20 ... and we ended 16 years of having teens in the house.

Happy Birthday my sweet.

Monday, December 12, 2016

one more

When you open the totes of Christmas decorations and find more clearance finds from last year. 

Whatever is a girl suppose to do?!

Monday, December 5, 2016

urine sample 101

Class is in session.
If the title of this post didn't turn you away, then prepare to be educated.
If you're offended now that you saw the first picture ... run quickly.
No points deducted for weak ones.

I am very fortunate to be one who doesn't have to provide samples.
However, there were years where I did need to do that on a monthly basis at the lovely OB/GYN.
Many of you may still be in that wonderful stage of life.
Others may be undergoing procedures where pregnancy testing is necessary in preop.

That final option would be where I come in.
Sometimes I am the nurse who hands the cup and plastic bag to the patient.
I tell them "I only need 3 drops of urine. Please put the cup inside the bag, bring it with you and knock on that door when you're done."
Now I have had this pleasure many times and understand that counting drops might be
near to impossible. Nor do I expect you to start figuring out a way to do that. Nor do I expect you to drain the cup so that just 3 drops remain.
That part really isn't that important to me.

The other one is.
You see, more often than not, I am on the receiving side of the door.

In walks woman with this.
The only contact the cup and bag have are that one is sitting next to the other.
Not inside.
On top of.
At least in this case .. the cup is dry.
Small blessing.

Next up.
Someone who speaks English.
That means that she clearly heard the instructions, right?
She did.
The cup is inside the bag.
The outside of the bag has enough liquid on it to water my houseplants in a drought.
I don't want to know what the liquid is.
She seems sort of surprised when I won't touch the bag
and ask her to set it down on the shelf where it will live for a moment
until I'm duly gloved and ready to attack this little nasty.

And ... finally.
This woman does not have fingers or hands that suffer from arthritis.
They function just fine.
Maybe it was just a serious oops! moment.
Cup is inside the bag.
If I remember right ... the bag was probably unsealed ... not sure tho'.
Like if you can't screw the lid on ... you probably can't zip the bag either, right?
The urine has certainly escaped the cup.
And as is evident ... there are enough doses of 3 drops in the escaped portion
to make up for a weeks worth of urine samples .. maybe a months worth.
Nope. Didn't touch that one either.

 So, the lessons of this Urine Sample 101 class are numerous.

1. When you hear the word 3 drops ... it means your donation can be very minimal.

2. If you are somewhere that doesn't provide that little cabinet where you put your sample, and are being handed a plastic bag ... it is to protect the person on the receiving end.
Not only are you protecting the receiver ... do you really want your urine splashing all over the place? Serious. Be a mom of little boys. This almost equates with cleaning the bathroom after them.

3. Wipe the cup or the bag or whatever it is that got splashed clear all over the place. In this instance, a person is walking through a common public area with dripping fluids. Oh for yuck.

4. Try ... just try ... to follow instructions. If the instructions are too difficult to understand, please ask questions. Really. We really don't mind.

The next class will either be entitled Why Your Grandmother Told You to Wear Clean Underwear to the Doctor ... or something like that.
Betcha can't wait!

Friday, December 2, 2016

a dad and a baby

A while back Brock was here for a week with a 9 month old son/baby. Mom had stayed back in North Dakota.

He thought bonding time would be great.

During the bonding he discovered something.
Motherhood is endless.
There is no break.
And ... when mommy says "can you make a bottle?" in the middle of the night ... he will understand just how valuable that small amount of help will be.

I think every new dad should spend a week being the sole person in charge.

You're going to say, or are thinking, "He stayed with you, right?"
Implication heard.
I seriously had to push to change a diaper.
He was person/parent in charge ... and played his part no matter how tired he was.

Do you have any idea what it feels like to be the parent of that son?
I see plenty of people who drop kids off at their parents .. they drop responsibility at the door when they come home.
Not this one. Not any of mine, truth be told.

I had the greatest joy in watching my son be a dad. Watching his frustration with a teething baby (yup!) who had a horrific case of diaper rash (double yup!) and not giving up and handing Liam over to one of us.

Proud and honored to be his mom?
You can be sure.

Little man is in town again .. this time with his mom!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Belatedly .. as if par for me these days.
I do have to tell you that there was some serious work to be done here
before we could pause and be thankful.
Use your imagination.
It is bound to go to places of perhaps a hoarder or the likes.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in the most American way possible.
Counters and table laden with food ...
friends and family joining us.

The only picture I snapped at the table wasn't posed ..
that means that mouths were being stuffed.
Not sharable if you're me.

You can be thankful for that.

I was thankful for the fact that I live in Arizona.
'Tis the season now where one can be thankful for things like that.

Christmas trees went up on one end of the back patio ...
..they had already been hauled out for the market..

and flowers were planted on the other end.

These little loves are about the only things I can grow.
And truth be told, I cooked two turkeys on Thursday.
Sort of wasn't the plan ... so I ran to Walmart for another turkey baking bag.
And as if I was a moose eating a muffin ... I wandered into the garden department.
Hence ... while my turkey baked ... my flowers got planted.

Pekka, Laina & Riitta came to town, spending Friday nite with us.
The state of trees on one end of the patio and freshly planted flowers on the other got a chuckle.

Yup ... unless our temps hit those of the Midwest or the bugs move in (as is usual) ..
my flowers will survive until it gets hot in June.

My gardening heart is incredibly thankful!

Hoping your Thanksgiving was spent with those you care for
and there were many blessings to be found.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


ab.sen.tee: a person who is expected or required to be present at a place or event but is not.
ab.sen.tee.ism: the practice of regularly staying away from work or school without good reason.

It has been a minute but life might just begin returning to normal ... whatever normal is.

In the meantime ... while I've been absent, we were blessed with another grandson. Dominic Rai was born to Alyx and Tarron on October 15th.

I love how babies change so quickly. Although I am the absolute worst at seeing someone's nose or eyes in a new little cherub ... even the facial expressions of this newest little love mimic his older brother.

We are especially thankful that this young growing family lives very close by .. making hugs and kisses a habit!

I've been absentee in birthday celebrations ... births ...all of that great stuff.

So a belated welcome to the world little one ... and a belated birthday wish to your mom!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Desert Bloom Market

I have to say I've been consumed.
The other week I sat in a class and handwrote a few blog posts in my notebook.
They're still there.

As cute as my mini Brock bookmark is .... get ready for serious cuteness today!

A good part of this year has been consumed with the market.
I am a nurse by trade, a crafter by heart.
Crafting is what keeps me sound and stable.
For some of you it might be shopping .. for others, flipping pages of a book.
Give me a paintbrush and power tools.
Countless trips to Home Depot and Hobby Lobby ... countless hours of serious fun outside and in.
Countless hours of spending time with friends working on projects. And I mean projects!

Last week it happened. This was a first time for our congregation here in Phoenix and Saturday we established a tradition. A quite fine one if I say so myself.

Today I am sharing photos from the prep and day of the sale. I feel like I've just done my own daughters wedding and can't hardly believe it is over.

Just a few of many gifts waiting to see what happens this first time around.

The kitchen ... oh my! I will be the first to admit that I had nothing to do with that part. They moved some serious amounts of dough in there into delectable treats.

Samples of the delectable for shoppers ..

who shopped and shopped ..

far beyond my hopes and dreams.

We will most certainly be back again next year ... blooming in the desert.

For a while though, I'm safe to visit the blog.
I might even find moments to think and write ... unless I'm lost in Pinterest!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

my newest bookmark

I have been slowly cleaning out things.
One box or small space at a time.
This was found in a book.
I'll have him hang around with me.
For. Ever.