Saturday, June 30, 2007

Catching up to NEW

The house I grew up in was sold when I was away at my sophomore year in college. My family often jokes about needing to leave a forwarding address for my brother and I to find our way home at Thanksgiving break. It wasn't quite that dramatic but it makes for a better story. My parents have had a home in the rocky mountains for almost my entire life. This is the last standing structure with which our memories are etched in the woodwork. We've owned the house for 32 years but it was built 5 prior to that. Hence, the 1960's avocado counter tops and yellow refrigerator were really starting to bug my mom. Furniture, in our family, found its way here. 1000 miles west of our permanent residences, mine now included, to live out its final days. Nothing in this vacation house matches and we've enjoyed that ease of living. No worries that the kids would ruin something. Everything was perfectly worn in.

Having my own children enjoy this house now is quite bizarre to me. When I brought my oldest here for the first time, 5 years ago, and unpacked his little onesies and other necessities, I broke down at the idea that my child's items were being stored in my baby dresser. As he grew he started sleeping in the brass bed that donned my adolescent room for nearly 18 years. I have sat and played puzzles and games with him that my brother and I enjoyed when we were his age. The list goes on and on. Now that my younger son is coming up through the ranks it's that much more meaningful that these memories live on. I should be clear in stating that it's not the things in the house as much as the feeling in the house. A feeling that has been poured into the fabrics of the items inside. Many items carry a story all their own. The grandfather clock that only gets wound if my father is visiting the house. The dining room table that almost didn't make it through customs when my parents visited Mexico 40+ years ago and has had held holiday dinners, group gatherings as well as gin rummy or scrabble championships. Memories of laughter and family times are in every support beam and every mismatched, out of date appliance and accessory.

Last year my parents decided to level the house and build a new more expanding family friendly monstrosity. NooooOOO I exclaimed. I shared my above thoughts with them and they realized that they too had similar attachments to these peeling stucco walls. We compromised at renovating the existing structure. Keeping the footprint and updating much of the inside. My mom has a knack at altering a space while keeping the end users purpose of the space in mind all the while. I trusted her implicitly. After all, she too was attached to the memories of the house and the family times it stood for. Heck, she started this whole family experience that has now touched three generations. I knew we were in good hands.

In the past year she has made several renditions to the blue prints. Made even more trips to home imporvement stores to pick out appliances and countless trips out here to pick finishes, oversee construction as well as make sure that all was going as planned. It was not easy but she did it. This was not something any of us were willing to leave a stranger to handle. She willingly agreed to take on the mammoth details that a project like this requires - all the while living 1000 miles away.

My husband and I joined my parents out here last week. We seem to always find our way out here to spend the 4th of July holiday together. We love the cheesy small town parade and all the kid friendly activities. The clean fresh air is a pleasant relief from the city lives we all live. We are still in awe of the mountain peaks that make up our front yard view as well as the safari we sometimes see on the road at anytime of the day. The healthy activities and all the time we spend outside in the pool or with nature are endless. Although we mimic a family friend in saying that this is a magical place...I think I agree with him now and it really is no joke. This place is paradise and that is how I felt about this home. I'm a homebody so I get attached to where I live. I was fortunate to even call this vacation home my primary residence for 5 years after grad school. That, of course was a lifetime ago.

This trip was the first time I had seen the "new and improved" version of our family retreat. It is incredible! My mom did an amazing job. My father and I find ourselves saying, "It's like a new house but it's the old house". That was exactly what we were going for. I have to say that it's nice to go to the bathroom and actually be able to close the door all the way. Especially with a toddler running around. The water pressure is a huge improvement. The furniture is mostly the same. Some of the more tired pieces have found new homes. The kitchen is the most drastic change. Although it is all glammed out, it still has a rustic and homey feel. I see a picture of my son and I at the same age in a similar field of wild flowers that donns the wall. Special materials have been salvaged for memories sake and used in different ways. I love all the new doors and the warmth of the heated floors in the cold morning. The fact that all the towels match is bizarre but kind of nice. I feel like the house got a face lift. It's the same soul on the inside but the exterior has been refreshed.

We've so enjoyed the visit thus far. We can't wait to add new memories to these new materials. The fact that wireless internet is available everywhere in the house isn't anything to baulk at. I still go to the old trashcan location and find a refrigerator there instead. I have yet to find all the new light switch placements. However, I have to admit that this is my third day here and I'm just now emotionally catching up with the new digs.

Thanks and Dad have created a legacy for us to cherish for many many many more years to come.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Beach

Check out another place where I post. I've got an entry over there today.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Best Shot Monday now has a new feature. Themed Thursdays. This weeks theme was GLEE.
Glee: Joy; merriment; mirth; gayety; paricularly, the mirth enjoyed at a feast.
Here is my oldest on his 5th birthday. He is enjoying one of those ridiculously huge suckers that you would otherwise say N-O to at the store. I must say...he REALLY enjoyed it way more than I would have ever anticipated. That made me filled with GLEE. It didn't hurt that he barely dented it and 2 days later it found it's way to the trash. More Glee.

If this isn't pure GLEE, I don't know what is.
Also taken on his brothers birthday - with reminents of cake still on his face.

Monday, June 18, 2007

"muff " IN

My son and I were enjoying some together time. Just the two of us. It was nice to focus just on him and he on me without other distractions interfereing. We stopped at Caribou for a muffin and some water. Time was tight, for a change, and I made an exception and allowed us to enjoy our muffins in the car on the way to our next errand. When we arrived at the next location we chatted a minute before exiting the car. I said something like, "I sure love the tops of the muffins". He agreed and thought it was funny that I actually had a name for this portion of the muffin....Muffies. We didn't really talk about it any more.

A few days later he was enjoying yet another muffin with my Mom. He went into much detail with her discussing the fact that Mom likes the Muff- not the -IN. Get it... Muff - IN(referring to the lower portion still in the wrapper) It sort of loses it's simplicity and charm when I start writing and explaining the whole thing here. It was a fun moment none the less. Kids really do say the darndest things. Actually, now that I think about it. Moms tend to photograph the darndest things. Who would have thought I'd setup and take a picture of a half eaten muffin, only to write about it later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


As of 6pm CST, I will have been married 8 years. EIGHT years. Wow, what a reflective place. We've made it through paper, cotton, leather, fruit, wood iron and copper. We certainly don't follow any gift giving guideline. However, as we fall upon bronze this year it seems fitting to present my mate with a gift to show what a balancing act marriage can be. The little human figures that make up this visually simple 4 letter word actually displays what a human feat it is to compromise and contort to make this union of marriage work some days - especially when kids are involved and you add a healthy dose of exhaustion. I must say that DH and I have had our share of knock down, drag out disputes. What couple hasn't? We have persevered. The infamous seven year itch didn't get the best of us either. I believe we are in it for the long haul. The good, the bad and the ugly. Lately we've had a wonderful dose of good. The kids are great, they show love and compassion towards themselves, each other and to us. We are communicating better. Our house has been transformed recently to a sea of (more) calm than chaos as well as more organization. I don't know exactly what to chalk it up to other than all the stars have aligned and we have worked our backsides off to make these things a commitment and not just wishful thinking. It's another thing I never knew or expected about marriage, parenting and growing up.

I endured a long bought of post pardon blues with my second child. It was a long haul to get to the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I can say that I made it. I finally look to myself as the adult and don't pine for my childhood days to be repeated. I'm looking to the future and it looks good. Fun, Hopeful. HAPPY.

With a 40th birthday 40 days away....what more could I ask for? More years I guess....especially when things are feeling so right. it sure beats the alternative.

I'm happy.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I'm Good at ...

I spend so much of my time beating myself up over what faults I have. I'm going out on a limb here to investigate what I'm good at, for a change. I often see posts on others blogs regarding things that make them quirky or have a negative self image to them. Heck, I'm guilty of it too. It's an attitude too many women take regarding themselves. I know I'm guilty of it on many occasions. However, this is a post to share what I feel confident I'm good at. Five examples feels like a tall order but I'm taking the challenge none the less.

1. I have an amazing "stick to it" attitude. The shear fear of failure will get me through just about any task.

2. I am excellent at parallel parking. Stick, Automatic, big van or compact. I'm your gal. I've been known to get out of the passenger seat only to get in on the driver side to park.

3. I have learned several computer programs by hands on, trial and error. Excel, Quickbooks, Photoshop, Word, My Publisher, Roxio Video editing etc. It's just the way I learn best. These types of books are great for reference but they just slow me down and confuse me.

4. Returning...this is not a trait most are proud of. However, I can return just about anything to just about anywhere. I'll have to include selling stuff on Craigslist here as well. My father jokes that if anyone stands still too long they risk being sold too. It's like business... (check out #7) I just love the banter and the victory over a good sell or return.

gosh....I'm really staring at this #5 wondering what else to list. This is so sad.

5. Mothering. I think I'm a great mother. FAR from perfect, mind you, but I have a mothering personality. I have an uncanny sense of how people are feeling without them having to tell me. My nickname in college was mother. One that I'm not always fond of but it was endearing none the less. I can tell exactly when my kid are going to melt down and how to soothe them. When to tease them and when not to. Along with Mothering I'm very good at organizing. A group, my office, a project...Again, it's just how I think and it comes in handy while mothering quite often.

6. Creative. My creativity is usually electronic these days. Printed books of my images for different events. Videos edited to include a keepsake for some celebration or another. And, I've recently acquired a 19" digital frame that hangs in our kitchen to display my images and our family's continued expanded memories. My youngest has started to learn names of many of our family members just by watching this frame.

It's so like me to actually list 6. Had to prove something. What I'm proving I don't really know.

So, what are you good at? Post it and link it back here!
The start of the positive revolution.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Wait for ME!

These last few weeks have come to a screeching culmination. I want to play the biggest game of freeze tag where everyone freezes and I get everything put away & processed. I need to get caught up on errands, projects, chores, work and organizing. Hey you, no cheating. I don't have anymore days to borrow from or free time to use to do these mundane things. I feel like I can't breathe sometimes. Even a vacation seems like too much work right now. I just want everything in its place and every surface clear. I'm making decisions that involve many layers and I'm not thinking clearly. It's so not like me. I hate my cell phone. I just want to be free!

Then - I really want to move at lightning speed to keep up with everything and start to work on ME! Is this ever going to happen?

I must go...
rush to the next task...
Someone PLEASE press pause for me.