Mi Familia!!

Mi Familia!!
Roscoe, Sophia, & Emily(across top) and then I think you can figure out the rest!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

busy, busy, busy!

I just felt like I wanted to throw up a smoke signal from over here in holiday land!
we are doing well... there is a lot going on right now at any given moment....
since my last post :
Roscoe discovered himself in the mirror...too cute! : )
our car broke down... so sad... : (
we got most of our holiday shopping done... : )
Emily had a holiday concert , in which she sounded beautiful... : )
I have made most of my homemade gifts... : )
I found an old friend/coworker that I had lost for the last three years or so...and I have been actively seeking out... gotta love the internet!!... : )
the pomanders are well on their way to preservation! ... : )
Sophia has been doing great...AND napping...and sat sweetly during the concert(SUPER exciting for me!)... : )
it has snowed a lot!... : ) / : (
we went to a holiday party and connected with some very sweet neighbors(always nice!)... : )
I have had some good and bad days, peppered together in that wacky way they tend to be this time of year... : ) /: (
and Al and I are doing really well...which I think in no small part has something to do with my newly (re)found path of joy... : )
Tally- more smileys than frowns equals doing alright!
just thought I'd pop on and say hello and that I hope every one's holidays, and more importantly lives are going well....
I hope to be able to put up more posts soon...
I've been taking pictures of everything, as always, and have some cute ideas... but seriously lack the time to put into making them the way I'd like to see them go up...

Today I am thankful the smell of our tree as I sit here and type.
I am thankful for the table full of homemade gifts that I will be able to share with people this year...just waiting for packaging!
I am thankful that I have NOT been struggling to find my joy for the last little while... I hope it lasts!! : )

Monday, December 8, 2008

searching for the gratitude

Today is the exact reason that I started this blog.

I am struggling today. no particular reason, but several all together.

I was talking with my sister and she reminded me every day is precious...which is true...so I have been trying for the life of me to see it today.

I mean the whole point of this thing is to force myself to appreciate all the things that I do have.
But I don't want to just have a pat answer..my kids... my husband... I need reasons behind them to feel like I am actively practicing gratitude.

Well, today the help came from an honest and tragic story, that just happened to effect my family. I warn you this thing will tear out your heart if you see it...so prepare yourself emotionally for it... but it is something that I think is important for people to see because it seems like it could have been avoided.

If you get MSNBC you can watch it next Sunday at 4(well my time)... but you can also follow the link and look for yourself at DearZachory.com. Andrew Bagby was a casual friend of mine, but my sister was a very good friend, and had a part in this sad story and documentary.
So having re-lived a tragedy recently, I can look at my crappy ass day and still say thank you.

thank you for my family... because everyday that we breath the same air is a blessing. It's so cliche but it is so true. I love my family with every beat of my heart and I can't imagine losing any of them. My babies make me pull my hair out... but they are worth it...and even a day like today is better than a day without them.

Today I am thankful for waking up... next to the man I love.
I am thankful that I got to hug my kids all day long...even more than I wanted at the time...because I can't imagine the weight of their absence.
I am thankful for love, forgiveness, and sanity!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Hi everyone!
I have three cool give-aways to tell you about today!
The first one is from Pam at Pam-Fried Family Life.
She is giving away a beautiful handmade grey scarf that she made. It is lovely. Click on her name to take you to her post that tells you all about it! : )

The second one is from Jen at Buried with Children. She is a funny Mama of triplets and another cute little man. She is giving away a Christmas CD, a box of Truffles(YUM!), AND a $25 Target gift card! Click on her name to read her post all about it!

The third is from Daisy Quilts. She is giving away a whole bunch of stuff, to celebrate her 1 year anniversary! Some of the things she is giving away are a bag(there's a picture... it is SUPER cute!!), 2 hanging decorations (ornaments or whatever you want them to be) and a pincushion, as well as some added goodies. Click on her name to go read her post all about it, too! Or you can just click on the link on the side of my blog. (maybe...I'm in the process of figuring this part out still!!)
Good luck to everyone who chooses to play!
Have a great day!! : )

I am thankful for others generousity!

Emily, Emily, Emily


I just sent my oldest daughter out the door to her first audition...and it's not even for a play or musical.. but a school!

I feel sick with nerves.

I don't talk much about my oldest daughter on here... for a few reasons...

1. because she doesn't really want me to...she thinks my blogging is embarassing...
2. because she isn't part of my prime daytime hours, since she is at school...
3. honestly she just doesn't want me to...

BUT today I don't care, because I need an outlet for my extreme nervousness and anxiety!

Where do I start with Emily.

She is amazing, honestly, she is probably the coolest person I have ever met. And I have three kids so I don't say that lightly. I love all of my kids, with all my heart and soul, but Emily has been special from the time of her conception. She came to me in a time in my life when I had nothing... no home, no friends(teenage drama), no family (I had freaked out and run away from my life), no peace of mind... and I was the saddest that I have ever been in my life (which is saying something)... I was completely lost.

Then I found out I was pregnant. OH NO! I made an appointment to "take care" of the situation because everyone in my life told me that was obviously what I needed to do.... I couldn't even take care of myself, how was I going to take care of a whole other human being? Well, I couldn't explain it to people, but I just knew that wasn't the right choice for me. I knew that the little life inside of me was a chance. a reason for living. In a weird and unexpected way, it was exactly what I needed to pull my head out of butt and worry about someone else for awhile. I didn't have the courage until I was waiting in the room for them to call my name, and then I knew, I just knew that I had to take control of my life. And I did.

I got up and walked out the door. I moved back home (from Seattle to Tucson). I got a job and a teeny tiny little house(rented of course!). I had nothing, but a bag of clothes and the couch that was in there when I moved in. My family wasn't very happy with me, they were there, but they didn't support my decision much. I was on my own, but for the first time in my life... I knew that everything was going to be ok.

I worked 50-60 hours a week, my whole pregnancy. I worked from 11 at night until 8 in the morning, at this little convenience store in the ghetto. I walked to and from work (one mile each way) everyday. But I was never scared because the people in the neighborhood all knew me and were looking out for me. It was perfect really because my whole existence at the time was about this little person brewing inside of me...and I just had this inner calmness, peace, and security in knowing that this was exactly where I should be and what I should be doing. I loved being pregnant. It was a beautiful experience. My life revolved around taking care of my baby and getting prepared. I bought all the stuff I "needed" for the baby(like diapers, a crib, wipes, some clothes) and saved up for when I wouldn't be able to work. My Dad took pity on me in my 7 month and bought me a bed...boy that was nice! I didn't know how nice until I got into it that first night!! : )

I can't tell you I never knew anxiety or lonliness, but by far my biggest fear was that I wasn't good enough to be a mother... and the second that she was born, that melted away. She was so beautiful, and I knew from that moment on that she was something special. She has always had this sense of calmness and knowledge beyond her years. Anyone who meets her tells me nice things about her... always, since she was a little girl... an example of this is every year since she was 8 and "allowed" to travel alone, my mom has flown her back to Tucson for a visit. Every year until last year(maybe at 12 she was too big?) the person who was sitting next to her on the plane, has sought me out once they got to get off, to tell me what a nice and well spoken young lady I have, and that I should be proud of her... and I just smile and say..yeah, she was born that way... : ) That's the kind of thing that happens around her all the time. Sometimes people will say, oh well, don't be modest, you had something to do with that...and a part of me wants to believe that is true, of course, but having had two other kids now... I really know that what I said was true... she really was just born that way! Please don't get me wrong... I adore my other kids too, and I don't know what I would do without any of them. They all have strengths and talents that I enjoy watching bloom... but it's the underlying calm, that is different about Emily. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone who hasn't met her, it's just a feeling you get when you are around her... she is amazing, and beautiful, and so smart... I am tearing up right now...it's hard to express how very proud of her that I am...

Wow, ok this was not the plan... I didn't mean to ramble on and on here... I guess I just needed an outlet and this is the form it took.

Please if you have time today, send your prayers, positive thoughts and energy, whatever you call it... her way. She is applying to go to a very competitive high school today. This school is cool, it is a public school but it is nationally competitive. It has a focus on creative arts, but also has an excellent scholastic program. I just want this for her so bad. She is talented but she isn't the only one who is, of course. The ratio for these auditions are 1 out of 3 actually get in. Those aren't such bad odds really... but of course that does mean that 2 out of 3 DON'T get in... so we all know it might not work out.

Man who ever knew I could feel this nervous over a school? : P
She is and has been in the city's magnet program since kindergarden, so if she doesn't get in she will still go to the magnet high school, but she wants this so bad... I hope that she gets it.

This is a picture of her before she headed out the door this morning... who could say no to that face, right?

Here's hoping!!

Today I am thankful to have been bleesed with the opportunity to help Emily nurture and grow along her way to travel her life's path.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas tree joy!

It has been a busy few days! I guess that happens around this time of year... lots of fun stuff going on! I have a few things I had wanted to post, but I want to post one thing at a time... the most exciting(for me anyway!)is that ...

We got our tree on December 2nd. We always have good intentions of getting a tree early, but for one reason or another (usually involving money!) we get it last minute... well this year, I finlly got my way! I sat my hubby down and we talked about sacrifices (like working two jobs) VS. privilages (getting a tree early to enjoy as long as we can to make it worth the $$$!)...and we agreed that if we are going to get a tree we should enjoy it as much as possible! Plus, when you don't have a tree the holiday just seems to sneak up on you...and I want to enjoy this time.... because the kids are only little once! You know the anticipation is a lot of what I remember from being little...

It's not the stuff, but the excitement and feelings of warmth and happiness that I want our holidays to be about...
I won't say that we haven't tried to figure out a way to get the kids stuff too...but it is secondary to the feelings... and that is the way that it should be... the reality is that our kids have plenty... we don't live extravagantly, at all. Not that we wouldn't ; ).... but I think that's ok. We still have so much more than so many others.

I am lucky and blessed, and I like to acknowedge that!

So all the mushiness being said, the tree decorating wasn't all fun.. it got late and a little grumpy and slightly tense because of a light miscommunication... BUT it went up and the kids LOVE it!
I must admit that I love it too!
Probably more than a grown woman should! The last two years I didn't get to go on the tree hunt because of random things... I can't remember why the year before, but last year we hadn't gotten the mini-van yet and we don't all fit in the car at the same time... so I stayed home with a teeny Roscoe while Al, Emily, and Sophia went, not a huge deal. BUT this year we all went together and I got to choose the tree! I got a big fat tree that I fell in love with the second I saw it. When we got it home and in the stand I got to cut the string holding it up and was laughing and dancing around... well it was contagious and the kids got really into it too!

hee hee.. I truly think that sometimes I am MUCH too easily amused! : )

ring around the tree-o... yes I was singing, too! : )

POOF! It turns out it looks much bigger in the house, than amongst all it's bigger cousins in the lots!!

I turn the lights on every morning and smile while I watch the kids dance around it.

It fills the house with a luscious smell and a homey feeling. And we had to cut a few branches off the bottom so stay tuned for my how to make a wreath post... maybe tomorrow? I don't get the time to get on here as much as I like... but that's the life of a stay at home Mama! : ) My job never stops.. no lunch breaks or overtime pay here!
and that's ok by me, because if I can't get on here that means I am hanging out with the family... and that's the fun stuff! : )

I am thankful for a house full of fun and love!
I am thankful for the ability to geta tree early this year!
I am thankful for my goofball attitude..it lightens things up around here, which is sadly neccesary some of the time!
I am thankful that I have in my head several ideas for a thankfulness blog.. I am one lucky woman!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


ok no big post here... and I might even put up another later tonight.. but I had to say

I am THANKFUL for naptime!!
especially when my day ended last night at 1:30am and started again at 5:03 with a sad Roscoe!
Both of my kids are asleep, right now, at the same time, and I have time to cook!
it's a little sad to be so easily amused! : )
ok not computer time...food for the next three days time.
Hope everyone is well in the world today!

I am thankful for two SLEEPING children!


Every year we go to my sister's for Christmas.. that's the way it ended up as far as breaking down the family holidays . We have my mother in law over for Thanksgiving. Al's brother and his people take care of themselves... and the rest of the family lives far away..so it's not generally too complicated.

When everyone is over at my sister's for the afternoon and dinner, we usually try to have some kind of craft.... to occupy us and keep the tv off... or even better have the kids watch some tv(it's Christmas for goodness sake.. it's ok!) and let the grown ups have a glass of wine and chit chat over crafts... fun stuff....

Well, one year we made pomanders... and I was hooked! I was the only one who finished the whole way(it actually took me a few days to get the supplies to finish!)... and I still have it hanging up. I love the smell so much!

A pomander is a preserved piece of fruit, often an orange, but you can use apples or lemons as well. They are preserved with cloves... and also some additional spices and oil... but it's the cloves that keep them from going bad and have such a heavenly odor. They have been around for ages, as room deoderizers... think pre-glade or febreeze!

Well, the next year my sister gave me a bunch of supplies to make some more, because it was fun, but cloves can be outrageously expensive. So, I finally made some last night for Christmas! They need 3-6 weeks (sometimes even 6 months they say!) to cure... but I am hoping for good luck because the last one I made didn't take too long... we'll see.

I thought that I would show everyone my process and see if I couldn't inspire others to make them because they are just so cool! I know I'd love to get one as a gift!
here we go!

How to make a Pomander

This is what you need to get started, I'll tackle the spices a little further down!

A few fruit of your choice. I decided to use clementines because I love them and they are smaller... less space to fill. I was being ambitious and went for 4 but 3 was my limit for one sitting. I've read to use thimbles, for the pushing part, but don't own any... if you have some I think it wouldn't be such a bad idea to pull them out!

Atleast 2 bottles of cloves, you need alot of them. These are nice ones(from my sister) but I've seen cloves at the dollar store now..and that would help make these more affordable gifts!

A bowl to work over to contain the mess, I found the clementines to be much juicier than the orange I used before(which time will tell if that makes a longer drying out period. My head says quite probably will take longer... but unknown because they are also smaller..)

A rag to clean off your hands, if necessary. The fruit bleeds, and better out than un since you are essentially trying to dry it out.

You also need something to stick holes into the fruit. I used a push pin, it had a nice little grip to hold and it felt right to me. Use whatever you see fit... crochet hook, fork, nail...whatever!

And finally a ribbon to tie around the fruit, so that you can hang it...and make it look festive, if you want.

I get a long peice of ribbon and put the fruit, topside down, around middle of it, then pull the sides up and cross them to go up the middle of each half you just made, to make 4 even spaces, like when you tie a present. Tie the ribbon on the top and just leave the extra for now.

At this point, you should anchor the top (and bottom) with one clove in each section to help keep the ribbon from moving around.

Use your push pin to make holes for each clove. You want to fit as many cloves, as close as possible, with out tearing the skin underneath, plus the pomander shrinks as it cures, so leave a little wiggle room for that. You'll get the hang of it after a few times..and trust me you'll get LOTS of practice!

This one is about halfway done and you can see that quite a bit of juice is in the bowl... there was also a good amount of juice running down my hand...you WILL find every hangnail, or cut on your hands, but atleast the citrus is an antiseptic, right?

This one that has been completely covered... HOORAY!
But you are only halfway done, at this point.

If you are going to make more than one, put this one in a bowl and start another one. When you have finished all the fruit you are using, then it is time to mix up the additional spices.
Here's what you need for the spice rub:

1 tablespoon of ground cloves

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg

1 1/2 tablespoons of ground Orris Root.

(you can also use Sandalwood Oil, instead if you want. My sister ordered this container for me from an apothecarey from Chicago, but I think you local co-op or herb store might have it.)

4 or 5 drops of Orange Essential Oil

A brown paper bag

I used my mortor and pestal because I had all these lovely fresh cloves on hand... you can use ground powder from the store if you want to!

Put all the spices on a plate, I ground fresh nutmeg and used about half a nut(is that what it's called?...I really don't know!)

Then mix the spices together, and put a few drops of Orange Oil into the mix. Being the stinky hippie that I am, if I was making these for myself I would also add a drop or two (not much) of Patchouli Oil as well, but since my sister is getting one and she thinks it smells like stinky hippie...I refrained this time.

Then you take your fruit and roll it around on the spices until they are nice and covered.

Then you put the pomanders and the extra spices into the brown paper bag. Put your bag in a cool dark place. Check on them everyday. Roll them around in the spices and check for mold. If you get mold, throw it away (I know it's sad... but you have to do it!) I have never had a moldy one, but I have had a friend who did.

It can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months, to cure. The last time I made one it took about a month. Although truth be told, I'm not exactly sure because I put it under a dresser and forgot about it for awhile... but I didn't even have the spices or a bag... just the orange under there. I hope that someone else makes some. Let me know how you like it if you do! : )

Today I am thankful for pomanders!
I am thankful for a thoughtful sister.
I am thankful for fun crafts, that make me happy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Free Stuff and a project Tease! : )

It's pretty late and I am going to have to be up in a short time with the kids but before heading up first I wanted to put up this link because I thought.. yes, I would like a $200 gift card to Target. Thank you!!
If you want to try yourself go here.
I am a little afraid of this whole blog thing... I could see getting sucked into wanting to be on more.. but I really don't have crazy time to do it..
at the same time...I would love to win..and I love to read people's blogs, too! Plus thus has been afun outlet for me... we'll see what happens!
I did a really fun project tonight, that I will hopefully post tomorrow... lots of pictures and it was aroma therapeutic... although that's not the right way to say that phrase....right I'm too sleepy to fix it!

Tonight I am thankful for my sister who gave me the supplies to make said fun smelly project, as a present last year...and this year she will get one as a present, I wonder if she knew that when she got me the stuff in the first place! : )