Monday, October 14, 2013

A New Beginning...

Just a few weeks ago I moved my youngest daughter into her first apartment on the campus of University of California Santa Cruz.  Wow...how can it be??? The little blondie who liked to run around naked with a plastic bucket on her head when she was little!  (I'm sure she will love that I have shared that here).

But really, two daughters now living away from home, one permanently and one in college.  My oldest decided to move back to Southern CA where she attended and graduated from college. I can't blame her for wanting to live by the ocean!

Such a change for my girls and I. In less than two weeks, the "little" one will turn 18, my oldest now 22.  That makes me a little old doesn't it??

It's not so bad...I can cook whatever I want...the house stays just as I've left it in the morning...I can come and go as I please.  Then there is the extreme quiet, and little bouts of loneliness for the old days, when the girls were young and it was just the three of us.  I do miss them. Terribly in fact.  But at the same time I am very proud of them and happy that they have spread their wings and left the nest.  As hard as it is, I know I have done my job by the sheer fact that they were ready to fly when it was time.  I worry about them all the time.  But I guess that's what "we" moms do.

For me....I've immersed myself in my new job and my creative passions...cooking, baking, crafting, creating.  I am in the middle of several projects, from cleaning out a messy teenager's bedroom, to sewing and decorating for Halloween.  So my weekends are packed with chores, projects, new recipes, and friends when I have time.  Making more time for fun will be my focus for the new year.  For now there are things to do (and make!).

Always in search of balance over here...some days doing it better than others.

Some things I've been  keeping busy with...
My homemade granola


In search of the "ultimate" Chocolate Chip Cookie  recipe..
Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting.
Halloween Decorating





One great thing about having your kids living away from home is how much you look forward to seeing each other when the holidays or visits come around...right now I am excited to see my youngest this weekend to celebrate her 18th birthday....it puts a whole new perspective on the mom/daughter relationship and definitely fosters an appreciation that wasn't always apparent ...if you know what I mean!!



Monday, August 5, 2013

Change is good, right??

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. 
-Winston Churchill

I am in the midst of some very big changes in my life.


I have always resisted change, but I have also learned, and continue to practice the theory that change is not only necessary & inevitable, but it can also be good thing.  It challenges us, makes us grow emotionally, and opens up new doors.
Goodbye old desk...
First major change - just a couple weeks ago, the very same week my principal got a promotion,  I was asked to interview for a new position, which also happened to be a promotion. In a matter of two days, my boss was leaving our school for a job at our district office, and I got the job at a new school. I moved from a school site where I have loved my principal, staff, students, and parents to a new position and a new principal, where I only knew a couple of teachers.

Hard to believe everything fit in one box!
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
-Frederick Douglass
It has been a bit of a process for me to "let go".  Like I said before, I truly loved the teachers, the kids, and the parents where I was.  For 8 years I have worked with a core group of amazing and talented teachers.  It was very hard to leave.  Not only did it happen quickly, but also during our Summer break, so I did not get to see very many of my co-workers and especially the students and parents I have grown to love, before I left.

I am still adjusting to that part.  On the other hand, I am tackling new challenges.  A whole new position, which includes new task and duties, as well as some I am familiar with. I am meeting lots of new people and getting to know a new principal, teachers, and co-worker.  So far, I love my office co-worker, she has been warm, welcoming, and so very helpful as I adjust to my new job.

I am challenged for sure, but also optimistic that I can make a difference to the students and families here.  That is what I hope for anyway.  The demographics are slightly different, the needs of the students at my new school are much deeper than where I came from.  There is no PTA, very few parents volunteer in the classrooms, a big change from my old school.  
My girls

Another big change that will be a far bigger challenge, is I will soon have an "empty nest".  My oldest daughter is moving out in just a few days.  I can't believe it.  Seems like just yesterday she graduated from high school and was starting college.  Now she's graduated and ready to face new challenges herself. Time to be a real grown-up.  How scary and exciting all at once!

My youngest starts college in just over a month, so she will be leaving too.  Fortunately she will not be as far away, so if I really need to see her, I can get in my car and be with her in just a couple hours.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
-Allan Watts

As a friend recently said, nothing really prepares parents for this.  Our kids growing up, leaving home, all things that are supposed to happen, but still difficult for moms and dads.  I am working on letting go, but even so, there is a pit in my stomach when I think about them both being gone.

I know I will be ok.  I have many friends and interests to keep me busy, not to mention the extra hours I've been spending at work adjusting to my new job.

But it will still be hard, there's just no way around that.  I will miss my girls so much.  Over the past 10 years that I have been a single parent, we have grown so close.  We are the 3 Musketeers   Don't get me wrong, we disagree, we even fight sometimes, but they are everything to me, and I think they feel the same.  I love them so very much, they are my world.  So, I will keep my chin up and be happy for them as they start new adventures and become strong independent young women.  

I have so many hopes and dreams for them, I look forward to watching their lives unfold.

So for now, I accept the changes in my life and even welcome them!



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Summer

Because it’s summer and the memories are just waiting to happen. -Unknown

Oh Summer, how I love you!   As much as I love each Season and the different weather, foods, and feeling each has to offer, nothing compares to Summer for me.  The main reason is the time off I have from work and being able to spend quality time with my girls.
Sitting on the beach relaxing...

My toes w/ new pedicure in the warm Lake Tahoe sand :)

A couple years after my separation and subsequent divorce, I started a tradition of going to Lake Tahoe every summer with my girls.  I have probably mentioned before, my Aunt and Uncle own a cute little house on the South shore and allow us to stay at no charge.  It is the perfect get-away for me after a long stressful school year at work.  This yearly trip, which over the years has ranged from a few nights to almost week, depending on what's going on in our lives, has become the only time all year I truly relax.  Even when I'm off work at home, I am still working around my house and yard and dealing with the day to day responsibilities of being a homeowner and single mom.  In Tahoe, I check out of the usual responsibilities and let it all go.  I cook and clean while I'm there, but it's at my leisure and if I don't feel like it, then I don't have to.

My girls in the backyard of "our" little cabin.
Since I love to cook, I don't really mind cooking most of our meals, so we plan ahead and do all of our grocery shopping before we leave, packing it all up and hauling it to "the cabin", as we fondly call it.

This Summer was our 8th visit to the cabin, and over the years we have brought along the girls' friends, boyfriend, and even got my sister and nieces to go with us a couple years ago.  This year, it was just the three of us all week.   I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this time with them.  This is my last summer with both girls living at home, so I truly cherished our time together.  When we are home, there are so many distractions for all of us, work, friends, boyfriend, all the stuff that keeps us so busy and coming and going in different directions.
We found a new shop that had hundreds of different sodas and candy.  Alyssa found her her friend Sheldon, lol.

We stayed up late watching movies, got pedicures, shopped, played cards, went out for sushi, hung out at the beach, drove around the entire lake, and just enjoyed being together without all the usual distractions.

We have decided to make a pact, that as long as we can, we will continue to go to Tahoe together every summer, just the 3 of us for at least a few days alone, even if there are boyfriends, husbands, etc. who enter our lives.  This is a trip I look forward to every year and it's always a little hard to say goodbye when we leave our beloved cabin in Lake Tahoe.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Two endings and new beginnings...

 "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson



Helllooooo! Anyone out there?


I've been wanting to write a new post for the longest time, but mainly due to time constraints, I haven't managed to settle down long enough to do it.


The past few months have been a whirlwind of the usual end-of- the-year work responsibilities and graduation festivities. 


I am proud to say I am the parent of not one, but two recent graduates.  My youngest daughter graduated from high school in early June, and my eldest, from college just over a week later.  I am so proud of both of them, they are great kids and have worked hard in school and with extra-curricular activities.  My youngest will start college in September and my oldest plans to relocate back to where she went to school in the San Diego area.  It looks like my "nest" will be empty for the first time in my life.  Lots to think about and get used to for sure.


To celebrate both graduations, I hosted a dual grad party, it seemed the best way to commemorate the accomplishments of both girls with family and friends.  Although the weather turned out much hotter than I would have liked, we had a lovely evening. 


I spent the better part of almost two weeks planning and preparing, but throwing parties is definitely something I truly enjoy.  Being creative and fine tuning all the little details is something I am passionate about, so what may seem crazy and far too time-consuming to some, is something I relish.


Here are a few pictures of the party, even though most have been taken on my phone camera, you get the idea.










































I made the majority of my decorations, and had some of them saved from my oldest daughter's party 4 years ago. I neatly packed it all away knowing I could use it again.  I have mostly white accessories in my house and garden so that whatever holiday or party it is, I can just add accents of color and it looks like more than what's really there.  I spent several days spray painting some old tables, and chairs that had been given to me and that I've had for years, it made it look like I had a bunch of "new" furniture, but it was all just transformed with paint.  

The beautiful buffet you see in the pictures was given to me by a friend a few weeks ago and I stayed up til 1:30am painting it before the party, I had a vision of it white and I just had to have it done. It probably need one more coat, but it looked fine for the party.


The day after the party, I took everything down, as much as I loved the yellow and white in my house and garden, to prepare for 4th of July which I've been decorating for the past 15 years.  We live downtown, so there is a fireworks display we can see from our front yard and every year we have friends over to eat dessert, snacks, and watch the fireworks.  Those pics will maybe be my  next post.


There is so much more I'd like to say, but for now this is enough for you all to read.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Life...

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” 
― Dr. Seuss



I'm not sure if there is anyone out there left who has ever read my blog, and if you are, you probably assume I no longer write new posts...

I actually wasn't sure if I ever would again either.  So much going on, every single day.  On days that I do have a little extra down time, I get on the computer and get distracted with reading other people's amazing blogs or oogling over websites or Facebook.

It's not that I don't have things to write about, I really do.  In fact, I'm sure I'll forget a lot of what I wanted to say today, just because there is a bunch to catch up on.

For one, I worked over the summer at my second job.  It was good and not so good.  I've met some nice people, learned some things about weddings and all the work that goes into making them special.  I also learned what very hard work it is, and that I'm getting older and don't bounce back quite as quickly as I used to!

There were a few mornings after I worked the night before (til 11 or 12), that I felt a little like I'd been hit by a bus or a train, something of that caliber ;)  One weekend there were 3 weddings, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and I worked all three.  I thought my feet might fall off by the end of that weekend.  I'm happy to say, they are still attached, if not a little battered.
My sweet little niece India playing with her little friend on the beach. She's the blondie :)

We took the girls to Starbuck's in Cardiff-by-the-Sea to do some homework.  We were the only ones without laptops, we had crayons, markers, and colored pencils instead.  That's my rainbow drawing on the bottom right, you're never too old to color!
My niece who just turned 8 has been learning how to surf, I love this picture of her on the beach!


It felt like my Summer went by very, very quickly this year.  I guess the second job and having less time off from my job as school office secretary made it that way.  Our district's calendar was slightly different this year, so we did not have our usual 6 weeks off.  What I did have, was both my girls home with me all summer.  Although my youngest also got a new job and we were often like passing ships, we still found time to hang out, us three Musketeers.

Because of this, we did not do a whole lot over the summer. We did take our yearly trip to Lake Tahoe, it was so good to get away for a few days.  Our trip there was also a little shorter than usual, but I was still happy we all got to get away together.  It is one of my favorite places, especially in the summer.
A picture my daughter took with her phone in Tahoe, so beautiful there!

I think I chose today to write a post, because I am feeling a little out of sorts, and I thought it might help unravel my brain a bit.  I just returned home from bringing my oldest daughter back to college.  This is always my least favorite trip to Southern CA.  I loved seeing my nieces and sister, that is always a plus and one of the reasons we get to go as often as we do.  Not having to rent a hotel makes all the difference.  I love spending time with those little munchkins, I miss them so much.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I left them...my sister, nieces, and daughter...we had a few great days together.  We had a birthday party at the beach for the little girls, I went for coffee and a long walk on the beach with my sis, and enjoyed a "big girls only" happy hour having sushi, which is something I don't usually eat.  It was yummy and nice to hang out with my sister and daughters! I also managed to get my daughter moved back in to  her on-campus apartment.

Some other recent highlights- my oldest turned 21 on Sept. 18th, can't believe I have a kid that old!!!! My younger daughter made the "top 6" for Homecoming Queen at her high school, so we have lots of activities in the next couple weeks involving that.

There's a lot more to say...but for now this will do.


This is one of the many houses we got to walk by on the beach. It is my new dream neighborhood that happens to be just across the street from my sister's condo...a place called St. Malo, very exclusive and way out of my budget, but I can dream!
Wishing you happy thoughts,
Lisa