Month: December 2014

Snapshot Memories

I have had some wild and fun New Years Eves.  I’ve had some not so notable ones as well.  And lately, the most recent ones result in celebrating the East Coast midnight New Year rather than our West Coast clock three hours later.

Back in 1995, I spent New Years up in Lake Tahoe’s South Shore for the first and only time.

We took the long way around the Lake and stopped at Lakeshore Pizza in Tahoe City before continuing on.

It was there that the best part of New Years happened.  Sitting outside on the deck of the restaurant with lifelong friends and what would become my future husband, we ate some pizza and drank some beer while Van Morrison’s Day’s Like This played through the speakers above.  All this while staring out at Lake Tahoe in all it’s glory with the snowy mountains as a backdrop.  Perfect moment.

I don’t remember that midnight, or many of the details from that trip other than sitting on that deck, listening to the music with special people.  I can picture it so well though.  Like a snapshot.

Here’s to many snapshot memories in 2015!

Reinvented Gift

If I had a dollar for every time we were told we should have a pool in our backyard, it would add up to a lot of dollars.  Unfortunately, not the 40,000ish dollars necessary to put a pool in our backyard.

A few summers ago, Costco had this super cool, big above ground pool, with a salt solar chlorinating filtration system that allowed you not to have to use harsh chemicals.  The cost of this pool was more equal to the dollars that could have been earned from the comments regarding our need for a pool.

Well, don’t let me go to Costco unless you expect something to come home with me.  I was so excited to get this for the kids!  The pool was purchased, put up and enjoyed thoroughly for about 3 weeks.  Then the dumb filtration system went all crazy.  I was told to take it apart, scrape the copper plates of the build up, among other tasks that would take about 20 minutes every other day.  It would then work for about a day and a half before the alarm on the unit would go off in the middle of the night, somehow its’ sound making its way through my window and waking me up.  Between the green water, waking up in the middle of the night to address this pool like I was caring for a newborn, and the water bugs that I still have no idea where they came from started swimming in the pool, I was done.  Our good friends had bought the pool at the same time, and were a bit smarter than me for throwing in the towel a few weeks earlier and lugging the dripping mess back to Costco.

My husband took the entire thing back to Costco, dripping tubes and all.  They were awesome, took it back and gave us a full refund.

Then there was this whole large round dead grass area to deal with in our backyard where the pool had sat for a couple of months.

Operation fire pit was launched.

My husband built this awesome large fire pit, and we surrounded it with the plastic chairs we have had for years that we get out during parties.  When I told him about some adriondack chairs that I had seen for X amount of dollars, he really went into action.  He bought a pallet of wood, and built 10 chairs for about the price that 2 of the ones that I had seen would have cost.


Our pool that I purchased as a gift for our children one hot summer, has become a memory making fire pit which I think will be much more enjoyed for years to come.

One of my favorite memories with our pool turned fire pit was about a year and a half ago, we were going to have friends and neighbors over, and it started pouring rain.  Everyone still came.  I don’t remember what we ate (very odd for me, I always remember food), I just remember all of us standing around the fire pit, rain coming down, and us drinking and laughing together as our kids ran like crazy playing in a yard full of rain.  We have all talked about that since.  Such a simple but fun memory.  Thanks to a pool that didn’t work out!

Merry Christmas!  You never know what your gifts may lead to.

100th Day Of No Migraines

Today it has been 100 days since I have had a migraine.  There is no one word that sums this up for me.  Words that come to mind are:

  • Wow
  • Amazing
  • Really, really nice

Not having my eyesight leave me for 30 minute periods followed by dull senses, then a life changing headache that follows the next day happen multiple times per week has just been wonderful.

The problem is that it scares the absolute crap out of me.  When am I going to have a migraine again?  I walk into stores and get a little panicky, wondering if this is the day that my streak will be broken.  I’m scared to think of a time in the future that I may be referring to this period of my life as ‘there was a time that I went 100 days without a migraine’.

Daily B-2, Feverfew, Butterbur, green migraine smoothie, which one is doing the work?  Will they continue to work?  How much time do I get of this non-migraine lifestyle?  100 days isn’t long enough to consider it to be my new normal.  The anxiety that comes with migraines really sucks.  I let the anxiety cat out of the bag fully on a past post here:

Ok, checking myself, gotta get back to being grounded, and stay the course.  I’m going to take a moment and enjoy this ride.  100 days of no migraines is magical.

‘Just keep swimming.’


The Mom Awards

A couple of years ago we had a sleepover at our house where each of my three kids had two friends spend the night for no special holiday or reason.  That’s nine kids total spending the night at my house.  My kids were thrilled, and had that look of shock when we said yes like they better run fast before we change our mind.  My friends gave a few all in fun comments like ‘wow’ or ‘you are crazy’.  And my response was ‘when I get my Mom Award one day, this is one of the things that needs to be listed.’

The Mom Awards are different than the ‘Mom of the Year Award.’  The ‘Mom of the Year Award’ is reserved for when we screw up pretty royally as a mom and state that ‘I will not be getting the Mom of the Year Award for that one!

There are so many reasons why moms should be acknowledged and awarded.  Sleeping in a broken hospital chair next to your recovering kid overnight is huge, as well as caring for your child when they get back home from a surgery, which I have done more than once.  But those things aren’t what I am talking about here, those are part of the job description…tough, emotionally draining parts of the job, that would not ever be slacked on.  The types of things I think deserve a Mom Award are the things that you don’t have to do, but you do them because it makes your kids happy.  The above and beyond the job description items.  It’s usually something that is harder on you to do than if you didn’t, but you do it anyway.


  • Getting up before the sun way too many times to count to drive your kid to their sporting events.  (Why on Earth are games scheduled for 8:00 in the morning?  Let alone an hour + away?)
  • Sleeping outside on the deck of the treehouse in an air mattress that deflates by morning so the kids can sleep inside the treehouse and not be scared.
  • Driving for close to an hour to see if we can find the end of the rainbow because the kids said it looks like it’s not too far away.
  • A friend from my kids school has 3 kids, two that could be on the same basketball team due to their ages, but they want to be on their own teams, so there will probably be 3 teams of practices/games/snack schedules to follow rather than 2.

Basic, nothing too fancy, if not done, would have been a lot easier, but the smiles were worth it.

*If you’ve ever survived a lice outbreak in your home you get an instant Mom Award.  This one is not similar to the others above, but it is well due an award.  No explanation necessary.

I remember an Oprah episode, a long time ago, it showed this large family of grown up children that wanted to acknowledge and celebrate their mom.  The mom, surprised and on stage, said when asked what she thought about her kids doing this for her, something to the point of ‘I just wish I would have spent more time with them.  To not have been so busy with other things.’  This has always stuck with me, because here is this lady, who’s kids just love her and want to let her know what a great mom she is, and she still thinks that she should have done better.  Isn’t that just the truth?  No matter the great things we do, as moms, there is always a guilt that hangs over like a cloud of what more we could have done.  The Mom Awards are a reminder that we do great things all the time for our kids, usually things that would have been easier not to have done.

So, how do these Mom Awards look to me?  I see friends coming over and gathering around the fire pit with a glass of wine or drink of choice.  As they come in, they need to drop a piece of paper into a box (kinda like a suggestion box, but a Mom Awards box) with a reason for their Mom Award.  And as we sit around the fire and drink some wine and eat some good food, we read out loud the pieces of paper and laugh and celebrate.  Not quite the Oscars or the ESPYs, but man, it sure sounds fun!


An ode to See’s Candy

I am officially proclaiming my love for See’s Candy, right here on the information superhighway, the world wide web.

I love See’s Candy.

A lot.

I like all but the chocolate covered cherry one, and the pineapple one is not my favorite either (although I have been known to pick off the chocolate and eat that part if it is the only one left).  I am even happy when at the end of a box of Nuts and Chews, all I have left is the chocolate covered peanuts.

See’s Candy to me represents holidays.  As a kid, it was exciting when when people visited and brought See’s (usually older uncles and aunts).  It was like ‘oh look, they brought See’s!‘  Not that See’s equaled that they were rich, but it was more like a statement.  A statement of I’m bringing a quality food item that can be doubled as a gift to be shared. RIGHT NOW, no waiting necessary!  And when I became older and worked in office settings, businesses would get gifts of See’s!  It was amazing!  And during the holidays, the boxes are already pre-wrapped!  An instant gift of kindness!

To be the first to the box is the best.  You get to pick your favorite one!  I always, always, always have picked the square one in the corner, California Brittle.

Over the years, the presence of See’s Candy has declined in my life.  I have not worked in an office setting in many moons.  So, no business gifts.  But, every now and then, at a holiday party, on the desert table, a glorious box of See’s.  I’m not sure if people don’t quite get the magic of this box sitting on the table, or just don’t fully respect it.  Because I rush the table and try to casually grab my favorite piece if it’s still there.  And if it’s not, I scan the room as if I’m going to start something with the one who took it, because surely, they do not appreciate that piece of California Brittle as much as I do.  They may have just grabbed one blindly, thinking ‘oh look, chocolate’ making me then move on to other pieces to choose from.

I think there has been one time where I was in the presence of the king daddy, double decker box of See’s.  That was impressive even through my then childhood eyes.

Family and friends know my love for See’s.  I have told my husband that truly, all he needs to do is get me a box of See’s Nuts and Chews for Valentines Day, and it’s a home run.  Birthday, same thing, home run.  My last birthday, the kids and my husband got me See’s.  I was so excited.  I hid the box appropriately so no one else could have any, and it lasted me a very long time.

On my first day of subbing long term for my daughter’s 5th grade class, which also happened to be my first day of subbing ever (crazy, but worth it), I walked back into the classroom from a quick break and sat at the desk, and there was a box of See’s with a card.  It was from my friend, my cohort in PTA. Funny how really touching this was to me.  My occasional rants on Facebook about my love for See’s, resulted in my friend surprising me with a box on a very big first day for me.  That was huge.  And perfect.

Another time a different friend texted me one day and asked what my favorite See’s candy was.  I told her California Brittle.  I didn’t know if maybe she was sampling some See’s, or what, but I felt confident in my suggestion.  A couple of days later, she surprised me at our daughters soccer game with a box of only California Brittle!  Amazing!  Such a nice gift, and truly thoughtful, my very favorites.  Here’s a picture of it (yes, I took a picture, it was that beautiful, and that appreciated):


A few months ago, my middle child and I were at the mall.  We got what we needed done and then proceeded to walk into See’s Candy.  The place is magical.  It has stayed the same level of classiness as it always has been.  Same uniforms worn by the employees, no super current modern modifications.  I’m not sure that the employees love it, but I do, it’s familiar.  Everything else changes.  See’s does not.  As we walked in and were scanning the glass cases of delicious chocolate, we were invited to try a sample.  Why yes, don’t mind if I do.  And I mean a whole piece of chocolate, not just a slice off of one.  Quality.  A little girl walked in with her family as we were still making our rounds before choosing our piece for dessert, and she yelled out ‘Yay!’ when she walked into the store.  My sentiments exactly.  See’s is awesome.



Friends have shared my love for See’s.  When I talk about See’s, most seem to name their favorite as Scotchmallow, no one has ever named mine as their favorite, which is pretty great news, no sharing necessary.  In our early 20’s, one friend made a See’s run right before the mall closed.  It was a clutch play, like a 3 pointer buzzer beater.  During those years, there was also a box of See’s that  accompanied us to the Eagles reunion tour.  (By ways of the bottom of a sleeping bag we brought in…security was way more lax back then.)  See’s has been appreciated through my childhood, through my early adulthood, and now my kids even know how special See’s candy is to me!

On Facebook this week there was a post about a See’s 12 Days of Christmas where they were giving away a lifetime of See’s as the grand prize.  What?!  As I immediately registered, it brought me to a See’s chocolate game and information about all See’s pieces of chocolate.  I shared the post on Facebook, and I mentioned that thank goodness it isn’t a phone sweepstakes, because I may become that guy in the end of the movie One Crazy Summer.

If you happen to win, kick down a box of Nuts and Chews would ya?

I hope I have done See’s justice.  It is in my opinion the most delicious chocolate I’ve had.  But even more than that, it makes me smile each time I open a box because for some silly reason, this white box with the gold and black writing holds tradition and memories.


Fred Dean baby!!! #74!!!

It has been 74 days since my last migraine.  This is pretty unreal.  If you want to know why 74 is relevant, you can see my post regarding my 49th day here:

Over these last 74 days, there have been so many times that I’ve gone into stores or places where I have previously gotten migraines, always leaving feeling like I got away with something as I left with no migraine.  This should be a normal thing, going places and it not triggering a migraine.  I think it will take a lot longer than 74 days to feel like not getting migraines is normal.  There is some anxiety with this success, such as when is one going to come again, and when I do get one again, is it going to be a king daddy whopper of a migraine that knocks me down for multiple days?

What a puzzle this migraine trip has been.  Gotta celebrate this success though, it’s wild.  Migraine relief is not a one size fits all.  Mine so far consists of daily green smoothies and herbal supplements.  For details, click on  Anti-Migraine potion (my first blog post) in the menu above.

Here’s to #74!  Very cool.

We are all doing the best we can.

The moments where my patience finally hits that tilt level and I begin shouting and yelling at the kids rather than taking the 10 seconds to count backwards and breathe, or any of the other ‘calm down’ tricks I’ve read about over the years, am I doing the best I can?

That’s a tricky question.

Many, many, years ago, I went to a workshop that focused on managing behaviors of children with disabilities, particularly children on the autism spectrum in school settings.  I learned two important things at that workshop.  One, peppermint helps stimulate your brain and keeps you more alert; the presenter passed out peppermint candies after our lunch break to help fight off the sleepiness that oh so often occurs after lunch!  Two, everyone is always doing the best they can at that given moment.

The presenter asked our group if we thought that our students were always doing the best they can regarding behaviors that they were known to display.  This created some grumbling, and ‘oh no way’ comments with some smiles.  Then the presenter explained that these students were doing the best they could at that given moment.  That even though you have witnessed times where your students have behaved much more positively, at that given moment, they were doing the best they could.  So, say, a student was having a meltdown, and just hit someone across the face.  Given the circumstances of their day, perhaps their night before, those details need to be taken into account, because those details lend to their present situation, and that being the best they could do.  We don’t know all the details that go into someone’s daily experience, there could be a lack of sleep, there could be trigger points that we don’t know about, there are so many things that can influence people that we are unaware of.  The point is, even if someone can do better under different circumstances, that was the very best they could do at that moment.  I hope I’m explaining her point accurately, because it’s stuck with me all this time.

The other night I came across and read a really funny, very clever blog post.  It was written from a toddler’s perspective to his/her mother.  I thought it was hysterical, probably because I related to it very well.  What surprised me as I glanced down at the comments left below her post, was that there were negative comments made by readers regarding the article.  I won’t ruin all the funny details from the post (the link is below, you’ve got to read it), but the negative comments I saw focused on the one thing I think I identified with most and laughed out loud about:

Waking up in the middle of the night to a kid’s wet bed, and placing a towel under the child rather than changing all of the sheets.

I have done this multiple times.

3:00 am waking up to crying, then cleaning up either vomit, or urine off of the floor/bed/windows/doors/walls, and cleaning the kid enough to slip them in some clean jammies then back to a bed stripped of sheets and blankets, but with laid out towels over the wet spots to lay on top of, and a throw blanket to place over them is as much as I can muster.  It’s the best I can do at that moment.  And honestly, I think it’s pretty great.  Adam Sandler in Big Daddy used newspapers, I stepped up his game and used a dry towel, and left the rest to be dealt with in the morning.

We are all doing the best we can at any given moment.  At those moments where I think I’m an utter parenting failure for x, y or z, I can count on my good friends to chime in and have a pissing contest of ‘Oh you think that’s bad?  Last week, I _____’ (fill in the blank), leaving me to feel much better after laughing, and a bit more normal (whatever that is).  We’re all in this together, doing the best we can.  I think being able to laugh at yourself while acknowledging your practices aren’t always taken out of a book on parenting is in itself, doing awesome.

If you’ve ever had a toddler, or if you may have one one day, be sure to read this from ‘The Honest Toddler’, I thought it was hysterical.