Phone Photos

When I bought my new phone last month, I finally had to figure out how to download all of the pictures off of my old one.

So here's what you've been missing...

:: a silly hat in a store ::

:: a 3-D movie ::

:: another silly hat, this time from school ::

:: a trip to the dentist ::

:: a lunch date at Starbucks ::

Not some of my best photography, but special nonetheless. Priceless, really.

"Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey"

I find myself doing that every once and a while. Looking back. Wondering. Realizing.

Realizing isn't always easy. Sometimes it's hard. Realizing--something suddenly coming to light, that light bulb moment--isn't always a happy thing.

I've been doing lots of realizing lately. Mostly about myself. Realizing those things that have been hiding right in front of my face for years and now, for whatever reason, I can suddenly see them as if they've always been there. Because...well...they have. I just didn't want to see it.

As my 5 year-old so profoundly stated the other day, "Mom, you can only lie to yourself."

So true, my young Yoda. So true.

I don't know what it is. Maybe it has something to do with getting closer and closer to turning 40. Because I'm going to be 40...someday. Maybe I'm just maturing enough to see things as they really are instead of how I wish they were. Whatever the reason, I'm grateful for the change.

I've realized things about my weight and my issues with food (i.e., eating what I want, whenever I want and that I can't do it). I've started to realize that I spend too much time worrying about tomorrow instead of enjoying today. I've realized that my kids are growing up very, very fast and I need to enjoy their youth before it's gone.

I've realized that I truly don't care what other people think, that I like who I am, who I've become, and my opinion is the only one that really matters. I've realized that I have enough, that I've been blessed by God with more than I need.

Yes, realizing is a good thing. It encourages me to keep look forward. Moving ahead. Eyes front and focused on the positive.

Because usually, when I waste time and look back, I realize that my butt is way bigger than I realized.

And that's never good.

You've been have I!

:: before ::

It wasn't such a bad little porch really. It really wasn't. But it was small and every time it rained, little white paint chips would cover the furniture and grill like snow. Something had to change.

So we made a plan.

And then we put that plan into action.

And now 3 months later, it's about finished.

Yes, the project that originally was only supposed to take 30 days has taken 3 times as long.


I've hated to complain, because hey, I'm just happy that we are able to do this project at all. But. But I'm ready to have my yard back. I'm ready to let the dogs outside to pee and not worry that they will escape. I'm ready to not have a yard full of mud. I'm ready to sit outside on a gorgeous southern California day and enjoy life.

The highlight of the whole project happened yesterday. Long story short, a large red trailer full of junk from our project came unhooked from a truck and rolled down our street and rammed into the back of the Golfer's car. No major damage, thank goodness, but a new back bumper will be required. We're just glad that the trailer only hit his car and not the neighbors house or a small child. Because that, that would have really sucked.

But now it's almost done and I'm happy because that means that I finally get to accessorize. I get to go to places like Home Goods and load up on lanterns and bistro sets. Decorating, even when it's just a remodeled patio, is always the best part.

Starting next week the landscaper will be putting on the final touches and after that's over I will finally post the final pictures of the finally finished product.


10 years...10 presents

The Golfer and I celebrated 10 years of marriage last week. We headed up the coast to spend three days in Carmel. Alone. Together. It was lovely.

We did what most couples do when they hit a milestone. We talked about everything that has happened in those ten years: who had died since our wedding (a little morbid), where we thought we'd be in another ten years (the Cheese will be graduating from high school and the Monkey will be learning how to drive. Scary!) and if there was anything that we would have changed about the last ten years (nothing!) You know, the usual anniversary talk.

We drank good wine, ate delicious food, and basked in the glory of being in such a beautiful place.

:: the view from our room ::

Carmel is such a beautiful piece of the world. I feel blessed that we live in driving distance. We shopped a little, ate more great food, and even squeezed in a little culture by visiting the Carmel Mission. Appropriately, we got to tour in between two of the weddings that were being held at the mission that day.

But the best part of the anniversary (any special occasion for that matter!) were the presents. I'll admit, I expected something. What woman wouldn't! I just didn't expect to get 10 somethings!

When I came out of the shower one morning, there on the bed were 10 presents. Now, my first reaction at seeing all of this even surprised me, "You spent too much!" Especially since we are nearing the end of our 3 month long backyard renovation (more on that later.) But the Golfer just smiled and said, "Open then." I'm not a woman to argue, so I did.

At first the presents didn't make much sense. A beautiful painting of the San Juan Capistrano Mission, a silk scarf, a copper pot. I mean they were all lovely, but seemed...well...strange. He just kept telling me that he would explain it all when I was done opening. And he did.

Each gift was for each year of marriage. The gifts following the traditional anniversary gift giving guide. So he had given me something for each year of our marriage.

1st--Paper: a set of three notepads
2nd--Cotton: an organic cotton t-shirt from Whole Foods
3rd--Glass (the modern version): a glass vase
4th--Silk: an orange silk scarf
5th--Wood: a wooden painting of the San Juan Capistrano Mission (he looked but they didn't have the Carmel Mission, but I so loved that he tried.)
6th--Iron: two hands made of iron
7th--Copper: a decorative copper pot
8th--Bronze: a necklace made of bronze
9th--Pottery: a cute box made of pottery
10th--Tin: a necklace made of tin

As random as they first all seemed, they are the best 10 presents that anyone has ever given me. What I love when I receive a gift, more than anything, is knowing that that person put a lot of time, thought, and effort into the gift. That is truly what made the 10 gifts so special.

All I could do was hug him, try not to cry, and say, "You really love me."

To which of course he said, "I do."

Which is exactly what he said when we got married 10 years ago.

"I don't know, babe. What do you want to do?"

©Stephenie Freeman

Hopefully today, on this beautiful Mother’s Day, I am doing something special to celebrate. I choose to use the word “hopefully” because as I write this, I am not so sure that will be the case.

Do my kids love me? Of course. Does my husband appreciate me as the mother to his two children? You betcha. Does that mean that they can translate their love and appreciate into a special occasion complete with pampering and presents? Not so much.

The problem is that I am too much of a planner. I just wanted to be sure that something was in the works. So instead of letting my expectations get out of control, which they tend to do, I made the mistake of asking the Golfer a simple question last week.

“What are you planning for Mother’s Day?” I innocently asked in between asking him to take out the trash and open a jar of spaghetti sauce.

Here’s how I saw it going down in my mind. I would say, “What are you planning?” and he would lovingly put his arms around me and smile. He’d tell me that he and the boys were planning something special, something I would love. The boys would overhear our conversation and come over rubbing their hands together like they were proud of their secret plot to give me the grandest of all Mother’s Day surprises.

Instead he said, “I don’t know, babe. What would you like to do?” as he carried the bag of trash out the door. He’s lucky I didn’t dump the spaghetti sauce on his head when he walked back into the kitchen.

In most instances this would not be considered a bad response to my question. If we were going out on a date night or making plans for the weekend, asking me for my opinion would be the wisest possible thing for him to do. But asking me what I wanted to do on Mother’s Day? Well, let’s just say it didn’t go over so well.

I didn’t immediately blow up. Luckily for him the spaghetti sauce remained in the jar, but I did start to pout which morphed into full-blown anger in about five seconds. The Golfer stood in the kitchen dazed and confused wishing there were another bag of trash for him to escape with. He had no clue why I was so mad. Here in lies the problem.

You see, I don’t want to plan Mother’s Day. Actually, any holiday outside of what I call “The Big 5” (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Father’s Day and Easter), I don’t want to plan. I don’t want to plan Valentine’s Day, our anniversary, and I especially don’t want to plan my own birthday. Those are days when I wanted to be surprised, treated, and pampered. I want them to go down like they do in the movies, complete with happy tears and lavish gifts. But that rarely happens and unfortunately I don’t live in the movies.

I haven’t helped much by being the ultimate planner that I am. Over the years, the Golfer has gotten used to me taking care of things, always doing the planning, so it’s only natural that he would defer to me for ideas in planning such an occasion.

“I don’t know, babe. What would you like to do?”

After a few minutes had passed and my blood pressure dropped back down to normal, it occurred to me that I hadn’t made things very easy for my sweet Golfer. Mother’s Day was still a week away, still within a husband’s window of opportunity to pull something together. I needed to relax and let whatever happens, happen.

“No matter what you plan for Mother’s Day, I’m sure it will be great. As long as the four of us are together that’s all I really care about.”

And when I said it, I really meant it. I still do. And hopefully the Golfer was smart enough to read between the lines and plan something special anyway. Hopefully.

Here’s hoping that you have a very, very happy Mother’s Day!

If we mamas don't speak up for our children, who will?

:: my PTA buddies Erika, Lisa, and I at the rally at the state capital ::

I'm not the "rah-rah" type. I was never a cheerleader and never will be. But things like the quality of our children's public education get me fired up. Maybe it's because I used to be a teacher. Maybe it's because I'm a mama with two boys in the public education system. Maybe it's because I believe that ALL children deserve a top-notch public education. Maybe it's all of the above.

So I rallied at the state capital with my buddies Erika, Lisa, and Lorena. We held up our signs and cheered when two of the state's assembly men (actually, they were ladies) came out to speak about the importance of supporting more funding for our public schools. I mustered up the best cheerleading impersonation that I could.

I was disappointed that there were more people there to support our cause because really, how many more reasons do you need?

:: picture courtesy of ::

"At least 600 people gathered at the Capitol on the first day of the California State PTA 111th Annual Convention in Sacramento. Their purpose was loud and clear: We must invest in the more than 9 million children living in California, and stop cutting budgets for education and other critical services."

See me in the middle in my yellow jacket? That's me right there in the middle of that big ol' number 9. That big number 9 stands for 9 million--9 million children--9 million reasons to speak up.

I don't want my picture taken.

It's true. I don't like to have my picture taken. You know why? Because I don't want to see what I actually look like.

Don't I look at myself every day in the mirror, you ask? Well, of course. But when I'm doing my hair or brushing my teeth, I don't really look at myself. Usually I'm just trying to hurry up so I can get out of the door and on to something more important. And besides, what I actually see in the mirror and how I see myself in my mind don't really match up.

You know how anorexics see themselves in their mind differently than they actually are in real life? Well that's me, but...the opposite. Instead of thinking that I'm too fat, I actually think I look quite good which in truth is quite the opposite. Yes...quite.

In the deep parts of my brain I know this to be true. I know that I need to lose weight. I know I do. I know, I know, I know. I've even shared a little bit about this on here before. But my love of food and lack of desire to exercise don't help matters much.

So I struggle to find the motivation to change things. Most days I choose to ignore it. I work hard, I'm a full-time mom with a husband that travels a lot, I deserve to eat what I want, when I want. Right?

Not so much.

Yes, I realize that if I want to be healthy and not become gigantic then I cannot continue this current way of thinking. My mom is a petite flower, but the rest of the women on both sides of my family weren't so skinny-minny. I gotta be careful.

Like my grandmother for example. When you look at pictures of her when she was in her 20's she was beautiful and slender. She had a lovely figure. But by the time I knew her, by the time she became a Gan Gan, she wasn't so slender anymore. She was still beautiful, but she had a love of food that ran deep. It's one of the many wonder qualities that I inherited from her.

Yes even knowing my genetic heritage doesn't seem to motivate me, but something happened today that changed all that.

Now here comes the funny part (if there is such a thing when talking about a subject such as this.) I choose to share this here because frankly...I think it's funny. But as funny as it was, it was also a huge slap in the face. My 5 year-old didn't mean to, but today he became all of the motivation that I needed.

In my daily hurry to get the kids out the door and off to school, I was standing in my panties and a sports bra (because indeed I was planning to work out thank you!) and I was helping the Monkey brush his teeth. He suddenly realized that I was standing there in my underwear and turned to look at me. He then said the words that I will never, ever forget.

"Mom! You have a fat belly!"

You're laughing right now aren't you? It's okay. You can laugh because it's funny. It is. I even laughed when he said it, mostly because I couldn't believe what I had just heard, but still I laughed.

Need some motivation to start paying more attention to what you put in your mouth and how often and how hard your work out? I'll send the Monkey over. He'll tell you like it is.