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Sunday, January 31, 2016

My sweet mom Gera

Crazy how much Ive been thinking about my momma lately !
She was so precious and such a "all in" YaYa
And the more I spend time with my  grand babies I have to admit I am totally becoming her !!
Their joy is my utmost concern and there is nothing I wouldn't cook, buy or do to make them happy. Last week the kids were here and Beckham wanted to sit in the living room chair with a portable DVD player and watch a movie . He would occasionally holler out " yaya can I have more bacon, can I have a cup of water and I couldn't rush fast enough to deliver his wishes !
I know they can become spoiled but since I'm not the mom I believe it is my job to completely smother them with love and affection
Just like my momma did 
We were talking about when the Travis Chad and Chloe all wanted something different for dinner so my mom drove to all three places so they would be happy.
She never said " no you kids decide on the same"  she just happily made them all happy !
And you know they still remember that ! She left a lasting memory of such unselfish LOVE and complete devotion to us all
Travis remembers when he ran the LA Marathon that he and a friend spent the night at her house before the race and she used every single pot and pan to cook them dinner and load them up on carbs and protein for their run. She was exhausted from it but so happy to wait on the boys

Her love for people is always on my mind. She LOVED so big and treated everyone like they were family. She would call me and ask if I had any of the kids old back packs because one of her homeless friends at the beach needed one. She took her leftovers down to Santa Monica beach where she walked at night to share with her "friends" there. So often I scolded her to be more careful, I think I even said "one day mom you are going to get knocked over the head by one of "those" people"  {shame on me} but she always gently reminded me that Jesus was with her and she never felt afraid .
She carried her little one dollar McDonald's gift certificates with her to give away because EVERYONE deserved a hot cup of coffee .
She was generous to a fault with her widows mite

But mostly I find myself praying to be more like her ! To have her heart for people and treat everyone like they matter. To have her faith that you can not out-give God so to freely give knowing He will take care of you .  When I saw my friend Jay with a new backpack last week I wondered who God used to bless him with that sweet gift and thought my mom would be smiling about that. And when I find myself throwing off fear or prejudice and loving people that I normally wouldn't, I feel her pleasure and know she is proud of the legacy she left behind


Friday, January 1, 2016

~2016~



Its hard to believe how long I have neglected my blog...
With Instagram and Facebook they seem to tell the stories of my life so I often feel this space is redundant
But then I have a post in my heart that I cant seem to forget about and here I am deciding to write again
I shared a speech at my brother Paul's funeral and so did his boys and my brothers
And we all seemed to share almost the same thought...
That when you were with Paul you had his undivided attention
He was fully present
Rick Warren shared this quote ...
Attention is the greatest gift you can give someone, because it shows how much you value them "
Paul lived out that quote...
I was thinking of what my word for this year should be ,  I decided it will be

"present"

I am often a spazz, I get side tracked and even with dinner guests I am pulling things out of the oven , making sure things in place and only half listening .
I want to be better,do better
My desire and goal is the fully focus
To give my 100 % attention to who is with me in those moments,because at the end of our lives its those moments that will matter , its those moments with him that I remember and they made me feel so loved and value. They have left a lasting impact on who I am 
I think Paul would love that he has left that legacy for me to carry on

Check in on me in three months to see if I am holding true to my word,
PRESENT !! 
Yep that's my mantra this year
And its the present he gave me this Christmas


present:  Existing or happening now; current:

a. Being at hand or in attendance:
b. Existing in something specified:
c. Now being considered; actually here or involved

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Remembering ....

LOVE  this picture of my Mom and Dad


I was thinking the other day how much I am going to miss hearing certain phrases
I was talking to my aunt Mary and she was cleaning her house but still had to
"run the sweeper"

No one says that anymore, and it kinda made me sad ...
She and my mom both used the same great words and it  always bring back memories

They went to the Beauty Parlor to get a wash and set
They did their marketing instead of grocery shopping
They ate supper
They had laundry days
They went into town  to buy milk
They drank soda pop 
They went to the picture show
They watched their stories on TV
My mom wore slacks or dungarees
And go aheads
And I wore tops and bottoms
She carried a pocket book
And we wore galoshes when it rained
We had a credenza by our front door that we dropped everything on
My daddy would often say someone was a real nice gal  or they were slender
And he drank Sanka
My mom wore a brassiere
And they both said " how do you do" when introduced to someone
My daddy loved  Eyetalian  food 
When I asked him how long something had been he said "since Christ was a carpenter"
And he hogged the clicker
My mom loved laying in the backyard on a chaise lounge

I wish I could remember them all, but I am pleased as punch that I have these memories of my sweet parents
Funny how a little conversation can take you down memory lane..

Have a sweet day you whipper snappers and try to stay out of mischief


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Job Chapter 2 :)

As most of you know , I had a really bad fall on Christmas Eve. I was told I have a severe bone bruise and now three full months later I am still limping and my leg simply wont go straight.
I have spent "thousands" on rehab and therapy and have seen two specialists, had two cortisone shots.....
And I still limp 
But I refuse to let this steal my joy !! 
So I continue to push myself and try to find the joy and lesson in all of this
When I see people on crutches or with a cane its amazing the compassion that rises up in me and I pray for them right then and there. And I thank God always that my limp is temporary and that I will recover

So while I was getting a new xray on my leg I asked if I could get a KUB because I thought I felt some kidney stones. I have been having pain in my back,and I have had so many stones that now I  know when they are there.
Well, I found out that I have TWO more BIG ONES and before I go back to work I have to have another lithotripsy

After I cried in Dr Mc Dreamy's  office, reminded him again that with the money I have spent on these buggers I could have gotten a tummy tuck and a new rack....
 I once again resolved 
I will not let this steal my joy !!

Then today when I went to get my teeth cleaned I found out one of my wisdom teeth needs to be pulled?? So I am off to a Oral surgeon for that
April fools?
No I'm afraid not...
But I am choosing joy and looking for the sunshine in these days of challenge

I have a Maker, He knows my name, He sees each tear that falls and He hears me when I call
It is easy to trust when things are going well, but I will trust that the sun will come out even when I am in the clouds !
If you need me to pray for you, please let me know...I will help you carry your burden no matter how heavy it feels
I am thankful for family and friends who have encouraged me and helped carry mine


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Catching Up ...

Some random Joys and updates from the Carters ! 
I am working hard on getting my knee up to snuff ! Sadly it has not been easy . I got the MRI results and found out it is just " a severe bone bruise? and there is some cartilage damage but they seem to think when my knee settles down that it will settle down too?
I am still in therapy trying to get my range of motion back. I still walk so horribly and just cant get that darn leg straight

So while I am off I am continuing to work  like crazy on closets and drawers and just today took a HUGE car load to the Salvation Army
I dont know where all this "stuff"  lives but I find it and off it goes
It feels like we have moved and I LOVE IT!! 

Also....
Chad had a really epic rescue last week. A guy jumped off the cliffs and Chad jumped in after him. I would covet your prayers for him, he says he prays real quick before he plunges in but when I see the situations he faces it scares me so much
There was a photographer nearby and she took a couple pics
Proud momma had to steal them ...this boy is my hero


The kids took out their big picture window and replaced it with amazing accordion glass doors so I had to take a pic of Beckham and Pops like the one I did last year.
Gosh he is so grown up now

Last week I spent a day with them and had such fun !!
Beckham is a ball of energy and  Joy !!
He is stoked on life and is so expressive and sweet. He loves to dance, loves his poppa and talks about his daddy so much. And his love for Amelie is off the charts. He kisses her constantly! He still loves to be naked with just his undies on.



And our sweet Amelie loves to sit up and play with toys and she giggles and loves food !
I think she wants pizza !!
No, she told me ...
She has two teeth and is such a good sleeper!  her skin is soft as silk and I love to smell her neck
Ashlyn shared this pic of them last week and I adore it !!


Wishing you days of joy and laughter....
And closets with extra room and bare shelves :)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Simplify ~



My family was here for a couple of weeks and it was FABULOUS!!!  I will blog about the crazy fun we had soon, but one of the biggest blessing was having my sister in law Sandy help me organize my house ! 
She is the queen of organizing and she LOVES to do it?  It started with her putting a casserole dish  away because I still cant bend my knee and the next thing I knew 4 hours had passed and my kitchen was organized from top to bottom ! 
It was magic 
Even Sara got in on the "fun" because she loves to check expiration dates :)
Shes a numbers girl and her ole auntie cant even see them with readers



What a gift to give someone of your time and expertise !! And it was the kick in the butt I needed to keep going. I have taken four loads to the Salvation Army and threw away tons of trash
Before you start thinkin this YaYa chick is a slob, I promise my house is clean...
It is picked up, the beds are made and is usually " drop by company"  ready!
But its all a farce because behind the cabinet doors I am a shover !

I  just throw it all into a drawer or cabinet and when my junk drawer gets full I start a new one.
So I have about 4 or 10  { I don't remember}  But Sandy even organized those with baggies full of batteries and another with pens etc
This week I bought some fun kitchen bins from Costco and organized my pantry  even more
I think I am a changed woman !! 
I think....
Steve and I did a bunch in the garage and now I am going to tackle the guest room closet this weekend while the boys go away on a surf trip
I just dont need ALL THIS STUFF !! I am over sentimental and want to save every single card and note, but I started taking pics and throwing most some a few away !
 I found this one and sent it to Chad from my sweet mom... and then 

I actually threw it away !!

My hoarding battles are being won little by little and it feels so good
"Simplify"
I think that is my word for this year...my motto ...my creed ...
Thank you sis for all your help !
Now onto the closets...
Wish me luck, I'm going in  


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Favorite Things Party

This party has fast become one of my favorite Christmas traditions !!
We have this party with my moms group who I meet with once a month for dinner. Most of them I have known since my kids were in kindergarten, and their friendships are so treasured and faithful
And once again our sweet friend Vickie flew in from Seattle to join in the fun !
We miss her terribly and love that she comes "home" at Christmas to join the party

Janice, Caren and Susan
Cute Janice explaining  her gift

Kim and Vickie

Sherie opening her gift

We each brought five , $7.00 gifts and we each put our name in the basket five times.
You select the five girls who will receive your gift and hand them out explaining why this is one of your favorite things.

This year we did a sing along to Julie Andrews " Favorite Things" and I also had a question for each of the girls at dinner that turned out to be really fun too ! What was your favorite book this year? What was your favorite Costco purchase?  What was your favorite dinner your mom made growing up ? It was fun to hear the answers and then most shared their answer too !
Good conversations are always one of my favorite things 
I made two different soups, biscuits, and dessert  and our friend Susan brought a yummy salad. I wish I had taken pics of all the gifts but was able to take a few of the gifts I received.

Caren brought darling scarves and cute candle holders 
Sherie brought her favorite mason jar that she loves to drink out of, and yummy Dasani coconut pineapple drops

Kim brought her favorite Mary Kay mascara and curling ribbon.
She also gave us the most amazing gift. Her son Allen plays pro baseball so we each got a  signed baseball card, So  meaningful to all of us who watched him grow up !

Janice brought her hubby's famous fudge,her favorite bees wax cream from the farmers market, favorite floss and her favorite chips of all time Maple Bacon ...
They sound so good but I haven't tried them yet  { the fudge however is gone.. ahhhmazing   

Vickie brought her favorite oven liner ! Such a cool idea, you put it on your lower oven rack and it catches the spills and you simply wash it when it gets yucky . She also made us the cutest button ornaments like these... 


And my gift was my favorite battery lights that you can place anywhere around your house not worrying about a cord. I love the soft glow that they cast . I also gave my favorite Crystal Light peach mango green tea and a box of tinsel ! Just for nostalgia's sake we are adding a bit of tinsel to our tree this year....While hearing my moms sweet voice asking us to be careful not to glob it on but to add a strand at a time

It was such a memorable night and we had a BLAST !! I think we all did so good and were quite creative on such a tight little budget
I am going to start planning another for my bunco girls at the first of the yea r  !
Who says gifts are just for Christmas

Wishing you joy and peace this week leading up to Christmas !!
I pray your life is filled with the gifts that matter most.....
Friends, Family and Faith...
And cozy fires to sit by

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Merry Christmas

It's hard to believe Christmas is 3 weeks away
It is my very favorite time of year....
I have been listening to carols long before Thanksgiving and loving every decoration and ring of the Salvation Army bell
My heart is so filled with love and gratitude for another year to be with my family and have sweet grand babies to love

Thanksgiving was so fun !! I had to work the next day at 3am so we only had a very small group
I missed the Greeks so much, but enjoyed a quiet day and a small table for  7
Kenny,Lindsay and Chloe came and so did Chad and his girlfriend Gabby
{ who is darling by the way, and we all loved having her spend the day with us }
I cooked and had everything done in record time, and it was all fabulous. I guess when you dont cook in bulk it's easier to dial it all in. We took a long walk in the meadow with the pups. played games, and just enjoyed a sweet Thanksgiving  day


And now I am planning the Big Fat Greek Christmas !!
Menu planning, shopping,wrapping,hosting a couple of parties and trying to squeeze as much time as possible with my kids and darling grand babies !!
Poppa and I babysat last Sunday and Travis text me that Beckham woke up the next morning  yelling  "YaYa"
My heart melted, They are the most precious,  sweet babies and the joy they bring us is unmeasurable



What a incredible reminder of how God gave his very own son for us
His sweet baby boy
A savior who was born, grew up with his family, and then sacrificed his life for US

Oh holy night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear savior's birth
Long lay the world
In sin and error pining
'Til he appeared
And the soul felt it's worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices


I dont want to spend so much time doing " Christmas" without thinking of the meaning of Christmas
So even though I am busy, I am thankful for all the quiet moments to enjoy His birthday

I wish you  all a Happy Christmas !!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A love like no other ...

Yesterday after a quick shift at work I headed down to see the kids
I just cant stay away !! 
My arms ache to hold our little peanut
And Beckham's smile when he sees me melts my heart and fills it with joy like no other 
We like just hanging out together,doing ordinary things ...
a walk to pick lemons
cracking macadamia nuts off their tree
reading books
wrestling
singing silly songs 
and yesterday while Ash and Beckham were taking a little nap
I held Amelie on my chest for over a hour
smelling her sweet breath
hearing her breathe
and praying for her while trying not to cry
my heart is overwhelmed with love
Blessed !!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pumpkin Aplenty !!

If you know much about me, you know I am moderately obsessed with all things PUMPKIN !! 
{ or as my boss says " Punkin" Every year for a month or two we hear it and smile, because none of us has the heart to tell him }

My love is a sickness really and I try my hardest to resist but lets face it the retailers heard our cries and there are millions of pumpkin products now !
So I thought I would share my " hits and misses "  and help you make wise pumpkin choices
That way I can honestly say I tried these for " research "
You're welcome !
ps I did not buy all these because word has gotten out so some of these were thoughtful gifts and " you gotta try these "  Ya'll are so sweet !!
Pumpkins you are

The long stemmed real pumpkins are darling !!!  I love the rustic look of these...
The Chobani yogurt a win 
The rolls a loss { we actually threw them out , not good or butt worthy }
The croissant is pretty darn good and kinda feels healthy with those nuts on top :) 
Trader Joes pumpkin bread is always a WIN!!!
And if you add chocolate chips even better
The petite scones  from Traders are ok....didn't love them
Pumpkin Oreos....if you generally love Oreos you might really like these but I am just not a fan of  Oreos in general so for me these were a pass
Pumpkin granola bars ...delish but we love all the " this ? walks into a bar" from Traders
And the BEST treat was the pumpkin almonds from  World Market !!
Made by Sconza they are to die for !! Just the right amount of yogurt coating and pumpkin pie flavor!!  So so good !! A gift from my sweet Barbie and I ran over the same day and bought five more bags as gifts. They are that good  

And of course my favorite lotion...Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter !! Get it while its hot because this stuff sells out fast and I had to enlist my friend and sister in law to find it for me !
Its amazing!!! Last year I gave it away as one of my Favorite Things !! 
Another fun gift was the pumpkin cupcake soap from Bath and Body works
My sweet Lindsay got me some and its so yummy in the downstairs bathroom !
And my sweet friend Paula sent this darling bowl with candy corn for my birthday !!
Yep words out....
I am a pumpkinaholic and I'm thankful that the kids from my block still stop over for treats so after a bite or four I can get some of these treats out of the house !! 

So that's my roundup from Pumpkin central !!
Wishing you lovely days filled with things you love and a Fall that is full of wonder and JOY 

And Honeycrisp apples !!
They are only here for a short season so enjoy your apple a day
We love them !  

   

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sweetness...

A perfect time in life captured by an amazing photographer !!
The sweetness is almost too much to bear




They make my heart explode with love and gratitude
My sweet son has been so blessed with this family of his and we are overwhelmed with joy for us all  !! 
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted
Job 5-9

Amelie Jewel

Our precious new grand baby  arrived August 29th at 743 am weighing 9 pounds 1 oz
And she is beautiful !!!
A perfect gift straight from the lap of God and we all fell in love at first sight
Ashlyn is a rock star and delivered her naturally just like she did Beckham
To hear Travis tell the birth story was one of the funniest things I ever heard
They labored in a tub in a birthing center at UCSD, and when it came time for her to be born Ashlyn stood up and delivered her right there. Trav was wearing his board shorts and said it was way "gnarly" and they felt like hippies !
I am so proud of these guys for being such a team and such a support for each other
When we arrived Ashlyn looked incredible and was glowing !!
A hour after she had her...Gorgeous !!
It has been the happiest month with lots of visits to help, and bond with this sweet baby !






We feel so incredibly blessed and  love these grand babies with a  
love like no other
Amelie I pray you always feel this loved and cared for !! 
Welcome to the world sweet girl ...........

And wait until you get to know your big brother !! He is the sweetest boy and loves you already