Tuesday, June 30, 2009

those were the days

Way back when, about 18 years ago or so, I was working at the Fisherman's Restaurant on the pier in San Clemente. My job as hostess was not my first or my last. I worked there for about 3 years and it was a blast. Many of my friends and even my sisters worked there, too. I have no photos from that time. If anyone has some I would love to see them.

We grew up in Cyprus Cove down at the south end of SC and my sis and I would ride our bikes through the state park, down the beach, and along the trail to the pier. Those were the days when I could walk or ride my bike to work. What I wouldn't give to walk to work now. By the way, how was I able to support myself on several hundred bucks a week? I do remember eating a lot of mac and cheese.

I have fond memories of that place.

I loved the Cajun salmon, scampi, the bread and clam chowder. I witnessed gorgeous sunsets on many days while the waves crashed down below me. The best sunsets are the ones in winter when there are hues of bright reds, yellows and oranges. I met and made many lifetime friends and several of my past roommates while working there. I witnessed multiple storms and even the big one that hit California in 1992. Waves crashed over the pier and the stairs under the train tracks flooded. Amazing! My favorite season was the off season when it was deader than a doornail. The beach in the winter is a must do.

I am taking a "staycation" this week. No work for me. Today, after visiting with an old friend and her new baby, the and girls and I headed to a playground at North Beach and the Fisherman's for lunch. We sat on the front rail right above the crashing waves below. It was so much fun and the girls enjoyed hearing stories of when I worked there. It was a fun day! I cannot wait to go back with some adults and sit on the bar side.

Happy hour anyone?

I need to get off this blog. James is making the girls bean burritos for dinner and Serena is yelling at him, "Where's my bean beedo!?!" I need to go save him.

Here are some pictures from today.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


To see the summer sky
by Emily Dickinson
To see the Summer Sky Is Poetry,
though never in a Book it lie --
True Poems flee --

I love that poem.

I love summer, too. When Julia was away for the day, Serena and I went out to play. We met our friends at the beach on this wonderful summer day. June gloom is gone and the sky is blue. Just wonderful and true.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

niguel botanical preserve, library, and a very small scooter

The Niguel Botanical Preserve in Laguna Niguel is a fun area to "hike". The kids loved all the stairs and gardens. Great place to visit and free. A playground is next to it so that was a bonus.

The girls signed up for the summer reading at the library today. They earn prizes and will be entered to win Angels baseball tickets. More fun and free once again. I did break down and buy two Disney videos the friends of the library were selling, Alice and Wonderland and Melodytime, 2 bucks a piece. VHS rules. :)

The girls are lucky enough to have parents who do not mind that they ride their scooters in the house. Why not? Our floors are tile so its no big deal. I have informed them they cannot do this at other peoples houses, though. Today I noticed Serena standing on something and walking funny. A closer look brought these pictures below. She was "riding" a mini-scooter. I asked her why and she said, "My other scoota is outside." I guess that makes sense.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

the north shore

The north shore Big Bear lake that is. We took a hectic life detour and hung out in a cabin "house" on the North Shore, a.k.a Fawnskin, the past few days. So peaceful. So tranquil. So warm. So beautiful. So fun.

Watching the boats, ducks, jumping fish from the deck of the cabin were daily events. We ate great food, had ice cream, hiked, walked, played in a park, chilled and watched the view, and even played a game of Rummikub when the kids were asleep. I cannot wait to go back.

View from our deck

Woodpecked tree

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

new experience

Julia is taking a break from swimming for a while and moving on to something new. She is a great swimmer and I hate to see her stop, but she is only 5 for goodness sakes and she will swim again! I am amazed how confident she is when placed in new situations and meeting new people. She certainly is turning out to be a self-assured young person.

Today was Julia's first highland dance lesson. Pas de bas and high kicks are the first steps to learn. She LOVED it. She has informed me, "I like swimming, but I LOVE dance." So we will do dance for a while and check it out. She wants to go back next week so that is a great sign. As long as she has fun and enjoys new things we will keep at it. Maybe she will be competing at the games next year.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

happy birthday to me-part 2

In case you did not already know this, you can go to Disneyland for free on your birthday this year. So I did.

Normally, I despise Disneyland in the spring, summer and fall. I think in the last 5 years or so we have only visited in either January or February. Julia, James and I went in February this year since James was free on his birthday and I had gift cards to pay for our other tickets. It poured and poured that day. Rain equals no crowds which equals no lines! It was the best day ever. We had thermals on, rain coats, parkas, extra socks protected by a plastic bag stashed in my backpack. Julia had ice cream in the rain, we went on every ride over and over without any lines. I will never, ever let any rain stop me from going to Disneyland. In fact I will welcome the experience with open arms if it means no lines and crowds.

Back to today. James gifted me a new camera, a bit early, and also a kid free day at Disneyland! Normally, I would not go in June, but with a free ticket and no kids. WHOA! How excellent! My friend has a year pass, so off we went for a grown-up day of fun and good conversation. How nice to not have to bring a diaper bag, or stroller, or snacks for the kiddies. This is AWESOME! Best gift ever. Thanks James. Oh, also had margaritas and a late lunch at Tortilla Jo's at Downtown Disney. Great idea Carol!

Here is a fun little tidbit. A button is given to you to wear around all day that says it is your birthday and it has your name on it. All employees are trained to say, "Happy Birthday" every time they see your button. Plus, other random people were telling me that same thing. Weird and fun at the same time.

Here are some pics from today. Since I have so many pictures from Disneyland, each time I go I like to challenge myself to take pictures I have never taken before. This time I snapped shots of signs. Here they are...

and my margarita.

happy birthday to me-part 1

I know. Officially my 36th birthday is not until tomorrow, but I have declared this entire weekend, to myself, my birthday weekend. So many fun things have already happened. Yesterday we had pizza at my parents with my visiting cousins Stacey and Jordan from Pennsylvania. It was fun catching up and watching the hockey game, game 7 of the finals with an official Pens fan. Even though I have not watched any hockey games for at least the past 4 years, Stacey's excitement was contagious. Go Pens! Julia was lucky enough to spend the night at grandma's and have her first official, big kid, sleepover with Jordan.

Today the girls and I went for hike/picnic in another grand Orange County Regional Park. I am not sure if people realize how many beautiful parks there are "right around the corner". Our favorite gal pals met us and we had 3 hours of nature fun including another nature center, with taxidermy animals, which housed a cougar, foxes, owls, etc. I read many of the animals were found dead and hit by cars.

I just realized that is one profession I never hear about. I have never met a taxidermist. Has anyone ever met a taxidermist? Who are these people?

Dinner tonight was yummy! James made chicken stir-fry. The kids are asleep and now I get to do homework. Yippee. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me.

Here is a preview of what is to come tomorrow morning...


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Little house on the prairie?

James and I bought our house 9 years ago and we loved it from the start. All 956 square feet of it. Or is it 976? Either way it is under 1000 sq ft. Then we had kids and our cute, little house became tiny and crowded and messy. I started wishing for a bigger house. A house with a big back yard and a big garage and more bedrooms. How would we ever survive in this cubbyhole of a house?
I have learned that I will always want something different and that is just the way I am. I like change. I also have learned to be flexible and weigh the pros and cons to everything. I am an optimistic person by nature so it really is easy for me to look on the bright side. Therefore, I decided to love my house and tell you why small is wonderful.
  • less space to clean up, more time to play.
  • lower utility bills. This is a huge selling point for me. I like to save where I can and let me tell you our gas bill last month was $29 and our electricity bill was $30. seriously.
  • less furniture and stuff to buy to decorate our home, more money saved. In my life, right now, I am all about less STUFF.
  • home maintenance is so expensive. we have less to maintain. yippee.
  • our family is always together at home.
Our home will always be a work in progress. I continue to be creative, plan and organize new ways to maximize space. This has been a fun, rewarding challenge for me. Our yard is just big enough and we live in a location where there are parks, beaches, hiking trails and more. Sure my kids share a room, but Laura and Mary Ingalls shared a bed and they turned out swell. I am stealing my next quote from my friend Heather, "I don't want my kids to have TOO much privacy." I hear that and I agree.

School is almost out for summer

First Day of School Jan. 2007

Well, tomorrow is the last day of school for Lil' Miss J. Kindergarten starts in the fall. I know she will have fun and make new friends, but nothing will compare to the 2 1/2 years she has spent at her current fun, artsy, playful, relaxed, wonderful school.

Julia has made a little girlfriend for life and met the man of her dreams at that school and she claims they are getting married when they are older. I found out from his mom that he agreed to marry Julia since she threatened they would no longer be friends if he does not agree to marry her. Am I going to have my hands full when she is a teenager or what? Unfortunately, a new school in our neighborhood beckons her and none of her current friends will be attending the same school. I know she will adapt fine and make some new friends since she has never had a problem in that area before.

The good news is Serena will be attending the same little preschool in the fall and Julia has been invited back in the spring of next year to talk in front of the Jr. K class about her experiences in Kindergarten. How fun.

Recent pic of Julia goofing off. I love her hair!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hidden Gem in Modjeska Canyon

Today the girls and I met Aunt Lori, Kayli, and our friends at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon. A little slice of heaven about 15 minutes from "civilization". It was sprinkling prior to our arrival and again right as we were leaving, but was mostly dry while the girls ran around. Tall oaks and cacti were the highlight for me. Other sightings were birds, turtles, a dry creek bed and a giant taxidermy bear and other local animals in the very kid-friendly visitor center. The little ones, especially loved the microscopes and the different items they were able to view. Future scientists? Maybe. Naturalists? Maybe.
It can be silent and peaceful out in the canyon. I suspect that is when there are not 5 kids running around and me going crazy and raising my voice at my eldest when she would not listen to me. Oh well.
Peace out.