Wednesday, July 13, 2011

With girls it's not about the Birthday suit....

Man I hit one of those milestones this weekend...with a VENGEANCE!  
This was the first year I hadn't gone out of my way to solidify a huge plan....but my friends and family took care of that for me!
Friday started off with breakfast in bed cooked by my hubby and kids. 
What a treat as my hubby usually leaves at 4am!  He stayed home a bit longer to pamper me!
Next my mom took us out so I could pick up a new swimsuit...which was a major treat seeing as I normally wont spend money on something like that, at least not for myself!  
Then we were off on a trip to our local 'beach' where my sister decided to make me carry around this beast:
I won't deny the title.  It's true...every syllable of it ;)
Normally I can lounge around 'the beach' for hours and waste the day away.
But this day, I needed to make it to a 2pm hair appointment.  Inspite of our short 3 hour window, I was able to catch up with girlfriends, get my tan on and play with my nephew in the water it was worth every minute of it!
My hair turned out fierce....with a little fire engine red thrown in. 
And when momma looks pretty she FEELS pretty :D
So next, I drove back to my mom's to pick up the kids.
There she blessed me with MORE gifts....this time for our new backyard.  She knows me too well.
A bougainvillea to plant outside our side yard where we have a large window looking onto a fence.
As well as a new hose set up...since I had been watering my plants with a bucket.  I'm resourceful, no?
My van was packed with happy kids and a happy momma... 

I rested up, finally showered, and headed out to the city for dinner. 
In the summer it's always amazing to leave 90 degree weather at home and head 45 minutes away....
To the low 70s.  It really makes it hard to dress for a night out.  Either you're sweating when you leave or you're freezing that night.
But I girls had a great night planned. 
Joan did a little Yelping and came up with this adventure: 
And yes, the girls mocked me when I reacted to the thought of Burmese food!
As IF they had eaten it all that much!.....well, ok, Joan had, but I wasn't the ONLY rookie....
So if you have an inkling for a taste of heaven influenced by India, Thai and other Asian cuisine...then you MUST visit Burma Superstar!
And order the Mint won't be sorry:
Do call ahead....we didn't and we had an entertaining hour and a half or so to wait.  I will say there was a fantastic gallery up the block and some great coffee shops to explore while we waited.
The dinner was perfect....full of giggles. 
It's never a dull moment with these two.  What a gift to share the night with them:
The next morning I had a leisurely time getting ready for a day out on the Delta with another fantastic crew of women:
We sunbathed and took a boat ride out to a waterfront restaurant.
We waited ever so patiently for our lunch which took almost an hour to be served. 
But really...when you're in good company the time flies!
The water was a bit too choppy to do the tubing/kneeboarding we'd had in mind.
But our friend's boat dock turned out to be the perfect place to 'dive in' and lie around.
I'm so grateful for these girls who keep me honest and don't mind sharing their bday celebrations with me.
Next time I'll update you on the family side of my birthday....they had quite a few tricks up their sleeve on my special day.
But I'm still waiting for their gift to be delivered....and when it does, I'll finish up that post ;)
Until then I'm just thankful to be surrounded by beautiful girl power!
I mean, if I've learned anything in my *gasp* 35 years on this earth, it's that life can be filled with drama, or it can be filled with laughter.  And in the world filled with news stories about kidnapping, sleepover deaths and burglaries, I'll take as much laughter as I can get.

For some reason I love me some birthdays.  I'm mocked for my love of birthdays, but I really think it's so great to have a reason to celebrate the love and friendship in my life.  
It's not about the presents, though I received a killer bracelet and a hose house this year.  Sigh, I am complete!
But it's more about the excuse to share time with those I love.
Even though I only got to see a fraction of those whom I love.....I am grateful for the time and effort they put forth!
Amen, I feel blessed!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Life's Curveballs

Sports are NOT my thing.
I am (quite obviously) not into any one sport...whether by participation OR by spectating.
But last year I decided to support my hubby's idea to fill up our year with Giant's games.
Wd didn't miss a single game living at Marmar andPapi's house!

The extra attention to one team really allowed me to learn the game.  It didn't hurt that our lifelong
team actually won the World Series!  But inspite of all the hype....I gained respect for what those teams were doing on the field.
I now know there are different jobs on a baseball team, and a strategy behind each hit and pitch.
Before then, I had never even heard of a relief pitcher, or an RBI!
I was pleasantly surprised to uncover the purpose of each position and the specialization of their training.
It made the game so much more enjoyable :)

As lame as I sound....I do have a point.
It's easy to live in go through life with meaningless statements and trite remarks.
But when you delve deeper, and realize that life is purposeful.....down to the position I'm standing in today....then the beauty of the game is revealed.

Recently we were delivered some news that could well have freaked us out, or made us wonder WHY this would be happening.  It was a curveball, if you will.

But from the beginning, there was so much peace.  It felt like peace was our only choice.
That any other response would have been silly.
It was as if we had only one job, and the description of that job was to take in this piece of information
and effortlessly keep going.  Don't juggle it, don't wonder how it will effect everything....just keep moving,
and trusting in our position.

Our job was to let someone else worry.  Much like the players rely on their coach to have the master game plan in mind.   And why wouldn't they rely on him?  He has this bird's eye view of the game, and an intimate knowledge of his player's strengths and weaknesses.  His decisions are based not only on the game that is being played immediately, but also on the next game, and the record of the team.  He weighs  all these factors with a desired end goal,......................Victory!

Now it doesn't always play out smooth and easy.  Players have bad days.   Mistakes are made on the field, and the plan may need to be reformulated.  But the key is....the game does not ride on one player's shoulders.  That weight would be too much. 

This week I feel like we're really playing the game.
We are trusting in a plan that is outside of our own personal strategies.
We had something in mind.....kinda like wanting to hit a homerun, but instead the coach seems to need us to bunt.  I'm just grateful I even know what coach we're dealing with.

Because really.....if you don't have respect and trust in your can you operate with a full heart?
Again, I don't want to throw out a bunch of rote phrases.  But truly, trusting in God when I don't understand the endgame.....well, there just isn't any other choice for us.
We'd be a mess if we tried to figure out what was next.

I don't mind making plans....plans excite me in fact!  But if we don't leave room for direction, and are not open to being lead.....then we're fighting a loosing battle.

Instead, our reality is that we ARE on a championship team.....whether spiritually or via SportsCenter.
The same rules apply....wait for direction and listen to the coach when He's training you how to react to those curveballs.
You just might end up blessing someone else by your simple response.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Boy Room Redo

With our oldest's birthday approaching I wanted to do something fun and there are only so many possessions that seem we went for the surprise factor.

My sister and brother-in-law wanted to take the boys to an amusement park one Friday...and that gave me an extreme make-over!  Well extreme in the time frame....not million dollar by any means!

Now decorating may not seem like a big thing to do for a boy.....but you have to know that we've been here 6 months and it was really bugging my oldest that his room wasn't put together.
In our last house the boys had a surf themed room and I just didn't want to put a bunch of holes in the wall to put up their old decor.  So we had been trying to work out a plan they both agreed on.
And recently, we found this duvet cover at CB2.  Ian loved it...he said it reminded him of a favorite game, Pictureka.  I went to the CB2 store in Berkeley and checked it out in person to make sure there weren't any inappropriate pictures in there.....and it checked out.
 So even though Merrick hasn't found his duvet/comforter yet....he had a hand in the color scheme.
So take a look at the before pics.
I didn't think to grab the camera until I had stripped the it looks especially sad.
Another factor in the color scheme was this chair.
We love it...It's kinda like Ian's reading corner.
So I looked into chair covers and thought about reupholstering it...but that was NOT going to happen on my one day redo budget. So I just went with it.

Here you can see why my son was so distressed.  He would say things like..."Mom, I feel like our room is missing something."  or "Can I just have a Giant's poster mom?"
So after 6 months of is what I came up with.
I figured grey was the best compliment for the black and white....and then I added a blue highlight wall.
I originally wanted to paint a black skyline on this wall...with a grey shadow.
But when Thursday finally rolled around I had been to a Math class with Ian, taken the kids to Berkeley to build in a salvage yard, delivered Talia to and from Cheer Camp, cooked dinner....then finally dropped them off at Marmar's for a sleepover by 7pm.  When it was all said and done, I didn't get the room prepped and taped off until 10pm.  Two coats later.....I was in NO mood to fill in those buildings.  
Instead, I painted a grey SF skyline with a glow in the dark highlight....It is now Ian's favorite part of this room.  Mission accomplished :)
The orange and grey highlights were requested originally by Merrick.   That boy wanted color and I was happy to oblige.  I also figured that the orange would allow for a bit of their team spirit to show through.
Don't tell them...but I would SO rather not have a completely sports themed I gently steered them otherwise.  Thankfully they are amazed by it all and there is plenty of room for another Giants poster or two ;)  

Here are a couple of personal touches I threw in.... 
We already had these hat I kept them to go behind the door.  
Yeah, they're dog butts.  Gotta represent when you're a Weinerdog. ;) 
That bike wheel is another touch I didn't quite finish.
I ripped it off a bike that just lost it's chain, and I sprayed it up to add another orange highlight.
It will be mounted over their closet...either plain or I might turn it into a clock. 
 It's just a quirky thing either way.  
Back to the beds....
I'm realizing that I don't have a good picture of  Ian's bunk. 
It's basically the duvet with orange and grey pillowcases.
Merrick sleeps on the bottom and it already had a black cover so I just added some color for now.  Green to match the chair...and the pillowcases that match Ian's duvet.
The pillows in this room were another miracle of sorts.
Pillows are such an affordable and useful way to add color so I bought the two pillowcases that matched the duvet, a pair of orange, and a pair of grey at Walmart.  And I found those other black and white slipcases as well as the green one at CB2.  Altogether I had 9, count them NINE pillows to fill...and somehow between my house and my mom's we had exactly enough!  I didn't buy a single extra pillow. Hallelujah!
I also had these two posters from Christmas that we had never opened.  So I painted some frames I had on hand.  Merrick's says, "Jesus...the Calm in the Chaos." So I put it above his bed.
Those posters were an adventure in and of themselves....Two of them were plexi and the other glass....and I managed to damage each of them in the decorating process.  
My solution?  I just spray mounted them to the cardboard backing and framed 'em up.  Done.
My favorite one ended up So crooked....but I'm just going to pretend I MEANT to do that!
It is perfect for the doodled feel of the room.  
It has a shaker and a bulb on it....and it says "Be These."
Love it!
Considering that I got this idea on Monday and executed it on Friday...I'm totally happy with the results.
I did have so much help...Friends hosting playdates while I picked out paint, Papi mounting curtains, my hubby making last minute runs to the store for painter's tape, and even a friend's projector to help me get my skyline sketch up on the wall.
Friday I 'woke up' after getting about 4 hours sleep, swapped the boys with my sister, and finished decorating the room with Marmar in between baby Josiah's naps.  Then we attended Natalia's cheer performance, grabbed dinner and headed to the Drive-in.  Would you believe that I fell asleep during Cars 2? Darn it!
But it was worth every second when we brought home the boys and told Ian one of his first birthday gifts was 'on' his bed.
I can't believe we  pulled it off RIGHT in front of him!
Even Natalia managed to keep his duvet a secret...amazing :D
He'll have a couple of small things to open on Monday, but he was amazingly content with his bedspread, and his poster. 
Sigh....that was fun!
Happy Birthday to our Favorite Ian....and bonus surprise for Merrick (who is eager to add more glow in the dark paint to that mural.  Heaven help the control freak in me!)
Love those boys...