close encounters

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This is what happens when my 17 year old says he “needs” something for his computer from Best Buy and hands me $50 to buy it for him.

super bowl sunday

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There are 6 males in this house today…yet I am the only one watching the Super Bowl game commercials?

They’ll all wander in as they get hungry, I suppose!

(The Blue Angels get me every time – love those jets!)

ellie m


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Excuse me while I savor the fact that Graham is out of the house for the next hour and 20 minutes.

We are together 24/7.  Believe me, if he could speak, he’d probably tell you he’s pretty darn sick of looking at my tired-looking mug and welcomes this as much as I do.

I believe the last time he was gone for any good length of time (that is, out with people who are not me nor hubby) was about 1 year ago.  His current staff is comfortable and feel safe with him enough now to begin to take him out on outings.

My brain is trying to adjust to not being interrupted every 13.28394 seconds.

My ears are literally in shock of the quietness.

No tv sound from his room.

No vocalizations, squealing.

No bedroom door flying open to race to the restroom.

No feet stomping on the floor as he sits and watches cartoon characters race to the finish line.

And the girl was happy.

ellie m


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i’m not a duraflame girl anymore

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There’s something magical about putting your feet up and unwinding next to a warm fire.

I don’t recall a time that my parents let me help build a fire.  In fact, I only have one memory of them using our fireplace when I was about 5 or 6 years old.  My family didn’t camp and I wasn’t allowed to go on camping trips (or any overnight trip) so no camp fire experience either.

After I started my own family, I ended up being married to someone who didn’t know how to build fires either, so I made the fireplaces we had decorative using candles on a candelabra.   Except there were a few times, after becoming a single mom that the boys and I got duraflame logs and we thought we were cool being able to light those up.  (Those are fun memories.)

Then hubby enters into our life.  He splits ‘real’ wood and keeps stacks of it and kindling out back.  It never occurred to me that people store and split wood themselves since duraflame logs are always readily available at the grocery store and so conveniently packaged — you don’t even need to unwrap it before you put a flame to it :)  Hubby’s way? Mind blowing.

I have told him countless times that he makes THE most beauuuutiful fires.  He really does!  I love them and I love how often we are able to have them.

Last week, as hubby and I stayed home while I was recovering from surgery, he asked if I wanted a fire.  This time, I asked him if I could build it for us.  I have watched him build approximately 2,837 fires and I thought that maybe I paid attention enough to be able to do it.   Being the gentleman that he is, he didn’t burst out laughing or roll his eyes, he just carried in all of the material I would need and left me to it.

He’d casually glance over now and then to see how I was doing, but I told him not to give me any hints.  He slipped only one time, when he saw what I was doing with the kindling and he blurted out “oh Lord”.

So I quickly fixed that and I decided that this would be my design:



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It ended up being a roaring and pretty fire and it was fun to be able to do, especially since hubby gave it his approval.  In fact, he complimented it so much that I’m afraid I might never build another one again, out of fear that no other fire I could build would please him as much as this one.



But it’s nice to know, that if I wanted to have a fire and he wasn’t around, that I could maybe pull it off.

ellie m


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“mom, can i drive home”

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Pray for us?

He watched as patiently as any teenager could as I slapped these student driver magnets on the front hood, door sides and back of the car.  As I explained, people are much more patient and gracious when they know the person behind the wheel is learning.

Safety first :)

ellie m


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will he or won’t he?

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Even though I’m a firm believer that televisions do not belong in the bedroom, I have been semi-pleading with hubby to please let us have one.  He is reluctant.  Trouble in paradise?  No way!  However, I believe I have some very solid and compelling reasons to justify my plea.

  1. Each night on the living room couch as I’m cuddled up in hubby’s arms or watching tv or reading while he rubs my feet, I inevitably fall dead asleep.  Guaranteed.  To get me up and off of that couch to get ready for bed and move to our bedroom takes an Act of God.  And by then, poor hubby has already brushed his teeth and has run all around the house to close everything down for the night while trying to gently prod me back to life.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we started that last show in our room?
  2. On weekends when hubby has to be away and my boys are with their dad, I long for a little peace and quiet.  Heavy emphasis on the quiet.  There is constant loud squealing and crazy vocalization living with a non-verbal special needs adult.  There are also several interruptions of his needs throughout the day.  How sublime it would be to be able to sneak off to our quiet bedroom to watch mindless tv for just a little while?  Oh, to dream.
  3. Lastly, and speaking as a patient who was just released from the hospital late last night, groggy-nauseous-unable to walk up & down these stairs easily-with no one else home to take care of my every need…a tv remote in my hand would mean that I was only a few clicks away from marathons of The Gilmore Girls.  Or Breaking Bad.  Or The Pioneer Woman.  Yet, here I am without one.

Maybe if my handsome and loving hubby were to read this, he might change his mind?

ellie m


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hunger pains

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Who made up the rule about not eating after midnight the night before surgery?

Clearly there must be a little grace time for me since it’s only early morning right now and my procedure isn’t scheduled to begin until post-lunch time?

It’s going to be a loooong day.

ellie m


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good news, bad news

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Went to the doctor’s office today.

The good news is that they didn’t make me stand on a weight scale.  Now that’s a happy thing especially since their scales always seem to need recalibrating.

**Raise your hand if you’ve noticed that too**

The bad news is that they’re requiring and have scheduled me for surgery tomorrow.  A real one.  In a real operating room.

Suddenly, my angst about Alex’s first driving lesson today ceases to exist.

Prayers are much appreciated.

ellie m


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Conversation after Joshie gets a new book that I need to review and edit before he reads it.

Joshie:  “Mommy, pretend all of the bad words in it are a ‘5’.  How many bad words can there be before you start whiting them out?”

Me: “It kind of depends because some bad words are much worse than others.”

Joshie (looking optimistic):  “Okay, then pretend all of them are the very worst word because I don’t even know what that worst one means, so it should be okay.”

ellie m


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permit for keys

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Has this day actually arrived?

This is it.  Alex’s first official driving lesson. On the road. With other drivers.

I promised him I wouldn’t freak out until after he left.

I’ll make good on that promise.  Right about…now!

ellie m


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merry christmas eve to all

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I posted this last year.  It’s safe to say that this has become my official Christmas reflection song.

What is yours?

Lyrics below.

Mary, Did You Know

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know…

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am.

ellie m


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star wars

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Alex’s friend, Simon, spent the night here last Thursday so that I could drop them off at the theater to see “Star Wars:  The Force Awakens” on opening day.

I kept emphasizing how long the lines were back in my day and tried to insist on dropping them off at the crack of dawn.  They finally agreed to wake up in time to get there a measly 1 hour before showtime.

I made them a couple of hot breakfast sandwiches, threw them into an insulated container with a few bottles of water.  That way, they’d have something to eat while standing in the 5 mile line full of Star Wars movie-goers.

As we drove up, we didn’t see a single soul around.  “Is this the right theater?”, “Is it playing here?”.  Then I thought the line must surely be inside the building and told them to rush inside.  But wait!  I need to take a picture of you guys first :)


When they called me to pick them up, they told me that there were zero people in line!  So bizarre.  I figured it might have been because other kids were still in school while there’s was out, therefore the “lines” would appear as folks got off of work and school.  Regardless, I believe I’ve lost my credibility about opening days.

That same evening, we all went out to see a different movie, “Krampas” (horrible, I only did it for the love of my second born which I explain here) and came out of the movie theater to be greeted by this guy:

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I love the magic of Star Wars.

ellie m


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2015 christmas cookie bake & chow

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cookie bake & chow!
2013 Christmas Cookie Bake & Chow

In 2013, we held our first ever “Christmas Cookie Bake & Chow” with our friends, the Vickerys.

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It was a combination of an all day cookie baking marathon with dinner to follow.  So much sugar, so much fun.

Since they change home addresses like I change email addresses and now live out of the country, hubby and I have continued the tradition on with the boys minus the chow-time with our friends.


This year, we decided to mail these goodies out to friends & family in boxes rather than tins.

We made 5 different types:

pecan tassies
pecan tassies



Scott’s meringues & pecan tassies are from recipes passed down through his family.

Alex & I make our famous & fab chocolate chip cookies.  We’ve been making this together since he was in elementary school.

Joshie & I make the mexican wedding cookies (aka: dust balls).


sugar "bird" cookies
sugar “bird” cookies

Sugar cookies shaped as birds.  There is a story behind this one.  Scott’s parents (in their 80’s!) recently moved and his dad decided he wanted Scott (or was it Jeff?) to help build him a work bench.  Scott’s mom has been giving him a hard time about it, saying “what are you going to do with it, make me a birdhouse?”.  Which then gave birth to the Christmas gift he will be giving her this year.

Yes, his dad made her a birdhouse.

So we sent her birds.


6 hours later, they were all ready to be packed up and shipped.

Traditions are the best!

ellie m


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babysitter cancelled, no prob

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Last night, the person scheduled to care for G while we went to church texted to say that she was on her way back from an exhausting trip from an Idaho dog shelter. I felt better telling her she should sleep in rather than telling her that we still needed her bright and early and decided we would make the best of it.

We woke up to glorious rain (in California these days, this is an event) and I decided to sneak upstairs and bring hubby breakfast in bed.  It was nice to sleep in, wake up slowly and gradually start our day.

I love it when that happens.

ellie m


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