Saturday, March 20, 2010

Taking Care Of Me 101

I am truly blessed to have my daughter and grandson living with me and to tell the truth it would be very lonely without them in the house. Having said that, I also know that to truly appreciate the wonderful gifts we are given we need to sometimes step away so we can see them.

In January, following Theresa's lead, I decided to work on five areas of my life in 2010 and two of those areas were "make time for myself" and "once a month pamper myself" (the other three are for another time). I am here to report that on these two items I am doing very well.

The making time for myself and pampering myself once a month seem to go together very nicely so doing one seems to take care of the other. Though I am trying to make time for myself more then once a month and some of the pampering will include my daughter and grandson.

January, my first month, Monique was working a high school retreat and Benjamin went to spend the weekend with his Uncle Santi & Aunt Joyce. This left me home alone and I decided to stay home and just veg...I really needed it!

Along came February and Monique and Benjamin went to the snow; I was invited but decided to stay home. That weekend I took a drive up to Sacramento to see my dear friend Beth and get a waxing, facial and pedicure (she is the best!!!). It was so wonderful to see her and to have her pamper me so wonderfully that I have no words to describe it! Great two months down and only 10 more to go.

March seemed to arrive almost without me noticing and Monique had no plans to go anywhere and so I decided it was time for me to go somewhere, but where? Then it came to me, I should go to Fort Bragg. I have always wanted to go to Fort Bragg and now seemed as a good time as any. So I began looking into where to stay. Theresa suggested Vichy Spa, but that was a bit pricey for me right to the Internet I went. I found the Emerald Dolphin Inn. The price was right and AAA rated it very good. I called and made reservations for Saturday night. My plan was to drive up, stopping at my favorite winery, Hanna, along the way and then spend the rest of the day in Fort Bragg. I made my reservations and then started counting the days, hours and minutes until I left.

On Friday I decided I would work from home so I could get caught up on some reports. When I do that I try to start the day with a cup of coffee with Christa. As it turned out it was furlough Friday for her and so we met for coffee. I wanted some recommendations from her on where to eat and what to see as she and Joe come up this way. She gave me the name of a coffee shop, restaurant, a must see garden and a wonderful office supply/paper/artist shop. While we were talking she asked why was I not going up today and I replied something about money, etc. Her response was something about putting myself first. I went home and made a any chance do you have a room tonight? Why yes, we have your room available tonight. BOOK IT! I was ready to head out as soon as Monique got home. That was until the email that said, can you come in for a family meeting at 4:00 p.m.? Why of course I can be there...I love my job.

I started my long drive sometime after 8:00 p.m. and arrived here in Fort Bragg a little after 12:30 a.m. Thankfully there someone still in the office as I had not thought to call to say I would be late. She was such a sweet woman and to top it off the price she gave me for the room was lower than the one I was quoted by AAA and she also informed me it was Mendocino Coast Whale Festival. Okay this weekend is starting out pretty good. I took my key and got my stuff and headed to the room. The one thing I was looking forward to was the fireplace...well it was not so much a fireplace as it is an image of a fireplace. I think we have all seen them in the know the ones you can have in an apartment or house that does not have a chimney. It does generate heat, but without real flames, but as tired as I was it was just fine with me. I slept like a baby and woke up ready to meet the new day and get a look at my surroundings.

This is the view when I step out of my room...that is the ocean. What a beautiful day! Time to get some food and coffee. I found this very cute place after I drove into downtown Fort Bragg and parked.

I went in and they said it was about a 40 to 6o minute wait and gave me a pager so I could walk around downtown. I walked around until my pager went off and headed back. Let's just say the breakfast I had there was incredible and the staff so nice and sweet.

After breakfast I headed back to the cute toy store if had found earlier the Skunk Train Toy Store, and got Benjamin several gifts...oh how I love to shop for him. I went back to the car to drop them off and then headed to the coffee shop Christa suggested, Headlands Coffee Shop. Well done, Christa, it was the best! (and I need to go back tomorrow and get one of their pastries...they looked too yummy)

I then strolled around town and visited the many craft fairs and shops. I just enjoyed the morning (that turned into the afternoon). I visited Racines Art Supplies...the store I think Christa suggested...and just looked at all the stuff knowing that Monique would go crazy with all the beautiful paper for her scrapbooking and card making. I was able to withstand the temptation to buy a journal and just let myself soak up all the wonderful stuff!

I headed back to my lodging and decided I wanted to go to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (another must see suggested by far she it batting 100). I arrived and paid my $10 admission, grabbed the map and started walking. Side mom had some Rhododendrons in her garden that would just not bloom for her...that is until she died and then those darn shrubs bloomed like crazy. Well guess what is in bloom right now...yes, Rhododendrons. Oh my were they beautiful...see...

I walked some more and could hear a babbling brook and low and behold I turned a corner and look what I saw....

Wow the beauty was just breathtaking. Could there be more? Yes...I walked a little further and I came upon the coast and it was just so beautiful and peaceful. I didn't see any whales, but who cares I found a bench and sat down and this is restful relaxation!!!

As the afternoon was coming to an end and the gardens were closing it was time to walk back to the gift shop..

but time for one more beautiful group of flowers.....
I decided to drive a little bit south on Highway 1 and then a little bit pretty...

Guess now it was time for some dinner and again another suggestion by Christa...Sharon's By The Sea, now known as Heron's. It was a cute little place and I started by sitting on the deck, but the cold breeze soon had me heading inside to a table by the window. The house wine was called Bliss and of course I had to have was pretty good for a house wine. I ordered the fish and chips special (Halibut) and sat there in such utter blissfulness...what a way to end such a wonderful day of relaxation.

Tomorrow I have to go back to the real world, but not before I head back into town and stop at Hanna Winery on the drive home. This has been a wonderful weekend and I have found myself several times thinking...oh Benjamin would love this or Monique would enjoy next time it will need to be a family trip.

You may be asking has she made plans for April yet??? Yes, and May, June and July! So stay turned...

Oh, by the way, I saw this sign as I was walking and had to laugh...
we would so not see this in downtown Concord.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ladies Night

About ten minutes ago I received a beautiful email from one of my "girlfriends" and it made me stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving. You might ask why? Well 20 years ago my dear friend Debbie got married and wanted to use her new dishes, silverware and glasses she got as wedding gifts. Kevin was traveling on business so she invited me and four other girlfriends to dinner. Oh what fun we had eating, sharing stories and just enjoying each others company.

So was born Ladies Night in September 1988. So this morning when I opened an email from Debbie and click on the link "girlfriends" I was transported to every ladies night we have shared over the last 20 years. I don't think any of us on that September night had any idea that we would still be going strong 20 years later.

In 1988 my daughter was nine years old and Debbie was our only married woman...she now has five children and the oldest will be graduating from high school this year. We have had only one change to our group and that was when Marissa announced she was moving back east. So we decided she should pick her replacement and we had the one and only "oven mitt hand-off" ceremony. We miss Marissa very much and she has made it back out here twice. Once when Cheryl got married and we had our first slumber party/bacheloret party at my house and then again when we celebrated our 10th anniversary by having a sleep over at Embassy Suites. We could not have picked a better replacement than Norma who is our "God Rock" and keeps us focused on His blessings by leading us in prayer every time we come together.

As of today, two of us are single and four are married, we have collectively 12 children and one grandchild. We have laughed and cried together, we have agonized over raising our children together, we have held each other as we have lost grandparents, parents and siblings. We have celebrated births, baptisms, 1st communions, a quincea├▒era, confirmations, graduations and weddings. We had to stand by and watch one our own give back a beautiful baby boy when the state decided he should go to one of his birth parents instead of staying in the loving environment he had been in for over a year and then watch as God blessed her with another little guy who has added so much joy to her family. We have learned more than we ever wanted to know about adoption, foster care and neonatal units. We have formed a bond stronger than anything man could make and we know who has our back!

We all have other friends and groups we do things with and as the years pass we may only see each other when we gather for Ladies Night once a month, but we know that in this crazy busy world we live in that if we needed someone or something we would be there for each other in a heart beat.

So this morning when I should be working I am taking a moment to say THANK YOU for the five women who know me better than anyone and who have stood by me through all my good times and bad. God bless and see you tomorrow night!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Can someone explain where the last five years went?

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See that darling little guy there...he turned 5 today! Now I am not sure how that happened since it seems like only yesterday that picture was taken. I said to myself when Benjamin was born that I would treasure every minute I spent with him because as I watched him come into this world I had to pinch could my beautiful baby girl have turned into that beautiful woman giving me the greatest gift I could ever imagine? It was all just too surreal. So as we all gathered together to celebrate this wonderful milestone of turning 5 I took a little journey down memory lane.

Benjamin came into this world on his own terms and gave us all a little scare when he had to be given a little help with his breathing...he does like to do things his own way! Once the medical people were sure all was well he headed off to visit with mom and dad and a very happy Nana (yep, that is me). Soon it was off to Nana's house where we all stayed together until their place was ready for the three of them to move in. This made me very happy as I was able to spend lots of time with my new little guy. We formed a very special and strong bond, one that will last a life time. We even have our own song...Good night, Sleep tight. And it wasn't too long until I gave him a nickname...Boo...his favorite game was peak-a-boo and so he became Boo. Last night as we cuddled in bed he said I can always call him Boo (yes, that is the sound of my heart melting).

The last five years have been filled with several trips to Disneyland (his favorite place in the whole world), family vacations down to Newport Beach, overnights at Nana's house, and going to the movies. Now I know I am going to sound like a bragging Nana, but going to the movies with Boo is an experience. He sits in his chair with a bag of popcorn and drink and watches the movie. He doesn't get up and down or run around...he just sits there watching the movie it is really a kick and he has been doing this since he was a little more than two. We have read stories, put puzzles together, we have gone to build-a-bear and made bears, we have sung songs, we have danced, and snuggled under the covers watching cartoons.

So as I sit here having pizza with my dearest friends celebrating Benjamin turning FIVE I have to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving to God for blessing my life so abundantly! And look forward to the many adventures Benjamin and I am sure to have.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BENJAMIN

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mama, Mommy, Mom, Nana

Of all the titles I have held in this life of mine these are by far my most favorite and the ones I would not trade for anything.

I still remember the moment I heard the doctor say, "she's a girl and she has your dimples!" Once I got over the shock it was a girl...see I was sure I was having a was all I could do to wait for them to let me see her. Wow was she a beauty, big eyes, wonderful smile and just as cute as a button. Since I delivered her by emergency c-section they whisked her away to soon and finished their work on me. It was a little while before I got to hold her, but once she was in my arms I knew that I would do anything to protect her and that I loved her more than life. She was a wonderful baby, a great kid, a pretty good teenager and has blossomed into a beautiful young woman and mother. Wow did I hit the mother-load when God blessed me with my cuddly little girl. I would have loved to have had more children, but that just wasn't in God's plan and I was okay with that since I knew God was the master of my life.

Now as my little one grew up she held a very special place in my mom and dad's life. They helped me raise her and showered her with more than I thought possible. There wasn't anything they wouldn't do for her and they spoiled her. I would find myself saying to them, "you never did that for us kids," and they would reply, "just wait until you have grandchildren." Of course, I didn't understand, but I would.

A little over five years ago my daughter announced she was pregnant. I was so excited...I was going to be a grandmother! Now before you ask, no I was not at all upset about this change in my life. I embraced it and when people would tease me about becoming a grandmother they were surprised to find out it didn't bother me at all...I was ready! So as the time grew nearer I moved my daughter and son-in-law in with me and we waited. I threw her a shower and her friends threw her a shower, but the best was when she threw me a shower. Somehow this little blue eyed girl has grown into the most incredible woman who wanted me to feel the specialness of becoming a grandmother or nana as Benjamin calls me. My friends gathered around me and showered me with the things I would need to begin this new journey of my life.

Well the day finally came and I stood by the side of my daughter and son-in-law Ben as we welcomed Benjamin into this our lives. I was honored when my daughter asked me to be there for the labor and delivery and it was the greatest experience to participate in and witness. To see my daughter go through what I went through was a very bonding experience and then to lay my eyes on this little guy who stole my heart at that very moment.

This little man has open my eyes to a whole new world and teaches me more about love than I thought I could every know. He looks at me with his big blue eyes (just like his mom's) and I melt. I wish my mom was still alive because she would have a wonderful time saying, "I told you so!" And she was right, there is nothing that can explain the feelings and relationship of a nana to her boo (a grandmother to her grandchild) and I think my friends, Joyce, Judy, Sylvia, Lori and Mary would completely agree with me. I love being a mom and I love being a nana!

As Benjamin drove off last with his mom I could hear him saying, "you are the best nana in the world!" My response was, "you are the best boo in the world." Thank you, God, for the two greatest gifts I could ever have hoped for!!!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

To blog or not to blog....

It is about 10:15 Tuesday night and my wonderful daughter and I have been messing around setting up this page. So now it is time for me to begin my very first blog.

Sentimental journey means two things to is the very first song I remember singing with my mom when I was a very young girl and it is taking a look at the journey I have traveled so far in my blessed life. And now it is the place where I can go to share my thoughts, prayers and stories, but it is not a place to journal. Because I cannot journal! Ah, now you are asking yourself, how does she know this, everyone can journal.

I must look like the journaling type, because many of my friends have given me journals over the course of my life and I have bought many myself. They look so wonderful and I really have every intention of using them. Yet there they sit gathering dust on my bookshelf. I cannot even give them away since I have written on at least several of the pages in an attempt to journal. I really have tried, but it is no use I just go blank. Then comes the guilt and shame that for some unknown reason I just cannot seem to put pen to paper. So I decided to just admit that I cannot do everything and that is just fine with me.

So when my daughter suggested I start blogging I feared it might be to much like the journal and I really did not want to go through that again, but I have been reading other peoples blogs and it seems more like a place to go and chat. So in the coming days, weeks, months and years I plan on coming here to chat perhaps with a very nice glass of wine. I hope you will come and join me from time to time.

Until then, may God bless you and keep you safe.