The Neverending Vacation

Home. Such a sweet word, such a wonderful idea, such yearning in my heart… We were supposed to be there by now. Yet, here I sit, vacantly staring at the weather reports and traffic cameras for our route home, watching the snow pile and pile and pile up.

The sunny California days mock me, and I think about just piling everyone in the car and bazaiing up north anyway. I can see why the pioneers and the Donner Party got caught up in the dream of “getting there” and ended up eating each other in the insane mountain snow.

Not that I want to eat anyone. Which is why I still sit here, hitting f5 every few minutes while my eyes glaze over, reflecting the constant snow shown on the monitor.

Waiting for a break in the snow… Waiting. Waiting. Waiting…

Snow Home Snow

Snow Blobs

It’s looking like the state of Washington is pretty much closed down. As much as I love visiting my family, I’m starting to want my own bed and my own creature comforts. That, and I’m seeing online reports of snow collapsing roofs in various places…. I know our house is fine, but still, being away when 30 of 39 Washington counties have been declared in a state of emergency… I wish I could click my heels together three times and just be home.

Christmas was really nice. The kids were lavished in love and presents, Santa was good to us all, and right now, as I speak (type?) the boys are drawing pictures of their cousin with their new art sets. I know, I know. It’s after 10 and my boys are still up… meh, we’re on vacation. My cousins are all over visiting, and I haven’t seen some of them in five years. It’s kind of nice.

Mom’s Front Yard and Other Stuff


I did it!

This is the only shot I could use that didn’t give away details, but I think you get the picture, right? My kids think this is the best thing ever, and evidently, so do the minivans of people that stop each night and get out to take pictures with their kids in the yard. This is only part of the yard.

Yesterday I had the most wonderful visit with Bek. I got to meet Ace, her baby, who might be the cutest little girl ever. We had dinner at Max’s, and then did a little window shopping at Stanford. If you ever have the chance to eat at Max’s, I highly recommend the Ruben or the Cobb Salad. Mmmmm. Seriously good stuff.

For anyone with a little extra goodwill, Mo needs a boost. She’s been trying to get out of town for two solid days. Due to snow, ice and flight cancelations, she’s been bumped several times, all with three kids and a husband deployed to Iraq. Last night she was on standby, (with three kids!) and running to grab the flight, to have only two seats available. Three kids, two seats? Yeah. They ended up going home and trying again this morning. Travel with kids is brutal enough, without the fun of standby and snow. So do a little moon-dance for her, will ya?

Holiday Crap, California Edition


Midnight ramblings, borrowed laptop, legitimate wi-fi. Progress!

Yeah, I know. Phoning it in- and I hate seeing the quality of my posts and writing suffer- and yet, the alternative (not documenting my life or what’s going on) seems like an abdication. Born a blogger, eh? Don’t expect a Pulitzer this month…

Sorry no pictures yet- I HAVE taken them, but I can’t figure out how to get them from my camera into my mom’s computer. Ah, the perils of being tech-lame. Mo is rolling her eyes.

Grandma took the boys bowling today, and it would appear Rock-n-Bowl is the hot new thing. Grandma thinks Jeffrey might have a future in bowling, Beanie bounced his ball a couple of time and they all came home with little bowling Santa ornaments for the tree.

We had a chaotic but fun dinner at my adoptive Aunt’s house tonight. It was six boys seven and under, and Abby. She wore her new Christmas dress from Grandma and even had silver bows tied to her piggy tails, while she schooled those boys on how to stomp around and have a grand old time.


My cousin Naun made the most awesome hot spinach salad, with prosciutto, Gorgonzola, onions and portobello boomers.  Make a dressing of hot balsamic vinegar, honey and olive oil. Oh yeah… I pretty much skipped the lasagna and pigged out on salad and garlic pugliese. Oh, how I love California.

The kids had hot dogs and ketchup.

pedicure1Monday I get to hide from the kids and meet up with Bek, from Ignore the Crazy. I’ve known Bek for years, but we haven’t had the chance to hang out since I crashed my moms car two summers ago. We’re going out to dinner, sans kiddos, and getting mannis and pedis. Hate me if you must. I can take it.

I keep hearing rumors we have almost 30″ of snow at home. I wonder when we’ll be able to even get home, if this keeps up. I did get a call from my mother in law, who went to take our mail in, that someone had come over and shovelled our entire driveway, walk, and porch. I don’t even know who to thank. That seems to be a refrain in my life these days- kind people doing things, and not knowing for whom to be grateful.

I got to hang out with my brother at his work today. As I watched him tip back on his chair while we talked, I was overwhelmed by what a good man he has become. We named Beanie after him, and if my son grows up to be like uncle Eric, I’ll slap my hands together and call it a job well done.

I’m hoping I get to see my other brother too. His life path is a little more colorful right now, but I still miss seeing him. You out there, man? Call your sister!

My goal for tomorrow is to get the pictures into the computer. Somehow. I know it must be possible… right?

marenhenswns_468x333I miss Crazy Chicken Annie. One of the dangers of having a relative named Crazy Chicken Anything is that sometimes, things don’t go the way you want them to go. And sometimes, you  hope showing up on a doorstep with some gingerbread and a ball of organic yarn is enough of a peace offering. One can hope.

Cousin Heather just got back from a whirlwind trip, by herself, all over southeast Asia. Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos… she’s my hero.

As much as I love Fakey Fakerson waiting for me at home, I adore that one of my mom’s tress is the Real Deal. The smell… The smell? She is divine.

Merry Christmas, and Happy first night of Hanukkah, too, for anyone out there who celebrates that tradition. I have a menorah and a kosher pack of beeswax candles I’ve been storing. I want so badly to use them and do Hanukkah, but I feel like such a farce. It’s not my tradition to co-opt, just because I think it’s cool. And so they sit, in Phoebe the Buffet, and there they stay.

Is anyone else out there creeped out by the old Frosty the Snowman cartoon?

We Made It!

Oh, man, I really, really wish I could have live-blogged the trip down here!~ We’ve arrived, we’re at my parents, and all is well. We left home at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, because we heard a huge storm was blowing into the Pacific Northwest. Had we followed our original plan, we would probably still be driving. As it was, we only had icy roads, not falling snow.  Driving at night in falling snow is a level of hell.

The kids did great, and slept a good part of the way. It took 18 hours, and I drove the overnight leg. When we got to grandma and grandpa’s, we handed off the kids and collapsed. Being up for 24+ hours straight does not make for happy parents. So we’re here. It’s awesome- and, coolest thing ever (or at least of the week): My mom has given her permission to post pictures of her house! So check back in- I just have to find my camera now…


The goodness just knows no bounds. Tonight on my porch: a wooden toboggan, a Christmas platter, a gift card to Target, a game for the kids, and a package via the mailman from my friend in Utah, Jen. I am humbled and amazed at the goodness of people; their giving  hearts, their charitable spirits and the kindness that flows so freely. I stand all amazed. Thank you…

Hello Insomnia, My Old Friend

1:22 a.m. Sigh. It’s getting to be a familiar sight. How is it I can fall asleep if I so much as sit down, during the day, but at night? Forget it. I turn off the TV, I turn on the fan (oh, who am I kidding, there is a fan in our room 365 days a year- and it was already on) hoping the white noise will help. I get up and check the kids. Again. I listen to David’s rhythmic snoring, tapping along in time on the headboard. I listen to the wind whipping the trees around the yard, and then go look at the frozen world dimly glowing through the windows on the landing. 

It’s so cold. We’re in a deep-freeze. Honestly, I don’t think it got above 11 degrees today. It’s dry, and what little snow we have is blowing around like confectioners sugar in the bitter gusts. The only good part is, I can leave the groceries in the garage and everything stays really cold. That is, if I could go buy groceries… sigh.

It is a nice time to have a fire. The other morning, since I couldn’t sleep, I got up before dawn to make breakfast pie, homemade biscuits and sawmill gravy. With the Chrismas tree lighting the room, we gathered the kids around the fire and ate our breakfast in cozy comfort. There was even hot chocolate with marshmallows. It was a good way to start the day. And yet somehow, Jeffrey still managed to be late for school. I don’t know how that happens.

Someone in our ward has been leaving treats and gifts on our porch every night. We’ve been given baking supplies, copper cookie cutters, Crate & Barrel measuring cups and cookware, craft kits and a small, beautiful nativity set for the kids, and tonight was an awesome art pop-up book by the incomparable Robert Sebuda.  Someone is being very, very good to us.

The next few days are going to be hectic. I have so much to do, and well, here I sit, meandering my thoughts out my fingers and onto Teh Intertubes. That’s a productive woman. That’s woman who knows what’s important. That’s a woman at the end of her rope, who’s going to be really, really tired tomorrow…

Soft White Underbelly

Sometimes, when I’m very still, I can see my heartbeat. It happened this morning, on the potty. Doesn’t that figure? The only time I get to sit still these days is when I’m peeing. It’s the silver lining, I suppose.

I’m really struggling with feeling wiped-out. I have so very much to do, and not enough hours in the day to do it all. My kids keep asking why there are no presents under the tree, and my pat answer is to wait until we get to grandma’s next week; yet, I swallow hard and gloss over the fact that there really are no presents under our tree.

The kids have been watching me make things all week. I have gifts done for my mom, my sister-in-law, my nephew, Mo, and two other friends. I still have to make things for about six other people, and I have three days to do it. Plus another friend is moving to Japan tomorrow, and I really want to see her, and have something for her- I don’t yet.

Remember how both my sewing machines broke at the same time? Well, my dentist’s wife came by the other day (she’s a quilter too) and brought me her machine, and told me to take mine in to be repaired and she and Mr. Dentist would pick up the bill. I want to be prideful and not take their help, but the truth is, I desperately need my sewing machines. Pride is such a bitter dish. But what an awesome dentist, eh? That’s some service.

I’ve been invited to several holiday luncheons, but I just can’t carve out the space. Plus, I’m cooking lunch for 20 on Wednesday at the Bishop’s Storehouse. I adore being at the BSH. I’m happy to go cook. I’m a little stressed because we’re leaving at o’dark-thirty that night/morning, and I have all that to contend with, but I know I love serving anyway.

We had our first real snow last night, and it’s really cold today. By real snow, I mean we got about an inch. I know. That hardly counts. It’s not even enough to play in. But that’s alright- you all know how I feel about playing in the snow? It hasn’t changed. I just would like the real snow to hold out until we drive over the mountains, if that wouldn’t be too much to ask…

I’m very excited about having Christmas at my mom’s. We haven’t been there for Christmas since Bean was a tiny newborn, and Jeffrey was two. Five years? Yeah, that’s a long time.

So I’m not sending out cards, I’m not doing any baking, I’m not shopping or buying any presents, I haven’t decorated besides the tree and the creche- it hardly feels like the Holidays. Hopefully, when I get to mom’s, that will all wash away. Do we ever get too old to want our moms? I’m on the darkish side of my thirties, and I still want my mom, I want her to hug me and tell me it’s all going to be OK. I want to sit in her kitchen with the comforting smells and sounds of home, and feel safe and loved. I want to see her familiar hands making cookies, and wrapping presents and playing with my kids. I want my mom.

Dear World

For the first time since becomming a mother, there will be no M Family Christmas Card this season. Due to circumstances beyond (waaaaay beyond…) my control, we are unable to scrape up the piles o’ cash required to make and send them out. Delving into alternative methods, we are still left stymied, and thus, consider this your Christmas Card for 2008.

Merry Christmas. You are loved. Here’s to joyful and new 2009. Fingers crossed, breath holding, prayers ascending…
The M Family.
David, Tracy, Jeffrey, Beanie and Abigail.

We apologise for any inconvenience. We now resume your regular broadcasing…