Family Matters

Wow it’s been so long since I shared a blog so I must apologize.  Life has been up and down with my Fibromyalgia and I’ve allotted what little energy I have to my family as that’s what matters most to me.

Today I sit here, in Ohio, helping my sister Crystal out as best as I can while she recovers from emergency surgery.  It’s been two years since we’ve seen one another although we talk several times a week.  I feel blessed to have the opportunity to help her and to spend Thanksgiving with her and Jeff although I will miss my hubby and son.  Already in just a couple of days I’ve called back home a dozen times.  Today I even managed to load Skype so I could see my boy’s smiling face.  It’s strange to be away as the longest I’ve left him is a couple of days and now I’ll be away for 21 days.  I’m grateful for the time with my sister but it will be hard not getting cuddles and hugs from my guys.

In less than a year my little family will be taking on a new adventure and moving to Ohio so I’ll be able to see my sister and brother-in-law whenever the mood strikes me.  On the flip side we’ll be three thousand miles away from Larry’s family and so we won’t get to see Grammi and Pop Pop as often as we do now.  There will be air plane rides a couple of times a year to see all my in-laws and to celebrate at least one major holiday.  It will be tricky since one of the reasons we are relocating from California is that it will allow my hubby to fulfill his dream of owning and running a small little bakery-coffee shop.  So we’ll have to figure out a way to run the business and still have time to travel to and fro.

I’m excited about all that is to come and hopeful that one of these days my Fibro will fade away or at least reduce the symptoms to something more manageable.


Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve been giving RAK’s a lot of thought lately. In reflecting on my own blessings during the month of November I’ve come to realize how my family, friends and even strangers impact my life in small and BIG ways. This has made me realize that I to have the opportunity to bless others and have decided to start now and work my way through 2014 seeing just how many RAK’s I can accomplish. My family will be joining me on this adventure whether they truly realize it or not.

This past week I’ve been happy to provide a Thanksgiving meal to my husbands cigar supplier, and more importantly friend, Pedro. Pedro is an awesome old fellow from Cuba with many stories to tell. He’s a master chess player and has not only taught my husband how to play a good game of chess over a cigar or two but is working to make Joey a champion player as well. He enjoys spending time with my boy so much that literally he closes his cigar lounge to any smoking while Joey is there. His family recently relocated to other parts of the U.S. and he has been left to his own devices. He owns a small cigar shop in Carmichael, CA and basically lives and works in a 2-block area. We tried desperately to get him to actually come to our home to join us for Thanksgiving but as he’s not comfortable leaving his 2-block comfort zone we couldn’t convince him to do it so the next best option was to bring a plate to him. Of course it gave my hubby a good opportunity to pick up another cigar to two as well so it was win-win in his mind. I’m hoping that before 2014 is over that we’ll actually get him to come to more of our family events as we’ve adopted him whether he realizes it or not.

I was able to score a few hours to myself the other day and decided to go shopping. I managed to get a good deal or two on several toys for the Toys for Tots motorcycle ride that Larry and Joey participated in on Sunday. They looked so cute, Larry dressed up in a full Santa suit and Joey with his elfin ears and hat with jingle bells. The guys got to spend 4 hours with other motorcycle enthusiasts and the children in our community benefitted with thousands of toys being donated, along with cash donations, to make the holidays a little more cheery.

Santa and his Elf getting ready to deliver some toys.

Santa and his Elf getting ready to deliver some toys.

Joey the Elf show a little love to Puff the Christmas Dragon.

Joey the Elf show a little love to Puff the Christmas Dragon.

Santa securing his load.

Santa securing his load.

I was also able to shop for Larry’s tree angel that he selected from the tree at his office. She had requested a sweater and I found the softest one for her in a beautiful charcoal grey. That was all she asked for but I think I’ll pick up a few more items just to round her gift out and make her holiday a little more joyful.

On Saturday we, along with my in-laws and some friends, went to the Eskaton Care Facility and sang Christmas carols for my Mom and the other residents who wanted to participate. We may not have been in tune on all the songs but it made no difference going by their smiles. Joey, his cousin Elsa and their friend Ari handed out Christmas cards that we’d all signed. When we finished singing I went to the rooms of the residents who are bed ridden and gave them a card and chatted with each of them for a while. It’s amazing how such a small act can brighten someone’s day. I’m going to try to come up with a few other things we can do with the residents over the next several months since this one was such a smashing success. I’m thinking I’ll take my two dogs next, dressed up in their holiday attire, and do some visiting with those residents who like to hang out, talk and pet the dogs.

Joey and I are going to be making up some pre-packed bags for the homeless that we come across on our daily adventures. Not anything extravagant but items that are needed. We were thinking of tooth brushes with a tube of toothpaste, a bottle of water, some gum or mints, gift cards for some our local fast food restaurants, that kind of thing. We’ll also be donating to Joey’s school food drive, the 680 Sock Drive, and providing a coat for one individual to help them get through the coldest days.

If you have any suggestions for RAK’s that I can do, or that we can do as a family, I’d love to hear about them. Who knows, maybe one you suggest will be our next project and I promise to post photo’s of all that we do over the coming months. In the meantime I’d like to ask each of you how you can make an impact, big or small, to bring a little pleasure to the life of another. If you choose to do some RAK’s yourself we’d love to hear about them.

Moto Boy

Getting all geared up for his first ride.

Getting all geared up for his first ride.

My 5-year old son has begun to ride with Daddy on his motorcycle and I am so not ready for it. We bought him a really cool looking DOT helmet and a special harness that attaches him to Daddy and has handles so that he can feel secure and yet I’m still terrified. I’ve let him ride around the neighborhood for a couple of days now and he absolutely loves it, so much so that the first words out of his mouth each morning is “motorcycle”. I know this is a losing battle for me as all the Monson men ride and my husband is counting down the days until Joey will join their family tradition and have a motorcycle of his own. But still he is only 5 and my baby and as I said I am terrified. All the what-if’s keep running through my mind: What if someone hits them, what if the motorcycle goes down, what if he wants his own motorcycle in a year or two… I am so not ready for any of those things should they happen. Having said that though I want to support his passions and the dreams my husband holds so dear. Sometimes it is so hard to be a mother and to let go of my own fears so that my son can accomplish what his heart desires. Sometimes it is so hard to be a wife when I’m not aligned with my husbands goals.

Today I allowed them to go out of the neighborhood, just down the street mind you, but still there will be stop lights to contend with and other drivers clogging the roadways. I let them go though, off to Starbucks for coffee and hot cocoa and now I sit here waiting on pins and needles for their safe return. While I’m scared silly of the possibilities I know they are having the time of their lives, bonding, and just being boys.

Exhilarated after their first ride together.

Exhilarated after their first ride together.

You Plan, God Laughs

You know what they say about the best laid plans right… you plan and God laughs, well that is how my year has begun. We had my great-niece Gracie come to stay with us for a couple of days and planned a snow day for her and Joey on the 3rd only to have the kids cough all night and for me to get a stomach bug that kept me up all night and in bed the majority of the day. But we got the last laugh because we didn’t let it get us down. I broke out my new Entertainment Book for 2013 and began flipping through the pages. In just moments Larry and I agreed upon Scandia and Plan B was formulated. Larry would take the kids, bundled up to keep the chill out, out for lunch followed by a round of miniature golf and some time in the arcade and then cap the day off with ice cream treats from Cold Stone.

Was I bummed that I was missing out? You betcha, but my heart was dancing inside because I knew they were still going to get to have a fun adventure with or without me. Larry, darling hubby that he is, took the camera with him so that I could enjoy their fun after the fact. They came dancing in the house, showing me their treasures – balloons, tattoo’s, magnetic rattle snake eggs, and candy which of course there was no evidence of since they’d eaten it on the way home and telling tall tales about how they kept beating one another until the last hole when the hole beat them both. I still haven’t heard how Daddy did but I bet he at least beat the last hole.

Instead of looking on the day as a downer I think it turned out to be quite positive. Our plans didn’t go as originally planned, but we quickly formulated another as a family, my husband rose to the occasion and gave the kids a day they’d remember and gave me the time to try to get back on my feet. I got to enjoy their pleasure of the day in their storytelling and I got to see it up close through my hubby’s photo’s. All in all, not a bad way to start the year off.


This weekend Joey had a sleepover with his two pals Trevor and Garrett.  They were so good I almost had to ask myself, “who are these kids?”.  Seriously though they were amazing.  Their momma, Jessica, told them that I wasn’t feeling to great and to be on their best behavior for me and they must have taken her at her word.  The boys played Wii and watched movies that night, and in the morning they played bad guys with their Nerf guns, rode around our street in Joey’s little corvette, and just played with toys in general.

It was so much fun for Larry and I to watch each boy in turn take the wheel and go, go, go.  Trevor was super confident, trying to run over different surfaces like the sewer grate and the reflectors in the street so he could assess how they made the car feel.  Garrett was tentative, going forth but pausing often when the car tried to switch to the next gear up or when it got to close to the curb.  Joey on the other hand was off and running, often not even waiting for one of his pals to get all the way in the passenger seat before he hit the gas and then once he got going doing his best to try to run over the one who didn’t fit, or me, or Larry or heaven forbid Hoss who just absolutely refused to move out of the way.  It was quite funny to watch.

At one point Garrett hit a neighbor’s house (ever so gently – remember he was the tentative one), kept pushing on the gas to try to make it back up or something and in the process blew the fuse.  While Larry went to get more the boys pushed the car, Trevor and Garret doing the pushing and ordering in Joey to steer the dang thing.  It was wonderful to see them work it out, how to get the car back out into the street, assign one another jobs so that they could accomplish their goal and work together as a well oiled machine.  I can already picture them in my mind at 16, cruising for chicks, running out of gas and having to push a real vehicle to the nearest gas station.  I hope when Joey turns 16 that they are still the great pals that they are today.

I’m not sure who loves the sleepovers more, Joey or I.  It feels a need in me to have a houseful of children even if they are not of my own womb.  I so wish that Larry and I had even more and that Joey had siblings.  I thing there’s magic in having a sibling.  While Crystal and I weren’t the best of friends when we were growing up we are now and that means so much to me.  I want that same kind of connection for my son… now just to make it come true somehow.  Then it would be like having a sleepover every night.  Fun and games and laughter and love and yes, even more work for Larry and I but I know we’d manage it as we always do.  We’re a good team him and I and together we create a good balance for Joey and his friends.  We truly are blessed in so many ways.

Happy Birthday Crystal

My sister turned another year older and another year wiser last week, the big 47.  She, Joey and I spent the day together at Folsom State Park at the Beale Point Beach.  It was the first time any of us had been there and it is such a lovely beach, nice and sandy with really clear water.  We had to fight the yellow jackets for our KFC lunch but once we moved some of the meat to an adjacent table for them to snack on we were able to eat ours in relative peace.

We stopped at Target en route and Crystal bought a new float to relax on in the water, like that was ever going to really happen, and we picked up some snacks and sunscreen so we could really linger at the beach.  Luckily I’d planned a little ahead so I had buckets, shovels and all kinds of vehicles for Joey to play with when he got tired of the water, and some books for when he got tired of the sun and sand so I had my bases pretty well covered.

We ate lunch first and then hit the water.  It was perfect temperature for me to be able to enjoy myself as well and we all swam, picked out rocks to skip (or throw), and just enjoyed being together.  They’d let out some of the water from the dam and so you could almost walk all the way out to the buoy line that designates the swimming area.  Joey was thrilled to be able to walk out so far and to chase down his Aunty Crystal for splash wars, and try to tip her off her

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float.  I love watching them play together especially when water is involved since they both love it so much.

When we’d had enough of the water Crystal really got to relax on her float while Joey and I took to the sand and built sand castles and played with his vehicles.  I even managed to get a little reading done before I got too overheated.  So Joey and I trucked up the beach to find a nice shady spot under a tree on the lawn and he played with his cars on our blanket and we read stories and loved on Hoss some.  He’d been patiently waiting up by our table since they have a “no dogs” policy on the beach itself.

All in all we spent about three and a half hours just enjoying ourselves before heading home for the day.  It was really nice to spend some one on one time with my sister and to share in her special day.

Happy Birthday Crystal.  We love you.

And for those of you with inquiring minds – yes, my sons toenails are purple, just as mine are, compliments of the talented little Miss Gracie R.


A Walking We Will Go

Today we journeyed on foot and bicycle to enjoy a little of the sunshine that came our way.  We headed up the street about a quarter of a mile with our two dogs in tow to Larry’s sisters house and found Mary, cousin Elsa and Grammi hanging out.  Joey had ridden his bicycle while Larry and I both walked, he with our Rat Terrier Duke and me with our Red German Shepherd Hoss.  Both of our dogs loved getting out, smelling every tree, bush, and flower along the way and marking their territory as we went along.  Joey, my little guy, rode all the way, up two hills and back down again without a complaint and as soon as he arrived and had a drink of water he was raring to ride again.  So Elsa got her bike and helmet out and we all headed outdoors.

Mary’s house is located on a perfect court that has parking in the middle and so it makes for a great racetrack for the kids.  No sooner had we gotten their helmets buckled and they were off, racing away to some unforseen finish line that existed only in their minds.  Poor Elsa didn’t get far as she rode into a slight incline and her bright red bike went toppling over taking her with it.  Thank goodness she had her Dora helmet on.  But she was no longer enthused about riding and so she crawled up in to Grammi’s lap for a bit of cuddling.  Joey on the other hand rode and rode, stopping only to drink and cool off after all his exertions.  When he finally had enough, he and Elsa were treated to some chocolate milk.

Before long Elsa discovered the poop bags that I carry for our dog walks.  Out she pulled them and so I tore one off for her and told her she could fill it with treasures that were all around us.  Joey being jealous had to have one too, and so together they went running off to see what they could find.  Elsa filled her with leaves of all sizes that had fallen from the trees and Joey filled his with rocks.  I’m going to put his rocks aside until I can get some craft ideas on how we can use them.

When all was said and done, we’d visited for about an hour.  It was really nice to just sit there in the shade and have some quality time with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law.  We got a chance to catch up on all we’d been up to and make some plans for outings in the very near future.

After we walked and rode back home, pushing Joey the last third of the way, we celebrated our walk in the sunshine with lemon sorbet.  So refreshing and the perfect ending to our outdoor adventure.