Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Dream Realized

The post about following your dream on inspired me to share how we followed our dream.

Our Story …
Our family dream started simply enough. A desire to grow wine grapes and embrace a more agrarian lifestyle. We left the hectic pace of city life in search of property where we could work the land. Flying from Orange County to San Francisco, my husband showed me a magazine article describing an everyday family who did just that - left the Big City, planted their own vineyard and started a winery.

Once this seed was planted, we started looking for an opportunity to pursue our dream of living on some land. My brother, heard about the idea of "living on some land" and decided to leave his big city home and join our adventure. A partnership was born, and upon relocating to our property, my brother found work as a vineyard manager for various area vineyards as well as taking care of our own vineyard. We have been striving ever since for the ultimate blend of farming, science and art, the essence of wine making. We are pursuing that perfect glass of red wine while enjoying the beautiful sunsets.

God sure has had an amazing way of shaping our lives. We thought we were moving to start a vineyard, but we have been blessed by a fantastic church home, wonderful schools, great jobs and a satisfying fulfilling life in the country.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hay Hay Hay

My brother planted hay to help with the cost of the horses. It has been fun watching it through it's life cycle... planting, growing, being mowed, raked, and then finally baled. It is planted in the lower field beyond the vineyard. The hay bales are very picturesque right now. The kids and I went down the other night to check it out. They loved running around and jumping on the bales. It really makes me feel like we are true country bumpkins and I love it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Check out that Cap !

Another day and another graduation.

We had a wonderful time in Northern California celebrating the accomplishments of my niece.

This time it was especially exciting for me, because she is graduating with her Bachelors in Speech Pathology, my profession! I am so proud of her. I fondly remember her as a baby; white blond hair, walking really early, and oh so smart and cute.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ode to a Soldier

An election day story in the life of a busy American family

It was November 8, 2005 and I had just picked up my two children from school. We had a few errands to run, which was typical for us -- the bank, the post office and then I needed to vote. There were a few propositions on the ballot this time around in California. I decided my kids could come along, maybe it would be educational and I really didn’t have time in my work day before picking them up.

As I announced our next errand was to vote, interest peeked in the car. My daughter who was in the first grade became very excited and told me I had to vote for George Washington. When I informed her that George Washington lived long ago and I was not even voting for the president today, the kids seemed disappointed. Then my daughter asked “Mom do you like the president we have now?” I cautiously considered my response although I believe in being honest with my children, I also want them to learn to think for themselves and not blindly adopt my politics.

Before I could answer the question my son piped up……I saw a bumper sticker that said “Bush lied, so boys died and America paid.” Why would someone write that, my son asked.
I responded - Well some people are really upset about the war in Iraq and believe that Bush did lie. Then I preceded to give my children what I thought was a balanced opinion of things.
Well I do like many things that our president believes in, however I am unsure about the war.

My son burst out with this retort.. and the following exchange ensued…

Son - “what if you saw a little girl being eaten by wolves would you try to save her or just walk away and let her die.”

Mom – “ Well I would want to help her, but if I had you kids with me I would be worried that you would get hurt and I am not sure I would risk it, that is really the issue – we are asking Americans to risk their lives to fight for someone else.”

Son - “Yeah but I would rather risk getting hurt than not help that little girl!” “that is what God did for us!”

I guess there is no fear that my son will blindly adopt my politics, he has his own opinions well developed. I was correct, taking my kids to vote turned out to be very educational, especially for me. It is important to remember, we have an all volunteer armed forces, and they know they are probably putting themselves at risk when they join up, and that is truly heroic.

Here’s to all our soldiers who are willing to risk themselves to help someone else!

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Don't Mess with the Black Belt!"

Those were the words of my husband this morning as I was needling him about his wardrobe. Tuesday night, after three years of Karate training he tested for his black belt. He arrived home from class proudly wearing his brand new belt. Quite an accomplishment, and I am so proud of him. He started to take classes when our kids were both enrolled. Both kids eventually lost interest and stopped their training as red belts. My man continued on, and often commented that training was hard on his 40+ year old body . This training came with some injuries along the way, but he made it. I am happy for him, even if it comes with a little attitude.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Mystery of Missing Clothes

Mid week, my daughter is suddenly down to one pair of jeans. How can this be? Where could two pairs of jeans disapear to? After checking the hamper, the clean clothes bin, the bookworm's room, the cars, they are no where. It is not like she comes home from school some days with no pants on! I don't get it, where could they be? Thursday night, my son announces he has no socks. Not just miss matched socks, but absolutely no socks anywhere! Well, I guess they ran off with the pants. I am sure I will find them when they no longer fit my children.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What Defines You?

I have always been a thankful person, or just really blessed. Truth be known it is probably a little of both. A big part of what defines me comes from my history and how I came to be. I am the daughter of two widowers who found each other in the cemetery. My parents fell in love and blended a family by adopting each other's kids and adding two more. I am the baby of the family and my parents often taught me that God works in mysterious ways. They would remind me that good can come from bad and if they had not been widowed, I would not exist.

My mother lost her husband when her fourth child was just 8 days old. When my son was 8 days old, I cried off and on all day for the pain my mother must have experienced. I had never appreciated her pain untill I had a baby of my own.

Last year about this time, I received a call that an old friend had passed. She was unexpectedly hit by a car leaving her husband and four children alone in the world. We were childhood and high school friends and I kept up on her life through her extended family. It upset me so much especially for her children. It made me sad for my older siblings who had known this loss, the loss of a parent. This woman was a wonderful mother; strong, friendly and funny. No big hair, big make up, big attitude or pretense in this friend. I was upset that her daughter would loose the influence of such a strong woman.

Fate would have me sitting alone in church the next Sunday, some strange scheduling where my kids and husband had gone to church early. It was a Divine appointment, the sermon was titled, "Dealing with the Tough Stuff." During the service through tears, I finally had some peace about the untimely death of this friend.

This loss will certainly be part of what defines her kids and possibly their children. I suppose it can be used for good and will shape their lives indelibly. The fact that my old friend Brenda is no longer with us has been on my mind so much these days. I pray for her children and I will pray for them today, especially.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Crazy Saturday - stop this merry-go-round I want to get off.

OK this SATURDAY ... went like this

Woke up in the morning inspired to write a really touching entry on my new blog... but then ...

1. Need to get girls ready and in the car, so I could deliver one girl home and pick up my son and his friend.

2. Drop off clothes we had borrowed at a friends. Hurry home so all kids could do some vineyard work.

3. Son having allergy attack, shower and medication administered.

4. Kids got itchy after chasing deer that had some how got into the vineyard.....This is not good!

5. Made lunch for everyone , started to clean up kitchen, oops time was running out to get to the dump....My Dad was calling on the phone "aren't we going to load up the trash?"

6. Loaded up trash, did a few more dishes, changed the laundry, rushed the kids into the car to head to the dump.

7. Husband calls from the tractor to request I stop at the farm store to purchase a part.

8. Go to the dump, drop off recycling, return son's friend, get the part from the farm store.

9. Pick up stuff for science project for son. Son now starving, stop and feed him some food.

10. Return home , do a few dishes, supervise both children with big homework projects.

11. Start to make dinner ....except meat is out of date - or is it? ..sell by date... what exactly does that mean?

11. Quick jump on the Internet to see if meat is really OK ? NO. Throw it in the trash, continue to make dinner with a few recipe adjustments.

12. All sit down to dinner, myself being disappointed with the dinner decided to have ice cream bar... not part of the meal plan.

13. During dinner daughter has toothache situation followed by a refusal to eat followed by water picking and flossing.

14. Again start the dishes while husband and son go down to check on watering. Daughter becomes upset about her project, starts to melt down probably due to lack of food and toothache.

15. Abandon house work and sit with daughter and comfort her.

At the end of the day.... House looks terrible and dinner was a disappointment, the kids are tired, allergenic and cranky, and the deer is still in the vineyard.

Oh well there is always tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Artist

My son loves to draw. He showed talent in sketching at a very young age. It calms him and feeds his soul. It is one of his favorite past times. He started out drawing things that interest him. When he was five it was dinosaurs, and at age ten it was dragons and knights.

I recall when my infant daughter threw a spoon in the direction of my five year old son. They were sitting at the dinner table, and the spoon went air born. Of course the spoon hit my son right on the arm. He started to cry and then suddenly stopped, he jumped up to get a paper and proceeded to draw the whole scene. The picture had both kids and a spoon flying through the air, he continued and drew a dark line across the scene. The line was meant to communicate to my daughter that this was unacceptable. He scrawled out the word NO and handed it to her, like an officer issuing a speeding ticket to the guilty party.

That day I saw a glimpse of what art might hold for my son, I had no idea he would stay with it. Now he is taking on new challenges to see what he can learn to draw.

He recently came home with a library book on drawing faces and proceeded to study the book and practice the art of capturing the human face.

He is one of my favorite artists, although I might be biased.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Bookworm

My daughter is a total bookworm. I like to read, but she gets this intense love of reading from her Dad. She started out slow and has gained momentum over the years. Now, in the third grade we can't find novels fast enough. She has been known to read up to 200 pages a day. At her school there is a weekly reading log for recording the minutes they read. I don't actually want to record the real time she reads, because it looks too crazy. She reads on car rides, while I work out at the gym, and tries to read every where we go. I have to hang on to her so she won't run into the wall or a cart in the grocery store. A few weeks ago, she told me what reading does for her.... " Mom..when I read, I am transported into another world and I am there in the story and it is like so fun!"

Last year the school librarian held a reading contest. For the next week the bookworm read for hours at a time, meticulously recording every minute on scraps of paper. She insisted I staple all the sheets and scraps of paper together to turn into the librarian. The Librarian was a little flustered that the bookworm had read so many minutes in the first week..oops. She hadn't even given out the reading record forms yet.. double oops. I received a note that was slightly tense and telling, stating that I had to use the required forms to record the minutes or they would not be counted, and that it was not fair to the other children. Did I already say..oops?

Later I found out the librarian had contacted my daughter's teacher slightly upset that someone had read all the minutes in the first week. The teacher vouched for her stating she really was a bookworm and gently reminded the librarian that the goal was for children to read. Needless to say she won the contest, and I was relieved when it was over.

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

Monday, May 5, 2008

Remember When?

Remember when you were just starting out, maybe in college or just getting ready to get married? For me it was 16 years ago when I finished college and got married. This weekend we went on a day trip South to celebrate my nephew's graduation from college. We were also celebrating his engagement and upcoming wedding plans for this Summer.

I am the proud Aunt to over 25 kiddos and young adults, but this boy was the ring bearer at my wedding. I do remember his arms growing tired from the weight of the ring pillow and the groomsman having to lend a helping hand. He was so cute and small, just four years old.

Being the youngest of ten, I started my career as an Aunt at the age of 11 and was the pro babysitter. It is with pure joy I witness these once children grown and entering the world as confident capable adults. Some of my nephews have families of their own. Many are entering and exiting college, faster than I can count. The oldest of the nephews is overseas on a mission trip, taking on responsibilities I can hardly fathom.

At the end of the month we will travel North for another graduation this time a niece, she was in my wedding also. I have to say one of the highlights of the day was hearing my great niece at age four share her plans for the future..."I wish I could be a mermaid, but I guess I'll be a dentist".

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Did Someone Say Turtle?

Surprise, we discover this guy yesterday at our pond. My son the artist and self proclaimed wildlife expert, has tried to identify him in many wildlife books. After much research, we are still not sure. In 11 years we have never found a turtle at our pond. If you know the type of turtle, please post. Being a fan of Dr. Seuss, I say it is Yertle.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Long Live The Fonze

My Son and a few friends (all preteens) have decided they are going to shake up the style scene at the local school. Their mission is to bring back the 50's era greaser look. They show up to school in Jean jackets and leather jackets with white t shirts and their hair styled back. They are standing strong in the face of the ever present skater look. Their newest prop is a switchblade comb to fix their hair. Go Greased Lightning!

Thoughts and Musings

Well, Fingerprints on my window is born. A place to record the mundane and the extraordinary. Quotes and insights may find their way into this journal of sorts. The name I suppose can refer to the actual fingerprints that are always appearing on my windows, or the impressions people leave on my life. You can't always see fingerprints depending on your view or vantage point. Fingerprints are all unique with no two alike. I enjoy all the unique facets of my life, and my many hats and roles I have been allowed to play. I have enjoyed being the expert in many things and the novice in new ventures. In general I love my busy exhausting life and am thankful to the good lord for all my blessings, most of all my family.

As Ferris Bueller would say .. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in awhile, you could miss it."

Fingerprints on my window is my attempt to record it by stopping and looking around once in a while!