Mr. Intensity

Recently my husband retired from a lifetime of toil in the building industry.


Throughout the years we have moved to where the “work was” building new homes and an occasional commercial structure but the last decade the work seemed to dwindle leaving us to remodels and creating  outdoor structures etc. Between the shift in available work (remember we are in Cali so the red tape of contracting has its own set of headaches), and the wear and tear on my man’s body we have crossed over the divide from the self employed contractor to the retired. For the record, he isn’t going quietly. Once a workaholic always a workaholic. They may sit with you through your coffee and toast, but are never fully in the present. This is something I’ve had to learn. Funny thing is, its not personal, its business. Why did I ever think that would change?
I am learning new things about my husband everyday, the first one being, he is INTENSE! My oh my is he intense! I never ever thought this about him but now that I see him more often and observe him when his wheels are turning l-o-n-g p-a-u-s-e ~ download-17


Lately he has been making wooden treasures for our Nature Table and Sam’s room and have decided to share and see what happens at some of the local craft fairs, time will tell.  Right now the creative juices are flowing and Big Daddy seems to have found his niche in this whole new world.


Oldies and Goodies

In the “stats” portion of this blog, I noticed someone had clicked over by way of one of the OLD blogs on WordPress.  Just out of curiosity I skipped over there and had a look around.  I found a few things I thought I would repost here… enjoy.



Our ever faithful Rosemary

LOADS of Camelias for out tables!


dads phone to 1-29-13 1211




PongSat Video!

Air and Space Magazine has posted a pongSat video!



If you would like to know more about PongSat experiments or information about America’s OTHER Space Program, go to


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For more updates, follow on Facebook!


#thatsmybrojp     #thatsmydadjp


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Student experiments flown to the edge of space by balloons and launched in rockets.

A PongSat is an experiment that fits inside of a ping pong ball.

These ping pong ball ‘satellites’ are flown to the edge of space by balloon or launched in sounding rockets.
The PongSats are then returned to the student.

It’s an easy and inexpensive way to get students excited about science and engineering.

There are endless possibilities for experiments that can fit inside a ping pong ball. PongSat’s can be as simple or complex as
you want them to be. Experiments can be as simple as comparing how high a ball bounces before and after being exposed to vacuum.
The PongSat can carry seeds to see if exposure to cosmic rays effect their growth. Several small inexpensive computers and other
electronic can fit inside a PongSat. These can be used to create a wide range of experiments. Whether carrying a marshmallow to
see if it puffs up in the vacuum of near space or an entire sophisticated satellite in miniature, PongSat can create motivation, drive
and passion in the classroom.

PongSats are flown at no cost to the student or school. 




A Boy and (another) Frog

IMG_4615Little Big Boy has managed to find several hoppers in our yard this summer.  At first the mere thought of “catch and release” opened flood gates that took hours to close, but now that he has a little more experience under his belt and has confidence that frogs do indeed live here, he is happy to say hello and watch them hop away.

Right click, save and print coloring page below ~


CLick HERE for your free printable Frog Life Cycle page


frog to lily pad maze bl wh dover

To Everything There is a Season

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To everything
There is a season
And a time for every purpose under Heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weepTo everything

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracings

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

To everything
There is a season

 Lately I’m not sure what season it is.  It seems I am stuck in the season of weep, war and rending.  I cannot tell you why.  I feel as though the effort to transport myself into a different season is too big.  The gap between too wide.  Overwhelmed?  Maybe.  Self-pity?  Probably.  Depression?  Most likely.  Then the question I have to ask is why?  The logical side of me says, the reasons are simple.  Most of my children are grown and my identity as “the mother of wee ones” is no longer.  Of those grown children, their lives include others; new friends, reconnecting with loved-ones, growing independant… Their attachment to me is waning.  I get it.  I understand.  The emotional side of me screams… “WHAT ABOUT ME!?!”  insert some sort of laugh track here ~ because those of you who know me understand that I use humor as a coping mechanism.   MY entire life has revolved around the role of wife and mother.  A role that did not include too much time for thinking about me, and now that I find myself really thinking ABOUT me, I wonder who I am and sadly, even WHY I am.  I have allowed my value and self-worth to be solely reflective of my past role.  Again, the logical side of me says, no problem, this is normal.  If someone were to poder these same thought to me about themselves, I would take a stand against their wavering.  Tell them they ARE valued, the ARE a necessary cog in the wheel of life, the ARE enough.  Isnt it funny, how hard it is to speak to ourselves and actually listen?
I suppose the hardest part of it all is actually convincing myself that is IS okay, to be me.  To take time for me, to be reflective, even sad.  To process and ponder my life in ways that others may not understand.  It is hard.  Change is always happening, some of that change is grieved over, some is rejoiced.  There is balance to the equation, of this I am sure, but for now, I am still working the math.
~ Ecclesiastes 3 KJV

Change is Always in the Wind and New Ideas are Always on the Horizon.   

As I look out the bedroom window I can almost imagine steel chimney flues with their steady puffs of smoke coming up out of Big Daddy’s little workshop at the Cottage.  Like Caractacus Potts, he can be found anytime during the day (and sometimes well into the night), creating, shaping and sanding his newest passion.  No, not a flying  floating, sing song of an old race car but open-ended beautiful,  one of a kind childhood treasures (how about THAT for a mouthful of a shameless plug?).


For many years we have imagined ourselves living more simply and living out some of our passions in life.  Part of that includes creating beautiful things with our own hands and sharing them with the world.


Life has been pretty BIG these past few months and sometimes the ” Light at the End of the Tunnel”,  seems  just an expression you say when you can’t utter anything else, at least for me.  I do have to say though, the smell of fresh wood, lavender, lemon and beeswax has a soothing effect  as I strain to catch a glimpse of that light.

I am currently searching for the perfect venue(s) to market our new endeavor, Ideas?





Just More Me Stuff


The image above is so reflective of me.  I want peace.  Yet, so many times I allow the world to come crashing in a steal it right out from under me, mainly in the form of worry.  I don’t “see” myself as a worrier, but yet I am always wondering what the other is thinking or feeling.  Some of that comes from my own empathetic spirit, but other times it seems I take up more than I need to and bye-bye peace.   In my faith, we use a term called, “laying it on the Altar”, or giving your burden over to God and allowing him to carry it.  I love this and in fact do this many times through my life (okay~  my day), but then why do I find myself running back to that same altar and grappling with the Almighty to give me back my problems.  I know it isn’t really like that, the grappling and all, but I hope you know what I am saying.  I want to release more.  Let go of and get on with it, it’s hard for me I guess, even though  I didn’t think it was (would be).



As We Grow

I’ve been wanting to update my information page for a while now, many changes have taken place and loads of life learning has gone on, but it seems as though I always allow discouragement to permeate my thoughts whenever I try to do this and its not just “updating”, my blogging in general seems to be hindered.  I go back and forth between what I want to write and what I SHOULD write.  Between, what may be helpful for some but hurtful to others, what is kind but may not be necessary ~ you get it.

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Rather than go back to my “about me” page I think I will just continue to peck away here and see what becomes of it.  I have said many times over the years that I am “ever evolving”, by this I mean changing for the (hopefully) good.  I have never felt I have arrived so to speak and thankful that I am blessed to move forward in life  one day at a time.  That being said, I hope we are all evolving ~ am I advocating evolution as I claim to be a Child of God.  No, I believe I can honestly use this term without confusion if you will allow it to mean what I am meaning it to ~ clear as mud?  I like that term a lot.  I have learned from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.  Has there been a change in my belief system, in a sense…  but not in the sense you might be thinking.  My faith is the same,  for the most part how I put that faith into action is the same, where I worship hasn’t changed, why I know to be truth and what I know of creation remains rooted, but learning more, loving more, improving, seeing beauty and looking at my life in a way that I can actually enjoy things things in a more abundant way, that seems to be shifting.   it’s a good thing.


When I was a young mom I had a way of thinking that I whole heartedly embraced and lived out in my parenting everyday.  I feel it served me well at the time.  I (we) made choices as parents that today we would never make.  Would I change the past if I could?  I don’t think so, do I wish I had learned some things sooner?  yes indeed.  I comfort myself in the telling of this “line”, “We did the best we knew how”.  That being said, we did do some great things:  We survived and even at times thrived with eight children, all but the caboose, very close in age, and gave them experiences many others have  never have.  I have had many opportunities to improve my life and the lives of my family members that I didn’t always take, for those missed chances I wish I had grown sooner.


I can see this may be a long drawn our writing process for me, so I suppose I will end here.  Lots to think about.




December 26, 2015

The Day After Christmas.  I capitalized all the words in that sentence to give it the title I feel (or felt) like it somehow deserves (or deserved).  Over the years,  the day after Christmas seemed more another holiday in itself rather than the day following a holiday ~ as it is.  Funny.  I have in days past, popped out of bed early (just as Christmas itself), excited with anticipation (just as Christmas itself), but instead of finding myself wrapped in a fluffy robe and listening to a crackling fire, I would be wrapped in a warm coat and waiting for my car to heat up as I sipped coffee from a to-go mug and mapped out  post holiday shopping in my mind.  Those days have passed, and as I sit here the day after Christmas,  still in my robe, eating red velvet cookies and listening the the constant “tinkling” of little hands shuffling through Legos, I am glad.   As I enter 2016, and have vocally and maybe, way too boisterously, dubbed it my “Year without Spending,” I am glad that is one habit I have managed to break.


Merry Merry ChrisTmas to you all!

Sunday ~ Funday

Sunday was not our day.  It started off well enough, aside from the usually “can’t find any shoes” and “Why are all out coats still in boxes” banter that seems to go on whenever we are pressed to get somewhere on time.   We did however make it to church service surprising before we needed to.  However by  time high noon rolled around, we began our slow descent into the abyss that is the ridiculousness of life gone off its axis.



Flashback to earlier in the week when I (finally) managed to wash all the hockey gear.  A small fear all you “soccer mom” types are probably thinking —- wrong!  To haul it out of the back of the car is a chore in itself but the unzipping of the bag (oh, the dreaded inside the house unzipping of the bag) is an experience.  Once open the contents must be dumped and sorted and washed – all different loads, different cycles and temps.  Once washed we hang it outside for some good airing out for a day and back inside to the laundry room and hearth for constant rotation and thorough drying, then replaced and zipped back into the back, which brings us to the first in a long line of errors prior to Sunday’s comedy.  Katey ~ being ever so faithful to be here and help with holiday preparations, was asked to load said bags into car.  That was it the beast of all chores has been slated and we were officially finished with the Hockey Bag maintenance.


Flash Forward to Sunday, upon arriving at the rink we quickly began to realize something was not quite right, not only were we very late but when the back hatch was pulled up the eerie silence and blank stare that followed was deafening.  As we stared into the empty space we began to understand the earth shattering truth.  Out faithful daughter had indeed dropped the ball.  As my mind screamed out “noooooo!” and I felt my knees begin to buckle I silently chided myself for not being more attentive in math and more so, word problems that I would fully understand how much time it would take it “one panicked Hockey Mom drove home at 110 miles per hour and hockey stated yesterday, how long would she be able to beat her middle daughter before she missed the action all together”?


Please keep in mind, when it comes to kids ice hockey there is one golden rule we all live by:  you never, EVER miss. Anything.  Practice, meetings, games, ice time… Did I say never?  Ever? Trust me, in this world you do not was to be that mom.     Ever.        Never.       Ever.

Now, from here on out I will leave out many of the painful and excruciating details (which also included, leaving behind his stick, water bottle and snack to name a FEW).   Long story short, as it ended up… now prepare yourselves…  this particular Sunday was the annual figure skating Christmas show, hockey was postponed until later that afternoon.  We apparently didn’t get the memo.  Bam.