Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday's night off...a good start to the weekend

With no hockey practice to run to last night, we actually sat down as a family last night and watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!". It is funny, how around the holidays, I tend to crave some of the comforts of my sitting down and watching the good ol' Charlie Brown holiday shows. I remember when it was a big event in my childhood household, we would be able to eat dinner in front of the TV (remember those old TV dinners in the aluminum tray?) and watch Snoopy and all the Peanuts gang. Remember the Dolly Madison commercials that were shown (last night it was pre-Christmas commercials for Toys R least it was a break from all the election commercials!!!)

Speaking of feeling nostalgic, I found the box of old photos of me that my grandmother sent me as she has been trying to clean out her drawers of old photos...

Me at the age of 2. My family had this tradition of taking formal photos at the age of 2...and my sisters & I all wore this dress. My younger sister, who had a daughter, continued the tradition and had her photo taken in the dress at the age of 2 (although I think that photo was done in color :) ).
Ok...this was totally off the topic...ooops...

Back to the topic of Friday afternoon/evening...I was hoping to do some stitching on Family Sampler during Charlie Brown, but chose to lay my head down and just enjoy the show with my family. However, yesterday afternoon I took the opportunity to put the finishing touches on the ornament I stitched for Angela for the Ornament Swap. I know that I haven't posted anything about this in a long time, as I finished stitching it back in September and boy, am I glad that I got it stitched back then...don't think that I would have had the time or the energy to get it done if I waited! Now that it has been finished, I can get it off to Angela so that she has it before the holiday really set in. When she receive it, I will post a snap of what I stitched & finished for her!

Saturday is starting off cloudy, cool and rainy. DH took Robert down to the rink for his 6:30am practice. Had to wake up around 4:30 to get breakfast around for them before they left. Also, took the opportunity to fold laundry and get it ready for the boys to put away their clean well as jumped on the stationary bike to get my spin in while catching up on facebook, my emails and blogging. Later today, DH and I go over to *The Business* to be introduced to the employees. The previous owner will be making the annoucement this afternoon that he has sold the business and we will be there to be introduced and answer any questions they have. Tomorrow we will walk through the store front with the previous owner and take an inventory of everything in there - for on November 1, it is officially ours. DH leaves tomorrow evening for his first week of in-store training down in Southern California and then he will fly out to the Corporate office on the east coast for the 2nd week of his training. After all these weeks of work to get the deal made, the time is here for the real work!

Well, enough rambling. Take care, my friend, and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the waters...

Today was my Halloween Party at work and I entered into the Pumpkin Carving contest. Under the gun to find a design to carve or theme to recreate, DH "googled" pumpkin carving contest designs and we came across the idea of creating fish out of pumpkins. With only one pumpkin in the house to use - the personal watermelon came in handy.There were 9 enteries in the contest...mine came in 2nd and so did 2 others (it was a 3 way tie for 2nd place :) ).

Tonight DH and the boys are down at the rink. Robert (older son) has team photos and then ice practice afterwards...Matthew (younger son) just has off-ice training with his team.  So I am home enjoying some "me" time. My "me" time is dwendling - starting Monday, when DH goes to train for *The Business*, driving the boys to school and to hockey practice will become my responsibilty again. It has been nice to have him around the last 5 months to help out and/or do most of the transporting of the boys to their activities. But it will be nice to have him working again.

Well, I did put a few stitches in my Family Sampler, but not enough to "show and tell". I am hoping to allow myself to sit and stitch this evening before all the boys come back home.

Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Did you know that Halloween is right around the corner?

Ugh...where did this month go? When did Halloween get so close? I am getting to the point where I think I can pull my head up out of the sand and see the light, but the month is quickly disappearing.

All of the paperwork to buy and transfer *The Business* we are buying was completed on Monday with some last minute things to be chased down yesterday - that is what DH's job was yesterday. There are still a few minor credit apps and forms to complete and fax, but considering all the papers we have printed, copied, faxed, scanned and overnighted, the last few arn't bad. While all the paperwork seems to be done, we don't "officially" take over until November 1...however, DH will be going to training for the first 2 weeks of November so the previous owner will stay in the store to make sure that everything runs smoothly and status quo. After I get off from my job, during those first two weeks I might try and get over to the store and shadow the previous owner so that I can have a little idea how things are run. But I think that I will have my hands full between all the current projects at my job and dealing with the kids without DH at home!

Speaking of kids...I am putting the finishing touches on the details for Robert's hockey team's trip to Canada, which is next month. All the airline reservations for 24 people have been made and paid for (yahoo), so now I am just finishing up with the bus rental contract and the 2 hotels they will be staying at. When this trip is planned, I think that I will be ready for my hockey trip with Matthew, which is in November. I will be going with him to Phoenix, Arizona. And when we are all will be the week of school, no hockey...just home. I would normally add the word "relaxing" but I think with *The Business* and the website project at my job, life will be busy. Yet, I am sure that we will find to time relax on the holiday of Thanksgiving!

So, looking at all of the action in this household, I guess it is no wonder that the month has slipped by. Tonight I have to get a pumpkin and carve it. We are having a pumpkin carving contest at work and the contest is tomorrow...not sure about this project. Any ideas out there?

Well, I have been rambling on and on and on...and with no mention of stitching, I should probably just tell you I have been too busy to wip out the thread and needle and conclude this post. I hope all of you are having a good week. Take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It is the weekend...remembering my happy place

Well, we are this ---|              |--- much closer to being business owners. Some of the big pieces of paper work got signed and sent off to their respective places on Thursday, only thing left to do is to "officially" close on it, which happens early next week and then it becomes officially "ours" on November 1. It is getting very exciting.

It will be nice to have the purchase completed and start learning the business - the daily operations. DH will be the one who will work it full-time, so he will be the one who will go to training (one week in Southern Cal and one week on the east coast at the corporate headquarters). I am definitely looking forward to being in the store, to help out and to work on the marketing side of it...however, I am also keeping my current job because I really enjoy being there (it is something that I feel is mine and I enjoy all the people I work with!). So, while it sounds like things are settling down...they really won't feel that way until the week of Thanksgiving - when the business is ours and DH is done travelling; when Robert (older son) had gone and come home from the Medicine Hat Hockey Tournament; and when Matthew (younger son) & I return from Phoenix from his hockey tournament...that will all happen around November 22 :)

Well my family from Minnesota (my parents and sisters) are taunting me with their current travels to Lutsen, MN. Lutsen, MN is a ski resort which is located about 50 miles south of the Canadian border on Lake Superior. Back in the late 1970s, when my family moved from Kansas to Minnesota, the household was filled with stress...Dad needed to move us for a job, but mom wasn't really happy about moving (they did work through their differences and built a stronger marriage by doing so), I started going through and struggled with adolescence at that time; my younger sisters also dealt with the move in their own way. But as per a recommendation from a friend,  to "get away from it all", we started driving up north to a small ski resort in Lutsen in Mid-October.

Back in the late 70's and early 80's, Lutsen consisted of the ski lodge and a few cabins, which were situated right on the shores of Lake Superior. The only restaurants around was the one at the lodge or the pizza place at Aspen Lodge, which was 10 miles back down the road. The cabins had a kitchen, family room (no reception for tv or radio back then) and, depending on the kind of cabin you got, it either had a couple of bedrooms or a bedroom and a loft (that is where we, girls, liked to stay and hide out). We would travel up there in mid-October, when we would have a school break - we would leave Wednesday afternoon and stay until Sunday mid-morning. Kids at school always asked me: "Why do you go to Lutsen in the fall? There is no snow to ski on. What do you do?"

What did we do? We read, we listened to my father's music (classical and new age composer George Winston) sisters & I would play school, play house or come up with other ways to entertain ourselves...we played family board games...I wrote poetry and stories...we talked, we discussed, we bonded as a family. We also found gorgeous places to hike - Gooseberry Falls, Superior Hiking Trail, to name a few. We explored little cities, like Grand Marais, (about a 45 minute drive north from Lutsen, had a little doughnut hole store - they only made cinnamon doughnut holes. If you didn't get there before 11, you were out of luck).

This was our is my "happy place"

A view of Lake Superior from our favorite cabin I-6
Well, over the year, just like every thing - it grew and developed. The last time we were there was the weekend of my parent's wedding anniversary several years ago. There are shops, restaurants, houses...the roads have been widened, trees cut down, our quiet nature walks have become official has totally taken on a new character. The little, quiet heaven of a place only exists in my my memory.

Well, as I said my family, who are up there as I type this, have been taunting me. They are all staying in one of the cabins we requested year after year...and my sister found one of the journals that the cabin owner leaves out for guests to sign and found this entry:
My entry from the Lutsen I-6 cabin journal from when my family and I stayed there in October 1983. 
I guess you can say that I have "officially" left my mark on this world :) (well, I probably have in more ways than one).

Well, enough of my "memory walk"...back to reality. This weekend we have a hockey weekend on tap. Robert's team is play a league weekend here in San Jose. They already placed 2 games yesterday - lost 1 and won 1. They have 2 more today and one on Sunday. Other than hockey, I am looking forward to catching up on a few things...sitting and stitching being one of those things on my list.

So, my blog friends, I bid you a good weekend. Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The foundation & the roof-surrounds us like a good hug

With the foundation complete and 3 windows left to put the white trim on, I decided to get a start on the roof before the winter rains begin. As crazy as things are right now, it was nice to take the time last night - turn on the NHL Sharks hockey game (even though they aren't playing very well) and loose myself as I stitched the dark brown shingles of my house. Each little pull of the thread seemed to relase some of the stress I have been holding on to over the last few days. Each cross of the "X" seemed to remind me that with the love of my family, we can get through whatever we long as we face it together.

I know that I am getting a little overly...oh, what is the right word...dramatic, maybe? Well, aside from all the stress that organizing my older son's, Robert's, hockey team's airline travels to Canada and back home for next month (that is all done and worked out perfectly in the end)...we are getting ready for the finalization of all the closing paperwork and the closing costs of purchasing this business. And, it is coming in a little more than we anticipated, which might leave things tight for a while. Just like planning the hockey travels, I am sure that things will work out :)

And speaking of  the hockey front, we do have some good news...some news that this proud hockey mom can brag about. Both boys' teams announced Captains and Assistant Captians this week...and...drum roll please....
Robert is an Assistant Captain of his Bantam AAA Hockey Team
Matthew is the Captain of his PeeWee AAA Hockey Team
Pretty excited and proud of my two boys - nice to have their hard work, discipline, respectfulness, dedication to the sport and to developing themselves recognized. So, now we have to get an "A" to apply to Robert's hockey jerseys and a "C" to apply to Matthew's.

Well, have a great Wednesday...this is the one day of the week where we don't have any evening activities and can enjoy some family time...even if it is just being together while the boys do their homework.

Take care, my blog friends, and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

OMG...what a week!

Was it really just last Sunday night that I got back from the St. Louis trip? Was it really Monday that I went back to work, the kids back to school and the last time that I posted? It has just been crazy around here...just when I thought that I could come home from a hockey and family reunion weekend and just catch up, the damn opens and there is more work to deal with...

But before I whine about all the craziness, first I want to thank you for the wonderful comments regarding my trip to St. Louis. Yes, my grandmother is 92 and my mother is young too. Good genes perhaps? Or maybe because my grandmother keeps active and has a very good social lifestyle...and  maybe because my mother exercises 7 days aweek, eats healthy, takes her vitamins and keeps a positive attitude. Well, whatever it is - there were no typos! Those were photos of my grandmother and my mother!

Also, as promised, here is the status of my Family Sampler.
I have just about finished the foundation of my house...just one more row on top and then I will add the roof. Building the foundation of a household/family - love, caring, respect, support, honesty, etc - is important. It is what holds you up during times of sorrow, uncertainty...times of stress. Every marriage and every family has its hills and valleys. I know that in my and DH's marriage (it will be 20 years next April...and we started dating the first week of our freshman year in I have been with this guy for 25 years...more than 1/2 my lifetime) we have experienced both ups and downs - but our love, support & respect for one another keeps us going - - - - which is a good thing because it has kept us plugging away during our crazy week!

Ok...the week...take a deep breathe.
Cleansing breath in...and let it out.
Cleansing breath in....and let it out.

We are 2 weeks away from owning our own business, which DH has been working hard on getting all the forms filled out; information filed with the different departments of different levels of government; meeting with lawyers, CPAs, brokers; (deep breath in...and let out) dealing with setting up business checking accounts and other accounts, etc. And as co-owner, I have been helping him out where I between working outside the house, doing laundry, feeding the kids, preping for hockey practices, etc.

Crazy ain't it?!?!?!

And then on top of that...on the hockey related side of life...Robert's team has been accepted into the Medicine Hat Hockey Hounds 38th Annual Bantam Tournament which is next month. Because of the travel logistics, the fact that many of the boys travel w/o parents and they will be crossing the Canadian border it is important to make reservations for the whole group to travel up there, together, and then make it back home. This is what I was working on yesterday all afternoon - it took longer due to the flight that we wanted to get onto coming back home was full. I have arranged for the team to get up to Calgary/Medicine Hat, but still struggling with the details to get them back home. Oh, I know I am dumping on you...and I know that it will all work out...but right now my head is still spinning from trying to get it all organized (challenges of a team manager :)) Thank you for listening!

Well, I will let you go and end this crazy post. I hope that you all had a good week and that your weekend is filled with laughter, fun and love.

Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back home

Hello all, we are back home. Pulled into the driveway around 11pm last night...the boys unpacked their hockey bags and put their "stinkies" into the washer before heading off to bed and I got the rest of the luggage unpacked ready for a large laundry day after I get back home from work. We had a wonderful time in St. Louis...

Our flight was suppose to have left California Thursday at 10:55am, however due to some weather around Colorado and Utah our plane didn't arrive into California until after 11 so we didn't take off until 11:45am...which made us all nervous about our connecting flight (they assured us, since there were several others going to St. Louis that they would hold the flight for us when we arrive in Denver...but how many would trust that bit of information?) So, while we waited to board, the boys found the nearest power station to "waste sometime". :)

Matthew (left) and Robert (right) playing some sort of game while waiting for the plane to board. Both boys have on their "travel attire" which includes: dress pants, dress shoes and the Jr. Shark polo shirt.
We did get into Denver 45 minutes later than scheduled - actually we landed when the connecting flight was scheduled to take off - but they did hold the plane for us and any other passenger who was on our flight going to St. Louis. So, once we all found seats (had to sit separately, but just grateful that they held the flight), we wiped our brow and settled in the for 60 minute flight into St. Louis. Once we landed, we headed over to the baggage claim to collect all of our things and then waiting for Robert's (older son) hockey team to arrive. I needed to accomplish my Team Manager requirements (make sure that all the players were accounted for - several were flying on different plans - and make sure that the chaperones received the team vans we had made reservations for) before handing Robert over to the coach and then heading out with Matthew and DH. By the time we got the team vans, all of the players had made it to the car rental place and were ready to load up and find food. DH and Matthew, who had gotten our car, were impatientally waiting for me to finish up so that we could head out, get Matthew some food, and meet up with his team.

Yes...both our boys were playing in the same tournament and we all were actually staying in the same hotel. So, even though Robert travelled on the plane with us, we handed him over to the team as soon as we got things organized so that he would be able to get the "team experience" as much as possible with us staying at the same place. Definitely a nice was to "cut the umbilical cord" slowly :)

Friday - both boys had 2 games each: both around 9:30am & 9:45am and then again in the afternoon at 3pm & 3:30pm...and both at the same arena (definitely the perfect situation!).  Both boys lost their first games - Matthew's team only lost 0-4, which we were very happy with...not the loss, obviously - but the way they had played; for they worked as a team. Robert's team's loss, we weren't so happy with because they have enough talent on the team to have won the game, but they just didn't play well. After the morning games were over - DH, Matthew and I headed back to the hotel so that he could eat and rest up before the afternoon game.

At the 3-3:30pm games, the boys had a cheering section. As mentioned in several posts last week I was expecting my mother's side of the family and my grandmother to be in St. Louis during the same weekend and attend the Friday afternoon games. Well they did and it was fun!
In the stands at Matthew's game (front to back): me, my mother, my grandmother who was reaching back and can't be seen very well, my uncle (my mother's brother), my other uncle (my mother's other brother) and DH.
In the stands of Matthew's game (front to back): my father, me, my mother, my grandmother (fyi...she is 92), my uncle and my DH. Other uncle was taking the picture.
Matthew's game started at 3pm, so we started out watching his game until Robert started (around 3:30pm).  This was one very exciting game! Matthew's team is the one I have been writing about, regarding the disgruntled parents due to the team's continue losses and its schedule to travel once a month all over the US. This is the team which wasn't "expected" to win many games throughout the year, but they were "expected" to develop throughout the year. Well, if my foreshadowing isn't working, then I will come out and tell you that Matthew's team won their first game on Friday afternoon with a score of 5-4...and Matthew scored the 2nd goal of the game. And it was witness by his 92 year old great-grandmother and all his family who sat in the stands during that game. It was wonderful to watch that time to come together and really, really play hockey!

Once Matthew's game was over, we all moved over to the other rink to watch the last half of Robert's game. They were winning their game too, but it was one of those blow out games where you win "a lot" to zero...and no one on your team is playing good hockey for they are all focused on scoring and increasing the amount of points they have. So, while we were somewhat happy they won, too, we knew in our hearts that it just wasn't a good game. But, with my family there - they were excited to watch Robert and his team play and were excited to be present for their win, too.

While we were waiting for Robert to come out of the locker room, we had some photo oportunities:
Matthew with his great-grandmother (on the left) and his grandmother (on the right)
Matthew posing with his great-uncles, his great-grandmother and his grandma
And when Robert finally came out of the locker room all dressed, we had more opportunities for family photos:
4 generations
We were able to get a photo of 4 generations (front to back): Robert, great-grandma (my grandmother), grandma (my mother), Matthew and me. How cool is that? To get a 4 generation photo taken at a hockey tournament !!!

We left the rink with both boys and headed out to dinner and a little "family reunion" so that the boys would have an opportunity to visit with all the greats and grands. After dinner we got in one more family photo of all of us at Joe's Crab Shack:
Family Reunion
It was so wonderful to see my parents and uncles...but amazing to see my grandmother!

Saturday and Sunday were filled with more hockey games for both boys. Matthew team continued to win - YAHOO! Their Saturday morning game they won 2-1 which qualified them for the 3rd place consolation exciting is that? Well, not as exciting as the consolation game because they won that game 6-3 and Matthew scored a hat trick (3 goals in one game). The boys played so well the whole weekend winning 3 of their 4 games. It wasn't so much that they won their games - it was that they passed well, they skated hard and consistantly worked in every game...they did so well in fact, they got the thumbs up from their coach :)
Good Job Boys! Coach Derek Eisler giving Matthew and his line mates the "thumbs up".
Robert's team didn't do well...they lost their Saturday evening game to another team that they should have beat, which placed them also into 3rd place. Their 3rd place consolation game was Sunday @ 11am...which they won easily in another lopsided blow out. As excited we were for Matthew's team...we were definitely bummed for Robert's team. Hockey tournaments can definitely be compared to riding roller coasters :)

Well, back home now and back to reality and routine. Up and going this morning so that I can get the boys around for school and me off to work...and the hockey gear washed for practices tonight. I was able to get some stitching in over the weekend - I have been stitching the house some more, almost done with it. I will do a status post on that later in the week. In the meantime, it is time to catch up on some blog reading and facebook reading and emailing.

Take a deep breathe and remeber to:
Live, Love, Laugh
and Cross some X's.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Good news on a Monday evening

My Friendship RR has made it back to the US from The Netherlands. Remember the Friendship Sampler RR? The round robin started February 15, 2009...which I had to start over and re-introduce another in July of 2009? Well, I had thought it might have been lost again for many of the women who participated in this group had received theirs back months was a round robin that should have been completed by the first of the year that seemed to go on and on and on; basically because life tends to get in the way of the best made plans. But anyway, tonight I received an email from Danielle who received it this afternoon...and there are only 1-2 more women after her to stitch their heart on it. So, it should be home before the holidays...right? My fingers are crossed - and toes too :)

Well, it is Monday evening and I did promise you a status photo of The Family, here it is:
Yes, I was able to make it up to the house, getting in all the windows...a little bit of the greenery...a start on the lamp posts...and some of the walls. It is coming along. This is such a fun project to stitch. As I stitched the date, I thought that this would be a wonderful anniversary present to DH and I for next April we will be celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary. I know that is still 6 months that gives me plenty of time to get this stitched and framed :)

Today I worked on getting things ready for our upcoming trip for the boys' hockey tournament. It is one thing trying to get one's family ready to travel, but it is another to make sure that all the "i's" are dotted and "t's" are crossed for a whole hockey team of 14 year olds - - - but as a team manager, something that I have done for the last 7 years, I pretty much have this down to a science. Although, preparation for each travel tournament typically brings with it some sort of challenge or stressfull moment. Like not having an "official" signed roster or purchasing last minute tickets to a team event or worrying about making the plane flight home when the championship game is planned late Sunday afternoon (guess we will tackle that one when and if it occurs). Never a dull moment. I do plan to bring my camera and a laptop so that I can blog over the weekend....oh, but this is just Monday. I guess I still have some days to organize and pack.

Well, since I am just a rambling on, I will end this post for today. I hope your week has started out on a good mine...and will continue to go well. Just remember...
Take a deep breathe,
Decide to enjoy life,
And cross a few X's!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My month for the Ornament Swap is officially over

As of yesterday, with the delivery of the mail, my time to receive special hand-made ornaments from the Ornament Swap group is over. The ornament from Conny, from The Netherlands, was received...

Conny stitched on Zweigart linen using the recommended threads called for in the Prairie Schooler Book 157: Holly Days. Not only did she stitch the design, but on the other side she stitched "Vrolijk Kerst" which means Happy or Joyful Christmas and our initials. And don't you just love the pom-pom "snowball" effect around the edges? That is probably the closest I will get to snowballs here in Northern California.
It is very nice...thank you so much Conny.

So, to summarize the lovely ornaments I received from the group, here is a group shot:
Aren't they all wonderful! My Christmas tree is going to look so nice this year - I will be honored to have these hanging from the it's branches - and will definitely think about all the hard work and love that each stitcher put into these beautiful ornaments! Thank you so much to all of the Ornament Swap Group and a special thank you to Angela for organizing it all. And isn't it fitting that the last member of the Ornament group, the one assigned to November is Angela :) I will be putting the finishing touches on your ornament very soon! my typical day off from work, which I took and definitely enjoyed! I really didn't do much, except for my normal exercising routine...and then just decided to plop down and stitch on Family Sampler. I have made good progress, moving up from the tree in the middle and working up to the house. Since I wanted to focus this posting on the beautiful ornaments, I will wait to post a photo of my Family Sampler progress for Monday.

In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for visiting today and remember...
Take a deep breathe,
Decide to enjoy life,
and cross a few X's!