Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The best of you, not what's left of you

Sometimes you worry about not having enough money. Sometimes you worry about not having enough time. I'd prefer to look back on my life and regret not having enough money, if that's even regrettable. I'd been working a lot lately and spending little time doing truly dedicated things with my kids. Wayne and I have always tried to do things that involve participation from the kids, but lately I started to feel like I needed something more than just the ordinary pizza night. I was afraid at first to bring up the subject, but I really wanted to do something special. After almost two years with Wayne I still have to work on hang ups that linger. I remembered how hard I fought to go on a family trip to Australia years before; how it seemed like I had to practically defend the need to make memories. This time was much easier, though and I am ever so grateful for the family values we share. One day I will get used to this being a team thing. For now I am just appreciating the fact that time is not something I will regret spending with our children because our time is spent making sure they remember how much we love them.

It was only Guam, but on Christmas morning we surprised the kids by telling them they had to pack for an early morning flight the next day. They looked at us with astonishment at first, then the excitement kicked in. It was funtastic! It was all about the kids! I'd never done anything on Guam before other than work or shop. I actually have never spent any time out of stores. I was always shopping, finding things for the kids or just trying to pick up stuff for home. This time I did very little shopping and lots of laughing. The family time we spent made up a million-fold for any shopping spree. I'll always remember how we sat in the parking lot at KMart unable to get out of the car until our laughter subsided from sharing the day's adventures. Wayne, me and the kids red in the face, tears streaming down our cheeks; stomachs hurting from laughing out loud! I'm so blessed. So truly thankful for the time with the kids. I'd literally never heard my son laugh and talk so much in years. We met family on both my mom's sides, my dad's side, Wayne's side and friends. The smiles on the kid's faces made it all worth it. It seemed like everyone was able to forget some of the struggle at home that inevitably comes from adjusting to a new life, a blended family and those irritating, heart wrenching, stressful weekend switches. This is our life and we need to make it the best one we can. Hope you enjoy some of our little vacation pics.

Waiting to leave early in the morning

We've arrived!

Sommer's grape adventure at Denny's

Hope's cake batter with gummy bear ice cream at Coldstone

Visiting with Auntie Vicky and Trish

Wayne and I

All of us on the bumper cars!

Underwater World

Visiting with John in Talafofo


The girls had partners on Guam!

Sommer and Auntie Annie's mini dobie Metgot

At the end of your life, the people who mean the most to you should have the best of you, not what's left of you...

Sunday, December 13, 2009


We replanted my rosebush about a month and a half ago because its roots were partially exposed. I love my rosebush, but I had to uproot it if it was going to be healthy, so Wayne planted the original bush and I planted three other stalks in the garden. After they were securely patted down and watered I whispered to them, "I know you will grow and be beautiful, I have faith in you." We got our first bloom today and none of the other stalks died. Sometimes you just have to do what seems impossible when you believe good things will come of it.

Decking The Halls : Christmas 2009

Iced gingerbread filled the house with the scent of Christmas

My husband Wayne, still in good spirits after he had to do major repairs to our tree stand. I am grateful because I didn't think leaning Christmas Trees were that avante garde.

Tony searching for some good Christmas music. Apparently my Elvis Christmas CD wasn't doing it. Oh but wait, I think I have some Clay Aiken too!

Sisters Peyton and Hope, they waited so patiently for the decorating to begin.

We didn't bother trying to keep to a color scheme this year. I think it turned out wonderful.

Sometimes when you least expect it you get a hug and a kiss. I love my Hopey.

The best part about getting all decked out is how much fun we have. Wayne and his girls pose proudly after getting all the decorations up so our home looks festive.

Peyton strategically places her ornaments on our tree. She always amazes me with her focus and her beauty.


We've got kids at every height, so our ornaments are evenly distributed.

Tony thought our Christmas Village needed some rezoning. He did a great job!

Still smiles after having to pick up all the tiny pieces of styrofoam Sommer scattered on the floor.

Sommer unpacking our nativity set.

Hope determined to decorate the back of the tree just in case Santa checks.

Christmas village complete with snow.

The true meaning of Christmas.

I love that smile!

Do you think Santa will like our tree mom?

Peyton reaching for the perfect branch.

I love Christmas! All the kids helped out. We've got so much more to do: cookies for Santa, our gingerbread house and events we've scheduled. I can't wait for Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sommer, Shanking and Salmon

When Wayne and I got home today we discovered a little artwork on the corner of our house. I thought the artist deserved some credit for her work.
Leng Bai, tattoo artist extraordinaire, pop and Wayne out for a day of golf. I lovingly entitle this picture Team Shank, but in true golfer philosophy there is no bad day on the course.
Dad getting ready to show em how it's done.

Leng measuring the putt.

That's my honey.

A really good friend gave us some Salmon from Alaska so we all decided that we were going to make some fish tacos. In our house we try to keep the kids engaged because even the simplest of things can turn into the most wonderful memories. The kids love to experiment with new recipes so the best part of any meal usually turns out to be the making of it.

Sommer is mixing up the sauce for our salmon tacos. Mayo, avocados, honey, salt and pepper to taste and lemon juice.
She's an expert at making sure no seeds get in the mix. You getting this Food Network?

Peyton starts the batter for the salmon pieces. Flour, water (beer works too for adults), an egg, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic, dijon mustard to taste and just a bit of paprika.

Mmmm... so good!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I've been reading T's recounting of her affair lately, following her as she processed the whole thing. While I admire her honesty, I'm not sure how to feel. It started out as pure curiosity, wanting to know what it is that people are thinking when they decide to go beyond the point of no return. I guess I wanted to find answers to my own questions about whether or not there was any guilt in deception because my own experiences were fraught with arrogance instead of remorse for the pain inflicted.

It was a hard read, and by the time she got to her 3rd part I'd forgotten about my own pain and found myself in her shoes. It wasn't a comfortable place to be and I struggled with my own prejudices. While she came face to face with her past I was coming to grips with the idea of forgiveness. Forgiveness is easy, I've done it a million times before. It has nothing to do with trust, respect or even friendship. It has everything to do with freedom. Sometimes you can think you're free when you're not. I have a lot to process too even though my life is exponentially better than it ever was. Maybe process is not the right word. I have a lot to digest now that I can look at everything objectively and without the sting of it all.

I doubt I'll ever be where she's at because the circumstances were so different, so honest. I do however recognize the life I've been given and just how peaceful it is for the first time in a long time. I keep waiting for it to end like a cancer patient waiting to fall out of remission and then I remind myself that the life (that's what I thought it was) I was living was unbelievably dysfunctional and difficult to replicate. Once you live like that, you never want to do it again and every part of your being inadvertently fights to avoid it. It takes times to accept good things and good people. T's good people even though my heart is troubled by her story. I am sure that journaling it has helped her finally put it to rest, but it's helped so many more people than just T. I stole a quote from her blog to bring closure to this post, pardon the pun.

"Conflict must be resolved. It cannot be evaded, set aside, denied, disguised, seen somewhere else, called by another name, or hidden by deceit of any kind, if it would be escaped. It must be seen exactly as it is, where it is thought to be, in the reality which has been given it, and with the purpose that the mind accorded it. For only then are its defenses lifted, and the truth can shine upon it as it disappears.
~A Course in Miracles lesson of the day, Nov. 29
Thanks girl.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I was almost finished working on a report while on the phone with central office when I got the snap message "there is a random shooting going on right now around the island". The first and only thing I could think of the whole time was that this was unreal. Who goes around shooting people on Saipan? Hundreds of questions ran through my mind as the school staff prepared for the first ever lock down. The scariest words to hear are that there is danger around, but we don't know where and we don't know how close. 824 students and 72 staff need to be secured, but how? The news came in from all directions, but not from the places we rely on. The Commissioner of Education ordered a precautionary lock down and I commend her for that effort in light of the lack of information from any other authority. When I checked my phone, it seemed that everyone on my Facebook page already knew a version of what had happened and there was still no word from authorities. I understand that there were more pressing matters to attend to at the time, but the if gunman were anywhere near, we would have been easy targets standing at our locked gates. It was unreal.

That evening, as the news came in about the victims I thought about our community, still in shock. What happened today? How could it happen here? Are we safe? Families are in mourning, how painful to lose those you love by a tragedy like this? Why children? Life goes on for most of us, how unfair that it ended so violently for them? An island is in mourning and I sit here not wanting to make sense out of what happened because my heart doesn't want to understand what could make someone do such a horrible thing. Have you ever not wanted to forgive? And yet I know, that it was while we were yet sinners...

Yesterday it seemed everyone was advocating prayer without shame or fear. Odd. Odd but understandable. In our greatest times of crisis and fear, who is else is there to turn to but God, whether or not you believed two seconds ago. I wonder if it pains Him, like a parent who is only needed in times of distress? I believe it doesn't matter. What mattered was the supplication.

It seems unreal to do anything today. I feel dizzying sense of gratitude and guilt waking up to a "normal" life, going to work, opening the door to see my children still asleep while others today are still trying to come to grips. I want to tell the people pitching tents and erecting stages to stop. Postpone, cancel, fore-go it...our community is in pain. I want to sit and make a bucket list because you just never know. I write because I haven't written regularly and I remember how good it made me feel. I wonder if we'll start to do things we enjoy more because we have been reminded that we aren't immune to danger or because we realize that there is so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Life's been so busy lately!
I can't believe things haven't gotten less hectic since summer. There has been so much to do and so much we've already done, and I can't wait until it slows down a bit. Truth is, Christmas is around the corner and I haven't even prepared my Halloween recipes. Wayne and I have made much needed household renovations and I've even gotten surprises like a brand new bedroom set handmade while I was on a long business trip. It seems we are constantly on the go, but there's always time for family, so it's been good. Here are a few snippets of the past summer, from our home to yours. Enjoy!
Me and my boys in Houston: Clayton, Damon, Blake and Drew

Hope's birthday sleepover at Aquarius!

My yummy shrimp in lemon, tomato, coconut soup!

My brother's place in Arizona: nephew DJ and niece Bunny!

Making homemade waffles with the waffle maker Aunt Debbie sent us!

Tony and Jake Reyes, son and brother

The gang, waiting for registration to start: Sorene, Pete, Mari, Bet, me, Char, Emily

Dad had a golf tournament at Marianas Country Club!
Our sons got to drive golf carts!!

Peyton entered the Disaster Kit contest!

And we haven't forgotten to find time for friends and fun!
Today in the car.
Sommer: why can't I eat that mommy?
Me: because it will give you pimples on your face. Do you know what pimples are?
Sommer: Yes mom, I know all about acne...sheesh.