Saturday, January 30, 2010

Project 365 - Running SHOES, Love and Fish...

LOVE... today at 1:30 p.m. to be precise, marked the 50th Wedding Anniversary for my Aunt Penny and Uncle Dick... my dad was the Best Man... from the pictures, it was a SPECTACULAR day and, thank goodness, the still love each other, laugh together, and live everyday with as much fun as they did their first.  Long story short... they met on a blind date... dated for 3 months... Aunt Penny left for Europe for 3 months... a few weeks after she returned, Uncle Dick proposed and they were married 3 months later... WOW! 
Today we helped celebrate their anniversary with about 50 of their family members and closest friends at "Shanghi Reds" in Marina del Rey... check out the link... it is a BEAUTIFUL and AWESOME restaurant... the last time we were there was to celebrate Grandma Louise's 90th birthday... she was sure missed today!  Oddly, I didn't get a single picture of Aunt Penny and Uncle Dick today... but I did get some fun pictures of Mom and Dad and my sister and brother-in-law, Mary and John... they have been married 42 years and 11 years respectivly.  I love you guys!

SHOES...  It has been 10 years since I bought my last pair of running shoes... and with my triathlon training (if you didn't hear, I am doing a reverse sprint tri in March) I NEEDED NEW SHOES!  These New Balance babies fit like a glove... I even bought "Yankz" shoelaces (speed shoelaces) for my tri training... so I can yank those babies right off, stick on my cycling shoes and jump on the bike without losing much time.  OH... YEAH...

FISH... The entrance into Shanghi Red's is a tropical paradise of landscape, wooden bridges, waterfalls and Coy ponds.  I just love this picture... Pam... do you approve? ;-)

I made it through my first month of Project 365 - HOLY COW!!!  Looking forward to 11 more months of fun and memories!  Have a GREAT day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Project 365 - Roses...

I could write so many reasons that roses are special to me...

... when Jeff proposed to me, he had 10 dozen roses in vases surrounding us...

... it was the flower in my bridal bouquet...

... Grandma Louise's casket was covered in them a few weeks ago...

... every dance and prom that I went to in school was with a rose corsage...

... but, these particular roses were given to me by my sweet husband, Jeff...
...I am still sick and he wanted to make me smile... he doesn't ALREADY do that EVERYDAY...
I LOVE YOU, my sweet husband!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Project 365 - I've been RAK'ed and SCRAPPING!

Today... I received a special package in the mail.  A friend of mine, Miss Lynn Warner, hosted a contest on her blog a few weeks ago and I was one of the lucky winners of her RAK ("Random Act of Kindness"... so you know what I'm talking about, Dad!).  If you haven't checked out this talented and HILARIOUS lady, here is the link to her blog.  She has me laughing out loud with almost every post... shaking my head in agreement... or getting me all riled up and shouting, "You GO, GIRL!"  THANK YOU, LYNN!!!  Not only did you decorate the package envelope and fill it with decorative punches, you gave me some fun and AWESOME products to play with!  Even little Anna tried to take the rub ons for a card she is making!!!

It has been over 2 months since I scrapped... can you BELIEVE IT!?  Then I started thinking... Christmas, New Years, being sick, 100 handmade Christmas cards, putting away the Christmas decorations, being sick, Grandma Louise, basketball season, dealing with a week of flooding, being sick, rebuilding a fence, Project 365, training for my first triathalon, being sick... yeah, I think we have been a bit busy! (And... darn it... I'm sick again!)  I AM GOING INTO MY STUDIO TONIGHT to get some scrapping done... at least that is the plan!  Thanks again, Lynn!  You are a ROCK STAR!!! ;-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Project 365 - LEGOLAND!!!

WOOOOO HOOOOO!  We have NEVER been to Legoland... even though we live about 30 minutes away.  We were blessed to get a few free tickets (Thank you, Juan!), so we had a WONDERFUL day at the park on Sunday.  It was actually a lot bigger than I expected and the landscaping and grounds were so beautiful... we agreed that they were better than Disneyland!  Jeff and I LAUGHED OUT LOUD watching the "Funtown Fire Show" and had a great time trying out the rides, having a nice lunch, and being AMAZED by the small towns in "Miniland!"  Anna ran from sight to sight and loved EVERYTHING!  It was a great day and we are looking forward to visiting again soon! 

Since I had SO many great pictures from our day, I am going to use several for my post for yesterday and today!  ENJOY!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Project 365 - Cute Abby and Dancing Anna...

Today, Anna wanted to be a "Princess Bride" performing a ballet piece that she had created... so, I took a few pictures of her in her "costume..."  she is so darn cute...
... Puppy Abby is SO...          DARN...        CUTE!  Anytime that we leave the house (and she is still out of her crate) she jumps onto the closed front door (which has glass panels)... and she cries and carries on like a toddler with seperation anxiety... and she watches us/cries until we drive away... I am guessing that our dog is Catholic... she has the GUILT down pat!  This photo is of Puppy Abby... YES... she is crying... fogging up the glass... and wanting us to come home.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Project 365 - "... and the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down..."

That old "Winnie the Pooh" song sure fits life around here for the past few days!  It has been a "Blustery" week... wind... rain... thunder... flooding... and beautiful... crisp... cozy.  We have stayed here at home as much as possible... who wants to be OUT in this mess, when you could be at home, cuddling in front of the fire, with hot cocoa? 

Well, the kids still have to go to school, so here are pictures from today and yesterday.  The "water" shot... can you believe that under that water is the walkway in front of Anna's classroom door... let's just say it has been a WET kindergarten drop off/pick up for the past few days!

I just LOVE these pictures of Anna and one of her BFF's, Julian, when I picked them up from school today.  They are ALWAYS holding hands... walking to the car... when they are sitting in their seats IN the car... they are too darn CUTE! 

The other day, Anna told me that she loved me, but JULIAN took up most of the room in her heart, so I could have the little space on the side!  :-)  I love you, Sweetheart!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Project 365 - Now I'm DREAMING about spinning...!

Yes... believe it or not... I had a weird dream last night.  I was on vacation with my girlfriends (Deb, Mindy, Paulette, Krista, Julie, Mary Beth, and my cousin Kyle) and we were on the beach straight out of a scene from one of those Spring Break party vacation shows.  Weird thing was... I remember that everyday of the vacation, I HAD to go to the gym to get my spin on before hitting the pool... THERE... ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, LAURA!? (tee, hee, hee!!!)  And yes, I was at the gym first thing this morning... :-)

Project 365 - God's Beauty...

It is raining is Southern California... FINALLY!  We sure need the water, and although the current series of storms is supposed to be the "Biggest in Years," so far, it's just a storm.  However, for those that were watching, God put on a beautiful show in the afternoon... the most INCREDIBLE rainbow... one side to another... stretching right over our neighbor's (Ted and Ida) house.  And the light in the sky coming through the clouds... the sky from our backyard looked like is was shimmering gold... simply stunning!!!  BOY do I love the rain!!!  :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Project 365 - Sweet Grandma Louise...

Our family has a new angel... I used to tell Grandma Louise that she was the happiest old lady I had ever known... and she would giggle and giggle... she was one of those REMARKABLE people that always saw the glass FULL... not just half full, but full and overflowing.  She had an incredible life (as you can read below) and lived everyday to the fullest... even at age 96, she wrote letters to friends and family around the world EVERY DAY... and at the end, she was more concerned about the family and how everyone ELSE was doing than the fact she was living her last days.

During her viewing, she looked beautiful... so peaceful... my mind played tricks on me and I swear I could see her breathing softly and I almost expected her to open her eyes and give me one of her trademark smiles.  She is one lady that I know had no regrets... she lived... she loved... and she was soooooo loved in return.  Grandma Louise's final home is beautiful... next door to her husband who has been waiting for her for almost 35 years... a beautiful tree right in front of her, and a view of the Disney Imagineer Studio and the Valley in the short distance... she has some impressive neighbors like Bette Davis and Michael Jackson... and I know she is happy.

My Granddaddy and "adopted" Grandma Louise
(although, she has been my Grandma since I was 5 years old)

Grandma Louise is also making it known that she is watching over us... she has come to see me and she played with Puppy Abby for about a half an hour this week... I just watched in amazement as Abby bounced and barked and wagged her tail... a big smile on my face as tears flowed... and, somehow, the unmistakable and beautiful scent of roses filled the room.  (Roses were her favorite flower.)

I can already see Grandma Louise, setting up a new lunch counter up in Heaven... catching up with the neighbors, making sure everyone is full and happy... and, of couse, there is a vase of roses on the counter... beautiful roses that will stay in bloom forever... I love you, Grandma Louise!


December 20, 1913 - January 6, 2010

A long time resident of Santa Monica and various Southern California communities, Louise died peacefully at her daughter Christina’s home in Encino, CA on January 6th after a short, but valiant effort against esophageal cancer... only a few short days after her 96th birthday.
 Louise called many Southern California communities her home, but was originally born in Crestmore, Riverside County on December 20, 1913. Her mother, Emma J. Esposta, had emigrated from Genoa, Italy as a young woman, and met and married Louise’s father, Henry M. McNeill. Louise was raised by her Grandmother Eva Borel, until such time that she was sent to the Mission San Louis Rey to complete her formal primary schooling. After graduating from Fairfax High School in 1931, she began her career as a cosmetologist in the Hollywood area, often counting among her clients various stars and technical people from the nearby movie studios. When she met and married Monson Keith Thompson, a restaurateur in the San Fernando Valley in 1933, she joined him as an owner, proprietor and maitre’d to the restaurant’s clientele. They owned restaurants in Beverly Hills and Burbank, but eventually settled in central Glendale as the owners/proprietors of "The Maryland Grill," located at the old Maryland Hotel, a block or so above the main merchant community on Brand Boulevard. Here began her lifetime role as “social director and gossip columnist to the town of Glendale.”

Many sports celebrities ate at The Grill for over 40 years. This was partly due to the fact that the hotel owner was related to Casey Stengle, then manager of the New York Yankees, who brought his team and other farm teams out to California for Spring Training. The Grill was also the gathering place for the town’s doctors, merchants, sales people and politicians, who made it a point to eat breakfast and lunch there in order to pick up on the news of the day. It’s also where Louise organized charity events, advised people of who was in the hospital to arrange visits, set up the betting pools for the sports events, and put people in touch with others in the community to plan social and political events.

Although their business was in Glendale, Louise and Keith settled down in Burbank , CA where they raised two girls, Penelope Ann, born in December 1938 and Christina Louise in October 1943. The girls finished Burbank High School and graduated from U.C.L.A. Keith and Louise were avid supporters of all things “Bulldog” and attended the Burbank High football games and other events with their children. They also enjoyed the great gifts living in So Cal afforded them, often attending the horse racing at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. They attended Dodger baseball religiously after the club left New York. They cheered the Rams and Bruins and Trojans, and even rooted for the heavy weights down at the Jim Jeffries Gym. They enjoyed good times at the great restaurants… The Smoke House, Musso & Franks, Chasens, and they loved dancing at Lick Pier to the Lawrence Welk Band.

After retiring to Newport Beach in the 70’s, they decided it was too far away from their grandchildren, so they moved back to Encino where they lived happily, traveled often, and visited many old friends. When Keith died unexpectedly in 1975, Louise had the good fortune to spend many hours at her family’s house where she discovered that her son-in-law’s father, Frank Donnelly of Santa Monica, (recently widowed), enjoyed many of the same things that Louise did. Slowly but surely, they began to venture out to dinner dances, concerts, and eventually cruises, where they enjoyed years of cruise travel to exotic places around the world. When Frank passed on in 1998, Louise continued to live in Santa Monica, and joined the Women’s Auxiliary of the Santa Monica Salvation Army, her favorite charity. She lived close to her daughter Penny in Santa Monica for ten years, then moved to Christina’s in 2008 to experience the joy of her newest great-grandson, Zachary. Her last two years were spent in the delight of watching the youngster crawl and walk.

She leaves behind her daughter’s families, Penny and Richard Donnelly of Mar Vista; their son Bret Kendall Donnelly of Salt Lake City, UT and their daughter, Kyle Lynn Donnelly of Alhambra. Also Christina and John Jaskiewicz’s of Encino, daughter Jennifer Jaskiewicz, and son Christopher and wife Jamie Jaskiewicz and their son Zachary. Also Louise’s “adopted family” (children of Francis H. Donnelly) his son Joel King Donnelly and his wife Susan Donnelly of Mission Viejo, their daughter Tracey with husband Jeff Locher and children Jessica, Christian, and Anna Grace of Escondido; and daughter Mary and husband John McWilliams of Monarch Bay, and their children Sarah and Matthew.

Project 365 - 015 and 016

#015... Friday night... Home basketball game vs. cross town rivals, Valley Center... and I was home, sick.  Jeff and Anna went to cheer on the boys and THANK YOU to friend and team photographer, Dan Kirksey, for this cool shot of Chris in the game!  (You can check out more of Dan's work at KDKC Photography.)

#016... according to the news, it sounds like Noah will be bringing the Arc to Southern California next week... "The Storm Series of the Year..." yeah, we will see... in the meantime, our new next door neighbors, Corey and Miguel moved in today and we HAD to finish the rear yard side fence.  Yes, Dad... even Chris was doing construction and helping to hang the fence!  (See... here is a picture of Chris for you, Nicola!)

... next project, the raised wooden deck and then PLANTING!!!  WOOO HOOOO!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Project 365 - Laura, Snack Bar, Christmas Cards...

... #12, 13, 14... my trainer, Laura, is having to retire at the moment to take care of her 3 kids and the education of one in particular... in the past 12 months, I have met some of the most AMAZING women at our local YMCA... all trained with Laura... most of us doing the Weight Loss Challenge with Laura... all of us WORKED by Laura... all of us love Laura... and all of us continuing to succeed with each other and train and compete in new events with each other!  This photo was taken (by Miss Heidi) in December at our final party with our group... but given as a gift to each of us on our last workout with Laura on Tuesday... WE... ARE... "Laura's Angels!"...

#013... Chris is a Junior in high school and in his third year on Varsity Basketball... Wednesday marked Chris' first league game and our first home game of the season... which meant that Julie Early and I ran the basketball snack bar for the first time this season... this is our 3rd season running the snack bar for the boys... and Anna's 2nd year cheering for the boys... of course, she needed a bit of snack bar "energy" before cheering...

#014... I am FINALLY getting the Christmas decorations put away and I wanted to share one of my annual favorites!  We bought this Christmas Card Tree at Costco a few years ago, and it has been the PERFECT place to share all of our Christmas Cards!  I just hate to take it down!!!

I hope you have a WONDERFUL day and remember what is important... family... love... day at a time...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Project 365 - 011

... some days, your heart just hurts.  And then your "little bug" comes up to you and gives you a "little piece of her heart" to make you feel better... reminds me of a quote...  I can't remember it exactly, but it goes like this... Once you become a parent, you realize that your heart no longer resides in your own body, but walks around, next to you, holding your hand...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Project 365 - 010

Woooo Hoooo!  I'm in double digits... I know... one day at a time, but I can also CELEBRATE one day at a time! :-)  We are madly working on the installation of the new side fence... our new neighbors move in on Saturday (6 days) and we HAVE to have the new fence up by then!!!  Today's picture is of the fence... "New and Old"...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Project 365 - 008 and 009

I'm going to start with today's photo, first... because... REALLY...
God gives us the most BEAUTIFUL things to see... if we will only look...
like this SPECTACULAR Southern California sunset...
I took this photo from our backyard... ahhhh...

Yesterday, we were in LA and had lunch at the oldest working "Bob's Big Boy Restaurant"  in the USA!  Built in 1949, it has been expanded a bit, but still has the charm, the customer service (we had a team 4 people waiting on us!) and the awesome menu of my childhood favorite restaurant!  We had a "Bob's", with Mr. Bob out front, in El Toro when I was growing up... I used to throw him kisses... just like sweet Anna did yesterday!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Project 365 - #006-007

PROJECT 365 DISCLAIMER...Over the next year, I am SURE there will be days I won't be able to edit and post my daily picture... that doesn't mean that I won't be taking a photo a day... life happens fast, and the goal is to capture it, which I am commited to do.  I may even post a few pictures for the same day if I can't chose just one favorite.  (yes, Nicola... that disclaimer is for you... you stalker, you!  And, yes, I will work on posting a few pictures of your sweet Chris for you!) 

Above is the photo for today... Anna playing in the backyard... she is running around, barefoot, with Puppy Abby... swinging, riding her scooter... on a BEAUTIFUL 75 degree San Diego winter day.

Yesterday was a sad day in our family.  I will be doing a full post on the passing of my Sweet Grandma Louise shortly.  While I was moping around, I decided to clean out and reorganize my Scrap Studio.  Friend Lynn Warner is constructing an INCREDIBLE new Scrap Studio and has asked for favorite organizational tips. (She is a HOOT, by the way!  You will LOVE her blog!)  This photo is of the copper wire ribbon hangers that Jeff put up in my studio... free... 16" wide... and hanging on simple nails... I have my loose and special ribbon hanging, by color, so I can see it for constant inspiration.  (My spools of ribbon are organized in shoe boxes, by color, under my desk.)

That is it for today!  Thanks for stopping by and make it a FANTASTIC day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Project 365 - 005

This is our old side fence.  It has been a good fence.  But, it is time for it to go.  Within the next week, this fence will be torn down, new posts placed and a brand new fence put up.  We have been working on our rear yard reconstruction for about six months now... here are a few flashback pictures to show what this fence/arbor looked like just a few months ago...

This photo is of our arbor area after doing a bunch of clean out of old landscape.

... and after tearing out all the plants and relocating several of the trees,
here is Jeff tearing down the arbor and lattice...
The poor side fence blew over a few weeks ago during a big rain/wind storm, so it is time to put in the new fence!!!  (WOO HOO... we've been waiting to do this for 7 years!)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Project 365 - 004

Yes... I admit my Christmas Cards turned into New Year's Cards this year... but seriously... I learned how to do "digital design" for the first time EVER (and it took me a whole day to figure out the basics!)... then, I had to  sew one hundred cards... I went through two sewing machines before I found one that would work for me. 
My "cardless" Christmas Cards were fun to design... one side (back and front) with photos and digital designs... with a vellum overlay that served as a decoration with one of three seams (ribbons) on the front, and the summary of the year typed on the back.  I LOVE making my own cards and I hope you enjoyed them, too!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Project 365 - 003

It is that time... 2 weeks worth of taking down "Christmas"... dusting... new photos in frames... re-decorating with our "normal" things... We have 2 Christmas trees... this one is Jeff's tree known as the "Charlie Brown Tree."  It has all of the antique ornaments and hand croched ornaments he had on his tree for 20 years... as well as all of the colorful, special, handmade ornaments of the family and kids.  Next year we will put up "My Tree"... you will have to wait to see that one! ;-)  This is the last view of the 2009 Charlie Brown Tree!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Project 365 - 002...

... Daddy was home and pushing Anna on the swing... Anna was singing "I am Peter Pan, I am Peter Pan, You can't get me 'cuz I'm Peter Pan..." all the while... Puppy Abby was chasing Anna, trying to nip at her heels... (Abby was "Captain Hook"... and he couldn't get Peter Pan...)  Day #2 of 365...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Project 365... "The Year of Woo Hoo!"

On January 1, 2009, I noticed that a very talented designer (and friend) was starting a year long project called, "Project 365."  (Thanks to you, Miss Noel Culbertson!) After watching her blog and progress through her journey, I KNEW it was an avenue that I would purse in 2010... a new way to document a year in our family life.  Project 365 is the documentation, through a picture a day... every day... for an entire year.  Each day, I will take a picture that helps define that day... maybe a picture of the family... or of a new bud on a special plant... or of Chris' drivers license...  a way to watch our children grow... love... and life. 

I am playing around with the corner mask that I will be posting on each of my Project 365 pictures, but for now... here is picture #1... for Day #1, 2010...

... Puppy Abby... the poor thing... learning that to live in the Locher family means that you will be subjected to random photo shoots... and she was sooooo tired after our annual family party last night... she was the last party goer...  and here we go with Project 365!