Christmas Snow In San Diego

What happens when you sneak off to the snow after Mass? You freeze your tushie off because you’re inappropriately dressed. Little kids don’t care about cold and these guys don’t care about the cold.

This is what snow looks like from Shelter Island in Point Loma. However, these are the Cuyamaca Mountains and we went to the Laguna Moutains which are directly behind them.



img_32771Once Gavin figured out how much fun it was to throw snowballs at daddy, it was very difficult to get Gavin to do anything else.

img_3286At four o’clock I shoulder axe and in the afterglow, I link a line of shadowy tracks across the tinted snow………

img_3289Hey! Where’d everybody go? Ooooh, they’re off to make yellow snow.

img_3291Here’s Graham hoping he can roll himself into a giant ball and as he rolls, he gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger till he can wipe out an entire village.

img_3282It’s getting waaay too cold. Time to come home and decorate the tree.YAY!

img_3298The kids decided to make their own decorations because our ornaments were too hard to locate. Graham and Madeleine strung popcorn and Madeleine made lots of ornaments and put ribbon on the tree. Garren and Gavin hung some toys that my Aunt Lee brought from her house for them.

Madeleine made a special note for Santa


Tonight we’ll take our kids to a party and then we’ll  introduce the kids to the, “Midnight Mass”. I loved it when I was a little girl. All the carols sung, the Nativity scene, the joy, the anticipation of Santa coming the next day,  the candles and everyone dressed so beautifully. I realize that’s a shallow reason to love the Mass, but that’s how I remember it as a little girl.

I can’t wait to put them to bed afterwards and listen to them sleep while pjdaddy and I (well mostly pjdaddy) put together Christmas toys, wrap presents, fill stockings and listen to Christmas carols.

Dang! I’m getting excited!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Barenaked Ladies- ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”/ “We Three Kings” Medley Feat. Sarah McLachlan. One of my favorites.

Christmas Cheer

Come on guys, we’re gonna go Christmas caroling. Won’t that be fun?

Do we get paid for it?

Um, yeah, that’s the Christmas spirit.

We do?

NO!!! How is that spreading holiday cheer if we get paid? We sing outside people’s homes to bring joy to them. We do get cookies and hot chocolate afterwards, however.


pjdaddy with my mom and graham and madeleine. Garren is with, who else? Mariah.


We had a pretty good crowd show up. It’s funny because we went down the same neighborhood my youth group and I used to carol on when I was a teenager. There was less of us back then, so we were able to be towed on a flat bed and sit on bales of straw. Very cool.

There was probably about 100 people there on this night and it was neat to see all the people come out of their homes so they could listen to us sing. One house, that just happened to be my Godparents’, knew we were coming and had hot cider and brownies waiting for us.

img_3137A photo of the crowd with my family

img_3138Here’s everyone scattering because of cars. Bruce, the guy with the guitar is my old youth group leader and one of the kindest souls you’ll ever meet.

We finished and went back to the church social center for cookies and hot chocolate. It was  a lot of fun. I’m hoping  that it’ll be a good memory for my kids and when they’re older maybe they’ll pass on the tradition to their kids.

Kare-Kare’s Graduation Pics

I’m very proud of my sister. Yesterday was her graduation from the San Diego Sheriff’s academy. I used to think I wanted to follow in her and my dad’s footsteps, but after seeing all that she went through, I’ll pass.  I guess I’m a big wimp after all. Well that and I don’t think I’d pass the background check. Curse you Summer of ’97!!!

img_3151Here’s my family in the theatre waiting for kare-kare’s graduation to commence. pjdaddy, gavin, looking lazy eyed, graham, madeleine, my niece mariah (she lives with us now)  and garren sitting on mariah’s lap because there were no extra seats and because he has a mad crush on her.

img_3163Here’s our dad pinning  the badge on my sister. Our dad graduated from the Sheriff’s academy at the age of 60.

img_31641I LOVE this picture. Look at the pure, unadulterated joy on her face.

img_3167After she got her badge it was time to get sworn in.

img_3168_1Here’s kare-kare’s son watching his mommy get sworn in. I’m pretty sure he’s flashing gang signs in this photo. She’ll have to keep an eye on him.

img_31821After the graduates were sworn in, we were treated to a slideshow of their time in the academy. Here’s my sis being pepper sprayed. Oh man what I wouldn’t have done to have been given that opportunity when we were younger.

img_32021Here I am weaseling myself into a couple photos with my sis. There’s Graham to my left and if you look real hard you can see pjdaddy behind my dad’s head to the right. Next to my dad is my cousin Jo-Jo. If that’s not how you spell your name Jo-Jo, I’m super sorry.

img_3200I’m proud of you kare-kare. In fact, I even love you, well, >< much anyways.

oH yEaH bAbY! i GoT tHe StAr! (badge, that is.)

This is PJ’s sis, kare-kare….. it’s been awhile, I know.

Not to toot my own horn again, but……HOOT HOOT!!! I am graduating from the Sheriff’s academy. This was quite a trip. Where do I begin? I have learned so much. I love shooting a firearm  -even the bruises from the shot gun…. (see below)


I met so many nice people, or should I say …future partners? Yes, probably. -I’ve heard once you join…it’s like a family..well once “phase training” is over and you’ve bought your share of doughnuts and starbucks. -I will find my place.

I can honestly say I know a different language….it’s foreign. Not the kind you’re thinking of…you know spanish, french of the sorts…no it’s –  “why are their hands in their pockets?” or “I have a 10-16”  I am already thinking differently. It happens and I embrace it with open arms.

My graduation is in less than 2 days and I am thrilled. For a second I wished I could stay in the academy -that could be my career, right? …I am comfortable. I know what is expected and I do it. I can do the push ups, I can do the runs, I can smile…everyone knows me.

I love this quote by John Maxwell, “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”

This. Is. Me.

I did fire training. Fun.


My Dad will give me my badge. My sister is home. I have a “recession proof” career. Life is good!

December Nights at Balboa Park

I’ve always loved Balboa Park, noooo, not the part where the men hook up for sex in the public restrooms, the part with the museums. Back in my early 20’s they had one museum a month free. Aside from the beach, this was a fun activity for a starving college student.

Another thing that’s really cool about Balboa Park? “December Nights” It was called, “Christmas on the Prado” when I was a kid, but it’s still the same. Santa, The Nativity, The Christmas lights, hot chocolate and holiday cheer.

Pjdaddy and I took the kids Friday night. It was wonderful. We took a 2nd cousin who’s 5, not sure if he’s “removed” or anything because I don’t know how all that cousin stuff works, and we went with some long time friends. We brought the cousin thinking he’d play with Garren, but it turns out he developed a crush on Madeleine and spent the evening walking into walls and being silly to make her laugh. At one point we were in line to see The Nativity and he and Madeleine were having a deep discussion about what were to happen if they got lost, he told Madeleine, “I will never leave you. I am a boy and it is my job to take care of little girls if they get lost.” The people behind us thought it was hysterical. I did too. 

They had an ethnic food fair and an International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. My kids got to try soda from Sweden, a chocolate dessert from Scotland and my non-adventurous children ate hot dogs from America.


You know how many shots I went thru to find one where I didn’t look like a complete and total lard ass? And no, I have no idea why pjdaddy felt the need to spread his legs SOOO freaking wide. Although he has impregnated me 6 times. IYKWIMAITYD. Here’s our family Christmas photo taken in front of a big tree they light up every year. No, it didn’t dawn on me to actually get a picture of the tree.

Our kids got a picture with Santa. We waited in a long line to see him. Interesting how well behaved kids are when they’re in line to see “The Great One”. I didn’t have to behave as I already knew I was getting coal. They have it set up so you can see Santa, but if you want a picture with him, you have to pay $5. Of course if you don’t pay to get a picture with Santa, you get stink eye. I got a whoooole lotta stink eye as kid, after kid, after kid, after kid, after kid went and sat on his lap and my friend Laurie took their photo. In all 6 kids got their photos taken. Santa told them to hurry up and get the show on the road. If he’d actually asked him what they wanted for Christmas he prolly would have told them they’d shoot their eye out, or something to that affect. He did look like Santa however, so I’ll give him that, but that’s it!


I’ve never seen Gavin so fascinated with anything as he was of Santa. Unfortunately I didn’t get the photo, but he turned and just stared into Santa’s eyes with pure awe. Santa took every photo with his mouth open. Cotton mouth anyone?

Here’s Graham finding out I want him to sit on Santa’s lap.


Ha, just kidding Graham. You can stand next to Santa.

Poor Garren was starting to not feel so well and wound up looking like crap in his Santa photo. To make it up to him, I’ll post a picture of him at the train museum.

Madeleine insists on having me take photos of her eating all the time. “Mom, take a picture of me eating this.” Mom, take a picture of me eating this.”  I freaking hate pictures of me like that. I picture people thinking, “no wonder she’s chunky, she doesn’t stop eating” . “She’s eating in every picture.” ” COW!”  Issues much?


My Godmother, Shirley, was kind enough to buy ALL the kids hot chocolate and a ginger bread cookie.

All the museums were free that evening, but the kids were getting pretty worn out by this time and wanted to go home. There was however, one museum that was required visiting as far as I was concerned. The Train Museum. Garren and Gavin are obsessed with trains and I would be a fool to not hit this place when it was free.


Poor kid looks miserable doesn’t he?

We found out too late there was a beer garden, but all in all it was a wonderful evening. Oh, and it turns out they still have free museums on the first Tuesday of the month, but it’s even better now, all the museums are free that day.

Did I mention I’m glad to be back home?

Home, Sweet, Home

Now that I have my foot in the door at my parental’s home, it’s time to take over make myself a little more comfortable.

Our new home is my parent’s garage till we get settled and till pjdaddy starts working and then we can see where we go from there. There’s a hiring freeze at his old job here in Lakeside, but they’re weasling him back in, so it’s a bit slow to get started. Worst case scenario is one month. Totally ok. I’m adaptable.

Right now we’re nestled cozily between cement mix and a saw, but pjdaddy is working hard weatherizing the joint for us. (if you’re nosy like I am, you can click the picture to make it bigger)


My oldest two kids had their first day of school on Monday. Not on purpose mind you, we went for a tour and the principal asked them if they wanted to stay. Believe it or not, they jumped at the chance. This is the school I went to as a little girl.

Back in May, I’d come home to Lakeside for the funeral of a very dear friend, when I was upstairs in the room the reception was to be held, I looked down on the schoolyard watching the children running around at recess wistful in the knowledge my children would never have the opportunity to run around throwing paper airplanes like these kids were doing. Or so I thought, BOOYAH! (yes they were throwing paper airplanes around, how cool is that?)

God works in mysterious ways. Seriously. There’s no way this could have all come together except thru God’s hands. Pjdaddy and I brought the kids to the school and we were able to get a scholarship for the two of them for 3 months. That’s about the time it’ll take to get some sweet, sweet moola flowing in again, hopefully. They have a used uniform dealie and today I’m taking the kids to get their uniforms for this woman who keeps them for the school. Aw, I forgot to mention it’s a Catholic school, hence the need for uniforms. Oh and what better time to start at a private school than December? Hello? Christmas plays and programs and goodies and children’s choirs? Oh be still my beating heart.

Funny thing about where we’re living is my parent’s have another house on the property that they just rented out TWO WEEKS ago!!! Is that too funny or what? It’s the house I grew up in and my parents are renting it to my cousin and her hubby. If only we’d known we were coming sooner huh? Course they’re really cool people and they have a 5 year old boy that Garren will have a good time playing with. Or hate each other like my cousins and I often did when we were young because we were together too much. It never lasted long.

However, rumor has it my cousin’s hubby hates spiders. Wouldn’t it be just awful if that house suddenly became infested with spiders? hhhhhhmmmmm? *cough, uh, um………just teasin coz, you know I love you.

My two little ones are used to having the big TV on the wall, apparently they feel they can’t see it now because we’re borrowing the one in my mom’s guest room till pjdaddy can install ours in the garage.


They’re trying to edge each other out to get the best spot in front of the TV.

[UPDATE] as I was writing this, pjdaddy went to drop off his application for his new job. The main manager Jim was there and he pulled him into his formal interview on the spot. We’ve been told he starts December 29th. YAY!

I’m so excited to be in my hometown again. I’m like a dog and have had to pee everywhere to mark my territory again. The old frozen yogurt shop I used to visit, the best Mexican food place, the park, my aunt cathie’s house.

God is good. Life is good. Pjdaddy and I haven’t always, meh, let’s be honest here, we pretty much hadn’t ever worked as a team in our relationship, but after a long arduous road, we’ve come together and it’s funny how life is coming together as well.

[UPDATE] I spelled cozily wrong. It’s fixed now.