Sunday, May 22, 2016

Adventures and Whatnot

Adventures and Whatnot 

It has been ages since my last post- about 2 years!  Wow- time flies.

Recently the hubby and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  Fun I tell you. Fun. 

 About two years ago we learned about TWK- an amazing, life altering program that radically enhanced our twentieth anniversary.  TWK, otherwise know as Traveling Without Kids, is an awesome secret we were unaware of prior to two years ago. Basically the idea is you go on vacation with your spouse and only your spouse.  The children are left home with responsible loving adults, who take great care of them. Genius!

You, and only your spouse, then begin to TWK.  Experiences are fresh, exhilarating really.  The silence is profound.  The conversation is rich.  The only dirty socks you pick up are your own.  If you are lucky you will TWK to a tropical paradise where socks are not required.  MAGICAL.

Now don't get your skivvies in a knot- we love our kids.  We even love vacationing with our kids; BUT TWK opens a whole new world, a magical world.

Top 10 reasons why you should TWK:

1.  Time alone with that hot spouse Jesus blessed you with.
2.  Dinner will be peaceful, romantic even.
3.  TWK costs a fraction of the price of a family vacation.
4.  No one related to you (or at least with you) will  cry, complain, whine, or hit.
5.  You don't have to cook or cleanup after anyone.
6.  Time alone with that hot spouse Jesus blessed you with.
7.  Rich conversation with your favorite person.
8.  Comfortable silence and great books.
9.  The opportunity to miss your kids.
10.  The opportunity to laugh and have fun with that hot spouse Jesus blessed you with!

Blessings to you and yours!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Parents with End Stage Liver Failure

    I've been a blogging slacker.  This life we live has been abundantly full.  There has been plenty of blessings and grace; there has also been plenty of struggles and sorrows.  One of the primary things our family has been dealing with is my mom's liver failure.

    About a year ago, my mom was diagnosed with liver failure and was told she must stop drinking.  The battle has been long and frustrating.  Addiction is powerful stuff.  Powerful.  The web of lies an addict spins and even believes  is astounding.  Ridiculous really.  The stories I could tell...BUT I will suck them in, for the time being.  Anyhoo, mom's liver is failing and her chance of getting a liver transplant is virtually nonexistent.

      My mom was able to disguise most of her liver failure symptoms until this January when everything went to hell in a hand basket.  In January, her abdomen swelled up like a balloon, and correspondingly her legs and feet became extremely swollen.  She became extremely confused- dementia like symptoms.  She spent the better part of three weeks in the hospital and detox center.  Later she was transferred to a nursing home, a brief stint at my grandma's, and then an assisted living facility.  Yesterday a friend showed up to the facility and checked her out; apparently prepared to take care of my mom.  Good luck, buttercup.

    This journey has been difficult to say the least.  Aside from the knowledge that eventually my mom will pass away, the most difficult issue has been the lack of information available for families who have someone in end stage liver disease.  We had a kind, albeit unhelp police officer tell us that the addict is the families problem.  Great.

    Here are a few things we have learned on this journey.  I want to note, that this is not medical advice.  I just know that these are things that we have learned on our journey- each journey is different so my suggestions might not work for you.

1.  If your family member is hospitalized and you are told they cannot live alone; do not say that you will take care of them.  Simply and firmly tell the hospital staff they have no where to go.  Be consistent.  The Social Worker will find a facility to place your family member.  

2.  If asked if you can care for the patient- say NO.  Keep saying no.   It is important your family member is in a safe place emotionally and physically for both the patient and family.

3.  Love your family member, but do not enable them.  We have found that we can love my mom; but her habits and addictions do not change magically just because we want them to. 

4.  Have realistic expectations.  If your family member abused alcohol or prescription drugs up to this point; expect them to struggle and recognize the addiction is still an issue.  Chances are, if medications or alcohol is available, they will take them.

4.  Expect manipulation.  We've found this to be true; almost like the worst of herself comes out in this time of trouble.

5.  Pray.  Pray. Pray. 

6.  Surround yourself with a couple close friends.  If you don't have close friends, seek out a counselor; better yet checkout a local church and get plugged in.  I have two friends who I can say anything to-  crazy things.  No matter what they love me, laugh with me, cry with me, and even do crazy things like pack up my mom's house with me.

7.  Guilt sneaks in.  Love the person, but have clear boundaries.  This is not your fault.  It's not your neighbors fault, your brother's fault, or your sister's fault.  Drug and alcohol addictions are a disease and a choice. 

8.  Talk to your local Hospice.  I have a friend that is a Hospice nurse, and she has been a gem to talk to- highly educated and realistic.  She's been very helpful.  Best advice she has given me is a phrase of words- "I'm sorry I can't take away the consequences of your choices." 

I love my mom, and this journey has been very painful, but I know one thing to be true God is good everyday.  I know my peace comes from Him and He has a plan despite the circumstances.  And I know His plan is a good one.

Blessings to you and yours!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weed Violation

This summer my main squeeze, Sandy, and I purchased a new house.  This particular house came with a 38 page rule book, formerly known as the CC&R's.  I perused it quickly, noting that the only permissible fencing is white vinyl fencing- aka stupidest, least useable fence ever.  The makers of vinyl fences obviously don't have children.  Didn't anyone tell them fences are like trees, they are made for climbing.


Anyhoo, our new neighborhood has a lovely little HOA that we get to send our year dues to.  They even have fancy smancy meetings at the library.  My hubby couldn't wait to attend our first meeting....I, however, wanted to know if we could get the three bullet point version.  Recognizing that my humor can be lost on my man, I decided to attend my first HOA meeting.  Here's a few tidbits I learned:

1.  Weed Violation.  For a girl born to teenage parents, a weed violation can be easily misinterpreted.  Apparently my neighbors are not, in fact, growing weed.  They apparently grow weeds, and our HOA sends the police to give a friendly warning that lawn maintenance is a non negotiable.

2.  Quorums.....?  After an engaging meeting that required NO VOTING, one intense man wanted to know if we had enough homeowners for a quorum.   Fancy I tell you.  For  the next ten minutes, we listened to various individuals argue about having a quorum to vote on a proxy about NOTHING.

3.  Sprinklers......apparently they are offensive to evening walkers.

4.  Asphalt, also very offensive.

5.  I too can run for president.   I'll be working on my slogan. 

All in all, I loved the HOA meeting.  Poor Sandy had to give me "angry eyebrows" a time or two.  I couldn't help but occasionally giggle.  I think it's possible, maybe even probable, that I am not old enough or refined enough to live in my hood.

Till we meet again.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's For Dinner

   We are two, count em', two days into the school year; it feels like two months.  Every school year our family starts strong- pencils sharpened, bags ready to go, shoes in the shoe box, clothes clean, dinner hot and ready on the table, you get the picture.  Slowly after a few months we start the crazy cycle- socks are dirty, no one can find their shoes, everyone left the freezer packs, for lunch, at school, dinner is, well, not up to par.

     The thing is, we run well on structure, but it is so much stinking work to keep the engine running smooth.  Secondly, my hubby's love tank is filled by a home cooked meal.  This year I decided to create monthly meal plans; that way I only have to plan one day a month and then I can brainlessly follow the plan the rest of the month.  I like a titch of brainlessness here and there.  I decided if I shared our meal planning online, it could help you, and I can pull it up again next September- win win.

   To start the monthly meal plan I set some guidelines:  two standard easy meals a week, one meal that is soup or stew based, a pasta night, a chicken night, & two beef or pork nights.

Week 1

1.  Taco bar
2.  Homemade Chili, Rhodes dinner rolls & salad (Betty Crocker)
3.  Lasagna & salad (make two, freeze one)
4.  Honey Plum Chicken, salad & rice (Pioneer Woman)
5.  Steakhouse pizza (PW)
6.  Pasta with pesto cream sauce & chicken (PW)
7.  Spicy pulled pork sandwiches (PW)

Week 2
1.  Taco bar & Spanish rice
2.  Baked potato & bacon soup
3.  Rigatoni & Meatballs (PW)
4.  Chicken Enchiladas & salad
5.  Homemade Pizza (Betty Crocker- so easy & quick)
6.  BBQ Chicken & Pineapple quesadillas (PW)
7.  Shrimp Summer Stir Fry (PW)

Week 3

1.  Taco Bar
2.  Beef Stew, homemade bread & salad (double your batch of beef stew, freeze half and use next week in Shepherds Pie)
3.  Fancy Mac & Cheese (PW)
4.  Pizza
5.  Quesadillas de Carmone (PW)
6.  Tri-tip, 2x's baked potato, roasted green beans (Morton's preseasoned tri-tip at Costco)
7.  Roast Chicken, mashed potatoes & peas (buy hot & ready from Costco)

Week 4
1.  Taco Bar
2.  Homemade Chili, rolls & salad
3.  Pull your extra lasagna out of the freezer
4.  Chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice (PW), salad
5.  Pizza
6.  Shepherds Pie with the frozen beef stew
7.  Mongolian Roast Beef (Betty Crocker)

Not the most gourmet of menus, but family friendly, with the added bonus on not having to figure out what's for dinner every night.  Most of my meals come from an old Betty Crocker cookbook or the new Pioneer Woman cookbook.  My littlest, Gracie, and I are cooking our way through the "Pioneer Woman Cookbook".  For "Pioneer Woman" recipes go to,  If you would like a grocery list, let me know.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

You've got to be Kidding!

   Today was Sandy's 39th birthday. Holy cow, we are getting old; we are actually adults with children- even teenage children.  I remember being a teenage kid; I'm not quite sure I'm responsible enough to have a teenage kid.  I still like to car dance and all.

    On that note, I've taken to using night cream- you know the thick kind that is suppose to tighten everything and make you look eighteen again.  Now, I never want to be eighteen again- that was sheer terror; I would just like my skin to stay nice and tight.  If the "night cream" works, I plan to buy a vat and swim in it- I figure that it'll be simpler than dieting.

    Sandy's birthday has me pondering both of our childhoods. Do you ever ponder you childhood?  Reflect back, on a memory and think what in the heck were my parents thinking?!? Even more terrifying, do you ever think back and wonder what your own children are going to remember about their childhood.  (Yeah, that definitely terrifies me.)  

    For fun tonight, I thought I'd share seven things from childhood that have left me wondering....what in the world?!?

     1.  Candy cigarettes-  A reward for a job well done. 

     2.  Family night watching "Friday the 13th" or "Halloween".

     3.  Singing robustly, "99 bottles of Beer on the Wall".

     4.  Riding in the back of my grandparents El Comino- on the FREEWAY.  Terrifying.

     5.  My sister and I being chased by a huge red cow; while my grandpa shouts, "Stand still".  Ummm.....

     6.  The "Joy Bus"-  strangers in a colorful old school bus will pick-up your children and bring them back in a few hours???? 

     7.  The mullet for girls....

    My kids' list will probably look a little different.  My guess is something like this:

     1.  I was twelve before my mom let me cross the street alone.

     2.  I was the only sixth grader at the beach that still had to wear a life jacket.

     3.   My mom played Cher really loud and danced in the car on the way to school.

     4.  Home haircuts.

     5.  No white bread- "the whiter the bread, the sooner your dead".

     6.  Chinese fire drills.

     7.  Safety Nut-  Stranger Danger, no latex balloons, etc..

    No matter the generation, I think our family will always keep the psychiatrists well paid. :)





Thursday, August 29, 2013

Parenting Gig

     So, for the last 16 and a half years I've had this parenting gig.  We started small and soon tripled our numbers.  What I wasn't prepared for, well besides the pooh, was the hilariousness and the humbling nature of it all.

    I started well; doing my best to nurture, teach, equip, show compassion, and provide opportunities for my children.  One day I woke up and realized somewhere along the lines I had failed miserably.

First case in point:
Beautiful girl ready for her first day of work.

(On a side note, I think all Dariy Queen managers should be given six figure salaries, a porshe, and a puppy for the patience, love & opportunity they provide for our kids.)

Noelle's job Day 1

     Shannon:  How was your first day?

     Noelle:  Terribly hard.  Seriously.  Making ice cream is hard.

     Shannon:  Humm..What's hard about making ice cream?

    Noelle:   I was learning to make a blizard and they tell you to watch out so you don't catch your finger in the mixer.  They also told me that it is extremely rare for someone to catch their finger on the mixer. 

   Shannon:  Did you catch your finger?

   Noelle: hurts.  Bad.

Second case in point:

     Recently my son got to go to  camp. Upon arriving home, he declared that camp was AWESOME.  I gave myself a mental high five, for investing in his spiritual growth and relationship building skills. 

    Things were all well and good until a few days later when a friend mentioned that the boys were mischievous at camp.  Well...that's normal right?  Right?

    Of course I decide I must pursue exactly what "mischievous" means, so I had myself a little talk with the boy.  You know the "talk".  Here's a snippet:

    Shannon:  "Son, let's talk about camp."

    Christian:  "It was great."  "Can I play your Ipad?"  "Can Colton spend the night?"

    Shannon:  "What did you do at camp that was mischievous?"

    Christian:  "Ummm...the guys in my cabin?"

     Shannon:  Yes.

     Christian: "Well, mom.  Just hear me out.  It was funny."

     Shannon:  "Explain.'  "Trust me, you should not leave any details out."

     Christian:  "Well, the guys and I went to chapel and learned about Jesus being whipped, so that gave us an idea."

    Shannon:  (Internal dread begins here) "Go on."

    Christian:  "Well, we thought, if we link all our camp bracelets together we can make a whip. Then, we can whip each other."

   Shannon:  "Seriously?"

   Christian:  "Yeah, and then we formed a club and to join it you had to be whipped."  "It was fun."  "The club was totally voluntary."  "I got whipped the hardest."  'It was so cool." 

   Shannon:  "Christian, let me understand this.  You went to chapel, learned about the Lord being whipped; then thought to yourself, lets make whips and whip ourselves?"  "Then you and your friends invited others to join a club and took turns whipping each other with your camp bracelets?"

   Christian:  "Yeah, it was so awesome."

   See this proves it.  We have failed miserably. Miserably.

   On  the upside, I was talking to a ninety year old gentleman in our community who, for the first time ever, thinks he needs to find someone to shovel his driveway this winter.  I'm thinking I know just the boy who would love to do it, for free, all stinking winter long. 

Blessings to you and yours. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gettin' on my Little House on the Prairie

Now that we've moved to the prairie (Target, I miss your easily accessible goodness), I've been getting on my Laura Ingalls Wilder.  


Last week Grace and I whipped up 4 containers of raspberry freezer jam.  Easiest thing ever.

Raspberry jam
1 2/3 cups crushed berries
1 cup sugar
2 TBSP pectin
1 TBSP lemon juice

Stir ingredients together for 3 minutes.  Pour into freezer safe containers.  Let sit on your counter 30 minutes before storing in the freezer.  Delish.

Raspberry Ice Cream Recipe

Well, when you give a mom, who likes Laura Ingalls, a jam recipe; she's sure to make some ice cream to stir it in.

Raspberry Ice Cream

2 cups of half and half
1 cup of milk
2/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup of raspberry jam

Whisk ingredients together.  Pour in Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and let mix for 30 minutes.  Enjoy the luscious goodness- your husband is sure to stand up and call you blessed.

Till next time.