Two Of My Favorite Kids!

This is a picture of Pam & Yesi, two of my favorite kids at the store that work with us. It was their "Charlie's Angel" pose at Pam's wedding. Yesi hates the picture, I happen to absolutely LOVE it!! Pam just got her wedding photos back so check back for some more fun photos of our Country Roads family!


My Family Celebrating Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving last night. We all met at Brande's apartment in Old Towne Seal Beach and then walked to Main Street for dinner at O'Malley's.While waiting for our dinner, Brande and Bryce joined Riley in some some "coloring" activity.As everyone knows, there is nothing better than when it's time for dessert for a two year old!
Dinner AND dessert were finished so Riley went to the other side of the table with Uncle Bryce and Gramma.After dinner we walked down to the pier where there is also a little park in the sand. Brande has always taken Riley there since she was a baby, and her favorite thing to do is go on the swings with Auntie Brande. The Pier looked awesome with all the holiday lights and decorations reflecting off the ocean.This is MY family, I couldn't be prouder,and of course I made them pose for my Thanksgiving family photo. These are my favorite kind of pictures!Riley insisted on having on last ride down the slide with Uncle Bryce before we left to walk back to Brande's apartment.Brande made her very first pumpkin pie and cupcakes for dessert for Thanksgiving(note, Riley was the only one that had dessert at O'Malley's). Of course Riley was ready for more dessert, her favorite part of any meal. She just needed a little help drinking some milk she was having with her pumpkin cupcake or should I say "icing".Bryce and Justine, sitting on Brande's couch, were pretty much ready to call it a night after the Thanksgiving chaos we all usually create."MY" girls, both enjoying Brande's holiday baking project that turned out quite nice!And just before we were all getting ready to go home, we got a surprise visit from Jamie Bill and her husband James. They came down from Vegas to celebrate Thanksgiving with Jamie's family. And as many of you know, Jamie was part of our Country Roads family years ago as one of our "cheerful" counter staff! Just looking at all the smiles see my family's faces, reminds what a wonderful Thanksgiving we shared. It's one that I will always remember and as I write this today, I'm very, very grateful to have been able to spend time and share laughter with my kids! It means the world to me.


Have a "Grateful" Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time to be "grateful" for whatever has filled and warmed our hearts this year. I feel very fortunate, thankful, blessed, and all the other words that make me happy I can sit down at a Thanksgiving dinner table surrounded by all of my grown kids, my granddaughter, and my new grandbaby that Justine(Bryce's wife)is pregnant with. We have kind of a tradition of going out to eat on Thanksgiving. All of us work so much, it's become a nice tradition. We go to this Irish pub, Omally's in Old Towne Seal Beach. We go out because that way we can just sit down and relax and enjoy each others company without stressing over cooking and cleaning up. I know personally I am very thankful we are able to do this. It hasn't been a easy year for many, including myself. I'm hopeful for the new year, for Barrack, and a brighter future for all of us.

And if you are wondering why there is a picture of bricks with this blog, well here's the deal. My parents bought their house, brand new in the early 50's. With the appliances, it cost $9500! After I was born, they brought me home to this house. I grew up in that house, and myself and my kids spent many Thanksgiving dinners at that house. After my parents passed away, Katie and Vinnie bought the house. This past year they re-modeled and took out the old, original fireplace. The bricks in the picture above are from that fireplace. The bricks sit in my office on a work table behind my desk. Sometimes it's just nice to look at them and remember the past, like tonight. Believe me, our Thanksgivings at my parents house were never perfect. My mom really wasn't too good at cooking the turkey. My sister and I use to call it "turkey dust", it was pretty dry, as in no liquid to even make gravy with! It was okay though, it helped me become a vegetarian! But it was never about what we ate (obviously) but who was at the dinner table to spend time with. So, with all that said, its nice to have stuff from our past, like my fireplace bricks, to bring back fond memories. I hope you all have a "grateful" Thanksgiving tomorrow! And, BTW, I still won't be eating any turkey tomorrow!!


The Life of Riley

Riley and I spent the day together today. She's now a little over two years old, and like most little kids that age, she is busy. The other day she had a meltdown in my kitchen because I "thought" her and I had bought a bag of gingerbread men cookies. When I opened the bag it was the "ingredients" to make the cookies. Note to self, wear glasses when grocery shopping. So yesterday while at Trader Joe's I saw these big gingerbread cookies already made. Riley was excited today to have one, but just not too sure how to eat the big cookie!

After Riley finished her cookie, we went down to Seal Beach to see Auntie Brande in her new apartment by the beach. I don't know what it is about when Riley goes to visit Brande, maybe it's just some place new, maybe is the fresh ocean air, but whatever it is, Riley turns into a crazed two year old and does everything from jumping on the bed, to trying to climb up into the windows! There are sometimes you just have a have a quick "time out" to gather your thoughts. I don't think Riley quite agreed with me on that one though.

By the end of the day, with NO nap whatsoever, Riley unfortunately had experienced a couple of more time outs. When Brande moved out, we rotated rooms in my house. Bryce & Justine moved into Brande's room, I got my old office back, and Riley got her playroom back. As tired as Riley was at days end, she wanted to go play in "her" little room. One of my cats, Leonard, is old and fat and the ONLY cat that will tolerate Riley. As you can see, Leonard is wearing Riley's little "chef" apron. That cat's patience never ceases to amaze me. You can also see how very much Riley loves Leonard. I know it made her feel good to have a buddy to hug at the end of a long day!

McCalls Candles Now at Country Roads

Country Roads has been carrying Warm Glow candles for awhile now. But recently, we just picked up another line of awesome candles. Some of you may be familiar with them already as they've been around for some time now. The are the McCalls line of candles, the one's that come in the cute little canning jars! We've got all three sizes and the scents and fragrance these candles give off are unbelieveble. Come in and "smell" for yourself. As you walk in the door at Country Roads, there is no denying that we have Warm Glow and McCalls candles. You smell them the minute you come inside!


Our Fires

I live in Long Beach, not too far from the beach. It's considered LA County. This is the sky above my house, which is NOT near any of the fires! As you know fires have been burning up in LA County, which is north of me, the past few days. My store, Country Roads,is in Old Towne Orange. It's very close to the fires that are now burning. As I drove to work yesterday morning I noticed the sky ahead looking smokey. And as the day progressed, and as the news has told us this morning,there is fire everywhere! There is ash in the air and all on the ground, our roofs, and in our pools and gardens. As I was lucky and graciously able to water my garden this morning, I was reminded of the colors of nature that we find in our gardens. I still have my garden to water, my home to live in, and business to work at. I have no words to even begin to say what it must be like for those that suddenly don't have these things, these things that were so quickly taken away from them. No words at all! We've all had a tough year with the economy, but now with the fires and so much loss and devastation it is hard to find positive words. But then I'm reminded of hope and the goodness of others that have rushed to total strangers homes to help put on fires or hose down their roofs! I guess in the darkness of the smokey clouds, there is still that ray of hope and warmth in knowing that people are still good. Strangers still care about other strangers, they still help when they can. Right now, let's hope the weather gives us a break and puts an end to all the devastation. And most important, we all need to remember those simple things in life that we sometimes take for granite, like just being able to "have" a garden to water!


"Vision Over Violence"

Like most of us, I was glued to the tv last night, just waiting, just hoping, that our lives would have a new direction in the future. I heard a Congressman last night say that he was excited because it seemed our country was voting for "vision over violence". I think we found some new "hope" last night when Barrack Obama was elected as our President. It's been a long time coming, and if anything it shows all the little kids in the world that you can be "ANYTHING" you want to be when you grow up!! This morning I'm excited for a future that holds "hope" for my Riley and my unborn grandbabies. This is a new beginning for us all, and a better America for our kids! I wish my mom and dad were still around for this election, they would have been ecstatic!!


Halloween Memories

This was the first Halloween that Riley really enjoyed the evening. There was a little bit of drama Katie had getting Riley dressed and her hair in pigtails. Let's remember she is now two and at two you really have "strong" feelings about life and stuff! All of my family, (myself, Bryce, Justine, and Brande) went over to Katie and Vinnie's for Halloween. Their house was all decked out for the occassion with a couple of fog machines, lights, and decorations.

Katie, Brande, and I took Riley out "trick or treating". She caught on pretty quick to the "free candy" gig and mastered saying "trick or treat" pretty well for a two year old. After my parents died, Katie and Vinnie bought their house. It was the house I grew up in, the one my mom and dad brought me home to after I was born. It was kind of a touching feeling going "trick or treating" with Riley in the same neighborhood I trick or treated as a little kid. Walking down the streets I did as a child, the same streets I walked to elementary school on, was really memorable walking with Riley, Katie and Brande. I got to show them my kindergarden room at my old elementary school, just stuff like that. I feel very grateful to be able to share this kind of stuff with my little Riley. I'm grateful for days like this, and they are out there if we just make the time to create those memories.