Family, Friends, Food, and Fun

This weekend, I got to get away from my usual routine. I was able to leave work a bit early on Friday and grab my girls and go. We got in the car, my older daughter taking the first driving shift, and headed for Chicago. Work has been a bit hectic and I’ve got some things going on personally that would make your hair curl, so a weekend for fun was at the top of my list.

Closer in to Chicago, I took over the driving and was fortunate to find a nice parking spot right by my sister’s place in the city. We grabbed our bags and headed up to her flat. Officially, we were in town for my niece’s bridal shower and we got to meet her future mother-in-law and one of her future sisters-in-law. We had fun getting to know each other. I’m just delighted to get to know the lovely families that my sister’s kids are marrying into.

Saturday morning, I got in a four-mile run, then met up with a graduate school classmate for brunch. He picked me up on his motorcycle…flashback to high school which was the last time I was on the back of a motorcycle. We took in brunch in Wicker Park. I remarked how it reminded me of the Central West End in St. Louis. It also reminded me of the restaurant strip along the Rhine in Cologne…Mainly, it was a lovely morning for reminiscing.

The bridal shower was later in the day and was so much fun. I’m still getting used to the idea of being part of the “older” generation…My kids aren’t old enough to start marrying, but I can see that I’ll need to get used to that idea in the not too distant future! My younger niece and my niece-in-law were the hostesses and they threw a lovely party. The food was lovely and the games were amusing. The bride-to-be was the quintessential guest of honor, gracious and beautiful.

imageI did win a prize during the party…I won “the perfect man”…this turned out to be a cookie cutter. I am glad to have it, as my faith in men has been damaged of late and it is good to know that I can always bake a few good men should the need arise!

Next up on my agenda was to catch-up with my classmate at his favorite Speakeasy. I had been looking forward to this for ages. I asked all the over-21’s to join me, but in the end, it was the bride-to-be and I who made the trip. My sister dropped us off at the rendezvous spot and we three headed to the secret location. We walked over to a dim stairway with a red light. Apparently the red light was a clue. Down the dark, dank steps we went, and at the bottom was a wooden door with a communicating panel. I knocked, and armed with the password, I was given entree.

Inside, the place was dark. The bar was straight ahead, and then the room ran the depth of the building with a piano at the back. This speakeasy only uses ingredients available during prohibition in Chicago and uses only authentic drink recipes. So, I had a picador (precursor to a margarita) and a white lion. Both were lovingly hand-crafted and quite delicious.

Time flew by, with great company and entertainment. A friend of my friend was also a first-timer at the speakeasy. As an entertainer by trade, she spoke with the piano player and offered to sing a song or two…and boy did she! She sang Crazy and a piece from Cabaret. There was a bit of confusion over what key to start, and she remarked that her ad lib training at Second City was coming in handy…all in a night’s fun. Her singing was definitely the highlight of the evening. Then, too soon it seems, my niece and I were headed for home on the El.

Find the Joy in the Journey…especially the Joy of reconnecting with family and friends!

 

Back Home Again In The Valley

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years pondering my future. What do I want to be when I grow up? Where do I want to live? What do I want to spend my time doing? One thing I never considered was moving “back home”. Every Memorial Day Weekend, I do go back home. I revel in the homecoming weekend with a local festival, a carnival, two parades, and high school reunions. Mostly, though, the weekend is about family reunion with my dad and his brother and sister and their families.

This year, I went to the all-class reunion with my sister and dad. I felt a bit bad that after two generations, the third only knows our hometown one weekend a year. My sisters and I all moved away. Our cousins moved away..oh, wait, my aunt’s son and daughter actually ended back in our home town.

At the all-class reunion, a man approached me. I am really bad at recognizing people, but I did figure out that he lived across the street from me the last couple of years of high school. He was a year ahead of me and his sister was in my class. He asked me if I remembered that his dad drove the three of us to school. I didn’t. Then he said maybe it was only once. Hmmm. Meanwhile, I’m looking around the room at this throw-back to a seventies kegger…sure enough, the vast majority of the folks in the room were graduates from the 1970’s. I was despairing of seeing any of my own classmates when one walked in with his wife from the class behind us.

I enjoyed the evening, but the highlight was a heartfelt discussion with my classmate. The rest of the weekend was filled with lots of family time. On Saturday, I slept in. After that, I went through the hotel breakfast buffet, then put on my swimsuit and swam laps in the just-opened pool. I love swimming…note to self, have a lap pool in retirement! Then I met up with my family and we ended up the evening at a rib cook-off listening to American folk music and eating some amazing ribs

Sunday I dragged my kids out of bed so that I could make the hometown race. Next up was the hometown parade…also known as the “candy parade” for all the candy tossed out. After the parade, we headed to my aunt’s, the glue of the family. The kids, first and second cousins, had no problem connecting after a year apart…such a wonderful thing to see! The kids, ages 5 to 20, played non-stop. The adults, from early forties to early eighties, chatted non-stop! We vowed to meet-up at the Memorial Day Parade in the morning.

The Memorial Day Parade in my hometown is a quintessential event. It is very short. I walked in it as a Brownie and Girl Scout as a girl. I remember being told that we had to march along regardless of whether or not a horse ahead of us had left a problematic deposit in our way. That never ended up being a real problem.  The parade ends at the local cemetery where a small ceremony includes a 21 gun salute and the recitation of the Gettysburg address by a sixth-grader. My family gathers in front of grandma and grandpa’s house. My grandparents moved out of the house about forty years ago and are, themselves, up at the cemetary, but we still think of the house as theirs.

The house sits on a corner, at the end of the parade route. Once the parade has passed, we part ways after a series of hugs and goodbyes and see-you-next-year’s. As I hugged my cousin goodbye, she informed me that several houses were for sale on her street, just around the corner. She expressed her desire for me and my sisters to move back home. As I looked around at my dad and his siblings, my sister and cousins, and the next generation of kids, I did feel the pull. When these kids are all grown, how many will return here for this special weekend? It gave me pause. Something to consider as I figure out just exactly how I want to spend my retirement years.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the love of family, no matter how seldom seen.

Christmas Successes and Failures

Now that all my kids are home, I want to spend as much time with them as possible…and they want to go off and spend time with their friends. Given that, I pick my activities carefully. Last night we drove through the Wayne County Lightfest. It was a wonderful (captive) way to spend time with them. The girls sat in the back and my son sat up front with me. We hadn’t been to see the lights in many years, so there were quite a few new scenes, although they didn’t all make sense (dinosaurs?). There were also the older scenes that could have used a little loving care as they were missing a few bulbs.

Wayne County Lightfest 2013As we started through, my youngest told me to change the radio station, and I did. I expected some teeny-bopper music, but it was all Christmas Carols…just right for the evening. We drove slowly through the exhibition, my transmission burning up at hanging in first most of the way. I rolled my window down and snapped pictures on my iPhone of my favorite exhibits. The girls were soon Instagramming videos which involved lots of loud squealing and rather un-Christmas-like dialogue. Even so, they were enjoying the show around us.

I found myself solo on my other Christmas activities. I decided to make some of the cookies. The first I tried were Russian Tea Cakes. These are an all around favorite although the kids didn’t even try them when they were younger because they didn’t like the idea that they contained nuts. I rolled the dough into balls and tried to fit them all on to one cookie sheet. Seven didn’t make it. I set the timer and went off to read my book. Some time later, I thought it odd that 10 minutes hadn’t gone by yet and I got up to investigate. It turned out that I’d set the timer but had not turned it on. I was distraught at the ruined cookies. I cooked the last seven properly…such a low yield. Russian Tea Cakes

Next I decided to make Walnut Bourbon Balls…they require no cooking. I’d gone to Target (every single day this week) and picked up some of the ingredients. The main ingredient is vanilla wafers. I carefully studied the ingredient list between the Nabisco version and the Market Pantry version. I was surprised and pleased to see that the Market Pantry version was not only cheaper, but contained no high fructose corn syrup like the Nabisco version. I scooped up a bottle of Karo syrup while I was there

As I mixed the ingredients for the cookies, the irony struck me and I felt quite the fool…I’d saved my cookies from a smidgen of HFCS only to literally pour it into the dough from the Karo syrup bottle. Oh well. Maybe the bourbon makes up for it!

Next up was the tree. In all fairness, my older daughter has been a stalwart in recent years in setting up and taking down the 9 and a half-foot behemoth which has 100+ branches which are no longer well marked. It’s a thankless job which is why I waited until this morning to tackle it. It is up. It is bare. The kids find themselves otherwise occupied and unable to help…at least tonight.

Then there is the package. I was so proud of myself to get all the out-of-town gifts ordered in time, including something for my mom that I was excited to share with her. I had it gift-wrapped and typed in a personal note. I had it expedited to get there in time for Christmas…it did. It arrived at my house this afternoon…too bad mom lives over a thousand miles away! New labeling, a trip to the post office, and $11 later, it’s now on its way to her correct address.

Find the Joy in the Journey…Some things are worth doing twice so that they are done properly!

First High School, Then Empty Nest

It is time to apply to high school. Yes, I know, only 10% of American children go to private school…and of those only 10% go to an independent school. For my third child, it is a given that she will go to a Catholic school, just like her older brother and sister. Her brother went to an independent Jesuit school. I fell in love with the whole Jesuit philosophy while he was there; the theme of the Jesuits is “men and women for others”…right in my heart to focus on stewardship. They focus, also, on education, and that steals my heart away too. The only Jesuit high school in the area is all-boys, so my older daughter went to a school run by the Sisters of Mercy. She got such a fabulous education that she finds college “easy”. She goes to a Jesuit university, so you know it’s not particularly easy.

My younger daughter long ago decided she wanted to go to the same high school as her big sister. On the one hand, I’m thrilled…it’s a great, college-prep school. It’s an all-girls school, which doesn’t necessarily appeal to most girls, but allows the students to focus on academics, sports, and student politics without the distraction of boys. For girls this can be huge…the difference between letting yourself shine and hiding your light under a bushel. I also love that in their first year they are referred to as Freshwomen. The downside is that it is not easy to get to from where we live. I live close to my work and the school is 30 minutes away in moderate traffic. If I drive her to school, I suddenly face rush hour traffic back to our town where I work…and when I pick her up, I face rush hour traffic on the way, if an easy ride home. It can take me an hour and a half for each roundtrip when the traffic is bad.

I had this same dilemma when I decided to send my older daughter there…but I took a leap of faith that it would all work out some how. It did work out, more or less. She found a ride the first two years. The first year worked pretty well. I’d drop her off at the other girl’s house before work and the other girl would drop her off at home after school. The second year, the other girl was a Senior and things got less reliable. We muddled through anyway, with the occasional unplanned trip to either take my daughter to school or pick her up. When she was a Junior, we had a new dilemma. I had a car for her, but she was only 15. She had a friend who had her license, but no car. We made a deal. Meanwhile, my daughter got her license on her 16th birthday and drove herself from there on out.

I have thought of sending my younger daughter to the local parochial high school. It would be a bit shorter drive for me than I have now taking her to school. It would be slightly less expensive. She’d have just as much opportunity to play sports. On the other hand, it’s bigger and co-ed. I know she’d do well there, but I’d prefer she go to an all-girls high school. I also know that she would be very unhappy if I made her go there. She has been set on her older sister’s alma mater for years and has convinced many of her friends to go there too. Some are already there, former classmates from her current school which teaches in multi-age classes.

So, what I’ve done for her siblings, I will do for my younger daughter. May she have a joyful journey through high school!

Find the Joy in the Journey…sacrifices joyfully made turn into blessings!

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Just when things start humming along, something happens. Hey, that’s life. Like back in April when I was working on Bridge to 10k, preparing for a hilly 5.25 mile run in my childhood hometown and I pulled my calf muscle. I did it at the end of my daughter’s basketball season during the Family Fun Night…I’ve since learned not to try a new sport when training for a race. Also, never to do basketball drills, um, ever! But I do own a nice, utilitarian cane now.

On Sunday, my daughter’s volleyball season wrapped up and another Family Fun Night ensued. Fortunately, I was able to play volleyball without endangering my calves or anything else other than my pride…I apparently do not have any upper-body strength and cannot serve a ball over the net. I was pleased to end the evening sans injury. But the fates…

Monday afternoon, I got a call from my daughter. Per usual, I had to interrupt her to tell her to SLOW DOWN! Ah, she was then able to tell me that she had been starting a pick-up football game with some of the guys in her class when her foot sank into a hole as she ran…her ankle was sprained and swollen. I offered to come and get her and she agreed that was a good idea.

Back home, we employed RICE…rest, ice (and ibuprofen), compression, and elevation. She adopted my cane and we talked about crutches. We indulged in our latest passion…ravioli and Ugly Betty. In the morning, I took her to the pediatrician who declared her injury a sprain, but sent us to the hospital’s imaging center for X-rays, just in case. My daughter asked to spend the rest of the day at home, so more RICE and I went to work to try to catch up.20131017-064110.jpg

The good news came in later that she did not have a fracture. So, although she missed a post-season scrimmage, she would likely be healed in time for basketball season. Volleyball playoffs are more iffy.

Recently I decided to run another half-marathon, requiring four weeks of focused runs at a time when sunlight is at a premium. One of my solutions was to have my daughter walk to sports practices and religion classes, both of which are only two blocks away at our church. The sprain means my daughter needs me to drive her even those short distances.

Just as I have to tell my daughter to slow down when she’s talking so that I can understand her, I need to slow down too.

Find the Joy in the Journey…be sure to go slowly enough to enjoy it!

The Dust Bunnies Are On Notice At My House

We all know the old adage that you should let the dust bunnies build up while you have your kids at home rather than miss part of their childhood. I’ve done well in this area, but now that I’m down to one, relatively independent, teenager, the dust bunnies are on revolt and I’m on the defense.  Not to mention all the clutter and mess that is left behind when a child flies hastily from the nest, anxious to get onto the next part of their life.

The good thing is that as I pick up the mess, it doesn’t get automatically replaced with a different mess within 24 hours. It actually stays clean! This applies, of course, only to the children who are gone. For the child remaining, however, there is a much higher level of accountability. No more can she claim that her brother or sister left the dirty dishes lying around or failed to wipe up a spill in the kitchen. Compliance has gone up noticeably with accountability.  

My son kept 99% of his mess in his room, so at least it is contained and can be shut off from view. I am picking away at it slowly. One day I removed the dirty dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Another day, I picked up all the pop cans, causing younger daughter to frown in frustration that her brother drank all her pop while she was gone. Since I don’t buy pop, she must have picked it up when she went with her sister (and my Target debit card) to buy college essentials.

I moved on to the bed, removing all bedding, washing and remaking…a multi-day process. I picked-up the few items of clothing and washed them for good measure. This revealed some trash which went into the trash can. Next, I found change from all over his room and popped it into his piggy bank. Up next is vacuuming. Wow…the room may actually end up presentable in short order.

As for my older daughter, she spent her senior year using various rooms of the house for her many projects. The dining room was her art studio and then command central for graduation gifts. One room in the basement was her staging area for college and another was apparently a stop-motion animation studio which I’m afraid to touch for fear of inadvertently changing the story…Then there is her bedroom, which like her brother’s room can be tackled a bit at a time.

Once I clean up after the kids, I guess I’ll be stuck cleaning up my own messes! It’s always more fun cleaning up someone else’s things than your own, especially when they remain uncluttered over time. This should give me back some time, time I will need now that my younger daughter has picked up a third sport and I no longer have older teens to help chauffer her around.

Find the Joy in the Journey…even if it is only winning a battle against the dust bunnies!

The Emptying Nest

This week, I helped my son move into his first apartment. He is 20, about halfway through college. He wants a college degree, but needs to take a year or more off. He is anxious to be independent. Even so, he wants to live in his university’s city…that’s where his friends and his intellectual future reside. I have gone through my own emotional issues to get to a point where I can support him 100%. Having arrived, I wanted to support his move towards independence in any way that I could.

So, after running my first 11-mile training run, I came home, showered, had some carbs (aka lunch) and asked my son when we could leave. He’d actually moved himself on Tuesday, but he had to return the car to me, so when his work schedule permitted, he brought the car home. He panicked a bit, but then got to work loading the car, his bike was the priority. I went into the basement to try and find some dishes, silverware, and cups amongst the 20 years worth of stuff stored down there.

I had him drive so that I could rest-up from my long run and so that I could write a draft for my blog (about my 11 mile run!). We decided to hit the store to get a bike lock before going to the apartment. This turned out to be unimportant as in the end, he didn’t have anywhere to put his bike except in his room. At his apartment, we unloaded some items from the car and took inventory. Then we piled back into the car and headed back to the store.

I bought things that I’m sure he didn’t care about, particularly the pillow and mattress covers. I bought him some cheap but essential utensils, a knife set, cheap waste baskets, a pot and a small frying pan, a sheet set, etc.. Then, just as we headed to check-out, I asked if he wanted some groceries…So, we bought some food.

After returning to his room and making up his bed, I offered to take him out for sushi before returning home…of course he said yes! Later, I drove home an hour and a half in the dark, thinking about that old Richard Bach quote,

If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours. If they don’t, they never were.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and trust that as you let your children fly the nest in their own way, their hearts will always come back to you.

The Perks of Motherhood–Staying Young at Heart

A three-day weekend is a gift, and one I especially cherish given that all my “vacation” this year has been spent on the college search and college orientation processes. Luckily I still have some saved up, but I still can’t afford the time or money this year to take a real vacation. This weekend I hoped-against-hope to make some strides in my to-do list while also getting some rest. This Labor Day weekend did not turn out that way.

I started the weekend off by running a 10k. Although I’ve progressed to the point where I can run 6 miles without wearing myself out, that’s not the case when it is an actual race. Even so, I was surprised that I was still out of sorts all day on Sunday. So much for catching up on my list of things to do! Instead, I lolled around all day and even suggested to my daughter that maybe going to a 10 p.m. concert in another town was a bit too much. She would not hear of it.

So, around 7:30, my younger daughter and my son and I took off. I wasn’t sure if we’d find parking or figure out how the shuttles worked on the fly, so I headed for the parking garage where I’d parked for the 10k…thankfully it had room, and I was thankful to have my bearings right from the start. I took the kids directly to the venue. First up at 8 was Soul Asylum. My daughter wanted to stand as far up front as possible. My son asked, in all seriousness, if we could let her squeeze up front and hang back ourselves. I told him, she’s 13! He didn’t get it. I kept an eagle eye on her the entire time, and was grateful that she didn’t understand the true meaning of the band’s Grammy-winning song, Runaway Train until the next day. A day when I had her home safe and sound!

We stood for an hour watching the band (and another two hours of walking and standing for the second concert), and I was surprised how well I could manage…my running has exposed my weakness to favor my left hip and subsequently made me ultra-aware of my bad posture. Weeks of standing with good posture, the help of a chiropractor, and much running have improved things greatly, although two days later, my hip is awfully sore.

At the end of the first concert, we bought some food tickets and scanned the entire midway of local restaurant’s booths. I had fed them dinner before we’d left, but what’s the fun of a festival if you don’t try some of the food. My daughter chose a deep-fried Mars bar, and a pierogi. She is still talking about that Mars bar, so I guess it was worth it…now she wants to try making them at home. My son, who likes to try new things, had lamb sliders. I had a Cuban Bender Sandwhich, which turned out to be salami, pork, and swiss cheese with some cabbage on flatbread. That used up our 48 tickets exactly…$30 for dinner…not bad, actually. We walked back to the main venue and the raison d’etre for our being there…GUSTER!!!!

We rocked-out to our favorites, Satellite, Do You Love Me?, and Demons…and many other well-performed songs. The festival shut down at 11 and we were soon at our car and out of town ahead of the crowds. I was so happy that I’d gotten out of my funk and satisfied my daughter’s desire to see Guster…a distant second to One Direction, but a band that I could enjoy as much as she.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and if you don’t have a 13 year old to keep you young at heart, let the inner teen in you do the job instead!

Getting My Ears Pierced With My Teen

I had my ears pierced when I was 12 and it was a major milestone for me. Last year, I had plastic surgery to repair my torn earlobes. I wrote about the surgery and my embarrassing moments when I returned from the lunchtime surgery and bled all over myself while standing in front of my whole department making a presentation)

I’ve been so busy, that I’ve not taken the time to get to the mall and get my ears re-pierced, but I do want to be able to wear earrings by my birthday, so I was running out of time. My younger daughter was all over the idea, and wanted one of her ears re-pierced as the hole had grown over. So, we planned to go today. My daughter, of course, had many ulterior motives (and you KNOW that with my “Directioner”, One Direction was involved…)

First, we went to the bank where she withdrew a large sum of money…for One Direction purchases. Hmmm. Next we went to the mall and started at Claire’s. Wow, they have a lot of One Direction merchandise. They weren’t, however, aware that the “One Direction: This Is Us” movie had premiered that very day and were a bit surprised at all the traffic in One Direction merchandise. Fatal mistake!

imageI quickly moved ahead with my ear piercing…no need for hand holding, I figured if I could listen to the plastic surgeon cutting my earlobes open with scissors and stitching them up for about 20 minutes, a few seconds to be pierced was nothing. I was right. Next it was my daughter’s turn and suddenly she got squeamish. She mentioned the bump in the back of her earlobe and they were worried it was a keloid. Now, I’d already consulted the newly-minted MD in the family about my lobes…a couple of little bumps…maybe keloids, but maybe undissolved stitches from my surgery. In either case, my doctor-niece was not concerned saying the the needle would just push aside the hard spot without incident.

In the end, the ear piercer’s manager recommended a new piercing adjacent to the old one. She found a spot that wouldn’t interfere with the bump/keloid. The piercing was a success. So, now my daughter and I are all set with our newly re-pierced ears! My daughter immediately picked out some One Direction earrings…and a charm bracelet, a wallet, socks (really!), and a mini-stand-up of Naill. She was in heaven. Fortunately all the One Direction merchandise was on sale plus she got a 50% off coupon for getting her ear pierced.

I thought I was scott-free at that point, but no…we HAD to go to Hot Topic. We searched and searched for it on the directory and ultimately found it under “women’s apparel”…ha! My daughter found several new items to buy and I looked around, agog, at the odd merchandise that could be considered clothing for women…lots of t-shirts, lots of goth-like jewelry, and twenty-something workers with odd piercings (not available at Claire’s). There were also lots of Disney-themed clothes in adult fashions like mini skirts, tank tops, and bustiers. Next door was a shop called Justice…we didn’t even venture into it although I know that my girls have shopped there.

Who knew that my quick trip to the mall to get my ears pierced would result in a cultural revolution for me! I think the next five years of lots of one-on-one with my “baby” will be very instructive! And, right, wrong, or indifferent, I will be semi-conversant in “teen speak” for several more years!

Find the Joy in the Journey…jump into life!

The Art of Family Negotiations

I negotiate for a living, so when I come home, it can be annoying to find the kids wanting to negotiate with me…but I suppose they learned that from me. My younger daughter, in particular, likes to bargain, bargain hard, and never take “no” for an answer. Yes, it has been an exhausting 13 years so far! I know that I have said “no” to her more times than I have to her brother and sister combined…times 10. Often I say “yes”, especially to small things (can I go across the street to visit my friend? for example), but every time I give her a “no” that eventually turns into a “yes” I know I have just reinforced her behavior to ask incessantly. As she’s gotten older, she’s gotten more sophisticated and she even works out many details in advance before approaching me.

The other day, she informed me that, as a True Directioner, she absolutely had to be at and the first showing of One Direction: This Is Us. She lined up a friend of her older sister to take her, since her sister’s already away at college. Perfect. Then, yesterday came the first favor…she texted me that the friend’s car wasn’t working and could she use our car. Since the friend is practically part of our family and has driven our car before, I said it was ok. I did wonder how the friend would get to our house and back, but I figured there was a plan.

When I got home, my daughter was dejected. There was no plan to get the friend to and from our house. The premiere was off. I gently offered that her brother, who is still at home, could go and get the friend but she demurred from asking him because he would just say “no” to her. I asked him and he was non-committal…he might not be up by then! Hmm…this was not going to cut it and I was not into demanding or cajoling.  After all, what was in it for me?

A little later in the evening, my son came by to ask me if he could borrow money for a deposit on an apartment. This is his plan…take a year off of college and work, but not at home. I told him we could work something out and, oh by the way, go tell your sister that you’ll go pick up the friend the morning of the show. The result was happy compliance from him, ecstatic response from his sister. Mission accomplished…

So, my younger daughter continues her dream of being the best Directioner she can. My son can smoothly transition to a new apartment and one (for sure) or two (hopefully) part-time jobs starting next week. I don’t have to see the movie (win) and my grocery bill falls dramatically (win).

Sometimes, the art of the deal is not to negotiate at all…just put all the pieces in motion!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the gentle path to family harmony!