Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The Invincible Summer. Art Print. by Matthew Kavan Brooks

I might just order this print.  Isn't it beautiful?  It would serve as the perfect reminder, during this winter in my heart.  Missing my mama so much this Christmas.  This season.  This day.  This minute. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

First trip to Santa.

"Have a good day at work, Daddy."(heart melting)

The headband lasted about 2 minutes.

So tentative.  Santa was a little sketchy.  I'm proud of her instincts.

Around here, life has been busy.  We've been preparing for family, whom begin arriving tomorrow.  It will be so fun to have the house full, even though the holidays are deeply different without my sweet mama.  This week we spent time grocery shopping and unpacking to prepare for visitors.  We also made a trip to the Scottsdale Fashion Square to see Santa.  Chloe wore a special dress my mom gave her for her first birthday.  To be honest, that morning I balled my eyes out as I got her dressed.  (It was involuntary.)   I ache to share these moments with my mom and wished my mom got to see her all dressed up for Santa.  I'm not sure Chloe was a fan or perhaps she was put off by the crying kids in line ahead of her.  I got a few glances, like, "uh, mom, where are you taking me?".  Memorable, all the same.

P.S. Our trip to California was brief but so nice.  Baby Sawyer is so tiny and scrumptious.  I'll share a few photos soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life around here.

Life around here has been simple.  Well the living has, the emotions haven't.  I guess that is the way it goes.  Finding our balance in a new normal is what the days are about.  I still feel like I'm on wobbly ground.  We've been pretty domestic lately.   I will say our decorations are pretty minimal at this point, a tiny peace wreath on the door, hanging stockings, and cinnamon pine cones.  Honestly the decor might not get too fancy.  I'm not gonna break my neck to "holiday" this whole house up, while we are still in boxes.  But I am feeling a warmth for the season, even if mine isn't really "holiday cheer".

We are hosting Christmas this year, so I'm trying to balance my itch to really do it up.  I know that simple can be just as beautiful but my mom's holiday decor is so memorable.  Every room was festive without looking cheesy.  She loved the fall and Christmas.  As I listen to carol's on Pandora I can her her voice sing along with them.  It's both comforting and sad.

We will make a short visit to Cali this weekend.  A quick stop to check-in with Kevin's Oncologist for the routine "all clear" blood work results, a baby shower for our friends the Loos baby boy and to meet our new little pal Sawyer who was born just 12 days ago.  I can't wait to my friend Michelle as a mommy.

Lucky for us Kevin's parents are coming to Orange County to see us too.  It will be a packed couple of days but we are so thrilled to smell the salty air and see some familiar faces.  It's strange living in a town when you have no routine or friend's houses to stop by.

When we return we will go get out tree.  That is my favorite part, the smell of pine.  I can't be talked into anything short of the real deal.  It's too fragrant to pass up.

What else have we been up to?

Cooking- nothing fancy but I'm excited that we've been eating by 6pm every night.  Mostly homemade.  (I'm tooting my own horn.)

Unpacking a little, rearranging a lot.

Laundry, the usual heap continues but we have our very own (rented anyway) washer and dryer.  I could kiss them daily, they make me enormously grateful.

Dishes.  Washing them and cleaning up tupperware, all day.  Chloe has a favorite cabinet, she constantly unloads sippy cups, bibs, bowls and tosses them about.

What else...a little holiday shopping although I'm simplifying there too.  It sounds cynical but whatever can get me through this season with sanity.  Of course our little bloom has a mad stash I've been buying since after her birthday.  I can't help myself.

That is about it.  Kevin and I (both) are crashing to sleep most nights before 9pm.  Only to be awakened at 12am, 2am, 4am and increments in between by one sad teething (we think) baby.  She is 15 months on the 21st so you'd think she'd have one tooth by then right?

Kevin is working hard and enjoying some new job responsibilities.  The environment seems to be refreshing for him.  He is getting to know a lot more people now that he no longer works solo.  And from what I hear he is getting some praise for working so hard.  That doesn't surprise me but makes me proud.

Oh and last but not least, our little lady has developed a lot of new words all of a sudden.
ball, bath, more, dada, mama, kitty, hi... each day it seems like she has a new one.  Heart melting indeed.  And she has a lot to say even when your not sure what it's about.  That cracks us up!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We have been busy unpacking.  Here is a bit of the progress.  We have a lot more toys sprinkled throughout the house than these pictures lead you to believe.  We still have a bit of work to do...all in due time.  Hey, we can sleep and priorities are still in tact. 

A visit with friends.

We were lucky enough to visit with our friends the Schvaneveldt's while they were in AZ for the week.  We feel so lucky for us to have visitors so early after our move.  It's like we haven't left home yet.  Check out some photos from our trip to the Scottsdale Artfest on her blog Andiland. Andrea is an amazing photographer so it was fun to see her photos from the day.

I was so happy to finally meet her sweet 3 month old daughter, Mara Jane.  She is the tiniest little bundle, it was so nice to snuggle her.  I tell you all these babies are giving me the fever.  I remind myself how sleepless I am right now and it temporarily goes away.  

While she was out we met up several times and she even took our family pictures in old town Scottsdale.  It has such a country Arizona vibe, it was so much fun.  I'm so excited about them.  I can't wait to share them and shop for holiday cards, if I decide to add that to my "to do" list?  My favorite adventure was our trip to the Children's Museum of Phoenix.  I never been to a more creative kids space.  Chloe was elated by all the kids and the freedom to explore everywhere.  We promptly became members (a generous gift from Kevin's parents).  Chloe and I plan on making it a weekly day trip, tons of photos to come soon.

Thanksgiving, Phoenix style.

A casual morning at home.  We stayed in our pj's but used the good china...just the way I like it.  My goal is to use our china as often as possible, each day should be celebrated, right?  So here we are jammies and bedhead. 

In the afternoon we met up with Kevin's college roomate Brent, his wife Katie, their 11 month old daughter and their family at their relative place in Scottsdale.  It was so nice to be invited and enjoy a nice holiday meal with so many friendly people and to watch the girls play together.  Between the pool, rocks and box of beer bottles they got into lots of mischief.  It was great entertainment and a work out.

The evening brought out lots of emotions as we connected with family over the phone and realized this was our first Thanksgiving or holiday for that matter without the rest of the family.  I realized I REALLY missed my mom.  So moments more than others.  That was one of the intense moments.

Thanksgiving will always be my favorite holiday.  There is nothing that feels better than being thankful and with family.  Delicious food doesn't hurt either.  I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you thankful for?

Special indeed.

Rifle Paper Co. card $4.50.

There really isn't anything more special.  No matter how old you are, Mothers are wonderful. 

Did I mention my childhood friend, Michelle just became a momma?  Her little Sawyer George couldn't be more precious.  We travel to CA in a week to meet him and give our congrats in person.  I can't wait!  We've been anxiously anticipating his arrival.  It's so hard not to be there with them right now.  We've known each other since we were 4.  Now our children are growing up together, pure magic to have friends for that long.  It's unique bond for sure.  Here he is:
Pure sweetness, brand new baby+momma moment.

Rifle Paper Co. makes beautiful paper, I'm addicted to perusing their site.  Thought I'd pass on the good stuff (wink).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


OH HAPPY DAY's blog, DIY Alphabet Pie Topper. 

Now isn't this the prettiest pie topper you've ever laid eyes on?  The quote is a perfect reminder for me this season, and always really.  I plan to make one of my very own, to use as a table centerpiece.

As for my grateful heart, I am thankful for:
The love of my life, Kevin Russell-
his constant love, support, humor, brains & companionship
(and major good looks)
Our precious daughter, Chloe Elizabeth-
her wild personality, giggles, hugs & kisses, her bright spirit
(and the way she says "my momma")
My loving family both small and large
The gift of Motherhood
For my health and positive outlook
For life- joys & pains
A home, a car, and so many basic comforts I take for granted
For a new place with TWO bathrooms & a washer and dryer (so exciting!)
For luxuries like abundant food, hot showers and a big tub to soak in
For laughter, friendship, handwritten cards, creativity, sunshine, the shelter of trees, the beauty of nature...

For days like today when we take extra time to remember to be truly grateful...for all our treasures.

Jannelle Lyn Bergman, my momma.

"Feet, what do I need them for, when I have wings to fly?"-Frida Kahlo

My mom's Obituary reads;
JANELLE LYN BERGMAN (DAWES) 59, of Temecula, passed away Monday morning. A Temecula native, Janelle was born July 3rd, 1952 to Robert Dawes and Connie Slaughter at Fallbrook Hospital. She grew up in Temecula when the town population was a friendly 200. Her parents owned and operated the first restaurant in Old Town, The Rite Spot, on the corner of Front and Main Streets and the B-Bar-H Cafe. Janelle attended Temecula Union School and Elsinore Union High School, class of 1970.

In 1976 she moved to Portland, Oregon where she attended Multnomah School of the Bible and traveled to Israel, Egypt, Jordan and surrounding areas. While in Oregon, she met her first husband and gave birth to her two daughters, Lisa Marie Locklin and Sara Elizabeth Bergman. In 1984, she returned to her hometown of Temecula.

1987 was a pivotal year for Janelle. Her son, Aaron Joseph Bergman, was born and she began her twenty-year career as a Jazzercise instructor. Janelle founded the local Temecula branch of Jazzercise and attracted a crowd that grew to be hundreds of students and lifelong friends. She was a driven entrepreneur who loved to dance, foster community and teach the principles of health, movement, and the importance of having fun. After a seven year struggle with cancer, Janelle passed peacefully in her home on October 31st, 2011.

Janelle's family includes her three children: son AJ Bergman of Temecula; daughter Sara Bergman of Oakland; daughter Lisa Locklin, son-in-law Kevin Locklin, and granddaughter Chloe Locklin of Phoenix; husband Peter Poole of Temecula and his three children; mother Connie Slaughter of Temecula; step-father Frank Slaughter of Temecula; sister Denice Enochs of Wildomar; brother Steven Slaughter of Temecula; brother Eric Slaughter of Murrieta and his family. She is preceded in death by her father Robert Dawes and brother Bobby Dawes.

Services will be held at 11am on Sunday, November 13th at the Temecula Cemetery. Contributions can be made to : Hospice of the Valley 25240 Hancock Ave #120, Murrieta, CA 92562-5991 (951) 200-7800

Service was held the morning of November 13th.  It was a beautiful sunny fall day. We opened with,

The Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

My mom's Eulogy;
Janelle was born July 3rd, 1952 to Robert Dawes and Connie Slaughter. She grew up here in Temecula and spent her early years close with her older sister Denice at their parents’ restaurant, The Rite Spot. Janelle also spent much time with her beloved Grandma Bertie. She attended Temecula Union Elementary and then Elsinore Union High School, where she was a cheerleader for both the high school sports teams and her boyfriend Louie’s band, December’s Children. One of her favorite memories was of late nights dancing in Elsinore at the Lakeview Hotel with her dear Louie. She also fell in love with the ocean at an early age, listening to the waves in Oceanside, where she would return for peace throughout her life.

In 1971 she moved to Portland, Oregon where she attended Multnomah School of the Bible. Janelle traveled to Israel, Egypt, Jordan and surrounding areas. On an archaeological dig in Beersheba, Israel, she uncovered an amphora jug that provided a historical link of trading in the Middle East. Janelle also worked at Youth for Christ as a counselor and really found herself in the work of guiding and advising youth. While in Portland, she met her first husband, Bruce Bergman, and spent much time with his family out at their farm in rural Oregon. There they picked berries, played games and read books next to the wood stove; Janelle content with her new big family. In Portland, Janelle and Bruce bought their first home where they welcomed their daughter, Lisa Marie. Years later, they dreamt of a community farm in Ashland where they purchased land overlooking Immigrant Lake and had their second daughter, Sara Elizabeth.

In 1984, Janelle, Bruce and their two daughters returned to Janelle’s hometown of Temecula, where a few years later her son, Aaron Joseph, was born, 10lbs. 6oz. worth waiting for. After AJ’s birth, she then began her twenty-year career as a Jazzercise instructor. Janelle founded the local Temecula branch of Jazzercise and attracted a crowd that grew to be hundreds of students and lifelong friends. She was a driven entrepreneur who loved to dance, foster community and teach the principles of health, movement, and the importance of having fun.

In the early 1990’s, Janelle and Bruce separated. Janelle worked very hard as a single mother, and always cultivated a warm home with an open door for all friends and family. She obtained her license as a massage therapist and felt invigorated by her work at the Murrieta Day Spa. Once again, Janelle found herself in this work of serving others. During this time, Janelle met her second husband, Peter Poole. The two found companionship working together at Mount Palomar Winery, traveling to Europe, and hosting dinner parties with their friends. With Peter, she enjoyed the company of his children and visiting his grandchildren, Poppy and Leo, on the Oregon coast.

Shortly thereafter, Janelle was first diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout numerous diagnoses and treatments, she showed a strength of spirit and will to live that astounded even her doctors. While her illness compromised much of her physical ability, she enjoyed spending Saturdays giggling with her sister Denice, late-night apple pies with her brother Steve, and long philosophical conversations with her brother Eric. The family dogs, Shorty, Biggie and Rita, were among Janelle’s favorite characters, and always kept her feet warm. Just last year, her rambunctious little granddaughter, Chloe Elizabeth, was born to her daughter Lisa and son-in-law Kevin. Through her last days, Chloe provided her with immense joy and belly-aching laughter.

After a seven-year struggle with cancer, Janelle passed peacefully in her home on the morning of Monday October 31st, 2011.

Closing with, Hopi Prayer:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on snow
I am the sunLight on the ripened grain
I am the gently falling autumn rain

When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift upLighting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft starLight at night
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.


I am so thankful that she was my mother.  I've mentioned this before but it will forever be fitting;
"I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine - she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights." -Terri Guillemets.  She is continuing to help me grow daily.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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