Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Wonderful Christmas Weekend

Another Christmas as parents is under our belts, and I have to say- it just keeps getting better. I'll never forget the magical Christmas' I enjoyed as a child, and I always hoped to be able to pass that on to my kids. The excitement of Santa coming, the presents, the feeling of the spirit of Christmas at church on Christmas Eve, and most of all the family time, are what I loved so much- and this Christmas, we recreated that to a tee. We are so blessed to be able to have both sides of our family close enough to each other that we can spend quality holiday time with the Scribners and the Francos. Here's how our weekend went...
  • We started the trip to Oakland (about a 4.5 hour drive with no stops) on Saturday afternoon, did some holiday shopping, and ended the drive right at Fairyland (Oakland's Fairy-tale park that sits by Lake Merritt and hasn't changed since I was a child... well, for 50 years, actually!) We had a pizza party with my parents that night.

  • Sunday we helped my parents do some shopping and got ready for our annual neighborhood Caroling Party. It was awesome- most of our neighborhood "kids" came back home for the party (we are all grown now, but each house on our block had 4-6 kids all around the same age, and no one's parents ever moved away, so our whole neighborhhod is an extended family of a bunch of lifelong friends.) The caroling and after party were great, Kylee brought along her preschool songsheet and pretended to read it as we sang the songs.

  • Christmas Eve we woke up and had Grandma and Grandpa's Christmas. The kids are FULLY enjoying being spoiled as the only Franco grandkids so far, and had a blast tearing into all their gifts. We had a big breakfast, and got ready to head to Napa for my Franco Family Christmas Eve Party. Uncle Les and Aunt Marsha hosted a great dinner, we went to the children's mass at my Grandparents old church, and went back to wish all my family a Merry Christmas. Around 8 pm we hit the road, and made GREAT time- we were back in Weaverville by midnight. We tucked the kids in their beds and spent a few hours doing our Santa duties! Kylee dictated a note to me on the ride home, and left very specific directions about all the food and drinks that were being left for Santa and his posse. After we completed our job, we got to bed around 2.

  • We got to sleep in a little, Kylee got up around 7:30 and after we woke up a sleepy Owen, we had a ton of fun watching their eyes light up at all the gifts. Wes' parents, his sister, and our nephew, Taylor, joined us for brunch at our place. Then we headed to Lewiston to have a visit with the great grandparents, then dinner at Wes' parents.

The mass amounts of traveling and eating did wear us out a little- but wonderful joys of the holidays make it all worth it!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Darn Dots

Sunday morning Owen developed peculiar looking spots on his left hand. By Monday, they were on his head and neck- and Kylee said her ankles were itchy. Her ankles looked like she might have bug bites on them, and even though they looked different than Owen's, we skipped school, headed to the Dr and got a "yikes!" that looks like chicken pox. But he's had the vaccine, had no other symptoms- and was only getting them in exposed areas- not at all on his trunk. Our Dr had a partner in the office look at the kids, and he had no idea, either. Kylee sat patiently and waited through the double examination- and finally blurted out- when do I get to go to school?! Our practioner said she didn't think Ky was contagious, and it would be fine to wear long sleeves and pants send her in, unless she started to look like Owen and got worse. So, I decided to keep her home Monday, and if she looked ok Tuesday, we'd go in. I couldn't keep her out this week- this is the week we've all been so excited for...

The plan WAS- I was supposed to be in her class doing a project and photographing the kids all week, I was driving them on a field trip, helping them bake cookies- I was looking forward to all these things, too. Wes was going to be home drafting house plans, so once Owen got dots- we decided he should not tag along with Ky's class, and just "help" daddy draft while I helped out at preschool. Wes was called for jury duty on Tuesday- but who EVER really gets summoned to be on the jury, right? Wrong. He's on the jury. This morning I drove to preschool, and had both kids as usual, but was nervous about Owen being in the classroom. I planned to talk to the teacher, sign her in quick, and hang on to Owen so no one had contact with him. The second her teacher saw Owen's dots, she said it looked too much like Chicken Pox, and we should keep them both home til they are gone. Major meltdown of 2007 occurs at this point. Owen's pissed cause I've been holding him the whole time we're talking, and he usually gets to play with all the kids. He screams and punches mommy in the face. Teachers are shocked cause they've never seen "the dark side of Owen." Kylee is standing there with HUGE tears because we were supposed to sing to the grandmas and grandpas at the hospital today- and she's worked SO hard to learn all the carols. Mommy realizes that she shouldn't have stayed up till 2 watching reruns of "The Hills" and probably needed a little more sleep to get her through this one. So- I discliplined Owen, hugged Kylee, and through my own tears told her how we needed to protect all her friends from the dots, so we had to go home til their gone. She agreed to go with me, but was sobbing miserably the long walk to the car. Other parents were arriving with their kids, and were wondering why she was going the wrong way- I held it together enough to say "no school for Kylee today-" and then completely cried in the car. I felt so bad that poor Kylee is missing some awesome days at school for what could be flea bites. On her brother. But, we decided to make the most of our getting kicked out of preschool, and hit up the drive thru coffee shop.

As of tonite, Wes has dots, too- on his hands and head the most. He says his feel like poison oak. I have like two tiny dots on my belly, but I can't tell if I'm really itchy, or if I want to be like everyone else in my house. Somebody please tell me what's wrong with us so we can join society again. Thanks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Celebrating the Holidays in Trinity County

When I was a little girl, I danced in The Nutcracker with the Oakland Ballet. For me, this ballet always kicked off the holiday season. Last year, my mom took Kylee and me to the Nutcracker in Oakland, but this year the holidays were looking too busy to find a time to go. A few weeks ago, I opened our Trinity Journal... the once a week, small town publication we enjoy every Wednesday... and there was an ad for a special performance by the Redding City Ballet dancers right here in Weaverville's new performing arts theater. Tickets sold out fast, but we were able to get some! I totally enjoyed this "sophisticated" girls outing in Weaverville. Kylee and my niece, Brynn, were absolutely darling in their holiday pretty dresses, and Grandma Linda, Bridget and I really loved having a glass of wine together before the show. I was very impressed with our new theater, with the beautiful dancing of the Redding City Ballet, and with the overwhelming support our small town gave this ballet company... they said they'd be back next year with two shows!

After the Ballet on Saturday, Wes and I went to a holiday party while the kids had a sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa. It was such a great time with great local friends, Wes and I even loved the short walk home to our house all bundled up in our winter attire. The next day, we had our "Scribner Christmas Fiesta," which was wild and fun and we all got completely spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa. The kids our having a blast enjoying all their new toys, and we are ready to begin our travels to our Franco Christmas this coming weekend... followed by Santa's Christmas back home on Christmas morning. Maybe it was the ballet, maybe being surrounded by so many loved ones, maybe that it's been spitting snow and getting SO close to actually having our first couple of inches... but no matter what the reason, I can officially say, I really do feel the wonderful joys of the Christmas Season.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Finding the spirit of the season

I'm sorry I haven't updated my blog in awhile. I had a talk with my sister in law, Amy, the other day about finding a hard time getting into the spirit of Christmas this year... about fearing what it will feel like that first Christmas Eve in my life without having my dad's parents there. I was even having a hard time getting into my own normal Christmas routine in my house. Things that always seemed like a priority for me- picking the tree, sending the cards, hanging the lights, all got pushed to the back burner- and I lacked desire to really get into it. Not to mention, it has been a very busy time- last week all my waking hours were spent making a slideshow to honor the life of my Grandpa. I had just done one for my Grandma's funeral, but this one took much more time because we had many more pictures from all sides of the family, and I made a special section honoring them both together. The shock of it all is beginning to wear off, and though I still cry often, I do feel a great amount of peace knowing the two lovebirds are now together in heaven. All the notes, and cards have been of great comfort, too- thank you all for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

So, I am beginning to get my head back on straight again, having kids over for playdates, planning to go to parties instead of skipping them, and even finally finished putting up the Christmas lights. I'm excited to go to Kylee's Christmas party next week- and seeing her eyes light up when she tells me "SANTA IS GOING TO BE THERE!" makes the Christmas feelings of joy rush into my heart. I am especially excited to sing carols at the Convalescent Hospital with the preschool, because I can only imagine how much joy that would've brought my Grandma, who had stayed in a similar hospital in Napa this fall. The spirit of the season is creeping in, and between the holiday excitement from my children and the chance of snow this weekend... I'm sure to be back to my jolly old self soon enough.

Here's a few photos showing some things we worked into the many travels up and down I-5 over the past few weeks.

My dad running the Sacramento International Marathon the day after his dad died
My mom and Kylee at the finish line of mom's 28th marathon
Four of my grandparent's five sons
Five of my grandparent's ten great-grandchildren
Having fun with their cousins
A stop outside Sacramento for a birthday party at Extreme Gymnastics.
Owen loves the zip-line!
Kylee leaps into the foam pit
Owen wants to be just like his big sister!
Some of the party goers take a break from the fun
Kylee invites her friend Taylor over after school. This is their fashion show, because Taylor says they are "all about fashion!"
Here's my finished product on the outside
Here we are with our tree!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Together Forever

Two weeks after Grandma passed away, Grandpa joined her in heaven. He suffered brain damage from a fall, and there was nothing that could be done to save him. We made it down on Friday to give Grandpa our love, kisses, and thanks for the gifts he has given us... and said our goodbyes before he passed. Words can't express the tremendous loss we are feeling. Services will be next Saturday in Napa.
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Wednesday, December 05, 2007
John Alvin Franco passed peacefully on the morning of Friday, Dec. 1, 2007. John was born Jan. 18, 1916, in Napa, to John (Waan) and Amelia Franco. He graduated from Napa High School in 1934 and married Eleanor Gertrude Niccolls on Oct. 23, 1937. John and Eleanor recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
John was an excellent athlete throughout high school and was inducted into the Napa High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. He starred in football, basketball and baseball. On the varsity football team he scored the winning touchdown against Analy High in 1932. He was the leading scorer on the 1932-33 "B" Basketball Team which won the Section A Championship that year and he was the starting forward on the 1933-34 "A" Basketball Team. However, most of his athletic accolades were garnered from his success on the baseball diamond.
John was the starting shortstop for the Napa High varsity in the seasons of 1931, 1932 and 1933. After each of his high school years, John played adult summer baseball for the Napa State Hospital team where he was coached by major league great Jimmy Dykes, who was at the peak of his career. Very few high school ball players were able to play at this level, as these teams traveled and competed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. A Napa Register sports page article from 1932 states, "John Franco, the new shortstop, is fast developing into a real baseball player. At the rate he is going, 'Muck' is sure to follow in the footsteps of Joe Cronin, now playing with Washington." Both Dykes and Cronin were sport heroes for the young Muck Franco.
In 1955 at the Napa Fairgrounds, the City Softball League honored Muck for his "untiring efforts in the development of youth in baseball and softball" and for spending "a major portion of his free time teaching youngsters the fundamentals of the game." From the 1940s to the 1970s Muck was a highly respected bowler competing in local leagues.
In the years between high school graduation and marriage, John served in the California Conservation Corps in Lake Tahoe and began his career in the meat-cutting business. His career as one of Napa's premiere meat cutters began with hitchhiking trips to Vallejo and continued at the stockyards on Soscol Avenue, near the current Elks Club. He then went to work at Learman's Market on Second Street and later partnered with Mario Conti at Fairview Market and United Market in downtown Napa.In 1957 he opened Franco's Market on Kilburn Avenue. He and Eleanor continued operations there with help from their five sons until 1974. In his semi-retired years he worked with Ed Algeo at Jefferson Food Market and later with Jim Andrews at Andrews' Meat Market and Deli on Main Street.
Muck remained active in the lives of his children and their families throughout his later years, and they, in turn, cherished the time they spent with him. He was a devoted Catholic and worshipped at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.In retirement Muck remained an active fan of local high school sports, dabbled in the game of golf, enjoyed weekend trips to Lake Tahoe and Reno to play Keno, and traveled cross-country to New England, New York, Washington D.C. and Virginia, and to Hawaii on four separate occasions.
He is survived by his sons, Ross (Suzanne) of Oakland, Jim (Lynn) of Buffalo, Mo., Les (Marsha) of Napa, Vic (Barbara) of Napa, and Bob (Angela) of Honolulu, Hawaii.He is also survived by 16 grandchildren: Thomas (Devon), David (Sonia), John (Nicola), Peter (Sunita), Ann Marie (Wes Scribner), Paul, Deborah, Dinnies Butler, Dejean Eggers, Marcus, Mindy (Rudy Beasley), Matt (Carolyn), Alynda (Matt Davis), Karen, Miguel and Maria.
He is also survived by 10 great-grandchildren: Kylie and Owen Scribner, Jessica and Alex Butler, Sean Eggers, Jaden, Jordan, and Kaia Beasley, and Zachary and Lucas Franco.He is pre-deceased by two brothers, Carl, and Francis (affectionately known as "Ting"), and two sisters, Laurie Kerri and Christine Pescio.
A funeral Mass will be held Saturday, Dec. 8, 10:30 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, with a reception at the St. John's Hall directly after interment. A viewing will be held on Friday, Dec. 7, from 4-7:30 p.m., followed by a rosary at Richard Pierce Funeral Service, 1660 Silverado Trail, Napa. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. John the Baptist Church. Friends may offer their condolences to the family online at

Monday, November 26, 2007

On to the big boy bed!

My November project was to re-do Owen's room and take out all the baby stuff. I finished the "construction theme" on the walls and painted his dresser early in the month. My parents let us have my old twin bed, and Owen loves it! He's enjoying his new freedom, and really likes reading stories and going to sleep in his own big bed- just like Kylee's. It's such a weird feeling to have the crib stored away, it's been a staple in our houses for 4 years. It definitely feels like a milestone to have both the kids happily going to sleep in their own beds! It's official, Owen is a big boy!
This was Owen's Nursery when we moved into our house in 2005
Here are the kids, jumping off the new bed!

This dresser was my mom's as a child, and my brothers and I all used it. It was wooden with circus clowns originally! I painted it the nursery colors when I was pregnant with Kylee (it's shown in the 1st picture.) Here's what it looks like today.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

So Thankful

Last weekend I was in Weaverville getting a slideshow ready for my Grandmother's funeral. My brother, John and I spent many hours on Saturday scanning and emailing photos and talking. It was a lot of work, and it was taking so long with us being so far apart. I woke up Sunday morning and realized I had to be with my family in Oakland. It's hard to be far away when my whole family is trying to cope with losing my Grandma, and I felt so useless. My family was taking my mom out to celebrate her birthday that evening, and Wes and I spent Sunday morning packing and making phone calls and getting things lined up so we could get down in time to surprise Mom for her birthday and spend the week in Oakland. Let me just say that Wes' parents are amazing- they totally understood us wanting to be with my family and said they would hold down the fort- since Wes and I both work for them. They even sent us off with candy and condolence cards for my family and my grandpa.

We spent the week helping get my parent's house ready for a big Thanksgiving, finishing our slideshow, and even had a chance to visit my godparents- which I haven't done in so long. My godfather has Multiple Sclerosis (sp)- and he and his wife our home bound. We never have a chance to get out and see them, and this week was the perfect opportunity. It was a very special visit, and the kids seemed to be a little less wild than usual, so I was proud of them for behaving.

On Wednesday, we said good-bye to my Grandma. Wes joined my brothers and cousins as a Pall Bearer, and my cousin, Mindy, and I were able to wipe away the tears and stand up to do the readings during the mass. My dad and three of his brothers stood up and honored my grandmother with beautiful Eulogies. After her burial, we gathered and had a big Franco reception- with tons of warm conversation and so many wonderful memories. The slideshow turned out beautiful, and my Grandpa, who is broken hearted after so suddenly losing his "bella" of 70 years, even had some smiles and laughs while watching it.

So, on Thanksgiving Day, my dad said a prayer for Grandma, and we were all thankful that she is in heaven. I also thought about how thankful I am for my daughter- who, at 4 years old, is trying so hard to understand where her Great Grandma is and why we left her at the cemetary. Kylee's sweet nature has given her an abundance of compassion- and the funeral was very hard on her and left her with so many questions. But, she pushed through it, because she loved Great Grandma so much and wanted to be there with us. She was my rock- constanltly wiping my tears and softly rubbing my arm through the day. She saved all of her questions for when we got home, and we could not have asked for a more well behaved child. Owen did very well too, he was loud from time to time, but nothing too disturbing. So, I am thankful for my kids being good listeners in very important situations.

I am extremely thankful for my husband, who decided that he wanted to do everything in his power to make thanksgiving stress-free for my mom. And he did- he was cleaning, and changing light bulbs, and fixing things, and doing food prep, and clean up- all with a smile on his face, cause he was happy to see my parents enjoiying themselves as they visited and relaxed with family. My mom even said "I don't know how I got so lucky to have a son-in-law like you." I am thankful every second of my life for my wonderful husband.

I am thankful for my parents, and how they raised me. For my brothers and their wives, and how they all have such love for my kids. I am thankful for my extended family, which is huge and full of amazing people who can come together and build each other up when times get tough. For my godparents, and their strength. I am so thankful for all that I have been given. Life is beautiful, and after a week like the one I just had, I won't forget to be grateful for all the little blessings I have been given.

Surprising Grandma Sue at her Birthday Dinner

Beloved Ellie's beautiful great grandchildren

Turkey dinner at the Franco's

Friday, November 16, 2007

Our Loving Grandma Franco

Grandma in August, 2007

After a very sad couple of days, I am writing a quick post to honor my wonderful Grandma Ellie who passed away on Thursday after suffering a massive heart attack. She celebrated her 90th Birthday in August, and she and my Grandpa John just celebrated 70 years of marriage. My grandparents exemplify what it means to be truley committed in a loving relationship- and my Grandma has always been the picture of the strength of a mom. I have strived to be the loving wife and mom that my parents were to me, and their parents were to them. I feel blessed to have had Grandma Ellie in my world, and miss her tremendously. Please keep my family, especially Grandpa, in your prayers during this difficult time.


VALLEJO - Eleanor G. Franco passed peacefully on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007. Eleanor was born Aug. 14, 1917, in Bakersfield to John Marshall and Katherine Niccolls.She moved to Napa in 1929 and attended Napa High where she was a cheerleader and graduated in 1935. She married John Franco on Oct. 23, 1937 and she and John owned and operated Franco’s Market from 1957 to 1974 while raising five sons, all of whom also worked at the market.

A loving and dedicated mother, “Ellie” remained active in the lives of her children and their families throughout her later years, and they, in turn, cherished the time they spent with her. She was a devoted Catholic and worshipped at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

In retirement, Ellie remained an active fan of local high school sports, dabbled in the game of golf, enjoyed weekend trips to Lake Tahoe and Reno, and traveled cross-country to New England, New York, Washington DC, Virginia and to Hawaii on four separate occasions. But Napa was her home and her family was always foremost in her life.

She is survived by her husband of 70 years, John A. Franco; her sister, Dorothy Critchley of Napa; her sons, Ross (Suzanne) of Oakland, Jim (Lynn) of Buffalo, Mo., Les (Marsha) of Napa, Vic (Barbara) of Napa, and Bob (Angela) of Honolulu, Hawaii. She is also survived by 16 grandchildren, Thomas (Devon), David (Sonia), John (Nicola), Peter (Sunita), Ann Marie (Wes Scribner), Paul, Deborah, Dinnies Butler, Dejean Eggers, Marcus, Mindy (Rudy Beasley), Matt (Carolyn), Alynda (Matt Davis), Karen, Miguel and Maria. She is also survived by 10 great-grandchildren, Kylie and Owen Scribner, Jessica and Alex Butler, Sean Eggers, Jaden, Jordan, and Kaia Beasley, and Zachary and Lucas Franco.

She is predeceased by three sisters, Elizabeth Raneri, Marsha Jaeger and Kay Ahlswede; and one brother, Charles Niccolls.

A funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, Nov. 21, 10 a.m., at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, with a reception at the St. John’s Hall following interment. A viewing will be held Tuesday, Nov. 20, 4-7 p.m., followed by a rosary at Richard Pierce Funeral Service, 1660 Silverado Trail, Napa. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. John the Baptist Church. Friends may offer their condolences to the family on-line at

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's just too hard

Owen has been using the potty every now and then- but we really haven't committed to starting "full-on" potty training. Yesterday, he let me know how he really feels about the whole idea of it. I must say, he's a cute little quitter!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Kylee's 4th Birthday

We woke up early on Saturday, and met up with Wes' parents as we all prepared to caravan down to Sacramento. Kylee was EXTREMELY excited for the day's festivities, and did not shut her eyes for a second on the 3 1/2 hour drive. We checked into our hotel, then headed to Arco Arena for High School Musical; The Ice Tour. Kylee was lucky enough to have both sets of her grandparents, some of her uncles and aunts, her brother, cousins, and friends join us for the event. It was a great show- very exciting for those of us who have memorized all of the songs, and even entertaining for the troopers who had no idea about the "High School Musical" mania, and were just there to see a VERY happy little Kylee!
The Kids who watched the show(minus Priyah and Jordan)

Cousins Brynn and Kylee sport their High School Musical party favor shirts
made by mama!
Kylee enjoys the show!Uncle Paulie and Uncle Johnny can't take their eyes off of the amazing performance!The FinaleBrynn, Shawn, and Kylee outside of ArcoCousin Priyah and Auntie Sunita hug the B-Day girlFranco Family representing!
After the afternoon show, we headed to Chuck E Cheese in Roseville. Kylee finally gave in to exhaustion, and took a power nap on the drive- before her dinner activities began at 7 pm. Along with the crew from the Ice Show, Kylee was happy to have her Godmother, Katie, and a group of Mom and Dad's college friends travel out to Roseville to celebrate with us! It was a ton of fun for the grown ups to watch the kids play all the games, and cool to compare Chuck E Cheese now from when we were little. It's funny to see how our lives have changed... many of those who came were the same ones we used to go out with at The Grad in Davis.
Saturday night fun- look at us now!

Uncle Paulie and Owen have some laughs
Kylee blew out her candle
Chuck E. takes time to sing and take a picture with the kids
Katie and Baby Jimmy love Kylee and Brynn's dancing skills
Uncle John wishes he were a bit smaller so he could fit in the ride, too!
Owen and his little buddy, Jimmy, hope to go for a ride together

It was such a fun day- thank you all for making Kylee's 4th Birthday absolutely unforgettable!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Somebody's Turning 4!

Singing to the Birthday Girl!

Yummy cupcakes!

We have settled down from Halloween, and are getting ready to head out of town for Kylee's birthday celebration this weekend. Her birthday is on Sunday, so Owen and I surprised her at lunchtime today with mini cupcakes for the class. They sang to her, and she was shy with all eyes on her, but happy because her birthday is FINALLY here! We can't wait to celebrate some more tomorrow at High School Musical On Ice!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween 2007

Decorating cookies with Great Grandma Joy

Wow- our little princess loves that black icing!

Motocross Racer and High School Musical Cheerleader leave
for preschool on Halloween morning

Kylee, Taylor, and Aliya at school before the field trip

Some of Kylee's class as we sing at the Convalescent Hospital

Grandma Linda, friend Shannon, Shawn, Kylee, and Owen are all dressed up at Grandma's beauty shop

Powering up with some with dinner at Burger King with some of our Weaverville buddies

Our group of Trick-or-treaters at Main Street

Last stop- Trick or Treating at our friend's, Joe and Tiff's, Haunted House and party!