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