Archive for November, 2009

Dia de los Muertos

Posted in family on November 2, 2009 by gabrea


-Jeannette Stoops and Mabel Bischoff (l to r), July 3, 2004, at our Kentuckiana Post-Wedding Reception-

Today is Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.  A time for celebrating and remembering those that have left us, and guiding their spirits back to the home with altars bearing offerings of food, gifts, flowers, candles.  Both of my Grandmothers, Mabel and Jeannette, passed away within the last two years, and it is their memory that I honor and celebrate today.  They were both vibrant, strong,  beautiful, loving Southern Women – Mothers to 7 and 5 children, Grandmothers to exponientially more of us, and Great-Grandmothers to the few lucky enough to be born before they passed.

Today I spent some time telling Maxxi the story of his Great-Grandmothers, his Bisabuelas. How Grandma Mabel (Miss Marvelous Mabel Blanche) loved to tell stories, play penny poker with her friends, smoke GPCs, drink sweet tea, and most of all talk about all of her Grandchildren and her love for them.  How she used to make me sugar-toast for breakfast.  How she had the strength to leave a bad marriage and live on her own when it just wasn’t done and it for sure wasn’t easy, but she lived her life on her own terms.  How she always waved goodbye with both hands, because that just sent twice as much love with you on your way. How much she would have loved knowing him, and hearing his laugh.

How his Great-Grandma Jeannette always wanted nothing more for her Children and Grandchildren than to be happy on whatever path they chose.  How she was the best cook, and made everything from scratch, and sewed outfits for my Barbie dolls, and made the best lemon meringue pie and fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and milk gravy.  How she was the eternal optimist to the end of her days, in the best sense of the word – only celebrating what she had left in her life and the love she had for and from her family; never lamenting her losses, the hardships life dealt her, the failings of her body as she aged.  She was full of joy and love and had such a profound affect on all who knew her, and seeing photos of baby Maximo gave her so much happiness in her last months of life.

To my beautiful Grandmothers Jeannette & Mabel, who traveled the long and winding road from Daughter to Mother to Grandmother to Great-Grandmother with grace, strength, love and wisdom – I honor you and I carry your torch into the future so that your Bisnieto Maximo will know you through the many life lessons you taught me, that surely inform my own Mothering in ways too instinctual to notice and too plentiful to count.  I love you and miss you both.



Best. Weekend. EVER!

Posted in family, Gabbi, love, Maximo, Mexico on November 2, 2009 by gabrea


Wow.  Halloween was awesome.  Little Maxxi Lobo dressed as “Max, King of the Wild Things,” and Mama was one of his savage subjects.  Gabbi took off his costume and went as his true self, horns and all.  This is the first Halloween that I’ve done the full-on homemade costume thing, and I must say, I’m feeling pretty good about my crafty self.  Our dear friend Lisa Brewer, who was with us when Maximo came screaming into the big wide world, made Maxxi’s amazing, spot-on “wolf suit.”  Sew impressive – honestly, I am always amazed that people can actually make things on sewing machines with fabric.  And such a gift of her time and love to create this costume from scratch.  Lisa, you are the best Tia and we love you so much!!!  I made his little crown and scepter, and then managed to pull together my costume on Halloween day using Lisa’s magical glue gun, and Gabbi’s magical scale-drawing talents.IMG_9581

We kicked off the evening in Sayulita’s town plaza, which was filled with families.  I broughtIMG_9562 candy to hand out, and was immediately swarmed by kids chanting “Queremos Halloween” (“We Want Halloween!”), which is what they say here instead of “Trick or Treat.”  I also got a few “Feliz Halloween”s and a “Halloween o Truco” (truco = trick).  There were lots of great costumes on kids and adults.  Our favorite was an adorable mummy baby, Jonathan.  There were LOTS of IMG_9589ckids dressed as devils, along with vampires, zombies, fairies, and the rest of the usual suspects.  Maximo was such a champ and loved his costume.  He actually wore his crown and was waving his scepter around at everyone, loving the crowds.  I was roaring my terrible roar and gnashing my terrible teeth and stomping my terrible clawed feet, crying “Let the Wild Rumpus Start!”  We had so much fun and were a big hit.  After the plaza, we headed home to our street where our neighbors and great friends Tamra, Theo, and Talula were throwing a magical Harry Potter themed Halloween Party.  The wild rumpus continued with a fabulous friend-filled fiesta and delicious blood-red (pomegranate) margaritas.


This morning we got up early and walked down to Rollie’s for the first day of the best breakfast in town – arIMG_9659guably anywhere for that matter.  Rollie’s is a Sayulita institution, serving up some of the best pancakes you will ever eat along with a heap of love and all around feel-goodness, topped off with a damn good bloody mary (a critical counterbalance to those bloody margaritas from last night…).  Being at Rollie’s again (they close for the summer from May – November) felt like being home, and it also feels like the official kick-off to the high season, which is ramping up in full force, along with our workload.

2009-11-01 18-16-320030But today was a lovely work-free Sunday, and after filling our bellies with entirely too much food for any sane person to eat on a regular basis, we packed up the good ship albion and cruised over to La Lancha, a gorgeous stretch of undeveloped white sand beach in Punta de Mita, and also my man’s favorite surf break.  We were joined by our lovely friends Nick, Treva, Astrid, Steve and Laura.  Tamra sent us with a bunch of yummies left over from the party last night, and we had a perfect day.  The weather is just amazing right now – warm but not hot, no humidity, the ocean at the absolute perfect temperature.  The sun was glistening on a 2009-11-01 18-22-340149gorgeous low-tide sea with sweet little long-board waves peeling gently into shore.  This was our first time to the beach since Maxxi started walking and it was a whole new world.  He had the best time walking around the sand, wading into the surf, collecting rocks and shells, playing with Dulce and Astrid, and just generally being his awesome smiley sweet self.  We got to watch Gabbi surf for the first time, took some stellar photos, and saw the most gorgeous pink-lemonade sunset, followed by a full moon lighting up the drive home.


Honestly, a completely perfect weekend.  I am so filled with love for my family – for my super-hot surfer husband who showers me with2009-11-01 18-19-430097 so much love and is my best friend and favorite person to hang out with; and for my son – my sun – who though it seems impossible today, I know I will love even more tomorrow, because he keeps doing new and amazing things and his joy and wonder are utterly contagious.  He cracks me up and makes me want to dance and run and sing and be silly and, well, this is why people love being parents.  I am not even sure how to say it in a way that is particularly eloquent or that is not completely clichéd, but I feel this incredible surge of love and pride and joy and all around awesomeness when I think about and look at my boy.  Everything he does is incredible and magical and smart and funny and perfect, and I see the world anew through his big brown eyes.  I am so completely, totally, absolutely, madly in LOVE!!!!!  And that, is perfect.


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