Meet Henry!

I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the Tharp household: Henry!


My son is an eight-and-a-half-week-old Jack Russell, and the sweetest puppy imaginable.

He is still too small to get up on my bed (if he fell it would be a Henry pancake!) but you would think he had epilepsy the way he clamors to reach me when my parents come into my room.

Henry does tons of sleeping. Actually I’m looking at him right now, and he’s out. Anyone with kids, be it human or canine, knows how dangerous a baby sleeping in the daytime can be.

It’s gonna be a long night.

Three Little Words

I ordered something from Amazon on Monday. Because I have Prime, some of the order was here Tuesday, and the rest arrived this morning. What was ordered is quite boring (a few board games), but it was the box it came in that intrigued me. A white box with the words #LoveIn3Words. That was perfect post inspiration!



Understanding, patient, giving

Sarcastic, hilarious, belly-laugh inducing

Generous, kind, loving

As you can see, I couldn’t narrow it down to just three words so I settled for three lines.

I don’t know what I’d do without my family. Actually, I probably wouldn’t be here! I hate the expression, but they are my rock. I might not always show it, but I appreciate every measly task they do for me. It’s not much, but a huge THANK YOU!

Thanksgiving Part 2

For this post I’d like to thank the people at WordPress. The photo challenge prompt fit exactly with what I was going to talk about anyway.

You knew that the whole family was going to fly to Seattle to surprise my sister for Thanksgiving. Well, we’re back. The surprise worked perfectly, as you can see.

Thanksgiving was just a lazy day. We all watched “Intervention,” played Uno (which caused some salty language) ate a delicious turkey, and watched “Christmas Vacation,” a Tharp tradition.

Our Thanksgiving definitely strayed from the typical. It wasn’t a formal occasion, which is the norm for many. But all the people I love were together. It couldn’t be Thanksgiving without that.

Thanksgiving, Part 1


Recently my youngest sister moved to Seattle, where her former boyfriend, now fiancé, got a job. That was part of the deal. She wouldn’t leave her family in Southern California without a ring. She is braver than I!

I’m writing this on Friday, November 11th. Tomorrow, the Tharp “girls,” which includes Mom and the three of us, are going wedding dress shopping.

On Sunday the whole family is gathering for “Thanksgiving dinner” since we won’t see Kelley on the real Thanksgiving. Kelley doesn’t know this, but the four of us are flying up to Seattle for the real Thanksgiving to surprise her. We’ll just have pizza, but we’ll be together. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is about?

In conclusion, it is the tiny moments in life, like wedding dress shopping and Thanksgiving dinner, even if it means eating pizza, can be the most special. As long as your family is by your side.

The Real Most Wonderful Time of the Year



I thought I had two (!!) more months before I had to think about Christmas. But thanks to the people at WordPress with today’s prompt, I am forced to think about the dreaded holiday today, September 7th.

Isn’t it sad to dread such a nice holiday? I was like everyone, racking my brain, trying to think of the perfect gift for everyone. Instead of enjoying the season, it was more a burden than “the most wonderful time of the year.” But last year our family did something I would recommend for any family with older children who are sick of the Christmas rush and materialism.

We exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve night, which was a welcome relief from the mayhem of Christmas morning.   But we all had a deal: The gifts to each other couldn’t be material gifts; rather, donations to charities of causes the recipient was passionate about.

We didn’t get things, but I would say it was the best Christmas I can remember.


People say we need to put Jesus back in Christmas, and I think that’s what the Tharp family did on December 24, 2015.



Miss it? Don’t worry–it’ll be back next summer.

This post uses the photo challenge title “Now” as inspiration, but I’m obviously not using photography.


At this moment, here I sit in the kitchen, the house in disarray as the Christmas decorations come down. I hear the zipping of the bag containing our tree. Yes, it’s fake, something my 29-year-old sister is horrified at.


This time was always sad as a kid. Christmas was really over. Eleven more months, which was an eternity. Now, it’s kind of like, “The show’s over, back to your lives!” Almost a relief to return to normal.


Time flies at the age of 32. Although it’s dreary and bitter cold, by Southern California standards, it could be May 2015—seven months ago. Or at least it seems like it could be May. Or should be May.


So, with that logic, I guess Christmas will be back next summer, fake tree and all.


Image courtesy of

December Is The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year


At church, our priest discourages his parishioners from doing any Christmas-related activities until after Thanksgiving, especially Black Friday shopping (although since Walmart offers Black Friday deals all day long on Thanksgiving, I suppose you could call it Black Thursday. Or Black Thanksgiving.). My family has always waited to decorate or listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, but to the majority of Americans, Christmas starts after Halloween. Okay, I know I’m exaggerating, but it sure feels like it. Right after Halloween, up went the Christmas decorations in our city. Sirius/XM started playing Christmas music (actually that might been before Halloween!), and Christmas trees, along with Santa in some cases, graced every mall.


Aren’t we forgetting something? Oh yeah. Thanksgiving. How did a nice holiday, complete with good food, family, and a good message, get swept away like that? Being thankful for what you have shouldn’t be one of those calendar-filling holidays like, say, Arbor Day. And if you are giving thanks, Christmas just might be a little more special.


Happy Thanksgiving, readers!

Halloween, Circa 1994

Erin the Picnic, Kelley the Hula Girl, and Sarah the Bag of Jelly Belly's.

Erin the Picnic, Kelley the Hula Girl, and Sarah the Bag of Jelly Belly’s.

Ah, Halloween. It was the one night when bedtimes didn’t matter (within reason), and a sugar rush was acceptable—almost expected. And for one night you could experience being somebody other than yourself.

Then comes the year when you stop trick-or-treating altogether (I was probably in junior high). I felt so grown up—trick-or-treating was so juvenile! But being on candy patrol wasn’t as much fun, as it turned out.

Today, HALLOWEEN, PERIOD, even if I dressed up, just isn’t the same. There are just too many creeps who are ready to “pounce” on unsuspecting children partaking in an innocent pre-November tradition. You see on the news the stupid people hiding razors and things in candy or lacing it with drugs.

I know I sound like an old geezer, but I miss the innocent days. My sisters and I got costume ideas from American Girl magazine, Dad was the designated pumpkin carver, and a fun-size Reese’s Cup made my night.

I’m now 32 and my sisters in their late 20s. I’m positive they would wholeheartedly agree when I say I wish I appreciated those days of trick-or-treating, when my only problem was which candy bar to eat first.

The Elder Statesman

You already know that I am the mother of a ten-year-old Corgi named Maggie. But we also have a family dog—Wayne, also a Corgi. You didn’t read his name wrong. His name is actually Wayne. The name is courtesy of my middle sister, Sarah, which really explains some things.

When I got Maggie, the breeder said that though Wayne was older, when she grew up, my dog would rule the roost. He said females are just more dominant. Dad said that was just like people. And there was a huge eye roll, probably, and an Oh please from Mom.

But what Bill, the breeder, said is completely true. Of the two dogs, Maggie is definitely in charge. As they got older, Wayne spent more and more time sunning himself in the Southern California sunshine. Coincidence? I think not.

Wayne is now thirteen. He is now thirteen and a half, actually. My jaw drops whenever I see this saint of a dog. He is now elderly. When I look at him now I see a dog who limps and is extremely slow moving because of a bad foot.

I can hardly talk about it, but when he is in doggie heaven I hope I remember him as the rambunctious little puppy amusing himself by tossing pebbles to himself, not a deaf dog who has a hard time walking. He is my daily reminder that time marches on. That, and what unconditional love looks like: Maybe not perfect, but just right.



Guess Who?

Have you seen the CBS show “The Briefcase”? It’s definitely not my favorite, but something you can DVR for when nothing is on. After all, summer TV is slim pickings! The show’s premise is this: Two families are given $100,000. They can keep all of it, some of it, or give it all away to another family in equal or worse financial shape.

If you’ve seen it, you know that part of the show is when the couples exchange houses, trying to find about the family who lives there? Instead of telling about the person/people I chose for this post, I decided to describe him/her/them using pictures.

Here goes—see if you can figure out what sorts of person/people would possess:


Reagan book- does that mean he/she/they like our 40th president? Are they Republican? Or just a fan of bad movies?


David Sedaris book: Does the person or people also have a quirky sense of humor? Or are they just sarcastic?


Tools: Are they working on something? Hobby? Both?


Medals: They look like running medals. Are they a runner? Or did they hit a runner’s garage sale then hang them up in their own home?


Basket of toys: Do they have dogs? Or just a child with a propensity towards grimy stuffed animals?


Last picture: Do they enjoy gardening? Is it even their yard? If not, where is it?

Okay, these pictures represent my parents, Linda and Gary. Dad is a huge Republican who thinks Reagan was the best president ever, hands down. He enjoys woodworking and is currently redoing our living room. Mom is a runner with a quirky sense of humor, hence David Sedaris. They both love dogs (Dad would never admit it). The garden is our backyard, and they both enjoy getting dirty taking care of it.

Hopefully if our family is ever on “The Briefcase,” whoever comes through our house to gather clues isn’t offended by Reagan, “gets” quirky personalities, and loves dogs. Otherwise, they’ll be keeping all the money for themselves.