Saturday, December 31, 2011

out with the old; in with the new

As a teacher, I gauge time by the school year calendar.  Daily life is lived through back to school days, grading quarters, spirit weeks, vacation weeks, standardized testing dates, and end of year festivities.  Thus, New Years Eve has never ranked high amongst holidays to be celebrated.  In fact, we usually celebrate it with east coast time and Alexander and I are in bed by 10. 

That doesn't mean I haven't set my fair share of resolutions.  One year, I resolved to lose to 20 lbs and I did it (2000).  One year, I resolved to run a 5K (1997) and ended up running a 1/2 marathon (2010)...13 years later!  Truthfully, once I'm back in the school routine and counting down days until mid-winter break in February, resolutions are quickly forgotten and I'm back to my old ways.  Something about the daily grind keeps me from focusing on a list of events or behaviors.

Sooooo, this year, I'm choosing something different to celebrate the new year.
As I was blog hopping yesterday, I came across the blog of a woman who chooses a word for the year.  The idea instantly resonated with me because it involves MY choice and is under MY control. 

I choose

Now, I'm going to go search for wall decals so I can decorate my bathroom to remind me to choose joy each morning.  I think I'm also going find pictures of friends and family that fill me with joy and hang those up on my mirror, too!  Oh, I do love a fun project!

As you bring in the new year, what word you would choose for 2012?


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review - Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

This one surprised me. 
Months ago, this book was suggested to me on FB when I asked what people were reading.  At the time, I put it towards the bottom of the list.  I didn't have any interest or time for reading what I call "a heavy book-club type book".  When my mom recently loaned me a bag o' books, this one was in it so I figured, "what the heck".

I was wrong to think I wouldn't enjoy this book.  It is so well written that I didn't want to put it down.
The story follows the lives of orphaned twins, Marian and Shiva Stone and how fate leads each of them down a different path to a life in medicine.  The author provides vivid description so the reader truly can picture themself in Ethopia, amongst the smells and sights of the convent where most of this book takes place.  Interwoven are stories of betrayal, hope, and the deep love between siblings.

   I truly enjoyed this book.  For what it is worth, it has a slow beginning so be patiend.  Don't put it down until you work through the first part to about where the twins are born.  THAT is where it gets really good.  I'd love to know what you think of it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

my muscles are soooooore!

My body may have had no problem running 2 miles yesterday but TODAY?

Holy crap.  Muscles are hurting!   Feels like I had volleyball tryouts, conditioned like a fiend...and didn't make the team.

Maybe I should pull a Jodie (I'll have what she's having) and start a Pilates program.

Or find a yoga class.

Let's face it.
These old muscles are going to be sore, no matter WHAT I pick up!

Monday, December 26, 2011

why wait until January 1?

I went out for a run today.  2.0 miles.  It has been over a year since my last run (18 months, I think!) so I was curious as to how I'd feel while running.  It took about a half mile for the kinks to wear themselves out but the ol' muscles remembered just what to do.  There weren't many people out on the trail, the weather was perfect, and I felt TERRIFIC when the run was over.

Wanna know why I started running again?

Because, like an idiot, I agreed to join my bozo friends at the Survivor Mud Run in June.  Yes, I was drunk when I agreed.  No, there is no way they are going to let me out of this commitment...especially once they offered to give me their free beers at the end. 

Check it out. 

I may need a beer before we begin.

Monday, December 19, 2011

checking in

I thought I would have blogged more now that I'm on vacation.
Turns out, being on the computer is the last thing I want to do.

The weekend flew by.  Eric has a new computer game so he hung out upstairs.  Alexander and I spent most of the Saturday, hanging out and working on a new puzzle before getting ourselves together for a holiday party with friends, playing rockband and eating delicious treats (and drinking delicious cocktails with whipped cream vodka!  NUMMY!). 
Naturally, Sunday was low-key...until Alexander and I started this...

Apparently, after a few cocktails on Saturday night, I agreed to play LEGO Star Wars with my almost-5 year old (who is WAY better at the game than I am) on Sunday.
WTH was I thinking?  I don't game.

I admit, we had a pretty good time.  So much so, that Eric finally told us to go to bed at 11PM! 
Vacation rocks.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

24 hours to go...

...until I have TWO FULL WEEKS of vacation!

You see, lately, this is where I can be found most nights.

Sound asleep by 8pm.

I had forgotten how a short month of work is more exhausting than a long month with five weeks.

10 hour days. 
Evening events. 
A spirit week.

Add all the homefront tasks that come with the holidays...and I'm more than ready for the break!

Speaking of all the holiday tasks, we did put decorations up a few weeks ago.

Christmas cards have been mailed and holiday packages have been sent,
which means all we have left is SHOPPING!
My favorite part!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ugly Sweater Day

Or, as I like to call it,
"Take your mom's sweater to work" day.

Don't be offended, Mom.  The sweater was a big hit!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

random acts of christmas kindness (ROACK)

My super awesome Aussie friend Sarah came up with the idea of doing a random act of kindness for twenty-five days.  My first thought?  "Yes, please!".  Sarah's one of the Seven Strong (read about them here) and is one of the most compassionate, caring, generous people...I have never met.  Right now, one of the seven is especially on my mind, as she spends her days at the Children's Hospital in Texas, fighting with doctors for what is best for her young son, Cael.  You can read about Liz and Cael here

Sarah's vision is for everyone to participate in a Random Act of Christmas Kindness in the days leading up to Christmas.  No grand gestures or acts are necessary.  Just think about being kind.  Here's what I've done:

Day 1
Gave 1 month's worth of lunch money to the school coin drive, which will be donated to the local food bank.
Day 2
Gave a poinsettia to my ASB bookkeeper, whose infinite knowledge keeps me from making mistakes and getting fired.
Day 3
Alexander and I helped a mom carry out a HUGE order of food from the gluten-free bakery to her car so she wouldn't have to make multiple trips in the cold.
Day 4
Alexander and I are going to bake cookies for my ASB kids, who spent all day Saturday decorating the school for Snowcoming.

Pretty simple gestures that go a long way to make someone else feel good.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

i'm so vain

I admit it.

I am vain.

Luckily, I have this blog to blame when I pull my camera out of my purse.  And I'm lucky enough that my friends and family have come to accept it and have become used to posing with me.

Well...most have.
This week, I set a goal to wear my new pretty shoes to work. 

Super cute, right? ! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!   The problem is I haven't been able to convince myself that I can wear them.  It's a combination of 1.)  I'm too old to wear them and 2.) the lack of an outfit. 
This week I was bound and determined to figure this out! 

 I decided I would take a picture of myself and what I wore to work each day, in the event of finding the right outfit for the best shoes.  I saw the idea on another blog and thought it was pretty creative.  And we all know how I like to steal others creativity.

I may not have found the outfit but I definitely found my favorite new way to justify my vanity.
Excuse the TERRIBLE quality of photos - I used my phone.

Every Monday, I wear some sort of dress/skirt/tights/boots combination to work.  I'm only on year two of grown up clothes so I'm slowly working new pieces in as I find them.  I found this cute sweater tunic at Fred Meyer, of all places, and thought it looked pretty cute with leggings and boots.

In hindsight, I think this sweater would have looked great with a black skirt.
And maybe the new shoes.
I'll have to try it another time.

I used to think I could never wear skinny jeans. 
I have since changed my mind and love to pair them with boots.

I wore the shoes!  Under a long pair of jeans but hey, I did it.
BTW, I orginally had this top paired with a long scarf and no cardigan. 
Once I took the picture, I saw ginormous hips so off went the scarf and on a whim, I threw on the cardigan and long necklace. 

Typically, Fridays are dress down days.  However, I had to dance in the assembly and didn't want to look dumpy in front of the entire student body.
I TOLD you I was vain.

Oh, how I love the cardian, skinny jean and boot look!
AND these jeans have been sitting on my shelf when I bought them 10 lbs ago. so BONUS to a new pair of jeans!

So, there you have it.  One week of what I wear to work and my vanity at it's finest.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review - One Second After by William Forstchen

One Second After by William Forstchen
I love when other people suggest books to me.  A co-worker and I have similar tastes in books so she thought I'd enjoy this one. 

The story opens one second after the US is hit with an EMP wave. It is a story of how one little town, in the Black Hills, survives, battles, and learns to rebuild after this catostrophic event. Little things like medication become a matter of life or death, relationships between neighbors are tested as they fight to defend their town, and young men and women leave their childhood behind.   

This book isn't a heavy read but it is a thought provoking one. 
How would we survive an event like this one and how likely or realistic is an EMP attack?

Could we live a year, or more, without power, phone, radio, etc?  Do we have enough survival gear to survive a winter?   Do we have the skills needed to feed our family, once we ran out of food?    Do we have the skills to survive with the basic necessities of food, shelter, and clothing? 
 Could we protect ourselves from looting and stealing?

It is a fascinating story about survival.
And it made me want to go to Costco to buy food and propane to last a year.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

apple cup

Happy Saturday!  I'm loving the long weekend and I hope you are, too!  It's SO nice to spend time at home, just kicking it with my boys.  I did a load of online Christmas shopping yesterday, Eric and I helped my parents put their tree up (which I'm dying to do at our place but can't until after Eric's birthday), and watched a lot of mindless TV.  While I thought the weekend would include sleeping in, I should have realized that a certain 4 year old would want his mama up to play with him.  So, I'm up early.  Drinking coffee, working on a puzzle, and finishing laundry.  And soon, I'll drag myself to the store to buy a few things for the party, party we're going to tonight.

Because, people, today is APPLE CUP!
Can I hear a WHOOT!  WHOOT!!

Today's the day one of these teams will earn bragging rights for a full year.  Admittedly, neither team is very good but that won't matter come game time.  Somehow, the season always seems to start fresh when it's time for kickoff.  It's going to be a great day...even if I have to spend it surrounded with the dreaded Purple and Gold!


Friday, November 25, 2011

black friday? no thank you!

I had every intent of waking early and shopping Black Friday sales.

And then I remembered how much I hate crowds.

Instead, I'm going to pour myself a cup of coffee, cuddle up on the couch with my laptop, and surf a few websites like these

I've never been disappointed with pricing of toys.  I love to find a good deal on ebay and know I saved money, too!

 Most members in my family create holiday wish lists with Amazon, which makes Christmas shopping SO easy!  Just remember to delete items as you purchase!  Not that I'd mind ending up with two pairs of these bad boys.

For the big guys in your life, I found this sweeet website.  I haven't ordered from here before but I found a few great items that I couldn't pass up for my daddio!

I ran across this website and thought instantly of my darling nieces!  Another sight-unseen purchase but the hairbands are so cute, I don't know if I can resist!

Every holiday season, I'm drawn to this last website.   Maybe you can find the perfect someone who would love one of these necklaces!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Every single day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

i'm still here

things haven't been easy at work lately.

I need...






The long weekend couldn't have come at a better time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

I often forget how long it takes me to read a book during the school year.  Mostly because I fall asleep after reading three pages.  However, I ALWAYS trudge through a book to the end.  I can't leave things undone.

In August, a co-worker suggested I read this book.  She's an english teacher, uber-smart, and always spot on with her recommendations.

She didn't let me down.
Meet Oskar Schell. He is nine years old, living in New York in the aftermath of losing his father on September 11th. 


As you can imagine, the book tugges at my heartstrings as this orphaned boy searches for meaning of his life, without his dad.  What makes this book outstanding is the author's writing.  It is all about the voices of the characters.  It is powerful.  It is moving.  It is GOOD.

Admittedly, you have to follow the book closely because it does bounce around.  I can see where some might not enjoy this book, due to how strange and wild the ride can be with Oskar.  Not everyone in my booclub will like this but secretly, that is why I suggested it!  I liked it and the ending was so sweet that everyone should stick it out to the very last page.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

i told you i met a seahawk

Sometimes, there are perks to being the one in charge!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

not everyone is as freaky organized as me

Part of my job this year is working with select students on their planning and organizing skills so they can be more efficient with turning in assignments, writing in their planners, and learning routines that can help them be successful.  It's a long story how this job fell into my lap but truthfully, I like working with kids one-on-one to help them make good choices.  Making a difference is kinda why I got into this job in the first place!

I spend about 20 minutes every other day, with three different students, helping them stay on top of things.  The current plan is to work for a full month, set goals, and re-assess what is/isn't working at the end of the month.  Truthfully, it isn't a ton of work and I'm blown away by the progress and confidence these students are making every time we meet.

I was telling Eric about this facet of my job today and how much I enjoy it.  He listened and then said, "you do realize not everyone is as freaky organized as you, right?" 

WHAT?  Not everyone loves to write down to-do lists?  Not everyone loves to write in a planner?  Not everyone loves binders, dividers, and how pretty an organized notebook looks? 

I'm flabbergasted.

Actually, I jest.  I know all to well not everyone has these skills.  Once upon a time, I worked closely with one young man for two full middle school years on these skills.  Last year, he sent me an email telling me that he was graduating from college, with a 3.8 GPA, and going into business.  When I first met him, I don't know that anyone thought he would have graduated from high school and without learning those skills, he might not have. 

That's the key...

ANYONE can LEARN them.  It is a long road and change doesn't come overnight.   It takes hard work, diligence and patience.  However, change will come and students will start to feel confident and realize the importance of the skills.  In the past week, all three students are caught up in missing assignments AND have turned in all current assignments.  All have written in their planners every day and all have a to-do list.  One told me today that this is the best he has felt all year because he turned in every single assignment.  They know it will take time for grades to improve.  It's a whole lot easier to dig the hole than to climb out of it.  But at least they are moving in the right direction.  All I do is sit across from them, ask what needs to be done, sit there while they do it, and then follow up the next time we meet.  They have to do the hard work.  So far, so good!

So, I know this is a lengthy post and I'll wrap it up.  I'm not writing this to say "oh, look what a great person I am".  I'm writing it because I love when students learn.  I love teaching others.  When it comes to these skills, all I know is they come naturally to me.  It comes from the years when my parents sat all three of us down, starting in middle school, and we had study hour, from 6-8PM at the dinner table.  We had to be organized.  We had to be prepared.  And we had to work.  My brother struggled the most and I watched my mother show infinite patience with him.  I remind myself of that patience when I work with these students.  It doesn't come naturally to them but they can learn.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.  I'm paying it forward.  Just like you taught me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

time to de-clutter

I pride myself on not being much of a packrat. Yes, I do admit to owning a hope chest, full of high school and college momentos.  Yes, I do admit to owning three plastic bins, filled with Alexander's clothing.  Yes, I do admit to owning five bins filled with Christmas decorations.
But there are times when enough is enough!

Lately, the disaster known as Alexander's closet has been bugging me.  It all started when I came across this lovely item in a catalog.

I decided right then and there, I had to have it.  I knew it would be perfect for organizing my mess!  

This is one of THREE boxes that had gotten out of control.  A few weeks ago, Eric moved Alexander's clothing to a lower rack so Alexander can pick out his own shirts.  We love the independence this gives our little man.  However, it also meant that I could now see more and more of the crap items.

So, this morning I went to task.  I pulled the boxes out and started sorting the items into piles.  I knew most of the stuff was old cards and Holiday pictures.  I had just never taken the time to sort it all out.
Time to sort!

The recycling pile kept growing by the minute!
Turns out I'm a holiday card junkie.  I just love them.  And it seems I have kept everyone of them, along with baby announcements, since 2005.  Once I had all of those sorted out, I put them into piles.

With each pile, I added our Christmas card from the year, too.  Apparently, there is a small part of me that thinks I'll actually scrapbook again.  I sure hope that small part of me figures out when I'm going to find the time!

Finally, after I had looked through every card, sorted way too many piles, and put together my cute little organizer box, I had a final product!
The bag is filled with cards from my baby showers and cards sent after Alexander was born.  For some reason, I can't part with these cards so I'm going to buy another organizational box for THAT crap stuff and put them in my hope chest...if I can make room for it.

Finally, the closet was put back together.  It looks just a little bit better if you ask me! 

In case you are wondering, the Pull Ups box is filled with gift bags.  Unless someone has a better suggestion, I think I'm going to buy a skinny plastic bin (the kind you use for wrapping paper) and put them in there, along with the rolls of wrapping paper that are behind it.  I had a skinny bin for that crap stuff but that is being filled with Alexander's projects from school. 
No, I don't keep every project.
Just my favorites.
For the hope chest.

Book Review - State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

I have to admit, I was not very excited to read this book.  Since I hadn't enjoyed the first book by Ann Patchett (Bel Canto), I couldn't imagine how I would be able to like a second book by her.  However, I kept my opinion to myself and went along with the book club decision to read this one.

I had a hard time convincing myself to open the book.  If I knew I wasn't going to enjoy it, why bother reading it?  I would read a few pages, fall asleep, put it down for a few days, pick it back up again and repeat the pattern.  It is only because I didn't want to let my book club crew down that I kept going (even though only a few of us ended up reading it!)

But then came the day when I could read more than a few pages at a time and I fell in love with the story.  So, if you find yourself wanting to put it down, kept at it.  It's worth it. 

A young woman experiences the adventure of a lifetime in the Amazon jungle, searching for the answers to the death of her co-worker and scientific research for the pharmacutical company she works for.  This is a captivating book that meshes personal with professional responsibilities. I really enjoyed how the author placed the main character into situations simply to see what she is made of.   I believe in pushing people so they learn resilience and grit so finding that theme interwoven into a book was fantastic. 

It's a good book that is worth reading.  Not a summer vacation book but more of a long weekend type of book.  If you have the chance, pick it up. 

P.S.  Mari, from now on, I'll post my reviews before book club just for you! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

jo-jo's big news

 Sometimes, my kid says some funny stuff.  And that funny stuff becomes blog worthy.  For example:

Alexander: "Mommy, do you think Jo-Jo and Zak wrote their letters to Santa, yet?"
Mommy: "I don't know.  Why do they need to do that, Alexander?"
Alexander:  "Well, Mommy.  Last year, Santa didn't know where to send their presents so they didn't have as many presents as me to open up.  This year, they should tell him REALLY early so they get their presents at our house."
Mommy:  "What if Zak and Jo-Jo don't stay with us on Christmas Eve this year?
Alexander:  "Don't be ridiculous, Mommy.  They love me.  They will."

Naturally, this story made me laugh.  And made me think of Jo-Jo.  My favorite.

And THEN I realized I hadn't written about Jo-Jo and Zak's BIG NEWS!


Zak proposed the night Jodie arrived home from our Vegas extravaganza. Oh boy!  Oh boy!  Oh boy!!

The wedding is in August.  And you can bet these faces will be grinning and taking a WHOLE lot of photos!
It's kinda what we do.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

15 things you don't know about me

I admittedly stole this post idea from Heather over at Live.Love.Laugh.  Check it out. 

15 things you don't know about me...or maybe you do.

1.  I don't eat anything that has a pit in the middle of it.  *shudder*

2.  At the end of every work day, all papers on my desk have to be in a pile and the pile has to be as straight as the edge of the desk.

3.  When I need to de-stress, I clean.  Everything.

4.  I love to play music REALLY loud when I drive. 

5.  When I want something immediately like a new skirt or a Halloween costume, I will obsess and drive to as many stores as it takes to find it THAT day.

6.  I used to be thousands of dollars in debt until Eric told me he wouldn't marry me until I cleared it.  Took me less than a year to clear it.

7.  After a summer of working in Alaska, I came home, weighing as much as a polar bear.  Well, not really.  More like a teen polar bear.

8.  I changed my major in college 7 times.

9.  I have recieved three tickets - one for blowing through a stop sign, two for speeding.  All three occurred when my mind was pre-occupied by a tragedy or worry.  I didn't fight any of the tickets.  Nor do I think I should have gotten them but that's another story...

10.  I knew the night of our first date that I would marry and spend the rest of my life with Eric. 

11.  I once had a total breakdown watching Battlestar Galactica.  The cyborg could get pregnant but I couldn't.  Needless to say, I was a little emotional during the infertility phase of life.

12.  Seven years ago, I joined a pregnancy forum and became close friends with six women.  I have only met two of them, have never been in the same place with all of them, but love them as dearly as my friends who I see and talk to all the time.  They were my lifeline during that somewhat emotional infertile time in my life.

13.  I often make fun of people when I shouldn't.  It isn't nice.  It doesn't make me a better person.  But I love to do it, even if the thoughts stay in my head.

14.  I don't like to miss out on a social event, knowing others are having fun without me.

15.  I'm 7 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight and most days, I don't care if I lose them or not.

Monday, October 31, 2011

can't say i am not a team player

Of all the holidays that are celebrated during a year, Halloween is my least favorite.  And by my least favorite I mean, all-time-dislike-the-day least favorite.  

Always have disliked it.  Always will.

So, you can imagine my distress when my coworkers put together this little beauty

(can you figure out which one is me?)

AND announced we were going to dress up for Halloween.

I do NOT dress up Halloween.  You have GOT to be kidding me.

But I'm a team player and said I'd do it. 

And so, I did it.

And after school, I immediately trick or treated at my parents house for a cocktail.

A Captain and Diet Coke.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

post filled with random updates

Since I can't spend my morning updating grades due to a server crash at school, I thought I'd spend the time updating the blog.  During the school year, it is so hard to find the extra time to post but I'm bound and determined to try to update more than once a week.

You're welcome.

*Monday - Actually made it to Curves after work.  It was awesome.

*Tuesday - I met a super nice Seattle Seahawk.  I wish I had a picture but it's on that server I can't access right now. Boo. 

*Wednesday - Alexander and I had dentist appointment. I don't know about you but we have the BEST dentist and dental staff.  When I was a kid, I hated the dentist (different person) because the office was so sterile and cold.  Luckily, our dental office is very kid-friendly and my kid doesn't mind going to the dentist one bit.  I still hate it but at least the people are nice, which makes it bearable.

*Thursday was 80's Flashback day.  This was my Facebook post:
Started the day with Chuck's Donuts and Pat Benatar.  Ending it with Star Wars and a LHS soccer game.  Is it 1986?
*Friday - date night!  Mom and Dad have taken Alexander once a week for a playdate for the past year.  This school year we settled on Friday nights, based on preschool and dialysis.  Bet you don't pick your schedules based on those two things!  Before Alexander was born, Eric and I used to set aside Friday's as date nights and I'm glad we're back to that day.  There's nothing better than being able to relax all night and know I don't have to get up early the next day!   
*Saturday/Sunday - Curves, laundry, cleaning house, playing with toys, working on a puzzle, and I wrote seven letters of recommendations (gotta love a template!).  We're heading to my parents today so Alexander and Lorelli can trick or treat at their place and we can have family time for a few hours.  If all goes well, we'll also go to IKEA because I have a little project in mind and I can't wait to get started.
Which brings us to tomorrow.
My least-favorite-of-all-time-overly-commercialized-non-holiday.
This year, I caved to the peer pressure at work and am dressing up with the rest of my team.
Thank goodness, trick or treating later that evening will involve wine.
I'm gonna need it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

lazy sunday

Not doing much of anything feels really good.

Last night, we celebrated Christmas with the in-laws.  Our favorite snow birds leave for Arizona next weekend so it makes perfect sense to celebrate the holidays BEFORE Halloween.

We had a great night, eating, drinking, and opening presents.  Ya know, kinda like Christmas.  In October.
Apparently, the more wine I drink, the more likely it is that I will cut off my head in photos.

Alexander is having his last sleepover with his grandparents so Eric and I are happily doing nothing.  In fact, it is highly possible that Eric is still in bed.  I've done a few loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and drank a few cups of coffee while flipping between PennSt vs Michigan volleyball match (PennSt=AHMAZING) and Seahawks game (not as AHMAZING). 

I may or may not shower today. 
I may or may not eat loads of chips and salsa. 
I may or may not spend the day watching terrible television.
I may or may not take a nap.

It's a lazy Sunday. 
I am loving it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

time for a new chapter for dad

After a three surgeries, half a dozen dialysis treatments, endless blood pressure checks, and too many bad cafeteria meals, Dad is home!

THANK YOU to everyone who prayed and/or sent positive thoughts to us during this latest adventure.

Eventually, the doctors will determine when and what type of heart surgery will have to happen and we'll start that chapter.

For now, we're just going to live it day to day.
And celebrate the big guy being back home!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Review - The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Oh boy, did I love this book!  So well written.  So enjoyable.  So, so good.

One of my favorite genre of books is historical pieces.  Be it from the Victorian era, the Wild, Wild West or the early 1800's, I love it.  The Kitchen House is based on a southern plantation when slavery was in full swing.  The story revolves around a young, white servant girl names Lavinia.  She eventually bonds with her adopted slave family and her loyalty becomes questioned when she is finally accepted in the world of the white people in the Big House.  Love and loyalty are two themes strongly interwoven into this story.  The author masterfully writes with suspense and had me hooked from page 1.

It is a story of relationships between man and wife, mother and daughter. sister to sister.  It shows the best of humankind and the absolute worst. 

I had to reserve this book months in advance from the local library.  It was worth every minute of waiting for it.  It is highly possible that this book has made it to my top five list.

Read it.  You won't regret it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

kickin' it in critical care

so my pops has had a rough week.
1 surgery to put in a tunnel dialysis line when he blew the fistula in his arm so he could do dialysis treatments

1 surgery to put in a new fistulas which resulted in a massive deep muscle bruise but thankfully not the infection they originally suspected

1 iv put in his neck so the docs could push blood pressure meds because his heart has a leaky valve

1 silent heart attack in the middle of dialysis

1 blocked artery in his eye which was originally thought to be a stroke but that was ruled out today

kinda puts the little things in my life into perspective.
like that speeding ticket i got this afternoon

please pray for his health to improve and for the doctors who are watching out for him.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

vegas recap

*Warning:  there's a whole lot of pictures ahead!*

Homecoming week begins tomorrow.  Thus, begins a week of high energy, very little sleep, and no time for blogging.

So, I better make use of this free time to fill a post with photos from the Vegas trip.  The three of us are sitting on the couch, watching Jurassic Park, so I don't plan to write a lot so I can get back to movie night. 

One fun filled weekend.
Two days with a cabana.
Three days of sunshine by the pool
Four buckets of jello shots (or maybe more).
Five hours of playing blackjack with Eric and Jen in the wee hours of the morning.
And eighteen of my closest friends and family to surround me with love and laughter.

The crazy group photos begin...with dinner on night one.
Fidelia and Kimmie

My sister sure let loose on this vacation!

Pedro (Jen) crashed the party...and I loved it!

It's my birthday!!

So much love for these girls.

Mom and I played slots for a few hours.  It's how we roll.

We had no idea what this game was doing so I took a picture of us enjoying whatever it was doing.




He loves me.

Thanks for the good times, Cabana 7.

Gypsy arrived Friday afternoon and quickly made up for lost time.

Sitting at a bar in NY, NY around midnight on Friday night.
 I woke up from a nap (which began halfway through dinner) to meet up with these girls.
I'm pretty sure I was hungover.

Jen (middle) flew in from Portland.  Kristen (right) drove over from Arizona.
I'm so lucky to have friends like these girls!

On our way to my birthday dinner!

My favorite.


My mama and me!

Our kids are best friends and so are we!

The ladies of our family.

Jen and Eric.  New BFF's.

Happy Birthday to me!  After a great dinner at Mon Ami Gabi (Paris).
Blackjack team at 3AM.
And, yes, I am wearing blinky rabbit ears.

Eric and I wrapped up the weekend with a trip to Old Town.

It was the best adult vacation we've had since Alexander was born.  It was the best way to turn 40.
And this was the best face to come home to!