Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year In Review

First, Happy Birthday to my Beautiful Girl!  You were a blessing to us when  you entered our world 28 years ago today and you continue to Bless us each and every day.  We Love You!

taken from (In)

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?  Jim was able to retire after 34 years of teaching.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?  That is a tough one because each day in different ways were are faced with challenges, but nothing really stands out in my mind.  I guess that I have been faced many challenges with my job this year.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year? I feel like I have grown in my Faith this year and it has brought me unexpected joy and peace.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle? Learning to conquer fear, though I have not fully conquered my fears I know that I am not in control and that has given me a new perspective on it.

5. Pick three words to describe 2009. .Busy, Blessed, Fortunate

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009.  Busy, Hectic, Over

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009.  I have no idea here.

8. What were the best books you read this year? I go for easy reading, nothing too deep as I have difficulty concentrating. Actually I can only remember recent books-short term memory isn't so good either! Ha!  1.) I, Alex 2.)The 7th Victim 3.) The First Patient

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?  My husband, my God, my parents, my children, my family and Durinda

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year? Jim's retirement has been a HUGE change for our family and continues to be an adjustment for me!

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? My heart grew and expanded in my love for my husband and children. I became much more appreciative for the people in my life. I lessened my expectations for people, yet gained in my gratitude for them.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually? I have learned to trust in God's plan for me more and give myself over to Him.  I have come to know that I have so little control in so many ways and I accept that. 
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?  Growth comes in different ways but I guess that it is safe to say that I have become more accepting of my limitations and continue to learn to work within those limitations.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others? I have fallen more in love with my husband by learning to accept  him as he is fully. 

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home? Creating a safe and loving environment for my family and friends.

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?  The dogs!  Talk about no control.  Ha!
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year? Hands down, the internet.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year? By continuing to work on the relationships in my life.

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year? You never know what tomorrow may bring so live life to its fullest each and every day.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you. This year have been a year of renewal for me.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A few pictures

As promised.  Christmas at our house!

Bella sprinkling Reindeer food in the front yard.

Opening her Christmas Eve pajamas...

The tree in the family room after Santa's arrival...

In the living room opening gifts on Christmas morning...

Tim, wrapped in his Steelers Snugglie...

Phineas and Ferb!
You may notice that Michelle is absent, she sent me the pics and I guess didn't want to be included!

If you can't beat 'em....

Sometimes I have the need to complain.  I try not to do it too much, but sometimes I just have to let it out.  Here goes: I am in pain!  Not all the time of course, but often.  Too often.  Last night while eating dinner the upper part of my left arm began to ache.  It was almost like a charlie horse in my arm.  Out of nowhere I just start having these searing pains in my muscle.  Then later, it moved to my lower arm, then my leg, and feet and my gluteus maximus.  And it didn't let up for quite a while.  Finally, I decided that if it wasn't going to go away, I would exercise.  Then when I had muscle pain at least I would feel like I was getting some benefit from it.  Right? So, I got plugged into the Wii Biggest Looser game and had at it.  I choose Bob as my trainer.  I like him.  He is gentle-for the most part anyway.  I finished the whole circuit and the cool down exercises.  The result?  Well while I was doing it I was fine, and although I tried my best I just could not hold my ankle while standing on the opposite foot.  (Just can't make those muscles do that!)  Other than that I did all of the exercises and I felt it.  In a good way.  It stretched the muscles that were bothering me and the result was a different type of burn.  Of course as with any type of exercise for me it is always followed by tremors.  But that is different than pain and much easier to deal with!  So overall the result was good. 
Which brings me to my next point-I need to loose weight.  No big surprise there, but I am putting it out there.  Here on my blog.  So it begins, a new diet and exercise program.  A challenge to myself.  Maybe if I put it out here I will be held accountable.  Help to hold me accountable.  Send me recipes of good, low fat food.  Encourage me.  I need it.  I'll give you updates along the way, let you know how I am doing and how my body tolerates the exercise.  I am going to try to be reasonable about this too.  Taking a page from my SIL Linda's book I will not totally deprive myself just limit myself.  (Linda, any tips would be appreciated!)  
So there you have it.  My resolution to myself-loose some weight and work my muscles!!! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Where did it go?

All too fast Christmas has come and gone!  We had a wonderful celebration.  It all happens so fast though, so much preparation goes into in and then in what seems like an instant-it is over.  But that is how it goes I guess. 
Bella was a lot of fun this year.  She had been so excited that sleep had eluded her.  We would go up to check on her, only to find her in bed wide awake just grinning from ear to ear!
Christmas Eve we went to the Children's Service at church.  That began at five and boy was it noisy!  The sanctuary was crowded and the excitement was palpable.  The two children's choruses sang and two of our youth members played the piano-it was joyous!  The best part was the Children's Sermon though.  We were seated close to the front so were able to see the children and how they interacted with the pastor.  Bell just sat there and stared up at him.  He read a book titled The Christmas Story and the illustrations in it were beautiful!  It made an impression on Bella though, because she talked about it later and remembered that we were celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We stopped by McDonald's on the way home to get Bella some chicken nuggets becaue she was exhausted and anxious to get to bed.  Jim brought her out a childrens cone and she was delighted with it.  He asked her how it was and she replied "My tastebuds are dancing!"  Michelle asked "They are dancing?" and she said "Yes, they're dancing the merenge!"   Anyway, when we got home we all opened our p.j.s and got Bella in bed.  I didn't last much longer than Bella as I was still feeling poorly. 
Christmas morning I awoke to the sound of our little one excitedly telling Michelle that Santa had come and he had even been in her room.  He left a ZhuZhu pet under her tree and a small ornament of Santa kneeling before the baby Jesus.  She was sooooooooo excited!  Jim and Timmy were already up and waiting for us, so we all went downstairs and armed with cameras, we let her come down.  Santa had indeed left a few things for her under the tree!  She laughed, explored and played for quite a while, discovering each little gift that had been left for her.  Then we all gathered around the table for breakfast.  After we had cleaned up, we went to the living room to open gifts.  We were able to drag that out for most of the morning, by which time we were all ready for a nap!  It was a wonderful day!!
Saturday we piled in the car and headed up to PA to visit Jim's brother, sister and nephew and continue with the celebration.  That too was great.  Bill has a puppy who was fascinated by Bella and she loved him too!  It was fun watching them play together. 
Sunday my Dad and Marlena came down to visit and left on Monday.  There just never seems to be enough time to visit with our families!  It all goes way to quickly!  Dad and MAr are now on there way down to Florida where they will remain until after the winter thaw. 
I'll have pictures up in the next day or two.  Until then....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Day Before Christmas

And all through our house, there was sneezing, coughing and feeling like a louse.  (Well, lousy-but that didn't rhyme!)  So you get the picture.  I am not feeling well and it is Christmas!  Two days a year is all I ask for, but I guess there are other plans for me.  And really, it's okay.  I have to work today anyway.  Supposed to be  here for the whole day but I imagine given the state of things, that I will be leaving early.  We would like to be able to attend the children's service at our church with Isabella.  Then dinner, our one gift (pajamas!) then it will be off to bed for the little one to dream of the wonders that will await her on Christmas morn. 
So what are your plans?  Any family traditions? 
I am looking forward to spending some quiet time with my family.  Sitting by the fireside, opening gifts, reading stories, and just enjoying one another.   So I am signing off until next week.  Go enjoy your loved ones and remember to count  your blessings and rejoice in the Saviour!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Less Words Wednesday

I am suffering from laryngitis and a rotten cold.  Not feeling well.  I am trying to limit my speaking, as it is difficult to talk or to be understood, but that is a lot easier said than done! 
Anyway, here's a priceless picture from the weekend-my Mom entertaining her Great-grandaughter!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snowed In!

It started snowing late Friday night and it snowed, and snowed and snowed!  We got about 2 feet of snow!  It was something.  My parents made it as far as Richmond on Friday night and continued up the rest of the way on Saturday.  The driving conditions were trecherous, but they took it slow and made it safe and sound.  It took them about 8 hours to travel 160 miles!  Dad may be done with his trips up North at Christmas!!  This will give you an idea of how it accumulated, the below picture was taken at 11:00 am on Saturday.

This one was taken at 1:30

This is at 3:30


                                                                        And again at 6:00.
When my parents did arrive at around 2:00, my Dad said that the bumper of his car was acting as a snow plow, as our roads had not been touched at that point.  We heard reports on the radio and tv that is was going to take days to dig out from the storm, but the crews worked around the clock and the roads in our development were plowed during the night.  Bella had a blast playing in the snow, as did the dogs!

The schools decided to cancel classes for the whole week, so the kids are happy about that! 
But I must say, it did put me behind on finishing up my last minute details, so as of now I am not done shopping.  Hopefully tonight I can swing by the mall, find what I am looking for quickly and make it back home before too long.  I just want to be finished at this point!  Next year, it is going to be different-I swear!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Well, it is finally Friday!  I have been swamped at work this week and have put in overtime hours-again.  I've been anxious about this weekend as my parents are coming into town!  Yeah!  Always love to have them visit, especially during the holidays.  Being as they are HUGE Giant Football fans, Jim and I got them tickets to the Redskins v. Giants game on Monday night for Christmas.  Well, wouldn't you know it-we are expecting a snow storm!  Not just a little one either, depending on who you listen to and where the line is, we could be getting anywhere from 6-20 inches!  In some places that may not seem like much, but here it is a lot.  People get all panicky at the first sign of snow and they go running to the store to snatch up all the bread and milk, like they're going to be stuck indoors for days.  Not likely. 
So, we sit and wait for snow.  If the game is not cancelled, I guess Mom and Dad will go.  They may not stay for the whole game if they freeze, but we meant well. 
Bella is super excited!  She just can't wait-for the snow, for Nana & Papa to come, for Christmas, you name it-she is excited!  (Me too! )

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Less Words Wednesday

C-9!  (That's my way of saying Christmas is in 9 days!)  We are getting ready to celebrate Our Saviour's birth.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Happenings

Warning! This post is extremely picture heavy!
The fun and excitement continues!  We headed north to Hershey on Friday afternoon.  We were early so we went to try and get in a little shopping at the outlets before check in at 4:00.  We stayed at the Hershey Lodge and let me tell you, the place is huge!  Upon check in each member of your party receives a full size Hershey Chocolate Bar, so right away Bella was thinking this was going to be good.  Once we got our things settled in we headed on over to the park and started the evening with a tour of Chocolate World and then we took the Trolley Ride.  They take you on a tour of the town of Hershey and ride up to see the former homestead of Milton S. Hershey-quite a place.  Santa jumped on the trolley at one of the stops and talked to the kids and then he called them by name and gave each one of them a brass Christmas ornament of the Trolley.  All the while we also sang Christmas carols, so it was a very spirited ride.

After the trolley ride we went to the park for a while to let Bella ride some rides, but it was really cold!  With the wind chill it was about 6 degrees!  We didn't last too long.
The next morning we headed out to our breakfast with Santa at the Tudor Grill which is right in the park.  It was so much fun.  Bella was enthralled with Santas arrival and happily sang more carols and waited patiently until it was her turn to visit with Santa.  He came around to each table and spoke to the kids.  He told Bella that she had grown quite a bit from last year and she was thrilled! 

We visited the Hershey Story, Hershey Gardens and again went to the park for more rides, story telling, musicbox theatre and more!  It was a fun but exhausting couple of days!!!!  And of course, no trip to Hershey would be complete without taking a picture or two with some of the sweet characters who show up at the park.

It was a great weekend and a wonderful way to make memories with Bella that I am sure she will cherish forever! 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Notice the new blog design

Couldn't sleep so I played around with the layout of my blog.  I so clearly don't know what I am doing but I figure that I have to keep playing with it to learn it so that is what I am doing. 
The madness continues.  Last night I left work and drove to The Flaming Pit to meet Jim, Andy & Durinda there.  It is close to my work so I didn't go home first.  We were invited to dinner by Ed, our financial advisor and his wife Lynn.  (Doesn't having a financial advisor make it seem like we have finances to be advised about?  Don't let it fool you!)  We had a very nice dinner, good food, good company, but I didn't get home until after 9 o'clock last night.  That may not sound too late to you, but I had left my house at 6:30 that morning so it was feeling mighty long to me.  After I got home I threw some things into a bag so that I would be ready to pack up and go with Jim, Michelle and Isabella to Hershey Park when I get off work today.  So that is the plan.  We are heading up this afternoon and coming back on Saturday night.  The weather forcast calls for a high of 30 tomorrow, so I am sure we will freeze but it's okay.  We are creating memories with Bella and that is priceless to us!  She is so excited!  We have a scheduled breakfast with Santa tomorrow morning and she can hardly believe it.  I will of course have my camera along and I hope to post some pictures from our weekend on Sunday or Monday.  Whenever I can squeeze in a few minutes. 
Other than that, I have gifts to buy and lots of wrapping to do, laundry to get caught up on and a lingering migraine to find relief from! 
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The countdown begins...

Only 15 days left until Christmas!  Our calendar is full already and each day we seem to add more to it!  Yesterday I had the day off work as we were  expecting our friends Andy & Durinda for a holiday visit.  Before they got to town, Jim and I took a quick trip up to the outlet center in Gettysburgh for a couple of Christmas gifts.  After Andy & Durinda had arrived, we went downtown for a nice lunch and stopped in a few of the different shops that line Market Street.  After Michelle and Isabella arrived, we had a wonderful time exchanging gifts.  Isabella received a guitar, microphone w/stand and a headset-all hook up to an amplifier!  I know, I said they were our friends and they still are even though we offered to let her keep that gift at their house! Ha!  She loved it and that is what is important.
Afterwards, we headed back up to Gettysburg for dinner and a Holiday Concert at the Majestic Theatre featuring The Lettermen.  I had of course heard of them, but couldn't tell you any of their songs, but I was assured that I would recognize their songs when I heard them and I did.  They sang such hits as:
Goin' Out Of My Head, When I Fall In Love, Traces/Memories, Theme From A Summer Place, etc. 
It was a wonderful show! 

At one point in the show Marc, the tall dark haired one in the picture above, was doing an intro to a song and he was quoting Scripture.  A very familiar passage that I am sure we have all heard dozens if not hundreds of times.  It is from Luke 2:1-7-'And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.'
What struck me though was that while reciting this passage, Marc was so moved he was brought to tears.  I thought about how many times during a Holiday tour he must recite those words, yet he was still moved to tears.  And I thought about those words, and I thought Mary and Joseph and how they must have felt and I cried.  How often do we hear something yet not listen or not take the time to think about what is truly being said.  Think about it.  Think about the faith that Mary had in God as she was told that she would bear His Son.  About Joseph, and the faith that he showed in Mary when he found out about this Child, God's Child.  How difficult it must have been for them, how frightening. 
Bella has a little advent calendar that has a small piece of chocolate behind each little door.  It also has a Bible verse on the inside of each door.  Yesterday, as we opened the door she asked for me to read the verse to her before she got her chocolate.  "And each went to be enrolled, each to his own town."  Luke 2:3
She looked at me and asked me what it meant and as I tried to explain it to her, I became so choked up that I had difficulty speaking.  Why does this move me so?  I'm not sure.  I mean, I know how the story ends, not the ending with the Wise Men, but the end of the story as in Matthew, when Jesus is crusified and buried in a borrowed grave.  That one, that end of the story.  The end is still the same just as the beginning remains the same. But because of that beginning and that ending our story can change. We can change our story, our beginning and our ending.  Just by believing the way that Mary and Joseph believed all those many years ago.
So as you look at your Christmas tree and see the star perched atop the tree or an angel in all her glory, think about the beginning of the story, why we celebrate this wonderful season and who we are celebrating. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What a weekend!

I am not sure that I can keep up with  this pace, but I am doing my best!  Friday immediately after work I went home and met Jim who drove me to Bella's dress rehearsal for her recital.  When she was done, we grabbed her got back in the car and headed for downtown Frederick to see the Kris Kringle parade.  We didn't get to see much of it, but we did see the tree lighting ceremony afterwards at the band shell.  We sang carols and saw the 'dignataries' of the parade-the Snow Queen, Kris Kringle, rudolph, Scrooge, Frosty, etc.  Bella loved it!

Saturday started with Dance Class.  After that, Michelle and Bella went to Home Depot for the first Saturday project.  This months' project was a little wagon, so cute!  While they did that, I ran to Bon Ton for a few gifts, went back and picked up the girls and then we hit Toys R Us for a birthday gift for Bella's friend and to finish our shopping for our Angel we had picked from the tree at church.  When we got home, I did a little more decorating and wrapping.  Oh, and did I mention that it had started snowing earlier in the morning?  It looked like we might have a significant snowfall as it continued to snow throughout the day.  By the end we had only about 2 inches, but it was enough for Bella to make her snow dog!  She has been waiting and waiting for enough snow to do this.  It only took 2 years! 
The picture was taken on Sunday as she had finished her masterpiece after dark on Saturday!  Anyway, once she had completed her snow play, it was time to get dressed and ready for the recital.  It was actually a benifit for the Children's Miracle Network with performances by our dance studio, a baton twirling troupe from Wheaton, and various 'crowned' Miss so and so's.  They had a silent auction and a raffle too.  Bella's group did a tap number to "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth", how apropos! 
It was so cute!  All the pajamas for the girls were donated by Wal Mart who also sponsored the event. 
Michelle was the high bidder on a Pillow Pet for Bella as well as a Vera Bradley Tote bag and makeup bag and I was the high bidder on a Vera Bradley purse and White House Ornament.  I also won the raffle!  It was a beautiful arrangement of fresh red roses and pine with fake branches that looked like they were coated in ice and other red sparly, twirly things.  It was beautiful, but HUGE.  When I brought it home Jim asked what hotel lobby I stole it from!  Too big for our home, so I donated it to our church on Sunday. So we were all winners! 
Sunday, Jim picked me up after church and we spent the afternoon in downtown Frederick doing the Christmas Candlelight of Homes Tour.  There were 8 houses on the tour this year and they were all within a 3 block radius.  We stopped and had lunch halfway through.  It was a wonderful afternoon, but between the cold and being tired, I was worn out.  We weren't even able to finish the last house tour because I began to feel sick and went home and spent the rest of the day and night and all day Monday nursing a wicked migraine!  Still feeling a little shaky and not quite myself, but much better.  Maybe I need to learn to slow down a bit!   

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Feeling a bit better

I was sent home from work shortly after my arrival yesterday.  Aparently I looked 'awful'!  Who knew?  At least my look matched the way I was feeling!  Ha!  So I went home, got a drs. appointment, got an antibiotic for strep throat and a sinus infection.  She also gave me Tylenol w/Codiene to help me sleep.  Feeling a bit better today and expect to improve from here on out.  I mostly rested on the couch catching a few naps here and there and went to bed early. 
I did manage to wrap the gifts that we have for our Bella. All I can say is WOW!  Between us and Michelle, that child is getting a lot.  She is so much fun though.  I put the presents under the tree and when she came home from school she noticed them right away.  She came in, gave me a hug and whispered in my ear 'Did you see all the presents?'  When she opens her gifts she always squeals with delight and says 'It's just what I wanted!'  Once she even said 'It's just what I wanted that I didn't know I wanted!'  How cute is that?
After dinner last night, Jim took Michelle and Bella downtown to the Creative Arts Center to see the display of Gingerbread Houses. Bella loved it!  Jim said that she would just stare at them and point out the different features.  It was a good display, too bad I had to miss it.  Bella's favorites were one that was made to look like the Candy Land Game and one that was a castle. 
Tonight I plan on spending some time creating.  I have a mini album to make for a girl at work and I haven't even started on our Christmas cards yet!  I may forgo them this year for  (gasp!) storebought!  A girl's gotta do what a girl's gott do! 
Hmmm!  What is Roxie doing on the furniture! 

That's all for now. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Not too much to report today.  I went home last night and managed to wrap a few gifts, but nothing after that.  I sat on the couch in a daze and finally just went to bed.  Was incredibly tired so I decided not to fight it.  Woke up this morning feeling pretty lousy, think I'm coming down with something!  Bummer. 

By the way, The Design Girl is having a giveaway over at her blog.  Head on over for your chance to win.  She has some pre-made designs and custom ones too.  So cute and creative!  You can get to her site by clicking on her button on the left side of my blog.