Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Christmas Story

Here's hoping that everyone was able to share in the Blessings of the Season and to celebrate with those with whom you hold most dear!
We had a wonderful time celebrating and took our time to just soak in the bounty of our family and truly praise the joy that they are in our lives.  It was such a special time.

We got up early on Christmas Day and headed over to Michelle and Shawn's house so that we could be there when the children came downstairs to see their gifts.  We arrived around 7:00, Michelle had called and said that she and Shawn were up already and to come over.  When we arrived they had just woken the kids up!  They were clammoring to come down, but then Bella asked me to come upstairs and see her tree and to look at her special Advent gift, which I was all too happy to do.  Then they were ready to go down and see what awaited them!  Here they are waiting for their cue to come on down...

The excited duo!
Opening a joint gift.
Aiden's turn..
There were so many gifts! 
Santa brought gifts, Michelle and Shawn had their gifts for the children and for each other, Shawn's parents came and brought their gifts for the children and for the grandchildren, we brought all of our gifts for Aiden and some of our gifts for Bella and then Tim came as well and brought his gifts for Bella and Aiden too.  Like I said, lots of gifts!  The little ones were so excited though, it was so much fun to watch them and to be a part of it. The only sore spot was that Aiden had to be at his Mom's house by noon, so we had to say good-bye to him.  Although we all understand it, it would have been nice if the children had a chance to play together before he had to leave for the day.  But, it was a very nice morning.
We then went  home and I put dinner in the oven and Tim opened his stocking and the three of us enjoyed each others' company for awhile.  Mr. Wonderful gave me my gift-a new body for my camera!  I was thrilled, as I have reallly wanted one.  This one has 18 megapixels and is much lighter weight and also takes video.  Can't wait to play with it!

 After a while, Michelle, Shawn and Bella came over and we all opened our gifts to each other.  Bella was super surprised by her new American Girl doll Kit.  I think she was a hit! 

Tim tortured his sister by wrapping his gift to her with 30 feet of tape, making it nearly impossible for her to unwrap and impossible for her to unwrap it neatly!  Shawn was surprised as always, by the extreme nature of our home-in terms of sense of humor, attitude, and well-everything.  Ha!  He is still getting used to us, but I think if we haven't scared him away by now-he's going to be sticking around. 
It was good to have Tim home, even if it was only for a short while.  He was happy to see his dogs and they were happy to see him.  Of course, he and Bella are always thrilled to see each other!

And Bella, well....

We've just got to do something to cheer this child up!  Too bad that she's so shy and camera shy!
Hope you  all made it Merry!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"C" Minus 5!

Me speak for Christmas is in 5 days!  EEek!  Where does the time go!  Just dropping in to say that I am still alive and fairly well.  Haven't totally crashed-yet.  Ha!
Been running like a maniac and trying to get everything finished in time for the holiday.  Somehow, time just seems to get away from me.  I can't quite put my finger on why though.  I work only work between 9-10 hours a day, plus the drive there and back which adds another hour and a half to two hours to my day.  So I get up at 4:50 in order to get ready for work and make it in on time.  Then after I get home I try to visit with Bella for a bit before she goes home, let her read to me if she hasn't already read to Mr. Wonderful.  After that it is dinner time and then I clean up the dishes and head upstairs for a couple hours of boxing, wrapping, tagging and organizing presents.  I've also got to fit in the Christmas card making, writing, stamping and mailing.  Gift buying.  Home baked/made gifts for the neighbors and co-workers as well as holiday visits with family and friends. 
Oh and by the way, Mr. W. has been taken out temporarily with Bells Palsy brought on by Lime Disease so he hasn't been quite up to snuff and not his usual self.  He has been trying his best to help out and to his credit he has been, just in fits and starts. 
Add to all of this that I have already had to return, yes you read that correctly return gifts and you can say that I've been a little busy.  Really, returning gifts before Christmas?  Who does that?  Well, me!  That's who!
I had to return just about everything that I bought for number one daughter because someone else bought the same things for her and then think of something else to get her.  As if that wasn't enough, after I had bought and wrapped gifts for the soon to be number one son in law, someone else got  a few of the same items that I had gotten him.  So I had to find them by unwrapping five of the gifts I had gotten to find the two I needed to return.  At this point no-one is to question my sanity!  I mean it! 
Did I mention that work, which is usually very slow at this time of year has been extrordinarily busy?  No?  Well, it has been.  And I am working like a lunatic.  So busy that the days are just flying by, which I guess you can say is a good thing. 
What I am saying is this: I've been really busy, going crazy, everything hurts and when I finally sit down at night I fall asleep.  No time to write.  Sorry.  Try to catch up soon, but can't promise much. 
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ushering in the Holiday Season

One of the best things about a tradition is passing it down to the next generation and it seems as though that is something that we are doing with now with Michelle and Bella and the Sweetest Place on Earth.  I am of course, referring to Hershey Park.  Every year for the past twenty some years, Mr. Wonderful and I have taken the kids to Hershey after Thanksgiving as a way of ushering in the holiday season.  It is just beautiful up there this time of year and so much fun!  There is plenty to do as many of the rides are open, including a special trolley ride through the town with a 'special' visitor, Chocolate World, over 2 million lights decorate the park and if you stay at one of the Hershey properties, there are special events all day and evening long that are very family centered.  It has always been a very special time for us and this past weekend we were able to share it once again, this time with Michelle and Shawn, Bella and Aiden.  What a blessing!
Friday evening we went up right after school let out for the kids.  We checked into our hotel and grabbed a quick-and I do mean quick!, dinner.  Then we headed over to the Hershey Theatre to see Disney's Phineas and Ferb Live on Stage.  The kids were totally mesmerized by it and I have to say, Jim and Shawn really enjoyed it too!  What is it about men and cartoons?  Long after Bella has left the room, Jim will still sit in front of the television watching her TV programs and if I should dare turn it off!  Well, let's just say I've learned my lesson.  Ha!

Then on Saturday morning we got up and headed over to the park to have breakfast with Santa.  Another tradition that we look forward to and were lucky enough to share this year with the grands kids. It's so much fun to see their faces as they sing songs with Mr. Music and watch as the Hershey charaters come in for photo shoots with each of them and finally as Mrs. and Santa Clause arrive and take the time to speak to each child.  The joy and wonderment in their eyes is much to behold! 
After breakfast, we went out into the park and played!  We rode rides-mostly we watched as the kids rode rides, but that's what we wanted to do, we went to a show at the Music Box Theatre, we went to a story time, we even visited the zoo!  We had a blast, but it was chilly.  Later in the evening, after the sun had gone down all the lights came on and the park was all lit up for the holiday season and it was beautiful!  We had a great time and by the time we called it a night, we were all tired.  Some more than others!  Michelle who is always thinking ahead, had the kids' pajamas ready and on hand and had the kids change into them in the car and got them cozy and snuggly warm with their blankets in their car seats and both kids slept all the way home.  Once there, it was easy to get them to brush their teeth and jump into bed for the night. 
For that matter, I jumped into bed when we got home too! 
Christmas will be here soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So Much to be Thankful For!

Tuesday I came into work and when I arrived at my office this is what I came into:
My office door,

My desk,

Everywhere there were decorations!
You guessed it, I turned 50 this year. 
My birthday was officially on Thursday, Thanksgiving.  But since I would be off, they celebrated with me on Tuesday.  We went to lunch at Red Robin-Yum and after lunch we had some special birthday cupcakes.
There were several different types in that box and I samples just a few.  They were from Lily Magilly's, the name even sounds sweet doesn't it? 
I even got presents on top of it all-so it was a fun day!
Then I took the day off on Wednesday to prepare for Thanksgiving, and prepare I did.  I started fixing some of the side dishes first thing in the morning.  Stopped to get my hair cut, and for a doctor's appointment, but I was able to get a whole lot accomplished.  That removed a lot of the stress from Thursday and I was able to relax a little more and enjoy the day.  I still cooked and cleaned all day, but just not as much!
It was all worth it though.  Everyone had a nice time I think and we all enjoyed dinner and our time together. 
There is everyone jammed into the dining room. ( Everyone but me as I am taking the picture.) 
Of course Michelle and I would not miss our Black Friday shopping extravaganza!  This year Shawn joined us to see what all the fuss was about.  I think it's safe to say that he got his fair share.  We left the house at 11:00 on Thursday evening and returned home at 8:30 AM, we took it easy on him as it was his first year.  Also, Michelle has done a lot of her shopping before hand so she didn't have a whole lot to do.  The crowds were just wild at some of the stores and quite mild at other places.  I waited in line for over an hour at Kohl's, but I have to say that I think it was well worth the wait as the prices I got couldn't be beat!
When we got back to the house Michelle and Shawn said hi to Bella and then went home and went to bed.  Bella and Jim had plans for the day, they were headed downtown to usher in the holiday season with Frosty Friday and breakfast at Brewer's Alley and Frosty.  Since I was home, they asked me to go along so I did.  Then we went on a horse drawn carriage ride through town and visited a few of the local shops.
Afterwards we went home and I had time to crash for a couple of hours-just 2 but it was time enough to refresh and catch a shower.  After that it was time to get ready and head back downtown and get ready for the big guy's arrival.  That's right!  Santa Clause was coming to town!  We ushered him in with waves and cheers, lights and song!  It was quit a day all in all.  By the time we got home and had some dinner (leftovers of course) it was time to settle down and get ready for bed.  We were all tired and more than ready to say good night.  I don't remember a thing after my head hit the pillow-I was out like a light!
I wonder-am I getting too old for this?!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Part 2

I can't believe how far behind I have fallen!  So, for the second part of my weekend update-for last weekend.  Sunday I was feeling somewhat better, but still not 100%.  I didn't want to do too much and take a chance of the migraine flaring again because we had big plans for the afternoon and evening. 
Mr. Wonderful was working so I took it easy and took a nice long, leisurly hot tub.  I know I spelled that wrong, but I don't really care right now-sorry.  I followed that up with a nap and when he got home I got dressed and we were off to D.C.   As an early birthday celebration, we were going to see Jersey Boys at the National Theatre and then to meet Tim and have dinner with him at 901.  It was a FABULOUS show!  Really great!  I used to just love Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and we listened to them all the time when we were kids, but the show told the story of the group.  It was more than just the music, although the music was just terrific.  The costuming, the dancing, everything!  I was just mesmerized. 
When the show was over, we took a cab ride the few blocks to 901 and met up with Tim.  It was still rather early, so we sat at the bar and had a drink until our table was ready and we just chatted and caught up for a while.  We just don't have an opportunity to see him nearly often enough, so it is so nice to be able to spend some time with him.  He is always full of some funny stories and anectdotes. 
Dinner was of course, to die for!  We were treated like royalty, which is always nice.  The chef brought us out an amuse bouche of duck that had been featured on the morning news the week before.  Having never had duck before, it was a real treat for me.  I had always heard that it was greasy, but this was anything but.  It was so flavorful and plain delicious!  Yum!  Tim and I shared an appetizer of muscles as I just couldn't resist an opportunity to indulge given the chance.  My entre was a beautifully prepared Filet Mingnon, while Mr. W had the pecan crusted Pork Tenderloin and the boy had something with shrimp and pasta I think.  All out of this world!  It was a great meal, wonderful company, a lovely location and a perfect day!

I'll be back soon to move on to other parts of the week!

Monday, November 21, 2011


It was another full weekend and I plan on updating about it over two posts, so as not to overwhelm you with all the excitement.  Ha! 
Saturday we were having Michelle, Shawn & the kids as well as Shawn's parents over for dinner. 

During the night I was awakened by an absolutely terrible migraine headache.  All night long it kept waking me from sleep and when morning finally came I knew that it was going to be a rough day.  Mr. Wonderful was already at work, so I crept downstairs to let the dogs out and grab a Maxalt and a cup of coffee and sat down for a while and hoped and prayed that the pill would work its wonders.  It didn't.
So, I got up and made a brocolli casserole for dinner and put that in the refrigerator and then dusted the downstairs, cleaned the glass.  Now I was feeling sick to my stomach, so I got a glass of tea and laid down for a while till it passed, and got up and did a little more.  I figured I had all day, and I could just do a little at a time and get the house in order and the dinner all prepped and ready, the dishes laid out and ready for the food.  Everyone was bringing something too, so I didn't have to do everything, but I did want the house to be clean and presentable looking.  I also figured that somewhere along the line I needed to get another Maxalt in my system and really hope that number 2 would do the trick.  It didn't.
Eventually I got everything done and was feeling well enough to at least be pleasant.  I had made cupcakes on Friday night and iced them on Saturday and they were yummy...

The icing especially!  Michelle is not too much a fan of cake or icing, but she keept licking the icing off the cupcakes and then giving the licked cupcake to Shawn to eat or just tossing the cupcake.  She loved the icing because it wasn't too sweet at all.

Recipe courtesy of Paula Dean:
Chocolate-Banana Cream Miniature Cupcakes
(makes 4 dozen mini cupcakes)

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant banana cream-flavored pudding mix
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup sour cream2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping
Garnish: dried banana chips

  1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Line 2 (24-cup) mini muffin pans with foil liners.
  2.  Prepare cake mix according to package directions.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in cernter comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  3.  In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix and confectioners' sugar.  Add cream and sour cream; beat at medium speed with a mixer until very thick.  Fold in whipped topping.  Pipe or spread mixture over cupcakes.  Garnish with banana chips, if desired.  Store cupcakes, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
We all  had a nice evening and after dinner my nephew and his wife, both of whom I adore came over for a while too.  We don't get to see them too often, so it was nice to catch up with them for a while as well. 
Della and Rex took the kids  home with them for the night as they haven't had a chance to spend any time with them in a while and planned on making gingerbread houses with them.  That is something that I simply have never been able to master!  I just make a royal mess of everything, myself included!! 
With the children gone for the night, Michelle and Shawn had a date night and went out to the movies alone.  Something that they don't get to do too often. 
All in all, I think it was a good evening for everyone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Weekend Update

I had a very productive weekend and boy did it feel good.  Well, I ached all over and could barely move by Monday, but in my head I felt good about the progress I made and what I had accomplished!
Saturday I spent the large majority of the day painting the spare room, formerly Michelle's old room.  You may remember that I had begun to paint it a couple of weeks ago, but I did not finish it and I have not had time to get back to it since then until Saturday.  So, I picked it back up again.  I had gotten a first coat on everything but the top half of two walls when I left off, so I was able to finish that off and then go on to get a second coat on the entire room.  Woo-hoo!  Because it was a nice day out, I was also able to wash the windows in that room too, including scraping off a decal that had been on the outside of the window since we had moved into the house 20 years ago.  It took some doing, but I got it off.   Now I just have to wait for the new carpet to be installed and I'll be ready to move on to the next step in the process. 
After I finished with that I showered and changed and ran out to the store to do a little shopping.  I had found some cute little frames at Michael's in their dollar spot that I had wanted to use for escort cards for the wedding and I had bought all of the ones they had at the Michael's in Germantown so I wanted to go to the Frederick location to pick some more up because I had a coupon that was good for 25% off the total purchase.  That would bring them down to .75 cents a piece!  Good deal, especially when I needed so many of them.  I was exhausted and didn't really want to go out but the sale was only good through Saturday so I had to go-only to get over there to find that they were out of them.  Bummer!  The good news is that they are expecting another shipment in on Wednesday and I'll just keep checking in till I get enough.
Mr. Wonderful had worked in the yard all day so he was beat too, so it was an early evening for the both of us.  He had to work early on Sunday morning and was up and out at the crack of dawn, while I tried in vain to catch a few extra winks.  I finally got up and decided to slowly (since that was the only way I was moving) get ready for church. 
After church I had every intention of taking it easy, but when I got changed I noticed that my closet was a mess and a lot of the clothes in it no longer fit.  Being that I was already sore from painting and the ladder was upstairs already, I decided to just take everything that was on the shelves of my closet out and throw it on my bed!  Then I started to weed out everything that didn't fit or was out of style and put back only what I was keeping.  Lets just say that very little went back in the closet and Purple Heart got a nice sized donation.  Again.  My wardrobe is suffering in a major way from my diet!  But, that's a good thing.  It just gives me an excuse to go shopping, and I am so good at that.  Ha! 
After I finished, Mr. Wonderful got home and I had to get re-dressed in my church clothes as we were going out.  We went to the Weinberg to see Neil Berg's 102 Years of Broadway.  It was a wonderful production.  He had 5 major Broadway stars with him to sing songs from shows from some of the productions from over the last 102 years of Broadway.  It was just amazing, truly a talent filled cast that sang spectacularly!  We just loved it!  As a matter of fact, it was our 4 time to see his show if that is any indication.  It was a perfect end to a weekend. 
What did you do?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleven Things About Me...

Although I am not too much into dates, it would seem as though a lot of people are.  I heard on the radio this morning that today in Las Vegas the number of people who have applied for marriage licenses has more than tripled because today is 11-11-11!  Crazy if you ask me.
So, in honor of this in-auspicious day I thought I would do something a little different since you didn't ask.  I am going to tell you eleve things about myself that you may or may not know.  If you don't care you may stop reading now and go on about your day.  Thank you.

1.  Even though I am one of four girls, I have always considered myself to be the middle child.  Yeah, I know.  That is because my youngest sister was born 10 years and 2 days after me, making her bar none the best birthday gift my parents ever gave me!

2.  The first time I met my future husband I had no interest in him at all.  As a matter of fact, I laughed at Mr. Charming when he asked me out the first time.  I eventually relented and we dated for only 3 months before becoming engaged and our engagement lasted just 20 days.

3.  I cry easily and often!  I cry at commercials, while reading, watching a movie, hearing a beautiful song, seeing the beauty in nature, praying, almost anything can bring me to tears.

4.  I am the ultimate Drama Queen!  As a matter of fact, I believe that that phrase was coined specifically for me.  Yes.  I believe it was.  Enough said.

5.  When I was a kid I was a bit of a tomboy and tried to keep up with the boys in the neighborhood.  I climbed trees, hiked mountains (I was little, they were mountains!) rode motorcycles, jumped streams, and took chances that I probably shouldn't have and have a few scars to prove it.

6. I love to read and can totally loose myself in a book.  The characters become so life like to me that if and when a movie is made from the book I am no doubt dissapointed because they actors choosen for the roles never quite live up to my image of who I believe the charater to be.

7. I often jumble up my words and what comes out of my mouth doesn't resemble in any way what I am trying to say.  Few people can understand me.  Favorite daughter is one of them.  My mother calls it 'word salad', but the rest of the family just calls it pretty darn funny!

8. I have absolutly no patience!  Well, I have some patience- but very little.  I have patience for my children and grand children, but not with things.  Things tend to get broken around me or thrown out the window.  Just saying.

9.  I am self taught in many things.  I see something and I want to learn to do it and I figure it out.  Mostly because I can't or won't read directions.  Refer back to #8.

10. I love music, theatre, the arts.  LOVE it!  Love to watch it, take part in it, listen to it, enjoy it, be one with it, encourage it, love it!

11.  I had every opportunity to have a totally disfunctional childhood due to the circumstances that surrounded us.  Instead, I am so grateful to have been blessed with a family who showed us unconditional love, the greatest gifts that we could ask for could not be bought, strength that is found in family and togetherness, and that we are all bound together in love and the Lord.  It was a message that was clear and straightforward.  Delivered with pure love for us-always.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Slow and Steady


We are making progress on the wedding preparations.  It seems mindboggling at times how much needs to be done.  No wonder my mother almost fell over when I said I was getting married in 20 days!  Ha!  If I knew then...who am I kidding?  I'd have still done it the same way, no time to stress over the small stuff, or the big stuff for that matter. 
Anyway, Saturday Michelle and I headed on out to shop for a wedding dress.  Getting going in and of itself was an adventure.  She thought we were going one place  and I thought we were going another.  What happened was this: we had an appointment in Hagerstown the week before but it got snowed out.  I had maded the appointment and Michelle called to reschedule.  She thought the appointment was in Chambersburg, Pa. so she called there and said that she needed to reschedule and they said okay and put her in the book for Saturday.  They never said they didn't see her in the book for that Saturday! So I pick her up and we get going and I start to put into the GPS where we're headed and I say 'Hagerstown' (it's a voice recognition GPS) and she says 'what? No!  We're going to J & B Bridal aren't we?'  It was good for a laugh anyway, but we finally got ourselves straightened out and on our way. 
Once we arrived there it was like night and day from the last place.  The consultant was great to work with, she showed Michelle only things she was interested in seeing and therefore everything she tried on she basically liked.  And-she found the dress!  YES!  We even were able to pick out the bridesmaid dresses. 
This is the dress though not the color, the color Michelle choose is Sapphire blue.
It is very pretty on and I think it is a very forgiving dress in terms of different body types, and it even comes in a Junior style as well for Bella. 
We have the venue reserved and Jim went over and put the deposit down to secure it so that is done too.
Then on Sunday I went to church with Michelle and Shawn and the kids and was able to see their church.  It is a lovely church and I felt very warm and welcomed there.  It was easy to see that the children are quite comfortable there as they have made themselves right at home and are making friends.  Their cousins go there as well and that is nice for them too, for all of them.  The church is very pretty and hopefully the photographer will be able to get some nice pictures of the outside of the church as well as the inside on the day of the wedding.  Afterwards, Michelle and I went to a wedding expo that was being held at the fair grounds in town.  There were all kinds of vendors there and it was great to go and get ideas.  We were able to taste several cake samples from many of the different bakeries in the area that were represented and see some of the cakes that they can make.  There were florists, limo companies, d.j.'s, venues, makeup artists, paper companies, balloon stylists, party rental companies, you name it-they were there.  So Michelle got a bag full of stuff to take home and go through with Shawn and start making some decisions.  

On the flip side of things, fall has most definitely come to stay.  The weather has turned cooler, the leaves are beginning to fall in earnest and there is a real chill in the air.  While I love the colors of fall, the cooler weather and the smell in the air, the change in the seasons does not always agree with me.  This year seems to be more difficult that usual.  Perhaps it is a combination of things: my age and a natural progression of the disease combined with the change, but I am moving slower and feeling things much more deeply.  My arms and legs feel like they have been weighted down, and so just performing normal, everyday tasks has become more difficult for me.  I tire much more quickly and fade way too fast.  So for now, it means a modification of my activity and work load.  Learning to ask for help and rely on others a little bit more.  Something that I am not entirely used to, but I am working on it..  If you hear a little less from me, know that is why.
Until the next time!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Years, and a Million Memories Later....

It is hard to believe that I have been married for 30 years, January will mark our 31st year.  So many memories, so much time, how quickly it has gone by.  Yet, I can't seem to remember not being married, not having this man in my life, not being part of him. I have been truly blessed.  All odds were against us, few thought we would last, looks like we just might make it.  Our courtship was brief-just a few short months and our engagement was only 20 days long.  (Jim wanted to get it married before golf season began-priorities.) No time to plan a big, fancy wedding.  Who needed one?  I just wanted to be his wife?  No regrets.  Picked a dress from the rack.  Loved it, so me.  I had it preserved after Michelle was born, thought maybe, perhaps, well, who knows what I was thinking.  Anyway, Jim got it down for me the other day and we opened it up for the first time in nearly 30 years.  That was something!  When I got to the preservation box and opened it, there was a window into the box, the bust of the dress was filled with tissue and probably at one time had been propped up.  We opened the box and I kind of laughed and Jim asked what I was laughing at.  I said it looks and didn't finish.  He said 'What?  Like something a Grandmother might wear?' I said 'No!  Like something that might have been in the Cival War!'  It looked so OLD!  I couldn't believe it.  But, it was well preserved. 

Anyway, it was still sitting in the box (as I have plans for it) in my family room when Bella came over.  She asked what it was and when I told her she asked to see it.  I showed it to her and when Michelle came in she too asked what it was.  Bella answered 'It's the dress that GaGa wore to get married to Grandaddy in!'  Michelle looked at me and asked if she could see it, and I said sure.  She was wide eyed and said she'd never seen it, only in pictures.  Then to my surprise and complete amazement, she asked if she could try it on.  Of course I said she could!  My little girl in my wedding dress.
I thought she looked just beautiful.  Bella said she looked like an angel and when Michelle smiled, Bella said 'Hey, that was a compliment!'
Then of course, it was Bella's turn...

She of course, had to vogue it up! 
As she said 'I have Pacific style'.  We have no idea what that means or where she may have gotten that idea, but we have been told.  To be sure. 
So there are my girls, in my dress, 30 years later. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Boo to You!

Happy Monday and Happy Halloween!  I've never been all that much into Halloween myself, though that may seem hard to believe for someone who loves the theatre and costumes and such, but I am not at all into things scary or frightening.  I don't like it at all and I have never understood that alure for those who do.  If I see something scary on television I have to turn it off right away or I know that I will have nightmares all night long.  I've relayed to you all some of my dreams sequenced when I am not frightened so you can just imagine what happens when I am frightened.  Let's just say it isn't pretty!  (Or clean...)  And still some people get a thrill out of paying good money to get the beejesus scared out of them at movie theaters, haunted houses, fairs and the like.  Not me!  I stay far away from those things.  I do not like strange things jumping out at me in the dark, poking me, or seeing others having their body parts ripped off by power tools.  Call me crazy.
Jim on the other hand, is more into this strange holiday than I am.  It's not that he likes to get dressed up, Heaven forbid!  But give the man a reason to decorate my house with plastic crap that looks like anything that the Adams Family or the Munsters would have rejected as having been in bad taste and he's all about it.
Big hairy brightly colored spiders, flying bats, the ugliest, most hideous witch you've ever seen-not me thank you!  I had to fight with him not to bring home little plastic rats to put in this lovely candle holder that my mother gave me.  It's this large glass container with a candle that sits on a stand several inches above the bottom, leaving room for seasonal decorations underneath.  He wanted to put rats in it!  After nixing that idea he suggested eyeballs.  Really.  Eyeballs!  I found some nice fall colored acorns and that is what I put in there, much to his chagrin.  We are most definitely people of varying taste to be sure.  From time to time he has trully scared me when we have been shopping for furniture or something when he'll point to something and say 'What about this?' and I realize with something akin to horror, that he is serious! 

You see, I was lulled into a false sense of security.  When we were dating, Jim had a small house and every room in it was decorated.  Everything matched, not everything was the best stuff, he had hand me downs for sure-but nothing was ugly or horrible.  The curtains in the kitchen had little ruffles on them and the living room curtains went so well with the sofa and the rug.  It was - CUTE!  I was really impressed.  The thing is there was a catch that I was unaware of, he had help.  After we were married and his father had gone out and purchased furniture all on his own we had been to visit and Jim commented on how nice it was.  Well, the truth was, I thought it was quite the opposite.  It was heavy, and uncomfortable, the fabric was dated and not at all my style or what I would have thought of as his, so I was quite surprised.  I tried to say that it was nice for them, and for where they had it and such until he suggested we purchase something similar and then I couldn't hold back.  What was he talking about, was he crazy, was happened to his good taste?  Oh, he had  a friend of his that he worked with pick out most of the stuff, he just paid for it!  Ha! 

Anyway, had a real nice Friday.  Met an old friend for coffee and a muffin.  So nice to be able to catch up and relax.  This is a friend that I've known for a long time.  I met her when Michelle was three and before I was even pregnant with Timmy.  She and I each had a little one and then shortly after I became pregnant with Timmy she too became pregnant with her second child.  Her daughter Lisa and Timmy were in the same grade together and we were stay at home moms together.  We shared a lot!  Many, many cups of coffee, family stories, child rearing experiences, late night temperatures, trips to the doctors, shopping adventures, money worries and so much more.  We were very close and as sometimes happens, that closeness drifted over time and distance.  Not that we are far apart, just no longer around the corner and no longer in the same circumstances.  Never the less, we got together and it was good.  It was real.  It was comfortable.  Like before.  Like yesterday.  We just had to catch up and then continue on, no time had passed we just were -old friends.  Such a gift that is.  Such a precious, precious gift.  Thank you, Rikki.  It was great!  Not enough time, not enough true friends, not gonna let years go by again.
Then Saturday, it SNOWED.  In October.  The 29th to be exact! Enough Said. 
For now.................

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Say Hello!

To a pretty bad blogger!  I know I have been really bad, but finding the time lately has been really tough.  So much going on in so many areas that it's all I can do to stay on top of things.  When I get home from work in the evening I want to collapse, but I can't as I have a lot to do at home as well-little things like laundry and cleaning, sometimes dinner and other such nonsense.  Never mind the extras!  So, I've been a little tense, a little stressed, and Jim and I had a weekend away scheduled which we were looking forward to and thought would be good for me, relaxing.  Stress free time with our friends in Williamsburg.  Right?  R-i-g-h-t!
So, we both took off on Friday and hop in the car after we took Bella to school to get an early start on the trip.  I made the mistake of looking at my Blackberry and saw that I had several emails and happened to open one up only to see that a co-worker was accusing me of some pretty unflattering things, in a pretty nasty way, knowing that I wouldn't be there to defend myself.  Well, that got my blood pressure right up!  After discussing it with Jim, I decided to reply to all who were copied on the email and give a short but concise defense and hope that our supervisors would take it from there.  That was not to be and emails were volleyed back and forth until another was written by the initial author with yet another baseless accusation against me and at that I turned off my Blackberry saying I'd had enough and I'd deal with it on Monday.  I took a deep breath, and calmed myself down and told Jim that I would not talk about it again for the time being I was going to put it out of my mind and resolve to try and de-stress.  With that my personal cell phone beeped signalling that I had a text message.  I looked at it to find that it was a message from my mother telling me that my Dad had had a heart attack and was in the hospital having undergone a procedure placing 2 stints in but was now resting.  Then my phone started ringing-my sisters calling.  So much for no stress! 

Dad, thank God, is doing well.  He was released from the hospital on Sunday and was on the golf course again by Friday.  His game needs some work to get it back to where it was, but that will come in time. 
We did wind up having a good weekend.  Went to the William and Mary football game and tailgated before the game.  That was a lot of fun! 

Don't know why Jim is sticking his tongue out?!
Our hosts!

On Sunday, Durinda and I went to the Stamp and Art show in Hampton, Va and left the guys behind.  We had a blast and picked up lots of goodies on our little trip!  Then we had to come back home and go back to work on Monday morning, yuck!
In wedding news, Michelle and Shawn seem to have settled on a date if not a venue.  March 10, 2012 seems to be the date.  They have narrowed the venue down to two places and have had both places pencil them in for the 10th, now we just have to decide on which place and secure it.  Saturday Michelle and I took our first foray into the world of wedding dress shopping.  That was an experience.  Let me just say this and get it out of the way, my daughter and I are very close and I love her dearly but we are not very much alike.  There, I said it.  I am more into makeup and hair, fashion and glamour.  (Believe it or not)  Michelle is more into comfort and ease.  She wears her hair long so she can wash it and go, no blow drying or styling, sometimes she'll pull it in a ponytail.  That's about it.  No make up - ever.  Well, maybe for a really special occassion-like her wedding.  I put makeup on to stay home.  I do my hair if I'm in the hospital.  So if I was having a wedding I'd get a big gown with tulle and lace, beads and a train the whole 9 yards.  Michelle wants a gown that looks like a slip.  But that's her and that's what she wants and that is what we will find her.  But, we'll find her one that will be the one for her.  So far, we haven't found it.  It's funny though, I remember shopping with my mother and she wanted me to try on all these different kinds of dresses and hats and things and I wanted the first dress I tried on.  She said you can't get the first dress you try on and made me try on all these other things, go to a bunch of other stores and we wound up going back to the first store and buying the first dress I tried on!  So there you go!

Sunday, I did a mini photo shoot with the kids and here are a few of the shots from that shoot.
So, that's about it for now.  Back to work.  Hopefullly Michelle and I will be able to carve out some time to go dress shopping again over the weekend, our window of opportunity is short.  She has no worries though.  Ha!  I do enough for the both of us. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My heart...

Decorated for the season.

Awesome Giveaway going on...

Over at The 36th Avenue blog!  And if you haven't visited Desiree's blog, you really should, she is amazing!  Full of creative ideas, amazing projects and beautiful photos!  I'd like to win this giveaway too, so you're not gonna break my heart if you don't enter-but you should visit her blog for your own sake!  Ha! So head on over and check it out, and if you don't know how to get there, just hit the button on my sidebar.  Easy peasy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finally Fall

Don't you just love the colors of fall?  I do!  Love everything about fall, with the possible exception of football.  Just not a fan.  Though I try, I just don't seem to understand the game and can't wrap my head around the fervor that surrounds it.  Growing up I remember my Dad watching football and getting so excited watching his team play.  He is one of those fans that yell at the television screen, know all the players by name and number, whose mood is actually dictated by how his team did on Sunday or Monday.  You know the type.  Now that he is getting a little older we often worry about him, when his team is having a close game or suffering from poor calls.  Though I must admit that I was very relieved to hear that he had seen a doctor who declared that he had a strong heart.  Good to know, as I often feared that  his favorite TV past-time would lead to a hear attack!   When Jim and I married I knew that he too was quite a fan of the game so when we were together for a game for the first time I remember saying to him 'I thought you  liked football?'  He told me that he did and wondered why I had asked, 'Because you're so quiet'.  A very different type of fan he is!  Everyone in the family is pretty much a fan of the game, I am the one hold out.  It's like a different language to me, and if we are watching it on TV there isn't even any pretty scenery or people watching to do.  B-O-R-I-N-G!  My 2 sisters are die hard fans. RABID!  They love to retell the story about me being at a college football game and watching people in the stands.  I leaned over to Jim and asked him what D Gate meant.  He didn't know what I meant and I showed him in the stands there were a couple of kids one holding a large letter 'D' and the others holding what I thought was a gate.  He laughing told me that it was a fence and that it meant 'defense'.  My sister and her kids will just randomly call me up during football season and yell D-GATE!  I thought it was a perfectly logical question.  Obviously others felt differently.
The above picture is courtesy of Pinterest, but I must tell you that it looks a great deal like a lake in the area where I grew up.  The fall was breathtakingly beautiful!  I used to love to go out and walk or ride in the woods as we called them.  There was a large rock that jutted out over a ridge and the view from there was just beautiful, it was one of my favorite spots to sit and think, to write, to dream.  I kind of miss having a special spot.  I'd like to be  there now or here:

I am still in a state of ambivilance.  Not quite sure what to do with myself.  This too shall pass, I am sure of it.  I just am not sure of how to get past it at this point.  I am struggling and that is not really like me.  I don't like feeling this way and truth be told I may be on the verge of a depression.
See that spot just beneath the wave?  I feel like that is me, and I am just waiting for the wave to hit and take me under.  Really unlike me.  I need to focus and reconnect, but the tears keep threatening to overtake me.  Why do I go there?  I know that I should just try and stay cheery and I am doing my best, but sometimes I've got to let it out.  And really, it doesn't help that I am surrounded by stupid people!  Not at home mind you.  But so often elsewhere, let's just say that too many people put their mouth in gear before fully engaging their brains.  Sometimes it wouldn't make much difference if they did engage their brains!  And I am NOT what you might call the most patient of people. 
Say a prayer for me will you?  I need all the help I can get and I mean that.

Now, I'll leave you with a few cards that I made recently.
First up is this one made with Inky Antic Stamps

If you can't read it, sentiment says: 'My husband said he'd leave me if I bought one more thing...' Inside: 'I'll miss him...'
Colored with pastel pencils.
This is colored with Copics and for that touch of sparkle-Smooch! Inside is a Hershey midget

Little messy on the sentiment, but love the inchworm and the filmstrip stencil. 
That's it for now.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Guess What?

It has stopped raining!  Finally.  It seemed liked the rain was here to stay, because everytime the rain would seem to break it started right back up again.  Let me tell you, we are soaked, water logged and down right sick of the rain!  Well, this weekend was glorious in terms of the weather.  Couldn't have been nicer.  Not a cloud in the sky, sun was shining and the nights were cool.  Just a couple of beautiful fall days.  I was loving it!  Which was good, because I was outside a lot both days. 
Saturday we had planned to participate in a yard sale with our neighbors.  They had been preparing for it for weeks and after 40+ years of marriage and an adult daughter whose own teenage kids had gone off to school had moved back in with her parents-they had a lot to get rid of.  We didn't have that much, just some books and toys, games, and some other random things that were lying around taking up space.  Most of it was the kids' stuff.  So Michelle was going to help with the set up and the sale, but the kids slept in and then after they got to the house and were there for a while Bella got sick so they had to go home.  So, I was flying solo with the yard sale.  But, since we had pulled a bunch of stuff out of the garage I decided it was a good time to sweep and vaccum it out and got it nice and clean and then when I was done with that I swept the driveway and the sidewalk, so everything looked nice.  (Of course Jim had to go and mow the lawn yesterday and ruin the nice clean look, but what can you do!) 
Yesterday, Jim and I ran some errands together.  I bought paint to paint Michelle's old room with and begin the transformation.  I hate the thought of starting a painting project, but I sure love the feeling of accomplishment that I get when I am in the midst of one and see the progress that I am making.  It is such a great feeling!  Then when I have finished the project to stand back and look at the completed room and know that I have done it myself gives me such a sense of pride, I feel like I can take on the world.  Just give me a paint brush and a roller!  Ha!  We also got a few other things that we needed, although I can't for the life of me remember what because they don't really matter compared to the paint.  When we got home we worked in the yard for quite a while.  Him more than me, but I did a bit.  Due to recent storms, we have lost quite a few branches and shrubbery in the back yard and Jim had been able to cut a lot of it down, but had not gotten to break it down and haul it away.  It was all just in piles in various gardens in the back, so yesterday we broke down the branches, kept what we could for kindling and hauled the rest away.  Let me tell  you, I worked hard!  It was a lot of bending over and this old body doesn't like that type of repititous action anymore!  Plus, the sun was hot.  I finished up my part and left Jim to mow the lawn and I went inside where I thought I'd relax for a while.  Once inside though, I was greeted with a dirty floor that needed my attention and I just couldn't let it go.  So, I got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor, then I vaccumed the whole house and when I got upstairs I noticed that the bathroom door was shut (we don't use the hall bathroom).  Bella had aparently shut it after being sick in there the day before for what I can only assume were malordorsly obvious reasons.  Let's just say it didn't get better with age!  So, that led to scrubbing and disinfecting the entire bathroom.  The good news is it's sparkly clean now.  * :)   The bad news is, so much for an afternoon of relaxation. 
It ended well though, I sat in the hot tub for a long while last night.  Just relaxing.  Oh it was nice!  The water was hot, the bubbles were popping and the jets were strong, doing their job at relaxing my muscles.  Mmm.  Makes me tired even thinking about it.  I could use a little nap. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

So it Begins

Phone calls, emails, websites and magazines all with pictures of brides and beautiful dresses, touting one venue over another, questions about where to go, who to see, and of course, how much will it cost?  It all can become a little overwhelming!  No wonder a bride is known to be so emotional during this time.  But what about her mother?  Why am I feeling so emotional?
It's rather confusing for me to understand myself.  I am so undeniably happy for Michelle.  Bella too.  Shawn is a terrific man and I have a great bond with him that I feel is one that will only strengthen with time.  They are very lucky to have each other-all of them.  I love the planning of the wedding, it's fun for me.  Something that I have always wanted to do and have looked forward to. I can't wait to go shopping with the girls for dresses and flowers and get into all the details.  That's my idea of fun.  So it's not that.  But I do feel myself to be at somewhat of an impasse.  I am very emotional and cry at the drop of a hat, especially when speaking with Michelle.  I am not afraid of being replaced because the truth is, I know no one can replace ME!  Part of me though may feel a bit set adrift. Somewhat like an old viking, but without the flames.
The truth is, I feel sad.  After much soul searching, I feel that I've been able to reach the source of my sadness and it is this.  Michelle has decided to get married at Shawn's family church, and to attend there with Isabella.  While part of me is so glad that they will be attending church as a family and raising Bella and Aiden together in the Christian faith, it saddens me at the same time to think that our time together in our family church has passed.  Is that selfish?  I really do want what is best for them and I think that perhaps this church might be good for them.  They went on Sunday and Bella has talked about it to me several times and she asked Michelle to read to her about the story they talked about in church.  That is great, it means that Isabella was paying attention and she got something from the service and it was brought home, all of that is good.  It is also great that Shawn's family attends that church as well, his parents and his sister and her family as well, so Bella will have cousin's there.  I know that it is all good, but part of me feels like they are giving part of themselves up gain those rewards.  While my head knows that's not true, it has to convince my heart.
The worst part is that without them, I don't want to go to church and I don't know why.  It's not their fault!  Michelle is doing what is right for her and for her family, I know that!  At the same time, it's always been hard enough for me to go to church with just my children and not Jim.  Now, for the kids to leave me too, I just don't know if I can do it without them. 
Jesus knows my heart.  He knows that my love and trust in Him hasn't changed, but my courage has faltered a bit.  Pray for me, that He will give me the strength that I need to go it alone.  To worship Him as I have done for the last half of my life, at my home church with my church family. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Season of Changes

It seems that there will continue to be a lot of changes in the lives of my family.  And we couldn't be happier about them.  While Michelle and Shawn were away in Disney World they became engaged.  Prior to their leaving, Shawn had spoken to both Jim and I and asked our permission which of course we granted, so we knew that it was in the works, but we didn't know exactly when.  While we spoke with them several times during their trip they never let anything on. It turns out that he popped the question on their first night there and Michelle didn't want to share it with anyone (other than Shawn's sister Courtney who they were with), she preferred to just keep it to themselves for the time being.  That's so very Michelle. 
The Happy Couple!
They haven't set a date as of yet but are hoping for the Spring, April or May.  They had a really great trip and had a wonderful time.  They are anxious to go back and bring the kids, hopefully on their honeymoon if things go as planned even if it is a delayed honeymoon.  (After school gets out.) 
Isabella and Aiden are thrilled!  They were told on Friday night after Aiden's birthday celebration.  The Grands, Jim and I and Rex and Della (Shawn's parents) were invited over to their house to celebrate the birthday and when the kids went up to bed Michelle and Shawn went up to speak to them.  We heart lots of cheering coming from upstairs, so we thought the kids were taking the news well.  Shortly Aiden came bounding down the stairs yelling "We're getting married!" followed by Bella who war piroutting down the steps singing "They're getting married!"  She followed that up by telling us that "Yeah!  And I'm going to be the Maiden of Honor and Aiden's going to be the Perfect Boy.  Or something like that."  We all got a kick our of that.  Isabella and Aiden will be the honorary Maid of Honor and Best Man.  They are well suited for their jobs! 
Then the kids realized that they would be brother and sister and they were thrilled about that!  Bella looked at Shawn and said she'd have a Dad.  Not sure who was happier about that, but then Aiden looked at Michelle and seemed a bit confused.  He has a Mom.  And he said "Miss Michelle will be my..." And I filled in with 'How about Miss Michelle can be your 'Bonus Mom' Aiden, will that work?"  He smiled and said "Miss Michelle you can be my 'Bonus Mom!'" 
It was very cute and they couldn't stop smiling.
So, it's on to helping to plan a wedding for me!  I am very happy for all of them.  Michelle and Shawn are a delightful couple who so enjoy one another, it will be a joy to see them take this step together.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Catching Up

I know I've got a lot of catching up to do!  I've had lots going on and just haven't had a chance to get on the computer.  Really.  So, what have I been up to since last I posted? 

Well, aside from the usual which keeps me busy enough-there has been lots!  Thursday night Michelle and I headed on over to the Fairgrounds to see Darius Rucker.  He put on an amazing concert and was very well received.  The fans just loved him-Michelle and I included! 
That's Michelle, leaning right up against the stage hoping to get a guitar pick.  No luck!
Friday is traditionally kids day at the fair and as such, the county schools are closed for the day.  That's what it's like to live in a small, rural farm town.  Over the years as more and more city people have moved in, there have been numerous complaints, and lots of people have tried to change it, but the tradition still stands.  So, Bella spent the day with Granddaddy and in the evening, Michelle and I took her to  her first concert at the fair.  Billy Currington was playing and one of Bella's favorite country songs is 'People are Crazy' by Billy Currington, so we thought it might be a good one to start her out with.  We did start to worry about the weather though as it rained off and on for most of the day, but it stopped in time for the concert and despite the horrendous humidity, the concert was a HUGE success!  Bella had a great time and danced and sang along, and at the end of the show she went to the stage with Michelle and during the encore, Billy held Bella's hand during one of his songs.  She was thrilled!  (I was too far away to even see it let along photograph it!)
Bella and Michelle before the concert.  Bella had to change into her new Billy Currington T-shirt!

Michelle and Bella rocking it out!
Saturday I had another great day and had a massage.  Oh!  How I love to start my day with a massage.  Actually, I don't really care where in my day one happens to fall.  I'd take it in any part of the day.  I just really enjoy getting a massage.  I felt totally refreshed, renewed and re-energized afterwards and went to the grocery store before I headed home and cleaned the house and did several loads of laundry and some ironing.  Then when Jim got home he wanted to go out to try and find a dresser for Bella's room in our  house and we stopped at several stores without any luck and then came home.  I checked on Craigslist because I had seen something on there in Hagerstown and so I called about it and we headed up there to look at it and hopefully purchase it.  Only to get there to find out that the guys brother had already sold it!  Luckily, they purchase stuff from estate sales and had a lot of stuff and we were able to get something else that worked for us.  It wasn't exactly what we wanted, but it will work and it was only $60.  Perfect!
Yesterday morning we met Michelle, Shawn and Bella for breakfast and then after we took Bella home with us while Michelle and Shawn headed for the airport.  They are going to Disney for a few days alone.  Which means we get Bella for a few days alone!  Works out good all around. 
After they left, my cousin came up to the house with her little girl Tory who is the same age as Bella and we took the girls to a local pumpkin patch.  They had a great time playing together. 
They loved the corn maze, but it was a bit muddy for our taste!!

It was also hotter than we had expected it to be. 
Bella quickly found a way to solve  her problem of being to hot.  She just dumped a bottle of water over her head!  Problem solved. 
Needless to say, between the mud, the water, corn, sweat, and everything else, they were a bit of a mess by the time we got  home.  Thank goodness for nice clean showers!  Had her smelling sweet in no time flat.
So tomorrow morning its back to work and school for us.  I think I might be glad for a little boring routine.  As a matter of fact, I think I'm looking forward to it!