Monday, December 10, 2012

Weekend in Review

Wow, this month sure is speeding by!  It's hard to believe that in a little over two weeks, Christmas will be here. 
December is usually a very busy month for us as it is for many, and this past weekend was no exception.  On Saturday we took our anual trip to Hersheypark to ring in the holiday season.  It is a magical place there and the magic really comes alive during the holidays.  We started the day with breakfast with Santa.  Prior to Santa's arrival at the restaurant, some of the Hershey characters (Reese, Hersheybar, etc.) come in and wave hi to the kids and have their pictures taken.  Then the big guy arrives as Mr. Musicman leads everyone in song.  Mrs. Clause is there too and all happily pose for pictures with the children and adults.  Bella was enchanted! 
After breakfast, we went into the park where Bella rode some rides, we saw the Musicbox Theatre Christmas show, enjoyed the lights and even saw some reindeer.  By the time we left the park at 7:30 we were all pretty tired.  It had started to rain by then so it was a good time to make our exit.

Sunday I had my little helper with me and we baked.  Bella had asked me if I would help her make brownie treats for Miss Holly (their friend) as it was her birthday.  I couldn't pass up that request!  Not only did we make the brownie treats, but when we finished those we baked a cake for Shawn's birthday, which is Tuesday.  I will have to ice it this evening, but it is baked! 
Later in the day I attacked our 4th bedroom.  You see, since I began Christmas shopping I have been using that room as a closet.  It was a mess!  I took all the gifts out of there that were for Shawn, Michelle, Esther and Tim and sorted them, boxed them up if needed and got ready to wrap.  Just getting them all out of the bags made a big difference!  While I love to wrap, it is truly a labor of love for me because it kills my back to wrap.  But I am making headway.  I am hoping to do a little each night this week that I can and hopefully finish anything I have left on the weekend.    (That is my intention anyway!)

Otherwise, the house is looking quite festive as all of our decorations are up! 
Are you ready?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Still Here!

I took an unexpected bloggy vacation.  As if life isn't hectic enough, things became complicated.  Ha!
Thanksgiving was really nice and it was sooo good to have the family here.  I love cooking the big meal and having everyone around, laughing, talking, watching football and being a family.  Because there is so much to do, I got up early to get a head start on things.  We were cooking 2 turkeys and a ham, along with all the accoutrements.  One turkey was going in the deep fryer and I have nothing to do with that, thank goodness!  The other was the larger of the two and was being cooked the traditional way.  Mr. Wonderful had to work that day, so I was on my own.  I went to the refrigerator in the basement to retrieve the turkey and just hauling that bad boy up the steps about did me in, so I thought I had no hope of getting iit in the oven after he was stuffed.  I called Michelle and asked her to send Shawn over to help me.  When he arrived, I was on the floor with my head hanging out the sliding glass door.  I had somehow fallen and wasn't able to get up, luckily Shawn was there in the nick of time!  I didn't think I had hurt myself, just a little ego bruise but over the next day or two I realized that my shoulder was quite sore and moving it caused some pain.  I headed to the doctor on Monday (lucky to get an appointment that quick) and X-rays showed that I had seperated my shoulder.  It's not as bad as it sounds, but they did tie me up in a sling for the next few weeks.  So please pardon any type O's!  There ya' have it-my excuse.
I did begin a post, but I never finished it and so didn't post.

On Black Friday, Michelle, Shawn,  Holly and myself headed out for the stores at 1:30 AM.  We shopped and shopped and then shopped some more.  After about 10 or 11 hours we had filled up the car and decided to head for home.  I had every intention of resting, but you k now what they say about intentions.  I wound up getting all my china and silver that we had used on Thanksgiving put away, cleaned up the mess that remained in the kitchen from Mr. W and then did a little decorating.  I also packed away all of my every day dishes and unpacked, washed and put away my Christmas dishes.  Whew!  No one was more surprised than me by what I was able to accomplish.

Saturday was my birthday and I celebrated by having the morning to myself.  The kids had all gone home and Mr. Wonderful was working again.  It was quite nice to be honest and I did a whole lot of nothing.
Later, Michelle, Shawn and Bella came over and then the hubs came home and I was showered with gifts!  Then we headed out for dinner at a hibachi steak house-yum!  It was delicious!  The evening was topped off by ice cream cake and candles.

Sunday, Jim and I headed down to Washington to Tim and Ester's place for dinner.  That was the first time that we had seen their apartment and I for one, was delighted to see it.  They had their Christmas tree up and the train that we had given Tim was under the tree and the place was as neat as a pin!  Again, I was spoiled with dinner, gifts and a cake too!  As a Mom, it sure is nice to see you children happy and healthy and in a good place. 

So that's what I've been up to.  How about you? 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November-so far...

It's been a while since I last posted and I do apologize.  Sometimes it is difficult to find the time!  I have so many things that I wish to do with my time but regretably, I seldom have either the time or the energy to get to them.  Work keeps interfering with my play time-curses!
After the couple of unexpected days off that I received courtesy of Sandy, work was pretty hectic.  Catching up on things, finishing projects that had been open, the usual.  Luckily, hubby hold down the fort on the homefront and takes care of the yardwork too, enlisting my help only when absolutely  necessary.  Bad new is that it's been necessary lately.  Ha!

Right now I am looking forward to Thanksgiving.  I have so much to be thankful for and I do try to remember that each and every day, but it is nice to have one day set aside each year to share our thanks.  I will be hosting again this year, and will be joined by Tim and Esther, Michelle, Shawn & Bella, Bill & Linda (Mr. W's sister and brother), Linda's son Ben and Holly, a neighbor of Michelle and Shawn who has become a family friend.  I can't wait to have the family all together!!

The hubs and I have gotten some Christmas shopping done already and I am so excited about that!  I usually try to start early, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.  Every year I tell myself that I will be more organized and better prepared to enjoy the holiday, and every year I am faced with scrambling at the last minute and wrapping on Christmas Eve!  My visions of an organized Christmas go up the chimney with  Santa.  But this year something, and I'm not sure what spurred me on.  I picked something up for someone because I saw it and then I just kept going from there.  Tim & Esther each keep a wish list on Amazon, so they shared that with me and I've been able to get some good ideas to add to some of my own.  Bella is always easy-too easy!  She likes and wants everything!  I have even been able to put away a few things for my Mr. Wonderful.  I don't think I've ever gotten him anything prior to Black Friday.  I only have a few people that I find difficult to buy for and they are  my parents.  Both my Mom & Dad and Dad and bonus Momd are hard for me to buy for.  I want their gifts to be meaningful without being too pricey and something that they will actually use or like or both.  Suggestions are gladly appreciated! 
In addition to the head start on shopping, I've also started my Christmas cards already!  I try to make my own, but again, often find myself short of time.  I started by first making a prototype and then broke the card down to individual sections that I can do one at a time.  Example: first I cut down the paper to size, then I stamp the design and sentiment, then I color in the design, add stickles, etc.  I think that I have 30 that are completed.  Stamps were purchased one day last week when Mr. W was running some errands he saw that there was no line at the Post Office and stopped in.  I made my return address labels on the computer and will hand address each envelope. 
Because Bella is over the house so often (I am in NO way complaining!) I didn't want to leave gifts for her out where she can find them, so I started my wrapping.  I can't even believe it!  Wrapping is a task that I don't mind at all, but I am having an increasingly difficult time doing it because of the repetative nature of it I get terribly stiff and sore.  Doing a little at a time is most definitely the way to go! 
So tell me, how are you doing with your holiday preparations?  I often wonder if the majority of people are like me or if in fact I am in the minority?  I see all these different blogs where women post a new craft or idea every day and I wonder where in the world they find the time to do it! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surviving Sandy

It would seem that the worst of the hurricane Sandy has passed and we are still here.  It was quite a storm, to say the least.  Everyone has not been nearly fortunate as we have been and many hundreds of thousands have been effected by this massive storm.  Damages are going to be in the millions.  If you have been paying any attention to the  news, you have seen some of the pictures that have been shown of Atlantic City where the boardwalk has been completely washed away.  New York City is a mess and out in parts of West Virginia they are dealing with 30 inches of snow and counting!  We got by with strong winds and a lot of rain.  We slept in our basement last night as advised on the news and we had no power throughout the night, but it was thankfully restored this morning.

The Mr. and I decided to take a drive around town and survey the damages and here is a little of what we saw.
This is Carroll Creek, normally the water comes over here, but not normally at that rate.  The creek is typically less than half that size.
You can see a lot of debris in the water here, another view of the Carroll Creek.
The railing there shows the edge of the road, but as you can see the water comes way over the road.
There were a lot of trees down, many pulled up from the roots.  A condo development in our community had a lot of damage to the buildings where siding was just ripped off.  The siding was scattered all over the place.  I heard on the news though that the water has not crested yet and there will be more flooding.
This morning there were 77 roads closed in Frederick.
So thankful that I didn't have to go to work this morning!
Hope that everyone is safe and staying warm.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Simple Things

This weekend was about enjoying the Simple Things, like watching Roxie snuggling up under a pile of leaves in the backyard, taking a stroll downtown and spending time with family in person and on the phone.

Friday, October 26, 2012


With the onset of October, many people begin to feel like Fall is really here.  The leaves are changing, temperatures are beginning to get cooler, and little ghosts and goblins begin to pop up in all forms.
This year however, the weather has been anything but 'Fall'like.  This week the temperatures avereraged 72 here in the DC Metro region.  One day this week it hit 80!  Great to be outside.

But things are about to change according to our weather man.  Our area and particularly the North East is looking towards the convergance of three big storms; Hurricane Sandy is heading our way from the South, a wintry storm is coming in from the West and 'frigid' air is bearing down on us from Canada.  To top it all off we will be experiencing a full moon, which causes higher tides and winds.  Creating what forecasters have deemed  'Frankenstorm' heading our way.  (Cue the music now.)  A storm of historic proportions.

What does that mean for us here where I live?  For one, it means don't get sick or run out of toilet paper as there will be none available at the grocery stores.  If you find yourself without, you may want to stock up on some of those leaves that have recently fallen from the trees and have not yet become crunchy.  Or you can always choose the 'drip dry' method in the case of an extreme emergency, though I don't recommend that as chafing is sure to follow.
Bread and milk are probably already gone from area grocers.  What is it about a storm that makes people stock up on bread and milk?  Do you use more of those items in bad weather?  Do heavy rains make you want to eat a sandwich?  This is something that I have had to get used to since moving to the area many years ago.
You see, I grew up in North Western New Jersey and we got snow.  Lots of it in fact.  I know we were a little more used to it, but it had to be really bad for schools to be closed due to snow.  In fact, I remember standing at the bus stop in what felt like several feet of snow (remember, I was shorter then!) and wondering where the bus was.  When it finally came by, our driver just opened the window a bit to tell us that school had been cancelled.  Here they have been known to cancel schools before a flake of snow has even been spotted!  Ha, Wimps.  
I do remember one storm that hit so hard we were all snowed in for several days.  A rare happening indeed.  We lived in an area where there weren't too many housed, but the folks were all very friendly.  I awoke one night to peals of laughter and loud voices coming from outside.  I looked out  my bedroom window to see many of our parents sledding and tobogganing down the hill in front of our house!  (They all slept in late the next day and there were a few rather substantial bruises to be seen.)
When one family discovered that they were running low on staples, they called around and got lists of items the neighbors needed and headed out to the General Store (for real) on a snowmobile.  It worked.

If the power went out, the kids didn't think much of it in the daytime.  That's because we were all outside playing.  We would play in the snow for hours before coming in.  We didn't sit around and watch TV or play video games all day.  True, we didn't have video games, or computers, but you get the point.  We considered it an adventure if the lights went out at night.  Playing with flashlights, lighting candles and a fire in the fireplace.  We talked to each other!  Played family games, read, that kind of thing. 
Now I have to admit that I am now as spoiled as the next person by the conveniences we live with.  But I am looking forward to a gloomy, stay at home day(s).  I'd like to work on making my Christmas cards, do some baking, scrapbook a layout or two and just relax at home.  Sounds heavenly to me!

We'll see what the weather has to offer and what it turns out to be.  What do you do on rainy, stormy days?

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I can't believe that it is Thursday already.  I like Thursday's though, they are on the eve of Friday and Friday brings with it the anticipation of the weekend.  And, well, what's not to love about the weekend?!
Lately our weekends seem to be filled to the brim.  Saturday I spent the morning cleaning the house-and let me tell you, it was sorely in need of cleaning!  My floors were an absolute disgrace and I scrubbed my kitchen floor on my hands and knees and then when I was done, I got out the bucket and mop and did it again, just to get anything I may have missed.   It sure was nice to look at for those 4 minutes that it was clean.  I kid you not.  Just had to let the dogs in from outside and they somehow managed to get 'stuff' on my newly clean floor.  Next floor in that kitchen is going to be wood-a lot less shows on that. 
Later in the day Michelle and company joined us and we all headed over to Summer's Farm for an afternoon of sun, pumpkins, and fun.  Boy, it was a spectacular day!  Bella had a great time and that is enough to make the rest of us happy. 

It was really a beautiful day, marred only slightly by the fact that my legs choose to not fully cooperate with me, making walking around a farm just a little difficult. 
After the farm we stopped to eat quickly and then headed home to get ready for the next adventure.  Catoctin Zoo was hosting Boo in the Zoo!  I opted out of that particular funfest, choosing instead to stay home and rest.  Good thing too seeing as I have enough difficulty walking around in broad daylight, walking in the zoo after nightfall was not something that I was up to trying.  Safe bet I think!
Bella was asleep in the car practically before pulling out of the parking lot.  One tired little girl!
Tim called and gave us some terrific news, he and Esther will be home for Thanksgiving!  Woo-hoo!
We never know when we can expect to see them as they both have busy schedules and work opposite hours from each other.  When they do have a day off together, they like to spend it together.  We are thrilled that we'll get to see them for the holiday!  Don't know yet what Michelle and Shawn will be doing, but I'm sure we'll get to see them for at least a little bit of the day.  I'm hoping that we can all be together even if it is for a short time.
Tim and Esther have been really busy.  Tim's restuarant has been picking up quite a bit and recently they were hosts to a fund raiser for the Obama/Biden campaign.  They all had to be investigated and the place inspected by the Secret Service and then President Obama didn't show up, but VP Biden made it with his wife.  Tim has also had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with Byron Leftwich of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He comes into the restuarant quite frequently and last time he came in he brought another Steeler along with him. (Sorry, but I can't remember his name.) So, that's been kind of fun for him being such a fan of the team.

That's about all for now.  Hoping to be able to post some crafty pics next time, but I can't promise you that!
Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In the Pink!

That's not always a good thing.  I am home today with pink eye-again.  I have had pink eye more this year than I have in my whole life.  After seeing both a physician and an opthamologist, I think that I have found the culprit.  Each time that I develop this we are working on another build out a work, the dust is flying and I'm overseeing the job.  So there you have it. 

Today Mr. Wonderful walked Bella to school, he tries to do that whenever it is nice enough to walk.  Bella thought is was too cold and in trying to prove a point, she kept telling her Granddaddy that she was freezing. He finally remarked to her that she could keep complaining or she could hurry up and walk and get there faster.  Her response?  'Oh, I'm fine with complaining.  I'm freezing!' That kid cracks me up.  My mister said that she is a wife in training.  Oh!   No he didn't!  Ha!

Been working on a few crafty things.  A friend from work is helping to host a baby shower and asked me to make a bunch of stuff for it.  I'm doing a banner, food signs, a onesie line and some large clothespins to hang the line from.  I'll try and get some pics to post when it is set up!

And finally, I've received several comments about Jillians pictures and the collage and have been promising my sister one from her daughter's shoot, so without further ado-Julia;

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weekend in Review

Sometimes I just don't  know where the time goes!  Well, to be honest, most of the time I don't know where anything goes-but that's another subject entirely. 
Everyday is filled with work, family, activities and the like and I am so exhausted at the end of each day that I just CRASH!  What makes it worse is that it is getting dark earlier and I am ready for bed by 8:00.  I feel like a child!  As long as I don't have to wear bibs or diapers, I guess I am okay.  Ha!

Anyway, had a busy, busy weekend.  Saturday I went and did a photo shoot for a Senior girl. She was an absolute delight and we had a good time, but we were all over the place.  She had asked that some of the pictures be taken with her horse, so our last stop of the day was at the farm where she boards her horse.  It was a picture perfect day, temperatures were moderate and the sky was a beautiful shade of blue, but the lighting was not optimal.  She couldn't get started until noon and by the time we started shooting it was close to 1:00 and the sun was rather harsh.  But we did get some good shots.
Here are a few of them, cropped to fit into the collage, but you get the idea.

I got home about five and was just beat .  Mr. Wonderful had been at work most of the day, but he made it home before I did and started on some yard work.  We were both bushed and too tired to even go out for dinner, so Stauffer's came to our rescue.  Luckily, he is easy to please and doen't expect too much from me in the cooking department.  Ha!

On Sunday we accompanied Michelle,Shawn and Bella to the Great Pumpkin Patch the community park in Mt. Airy.  It was cute, but I think that Bella is probably growing out of that one as the activities were just a little too young for her.  After we were through there, we went up the road a mile or two to Gaver's Farm and enjoyed another beautiful Fall day.  We went to the pumpkin patch and picked a pumpkin, played games, saw the animals and just really had a nice time. 
They had a good time on the slide, and no one was hurt but Shawn's pants didn't quite survive the ride.  He got off and small tear in his pants had torn open and his pocket was hanging off his pants! 

Boy, does this little girl LOVE her Daddy!
Shawn and his girls.

We didn't get back home until 5:00 and I have to tell you, Mr. W and I were about done.  I plopped on the couch and he sat in his Lazy Boy and that was about it.  We really are getting old. 
That's about it!  I'm busy editing pictures and helping a co-worker with a baby shower she's throwing.  So, I have plenty to keep me busy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Choosing Joy!

I think that I've said it before but it bears repeating.  What if everyone you met or encountered in life wore a sign that tells a story about themselves?  Things like: "Just Lost My Job", "Lost a Child",  "New Baby", "Newlywed", "Caretaker", "Overwhelmed!", "Cancer Patient", and so on.  Would you be more understanding if they didn't live up to your expectations of them?  Would you avoid people whose 'story' made you feel uncomfortable or would you make a point to speak with them, offer comfort, compassion?  Makes you think, doesn't it.
But we don't wear signs, not traditional signs anyway.  What we do wear is our emotions, our feelings, our mood.  Whether we are all aware of it or not, our mood is an outward sign to the world about what is going on inside.  We can say with a word or two or sometimes just by a look, 'Come In' or 'Back Off'.  Visible expressions of what we are putting out to the world.  And what we put out we often get in return. 

That is  a difficult lesson to learn and for some, it is we that is never learned.  It is something that I struggle with every day.  Not because my story is an unusual one, but because I wear my emotions on my sleeve.  Anyone who knows me in real life knows that to be true.  I have always been that way and it is something that I might like to change about myself if I could, but it is just a part of who I am.  I am typically a happy, easygoing person.  I like to be happy and try to seek  happiness in life and in others.  Not that I shy away from those who bear a sign that carries with it difficulties or sadness, not at all.  But, I am generally happiy and wearing a smile.  What makes that difficult is that if I am not smiling and outwardly cheerful, people seem to think that something is wrong, that my story has changed.
I tend to let others mood be reflected in my own, giving off a Keep Out kind of vibe.  That is not who I want to be and as I've said I struggle with it a bit.  I like being upbeat and positive, even though that is not always possible. 

When I received my diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy I tried to put a positive spin on it and I believe that I have had some success in that endeavor.  I don't dwell on the 'what ifs' and the 'why me', but rather I take comfort in the knowledge that it could be worse and that I might in some small way be able to help someone else who is struggling.  I am not defined by my diagnosis, but it is a part of who I am and how I have grown.  I count my Blessings and they are many, one of which is MD.  I am Blessed to have been choosen to take this journey in life.  I struggle sometimes, that is true, some things are more difficult for me that they were before or than they may be for others.  It is a journey that I seek daily.  I am trying-trying to walk in His footsteps.  To be an example of God's presence in my life and to share that with others. 
We all make choices that can help to determine the outcome of things.  Sometimes it is easier to be overwhelmed by the negativity that we see in the world and forget to see the beauty.  It is there, we just need to seek it.  I am working to make a choice to choose joy in my life.  That is not to say that I am happy all the time or that I don't get down or blue, because that is just not possible.  But I believe that when we seek joy we can find it.  It is His way, and it is the path that I wish to follow.  Choosing Joy.  Not just during the holidays or from time to time, but every day. 

What is your story?  Share it with me, I'd like to hear it.

Friday, September 21, 2012


I just want to say for the record that I love Fridays!  Especially this one.  Not much planned for the weekend other than cleaning the house and getting out my fall decorations, but I have the whole weekend ahead of me!  Bliss. 
My work schedule has about beaten me down in the last two weeks and I am ready for a reprive.  Not that anything is too different at work, but I think I just expected my body to bounce right back after surgery and it isn't.  I seem to tire more easily than is normal and when I lie down at night I pass out.  To be honest, I can barely stay awake through dinner.  Ha!  Makes for stimulating evenings at my house, gotta tell you.  But as my Mom always says, this too shall pass.
Last weekend I was able to spend a little time in my craft room inking up some new stamps. Yeah! I also made a trip out to the scrapbook store (closest one is 45 min. away) and picked up the Dewey Decimal Set by Lawn Fawn and the paper pack of the same name. So cute! Here a a couple of the cards that I made:

The three above a made with the Inky Antics set that I showed you last week, papers are all Papertrey Ink.  I love their paper!

This was just a little set that contained just the turkey image and the sentiment that says 'Happy Turkey Day!' I know that it is difficult to see there in the corner.

On Sunday we skipped church and took Michelle, Shawn and Isabella to the Fair. Bella loves going and her favorite part is the animals. One year she was able to see a cow giving birth and she was so fascinated! Every year we have to go and one of the first stops is the Birthing Tent. This year we missed the birth as one occurred just before we arrived and one shortly after we left. We were able to see the proud new mommy and her baby.

Bella made a Tussy Mussy in one of the buildings and we saw lots of great home grown produce, flowers as well as animals.

We all rode the ferris wheel, it was nice because we were able to feel a nice breeze up there!
We heard a lot of comments throughout the day about Michelle being a Steelers fan and Shawn a Ravens fan.  Bella was planning on changing into her Steelers jersey after the Ravens game.

This ride was new this year. It's a big inflatable tube that is in water and the kids move it by walking or running inside.  Bella liked it if you couldn't tell.

Michelle and Bella in the Fun House

This was a prize that Shawn and Bella won at one of the game booths.  You had to toss ping pong balls into a small fish bowl and for each one in you got a fish or a ticket.  If you won 6 tickets you could trade up for a Gecko.  So this little fellow is joing Bella's menagerie!  After they got home Shawn went to the pet store to buy food (a neighbor gave them an aquarium) and there he learned tht they do better with others, so now she has 2 Geckos!
Let's just say that Daddy is a pushover!

Shawn and Bella rocking their Ray Rice jerseys! 

Have a great weekend y'all!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Manic Monday and Weekend Wrap Up

I went back to work last Tuesday after having been off for three weeks on medical leave and let me tell you, it was a long four days!  Though I was glad to get back to work and try to get on a somewhat normal track, it was difficult not to be able to just lie down and nap when I got tired.  Further, I had been gone for three weeks and despite the fact that there were several people in my office who were covering for me, there was still a LOT of work that had piled up!  I worked a little more than 40 hours in the four days that I was back.
Still, I must admit that it was nice to have been missed and I certainly received a warm welcome back. :)

Needless to say, I did very little other than work last week.  I simply didn't have the energy. 

Friday afternoon I was able to squeeze in a 30 minute power nap after I got ome and then I headed off to meet a friend for the evening.  It was so nice to be able to just talk and visit with Tootie as we haven't been able to see much at all of each other recently.  Her dear Mom had been ill and Tootie has been taking care of her.  So we talked and laughed and talked, it was just what we both needed.

Saturday, we headed out to the Stamp and Art Show.  It was held in the Agriculture Center and let me tell you, it was hot, hOT, HOT and terribly humid!!!  The poor vendors had a difficult time keeping paper and books and dry.  We wound up not staying too long because between the heat, humidity and the crowds, it just wasn't fun.  But I did manage to pick up a few things before heading out.  I grabbed several packages of Honey Comb paper (including the a couple new colors and Peppermint Stripe) and this new Honey Pop Stamp Set:
I just love that little squirrel with the acorn cap.  So cute!  I also scooped up another Honey Comb set that I can make tree ornaments with.  So, I have some new stamps to play with just as soon as I have some time!
As we were headed home, the sky began to darken, the wind picked up and the whole atmosphere seemed to change.  Within minutes the sky appeared to look kind of purple and green and then it just opened up and the rain came pouring down!  It was unbelievable and quite trecherous to drive in.  Obviously we made it back safely, but holy crow-what a storm!

Sunday was a very special day in the life of our church.  The church building is over 100 years old and over the last seven weeks it has been undergoing a much needed face lift.  Yesterday the results of that face lift were revealed and celebrated.  What a wonderful service and time of worship!  It really did my heart good to be able to be there and share in this day with my church family.  To add to the celebration, a concert was held in our sanctuary last evening combined with a prayer service.  The vocal quartet The Laughing Bird came down from the Philadelphia area and entertained us with a capella chamber music.  The group featured a young man who had grown up in our church-Colin Dill.  Their music was so extremely moving, a feast for the senses!  Truly amazing to hear such beautiful sounds coming from this small group.  If you ever have a chance to hear them, do NOT pass up the opportunity!  What a way to spend the evening.  
It was a truly blessed day!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Hope that everyone has a great Labor Day.  I am enjoying my last day off before heading back to work after my surgery.  It's been a long haul. Ha!

I wanted to show you a few pictures of my girl on her first day of third grade, I was so glad to be able to walk her to school and pick her up after school.  What a blessing!  This little girl is such a JOY, what a happy child!  I can't even tell you.  She was SO excited to go back to school. (She just loves those boots and nothing was going to stop her from wearing them. Such a diva)

I have been busy these last few days, cooking  and baking, cleaning and spending some of these remainin days of summer at the pool.  I have managed to squeeze in some time in my room and created a few cards.
A birthday card for Aiden.

A rather generic birthday card,

And the inside of that card.

Love this little bear.

Scooting by...wanted to send this one to my boy, he likes to get mail that's not bills.

Been able to do some cleaning in my room as well and I feel really good about that.  Finally got some curtains up, though I put up a temporary rod.  I want to change that out but am waiting till I find what I really want.  Switching out some pictures in frames as well. 

So back to work tomorrow, actually looking forward to it to be truthful.  So much to do and though I've been checking emails and responding to what I can, there are so many things that need my attention.
Feeling good and have  no restrictions on me, but I will limit lifting and hauling stuff.  Have a great week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

This is Me

     When I was younger, I had so many dreams and aspirations for myself.  I was going to set the world on fire!  I loved to sing and act, I lost myself in books and plays, I rode for hours on my motorcycle singing until I was able to fully let go of my emotions.  I had my head firmly stuck in the clouds, and I kept it there for quite a while. (As many of you can firmly attest.)  I believed that people were basically good at heart, that having a boyfriend made me complete and that if I wanted something badly enough, I would have it.  Yes, those were the days.  I was a dewy eyed romantic who wished that I could grow up faster and get on with what my life was intended for.  I was going to live my life on 'the boards' with the smell of greasepaint forever surrounding me, I was going to be a star!  I suppose in some small way, maybe we all were. 

But my life took a different direction a sharp turn along the way when I was in my second year of college and I met the man who was to become my husband.  I married young, very young -19 to not the first man who asked, and a short 10 months after we had pledged our vows, I had my first child.  She was perfect of course as it wouldn't be any other way.  I was naive as well as young strong willed, fiercely loyal and everything else that a 20 year old could be. I had a plan for my life, a purpose and somehow, someday, all of my dreams would come true.   In other words, I knew nothing.

Since that time all those many years ago, many things have changed.  I've grown older and presumably wiser.  I suffered loss and change, and lived to tell about it.  I've taken off the rose colored glasses-or had them ripped from my face only to be replaced with another pair. I have learned and grown to know much more about myself and the world around me.  Most of it, is unimportant drivel. What was important to me then is no longer a priority, I've changed along the way and though my journey has not been without its trials,  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I know that I am not what or where I thought I would be at this juncture of my life, but I also know that I am exactly where I was intended to be.  Those plans for my life were set in motion long before I was able to draw a conscious thought. Life has changed me and shaped me into the person that I am today.  I am still a dewy eyed romantic, and my head can often be found up in the clouds, but I'm different.  Having my name up in lights no longer matters anymore as I have made  my name important in different ways.  Though I have many different aliases, each one has its own unique and precious meaning to me: Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Mentor, Grandmother, Teacher, Child of God, and on and on and on.  All of those monikers I hold  close to my heart and have helped to mold me into the woman that I am today.

The bumps and bruises that I have encountered are badges of honor for me.  For without those, I would not be the person you see before you.  I know that life is rarely played out as we had dreamed, sometimes it is so much more. Sometimes, what we think we want the most can also be what holds us back from our fully actualized selves.  If you had told me when I was 16 or 17 that by the time I reached 50 I would have been married for 31 years, had 2 children, 1 grandchild, a job that I never knew I wanted till I got it, have seen friendships lost and found, seen loved ones pass, realize the importance of my faith and been diagnosed with a life altering disease, I would never have believed it.  Think back to your youth and try to remember what you wanted then and compare it to what you have now.  Funny, don't you think.  I am so much more than I believed I could be, so much stronger, more resiliant and so much more grateful. I've come to understand the true importance of my family in my life and the role that I can and do play in theirs.  I'm wiser than I could have ever believed, yet I have not lost my compassion or my joy for life.  I so love the life that I live and feel truly Blessed to have been given this gift!
This is me. This is who I am now, at this place in this time.  Tomorrow I may be one step closer to a goal or I could be one step further away, but I will be grateful for those steps and learn from each and every one.  This is me, this is who I was intended to be.  And I couldn't be an any better me than the one I am now...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School!

Tomorrow is Isabella's first day of school, she is going into the third grade!  I can hardly believe that she is that old already.  Time sure does pass us by quickly.  Bella is soo excited-like hopping up and down, can hardly contain herself happy.  I love to see that excitement about school.  Friday was her meet the teacher day and since I had her for the day, we werre to meet Michelle at the school, so I got to meet the teacher too. She seemed very nice and almost as excited about the new school year as Bella.  Another big deal is that Bella's classroom in on the second floor of the school. Big time.

Bella had asked me to help her make a gift for her teacher so on Friday we baked sugar cookies.

Apple shaped cookies.  Bella actually made the batter completely by herself and rolled out and cut the dough.  She loves to bake!

Some we baked with lollipop sticks in them for the project that we had in mind

Others Bella choose to add sprinkles to prior to baking.

And the rest, I iced. 

This is the final project.   A bouquet of cookies in a decorated flower pot.  I painted the bottem of the pot  with blackboard paint and the brim was painted red.  I added a measuring tape ribbon to the brim and Bella wrote a message to her teacher on the blackboard paint.  The only problem was that her hand was smearing the chalk as she wrote, so it took a little bit of work. Then I wrapped it in clear plastic and tied it up with a red bow.

In other  news, I will not be going back to work until Friday at the earliest!  I feel like I am physically ready and I am actually quite anxious to get back to work.  Unfortunately, I cannot return to work without a note from the doctor and the earliest I could get an appointment was Thurday afternoon.  I called all week and first of alll, their hours are a bit strange.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8-12 and Tuesday and Thursday 10-1, and they only see patients on Monday and Thursday.  To make a long story short, the woman who schedules the appointments was out on medical leave and the person who was to cover for her was also out on Medical leave.  So, I guess I best get comfortable.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When we last left off...

To be honest, I can't even remember. Ha! But I know that I had promised pictures of Disney and I will post just a few. We had a good time, but it was HOT, HOT, HOT!

Aiden and Isabella posing with a 'muscle car' at the hotel.

Shawn, Michelle, Isabella and Aiden

Jesse and Woody pose for a picture with Bella and Aiden

Isabella and her adorable Aunt Courtney on Tom Sawyer Island

The whole gang in front of Cinderella's Castle

This is Bella dancing with Rapunzel.  We got to take her in to visit with three of the princesses and she was just totally star struck, it was so cute!

  Finally starting to feel better from my surgery and hoping to be released to go back to work next week. Feeling a bit useless. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Where Have I Been?

A funny thing happened on my way to post pictures of our Disney Adventure.  Well, not really funny but you know how it goes.  Monday I had a very busy day at work as I was still trying to catch up on everything since being on vacation.  Sometimes I have to wonder if it's worth going away.  Thought about it and yeah, it's worth it.
Anyway, after work I picked up Isabella at her school and took her for a swim at the pool.  We were there for a little over an hour and almost the whole time that I was there, I was doing some of my PT exercises in the pool.  We got home and I popped into the shower and changed into my pj's and made sure that Bella had everything that she needed.  Shawn came in to pick up Bella and I mentioned to him that I thought the PT in the pool had really worked on me as my stomach was kind of sore.  Jim was working late so I had dinner by myself, a couple of plain hot dogs and some canteloupe.  After Jim came home, we sat together for a while and then headed up to bed.  As I laid down, I felt as though I had a gas bubble stuck high in my stomach, right below my breastbone.  I thought if I could burb I'd feel better, but I just couldn't.  I didn't fall asleep and by ten o'clock, the discomfort had turned to pain and I began to think that something was wrong.  At eleven I woke Jim and asked him to take me to the ER.  Something was definitely wrong!
We got to the hospital in about ten minutes and got put at the head of the line, but still had to wait for what seemed like hours.  (It was likely only about 30 minutes or so.)  They called me back and by now, I was in some serious PAIN.  The dr. came in and asked if I had my appendics and I told him no and then he asked about my gallbladder.  Yes, I still have it and no, I'd never had any gallstones or attacks of any kind.  He ordered a sonogram and got me a shot of something strong.  By now I was calm and the nurse came in to do the sonogram and determined that I did have gallstones.  The doc came back and asked if I had a surgeon or if he should call the surgeon on call.  The call was made, I was to be admitted and have surgery.
By 3 am I was in a room and at 4:30 the nurse finished the paperwork with me and went to get a bag of IV fluids for me.  Surgery was to be sometime on Tuesday and released Wednesday.
Because it's me and things tend not to go in a routine fashion, I was put in a semi-private room.  My roommate was a classic case of crazy. Kid you not!  The woman had probably used up her share of crazy and was now working off the reserves.  She was on the phone constantly, complaining about everything under the sun, mostly the hospital staff, climbing in and out of her suitcase and talking to me when all I wanted to do was sleep!  (Pain meds - remember?)  I found out that the dr. was going to operate at noon and after he left I motioned for Jim to come close.  He looked at me and I whispered to him that perhaps after my surgery I would be moved to a different room.  He went right out into the hall, found a nurse and made the arrangements.  Thank goodness! 
So, I had the surgery, had a lousey recovery and finally came home on Thursday evening.  Remember what I said about things going against the normal for me?  Yeah, I didn't dissapoint.
All things said though, I have to commend the staff at FMH because everyone that I dealt with was wonderful.  Kind, caring and compassionate.  Wednesday I had a terrible day, I was sick to my stomach, dizzy, my blood pressure was all over the map and I was in terrible pain. They were just wonderful.  The nurse in charge came in and sat with me for a while, to make sure that I was stable and didn't need anything.  She called in the PA from the surgeons office to consult and she was terrific.  They finally determined that the morphine that they had been giving me was causing the problem and worked with the doctor to find a different medication that would work.  They also took blood and did some labwork and found out that several things were off, can't remember what now, but it was enough that it would contribute to my feeling so poorly.  Later on when I had begun to feel better, one of the CNA's came in my room, cleaned it up and got me into a chair so I could bathe myself while she put fresh linens on my bed and then helped to get me into a clean gown as well.  They really were great.
Now I am under strict orders to take it easy.  No lifting, easy on the stairs, and another week or so off work.  My company has been great and told me to take whatever time I need.  They sent flowers in the hospital and after I got home they sent a Honey Baked Ham, 2 sides, rolls and a carrot cake!  Nice to work for a company with heart.  :)
Promise to get to the photos soon!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bloggy Break

Sorry for my unexpected Bloggy Break, it was unintentional but sometimes that happens.  I have been extremely busy at work and at home and sometimes I just don't get the time to write.  I've also been entrenched in the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy and am currently on the last book.  Oh, so good!
We were away on vacation last week, a real one week vacation!  We headed South to Disney with Michelle and Shawn, the kids and Shawn's parents and sister.  I will be back with lots of pictures to post as soon as I have a chance to go through the 600+ photos that I took and the 700+ that Shawn shot.  Ha!  Could take a bit of time.

In other news, lots of changes going on at work.  Not changes that are totally positive and welcome, but changes none the less.  And after being gone for a week I have a lot of catching up to do.  It never ends!
I am truly swamped and scrambling to get in some kind of a rhythm.  (How many years 'till retirement?)
Yesterday was my first day back and I had to leave after only half a day to make one of my treks down to Johns Hopkins for an appointment, this time with my cardiologist.  He is a specialist in heart conditions that are associated with Myotinic Dystrophy.  My appointment was at 1:00, but since I had to be there at 12:30 I had to leave the office at 11:30 in order to get there in time.  I left the Outpatient Center at 3:10, after my exam, an EKG and having a Holter Monitor strapped and taped to my chest.  I have to wear the monitor for 24 hours and then send it back to them for the results to be read.  Can't wait to get the thing off me though as the tape and leads are pretty uncomfortable, not to mention the fact that I look like a science experiment!

Hopefully I will be back later today or tomorrow with pictures and a round up of our vacation.  Oh, and Bella had some big news the week before last.  She had an eye appointment because she had been squinting a lot and she now is sporting glasses!  She only has to wear them for distances, but she loves them and the problem is going to be to keep her from wearing them all the time.  And much to my surprise, she got her hair cut donating 12" of her long lovely tresses to Locks of Love.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Granddad of Year!

When I am at work and Mr. Wonderful is keeping Bella, she usually calls me at my desk in the morning.  Yesterday was no different.  When I asked her what she was doing, she excitedly told me that she was looking at the American Girl catalog.  She loves to get their catalog and awaits its arrival much like we used to wait for the 'Wish Book' to come out. 

After my day was over, I went home and sat down and grabbed the catalog thinking that I would look through it myself.  That's when Mr. W told me how he spent his morning.  Isabella had gone through the catalog with an orange highlighter and marked the title of each item that she wished to have.  There were roughly 300!  Next, she sat down at the table with her Granddad and went through the catalog page by page, showing him each item and then reading to him the description of each item!  Since he is known to indulge his favorite little girl, he sat there patiently listening and looking at each of her grand desires. 

After they had gone through the whole catalog, she told him that she didn't expect to get everything that she wanted.  But maybe she could get three.  Three would be a good number.

When he was done telling me all of this he said to me "That's why I will win Grandfather of the Year"!
So, here you go honey.  You do deserve it!
As if there was ever any doubt!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Senior Photo Shoot & Request

WARNING: Picture Heavy!

I spent the weekend in Ohio taking pictures-LOTS of pictures!  It was an easy assignment though as the model for this shoot was my niece Julia.  She is a senior in high school and wanted her old aunt to shoot her.  Mom wanted me to do it for a couple of reasons, number one being the price tag-free!  Ha!
Julia is a beautiful girl inside and out, but she is completely unaware of her outer beauty.  Hard to believe, but true.  She is a natural beauty and the camera loved her.  Let me show you a few of my favorites:

Love that maxi dress on her!  We went out early in the morning in an attempt to beat the high sun and the heat.  It didn't work.  It was HOT!  We kept going back to the car to sit in it with the A/C on just to cool off a bit. 
My sister asked that I take a picture from behind so that in 20 years or so, Julia can look at this picture and say 'Boy, I had a great ass  behind.' !!  Who can appreciate that, raise your hand!
Lake Erie was so warm.  This beach is just lovely too, it's fairly large and has nice sand.  It's close to the parking lot so not a lot of walking and they have a little cafe and clean bathrooms-but it was empty.
I was wading in the water to get some of the shots that I wanted and let me tell you, it felt great.

After we were done at this location we went back to the house to cool off for a bit and get some lunch. ( I took a 10 minute power nap. ) After a while Sarg. (aka: my sister) told Julia to change and we would go over to her High School to get a few shots there. We made it a quick mini session as it was so hot and the sun was really too bright.

This is their little dog JASL.  She is such a sweet dog.  She is full grown and weighs only 4 pounds!  Quite a change from my 70-80 pound labs.  JASL was happy to pose with Julia.

I wound up with lots of good shots and plenty for them to choose from.  These photos are straight out of the camera, no editing as of yet.  Haven't had the time to play with Photoshop yet.  Please let me know what you think as I would love to get some feedback.  All were shot in Manual mode, some with my Canon 50mm lens and some with my Tamron AF70-200mm lens.

One last thing, Isabella's School Age class at La Petite is trying to get postcards sent to them from all 50 states and anywhere outside the US too.  If you can,  please send a postcard to:
La Petite Academy
Attn: Isabella
150 Old Farm Drive
Frederick, MD 21702

Thanks.  Hope to hear from you soon!