Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Bear, A Boy and A Possum?

It's hard to believe our week of vacation is almost over. We've been thoroughly enjoying an immense amount of rest which we have sooooooooo needed, but because today was such a beautiful day we decided to go for a road trip. We generally don't plan them...we just hop in the car and drive wherever the mood takes us.
Our recipe for a good time out on the road?

One cute bear acting like a goofball

One vente cup of  Starbucks each
and one cute fuzzboy laughing at our antics from the backseat.

We revisited some places we haven't been to since we were dating and some other places we have visited over the years, many I had taken pictures of before so I didn't duplicate them today. It was really sweet and romantic to just share memories of things we've done together and places we've gone. I love seeing things and remembering what we were doing when we were there last, or how things have changed since our last visit.  We saw some new things though, like this train at a machinery museum we passed. I love trains so I had to stop and take some pics.

And meanwhile as I took pics the fuzzboy was back at the car with Ben, hanging out of the back seat window, whining and crying because I had the audacity to get out of the car and not take him with me.
How DARE I ?!?!? LOL

Not that he has separation anxiety issues or
Once I was back in the car he was fine, but heaven forbid mommy leave to go somewhere without him. He was also a bit out of sorts because when we go for a ride in my car he has to ride in the backseat, unlike when we ride in Ben's car and he can ride in my lap in the front seat. So he was already feeling a bit rejected...oy vey. He got over
So anyway, the prize photo of the day...the piece de resistance...was this tasty tidbit we saw at dusk on the way one of the richest towns in the state......and uhhhhhhhh...yes we are still in New England....

That's case you are having trouble reading that it says, Possum Queen Contest and Auction... LOL....okie dokie then........I have to say, I never saw anything like that when I lived down south.
So it was a fun and interesting day. We finished it off with another stop at Starbucks and some Chinese soup and an eggroll for me.......definitely a good day.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Dreaded C word!

So it's that time again...the time when we go through the past year and assess all the things that we need to work on improving in the year to come.  Commonly called, making new year resolutions.  A few years ago I decided to stop calling them resolutions, instead I commit to making better choices and I don't announce to anyone what those choices were unless I manage to accomplish it by the end of the year.  Why do I do it that way? EASY 
Have you ever noticed that when you publicly air a goal or resolution a long series of events begin to present themselves that are aimed solely at tanking said goal or resolution? If that weren't the case why do people EVERY single year re-resolve to lose weight and eat healthy, stop smoking, meet their soulmate, do less work and more traveling and on and on. It's as if all the disgruntled resolutions and their resolution makers have a vendetta against the NEW resolutions and their makers and so they go on a mission to find them out and devise ways to cause them to fail. I'm tired of making resolutions that I don't's not as if it bolsters me towards success in the year to come, instead it's like taking a dive into a swimming pool with a lead weight attached to your ankle. Some of you can relate, I'm sure. Doesn't exactly inspire victory or success does it? Not even close.

Sooooooooo.......this past year I made a choice to start getting more organized and de-cluttering. One I have made in years past and never seemed to be able to completely accomplish. Now for all of you neat-nicks out there this is a goal that comes as easy as breathing, for those of us who are, shall we say, organizationally challenged however, it's a depressing death sentance. Now, the complete irony in this for myself is that I am actually pretty OCD about certain things. I love oranization and I love to have a place for everything and everything in it's place. My achiles heal however is that while I'm great at tactical organization projects and LOVE a challenge....the art of maintaining that organization has always elluded me....until this year however.
The year started out pretty much the same regarding my oh so familiar goal, but somewhere around July I had an epiphany. 
At that point I had already been working at sprout central for several months where every Friday we have to do a major cleaning of the entire facility. When I first started working there even the thought of having to do a deep cleaning in ONE DAY of an entire building that had been attacked by drooling, puking, pooping, dirt wallowing, snot wielding children all week was impossible to comprehend. However with teamwork we were all able to take on certain duties and even amidst caring for the children, by the end of the day the work was done. Pretty soon I had been able to get into the routine with the rest of the girls and some days we were even done by the end of naptime. The reason it worked however wasn't just people randomly doing things, it was because we had a plan, a list. So finally I got the idea to bring that list home and try implementing it. Well, it took alittle tweaking since we don't have kids..just a dog. Also I had to give myself some room and instead of expecting it to be done in a day I gave myself a week. With our crazy schedule that would be the only way I could be successful at it and not lose heart. The result? It worked!! an effort to reach out to all those others who are struggling to scratch this goal off their resolution list, here is the basic checklist I used. As you complete a task, check it off and remember in most cases each thing only needs to be done once a week. You may have to tweak it to suit the rooms of your own house, but the basics of each room are the same. Also, for clarity sake, the term "de-clutter" simply means those shoes thrown all over the living room floor should be put away and the purse and stack of bills tossed on the kitchen table should also be put away where they belong. If they don't have a place don't get distracted by trying to do it now. Make a list of things you need to create a home for or throw away and come back to them later. are the basic items that every room will require. Make a list of every room in your home and put these items in the section for each room.
  • sweep/mop/vacuum
  • wipe down windowsills
  • de-clutter
  • empty trash bins
  • wipe down tabletops and surfaces*
  • dust
Specialized items, these are the things that are only in certain rooms....add those that apply to every room where they are needed.
  • wash throw rugs
  • change bed linens
  • change hand towels
  • clean pet feeding areas
  • water plants
Now....if you notice I put an asterisk next to the line that said "wipe down tabletops and surfaces". That's because there are a lot of things that fall under that catergory. You may only need that general item or if you're like me you may need a more detailed breakdown of the term "surfaces" to ensure you don't forget something. So for those of you, here you go.
  • mirrors
  • counters
  • toilet bowls and tanks
  • sink
  • tub
  • refrigerator (inside and out)
  • microwave (inside and out)
  • stovetop and oven door
  • photos and picture frames
  • televisions
  • computers
  • stereo systems
  • large and small appliances
  • wall clocks and wall hangings
So that's it, pretty basic really. By breaking down the rooms in this manner it's amazing how much easier it is to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Kind of like that old adage about how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Now, the REALLY good news? The more weeks you go through your list the faster it will go each week and the easier it will get. So don't get disheartened the first few weeks. Give it about 6 weeks to really hit yor groove and see how long it will take you to complete each item on your list in a week.
Hope it works for you as well as it did for me and hope you can forever check off this item from your resolution list!
Happy Cleaning! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Frannie's Consumer Reports

Ok, so today I decided to do something a  little different.
I used to be friends with a woman that saw fit to not only share with me about any great shopping deals she found, but also about any new products she thought were worth my trying. Now on the surface that is a very nice gesture and I do actually like word of mouth recommendations and share them with my friends when I feel something is worth mentioning. HOWEVER, this chick became soooooooo over-zealous about her advice that it very quickly became horrifically overbearing, controlling and just downright obnoxious. She demanded that I not only adhere to her opinions, but any thoughts of my own on the items were quickly renounced as ignorant, therefore irrelevant and I was then hounded DAILY until I gave in and purchased whatever item it was. If I relented and didn't...she then took it upon herself to purchase it for me and present it to me at our next meeting as a "gift".  Now that just screams the term "true friend" doesn't it? NOT!!! Is it ay wonder that relationship was doomed?  ( Proverbs 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman.) Thank God I DIDN'T live with her.....I WOULD have moved to the roof to live! LOL

To that end I was so turned off by that horrific experience with her that for a very long time I withdrew from recommending ANYTHING I thought was worthy of sharing out of fear I would somehow be percieved as even remotely obnoxious as she had been.
TODAY however I am finally going to break free of those old bonds and share my reviews on a few favorite items or product lines that I think are well worth passing on for others to try. WOO-HOO!!! Drumroll PLEASE!!! Oh and, won't bother me in the least if you disagree or have no interest in trying any of these things...I just thought the info was worth sharing. :)

1) Steinway Furniture polish. So I just recently went to Ocean State Job Lot and discovered some of this in the cleaning aisle. I needed some furniture polish anyway and for a little over a dollar a can I thought it was well worth trying. Not to mention I am familiar with the Steinway family name so I thought it might really be a good product. WOW was I pleasantly surprised!!! It is literally the best wood cleaner and polisher I have EVER used!!! I used it on my antiques and what a gloss it left!!! No extra work needed, just applied and wiped like I would normally do with Pledge which was my default product for years. However the differance was incredible! I was so impressed with the result on my good furniture that I immediately went to try it on our well loved and beaten up kitchen table. Immediately the wood grain that had been barely visible and hidden under layers of years worth of use suddenly popped out as if it was a brand new piece of furniture. GORGEOUS!! Definitely 4 stars!!

2) Downy Simple Pleasures. I've gotta say, Ben and I have really fallen in love with this product line. For the small amount required to fragrance and soften an entire load, even an extra large load, it is well worth paying a little more for these products in my opinion. The fragrances are subtle, organic and long lasting. Not to mention so pleasing to the senses that it takes fabric softener to a whole new level. Our personal favorite is Spice Blossom Dare and our second fave is Orchid Allure.


1) Garnier. It took me a while to get around to trying these products. I was a faithful Olay user and several other personal care products so I just saw no need to deviate from what I was happy with. Then someone gave me an exfoliant face wash from Garnier and I fell in love with it. Little by little I've been switching to all of the Garnier products and have been very happy with the results. From the hair care line to the skin care line...all of them have been excellent. I highly recommend them.

2) Burt's Bees Lip Care. Now I actually like all of the products I have tried from this company, but my faves that I always keep in my purse are the lip care products. They are all natural, smell nice and the results are easy to notice. The pomegranite lip balm is excellent and unlike standard chapstick it really heals and deeply moisturizes my lips. The colored glosses are very nice too, especially the shimmer ones. I have almost every color they make and use those instead of lipstick most of the time. The lip pots are nice too, but I don't use them as often only because with long fingernails I find it hard to get to the bottom of them without getting the balm under my nail. ICK. Other than that though, I highly recommend the products.

Well, I think 4 recommendations is plenty for one blog post so I'll save others for another day. Hope you enjoy the reviews and let me know if you try something here and like it too.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Reason My Heart Sings

Isn't it funny the things that bring us comfort in life? I was sitting here thinking of what I would write about today and as I mulled over the days events I decided to turn on the tv and see what was on. To my pleasant surprise one of the things on tv was the movie The Sound of Music. It's been a favorite of mine ever since I can remember....some of my earliest memories in fact, include sitting with my parents on their bed, eating dinner and watching The Sound of Music together. Back then it was normal for certain movies to be on tv every single year, and without fail this one always aired around Easter. I remember that little detail vividly because the windows in our home were usually open and the fresh smell of new Spring growth filled the air of our rooms and I always imagined it was how the air smelled in the mountains. I remember when I would see the scenes of Maria singing and dancing in the mountaintop fields a feeling of total peace and happiness would overtake me. For weeks I would spin around my grandmother's backyard or my bedroom singing the title song over and over and over again.....probably until my parents wanted to strangle Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The lyrics that made my heart sing as a child were you read them, you may understand why I couldn't help but sing everytime I heard them. Even now I can't help but sing along in my head as I read them.

The hills are alive with the sound of music

With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears
My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
that rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies
from a church on a breeze
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over
stones on its way
To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray
I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

Years later as I was going through a particularly difficult time those lyrics resonated on a deeper level to me. I remember lying across the bed, brokenheated and down and yet again on the television was The Sound of Music. I remember watching it and listening to the all familiar words and suddenly the last four lines grabbed me like they had never grabbed me before.

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

I remember when I heard Psalm 121 read for the first time I envisioned those majestic Swiss Alps from the Sound of Music. For years it was just a mental picture of what the hills would look like....but that day when I needed to hear God speak to me.....He used the lyrics of a song to remind me of His word.

Psalm 121 (New King James Version)
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the LORD,who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.

That day I realized that there IS music in my heart...there IS music in my soul....but it's not the lyrics to a's the written word of my God and the gentle pull of His spirit in mine....He is the music my heart hears, and He is the reason my heart sings. Now what used to just be a song has become a reminder of the real sound of music that I hear when I go to the hills for His help.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


     So it's a quarter to eleven on Saturday night and I'm listening to the sounds of icy winter rain pelting the bedroom window above my head. Ben is snuggled up next to me, deep in sleep and the fuzzboy is sprawled out across the foot of the bed with his head resting near my feet. The pillows are soft and the blankets all accounts it's a peaceful Winter night. I should be sleeping, afterall I am tired and I have to get up early in the morning....but for weeks I just haven't been able to shake the desire to get back to this partcular niche of the web. So tonight is the night....time to get back to the Anthem of My Heart.
    It's been almost a year since my last post, it seems almost impossible that time has passed that quickly. I've missed it, there have been so many days that I have wanted to post an entry, but for varying reasons just never got around to it. Sooooo.....I planned on taking back my blog life in January 2010, but as I sat here tonight listening to the sounds of the night, I just couldn't wait any longer.
    2009 was a pretty good year. It had it's highs and lows of course, like all other years, but overall, it was a really good year. So many changes......some horribly sad, some hard....but so many more were wonderful, not just for me and the bear, but for those around us too. We lost some very dear friends to unexpected deaths, we lost several others (in a sense) as they moved out of state, and then there were new friends brought into our lives. There were marriages, pregnancies and births. We saw God do amazing things in the lives of those around us as well as in our own lives. Answers to prayer were in abundance and more often than not, they abundantly exceeded what was expected.
   In essence, it wasn't just a good year, it was a GOD year. His fingerprints were on everything, every event left a thread that led directly back to Him and His marvelous grace. Proof that good comes out of EVERYTHING, no matter what. So, here's looking forward to sharing a year of God with you as we prepare to usher in 2010.

 “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.”

- Alphonse Karr

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Week In Review

WOW...what a phenomenal week! So let me catch you up to speed with a quick rundown of the highlights.
  • We spotted two hot air balloons floating over our downtown area so we caught up with them and as Ben drove underneath I took some great shots.
  • I finally got my CPR and first Aid certifications in so now I can save somebody's life and not get sued..oh yeah!! Only took a month and a half after the class to get it...INSANE!!!
  • My father in law went into and came out of the hospital yet again. Thankfully he is ok again.
  • We had a meeting with the hospital in regards to my mother n law passing away. We finally got our chance to confront all of the department heads and tell them our concerns about care and lack thereof. They seemed to that was we just got to vent which we needed.
  • We had a new sprout arrive at Sprout Central....a real cutie....he is the foster child of some friends and we kind of expected the worst regarding behavioral issues, but so far he has been a pleasure. Except at nap time however, but he's getting better so pretty soon he should be fine.
  • I tried some new soup starter kits from Whole Foods and they were AMAZING!!! Can I just tell you how much I love that store. If you have one near you and have never tried really must go....they are a bit more pricey on some things...but the quality you get is WELL worth it!
  • I had my first day of wishing I could just go home from Sprout Central.....I swear the kids were all wired to meltdown at the exact same times that day.....I wanted to pull my hair It's all good now though.
  • We went sledding with the kids, well....I didn't sled down the hill...I let Amber and Becky do that....I just took the pictures.
  • Ben and I went to our friend's John and Melissa's for a game night last night. THAT was fun....they have tons of games that I've never heard of, but are really cool. This was one of them.
  • Sargie got himself trapped inside the recliner again. LOL...that was tonight....he has a habit of crawling inside the underneath of recliner when I have the footrest up and this time when I got up and closed the footrest he didn't have time to get out. So this time I decided to snap a picture of him before I let him out. LOL

So I think that's pretty much it for the week in review. I'm thinking that I'm going to take more daily pics though to include in the blog. I think it will add some fun to it.
Let me know what you think! :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Doctors, Sprouts and Ice

So I decided to take the weekend off from blogging....not so much by intentional choice as much as I was just exhausted and decided to sleep instead of my usual 10-midnight writing block. Sooooooooooooooo let me catch you up. Saturday we had a snowstorm in the afternoon so there was a parking ban in our city, which meant we didn't have our normal street ministry. So that was actually nice....we got some much needed rest and ran a couple of errands. Then that night Lori came over and in the expectation of all of us possibly having no church the next morning she spent the night so we could chit chat without worrying about the weather and catch up. Since her mom died and Momchu died, we just haven't been able to connect.
So I had gotten some gourmet fresh raviolis from Whole Foods and expected to have a really nice Italian dinner. much for that. What I failed to notice was that the filling included goat cheese! I HATE goat cheese.....ughhhhh....nasty tastes like the smell of a petting zoo!!! No amount of sauce, no amount of Parmesan cheese..or anything else could kill that nasty flavor. Both Lori and myself gulped them down with as few bites as possible and as quickly as possible so we had to taste them as LITTLE as possible. LOL
Meanwhile,both of our churches are die hards that rarely cancel a service soooooo at 5 the next morning Ben and I woke up and went out to shovel the driveway and clean the cars. By the time we were done we had just enough time to run in, get cleaned up and dressed and wake Lori up to get ready. OY!!
Sunday was great, as usual....and I was sooooooooooo psyched to have a couple of my friends help me in the kitchen. Yesterday afternoon was relaxed and wonderful...Ben and I watched a movie and just enjoyed each other's company.
Monday being back with the kids and my co-workers was so nice. Amber wanted to make banana pudding with the kids so she walked them through each step and I took pictures of them all. LOL...soooooo cute! Today was just as good.....only today we made English muffin pizzas with them. They had fun. We also took the whole little sprout herd to the park to go sledding. They had a BLAST.
Life at home yesterday and today has been fun too. It's been so cold and icy that simple things like even taking Sargie to go potty has been an adventure in humor. Imagine a little dog that #1 can't find a scent to mark his usual tinkle zone and #2 when he does finally find a spot, attempting to get the necessary traction to pee is almost impossible. Not to mention when we first step outside the step is a sheet of ice and no matter how many times he slips and falls he still hasn't learned to pace himself going out the door. So every time he hits the ground running..he LITERALLY hits the ground. All four feet flying and tail spinning like some out of control rudder..there he goes....ZZZZZZIP...BOOM....right off the step. LOL.
Let's see..what else.....oh yeah, last night we finally got the meeting with the hospital to discuss our concerns about Momchu's passing. You could tell they were trying to do damage control,and you could tell they were defensive....and the one Dr that was the thorn in our side was there too. We did well...all three of us vented our frustrations, our anger, our concerns and said all the things we have been chomping at the bit to say since she first went into the hospital there. Then at one point I had my chance to finally call this doctor out on the carpet for cold and callous and god-complex things he had done. I will tell you I handled it very tactfully..I didn't swear..I didn't rant and rave and didn't raise my voice. However, with every ounce of tact and boldness in me, I called him on every single thing that I felt needed to be addressed. The silence in the room and the squirming body language of the other hospital staffers made it an interesting confrontation... I refused to back down and every lawyer,military man and medical staffer in my own family would have been proud as I drew on every single one of them to deftly defend my disgust at him, and by the time I was done........well.......I had clearly made my point.
Sigh....I firmly believe that we did NOT lose Momchu for nothing...and I know that if we can make this hospital safer, and more attentive to it's patients and their right to be treated like human beings....then it will have been worth it. That alone takes the sting out of losing her. God is good!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Shopping Buddy

So it's MHR Friday again....(for those of you still unfamiliar with what MHR Fridays are please click the title of this entry to be taken to Katy Lin's blog explaining it and feel free to join in the fun.)
So this week I was thinking what have I been the most thankful for about my Ben. It was pretty easy....My Husband Rocks this week because of being such a wonderful shopping companion to me this week. He isn't like other husbands that complain or brood or stay home. Although I have tried to get him to stay home before to spare him from boredom....he refuses to stay because he wants to be with me (insert shameless warm fuzzies here). Many times he will bring a magazine or book....but this time he just brought himself and helped me pick out things he thought looked nice and waited with me in the dressing room as I tried on things. At one point he even laid down on the bench in the dressing room and relaxed as I tried on things....thankfully there were no other women in there or he would have gotten some odd stares I'm sure. LOL.... but what a friend he is...for a man that is a die hard Marine and a man's man....he certainly knows how to access his soft and tender side when he needs to. Of course all the sales women love him...he jokes with them and makes excellent conversation....
Anyway...he made me feel so precious by his endless support and his positive, and fun feedback. So that's why my husband rocks this week.
Love you Bear!!!!! XOXOOXOXOXO

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rise and Shine!!!

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH myyyyyyyyyyy.........this day got started off with a bang...LOL.
So I made the new schedule for this month at work and put myself on this mornign to open at 6:15. No problem....we set the alarm to get up at 4 to give us plenty of time to get ready etc. Well.....the very last thing that Ben said to me before we went to sleep last night, was " Wow....we have to get up in like 4 hours.." Now...he WAS exaggerating....we actually had close to 6 hours before we had to get up....but my tired brain locked onto "4 hours" as I drifted off to sleep.
SOOOOOOOOOO...........4 hours later..almost to the minute....I woke up. BEing half asleep and also concerned with being hyper vigilant that I not miss the alarm and be late to work, I sat up and looked at the alarm clock. Well....being bleary eyed and half asleep for some reason I could have sworn the clock read "7:47". All of a sudden I leapt out of bed like I had been shot from a cannon and promptly began freaking out. I jolted Benny and the mini marine out of their sound sleep with cries of, "OH NO, OH NO,OH NO!!!! WE OVERSLEPT!!! I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AT WORK ALMOST 2 HOURS AGO!!!!!"
Ben flew out of bed and apologized repeatedly for somehow sleeping through the alarm as he ran through the house getting ready to get dressed. Meanwhile all I could do was picture my poor co-worker Devon waiting at the door, in the cold, with one of our kids and his mom....waiting on me! I rushed to the phone and called her cell phone. What met my ears only made things worse! SHE was still sleeping too!!!! " DEVON!!!! OH MY GOSH!!! WE OVERSLEPT...WE WERE BOTH SUPPOSED TO BE AT WORK ALMOST TWO HOURS AGO!!!!"
She repeatedly asked me sleepily, "wait...what???" and I repeated my self several times until finally she said to me.......(wait for it..) ............."'s 2 in the morning."
"'s only 2:49 in the morning.."
"Oh my Gosh's only 2:49 in the morning...(insert light groggy laughter)"
"Nooooooo.......(I leaned over and looked at the clock on the microwave behind me and confirmed the horrible truth) ......noooo.........(insert more light groggy laughing fromthe other side of the phone) .............OHHHHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYYYY GOSH!!!!!!!!!! I did NOT just do that!!! OHHHHH my GOSHHHHH!!!! I am soooooooo SORRY!!! I cannot believe I.....WHAT was I thinking?!?!?!?!? OHHHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYYY GOSH!!!!! The two looked like a 7!!! I can't believe I just did that....oh my.....Oh nooooooooo....are you going to be able to go back to sleep?!?!?!?!"
"yeah...(laughing) ...oh my GOSH Fran!!!"
" Oh my Gosh, Dev I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO SORRRYYY!!!!!"
Sooooo, yeah that was pretty much where the conversation ended and then I promptly notified Ben and Sargie of my HUGE error....and both filtered back into the bedroom as if the wave of adrenaline had just dropped off and they were suddenly fully aware of jst how tired they really were. YEAH...THAT was how my day started....then when I REALLY DID get up at 4, got ready and went to work....I wa in such a tizzy afterall that I hadn't checked the news to notice that we had a 90 minute I didn't have to be to work until 8 anyway....sigh.....on top of which I had to work a 12 hour shift today ANYWAY....LOL.....
Ohhhhhhhhh it was a comical day to say the least. I can't help but laugh...even now my eyes are tearing up and making it hard to type because I'm laughing so hard. LOL.Ya know...I know people that if this had happened to them, they would be foul and irritated all day long...but for what? Stuff happens...find the good and humor in it... Thank God, I'm alive and have a job and friends etc etc adds interest to an otherwise mild day. is good....and now I'm going to bed to catch up on some sleep! LOL

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Say Cheese!

Well...this will be a short entry tonight, I have to get up early tomorrow....much earlier than usual so I need sleep. I got to stay home today because of Winter weather.... (insert giddy laugh here) so the mini Marine and I hung out and were just about as lazy as we could possibly be. LOL
Anyway.....nothing of great consequence today except I did some camera shopping online. I have a wedding to photograph in April and a couple of corporate accounts that I need to upgrade my camera for. The problem is I am trying to decide which camera I want. My current camera is a Fuji Finepix and it's a good camera...but I really need to switch to a more professional SLR that I can get lenses for. Plus I'm not all that impressed with the current Fuji cameras. I am trying to choose between a Canon or a Nikon. I'm very fussy when it comes to such a large investment so this looks like it may be a long process.
So things were pretty relaxed and non eventful today....always a blessing in my be honest.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shop Till You Drop the Bear and I got home about an hour an hour and a half by now.... Anyway, we went shopping. We both desperately needed some wardrobe updates so we went bargain hunting at a couple of our favorite stores at the mall and had a BLAST!!! We actually decided to do it again this Thursday so we can go to the other store we love. We really do have so much fun together....and as I tried on things he went to get us Starbucks Frappuccinos and joked with the sales clerks. The store was EMPTY so what started out as a simple shopping trip ended up being a fashion show as the two clerks and Benny commented on the different outfits I tried on. He's soooooo supportive and has such great taste in clothes...I enjoy taking him clothes shopping with me.....he knows exactly what my taste is and also knows just when to encourage or discourage a choice if I'm on the fence about it. I ended up actually trying and liking some things I would never have gotten normally, some fun casual clothes for work....and some spicy unmentionables......that shall remain....well.....unmentioned. LOL
So's snowing.....and is supposed to continue until sometime early Thursday morning...which sprout central tomorrow!!! WOO-HOO!!! Of course I love the job....but paid snow days ROCK!!! Me and the mini Marine can sleep in and then hang out all day. Maybe I can remember to actually snap some pics of him going nutso in the snow this time!!! LOL.
SPEAKING of.....I am REALLY behind in posting to my Flickr account....hmmmmm.....maybe I can do that tomorrow too.
Anyway...ok it's late and that's all the excitement from today.....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fiesta, Cuddles and Evil Aunt Mary

Oh my gosh....Praise God what ANOTHER awesome day!!! Me and the girls actually treated ourselves to a little Mexican feast for lunch today in celebration of being back at work. Yeah, yo heard me....we can't help it...we LOVE it at our little Sprout Central!! So we found a tiny hole in the wall place in downtown that was completely the point that I almost needed a translator to place the order. LOL. The food was really good though....and the portions were HUGE. I think we'll definitely be going back. Plus as Amber and I waited for them to prepare our order the waitress actually gave us free dessert that she had made herself. It was good...and a bit unique. It was a rum raisin cake with flan on top. I liked it, but poor Amber didn' I told her to wrap it in her napkin to throw out. LOL.
It was sooooooo nice to be back with the kids though....they are just such a blessing. They make us laugh and you can't help but feel like a superhero when they run to you to tie their shoe laces, fix a broken toy or hug away their fears and tears. My favorite (yes I freely admit I have a favorite), I'll call him "Tank" (because he's built like a little tank...I fully expect to see him on the NFL gridiron someday) pitiful little Tank wasn't feeling well today. His usual bubbly,smiling self with his bright eyes and million dollar smile was trying his best to be perky as usual, but he just wanted to be cuddled and this child who is always smiling at me, just wanted to cry. SIGH...I felt so poor little Amber and I took turns cuddling him and finally put him down for a nap. Thankfully he slept well and by the time he got up three hours later....he was feeling much better. YEAH!!!! :)
So anyway, after work we went and spent a couple of hours with Mike, chatting and just visiting. That was nice....I have really good brother in laws.....actually....all of my in laws are wonderful....with the exception of Aunt Mary in Manhattan...MMMMMM.....that's another story for another blog day. LOL...oh well...according to the rest of the family she doesn't like no big loss there.....LOL. was a good day....after we got home we had some errands to run so we took Sargie for a car ride and grabbed some fast food for dinner. It may not sound like much, but I am soooooo thankful for all the little details in my life....I'm soooooo blessed beyond belief. God's awesome!!!
Night all!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How Old Are You Now?

What a GREAT DAY today!!!!!!! Every Sunday I'm amazed at how much I love this new ministry in the kitchen. I NEVER dreamt of taking on this role and never would have if Pastor Will hadn't approached me about it. I love it though.....and from the amount of positive feedback I'm getting apparently it was a good move. YEAH!!!!
SOoooooo speaking of Pastor Will....all of the leaders gathered today for a surprise 50th birthday party for him. It was great...for a man as nosy as he youu're reading this pastor...sorry....but, you know it's true, it was a miracle that we actually pulled the surprise off!! He had NOOOOO clue!! It was soooooo nice to spend a night surrounded by so many close friends and celebrating someone we all love so much. He's truly the definition of what a pastor is to many are just unreachable and distant or they are so self absorbed in their own head and book knowledge that they are basically useless when it comes to actually mentoring and encouraging a church body. He's not that way at all....he's totally open, totally transparent and totally reachable. He is secure enough in himself and in his role as pastor that he also has no need to brag about his skills, his credentials or his connections....of which he has many....he's just himself and lets God do the rest.
Happy Birthday Pastor!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cyber Mom and Fruit Loops today was pretty nice and relaxing. This morning I helped bring my mom into the cyber world by setting her up with an email account, a blog and a facebook account. Why go slow? DIVE right in, I say!!! :D LOL Actually, to be honest, the only reason I set her up with an email and facebook account is BECAUSE she wanted a blog.
That was pretty fun actually. I can't wait till she really gets into the swing of things and starts emailing etc. :)
Let's after I was done with that I went shopping to pick up some fresh fruit to bring to Francesca (our 85 year old neighbor who is temporarily in a convalescent home to rehab from a broken foot). Poor thing...she's such an independent woman and this is just miserable for her. I keep telling her it's only temporary though and she will be home soon, which I know will be a blessing for her to not have to endure the horrible food at the conv any more. She's a gourmet Italian cook and I've seen the "meals" they pass out to the residents and quite's one step up from cardboard. No fresh fruit....all prepackaged frozen food, no seasonings or flavor at all....I don't blame her for not wanting to eat it.
After I got home I helped Ben write out the thank you notes for all the cards we got after Momchu died. Holy cow.....I couldn't believe how many cards we got!! So that's done...thank you Lord.....
Next I am working on a new afghan for Sprout Central. I decided to do something really bright and colorful since the kids love the bright colors. So this one is inspired by a box of Fruit Loops...literally. Bright yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and pink. I'll be working on it while the kids are napping so hopefully it will go pretty quickly. it's getting late....sleep is no more details of today's adventures....but tomorrow is a full ya never know what is on the horizon.
Night all!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Crazy Bride to Be and MHR Friday

(If you aren't yet familiar with the MHR Fridays group of bloggers please click the title of this blog entry to be taken to Katy Lin's main MHR Friday page and feel free to join in!)
So today Rachel, Celeste and I went shopping for Rachel and Allan's wedding next April. The biggest thing we purchased of course was her gown. OH MY GOSH, can you say PRINCESS BRIDE??? The dress is absolutely FABULOUS!!!! She looks like she stepped off the page of a fairytale bedtime story. So after we left David's Bridal we went to grab some lunch. We expected of course a relaxed and enjoyable lunch among friends......instead what Celeste and I endured was a miriad of squeaks, squeals, bouncing up and down and being bopped on the head and banged into by bride to be Rachel who was FARRRRRRR too wired from the excitement of just purchasing her dress. LOL Several times we assured our waitress that she was in fact completely sober and not in any way legally medicated or illegally high.......I'm not sure she believed us though. LOL
Anyway, so after we left the restaurant we decided to do some shopping since we were at the mall anyway. Imagine three of us crammed into a handicap sized dressing room critiquing all of the sweaters wacko Rachel was trying on. LOL....seriously, how hard is it to take off a sweater??? Who knew that undressing for her would be like trying to get a finger out of a Chinese finger puzzle!!! ROFL
NEXT...we went to another store and Rachel found the earrings to wear with her wedding dress and a few other things. Then we ran to The Christmas Tree Shop (if you are lucky enough to have one of these near you, OHHHHH what a glorious store!!!) where we were VERY blessed b/c somebody had accidentally placed a ton of white candles in with the Christmas clearance items and the manager decided to honor the 50% off price. So we got all the candles we needed WOO-HOO!!
Our next pit stop was A.C.Moore......ohhhhhhhhhhh the mother-load of what we needed. Her colors are ivory, blue and silver....and guess what? We found exactly what we needed in those exact colors in the Christmas clearance section and they aren't even remotely Christmas looking. So the centerpieces and the table decor for the reception are basically done...only a couple other items needed to complete the look of the room. Plus we decided what to do for favors and the cost? $11.00 !!! Yep, that's right.....that's all it will cost to make the favors!! So when we went to the front to pay for all the things we got (which was a LOT), it came to just over $60.00...and the amount we saved? A WHOPPING $126.00 !!!! Yep, you read that right, we SAVED that much money!!! It was AWESOME!!!
So for an 8 hour day, I think we did pretty darn well. The only bad thing was that poor Celeste had to head back to her home in Brooklyn, NY on the late train. So as I write this she probably still has just about a half hour to twenty minutes left of travel time. It was fun though, what a great day and a PRODUCTIVE day too!!!
Soooooooooooooooo after all of that, where on earth is the MHR Friday?
Well, as I was reminded of how Rachel and Allan blend so well together and how involved and attentive he is to not only her, but to this whole process.....I couldn't help but think of my own knight in shining armor. When Ben and I got married 7+ years ago he was also totally involved. He wasn't one of these grooms that just showed up, he was involved in every detail and it was truly OUR wedding...not just my wedding. He has remained like that for all these years too. He is always attentive and involved and still treats me like a queen. Something that I never dreamed possible.
A few weeks ago I was running low on panty liners and even though I knew I needed them I hadn't gotten a chance to go get more. I didn't think to mention to Ben that I needed to go to the store...things were just too hectic and I knew I still had a few days worth left. So that Monday I planned to pick them up on my way home. Well, completely unbeknown to me he had noticed I was running low. I guess the box lid was slightly open or something and he saw them. Well he took it upon himself to go into the bathroom with a sheet of paper and a pen and wrote down the exact brand, style, size and quantity that I prefer. Then after he dropped me off at Sprout Central and before he had to be to work he stopped at the store and bought them for me and only told me about it that evening when he picked me up from work.
Now you MUST understand something about me, I am REALLY funny about honoring a man's masculinity so along with promising him I would never make him sleep in a frilly foo-foo girly bedroom, I also promised him I would NEVER ask him to pick up any feminine hygiene products for me...and in10 years of being together I have faithfully kept that promise. So the fact that he did this for me, without my asking or even mentioning it was HUGE...not just because it was thoughtful, but because of the statement it made to me of how much he cares. So why does my husband rock??? Because of all the little thoughtful things he does for me.....he is my knight in shining armor...and always will be....and the good news??? Rachel and I are not the only ones to find one, there are lots of them out there...just waiting for the woman who will love and appreciate them for who they are!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Things will be fine in 2009!!!

It’s a new year…and that means new adventures in life. I’m excited….2008 certainly brought me many adventures…..some happy, some sad….but all brought about changes in my life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. So before I go forward let me recap the past month and a half to fill you in on why I haven’t blogged since mid November.

So at my last update my mother in law had suffered a stroke and after a bleak initial diagnosis, she began to turn around. We continued to see marked progress in her and the nurses in the ICU were WONDERFUL with her. She improved so well in fact, that she finally was well enough to be moved to a regular room on one of the hospital floors. We thought that would be a good thing, instead however that is when all of the problems began. What followed were three weeks of emotionally and physically draining hell.

Without going into overwhelming detail….in a nutshell we encountered multiple incidents of neglect (so bad in fact that at one point she contracted pneumonia and had to be sent back to ICU for a week), false orders (DNR), and constant phone calls from hospital staff telling us she wasn’t improving (in direct contradiction to what we saw when we were there with her) and trying to get us to let her die. Things got so bad we had to bring in a 24 hour private duty nurse to watch her and make sure she was getting proper care. Over time Momchu began to get tired….she overheard our conversations with the staff, chewing them out for lack of proper care etc and I think she was as weary as we were. She was fully aware of her surroundings, and was as interactive with us as always (even though she was tired physically and her speech was still impaired heavily) and although we had to make it a guessing game to talk to her, she communicated quite well.. So one night the three of us, Ben, Mike and me all hung out in her room for a few hours and watched some movies with her. She was bubbly and in good spirits, blowing kisses and such.

Two days later she was gone. They said it was brought on by her pulling out her oxygen line….but I had personally put on the little padded boxing gloves to prevent her from doing that and so I know they were tight and there was no physical way she could have done that without help. Not to mention the fact that they were supposed to be checking her hourly, and they admitted that they hadn’t found her until the morning and by then her oxygen levels were so low that she couldn’t fight her way back.

It would have been really easy to get sucked into the rage of the tragedy….and stay there…..but as you know, I ALWAYS know God places a scarlet thread of good in every situation…no matter how deeply imbedded. This one happened to show up relatively early. After years of unsuccessfully trying to contact my brother in law who had, for various personal reasons, removed himself from the family, Ben hopped onto my Facebook account and sent him an email. By that night, he had contacted us and a few days later I got to meet him for the first time at her wake. By the after funeral luncheon the next day I realized how happy I was to have him back in the family. He has the same wack job sense of humor that Ben and Mike have and he likes hot peppers as much as Ben too. That one still makes me shake my head! LOL.

Soooooooo…… horrible as it was to lose mom, it was all worth it in the end because it brought my brother in law back to the family when possibly nothing else would have.

Meanwhile….during the drama with Momchu, Tatu, my father in law, was in the hospital twice during that time. Long story….but after a brief stint in a nursing home for rehab, he is fine now and thankfully there is no more news to report regarding him. My parents FINALLY finalized their divorce….something that was LONG overdue and had the same relieving effect as setting a broken arm after it had been left to dangle uselessly and painfully for almost 10 years. I was actually in court with my mother helping her fight her case when the phone call for Momchu came in. Thankfully I didn’t listen to the voicemail until we had recessed for lunch.

Work at Sprout Central has been soooooooo much more than I ever imagined. I can honestly say I have not enjoyed a job this much, in years……perhaps ever. From coming up with fun and creative crafts for them to make, to doling out snacks and cheering them on like a maniac when they go potty, I am loving every minute of it. My co-workers are amazing and fun like a family and the kids….ohhhhhhhh the kids. Some are exasperating…..but the vast majority are a blast. WHERE has this job BEEN my whole life???? On that note however, I REALLY must insert a PRAISE GOD here. When I left my job at the deathstar, my last day was ten years almost to the day that I was hired. When they mailed me my final paycheck ( I left mid pay period) we were shocked at the huge dollar amount of the check . It was FAR larger than it should have been, in fact it was the amount of three of my normal paychecks with them. Upon some research I realized that since I had worked a few days past my original hire date I technically qualified for all of the vacation time I would have had to use for the year. Instead of writing it off, they GAVE it to me in one massive payout!!! Something I had never imagined or planned or dreamed of. I couldn’t help but think that after all the years of garbage I had endured there and the fact that I refused to be cruel or callous upon my exit (even though my friends and coworkers encouraged me to leave the same nasty way the company treated me, and fleshly speaking they would have deserved it), but to honor my God and my faith, and I even TOLD my coworkers that in my last weeks there, God chose to bless me because of that. Something I was and still am, sooooooo thankful for. God ROCKS!!!

Sargie is doing well. He has decided that he loves to have his teeth brushed and every time I try to brush my own he wedges his way between me and the sink whining and crying for me to do his. LOL. He also experienced his first snow last week. LOL…oohhhhhhhhhh my goodness, what a nut. He LOVED it and repeatedly asked to go outside again and again so he could snowplow with his nose, run, jump, hop and roll in the snow. We took him to the home of some family friends for dinner one night where he played endlessly with their two little girl mini American Eskimo dogs. One of which was totally enamored with him…we joked that she had a crush on him…since he IS an older man (she was only 7 months old). LOL.

Our Christmas was quiet….we just didn’t feel like celebrating this year, and didn’t even exchange gifts. Sargie is the only one that lost out on that deal…pitiful boy….but doting mom and dad will buy him plenty of gifts later. Instead, Christmas day we slept most of the day away and watched TV.

I know this year is going to be a good one though, 2008 proved it to me… bad thing ever happens without being followed by a God thing…a GOOD thing. So, happy new year to all of you and lets go forward with excitement and anticipation for all the great adventures this year holds!!!