Friday, November 28, 2008

Unexpected Encounter

**I'd like to introduce you all to Belle of the Blog - she is an awesome blogger who has great taste in music and a heart as big as Texas. She's one of my daily favorites and I know you will enjoy her too!**

When Kel invited me to write a guest post on Café Kel, my first reaction was, "Me? Really?" I was extremely flattered. Kel is one of my favorite bloggers. Her upbeat and optimistic attitude never fail to put a smile on my face, so of course, I was eager to participate in her Thanksgiving week blogfest! Then I read all the great posts that have preceded mine and started to freak out a little, wondering what to write. Queen of Mayhem was just hilarious and Jen wrote with such heart and humor about her experience as one of eight children. I am notoriously unfunny, so the thought of trying to write anything as remotely amusing as what either of them wrote completely humbled me.

As we drove to my mother-in-law's on Wednesday evening, I was racking my brain to try and figure out what to write . Naturally, given the time frame, I was thinking about a post on being thankful and going through all the things I'm grateful for in my life.

"" My beautiful and amazing husband.
My kids who challenge me, thrill me, and bless me every day.
My friends who bring the gifts of humor and joy and comfort and support day in and day out. My dog Cooper, who is – paws down – the best dog on the planet, having saved my life at least once and maybe twice.

Then, in the midst of my reverie, I was interrupted by my almost two-year-old's incessant screaming. After about a half hour of trying to placate him with my cell phone, a Transformer, and some cool French-African music, we decided he was hungry and stopped at an Arby's somewhere between Atlanta and Ft. Benning. Scott, my husband, rushed inside with our older son, Brendan, so Brendan could use the restroom. I got the baby , Beckett, out of the car and headed inside. As I walked into the restaurant, I saw a man through the window who looked exactly like Santa Claus, minus the furry red suit, pipe, and bag of toys. The instant I saw him, I knew I would have an encounter with him, that somehow, for some reason, he would have something meaningful to say. I can't explain it, exactly; I just knew.

My second thought upon seeing this man – still before walking inside – was how annoying it must be to look like Santa Claus if you didn't like kids. I made a mental note not to mention to my kids that he looked like Santa just in case he was the type to get annoyed by it.

So, we all get inside, order some food, and I take the boys to stake out a table. As I was trying to wrangle my two rowdy children in the same direction, I suddenly realized a young man on crutches was trying to maneuver his way, soda cup in hand, back to the front of the restaurant for another drink. I tried to get the boys to one side so he could pass, but he kindly offered for us to go around him.

Brendan then chose a table on a raised section in the center of the restaurant with stairs leading up to it from two sides. Naturally. Beckett was screaming like a banshee and refusing to sit down, wanting, instead, to run in circles and climb up and down the stairs. When Scott finally got to the table with our food and drinks, I got everyone in seats and eating and sat down myself to eat. Within a few moments both boys were done and playing on the stairs while I gritted my teeth, thinking how annoying it must be to all the other patrons in the restaurant. I am very much a children are meant to be seen and not heard kind of person so any time my kids are unruly, i.e. all the freakin' time, I imagine that others are judging me.

In the midst of all this, the gentleman who looked like Santa came over and began talking to Beckett. He then told us that Beckett's Osh Kosh overalls reminded him of his sons and what they were like …thirty years ago. He was so sweet and kind and I could just feel this peace radiating from him. He asked us where we were headed and where we were from. Then, I found out that he and his family were heading home to Seneca, South Carolina. They had come from Ft. Benning, Georgia, where they had just picked up their son. Their son was home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan where he had been hit with a hand grenade.

As he told me about his son, I saw such intense love and pride and pain in his eyes that my own heart swelled with emotion. I asked if his son would be okay and the man responded, "He's here."

Because of our age and where we live, I haven't known anyone who has served in this war. I did have a couple of friends in Gulf War I, but I haven't known anyone personally who has been in this war, which by all accounts, is far worse and more intense in terms of actual war fare.

Hearing of an experience like that first hand made it all seem so real and so personal. Suddenly, I could imagine – almost feel – what it would be like to have a son or daughter fighting in a war. And then, of course, I knew that any of the piddly little things I was thinking of writing about paled in comparison to this…the deep and genuinely heartfelt gratitude I felt for the men and women who are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Japan and Germany and wherever else in the world we have troops stationed. It is almost impossible for me to comprehend putting my life on the line to defend a body of strangers collectively known as "my country."

These soldiers and Marines and airmen and sailors who go out into the world ready and willing to defend us have no choice over where they go or what mission they serve. Some joined up to make a better life for themselves while others joined out of a sense of patriotism and/or idyllic love of country. No matter how or why they chose to serve, for those fighting this war in Afghanistan and Iraq, they will be lucky to come home in once piece if at all. Yet, it is not just they who make a sacrifice. Their families – mothers and fathers and husbands and wives and children – make what might be an even greater sacrifice considering they have no say in the matter at all.

I think it's very easy for those of us who haven't been personally touched by this or any other war to take for granted the job our military personnel do day in and day out. Having it brought home to me in a chance encounter with a kind man who showed no bitterness at all over his son's fate, but rather expressed the simple joy of having his son home, really made me realize how much all of us have to be thankful for in knowing that there are men and women willing to sacrifice their lives to defend each and every one of us and the land in which we live.

This holiday season, take the time to contact someone serving overseas and let them know you appreciate them. My son's school along with many other elementary schools will be arranging for our servicemen and women to receive cards and letters. I'm sure that if you contact your local elementary school they'd be happy to have you participate. There is also Operation Dear Abby which has provided a means of sending care packages and letters to military personnel for many years.

Thank you all for your time. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with love and light , joy and peace.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The house is bustling about - the turkey is frying, the pastries and pies are all cooling while the sounds of chopping and chatting compete with the cheering and booing of the football game on TV.

This is my Thanksgiving Day in a glimpse...I have not had a big family thanksgiving day like this in - well I can't say when I remember the last one I had with my family - extended family (friends who are very dear family) but not blood line family. Even as I sit here and blog about all that is happening around me - I am oddly at peace and quite happy to just be apart of it all.

Thanksgiving is many things to many people - history has a weird way of twisting the meaning of thanksgiving if you let it, but for me - regardless of how it started or quite how we ended up here - I am very thankful to have this day to celebrate family, friends and life.

I have had the opportunity to share many of them with you, my wonderful bloggie friends, with whom my world would be a little dimmer. Today with my heart bursting at the seams, so much to be thankful for - I want to pass on my thankfulness to you - for being apart of my world and allowing me to be apart of your world.

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Open Letter to the DMV

**I'd like to introduce you all to the Queen - the Queen of Mayhem, that is. I can honestly say that this woman must be my long lost twin - except she has better hair, she has a way with words that bring tears to my eyes from laughing so hard and well, she is a queen - so come to think of it...we are probably no where near twins, but I think she's great.**

Hello All! Queen of the Mayhem here. Kel has asked me to guest post and since I think she is a rock star, I simply could not tell her no! I thought I'd share a little dose of the normal nonsense I serve up at my site on a regular basis!

To Whom it May Concern:
I had the privilege of visiting your lovely office today. The musty aroma of old building and stale air hit my nose right away. I suppose this is one way to keep your patrons awake as they wait for an eternity to be called to the back. How exciting it was to pull a number, like I was waiting at the deli of my local supermarket. I am even more enthused to sit in the hard plastic chairs in the waiting area. The best part was that all the chairs were I got to stay in touch with my fellow man. Considering the serial killer wannabes and trailer-loving rednecks everywhere, that aspect was even more appealing.

As if the chairs, stench, and close proximity were not pleasant enough, the excruciatingly painful, million year wait was an unexpected bonus. Nothing makes me happier than sitting and staring into space, willing myself not to make eye contact with the toothless freak next to me for what seems like forever! I was thrilled to see that there was no reading material provided in the office. Nothing squashes interpersonal relations quicker that giving the patrons something to read!

You can imagine my elation when, at long last, my number was called. It was so refreshing to move to another plastic chair and face a worker who spent the first couple of minutes rubbing lotion onto her hands, and the next few putting the 5000 rings she had removed back on her pudgy fingers. I would love to know who teaches the office etiquette classes at your establishment, as I long to have them come and speak to my coworkers. I was hoping that lecture titles could include:
*How NOT to Make Eye Contact when Someone is Speaking to You
*The Ins and Outs of Looking Really Bored at All Times
*How to Find out Information Uttering the Least Amount of Words Humanly Possible
*****And my personal favorite********
*How to Look Annoyed that Someone has the Audacity to Make you do your Job

But.....wait....I haven't even gotten to the best part. The area where you stand to take your picture is just top notch. I love the way the camera lens is down so low. It is just the perfect height for someone 5 '10 like myself. It felt very natural to lower my eyes, all the while still keeping my head raised for the shot. The best part was the final result of my license picture. The upward shot is so incredibly flatting of my neck.......and does not at all make it appear as though I have 3 chins! Add to that the squinting of my eyes as I peered down at your lens and you have ONE BEAUTIFUL PICTURE. Thanks to your fabulous equipment, my photo makes me look like a 500 pound Chinese woman. It was just breathtaking. At least I don't have to worry......I mean it's not like I will have to show anyone the picture....ON MY DRIVER'S LICENSE!

So.....thank you for all your wonderful services. I will be certain to recommend you to all of of my friends. You know.....the ones who long to appear as overweight ASIANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Queen of the Mayhem

Don't forget the Pajama Gram GiveAway!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2 Parents + 8 Kids = Holidays

***I want to introduce you to Jen at CubiclesBackPorch. I stumbled upon Jen some time back and since then she has made me laugh with her stories about crazy family antics, college dayz and farm living. She has graciously agreed to do a guest post here at CafeKel while I'm away and I know this one will bring a little cheer to your holiday spirit too. Thanks Jen! ***

Kel asked me to do a guest post (My first one! Ever!) and in the spirit of Thanksgiving and family, I decided to write about what it's like growing up as the oldest of 8 kids. Yes. 8.

First, a small introduction. I am the oldest at 25 years old. The current ages then follow as: 23, 20, 19, 18, 16, 15, 12. So my parents had 8 kids within 13 years.

Growing up in a large family is as normal to me as someone who grew up an only child I suppose. Except that people in a small town tend to stare more when there's a mom with 8 kids following behind her in the grocery store. (Not to mention the TWO over-filling grocery carts) I remember being 13 or so and feeling like EVERYONE stared at us. It was rare when my mom didn't get stopped in a grocery store by a stranger who would ask "Are they ALL yours?" She would often say that she wanted to get a shirt made that said "Yes, they're all mine. Yes, we're Catholic. And YES, I'm still married to their father." Or some variation of that.

All 10 of us (plus a dog and a cat or two) lived in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house on a couple of acres in Indiana. Needless to say, us girls developed strong bladders and the boys learned at a young age that peeing off the backporch saved them a world of hurtin.

Being the oldest had lots of responsibility. I learned to do laundry at a young age. I learned that folding my sisters clothes inside out would get me in trouble. I learned how to hand wash dishes like I was Cinderalla. (And sometimes, to pass the time, I was) I was also responsible for feeding the hogs and cleaning the barn. It was the latter chore that I loved. It also meant that I got time to myself out in the barn, time that I used to explore the old buildings that were used to house livestock before my parents lived there. I knew what parts of the roof were okay to walk on and what parts to avoid. I envisioned writing my novels out under the metal roofs in the rain.

Growing up in a large family in the country, there was always someone to play with and always something to do. #2 and I would make bicycle roads around the house with rules that had to be followed. "School" was a regular thing we did where I was the teacher, #2 was the gym teacher (b/c I needed time to grade papers), and the other siblings were the students who were usually eager learners. We used to swing on the pasture gates, 'explore' in the tall weeds, and watch for deer in the evenings.

Of course money was tight. My friends would talk about going shopping on the weekends and I couldn't imagine going shopping for no reason... we got clothes before school started and for Christmas and that was all the shopping we normally did. We were on food stamps for a while. Vacations were rare. But, we had everything we needed.

One thing that I think about now that I'm older is how my parents raised us without jealousy. I don't remember ever being jealous of my siblings or feeling like my parents never paid attention to me. Toys were shared. We each took turns riding with Dad to town. Whenever a new one came along, we were all excited and eager to meet the new sibling. How did they do that? How did they treat us each the same? Sometimes I don't think they even know how they did it.

Eventually, my dad started working for an automaker and making decent money. We moved to Kentucky to a 5 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house. Most of my siblings don't remember the little house in Indiana, or how summer days were spent outside.

Every year, when we're all seated around the Thanksgiving table, (There will be around 17 this year- (our parents, 8 kids, 3 boyfriends, and 4 grandkids) my mind drifts back to the little house and the life we all started there. Then I thank God that my parents have more than one bathroom now. And a dishwasher.

So this Thanksgiving when you're waiting at the bathroom door for Uncle Stan to get done, just remember that it could be worse... there could be 7 other people in front of you.

Don't Forget the Pajama Gram GiveAway!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Wish List - Giveaway

It's Monday and that usually means Monday Madness...Well it is Monday, so let the madness begin!

This is a special week - it's Thanksgiving which in turn means....*drum roll* Black Friday - the biggest shopping day of the year. If you are like me - typically I am working which means that by now, I have most of my shopping done, which has entailed many countless hours spent shopping online at my favorite stores searching for the best prices and working out 'free shipping.' (I am master at online shopping - hehe)

Anyhow, each year around this same time, the infamous question of 'What do YOU want for Christmas' comes up in conversation and typically the answer from most grown ups is 'um, oh I don't know' or "I haven't thought much about it." I am notorious for this type of answer and I used to get such dirty looks from my family until something spectacular happened.

One year, many years ago someone (I think it was my sister) bought me a pair of pajamas for Christmas and I fell in love. They were the coziest pj's I had ever had and I thought I was in heaven. Follow the next Christmas and what do I ask for but another pair of PJ's and so on and so forth...thus began my LOVE of pajamas. I am not a stay in bed all day kind of girl - but I can rock the PJ look ALL DAY (yes, my hubby still loves me) and admit that I probably have more pairs than I will ever know what to do with, but still - I ask for more.

What is your point - Kel?

Well, a few years ago I was introduced to this wonderful site PajamaGram and it became my all time favorite place to shop. I have ordered many birthday and Christmas gifts from here and they never fail to excite the lucky recipient. They come in the most pleasant little hat box wrapped with a pretty bow...(yes, can you tell I am in love?)

So, since it tis' the season for spreading a little love I have decided to giveaway a gift certificate to one lucky person who can share it and purchase a gift for someone else OR (if your like me) can indulge in your own personal pajama fetish. :)

Pajama Gram Giveaway

To Enter:
1. Leave a comment below with one thing that is on your wish list this year.

Additional Entry
2. Link back to this post on your blog
3. Tweet about it (just be sure to let me know @cafekel)

**Entries will be accepted from November 24 - November 30 (Sunday) and close at 12am CST December 1st. The winner will be picked at random and will be announced Next Monday.

**You do not have to have a blog to enter, however you must provide an email address for me to contact you if you are chosen. You can provide it in the comment section or email me directly cafekel [at] gmail [dot] com.

Also this week - I will be traveling to visit family so I have lined up some AWESOME ladies to do guest blogging. I know you will enjoy reading them as much as I do so be kind and be sure to stop by and say HI!

So share the giveaway love and let me know what's on your Christmas Wish List this year?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fractional Friday

It's Friday again and you know what that means...Yep, random thoughts from the unknown...hehe

1. Holy Crap it's COLD! - Seriously now, this below freezing temperature stuff is for the birds (or should I say penguins?) I get that I don't have any control over the weather, but seriously, come on now...if I have to suffer thru this crazy weather, can I at least have some snow flurries to brighten my mood?

2. Food - food and MORE food. The only bad thing about the holidays is that there is so much food it's not even funny. (We could totally feed a small starving country with how much food there has been this week.) Had a luncheon yesterday at work for Thanksgiving, am having another luncheon at work next week for Thanksgiving AND we are having THANKSGIVING next week too. Oh.My.Gosh - I'm going to have to run 5 marathons to burn all these calories.

3. Thanksgiving - yep, it's next week. I am excited - not about the super duper long drive we are going to make with the girls to get there but about getting to see my family (and no, I don't have to go ALL THE WAY to hell, just close enough that the temperatures will warm up...and by warm up, I mean they are talking about going swimming?!)

4. Marathon - I am now down to the wire - in 2 weeks I will be putting my money where my mouth is and braving my very first Marathon. That right people...I'm either gonna sink or swim - but either way I'm sure it will be an experience of a lifetime. St. Jude Marathon is on December 6 and I along with many thousands more will brave the cold in support of a cause worth it's weight in gold.

5. Have I mentioned it's COLD! Unseasonably cold for this time of year and I chose this year to run a, can you say CRAZY! Well, that is what I'm thinking each time I think I have to go out this weekend for one last fairly long run before the big day - it's been like -0 (ok, not really, but it feels like it) in the morning...I am not going to like being outside before the sun comes up...wish me lots and lots of 'hot' thoughts! :)

Hope you all have a great weekend - oh and check back on Monday, I have a little something for ya!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Do you ever get signs? Do you ever ask for a sign? Do you ever fail to see the blaring sign until after you've passed it and look into the rear view mirror only to think "where did that come from?"

I do. All. The. Time.

I am a believer in signs and lately I've been wondering about the ones in my life.

Case and point:

1. I have multiple photo I.D.'s. I have a drivers license, I have a work badge, I have an entrance badge, I have a military dependant I.D. - (three of these give me access to the same place just different buildings) Suffice it to say, I have lots of things with my photo and information on them to verify who I am. I don't use all of these every day - some are just for certain times (going to and from work) and some are with me all the time. The other day I went to grab one of my I.D.'s and it was not in its normal spot in my wallet. I was out of the house and started to panick, but realized there was no need for this (I could just look when I got home) so I calmed myself and when I got home I went rampant searching in every place it could have possibly been.

I did not find it.

I spent a few days retracing my steps and still could not find it. Monday morning came and I had decided to look one more place before I began the process of getting a new ID, resigned to the idea of having lost it when as I'm grabbing my stuff to leave the house that morning, I looked down and there it was. Very near the place it would have been, but yet, in an odd location because it should not have been moved. When this came up in conversation with the hub later in the day, I did not give it a second thought - until he sent me a text asking if perhaps it was a metaphor for something in my life. I immediately called him and asked him what he meant - he responded with "Well, it seems like you've been looking for something for a while now and perhaps this is just a sign that you will find it."

2. Deja Vu. I don't experience this often, but sometimes there are brief moments that seem so clear and yet, I just cannot put my finger on it. I write - alot! I don't always write a lot here and sometimes it is just a jumbled mess, but I write my thoughts, I write my emotions, I write my hurt and my happiness because otherwise, I might just overflow. Recently I was writing some thoughts, working on a post (if I decide to publish it) when suddenly it was like I had already been there...writing. The words came to me, the atmosphere was the same and I knew something happened because of these words - I just didn't know what. I have not published them - not sure what to do with them, but I'm sure when the time is right....

3. I'm a rather bottle it up kind of person - there are things that will bug me, but I'll just keep them to myself until I have enough and then I kind of burst and then I'm ok. This happened not that long ago with a work thing. A situation had been going on for quite a while. I disagreed with it, but did not have a better solution and new there was no reason to complain because it would go unchanged. Instead I became apathetic. I absorbed this situation until eventually a phone call came that set the roller coaster in motion. I was not happy and I tried to let it go, but instead I fumed in silence and when asked 'if I was ok?' I answered honestly - No. I gave my reasons and set out in search for a solution. In the process I spoke to many people involved in the final straw issue and in that process I gained a valuable insight - things were changing and much was up in the air. Blank stares can sure tell you more than you ever wanted to know.

My problem, didn't so much lie in the fact that a situation was in complete chaos and no one cared - but the fact that I let their lack of caring affect me, I became apathetic in the process. It's kind of like standing at a fork in the road - I stood there and waited and didn't choose a path and then when I got run over by a passing car, I got mad because no one told me to move. It was not their fault, but because I didn't have an answer I chose to do nothing. The sign I got that day was I better pick a path and get moving or next time, it might be an SUV instead of a little car that gets me. I had seen the signs, but didn't really 'see' the signs until that day. Now - well, now I have decisions to make.

Perhaps all of these instances are unrelated, but then again I think somehow they are all tied together by a very small thread. Perhaps I failed to see, 1, 2, & 3 and they've all been trying to tell me something important that I'm just now starting to understand.

Do you have a SIGN you wished you would have payed more attention to?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A conversation took place between a myself and a friend that resulted in me making a statement that caught me by surprise.

The conversation was about someone else who had recently returned back to area they they spent a lot of time and energy trying not to live - the area considered 'home.' I responded with, "It's funny really, how much time we spend in our youth trying to get out only to find as we get older that it's not so bad after all and we want back in."

It may not sound like an odd statement, but for anyone who knows me (or reads this blog) you know that I refer to my home town affectionately as "hell." Hell - was the name I chose, not because it more often than not feels like it due to the weather and not so wonderful climate, not because its flat and half a year empty farmlands look sad and lonely, not because when at first observation - it looks as if the economy has forgotten about this part of the world - but because the memories I have growing up, growing into my own are my own personal hell.

I am a 'pleaser' - I like 'pretty' things and am most comfortable when calm and love fill the air(yes I know how strange that sounds). I did not live like this in hell - in fact, calm and love were there, but in bits and pieces. I was born and raised in this tiny town - where everyone knew everyone else's business, kids played randomly with neighbor kids all day long without a care and front doors were left unlocked to come and go as we pleased. There was not a movie theater or big restaurant in town - our nearest form of entertainment or mall was 45 minutes away so we took to entertaining ourselves in other 'not so productive' ways. (insert cow tipping here) I grew up in a small 2 bedroom home that I spent most of my school years in, with a couple of people I would consider my 'friends' and the rest people with whom I had to attend school and often times be the center of their gossip.

I wasn't a radical, I wasn't the bum, I wasn't the popular chick, I wasn't so many things - but I was me - a teenager trying to find her voice in a sea of so many others and unfortunately it is a dog eat dog world out there so when I finally got the chance to leave there, I packed what I could carry and was gone, vowing never to return.

Over a decade has passed since I 'lived' there, but I still visit because my family is there. My visits are brief and often haunted by things I'd rather not remember, but I find that as I get older, "home" is a little less painful and a little more of a place where I came from instead of a place I am trying to escape.

I've traveled many places in this great big world and I've realized that it really isn't so big after all. Yes, there are amazing places to see and little things that make it different from place to place, but 'home' is not what defines you but more a place that holds a piece of your foundation.
Home is where you hang your hat
Home is where the love is
have been quoted many times to fill the gap and my lack of feeling as if I had a home. Neither truly encompass what I feel, although the latter is still my favorite. Home, however, is my beginning, my start and yes, there is much about 'home' that made me who I am today. I am not ready to 'move back' to hell anytime soon, but I am ready to return home to visit instead of continuing to run away.

What does HOME mean to you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alone at last...

Not that long ago I posted about trying to be alone - without much success. Recently though I did find myself alone, not entirely, but pretty close.

You see, the hub headed back home to visit with his family for a few days and I stayed here with DQ. Little Miss took a the trip with her daddy because she isn't required to attend school like DQ and well, dad thought it would be nice to let mom have a break. (Isn't he sweet?!) So DQ and I were left alone to our own devices.

At first I was super excited - I wouldn't have to cook for ANYBODY. Yippy. I could clean the house and it would pretty much stay that way! Double Yippy. I could watch whatever I wanted to on TV and not have to share - can you say YIPPY! It was going to be the next best thing to a vacation alone I could get.

Day 1:
Morning -
  1. Get dressed for work (not have to be quiet for sleeping hubby),
  2. Let DQ eat lunch at school (don't have to make lunch) -
  3. And since I have extra time by not having to make lunch I am now going to splurge and stop by Starbucks for coffee and hot cocoa.

Afternoon -
  1. Pick up DQ (don't have to hurry because Little Miss isn't there),
  2. Workout at the Y (no babies or hubby to juggle),
  3. Eat frozen TV dinner (because I don't have to cook and we can)
  4. Watch all MY TiVo shows (because I can)

Day 2:
Morning -
  1. No being quiet,
  2. No lunch making for DQ,
  3. Starbucks

Afternoon -
  1. No Rush,
  2. Workout Y,
  3. Frozen TV Dinner,
  4. My TiVo programming

Day 3:
Morning -
  1. Kind of boring not annoying the hubby with my morning routine,
  2. Could get used to this no lunch making thing,
  3. Could I really drink this starbucks stuff all the time?

Afternoon -
  1. Bored not rushing around with the kiddos,
  2. Y has lost it's appeal as an escape from the kiddos when I run now that I can bring them with me,
  3. Is it wrong when your child asks for a frozen TV dinner when given a take out choice?
  4. Watched all TiVo programming - all that's left is hubby's

Day 4:
Morning -
  1. I'm ready for the hubby to be home, this is no fun any more
Afternoon -
  1. Let the countdown begin..

Day 5:
  1. Hubby and Little Miss on their way home - Yippy!

They arrived and the house was no longer clean, the grouchiness from being woken up at o'dark thirty was in full force, and the daily rush from here to there all came back, but it sure is nice to have them home again. Just a few more day's and I'll be ready to plan my next vacation! :)

to stop by LaPetiteChic for a chance to win a Wii & Wii Fit

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Madness - Thing I Never Realized

1. Just how much an OLD bed has lived past its shelf life.
Yes, the hub and I finally after much searching and debating, finally replaced our is just like sleeping on a cloud now.

2. Just how happy a decorated room makes me.
Since we hadn't replaced our bed we had not decided on any colors for our bedroom which means for quite a while we've been sleeping in a blank canvas...I finally purchased the one I wanted and yes, it makes me happy to see to get it all painted.

3. Cooking is much more time consuming than I ever gave it credit.
I'm not talking 30 minute meals. but I wanted some Tamales a few weeks ago...I set about the task of making them and 2 days later I had 6 dozen. Oh-My-God...seriously they were yummy, but WOW, I will never take them forgranted again!!!

4. Just how many people will wait for a 'prime' parking space at the mall.
Me and both kiddos headed to the mall on Sunday when it opened and got a spot up front, right by the doors. After our few hours of shopping we headed back to the car and there were 5 cars that waited for my parking space. I have to admit - It did take me a while to get the bags in the trunk, the baby in the car seat and the stroller in my trunk...I felt bad for the people who kept circling waiting...waiting....waiting....for me to be done. Oh well - I tried to hurry, just wait until christmas! :)

5. Just how crazy men really are.
The hub and some friends decided to play paintball and the 'memo' I got was he had a game at noon. Little did I understand the game was all day. I mistook that statement for a few hours thinking he'd be home at 3 or, make that 6 hours of playing, only to come home COVERED in red welps from head to toe. Personally, I don't think being shot by little pellets for 6 hours is fun, I'd have stopped after 2 hours.

Is there something you just realized lately?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fractional Friday

2. Short - It was only a 4 day week. For that I will always be grateful.

3. Thanksgiving - is right around the corner...hooray for another short week.

4. Family - I will get to see my family for Thanksgiving and I'm excited. I haven't seen some of them in a couple of years.

5. Shopping - I am not ahead in my shopping for Christmas, however I am ahead in my planning and idea department of what to get each person for Christmas.

My bloggy friend is having an AWESOME giveaway at her blog - make sure to stop by and comment for a chance to win a Wii and Wii Fit!!

Hope you all have a wonderful Weekend!
Don't forget to visit LaPetitChic for the giveaway!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Beauty is skin deep?

As I stood in front of the mirror this morning, smearing on Nivea Anti-Wrinkle and Firming cream, I had a I being suckered?

Early in my youth, I like most people believe my beauty will last forever (ok, not forever, but pretty darn close.) Growing up in Hell should have required use of LOTS and LOTS of sunscreen, but instead we chose to slather on baby oil and Tropicana Tanning spray. We were always oiled down and positioning our lounge chairs to maximize sun exposure. The ever elusive brown skin we were after was just the other side of that little plastic bottle and I was sure that my naturally, pale white skin was really just some evil trick and that god had intended me to be much darker.

I don't have a history of skin cancer in my family so when the fear of 'sun exposure' made all the headlines, I didn't worry. Aging and wrinkles and leathery skin - were of no thought, because I had to be like, um... 60 to get that right? I was sure I would be old and on my death bed long before I saw the dreaded outcome of so much sun exposure. Youth - oh how I long for that complete naivety again. Somewhere around my 18th birthday, I met a woman who introduced me to facial products and a regime of skin care. She was one of the most beautiful women I had ever met - only she was not your typical tall, slender, bronzed beauty. She was instead, a plus sized woman with porcelain white skin and jet black hair. She spent many years educating me to the wonders of skin care and what a value sunscreen really is. She convinced me that aging starts now and I will be much younger than 60, not likely on my deathbed and much too late to reverse the damage if I did not change my horrible ways.

I tried - I began using lotions, masks, facial peels, body scrubs, herbal makeup blah, blah blah - but for a girl in her young 20's it's really hard to believe I will ever grow old and not look like I did back then. Eventually it all stopped and I fell back into my old habits somewhere around the time I was criticized for having such pale skin. (Ok, I was called PASTY and who really wants to be referred to as 'the pasty girl?) Time went on and I had a child, work took precedence, life happened and a few years later I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize the face looking back at me.

Who was this woman with the dark circles under her eyes? The lines in her brow, the wrinkles, the bags...where had the youthful glow, I used to have, gone? I knew I had to change and so I dug in the recesses of my mind and found that beauty regimen I had forgotten about, headed to the nearest store and stocked up on products all claiming to "eliminate" this or "reduce" that. I was convinced I would find a much more 'youthful' me - the 'beautiful' me I had lost, just inside that container labeled $29.95.

I did not find the me I had lost, but what I found was much better.

No, I did not find a miracle cure in a bottle and I am not here to sell you on Nivea under eye anti-wrinkle cream or Oil of Olay vitamin C capsules or any other number of a host of products. Most of the products I tried did produce some type of result in the initial phase, but never completely 'removed' the aging I was trying to escape. What I learned in the process though, was that the laugh lines in my face show that my life is full of love and good memories, the wrinkles in my brow - are worry that only a mother can know as she watches her child become an independent little person. The lines and circles that appear under my eyes are from many sleepless nights when a child is sick or the love of my life is away or a dear friend is needing comfort from the loss of someone close.

The me, that I see each morning is not someone to be ashamed of but someone to appreciate because she is living life - the good, the bad and everything in between. This is not to say, I am going to throw in the towel just yet because I still want to look my best, but no longer am I so concerned with the routine of products I must apply each night before bed or each morning before work. Don't get me wrong, I still apply a little 'firming' cream here or there but I'm no longer trying to hide from the me I'm becoming, instead I try to cover up some of the more obvious "party like a rockstar" moments.

Do you believe in Aging gracefully?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Death Warmed over...

I started the week out hopefull - I mean - who wouldn't, it was supposed to be a short week (with Veterans day as a holiday) and nothing major planned ...I thought I would breeze thru this week no problem.

However - fate had a different plan in mind for me. Somewhere in the realm of the unknown I obviously upset someone and they decided to strike me down, and boy did they ever!

Monday (as previously mentioned) DQ woke me up before the sun because she 'didn't feel well.' I quickly came to realize that she was sick and so began the process of making her feel better. It's hard to watch someone you care about be sick - especially the kids. You just wanna hold them and comfort them and make it all better -- what happens to that mentality when you grow up????

DQ, spent Monday at home, under the covers with some sprite and a cold wash cloth watching movie after movie. By late that afternoon, she felt better and I thought we were over the worst of it. Unfortunately for me... I was WRONG!

Yep, that's right-guess who got it next?

Um hum..that would be ME!

I woke up Tuesday, thinking I would enjoy a lesurely day off excpet I felt a little funny, complained to the hubby I didn't feel well and ... well... I'll spare you the rest of the details, but suffice it to say I spent the rest of the day wishing someone would shoot me and put me out of my misery.

Good news is that today is Wednesday and I managed to survive yesterday and woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go. Seriously? I have to spend the day feeling crap-tastic only to wake up feeling much better in time to go BACK TO WORK?

Someone is definitely playing a cruel joke on me?? hehe

Have you escaped the 'sickness' this time of year brings with it or have you been a victim too?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Madness - Sick

With the crazy weather - Cold - Hot - Cold - Not so Cold, its no wonder everyone has come down with the 'crud' and is feeling oh so craptastic.

1. O'dark 30 wake up - There is nothing better than being woken up to the sound of 'mommy, I don't feel well' only to find yourself peering thru sleep laden eyes at a little girl who is now barfing into the toilet. Yep, that's how I spent my morning.

2. Once you've got it - there is no going back. Yes that's right, if you've ever been in charge of taking care of someone (old or young) who doesn't feel well, there will be no sleep after you know they do not feel well.

3. Short and sweet - I HATE SICKNESS.

What's your biggest gripe about being sick?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fractional Friday

Well it's finally Friday and I'm feeling 'craptastic.'

1. I should be thrilled the weekend is here, but instead I feel like I'm coming down with something. Yuck! Who wants to be sick on the weekend?

2. We are now only3 weeks from Thanksgiving - let the holiday mayhem begin. hehe I swear the holidays were invented just to drive us all insane.

3. With the holidays come family - I hate juggling family, "we need to visit this one, but I want to visit that one" and don't forget "if your going to be that close why don't you just stop by here too." I guess it could be worse...I could have no where to go and no family to visit...

4. The elections are OVER...I'm still so excited I don't have to listen to anymore debates for another 4 years!! Yippy!

5. Little Miss will be 1 very soon...I cannot believe how quickly time has flown by - now what to do about her birthday?

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'Tis the Beginning ...

...Of the end.

Or so they say with the closing of the presidential elections. I had waited for it to be over - it has been going on now for so very long and I even had planned to not blog about it today, but in listening to all the comments out there, I couldn't help but have a few final thoughts.

So much as been said about this election with regards to race. The first African American president - true he is, but I can't help but think race was not the real issue here. I'm sure race factored into the voting somewhere - but overall, I think it was a non-issue. The state of the US as Barack Obama takes office is in such disarray that the color of his skin will not change any of this. The color of his skin was not what we based our vote on, it was not his platform and it had nothing to do with how he plans to govern this great nation.

All around the radio and news stations, here at home, they were discussing Obama's great feat - and in my opinion, regardless of who would have won last night, regardless of who we each voted for - the person elected would be in for a very tough road ahead full of many hard decisions.

Here's hoping for a much brighter future!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

In the spirit of all things election I thought this would be perfect for today.


(1) 'Press 1 for English' is immediately banned. English is the official language; speak it or wait at the border until you can.

(2) We will immediately go into a two year isolationist posture to straighten out the country's attitude. NO imports, no exports.
We will use the 'Wal-Mart policy, If we ain't got it, you don't need it.'

(3) When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it.

(4) All retired military personnel will be required to man one of our many observation towers on the southern border. ( six month tour) They will be under strict orders not to fire on SOUTHBOUND aliens.

(5) Social security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin in, you ain't gettin nuttin out. The president nor any other politician will not be able to touch it.

(6) Welfare - Checks will be handed out on Fridays at the end of the 40 hour school week and the successful completion of urinalysis and a passing grade.

(7) Professional Athletes - Steroids - The FIRST time you check positive you're banned for life.

(8) Crime - We will adopt the Turkish method, the first time you steal, you lose your right hand. There are no more life sentences. If convicted, you will be put to death by the same method you chose for your victim; gun, knife, strangulation, etc.

(9) One export will be allowed; Wheat. The world needs to eat. A bushel of wheat will be the exac t price of a barrel of oil.

(10) All foreign aid using American taxpayer money will immediately cease, and the saved money will pay off the national debt and ultimately lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask the American people if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision whether it's a worthy cause.

(11) The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day in Congress.

(12) The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies, sporting events, outings, etc.

Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes but a vote for me will get you better than what you have, and better than what you're gonna get. Thanks for listening, and remember to write in my name on the ballot in November.

God Bless America !!!!!!!!!!!

*As a note - I am not a write in candidate, nor do I want to EVER be a write in candidate. Despite any or your or my personal beliefs...these are not my words or my thoughts - I just thought it was humorous.*

What would you add to the platform?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday Madness - Election Foe Pa's

it has been a memorable year and I am actually glad to say I've been able to be apart of it...the best part for me has been some of the more comedic moments throughout the campaign (no, I'm not talking SNL, but those are really funny!)

Monday Madness - Election Foe Pa's

1. Sarah Palin Punk'd - Canadian Comedy Duo prank called Sarah Palin and convinces her she is talking to the French President.

2. John McCain gets Stood up - John McCain call's for 'Joe the Plumber' on his first stop of the tour only to find - Joe the Plumber is no where to be found.

3. Stand up Chuck - Joe Biden calls upon Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham to "stand up," despite the fact that he is in a wheelchair.

4. That One - John McCain refers to Barack Obama during his second round of presidential debates as 'That One.'

5. 57 States? - At a campaign event in Oregon Barack Obama says "Now I've been in 57 states - I think theres one more to go."

And remember - Don't forget to Vote!! :)