Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Breakfast of Champions

This morning as I was perfoming my morning ritual of running around the kitchen packing lunches while making sure that Mr.Toddler was not feeding his hair with milky Rice Krispies at the same time searching the TiVo machine for everyone's favorite episode of Caillou "the kid who gets away with everything", I notice Mr. Pre-Teen carving out his own breakfast. Let's see if I can describe it without going into a sugar-induced coma.

A 12-ounce glass of milk with 3 tablespoons of Nesquik
A handful of Nestles Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Bowl full of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers
Pretzel sticks for chocolate milk dipping

As my eye catches this breakfast of champions I wonder how much nutrition is in this meal. None.

But don't ask Mr. Pre-Teen about the nutrition level because he will give every effort to find that one gram of protein somewhere in the label between the 30 grams of sugar and 10 grams of fat.

At least he is trying.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Early Bird

As I have posted before I have reached a crossroads in both my career and my life in general. I want to make some changes and if you have known me for more than 5 minutes you know that this is not unusual. I am continually looking to make adjustments, improvements, goal changing. I am going through yet another phase of this.

I think it all started with that one day a few years ago when I was turned onto real estate investing. It seemed like a natural fit. I have since done a few lurative deals but have recently reached a stumbling block...the equivalent to a writer's block to a writer. I don't know what it is but I am seeing a psychologist, I mean "life coach", because of it. It is helping because after seeing her for a few weeks I am back in the saddle. I wonder if that is good timing considering the last week on Wall Street but I have to give it a try.

More on the psychologist (life coach) later.

I am surfing a lot more on the internet trying to explore myself and the whole improvement thing with my life. I stumbled onto a blog that is full of helpful hints and read a few. One of them is the art of waking up early in order to maximize the tasks for the day. The idea is that you wake up earlier than the household and get much more done sans kids gripping onto your leg wanting you to sit down to watch the latest installment of "Barney goes on a trip to Pluto" circa 1993 that I have seen a few hundred times already.

For the past week I have done just that. I was waking up at 6 am. It was working. I was taking quick showers and retreating to my office to do work that I usually put off until 11 pm. I was enthusiastic about it. I forced myself to go to bed at 10 pm. This wasn't so bad. Until last night. I totally forgot about my "new habit". I guess it isn't a habit yet if I can forget so easily. I got all caught up with a CNBC show "The Millionaire Inside You" show that was on at 10 pm. It ended at midnight. When I shut off the TV I realized I missed my new goal and forgot the habit. I have much work to do.

I sure am glad that I have an appt with my "life coach" tomorrow.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Junk Mail

Last week my brother asked me to pick up his mail for him while he and his family went away for a few days vacation. He was going to be gone for 5 days so I figured if I picked it up on the third day he was gone that would be sufficient. When I got to his mailbox and opened it up I was overwhelmed with the amount of mail stuffed into that mailbox. Interestingly, that was not the only mail either. His front door was littered with door hangers advertising pizza, fast food restaurants, and a phone book. I had to scratch my head at where all of this mail has come from...after all, it was only two days worth of mail.

Of course I didn't sift through his mail but it did appear to me that much of it was junk. How did I know this? Because a lot of it looked very familiar to the junk mail I get! What a coincidence. I returned the mail to him and had to laugh because I now realize that he gets way more junk mail than I do.

Which led me to my post for the day and general question to ponder.

How do you sort your mail and keep it from running your household?

Here are a few suggestions on what has worked for me:

1. Sort and discard your mail as soon as you remove it from the mailbox. In fact, many people I know including yours truly sort their mail over their garbage cans. Throw away anything that is junk related that you will never be interested in.

2. While you are sorting maintain a few piles. The first pile should be for bills and things that need to get addressed and or paid. The second pile should be for magazines and/or catalogs that you would like to read. The third pile is the garbage can.

3. Bills should go straight to your office or computer room and paid or put in a proper inbox for review.

4. Magazines and/or catalogs should be put in a rack or on a table where you can easily access them. Remember that most catalogs can be viewed online so if that is the case you might want to throw the catalog out and do your shopping online.

5. If you follow these general tips you will be amazed at how easily you can keep yourself organized with your mail.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Living with neurofirbomatosis

Kelly's opthalmologist looked at her eyes for the first time since she was diagnosed with NF-1. We were there to listen to his diagnosis. Prior to his examination we discussed with him what we had found out since her last visit for ptosis. Back then ptosis was the least we should have been worried about but we didn't know any better. Her ptosis was minor...a 1 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most severe). Back then Dr. Dorfman, who by chance happens to be one of the best opthalmologists in Florida, told us it was a cosmetic thing and did not affect her eyesight at all. Back then I remember thinking that perhaps we didn't need to continue seeing him if this was only a cosmetic issue.

But in June that all changed when we were told that Kelly tested positive for NF-1. This diagnosis changed a lot of how we look at her medical treatment especially when it comes to her eyes. Part of the effects of NF-1 is the potential for tumors to arise behind the optic nerve. The other effect of NF-1 is pigmented bumps on the eye's iris (Lisch nodules). Our genetist recommended we see Dr. Dorfman for a followup to check for these potential problems.

So there we sat and watched Dr. Dorfman shine all kinds of special lights into her eyes. All the time he was promising her a Barbie sticker. She couldn't wait to get the sticker. We were holding our breath hoping he would promise us something good. Kelly is oblivious to all of the medical terms and probes. But I am not. I get scared thinking that her optic nerve might have complications. I am not so sure about lisch nodules except to say that anything that is on her iris that is not supposed to be there can't be good. The doctors promise me that lisch nodules are completely harmless. That they are just like the freckles on her body. Lisch nodules are even less like the freckles because they can only be seen with a silt lamp.

Oh that's another thing. Before NF I didn't know what a silt lamp was. Now I know. Another life lesson!

The examination ended and the doctor said that while he could only view the tip of the optic nerve with his special lights it looked clear and saw no concern yet for us. However she does have lisch nodules. Yet another confirmation of NF. When she is 7-8 years old she will most likely have an MRI done to see clearly to the entire optic nerve which will help him to make a certain confirmation.

Kelly jumped out of the chair and thanked the doctor for his promised Barbie sticker and I thanked him for caring so much about my precious little one. He looked back at me and said that she will be just fine. I pray he is right.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Do Everything" Thursday

Today is going to be another installment of Do Everything Thursday. As previously reported I have made it my personal habit of making Thursday my catch-all for everything I did not get done during the week. It makes my weekend so much more relaxing and pleasant with no more rushing here and there to do errands.

I have decided that I will post every Thursday on my progress and goals for Do Everything Thursday. I figure that this will help me stick to the goals and track my progress.

My goals for today are as follows:
Grocery Shopping for the week
All dishes from the dishwasher get washed and put away
All laundry is done including sheets and towels. This includes folding and putting away
Quick vacuum of the rugs and sweep and mop floors
Reconcile any banking for the week
Run 3 miles

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I love exercise...I love exercise...I love exercise

I figure that if I keep saying it enough times it will become true. Actually I don't necessarily HATE to exercise but it's not exactly on my top 10 list. So why do I do it? Because the thing that I really do love about exercise is the way I feel after and the way I look after and that "good" feeling is a lot better than the "bad" feeling I get while doing it.

As I have previously posted, I am signed up for the Disney half marathon next January. I have my training schedule all printed out. The full out training does not really start for another month or so but I have to get back in the saddle again and start racking up miles. That is the term that marathoners use. For some odd reason our weekly miles is important to the overall training program.

This past weekend, after reviewing my training goals and mistakenly watching the making of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar, I rededicated myself to my exercise program and mileage count.

My goal yesterday was 2 miles on the treadmill. The run started off good and I was flying to 1 mile until I hit the wall. Now, I won't go into too much detail on what the wall is but to quickly explain that this is the moment when all runners literally feel like they have hit a wall. Their bodies start talking to them and what they are saying is not pretty. The mind starts playing tricks. Your body starts to shut down. You feel like quitting. A good runner will have methods to get through the wall (ie, carb drink, self talk, inspiring note in pocket, friendly runner to help out). Marathoners hit the wall between mile 19 and 22. I hit the wall at mile 1.

I felt like crying. I did push through it and got to mile 2 but I realized that I have a long way to go in my training. I better start that program early if I want to make it by January. If you want to track my successes, I should have a link to my progress up shortly.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Goldfish Cracker

I have never quite seen anything make my kids jump as high as Pavlov's dog quite like the goldfish cracker. I often wonder if the inventor and the distributor (Pepperidge Farm) realize how quiet and happy these crackers keep my kids.

All I have to do is mention the word goldfish and they come running like little ants. It's the funniest thing. Even Jack knows what they are. The sound that these little crackers make when they hit the little bowls is enough to make them yelp and dance around the kitchen. The crackers come in many flavors such as plain, cheese, and pretzel. They come in orange color or rainbow colors.

The goldfish are all named and have personalities. The yellow one is named Brooke. The others are named Finn, Gilbert, and Xtreme. They even have their own website. You can create your own goldfish character and customize your own homepage. You can play games and earn cheddar points. You can create your own goldfish ID card.

I never quite knew that there are so many things wrapped up in this one little cracker but it works and that's good enough for me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Irony of South Florida Living....

There is nothing quite like catching a double-header youth baseball game in the 92 degree heat (with heat index is more like 100 degrees) on a bright, sunny, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky day. The beauty of the double-header is when it starts at 9 am and goes through to 3 pm when the peak of the sun is at its hottest.

Moms like me are roasting under their array of umbrellas to shield the sun but can't do anything with the heat. I keep saying to myself that I am going to invent a portable chair that you can pack with ice packs like a cooler in the back and arms of the chair but haven't gotten around to that idea yet.

So as I sit in the sun I think of how wonderful it will be once I get home and literally run to the pool. I won't even care that I have my clothes on. They are already soaked so what would be the difference.

Both games end and I drive home foaming at the mouth thinking about that swimming pool. Just as I arrive in my garage I hear the first crack of thunder and before I can make my way to the other end of the house the sky turns black and a lighting storm is upon us.

So I stand in my living room staring out the clear door that leads me to my pool and think that this can only happen in Florida.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday - the "Do Everything" Day

Thursdays are my "do everything" before the weekend day.

On this day of the week dinner is usually light with no heavy cooking involved. Tonight it was a nice big salad with grilled chicken on top, grapes, walnuts, croutons and dressing. I did steam cauliflower and made some Texas toast.

The real reason behind "do everything" Thursday is because I don't do housecleaning and laundry on weekends unless there is an emergency. Weekends are my time off and my family time with my husband and children. It's sacred to me and I do not let "non family" things get in the way. So while Thursdays are a major rush for me I love to do it because it means that I have finished all of my household chores for the week and that means I can finally relax.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Top 5 Quick Organization Tips

Finding time to be organized can be a daunting task which can often become very discouraging. But it doesn't have to be that way if you just give it time and take baby steps. So here are my top 5 organization tips that have become my every day habit.

1. Take care of your mail immediately. If you don't do this it will definitely take over your life. When I go out to my mailbox I usually have sorted the mail in my hands by the time I have come back into the house. In my left hand is items that are going to be thrown away. In my right hand is the mail to keep. Once in the house I throw the junk in the garbage and then start opening the keeper mail. One pile is for bills and the other pile is for stuff that I am going to do something with later. (I will address that in another post).

2. Install a landing strip where you usually enter the house. For me that is in the laundry room from the garage. I bought a cheap 6-hook strip from Target and it works beautifully. Baby bag, backpacks, every day shoes, purse and car keys go on this rack. I never lose my keys and I always know where essentials are. I also don't waste time in the morning looking for this stuff on the way out to the car thus wasting critical time.

3. Lazy Susan. Good ole' lazy susan. What would I do without her? I love lazy susans. I have many of them in my kitchen cabinets. They are awesome for spice cabinets or medicine cabinets because stuff doesn't get pushed to the back of the cabinet never to be seen again. Instead I neatly place the items in the lazy susan pushed to the edge so everything is in full view. Some of my cabinets have more than one lazy susan.

4. Make your bed every day. Ok, this is not really an organization tip but I believe it does set the tone for neatness and organization throughout the rest of the day. I have never seen a neat house with messy beds.

5. Own a small portable notebook. I never am without my little notebook. Being a busy mom I have many ideas and to-dos floating around in my head. I would forget a lot if I didn't have a little book to write things down. If I think of something I need to do I write it down and when I get home or to a place where I can more organize my thoughts I do so on a more formal to-do list.

Do you have any ideas you would like to share with me? If so please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lessons of a Friend

It is true what they say about life always teaching you lessons. Sometimes when I think that life has taught me enough lessons or when I think it is time for me to stop learning and start teaching I learn something new. This happens to me daily and is probably good fodder for my blogs.

Here is a good example of this.

There is a girl that I know at work. Let's call her "Kim." I have known Kim for a few years now but have never really worked with her. She was always working for a different department than I did but I met her through various working relationships. A few months ago I was assigned to work with her on a project that was going to involve meeting with her a few hours a day, several days a week for several weeks. That was fine with me. She seemed a nice person. When I first met up with her on the project she asked me about my 4 kids. That blew me away. She actually knew and remembered that I have 4 kids. I was a bit embarrassed because I thought she had one child when in fact she had two.

Lesson number 1: Care about other people and be more observant.

Admittedly I really never worked with her so trying to remember everyone employed at the company and how many kids they have can be a challenge but heck she remembered how many I had. That says something to me. Maybe I was worth remembering to her or maybe she did her homework.

So working along side of her I started developing this friendship with her that sort of stood out. We seemed to have so much in common. We both have kids. We are both engineers. We love to be organized. We both like to cook. We love to help people. We love to tease each other. We are Catholic. I would have never thought that we would have that much in common but we do!

Lesson number 2: Never judge a book by it's cover.

Last week while going through the lunch line we started talking about friendships. I was complaining that I don't really have much free time to make friendships. She was telling me about her best friend. How they talk every day on the phone. How they are there for each other 24/7 no matter what. If one or the other is sick the other one will come over and bring soup or medicine, even at 2 am! I admitted that I didn't feel I had that type of friend and hadn't since college when my best friend and college roommate "dumped" me because I was Catholic. (She became a born again evangelist and I think that she didn't feel that my being Catholic was really a Christian. She kept trying to convert me and when she finally gave up, she left me. What a shame. That was a tough lesson. I hated that our friendship ended because of that...but that's another blog post. I digress.)

Anyway, as we were talking about friendships I kept wanting to ask her if I could be her friend. You know, outside of work type of friend. The type of friend that I can call on the weekend to say hi. The type of friend where I can invite over and have a play date with our kids. The kind of friend that I can laugh with and not feel like I am being judged. That would be so great. We meet tomorrow and I will ask her if we could get together sometime outside work.

Lesson number 3: In order to HAVE a friend you have to BE a friend.

In the early to middle stages of working with Kim on this project, I left work for a few weeks for my vacation. I found that in the middle of my vacation I actually missed her. I wanted to call her on the phone but I didn't want to bother her. (Also the cell phone signal where I was was very weak). I started realizing that maybe I was making a friend without trying or without realizing I was actually doing it. I didn't have to work at it. It just happened.

Lesson number 4: Good things can sometimes be staring you right in the face.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Such Exciting News

Last week I was invited to be a contributing blogger on workingmomsblog.com. I stumbled across the site while googling and trying to find some blogs where I can find people that I have much in common with. I started reading posts upon posts and found that the women on this site are living a similar life to me...that is, busy working mom just trying to do it all...or at least come somewhat close. I read a lot about "mommy wars" and to be honest, I don't really understand why there even is such a war. I mean war has such a negative connotation. I don't ever hear about "daddy wars." And then it dawned on me. Men live such basic lives. They eat, sleep, and "other stuff". Women seem to do so much more. We live for everything and for everyone. We love our families, our children, our husbands, our pets. We take such little time for ourselves and sacrifice so much. We sometimes forget that we are people with needs and wants just like the many people we care for.

Which is why I love the workingmoms blog. It's a place where I can go and unwind and laugh with the others. It's a place where I don't feel like I am in a war. It's a place where I can go and say "hey, my kids go to daycare and they are doing wonderfully." It's a place where I hope to contribute many posts in the future. I have so many ideas in my head of what I would like to say and hopefully people will want to read some of those things just as I enjoy reading them myself.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Pet Peeves

Here are a few of my pet peeves:

1. Someone who you set an appointment with and the next day they call to ask you to give them directions to your house. Hasn't everyone heard of mapquest?

2. When I go to a store and the clerk doesn't have any pennies in the change drawer. He or she will apologize for not having pennies and if you are in a rush, like I usually am, you tell them not to worry about it. So they short change you by a few pennies. Why can't they give you the nickel in your favor instead of short changing you the pennies in their favor?

3. Paris Hilton. I could go on and on forever about her. Honestly, I don't give a hoot about PH or any other Hollywood types. I don't really understand the obsession.

4. When you buy a product from the store or online and you pay your hard-earned money only to get it home, rip open the box, and find that the darn thing doesn't work. So you have to wrap it back up, take it back to the store or go to the post office to re-ship it. If you are shipping it back you have to be sure you follow up with a replacement or a credit on your credit card. What a pain! Why don't these things work in the first place.

Do you have any pet peeves that you want to mention?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Running Like the Wind

I have not officially started my marathon training regiment even though I probably should start working on that. But it has been a few months since I have hit the pavement. Summer is such a bad season for running because it is so humid outside and takes a special kind of endurance.

My goal today was 2 miles and I did it with few problems. In fact I am pleasantly surprised at how well I was doing with respect to my cardiovascular area. It's my knees that bother me and at 41 that's not a big surprise. The knees are getting old and creaky and I guess it didn't help that I didn't stretch. I despise stretching.

The iPod helps a lot and this is a very important part of the routine. In fact I am very selective in the order in which I hear very specific songs that I have ordered in my iPod so that I will hit them at specific points in my run. I have never divulged the contents of my iPod because there is such a wide range of music. I will say that the music is not necessarily my favorite songs or favorite groups. Rather it is a collection of songs that I think get me to run faster and harder and that's my main objective.

When I run, no matter how long, I envision my race. I put myself in the moment. I daydream of how it will be when I run the half-marathon...what the other runners will look like...will there be many there that will have never run a half before like me...will there be people clapping and cheering and will that even matter to me...will I laugh at the end of happiness or cry out of exhaustion...will they say my name as I cross the finish line...will I even remember the finish line? I don't really have those answers but I do know what I imagine in my head of what that day will be and it's what will keep me going as I start my training program.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Learning to Love Books

The other day on the long car ride home from our vacation I decided to read a 380 page book that I brought with me on the "off" chance that I might be so bored that reading would appeal to me.

Admittedly I have never been a reader. I am not sure why but it has been with me from childhood and it has always bothered me. It has always made me feel handicapped because I never did well on the reading portions of standardized tests that affected which college I went to. Not only that but I feel that I learned less about life by not exploring all the things that books have to offer. But this is all going to change and I am excited about the journey.

So on this car ride back from vacation, I read the book and found that once I started I could not put it down. It felt wierd. My kids looked at me wierd...mom was reading a book? What was the world coming to? My husband looked at me and wondered if he left his wife at the last rest stop and a new wife accidentally got into our car.

When I got home I was so excited to have finished this book and I immediately went through my drawers to dust off the other books that I had bought ages ago but never cracked open. I am now into my second book of the week! The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. It's a really fun book so far and it's another one that I am having a hard time putting down. Last night I started looking through my 14 year old's bookshelf...there is Summerland, Heat, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter

I started pulling the books from the bookshelf like a mad woman. The book covers are so pretty. I can't get started soon enough. This is so much fun. The best part is knowing that I might positively affect my kids and their outlook on reading. I might even start a book review section in my blog or join a book carnival. Why didn't I think of this sooner?

What book are you currently reading? If you have any books you have read and want me to share them on my blog, just shoot me an email or comment.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Where did my little boy go?

In just 6 weeks, Kevin will be starting his first day of high school. He will be going to Chaminade-Madonna College Prep. It's truly a bittersweet moment for me as I watch him grow into a man.

I remember every detail of the day he was born as if it was yesterday and yet it was almost 14 1/2 years ago. I remember my frantic voice calling my ob/gyn at 6 am to tell him my contractions were 5 minutes apart and REALLY painful. I remember speeding to the hospital because I was feeling the urge to push. I remember running through the emergency room door and the nurse examining me and saying "you are 8 cm dilated." I remember my breath being taken away at that second and realizing I am going to have a baby today. I remember pushing for only 10 minutes (thank goodness for miracles) and I remember the pain (don't let anyone tell you that we forget the pain because we don't). I also remember the elation, joy, happiness, anxiety, fear, and hope at that moment when he was born. I remember how my life changed forever when they swaddled him and placed him in my arms and the doctor said "great job, mom."

Mom was my new name. I have worn it proud all these years through the good times and bad. Through the smiles and the tears. Through the baptism, communion, and confirmation ceremonies. Through the preschool graduation, the elementary school graduation, and the induction ceremony into the National Junior Honor Society. Through his first little league home run and his many batting slumps where I would watch his shoulders hang as he would walk back to the dugout in total discouragement (on those days I would often feel worse than he did wanting to kiss his saddness away but knowing I could not). Through his many ear infections to his broken arm playing football. I have been there through it all.

And while my little boy is not perfect (what kid is?) he is still my little boy...the kid who still calls me "mommy"...the kid who waves to me when he comes up to bat and I am standing in the bleachers cheering him on...the kid who can take me from total frustration to total laughter in the blink of an eye. That's my boy.

August 20, 2007 will be another reminder that time flies and there is nothing I can do about it except to wear the mommy name with the same pride as I did on the day of his birth.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Hi-Ho Hi-Ho It's back to work I go.....

Tomorrow will be my first day back to work after a long two weeks off. Before I left for vacation I was holding down two jobs...my current job and a new job I have been promoted to. I often wonder why I am asked to perform both jobs...why can't I transition the new person at my old job? "They aren't ready to let him go yet?" But they are ready to let me go to my new job and stay behind at my old job. Doesn't seem quite fair. To that statement I hear my mother in my head saying "I never told you life was fair". Definitely life is not fair but can it just come somewhere close to the middle?

I will make a quick prediction on the amount of emails and phone messages I will have awaiting me when I return tomorrow. 500 is the magical number on emails and 20 is the number on phone messages. I will let you know how far from reality I am tomorrow.

A lot of people I work with don't enjoy their vacations because of the amount of work that has piled up for when they return but I am different. There is nothing like a vacation to help this working mom reconnect with her family and children. There is no price for the amount of hugs and kisses, snuggles and giggles, and joyous memories we have created on this vacation and from this day forward I pledge to do more of this.

I hope your vacations go well this summer.

LIfe is just a bowl of....earwax?

This morning Jack woke up crying his eyes out. Instinctively I thought something was wrong because this is not the easygoing "lay in my crib quietly until Mommy comes in to get me" kid that I know and love. Today was different. He was unhappy and irritated about something.

When I went into his room he put up his arms that only my 20 month old can do and said "Mommy!" As I picked him up I noticed him tugging at his ear. This is the right ear which is on the same side as his new black eye. As any mother will tell you, a tug on the ear equals ear infection. The irritability supports that.

So, there I was ....off to the pediatrician's weekend clinic. I can't think of anything more fun.

When we got there the doctor was great. He looked in his ear and proclaimed "I can't see a darn thing in there...too much earwax." Ugh. What does that mean? Surely he didn't mean that we were actually going to have to remove the pesky balls of unwanted wax? Didn't I have enough on my hands with a moody, black-eyed towhead with an earache? Now we have to compound that with the dreaded EAR WASH! (If you have never had an ear wash I certainly won't describe it to you but to tell you it is pretty gross). The ear wash was completed and the pebbles of wax fell out. Thank Goodness! And the doctor saw no sign of ear infection. He did say to watch it for the next 48 hours just in case he continues to do the ear tug.

And that was how I spent my Sunday morning. How did you spend your Sunday morning?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Summer Days and Summer Nights

I often hear Northerners describe the coming of Winter as very depressing...How Halloween usually marks the start of this depressing time where the air gets bitter cold, the leaves are done falling, and the grass starts turning brown. I could never relate to that having lived in Florida my whole life. Winter is the season we look forward to...a relief from those long, hot summer days.

For me, the approach of Summer is probably as depressing to me as Winter is to the Northerners in a very similar fashion. Days are longer which means that the heat lasts as long and the humidity does wonders to those natural curls that you work so hard on every day to straighten. The mark of the start of heat is usually Easter Sunday where we traditionally hunt for eggs in the yard on Sunday morning just as that hot sun is baking off in the distance and I turn to Greg and say "Winter is over!" and give him the high five because that means we now have to go back to mowing grass every week instead of every other week. Oh the joys of Summer.

Today was more of an exception to the rule. Greg had a grandious plan of taking the little ones to this really cute water park about 5 minutes from our house. I proclaimed how much fun that sounded and then retreated to my inner self that worries about skin cancer and the chlorine that harms my chemically treated highlights. Not to mention the fact that there would surely be long lines to get in and move around and I am finding that as I approach middle age, I am much less tolerant of long lines than I used to be.

Still we went and the little ones were excited. When I got to the water park I was surprisingly calm and easy going. I promised not to let the little stuff bother me. In all actuality I had a really good time and I didn't worry about the highlights or the over exposure to the sun. Too bad because within the hour the lightning showed up and the park closed. We got rainchecks so we can come back again! Yippee!

I am trying to change my views on the outdoors especially for this time of year. But it's hard to change after 41 years. ;)


So many people are ranting about getting married today on 7-7-07. This leads me to blog about my own wedding date which is 2-2-02. I got a lot of rolled eyes and "awes" from various friends and family when I told them that I was getting married on this date. It was purely accidental too.

We got engaged on August 19, 2001 and then started looking for a wedding date that would be suitable. We figured it would be on a Saturday. We started looking for places to have the ceremony and reception and found that we wanted an outdoor wedding.

This narrowed the window of good dates down considerably because of the awful heat that arrives in April and doesn't leave until November. It was also risky in March and April because of the potential for Spring showers. That left us with December, January and February. We didn't want to do December because of the Christmas holidays so close by so we decided on January or February. We found an old opera house that we fell in love with to have the ceremony and when we sat with the wedding coordinator for the house the only date open for us was February 2, 2002. We looked at that date and laughed. What a coincidence! Greg would surely never forget that one.

And that was how we chose the date or rather I feel like the date chose us without us realizing it. We never figured it would symbolize good luck because I don't really believe in those types of superstitions but it was something cute to talk about. I believe that the good luck happened on October 16, 1999 when I had my first conversation with Greg and realized that my life would be changed forever.

Friday, July 6, 2007

We All Scream for Ice Cream

My first ice cream cone.....

to go along with my first black eye.

In My Dreams....

I am president of my own company.
I work at home and stay at home with Jack and Kelly.
I bake lots of yummy treats.
I volunteer to help put a smile on the faces of those less fortunate.
I run a marathon and have my family cheering for me at the finish line.
I see Kevin and Ryan every day.
I play saxophone.
I see my house as a haven for my kids and their friends.
My scrapbooks are all up to date.
I get a pedicure once a week.
I get along with Kevin and Ryan's father.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Obnoxious Golfer

Greg used to play golf a lot growing up. Let's just say he is really really good at the game. But golf is one of those sports where no matter how good you are or how hard you practice you can play great one day and miserably the next.

Which takes me to the fact that he has not played in over two years. The last time he played a round was with his brother at the Reserve in S.C. His brother plays almost every weekend so I am pretty sure that Greg feels like the underdog going in.

This past vacation when all three brothers were together they decided to play a round on Sunday to which I asked them if they were sure they wanted to play with Greg. You see, Greg feels like the underdog but I know him very well and I know that even though he has not picked up a club in two years that somehow he will pull out some obnoxiously long, straight, perfect drives.

And that was what he did. He beat Mike by 8 shots and Dave barely beat him by a few. He also eagled hole 5.

His first drive was long and straight and almost 300 yards. I often wonder how good he would really be if he practiced every weekend....

Happy Belated Fourth....

Happy 4th to everyone.

I am here at home with my two babies for a rare few days post vacation. I decided to take a few more days off and spend some alone time with them. This should be interesting. (note: Kevin and Ryan are at their dad's house and I believe on their way to Cocoa Beach for some more R&R).

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007

When It Rains It Pours

Unfortunately today is our last day before we head back to Florida and it rained most of the day. Surprisingly it was pretty cold too...temps in the 60s. The boys managed to get in another day of "firsts".

Ryan skiied slalom. Kevin did a 360 degree turn on the knee board.

Tonight is family picture night and the last night for all of us to be together.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

C is for Cookie

...and that's good enough for me!

Ryan's favorite cookie recipe:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: PREPARE dough as above. Spread into greased 15"x10" jelly-roll pan. Bake in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.

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