Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reason for the long stretch between posts...

Or also titled "I've been knitting constantly since November!"

*Warning-this will be a picture heavy post!*

I knitted a lot of Christmas gifts this year. These were all knitted from stash so no immediate cash outlay. You might call it a stash busting Christmas. Yippee!

These are slippers for my grandma in her favorite color, purple. This is a pattern that she knitted for us for years. I found it on the internet, ironically called "Grandmother's Slippers". Go figure.

This is a camo cap for Parker. Generic hat pattern.

Brown wool hat for Pete, again generic hat pattern.

Feather and Fan scarf and generic hat pattern for Lilli.

Feather and Fan scarf and generic hat for Katelyn.

Green and Purple nubby scarf with fringe for my neice Sara.

Dishtowel for my sister.

Brown and cream garter stitch scarf and generic brown hat for my nephew Jordan.

Pink seed stitch scarf and hat and 5 baby doll hats for my neice Kendall.

Kendall and Jordan (neice and nephew) graciously modeling said handknits (and making their aunt ever so happy and proud!)

So now I'm past all my deadline and stealth knitting. What's on the needles now? A feather and fan scarf in raspberry Euroflax for me. Also starting 3 matching hat and scarf sets (mother and daughters) for a friend of my sisters in a pumpkin color. Always glad to have a project on the needles.

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time...

We are very blessed. These are my children holding their favorite presents. And this is before we went to Gramsy's house and does not include cash. (which is ALWAYS a favorite gift, especially to teens).

We spent Christmas Eve day together. We had Lasagna and Broccoli for dinner. Went to CCC's Christmas Eve service and then spent time afterward with friends at a bonfire out our house complete with s'mores. Despite the drizzle, a good time was had by all. Traditionally the kids open one present on Christmas Eve which is always pajamas. This year was no exception. Lilli woke us up promptly at 8 am (as promised, even though she says she woke up at 6:58). The gifts were attacked and enjoyed. A new tradition this year was for everyone to write a letter to each member of the family and place it in their stocking. I loved this and will likely continue this tradition. Then we had orange rolls, fruit salad and real thick cut bacon (we usually eat turkey bacon only). We relaxed and enjoyed gifts until we went to my sister's house. We ate, opened more gifts, ate some more, played guitar hero and ate some more. A great time was had by all.

I will conclude this post with quite possibly my favorite gift ever. A scrapbook made by Katelyn. Love this.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Subway Gift Card Giveaway

I'm a regular reader over at The "Centsable" Sawyer. Lots of great tips/ideas there.
Anyway, she's giving away a $15 Subway gift card. Go now and check it out!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Stamping

Okay, I slacked off on the blogging quite a bit last week, but I was busy!

Pete sent out about 60 business Thanksgiving cards and I'm pleased to say I made each one of them. I will confess however that I totally copied cards from Linda Heller's Stamping School. If you are not a member you should be! Great video tutorials added every week. Love it. So much easier than losing hours at a time at splitcoast. (nothing against splitcoast, it's just a time black hole for me)

Also I made up a batch of gift card holders for Lake Mary Jazzercise. The pattern/directions for these are also at Stamping School ( and they are easy peasy!

Next post will be a knitting update. Yes, I've been in a knitting frenzy and will need to keep it up to accomplish all my Christmas gift knitting.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A List...

I saw this list on someone else's blog and decided it would be fun to steal it for my blog! (Thanks Dawn!) You are supposed to bold the things you have done. Going along with my blessing theme, look at all these blessings! Wow!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band school

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland /world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Way too much fun!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Today's Blessing Count Remains High...

The freezer (although it's insulted with only bread and a few assorted odd ball things to keep cold) is still chugging away at 20 degrees.

Water Heater is still working hard, but hanging in there!

The surviving turkey (survived the freezer incident of 08) who was left alone in the dark all nite to defrost did not fit in my crockpot! Horrors. What? That doesn't sound like a blessing? Well my oven (that has been dead except for the stove top) suddenly decided to rise (in temperature) to the occasion! Said surviving turkey is enjoying warmer climates (shh.... don't speak of his fate!).

Lastly, yesterday ended so productively, that this morning there is clear white space on my desk top (signifying lack of paperwork, bills, etc). Sweet!

All these blessings and it is only 9am.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

Our sermon yesterday was about having an attitude of gratitude. I'll admit straight up that I'm not very good at that. It is a habit that I really need to develop.

So this weekend was looking like a complete and total disaster. I had a lot of work to do for the business, had a whooping sinus headache, our freezer alarm starts going off (with a freezer FULL of meat I just picked up from Angelfood ministries) and the water heater appears to be on the fritz. I'm thinking about our Pastor's words and really trying to adjust my grumbling attitude. At best I can say that I didn't complain out loud. I went to bed with a very heavy heart last night, but prayed myself to sleep. Do you think God minds when you fall asleep in the middle of a convo? I hope not.

I get up this morning and my sinuses are worse. The freezer alarm is going off and I have a desk full of bills to sort to even see the top of my desk. It could be worse I tell myself. I have a desk. I have a computer. Heck, I've got Facebook even. Pete takes Lilli to school for me. Blessing! He makes me cheese toast=yum! Blessing (so not So. Beach friendly, oh well)! I sort some more. I make a dent. I call the Sears repairman for the freezer. He can come today. Blessing! I make more headway on the paperwork. Blessing!

Then the repairman comes... (cue the music from Jaws). In my freezer (which was alarming at 20 degrees, everything is frozen, but not optimally) I have 3 eleven pound turkeys (2 really cheap from Aldi's, one free from Angelfood), steaks, 10 pounds of chicken breasts, ribs, pork chops, 2 roasts, and much more. I'm not counting the bread, veggies, popsicles, etc. So the repairman comes in, takes a look, mutters, looks in his computer, mutters some more and then proceeds to tell me stuff that sounds like the adults on Charlie Brown cartoons (wah wah wah wah wah). Basically the freezer is shot to heck. It's 7 years old (don't appliances live longer than 5 years anymore?) and will cost more to fix ($1000) than to buy a new freezer. All I can think about is, "What am I going to do with all this food?" We can't eat it all, can't afford to replace it. The food is okay at the moment, but the repairman is shocked that anything is frozen at all. The freezer could breathe its last any second. He's punching part numbers into the computer as fast as his fingers can type and then says, "hmmm.... You still have 4 months left on your service contract". "WHAT??? Huh??? So I don't have to pay the $70 service call fee?" "Um, no... you don't have to pay for the whole repair either, plus you get $250 towards food replacement cost" I think I swooned!


The repairman (who is now my favorite person in the whole world) tells me I'd better get the expensive stuff into the refrig freezer fast. I'm thinking about those 3 dang turkeys that take up way too much room. So I do what any deperate woman would do. I hand one to the repairman. He was tickled. Hadn't bought a Thanksgiving turkey yet and thought his 9 year old son would be excited to see what he was bringing home. Blessing! Our neighbors next door are in a situation much like us. The dad is self employed in the construction industry and work has been slow for him. The mom just got her hours cut back. Like us (like most of us) it's not the easiest of times. So I pack up a turkey and other random frozen stuff (about 4 bags full). They are excited. Blessing!

Katelyn and I get all the important stuff transferred to the little freezer. It fits too. Blessing!

I am a very rich woman indeed. Thank you God for the real and practical application of yesterday's sermon. I needed that.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What a Week...

I've been away from the blog for a bit. It was a crazy week. One of those weeks that was busy, but I can't really tell you with what. If you're a mom, you know exactly what I mean. Maybe those of you who aren't moms know what I mean, I just can't remember not being a mom.

I've managed to get 3 knitted scarves done and made a batch of cards for Pete's business. I'll post those when it's not dark so I can get a decent picture. This week should be a little slower and I'm looking forward to staying a home a little bit. Maybe I'll get something done. If I'm really lucky, I'll manage to see the top of my desk. Do miracles still happen? Not usually when it concerns my desk.

Saw a production of the Canterbury Tales at the kids school. It was very entertaining. Will post pics of that too. I just remembered my camera batteries are dead. I have spares somewhere... Probably on my desk.

Loving the cooler weather. It feels like fall. This is a novelty as it is often in the 80's or better on Thanksgiving in Florida. The Thanksgiving bonfire will be fun this year! I hate sweating while I'm roasting my marshmellows!

I'm off to try to find camera batteries!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I've seen it all possibly. This is a cross usb stick from One question... why?

We sang a praise song today in church that has left me pondering all day. It's called Knowing You by Graham Kendrick. Here's the verse that I just can't get out of my head today:

Now my heart's desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and known as Yours,
To Possess by faith what I could not earn,
All surpassing gift of righteousness

This is my prayer for the week. I want to be known as His. We get caught up in debates and differences in theology. But really, the bottom line is it's a giant leap of faith at it's very core. You believe by faith (and really faith alone) that you possess something that you could never, ever earn (an everlasting relationship with God). There it is. Simple really. Yet we all too often junk it up. I hate that.

It's not what we do, how we act, what we own (including a cross usb memory stick) or even a fish on our car. It's a leap of faith that many years ago, changed the world. And it should change me too.

After that leap, it's really not a hard journey. Although the day to day stuff can get rough and messy for us all-it's part of the human experience. It can really be summed up quite easily. Love God, love others.

It's what the sermon was today. In the book of John, Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me? Feed my sheep."

Because I've made that leap of faith, I do love Him. And now I walk out what it looks like daily to love others. Lord, help me to keep that focus this week.

Thank you Pastor Jeff for that reminder. I needed it.

(I usually try to stay away from religion on this blog, but this blog is me and this is who I am. I don't mind discussion, but will immediately shut down anything that gets nasty. Thanks!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sometimes I'm tossed about...

I'll fess up right now. Sometimes I waver in my faith. I get so caught up in unimportant details (well, they seem so important at the time). It's kind of like heading out into the ocean and picking up your feet. You become subject to the whims of the waves. Tossed to and fro. It's kind of scary being subject to such a powerful force.

But here's the thing. At any point (assuming you haven't wandered too far out)you can just put your feet down. Sure, you get pushed around a bit, but you are back in business heading the direction you want to go.

And so it goes with me spiritually. I wander a bit (but really never too far out). I analyze each and every wave and the potential it has to hurt me. So much so that I often miss the bigger picture, like a gorgeous sunset, perfect weather, beautiful shells and sea life. I need to put my spiritual feet down and stand in what I know. That even in the midst of uncertainly, He has always been faithful indeed. And when I stop looking at every little thing and look at the big picture from His perspective, it's all good. I am loved and safe and well.

This gorgeous picture was taken by my favorite 15 year old.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Oh yea, we live in FL

Every Floridian at some point in August, after preparing for a few hurricanes (or actually toughing one or two out), when the temperature is about 98 degrees with 250% humidity, we ask ourselves, "Why do we live here?"

Along about October or November when we see national news with forecasts of snow, we say, "Oh yea, this is why I live in Florida!". Truly this is my favorite time of year. The evenings and mornings are crisp (that means the 60s to us) and the days are sunny and in the 75-80 degree range. Surely this is the weather in Heaven.

Oma and Opa are in town and so we spent the day at their place with my sister, her husband and the cousins. We ate, we talked, we laughed. Some of us took a sunset walk on the beach.

We are more blessed than we deserve.

Sweet Saturday

It's been a long time since Lilli's BFF Patrick lived across the street. We still miss them. About a month ago a new family moved in right next door to us with a girl Lilli's age.

This is how they spent much of Saturday. From 10am until 6pm when I called her in, Lilli had the time of her life with sidewalk chalk, moonboots, basketball, jumprope, sidewalk chalk, popsicles and a picnic lunch.

These are the things childhood are made of.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Quick! Go here now!

Okay, I'm a first born and prone to fits of bossiness!

I have been a follower of the blog for quite some time now. I enjoy her blog more than words can say. She lives about as opposite a life from me, but yet manages to make me feel like us women folk have a kinship.

Anyway, there is a group of bloggers on a Compassion International trip in the Dominican Republic. The Pioneer Woman's husband (marlboro man) and 2 daughters are on this trip. The posts have moved me to tears more than once.

Please go read the reports and be encouraged by the difference that one ministry is making, one person at a time in a real and tangible way.

When you're done, click on over to and pray about what you can do.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

For your enjoyment...

I don't care who you like for prez, this is cute! I think she nailed it!

Kingdom Coming Download

Monday, November 03, 2008

Some thoughts on Election Eve

For me the election is over, meaning that a week ago I cast my ballot.

But on this evening before election day, I am feeling very uneasy. It's always the unknown that is the most unsettling.

If you have read even a small bit of my blog, you could probably correctly figure out how I voted. But that's not what I want to talk about.

These are interesting times we are living in. Right now. The future seems so uncertain. Optimism is low. The economy seems so bleak. There's a dark cloud hanging over this country. It's really easy to buy into the media's spin. They have an agenda. There is no unbiased media in this whole country. On either side. I think they work the people into a frenzy that wouldn't have happened in the days when there were no 24/7 news outlets.

I do believe we are in a time that our grandchildren will ask us about. The first black presidential candidate and a woman VP candidate. Historical. I feel like this nation is on the very edge of something. Depending on your politics we're on the edge of a great change or a very bad change.

We've had dark days and worry in this country before. What makes us great is that we eventually come around and get it at least mostly right. That's what I'm holding out for - the mostly right (not right wing/conservative right).

With all our problems and division, slanted media and dirty laundry this is still my country and a great one at that.

No matter the outcome tomorrow, God Bless America!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The End of an Era

The economy sucks. Yea, you heard me.

One of the casualties of this sucking economy is the taekwondo school my son has attended for 7 years. This place changed his life in a real and tangible way. It was necessary physical therapy for him. He worked hard and earned his black belt.

But it is no more. I guess people consider this type of thing a luxury when they are tightening their belts. I understand that really.

It still hurts me. Makes me sad. Makes me mad.

We are thankful for your time, love, patience and skills, SSMA.

We will miss you.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This is NOT a Flashback...

It's a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. No, really. It is. Yup, they used the original language but it was set in Atica, NY in the 80's. I really wanted to not like it. I didn't like the idea of tampering with a classic. But when your eldest child is performing in it, you go and try to keep an open mind.

Truth be told, I really liked it! And not just because my kid was in it. It was fun. It's a comedy anyway so why not shake things up a bit. Mine is the one with the big hair in the purple. What? Oh yea, they all have big hair don't they? Didn't we all have big hair in the 80's...

So thankful that as a homeschooler she has really great opportunities to do fun things and work with such giving and talented adults.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Grand Success!

I've been away. Really away. So. Cal. to be exact. I had a great time at my High School reunion. I reconnected with a lot of roots. Where I hung out and lived as a teenager (hmmm... fun to look at it from the other side), and with some family that I haven't seen in years. Really. Over 20 years.

Anyway, I love my new Flip video camera and I've been playing with Windows Movie Maker. It's fun and pretty easy to figure out.

So here's a long (the full version is 45 minutes) snippet of my weekend. Hope you enjoy!

DHS only DHS only

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One Week From Today...

I'll be leaving on a jet plane. I DO know when I'll be back again.

I'm going to my high school reunion. Desert High School class of 1980. There I said it out loud for the mighty Internet to hear. Home of the fighting Scorpions.

Issues...? I have a few. I have a recurring nightmare that nothing/no one will ring a bell. Nothing but crickets chirping in my brain. That I will remember absolutely nothing. If that's the case, it's going to be a very long weekend. Then there are the usual chick issues (which, btw, my husband has dealt with very well). You know, things like, "Will I have a bad hair day/week?", "Am I wearing the right outfit?", "Can I really stand to wear these shoes all day?", "How am I going to fit in a mani/pedi before we go?". Shallow, huh?

Then there's the whole take care of everything before I leave thing. Things like write a book explaining to my mom where the kids have to be and what they need to do every minute of the time I'll be gone. Medical power of attorney, insurance cards, maps to birthday parties and other kid events. Then there's packing for 5 people and the dog (he's going to a friend's house). Jeez, I'm getting tense all over again.

Could any trip possibly be worth all this? I'm not setting the bar (of expectations) too high. It is what it is. If the reunion is a bomb (for me anyway)we aren't far from Los Angeles at all. I'll be alone with my husband for 5 days straight (2 of those days will be in an airport!). I'm going to see some family I haven't seen in oh... about 25 years. Those are all great things that make this trip very worthwhile.

Maybe I'll re-read this post next Tuesday or Wednesday when I'm having a screaming hissy in my attempt to get everything taken care of.....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Amazing Amazon Kindle

So maybe this blog is becoming one big advertisement. If so, I'm a terrible business person-no compensation for me!

If you haven't heard of the Amazon Kindle ebook, go straight to and watch the video! If you are a reader, prepare to be in serious want.

Oh precious Kindle, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

1. Space. You can store 200 books on this thing and that doesn't even count adding in an SD card.

2. Newspapers and Magazines. For a monthly fee, you can subscribe to many newspapers (our Orlando Slantinel, oops, excuse me) is available for only $5.99/month. Much less than the home delivery price. I haven't subscribed as of yet, see above comment. I have subscribed to Readers Digest. That makes me sound old, huh? My Grandma got me hooked on those!

3. Samples. Any book you are interested in, you can download a sample (usually a couple of chapters) for free.

4. Speaking of free, how about free internet? This baby uses Sprint wireless to get you to your email, blogs, etc. Now it's only black and white and you need to use the mobile version of your email, but did you hear me say free????

5. Makes my waiting time oh so much more bearable. Let me say simply this about that. Study hall monitor. Four periods. Enough said?

Downsides? I really haven't found any yet. Maybe the price. Maybe I'm spending more on books (the most expensive book I've purchased was NY Times best seller Audition by Barbara Walters and it was only $9.99). There is plenty of free content out there. I recently uploaded about 25 classics (based on a Harvard reading list) all for free. Sweet.

Bottom line? File this under better than an Iphone. Really.

(btw, the cover doesn't come that way, I decorated it myself! Yup, I'm crafty that way...)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wacky Wednesday


So maybe it is because I was a theater kid. I don't know. I still have this side of me that's wacky, funky and a little too young for my age.

I had to order Katelyn some fingerless gloves for a play she's doing. In case you're wondering, it's an 80's style Midsummer Night's Dream. (Yup, can't wait to see that one.) Anyway, I saw these while I was ordering and they jumped in my cart. Since I'm being youngish anyway, I heart them! <3 <3 <3 (For you ancients, those are not less than symbols and 3's, those are hearts!)

I think the closer my high school reunion gets, the more I'm regressing. I'm totally feeling some valley girl coming on. If you don't know what that is, your mom is probably calling you to dinner right now...
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why is wrong thinking so hard to get rid of???

I'm gonna make some wild confessions here.

Two years ago, I started a wild and wonderful journey. I started a healthful diet and exercise program. I lost a crazy 100 pounds (and still had just a few to go). I was training for a triathalon. Okay so it was less than a sprint tri, but a tri just the same! For the first month, I can honestly say I hated every minute of it. Really. Cussing under my breath every single second. I played mind tricks to push myself. "If you still think you're dying in 10 minutes, you can quit" (the first 15 minutes of any exercise always kills me) Then after a full month of exercise 5 days a week, I had a breakthrough. Something switched in my brain. I loved it. I found my inner jock. I never had an inner jock. I was in the band and drama in high school. In fact I can't remember taking a PE class. I must have... My tri goal seemed like it would happen. I wasn't going to place, or break any records, but I was going to finish and not dead last!

Then Pete's mom got sick. The whole world fell off its axis while we scrambled. The Y was not even an option. We were in survival mode and eating out of hospital vending machines. Does anyone else see the irony in the crappy, nutritionally devoid food they serve in a hospital? The fall off the wagon was long and painful.

It's been 5 months since my mother-in-law's death. We sure miss her.

Am I exercising again? Yes and no. The mental battle is worse than before. On what planet is that fair?

This morning started out poorly. Heading for a craptastic day early on. Last night I had packed my bag for the Y. I had planned to go to a water boot camp class that I really enjoy. Good thing I packed that bag, because I never would have gotten it together this morning. But the battle raged on. I felt horrible. Headache, nausea, I took a new vitamin/herbal supplement and felt jittery. Excuses? I've got a gazillion of 'em. Even though I know how good the exercise makes me feel when it's done, the battle still rages.
So I played the head game again. "Head toward the Y." "If you feel worse at the next light, you can head home." All the way there. Made it to the parking lot. "You have your bathing suit on, all you have to do is go relax in the pool, no pressure." The water was lovely. Perfect in fact. There's an open lane. "Maybe I'll just swim a couple of laps before class starts." I got in 20 laps and the boot camp class and it felt even better than I remembered.

I will fight another day (tomorrow is spinning class which I love dispite the spandex shorts).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday, Day of Rest?

I suppose it's a matter of what you call rest. In my opinion, a day of rest is any day that I don't have the whole day scheduled to the minute.

The only thing on the agenda today was worship. Mind you, that's not a duty to be crossed off the list for me. It's a time of refreshing, a time to check in with friends that are busy during the week like me. A time to bring home a thought, idea, or spiritual lesson to be pondered, prayed over and applied to my daily life.

Now that worship is done, what will the day hold? If all goes well, my husband and I will have a productive date. We will head off to 2 grocery stores (one because it has cheap Kashi and South Beach products and one because they have great produce). After we drop off the groceries (it's good to have big kids who unload and put away!), we'll head off to my favorite (for the moment) chain restaurant - Qdoba to finish off our time together, before we both tackle the busy week to come.

I think it's so easy for couples during this stage of life (you know, the stage with kids) to be too busy to connect as much as we need to. Much like the refreshing time I get from corporate worship, I need that focused time with my husband as well. It starts my week out on the right foot, each of us knowing what the week holds for each other as we are pushed in different directions.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Is Our Health Care System Broken?

I swear I'm not going to get political on this one. Upfront I'll say that having been employed in the health care field, I am adamantly opposed to socialized medicine. I do NOT want the government making my health care decisions. I will say that I believe that is where we are rapidly heading, because people are so desperate and frustrated with the current system.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox now...

As I've mentioned before, we've spent our summer learning new and exciting medical terminology. Terms that even as a medical professional, I was not familiar with. We went in for a follow up with the neurologist today. More obscure terms and the realization that genetics are very complicated! Bottom line is that we need to see a hematologist and a geneticist. The specialists that we were referred to specifically, are so specialized that they really don't want to see your average Joe. In fact upon hearing Katelyn's initial diagnosis, their reaction was that 10 percent of the population has that and without clinical findings, it's really not that interesting. Fortunately, I understood enough to say, "ooh but we have clinical findings!" After hearing more, and with the promise of the faxed records to back my story up, they will consider hearing our case and offer an opinion.

Oh boy...

Then it was the phone call to our pediatrician to deal with all the insurance paperwork that it's going to take to be allowed to see these specialists- assuming they grant us an appointment. So even though the neurologist feels the other doctors are important, everything must be cleared by the pediatrician.

How many phone calls does it take to get an appointment? The world (mostly me) may never know... I spent 2 hours on the phone this afternoon and still don't have a single appointment. I did get a really great genetics lesson from a sweet and wonderful soul (a genetics counselor) at Dr. Wheeler's office. She said that most likely this is all much ado about nothing. Really that's what I needed to hear. It will make the waiting much more tolerable. Because waiting is as far as I can get right now.

Remember that nice bullet pointed list yesterday? Yea, the stuff I was hoping to get done... Not even close. Took care of the 2 medical appointments. That's it. Two productive days in a row? Nope, not here, not now.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Once in awhile it happens...

but just once in awhile.

I'm talking about having a day where I feel like I've actually accomplished something. Maybe even a couple of somethings. Most days feel like I've just spun my wheels all day.

There are lots of odds and ends to wrap up before Pete and I head off to the California desert in less than a month. When you are a mom, you don't get ready to leave by just packing your bag. I've got my stuff to contend with, plus the stuff of 4 others. In my younger, pre-family days, I could often put things off until the last possible nanosecond. Those days are long gone.

What did I take care of today?

-shopping for a special occasion dress for a 15 year old

-costume requirement for the above mentioned 15 year old

-marketing strategies mapped out for my husband's business

-making a table in MS Word with the help of a friend. Yay Linda!

-PSAT and PLAN tests scheduled and paid for again for the 15 year old

-MS Word reinstalled on my laptop (after massive hard drive failure)

What's left to get done tomorrow?

-bills, ick

-attack the disaster that I call my desk

-execute the maketing strategies

-rental car reservations for California

-hotel reservations for California

-homeschool reports for child #3

All this needs to get done in between finding time to exercise (oh spin class how I long to attend tomorrow), 2 children's doctor appointments, and assorted school instruction/direction.

When I type it all out, I begin to understand why on earth I can't manage to keep my eyes open past 10 p.m.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Latest Vera Aquisition

I haven't really talked about my love/obsession with all things Vera Bradley on this blog. So I'll just jump in.

My latest additions to my collection are the Chain Link Handbag in Espresso and the Tote in Puccini. I can't say how much I love both of these. I am also getting a lot of use out of my Caffe Latte Messenger and Out to Lunch bag. I carry them with me to school every Wednesday (packed with stuff to keep me occupied while I'm monitoring Study Hall).

Carrying the Chain Link bag helps me feel a little less like frumpy old mom and gives me just a little sass and style. This forty-something will take everybit of that I can get, thank you very much.

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's that time of year...

Time for class reunions. I'm working on booking tickets to mine. Where did I go to high school, you ask?

Desert High School, home of the fighting Scorpions!

No, that's not a joke. It's an actual high school located in the Mojave Desert. More specifically Edwards Air Force Base. You know, where the space shuttle lands when the Florida thing doesn't work out so well.

I haven't been back to the desert in a really, really long time. Think longer than 20 years (that's as much as I'm giving up). It was a great place to be a teenager. My memories are all good. I'm looking forward to sharing some roots with my husband.

The ticket booking is stressing me out. Do I fly into Palmdale (it's been a long time since I've tackled LA traffic-yikes!)? Burbank? Las Vegas? Really, it's all the same price and either way you slice it, it's a long dang trip from Florida. I have decided where we will stay. Whoopie, 1 whole decision made. Of course there is the real burning question all us women must face... What will I wear????

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Election Ups and Downs

I'd like to promise you that this will be my last political post... but it probably won't be.

I got so mad the other day watching the convention reporting on Fox. Now I know all you good liberals out there are screaming at your computer right now... "why were you watching Fox????". Oh come on now. They are all slanted. I am more convinced than ever that there is absolutely no unbiased media to be found in this entire country. In fact here's what would happen in Shelly's perfect world: There would be several news channels. One called RPC (Republican Party Channel), DPC (you get it, right? Democratic Party Channel), the Independents and the Libertarians would probably come up with more entertaining names. Then I want them to play the news without inviting dissenting parties to argue with. That way I know exactly what I'm getting and I don't have to watch the talking heads have a stroke while arguing with "the enemy". I'll watch them all with their slants, and decide on my own which way I want to swing.

Never gonna happen, is it?

Anyway, back to Fox. I was watching Tuesday morning because to be honest, I wanted to hear the latest drama going on with Mrs. Palin. Megyn Kelly, co-anchor of America's Newsroom, was interviewing Liz Trotta, Professor of Media at New School University (I have never heard of this place, have you?). Let me just try to embed this clip...|gender%20bias

(stupid blogger. Couldn't embed it, but there's the link)

Did you see it? Megan Kelly (as a supposedly unbiased member of the media) lost her crap. She was way too busy being offended.

Why can't we all just quit the politically correct stuff and be honest here. I think it's an unfortunate, but honest question to raise. How does one mother 5 children and do one of the most demanding jobs in our great nation??? I know dang well that no one poses that question of a man. Let's get real again. What father do you know leaves for work and says to his wife, "hmmm... what are we doing with Janie Sue today? Should I pack her lunch and pick out an outfit for her?" None, nada, zip, huh. It's really just not the way things work in our culture. Granted there are exceptions. Something about pregnancy and childbirth just makes the mom more prone to taking care of the kid business. Who usually picks the daycare, school, etc., etc.? Right or wrong, it falls on the mom. To call it otherwise is to be seriously out of touch, not sexist, Ms. Kelly. Why is it a crime to say, "How are you going to handle it all?". I'd love to hear her answer. I'm betting she has one and wouldn't back away from that question.

In the name of tolerance and being politically correct, we're just lying and covering up what we really think. I thought what made this country great was that we can all have our own unique opinions. Just because we may disagree doesn't mean we must be offended! I can disagree with you without being offended by you. When did we become so thin skinned? Seriously.

I listened to Gov. Palin's address last night. She's spunky and tough and yet still very much a woman. I don't feel that way about Mrs. Clinton. She's just tough in my book. I don't connect with her as a woman. If I believe that a woman can do that job (whoo boy, I just treaded into dangerous waters), I believe Gov. Palin can. Can she handle the media? I think she's shown us she can.

And everyone getting upset about this whole Tina Fey thing. Oh for crying out loud. The first thing I said when I saw the picture of Gov. Palin was "Tina Fey has got a great gig for at least 4 years if McCain/Palin wins this thing!". That's nothing to take offense at either. It's just show biz people! Comedians have made fun of politicians for decades in this country. We aren't above poking at our own.

Lighten up folks! And as Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that.".

Monday, September 01, 2008

What do you call a woman who is the opposite of a feminist????

Is she a chauvinist? Go ahead and call me one. Maybe you should just call me a hypocrite right up front too.

I'm just sorting out my thoughts about this whole Gov. Palin thing. Am I shocked about a 17 year old girl being pregnant? Aw heck no. It can happen in absolutely any family, mine included. It's a mistake, plain and simple. One that numerous teens have made.

Here's what I find troubling about the whole situation. That 17 year old child is going to get ripped to shreds, chewed up, and spit out only to be raked over the coals. And that's just what the conservatives will do to her. I feel that the conservatives (of which I claim to be one) tend to eat their own young (which I do not condone). The liberals are dancing in the streets. Come on now, this is the stuff of Obama's dreams. He even came off quite gallant when telling the press that this was off limits. He looked like the cat who ate the canary. When Governor Palin put herself out there to be governor and then a vice presidential candidate, she offered up her whole family. Particularly a member she had to know was "gonna get it". Did she tell McCain? What was he thinking? Is he belting back some good stiff drinks today? Hmm... I've got a lot of questions.

Here's where my struggle with feminism comes in. We aren't exactly the same as men. We can be equally important, but very different. We can get pregnant. Men can't (I'm not counting the fake ones on the Internet or the one People magazine tried to pass off as a man-no man has a uterus thank you very much). Does this mean we are not "equal" to or have the same rights as men? Nope. But it does make our life very complicated. When we elect a woman to one of the highest offices in our country, we get a few complications. Men more easily distance themselves from their families. I'm not saying it's right, it's just how it is. It's not politically correct for me to bring this up, but it's my blog and a free country, so I can say what I think. Women come with children, PMS, post pregnancy bodies, hormone surges, and "mama guilt" (you know all that stuff we somehow think is our fault). I haven't noticed my husband having all those same issues in the 16 years we've been married. Maybe I'm an unobservant dolt.

My wonderful mother-in law (good liberal that she was - who passed away in April, before Obama had firmed up the nomination) told me that if Ms. Clinton got the nomination, McCain was definitely going to be our next president. She was 89 and lived through all the civil rights struggles and believed our country would much sooner elect a black man before a woman. At the time, I found it interesting she couldn't imagine that a woman had a shot at it. I'd chew off my right arm now to hear what she'd have to say about all this.

Maybe Bristol Palin is a very, very, very strong young woman. Her mom's gotta be some kind of tough too. I know it makes me a horrible feminist, but I could never put my daughter in that position. I'd give up my career advancement before I'd knowingly send my daughter to the wolves.

I'm not a career woman. Really all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mom. I haven't held a "real" job in 16 years. Maybe I'm completely and totally out of touch with working women. Because of my lifestyle and homeschooling, I'm surrounded by SAHMs. My sister works. My mom was a working single mom. But I just can't imagine subjecting my family to the scrutiny. No job would ever be that important to me. Especially when our family was going through some rough waters. I would have told Mr. McCain, "I'm sorry, now is not my time, I'm going to have to pass." Of course that kind of attitude would have never gotten me to be a governor, now would it?

See I'm conflicted. Truthfully, I long for those days when we swept all this stuff under the rug. It was your private business and we all kept our noses out of it. It was a kinder, gentler nation then, wasn't it?'s complicated.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm Gonna Get this Off My Chest in a Public Forum Just Because I Can...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

A day when the emotions ran the complete gamut. From extreme pride (a significant rite of passage in our society, obtaining your learner's permit) to extreme fear (a doctor fearing your child has a brain tumor). It's a day just like our wedding day, the birth of 4 children, the Christmas we almost lost Parker, that will be burned into my mind forever.

This child is a stellar student (and she'll have to be to accomplish all that God has called her to). A visual problem never hit my radar. Ever. She taught herself to read at 3 years old. No credit to me. She just did it. She reads like a fiend. I did the usual homeschool thing and took her to the eye doctor in Kindergarten. Fine, no problems.

But after her struggle with the eye test at the DMV, I was shocked. When our eye doctor suspected a brain tumor, called our pediatrician and sent us directly to the ER, well there just aren't words for those feelings. They sent us home with no answers, but they did know that Katelyn had almost no peripheral vision on her right side. We had a big medical term: Hemonymous Hemiopsia, but no rhyme or reason or idea of what it all really meant. My medical background did not serve me well here. It was one of those times ignorance would have been bliss. I went over and over what I could have missed and wondered if they were missing a brain tumor. What if, what if, what if ad nauseum...

After a gazillion phone calls to get appointments with just the right doctor. We got the news. A stroke, probably in utero or shortly after birth. In hind sight, I feel bad for the doctor who gave us the news. The word stroke is never a word you expect to hear in a sentance talking about your child. We must have looked like he slapped us with a 2x4. I really couldn't come up with an intelligent question (boy that was new for me, I've always got questions for doctors). We left the office and headed across the street to a pizza joint. It was all I could do to keep my crap together (and I didn't do it all that well). Somehow, this had to be my fault. Did I take a tylenol when I shouldn't have? Was her beautiful, planned homebirth a big fat mistake? I never ate food as heavy as that day in the pizza joint.

I'm forever grateful for our church family and our wonderful pastor.
He put it in perspective for me. Katelyn is not and never will be "ours". God has a plan for her life and though we are her earthly custodians for a very short time, we are on a need to know basis with God. And He proved Himself faithful to us once again. When she was in danger (for her, driving a car would be a huge danger!) He made sure we had the necessary info at the perfect time. He has a plan for her and cares for her in a way our earthly and human hearts can't even really comprehend.

Here's the thing that kills me most. This kid worked hard to pass that test. She wanted so badly to drive just like any other kid her age. Did her whole life fall apart? Nope. I saw her shed a few tears, but you want to know why? Because she wanted to lift the burden of some of my chauffeuring duties and was disappointed she wouldn't be able to. Maybe she grieves in private. She's always been kind of private with her feelings. Maybe we'll grieve all over again when ALL her friends and her younger brother have their licenses. I don't know.

I do know that she's one of the coolest/best kids I know. I was proud for her to take the city bus all by herself and be able to have a modicum of independence. I'm thankful for the grace under fire that God has given her. Will this be a stumbling block to her dreams/goals/plans for the future? No. I've got way too much faith in this child to believe that for a second. If you know her, you know just how cool of a kid she is.

By the way, we went back to that dreaded pizza joint, just her and I and ate a delicious meal after everything had settled down a bit. It felt good to me to do that.

Weekly Crafting Update

I thought I'd post each week about what projects I've completed for the week. I've often got several things brewing at a time, but I'll just post what I've finished.
The first picture is a washcloth/dishcloth and hand/dish towel gift set. I completed these in my all day study hall monitor session. It's a pretty retro avocado green that is much prettier IRL without my poor photography skills. The pattern can be found for free at
I love her website and she has several beautiful, free patterns.
The cards were all completed at classes or meetings held by the best Stampin' Up! demonstrator I know and a kind and wonderful friend, Linda Heller. If you're looking to getting into card making, let me know and I'll give you her info. Out of ten thousands of demonstrators for Stampin' Up! I'm proud to say she's number 55 (I think). Super talented too.
That was a bit of a commercial, wasn't it. I didn't intend that, I just got excited. Hope you have a project going that gives you pleasure.

Bigfoot Sighting

Thursday afternoons are free at the Orlando Museum of Art. For the youngest patrons they offer Creative Stations and this week's project was a collage of the work of William Joyce, most famous for his drawing of Rollie Poly Ollie, George Shrinks and Dinosaur Bob. You'd have to be watching a bit of Disney channel and have a 4-10 year old to really have a clue. There were other fine things to see like an African exhibit of native costumes and bead work and some fabulous sculpture. I couldn't get a picture of my favorite glass sculpture because a docent was standing right by it and fussed when I brought out my camera. Why is photography forbidden??? Oh well, I took this one before I got caught. It was a fun Thursday afternoon diversion. I think those 3 children standing there were truly the greatest works of art in the whole place. (naw, I'm not a proud mama)

Friday, August 29, 2008

History in the Making

It has been an exciting 24 hours historically speaking. First Barak Obama accepts the Democratic nomination and becomes our first African American presidential candidate. Then McCain follows up with Sarah Palin (governor of Alaska) as a running mate. No matter who wins the election, we get historical significance!

I confess I did not watch the convention all week. I did watch last night. I wanted to hear Obama's speech. I felt the historical significance. It must have been an amazing moment as a human being for Obama to step out onto that platform last night. The whole scene felt very scripted and directed to me. I thought the bio beforehand was a beautiful piece of cinematography. I have never seen pictures of his mom and she was very beautiful.

I got a chuckle when he talked about the disadvantage of his name. I think my very favorite moment was when at the beginning he acknowledged his wife and the camera catches his youngest daughter excitedly poking her mom as if to say "Mom, Mom, he's talking about you!!!!!".

My opinions about last night are mostly apolitical and mostly mom thoughts. Although I don't agree with him on numerous points, I do agree with him that politics in America is broken. I want change, but I don't think Obama can deliver. Can McCain? I don't know...

I'll be reading up more on Governor Palin. I want to like her and the snippets that the talking heads are buzzing about make her out to be just what McCain needs. Can we just have her instead?

On the other hand a mom like me says, "how in the heck do you lead our country with a 4 month old baby???" That's sexist of me isn't it? I've never claimed to be a feminist. Ask my daughters. I've always told them that you CANNOT have it all. Something will suffer. No judgement on the Governor. Maybe she's just a better woman that I am. I'll say she's tougher, just based on the fact that I could never, no way, no how live in Alaska. I'd love to visit, but my Florida blood could never survive the winters.

The next couple of months I'll be watching and listening. Trying to tune out the yammering of the pundits, analysts, talk show hosts and every talking head that wants to chime in with their own 2 cents. I'll be forming my own opinions and not spouting off what is fed to me. And after swearing that I'd never be able to cast a vote for either party (for the first election since I've of been of legal voting age) I'll do my research and cast my vote.

That my friends is what makes these United States great.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This is my face on drugs....

What kind of doofus posts a picture this horrible/unflattering? Someone who's doped up on Novocaine from the dentist of course! Did I mention how much I despise going to the dentist? I have the world's sweetest dentist. A result of his sweetness and desire to never hurt a fly, he numbed the heck out of me for what turned out to be a fairly minor procedure. So here I sit, biting my cheek, drooling and looking like the victim of a stroke. Sheesh! Lilli keeps looking at me funny. I hope its gone before I have to get the big kids. You know teens... how dare I show up looking like that!

Interesting note... a local pastor Joel Hunter (from Northland, A Church Distributed and also where my whole brood attended preschool) was tapped for the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. That's interesting enough in itself, local boy makes the big time and all. What I find more interesting is that he is very pro-life and his congregation (large) is what I would condsider very conservative. He has stated he is not making an endorsement. He's taking a lot of heat from the local press. I say why not? (not for the media heat, but for the prayer opportunity) Another interesting note about Joel Hunter. The man is an absolute genious when it comes to remembering names. Long ago I taught Bible at the church for the preschoolers. I used a classroom next door to his office. I introduced myself once, and he always called me by name after that. I think that is such a gift! One I don't have myself.

Enough politics for today.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away...

This has been the view out of my front window for at least the past 3 days. I'm over it. Completely and totally. Did I mention that I'm over it? Fay is not my friend. She can pack her bags and get the heck out of my state. At this point I don't even mind if she goes and plays with someone else as long as she leaves me alone.

On the plus side, unlike the terrible trio (that would be Hurricanes Charlie, Francis and Jeanne) of 2004, we have suffered no damage (if you exclude psychological). Also, it makes for wonderful knitting, sleeping and tv watching (mostly Olympics). My husband has been home and getting me coffee and such (yes points for him). So all is not lost I suppose. Many places are without power in our area but our air is running great and we've not really even had an interruption in the satellite tv signal. Really for the joy that is living in Florida, it's not too bad of a price to pay. I'll be strongly reminded of that come January and February when I'm seeing national news coverage of various blizzards while we spend weekends at the beach or using our Universal passes in shorts and short sleeved t-shirts.

Rant over. I've counted my blessings and come out quite a bit ahead.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Long time no blog...

Lame, I know. Do I have an excuse? Not really. Life moves at an extremely fast pace. So, I'm starting over and I'm going to do my best to document life in my little part of this big world.

Summer is over! The kids and I have discussed how we feel that we kind of missed summer this year. We lost Pete's mom in April. We hadn't even begun to recover from that when we learned that Katelyn had a stroke (probably in utero) and has no peripheral vision and will never drive a car. All of April and most of May was spent either in the hospital or at doctor's appointments. I think we spent most of June in a vegetative state of shock and recovery. Which brought us to July and the big kids went off to church camp. It was Parker's first year and I'll confess I was more than a little nervous for/about him. He seemed to enjoy it and despite a flat tire on the way home, everyone made it home safe and sound and a good time was had by all.

So here it is August. We are 2 weeks into school. It feels really great to be back into the routine of it all. I completely fell off the diet and exercise bandwagon during all the hoorah and it's time to get cracking again. I've gained about 20 pounds back. I really hate having to re-loose it, but I've got to tell you, it's darn near impossible to eat in a healthy manner from hospital vending machines or cafeterias. Seriously, I've never seen greasier or more sugar and fat laden food as I saw in the hospital cafeteria. Who needs to be slapped?

We had a really great family picture session at the beach recently. The photos are on a cd somewhere on this pile of stuff on my desk. I will find it and post some soon. I really love the pictures. We plan to pick one to enlarge and hang in Pete's demo room at the shop. Guess I need to get on that!

I have a knitting blog and a stamping blog, but for now I think I will just post everything here. Maybe I'll have better luck keeping up with just 1 blog instead of 3.

As I post this we are being hammered by Tropical Storm Fay. Man, she's a tough one for a tropical storm. By the time it is over they are forcasting that we will have had 15 inches of rain in our town. At the rate it's going, I'm thinking that's a conservative guess. Makes great sleeping and coffee drinking weather for sure.

I found the picture cd. For some reason that only blogger knows, they are posted at the top.