Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy (Almost) New Year!

With New Years Eve tomorrow night, I've been thinking a lot about my Mom.  New Years Eve is her birthday and we always spent it with her.  As a teenager, I was a little annoyed that I was never able to go to the cool parties with everyone (well, except for once... I had fun... too much fun because I got grounded afterwards).  As an adult, there was no where else I would rather be and I wish I could go back to the days when I was a kid.

Tradition is an important thing in our family.  Now that my Mom is gone we are still trying to find our new groove for the holidays but as a kid we knew where we would be.  As a little kid, we would all go over to my Grandmother's house (my Mom's mom) and have a huge party for New Years.  At midnight we would all be ready with pots and pans.  As the ball dropped, we would run up and down the street making an insane amount of noise and shouting "Happy New Year!"  As kids, we knew we were only allowed to a certain drive way before we had to turn around.

Things were simple.  We just knew where we were supposed to be and what we were supposed to do.  After my Grandmother passed away we continued the tradition of banging pots and pans but slowly the tradition faded.  The parties got smaller as cousins married and started their own traditions.  Even my sibling and I have branched out to do different things.

As is tradition with everyone holiday, I will be spending it with family which is the one thing that remains constant.  The people might be different from year to year, but being surrounded by loved ones stays the same.  Those who can get together do and those who can't are missed.  I know that as the night goes on, I'll be thinking of my Mom and remembering all the childhood memories with a smile.

And who knows... if Abby actually makes it to midnight I may let her bang on some pots and pans to show her how to ring in the New Year right!

I wish all of you a Happy New Year!  Filled with health, wealth, and happiness!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Hiatus is Over!

Wow... this has been one long hiatus!  Not just from blogging but being on the internet in general.  Aside from a couple quick times I snuck in here and there.  I have to admit, as much as I missed blogging, I have had a great hiatus filled with family and fun.

Abby's first Christmas present from Nonno... a few days early!

My brother, Joe, and sisters, Resa and Katey, relaxing on our new couch!

Abby helped herself to a candy cane while we were baking cookies.

Her first look at what Santa left behind!

She loves her enormous tunnel/ball pit!  Thank goodness we have a large basement!

Today is actually the first day that Abby and I will be in our new home by ourselves.  All of the family is gone and Dan is back to work.  It feels....... quiet.  It's been a long few weeks so I know it's time to get back to normal.  Well, for a few days until we start out on our New Years adventure!

I hope all you had a great holiday!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TV or No TV?

This post is days in the making.  Every time I try to sit down and write, something or someone gets in my way.  We have been so busy unpacking, decorating for Christmas, and my Dad and brother arrived on Monday to stay the week to help get some things done and celebrate Christmas.  To say it's been busy is an understatement.

But, that's not the real reason I haven't been online.  No matter how busy I am, I can usually squeeze in moments here and there.  The real reason is that apparently the cable company doesn't supply their customers with a wireless router unless they get a special request.  So, I have to connect with an ethernet cable which is in the family room in the basement.  The ethernet cable is short so I literally am using the subwoofer for the TV as my desk.

Did I also mention that this is where the main TV is?  The only other TV we have right now is in my bedroom, which I rarely go into during the day.

So, basically I have hardly been online and hardly watched TV since Thursday and ya know... I have to say that it's been kind of nice.  It's nice to listen to music and see Abby run around and play without being distracted by one of her shows.  It feels like we've gone back to basics and it's refreshing.

On the other hand, the internet is something I miss.  I miss drinking my coffee and checking my email.  I miss not being able to move my computer to whatever room I'm in.  So, on the list today is a wireless router.  It's a necessity.

Another TV, however, is on the bottom of the list.  We have a living room upstairs so there is definitely room for it but I'm not too anxious to put one in there.  Dan thinks I'm crazy and is planning on getting one after Christmas.  My brother agrees with Dan and said that it's not the 1950's anymore.  He thinks it's strange to have a living room without a TV.

So, what do you guys think?  How many TVs do you have and are they on all day like in my house?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We're on the Move!

Sorry I've been MIA lately.  I have a good excuse.  Really, I do!

We closed on our new home this past Friday!  Since then, I have been busy getting it ready so we can move.  We won't officially be in our new place until this coming Friday but it feels good to be there getting everything ready.

I've been cleaning, unpacking boxes, and most of all.... I've been shopping!  All the little stuff (and big stuff) adds up so fast.  Between the new house and Christmas, I've never spent so much money and it feels SO GOOD!

Abby is starting to get used to her new home too.  Some days she handles being there really well, some days are not so smooth.  I think it's hard for her because there's no furniture yet so it doesn't feel quite like home.  But, she's finding ways to keep herself entertained.

Things should start settling down after Christmas and hopefully I'll be able to post some updates here and keep up with all of you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dealing With You is Excruciating: Writer's Workshop

I'm linking up for this weeks writing challenge over at Mama Kat's.  Here's a letter to just about any company I ever give my money to....

Dear (insert company here),

Although your company policy states that your goal is to provide 'exceptional customer service' I think you forgot what exceptional customer service is.  See, I give you my money and you give me a product while acting like you appreciate the fact that I chose you.

Now, I'm not expecting you to roll out the red carpet just because I decide to go with your bundle package.  I realize that I am one in a million and I am not even a blip on your radar when you analyze your bottom line but do I not count for something?  I don't even require 'exceptional', I'm pretty easy.  Here are just a few things that would make me 'exceptionally happy'.

Since I am the customer, can I please at least have things delivered on the correct date to the correct home? (Yes, I'm talking to you, furniture STORES.  That's right, I am dealing with 2 furniture stores who are driving me crazy!).

Since I am the customer, can I have a phone call returned in a timely manner?  As in, within a few days? So that I do not have to call back and explain my entire story all over again to someone else who doesn't care?  (This ones for just the one store who is holding my table hostage on a boat from China).

Speaking of a timely manner, do you think that I can receive a bill in a timely manner?  Not over a year after I visit your office.  I made payments after each visit but now you say I owe more, over a year later.  I'm so confused as to why but I guess I have to pay since it's my credit that will be damaged if I don't.   Do I get to take over a year to pay you?  (Yup, this one is for you Dr. Dentist!).

Really, I don't want to be angry.  I don't want to have to yell and threaten to cancel my order/service/complain.  But when I try to be nice about things, you take advantage of me and try to pacify me with an "I'm sorry for your inconvenience."  Well, I'm sorry for it too!

I think you should change your company's goal to 'provide exceptionally excruciating customer service'. Problem solved, goal met.


Inconvenienced, As Always
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered." Elizabeth Edwards

I'm sorry, this post might come off as a little depressing for the holiday season.  I just found out that Elizabeth Edwards passed away this morning.  I have to say it hit pretty close to home.  Both her and my mom fought breast cancer for 6 long years.

Elizabeth Edwards left behind 3 kids, her oldest is about the same age as me so I feel like I have pretty good idea what she's feeling right now.  She was pretty open about her diagnosis so I'm sure in some ways she tried to prepare them for this but truthfully there is no such thing.  Losing your mom at such a young age is hard.

My sister asked me recently if anything will ever feel like a happy occasion again.  For us, there's always something... someone... missing.  I'm sure with time it will ache less but I'm sure we'll always feel that way.  A few days before my mom passed away, she cried over how much she was going to miss out on.  I tried to reassure her that she'll have the best seat in the house, but I know at the time that it was only words.  Until she said it, I never thought of it.  I'm choked up right now thinking of the big things that she'll miss... engagements, weddings, grandkids.  All I pray is that on each of my sister's wedding days, I say the right thing because Lord knows... it's going to be a little tougher for the girls.

Which is why my heart goes out to her children, especially the younger 2.

I thought I would share a poem my dad found and sent to me.  Reading it reminded me that no matter what happens, there are two ways to look at things.

You can shed tears that she is gone, 
or you can smile because she has lived. 
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back, 
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left. 
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her, 
or you can be full of the love you shared. 
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, 
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday. 
You can remember her only that she is gone, 
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on. 
You can cry and close your mind, 
be empty and turn your back. 
Or you can do what she'd want: 
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

~David Harkins~

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oops... I broke the Budget!

I mentioned the other day that I prefer shopping in stores as opposed to online but last night sealed the deal.   I can't be trusted to shop online.  I sat down last night to shop for Dan and I got so caught up in being able to shop multiple places and compare prices that I got confused.

And overwhelmed.

And a little click happy.

At one point, I had 3 stores open with stuff in each cart.  I then forgot about one whole order and almost ordered the same thing from another store.

Then, Toys R Us decided to take something out of my cart due to low inventory and by the time I realized the item was no longer available.  I'm still trying to figure out how they can do this.  If I had something in my cart at the store they wouldn't be able to take it back because I was shopping too long.  I feel like I was robbed.  It's kind of like some crazy mom stealing from your cart when you turn around to look at something... not cool!

At the end of night, I tallied up my purchases and thought 'oh, sh**'.  Out of the 4 things on Dan's list, I purchased 2.  I also purchased 8 things not on his list that at the time seemed like small things but added up to way over budget.  Um, what in the world was I doing?

I've decided that I am way too unorganized to shop online.  I need to see the items I purchased and feel them in my hands in order for my brain to know it's time to stop spending.  I need a destination, with a list, and fewer options than what is available online.

At least Dan will be happy on Christmas.  Of course he wasn't mad... it meant more presents for him!  Although, it does make his shopping harder because right now my list consists of a pair of comfy pants from Old Navy and a mascara... he's got a lot of catching up to do!

Hmm, maybe I should continue shopping so he feels obligated to put some diamonds or a Coach bag under the tree?  I'll have to remember that idea next year!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What to do first???

We are 6 days away from closing on our home!  YAY!  Well, that is if they finish fixing the septic and the county inspects it by then.  But, assuming everything happens as planned... we will be homeowners this Friday!!

I'm getting a tad bit nervous though.  We are not packed as much as I want to be.  It's hard to figure out what I can pack now and what I might need.  To top it off, I came down with the most horrendous cold/flu sore throat/head ache/body ache thing.  I am not one to get sick very often and I am amazed that I somehow caught something that my husband was able to fight off.  Needless to say, I spent about 6 hours awake yesterday and the rest of the day passed out.  Thank God for my Hubs who took care of Abby for me... even after I cussed him out because I couldn't find my phone charger.  What can I say, I'm sick and can not be held responsible for my choice of words!

The other serious stressor right now... Christmas.  I have way too much to do and no time to do it in.  I love shopping in stores for the holidays.  The decorations and music just bring out the holiday spirit in me.  This year, I think I'm going to do a majority of the shopping on line and if so, I need to get a move on (as Dan reminds every day).

Ok... now that I got all that off my chest, it doesn't seem too bad.  I guess being sick just made things overwhelming.  Ok, off to take care of the most important stuff... shopping!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Turkey Days!?!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!  We certainly did!  We were able to visit with family members in three different states and enjoyed 3 big meals!  Good thing family meals are calorie free in my book!

This was the 2nd Thanksgiving without my Mom.  She was missed but I was glad that I got through the day remembering her but not grieving.  It was strange but I didn't get overly emotional until my ride home on Monday night after visiting my Dad.  It suddenly hit me that I had spent time with my Dad, my aunt (who's like a second mom to me), and my in laws... all the parent figures.  It's kind of a hard feeling to express.  It's a thought that caught me off guard and hit me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes life is just depressing.

On a positive note, Abby had a blast visiting everyone.  We even got a chance to take her to this awesome place, Edaville Railroad.  She got a chance to ride on a 'choo choo' and to meet Santa (which didn't go as well as I hoped).  She even ate her first lollipop, which was too stinkin' cute!  After the first taste, she paused and looked at me before letting out a great big 'MMMMM'.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

100th Post!

Wow.  I can't believe this is my 100th post.  It seems like something I should celebrate!  This little blog is really starting to grow and I have met some amazing people.  So many of you have had such kind words to say when I was down and made me feel not so alone when things get crazy.  Thank you!

I was thinking about what to write about for my 100th post and for a few days I couldn't think of anything that seemed special enough to dedicate this post to.  Until last night on my way home from the grocery store.  I was listening to the radio and the song "Highway 20 ride" by the Zac Brown Band was on.  I've heard this song a million times but for some reason, these lyrics really got me:

A day might come you'll realize
That if you see through my eyes
There was no other way to work it out
And a part of you might hate me
But son, please don’t mistake me
For a man that didn’t care at all

See, my Dad was that guy.  Except it was every other weekend that he would drive 2 hours from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to pick us up for a weekend.  He would get there Friday night or Saturday morning and drive us back on Sunday night.  That's 8 hours of driving just to get up for work Monday morning.

I know that if I go on too much, he'll be totally embarrassed so let me just say that he's gone above and beyond what is expected of any father.  He was there for all of us regardless of how we behaved or what we said.  He pushed me to go to school, was my rock throughout my mom's illness, and was still there whenever I made bad decisions.  Now that I'm a parent I dread the day that Abby puts me through what I put my parents through. 

If there was one thing that I could say my Dad has taught all of us, and continues to teach us over the years, it's food.  Without him none of us would be the food connoisseurs we are today.  Seriously, people are shocked the first time they have Sunday dinner with us.  Well, shocked first and then usually sick from over eating.  It takes a true connoisseur to know the proper way to navigate a Chinese Buffet.  Or how to order a White Castle cheeseburger... aka murder burgers.  Or that when eating at Rutt's Hut (a must if you're ever in Jersey!) always stand at the counter because the food just doesn't taste the same if you sit in the restaurant.  He's my go to guy for recipes, which I then make for family and pass off as my own.  He's also one hell of a baker!  These are priceless lessons from a one of kind Dad! 

Here we are on my wedding day.  Feel free to leave a comment about how much he looks like Al Pacino!  It'll really make his day!  

Sorry Dad if I embarrassed you but I thought for my 100th post I should honor someone who helped make me who I am today!  Thank you!
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Monday, November 15, 2010

"What Not to Wear"

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 14:  Stylists Clinton K...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Did you ever see that show, "What not to Wear?"  Or read the back page of Cosmo where they show pictures of fashion don'ts?  Well, there are days that I resemble the people they feature way too much.

Today, I actually went out to the grocery store in stretch pants.  Some may call them yoga pants but to me... STRETCH PANTS!  Pre-motherhood, I would have never been caught dead leaving the house like that.  I can see my picture now with that dreaded black bar over my eyes to protect my identity from my shameful decision.

Oh, I also had no makeup on and crazy hair.  Thankfully, it was clean hair.... just half curly, half straight, clean crazy hair.

Makes me wonder... where have I gone?  Yes, there are so many blessings that come with motherhood.  Yes, I am eternally grateful that my husband is able to pick up enough overtime so that I can stay home.

But, I think I'm in a rut.  With only one car, there are days that I don't leave the house.  Having nowhere to go, no time to be there, and no one to see is making it difficult for me to see the point in dealing with the hassle of getting a shower before 8pm.  With no shower comes no picking out outfits, doing of hair, or putting on makeup.  Leaving me feeling like I wasted a day.

The problem is that this is not a good routine for me.  I need to get ready for my day.  I need to feel like 'me'.  And I need to not be in a room full of mirrors with Stacy and Clinton telling me how many 'fashion no-no's' I'm currently wearing.

So, I've been bribing Abby to work with me on this.  I've been working out daily for the past couple of weeks.  At first, I only worked out when Abby was sleeping but I seemed to loose my motivation by the time she took a nap.  So, now I give her the portable DVD player, throw in a kid movie, and magic happens!  To think, there was a time when I swore that Abby wouldn't watch TV!

She's glued to the screen.  She carries her movie around with her if wants to sit somewhere else.  The most awesome part... she doesn't try to stand behind my butt when I do a squat!  

I even figured out how to get a shower afterwards by taking her in with me!  When I'm done, I let her stay in and play while I get ready in the bathroom.  I have to admit, I miss my privacy but this has so many advantages.  It gives me time to put face cream on.  Put lotion on my legs.  Put mouse in my hair.  It's wonderful!

If I do all of this before nap time then I even get time to catch up the things that I can't do when she's awake.  Fun things, like putting my clothes away in the bedroom or cleaning the bathroom or maybe even unloading the dishwasher!

I think I've finally figured out how to be 'me' and a mom.  That is, until she gets bored with the dvd player and goes through another phase where she doesn't like baths or showers (which happens out of nowhere and lasts for weeks).  Or perhaps she'll decide that she doesn't like taking afternoon naps anymore and our whole day will be turned around.  You ever notice that once you have things figured out, they change?

So, I'm curious, how do other mommas do it?  Anyone have a clever tip they can share?

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Friday, November 12, 2010

"What you've never had, you never miss."

Recently, stories about lottery winners have been catching my attention.  The most recent was the person who won $128,000 after purchasing a ticket at an 'adult' store in Michigan.  Michigan law states that lottery winners can not remain anonymous so this person's dirty little secret will be exposed once they claim their ticket!  To date, I don't believe they've come forward.  Since my days are typically filled with episodes of Caillou and The Wiggles, I could be wrong about that since I'm typically behind on the news.

The other story I heard was nothing short of amazing.  A Canadian couple won $11.3 million and gave $11 million away.  They helped out friends and family first before moving onto numerous charities.  The 78 year old wife, Violet, stated, "What you've never had, you never miss."  I love that!

We live in a world where more is better.  People are buying huge houses, designer clothes, bigger and better cars.  Here is a couple who is unfazed by extras.  They are happy with what they have, each other.  It's easy to focus what we don't have but this couple reminded me that most of us have more than what we need.

If by some miracle (since I never buy lottery tickets) I won, I would probably not be quite as generous.  I would definitely help out my family and give to charity but I would keep a little for myself as a cushion.  Being young and a parent, I sometimes worry about unemployment or illness... those things you can't control but leave you without a paycheck.  I would definitely want to make sure I had savings to tap into.

What would you do?  Would you give it all away, keep it, or be somewhere in the middle?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chaos, Craziness, and Laughs

The reality is setting in.  We are about to buy a house.  Right before Christmas.


We have trips planned around Thanksgiving.  There is holiday shopping to be done.  Packing and unpacking.  Cleaning.  Wrapping presents.  Meal planning.

Two years ago this wouldn't have phased me but now I have Abby.  Or, as I sometimes like to call her, Hurricane Abby.

On top of all the chaos, we only have one car.  About a month (or two) back a drunk driver hit Dan's truck and totaled it.  We didn't replace it because we were looking for a house.

So, it's hectic here and some days we're trapped inside.  The craziness is wearing off on Abby, who for some reason now calls me 'Bob' or 'Bobby'.  She refuses to say 'Mommy' and laughs every time I correct which leads me to believe that for some reason I remind her of a 'Bob'.  See, I knew some day I would be paid back for calling my mom 'Vagina' instead of 'Virginia'.  I'm sure she's laughing right now!

In addition to renaming me, Abby has been making the most of her days by acting like a loony bird.

She has even debuted a new facial expression which my sister informed me is a face that I make.

Great look, huh?  I really hope that's not a face I make often!  I also wish someone would have told me sooner so I could make a conscious effort to never make that face in public!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Dog Did It

Did I ever tell you that my dog is a monster?  Almost everyday, I fantasize about him running away or finding someone that just loves him and can't wait to take him off my hands.

I mean, I do love him.  I picked him (as my husband kindly reminds me every time I say he's a beast).  But he just drives me crazy on a daily basis.  He barks at everything from school buses to people when we're on walks, he's a nervous tinkler, and he sometimes has an issue with going to the potty in the house.

Sounds great, right?  Well, let me tell you how not so great it is.  Since we're buying a house and closing is a couple weeks before Christmas, we decided to start the packing early.  So, I'm in the process of decluttering, cleaning, and packing which means that most of the normal everyday stuff is pushed aside some days.  The other day, my apartment looked like a bomb went off.  You literally had to step over a mess of stuff to come in the door.

The plan was to get a bunch of it done during Abby's nap but about an hour into her nap there was a knock on the door followed by barking from my beast.  I went to the door and it was a termite inspector from the HOA.  I completely forgot they were coming to check out the apartments and was beyond mortified.  I let him in and explained how I was packing and have a baby and it doesn't normally look like this and how "oh my god, I am so embarrassed!!".  He was laughing and said not to worry so I put the dog in my bedroom while the guy checked everything.

Then, he needed to get into my room... where the dog was.  I opened the door and did a quick scan around the room to make sure there wasn't anything too embarrassing laying around.  I picked JR up, let the guy in, and as I'm walking down the hallway I hear something go 'ploop'.  I pause for a second in disbelief and think, "oh no, he didn't".  Then I turn and look, "oh yes, he did".

I quickly run to put the dog on the porch and clean up his mess before this guy steps in it.  I am successful and as he leaves I'm grateful that he come across the gift my dog left.

Hours... HOURS... later, I go into my room and on the side of the bed that I can't see from the door, there is a lovely present from my dog.  I am livid!  I am embarrassed!  I am ready to give him away!

I go out to the living and tell my husband what 'HIS' dog did and he cleans it up.  I tell my husband about the termite inspector and he says, "Don't worry, I'm sure the guy knew the dog did it."

I stare at him blankly for a second.  Are you saying that there's a chance the guy could have thought I did it?!?

I love animals.  I really do.  In reality, I know it would be hard to give him away because he's like family to me.  That being said... anyone interested in adopting a dog?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat!

I hope everyone had a great Halloween!  We certainly did.  It was Abby's first time trick or treating and we tagged along with some good friends of ours who have a daughter Abby's age.  Watching the two girls figure out what was going on was more fun than I thought!  It was adorable.

When we first started, Abby took off running like a maniac down the street.  She didn't want to carry her bucket to the first few houses and at some houses she didn't even get candy.  But her AHA moment arrived when we were at this guy's house.  I think it might have been the moment both girls realized that all these people were giving them stuff.  Abby's never had candy so I'm guessing to her it seemed like she was getting treasures!  She dug through his bucket for a while and finally realized it all looked good so she tried to take the whole thing!  Too cute!

After that, she wouldn't let go of her bucket!  She would take breaks to rest but was very protective of her bucket.  She even held it on her lap the whole car ride home.  Well, until I realized that she bit open a Twix (her first candy bar!).  I took the bucket only to find out later that she had hid some in her car seat.  No wonder she was ok with me taking the bucket away!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is Dan's favorite holiday.  He loves scary movies, spooky decorations, and creepy costumes.  We live in a tiny apartment so it's hard to go all out with decorating but we've definitely been in the Halloween spirit all week.

Earlier this week, we did some pumpkin painting (and paint eating).  Lots of mess and lots of fun!

Dan made his costume, although he may not get to wear it.  All that hard work may have been for nothing since the mask terrifies Abby.
Rorschach from the movie (or comic book) Watchmen

Tonight we'll be trick or treating with a good friend of mine and her daughter so I decided to bring over some cupcakes.  Just in case the kids didn't get enough sugary treats!  How cute are these spider web cupcakes?  Since I ran out of orange gel, I decided to make some green frosted ones too.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Oh My, How Things Have Changed

Before Abby, I would get excited to find a new mascara or moisturizer.  I was a cosmetics junky which actually worked out well because I worked for a cosmetic company.  I would try out all sorts of new products from different companies and rave about my favorites to everyone that would listen.  It was my favorite job and if the hours weren't so terrible I would definitely go back.

Now that I'm a mom things are different.  Cosmetics still excite me but I can go days without putting makeup on.  This was unheard of a few years ago.  There are different things on my must have list now.  WAY DIFFERENT.

Just yesterday I was at Target.  Abby has her biweekly snotty nose and I was thrilled to see that they carried my 'snotty nose must have'!  A woman saw me grab them and asked how they worked.  I found myself talking about this product with the same excitement that I used to reserve for the newest anti aging moisturizer.

What is this amazing product that has taken the place of makeup and skin creams?


They are awesome!  They are moist with saline and get those pesky, crusty boogies off way easier than a normal tissue.  It is a must have in our home since Abby would much rather pick her nose than have it wiped (is she a little lady or what?).

I use the fresh scent but I noticed that they also come in grape.  That seems kind of strange to me but to each his own.  Maybe some people like to have grape scented boogies.

Boogie Wipes are a far cry from the things that I used to need... but they work and they make life easier. Man, do things change when kids show up!

I have not been compensated for this post but if the makers of Boogie Wipes are reading you can feel free to mail me compensation in the form of a lifetime supply.  They would not go unappreciated!

For the record, the plug in Zemanta did not pick up the image of Boogie Wipes while analyzing the texts of this post.  I started using this plug in a few weeks ago during the Back to School, Back to Blogging challenge and so far it hasn't been all that useful.  Even though I used the term "Boogie Wipes" a total of 4 times so far there is not one picture of them in my side bar.
Instead I have picture like this:
Woman with nails paintedImage via Wikipedia

GesichtskosmetikImage via Wikipedia

North American GameCube cover artImage via Wikipedia

Hmm... I have no clue what is on that woman's face or what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have to do with this post.  Maybe me and Zemanta aren't a good fit.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To Have and To Hold... Our 3rd Anniversary!

Tomorrow is our 3 year anniversary!  I can't help but think about how much has changed in the past three years, some for the better and some for the not to so better.

The one thing that hasn't changed is how much I love my husband.  True, there have been moments when I'm left wondering who is this person?  We've been through a lot in these three short years and at times it has been tough.  Some things, like my mom passing away, are things that you typically don't deal with so young so it's been a learning experience for both of us.  The important thing is that neither of us ever give up.

Our wedding day was nothing short of amazing!  The day started with pouring rain (thanks dad for hunting down umbrellas!) and my husband getting lost because I gave him the wrong address for the car rental.  OOPS!

Right before I walked into church, the rain stopped and the sun beamed in.  My mom said it was my grandmother letting me know she was there... I'm choked up just thinking about it.

The ceremony was beautiful but not without its unique moments.  I have a tendency to laugh when I'm uncomfortable and my 2 sisters have the same habit.  With all those eyes on me, it was hard to control my urge to laugh... especially when I could here the snorts from my sisters behind me.  I was doing pretty good until the priest called my husband Don instead Dan.  It was a quick slip up during my vows but I lost it!  It took me a little to regain my composure enough to speak!

As we were working at containing our laughter (and snorts), one of my bridesmaids that was pregnant was trying not to pass out.  My godmother, who has a history of passing out at weddings, noticed this and thought the best option was to come up to the altar and take my bridesmaid outside.  Since I didn't know someone was about to pass out, I thought she was coming up to yell at my sisters for laughing!  Or worse, yell at me!  Let's just say I looked like a deer caught in headlights as I watched her stomp up to the altar!

The reception and after party were a blast!  It was a mixture of Red Sox and Yankees fans so there was the playful taunting... the Massachusetts crowd sang out loud to "Sweet Caroline" and the us Yankees fans did a chorus line to "New York, New York".  My grandmother and her twin sister even got in on the kicking!  The after party was complete with game 3 of the World Series and lots of crazy fun!

Dan and I had decided a while ago to purchase tickets to see the Patriots as our anniversary gift to one another (next year is my pick!) so we weren't planning on doing too much tomorrow.  However, we just received the best anniversary present ever... WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!  The contract came back today (after 3 LONG DAYS), signed by the seller and we couldn't be happier.  It's not the house I mention last week.  That contract fell through which turned out to be a good thing!  We love the home we found.  There's no work to be done and the yard space is perfect! We should be closing on December 10th!  Woo Hoo!!!

So many reasons to celebrate!  I can't think of anyone better to celebrate them with but my Hubs!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Wardrobe Malfunction

I have something in common with celebs like Tara Reed.  You know, the celebs who unwillingly flash a little boobage.  Yup, I have had a major wardrobe malfunction!

I took dance classes from age 3 to age 16 but my 8th grade dance recital takes the cake for most excitement.  I was so happy to be in advanced classes which meant more routines and, in my opinion, way cooler routines.  My particular favorite that year was a song from Lion King, "Be Prepared".  I was so excited to perform the number and was just getting into it when the unthinkable happened!

As far as wardrobe malfunctions go, this could not have happened at a better time.  I bent down and over the music I could hear "Snap".  As quickly as I heard it, I felt my strap pop off and I reacted.  Grabbing my almost exposed boob, I followed the group with the next step, a leap, but then proceeded off the stage.  Mortified is the best word to describe what I was feeling.  Unfortunately, I couldn't actually exit the stage from the wing I was on so there I stood for the next 2 minutes or so... holding my costume up the entire time.

When the song was over, I hurried backstage where my mom and best friend were waiting.  My mom, who was the one who sewed my costume in place, was super apologetic but I was so embarrassed that I lashed out at her a little.  However, before she was even done sewing it back into place, I saw the humor in it and started laughing.

The worst part of the whole thing?  There were a bunch of high school boys in the back of the auditorium that I was sure would never let me live it down.  Even worse, my uncle had the whole thing of video.  Even worse, I had to wear this costume countless times over the next few days!  At least my nervousness was focused on keeping my costume on as opposed to performing!

Visit Mama Kat if you'd like to participate in this weeks Writer's Workshop!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Boredom + Reality TV + Sister Wives = WTF?!?

I really do try not to judge but I just have to vent a little about this show Sister Wives.  Not sure if anyone of you have seen it (I'm not really sure why I am watching it right now) but basically this guy has 3 (soon to be 4) wives and 13 children.  Truthfully, the only thing running through my mind is WTF!

I wasn't planning on ever watching this show but I'm bored right now.  Bored and too lazy to do the million things that need to be done.  I really don't care what these people choose to do and I'll leave the lasting effects of their decisions on the children to their future therapists.  What really got me going was while one of this guy's wives was in active labor, this guy is asking the doctor about IVF for a different wife who has only had one child.  Are you serious?

Now, I don't know about any of you but when I was in labor I wanted everything to be about me and Abby.  I clearly remember that right after Abby was born I yelled at my mom for trying to call my brother and wake him up for work.  I was mad because it was taking her out of the moment and I wanted the attention on me and my new baby.

I really can't understand how this woman could sit there, in labor, and listen to him getting information to help his first wife have a baby.  What do you all think?  Am I unfair to think this whole thing is ridiculous?  Could these women possibly be so void of jealousy that they can share a husband and a moment as special as the birth of their child?

By the way, I've already changed the channel... hello Teen Mom!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Fun!

Just a little update on our house hunting.... we found one!  We love it and the work it needs is definitely doable if our offer is accepted.  There was a little compromise with yard space... the amount that's there leaves a lot to be desired but the size, layout and neighborhood makes up for that.  It's a short sale though so I'm trying not to get my hopes up just yet since it could take months to hear back from the bank.

We also took Abby pumpkin picking over the weekend.  She had a blast even though she took a couple falls in the corn maze.  I can't believe the fall is here and halloween is right around the corner!  This will be Abby's first year trick or treating since last year we took her to Salem.

How is everyone else celebrating the arrival of Fall?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Family Feud Blooper!

This was too funny for me to not to share!  My side hurts from laughing so hard!  Enjoy!

House Hunting: Way Harder than I Thought!

We are in the process of house hunting and I never would have imagined that it would be so difficult.  We have found a few potential homes but there are major problems with each one.  One is a beautiful townhouse but the problem is that it's a townhouse and we just aren't too crazy about that idea.  The other has the space we need but a very unusable yard that is right off a major road.  Not too mention the lovely brown carpeting throughout the entire house... even the dining room.  The third is a BEAUTIFUL home in an area that has a bad reputation.  Basically, people say that it's not the crime in the area but people tend not to keep up with their property.  This house is also slightly over budget.

Since seeing that beautiful home in a not so good neighborhood I have been tossing it around in my mind.  Granite countertops, 5 bedrooms, a family room and living room.... maybe I can build a nice tall privacy fence so that I don't have to look at the rest of the neighborhood?

Today we're going to look at another home that's way under budget.  The pictures make it look livable but I've learned that pictures can be deceiving.  It sounds like it has space:  4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a finished basement.  There aren't any pictures of the kitchen or most of the bathrooms so I'm a little worried.  However, the home is within walking distance of restaurants and shops which would be so nice.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

3 Amazing Days: Walking for a Cure!

WOW!  That's the best word to describe the Susan G. Komen 3 Day experience.  It was amazing, tiring, emotional... everything I hoped it would be and more.  Being surrounded by over 2000 people who dedicated this past year to fundraising and awareness was an indescribable feeling.  We were all strangers with one goal... and WE DID IT!

Bright and early on Friday, my cousin and I headed into D.C. to Nationals Stadium and we could feel the energy.  People were decked out in pink handing in their luggage, getting water, and moving toward the stage for the opening ceremony.  We were able to make our way up front and as expected the opening ceremony was filled with cheers and tears.

Then we headed out for our 20 (or so) mile journey around D.C.  I say 'or so' because 3 Day miles are known as 'komen miles' because there are times when a sign will say "1 mile to pit stop" and that mile feels like way more than 1 mile.  Either my body was tired or they lie... not sure which it is but a 'komen mile' can take forever!  As we left Nationals Stadium, crew members and supporters were there to cheer us on.  The cheering stations were absolutely amazing and our fans got all dolled up to help us stay motivated!

My goal was to finish Day 1 and I did it!  It ended with a mile up hill, which was pure torture!  I saw so much of D.C., most of which I had never seen before like the capital building (yes, I had to walk Capital Hill) and the National Cathedral (which is also on a HUGE hill).  We ended up in Bethesda, MD (or was it Chevy Chase?) which still sounds crazy to me.  I never would have imagined walking from D.C. to anywhere in Maryland but I DID IT!

Day 2 was tough.  My feet were already blistered and the medical line was way too long in the morning so I decided to try to walk to the first pit stop.  Did I mention how awesome the pit stops are?  Every 2 to 3 miles they have snacks, gatorade, water, and bathrooms (port o potties, but you don't care after a few hours!).  By the time I made it to Pit Stop 1, 2.7 miles, my feet were ready to fall off so I decided to give them a rest and take a van to the next Pit Stop to get some medical attention.  Unfortunately, there was a mix up and after 2.5 hours I finally made it to lunch.  By then my muscles were tight and my feet were screaming at me with every step I took.  After some medical treatment and lunch, I walked another 2 miles but decided to call it a day at that point.  I needed to give my pigs a break if I wanted to walk Day 3.

Back at camp, I was able to shower and relax.  I played some BINGO and won a new pair of socks... WOO HOO!!! I also got to visit the Remembrance Tents which was a very emotional experience.  Every city has one and people write about who they are walking in memory of.  They set the tents up in every city.  Our tent was under a large canopy and around the walls were photos of walkers and crew members who lost their battle.  As if this wasn't emotional enough, 4 young kids walked in with their dad or grandpa to remember someone who had passed.  It was a heart breaking reminder of why I chose to walk.

If the Pit Stops were amazing, then the services at camp are phenomenal.  There's medical, a phone charging station, massages, computers, shopping, and food... and all of it is staffed by volunteers or sponsored by AT &T, Energizer, or New Balance!  They truly took care of us and rolled out the pink carpet... well, as best they could on a camp ground.  There was also entertainment and guest speakers... even Nancy Brinker came to see us! Between the cheering stations and the services at camp I felt like a celebrity!  Well, that's if a celebrity had to live in a tiny tent in the middle of a field that I'm pretty sure was usually reserved for animals.

On Day 3 my energy and determination was back!  I walked the 14.9 miles back into D.C., cheered at the cheering stations, danced to the music played by our crazy crossing guards and ignored my achy muscles (with the help of bio freeze) and my tired, sore toes.  When we finally made it to the holding station, I was overjoyed!  From there, we lined up to walk to the closing ceremonies about a half mile away.  Again, I was in awe of the thousands of people who were alongside of me.

The closing ceremony was just as emotional as the opening but their was a feeling of victory.  We saluted the survivors who walked alongside of us, one of them was only 21 years old when she was diagnosed and thanks to Susan G. Komen research grants she still has treatment options 7 years later.  Her story is so moving and full of hope.  I can't believe that I was one of the people who helped contribute to the grand total of 5.3 million dollars that was raised!  AMAZING!!!

So, at the end of the weekend I had camped, raised awareness, walked 40 of the 60 miles, and was left with sore feet and muscles but I was also filled with hope and pride.  It was truly amazing and I can not thank my donors enough.  I was the one who walked but they were the ones who got me there.  Eradicating this disease is a global effort and we are on the right path!

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering... Abby made it back in one piece and surprised me in D.C.!  She had an awesome time with her Nonno, who misses her already.  She even learned to say his name!

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

3 Day... Here I Come!

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments the other day.  I'm feeling better and working on forgiveness.  I've decided that it's not for me to judge, especially since I'm not sure who it was. Thanks for all the advice and understanding!

On a positive note.....

I finally reached my goal, and I'll be heading to Washington, D.C. bright and early tomorrow morning for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for a Cure.  I already got choked up when I was reading the event info and they said there's a banner we can sign with our loved ones name on it.  It's still hard for me to believe that my mom's not here but I know she'd be proud that we raised so much money for breast cancer.

It's going to be absolutely amazing to be surrounded by so many people who have been affected by breast cancer but and are trying to make a difference.  Hopefully, the emotions that will be running through me will keep my feet moving because 60 miles is far.  REAL FAR! I haven't really trained (at all) nor has my cousin so this should be interesting!

The only down side is that I have to leave Abby for 4 days.  I've only left her alone over night once before so this is really, really, really difficult.  She'll be with my dad and will probably have an awesome time getting spoiled and playing with other her cousin but I'll be missing and worrying every moment!  It doesn't help that she'll be a couple states away either.  It's funny, I wanted a break for a while.  You know, just some time to go to the bathroom with the door closed.  Now that I'll have a little break, I'm a nervous wreck!

I hope you all have an awesome weekend and I'll catch up with you Monday or Tuesday!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Disappointment: Forgiving and Moving Forward

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
 - Buddha

Have you ever been so disappointed in someone that it makes you wonder if you ever really knew them?  Yesterday I found out that someone close to me did something unthinkable.  It is so awful that I don't even want to think about it or say it out loud.  Unfortunately, I don't know exactly who it was so now I will forever be suspicious.  The only way to move past it is to forgive but it's hard because I gave the person an opportunity to redeem themselves anonymously and they did not.  All I know is that someone I love and would do anything for, is dishonest and selfish.  I can not tell you how much my heart breaks just thinking about this.

I believe that everything that happens in our life gives us the opportunity to become a better, stronger person.  We always have a choice between right and wrong.  We also always have the choice to right a wrong choice.  I feel disappointed that someone closest to me has not taken advantage of difficult times and learned some valuable lessons.  I feel disappointed that they are not the person that I know they are capable of being.  My only hope is that on their journey through life, they become the person I always knew they would be.

"I'm not angry because you lied to me, I'm angry because I can't trust you anymore" 
- Unknown

Friday, October 1, 2010

Struggles and Strength

pink ribbonImage via Wikipedia

I was watching Dr. Phil yesterday and he reminded me of a lesson that is easy to forget.  We're not all that different.  Regardless of our struggles, there is always someone else who has been through or felt the same.  The details may be different but the struggle and feelings are the same.

Since watching that episode, I've noticed that it's so true.  Today is no exception.  October is breast cancer awareness month and all morning I've been coming across bloggers who share similar experiences to mine.  Some of these experiences, quite honestly, break my heart but once all of the details are stripped away, every story is one of strength.  When life hands you the unthinkable, you find strength that you never thought you had.

I was 21 years old when I found out my mom had breast cancer.  For 7 long years, breast cancer was the elephant in the room.  Even during remission, the fear was always there but so was strength.  I saw it in my mom, especially when the cancer returned.  She had always said she would never go through chemo again but she found the strength to fight.  I saw it in my siblings, who lived with her, helped her, and tried to continue living their life.  I saw it in myself every time I had to be 'the bad news bear' and sit the four of them down for an update on my mom.

The most important lesson that I'm learning is that I am no different than countless other people who have been through the same thing.  You find the strength to overcome, just as so many people have and will continue to do.  When I walk in the 3Day next week, I'll be surrounded by people the same as me.  People who have been affected by breast cancer and have found the strength to push forward.  Although all of stories will have different details, none of us are all that different.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Letter to the Younger Me

Our Back to School Back to Blogging task this week is to contribute to the idea bank, which is shaping up to be an awesome resource for curing writer's block.  The second part of our task is to pick an idea to write about.  After going through the list, I found one that caught my attention.  Write a letter to your younger self... reminds me of that Brad Paisley song, Letter to Me.  Ooh, there is so much I wish I had known so here goes!

Dear Me,

If I know me, which I do, I would never have followed any of this advice but it would've been nice to have in the back of my mind.

There is life after high school and you will not remain friends with any of those people.  Dad is right when he says that your lucky if you have one true friend in your entire life... you've already found her so don't sweat the small stuff.

Quit smoking now because it gets harder as you get older and your future husband hates.  Speaking of your future husband, you don't know him yet so go ahead and dump that loser your dater.  You'll meet him on some crazy trip to upstate New York... one of those where you go knowing you have hardly any money in your pocket and get too drunk to drive home.  He'll not only buy you drinks but make sure you get home safely so don't listen to anyone who tells you that you find a nice guy at a bar.  He'll also tell you he's going to marry you one day.  You won't believe him but he's right.

Quit being so mean.  One day, someone you were mean to that you don't even recognize will look down her nose at you as though she is better than you.  That's ok, but she won't hire your sister for a job and your sister will make sure she reminds you every chance she gets how mean you were.  I say were because you will change and be nicer (or at least keep your comments to yourself, where they belong).

Speaking of siblings, if one them asks you to borrow books on elephants from the library... DON'T DO IT!  They'll get lost and you'll forget about them.  10 years later (yes, it will take 10 years for you to graduate college) you'll finally complete your coursework and after auditing your account these library books will come to haunt you.

Give your mom a break.  She's never going to discipline anyone nor will she ever pay her bills on time.  She WILL love all of you more than you could ever imagine was possible, that is until you have your own daughter.  She will always be the strongest person you have ever met and face cancer with sarcasm and laughter.  Take it easy on her, help her with housework, quit complaining about things you just don't understand, and don't get mad at her when she doesn't stay in the museum or want to walk around DC. Yes, she'll always be frustrating but in a funny sort of way!  Finally, please make her go for a mammogram!

There will come a time when you realize that family means more to you than any friends could.  Your dad will be the first person you call when you need advice, want to cry, or just need to vent.  Your extended family... aunts, uncles, cousins, long lost relatives... will stand by your side through your toughest years.  Treat them well and visit them often.  As mom will tell you one day, "lean on them, they'll help you."  She's right, so appreciate them from now.

There is so much more that I wish to tell you but truthfully, the mistakes you will make are what make you become the person you are meant to be.  As you grow, you'll meet people who inspire you and remind you how good you have it.  Nothing really gets easier but it does get different so keep moving forward.


P.S.  The winning numbers for the Maryland Mega Millions on Sept 21, 2010 is 03, 20, 43, 47, 57 and the bonus is 26.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Um, You Blog? YES, I DO!


Last night I was updating my blog using some of the pointers from Back to School Back to Blogging.  I realized that I didn't have a section on my blog that told my new readers about me, which is one of the first places I look on other people's blogs.  I knew I needed to create one and to start I took a look at my first post to see how I originally introduced myself.  Back then I had no idea people actually dedicated a whole page for that sort of thing.  Back then I had no idea what a blog was or that so many people had one.

As I read that original blog post, I realized how much my reason for blogging has changed.  It started as a way to raise awareness and in hopes of becoming an official blogger for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day  for a Cure but it has become so much more.  I wasn't selected to be the official blogger but I found something that I love to do.  I'm not the type of person who has lots of hobbies.  Most of my hobbies last for only a short time and then I get bored.

Blogging has yet to get boring and I blog about so much more than just about breast cancer and healing after losing my mom.  Honestly, I blog very little about those things lately... well, my mom pops up a lot but usually not in a depressing sort of way.  It's given me an outlet and as a stay at home mom I needed one... desperately!  It's given me a way to connect with others, learn from them, laugh with them, and be inspired by them.

Most importantly, it's given me something to do that is just for me.  People outside of the blogging world often look at me strange when I tell them I blog and there first question, "is about what?"  My answer is always... "about me, about life, about anything I want."

My blog is my baby.  I designed it, I nurture it, and I love watching it grow!

One of the writing prompts over at Mama Kat's this week is to answer the question:  What does blogging mean to you?  What purpose does it serve you and how have you benefited?  Simply put, blogging means 'me time'.  'Me time' makes me happy and less stressed.  A happy and less stressed me is a benefit to EVERYONE!

Please don't think less of me... I have to ask because I am desperate!

Since I already mention the Susan G. Komen 3 Day, I figured I would throw in a shameless request here.  If anyone is interested in donating to this amazing organization, please click the widget on my side bar or click here.  In order to do this walk, I need to raise $2300 and my fundraisers were completely unsuccessful.  I am about $1200 short and if I don't raise enough money my poor cousin will be walking the 60 miles by herself (she's fundraising rock star!).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Winner Is...

Sorry, I totally forgot to generate the winner for the Shutterfly giveaway yesterday.  The winner is Margaret from Take a Walk With Me.  Congrats and enjoy!

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