Thursday, December 31, 2009

What did you do to bring in the New Year?



While many took the time to give thanks to God for the passing new year, or dolled up for a night out at the bar/club, my new year started early and was enjoyable all around.

I have not went out to celebrate bringing in the New Year for 10 years now, instead, I make sure to give my phone number to friends and family so that they can call me should they decide to drink while they party in the New Year.  For me, this day started a bit earlier than normal, I woke at 5a.m. to take hubby to the airport, (he is the best man in his close friends wedding..)  He appeared to be down about me not being able to tag along but he's a big boy, he'll be fine :-)  One of my good friends came down from New York with her two boys for a mini vacation.  We met up with some ladies we both worked with at our last place of business and had dinner, did some grocery shopping and then headed home for the night.  We enjoyed the warmth of the house, the sound of the kids playing in the other room, television, and talking of the old times as well as new.  Talking made reflect over the year that was slowly coming to a close.

Unfortunately for me, I missed the first 6 months of it... well not really missed, I wasn't home to enjoy the first part of the year with my family.  I was on a 6 month deployment onboard USS Dwight D Eisenhower...  I guess you could say I was with my "extended" family.  During this time I made new friends with some of the young ladies on the ship who are complete opposites of me~ knowing them has helped me become a more rounded person.  My job as drug and alcohol advisor helped me overcame my fear of speaking in public, I also found that I had a part in the decision of many young people on their choice to drink alcohol and the importance of being responsible adults and making good decicisions when it came to drugs, alcohol, careers, school, relationships... when i think about it, I spent those six months being a good co-worker, mentor, and all around friend to many, that is a good feeling (I'm smiling)

The last 6 months of the year have been the biggest challenge for me yet.  I am home... home to stay.  I have learned that time with family is such a precious gift.  The days, months, and years lost can not be retrieved but I'm lucky to play catch up.  I've found that my 15 y/o still has alot to learn about what happens outside the comfort of his home inside of our quaint section of Western Branch.  Spending time with him has given me the inside scoop of his love for Anime, trading cards, dueling games, and video games... dislikes school to the point he won't put for the effort to even try.  Being home has given me the chance to dig deep with him, ask questions, help him understand the importance of not giving up, trying harder even when you don't think you can succeed.  I found low self esteem and the need to be accepted, I am thankful to be home at a time when he really needs a mom around to guide him in the right direction.  I have learned that my 4 y/o never runs out of energy, has somewhat of a temper, very sacarstic (for 4) and loves Tom and Jerry almost more than mom.  He showers me with hugs, kisses, and I love you's. 4 y/o was completly aware of my absence from home, I can hear when he wakes in the middle of the night, his footsteps as he run from his room to the living room, the sound of the curtains being pulled back, possibly looking to see if moms truck has disappeared only to return days, weeks, possibly months later.  When I wake in the middle of the night for a bathroom break, he grabs me by the arm and says "don't go to the sea mom" which tells me he is afraid that my presence home is only temporary and soon to end.  I know my husband truely appreciates and loves me.  He appears happy to have me home and is supportive of the many ideas i have come up with over the last few months in an effort to work from home since I retired... he loves to work out, is concerned about the health of our family and wants to make sure we are all comfortable and safe, He continues to explain to 15 y/o that he may not understand any of the speeches but he will appreciate the lessons when he is older (15 y/o still responds with rolling eyes).  I loved reconnecting with my sister and enjoy our quick chats and short text to one another.  I enjoy my talks with my cousin Tommy as he tries to convince me to drive trucks for a living.  I have enjoyed visiting foreign countries, volunteer work while learning the culture around me in the countries I have visited,  and meeting my husband in Portugal for my last stop of my naval tour.  I ended my 2009 in the company of my friend Sam and the sound of young children at play and HGTV in the background.  I finished my last book of the year, posted my last blog, and finished the night off with two calls from hubby wishing me a happy new year... Another safe new year has past, and the new one lays ahead.

Good-bye 2009, Hello 2010.  May you all have a safe, healthy, and Happy New Year filled with new hopes, new opportunities, and new beginnings.  Enjoy family and friends, and all that life has to offer.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day after Christmas



Quiet day, temp holding at a cool 54 degrees- dry after a rainy Christmas day. 
I guess many people wake up super early on Christmas day to open gifts... Not us, we had already discussed how this holiday, we would focus more on the reason than the gifts.  4 y/o was the first to wake at about 7:42am, he whined about missing Tom and Jerry on Boomerang and then said he was going into the front room to watch television.  He came back and informed us that there were gifts under the tree and if it was okay to open them.  We got out of bed to help him find his gifts.  15 y/o asked for a new game system and a new cell phone, his grades prevented  him from getting either.  I decided to give him money to put in his bank account so that he can buy his system of choice (and phone) when his grades improved.  I also gave him the second season of his favorite anime, Bleach, that he seemed really excited about.  On 4 y/o's list he requested a monster truck with a remote, a bubble wand (bubbles), and wings to fly so he could find me when I left him home alone with daddy.  The first thing he opened was his monster truck- his exact words- "THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!", since I couldn't find wings I got him the Leap Frog reading system to help him find a fun way to learn to read (because he refuses to do it...), when he opened his bubbles the only thing he wanted to do was go outside.  He dressed himself in sweats and a to small sweatshirt and waited for me to take him outside.  As I stood at the front door (inside) I watched him blow bubbles in the cold wet air, no cares no worries, wet fingers and clothes, red ears and red nose... I only saw pure enjoyment in something as small and entertaining in his 2 dollar bottle of bubbles.  who would have known?  Known that it doesn't take hundreds of dollars to make a child happy on a day as special as Christmas.  Later in the evening I cooked a small dinner for my family of 4 plus 3: smoked ham, baked mac & cheese, garlic mash potatoes, whole wheat bread, green beans wrapped in bacon sprinkled with brown sugar (ummmm, thanks for the recipe Belva!).  We enjoyed quiet conversation and laughter and 4 y/o thanked Santa one more time for his "monster truck remote" and his special bubble wand~ who knew...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve..



It's finally here.  4 y/o has asked from the last day of November "is it Christmas yet?" to which i have to constantly remind him "no, it is the holiday season" 

In the mind of a 4 y/o decorated trees, lights, and santa in every mall represents Christmas... and everyday IS Christmas... Let's not forget to make sure each of us explains to our 4 y/o (and older) the true meaning of this upoming day.  This day of rejoicement, the birth of our king, our father. 

In the past my tree was filled with gifts for the season, this year, we limited gifts to the bare minimum... The meaning has gotten lost over the years and it seems more important to us to help them understand this time of year is not about who gets what or what cost the most but, why we celebrate.

Happy Holiday Everyone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The $140 dollar holiday dress



That was the regular price for a simple black dress... I paid exactly $24.98 for it!

I'm not the shopper I use to be, I remember back in the day when the only responsibility I had was- who am I kidding- I wasn't very responsible back in the day.  When I lived in Georgia, it didn't take much for me to go out and spend almost a whole paycheck on clothing for partying in either Jacksonville or Savannah.  All someone had to say is "Hey this weekend a few of us are going to.... are you in?"  My answer was always "yes" and a new outfit (or two would follow)

When I moved to Virginia, I didn't shop as much but I still spent my share of dollars on unneeded items.  When I met one of my closest friends,  Kimy, the two of us would spend hours out and about in stores buying items we really didn't need but looked good on us when we hit the clubs for the night.

Now a days,  if it can be found online and the shipping is free, I'll purchase it.  Mainly because the stores are so crowded and the choices for boys seem limited and few... Did you notice I said for 'boys'?  I don't do much shopping for myself anymore, I have a ton of clothes (some still with tags) that I don't wear, mainly because I have spent the last 5 years away from home at sea on a ship.  My clothing options were limited overseas.  I either wore a uniform or the "required" civilian clothes if we hit a foreign port which normally consisted of jeans or khaki pants and a polo shirt~ no shorts, skirts, tank tops, or anything that made you fit into the culture in anyway... I didn't understand this part of the deal, we were constantly reminded about what we could wear and the importance of blending in... We normally stuck out like a pink elephant in a green field, but we were ambassadors of the United States, so we followed the rules and stayed out of trouble...  okay... what was I talking about again???

OH! the $140 dress...

As I stated, I do not like to shop as much as I use to but I had to actually get out to the stores to find a dress for a holiday party I will be attending.  I found 3 dresses that were all on sale with prices ranging from $49 to $127, the one I liked cost $79, the alternate $99.  I sent a picture of me in each dress to hubby for his opinion, later that night he told me which dress he liked.  Today I went to buy the dress and like all good sales, it was gone (so was my second choice)  bummed, i took a walk into Macy's, walked by a rack that said "one day sale" ($24.00)  kept walking, stopped and looked at about 20 dresses, didn't find what I wanted.  As I walked back by the "one day sale" rack for $24, I decided~ can't hurt...

Well what do you know, my alternate dress is on this rack... IN A SIZE 6!!!! I am so excited make my purchase and head home.  as I take the dress out of the bag I notice the original price is $140~ whoa!  that's one heck of a sale I stumbled into!!  I got an awesome black dress for 24 bucks, and I can actually wear it again on a day that doesn't have the word "holiday" in it!!!  I'm really getting into this saving and sale thing..

Monday, December 14, 2009

the plan for today...

Was to clean house and relax with a good book.  As we all have found in life, plans don't always go as PLANNED!  Although I did get to sleep in, 4 y/o (aka- my alarm clock) stayed up late waiting for me to go to bed last night and ended up sleeping in past 9~ this never happens!  he normally wakes me at about 6:30 am requesting "oatmeal mommy! now!" yea, just like that... no "can you please..", "mom can you make...." none of that.. it's what we call the oatmeal demand... it sucks but you don't want to keep laying in bed because the phrase will continue until you pry yourself out of bed, cover him up IN your bed, and walk to the kitchen to make him oatmeal... WITH orange juice!

after oatmeal, and lunch of hotdogs and mac & cheese, I settle down with my book, 4 y/o puts on a movie, and 14 y/o heads to his room to read.  at about 4:28 I get a phone call from a friend I had planned to visit today (and completely forgot) As I answered I started with... "I am sorry, I forgot we were suppose to meet up today!"  and then launch into how are you doing... etc.. she says okay but I can hear that things are not okay by the sound of her voice~ she asks if i could come now... she needs me.  I tell her to give me 30 minutes, throw on some sweats, convince 4 y/o we need to take a ride, ask 14 y/o if he wants to go ("no") and run out in the cold rain to find out what's going on.



4 hours and about 32 minutes later, we have talked, tried to find understanding, voiced concerns, and cried over infidelity of those we put trust and love in.  I don't give advise on relationships (ever) I feel that when a decision is made about where to go in a relationship, the only person who should make it... is the person who has the problem.  I don't ever want to be the one who says "leave" when things could have been fixed by conversation, therapy, God...  I have always felt that what ever happens in relationships "happens" we can't control what direction they go, how long they last, or even if they will ever get off the ground!  I have said numerous times that I have been blessed to have my husband in my life.  We met in 97.. in 98 he moved back to Texas... dated other women, lived his life the way he wanted, and called and asked "do you want to know where I am" one day.  Almost a year later we moved in together... a year after that we were married...  2 years later we were separated... now we are going into 10 years of marriage and make it a habit of talking to each other daily, spending time with each other daily, spending time alone weekly, and not forgetting the importance of respecting one another as well as our promise to God. 

In the end I think my friend will make the right decision on what direction to go with her relationship.  When you are known to be the strong person, it hurts to have someone see you cry.  Friend, I still think you are strong... It takes a strong person to call and say "i need you" and it takes a true friend to say "I'm on my way"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

my day was... how about yours???

Once again I find myself bored, every time hubby leaves to go out of town, I find myself cleaning, cleaning, painting, cleaning, watching HGTV non stop, cleaning, etc....

today we started our Saturday the way we normaly do.  Swim lessons for 4 y/o bright and early, the ones we keep paying for in hopes that one day he will actually participate~ that kid is stubborn, after swim lessons he asked (non stop) that I make a trip to Dunkin Doughnuts, I want coffee, so I make the stop.  We get coffee, doughnuts with sprinkles and somewhere between me telling him to stay close and don't touch, a strawberry milk is added to my final bill~ oh well, at least it'll taste good with his doughnuts.

Arrive home, give 4 y/o a bath, yell at 15 y/o for being in bed at 11am, clean house, call hubby, make lunch, and then head out the door for a craft show they are having at the YMCA.  While we are there 4 y/o ask if we can go to Chucky Cheese's.  I give in, stop by the house to pick up a book to read, and head over to kid haven... As always it is filled with screaming (big) kids running so fast they can't stop in time to avoid the smaller kids who are trying to enjoy themselves.  wait a minute...

I thought this place was suppose to be for KIDS... it has changed since the last time I step through the door (for another unpleasant birthday party with an oversized rat... oh sorry, mouse) whoa~ they need a new sign out side that says "dress code rating: R" (intechangable according to the type of mom currently in the house)  the current group of moms are seriously under dressed for for a place "where a kid can be a kid".  I kind of feel like I'm in a party place that is intended for the "grown and sexy" giant slide, games, pizza, and cake included... this is so not cool for my 15 y/o who can't even concentrate on any games because the girl (with her 2 y/o son?) is bending over the mole hole showing all of her goodies in her super short skirt that appears to have been purchased out of the little girls department.  We get our pizza to go, 4 y/o screams "this is not fair"... at the same time 15 y/o says "I don't understand why he can't stay there and play for awhile, I mean it IS for for kids afterall"..... (hmmmm)

We bring our pizza home, eat, and watch Aliens VS Monsters (good movie) after movie time, 4 y/o gets on the computer for some computer time, 15 y/o takes his stephen king book into his room with him and closes the door, and I stand in the kitchen looking for something to snack on (need to go grocery shopping)  I look in my hall closet for something to do... there are a some beading items in my closet that were purchased but never used (need some lessons), I pull the items out and sit at my dining room table... in the end I come up with a few pairs of earrings I am excited about wearing (pictured below)

I tried to do the coil around the beads... already purchased was easier!

I love red, I think I'll make more red ear rings!!!

my first try at doing a coil.. uneven but I think these are nice...

another favorite... need to to this in red... and brown.. ooo green too!

This is the very first pair of ear rings I ever made~ not bad for a first timer with no classes huh!!!

4 y/o wants me to watch Boomerang with him.. (he loves old cartoons) I guess I'll call it a night.. this has been a long day, glad hubby will be back tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Appliance happiness



Playing part time mom/wife for the last 10+ years has somewhat separated me from the reality of what is known to some as "domesticated bliss" not to mention I am NOWHERE near the domestic goddess I had imagined myself to be...

A new appliance in my house was like "whatever" to me, I usually didn't have a choice in the selection (because I was somewhere over seas or in the middle of it) and I only used it "occassionally" IF I was up to cleaning or cooking when I would come home for my short visits..

Hubby and I went into Lowe's about 2 weeks ago to purchase a new stove (that we didn't need in my opinion)... Once we (translated to: he) started looking at stoves, Bob, the awesome appliance guy, mentioned "We have a great deal on front load washer and dryers if you need one of those..."  I said no.... hubby walked away with Bob to take a look, he was in awe to find the Whirlpool and Maytag front load washers were on sale for $889... BOTH PIECES! 

In my mind, I didn't need a new washer and dryer (or stove)... the ones I have still works good!

washer and dryers are purchased... stove is purchased the day after for $300 off plus a 10% military discount= $677.34

Initially, I didn't really care about the stove, then it was in my kitchen...

"oh what a beautiful stove it is!" I sang as I looked at it, nothing expensive or grand (like the viking ranges I have adored since the age of 25) but it is beautiful and looks so sleek and updated compared to the uneven range with the pans that didn't fit no matter where we brought them or how many times we replaced them to make the burners fit the way they are suppose to...

I tore into the book to find, it recommended you use certain types of pots and pans on this glass top rang... every pan I own is JUST the opposite of what it recommends in the use and care guide... "I need new pans" I tell hubby.  He sends me two emails and says "check your mail"  There are two coupons in my box, a 25% off from Macy's and a 20% from JC Penny.  I print both and head to the mall.... 2 hours later and non stop conversation with 2 different women, I come home with my 18 piece set of pots/pans~ regular price $499... on sale for $299... plus my 20% off coupon = $251.99.

As soon as I got home I tore into my new pots and pans, washed them in warm soapy water (that's what the instructions said to do!) and started dinner on my new stove... Who would have thought one person (me) could ever be this excited about something as simple as a stove... not me!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm happy..



It is about 10:55pm and I am waiting patiently for hubby to return home from setting up a network for a local copany in the area.  4 y/o kept asking where daddy was and finally asked if he could call daddy.

"daddy, where are you?  it's dark and mommy is ready for bed"
    "I'm at work bubba, is everything okay?"
"yes, mommy is ready to go to sleep, are you on your way home?"
    "I'll be home in about an hour or so"
"okay daddy, here's mommy"

I feel so lucky..., happy.... I can't stop smiling to myself.  I have been blessed with one of Gods sweetest treasures.  He is patient with the fact that I don't work, took care of our kids while I was away for the last four years, and loves me~ even if I'm not shapely with long flowing hair and fair skin.  I am truley blessed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Creative Side

For those who did not know, I have what some may call a creative side.  It normally does not surface until I find something that I really like (and it cost a fortune).  Christmas wreaths for example, now a days, one will cost you anywhere from $35 - $60 bucks... I love when they have the 20% off sticker on the ones that cost in the upper 60's~

isn't it weird how when we see something that says 20% (or more) off we can't help but to buy it?  No matter that it cost 70buck.... "It's 20% off!!!"

That is how I felt when I went to buy a wreath to go over my fireplace a few days ago.  As I looked at all the pretty colors, ribbons, and ornaments that adorned many, the fact that they all cost 45 bucks was over shadowed by the 20% off sticker.  After about 30 minutes or so, I decided I needed the red one with the poinsettas and the red bow.  I picked up my selection with a smile on my face (I was getting 20% off!) and headed to the already long line.  As I waited, and continued to eye all the other wreaths, I started to second guess my decision...

maybe the one with the different ornaments is the one I want, oooo~ the blue looks really good, I haven't done blue in awhile... Oh my goodness! they have purple! Landon loooves purple! 

The more I looked the more my mind started to spin and then suddenly I thought... 'why am I buying this?? I can make the one I want with flowers AND ornaments for less than $45 (+20% off...) after my 24 minute wait in line, I put my wreath back and headed to Michaels... What do you know~ Michael's has small wreaths for 2 bucks and larger ones for 3..

I pick a large one and a small one.  total cost... $5.  

I drove to my house to plan out a simple design, I look through my holiday decoration boxes and found several different sized ornaments in gold, blue, red, silver, and green.. I choose the red, it feels more festive... 'Oh look~ there are a few white and red poinsettas in here!!!' I take all the items and put them in a box on the table. 

Two days later, after finishing my housework, I pour all the items out of the box onto my dining room table... about an hour or more later, I hang my home made wreath over my fireplace.   take a step back, and smile... I like this~ simple, quick, and just enough to catch the eye. (pictured below)




total cost: $3.00 (I only made the large wreath... had to get dinner started!)