Monday, November 19, 2012

The Nieces

well, it's pretty much official at this point.  i picked up the moving truck this morning and almost all of my earthly possessions are loaded on to it.  i've got some friends coming over tonight for a farewell party and then tomorrow afternoon my bro B and I are heading out with the moving truck, towing my car behind us.  we are planning to drive to Erie PA and then meet up with my mom and sister-in-law later that night.  then all of us will head towards KY on wednesday morning

all of these things have been in the planning stages for MONTHS now and it doesn't really seem possible that moving day has actually ARRIVED!!!

my new adventures launches tomorrow around 2pm!!!

while i had a few minutes i wanted to conclude the last blog in the series i've been working on.  some of you might wonder why exactly i've been doing these blogs.  my mom and i were actually talking about it last night.  one of the biggest regrets i have is that i did not have a chance to say good-bye to my dad before he died; i didn't have a chance to let him know how much i loved in and share some special memories we had made.  well, one of the lessons that i have learned through my father's death is that i shouldn't wait to tell those people in my life that i love just how much i love them and why.  so i decided to do all of these blogs.  so that my mom, my brothers, my friends and others would know some of the reasons i love them and some of the fun memories i have about them each

today i want to tell you about each of my nieces.  they are one of the primary motivations for me wanting to move, for wanting to change my life, so that i can be closer to them and be a real and primary presence in their lives.  i want them to change me, to change my perspective and to continue to question things, to experience child like faith and wonder

so here is a little insight into each of my nieces and who they are right now

1) shorty
my shorty is almost 11 years old and lives with her mom and step-dad about an hour from where i will be living.  she has light blonde hair and huge blue eyes.  when she was younger, she was very much my 'mini-me' - in looks and in personality.  i was used to seeing her every week from birth until around 5 years old when she moved away from me.  she loves roller skating, art, punk clothes, sour candy and justin bieber.  she has a very creative brain, loves to paint and listen to music, she has a fabulous imagination and (right now) the color purple!  she is very smart and is in an accelerated program at her school

2) the bear
my bear is 7 years old and is the oldest daughter of the brother i will be living with.  she has very long brown hair and beautiful brown eyes.  she has a very sweet personality, loves to help her mom with her little sisters and being a great little mama to her american girl doll and bitty babies.  she was reading before she ever went to kindergarten and in fact was a little disappointed that kindergarten wasn't more challenging :)   she loves to sing and listen to music.  she is also very good at art projects and loves to dance.  she has a very tender heart, hates to be in trouble and gets scared very easily

3) the bug
my bug is 5 years old and the apple of my eye.  she has strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes and we wonder where she really came from since both her parents have brown eyes and darker hair.  she is completely left brained, super creative in both art and music, loves to cook and play with her dolls.  she needs her alone time and can usually be found sitting at her art table coloring pictures or at the computer playing educational games.  everything that comes out of her mouth is hilariously funny and usually out of the blue.  she's a deep thinker and has the adorable speech pattern that i hope she never grows out of

4) the bean
my bean is almost 2 years old and thinks i'm the best person EVER.  she has light brown hair and beautiful brown eyes.  she is just starting to talk and has developed probably the strongest personality of any of her sisters yet.  she has very definite opinions about what she will and won't do.  but she is also extremely lovable and is quick to snuggle and blow kisses.  she decided this summer when we were on vacation that i was going to be "her person" and it seems still feels that way.  she has brought her mom her cell phone before and said my name clearly :) she doesn't exactly know what to say when she's on the phone but she knows she wants to talk to me

5) the baby
the baby doesn't have an auntie nickname yet ... she's still too little.  she was born the end of august and gave us all quite the scare when she arrived 3 weeks early and very anemic.  she is recovering nicely though and is no longer a teeny tiny alien baby.  i'm so excited to be around her during her first year, to be able to enjoy the snuggling time and being there when she discovers things for the first time.  i'm also really looking forward to being there to see her personality develop and begin bonding with her

so now you know a little bit about each of my nieces and i imagine you are anxious to know more.

i am planning to start a new blog and am hoping you will follow my adventures there.  i'm hoping to be able to post on my adventures with the girls, some of their cutest quotes and a few grown up conversations as well.

i hope you'll follow along on my adventure to become the world's greatest aunt at

i don't plan on posting any more on this blog so please change any links you might have.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

just 3 things ... about my best friends

this is my 2nd to last post in the series i've got going on here ... tonight, i want to let you know about both of my best friends.

but before i start that post, i want to give a quick update on what all has been going on in my crazy life!!  some of you know that november 3rd was the last day at my part time job and november 9th was the last day at my full time job.  so i've officially been unemployed for a week now!!  in the past 7 days i have crammed in a ton of fun, overdue things, including:

  • went away for the weekend with my BFF (see #2 below) - where we did some outlet shopping, toured the hershey chocolate factory (and spent way too much money on chocolate!!) and had lots of laughs along the way
  • gave my dog a hair cut and bath (not fun so much, but definitely overdue)
  • had a sleepover party with my bestie (see #1 below) and her 5 kids - was able to celebrate her 4th's 10th birthday and then spent time the following day shopping with more laughs - we've decided we are officially old when we spend more time commenting on the current clothing styles and how similar they look to the ones we wore in middle school than we do to actually trying on and buying of said clothes :)  one old lady even stopped us in TJ Maxx and told us we were having too much fun :)
  • had a girls night in NJ with my BS girls (see previous blog post about these girls) where we went to opening night of the latest teeny-bopper vampire movie that we remain (maturely) obsessed over
  • in between all the "gallivanting" i have finished packing up all of my earthly belongings (other than a few clothes) and have secured moving truck and hotel reservations for the big move (NEXT WEEK!!)
one other thing i HAVE to tell you about and then we can get on with the "real" blog for tonight.  so as you know, my last day at work was november 9th.  if you know me at all in real life, then you know that the entire 13 years i've worked at this office, i have had problems and drama with one woman. for almost the entire 13 years i worked there i have prayed that God would let her find another job and leave my office.  well, as of november 12th, He answered that prayer.  Yep, the first Monday i wasn't there, was the day she turned in her resignation.  anyone out there think that God doesn't have a sense of humor?????

enough about me ... let's talk about my 2 best friends

1) best friend # 1 who i lovingly refer to as my 'bestie' is someone i have known since i was 12 years old. we met at a church / homeschooling (shudder) association picnic. she was the "cool" one, opposite of me in every way ... she was short, i was tall, she had brown curly hair, mine was blonde and straight, she was skinny, i was not, she had clear skin, i used a lot of Clearasil, she was quiet and i talked ALL the time, i could go on and on ... however, despite all of our differences, we became really good friends.  we had sleepovers at each others houses on friday nights and spent as much time together as we could.  throughout the years we have remained best of friends, despite all of the twists and turns our lives have taken, we are still very close and are pretty actively involved in each others lives.   so here are 3 things about my bestie C
here we are at 13 :)
  • she is the definition of a great mom.  she has 5 kids, 4 boys and 1 girl. these are really good kids, and i'm not just saying that because i'm their honorary aunt ;)  they get good grades in school, are active in sports, help around the house and don't hassle their parents (too) much.  i give their mom a lot of credit for the way these kids have turned out.  even though they don't have a lot of money, she makes sure they have the clothes and shoes they need, has their bedroom decorated very cute, makes birthdays special each year and has made their house a warm, inviting, comfortable home
  • i have had a few pretty big crisis in my life and C has been there to see me through all of them.  throughout the years, she let me come over and vent about all the craziness going on in my life, she would make me stuffed shells and let me yell or cry or whine or whatever it was i needed at that particular time.  she let it be known her couch was always available to me when i needed it.  i've mentioned in the past that she was with me when i found out that my dad had died and was with me every step of the way during those hard days. 
  • she gave me my nickname that all kiddos everywhere call me by.  all of her kids, all my nieces and most other kids who meet me use this nickname.  i met each of her kids when they were less than a day old and the youngest i was actually in the delivery room with her when he was born.  she allowed me live vicariously through her when i was desperate to be married and have kids of my own.  so her little guys will always have a special place in my life :)
2) best friend #2 who i lovingly refer to as the "BFF" i have known for 10 years now. i met R when i first moved to the albany area; we worked together for about a year at a retail store and started to become friends when co-workers got our names mixed up (all the time!!)  after i stopped working there, we stayed in touch and became very good friends.  she's 5 1/2 years younger than me but that hasn't seemed to make a difference to us. we have been on numerous weekend getaways together and even 2 week long summer vacations. she has met my entire family and i hers.  she is the first person i want to call when i have good news and the one i know i can talk to when things are crappy as well.  so here are 3 things about R
R and I on our way to VA Beach in 2008
  • she is a middle school english teacher who frequently talks about teaching being a "calling" and not a "profession".  she is a softball coach, dance chaperon and class sponsor.  she loves her students, is super dedicated to them and takes their education very seriously.  i wish i had a teacher like her when i was in middle / high school.  she teaches them everything from the Bible to the Hunger Games to Huckleberry Finn :)
  • she LOVES her family more than anyone else i know.  she has some complicated family dynamics but despite those, is super close to all of them.  her family has all embraced me as one of their own on more than one occasion.  i've shared many meals with them, even thanksgiving.  she seems to be the glue that holds her family together and has inspired me to be better at this myself
  • she "gets" me more than anyone else.  one time, i had been away on a trip and had a very bad experience.  i also had some family / personal crisis going on at the same time.  i called her up, crying on the phone and within 45 minutes, she was at my house, with a pizza and some york peppermint patties and we stood in my kitchen for over an hour, pigging out and her letting me talk and cry all i needed to.  she has an innate ability to understand what people need and when.
both of these women have helped make me the person i am today.  i am going to miss both of them  horribly when i move; and probably could not make this move without having 100% faith in them and in our relationships; despite me living over 900 miles away from them, i know we will be able to keep our friendship strong and intact

thanks for sticking with me through this post - i know it's one of my longest ones :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Just 3 things ... About my baby brother

Well I know its a big surprise that my next blog post is about (another) brother. This one is about my baby brother J.

J is the brother I was closest too when we were growing up. He's 5 1/2 years younger than me but for some reason he still managed to be "cool" enough to hang out with my friends when I was in college. Most 20 year olds wouldn't tolerate their 14 year old sibling hanging out with them but we made it work :)

1) J was my first roommate. He & I moved out on our own at the same time. So we shared our first apt together for a year. It was a great year!!! We had a ton of fun and only seemed to fight over the phone ;) this was back when the only way to connect to the Internet was thru dial up (I'm old I know it). We had great friends that lived nearby and it might have been one of the best years of my life. And then he had to go and move away from me :(

2) J might be the smartest of all the siblings. He is a nurse anesthetist (thank you auto correct) and actually understands science; a concept very foreign to me!!! He also has a really good understanding of the Bible and theology. He leads bible studies and is a part of the worship team at his church. In just a little over a year there he has made an impact at his church and in his community

3) J is a great father!!! He has 4 little girls and has embraced what it means to be a good dad. He makes up silly songs about them, reads to them, takes them camping, encourages them, teaches them right from wrong and loves them with his whole heart. And those girls LOVE & ADORE him in return. His arrival home each day is the highlight of their day.

A few more tidbits about J:
- he needs to shave about 3 times a day
- if an activity happens outdoors he LOVES it (camping, kayaking, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, etc etc)
- he loves his JEEP but can't seem to keep one very long. The boy buys more cars on Craig's list than anyone else I know
- his morning ritual includes coffee, his bible, sportscenter & the gym
- he loves his big sister enough to let her move into his basement and pile all her stuff into every spare corner of his home :)

I love you J and am so excited that you are a big part of this next chapter in my life :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

just 3 things ... about my middle brother

so sorry about the delay in getting this blog post out ... it's been a crazy crazy few weeks for me!!!  lots of adventures have already happened and several more are planned!!  not to mention, the teeny tiny small detail that a week from Tuesday i will be MOVING!!!!  still doesn't seem real to me ...

regardless, we are here tonight to talk about my middle brother B
here he is with our mom and dad

growing up, B was the brother i would have sold for some candy or a new shirt or something ... he was kinda the bane of my existence  :)  just keeping it real on here bro ...

i'm very happy to report that now i wouldn't trade him for anything!!  we have definitely come a LONG way in our relationship, which i'm very happy about!

ok - so just 3 things about B that you may or may not know!

1) the boy EXCELS at card games.  it doesn't matter what we are playing: go fish, old maid, texas hold 'em or rook, he will beat you almost EVERY time ... he has the inane ability to read the entire situation, almost know every time what cards every other player is holding in their hands and what card they are going to play next.  he's really difficult to beat and every time we have a family gathering where cards are involved, we all want B on our team!!
he and I at his wedding in 2011

2) he will do ANYTHING for someone he loves ... that saying "give him the shirt off your back" applies to B.  he's also one of these renaissance guys ... knows a little about almost everything ... so he's very handy to have around! he can work on your car, paint your house, put on a new roof, fix your leaking toilet, build a deck and clean your gutters (these are all things he has done in the past several months for his family and friends)  he is the caretaker for both his family and his wife's family. if any of us needs help with something, B is the one we know we can call. he has ran errands for me in the past and comes over to let my dog out if i'm working late or have to go somewhere after work and can't come straight home.  without me ever asking him, when he heard i was planning to move, he made sure that he would be available to help me.  so he's going to drive the moving truck and help me load and unload all my stuff next week. the initiative he has is probably the thing i admire most about him.  the ability to see something that needs to be done and to just do it ...

3) the thing I will love B the most for - is the fact that he gave me my very 1st niece.  my shorty :)  i met her for the 1st time when she was about 2 weeks old and she stole my heart from that very first meeting.  she lives in a different state so B doesn't get to see her very often.  but when he does, he makes sure he treasures the time he has with her and makes sure she is around the entire family as much as possible.  i'm so grateful to him for giving me my first change to be an auntie :)  a job you all must know by now that i cherish

B and his daughter at his wedding

so there you have it ... i'm thinking that you all wish you had a middle brother like mine :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

just 3 things ... about my oldest brother

anyone been guessing what the next blog in my series was going to be about???

well if you guessed my oldest brother "S", then you would be correct! most of you know i'm the oldest child and only girl in my family. i have 3 younger brothers. the oldest of them is "S".

here are 3 things you may or may not know about my oldest brother

here is my dad and my 3 bro's - "S" is the one in the light colored jacket

1) he is good at EVERYTHING he does! i'm not even exaggerating here. let me list some of the things he excels at:

  • he plays music by ear - so he hears a piece a few times and then can go sit down at a piano and play the song.
  • he's good at sports without even trying - when he was a kid and played little league, he was literally the kid in right field picking dandelions - but if a ball was hit his way, he could catch it without really trying. 
  • he's an impressive artist - can draw great sketches with pencil and paper
  • he's an award winning sharp-shooter.  i mean, seriously, the boy has mad skills that even the Marine Corp have acknowledged several times!!
  • he can build a cell phone charger out of a metal box and a few wires - give him some electrical wires and some duct tape and he might be able to build us a time machine or a space ship ... no big deal
  • he can do ANYTHING on a computer or video game
i really could keep going about this - i am very envious of the fact that everything he seems to put his mind to do, he can accomplish and all the while makes it look easy

2) he is a Marine... something that makes all of us, but especially made my dad super proud.  he has made 2 tours to Iraq - one that last 7 months and one that only lasted 6 weeks as he almost died due to breathing in who knows what after an explosion and going into respiratory failure. he has spent most of his career with the Marines on the shooting range, training other Marines in both the team approach measures (i'm sure they have an actual name) and the rifle on a tripod laying on your belly shooting (i'm such a proud sister but i don't know their technical terms - sorry bro).  before he enlisted, he was kind of aimless. he had dropped out of college, had a couple jobs, just didn't seem to know where or what he needed to be doing.  we were all very shocked when he told us he was enlisting.  but i think it was the best decision he made.  he grew up, became a man (as trite as it sounds), figured out what his life was going to be about, met his wife and really grew into the man he is today.

here he is on the shooting range, doing "his thing"

3) he ships out on Monday to Okinawa Japan for 6 months!!!!  initially we thought he didn't leave until december and were really hoping he and his wife could join us in KY for thanksgiving, but then we found out he was leaving november 5th instead.  i know this should be a relatively safe 6 month mission for him, i'm still nervous.  i would much prefer him be here, in the USA, out of harms way.  but i am very grateful that this is where he is headed and not Afghanistan or Egypt!

here he is with his wife, both of them all dressed up and looking sharp!

brother, i just want you to know how much i love you and how proud i am of you and how you are serving our country.  you make me the envy of all my co-workers to have such a good looking marine for a brother!  you know how proud Dad was of you - he love that he had a Marine for a son;he bragged out you wherever and whenever he could!!  PS - see if you can find where the Karate Kid 2 was filmed while you are in Okinawa - i want one of those shaker / rattle things they all spun during his fight :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

How Many of YOU are there??
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

just 3 things ... about my mom

tonight i want to dedicate my blog to my mom - and i thought, what better way than by my "3 things" being 3 things about her??  there are so many things about my mom and it's been hard to narrow down the list to just 3 ... but i think these 3 things are some highlights, some glimpses into my mom and who she is

1) my mom LOVES being a mom and a grandmother.  nothing seems to make her happier than when she has all her children and all her grandchildren around her.  she will plan out for weeks ahead of time before a visit, to make sure that each day is a new adventure, complete with at least one new surprise treat or activity. she always makes sure she has our favorite drinks and snacks on hand when visits are planned. everyone who meets my mom knows that she has a very giving, very generous spirit which she shows to everyone she encounters; but none more so than her family. her love language is most definitely serving others, especially in the things that she does for them.  throughout the years for me, she has upholstered furniture, made curtains, helped me move in and out of places, helped me clean up prior to moving out, helped me set up the next place, hang pictures on the walls, etc.
as a special note, her granddaughters are the light of her life.  she loves nothing more than to shop for them, spend time with them, read to them, snuggle in bed with them, and go places with them.  she has even adopted my brother's 2 step-kids as her own. she makes sure they are included in all events and even makes food that she knows they will enjoy (even if it's different that the meal she has prepared for everyone else).
i think the one characteristic i wish i had inherited from my mom was her servant's heart.  it's easy for me to "serve" someone when i feel i'm getting a lot out of it; that the rewards are greater than the service.  but i really struggle to be a servant when there is nothing in it for me and this is where my mom excels

"Nana" and her grandaughters :)

2) my mom is a nurse; but her first choice in professions would have been interior decorator if my grand-father would have let her go to school for it. he wisely instructed her to find a career in which she would always be needed; after living through the depression, he had learned that a steady job despite the economy was the wisest decision to make. so she became a really great nurse and has worked in various fields, hospitals and offices her entire adult life.  but she has not lost her first love of decorating.  so instead of it being her career, it has become her hobby.  as long as i can remember, she has helped others with painting, hanging wallpaper, finding "treasures" at junk stores, restoring old furniture, reupholstering couches and chairs to make them new again, the list goes on and on. however, cosmetic decorating is not ALL that she is capable of doing.  she can knock down walls, assist with any carpentry project, landscape, even lay tile and hard wood floors.  she even dabbles in minor electrical and plumbing jobs.  i'm exhausted just typing this list out, but this is how she frequently spends her "down" time.  again, another trait that i didn't inherit completely.  i can decorate the crap out of a room, but i'm too much of a klutz to be any good at the manual labor things ... i am known to spill entire gallons of paint over a freshly tiled kitchen floor and spill 5 gallon buckets of water over freshly stained wood floors, need i say more???
Mom & her sisters

3) my mom is the strongest woman i know.  she has endured quite a bit of heartache and betrayal from friends and family members, physical and emotional pain, and the early deaths of both her parents and her husband.  yet, she still gets out of bed every day, faces everything that needs to be faced, helps others and maintains a strong yet quiet dignity throughout all of it. i hope to one day be as strong as my mom is - i know that i inherited quite a bit of that strength from her, but i also know i have a long way to go to be as strong as she is

Me and Mama

a few other little "tidbits" about my mom (because 3 just can't be enough)

  • great cook, famous for her 7-minute frosting, corn bread dressing, texas caviar and banana pudding
  • loves her chardonnay
  • throws the best parties
  • looks 10 years younger than she is
  • stylish dresser
  • dedicated, hard working and loves challenges
  • a morning person - much to the chagrin of her 4 "non-morning" children
  • junk store connoisseur
  • plays piano and has a great singing voice
  • southern belle to her core
mom, i love you so much and will miss you more than you will know when i move. thank you for always supporting me in my goals and dreams, thank you for letting me live with you this past year to get me closer to my dreams and goals, and thank you for loving me for who i am and not expecting me to change :)