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 :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

just 3 things ... about my church

I had planned for this blog to be out on last week.  But life has been a little beyond crazy lately!!  Lots of good things have been happening, but I do miss the nights where I could come home, watch a little TV, write a blog, read a few chapters in a book and get to bed early ... i don't have too many days like that anymore!

Anyways, I have a short series of blogs I would like to write in the next 3-4 weeks, all leading up to the big, life changing, EVENT!

Have you ever really stopped to think about small decisions shape your life?  About how different your life might be if you had made a different decision about something?  I'm not talking about a BIG decision (like college, jobs, marriage, childbirth), but just a small one. One that seems insignificant at the time. There is an older movie called Sliding Doors in which they show what happens to the one main character's life as a result of one tiny decision.  She either makes the subway or she misses it.  And the movie shows both options.  What happens in either "timeline". Her life was dramatically different as a result of that 15 second decision.  I have realized that I have made a few small decisions that in the end have resulted in life changing things for me.

So tonight, I want to share with you ... just 3 things about my church ... more specifically, just 3 things that have happened to me as a result of being a part of my church for the past 10+ years

I grew up in a very small church, and all but 2 1/2 years in my childhood were spent with my dad as my pastor.  But in 2001, a lot of things changed. and one of the biggest changes for me, was that I started going to a very different church than I had ever known.  I grew up in a very conservative church, a small Baptist denomination that took church and God very very seriously. Church and church events took up a very large part of my life as a kid.  Being the pastor's kid brought a whole lot of pressure and scrutiny.  Things that other kids could do without a second thought, those things were examined closer for me and my brothers. I felt more pressure than was actually probably there, some of that due to me being the oldest and being the only girl.  Regardless, in my mind, that scrutiny was there.

So early in 2002 i started going to the church i'm still in now.  A very large, non-denominational church in Latham.  This church has changed my life in so many ways!  It opened up doors for me that I otherwise wouldn't have known about, it made me question things and forced me to decide what I believe rather than what I was raised to believe.

There are 3 things in particular that I want to highlight that have happened to me as a result of my one (seemingly) small decision I made when I changed churches

1) youth group
after being in a church where everyone knew everything about me, it was refreshing to be anonymous   It was comforting even to be able to go to church, sit in the back, sing songs, listen to a message and leave.  But after a year or so, I started to realize I was ready to start making friends, to start meeting people and become involved in the church, to try to make a difference with my life.  And so, one Sunday in the bulletin, I saw that the youth group was looking for adult volunteers to help out.  Something about that sounds really appealing to me. I didn't know if I would be any good hanging out with teens, or if I would be a complete failure at it.  But something made me call up the youth pastor at the time and talk to him about volunteering.  Another seemingly small decision, but one that changed my life dramatically and forever.  It took me a while to find my place with the highschool kids.  I was so scared of them to begin with!  It was hard for me to go up to them and make conversation for fear that they wouldn't think I was "cool" enough to talk to them.  But after about 3 or 4 months, I realized that this was the place for me. I had made some good friendships with some of the other leaders and was starting to build relationships with the kids.  And for the next 8 years, youth group was a HUGE part of my life!  The teens that I met and grew close with in that time were amazing.  Some of them stretched me more than I ever knew I could be stretched. We laughed together, we cried together, we yelled, we sang, we were goof balls, we were serious and I found the place where I was needed the most.  I will always be grateful for those teens and those leaders who let me share in their lives, who trusted me with their deepest secrets and who came to me with their hardest questions.  I will never forget them and will always be happy to hear from them or see them even if it's only in passing.  (i wish i could tell ALL THE STORIES about my time in youth group, but they are enough to fill a book! and maybe one day i will sit down and write them all out but that may have to wait until my life settles down!!)

2) friends for life
it took a long time for me to make new friends.  a lot of that was my own choosing.  but getting involved with youth group and some connections i made there, led me to an amazing group of women that have become some of my best friends.  we started out as a twice a month bible study and morphed into one of the tightest groups of friends that you can imagine.  (no exaggeration on this).  i have written about them in other places and at other times, but it bears repeating!  we were together for over 4 years and got to the place we were completely open and honest with each other.  we went through an entire year where all of us experienced some sort of dramatic pain and loss, and that year as awful as it was, brought us even closer together. even though 3 of them ended up moving away and our group disbanded so to speak, we are still close.  there are things that still bring us together and so many memories we will never forget.  some of them drove over 4 hours round trip to come to my dad's funeral - i'll never forget the warmth and love i felt when i was turned around during the wake and saw them standing in the back.  i will always treasure their friendship. (another small insignificant decision at the time ... to join a bible study with some girls that i "sort of" knew through church)

3) lessons learned
this section too could be a whole book in itself but there are a few big lessons i have learned that i would like to share.  the biggest thing that i became aware of when i started attending this large non-denominational church was how small minded and judgmental i had been when it came to Christians.  I really did believe that the only "true" Christians out there were ones that were apart of the same small Baptist denomination as I.  I thought there might be other Christians out there, but they were either "misguided" or "weak" and didn't have as much understanding as those in my church had about God and the Bible.  At the time, I could not have identified this in myself, but it didn't take long for me to realize it once I started having conversations with other people at church.  I realized that there were very Godly, very devoted, very smart and loving people ALL over the place that knew way more about the Bible than I did.  Once I was able to drop my preconceived notions I had about all of this, I was able to learn so many new lessons from so many different people.  My pastor and the other leaders in my church have taught me so much, no only from their messages on Sundays but from their lives and their conversations with me, from their actions and their decisions about things.  Getting to know some of them as parents and not as "adults" taught me many lessons.  I'm still learning these lessons. And oh so grateful that I am!

that is all for me tonight!! thanks for reading - please feel free to leave me comments or questions :)
i hope you all have a wonderful week!

only 3 more weeks of work!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Today was a pretty normal day. Work went about as well as it could for a Wednesday (every Wednesday is a meeting day).  Left on time, got home, walked Riley, ate a little dinner and headed off to church for our mid-week book study.  I really am enjoying this book study - we are going through a book called The Drama of Scripture and the guy leading it is young, very knowledgeable,  a good teacher and the class has been a good one so far.

Anyways, things were going really well. Until the teacher asks his first question of the night "If you could ask God just one question, right now, tonight, what would it be?"  

And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, tears filled my eyes and for a second, it even felt hard to breathe

Because my thoughts automatically went to my dad.  

My faith in God is solid and I believe without a doubt, that God is in control and His timing is perfect.  But when I honestly ask myself what question would I ask God, the question would be about the timing of my dad's death.  Why was this year the year for him to die?  Why was it so sudden that I was not able to say good-bye?  

A part of me knows the answers already.  Because it was God's perfect timing.  Because if asked, Dad would have said he would have wanted to go fast, to not be in pain, etc. 

I do believe the Bible when it clearly says in Job 14:5 "Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass."  and Psalm 139:16 "Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them."

But knowing it doesn't stop the pain; doesn't stop the automatic tears

I think these are the moments I continue to dread.  The times when something will trigger a memory or a question (like tonight) and I will be blindsided by my grief

Please continue to pray for my family and me.  We are healing, but at times like tonight, the pain is as real and as fresh as it was on August 3rd.

While you are praying for us, please also continue to pray for friends of our family in KY; who lost their  7 week old baby boy a few weeks prior to my dad's death.

Their grief and sorrow are on a whole different level than ours; I cannot begin to fathom how they manage during the times when they are blindsided by grief

Sunday, October 14, 2012

finding purpose in the routine

"just 3 more weeks of work at the 2nd job"
"just 4 more weeks of work at Hospice"

These are the thoughts in my head tonight.  These surreal thoughts ... thoughts I still find hard to believe even though I'm the one voicing them.  Even though they are in MY head ...

Now, my time spent with family & friends seems more purposeful, seems more "special" then "normal" or "routine".  I find myself wanting to make sure I am "intentional" in who I spend my time with and what I spend my time doing.

There is a part of me that wishes this is how we all spent every week of our lives.  That every time we make plans to spend time with friends or family, we were "intentional" about it.  That we made sure to find purpose in routine things.

Can you imagine how different our lives would be?  Can you fathom what a different person that would make you be?  A different spouse, a different parent, a different child, sibling, friend, co-worker, church member?

We are not promised tomorrow, yet we all seem to live our lives like we have 50 years worth of tomorrows.   We might not have 5, 10 or 15 years to make an impact, to change a life.  We have today.  

I hope and pray that these thoughts running through my head continue to affect me, not only while I'm still here in NY, but when I make my transition to KY .. when I have the opportunities to see my nieces every single day.  

I want to remember that each day with them should be a purposeful day.  That each opportunity I have with them is a chance to make an impact, to change a life, to be who they each need me to be for them.

What about you?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

sun night musings

my 3 things tonight are a jumbled mess ... random things with no thread to connect them but they are the things on my heart this past few weeks

1) the closer i get to November 9th (my last day at my full time job) the harder i'm finding it is to keep my "filter" in place.  it's harder to keep my mouth in control when i'm at work.  in the 13+ years i've been here, there are MANY things that i just "do" because i'm bad at enabling people to not learn how to do their job correctly  as it's simply easier to just do it than deal with the incompetence that others seem to exhibit.  well now that my time is limited i'm finding it a whole lot easier to say ' guess what, it's time you learned how to do YOUR job because i'm leaving here soon and won't be able to do it for you'.  On one hand, it's freeing to just let go.  But on the other hand, i have to fight the temptation because i really do want to continue to uphold my strong work ethic and not undo the good 'name' i've worked all these years to maintain.  so i will continue to fight this for the next 5 (!!!!!) weeks

2) baseball POSTSEASON is upon us!  i LOVE this time of year ... all of a sudden every game becomes a MUST WIN and the intensity increasing exponentially!  in past years, i've had conversations with perfect strangers in grocery stores and while pumping gas about great post season games!  it's a fun time of year to be a baseball fan (if your team is playing i guess).  but this year it makes me sad too.  baseball was one of those "things" that i shared with my dad.  he and i loved to watch the games together if possible and if not, then talk about them the next day.  there were times he would call me in the middle of a game to either complain about how a-rod wasn't hitting or to celebrate how just amazing Mariano was pitching.  a few years in a row, when i had ZERO extra money, he bought me tickets to playoff games on a bus trip; he made sure he was my driver and always reserved the front seat for me so i could be near him.  he bought me tickets to the parade in 2009 when the Yankees won the world series.  it made him happy to do this for me especially the years when i was too broke to even conceive of paying for the tickets myself.  i am definitely missing him   tonight during game 1 of the ALDS.

here is a picture of us last year in the parking lot before the game where Jeter hit his 3000th hit

3) we sang the song "Jesus You are Worthy" today at church today.  i blogged about this back in June - how this song just humbles me and makes me so grateful.  the phrase "justice & mercy meet on the cross" and all it means when you think about it.  if you haven't heard this song (either at all or in a while), do yourself a favor and watch the video below.  it will uplift & encourage you

hope you all have a great week!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


i posted this on facebook and twitter on last saturday

"Starting to realize how few days I have left in NY. Makes me happy & sad, excited & scared, just a bundle of contradictions"

This statement still sums up how i'm feeling.  i'm so excited about being close to my nieces, so happy at the idea of a fresh start and a brand new section in my book called "life".  but i'm so sad & scared about all of the people and memories that i'm leaving behind.

I've been planning out my last month here and trying to make sure i "fit" in everything i need / want to do ... my time is filling up so quickly.  I'm also starting to realize all of the "lasts" i'm going to experience

  • my last NY fall season
  • my last shift at either of my jobs
  • my last time to just 'hang' with my 2 best friends
  • my last midnight movie extravaganza with my BS girlies
  • my last church service at Grace
  • and on and on and on the list goes
i want to make sure i remember all these things and treasure them.  i want to enjoy them and focus more on the good and not so much on the "last" part of them

so i'm hoping to be more consistent on here, to capture all of these memories and moments i'm having

yesterday i went to Vermont with my mom and her 2 sisters (visiting from Alabama).  it was a very fun trip.  they had me laughing so hard a couple times i almost ran off the road. it was great to take them places they had never seen before (like the Van Trapp family lodge, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Ben & Jerry's Factory, show them the foliage in most of its splendor (see below picture), and experience new things together too (like take the ferry across Lake Champlain from VT into NY).

i posted a bunch of pictures from our adventures yesterday but i just want to share this one again because this tree was breathtaking

i will get back to my normal "3 things" tomorrow but just had to get these thoughts / feelings off my heart tonight ...


Monday, September 24, 2012

just 3 (good) things ... about mondays

so one of the funniest movies ever for those of us who work in an office is the movie "office space".  and one of the best quotes from the movie is "somebody has a case of the mondays"

i've blogged about how when you work 7 days a week, monday is just another day and it's not a big deal. that being said, there is "something" about mondays that i do dread.  having to wake up early, knowing that everything will be nuts as soon as i walk into the door at my office, just having to get back into a routine, it's not always a fun thing to look forward to

but when you only have 7 mondays left to work at your current office, your perspective changes a bit

now that i have only 6 mondays left, here are my 3 (good) things about my mondays

1) the new iPhone software that i just recently upgraded to has one of many very cool features. the alarm clock now plays a song from your music on your phone.  therefore, waking up to a song off the new matchbox twenty album as opposed to the obnoxious old phone ringing sound is actually not a bad thing.  it certainly makes a difference on a monday

2) going to church on sunday, where i experience powerful worship and hear a message that convicts me or encourages me, i often find myself recharged, refreshed and encouraged that i'm not the only one out there facing the battles i face.  so why do i just as often lose that charge in less than 24 hours?  if my perspective is focused on the right thing, then i do find myself excited to face the week.

3) for the next 7 weeks, each monday that passes brings me one week closer to seeing my nieces ALL the time.  how can anything else compare with that??

so for me, i promise right here and now, that for the next 6 weeks, i, rachael, will NOT have a case of the mondays :)

can you say the same thing???

Monday, September 10, 2012

my epic news

i've always liked the analogy of the passage of life as a book.

i'm thrilled to announce today that i'm on the cusp of a new chapter; but my news might actually warrant more than a chapter; perhaps it might be the beginning of a whole new section of the book

2 years ago i took a long hard look at might life, to evaluate where i had been and more importantly where i was headed.  i was about 1/2 way through paying off my credit cards and starting to wonder what would come next.  once i wasn't obligated to work at a job that paid me a decent amount of money, most of which went to paying bills

and i decided that if debt didn't have me chained down anymore, then why would i want to live 1000 miles away from my (at the time) 3 nieces?

so over the past 2 years, i have been working 2-3 jobs, giving every bit of excess money i could to my credit cards and as some of you may know, as of august 24th, all of those bills are completely paid off.

now, i am free to begin the next chapter / section / phase of my life

i'm ecstatic to tell you that today i gave 2 months notice to my bosses at my job and let them know that my last day of work would be november 8th.

my plan is to move to bowling green, KY the week of Thanksgiving.


i will be moving into the basement of my brother & sister-in-law's house and will become their part-time (or maybe full-time) live-in "nanny" of sorts to their 4 very precious girls

i will definitely miss all of my friends and family here in NY - over the past 6 weeks i have been even more blessed by all of your love & care for me during some pretty dark days

my dad was pretty excited at this prospect for me so i know he would be thrilled to know it is coming to fruition

more blog posts to follow as plans firm up and other decisions are made but here is what i know as of today

pretty epic news right?????

PS- i've been waiting MONTHS to write this blog!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

just 3 things ... about my 3 day weekend in NYC

had a very swell adventure in NYC with some very good friends. i have been compiling a NYC bucket list of sorts ... and i gave said list to my friends N&M who live in Manhattan and in 3 days time we managed to check all but one thing off my list.  and we still had time for lots and lots of conversation mingled in with plenty of eating & drinking

so here are my 3 things from my trip

1) the 9/11 memorial at the world trade center is simply stunning.  none of the pictures i took managed to do the memorial pools the least bit of justice.  they sit in the footprint of the 2 towers and the water flows down a 30 foot drop ... it's peaceful and quiet at the top, where all the names are inscribed, but then it's loud and almost intense as it flows down the drop to the bottom where it becomes peaceful again.  the way that whole area is designed is for one of respect and memorial.  it's something to behold.  and it was touching to see people there crying and hugging and still remembering those events now almost 11 years ago

2) walking the Brooklyn Bridge is an entirely different experience than the movie Kate & Leopold would lead you to believe.  or even the stupid geico gecko dude.  however, the views of manhattan, brooklyn, the statue of liberty, all the other bridges and the hudson river were worth the trek up to the bridge and then across it.  it was pretty spectacular when you see the inscription that it was built in 1875 and it is still standing and functional to this day

3) can anything honestly replace good conversation with great friends?? i mean, we laughed and made fun of each other, we talked seriously about politics, religion, the church, our beliefs, we discussed our love for harry potter, the hunger games and even twilight ... (maybe not ALL of us joined in on that discussion), they asked me about my dad and we had so many conversations about our families. as great as all the site seeing was, and as much as i love the adventures that NYC brings, i will even more  treasure and remember fondly the time i got to spend with my friends.  so thank you N & M for your wonderful hospitality and thank you B for making the trek in for NJ to hang with me for 1/2 a day.  i love you all so much!!!

i posted some pics of FB so check them out if you'd like


Thursday, August 30, 2012

just 3 things ... lite

ok so here is my super quick 3 things for the past few days

1) my little niece Tessa is doing soooo much better!  she's still in NICU but should be off O2 all together tomorrow and she will soon be able to take a bottle.  her sisters got to meet her today (briefly) which was pretty much against hospital policy, but since my brother works in the same hospital, they made an exception ... which ... rocks :)

2) one more day of work and then 3 day weekend!!  and i'm heading to the NYC for the whole weekend ... can.not.wait ... ... NYC get ready!!

3) i'm thinking i might like to try my hand at photography ... now that i have a little extra spending $$  each paycheck ... anyone have any camera suggestions???

happy (almost) friday everyone!!

look forward to some NYC adventure stories next week :)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

happy girl

tonight, i am a very happy girl.  today might have been the first day in almost a month where i was genuinely and totally excited almost to the point of dancing around my living room

here's my very happy girl 3 things for today

1) today i had a random day off. originally i took the day off the spend with my friend M in NYC.  however, my trip got postponed so i was left with a day off with nothing to do.  this is NOT a bad thing!  after working both days this weekend i was happy to have a day of 'nothingness'.  i did 2 loads of laundry, caught up on some tv watching, paid some bills (more on that later) and did a little shopping.

2) my good deals of the day: i found a pair of pants on sale for $3.50!! you read that right!  since when can you buy pants for $3.50???  they cost more than that when you buy them used at Salvation Army!!!  Anyhoo, i got a new outfit for $19 and found a new comforter set for 1/2 off as well!  treated myself to a fro-yo lunch and thoroughly enjoyed my day :)

3) for the past 4 years, i have been enrolled with a credit card consolidation company since september of 2008.  every month for the past 4 years i have paid a hefty monthly payment towards paying down the balance of 5 credit cards.  i have been scrimping and making due for the past 4 years. i have downsized and sold things and even moved in with my parents last september.  i was due to finish paying it all off in April of 2013.  but, thanks to picking up extra shifts at my 2nd job, and putting almost all my paychecks to extra monthly payments, today, i made my last payment EVER!!!  my debt has been paid, my days of being chained to interest and monthly payments and financial instability are over.  when i made that payment, i had this huge smile on my face and may or may not have danced around the living room by myself!!!

so that's me ... the happy girl on the couch tonight ... :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

just 3 things...about my dad

just a few things about my dad that you might not have known ... these are all things about my dad that made him unique, things that make me smile as i remember them ...

1) he was a PhD.  He worked at this for most of my life; he received his masters and then his doctorate from seminary.  His topic for his dissertation was way deeper than anything i could have written.  i don't even know the entire name or even the whole subject matter.  it was something along the lines of ethics and religion in the civil war and the decisions that were made.  i'll have to find this out for sure because i think at some point i'd like to read the entire dissertation.  he was a voracious reader. he loved to read historical biographies and just about all non-fiction historical books.  he read the local newspaper and one of the NYC papers every single day.  he enjoyed being informed and educated on all of our country's events.  

2) he loved Mariano Rivera.  he grew up in alabama and was therefore a braves fan until the late 90's when my brothers and i started REALLY following baseball and i began my eating, sleeping, breathing yankees baseball phase.  he was thrilled that his kids were getting into baseball and although he wasn't happy it was an american league team, we quickly "converted" him to a yankees fan. he was always happy when he was talking to me about the most recent game.  he loved nothing more than listening the ball game on the radio, no matter where he was.  he even had an app on his iPhone so he could listen to just about every game.  Mo was his favorite player.  he always said that the year that Rivera was inducted into the baseball hall of fame, he would be there.  i'm thinking i will have to be there that year instead of him. 

3) he shot a teenage boy one time ... yep you read that right ... with a real pistol and everything ... when i was in college, one christmas vacation, we had almost 20 kids come stay with us for 10 days.  we had kids sleeping on every available floor space.  i still don't know how my mom managed to feed us all ... but she someone did.  anyways, one of the last nights they were all there, my dad loaded up his black powder pistol with everything except for the bullet.  he walked into my brother's room and told one of the boys in there that he had had just about enough of his talking ... he told him if he said 'one more word' he would shoot him ... of course, the boy called my dad's bluff and said something like "now, Mr Lynn" and ... yep, my dad shot him ... the boy fell over the other side of the bed, fully thinking he had actually been shot with a bullet.  those of us not in the room, all came running into the bedroom because everyone heard the "shot".  by that point, my dad was keeled over laughing hysterically and the rest of us were joining in the laughter. (PS this boy had grown up to be a stand up comedian - and i'd love to know if this story is part of his "routine")  i'm pretty sure my first reaction was to be embarrassed, because seriously, none of my friends dads would 'shoot' anyone in their home ... is it any wonder that i didn't have a bunch of fellas trying to date me back then????

there you have it ... just a few things about my dad :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

it's been 18 days since my dad died

it has been 18 days since my dad died of a no warning signs, no recovering from, no question about it heart attack.  i was away for the weekend with a good friend, a weekend that was supposed to be about reconnecting with one of my oldest and dearest friends "C". we left on thursday the 2nd, had a fun night of dinner and movies, a few drinks, lots of laughs and tons of conversation. it was probably close to 1:00 am before we fell asleep.  then, i got a call from my mom at 3:22 AM telling me that my dad had woken up with chest pain, took some medicine and 15 minutes later, stopped breathing.  she called me after 911 arrived but he was already gone

i literally sat in the bathroom of the hotel room for almost an hour ... not able to think clearly, not able to make a decision about if i should drive home right away, wait until morning, not able to decide if i should make any phone calls, nothing.  i wasn't crying, just numb.  i know 2 of my brothers called, i remember walking outside the room to talk to 1 of them, but i can't really remember what we talked about. i tried to lay back down, but my mind was racing, and yet i still couldn't decide what i was supposed to do.  i couldn't figure out what my family needed me to do.... nothing

at 4:45 am i woke up C, told her we needed to go home and the reason why.

we were 4 1/2 hours away from home and that drive home might of been the longest of my life. my friend C was great. she was exactly what i needed.  she let me drive until we got to roads that were familiar to her, she did not try to talk to me, i remember we talked a little, but i don't know what it was about. i just know i didn't even know what to say or what to talk about or how i should be acting or anything. i just needed that silence.  she was truly a "friend of Job" during those hours.

i don't want to write down all of the details of the rest of that day and these next couple days. frankly i don't really remember all of them. i do know that it didn't seem real, i heard what everyone was saying, i heard my brother talk to funeral directors and call friends and co-workers of my dad, i helped write his obituary, pick out his suit for the funeral, talk with the pastor about the funeral service, but i just couldn't imagine that it was real. that my life had changed in such a drastic, unchanging way

there are a few things that i have come to realize through all this and i want to share them with you

1) that saying "you find out who your friends are" has never been more clear to me than it is now. my whole family has had such an overwhelming outpouring of love and support from our friends.

  • friends who came and sat with us, didn't say much, just sat with us.  
  • friends who brought us food and drinks, 
  • friends who brought us paper products so we wouldn't have to wash dishes, 
  • friends who cleaned our bathrooms the day of the funeral,
  • friends who drove 2+ hours to be at the wake / funeral,
  •  friends who cried with us and sometimes for us, 
  • friends who brought strong drinks and drank with us, 
  • friends who found ways to make us laugh and relive some old memories, 
  • friends who didn't say "if you need anything, let me know" but just did things for us
  • friends who prayed, sent text messages, facebook  messages, cards, letters, flowers and gift baskets.  
  • friends who took over when the funeral was over, made plates of food for the family, 
  • friends who cleaned up the kitchen, who took out the garbage, who did things without ever needing to be asked.  
i hope to one day be able to repay this favor, to be this kind of a friend, this kind of support to you

2) today is the first day since everything happened that we didn't receive a card or letter in the mail from someone.  and that's ok, i'm not complaining, i'm just making the point that 16 days after the fact, we were still receiving cards and letters.  i've learned that the cards and letters that mean the most are the ones that mention a story, a memory, a lesson learned, a personal tidbit, something that lets you know just how loved, or special, or remembered your loved one actually was.  these are the ones we have cherished and read over and over again.  all of the cards have been wonderful, to know people are thinking about you and praying for you, those are nice.  but the ones with the other part, those are treasures and i will remember that for the rest of my life.  i vow to return this sentiment from this point on

3) i have always known that prayer works, i've always known how comforting and reassuring prayer can be.  but i have not always known how the prayers of others can keep you going, can keep you sane and able to function.  i didn't even know that these prayers were having this affect on me.  i knew hundreds were praying, from cards, texts, facebook, etc. but i didn't take the time to really reflect on that.  it honestly did not hit me until the sunday i went back to church, a week after the funeral.  and one of the first songs we sang was "your grace is enough".  that phrase was enough to make me weep with gratitude and understanding. maybe for the first time, to really understand what that meant to me personally.  it was then i realized how much all of your prayers were working.  it's hard to put this exactly into words but i'm hoping i'm conveying just how much i appreciate and fully understand the power of your prayers.  God has been 'enough' for me, His faithfulness has kept me going, His comforting arms around me are the reason i can get out of bed, can go to work, can remember good memories and not dwell on the sad ones.

ok so those are my 3 things

things i have needed to say outloud, to write down, to get out of my head.  i've been procrastinating, it's hard to do, it's hard to bring some of it back to the front of my mind. it's very easy to find myself distracted by the routine of my life so that i don't dwell on all these sad thoughts

i know in my heart that for my dad the words "no more sorrow, no more pain" are so true.  he lived with many sorrows and was in pain every day of his life, he had back and foot pain almost constantly. i know he is much happier now. that guilt is gone, that pain is gone, he is free.

but that does not completely take my pain away, that does not ease my missing him, does not take away my regrets of not telling my dad just how much i loved him.  it was easier to "bust" on him for his "old man" tendencies, to roll my eyes when i had to show him how to watch a tv show that was on DVR or change a setting on his iPhone, to outwardly sigh when he asked me what other TV / movies a certain actor or actress had been on, to fuss at him for giving my dog ice cream and too much table food.

i do regret not having more heart-to-heart conversations with him, to pick his brain more about passages of scripture, to let him know that he had not failed me, that i was still his 'little girl' and still so proud of him and all he had accomplished in his life

so please don't stop praying for me.  being alone is when i struggle the most, driving in the car, in bed at night before i fall asleep, etc

i love you all so much and will be forever grateful for your love and friendship, especially these past few weeks

Friday, July 20, 2012

i survived the week (barely)

so my 3 things tonight might not be all that cheerful & optimistic but after this week, it's the best i've got

1) i survived my 1st week of couch to 5k.  i walked/jogged/died 3 times this week. the worst was today for some reason.  my legs hurt so bad when i was done, i could barely walk down the stairs to get in my car to drive to work ... thankfully the Advil kicked in fairly quickly but it was pretty miserable way to start the day.  i am definitely repeating week 1 next week ... i am in no way ready to move on to increasing my running time just yet.  i need to be able to jog the 8 minutes i'm supposed to without dying on the side of the road.  i am however proud of myself for finishing week 1 ... and i am very grateful for the support on facebook and my partner in crime - Christine - who has agreed to do this whole thing with me ... i would not have gotten my butt out of bed today if i didn't know i had to 'report' to Christine on how i had done!!  so thank you for that!!

2) my oldest niece, my shorty, left today.  she was here for 7 days and is now off having an adventure in NC with her father, step-mother and step-brother.  it takes her 3-4 days normally to relax and adjust to our routines and rules and then she becomes a real sweetie pie  ... so that means we had 3 great days and she's off again. it will probably be thanksgiving again before i see her which is sad, but i'm happy to have had the time with her

3) honestly i'm rejoicing i get to have my life and routine back.  don't get me wrong - i have loved having my family and especially my nieces around these past 3 weeks but i really do need my routine back! my weight watchers has backslid and my beauty rest has been pretty non-existent since the end of june .... so here is hoping i can sleep in tomorrow and get back into my low-key, almost boring routine that i so desperately enjoy!!

hope you all have had a better week than i!!!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

sun night musings

what a whirlwind weekend!!  went out Fri night with the BFF for dinner and FroYo (news flash for those of you in the 518 ... there is this new FroYo place on Wolf Rd in the Panera Plaza called Lemondrops.  it's is sooooo good - with 10 different flavors of frozen yogurt and about 20+ toppings for you to add to it. the place is adorable, decorated in bright yellow & green - go check it out! you won't be disappointed) ... 

where was i?  oh yeah, my weekend.  so fri night was fun ... sat work was INSANE ... actually BEYOND insane!!  we were 3 people short and had about 500 more calls that normal to answer.  it was the craziest shift i've ever worked, even worse than new years eve and st patrick's day!!!  sat night my oldest niece from TN arrived.  i call her Shorty :)  she's 10 1/2 and lives with her mom and step-dad.  she spends 2 weeks with us each summer. currently, she has purple hair .... um, yeah ...  today was great, we did church, lunch, fro yo, grocery shopping and then big family pizza & wing dinner w/ games afterward. then we made lemon cake-mix cookies that we'll decorate tomorrow.

here she is with her bed bug Riley

my three things

1) i loved having my niece in church with me today!  she used to come to church with us every weekend from birth until 5 1/2 when she moved to TN.  it does sadden me to think that if she had been with us all this time, she would know the words to the songs, know kids her own age at church, probably know the pastor and pay attention during the messages.  but i am trying to focus on the positive and her being at church today with me and my mom was a very positive thing :)

2) cake mix cookies might be one of my new favorite things ... a cake mix, 2 eggs and 1 stick of melted butter ... that's it ... we made lemon ones tonight and rolled them in a little flour - used a flower shaped cookie cutter and there you have it ... (our theme for dinner tomorrow night in sunflowers - and it wasn't even MY idea - although those of you who know me, know i was definitely on board) ... only nieces / granddaughters get to pick themes for dinner i'm thinking  :)  we are going to decorate the cookies tomorrow with yellow frosting and mini choc chips and make our own sunflower cookies.  i'll post pics if they turn out cute :)

3) tomorrow, i'm going to start the couch to 5K program.  i'm putting it on here, so that those of you who read it, can be my witnesses.  feel free to ask me about it this week so i can tell you how it's going.  knowing you will be asking, will be really good incentive for me!!!

hope you all have a great week!  i have high expectations for a great week!!


Friday, July 13, 2012

vacation wrap up - i LOVED it

i feel like such a slacker! vacation was over on sunday night and yet i still have not blogged.  honestly, it has taken me almost all week to recover and catch up on sleep.  i'm just doing my laundry tonight!!  it really was a very relaxing vacation ... but somehow i was still exhausted.  i wanted to recap on all the things i was hoping for before i went on vacation

so here was my list that i posted 2 weeks ago:

1) spending time with my nieces - this was awesome!  i really loved spending time with each of them!! the bear, bug and i went to the nail spa when they first go here which was oh so much fun.  while we were at the lake, we spent lots of time decorating cupcakes, cuddling and tickling, swimming (they swam, i waded in up to my waist lol), coloring, playing with play dough etc.  The bug was even able to go to work with me a few hours on monday morning!  it was great.  the youngest, the bird, was pretty attached to me, which i wasn't expecting, but certainly did not complain.  we had lots of snuggle time in the mornings and she would come running to me with arms raised up quite a bit.  we had this fun game where i would sing "la la lu lu" and she would repeat it ... and then i would say "la la rae rae" and 'la la riley' and everything i sang she would repeat.  i LOVED it :)

2) hanging out with my brother ... this was great too ... now we didn't get that much one on one time, but that is to be expected ... with the whole fam together.  we did have quite the experience at the drive-in theater last friday night, more specifically walking home in the pitch black with our chairs strapped to our backs,  both in desperate need of the bathroom, hilarity ensued, trust me on this one :)

3) seeing Riley swim in the lake ... he did it! he swam in the lake, albeit reluctantly.  if i took him out, he would swim ... right back to shore. the best part about a riley who swam every day, was that he was a very tired, very submissive riley.  to the point that he was even able to be off his leash most days because he was too tired to wander off ... and the few times he did wander off, when we called him, he came right back ... which is awesome, because as you know from previous blogs, he's not exactly the most obedient dog.  funny story ... the 2nd night we were there, we were all sitting on the beach with a bonfire around twilight.  a mama duck and her baby came swimming by.  and guess who decided it was a nice night for a swim? yep, my hunter of a dog.  he did not get that close to the mama duck before he decided he was ready to swim back to shore .. but it was hilarious to see him take off into the lake after them ... 

4) the peace and quiet ... there was cell service, but it was ok.  i left my phone inside a lot of the time, unless i was taking pictures.  the setting was incredibly beautiful!  the lake was perfect, blue and clear.  and the mountains on all sides were breathtaking.  it was serene and you just were able to sit outside and take a breath ... or 3 ... i loved it.  i would definitely go back there.  and would even consider owning property somewhere like it.  you just almost have no choice but to relax.  you are 15-30 minutes away from just about "everything" so you are at the lake, to be at the lake .... and it's a nice thing to have that choice of 'what are we doing to do today'  be taken away from you ... there isn't anything to "do" ... only to "be" and "enjoy" ... it's almost surreal

5) celebrating the 4th of July in the village of Schroon Lake ...  ok so this did happen ... and it did have it's moments of fun.  but the parade was really long and we all got tired and cranky.  plus we were NOT able to see the fireworks from our beach and that was very disappointing.  but it wasn't worth REALLY complaining about, because really, fireworks are fireworks no matter where you are ... pretty much ... 

6) not working ... this was WONDERFUL.  no need to elaborate

7) having loud, crazy, chaotic family dinners ... yup, these happened too ... :)

overall it was a great vacation and i was not ready to come home when we did ... everyone else got a little bored (even the nieces) and so after 5 days, the rest of the family voted to load up and come home on day 6 ... instead of day 8 ... but being outvoted, i survived. it was nice to come home and have a couple days to unpack and get re-acclimated before having to go back to work

lots of funny things happened, things that will be talked about when we all get together years from now ... the sleeping arrangements were comical at times ... sometimes we ran out of blankets and pillows but instead of it being a disaster, it was just ... FUNNY

there were some cranky kid times and most everyone came home with scrapes or bruises from just being outdoors, climbing on rocks and sand ... but overall, it was GREAT ... and i would definitely do it again!!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

vacation hopes

ahhh vacation ... the word just gets me all tingly inside ... 

i've been counting down the hours since last week for when my vacation would start.  9 days of no work and spending time with my family and my nieces ... 

my bags are packed, my kindle has 4 new books from the library installed on it and is currently charging, my brother & sister-in-law are in route as we speak (praying that the 3 girlies sleep through the night), and my dad even found out he will have be able to join our little party for 4 days (he was scheduled to work)

we are schroon lake bound ... i have not been there since i was a little girl, and i remember virtually nothing about it ... 

i was contemplating bringing the laptop with me and doing some blogging while i was there, but alas, there will be no wi-fi where we are staying ... so maybe i will do some journaling instead ... 

here are the things i am most looking forward to:

1) spending time with my nieces - the bear is 6, the bug is 4 and the bean is 1 1/2 ... they are the cutest kids on the planet and they make me smile ... ALL the time :)  i'm looking forward to decorating cupcakes, having water gun fights, swimming in the lake, playing old maid and go fish, putting puzzles together, reading books, snuggles at bed time and seeing things through their eyes

2) hanging out with my brother ... he is one of my best friends and i don't see him that often ... when we get together, the sarcasm flows and witty repartee abounds

3) seeing Riley swim in the lake ... he's only been swimming one other time and that was for about 15 seconds one day when i let him take a quick dip in a pool to cool off ... his beautiful white coat may be stained tan after swimming in the lake, but i'll allow it if its something he enjoys

4) the peace and quiet ... i'm honestly hoping that there is not great cell service .... not that my phone rings very often ... but the idea of not being able to check facebook, twitter and instagram is actually appealing ... i'm on my phone almost all day long and think it might be nice to have less "screen" time

5) celebrating the 4th of July in the village of Schroon Lake ... they have a festival during the day with live music and activities for the kids ... a parade in the evening and fireworks (which we are supposed to be able to see from our yard) at night

6) not working ... need i say more???  not having to run 15-20 reports a day, not having to answer telephone calls, not having to deal with drama and unhappiness, not having to sit in a 6 hr meeting, etc etc etc

7) having loud, crazy, chaotic family dinners ... 

i am desperately overdue for some down time and i'm very optimistic that i'm about to get 7 days of it!!

hope you all have a great week and i'll catch up with you all hopefully next saturday night