Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gotta Live With It

New Year's Eve, 1992. I was 18. At this point in life, I still lived at home, and had to follow the house rules. My friend John was having a New Year's party, his parents were out of town. I wanted to go. Everyone was sleeping there. It would be a cold day in hell before one of my father's daughter's slept at a boys house for any reason what-so-ever. I remember my sister called once during a bad snow storm, asking if she could spend the night at her boyfriend's house, and she would sleep on the couch, and he could talk to his parents. Within moments, he was in the car, going to pick his daughter up in the storm. Anyway, I asked, and he said no, of course. At this point he was bed ridden, and at home. He also asked me to stay home, because this was going to be his last New Year. In a playful way. Every holiday was his last, that was how he tried to keep us home safe. He was saying this for years and years. Maybe this year, he really meant it. As an 18 year old snotty bratty teenager, I took advantage of the situation because I knew my father was weak, and he couldn't do anything about it. I left him that night. I went to the party. I also twisted the knife, and I slept there. You know what? That WAS his last New Year. He died April 8th, 1992. When I came home the next day and went in to see him, far worse than getting yelled at, or punished, he completely ignored me. Wouldn't even look my way. And he did so for about a week. That was the worst punishment I could have ever gotten from him. I was definitely one of those children that couldn't bare disappointing my father. My mother? I could live with that. But not my Daddy. The party? It sucked. Do I remember it even? Not really. Was it worth it? Heck no. Now I have to live with it for the rest of my life. Every year around this time I can hear him saying "Stay home with me, this is my last New Year's." I hope there is a lesson learned here in this post. Always put your loved ones first. Nothing else is more important. Don't do things where they are concerned that you may regret for the rest of your life. Even if it seems like a burden sometimes, just do it. I know first hand how it feels to live with regret. It's horrible. He eventually forgave me, and we were fine. I was there when he took his last breath. But I'll never forget how I treated him this day. I will never make the same mistake again.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tid Bits

1. Alex didn't cry this morning when I dropped him off at school!

2. Amber hopped in the car with Papa when he left here on Saturday, and headed to New York!

3. Alex (Dad) met her there, and took the girls to their first New York Jet game yesterday (I know, we're out), then headed into N.Y.C. and went to R.F. Center to see the decorations and the tree, and then headed to Carmine's for dinner. Lucky girls!

4. Alex says his favorite Christmas gift is his new Spider Man bike! I'm so happy I scored the best gift award, because it's tough to compete with Daddy and Papa!

5. Amber had an awesome Christmas, and scored everything she wanted, PLUS a flat screen T.V. for her room at Dad's, and a trip to N.Y.!

6. You could imagine my surprise when I went to my appointment to try on wedding gowns, and 'Sam' turned out to be a man! How about a black man in a tiara helping you into your wedding dress?? I just rolled with it. My slip was a dress in itself, so it was all good. It's ordered, and will be here February 6th!

7. I'm ordering my invitations today. They are not traditional-but neither am I.

8. Robert is playing out for New Year's Eve, and I am going to join him. I love to watch him play.

9. I have my small group Christmas party tomorrow night, and a friend is having a gathering at her house on Thursday night. Robert jumped right in to watch the kids so I can have some 'adult girl time'. Love that man!

10. I got gift cards from my kids for Christmas, went to spend them yesterday, and came home empty handed. How sad is that? Not lovin' the look right now.

11. Robert got me a phat shirt in GUESS for Christmas-LOVE IT! Saving it up for Church on Sunday.

12. I never sent out Christmas cards, so don't feel like I missed ya', I just missed the cut off! Maybe I will do New Year's cards. Maybe not. We shall see.....

Saturday, December 27, 2008


A New Year's Resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year's Day and remain until fulfilled or abandoned. More socio-centric examples include resolutions to donate to the poor more often, to become more assertive, or to become more economically or environmentally responsible. People may act similarly during the Christian fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. The new year resolution is one example of the rolling forecast-method of planning. According to this method, plans are established at regular short or medium-term time intervals, when only a rough long-term plan exists.

That's the technical definition. The key phrase I see up there is 'fulfilled or abandoned'.
What's it gonna be this year? fulfilled, or abandoned? That's the question of all questions my friends. I don't make New Year's resolutions. I make New Year's 'hopes'.

Here are some of my 'hopes'.....................

I hope to continue to monitor and make a concious effort to control my temper.

I hope I take the time to define my children as individuals, and not just as a family.

I hope I give them each their own deserved undivided attention.

I hope to accept that I can work less, and still survive just fine.

I hope my wedding is smooth and stress free.

I hope my spiritual growth makes leaps and bounds.

I hope I grown a burning desire to do laundry.

I hope we are continually blessed with good health.

I hope God continues to shower my church with His favor and blessing.

I hope my little man will stop feeling so sad when I drop him off at school.

I hope for continuous innocence for my daughter as she enters her 'tween' years. I will fight tooth and nail for this.

I hope I adjust well to no longer being the 'everything' of the household. (Man, woman, cook, chauffeur, dry cleaner....etc.)

I will start hoping for a baby in the spring.

Those are my hopes for 2009. No money hopes, no new big house hopes, no tangible hopes with big red bows on them. Not even the ever so popular "I want to lose 15 pounds" hopes. Just the hopes of my heart.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

She Knows

She knows.

There's nothing I can do.

Too many questions.

Too many clues.

A forgotten receipt, left behind in a bag.

A gift from the big man, with a similar tag.

The questions of entry, and reindeer's that fly.

The questions of visiting the world through the sky.

The pressure was on.

The questions kept coming.

I started to sweat.

My brain was numbing.

What do I say?

What do I do.

When hit with the question,

Is Santa Claus You?


Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Cake

I am not going to turn this into a 'wedding planning' blog. That is much too self-centered and why ruin all of the details when lots of you who read this blog will hopefully be coming to the wedding? I will share a few tidbits that are particularly funny. Like the cake.

Keep in mind that I have never come face to face with a red velvet cake before reading on. Also keep in mind that I don't think Robert is a redneck, and he doesn't think my family is in the mob. It's just kind of an on going joke between us with the whole Northern/Southern thing. It's all fun and games.

We went to visit Haines Bakement at her house. She is a Pastry Chef that makes all of her cakes at home in her 'bakement'. She actually told us they revolved the purchase of their home around her future 'bakement'. I found her in "The knot" a Charlotte wedding magazine. The cake I saw was amazing, and as I read along, I realized that the bride actually made her own cake, so I got in touch with her. Me, Amber and Robert went to taste cakes and fillings...and then the comedy show started to roll.......

We start tasting the cakes.

Let me say that I tasted the red velvet cake, and it was delicious. However......

Robert: I want the red velvet cake.

Me: Your a redneck, and we are not having a red velvet cake.

Robert: Oh yeah, I forgot your a mafia princess, and you want cannoli filling and fried ice cream.

Me: All I see is Shirley McClane cutting into a blood red armadillo cake somewhere in the deep depths of the south.

Robert: That's right, you whack people that eat red velvet cake, and throw them in the river.


Our anniversary tier that we will eat on our first anniversary is red velvet, with cream cheese icing between the layers. In the privacy of our own home. hehehehehe......

All of this went on in front of Haines. She was laughing and laughing at us. It was particularly funny to her because her mother is from New York, and her father is from Charlotte. How 'bout that?

As for the other layers......think ganache......think chocolate.......maybe strawberry......mmmm...mmmmm. Make sure you show up for a taste.....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Don't Touch

Let me start by saying that I do adore my kids. I'm just keepin' it real.

My children's love language is touch. Both of them. Amber more than Alex, but still, both of them. So is mine, so I can't complain. However....tell me if your feeling this....sometimes by the end of the day, I just don't want to be touched anymore. I'm tired of my hair being twisted, I'm tired of being jumped on when I'm trying to relax, I'm tired of my glasses accidentally being smashed into my face ( if you wear glasses, you know how much that hurts), I'm tired of almost spilling my drink on myself. I suppose I have to take some blame because I do "ruff house" my kids a lot, and it's something that they are used to. I also suppose it's not fair for me to decide when it is a good time and when is not to play/touch/wrestle, but I'm the Mommy so I get to make these decisions. Where I am going with this is my FACE. I would rather their not so clean little hands all over my face. Is that really bad? My son uses the bathroom freely, sometimes not to my knowledge. Who knows if he gets on that stool every single time to wash his hands? I watch my daughter play with her bare naked feet. Not feeling warm and fuzzy about her caressing my face after that. Not longing for them to touch my face after they just ate some Cheetos and licked every single finger until all of the flavor was gone. My son plays with the dog, and Lord knows what he's inadvertently touching there. When I was tucking him in tonight and saying his prayers, he was pawing my face like a mad man. Even though we wash up before bed, I was done. I was like..."Stop touching my face!" and I grabbed his hands. He whispered..."I'm sorry Mommy...." and in an instant, I felt like crap. Isn't it funny how your kids can make you feel like that so fast? I just can't take the touching of the face. Hug me, Kiss me, love me up, just please don't touch my face. Weird?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

An Old Man in the Making

My son cracks me up. Here are some on the things that come out of his freshly 3 year old mouth.

1. Mom, I have diarrhea.

2. Mom, how is my eczema?

3. Mom, I'm grumpy because I'm tired.

4. Mom, is this a snack? (if I serve my son anything less than a hot cooked meal with 3 or more food groups in it, this is what he says to me)

5. Mom, get in my 'car' (Lighting McQueen ride along) , we're going to Brooklyn Pizza.

6. What do you want to eat for dinner Alex? Reply: "Nakato's". My reply? "Get a job".

7. When he woke up on his birthday: "Mom, do I look three?"

8. Me: "Alexander John!" Alex: "That's mot my name! I'm Alexander John Delemo DA TURD!!!" My reply: "You are a turd Alex."

God definitely has a sense of humor. In a true test of my new vow to hold my temper, my daughter climbed in my bed yesterday morning for some bizarre reason with a bowl of cereal. Before she got her second knee on the bed, half of the bowl of cereal was kissing my sheets and pillows. As my body temperature rose, I immediately felt this was a TEST. I asked Amber to please go sit at the table with her breakfast, and finished my sentence with "Why are You testing me so early in the morning?......"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We're Getting Married!!!-REVISED

Robert started reading my other post, and he stopped. He said I'm such a better writer than that, and not only did he ask me to revise the post, he asked me to revise it today. 'Yes Sir'! And it goes a little sumthin' like this......

About a year ago, I met this man. He's a nurse-hence-he's a giver. At that time, he was nursing his ill grandmother, the light of his life. Maybell Bellamy Deaton. She had been sick for a few years, but took a turn for the worse, so he moved in with her to care for her. I had spoke to him many times, but we never went out together because his grandmother was his first priority, and the only woman that was allowed to call him 'Bobby'. Maybell Bellamy passed away December 12th, 2007. I told him to take care of himself and his family, and get in touch with me when he was feeling better. No one knows better than me what it feels like to watch the light of your life slip away. December 20th, I spoke to this man again. He asked me if I would like to go to a Panthers game with him. I made 3 phone calls for advice, did a lot of soul searching and a background check (yes, he knows this) and I took my own car to meet him at Monticello's, where we would share our first meal together. That night he told me I was even more beautiful than he had thought. We ate, we walked the city streets, and we went to the game. He bought me a jersey that day. He was afraid to get loud at the game, because he didn't want to scare me (giggle giggle). He walked me to my car after the game, and said good night to me, and that was it. He didn't try to kiss me, or even hug me for that matter. I actually hugged him. That was the end of our first date. If you ask him today what he thought after that first date, he will say "I wasn't sure if you liked me. I thought you were way out of my league" (giggle giggle again). There was something very 'comfortable' about him. I felt at ease. Considering that this was my first 'date' ever in my 34 years of life, I was very happy that I was comfortable. I had never gone on a date with someone before. Any relationship I have ever had (all 2 of them) were with people I had already grown to know. When I told Robert that it was my first official date, he couldn't believe his ears.

Fast forward to December 6th, 2008. A year has passed, and we have grown close, we've grown together. Life is what I've always wanted. Peaceful. Calm. Easy going. Full of laughter. These things are more important to me than anything that money can buy. I am loved unconditionally. I am 'more than he could have ever asked or imagined for'. I am respected. I am appreciated. I love him for who he is, AND I love him for what he's not. You have to know me personally to know how profound that statement is, and how much it means to me. We are so similar, almost to a fault. So December 6th. The day before my 35th birthday. We're going out to lunch for my birthday. My mother has been reserved to watch the kids for about 3 weeks at this point. My sister even took them the night before so I could get up and get dressed and ready for my big date in peace. I was lookin' pretty good if I might say so myself. And it's a good thing I was, because I was in for quite a day.........

In the mean time, Robert and Sean Lyon had gone to Monticello's the night before to work the plans and angles and pick the table and speak to the owner........

We're leaving for our date, and guess what? I'm running late, and I was irritated because I was pulling a staple out of my shirt from the dry cleaners and MESSED UP MY BIRTHDAY MANICURE. Robert was unusually concerned that we were going to be late for our 1pm reservation. Reservation-what's that? He knows I'm late for everything. It's just a part of who I am. Well today, it seemed to bother him. He wasn't laughing at my usual late jokes. He should have given me a buffer like everyone else does.


Sean and Tonia were going to be there by 1:45, and lunch was supposed to be over, and dessert was to be plated and ready for photos in the kitchen.

We get there, and the server shows us to a table. Robert quickly insists that he made a reservation for that table. One that was right in front of the full glass front wall of the restaurant. Let's see....I suppose so a clever and talented photographer could take pictures from across the street? hhhmmm.....

So lunch was delicious, and the server insisted that I save room for dessert. We picked one, and a little later, out it came.


When Robert 'went to the restroom', he really went to give the ring to the manager, and asked him to put it on the dessert. They had discussed this all the night before.

Out came dessert, and there it was. Sparkling and beautiful. Robert asked me to marry him. And of course, I said yes. Within moments, I spotted Tonia, and I spotted Sean. The whole restaurant was clapping and fussing over us. It was a magical moment. We ate our dessert as Sean took some not-so-formal photos, and then we re-enacted our first 2 dates, and added some more spots as well during a three hour engagement photo shoot. We took pictures at the restaurant, in the Starbucks where we had one of our very first long conversations getting to know each other, in front of an old church built in the 1800's, by a mosaic wall near McGlowon theater, in a building in front of a beautiful Christmas tree, In front of awesome waterfalls, and just when I thought it couldn't get any better, out of the trunk came our jerseys from our first date. So we headed to the stadium and put them on, and took a bunch of fun photos there. Robert likes to dip me. I get randomly dipped, and I never know it's coming. Sean and Tonia were tickled by this. So we incorporated the dip into a couple of photos. I can't wait to see those. Lastly, we took our final photos in front of the city skyline.

No. The alarm didn't then go off. No. This didn't happen in a movie I saw, and decided to borrow it because it sounded really cool. This is how I spent December 6th, 2008. And on April 25th, 2009. I will be a wife. A wife to an awesome man, and I can't wait.

Is that better sweetheart?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Please Cast Your Vote

It's about that time! Christmas card time! I took these, and my sister took some as well. I would like you to cast a vote on which one you like the best. I may use a pic that my sister took, but they are relatively the same, so it will be close to what you see here. I'm curious to see who the winner is!

Picture #1
Picture #2
Picture # 3
And this would be a card that has three scattered poses.....

So what do you think-besides that they are gorgeous!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Day with The Boyz

I spent the day with the three little guys of the family. Noah is 3 1/2, Alex will be 3 on Monday, and Logan is freshly 2. All in all, the day went well. It was nice for Alex to have friends over, because we really don't have any friends his age. They had a lot of fun. They even shared well. Here is how the day went.....

Here they are eating lunch after some play time.

Then after lunch was nap time.

Soon after they woke up, we had snack time.
Alex was having technical difficulties with his shirt.
During snack, we watched a few of these movies. I love this box set! It has 10 Christmas Classics!
Is this necessary? Really? FILTHY ANIMALS!!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Memories....I See

My father throwing tinsel on the tree.

My mother making us pose, holding an ornament.

4 separated piles for us under the tree.

A special gift from my father that my mother didn't even know about.

Getting my hair set in bobby pins. I still feel them sticking my scalp.

Matching pajamas with my sisters.

The smell of a real tree.

Huge family dinner on Christmas Eve.

Sitting on the opposite end of the table of where the fish landed.

My mother opening the fridge to find an open jewelry box with something gorgeous in it.

Calling this number that 'tracked' Santa and told us where he was.

Going to bed very early. Did you know Santa will skip your house if your still awake?

Being woken up at midnight to open our gifts. (Italian tradition)

18 years of my father molding traditions for us to carry on for decades.....

I still do tinsel.
Our kids hold the ornaments and pose.
There are now 9 separate piles, and they are for his grandchildren.
He gave me so many special gifts of the heart, that will never perish.
My mother set the girls hair in bobby pins, as long as they let her.
Our kids wear matching pajamas, although it would be fun to still match with my sisters.
I will never own a fake tree for tradition purposes, and they are too much work/maintenance.
The kids also know that Santa doesn't come if your not sleeping.
HUGE dinner, as usual.
I don't run from the fish anymore, but my sister still does.

No more tangible gifts for my mother, but he is still her one and only, and to me that is the best gift of all.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Are you a "Happy Hooker"?

Quite a name there huh? I learned this term...well...I'm not sure where, but I think maybe in a very interesting Social Issues class that I took. What is a Happy Hooker you ask? It's that person that without fail, every single time you or anyone else is telling a story, they jump in and "hook" your story, and turn it into something about them. It doesn't matter if your speaking about illness, or giving birth, or an embarrassing moment, or even a triumphant moment, they have an even better story to share. And it's all about me me me!!! If your not one-even though you are probably one once in a while with your nearest and dearest friends, you definitely know one. Right? Think about it. Observe the next time you're in a large group. You would be surprised to see how many Happy Hookers there are out there. The lesson? Let people speak. Being a good listener is so much better than being a good talker. When you talk too much, especially about yourself, it begins to fall on deaf ears. Let people tell their stories, have their moment of fame, give them your undivided attention instead of thinking of something about yourself that you can say before their second sentence even leaves their mouth. You will have your turn. And when you do, people will actually listen with wide eyes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Through The Years

I started this blog in 2007. Anyone that did not know me prior, is watching my son grow up, but missed out on one of the most beautiful little girls this world has ever seen. So I decided that I was going to put just a few-I said just a few because there are several, several more portraits that I have of my daughter (first child sicko syndrome) up here so you can see Amber grow up too. She was once a little frilly, tight wearing, dress loving little girl until she evolved in to this big girl that I can look in the eye when she is standing next to me. How did that happen? Anyway, get ready to oooohhh and aaaahhhh...and Stephanie, check out some of these outfits! I also changed my playlist to songs that she enjoyed when she was little. Please post a comment if you think she's just awesome!

Her first Christmas. I took some slack for that headband, but I loved it. Look at my baby with no teefies....
Two years old here. Look at that head of hair! I loved dressing my baby girl. Isn't she precious.

Easter, 2001. Another Disney favorite. She was a happy toddler. That made up for what a miserable baby she was.
Easter 2002. She asked me today where her bracelet is, like it would still fit her!

Spring 2002. This was a whole yellow suit trimmed in sequence, with the yellow shoes to match. I love her face.

Christmas 2003. Look at that hair on a five year old. These were the beautiful days when I can dress her however I wanted, she would actually wear tights without going into convulsions. That outfit is too cute.
There's my sassy girl getting big. This is kindergarten. We lived in New York at the time. Shortly after this, we cut her hair up to her shoulders. I was sad, but she was still gorgeous.

Can you see my tomboy starting to emerge here? I think I forced her to wear this outfit, and it's probably the last time she wore pink. By this time, her hair already grew back! I wish my hair grew like hers.
Christmas 2006. Alex had just turned one. You can't see, but this was a cream shirt with black velvet pants. I lost my Christmas dresses for good.
Super tomboy, but again, still love that face.
Dance photo. She used to take ballet, tap and jazz. Now? HIP-HOP. She's been asking for years, and I was reluctant. I finally gave in this year. I hope I don't regret it when I see the dance.
Last year. I did her hair, and made her wear the outfit-which she wasn't thrilled about, but once she had it on I know she felt pretty. She accessorized (with my earrings obviously). One of my all time favorites.
This year. Now we are sort of a beach girl/t-shirt and jeans kinda girl. I'll take it. She's so beautiful, through all of her stages of life.

AND JUST FOR SOME GIGGLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vera Bradley Craziness

Vera Bradley has taken over the South. I don't think they are nearly as popular up North, but they are everywhere down here. I don't particularly care for them. Too, too much color to possible match with your ensemble unless you are wearing solid colors. I have this diaper bag. I had a moment of being sucked in to the fad. Has that ever happened to you? And then your like....really? Did I really need that cut and sewn quilt for $92.00? Did I use it? Yeah-Not so much. I prefer a nap sack, it's out of my way, and not falling off my shoulder every time I lean over. Now Amber uses it when she sleeps out. Here's where the craze comes in. The little girls are obsessed with this stuff. Amber had like 3 things on her Christmas list, one being "Vera Bradley Stuff". She already has a lunch box, and 2 small purses that she got as gifts from her favorite Aunt. She also wants Uggs, and you can click here to see how I feel about those. My mother has a nice Vera set, but most of the patterns make me want to puke. They hurt my eyes. How about you? Love 'em or hate 'em?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just when you thought you've seen it all

I saw this for the first time yesterday, and I have to tell you it tickled me to death. I could barely keep a straight face. Here's this woman at my table at work, gabbing away on this contraption. It took all of me not to crack up laughing right then and there. I mean, I know when your at work for long periods of time, things may start to amuse you that may not ordinarily find funny, but this is funny. I don't care who you are.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Compliments Of Character

Nothing beats a compliment of character. Surface compliments are just that, surface compliments. Most people can accomplish them after a shower, a good razor, some cologne/perfume, hair product, make-up, styling utensils, some time at the gym, and a nice looking wardrobe. And a great pair of shoes-of course. But to receive a compliment of character is far more rewarding. It's about who you are, on the inside. It's about how you represent yourself, and how others perceive you. It looks beyond your pretty face or six pack, to the person you will still be on the inside when your face gets old, and your skin gets loose, and your pants are hiked up under your bosom, and you lost your curves about 10 years prior, and your 6 pack turned in to a keg, and your teeth sit in a cup beside your bed at night. It's about your virtue. It's about your inner beauty. It's about your character.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Did you know?

Did you know that Elevation Church is the 2nd fastest growing church in America?

Did you know that Elevation Church has an amazing children's ministry, where children can learn about the Lord on an age appropriate level?

Did you know that I am a volunteer leader in the toddler 1 room for over a year now?

Did you know that the success of Elevation Church is based on an amazing volunteer base?

Did you know that the children's Ministry is in need of volunteers due to the amazing growth of this amazing move of God?

Did you know that the best way that you can serve your God is to get plugged in to a volunteer role?

Did you know that I changed 18 diapers this past Sunday in record timing, but I could really use some extra hands?

Did you know that there is a great sense of gratification to be a hands on part of what God is doing here in Charlotte?

Do you attend Elevation Church? Is it healing you? Touching you? Changing you? Isn't it time to get plugged in? Stop at the table in the atrium. Email me. Stop in the church office. You won't regret it. Trust me. Just stumbled on this blog, and think Elevation Church sounds like something you would love to be a part of, but don't want to show up alone? I'll meet you in the atrium. email me or leave a comment. Don't miss out on this unbelievable opportunity.

EKIDZ Children's Ministry.

Engaging Children, and Empowering Families.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Peace Out Nextel

I FINALLY got a new phone. Robert got it for me. I am so excited. It's nothing fancy, I'm just not in to all that. The only bummer is that I have a new number. I have had my other number for what seems like forever. I am so happy to be rid of Nextel. The service STINKS! Robert put me on his plan, and now I have one of my very favorite colors-a cranberry colored cell phone. It also came with a blue tooth-but I have no clue where to even begin with a contraption like that. It seems like it's probably good for the car, but I don't know if I am going to mess with it. As it is, I have to transfer my whole phone book because I don't know any one's number by heart. As a matter of fact, I don't even know my own number as of now. Now I'll have to make Amber write it down 25 times in a row like I did my last number and our address when she was little. What I don't do to these kids.....safety first! Anyway-don't call my old number anymore-because it's a done deal. I will get you my new number...somehow...someway....someday....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keep Them Close....

Today was a fairly ordinary day. There was no school due to Veterans Day. We stayed home, Amber got a hair cut, we went to pick up some fresh fruit....that's about it. I had my niece for the day too. For some reason on what was a seemingly normal day, I was reflecting on a few things...

Keep your kids close. Always know where they are, what they're doing, and who they are with. The best thing you can do as a parent is ask, ask, ask. Get all up in it. Get to know their friends, AND their friends parents. Don't be afraid to ask questions like..."Do you let your child play freely outside with no adult supervision? Do you leave them home alone? Do you have guns in your house?". I say these things today because I felt such a great sense of security while I was doing dishes, and making lunch and watching my 10 year old fifth grader who is just months away from middle school, sit at my kitchen table and make a volcano out of play dough, and play school with her cousin, and giggle over nonsense all day. I was so satisfied that I keep a tight rein on my daughter, in a world where I KNOW that girls her age are roaming the neighborhood with who knows who, doing God knows what. It is real. It is out there. It happens every day. More than we care to admit. It is our job as parents to protect our children's innocence. It's our job to protect them from harm, and keep them safe. Amber asked me recently..."Mom, are you ever going to let me have a life?". My firm response? "Not any time soon baby." Keep Them Close...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

And the Winner Is.....

I never win anything! I never really try to win anything, because I'm too cheap to put money in to wasteful stuff like raffles, or pools, but today our apartment complex was having a tailgate party at the pool area for the Panthers game. There was a huge projector, and we had wings, and hot dogs and hamburgers, drinks and little footballs for the kids, it was great! A fire pit, and lots of balloons and just a bunch of neighbors gathering together. It got cold, but it was fun! So anyway, I put my name in a few boxes at no cost to me, and I won 3rd and fourth quarter!!! I couldn't believe it! I won a really nice Panthers tailgate chair, AND a Panthers hooded sweatshirt! I was so excited! Here's a few pics from today. You can't tell, but we were all geared up in our Panthers clothes-except for Amber. She only has Jets attire, but we will get her something to show her Panthers spirit!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Way 2 Save

What a busy week. Sorry for the long break in posts.

We are talking at church about budget, and thinking inside your box, working with what you have, rather than hoping for that raise, or wating for that income tax return, etc. I honestly did not know this series was coming, and a little over a month ago I decided to see if I just changed a few habits, how much money could I save? Here are a few things I did:

Stop grabbing lunch with the kids while I'm running errands-be sure to eat before we leave the house.

Stop eating at work-even though I get 50% off, if I eat there every shift I work, it adds up.

No more Mcflurry's for Amber 2x a week after school-we have frozen yogurt in the freezer, and it's better for her anyway.

Clip coupons and check weekly circulars for sales-I am not very good at this. But I am trying to do better.

Accepting that we don't have to eat steak, poultry or shrimp every night of the week. It's okay to make a grilled cheese or eggs for dinner here and there and we will all survive just fine.

STAY OUT OF THE STORES. Unless I need something-no browsing. Make a list-and only get what is on it.

I vowed to live off of the restaurant money only. All other income (unemployment and child support) is untouchable. When the restaurant money is gone, that's it. I know this is not a 'budget' per say, but now that I have the resources I need to make a budget thanks to my church, that will be my next goal. To fine tune what I started.

Things I just can't cheap out on:

Laundry detergent. I used to buy Purex, and when I complained that my clothes never smelled fresh, my sister would say........."Well why don't you buy detergent that doesn't cost $3.00 if you want your clothes to smell fresh?" So even though it hurts my feelings, I pay $11 or so dollars for laundry detergent. Sniff...sniff...

Paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, and tissues. I can not sub one out for the other, I can not use 1-ply toilet paper, I can not sub out paper towels for a dish towel, I can not sub toilet paper out for tissues(of course I have, but not as a conscious decision.)

Lysol-can't do no frills. It just doesn't smell the same. I know it's almost $5.00, but it brings me an unexplainable joy. Ask my kids-they choke on it.

Meat/Poultry-no mystery meat in this house just because it's on sale. Sorry.

Bottled water-I haven't had a drink of water from the faucet in ages.

Perfume-GUCCI RUSH only. Hence, right now I have no perfume.

Things I CAN cheap out on:

Make-Up-I don't wear face make-up of any kind. Maybe some blush when I am pale, but that's it. Thank you Lord for great skin. So I only dress my eyes up with some mascara, and eyeliner-maybe some eye shadow-but I can't do too much because it looks funny with my glasses. Therefore-I buy whatever is on sale-in Walmart. No MAC, No Sephoria, a splurge would be Almay!

Windex=store brand.

All groceries that are boxed-Walmart.

I am not afraid of hair color in the box.

Since living here in Charlotte, I do my own nails/toes. If I go to the salon 2x a year, it's a splurge. It's waaaayyyy to expensive. Do you know you can get a mani/pedi in New York for $16.00?

I now tweeze my eyebrows, rather than waxing. It lasts longer too.

Things I HATE to buy-stamps and gas. hate hate hate it........

Clothing advice-Buy quality clothes, and take care of them. Most of my clothes are from 2004 when I refurbished my wardrobe. Go for timeless looks. Buy what you like, and have them tailored. Dry clean them. The majority of my clothes are from Express, Guess, NY & Co., and The Loft. A few pieces from BEBE. They still look brand new, and yes, I may have paid $80.00 for a pair of pinstriped black dress pants, but they still look great and if you do the math, that's no different than buying a $20.00 pair of pants once a year that fall apart in the wash. Shoes too. Quality shoes only. I have the same pair of boots in black and brown since 2004. They were $150.00 each. I have them polished I would say 3 times a season, and have new pads put on them. They still look awesome. The math there-$37.50 a year if I had gone to payless and bought a pair that would last one season, it would work out the same. I just have to work on buying things that are on sale, not the beautifully put together outfit on the mannequin that's screaming my name.

I'm thinking that some readers are saying-is this girl serious? But everyone has their own budget and all families are different.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I know your wondering....

Where I've been. All three of you that read this blog. I have a post planned for today, and I have a lot of exciting things to share with you in the near future, but right now I have a little person tugging on me and his hands smell like poopie. I knew it was too quiet around here. I must go investigate.....I will be back.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Grass is Always Greener.....

I would love to have all of these great adventures to tell you that I took while my kids are away, but the fact is....I've done absolutely nothing. Thursday night I was home, worked Friday all day and night, worked Saturday during the day, went to bed at about 9:30pm last night (woo-hoo! What a Saturday night!), went to church this morning, came straight home, watched 'Titanic' and cried for the 50th time at that movie, and thanked God that I was not born in a time where they put the poor people on the bottom of the boat and left the woman and children to die because they were 'sewer rats' I believe the phrase was. I just did some laundry, and some dishes, and I'm back to doing nothing once again.

Which brings me to my title, The Grass is Always Greener. When your with your kids, there are times, and don't lie to yourself-you know there are these times, that you wish you could walk in to the house without 3 back packs and sippy cups and garbage. Times when you wish you could go shoe shopping by yourself in peace. Times when you wish that on the spur of the moment you could call a girlfriend, and go for a bite to eat or a glass of wine, and not be on a time schedule. You may look at the women you know that don't have kids, and feel a little envious of their freedom. None of this has anything to do with not loving your kids, it just has to do with desiring what you don't have, or what you think you want, even if it's only temporary.

So here I was, with several prime time days and nights to do whatever I wanted, with no limitations, no restrictions, and no obligations. The fact of the matter is, you don't become this crazy rock star over night just because your kids are out of town. I didn't "POOF" into this rich woman that could go on an 8 hour shopping free or spend the day at the spa, and I didn't "POOF" into this party animal wild woman who came home with the sunrise-I'm still me. A Mommy. Who loves and misses her kids. Who has a pretty basic routine. Who can sometimes look a whole lot fancier than she really is. Here's the pleasures I relished in while my kids are away:

I got to wake up naturally.
I talked a little on the phone with no interruptions.
I showered, and got dressed in peace and quiet.
I watched a movie or 2 without missing half of it because I was needed elsewhere.
I haven't had to cook.

There you have it. That's it. I'm sorry I can't "WOW" you with something better, but sometimes the simple things in life are very rewarding.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gift of the Year

My son would lose his mind over this "Elmo's Restaurant". He loves to cook, and serve us, he even takes orders down on paper. He doesn't have a kitchen, but he does have a grocery store, and that's where he practices his culinary arts. Don't you love it? I think it's awesome. The dilemma? It's $98.00. WHOA. If I got him this for Christmas, chances are he wouldn't get much of anything else. But I don't think he would care. If this was assembled under the tree, at that moment the rest of the world would disappear. I should probably get it before it becomes an out of stock item.

By the way....with no children in town, shouldn't I be doing something 'grown up' and wonderful for myself instead of looking on line for Christmas presents for my kids?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mid-Week Blurbs

I can live without hearing the phrase "Joe The Plumber" for the rest of my life.

I made a killer Shepperd's Pie last night.

I love my small group.

My son has a severe obsession with shoes. ( his shoes, thank you Lord)

I can not wait until the election is over, my 2 year old hears OBama's voice on the radio and says..."Mommy! that's arak-n-bama!

My daughter's T.V has been on the floor of my closet for a week now. She is awaiting it's return desperately.

I'm not looking forward to un-Halloweening.

I have absolutely nothing to do tomorrow, all day and all night.

Please pray for my children to have a safe trip. I went over all of the safety rules with them, and made sure Alex is still solid with every one's first and last name and his father's cell phone number including area code.

I saw on T.V that you can put preparation H cream under your eyes to help with bags. Now I can officially mark "put butt cream on my face" off my bucket list.

As you can see, I am having writers block.

I want to go see a good movie-but it has to be a good one. Know any?

I'm going to love on my kids for a few more minutes before they go.....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gotta Let it Burn...

Warning: I am wearing my heart on my sleeve this week, be prepared.

I am having an emotionally rough week. No one blogs about the bad stuff, only the good stuff. I am hoping I can teach some type of lesson here today.

Wednesday night, my children are leaving with their father to spend Halloween in DisneyWorld.

The 2 hard hits:

This will be the first Halloween in a decade that I will not help Amber with her costume, and watch her in excitement run from house to house, collecting the candy that she will never eat, but the thrill of it all is priceless.

My baby boy is going to Disney for the very first time-without his Mommy. OUCH.

I battle with the failure of a broken family every single day of my life. Quite frankly, I'm ashamed of it. I am ashamed that my son never saw his father and I together as a couple. He knows nothing more than Mommy's house, and Daddy's house. My kids are awesome, and they deserve so much better. My children hop from house to house...wishing they didn't forget this there, or that here, and as I said, they deserve so much better. I KNOW there are scenario's like mine where the separation is non-negotiable, and in every one's best interest, but it's times like these where I have to just let it burn.

The lesson?

Make sure you are in a secure, permanent union with your partner before you bring children in to the world.

If you ever feel like you want to give up on your relationship-DON'T. Exhaust all options. Know that you did 100% what you could have done to hold your family together. Don't make any selfish decisions that could cause you and other pain for years to come.

I have faith that our lives are all planned out for us and that all of this has happened for a reason. I am even at peace as to why it happened to me, but I am trying to find peace in why it has happened to my beautiful children. Why they have to pay the price. I know some people are thinking..."They're fine! Kids are resilient!". I would love to be able to shrug it off like that, but they're not just any kids, they are my kids.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Amber's Halloween Bash 2008

Tonight was Amber's long awaited Halloween party. The kids had a BLAST! She had 7 friends from school, and her three cousins Danielle, Joseph, and Mackenzie. The number was perfect for our space. We moved furniture around, and put tables away, and it worked out great! Clean up was bearable, and well worth it. Amber said after everyone left that the party was AWESOME. The party was 2 hours, and I'm glad, and so are my neighbors, my floors, and my ears. Check out these pics....
My Mad Hatter-isn't she gorgeous?
Amber and Mackenzie
Look at that face
Okay, no one of the male gender likes this costume, but I think it's adorable. He may be too old for it, but he's so little that I thought it was cute. What do you think?
Will you please look at the thug. She's actually such a pretty little girl. They were boyfriend/girlfriend from some U-TUBE video, but I'm clueless-never been on U-TUBE!
I think all of the kids came in great costumes!
We made mummies! 2 teams, 2 mummies! Whoever finished first was the winner!
Limbo...Alex was being a good helper. By this time he was sweating. By the end of the night, he
was in nothing but his underwear.

Halloween Twister

Bobbling for Apples. This was their favorite part of the night. They shoved their faces right in that water!

Little Joe-too cute-he kept putting his hands near the water involuntarily because he wanted to help his apple along-but he wound up getting it with his mouth! And he was proud!

So there you have it! We played a few more games, but I did my best with the photos! Wheeeewwww...... Now I'm off to bed!