Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All Growed Up...=(

It's Wordless Wednesday again!

Smurfette just loves to get all dolled up and have me take her picture...
she's such a girl....& I LOVE it!

She's growing up fast.

"Mommy, I want my training wheels off. I'm a big girl now. I'm five ya know!"

Mommy's back didn't last long.... so Daddy took over.....

Her first day's attempt did not go well. She kept insisting through the tears and frustration to keep trying....

'at a girl!

She was like the Little Engine that could....

Daddy's back eventually started begging for mercy also.....

And the first day without training wheels ended in disappointment....

Poor baby! We'll keep trying and hopefully get it down before summer.....

Assuming my back holds up.

It's kinda sad to think that this will be my last time teaching a child to ride their bike.


On another note.....I just found out that Bahama Mama over at Cabrelli's at Water's Edge blog has a business selling Dolls and doll's called Emily Rose Doll Clothes & Accessories. I believe in Karma! This is the reason that I found Bahama Mama's blog!

I've been walking a tight rope on the verge of nose diving into a sea of American Dolls and Bitty Babies. I mean, I have a five year old girly girl daughter after all.

But I've resisted.

The thought of spending that kind of money on a doll that will inevitably end up buried under a mountain of shoes and toys on the bottom of a closet has kept me firmly planted on that tightrope.

Ready to slip and fall at any moment.

And along comes Bahama Mama with this nifty business of affordable dolls and adorable clothes and furniture and accessories and cute matching outfits for my daughter and OMG I'm teetering...I'm leaning....I'm FALLLLLIIIIINNNNNNNG! I see dolls and clothes and doll clothes and doll furniture and doll jewelry in my my daughter's future*grunt**grunt* me. from. my.self......

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

For tackle it Tuesday I'll be announcing the winner to my bloggy carnival giveaway......a previously read copy of Rebecca Woolf's fabulous book Rockabye From Wild to Child.

AND I'll be notifying the winner and making a trip to the post office to ship it! Here are some pictures of my highly sophisticated random drawing process...

I made slips of paper with the names of those that posted.....

I folded each slip of paper twice.....

I placed the folded papers into a bowl.....

I picked a piece of paper with my eyes closed....


Katie from Happy2bme!! As soon as I hear back from you with a shipping address I'll get this to the post office.

Congratulations! I'm just glancing back at the pictures of the drawing process. I originally took two pictures (I only posted one of them) of the first step of the process (the slips of paper with the names on them). I took one picture but didn't like how the little papers looked in the photo (ridiculous...I know...but that's me....get used to it) I felt the need to shuffle the papers up a little and try again.... and in BOTH photos Happy2bme's slip of paper was right on top....Karma.....

And on a completely different note...another quote from the fabulous book Happiness Now by Robert 7....

"The faster we chase the world and the future, the quicker we appear to overlook the possibility that happiness is here already."

"Joy waits on welcome, not on time."

I LOVE that!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Moments For Me Monday Week 2

Here it is! Week two! Better late than never. I'll work on my own "Moments For Me" post today and hopefully get it posted before the end of the day. And I know I said I'd post the winner of the giveaway today but it'll have to wait till tomorrow morning.

Put the link to your own Moments for Me post below.
AHHHHHHH! I'm back! I'm refreshed! I had an UNbelievable Moment for Me experience this week! unbelievable WEEKEND for me....NO! UNbelievable 4 1/2 DAYS for me!!! Blissful I tell you!
Waiting for our flight to Florida
I spent the last 4 1/2 days in Florida with four wonderful friends. We started these girls weekend trips four years ago and decided back then that it was an annual necessity! Our usual group of six was down to four this year due to a pregnancy and a previously planned vacation....but we still had a fantastic time. The only stress we experienced over this weekend was trying to strategize our SPF usage for our days on the beach....
The weather was perfect. High 80s and sunny!
Most of our days were spent on the beach. Sleeping, relaxing, chatting, swimming and sizzl'n. We spent one of our afternoons at a spa being pampered. We all got an hour long massage and a pedicure.
Gotta tell you about this pedicure. So, I'm sitting in very cozy chair soaking my tootsies in a hot bath while sipping some red wine and in walks Anna. Anna is a 60 something y/o very short and round Russian woman with enormous boobies (boobies that were dangerously close to spilling out over her shirt neckline) who doesn't speak very good English. I tried to make small talk with her but she struggled to understand me and I struggled to understand her so I gave up and just closed my eyes to enjoy this pedicure. With my wine in hand and having just finished my massage I was quite relaxed and happy. The first half of the pedicure was uneventful...clip, file, scrap, know the drill.....when she finished with the instruments on my feet she motioned for me to pick my feet up off the towel...I was peaking through half an opened eye as I was almost asleep at this point....
This woman picked up the know....the soaking wet footfunkified towel....rung it out in the tub and then proceeded to wipe her sweaty brow and forehead with it!!!!!!!!
I was dangerously close to high-tailing it out of there with a mouth full of vomit when she began my foot and leg massage. She was man handling my feet and calves and OMG giving me the best damn foot massage these feet have ever felt. My feet were having sex with this woman's boobies and I didn't even care. My feet and calves were being molested by this woman's boobies and all I could think to myself're forgiven.....I forgive you for wiping your brow with my foot funk and I forgive your boobies for molesting my feet.....just please don't stop........
It was quite the experience. Had another interesting experience at this spa that I'll have to tell you about some other time...quite freaky...but I need to hurry up with this post so it'll have to wait.
We also all went parasailing for the first time ever. It was a BLAST! SO much fun!
Getting a boat lift to the parasailing boat

The four of us on the parasail boat




Dinner at an outdoor grill/bar off the boat harbor.

No girly vacation would be complete without a little bit of shopping in town! We found and bought the greatest shirts. They were black tank tops with rhinestone martini glasses on the front and under the glasses it says "GROUP THERAPY"....that's our official girly weekend motto from now on!

And then, of course, were our nightly therapy sessions complete with vodka and cranberry and pineapple and rum concoctions! We spent our evenings blissfully drunk during our group therapy sessions and spent our days recovering in the sun. Life is good.

Women, mothers, and wives....hear me now....TAKE A VACATION!....AWAY FROM YOUR KIDS AND SPOUSES! It's good for the soul I tell you!

I'm a little rushed in posting this as I have a lot of catching up to do on laundry, grocery shopping, house keeping, etc. And having been gone for the last 4 days I missed my kids and need to spend some time with them. I returned home to pig sty....sink full of dishes....a mountain of dirty laundry in every room....every room is a mess. Normally this would have sent me over the edge as this is NOT exactly how I'd choose to spend my birthday....BUT....hubby got sick with fever/flu/cough 2 days ago and has been down and out since. And now the poor thing has to fly to Europe for work. He's forgiven for leaving me a mess.

A little birdie told me I'm getting a late birthday present when he returns from his business trip......A LAPTOP! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Oh yeah! He's definitely forgiven!

I don't know what I did but when I came back to edit this post to add my own "Moment for Me" post I somehow deleted the mister linky and lost the links that were already posted! I apologize! Please link up again! I'll get this down eventually....I hope!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I know I said yesterday's post was it till next week...but I lied. I had to get one more in before I left.
My Grandma is such a riot. She's the funniest and most down to Earth woman I've ever met. She's a shoots from the hip' kinda gal who doesn't mess around with try'n to be all politically correct or pretentious. She is who she is and says what's on her mind and doesn't give a damn what people think....I think it runs in the family! =) Every now and then something comes out of her mouth (ie. the prostitute comment below) and we all know she's just saying it for the laughs and shock & awe value but most of the time she's not even trying to be funny. She's a little fowl mouthed Italian spit-fire and I LOVE it. I love her. She makes me laugh!

I've blogged about her last June.....and last November.....And again in February....

We spent Sunday afternoon at my parent's house for dinner with the family. Grandma had a visitor from out of town staying with her so we spent the afternoon with them. And Grandma didn't let us down. She had us all in stitches laughing. The fact that she has no clue how funny she is just makes it all the more humorous. We all laugh at her and she looks at us like 'what the hell is so funny?'

So here are bits and pieces of the afternoon's conversations....I was temped to pull out a piece of paper and take notes while visiting because I new I'd forget half of it...and I have....but here are the pieces of conversation that I DO remember.....Those in blue are the Grandma Quotes....

"Maybe I shouldn't be saying this in front of the kids but Gus' (her brother-in-law) friend has been seeing a doctor because he farts from his penis and the......"

....O.....M.....G.... "Did you just say what I think you just said"...we were all ROTFLOAF...... and shaking our heads cause....'uh-oh ~ here she goes'.....

With a very straight and concerned face she says...."NO!...NO!....IT'S TRUE!....IT'S TRUE!....He farts from his penis! And he's been to all kinds of specialty doctors and they can't figure out why!"

fast forward....

"And my poor aunt has this huMONgous wart on her chin with these big thick black long hairs growing from it and you can't help but stare at it cause you're just DIE'n to PLUCK'em"

fast forward....

"Yeah and my poor brother had to get one of his nuts cut off" ...yes, those were her exact words....

fast forward....

"And when Dino's (Grandma's other brother) wife died I called Marge, his girlfriend from long ago who never got married after she and Dino broke up,....and I told her that his wife died.... and so she called Dino....and Dino told her 'but, Marge, it doesn't matter now cause noth'n (wink wink) works anymore'..."

fast forward....

We were talking about a friend seeing a fertility specialist...

"Ahhh...(nodding her head in sincere understanding)....his pencil is all out of lead"

fast forward...

"Man, if I had to do it all over again I'd be the best damn prostitute in town...why save it....saving it is a waste..." This coming from the same woman who used to continuously tell me and all my cousins "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free" ......if I had a dime for every time she told one of us that I'd be a rich woman.....that was as close to a "birds and the bees" talk as I ever got!

fast forward....

Talking about raising chickens....

"Yep, we had a chicken farm and we'd go out every day to check for eggs" she then proceeds to demonstrate how they'd check for eggs by licking two fingers and then pretending to stick those fingers up the invisible chicken's 'you know what'...."nope, no egg in there".....repeats the licking and sticking process "nope, no egg in there"....repeats the licking and sticking process..."yep, we got an egg come'n!"

My parents have a cottage on 80 acres up north and the picture below is my Grandma during one of our family trips up there a couple years ago. My parents have a chicken coup and were raising over 50, during the family trip up there we had fresh chicken for dinner. Grandma insisted on cooking the nasty chicken feet because apparently they're the best tasting part of the chicken....a delicacy dontcha know!......I couldn't bare to watch it....I had a little mouth vomit goin on....and a major case of the willy shivers.....I can't even stand to TOUCH feet but you're gonna do WHAT with those nasty things...."Grandma, those feet were walking in their own shit not 3 hours ago....EEEWWWWWW!"

I had a tough time getting over this and thought it was so funny that I had to get a picture of Grandma with the chicken feet. I love this picture....even if it has scarred me for life!

OK folks....that's it till next Monday. I'll try to get the "Moments for Me" mister linky up in the morning but I'll have to work on my post during the day Monday. You all have a good week!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Moments for Me Monday - Week 1 AND Bloggy Giveaways all in ONE!

It's week one of this new challenge! Click the meme sign above to read the meme instructions. Write your "Moments for Me" Monday post on your blog and then link up to this blog by clicking the Mister Linky below. Share your stories! Inspire and be inspired! I'm kinda cheating here and posting this early because I'm taking the week off from any blog posting starting tonight!

AND for some added incentive .....I'm celebrating my first "Moments for Me" post with a bloggy GIVEAWAY!

Now, before you go getting all excited.... it's a used book....a previously read yours truly. I enjoyed this book so much that I wanted to share it with one of you.

It's written by Rebecca Wolf amazingly talented mommy blogger.....I've been enjoying her blog, Girl's Gone Child, for a while now and her book is partially responsible for inspiring this challenge. Reading the following couple of paragraphs (pg 265 & 266) made me smile....

"A child is not an excuse for a mother's fading ambition. a child is
a huge responsibility, yes, but so is a dream. So is every goal we give
ourselves, every wish we make on glow-in-the-dark stars.

Martyrdom does not bring into the world children with a strong sense of
self. A mother who sacrifices her livelihood for her children is risking
not only her own loss of identity but also the well-being of her children.
No child deserves to be resented. It IS possible to do it all well.

Having a family is a choice. Happiness is the most underrated
accessory to success. It is paramount to be inspired by life in order to
be an inspiration to a child."

So I found it fitting to pass on this book to someone who participates in this challenge today. Anyone who posts a link to their own "Moment For Me" post will be entered twice. If you don't want to link up then just leave a comment on my post I'll enter you once. If you tell me how someone else's post may have inspired you I'll enter your name twice in the drawing. And, actually, now that I'm thinking about it.....I think I'll include next week's "Moment for Me" challenge in this too since I'll be gone this week anyway. So if you link up both this week AND next'll have 4 entries in the drawing....I'm taking this week off from blogging after this is posted because I'm leaving Wednesday for my annual 4 1/2 day "Weekend for Me" trip to Florida with some friends. So I'll do the drawing next Tuesday or Wednesday .....OOOOO..... NO....I'll do it on Monday night the 28th.....IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! How fitting is THAT! I'll do the drawing Monday night after all comments are in and post the winner before I go to bed!

As part of this meme I decided to try out this meditation thing. Meditation has intrigued me for a while now. Those who meditate swear by it. Learning how to meditate has been on my "to-do" list for months. I just never got around to it. To be honest....I felt a little foolish. Picturing myself sitting in the middle of a silent room Buddha style just made me laugh at myself.

And I just know that my friend Kelly is sitting in her basement right now laughing at me.


Heck, I'm laughing at me.

It's foolish....and I don't care! So I sat at my computer and googled "learn to meditate" and found
this web site. I learned that there are MANY different styles of meditation....who knew?! But beginners usually start with "breathing meditations" before moving on to more difficult styles.


I can breathe.

In fact, it's something I'm actually quite good at.

Why learn to meditate? The very first paragraph on this site says: "The purpose of meditation is to make our mind calm and peaceful. If our mind is peaceful, we will be free from worries and mental discomfort, and so we will experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful, we will find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions. If we train in meditation, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful, and we will experience a purer and purer form of happiness. Eventually, we will be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances."

Sounds good to me! So I read through the material...took notes...plopped my butt on a pillow in the middle of my great room.... closed my eyes in silence....and.......


and giggled......

and giggled......

K....this isn't working for me.....

So I decided I needed to take baby steps. And decided to meditate in my master bath jet tub. Lavender Candles lit....lights dimmed low....ahhhhhhhhh.....k.....this I can do.

And here's the conversation I had with my self...

"Clearing my mind. Thinking nothing. Relaxing my toes. My nose itches. Am I allowed to scratch my nose in the middle of meditation? I don't remember reading anything about this. If I don't scratch my nose I won't be able to clear my mind. I scratch my nose. Now my nose is wet. It's bugging me. Dry it with the towel. K. Relax. Clearing my mind. Thinking nothing. Focusing on my breathing.... ooooohhhhhhmmmmmmm.......I have to go to the grocery store tomorrow. Gotta get some pasta salad for dinner at Mom's. Stop it. Clear the mind. Relax. This is hard. How exactly does one discard of all thoughts. This is tough. No easy task. No-sir-ee. ooooohhhhhhhmmmmmm. That really helps. So that's why people say oooohhhhhmmmmmm. It's hard to have a thought when your saying ooooohhhhhhmmmmmmm. I laughed at the woman who wrote Eat, Pray, Love for talking to herself during meditation and now look at me....I'm doing the same thing. Stop it. Why do you always see people meditating with their middle finger and thumb touching? Should I be doing that? I didn't read anything about that either. I'll try it. I don't feel any different. Am I suppose to feel an epiphany of sorts when my fingers touch? The water's getting colder. Maybe I should run some more hot water. I don't think it's been 10 minutes. I wonder how long I've been here. That candle smells wonderful. I didn't look at the clock when I got it. Hm. Maybe it's been 5 minutes. Oooohhhhmmmmmm."

I'm a work in progress. Clearing your mind is much harder than it sounds. And not feeling like a fool while your trying to clear your mind is even harder. I'll have to keep practicing. But I can say that I did feel extraordinarily good when I got out of the tub. I don't use my tub nearly enough!

My second "Moment for Me" activity was going for a pedicure. This is my favorite thing in the world to do for myself. You know me and feet. Gotta have me some perty toes. And I just went to my kitchen pantry to grab myself a Dove's dark favorite thing in the world to eat!....and you know what the message on the inside of the foil said?? said "get your feet messaged!".....Well....HELL! don't have to tell ME twice!

Can't afford to splurge on a pedicure? Then give yourSELF a pedicure. Soak those feet, rub and massage those feet, pamper those feet! Or team up with a friend and have a pedicure party. Swap pedicures! Gotta make sure this friend doesn't have a problem with feet though. I would need a whole lot'a alcohol to be rub'n on anyone's toes but my own thankyouvurymuch....and gloves....gloves would be good!

"Unhappiness is a symptom of forgetfulness, as much as joy is a symptom of
remembering. When we're unhappy, balance gives way, perspective collapses, faith
falters, communication often breaks down, doubt doubles, panic ensues, and a thousand different symptoms spill all around us. The disharmony we feel is ultimately a disharmony with our self. We've stepped out of our center; and we "lose heart," "lose spirit," and lose our Self."

Happiness Now, pg 23, by Robert Holden, Ph.D.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

We need a cure for Stupid Bird Syndrome....

Friday I was sitting on my back patio with a book while the boys and all their neighborhood friends were playing football. Smurfette says..."Mom, go get your camera and take a picture of me"...she's my little camera diva...

"Take a picture of me Hopping like a bunny"

"Take a picture of me acting like Hannah Montana"

"Take a picture of my muscles"

And then the boys got jealous and decided they wanted to participate...

Look at these two little studs of mine! LOL!

I went back to the lounge chair to read and Smurfette joins me and asks if she can share my seat with me. We squeezed in and she says...

"Mama, can we chat"

Me: LOL..."sure, what would you like to chat about"

Smurfette: "I don't know. It's nice out today isn't it?...the birds sound pretty."

Me: "It sure is, I missed this nice weather"

Smurfette: She jumps up from her seat and says "OOO... MAMA LOOK ....THAT STUPID BIRD IS BACK!!" She points up in the tall pear tree that is right next to the patio.

And sitting on the very top of the tree is indeed that "stupid bird"....

One lonely cardinal.

No, I don't condone the "S" word in my house but there truly is no other appropriate adjective to describe this stupid bird. And this "stupid" bird is back!

All last summer this bird tormented us.

The tree that I just mentioned is beside our patio and near our master bedroom window. This bird would start at the butt crack of dawn and continuously body slam himself into our bedroom window....


It would begin at 6am in the morning ....


Now, you all know by now that I've been on this happiness quest of mine for quite some time but this "STUPID" bird was messing with me at 6 am in the morning....I think I've also mentioned that I'm not the most pleasant person in the world when I can't sleep....This "STUPID" bird was preventing my happiness....toying with me and my happiness at 6 am in the morning..... EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING!

We were kind'a hope'n he'd body slam himself one too many times and knock the stupidness out of himself....but this didn't happen......So I googled "stupid bird syndrome" (ie. why is this stupid bird body slamming into my window at the butt crack of dawn and waking my ass up)....and the first thing I read suggested I purchase and place a fake owl somewhere near the'll scare the bird away....

So we did. I purchased this ugly plastic owl and put it outside our bedroom window so we could be the stupid neighbors with the ugly plastic owl in the yard save this bird from himself.

It didn't work. My bird was too stupid to scare.

The next morning at 5:59 am he started again....


over and over and over and over and over again.....

....Until I was leaning over my husband in bed with my head spinning, eyes rolled to the back of my head, and teeth clenched shut and I grabbed his kahunas and I said with my best "Chuckie" impersonation "shoot that bird or I'll dismember you".....

RELAX! I didn't actually say that....but that's what I was thinking.....

So we googled "stupid bird syndrome" again and discovered that this charming cardinal was chasing his reflection in the window because he thought it was another bird and he was protecting his territory....which explains why this all started after we washed all the windows....

We ended up having to buy a netting to tape over the window so this bird couldn't see it's reflexion. We then became the "stupid neighbors with the ugly netting taped to their window"...

It worked for awhile....until....he started seeing himself in my great room window....UGH!

This bird is back and nesting in our tree again....

We've already washed the windows....

It's only a matter of time.....

I'm not above hiring a hit man....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Moments For Me Monday!!!!

Moments for Me Monday!

I realize today isn't Monday! But I wanted to get this out there now so there's time before Monday to start thinking about your own "Moments For Me" post.

I'm so excited to start this challenge and I really hope there are others out there that are just as inspired by this...and if not, that's OK too. I'll continue doing it even if it's only for my own sake!

The purpose of this Meme is to be inspired. I believe, PASSIONATELY, that life is meant to be a celebration. A HAPPY celebration. Our time on this Earth is short and there are so many people out there who are having a difficult time finding their own "happy place". This is about discovering yourself, finding happiness in yourself, discovering who you are outside of your roll as a parent, spouse, or career woman/man, and then sharing your discoveries and/or the methods you used to discover that knowledge to hopefully inspire others to do the same.

So the rule is...There are no rules!

I couldn't decide if I wanted to make this strictly about:

* Taking an hour for yourself each week and sharing how you spent your time, or....
* Learning how to be alone with ourselves and sharing those silent moments and your discoveries, or ....
* Sharing things that have helped you find happiness within yourself in the past, or....
* Sharing "ah-ha" moments, or
* Sharing excerpts from books that may have helped you in the past, or...
* Maybe just sharing a simple act of kindness that made you smile...., since this is my blog...I say there are no rules....all of the above are acceptable. Share, inspire, and be inspired.

And what I hope happens eventually is that we will read something in someone else's discovery that will inspire us to try THEIR method.

OK...I'm changing my mind....this challenge has ONE rule...Well.... kinda..... I'm not going to be enforcing rules or sending out the Gestapo to seek out the rule breakers...obviously...but I'm asking for everyone to TRY to make the "Moments For Me" posts about YOU....and ONLY you. No mention of kids or spouses in your "Moments For Me" post. The rule is "Be selfish"!!!

Alright, two sue me.....NO NEGATIVITY! Remember, we are trying to spread happiness!

This is a learn as we go challenge. I'll start it this Monday April 21st and continue it weekly. I know some people think weekly is overwhelming but you don't have to participate weekly. If monthly is all you can handle for now then come participate monthly. Or, if you have nothing to post and just want to be a lurker then come on by and lurk and be inspired.

So come back on Monday with your happy stories...what did you do for YOURSELF that made you happy this week? What did you read that gave you your "ah-ha" happy moment? Do you have any words of happy wisdom to share? Do you have any links to some fantastic happy websites out there that you'd like to share? Did you participate in a random act of kindness that put a smile on your face? Did another blogger inspire your own happy moment.....SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! Just click the Mister linky at the bottom of my post on Mondays and put the link to your own "Moments For Me" post.

I only ask that if you write a post for this "Moments For Me" challenge then please include a courtesy link back to my blog so others can share in the inspiration. I'm still trying to figure out how to create a cool & happy looking little button linky thingy for this Meme but am failing miserably in my attempts...I'm still slightly blog illiterate. If someone out there would be kind enough to show me how....or, better yet, if someone can do it FOR me I'm willing to pay....I'd SO appreciate it.................Anyone...............Beuller........

Now I'm gonna share an "ah-ha" moment of my own....from Happiness Now by Robert Holden (pg. 6)

"As long as you believe that it's the world that must make you happy, you
leave yourself open to great disappointment and much sadness.
Why? Because as long as you refuse to see you inner potential for
happiness now, you will not see it in the world. How can a
mirror change the way you look?
Think about that, for the world
is only a mirror. You will only see in the world what you're prepared
to see in yourself - nothing more and nothing less."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Flash Back Friday

I just love this Flashback Friday idea! Today I'm flashing back to 1991 and I think a couple of these are from 1993. I don't have many pictures left as we lost a bunch of photos in a basement flood. But here's what I have left. This is my college dorm room our 2nd year. Our first year dorm room looked like a prison cell. So we spiced it up the next year with contact papered walls and furniture from the Salvation Army.

This picture is probably the ONLY picture we have showing a clean room as me and my roommate were complete and total slobs. The girls down the hall used to come to our room to clean it was THAT bad!
The year of big hair, big dreams, big mistakes, and HUGE fun. OMG someone should have saved me from myself when I decided that this dress looked good. What was I thinking!

It was the summer of 1991 that I met hubby.. I knew within the first couple hours of meeting him that he was the one that I wanted to spend my life with. I was immediately attracted to his sense of humor, his wit, his intelligence, his sincerity, and he had just a touch of the "bad boy" thing goin' on. And those teeth...those perfect teeth, lips, and smile! I guess I shoulda mentioned in my 100 things post that I also have a thing for and am a total sucker for nice teeth and smiles....this is almost as significant as my thing for feet. We look so darn young in these pictures!

Hubby & I met in June and when August came around he left me and Michigan to attend Florida Southern College. It was his father's Alma Mater. He had made the decision to try this college out before meeting me. In October he surprised me with a visit. We missed each other horribly and so he flew home to surprise and be with me and stayed in my dorm room for a week. Our parents didn't know....still don't know...hehe....The picture below was taken during that week on the campus grounds. We had a fantastic week and it was then that he decided to come back home at the end of that semester and return to OU to be with me. We had only been dating for 4 months....we were only 19 years old and we were making life altering decisions based on how we felt about each other. Ahhhh...those were the days.....
Hubby in my dorm room doing some studying...look at that ancient type-writer on the desk in front of him.
Me and my roommate. We were slobs!
Remember the days of the corded phone?!
Oh the fun!

I just have to add that my charming daughter just walked in the office as I'm typing this post and she says "Oh my gosh, MOM, is that YOU in that picture? (she was referring to the second from last picture) had CRAZY hair!"....LMAO!

Happiness update:

K...I'm totally geeked about this happiness challenge from yesterday's post. And I'll post more about it tomorrow. BUT I have to say today that I sat down on my couch last night after tucking the kids into bed and decided to catch up on a couple Tivoed episodes of Oprah. I played the episode from the 16th and immediately had chills run up my spine at the topic. Did anyone see this episode with Maria Shriver promoting her new book Just Who Will You Be? The entire episode was about women and losing yourself and your identity and finding happiness and discovering who you are outside of being a parent and wife and career woman. I kid you not. I swear to God I did NOT watch that episode or even see previews to that episode before typing yesterday's post. These are the kinds of ironic things that ALWAYS happen to me. This is why I'm always saying that my life is touched by divine intervention. It's like my every thought and action is guided by this higher power leading me to a specific destination. EVERYtime I'm troubled by something the answers just somehow seem to appear. It makes me smile! And now you KNOW I gotta get that book!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Happiness challenge??

I've been debating with myself for the last 48 hours about typing this post. I was worried that I would come off sounding like I'm just trying to be all profound and sh-t, or that I would come off sounding like I'm being condescending or patronizing, or that my friend would be angry with me, or that airing my dirty laundry would upset family. And most importantly I was worried about sounding like a blabbering idiot because my thoughts are very unorganized at this point. But I decided that I worry too much. I am who I am. At the very least writing this post will help me organize my brainstorm and help empty my brain of all this garbage so I can get a decent nights sleep tonight.

Hubby and I went through a very rough patch a couple years ago. VERY rough. We came about as close as you can come to a divorce without actually saying the "D" word as a couple can get. Through the help of our incredibly wonderful and supportive friends, a marriage counselor, and an endless stack of self help books we made it through. And we are in a much better place now than we have ever been. We've reclaimed our marriage and I can now say that I'm more in love with my husband today than I was 13 years ago when we got married. I'm truly blessed. The troubles we went through somehow made us stronger.

The reasons for our crumbling marriage were aplenty but one of the main sources of our problems was my unhappiness. My inability to find my own happiness. We had somehow become roommates instead of husband and wife. And I was looking for him to make me happy. I'm not saying this to dismiss my hubby from his own roll in our reads my blog....gotta make sure I make that point.....but MY unhappiness played a HUGE roll.

How did I become so unhappy? I had a wonderful and supportive husband, 3 beautiful and healthy children, a very spoiled, cushy, and financially stable life and yet I was miserable....unfulfilled.....bored.....and down right unhappy. I made the decision to be a SAHM who worked an occasional weekend day and was very happy in the beginning in that roll. I LOVED that I had that option. I LOVED being a full time mom. I can't pinpoint when that changed but sometime after my daughter was born I started feeling restless. My kids were growing up and starting school and becoming more independent every day and I found myself twiddling my thumbs in self pity.

Now what? Is this all there is to life....changing diapers, cleaning house, doing laundry, cooking dinner, playing chauffeur, and.....and what? That's it? Seriously? No payments for my sacrifice?....and don't give me the "your reward is your kids' awesome report cards or your kids' good-behavior in public or your happy husband" speech....I wanted more....I expected more. Maybe it would be different if I were one of these women who love to clean or find enjoyment in cooking but I'm just not one of those women. And I'm not saying that in a condescending voice.... I TRULY wish I were one of those women....I envy those women.

In my passionate search to finding happiness in my marriage I read more marriage self help books than I care to remember...... and consider myself a self proclaimed expert on the topic.

Kelly, stop laughing at me!

And in my readings I learned and identified with the fact that if you can't find happiness within your marriage (with the exception of extreme cases where mental and physical abuse are a factor) then you won't find happiness outside of your marriage. Separating and divorcing will not help the "happiness" factor. We need to find that happiness within ourselves and quit relying on our spouses to "make" us happy.

So why am I telling you all this? One of my dearest friends for almost 25 years is going through a horrible time. Her husband, also a dear friend since high school, is going through a horrible time. Their marriage is not in a good place. They are going through the exact same thing me and hubby went through 2 years ago and it's breaking my heart. These 2 people are like family to us and I'm losing sleep over this and shedding tears because I'm feeling their pain. I just want to fix it for them. Make this unhappiness go away.

Then I read blog posts like Classy Chaos' where a seemingly perfect and blessed mother of 3 expresses her own unhappiness, unfulfillment, and depression.

Then I think about my own immediate family and their struggles with severe depression.

And I think about that crazy lunatic who tried to run me off the road a couple weeks ago.

And then I think of that man that is dying of pancreatic cancer, has 2 beautiful children that he's about to leave behind and how unbelievably happy and content he is with his life. He's dying and he's happy.

There are people out there losing in debt....losing loved in a constant state of chaos.....and they still live in a blissful state of happiness. I've been on a passionate quest for the past couple years to find out what the difference is between those happy people and those who are unhappy with their flawless and blessed lives.

Which brings me to the point of this post....and there is a point....please bear with me as I always tend to take the scenic route to my point...I'm not the most articulate person in the world....thoughts tend to spew from my fingertips in a most unorganized manner.

I can't fix other people's unhappiness...I can't change other people's brain chemistry...and make them un-depressed. But while lying awake in bed last night wondering how I could help I decided to start a "Happiness Now" challenge....I was brainstorming ways I could turn this blog into a "finding happiness" resource. I want to somehow share some of the "ah-ha" moments that helped me get past my funk....or maybe start a challenge where other people could share their own "ah-ha" moments....or maybe the challenge could be "how did you find happiness this week" or "what did you do for yourself this week" or......I don't know...I'm still brainstorming....Please help me brainstorm. What are your thoughts and ideas? So this challenge will be a work in progress and evolve over time....I need a title...

Or maybe a blog challenge like that already which case, please point me in the direction because I would really like to participate. I just know that the Tackle it Tuesdays and the Works for me or Wordless Wednesdays and Flashback Fridays keep me focused and accountable to getting things done and getting events why not a happiness post to keep us women (and men) on track to the path of happiness and fulfillment. Let's make ourselves accountable for our OWN happiness.

Here are some of my own "ah-ha" moments.

1) While reading "Eat, Pray, Love" I was reminded that happiness is a choice. We can CHOOSE to be unhappy or we can CHOOSE to be happy.

My teenage years were spent carrying a HUGE chip on my shoulder (maybe that's why I have such a bad back these days...har-har). I had a huge attitude problem and walked around thinking that the world owed me something. Like I had been wronged. I spent most of my teenage years making myself miserable with self pity. "Why me" syndrome. "My life sucks" syndrome. I remember waking up one day....or maybe it was the middle of the day...I don't know....but the point is I remember having a very conscious discussion with myself. I said to myself ...

"This is ridiculous...I'm making myself miserable in my own self pity. Dwelling on the could've beens and should've beens in life instead of focusing on the what is. I spend every conscious waking moment feeling sorry for myself for the hand life dealt father's death....instead of being happy. My father's death is something that canNOT be changed no matter how sorry I feel for myself".

It was that moment that changed me and my way of thinking. I made a conscious decision at that point in my life to stop dwelling on it. To stop thinking about it. When negative thoughts started entering my brain I'd shake my head and dispose of it or try to redirect my thinking. That's not to say that I didn't still miss him or that I didn't still have bad days where the thoughts were stronger than the urge to shake it but I was certainly more conscious of the negativity and how it effected my entire demeanor and outlook on life.

How does my story relate? Again, happiness HAS to be a conscious decision! Instead of waking up feeling pity for ourselves for whatever we're going through....and instead of dwelling on the "what ifs" and challenges in life.... we have to consciously take a walk outside (of ourselves).... close our eyes.... point our faces up to the sun.... and smile.

I know this post is ridiculously long and I hope you'll forgive me for my rant. I thought about splitting this post up and dividing my thoughts into the next several days but I can't. I.need.sleep!

so....ah-ha moment #2....

The book "Happiness Now" by Robert Holden is a phenomenal book. I read this book "Oprah style" with my highlighter pen and post it notes and the book is now glowing in neon pink highlighter marks. It was just one "ah-ha" moment after another. And I HAVE to share some excerpts from this book.

OK, after looking through the book there's just no way I can put all the excerpts I want into this post. So I've changed my mind....I've decided to share one excerpt each day for the next several days or however many days it takes. But I do want to share one thing today...

The author held a clinic and gave the participants a "creative growth game for homework called "Happy Days"....

HEY! Maybe that could be the title of my weekly challenge..."Happy Days Monday"....


the challenge was to dedicate one day a month to one's own "personal nourishment, well-being, and happiness" (pg. 89 if you're wondering). He wanted the participants to use this time to be kind to themselves, to rest, to have an adventure, to try something new, or simply to practice gratitude. One month later when he asked them to share their experiences not one participant had participated. They "didn't have time".

So he said...OK, forget taking a whole day each month...lets try making it a "Happy Hour" each week..."nourish yourselves with love, treats, and kindness." The next week he found that, again, no one had participated. No one had time they said.

So he said....OK, forget that. Lets try to make it an "ecstatic 60 seconds" each day...."the challenge of this game is to give yourself one minute a day to stop everything and simply be happy."

"What can you do in just one minute?" someone asked.

"You can smell a flower, smile for no reason, say thank you for something, breathe in peace, recite a favorite prayer, say an affirmation like 'I accept happiness easily, effortlessly, and naturally,' massage your head, whatever you like" ....and one participated and the author then came to the conclusion that....

"Lack of time is never a real obstacle to happiness"

Which brings me back to my challenge....should it be a "happy day", a "happy hour" or a "happy minute" challenge....where everyone posts what they did for themselves in that time....or maybe just an "ah-ha" moment challenge where everyone posts their "ah-ha" moment of the week....or ....or both....I don't me out here.....I'm still brainstorming....and I still need some education on Mr linkys and link buttons for this...(edited to add ....I think I may have it figured out)...

I realize I probably lost half the audience about 5 pages ago but I just couldn't help myself today. My brain is on overload and I need to make room! Any and all comments are appreciated. I just want to know if there is an interest. If there's no comments I'll assume there's no interest and I'll just continue with my own rants and forget the community challenge part. I just figured out the Mr Linky share your own ah-ha moment....or share what you did for yourself this week...or ....I don't know....this challenge is a work in progress...and still doesn't have a name...any suggestions?

I think over time we, as parents, lose ourselves. And as busy parents we lose our ability (or simply forget over time) how to connect with our spouses and ourselves. We get so busy with the every day monotony of parenthood that we forget who we are....or who we were before being a parent. Our whole identity becomes "parent". And that's not healthy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

When my mom and step dad were moving to a new home back in 1996 they were cleaning out the back storage room of their old house and found my dad's old fishing tackle box.

Inside the tackle box my mom found an old roll of undeveloped film.

My dad passed away in 1977 when I was 5 years old so we knew the film was at least 19 years old. And she had no idea what was on the roll.

So my mom took it in to see if it could still be developed or if it was too old/damaged. And this is what was on the roll of first birthday.

The quality of the photos is obviously horrible because it was so old when it was finally developed but the pictures still brought tears to my eyes.

Me sitting on my Great-Grandma Moeka's lap.
My mom on the left and my grandma on the right

Me with my Mom and Dad

Me and my cousins...I'm the little one.

My Grandpa in the blue shirt...this photo was also on the roll of film but I'm not sure it was from my birthday party.

This is my 1 year photo. On the back was captioned "came down with measles the next day".