Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Gift

I wasn't sure if this post would actually make it from mind- to key board- to publish post.
But after much thought this morning over a cup of Vanilla Hazelnut coffee and Walkers shortbread {a teacher gift from my sweet little French student} I decided why not share my thoughts with you.

This Christmas season came up on us like a sneaky snake. It slithered rather quickly for me, and I'm guessing it was due to our move. We no sooner get settled in.....we find Thanksgiving approaching. After Thanksgiving, I still had no set plans for gifts, family visits, baking cookies, baking breads...... I was caught up in the here and now. My job, classes that have not been completely organized {no blame here, just saying} my daughter the gymnast and her newly broken nose, with that broken nose came doctor visits, parties and other teenage girl get-togethers. Our Christmas tree looks like I shook the living daylights out of it. I didn't.....our cat for whatever reason took a disliking to this particular tree. She attacks it. ? I have no idea why....she never bothered our other {non perfect trees} but this year our tree looks very much like the sick wobbly needle lacking tree Charlie Brown took back to his friends at the school Christmas pageant. I did make it a point to have our holiday movie nights with munchies- turning on the lights- candles filling the room with cinnamon and vanilla aromas- but with all that, deep inside of me there was something brewing. Perhaps with everything that was not going exactly according to my plan, I was being thrown off the Polar Express. MMmmm.... well here goes the tears.
Football Superstar and I made an agreement that we will not purchase gifts for one another this Christmas. With our move, we both agreed that our financial commitments were to go towards the "PriorityList" not our "Santa List". I could certainly promise this to my husband, but could he to me? Yes, he was in full agreement. I jokingly made him sign a "contract" with China Doll as a witness. As we continued on with our days I never once had a twinge of guilt or a moment of weakness where I thought about heading out to the outlets or the mall to purchase my deserving husband a Christmas gift. Until the morning of Christmas!
Funny, Football Superstar and I were up before the kids!
We were brewing coffee, waiting for everyone to wake up to begin our morning of creating new memories in our new home here in Virginia.
I - like a snake- slithered around to make sure there was no gift box with my name on it- breathing a heavy sigh of relief when the lone gift under the tree was for Sam. Somehow he missed the one important doggy treat that Santa placed in his stocking.

Christmas night we are driving home from Pennsylvania. Our girls are sleeping in the back of the car, we have soft music playing on the radio, and our conversation on the day took a rest.
I'm looking out the window as we head into Frederick- I can see homes with lights that were amazing and other homes that were bare. I looked at the mountains that lined the wide farmlands of Maryland. It was then I began to reflect on my past Christmases. The shopping, the gift hiding, the "honey do please" list, the family gatherings that were cemented in concrete,
the headaches after the night was over, and where I've come at this time in my life.
I look over at this man driving us home. I think of how enormous his shoulders are. He carries a large weight on those shoulders. He carries more than I can or could ever imagine.
He places everyone else before himself. His children are his pride and joy, but you will never hear him brag to others. He tells his mother that he loves her each time they end a phone conversation and as he hugs her goodbye. He thanks her. He thanks his children. He thanks his wife and he thanks his God. My husband has taken on a risk while moving his family. He did it for his family. Opportunities not just for us, but for our children. Schools, colleges, future career opportunities for them as well.
What could I ask for next Christmas? I get a gift from my husband every day of the week. Every year. Here is a man I can trust. He loves me unconditionally - flaws and all. He will go without so others can have. He is honest and humbled. He will tell you that he is so far from perfect because no one is perfect. But frankly, I disagree with him.... my children and I see he is the "perfect" of what we need in a husband and father.
This week I had a very horrible experience with a person who was showing nothing but pure selfishness. Pure and raw ignorance of mankind. When I was angry and ready to bite, my husband knew how to support me with compassion and encouragement. No bandaids were placed- only the knowledge of what is important. So you see, I receive gifts from my husband more than I can count. He gives me "gifts" each day. And I'm not the only one in this family who receives these gifts. My family members and close friends receive them as well.
A friend just recently said to me how lucky I am. I already knew this thank you, but after listening toMeg's words again- she is so correct. I am a very lucky woman.
By the time we arrived home, unpacked the car and attended to our hungry pets- I was feeling warm inside. While everyone else went to bed, I took Sam out for one last potty break.
The moon was hidden by clouds, but the scene was beautiful. I took in the colors of the townhouses in our community that were lit up like a Dickens village. As I walked Sam around the path of lights, again Meg's words continued to tell me just how lucky I am.
And I am.

Hoping everyone had a very Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year*

Mrs. Lucky

Scrap Book

*My pride and joy {the kids...not the Pillow Pet!}
*Coachman and his wife
*Hanging out at Grandma Ice Creams
*Apple Cheeks with Pop Pop
*Freckle Boy reading to his little Apple Cheeks
*Velcro Sisters
*Christmas Eve service
*Christmas Eve service
*Apple Cheeks liked the Christmas display at Nordstrom
*Apple Cheeks excited to see Santa....{our 7 1/2 hour wait}
*Kris Kringle/Santa Claus/Papa Noel/St. Nick the man of the hour........
*Turned into this........ {note my expression after 7 1/2 hours of waiting our preschooler decided she did not want to sit on his lap (a first) so she recited her wish list from 2 feet away}

Scrap Book

*China Doll with broken nose
*China Doll prepping for bars
*Team work! {and before the broken nose}
*Bridal Shower for Ms. Hillary {2nd from left}

Scrap Book

*Please do not wake me......
*Which one is the real September?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Grey Poupon?

This has been a very interesting week for me at the Academy. boy do I need to get back into the gym as well
For the most part, I am enjoying this new position as preschool teacher. I'm in a fresh new building, decorated with educational visuals and plenty of tools for my little students.
I'm surrounded by the smell of new construction and it's tiny errors too. I did say tiny right?
At this early time of the Academy's enrollment, I only have 3 children in my classroom. Adorable bright faces that greet me.... they are ready to play in the sensory table with sand, pom-poms, colored water or whatever their teacher decides to take a risk in adding to this ever popular table. My risk is never dull for these darling eager-to-learn little people.
There is only one problem. I do not speak French nor do I speak Russian. "T" is French and "V" is Russian. I found a French language travel book that my father-in-law had stashed away, so now I'm able to find some useful words.

On a good note, both students have parents who are very accommodating and helpful in this transition not only for their children, but for the teacher! Now, I'm waiting for the little Italiano or China Doll to enroll that'll be right up my avenue!
This experience for me is very cool. I wanted diversity- and I've been given an opportunity that is not only educational- this experience is giving me an internal growth. I've been surrounded by diversity in my life many times. My own family is diverse. But when you get the opportunity to have such touching experiences- it's a gift. These children who are in my care while their parents travel to DC, Maryland or only down the road to the Tech office....are trusting in me to give them security and loving arms to run to when they feel sad. With this language barrier, you would think these little people who know me only for a short period of time wouldn't be able to feel this sense of security from a woman who speaks no French or Russian. Instead....they feel it. They see my smile and my open arms anxiously waiting their good morning hugs.
For "T" and this teacher..... as we interact in the Drama Center..... I teasingly ask him for Grey Poupon!
He smiles..... hands me a plastic play kitchen bowl and tells me to manger. meaning to eat
And I'm getting paid for this!

As I continue to work towards a new degree, I sometimes wonder if I should be looking to change careers. Well, it's not exactly a complete career change, I'll still work with children.
Art Therapy is not sitting and having Grey Poupon with a little man named "T".
In my heart I know what I'm being driven....guided to do. My purpose.
But until I complete my schooling....and move towards a new career location.....I will absorb all the wonders of childhood. I will embrace these new languages and cultures with pure celebration. As any mother who returns to work- we never take our family members especially our children for granted. Like our families....I will not take these young children and their families for granted. They are not only learning from me....I am learning from them.
I decided to ask each of my (3) families to share with me their holiday celebrations during this winter season. "O" is from England, and celebrates Christmas. And thank heavens "O" is a little girl! I need someone to assist in the tea party, while we have that Grey Poupon!

I'm here. And it's wonderful. even in the moment of chaos
Apple Cheeks is adjusting to her classroom schedule. She is meeting friends in her class from India, Korea and as she puts it....Virginia!
China Doll is surrounded in high school by a rainbow of students. She is feeling blended.

Today is Saturday. Now I can look forward to the weekends like most of the working world.
Today will be full..... but will not be taken for granted.

Life Lesson: Teaching = Learning from those who surround you.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just Believe

It's the season of believing. It's the season of giving. It's the season of love and laughter.
It's the season of delicious aromas baking in the oven.
Sadly, it's the season of plastic, commercial, over the top gifts, pillow pets, snugglies, high tech, and not to mention get-a-better-bargain when you shop at midnight.

I've always enjoyed Thanksgiving. Never did I plan to run out at the stroke of midnight to fight a snarling vicious crowd of female shoppers just to save a few dollars. Even before I became a believer- I always considered Thanksgiving a holiday to be matter what our belief or worship....our society places the most unusual on their priority list.

Christmastime has always been my favorite season. It has given me such memories and traditions. Years past....I incorporated my families traditions into my own family. My Mothers. My memories of a young child, or teen and even well into my twenties..... Christmastime has always triggered such wonderful memories for me.

Before coming into faith, my home was filled with the joy of trimming a large perfectly shaped Blue Spruce. Baking cookies with homemade hot chocolate. Christmas music playing in the background. Family and friends joining in for the festive moment(s).

And today.... you can still find a Blue Spruce. I prefer imperfections these days. We have the nativity scene, as well as a large ornament of Santa Claus kneeling beside baby Jesus. I'm still baking cookies and making hot chocolate. Still having family and friends joining in. I'm all about the music. I found a DC radio station that plays holiday music 24/7! My teens find themselves drowning in my singing....but I don't care. These are the moments I remember and they will too.

And will hear the story of Jesus. We blend the beauty of the holiday season with the birth of Christ and St. Nicholas. Funny....just like my parents did. I remember a beautiful nativity scene sitting directly under our large Blue Spruce. I remember so clearly because I would take the baby Jesus and place him into my Barbie house.
Apple Cheeks is getting both of what her parents had as children and her older siblings have become to understand.
I remember listening to my father tell the story of La Befana who arrives on the eve of Epiphany. My mother read stories of St. Nicolas of Myra. These were stories that made traditions in our home.

While trimming the tree, placing the nativity in a safe place our cat tends to take baby Jesus now we have the balance our family needs- what our family wants. What my children will carry on hopefully into their own families.
This weekend begins a weekend of movie marathons. Tonight; Polar Express.
One of my favorites. I have so many favorites I really can't place just one on the Top 100 List!
As my husband would tell you...."every movie is her favorite". I can recite lines....I know the lyrics to all songs.....I know character names, possibly their address! just kidding.
The Polar Express not only brings magic, innocence and joy to children viewing- it brings a message. Believe. I'm a 40 something old believer.
As Hero Boy has doubts. The conductor punches Hero Boys ticket; BELIEVE.
Believing is in our hearts. It's to be riding on a train all year long. Not just because it's the season.....not due to the plastic snowmen covering your neighbors yard. Clark Griswald come to mind? Seeing is believing. And sometimes believing, is in what we can not see.
I was once Hero Boy riding the train of doubt. My conductor was Pastor S. He punched my ticket....and as the conductor said to Hero Boy.....sometimes we must believe before we see.
Or as it was for me......awakened.
So for my Hero Boy or Hero Girl or even Billy friends..... may you too believe.

I'm off to prepare for tonights Polar Express magical moment.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Confection = Reflection

I actually have some time alone- no interruptions- nothing but background noise of the washing machine hitting it's spin cycle. My cat is curled up on a pillow sleeping. My dog is sleeping by the door waiting for the rest of his flock to return from shopping.
I took this alone time to bake some chocolate chip cookies. And this is not to be repeated because no one is to know the cookies will be stashed in my favorite hiding place!
As I'm baking I decided to pick up a book that was sent to us last Christmas season by our Alpha facilitators. I wasn't able to completely read through The Purpose Driven Life last year at this time. I guess one could say I wasn't a "stable believer".
As I'm reading chapter 18, there was this need to re-read again and again.
Life together. Fellowship. Experiencing life together in fellowship.
To me this was powerful. This is what kept my family attending Living Word. It was a community. It was our birth church. I miss LW. I miss my LW family.
We will be visiting China Doll's choice of church this Sunday- which we understand is very similar to LW.

"In real fellowship people experience authenticity".
"In real fellowship people experience mutuality".
"In real fellowship people experience sympathy and mercy".

If only everyone could experience such fellowship.
It's time to get back to baking..... I just felt the need to share my thought.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two Weeks Down

It's been two weeks exactly today that we have lived here in Virginia.
At times it seems we have been here longer..... some days usually while trying to figure out my way around it seems like only a day or two.

We are meeting more neighbors. Apple Cheeks met a new friend- "C". "C" is 5 years old and loves everything dinosaur! "C" likes to hike, run hard and talks a lot! something they have in common Yep, "C" is a boy! It was very cute how "C" would wait for Apple Cheeks to catch up while hiking. After all.... a ballerina always tip toes her way through a good hike!
We met "C" and his mommy while hiking around the Potomac River last Sunday. Apple Cheeks and "C" instantly became friends. "C"'s mommy and I hit it off too. We are looking forward to more play dates with "C".

China Doll.... for our teenager who was so worried about meeting new friends...there is a social calendar growing. During her first week of school- 3 days in she was invited to attend a BR's Theater Art presentation. Friday night football game.
And the big moment was her decision to join BR's gymnastic team! so much for not adjusting!

It's an adjustment not having Freckle Boy here weekly..... however we will see him on the weekends and with technology we can chat via cam. It still doesn't feel complete without him.
But he is doing well at Central....and is hoping to be scouted out by his favorite college football team.

Football Superstar and I are doing just fine too.
I have been attending corporate trainings these past few days. I had my first class this Thursday evening. It wasn't the best subject to begin with- child abuse. The Academy was finally turned over to our director....and next week I get to go in and prepare my classroom!
We officially open our doors to students November 29th- which is my first full day of teaching.
Apple Cheeks will attend the Academy with mommy- and will be in one of the two 4 year old programs. She too is looking forward to "big girl school".

As I sit here typing, I can look out from my computer desk with a view as beautiful as one of my father's paintings. It's amazing. What a gift.
While walking Sam we met some pretty friendly deer. They seem to be accustomed to people and their fur balls on leashes. Sam was giving them a deep woof at first....he now just greets them like any other neighbor.
For Sam, adjusting was better than we expected for him. Sadly, the week before our move we needed to make a decision to have our Football Superstars baby Heidi to sleep. Health issues occurred and it wasn't going to be fair to Heidi in this adjustment. Football Superstar took this much harder.....I however was not ready for this either, but I have been through this decision before with my other furbabies. It's never matter how prepared you are.
I'm stopping on this subject..... it still hurts to talk about.

And September..... she adjusted just fine. As long as she has one of many beds to snuggle on, a nice view of the outside and Fancy Feast to eat- life is grand!

Thanksgiving~ a time to be thankful~ a time to feel His grace~ a time for family&friends~
So much to be thankful here in Virginia!

Life Lesson: Count your blessings


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scrap Book

*Huge shopping mall where China Doll wants to work
*Dulles Town Center/Dulles Airport

Scrap Book

*Love these roads!
*View from our back balcony
*Taking a break from unpacking China Doll & Apple Cheeks
*Two tired puppies Apple Cheeks & Sam

Scrap Book- Meet Virginia

* Grove of trees that line Redskins Park entrance
*Football Superstar gave a "2 minute warning" to snap this! He is not a Redskin fan
*George Washington University
*Our complex
*Welcome Home

Friday, November 12, 2010

All in a day in VA

Well....make that week in VA.

I'm having trouble convincing myself that we have actually lived here in Virginia for one full week. Time flies when your moving!

For those of you who may not know what took place with my family..... we made a decision to relocate to Virginia. Football Superstar made a decision to change careers. Amen!
His new career choice; technology. Fantastic. Now where? PA? For someone who has been in the same career for almost 21 years this would be a little challenging. But not impossible.
But pretty much impossible in Pennsylvania. Especially the tech field he was targeting. Football Superstar decides to look into the federal government. With help huge help from a friend in the human resource department, resumes and letters of interest were created.
As job postings began to surface- as well as his interest..... the location(s) were mostly pointing South. As far south as Georgia.
We discussed options. If he should land a job in DC, he could always live with his brother who works in VA. Perfect. A week later we discussed this option again. Football Superstar knew in his mind he needed to make this career change...... and if it took relocation to do so then fine....but he couldn't be separated weeks at a time from his family.
Step two: We focus on a move after the new year. He lives during the week in VA or DC. By spring of 2011 we then make the plan to move our family.
Step three. there was no step three
During this time, I decided to check out career opportunities for myself. After's been 6 years since I've worked out of the home. I was up against those young college grads with high spirits and chic career accessories. My chic career accessories where packed away in no-where-land. By convincing myself jumping back in the career field will take months...possibly a year to sign, seal and deliver I better start now. So I began typing and tweaking. with the help of our dear friend in the human service field I had the resumes of resumes!

I also decided to return to school. My goal is to teach art therapy for children in crisis.
So again, I begin to contact schools. And contact I did! I now have at least 7 different colleges contacting me bi-weekly. If not weekly. If I wouldn't know any better I would put money on it that my mother is behind the college contacts
At the same time I had two contacts from children's academy's. First Maryland. Second Virginia. Along came the third. Fourth. Now an art school called. What is going on?!
Young Rembrandt's from the Washington DC area contacted me by phone one afternoon while I was giving myself a facial. Try having an interview while your mud pack is cracking!
I wanted this position for the art teacher so badly I could taste it. Things began to sound way too good..... the salary {sweet}.....the hours {perfect} ..... paid tuition for my classes {can you say AWESOME}...... when do I begin?....... they needed me November 8th. What?!
Where do I live? What happened to spring 2011? What happened to "I'm too old to compete with chic career accessories"?

Things began to snowball from there. I was getting job hits, school offers or is that job offers and school hits(?).
My head was spinning. Football Superstar was not only supporting my offers he was looking for "housing" for me to live during the week. WHAT? Did I say that? Oh, yeah at some point I "vomited" the words; " I'll live down in DC for the week and come home on the weekends".

All this and that began to take over. We needed to have yet another talk. Discussions and prayers. Enough said. We wait until 2011.
* * * * * * *
It happened again. I get an e-mail from two other teaching positions. One in a preschool and the other in a private academy. Football Superstar takes me for the interviews in VA.
I go with the "we'll see what happens" attitude.
An hour after my first interview I'm offered the job. I kindly turn down this particular offer.
A day later I'm offered the other position for teacher/group supervisor. I'm offered full paid tuition for my education and 1/2 price tuition for Apple Cheeks to attend the preschool.
Sweet. However I kindly turn this job offer down too. Philosophical differences
It isn't until my last interview at a Starbucks in Leesburg, VA.
This academy is new. Ground breakin' new as of July 2010. The building will not be completed/inspected until 11/22/10. So with an interview at Starbucks with the principal/director..... this is probably going to be a........ Jackpot!
I was offered a position 4 days after my interview. Talk about nerves completely frazzled.
Once again the benefits were very inviting. Like the other schools I'm offered a pretty nice package. The big incentive.....fully paid college tuition!

Life decisions came to the board table. Our family board table
Football Superstar and I made a list of pro's and con's. We reviewed not only schools but areas narrowed down to live. Where would we be able to find an apartment, condo or townhouse to rent asap? We took 15+ hours no exaggeration the eve of my job offer to narrow down each priority on our list. Did I say list..... try 5 separate list for each priority!
Long story short..... I know this post is getting longer Football Superstar and I were able to get all the above accomplished.
We are living in a beautiful apartment complex. The back view of our balcony overlooks a line of colorful mountains that run parallel with the Potomac River, which borders Maryland.
The front of our complex you can see metropolitan lights dancing east and west. In the evening it's a beautiful sight.
Our apartment is spacious and open. Bright, cheery and cozy.
A lot of planning came together smoothly. A lot of decisions we needed to make were made with not only our own career changes in mind, but our children. Schools rate high nationally. Diversity for China Doll. very important! Culture and arts.
Speaking of China Doll she has already made three decisions on her own; (1) she is returning to the sport of gymnastics (2) she wants a job at the Dulles Town Center of course she does and (3) she chose the church for us - she liked what the teen center had to offer

We also are happy to have Uncle D. living with us during the week. Uncle D. Eva's husband
works very close to where we live. Perfect for him. Now he no longer needs to "live" weekly in a one room facility.....he is able to live with family until he returns home PA to his lovely wife on Fridays.

Our first week was filled with enough stuff that our minds felt like over cooked spaghetti.
But we are surviving- getting from point A to point B pretty well. GPS, maps, notes and landmarks are working just fine. Let's hope they never remove the "WELCOME" sign that directs us into Ashburn Village. Important area- bank, Harris Teeter, Zazu's, gas station (one of a 1,000) high school

I'm sure I'll have more to post...... one day I'll even post photos. But for now I'm back to unpacking..... catching up on laundry...... and enjoying my last few days as a stay at home momma! Apple Cheeks is excited to begin preschool.
Looking forward to catching up on your blogs as well!! Missed you all!

New Life Lesson: Changes may be hard- yet we all need to make them. And now was the time.
{Our Time}

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Taking a break

Hello readers......
I will be taking a blogging break- not for long I hope- while relocating to Virginia.
Once I get "settled in", I will be back in the blogging circle!
So don't go too far...... I will be anxious to catch up on my favorite blogs!
and that would be you

Have a wonderful November~

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Mom of Teens

Not too long ago I was ask to talk (blog) about what it is like to raise teenagers.
I should probably stop here. laughing. Before I continue I will disclose a warning to readers:

Teenagers. In my small corner of the world I find most teens to be just fine. They are normal breathing humans that love nothing more than to have their parents remind them endlessly about brushing their teeth, making their bed, putting the toilet seat down, cleaning the hair out of the sink, stop slouching, stop smacking your lips while eating, stop rolling your eyes, pick up your dirty clothes, scrape the plate- load the dishwasher.........

I love my teens. sometimes I don't like them
I love being a Mom.
I love knowing these two teenagers in my care, who we are raising will one day turn out to be.....oh, boy like me? Or like Football Superstar?
Having a teenage boy who is shy of turning 16 isn't so bad. Honestly I must admit he is quite a walk in the park compared to what some parents are dealing with. Yes there are days I wish I could place a fire cracker under his bum. I would like to have the bathroom shower on a timer- after 15 minutes it turns off. That'll get him moving! I would like for Freckle Boy to not feel the pressure of his peers- but as we all know that is impossible. It's happening on the football team as well as in geometry class. What we do see from Freckle Boy is strength to not be a follower. Thank God we see that in him..... at least for now. We know there may come that day where we need to attack a situation.
As for China Doll we see a more dramatic behavior. Like most 15 year old girls she turns 15 in December there are the highs and lows. No in betweens. No fire crackers are needed to wake her up in the morning- but like the shower timer- I would have a timer placed in the "girls" bathroom in order for the electricity to be completely turned off- where she would not be able to redo what was redone several more times. crimping hair/straightening hair to eye make up or no eye make up The once a month syndrome is not to be taken lightly.
Oh I sometimes wonder how something so beautiful can turn into something from a Steven King movie. Even the dogs run and hide. Freckle Boy is proud to be a male- this we know.
I can laugh after the crisis ends. Of course I always have stash of Hershey's chocolate at hand
I remind myself that this will end- one day. And China Doll could possibly have a teenage daughter of her own one day- where I can sit back and watch her glorious black hair turn gray within months. Well, my hair isn't completely gray, but I do announce to both teens they are the cause! And we all get a good laugh.

We feel it's important to have an open dialogue with our children. They may come to us at any time for anything.
Sex, drugs and alcohol discussions take place on a regular basis. Temptations are in every nook and cranny of their lives. We try to give the tools they both need- it's what they do responsibly with each tool. As I say; Trust is something you earn. Forgiveness is something that is purely given out of love. That is my Mom-Motto.

With todays verbal communication taken over by texting and e-mail, {we} are in complete understanding that our teens today only choose to converse in sound bites. I'm hip....I get it.
BUT I don't allow the "tech hits" to interrupt the importance of verbal communication.
Speak to me. I'm your mother- no need to text me. Chances are I won't text you back.

I have a friend who informed me her daughter had a very large text message invoice. She was stunned by the amount of text but not stunned by the cost. I mean.....if you have unlimited texting then why is it necessary to text over 3000 a month? Is she not sleeping? Does she text in her sleep or while on the toilet? When does she have time to eat? Oh, yeah..... duh you can text while eating because you don't need to use your mouth!
sorry I'll get off the texting topic

Bottom line, teenage years can be and will be difficult. You can do everything correct as a parent. You can read every book on the shelf. You can pray for guidance and you can work on better communication. We can argue with our teens one moment and the next be laughing. We can laugh with them one moment and argue the next.
As soon as we become parents we are not given a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
I mean when adopting China Doll I was the one giving the guarantee I would commit to being a parent to her- love her unconditionally- perfections and faults.
Same with Freckle Boy. Perfections and faults.

Our children are given direction and guidance. They are given love. Unconditional love.
I placed Medusa Mom in the closet and became a Mom of Forgiveness. Our children want to be independent - but at the same time are struggling with the reality of leaving the cozy nest and moving on with their lives. They may not want to fully digest this- but they will one day understand and come to terms why their parents said no, or why we had structure and boundaries in our home. It's pure love. Unconditional love.

It's going to be a long time until Football Superstar and I are empty nesters. a very long time
Having two teens and one preschooler certainly changes your life. I can't imagine my life being any different. I'm all about Abercrombie&Fitch and Angelina Ballerina. I'm fine with their style of music in the car as long as they don't crumble about my singing.

Nothing is perfect in our home that's for sure. But I will say that the perfection is watching your son and daughter(s) smile. Watching Penn State football isn't exactly what is on my agenda for Sunday afternoon, but it's what made Freckle Boy smile. especially when he needs to explain plays to me
Taking China Doll to the mall with 4 of her friends wasn't exactly what I had wanted to do on a rainy evening, but it's what made her smile. In the end we are all smiling. I was a teenage girl once. I know what made me smile.

So to those of you who haven't gotten to the teen years yet with your kiddo's...... you will survive. And so will they.

Stay tuned..... I just may need to post an update on the teen years!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Corner talkin' and Corner raiding

I feel disconnected to my blogging friends. My hours/days/weeks have turned into resumes/schooling/locations.
I did take a time out in my daily routine to enjoy a cup of coffee and listen to the local and national news. Have I been not listening? How can so much junk take place within a week or two of my nonsocial networking?!
I'll spare you my grief of world issues. And I'll spare you the dozen stories that had my skin covered in goosebumps and chills.
But I can not spare you the one national story that just completely had my emotions rattled.
Death is a time for mourning and yet to celebrate the life of our loved one who past.
Funerals can be formal, they can be private and depending on the culture last for days.
Funerals should be respected- please do not rubberneck when driving past the funeral service.
Funerals should be a time for family and friends to have no interruption from outsiders.
Then why would a christian based church- a place where people claim to love God and others (maybe I missed when they claimed to love others) raid, yes raid a funeral for ones son?
What genetic makeup do these people have? I ask myself.
I was numb. I was sickened. I too felt raided.

During a recent service, our Pastor spoke bluntly of these "christians".
It was reassuring to know that Pastor S. too felt raided. How can you claim to walk with Jesus, believe in God and have pure hatred in your heart?

Are we not to love our neighbor? Are we without shame? Are we without sin?

If you have a moment..... link onto my friends blog Blah Blah Blah.
His post from 9/25/10 "Street Corner Talkin' " is a good read.

I'm done - I'll step down from my soapbox and walk away from my little corner on the brick lined street. But before I walk away.... is it possible for us to truly, unconditionally love our neighbor? No matter his or her race, color or religion?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Before and After

Apple Cheeks before and after (during)

Another Lesson in Letting Go

I thought perhaps I would share my latest experience with you.
With my recent post on "letting go" and "riding the roller coaster"...... I must say that I have learned to really let go. I took a ride on the style of coaster where the floor drops out- thanks to my sweet adorable 4 year old daughter!

Allow me to set the scene: Monday morning (8:45 ish) - coffee brewing- Football Superstar is
reciting his routine- I am filling my coffee mug good to the last drop
dogs and cat are fed-all is well........

Apple Cheeks in her squeaky-excited little voice asked to finish a craft she started Sunday afternoon for Grandma Ice Cream. As she begins to collect her craft supplies, there is a request for her craft box. The craft box includes; tape-glue stick- stickers-washable markers-age appropriate scissors and retired greeting cards.
As Football Superstar and I continue to discuss our daily schedule, I walk over to Apple Cheeks to see her finished project. Grandma Ice Cream a.k.a Grammie will LOVE this screeches Apple Cheeks! I notice a pile yes a pile of blonde hair directly underneath her chair.... we own a Golden Retriever, so finding hair is nothing out of the ordinary in my household. I did not have my contacts in, or my glasses on so of course I needed to really examine the clump of blonde locks- knowing darn well this was not Sam's clump of fluff..... I was thrown off- for the first time had nothing to say- nothing would come out of my mouth! My eyes had to be as wide as a deer in headlights or better yet when it sees a hunter in the woods.
Apple Cheeks noticed I found the secret stash.
Now, looking directly at her little round cheeks you couldn't notice where the clump of golden locks were clipped from until I combed my fingers through her long golden wavy hair. My ride floor just gave out.
There wasn't a lot of talk- a few tears from Apple Cheeks- an appointment was scheduled with our stylist- the remaining 7 inches of golden locks were cut and placed in a plastic sandwich bag.
Apple Cheeks sat so proud in the stylist chair- she was given praise for sitting so still- the perfect client. I took a few photos - before and after. I cried a few happy tears.

The scissors will remain in the craft box. Under much more supervision of course. A new revised lesson on scissors was conducted.
If Apple Cheeks is willing to "let go" 7 inches of her hair..... her momma certainly is willing!
I did plan on having her hair cut- perhaps she didn't want to wait any longer?!

Another Life Lesson learned.
Funny thing is.... I did the same thing when I was her age. Mmmm.... isn't it funny how life makes complete circles.

Enjoy your day! Go ahead- take the ride! Just be sure you are strapped in!!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Resumes.....Cover Letters....Interviews...OH MY!

Today I take a break. one with coffee and chocolate
I've completed two separate resumes. One for the education field- the other resume is prepared for the human service field.
I've sent out a total of 12 resumes. All complete with cover letters-detailed I must add.
I now sit and wait for the phone call. Or e-mail. The magic phone call from the Human Resource Director- the call that tells me let's set up a time for an interview! I'm waiting- patiently for the call....e-mail....snail mail.....or white dove.

As I patiently wait, I also continue to tidy up loose ends of Simple Dimple Primitives. My Closing Sale was fantastic....I never even shed one tear. I had a few "regulars" who came by to purchase and say good-bye. And even with those few who had a tear in their eye....I had not one. I had no regrets.
As my Coachman brother and his wife watched - and took on a few duties here and there- they both noticed my excitement- my peace of letting go.

This week held a lot of a lot to do's. Major tweaking, planning, seeking and with that comes prayer. I feel for the first time in my life, I am making adult decisions. Trying to hang onto "things" that have no true value, except for the price value we may have paid for that particular item. House, business, investments, ....... what is your thing?

What was once extremely important to Football Superstar and myself, has taken not just a back seat- we took "it" to the land fill. Priorities have been completely adjusted on the list.
What freedom that brings!! Pride- set aside. sorry, Dr. Seuss Left foot- right foot- right!

As I watch my husband prepare for a new career change- I have no doubt that he will become successful in the change. And in this successful change, he will begin to find peace and calmness- high power sales have been taken to the land fill. more. So when we speak of success- it no longer means financial success or the fear of not having "it".
This new path will be challenging I'm sure- it will bring days of glory and days of defeat.
We are prepared for the storm(s) as I mentioned in a recent post.

I've shared with Gracie during our time together yesterday about the amazing roller coaster ride I recently experienced. I was strapped in, safety bar latched as the coaster whipped at record speed- surviving the loop and the drop. Walking off the coaster feeling refreshed...I wanted to ride it again! Gracie began to give me that look "what are you talking about"- you know the look- head titled....lip curled at the side of her mouth....nose wrinkled.
"OH!!! I get it!" she screams. She wants to ride the coaster now too. wink

Life Lesson: When riding the roller coaster- sit in the front.


Friday, September 3, 2010


Today I made a decision. This decision will bring sadness....yet with this decision I will have peace.
My decision came easy....but there was a spark of regret.
After this decision became heart pounded out of my chest.

That was a week ago.

Today....I'm so ready again my heart is pounding out of my chest.

I decided to close my little business.
Simple Dimple Primitives came to life April 2007. A dream, put on paper with the assistance of my business advisor Football Superstar and my partner Gracie.
A little red cottage was transformed from ugly duckling to adorable prim style swan.
Perfect location for this business. Directly outside my door- sitting on the edge of our property.
And our property sits in the midst of antique shops and gift shops near historic Gettysburg.
What big plans we had for Simple Dimple Primitives. Huge! We were going to be so huge there would come a time for us to purchase the one room school house that sits beside our property and create Simple Dimple Vintage! Yeah yeah..... well then comes the big bad wolf-
Economy. With this economy we are all effected by- my little business suffered from lack of sales, lack of traffic from tourist and too much inventory.
So, my last day in the biz will be September 11th. The next huge in Simple Dimple is a closing out sale. A huge closing out sale. Feel free to stop by if you live close by.... you can begin your Holiday shopping by saving $$!!

Like Kathleen Kelly You've Got Mail I will be just fine. New adventures will be coming my our way. We are now moving forward.
Football Superstar is working on a career change. I am ready to return to work.
Human Services/Teaching
Our children are doing fine. We may have a move on the horizon.
We have no idea what's around the corner for us.... but one thing I do know is that today- tonight I will go watch my Freckle Boy play one heck of a football game. I'm proud to say he was moved up to second string varsity. I will cheer China Doll while she plays "middy" on the field hockey turf. And I'm proud to say she was given the title "Team Captain".
Apple Cheeks, of course is not on any sports team....but her number 5's are looking fantastic!

These troubled moments of decisions have brought Football Superstar and I even closer.
What can rip apart couples, families and business partners has made us stronger.

I'm anxious but nervous for what's ahead. Like the photo of the tight rope walker- I remain steady. Today.....I'm at peace.

Life Lesson: Let Go.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marriage = Love

After my divorce I never wanted to marry again- marry...I never wanted to think about a relationship!
That meant heart ache and pain. And I felt we "love" on all levels Why should I love someone again- more than I was given the love I felt I deserved back? follow that?

Dating+Relationships+Love = Doomed

One would never guess that I would have any of these feelings tagged on Love.
My family members were givers and receiver to love. The culture I grew up in, men hugged and kissed each other while greeting. Expression of love was never foreign.
What took me on the road to doom was the lack of trust, loyalty, honesty, respect and compassion in my past relationship. I'm not innocent of anything- my lack of this and that and the other added a very sour ingredient to the marriage. My thirst for wanting the perfect marriage- which included love, intimacy, laughter, trust, then children never happened.
Selfishness drove me to "forcing" the perfect marriage- my lack of knowledge of what is the "perfect marriage" drove me to sadness, emptiness and hatred.

Moving ahead - after meeting and becoming friends with Football Superstar allowing him into our lives for one I began to see that I am capable of trusting the opposite sex again.
Not just my father or brother!
I am able to open up- be myself and show the emotion that tends to leap out of my heart- LOVE. without barriers?
The protective wall and it's barbed wire were still in place- however, Football Superstar bravely began to clip the wire and knock down the wall. did I mention my wall was constructed of thick concrete

He got pricked by the wire and had a few bruises from the concrete- he isn't as fit as he had been while playing ball! wink
But he managed to get rid of the barrier between us. TRUST.
During our engagement and marriage we had a good "team" home life going.
There were tropical storms brewing but we managed to escape without getting too banged up or worse- drifted out to sea.
We were determined not to allow anyone or thing Tropical Storm(s) to damage us- what we had- our family- our kids.

And now- we become involved with LW's marriage ministry. Married Life Live is a fun and entertaining night for married couples. It's date night. It's a spin off of Saturday Night Live. There is fellowship and yummy desserts. The night is set up "club style" and the musical entertainment is awesome. very talented musicians/singers one of them being China Dolls guitar instructor
Football Superstar and I found our eyebrows raise at some of the topics that are discussed comedy style, but with a purpose. One reason we went back for other MLL nights.

While entertaining the thought of attending more conferences {parenting/marriage} or date nights we found ourselves growing. This included attending Alpha, Gamma and now my husband is involved with Mens Fraternity. He is now a facilitator.
I've watched my husband grow spiritually in ways I would have never thought there would be room to grow.
See, for Football Superstar, he wasn't exactly what I called an "average kinda guy".
Besides using a few added adjectives- he wasn't out partying it up on weekends with his partners from the office...he wasn't neglecting his fatherly duties....he wasn't doing anything to destroy our relationship....this man was worthy of my trust.
So where would any room for growth come into play in this ex athletes life?
He felt there was plenty of room for growth.
And now, as I listen to Football Superstar speak passionately about a friend who may be deeply struggling with his marriage, or a family member who finds themselves lost....I see the growth.
What was once important to him is now in the past. Or as he called it" A Sale Whore".
I know...that isn't a pretty thing to say...but that's exactly what his business world can be made up of. Not all of course keep that in mind as you read my words but for some of those high scaled business owners we have been connected with....this is very important.

Our marriage has grown even while we scramble with the "what to do's".
With career changes and a possible move in the future- there is absolute proof we are connected. We have a tie score on the score board. He's the lineman and I'm the cheerleader.
Our kids are the spectators. our fans?! They are watching this marriage win more than any Super Bowl. They are watching two adults they call mom and dad.
They are watching us work through the worst of times and love every moment of it.
Well...not every moment but we come out of the game showing all 3 of these kiddo's we mean it.
We married knowing we were "in love". But we now know love doesn't always equal marriage.

Marriage = Love


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scrap Book

China Doll
Apple Cheeks
Birthday Girl!!
China Doll & September Moon
China Doll & Freckle Boy *I'm sure he isn't thrilled with this name....but I can't help myself!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Goin' Green/Goin' Christian

A decision to "Go Green" is not a hard one to make for me. I've always been cautious of my actions towards the environment. I have worn t-shirts shouting phrases for protection not only the air we breath.... but the animals who share our planet. I've protested for cleaner air and water- putting poachers in their place- put your cigarette butt in it's place.

Going Green for my household can be tricky with 2 teens and 1 pre-schooler. Especially when we do not have recycling- road side. We must drive recycles to a specific place.
Going Green also means continuously reminding ourselves and our children.
Using less water. Using less electricity. Using less gas. We have a Hybrid vehicle....and we are now sharing it! Talk about a test of marriage! {see future post}

Regardless on your view of the world- whether you go green, sage or mint- one thing you can count on is that you'll never receive a black mark for going that route. You may get eyes rolled at you- but I doubt you'll receive the black mark.

Bottom line: It's a lifestyle.

Our decision to "Go Christian" was somewhat of a challenge. for me
And how does one go about "going christian?" ???

If you have read other post I have written- I mention what hypocrites of the christian faith have done to damage my views. And now, I simply do not want to come across as if I were, was,is a hypocrite.......I want to come across as if I, well, recycled God.
Like recycling, living a christian life is challenging. It's a lifestyle. Not a "when you feel like it". Yet, becoming a christian by being a "do gooder" does not get your foot into heavens gate.
and I'll apologize ~just incase I say something damaging to my readers

Sadly, Christianity has a black mark.

For me, this journey has been the best journey I have taken. And like any trip we prep ourselves for- there are a few areas where you just can't perfectly prepare for.

Detours- road blocks-blurred vision-flat tire.

For myself, I needed to dispose of the thought that you can only be a true christian if you know the Bible from front to back- can recite scripture and understand it's meaning!
I am thankful to know christians who truly walk the walk..... I also know "christians" that constantly remind me that they are christians....they have always and forever been on the stairway to heaven. Or were they referring to the song? Don't know. Doesn't matter.

Following Christ for me is something I must remind myself of every moment- of every waking day. It's not the acts of kindness I'll do for my once employer the homeless's not about me picking up someone's trash and it's certainly not about me advertising that I am now a christian each time I pass you on the street. What I must make clear is that I am a believer.
I am a follower who struggles everyday with sinful thoughts. the glare I give the woman in line at Wal-Mart or the racist who lives in my community
I struggle with prayer. I struggle with forgiveness. I struggle with those simple things that may come to others so easily. I'm not ashamed to admit those flaws I have as this newly recycled follower. My recycling of faith has been tested and proved to remain sturdy. I'll break or fold that's for sure....but I know where to take a nasty mess now. It will no longer linger for days....the mess is cleaned up and forgiven. No matter how big of a mess we make of our lives.
This new recycled {woman} mess has not changed so I"m told much. I'm still the happy-go-lucky chatter box, that will open my arms out to hug you and share a laugh- even if I do not know you.
Come on now....don't go crossing the street when you see me coming!

Bottom Line: It's a lifestyle.

Life Lesson: Recycling comes in all areas of our lives. If you do not recycle...give it some thought.