Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ups & Downs

It's been a while since I've posted regularly. As you all know, life has it's ups and downs and that is certainly no exception on this side of the planet. I'm trying to get back in the groove of things over here. There have been a few things that have gone on that have prevented me from wanting to blog lately. Some sad, some stressful and some just due to indecisiveness and poor time management.

My best friend's Dad passed away in August. This man was one of the great ones. A good husband, a good Dad, a good friend...and he died...suddenly... leaving my poor friend devastated. My heart breaks for her every day. I can't even imagine how much she is hurting. I was unable to attend the funeral because it was 800 miles away. I called and texted and listened as much as I could to try to help my friend through this awful time and felt completely helpless. Her Dad’s name was George, my Dad’s name is George. We each come from a family of four (three girls and one boy), we’ve been friends since the second grade. I’ve known her family since I was 7. And now he was gone. Just the finality and emptiness of it all really struck a chord with me. We almost lost my Dad four years ago to a heart attack, that is the same way my friend’s father died. We were the lucky ones. She only has a picture to remember him by. I’ve been driving my Dad crazy, checking on him regularly, making sure he’s walking each day and eating healthy.

I finally got to hug my friend at the end of October at the memorial service for her Dad. It was such a sad day, seeing her with her husband and children. Her children that had lost a wonderful grandfather, their Poppy. Seeing her Mom for the first time in a long time, knowing that she had lost a man that she had loved and lived with happily for 51 years.

Somehow each day they all need to get up, start their days and live without him. I just can’t imagine how that feels. I’m thankful for each day I get to spend with my own Dad and I’ll admit I get a little panicked wondering how long I’ll be lucky enough to have him say “don’t worry Stace, I’m still here.”

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas magic is still alive

This may very well be the last year that the 'magic' of Santa is in our house for Christmas. In order to keep it going just a little longer, this awesome little snippet was received just a few days ago. Click here to view Santa's video for Summer

Friday, December 16, 2011

Life in the blogosphere

Why is it that I know what this woman’s children eat for breakfast, what kind of pajamas they wear on Christmas and where she goes on vacation but I’ve never actually met her? The simple answer is: I read her blog. I didn’t realize until this morning how much I rely on the normalcy of other peoples’ lives through their blogs as part of my own daily life. Each day, rather than reading the newspaper, I check on two of my favorite scrapbooking gals’ blogs. Miss Cathy Z is always good for a good laugh and some awesomely clean and simple designs. I thoroughly enjoyed her class, Me: The Abridged Version, you can see here the fun I had with that. Ali never ceases to amaze me in keeping up with her Project Life on a timely basis as well as several other major projects throughout the year, such as December Daily and Week in the Life. I love how they are both so open and honest about the everyday things in their life. You can see my Project Life, December Daily and Week in the Life projects here (I actually have a full week documented on the Week in the Life project that I just realized I never posted, I’ll get to that soon).

I was surprised at my reaction this morning when I read Ali’s post that she and her husband are divorcing. Again, I’ve never met her in person, but she has inspired me to do so many things with my scrapbooks that I feel connected to her in some strange way. It makes me sad for her kids that their lives’ are going to be changed in so many ways and it makes me feel just a little bit luckier today that all is good on my side of the world.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011-12-07

Click here to view these pictures larger

Back to jingling

After pulling a muscle in my back earlier this week I was finally able to go back to the gym to Zumba today, or as my daughter calls it jingly butt Wednesday. After not going for over a week I feel lethargic and tired all the time. Can't wait for those endorphins to start pumping again so I can feel like the new me felt two weeks ago. No wonder I just used to sit around and be tired all the time, this is no fun. I always used to dread exercising and now I look forward to it. Plus, the people at the gym are so much fun and I've made some really good friends there.

Not too exciting today, but I'm trying to get back in the habit of posting more regularly so please pardon the mundane rambling :-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy December, I'm still here

It's been a while... things have been a little crazy around here. I'll post more details as things settle down but here's a list of why I haven't been here:

#1. My best friend's father died and it's really just been hard.
#2. My son had a skateboarding accident and sustained a head injury - he's on the mend now, but it was scary for a bit
#3. Another friend's father died and my heart is breaking for my two friends (and feeling selfish each time I hug my own Dad)
#4. My sister's 33 year old brother in law died unexpectedly the week before Thanksgiving.
#5. I've driven 2200 miles up and down I-95 in the past 6 weeks mostly for funerals

Trying to come out of my funk and stop crying at the drop of a hat. Wishing there was something I could do to make my friends and family feel better about their recent losses but knowing nothing I can say will take away the pain.

I just felt like I had to acknowledge my absence and get a few of these things written out to help myself move forward too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

For the time capsule…

We have a teenager in our house. This means there is essentially a stranger living here part time. Sometimes I know the kid who walks through the door and sometimes he is an unrecognizable bundle of hormones and attitude. I love this kid more than life itself and sometimes it can get a little stressful around here. We also have a 9 year old in the house, she also has her whiny moments but I do recognize her, most of the time, for NOW. While at lunch the other day she told me to turn on the video camera because she had something to say:

 

So tune in again to see how this is all going because I will replay this on March 23, 2015 just as we agreed :-)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Inspiration hits!

I've thought about scrapbooking a lot lately. I've kept up with my Project Life diligently. However, inspiration to do an 'actual' page has been escaping me. I've spent countless hours staring at my photos but not really finding anything spectacular that hadn't already been documented in some form in my Project Life until... I stumbled upon a photo from last year taken in the same exact location I had photographed my kids just a few months ago. This year's photo is posted on my Week 18 here 

Here is the resulting layout using some stuff from Flergs and some stuff from Ali Edwards. Life is good all over again!

I love how I was able to include the growth lines on the side. I made sure that both photos were the exact same scale before putting them side by side to do my 'virtual measuring stick'. (In PSE I stacked them and then lowered the opacity of the top photo in order to see through it while resizing the other to match.)

Happy Scrapping!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Project Life: Week 19 (6/12-6/18)

Changed it up a bit this week and used another piece of the Build A Bear ad featured in last week’s post as the week opener. When it came in the mail, I knew exactly what I was going to use it for and was even more excited when it fit!
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School’s Out!
The long awaited and anticipated first week of Summer is finally here. We are in full swing with playdates, sleepovers, s’mores & sleeping in. Looking forward to some fun time with the kiddies & the sun. 
Summer enjoyed her very first campout in Brooke’s backyard. The two of them slept in a tent by themselves all night long. Pretty cool stuff…I don’t know where she got the camping gene? Not from me! *Sleeping under the *STARS*
I {heart} my Teenage Boy
It seems he’s growing up & getting taller by the minute. He has quite an entertaining personality. Just when I can barely see the little boy inside the ‘man’ he’ll do something adorable & silly just for me {love this kid!}
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My weekly visit to the dry cleaners…
Love this little tag that came on some shorts. It even had a little square printed on it that just begged for a cute photo and this one of my son is perfect!
This week was all about getting Bryce ready for Boy Scout camp. Fitting everything in his pack was quite a task! Let’s hope he has everything he needs! /{below} Summer sunbathing with Ashley & Allison
Summer & I went to see Mr. Poppers Penguins with Jim Carrey. He’s hilarious and certainly did not disappoint.
After seeing Bryce with his backpack on, I’m so glad it was a camping trip and not a hiking trip!
Don’t you just love the Andy Warhol pop art photo of Bryce – the debonair attitude he had when he asked me to snap the photo just begged for a special photo treatment :-)
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Another week of life captured, life is good :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Project Life: Week 18 (6/5-6/11)

Week 18 and I’m still here! Whew, well as you can tell I’ve gotten quite a bit behind, but that’s only on the blogging part. I still am totally in love with my Project Life. It’s keeping me centered in the everyday and is definitely taking care of the urge to scrapbook. (Possibly a little bit too much as I haven’t really done much other scrapbooking). But I’m ok with that for now.

  • Empty laundry baskets equal laundry done! :-)
  • (19) Anniversary wishes & breakfast in bed
  • Wishing my sneakers could provide motivation
  • The puppy love continues
  • Yummy lunch at Katherine’s
  • More puppy love

 

We enjoyed dinner together at Pancho Villas to celebrate the many awards both kids received. A’s & B’s all around! Go Bryce & Summer. We are so proud of both of you! Love Mommy & Daddy

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So proud of our creative little girl for getting the Art Award for the second year in a row!

{Adorable dressed up puppy is from a Build A Bear ad}

Fun times on our progressive playdate with Ben & Alex. We went from the bouncy house, to the McDonald’s playland, wandered around Michael’s craft store for a bit and then back to our house to let the fun continue for the kids and the adults!

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As you can see, I still keep my supplies at the ready right on my desk and that is helping me keep up.

School’s out for summer – yippee! Let the fun begin :-)

Insert not shown can be viewed here regarding some medical issues Bryce has been having.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I was kidnapped yesterday…

It was for my birthday and my two great friends, Julie & Katherine, made my day incredibly awesome. It started immediately after getting the kids on the bus. A beautiful white limo, disguised as a mini van showed up in my driveway at precisely 8:30 am. The only instructions I had been given in days prior were clear your calendar for Friday, September 23rd, make sure your husband can get Summer off the bus and dress casual. I followed all instructions, and when my smiley chauffeur picked me up, I was ushered into the car and the first thing I saw was this on the passenger side floor.

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Not that I had any doubts, but I knew immediately that this was going to be a special day indeed. I was then given a choice of breakfast locations (much to my delight because in the excitement of the morning I had only remembered to walk the dog, but not eat breakfast!). We ended up at Panera and were greeted there by the heavenly scent of fresh baked bread. After ordering a yummy sounding sandwich of bacon, egg & cheese on a ciabatta we looked around for a booth to sit in, but unfortunately they were all taken. Katherine took it upon herself to take one of the comfy chairs from the sitting area and have me perch upon it at our table as if I were royalty. What a great feeling to receive the red carpet treatment!

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The breakfast sandwich was delicious as promised and the mango tea warmed my belly in preparation for a fun day ahead. The rain didn’t dampen our fun, although as I was told later it did provide a great deal of stress for my poor friends because the original plan was for us to spend the day having a picnic at the beach. Our next stop was the mall, I was completely in the dark as to our true destination until I was ushered into a quaint little nail salon and they announced that we would all be having spa pedicures. AAAAAAAHHHHHH :-) Is all I can say about that. We had great fun picking out polish colors and listening to the employees chat in Vietnamese as we enjoyed our massage chairs and the pampering that ensued.

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It was mostly relaxing except for the part where they brushed the bottom of our feet as both Katherine & I are very ticklish. We howled and laughed and contorted our faces and laughed some more until the requisite brushing was finished and we could get onto the business of enjoying ourselves. I begged Katherine not to video tape me and put it on You Tube. She acquiesced but managed to snap this photo anyway.photo-4

I appear to be in the midst of torture, but I assure you it was all worth it in the end. We were all happy with the service and vowed to return. We’ve tried many places before and each of us didn’t like something about it so this was a feat unto itself :-) The prospect of pretty toes is enough to make any girl smile and we were certainly no exception. If the day had ended here I would’ve been perfectly content, but that was just the beginning.

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After leaving the spa I was told there was still more to come and I still had no idea where we were going. They surprised me at every destination, I truly had no idea what they were up to next. About two miles before we reached our next destination, they had me close my eyes until we arrived. At the grand unveiling I realized, although it was pouring, we were indeed at a beach. I gasped as I saw the big expanse of water, some fisherman off the shore line, and 4 beautiful white swans. They had thought of everything and managed to bring me to the beach despite Mother Nature’s best efforts to thwart them.

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It’s certainly hard to appreciate the view based on this photo and I’d love to go back when it’s not raining cats and dogs in order to appreciate it more. The thought was definitely heartwarming. I LOVE water. Living where I do, I get to feeling a bit landlocked often, as the ocean is 3 hours away. But this spot on the bay was a perfect respite for my water-loving soul :-)

Silly me thought that this was just a short visit to enjoy the view for a little bit and then we’d be on our way and then they both began rattling around in the car for stuff. Out came the cooler…

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and then Katherine started preparing the food, here she is with a cutting board and knife, chopping up some delicious Honey Crisp apples…

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and then came the cheese and crackers and before you know it we had our own little picnic going on in the car, with a great view of the water!

 

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After we nibbled on our picnic spread I was asked if I had saved room for dessert! Really, there’s more?! I was astounded, and then speechless when this delightful, homemade display was handed to me.

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And to make your mouth water, here’s a closer look :-)

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Oh my goodness – homemade chocolate covered strawberries and Ghiardelli chocolate homemade brownies – I didn’t dare ask if it could get better than this! They of course tasted as divine as they looked. As so as not to miss a moment of making this special…

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I was given my own faux-glass platter with an arrangement of strawberries just for me and to top it all off a pink candle to blow out and make a wish! I think if I had smiled any more at this moment that the bottom half of my face would’ve fallen off!

We thoroughly enjoyed our dessert and then changed venues once again and went to see the movie Contagion. It was a little slow in parts, but overall a really good movie. Little did I know that we were just doing that to kill time until the Oktoberfest at the Blue and Gray Brewery started. So once again I was informed to close my eyes and we made the last turn off so I could be surprised again. This time Mother Nature won as the event was outside under a tent and it was cold and the parking lot was full of water. So after standing in puddles in our sandals we decided to go someplace at little more comfortable.

We ended up at The Chatterbox and had some great food (I got the nachos that I woke up craving for some odd reason) and we had a few drinks and more than a few laughs. What a great day, with my great friends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my day feel so special.

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Not willing to let the fun end, we all got together at Katherine’s to watch a chick flick called Life as We Know It which was great warm-fuzzy kind of movie. Katherine’s husband. who makes the best guacamole in the world, whipped us up a batch to munch on with some chips while we watched the movie. Julie actually managed to stay awake the whole time, so that was a plus as well. A great way to end a great day.

I may not actually be royalty, but yesterday I felt like I was. It truly was a red carpet experience from beginning to end.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On days I workout...

I feel stronger
I stand taller
I accomplish more
I set a good example for my kids
I am proud of myself
I am happy
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A B C - D S L R ?

My love of taking pictures and documenting our lives has caused me to start fantasizing about having a better camera. Don't get me wrong, I love the camera my hubby got me four years ago (the 28,000+ photos can attest to that)...but a girl can dream and drool, can't she? :-)


Saturday, September 3, 2011

I feel the earth move under my feet

1:51 pm Tuesday 8/23 - the whole house started shaking and we panicked. I didn't know what to do so I grabbed the kids and the dog and ran in the basement. I guess it was the tornado warnings of the past that prompted me to do so. Thankfully, the earthquake did not crumble my house...if it did I would have been successful at getting my whole family crushed (not a good thing to think about). So now we know what to do in the future - go outside!

1:51 pm A 5.8 earthquake rattled my house and my nerves (epicenter 30 miles away)
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/2011/se082311a/

Two aftershocks of 2.8 and 2.2 that I didn't even feel. I thought it was over

4.2 Aftershock or another quake? Confusion as I've never been through this before
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/last_event/states/states_virginia.php

Summary of quakes on 8/23 and consequential aftershocks. I became obsessed with checking this site every hour for the first few days. Then Mother Nature gave me something else to worry about... Hurricane Irene. Fortunately that wasn't nearly as bad and we had some warning to prepare.
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US10/32.42.-85.-75_eqs.php

Now I jump everytime a door slams or there is a loud noise in the neighborhood. I wouldn't never make it in California! What a week!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Birthday Celebration

We had more than a few laughs at a friend's birthday celebration last night. Our waiter had a great sense of humor. We went to Bravo (an Italian restaurant) and I gave him a hard time by asking for chopsticks which fortunately he thought was hysterical.


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

OBX Photo Shoot: Only 4 months ‘til Christmas!

 

We took advantage of the beautiful beach, the setting sun and the cooperative smiles of all involved. I think we have more than a few keepers and a potential Christmas card!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

OBX: The parting shots

One last look at our beautiful view2011-08-19_08-21-13_276
Our own private entrance to the beach
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The rewarding view when you reach the top of the stairs2011-08-19_08-22-26_10
Our crew before departure
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Bye, bye beach house – hope to see you again soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

OBX: Day Seven

My handsome boy just chilling out2011-08-18_11-14-59_75
My other handsome ‘boy’ enjoying the beach 2011-08-18_15-47-16_806
A teen and his cell phone are never far apart
(Playing with crazy filters on my phone makes him look like he’s on Mars!)
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Off to ride the waves one last time2011-08-18_17-19-14_289

Monday, August 22, 2011

OBX: Day Six

Time for a new activity

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Now let’s try fishing

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Frankie finally braves the water

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Gotta drink in this beautiful ocean view, the week is almost over :-(

Sunday, August 21, 2011

OBX: Day Five

This view never gets old
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Catch of the day
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One happy fisherman
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Downtime before dinner
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Waterfront dining
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Everyone has a view
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Finally get to celebrate his July birthday with the family 2011-08-16_20-38-38_852

Saturday, August 20, 2011

OBX: Day Four

Kayaking with the dolphins
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Keith wants to join in too
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Braving the chilly waters
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Is there a doctor in the house?

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Surfing time!
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Sweet sand messages
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Father and son bonding time 2011-08-15_18-48-52_184
My adorable hubby
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The sign says it all!
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