Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Scrappy Day

I loved participating in Big Picture Classes only event, mini books in Maui on 12-12-12. I made this card for my Project Life book to document the day.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012: Results of One Little Word

This year I chose the word CONSISTENCY to help me throughout the year. This year was definitely a challenge with health scares, hospitalizations, ambulance rides and significant dietary changes. I was fortunate to have two months of my new habit under my belt before the craziness started.

Some of my goals for this year were to lose remove weight, get my finances in order, keep my house 15 minutes from company ready a la Fly Lady, do meal planning and work on relationships to keep me connected. I am happy to report that I had wonderful results in all areas. I was even able to keep up with my Project Life, which also makes the crafty part of me uber happy! I was even able to squeeze in a little scrap happiness as well.



Here's how the year wrapped up: I managed to remove 24 pounds (primarily due to the significant dietary changes mentioned above). Finances are looking up. We bought a new house and aside from the moving boxes that still need to be unpacked it's looking pretty good. I started doing freezer cooking which has helped the dinner time quandary and has saved my sanity more than once. With a house feel of people eating gluten, dairy and allergen free, I'm glad I found Once A Month Mom. And, I feel more connected to my immediate family than I have in prior years. The challenges became opportunities to strengthen our relationships and for that I am thankful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Numbers don't lie

As a result of some recent allergy testing (http://www.elisaact.com/test/nonhc/), I found out that I am allergic to sugar. See more here. While I am only specifically allergic to beet sugar and maple sugar (along with 20 other items!), due to the fact that I reacted strongly to two things in the same category it is advised that I avoid the entire category.



I eliminated sugar two weeks ago, and while at first it wasn't easy, there have been some very positive side effects. First of all, my thinking is much clearer. Secondly, my clothes are fitting better and I lost 4 pounds in just the last two weeks without a change in my activity level! Add that to the 4.5 pounds I lost after removing inflammatory foods as well as the 10 I lost after going gluten and dairy free and you have one happy girl. Hey maybe I'll go have a cupcake and a glass of champagne... oh, that's right, I can't. I suppose that's how I'll keep off the 18.5 pounds that are gone already then!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Power smoothies are my new best friend

In order to get enough veggies in this body of mine I have taken to smoothies. This bright green cup of goodness is made from:

3 cups spinach
1 tablespoon flaxseed
1 small banana
4 strawberries
1/2 cup water
4 ice cubes

The flaxseed slows the release of the sugar from the banana and strawberries so it doesn't spike my blood sugar and cause inflammatory issues. It tastes surprisingly un-spinach like and I got a whole salad's worth of veggies in my body. Another point for Team Stacey!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My new secret weapon

As long as I have these babies prepped in the fridge I'm ready to go. I just saute them and throw them on salad, salmon or eggs and I have a great protein/complex carb meal ready to go.
In order to have meals that are healthy, allergen and sugar free it takes a little creativity. It's the little things that are keeping me motivated right now and I'm good with that!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Goodbye Sugar, Parting is such un-sweet sorrow

As if the dietary no-no column in our house wasn't long enough... I just found out that I am allergic to sugar! Any kind of sweetener is now taboo: cane sugar, beet sugar, maple sugar/syrup, molasses, honey, agave nectar and artificial sweeteners. The only safe 'sweet' things are low glycemic fruits and stevia. That doesn't leave much. However, the side benefit to all of this no sugar nonsense is a smaller number on the scale and that makes me happy. Stay tuned for my tales on my no sugar adventure.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I think I'm losing my mind...

For the last few weeks I have been having some serious memory issues. Not the typical, why did I walk in this room?, or where are my sunglasses? (when they are firmly planted on my head). For about two months now I feel like I've been walking around in a fog. Basic thoughts are hard to process. Making decisions is painful, and trying to talk without sounding like I'm drunk is a chore. At first glance, some friends and I thought perhaps Mother Nature was chiming in telling me I'm starting to get old. At first I was shocked, how could I, a spry young 43 year old be pre - (insert the M word here)? Since I was having serious issues remembering things and screwing up at work and forgetting really important things at home (I'd give you an example, but I can't recall...) I decided to go to my doctor. After a very thorough interview, she set up some tests and informed me that it's definitely more serious than just the impending arrival of the big M. My typing and talking dyslexia, the inability to do math in my head (which I used to do for fun - geeky, I know), the constant brain fog - all point to inflammation in my brain. Fortunately, because I am not having other neurological issues like problems with my gait as well as problems reaching out and grasping things, they have ruled out a brain tumor - insert big SIGH here. I'm not normally a nervous Nelly about being under the weather. A cough is just a cough, not a precursor to lung cancer. A headache doesn't mean I have a brain tumor. But I've got to tell you, this has me more than a little on edge.

I see a two person team, a homepathic MD and a Naturopathic Doctor, and as a result of my doctor's appointment, we are working on healing my apparent systemic inflammation. In addition to the brain fog, all of my joints seem to hurt, my heels, my knees, my wrists and my shoulders, oh my goodness, my shoulders. I'm a side sleeper and they've been hurting so much lately that I wake up in the middle of the night when I roll over. No fun there. I would think now that I'm eating so much healthier (being gluten and dairy free for 5 months, supporting my daughter - see here for her story), that I would be feeling better not worse. In general, I do feel a whole lot better. Since stopping gluten, I am no longer itchy all the time. Can I get an amen for that?! I don't think I'll ever go back. Since stopping dairy, I no longer have the most annoying post nasal drip ever. Woohoo! Unfortunately though, they do think that whatever substitutions I've made since going GF/CF are causing some full blown allergic reaction.

I got some blood tests done on Tuesday which will hopefully shed some light on the situation. They are testing my thyroid, testing for dyslexia (who knew they could do that in a blood test). They are also looking for immediate as well as delayed immunological food allergies. I am now on an anti inflammation diet, and I'm taking a few supplements as well.

I feel like some dizzy girl moved into my head and I want her out and I want the old me back!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Starting to move again

It's been way too long since I exercized regularly. Today I started the C25K program. Week 1, Day 1 down (1.4 mile walk/jog). I have to remember it just takes baby steps. Cheers to step 1!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Freezer cooking is the new fast food

With life getting busier and busier by the day around here, I was looking for options to make mealtime easier. Luckily, I happened to stumble this website, www.onceamonthmom.com and it's awesome!! Not only did she explain how to do freezer cooking (pre-prep and/or pre-cook and freeze meals for later use), she makes it so darn easy.


Her website allows you to choose from several different menu options, surprisingly enough, one of them is gluten and dairy free - MAJOR SCORE FOR THIS HOUSEHOLD! Being new to this whole idea I didn't know where to start and she even has specific posts geared as newbies. When I actually printed everything out to take a look at what I had to do I was even more pleased. The recipe list allows to select the number of servings you'd like to make, this auto calculates everything for each recipe and then my favorite part happens... all of the ingredients are entered (with the proper totals) into the grocery list, which is already sub divided by category to make shopping a breeze! Then there are even prep night and 'day of' cooking instructions to guide you through how much of which ingredient to dice, mince, chop, etc. It totally takes the guesswork out of everything.
My first time through I made a mistake but it still turned out ok. Next time I will take her advice and chop the night before. This time I chopped and prepped on the same day and I was just a bit tired at the end! After two hours of chopping, and 6 hours of prepping and freezing, I had 16 family dinners, 30 individual servings of breakfasts and 12 individual servings for lunches.

Now the next two weeks will be a breeze to get dinner on the table! Oh, and did I mention that this is all free - that must be the cherry on top!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

20 Years!

Happy Anniversary sweetheart. 20 Years, wow! Where has the time flown? I love that we are still best friends after all these years. Here's to many more!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Take a moment

This is me, right now, Tuesday, April 17th, 2012. Take a minute and try it you might surprise yourself. Leave a note for me in the comments., I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

I was… thin and healthy once at the same time, really

I am … proud of myself for supporting my daughter throughout all of her recently acquired dietary restrictions

I think … I should write more

I wonder … if Earth is the only place ‘beings’ live

I wish … that my kids’ migraines and other chronic ailments would go away or that we can find a way to make them

I save … snippets from our every day stuff {and now I have a place to put it thanks to Project Life / @ Becky Higgins!}

I always … put Vaseline on my lips before I go to bed

I can’t imagine … what my life would be like if I hadn’t met my husband right before I graduated college.

I believe … that if you really want something bad enough and you put in the effort that your dreams will become reality

I promise … to keep scrapbooking

I love … that my kids are fortunate enough to have wonderful relationships with my parents

Friday, April 13, 2012

Our new doctor has answers!

Here is the latest update on Summer. I'm pretty tired right now, so please excuse the run-ons and general disorganization of this post.

So we finally found a doctor that actually knows what she is talking about and is actually interested in finding the CAUSE of all these headaches rather than just trying to quiet them with drugs. She is a pediatric MD who also practices homeopathy. She is absolutely brilliant and was recommended to me by two of my friends. She spent THREE HOURS with us on our initial visit asking lots and lots of questions as well as going over all of the test results I brought in from the hospital. We also went over the timeline of symptoms I put together and came up with a plan. 

There are several things right off the bat that she is trying to correct. First of all, Summer's immune system is extremely compromised. She has recommended a gluten free/dairy free diet to clean out 'her gut' and probiotics to put the good stuff back in. She has Summer taking several homeopathic remedies to clear the redness and inflammation both on the outside (rosy cheeks) and the inside (inflammation causing headaches) and is looking forward to being able to eventually take her off the ridiculous dosage of daily preventative medication she is currently taking. Additionally, she strongly suspects that, although Summer took antibiotics for Strep Throat at the onset of this craziness, she never actually got rid of it and now has something called PANDAS ( Pediatric AutoImmune Neurological Disorder Associated with Strep). 

During our recent post hospitalization neurology follow up appointment, I asked what the plan was for getting her back to normal, i.e. not having to take drugs everyday. The answer was the opposite of what I expected. They increased her dosages since she was still having so much breakthrough pain. My neighbor (an adult) has migraines and is taking a smaller dosage of the same medication daily - that was not a comforting fact to find out!

Summer will be having some lab work done on Tuesday to test, among other things, for three different strep strains. Regardless of the outcome, the compromised immune system is being addressed. We will also be doing additional testing in the near future for food allergies/sensitivities. Given our family's strong history and the different sypmtoms Summer has presented with ...the doctor also believe Summer has some major food reactions going on as well. We had done skin allergy testing that came back mostly clear but she believes there are some underlying issues there as well. This doctor also feels that while Summer may have migraines, she doesn't necessarily believe that all these headaches are migraine related. Something to do with pain receptors and neuro transmitters which we've been given a homeopathic remedy for as well.

We have our fingers crossed that we will continue to get answers and Summer will start to actually heal rather than just having the drugs mask the symptoms. We are thankful that she's been relatively pain free this last week and we're hoping that trend will continue. (14 out of 51 days still isn't a great ratio in my book but we're hopeful that we're trending in the right direction.)

Here's hoping that this is finally the thing that works. Summer doesn't really care for the new eating plan but she likes her headaches even less so she's being a trooper about it. I'm hoping for some positive side effects for myself as well since I'm joining her on her gluten free/dairy free/migraine trigger free journey.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Just too much for one little body

This is now our medicine ‘corner’.                      

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I’m so thankful that my daughter is starting to feel better and her headaches are becoming less frequent. However, the amount of medication she is currently taking in order to feel well just seems overwhelming. We are researching some other options for her as well as our son in order to find a healthier way to keep them well without all the medicines. I have a feeling our journey has just begun. We are seeing a new doctor next week that we’ve heard some great success stories about and we are hopeful she will have some really good answers for us. Stay tuned, it’s going to get interesting around here…

Monday, April 2, 2012

You know you work in the country when....


.. This is your view on your way to work!

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Friday, March 30, 2012

The headache saga continues...

My poor daughter is still struggling with headaches. Over the last  38 days she has only had 9 pain free days. She spent six days within the last 3 weeks in the hospital. Thankfully she is not in pain ALL the time now, but it is still so frustrating that she continues to get these massive headaches that we've now learned are migraines. We are still searching for answers and experimenting with different diet and lifestyle changes hoping to alleviate and prevent her pain.



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Monday, March 12, 2012

So Scary

Since I couldn’t really talk on the phone with all the nurses and doctors checking on Summer, I sent these texts to let my husband and my two best friends know what was going on.
In Spotsy ER with Summer
Is she OK?
Head pain. Screaming. BP 164 over 90. They are giving her drugs for pain.
Did she go to the neurologist?
Yes. They said she has migraines. She started screaming on the way home. Drugs have kicked in so she’s not screaming anymore.
Do they know the cause?
They are assuming migraines, they are doing another CT scan to make sure nothing else is going on. They gave her morphine, she is still hurting but not crying.
Wow
Ridiculous, right?
Good
Pain still high, crying again, they gave her another dose of morphine.
Damn!
She wanted me to send you this picture to show you she’s being a trooper.
Poor baby, I’ll go let Lady out and then I can come to hospital
Lady is taken care of.
Ok, I will come to hospital.
Spotsy ER, Room 9

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Keith arrived at hospital and I kept my friends in the loop as well.
I’m scared, she’s still in pain, they are arranging an ambulance to transfer her to a hospital in Richmond that has a pediatric neurologist.
Stay calm and try not to let yourself get upset. She is going to be ok. Keep me updated. Would you like our company? {Katherine}
Do you want me to go with you? {Julie}
[These girls are the best, I didn’t even have to ask and they were at my side as soon as they could.]
Yes please, in Richmond. Ambulance eta 5 minutes.
Are you going in ambulance? {Julie}
Are they going to admit her? {Katherine}
Not sure yet, we’re doing an ER to ER transfer first. Will know more when we get there. I’m riding in ambulance with her.

After all of these texts flew back and forth we got very few answers. We are very thankful that the 2nd CT scan came back clear, as well as the spinal tap that was done later that night at the second hospital. Although, she was admitted to the hospital for observation and then released the next day, we still have more questions than answers. Nobody can seem to tell us what is causing these headaches and why it has lasted 18 days!!!! She was discharged with enough medications to take down a small army and now two days after her discharge we are finally seeing a small improvement.
Summer racked up a bunch of firsts throughout all of this, first CT scan, first ER visit, first ambulance ride, first IV – not a fun group of firsts.
We are so thankful that it is apparently nothing life threatening but that simple explanation does not help the little girl sitting on my lap crying and begging for the pain to stop.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

White flakes and white knuckles

This scene is beautiful you say, while I would have to agree just imagine what the roads looked like. They were not quite as pretty. I made my way slowly and cautiously to the office all the while wondering ‘why in the world did I decide to go in today?!’ Fortunately by the time I left to go home, the roads were quite clear and unfortunately the scenery not as pretty.

 

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So there you have it, my white flake and white knuckle driving experience for the day. Hope things are pretty where you are!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Julie

We took my friend Julie to the National Harbor yesterday to celebrate her birthday. We started the day off with a champagne breakfast and then we whisked her off up north, picking up another friend along the way. We browsed the shops in National Harbor, ‘rode’ a Harley, tried on shoes that were WAY too expensive, checked out the Peeps store and ate and drank to our hearts content. We stopped at CakeLove for cupcakes, and then on to Rosa Rita’s for mexican for lunch. Then we waited out the rain at Grace’s Mandarin and enjoyed the libations there. Only to continue on at the Thai Pavillion for dinner. We were pleasantly spent by the end of the day and have lots of great pictures to prove it. Here are some of my faves from the day.

DSC05021 DSC05025 photo (10) photo (17)

Check out this slideshow to see more of the fun that we had!

 

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

For the love of cheese

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This has been my go to lunch for the last few weeks. Bad habit, I know, but paired with a cup of tomato soup… well, it just makes me happy :-)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Running on empty

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Getting used to my new schedule and working full time again; this is how I have been feeling lately. While I’m very glad to be amongst the gainfully employed once again, sometimes I forget to fill my own tank as well as the one in my car. Fortunately, my car has one of those annoying dings to remind me I’m getting close to empty. As I slip into a worn out, grumpy mood when I’m getting close to empty I long for an annoying ding to warn me to stop and re-fuel.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 2012 Roundup

  1. What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
    Creating Keepsakes, and some books regarding medical stuff going on in our family . I also signed up for a Big Picture Classes workshop with Cathy Zielske called Ten Tips for Better Type.
  2. What movies, television shows, plays, etc. did I watch this month?
    Friends with Benefits & One Day with my friend Diane; Radio Rebel with Summer, Keith was sweet and watched Mr. Popper’s Penguins with Summer. While she was sick I rented her a bunch of movies to watch: A Dolphin Tale, Treasure Buddies & Monte Carlo. She sure is a movie lover. On our Valentine’s Date, Keith and I saw Contraband. I started listening to Paperclipping Roundtable Podcasts again during my commute. I had forgotten how much I enjoy them. Although we’re not big sports fans we did make a point of watching the Super Bowl with some friends. As a former New Yorker, I have to say I was pretty excited that the Giants won!
  3. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?
    Diane, my college buddy, came down from Saturday morning to Sunday evening and we spent the majority of that time relaxing, eating, looking at college photos and watching chick flicks. I enjoyed a Ladies Spa Day at my friend Katherine’s house one fabulous Wednesday.
  4. What gifts did I give and/or receive?

    2012-02-12_15-42-03_267_edited-1Got Keith a brand new BBQ for his birthday. Keith took me out to dinner and a movie for Valentine’s Day (planned it all himself and even got a sitter). Got Bryce some special snacks to take with him since I wouldn’t actually see him on Valentine’s Day. He loved his heart shaped Butterfinger treats.

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    For Summer her surprise was a heart shaped box of chocolates waiting in her breakfast spot.
  5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?
    Took advantage of the Designer Digital’s sale and picked up some things on my wish list for a sweet discount. Also I finally got to restock my Becky Higgins’ Project Life pocket pages and dividers. Took Bryce to Lowe’s to buy PVC piping and various other things for a project he decided he wanted to do. Also, bought paint and supplies to paint Summer’s rooom. Although, I’m not quite sure when that will actually happen {sigh}.
  6. What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
    Bryce was able to survive a major cold and continue to work at the capitol. Summer had strep throat with a horrific headache. We are currently awaiting an appointment to get a CT scan of her head as well as another appointment with a neurologist in early March. These headaches just won’t go away and our family has a history of migraines.
  7. What were my accomplishments this month?
    Started working full time again for the first time in three years. Still managing to keep the house halfway decent despite having way less time to do so.
  8. What were my disappointments this month?
    Since I started working full time I haven’t made time to go to the gym and I miss hanging out with my friends (they miss me too). I plan on working the gym back into my schedule as well as making sure I make time to see the girls more regularly.
  9. How did I do on my goals for the month? (Or any current short or long term goals)  While very thankful to have my wonderful new job, it certainly took center stage this month. Not much progress was made in any other area. I hope to have a different story to report next month.
  10. Anything else noteworthy to include? So happy to have a paycheck and REAL medical insurance again. And, it doesn’t hurt that I love my new job!
This post inspired by Katie

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day and thank you Pinterest!

 

2012-02-27_10-43-26_734 I saw this great idea on Pinterest last week. It was very timely as just as few days ago my daughter came down with Strep throat and we’re on the whole twice a day schedule. This little trick has saved me from an under-dosed and over-dosed kid. Gotta love the whole collective sharing of the minds going on!

 

Now if only I could get the walls of my house to look as pretty as some of the other things I’ve seen online at Pinterest.com, that would be a beautiful thing!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oh fair willpower, why hast thou forsaken me?

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The crunchy, spicy craving got me today. I caved and bought a bag of my favorite chips. Jalapeno flavored of course. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There's dog food in my lunch box!

Yes, it's true.  I do have dog food in my lunch box! Now mind you this isn't some crazy new diet. I just happened to luck into the coolest job situation ever. I can work from home half the time. The other half I work from the office and I get to bring my adorable dog Ladybug. So when I pack my lunch I have to pack something for the little princess. Gotta love it!


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Project Life 2011: Week 25 (7/24-7/30)

 

Another wonderful week. This was part of my week in the life project and I chose to continue to capture the everyday in my PL while getting a whole lot more detail into my WITL.

 

Got this cute little gift card holder when Summer and I went to Five Guys for a burger. I thought it would be a good idea to reference my Week In The Life binder inside this project so everyone would know where to go for more juicy details.

Totally loving my sharpie right now for making titles a la Ali Edwards.

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Week in the Life 2011 – See binder for more details from this week.

Monday
Summer’s ear infection, 1st time to get blood drawn. Patchy & Bryce to movies. Treat @ Rita’s. Taco’s 4 dinner. Finish Eric’s baby book. Blog about Camp Ellie.

Tuesday
Summer still in a lot of pain. Dropped boys at Game haven for the day. Worked at Beltone for the afternoon. Sat in on meeting with Jill re: marketing. Mom & Karen like Camp Ellie blog post. Watched movie with Summer. Picked boys ups at 11pm.

Wednesday
Dropped Bryce, Pat & Mark at KD. Working with Jill on Beltone marketing. Target for school shopping with Summer. Lunch at Five Guys. Summer and I went to Cars2 in 3D. Reschedule riding. Pick up at KD.

 

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Thursday
Drove from VA to NY to bring Patrick home after spending Bryce’s birthday with us. Stayed at Babs’ for dinner & Twister :-). Boys watched Veggie Tales videos the whole way with Bryce narrating, so funny!

Friday
Summer finally slept thru the night. Went swimming with Danielle & Eric. Dropped Durango off for transmission service. Took Bryce to get his airsoft gun fixed but they were closed. Played Farkle, were very silly with place cards. Chilled with Mom & Dad

Saturday
Went to pick up car – sticker shock - $800 because I needed brakes too :(. Strathmore for bagels – yummy. Waiting for Babs & fam to come over. Can’t believe I have to leave tomorrow already.

h – Week in the Life – 2011

Love that shot of the Verrazzano Bridge – it means I’m almost ‘home’.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Project Life 2011: Week 24 (7/17-23)

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OW! OW! BOO-HOO! 7.18

Poor Summer got an ear infection while on vacation and was down for the count for two days. Two doctor visits, three prescriptions and two sleepless nights later she is finally feeling much better and pain free. Thank goodness for codeine!

So glad Danielle & Eric got to stay a few extra days. We played lots of games while he slept. Farkle, Uno & Rummikub were big hits. We also invented Uber Farkle. We even squeezed in water polo!

Any day is *GAME DAY*. We had a ton of fun playing Farkle togeher. When that got boring we made up new rules to make it more interesting…

Farkle, Uber Farkle, Uber Scruber Farkle & Uber Scruber Stupid Farkle :-)

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I’m so thankful that my parents are willing to open up their home for us to invade for weeks at a time. Now that we no longer live close by it’s nice to experience the everyday-ness with them each summer. I get to re-charge and we all have a wonderful time. July 2011

7.24.11 While Patrick was here for the week. I took the boys to Chesapeake to Ballahack for airsoft. Summer & I went to the beach and visited the Munsons in Va. Beach. Good to catch up with *FRIENDS*

Up & Down the Coast

VA to NY, NY to VA, FRED to VA BEACH, VA BEACH to FRED, FRED to KD, KD to FRED, VA to NY, NY to VA

Whew, busy few weeks going back and forth. We all had a great time seeing family and friends but it’ll be nice to stay put for a bit.

 2012 01 13_ProjectLife_7319

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Project Life: Week 23 (7/10-7/16)

2012 01 13_ProjectLife_7314  

Happy 1st Birthday Eric!
Although adorable Eric celebrated his 1st birthday on May 20th, some family members weren’t able to be in NY. Today we had a huge party at my parents’ house with the Stopeks. Both of Mark’s sisters and their families were present as well as 3 Happy Harringtons. I think the balloons were a hit!

Second generation of family dinners around this table. Jimmy and I used to be the kids at this table. It’s funny now that we sit at this same table at my parents’ home with our own children the fun continues! 7*11*2011

Wed 7-13 to Sat 7-16
Bryce & Patrick had a great time while he was here for a few days. The airsoft store, xbox, movies on Netflix, ice cream, swimming and a trip to Dave & Buster’s with my parents. They sure know how to spoil their grandkids.

Perpetual Playdates 7-13-11
Patrick arrived last night so Bryce has been pleasantly occupied. Summer got to go to Sami’s lesson today and then the girls went swimming. I got to spend time chatting with Terry reminiscing as usual :-)

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I’m so lucky to have such a great family. My parents open their home to us for weeks at a time and let everyone visit us there and enjoy the “resort” that is their backyard. So glad my kids will always have these wonderful MEMORIES!

After spending the night at the Prendergast’s we spent the majority of the day with them as well both there and in the pool. It’s so good to see that the little ones get along almost as well as Jimmy & I do. We were a good distraction to keep the sadness at bay since Heather’s parents moved.

Saturday, July 16th
A Play & A Playdate. Sami got to spend the day here with Summer. My Mom surprised us by taking all of us to see the CM play Aladdin. It was hysterical. Her neighbor was the lead. The Genie was our favorite. The girls giggled the whole day.

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This was also the week that I played along with Ali Edwards’ Week in the Life project. I’ll post those pages soon and come back and add links here :-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Project Life: Week 22 (7/3-7/9)

 2012 01 13_ProjectLife_7312 

Crab Fest 2011
We all got together for a Crab Fest at Katherine’s. A bushel of crabs, delicious guacamole & a bucket of beer kept everyone happy. The die hards even stayed out in the rain picking crabs!

(Stacey, Katherine & Julie)

Bryce’s 14th Bday
Trenton, Bryce, Mark, Tyler
A casual get together turned into an all out party with nearly every kid on the block here. Chips, dips, soda, cupcakes were all part of the festivities. The best part: when the boys decided to WEAR the ice cream cake! (click here to see the resulting layout)

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Our ride up to NY via Amtrak was fortunately uneventful. We arrived right on time-yippee. Thankfully the kids got along the whole trip which was a miracle in itself! The best part?…running off the train for the first hug of the trip.

Trip Recuperation
Spent the day by the pool soaking up the sun and watching the kids swim. Aaagh – days like this… {heart}.

Summer & Ellie had a fun filled two day sleepover. It was nice to see Aunt Barbara & Aunt Linda & Megan. We had fun playing a bluffing game called Balderdash with Bryce, Heather, Barbara , Megan & Danielle. I {heart} GAMES

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Project Life: Week 21 (6/26-7/2)

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Bryce loves all things military. So it’s no surprise when Gram & Fossil gave him money for his birthday we immediately went to the military surplus store. He got outfitted in Marpat head to toe. He also bought dog tags & MREs.

Katherine’s 33rd
We celebrated her birthday in style at two opposite ends of the spectrum. Her husband hired a pole dancing instructor so we danced the night away Vegas style. The next day was more reserved as we took her to High Tea at the Thomas Jefferson hotel in Richmond and to the Maymont.

2012 01 13_ProjectLife_7309F is for FUN at Fleeton
We love going to Fleeton whenever we can. We were lucky enough to celebrate the 4th of July there this year with Keith’s family. It was hot and sticky but worth it. Great fireworks show!

FIREWORKS * FOOD * FUN * FLEETON

Love the sunset photo off the dock, I must have about a hundred of them because I can’t resist snapping one each time another beautiful sunset happens!

This week saw another visit to Kings Dominion, the girls had a great time riding rollercoasters and smiling for photos with the characters.

I love, love, love this photo of Summer with Hope, she is so happy when she is near these beautiful creatures.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Project Life: Week 20 (6/19-6/25)

 

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We had a nice Father’s Day celebration at Win & Carla’s with her parents as well. We also got to meet Jill’s new puppy, Croix. He is adorable! All the Dads: L-R Win, Mr. Young, Frankie, Baldwin, Keith & Peter

She’s OK!
We had a little scare with our sweet Ladybug on Monday. She must’ve gotten a stomach bug and got very sick and dehydrated. Luckily we have a wonderful vet and after some IV fluids & meds she’s doing just fine. Thank God!  

The Doll House
My Dad put this doll house together piece by piece for Summer. I love how she still plays with it almost everyday. Taking the people on car rides and putting them to sleep before she leaves or goes to bed. I {heart} my little girl.

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Any day is a good day for a sleepover (or under :-). Summer & Ashley have been having a great time having play dates and sleepovers practically every day . I’m glad they enjoy each other so much. (Side note: As I post this 7 months later, Summer & Ashley are still having a great time, Summer has been staying at her house since yesterday afternoon and then the girls are due to come here tonight. I love that they are still good friends.)

Below is a Father’s Day card I made for my hubby, the pilot.

father's dayfather's day copy

{By Bryce}
I just got back from my second boy scout summer camp and I must say it was a much better experience than the first. Not to mention the fact I earned six merit badges. Plus, I even signed up for an extra merit badge: finger printing. along with my rowing, reptile & amphibian, Emergency preparedness, leather work, first aid and wood carving. Overall I had a pretty grand time.

The house was very quiet with him gone. We really missed him and we’re glad he’s home safe.

At lessons I got to canter for the first time in my life. It was very fun cantering but it was very bouncy. I love horseback riding so much. {By Summer}

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Still jazzed with this project and new way of keeping up with the day to day of our lives. I am definitely planning on keeping this going!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On being ‘caught up’…

Is there really such a thing? I spent hours this weekend washing, folding and putting away laundry, but the elusive ‘caught up’ still seems to be escaping me. Just when I think I’m caught up, another wrench is thrown in the works and I’m behind again. So I’ve decided, I’m just going to be where I am, not ahead, not behind, just here. And that will have to do.

Friday, January 20, 2012

2012: My word of the year is…

Ever since I heard about the idea of having one little word follow you throughout the year, there was a word I know I SHOULD choose. But like everything else instead of choosing what I SHOULD, I chose what I WANTED. This word has haunted and taunted me, and each time I thought about choosing it for my word of the year, quite frankly it scared me because I was (and still am) afraid that I would fail to live up to the expectations. The expectations the word itself holds, the expectations I would attach to it – just so many feelings of what if, and can I really do it have swirled through my head. I fought this word for years, convincing myself that I’m a free spirit, I thrive not having a particular schedule or structure to my life, but I suppose I’ve been fooling myself for far too long and it’s rearing it’s ugly head in too many areas of my life right now.
In recent weeks I’ve been leaning towards the word TRANSFORMATION. It' sounds so motivating, so powerful, so full of possibilities. In all honesty, without some other underlying successes, the transformation is just not going to happen. I am excited and scared to death to commit to this word this year. For some, this may seem overly dramatic. C’mon, your saying, just spit out the darn word already! You are a 43 year old smart, independent and strong woman, you didn’t get where you are today by not being able to achieve your goals! So I’m saying, I hear you and I thank you for believing in me. This was the very first word that popped into my head when I chose my word CONNECT for 2010. When I was getting ready to choose my word for 2011 it popped into my head again, but instead I chose STRENGHTHEN and said I would do it next year. Both of those words have served me very well. Again this year I almost pushed this word to the side. Like many others out there, I think this year my word chose me. There have been several signs, conversations, and various other things that have shown me that it is finally time.
My word this year is CONSISTENCY.
consistency
See, now you’re saying, that wasn’t so hard was it? I suppose you are right. Ok, world, it’s out there. So far in my life, I’ve been consistently inconsistent, so this is a big one. Certainly some areas are easier than others. So I’m going on the assumption that if I can remember to do certain things each day/week/month, then I have the ability to do it. I suppose now I need to work on the motivation behind why I have or haven’t been doing these things. I have some great opportunities to make changes, and I just have to be consistent.
My first order of business was to install an app called Habit Streak. I put in some basic things I should be doing each day and at the end of each night I have to check off the ones that I’ve done. I’ve only been doing it for two days and both nights I found myself running downstairs to finish something so I could get my beloved check marks. I have a list of all the things I should be doing to make a positive impact on my own life as well of the lives of my family members and friends. I’m trying to be smart about this so I didn’t add everything in there just yet. But as I’m getting into a routine and consistently doing what I’ve set out to do, I’ll add another thing here and there. It’s all about babysteps this time. I don’t want the crash and burn syndrome that I’ve done before.
So here’s to CONSISTENCY – bring it on 2012!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Little Word

How does one little word make a difference in your life? I heard about Ali Edwards’ idea to pick a word for the year (OLW)  back in the middle of 2010. I figured why not jump in even though it wasn’t something I did on a more traditional day like January 1st. The word I chose was CONNECT. I really wanted to be closer to the wonderful people I was already lucky to have in my life, like my siblings, parents and my immediate family. Additionally, after being laid off from a second job within two years, both of which had me working in my home office, I realized that outside of my far away colleagues that I really didn’t have any friends in close proximity. I did have one wonderful friend locally, my friend Stef. However, she is a single Mom that worked full time crazy hours and her daughter was very active in extra curriculars so we didn’t see as much of each other as she liked. And, to boot, she was planning on moving to Ohio a few months later. At the time, both my husband and I had home offices so I couldn’t even rely on him having any work friends either. I’m the social one of us and that left us essentially friendless.

Since I had so much time on my hands, I picked up the phone. Instead of wondering whether or not one of my siblings would be busy, I just picked up the phone and called. I’d send emails more often just to say I was thinking about them and I really do feel a bit closer. Then, I started just getting out more around the neighborhood and talking to people at our neighborhood pool and that certainly helped. Fortunately, one of my neighbors then invited me to a brunch at her house on the first day of school. There I met my wonderful friend Julie for the first time and we’ve been practically inseparable ever since. Shortly thereafter, Julie had a party and invited her neighbor Katherine, and two became the three musketeers. We have done countless things together, breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, parties, working out, dancing, playing games, birthday kidnappings – it’s been awesome. So thank you to my 2010 word of the year for getting me to connect better with the important people in my life and getting me out there to meet these fabulous gals! I have affectionately named us Annie Gooth (Annie because we all have ‘ann’ in our middle names, and G.O.O.T.H. for Get Out Of The House because we like to do just that!)

In 2011, I choose the word STRENGHTHEN for a variety of reasons. Probably the reason that was the most motivating was the desire to feel stronger in general. I decided to start working out again and join a gym. I’m realistic enough to know that I’ll probably never have a six pack or arms like Angelina Jolie, but I really just wanted to feel stronger at the core. I’ve had back and knee problems for years and I know it’s good for me to keep them strong as well as the rest of me. Fortunately, my two buddies that I made in 2010 were up for the challenge as well. I’m happy to report that over the course of a year I was able to remove (not lose, which implies I want to find it again) 15 pounds and keep them off! I walk taller, I creak less and overall I feel stronger in so many ways. The obvious way is physical, but to be able to set a great example for my kids and let them see me love exercising and doing good things for my body certainly makes me proud.

Now to choose my word for 2012 – or perhaps have it choose me. I’m tossing around a few and can’t seem to settle on one just yet. I’m toying with PURPOSEFUL, FREE, BREAKTHROUGH, NOURISH, STRETCH, and TRANSFORMATION.

Some of the things I’m planning on doing this year are: start meal planning, pay off debt, remove more weight, strengthen my body, balance my time (just started working full time again), be in the moment (leave work at work), keep up with my FLY Lady cleaning routines.

So at the end of the year if I can see a big dent in my debt as well as my @ss that would be awesome. Additionally I don’t want my relationships with my kids nor my husband to suffer because I’ve gone back to work. I’ve been enjoying a house that is mostly 15 minutes away from being ‘company clean’ and I would like to keep it that way because it makes me happy.

To that end dear blog readers, please chime in with some advice on picking my word for the year!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011, I bid you adieu

Here’s a recap of our year in photos. My thought originally was to put captions on each, however realistically that would’ve meant this slideshow wouldn’t have been finished until closer to 2013. So here we go with some of the highlights of our year.

Summer riding horses.

Bryce swimming

The VA earthquake

Summer’s 9th Birthday (and layout)

Bryce’s 14th Birthday (layout)

Keith’s birthday dinner

My awesome birthday adventure

Our trip to NY with fun times in Gram & Fossil’s pool

My sister moving back to the US

Visiting my brother in PA

My other sister visiting us here

Enjoy! (I know we did !)

Sunday, January 1, 2012