Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You had to be there

Erin got this kit one night for Hanukkah, you decorate these fake nails and then can glue them on. Every little girl's dream. Well, she decorated them with Ira the other afternoon, it was kind of like spin art with glitter. JUNK was the determination. The paint didn't stick, the glitter went everywhere but on the nails, but Erin was not deterred. I went upstairs the other day, and walked into our bathroom. This is what I saw.

Ira looks at me and says, "Now, THIS, is blog-worthy!" I had to laugh out loud. "If you told me a few years ago, hell, even one year ago, I would be putting fake nails on a little girl, I wouldn't have believed you!" What a dad won't do for his little girl. Well, I know one dad, a good friend of ours, a big, manly-man of a guy, who has a little girl. When I told him this story, he said he could do one better. Then he showed me his bright pink-painted big toe. What a dad won't do for his little girl.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Krassan Family Hanukkah Party

Always amazing... always chaotic.... but i wouldn't have it any other way. Too many latkes (but they are sooo good) too much food, and just the right amount of family. The best part? I love that both my family and Ira's family all come together for all the holidays. It doesn't' matter if it is their holiday or not; Christmas or Hanukkah... they all celebrate together. That is just so cool. I got this cool little video camera thingy. Here is a clip of the madness when we counted down and let the kids tear into their pile of presents. My favorite moment of the night. Both of my girls got digital cameras. I will be accepting bribes to not post unflattering pictures of family and friends (and so far, majority of pictures they have taken all are) to this blog. I prefer milk chocolate, itunes gift cards, sweaters from J Jill, and Lucky Jeans :o) Just to warn you? Erin has already asked me how she can start her own blog. Don't say you didn't know...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Counting Down....

The first night of Hanukkah (my choice of spelling) is only 3 nights away. Christmas is only 1 week away. My shopping is not complete.

If you are standing in front of me in line at any store, please pay with a non-declinable credit card you can just swipe and go. Do not write a check this time of year, use an ATM debit card with pin, or try to count out exact change while you talk on your phone and ignore the screaming toddler clinging like velcro to your leg digging in your purse for cheerios.

Please bring all purchases, with your final decision made to the register. Do not wait until the sales person has completed ringing up your items to ponder if you should indeed purchase that lovely red sweater with the barking dogs that actually "sing" jingle bells when you squeeze their nose for your niece. It is stupid and she will hate it.

Please have all your coupons and discounts ready. Do not ask the cashier if she happens to "have an extra" back there, or start digging madly in your purse for one you damn well know you don't have. It is annoying to the sales staff, and to me, the person behind you. Besides, you are not fooling anybody.

Please make sure you have an easily accessible bar code on al items you are purchasing. If not, please be so kind as to bring a 2nd item with you so that a SKU number can be obtained without causing a 40 minute delay as Earl or Himatonyaloket (seriously, I had a kid by this name in my class) goes to find the price on said reindeer sweater. I mean, come on. You looked for a price on the damn thing before you picked it up to buy, right? Didn't you notice it didn't have one then? Does everyone that works a cash register have some kind of amazing brain power that instantly recalls all SKUs and prices? You adn I have all seen some of the geniuses working at Target and Walmart. We know this to not be true. It is the holidays, show some kindness to these people and make sure you give them the bar code, people.

This is all I ask of you. It makes life so much easier for the procrastinators such as myself, but for the poor souls that are forced to stand behind the register and deal with the masses of idiots that leave their shopping until the end of December. In the spirit of the season, please, be a considerate shopper... and get the hel out of my way!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Halloween Layouts.

Here are some layouts I did of the girls from Halloween this weekend while Ira was away in Las Vegas. Erin was a "Goth Cheerless-Cheerleader" and Haley was a 'Scary-Beautiful-Princess-Witch" by their own words. I don't know who had more fun; them dressing up or me getting their hair and make-up together. Win-win either way you look at it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Looks like it's time.....

Yesterday Erin and I were playing around, being silly, on the couch. Suddenly she stopped and said, "Mommy do this" and made a face trying to get her eyebrows to scrunch. I did the same. "No, mommy, like this" Now she opened her eyes VERY wide. I mimiced her facial expression. Exasperated no, "Mommy! like THIS, so you get this right here!" and she rubbed my forhead. She wanted me to raise my eyebrows, you know, so you get those lovely lines on your forehead? Ok, I gave in and did it.

"Mommy! You have old lady lumps! It's time to meet your maker now!"

Friday, December 12, 2008


It's a romantic full moon, when Pedro said, "Hey, mamacita, let's do Weeweechu."

Oh no, not now, let's look at the moon!" said Rosita.

Oh, c'mon baby, let's you and I do Weeweechu. I love you and it's the perfect time," Pedro begged.

"But I wanna just hold your hand and watch the moon." replied Rosita.

Please, corazoncita, just once, do Weeweechu with me."

Rosita looked at Pedro and said, "OK, one time, we'll do Weeweechu."

Pedro grabbed his guitar and they both sang.....

"Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas,

Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year."

I couldn't resist. They are so damn cute!

Ramona Quimby; Self Portrait

For those of you who remember the books by Beverly Cleary, you will remember Ramona Quimby. The lovable, if somewhat impossible little girl who was the younger sister of Beezus (who names their kid Beezus?) and the apple of everyone's eye for being just so stinking cute. Ramona had a doll named Chevrolette. Yes, that is a car, but Ramona thought is was a beautiful word to be wasted as a car so she made it a name. Ramona liked to play with a little boy named Howie, even though other little girls only played with other girls. Girls played stupid things. Ramona once emptied out an entire tub of toothpaste just to see what would happen. Ramona got an adorable pixie hair cut. Ramona danced to the beat of her own drum. She was a lovable, loving, if somewhat exasperating child.
Haley is my Ramona.
She reminds me so often of this beloved character from my childhood, even more so since she has had her hair cut. I often call her Ramona and it infuriates her. I can't wait for her to be old enough to enjoy reading the Ramona stories with me. My two favorites were Ramona and her Mother, and of course, Ramona Quimby, age 8. If you haven't read them as a child, read them as an adult. They are a bit dated in some of the language (girls wore skirts, not pants. Ramona was a rebel, I tell you! No wonder I like her?) But the feeling of this girl holds true to my heart and will to yours as well. Read about Ramona. You will so easily be able to imagine her always trying to sneak off with her mother's camera and take her own picture making funny faces. Like my own little Ramona. In all these pictures I am sharing with you here.

She is going to absolutely HATE me when she is 13.

Past Due

Here are finally the photos from Thanksgiving weekend. We cooked, shopped, ate, played and enjoyed. For further details, see earlier post of How Is It December?

Monday, December 8, 2008


That's what Erin said. I told her she had to eat with no utensils if she didn't help empty the dishwasher. I-D-T-S, mom. Huh? "I don't think so" Yeah. Who taught her text-lingo? So it starts...... {sigh}. Gotta love technology.

Friday, December 5, 2008



I had Erin's parent-teacher conference last night. How odd to be on the other side of the table it is for me? I am usually the one telling the parent all about their child, the one managing the time, controlling the conference. How weird to be the parent instead of the teacher? Certainly gives me new perspective and understanding for the parents I face each year.

As for Erin... she is continuing to do so very well in school. She has become an avid reader and devours anything she can get her hands on. She enjoys stories with "meat" to them and not just the "cutesy fluff" as her teacher said. From all of this reading, her writing has taken on new levels of expression and creativity. She tells stories with great detail and emotion. Her handwriting... well, she is preparing to be a doctor we could say! Erin's teacher has truly opened up the children to the wonders of the written word and established a love of learning. This little sponge of ours has been so fortunate to have her for a teacher.

Erin's Math skills, of course, are above your average 2nd grader. Mrs. Murawczk said to me, "I will take credit for her reading and writing, but you get credit at home for her Math skills." Ok, so having an accountant for a dad and a math teacher for a mom, we do a lot of math, it kind of sticks. What can I say, the kid is good. She has to be, our reputation is on the line here.

Of course, no conference is complete without the "We would like to see...." She talks a bit too much. She has a hard time waiting her turn. Trying to put a nice spin on it, the teacher tells me it is because she has so many wonderful life experiences she can't wait to share. It is because she is so very bright that she gets frustrated when others don't answer fast enough. She is MY child, of course she talks to much. She is IRA'S child, of course she is a bit disorganized. Genetics need to have a place on the report card as well....

Doesn't matter. We are so very proud of our 2nd grader. She may be a little crazy, talk all the time, misplace most of her school papers, and runs like she is on double espresso most of the time, but that's is what makes her our Erin.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

From the eyes of a child.....

Driving home from some errands on Tuesday night, Haley was delighted to see the decorations people have begun to put out for the holidays. Then, we came upon the mecca of all holiday decorations... I swear this house made the Grizwalds look plain.

"Mommy! Can we bedazzle our house like THAT ONE!"

Where do kids get this stuff?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How is it December?

I mean, It was just October last week? Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had such an incredible 4 day weekend! My aunt, Gloria, came to spend "American Thanksgiving" as she calls it, with us again this year. What a wonderful tradition that has become. Haley was most excited to see what color Aunt Gloria's hair was going to be! Apparently the red from last year made quite an impression on her. Well, her hair was a little more toned down this year, but Gloria looks fabulous! As always, it is just too short of a visit, but I look forward to having her every year.

We celebrated Bill's birthday last weekend with a full Krassan family dinner at Bucca di Beppo. We sat at the Pope table. Some Irony there. Surprised we didn't get hit by lightning or something?

Out Thanksgiving table this year was beautiful. Erin made the place cards out of little turkeys I cut out with my Cricut machine (scrapbooking tool of the GODS I tell you!). Having her write out the names was such a nice touch. Haley helped set the table and put the little leaf cut out place mats around. Ira, once again, made a most delicious Turkey. He may have missed his calling in life as a MASTER TURKEY CHEF! The girls each made a special dish for the meal. Haley made the traditional homemade cranberry sauce (that nobody ever eats but we make because it looks nice and is fun). It still was hardly touched. Everyone prefers Sandy's cranberry sauce with the pineapple rings, which has its own funny story for another post. Erin had a very special dish. She had gone to the local farm on a field trip a few weeks ago and picked the biggest sweet potatoes I have EVER SEEN! She picked them, washed them, peeled them, cut them, mixed them with butter and brown sugar and cinnamon and baked them. She arranged marshmallows on top to melt in the oven. What an amazing experience! Now, if she would only have EATEN them.... kids, sheesh.

Then, on to BLACK FRIDAY! I have to say, I was disappointed in myself this year. Every year, I am up and out of the house by 5:00 a.m. faithfully. I meet my mom for some crafting at Michael's or AC Moore, then we meet my dad and Ira with the girls for breakfast. This year, I don't know why.. the sales were not enticing.... I didn't have anything in particular to buy... I am on a limited budget after the addition on the house... I just didn't have my shopping mojo flowing. I slept through all the early madness and didn't go out until 9:00 for breakfast. I was a Black Friday slacker. I made my dear, neurotic friend Aubree get up and go shopping, but I slept. Even the year Haley was born, at 9 months pregnant, I got up, I shopped, and I gave birth the next day. {sigh} Don't know. Just wasn't feeling it. Blame the economy. When I did get out, I was sad to see that I didn't have to fight for a parking space, there were shopping carts available in stores that in previous years you had to stalk for one, and the lines were not long at all. It is a sad statement for the retailers when this most hallowed day of shopping festivities seems so, well, sad?

Saturday morning Ira and I were awakened by a little girl jumping on us yelling, "Get up you lazy bones, don't you know you have a 5 year old now?" Yup, it was Haley's birthday. She was all about being 5 at last. We took the girls into Philadelphia for messy cheesesteaks (chicken cheesesteaks at Tony Lukes that we eat in the car, a family favorite) and then to Ikea to get Erin and Haley a double desk for the new office at home. Saturday night we celebrated her fiveness with a family dinner. Table for 22 at Friendly's. Yeah. I don't think I need to explain that one. It was fun. Loud. Crazy. But fun. To top it all off, we had my sister's kids (Samantha, Jake and Deanna) all sleep over so Lynda could go out to celebrate her birthday as well. I don't think Lynda minds sharing her birthday with Haley, but somehow Friendly's wasn't exactly her type of celebration :o) So this gave her a chance to have a much deserved grown ups night out.

Now we have Ashley's birthday to look forward to this month. Erin has already asked me at least 400 times what Aunt Sue and Lindsay are planning for that occasion. Can't we get through one thing at a time?

When Sunday finally rolled around, it was raining and cold and we were all happy to spend a day doing something quiet and relaxing. SO what do I do? I take the girls and a friend for each of them to McDonald's for lunch (imagine the playroom there on a rainy Sunday?) and then to the movies to see Bolt. Yeah. Relaxing. Right. They were so cute, so good and had a tremendous amount of fun.

While I was gallivanting about town with a cart load of kids, Nancy and Phil were at home decorating the Christmas tree with Gloria, Robin and David. Now that Rachael was back to school, I figure the Schaffers were relaxing and having a good time being on their own again :o)

It was one of those "This is what being a mom is all about" days. I did enjoy it... mostly :o)

As if that wasn't enough... there was one more teensy little thing. We got a Guinea Pig. She is a hand-me-down, and, she is adorable. Erin's friend Rachael had her and couldn't keep her. So we got her. Her name is Miss Piggy and we love her. All of us. Except Ira. So far. But he didn't love Rufus for a long time either.... or that I think of it. He has issues with pets. It is only a matter of time if you ask me...muahahahahaha!

It was an exhausting yet fulfilling weekend. Filled with family, filled with food, filled with love. How blessed we are to be able to share times like these not only with each other, but with our extended family. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins.... cousins home from college :o) My girls are surrounded by people who love them like nobodies business. It simply fills me with joy to see how them grow and flourish knowing that these people are a part of all the important events in their lives. Always a constant. Always there. They count on it. We have a tradition in my home on Thanksgiving. When we sit at the table, we each take a turn saying what we are thankful for. It is a little wishy-washy and we all say the same things each year. Health, family, all that. But it is important to say it out loud. Not take for granted those you hold closest to your heart. Those that mean the most to you. This weekend was certainly a busy one, and I know I went on and on and on like I sometimes can do, but there was a reason. I wanted to put into words all the things, or people I am thankful for. You see, they are each one a part of my weekend. Each and everyone of them was mentioned in here!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


10 things you can only say at

10. Talk about a huge breast!

9. Tying the legs together keeps the inside moist.

8. If I don't undo my pants, I'll burst!

7. That's one terrific spread!

6. It's a little dry, do you still want to eat It?

5. Just wait your turn, you'll get some!

4. Don't play with your meat.

3. I didn't expect everyone to come at once!

2. How long will it take after you stick it in?

and the Number #1 thing you can only say on Thanksgiving....

1. I'm in the mood for a little dark meat.

Be very careful......

to listen to what people say to you. It is easy to misunderstand what they say. Take the poor tin man here. He was supposed to be the smart one.... he should have thought a little more carefully about what Dorothy was asking of him. It is easy to just respond to what someone says without thinking it through all the way. Sometimes I do that and it isn't always so good. Take time to really listen to people. Think first, act second. Its a pretty good rule to live by. After all, who wants to eat straw?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sheee-eeee's Baaa-aaaack!

So, we made the big move this weekend. Our little cramped home office upstairs is now in the beautiful big space downstairs that was once a garage. The only down-side? 2 days with no internet lol! How did I survive before this? To top it all off, I haven't been able to find my cell phone all weekend (turned up in a coat pocket this morning, so all is well). Which all leads me to this... How much technology is good for us? I mean, I grew up with no computer, no cell phone, no internet once we did get a computer, and the TV I had as a kid, you had to get up to change the channels, all 6 of them! I know, I sound like that old guy on the car-sense commercials... "We had to go find cars the old way, kicking tires, cup of Joe and days on end.." But you see what I mean. I have to admit, it was kind of cool having a tech-free weekend. I had to run out to do some errands, I had no phone, so I paid attention to what I was doing. My errands ended up being quicker. Lack of technology made me MORE efficient, it seems. The running around that would have ended up being the whole afternoon? Back in an hour. I couldn't keep calling to see if we needed that. I couldn't just run to a few other places because Ira could call if he was looking for me. I told him I would be back at a certain time and I needed to be back as reasonably close to that time as I could. No excuses. Could it be that all those things that are meant to be time savers and helpers are really inhibitors? When you don't have them at your constant disposal, it makes a world of difference. I was able to accomplish so much more, honestly! I am thinking, I just may start leaving my cell phone at home on the weekends from now on. It works a lot better than any other time management tool I have ever had.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dirty Little Secret

Ok, here it goes.... I. Don't. Finish. Things. There, I said it. It doesn't feel any better. It isn't like I don't admit it. I do. I even call myself the Queen of Unfinished Projects. I am sure you have noticed that I started out with a bang, posting every night, faithfully, right on time, like I said I would. Then, this week... well.. not so much. I could even give you some fabulous excuses. Last night we took my computer down and unplugged everything so that we could move my desk into the new office. Sure, that could be an excuse. But I could have done my entry earlier. I could have blogged from Ira's computer. So it is just that, an excuse. I am not a whiner, so I wont' go there. I just didn't do it. I am fading. I have a tendency to do that. I start something all gung-ho and then... well, the momentum fades just a little. It certainly isn't intentional. It is my biggest weakness. I am trying to work on it. Admission is the first step, right? Think there is a program for this problem? Probably not. Any of you have this same particular dirty little secret? Let me know. Misery loves company. Some day, I will set a goal and complete it. Someday. Maybe that can be the first goal Start and complete one thing. Now, back to the list of unfinished projects, cheer me on people, I could use a little encouragement!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bad Blogger!

Bad, Bad, Blogger! Did I not post yesterday? Are you sure? I thought I posted yesterday? Where did the time go? What exactly did I do yesterday? Where did yesterday go? What about today? What the hell happened to today? How does this happen! It isn't like I was busy or anything? I didn't even cook dinner the last few nights, we went out? Where does time go? This is my life. Things get in the way. The best intentions.. all those cliches. I just don't understand how it happens. It seems as though all I did today after work was read the mail, grab a bite for dinner, pajamas, tuck kids in, and it is almost 10:00. Hmph. I think I have to learn a little time management or organization or something. There has to be a better way to make it through the week?

Monday, November 10, 2008

This is what happens to me when I turn on the computer. There is no such thing as "Just checking my email" or any such nonsense. At least I am honest. "My name is Michelle and I am addicted to the Internet." I do not call the computer a time saver, a useful tool, an organizational device. I call it what it is; A vacuum of time that sucks the minutes out of my day by pulling me away from the 1,000 other things my time should be spent accomplishing. Instead, I am aimlessly wandering and getting lost on the world wide web. Sure it is convenient to be able to find anything I want. Problem is, once I quickly (insert snort of sarcasm here) find what I need, I am so easily swayed to click on every other link that the time saved using the Internet rather than going to an actual store is quickly lost. When I look at one simple site for, oh let us just say, a new coffee pot, I end up going from the coffee pot, to a site that has the best price on the coffee. That site leads me to a place that has these really cool mugs that match the new paint in the kitchen. The mugs lead me to a site that has these other kitchen appliances that all coordinate. From there I am in a chat room about recipes for the upcoming holidays. (Because I need to read all the wonderful things I won't make because I always make the same traditional things every year.. but juuuust in case....) now heading to a site on kids in the kitchen (just for the stories, I don't actually let my kids in the kitchen, or cook for that matter) heading on over to a site making house crafts from kitchen materials. (Did you ever know all the fascinating uses of cling wrap, flour and water?) clicking to some crafting stuff. (Now we're talking, baby!) That has me at this blog written by a lady in Kalamazoo that quit her job to live on only recycled materials. (They are called "fregans, like vegans, but they eat from dumpsters only food they find or get from free! Really, do a google search on it! I dare you!) and she does this because the world is filling up with trash so fast we will all have to live on another planet soon because we throw away perfectly good things. I am now prompted to go look at information on the environment. Gee, look at the ad on the side for a whale watching excursion? I bet that would be fun? Check out the travel site this is linked too... See what I mean? Looking for a coffee pot and I end up on a whale watching excursion in Alaska. Logical, huh?

Weekend photos

Not a full post, just pictures of what we did this weekend.

First slide show is our trip to Inner Harbor with a pit stop to see Rachael at Towson. Second batch is Erin & Haley's joint kid birthday party (and the mess I made baking cupcakes!) as well as family dinner afterwards.

What was I thinking?

Ok, remember when I got this great idea to do 32 posts in 32 days..... with pictures? I had this great idea that I wanted to let my kids know a little about me at this time in my life. I had this idea that I could chronicle a month of day-to-day life, throw it all together, and create a scrapbook that would be a perfect way to show them what their mom was like at age 36? Me, as a person, rather than as the "mom". Remember that first post about how I love making their birthday cakes? How I want them to remember that I always did that? Remember all the nostalgia there? Go back and reread that post. Then come here and read this. WHAT WAS I THINKING? Why in God's Green EARTH am I spending most of a Saturday night and then the better part of a Sunday morning making 2 small round cakes surrounded by a million differently colored frosted cupcakes on cute trays with coordinating sparkling sprinkles? Yeah, they are adorable and yummy. Yeah, nothing is as tempting as a cupcake, if you ask me. But there are some pretty good bakeries around here. After the $14,000 I spent on cake mix, butter cream frosting ingredients (11 pounds of butter, 92 pounds of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk) and then the colored gel to dye it, the sprinkles, the gizmos and gadgets to make all the swirls and such in the frosting just so, What the hell is wrong with me? Here is what my kitchen counter looked like after. You can't even see the eleven bowls in the sink along with the 47 spoons, scrapers, pans, and assorted measuring devices. Next year, we are doing the Acme sheet cake with fancy plastic princess figurines. I will still sprinkle the edible glitter on it. Yeah, that is a nice touch. I can even take it out of the box and put it on one of my own trays. Maybe I will write their names in my own hand writing. That could fool them. If they doubt I love them, I will just get they a pony or something.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

2 pictures for 2 days

We took the girls to Inner Harbor in Maryland yesterday for an overnight family getaway. It was pretty cool. On the way down, we stopped at Towson University to see my niece Rachael (and relive our college days... somehow I don't recall dorms being that small?) From there, we headed to our hotel to check in, then across the street to the Baltimore Science Museum. It is just an incredible place to spend a day. We followed the life cycle of the blue crab, dug for fossils, built with kinex, explored, investigated, researched.... AWESOME! They had activities that showed kids basic principals of gravity, how pulleys work, leverage, electricity, the kids were completely into it! You would have thought they were discovering some of these basic principals of science themselves. So, to round out all that good learning, we went to the imax movie and saw Madagascar II and pigged out on popcorn and Mike & Ikes. Nice way to re-mush the mind a little :o)
Day two brought us to the National Aquarium. Ira and I had visited here when we were in college, so it was exciting to come back with children. We saw the dolphin show (always a favorite) then toured all the exhibits. Not too exciting for Erin & Haley since we have a salt water tank at home and they "know" all this already... silly mommy and daddy! So that wasn't a winner, but the ice cream afterwards was a home run, so it balanced the day.

The best part of the trip, you ask? 2 days together. 2 days just spending time laughing, being goofy, torturing, eating ice cream, kissing somebody whenever the mood strikes, just good family time. There is nothing like it. Family time. Work, chores, stress, all the responsibilities of every day life tend to get in the way. Family Time. Capital letters, you see. It is that important. No matter what, you have to stop, spend time with those most important in your world. Real time. Time away from everybody else. Time at home is ok, but you have to get away from the phone, errands to run, all of it. You don't have to go out of town, but you have to go someplace that you are away from your "life", you know? This family of mine, I love them. Love them like nobody's business. Family Time. Yeah. The where is fun, but the Family Time. That's what it's all about.

Friday, November 7, 2008


What made me laugh today.

It was a rubber chicken. $1.99 Rubber chicken. It was a dog toy, once upon a time. Actually, about 2 hours ago. It didn't last very long, but I would still say I got my money's worth. It went kind of like this.

Picture Haley and me running a bunch of errands today. We decided to take the dogs with us. If they were going to just sit in their crate and be lonely, they may as well just sit in the car and keep us company. They do so enjoy barking at all the passers by in the parking lot. Michael's, Old Navy, Bertucci's... Izzy sat in the front with me, Rufus in the back with Haley. We made it to Ulta, stopped at Chick Fil-a for a drink. They were so good, we took them to Pet Smart to pick out some new toys and treats. You see, I love my dogs. I mean I love them like one of those crazy dog people. I AM one of those crazy dog people. I even got them matching his-and-hers hooded sweat shirts for chilly fall days. They wear them to go running with Ira. They like them. I have issues, I know. But I digress, back to Pet Smart. We wander the toy department, Haley, the dogs and I, picking out the perfect rubber chewies. In the past, I found the most indestructible $10 toys that would last about 4 days. Time for a new tactic. I chose the $2 flimsy toy that would last about 3 minutes. I figure I pay about that much for really good bones, and they don't last much longer.

When we got home, the dogs got their little rubber chicken after dinner. He was very cute. I named him Hubert and we said a little prayer over the sacrificial chicken before giving him to the hounds of hell. They each loved just carrying little Hubert around. He made the most adorable little squeaky sounds. I think my mistake was in buying only one chicken. Had there been two... perhaps a Herbert to help divert all attention away from Hubert...

What made me laugh today was this. Ira came home from work late. I was upstairs watching TV. He called out, "Can anyone tell me why the dog is running around with a decapitated chicken in her mouth?" How exactly does one even answer that?
So I just had to laugh.
Rest in peace, Hubert.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Did you?

Waking up today, there was a new President Elect, it was very exciting. At school, the kids all came in chanting "Obama!" and it was so cool to see these 12, 13 and 14 year olds all hyped up about POLITICS! It is a very exciting time in our lives to be a part of this election. I am not saying which way I voted, Democrat, Republican, whatever... just the act of walking in to that booth, looking at the choices before me. Knowing that each of us has the privilege, the responsibility, the power to make that decision and influence the outcome. It overwhelms me. I think of other places in this world that people are controlled by their government. Not here. Not me. So today, I am just relishing in the fact that I VOTED. I went and let my opinion on who should be the president of the United States of America be counted. Win or lose, my candidate got my vote. My voice was heard. It wasn't that many years ago that women didn't have the right to vote. Not at all. I don't take that right for granted. Now, look who is president. Now that is something you don't see every day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Life is Good

I found this tag this morning when I was hunting through my closet looking for something to wear. It is from my favorite pair of flannel pajama pants. Pink with white daisies. When I bought the pants a few years ago, for a scrapping get away of course, I must have just tossed the tag on the closet shelf with the intention of including it on a scrap page. {Of course I did, that sounds so "me" doesn't it?} Little did I know that Life is Good would become more than a cozy pair of pants to me. It is kind of my personal mantra. When the kids are on my nerves, Life is Good reminds me how fortunate I am to have these kids to bug me. When I am tired at the end of a long day, I think how fortunate I am to have worked hard to be tired. When I go to put on my favorite jeans to walk the dogs, go to the park with the family, the movies with Ira, just run errands on the weekend, I think, yeah, life is pretty good. Do What You Like. Like What You Do. The guys that came up with this stuff knew what they were talking about. Who knew a pair of pajama pants would turn out to give me my outlook of life? Good thing they are comfortable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pure Joy coming home to see this beautiful sight, on any given standard business day, that is. Aaahhh, a package.... is there any sight so sweet? Any other sight that can lift one's heart? bring a smile at the end of a weary work day? It doesn't really matter what the contents are. We order coffee in bulk, dog treats, gadgets and gizmos, house hold supplies, office things, computer parts, a mop, some books, holiday gifts for the kids, clothes, all sorts of things. Each and every one gives me pleasure when it waits on my porch for me at the end of the day. Today though, oh sweet joy, today.... SCRAPBOOK SUPPLIES! It was not my beloved scrapbook obsessions kit (I would have been stalking the mail carrier for that), No, today was forbidden purchases from some random scrapping website. Papers and stickers and doodads and things that just make me so happy to open up and run my fingers over. (must be some glitter involved, I do so very much love all things that bling). As I sit here typing, they are right next to me, making me smile. No, there is nothing that makes it any sweeter to come home after a long day than to see that beautiful brown box sitting on the front porch.... waiting... with my own name in neat black letters on the front.

Monday, November 3, 2008

So, there's this guy I know....

..... OK, so it's my husband. (Ira, stop reading now, I don't want you to hear this! I mean it!)
He is just perfect, for me, at least. Yeah, we argue and disagree, and he makes me crazy, but it works. Last night we took my parents out for dinner. In the car we were talking about a color of paint for the office we are doing, and my dad said, "Stop arguing!" We both said "We aren't arguing?" what was he even talking about? As opposite as we are, as different as the things we like, when it comes down to it we just work. This picture here, is from the summer. We drove down to North Carolina with the girls for his cousin's wedding. On the way home, the kids fell asleep and Ira ended up trying to avoid bad traffic ahead his dad had called to warn us about. We ended up driving through Washington DC at midnight..... NOT on our plans. There was me, taking pictures out the windows as we passed the capitol, him pointing out landmarks, and both of us just laughing at the fact that we were so totally lost. So what did I do? I leaned over and took our picture together. Nearly blinding the driver, of course. We laughed even harder. How many guys would even begin to understand that their wife needed to document this moment to scrapbook? How many husbands would think to point out the white house at 80 mph so I could try to catch a snapshot? It just got funnier by the second. Ira gets me. He doesn't expect me to change. Even the parts that aren't always the best. He just keeps on loving me. How cool is that?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To my parents, Phil and Nancy! Every year Ira and I take them out to celebrate their birthdays. Since they are only 4 days apart, it is easy to share the night, except this year their busy social calendar kept us from getting a date until almost 2 weeks after the big days. What's that all about? Being all grown up, it is a great pleasure to be able to just enjoy the company of my parents. We can talk, relax, and it is always a good time. I don't think that 20 years ago I would have believed you if you told me that one day a great Saturday night would be going out with the parental units. Perspective of the young, I suppose. Now I know that nights like this are the ones I treasure. Year after year, Phil and Nancy just get better :o)
Love you, mom & dad!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


We had a "cheerless cheerleader" who wore black lipstick and pouted and a "scary beautiful princess witch" which is pretty self explanatory. Haley is still into the cutesy costumes, but Erin, as you can see, is moving into the more grown up idea of Halloween. I am not so sure I like that. I love all the make up and hair, and yes, I am THAT MOM that sprayed my hair to go out with the kids. Erin was disappointed that I didn't have a costume. After I finished doing her hair, I took the cans to mine and went a little crazy. I can't say it was a costume, but it was festive, and it made the girls happy. Isn't that what it is all about? Well, that and the candy :o)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Always something.....

Like tonight. Trying to get dinner cleaned up and the kids shoes on so we can get out the door. Haley is in her socks, she stole my camera, and she is running around taking pictures. This is what I see when I went to look at my shots for the day. Not the picture I planned on using, but this is my life. I just shook my head and laughed. What being the mom is all about, I suppose?

My nemesis...

...laundry. No matter how fancy the washer & dryer (mine somewhat resemble spaceships with all the doo-dads and gizmos), no matter how organized the "system" (and mine is about as organized as a bleeding carp tossed into a piranha tank) nothing makes laundry any easier. You can do 8 loads in one day, wash, dry, sort, fold and get it all put away. Tomorrow there will just be more. It isn't fair. Laundry is kind of like life I suppose. We should just be grateful we have clothes to wear. That we are well enough to get dirty so they need washing. Proud that we are well off enough to afford a place to do our own laundry. I still hate it. If I had a magic wand, or a fairy god mother, laundry is the one chore I would make go away. We had new tile floor put down in the laundry room so my washer and dryer were unhooked for a few days. I am the proud owner of 8 loads of wash to be done. Figures the tile came the day I changed all the sheets.
Did I mention how much I truly don't like doing the laundry???

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 2 is about.....

Coffee... and more importantly, the cup you drink it from. I have not always been a coffee fan. As a matter of fact, I never did like it much at all. Then I got pregnant for the first time. Seems like being limited on the amount of caffeine I was allowed to have made coffee just all the more appealing to me. The smell was heavenly. To this day, nothing thrills my senses like the smell of a fresh cup of java, ahhhh..... This morning was rainy and cold and I woke up with coffee on the brain. I had a cup at home, and another at work. Then I was craving another after lunch, but the power went out and I couldn't get anything. Now, I have a cold and I am sipping on some warm tea. That is pretty good too. Whatever the beverage, warm and sweet, it is always better in a big mug. The mug has to have a good weight to it, fit in your hand just right, and it has to have a look to it. I like mugs that remind me of something. Mugs that make me smile. Not something random. It has to come from some particular time, place or event. It can be stupid, "Someone went to so-an-so and all I got was this lousy mug" is fine if the person is a good friend and you have a laugh or a joke about it. This one was a gift from a student one year. Ira and I fight over it sometimes. We finally had to go get a second one. Its a good mug. Makes the coffee taste better I think.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where I am

I have decided to challenge myself. My daughter, my first baby, turned 8 yesterday. That was a pretty big day for her, and I realized it was a pretty big day for me as well. When I look at my pictures and my scrapbooks, it is all about the kids. Of course it is, I just adore them! The creating is for me, but the finished project is for them. I am recording their lives so they can look back and remember, but what will it tell them about their mom? Well, certainly, it will tell them how nuts she is.... all this over paper and stickers and glitter....? I want them to know more about me. Sometimes I wonder what my mom was like at my age. Sure, I can ask her, but what she tells me is her memory and recollections. I want to record a little bit of me in the now so that when the girls are older, they can look back and know what I was like when they were too little to see their mom as any thing more than the giver of cookies. Maybe, when I am older, and all grown up myself, I can also look back and think about how far I have come. It is already kind of hard to remember what it was like being the mom of a brand new little baby 8 years ago.... Who I was then, what kind of little every day things did I do, what made me laugh, how did things make me feel. That was only 8 years ago, for goodness sake, what is going to happen in another 10... 20...30?

So, here is my challenge to myself. Each day I am going to post one picture. Just one. It could be a person, a place, a thing. Ok, a picture of a noun :o) and I am going to tell you why that picture is important to me. I am going to this every day between today, the day after Erin's birthday, until the day before Haley's birthday. That is going to be 32 days. 32 pictures. All recorded here. Hopefully each picture will tell a little about me right now. What makes me happy, why I laugh, the kinds of things that make me crazy, and what I think is important. When I am all done, I will have a collection of pictures and thoughts to make a great scrapbook about myself. It sounds a little vain at first, I know. Look at it this way; What would you give to have something like this about your mom or dad? About your grandparent? About anyone in your family that was recorded when they were younger? Yeah, it is a journal about me, but it certainly isn't for me.

So..... Today's Picture is the cake I made for Erin's birthday. Why is this important? It has nothing to do with the cake itself. It has to do with the fact that I made it. I always make the girls a birthday cake. I don't know why, but I feel like it is important to make their cake. I am not the super-baking mom. I don't make home made cookies, only the stuff from the tube, brownies from a box, everything else from the bakery. When it comes to birthdays, I just have to make them a cake. Birthdays are special. My girls are special. Just one little way that I show them how much I love them. I don't think they realize how much of me goes into these cakes, I think they are too young to se that now. Someday, when they are all grown up and have their own kids though, I hope they tell them how their mom always made them a homemade cake for their birthday. I hope that it is one of those "Awww" moments for them when they are all grown up.

My Erin Turned 8 Today!

I can't believe it.... I have been a mom for 8 years now. I have to say, it kind of hit me hard and has prompted some serious self reflection. But more about that later, right now is all about Erin and how she enjoyed her day!

At the birthday girl's request, Ira made chocolate chip banana pancakes for breakfast (I made the batter the night before) and Erin skipped Hebrew school this a.m. so we could all sleep in a little. After breakfast, the girls played a little while we cleaned up and all showered and did some stuff around the house. They needed some relaxing time after staying up late and enjoying Erin's birthday present from mommy & daddy... cable in her room on her TV that formerly she could only watch DVDs on!

In the afternoon I took the girls to Color Me Mine and they each chose a piece of ceramics to paint. Erin made a penguin bank and Haley chose a mermaid hugging a sea horse. When we got home, grandpa was there with his corvette, and he took Erin for a long birthday ride (and then Haley for a ride as well). While the girls were out on their rides, we played in the yard with the dogs enjoying the beautiful fall day.

The best part of the whole day was dinner. We headed to Don Pablos along with our whole extended family; grandparents, aunts, uncles, and ALL of Erin's cousins, (except the oldest, Rachael, who has the nerve to be in college) and her best friend Zoe. It really meant so very much to Erin to have her cousins there. The kids (even the big teenage ones who would have rather sat with the grown ups, but they are good sports) sat at their own table. That is a pretty big deal to an 8 year old. After dinner, the servers brought Erin the big sombrero and fancy Mexican dessert and we all sang. Each of the kids took a turn trying on the hat, and having their pictures taken. My nephew Jake looked like a bobble head! It was just so awesome. I couldn't have made a better night for our little girl. It was exactly what she wanted, a night with her family having fun together. After dinner, we gathered for cake and presents to top the night off and then put 2 exhausted sisters, and one exhausted mommy to bed!

So, of the whole day, here are some pictures to share. (As I already plan how to scrap them.. he he he!) It was a fabulous day. I hope all your birthdays are as happy as Erin's was today!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Recent Layouts

Over Columbus Day weekend, I went away with some of my closest friends for an all girls getaway. We rented a house in the Pocono Mountains and headed up for some scrapping, some relaxing, and lots of laughing... not exactly in that order :o) We ate some great food, shared lots of stories and caught up like only girls can do. I think we all spent the whole 3 days in our pajamas? Anyway, I did a total of 33 pages, most of them even completed! Some still need a little journaling here, a title there, a few need a whole bunch of work... but I wanted to share some of my favorites. I couldn't have done even half this without the inspiration of my "sheep" who inspire me with their creativity, their friendship, and their acceptance of me for just being who I am. Nothing is as renewing and peaceful as spending time with friends that you know you can just be yourself with. These girls make me feel like a better person. I am truly blessed to be a part of this little "flock" of scrappers. How lucky I am.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Days

I love this time of year. I love the colors, the smells, the holidays, the foods associated with autumn.... It is just wonderful! I have to say that this weekend was a little of all of that for me. On Saturday, we had a family photo shoot outside at the local park. When we arrived, we let the dogs out (because of course they are part of the family, too) and Isabel went chasing the geese right into the lake! Well, wet dog in the pictures, I suppose... Good thing our photographer/pop-pop had a towel in his car :o) Sunday we made our annual trip to the local farm for pumpkins, apples and cider donuts. The day was so beautiful we played out on the play yard there for over an hour. It was the perfect fall day. I love this time of year... now if only it lasted the next 5 months and we could skip the whole winter thing....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Already?

Where has September gone? I know it is a short month at only 30 days, but it seems to have gone by in a flash. How does that happen? The girls both started school and are loving it. Erin is in 2nd grade and an old PRO at the whole thing. She came home from her first day and I asked the typical mom question "How was it, honey?" Boring! she says. Huh? We had to listen to the rules, we had the same assembly we had last year and I know all that already, mom! Duh!! She is in the same class as last year with the same teacher and the same students; looping they call it. They all moved from 1st to 2nd grade together. On the 1st day it was like walking right into the same old familiar routine. Apparently, she wasn't quite expecting that. It has been a wonderful experience, though. She has not had any nervousness or anxiety about a new teacher, new class or making new friends. They were able to get right to work and are already accomplishing so much. She is growing into this real person. She has such strong opinions, such an amazing sense of humor. We knock heads so much I am already scared to pieces thinking about the teenage years, they certainly won't be pretty... but I just love the way her mind grows by leaps and bounds. She is so smart and soaking things up like a sponge. What amazes me most about Erin is that she loves to learn for the sake of learning. She seems to just seek out knowledge and enjoy the information. She is truly interested in everything. New things intrigue her. Be it math facts or ways to solve them or stories about historical characters or how things work. Animals are always a favorite and anything on the animal planet channel or National Geographic (even the disgusting stuff) has her instantly enthralled!

Then there is Haley, my little love. She is having a wonderful time in Pre-K. She is in the Giraffe room this year and has made some new friends, but is also enjoying the old friends she has been with since she was 10 months old. Her schedule this year gives her class time in the imaginarium every day, which is like your birthday and Christmas rolled into one in the eyes of a 4 year old. Add to this a visit from mom mom a few days a week when she stops in on her way to and from the gym at the center, and school is just heavenly. On top of that, her Cheerleading class from last year is in session again, so she get to be a Pee Wee Team cheerleader! But she is so stinking cute! It is the one phrase that comes to mind every time you mention Haley to someone.. she is so darn cute! Haley is such a love. She is sensitive, considerate of others feelings and tries to please people. She wants everyone to be happy. What makes me the happiest is that she still loves to snuggle. She so often comes up to Ira or I just for a hug or a kiss. The real kind, not the obligatory kind. The kind where she climbs into your lap and really snuggles in and wraps her little arms all the way around. It melts your heart. Her smile just makes you want to hold her like that forever... or at least until she starts pinching you and poking and doing something silly, which is what always happens. She does have that wicked sense of humor. That is what makes her so perfect I suppose.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Addition Progress Slideshow!

Think the title says it all... Here are pictures from the beginning until today!

Updated with pictures through October 25. They have begun tile in laundry room/mudroom and cabana area. That should be done in the next few days. All siding is complete and garage doors are framed. I will try to get good outside pictures up by the end of hte week... I hope:o)

Look who got hair cuts...?

So, Erin has been letting her bangs grow out for about a year now. Let's just say it hasn't been her best look..... So I told her that today, before school starts, she is getting her bangs cut. Tears. Yelling. Crying and pleading. This mean mama didn't care. I was not having this child look homeless any more. So, I sent her to Aunt Sue's house for the day while I went off to school. Now, Aunt Sue is a hair dresser, and Aunt Sue was going to take Erin to the shop and cut her hair for me. I didn't think Aunt Sue would have the heart to actually cut those darn bangs off. Needless to say, I was surprised as heck when I got a text from Aunt Sue at lunch asking if Erin could cut ALL her hair short, like another girl got today at the shop. Someone remind me to thank that little girl, because not only did Erin look adorable with her hair cut short, but little sister Haley got one look at it and had to have it too! Daddy wasn't exactly thrilled, but he will just have to get used to it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Erin learned to do as close to a real dive as she could today. I know, I know, I think I held the camera sideways... so just turn your heads! lol!

Labor Day

Ah... the summer is over, for me at least. Labor Day marks the end to my late nights, my sleeping in and my days of relaxing and taking it easy. Heare are a few pictures of the kids by the pool today and Erin practicing her diving. We had a house full, but I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my last day of summer.

Pajama Party!

Saturday night the girls and I went to a pajama party! We had a girls night with Aubree and Hannah and Sarah starting with dinner (in our pajamas of course) at Friendly's including ice cream. I have to say, even the moms wore our pj's and it was a blast! The kids were all very well behaved. I think the novelty of going out to dinner in your pajamas and slippers just had them in such a great mood! After dinner, we went to Aubree's house and the girls laid out sleeping bags to watch a movie, have popcirn and play while the BIG girls did some scrapping! THye fell asleep, after minimal threats, and we got to scrap a little more. It was a great night for all of us. I don't think we could do it too often, but as a treat every now and then, it is going to be a new tradition!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last Hurrah

Lat week we went to the shore for a long weekend. Longport, NJ is just beautiful! Ira and my dad took the girls fishing. They didn't get any flounder (apparently it is too late in the season for that, but they didn't bother to tell them that before they sold them the ticket!) but the girls were just as happy with the shark they caught. That and watching the guys gut and clean the other fish. They thought watching the contents of the fish's stomach was most interesting.. especially when he had just eaten a little crab!

We also got to take the dogs to the dog beach wile we were there. Rufus and Izzy had a blast running in the surf, digging in the sand (without getting yelled at) and making friends with other people and dogs. The girls also loved playing with all the other dogs. It was a busy beach, people coming and going with their dogs all morning. We all had a blast there. Haley found one of my greatest pleasures, napping on the beach, and Erin just enjoyed digging, finding jellyfish (harmless clear ones) that had washed up on shore and either giving them a funeral or dissecting them. Something is wrong with my children?

Well, overall, it was a beautiful way to spend our last get-away of the season. The weather couldn't have been better, we all played hard and slept harder, my parents spent some wonderful time with the girls and we enjoyed having them with us as always, and it was sad to have to come home. Since we never got to the boardwalk to do rides, when we came home Ira and I took the girls to the Funplex to do some games and rides here. Haley has reached the 42 inch mark so she is big enough to do all the rides, mostly. She drove go-karts and bumper cars with Erin and Erin even got her to go on a free-fall ride. Haley was scared, but Erin held her hand and coached her through the whole thing. It was so precious!

Addition Progress!

Well, we are having an addition on our house. We are turning the garage into a family office and putting a new garage on as well as adding a new laundry room and a changing room and bathroom behind the new garage by the pool. They started the real building today, and here are the first few shots!

Winding down....

As I sit here late, late, Tuesday night (even though it is really very early Wednesday morning now) I am very sad. I realize that one week from tonight I will be miserable, exhausted and counting the days until winter vacation. You see, next Tuesday I will be getting up at 6:00 a.m. after 10 weeks of sleeping until 8:00... ish. I will be hustling to get myself together and packed and out the door to make the almost half hour drive to school for the teacher inservice day. I will spend the morning in meetings, learning all these so important things, spend the afternoon preparing my class for a new position I am starting this year, and then hurrying out the door at the end of the day to spend the night preparing lesson plans after rushing to pick up the girls from their classes and sitters, make dinner, pack bags for the next day and do it all again.

I know you may have a hard time finding sympathy for me. I have, after all, just spent the last 10 weeks on summer vacation. I have had the joy of spending time with my family and loved ones, traveling, reading, scrapping, visiting friends, taking naps, meeting my husband for lunch, taking the dogs for long walks, and grocery shopping on weekdays when the stores are not so busy. It has been more than nice, it has been blissful. I have not accomplished even a tiny fraction of my list of things I wanted to do this summer. No closets all cleaned out. No huge pile of scrapbook pages completed. No organizing of anything. No hours logged in the gym. I pretty much goofed off, chatted on the phone, or on line, read, crafted, visited, and soaked up the joy of life every day. It has been bliss. I can think of no better word.

I have so completely enjoyed this summer. I had my list of good intentions... that went out the window before July 1st... but I am ok with that. I did some, but I spent the time with my children. We went places. We saw family they have never even met before! We played. We swam. I spent time with my mom on a girl's weekend; just the 2 of us. I don't think we have ever done that and it was priceless. I stayed up ridiculously late with my husband, keeping him company as he did work in the office at home, just chit-chatting about whatever. Watching bad movies. Drinking too much coffee. Sometimes just silent companionship, but being together. I love doing that. During the school year we keep very different hours so this was a real treat for the both of us. Every day of the last 10 weeks was delicious, I just sit here and soak it all in; you can see why I am so sad it is ending now, right?

So, that being said, maybe you can understand why this is so hard for me. I am so lucky to have had the last 10 weeks, to have the opportunity every summer to take the time to "smell the roses" so to speak, that when September creeps up, well, it is double hard. How can I say goodbye to such the perfect time? How can I let go of these days that are filled with nothing but absolute pleasure and joy and just about everything I could want in any day of my life? I know, I know, Summer is just 10 months away... suck it up... I get it.... The school year is probably why I appreciate my summers so much more. It sure doesn't make it any easier to switch gears though.

So, for now, I sit here drinking my late night cup of coffee, not decaf mind you, the real stuff. Knowing that in one short week all this delicious bliss will be a fond and dreamy memory, something to hold onto tightly to get me through until another JUNE comes rolling around on the calendar....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Surf's Up!

On our weekend away, headed to North Carolina, we made a stop in Virginia at Great Wolf Lodge. It is a great place to spend some time with kids who love the water, but don't love fish! Haley was in love with the wave pool, while Erin couldn't get enough of the slides. She and Ira even took a few turns riding the waves o the foam surfboard. Erin took to it like a California born pro, while Ira... well, he needs a little practice. The video I managed to capture was his 2nd time up, and his first was much more entertaining, but my battery was deas. Erin, perfect 10 every time.

Hawaii here we come! (Well, if they could just get all the fish out of the ocean, I am sure Erin would love surfing for real!)

Our proudest moment...

We are safely home from our trip to North Carolina for cousin Elizabeth's wedding to Scott. Fist, I want to say I have never seen a happier bride in my life than Liz. It brought such joy to me to watch the pure happiness that just shone from her and to be a part of it all that day.

The trip home was not so full of sunshine.... Erin ended up not feeling well rather suddenly after we stopped for dinner (no more full dinners for HER on 10 hour journeys!) and her quick thinking resulted in her rollong down her window, putting her head out, and getting sick at 80+ miles and hour with her head out like a dog in the left lane of some highway in Virginia around 10:15 Sunday night. If you hear anybody talking about this wierd stuff that hit their car as they were driving north that smelled REALLY bad.... please don't give them our name!

Our little trooper, when it was all over, and we got to a stop to get her cleaned up, she first asked if I was mad that she has "some stuff" in her hair? Car was clean. (inside) clothes were clean. Little "stuff" in her hair was fine with me! After she washed her hair in the bathroom at the travel-stop, she came skipping out to me and asked if I liked her new hairstyle. (Still interested in her style after all that!) Then, the little turkey says, "Mommy, did you take my picture while I was throwing up? That would make an AWESOME scrapbook page!" Sorry, hon, you were too quick for me. She had to settle for a picture of her in front of the aftermath. But I have to say, the girl has her priorities right!

Kids keep you on your toes, don't you think? Kinda gross, but look how pleased she is with her self. We are so proud. This kid isn't going to have any problems in college at the parties...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Home, at last.

Well, here I am , back to the real world. No one here to deliver breakfast on a tray, no one to make up the room twice a day, adn certainly no carribean sunshine and Pina Colada waiting for me! But it is good to be home, just the same. I missed my house, my dogs, my family and my friends. I am such a homebody, so no matter how good it is to get away from it all, it is even nicer to come home, sleep in my own bed (even if it is between 2 snoring boxers) and do my own laundry. Ok... maybe not the laundry part :o) I am happy to be here just the same. I wouldn't think so, but after spending the last 10 days with m husband and children, I am a little lonely today without them here? I can't believe I miss them, all back to work and camp. I would have thought I woul dbe ready to have some time to myself, but nope, I am a little lonely. Good thing Izzy and Rufus are here to keep me company. I went and printed a few pictures (ok, 245) today and added some here. If you click on the slide show, it should take you to the site where you can see the pictures a little bigger and read the captions as well. ( Maybe even print or download the ones you want, for the grandparents!) Hope you enjoy looking at them aw much as we enjoyed living the moments.

I read something on a friend's blog today. Something about how the memories are the good things and we don't remember the not-so-good stuff. It is so true. Looking back over the pictures, I smile thinking of how much fun we had and all we did together as a family. I don't really think about the little things that can bug you, the little problems that pop up along the way, it is the good stuff that sticks with me. That was the stuff we hold close in our hearts, the stuff I capture in these pictures. That must be the reason I keep going away with my family. I have to start remembering all the times they drive me crazy and taking pictures of that a little more next time, I think :o)

Glad to be home, to have my computer fixed and running, and be surrounded by the people I love and those that love me for who I am. No matter what the carribean has to offer, it can't beat this!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, Already?

My, how the week has flown by! Yesterday we spent the morning and early afternoon in St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and one of the major shopping ports! While the girls both managed to find little somethings to bring home, Ira and I did not :o( We started the day at the Butterfly Farm. It is run by a husband and wife couple from teh states and their goal is to both educate the public about butterflies (boy, did we learn A LOT!) as well as to increase the population of the natural species of butterflies that should be found in the carribean. It seems that the mass spraying of DDT years ago killed off all the butterflies,. so it has been a slow and steady process. In the enclosure, they had a large variety of so many different kinds, they wre just every where! Haley turned out to be the pro at being able to pick them up by putting her finger in the right place in front of a landed butterfly and letting it climb right on her. She loved it. Erin just was in amazement watching the beauty of each different kind and learnign all she could from the people who worked there. After the farm, and the little shopping through town, back to the ship for some swimming and a late night of watching movies on deck for Ira and I and the kids program for the girls.

Today was another beautiful day at sea that we missed the first half of sionce we slept until almost 11;00! (ok, the time change 1 hour forward helped....) The pool called to us and as we all swam around, we met a couple from around the block at home! Ira and I graduated high school with their kids. We never would have met them but will probably run into them at the grocery store next week now; talk about a small world?

Ok, off to Bermuda tmorrow!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

San Juan, Puerto Rico

...has to be one of the friendliest places I have ever been! Our day started out like the previous 3; breakfast on the balcony overlooking the sea (don't hate me) getting dressed, and heading out to see what the day would bring. We had planned to get a rental car, drive to the rain forrest, then spend the afternoon at the Wyndham resort (The Rio Mar) since we would be in port until 11:00 tonight. Well, it didn't work out exactly as planned... but what ever does for us? We spent almost an hour sitting on the pier trying to sort out the rental car situation. Seems they were sending us a car from New Jersey rather than the local Enterprise... so we ended up grabbing a taxi. Mean while, Haley had to go to the bathroom (she ALWAYS has to go to the bathroom, little Robby, we have taken to calling her) and when I tried to cross the very busy street, every car just stopped to let us cross. Then, the taxi driver was beyond helpful, driving in circles practicaly to get us where we needed to be and waiting outside to make sure it was the right place while Ira went inside. He genuinely wished us well and to enjoy San Juan. The car rental guy was very helpful, felt so bad that the reservation got so messed up, he reimbursed us the taxi fee and we didn't even ask. He gave us maps, made sure we knew where we were going, very nice. We drove to this rain forrest (the hike was horrible and we saw 7 snails/slugs, jury is out on what they were exactly still, 4 geckos of assorted colors and a little mouse like animal... woo-hoo) to reach a final destination of a very cool, but very crowded water fall. Still an amazing opportunity to hike through a rain forest with the girls and work off some of those cruise-pounds we have eaten over the last few days! It did feel good to sweat and get some excercise.

After the rain forrest, we went to the resort across the street. Ira had called ahead and they over-nighted us a pass to use the facilities for free for the day. It is a gorgeous place and if you are ever considering San Juan as a destination, The Rio Mar is worth the trip! (It is a Wyndham resort/hotel) Amazing pools, walk right on to the beach, golf courses, tennis courts.. just incredible and so beautiful. We got a little lost on the trip home, but my amazing Spanish skills (I can ask for more than a beer and the bathroom, thank god!) and the continued kindness and English of the locals got us where we needed to be, in the taxi of a NY born driver, who brought us to the ship after dropping off the car. The one thing that I am leaving Puerto Rico with is the memory of how nice the people are. Everyone we ran into was so kind and willing to help a family of American tourists. I think it will make me think a little bit the next time some person with limited English asks me for help back home!

On to Saint Thomas and a little bit of shopping!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So much fun.....

we decided to stay for more!

Ok, so maybe that isn't how it worked, exactly.... Today we arrived at our first port, Grand Turk Island (or as Haley says, Great Turkey Island!) The comedian said it best at the show tonight, "2 days at sea to get to an island where the beach is too small, there are exactly 3 shops, and the cruise ship doubles the population of the island"! Yet somehow, it is still beautiful. Just the water, so clear, so blue, so warm, and the bright hot sun shining down. How could you not love this place? We took a cab to the beach and spent a few hours there. The girls enjoyed the sand, looking for sea glass, which they have never collected before. We found it in all shades of blue, green, white and clear and now have enough to mosaic an entire coffee table. We got a raft and tried to take the girls out to float above some of the fish and rocks and it was an interesting turn of events. Erin, the brave explorer of the two, screamed, cried, and wanted to go back. She saw a school of fish each the size of, I don't know, tiny, and was in fear for her life. Haley, the one who was most hesitant and unwilling, got out there on the raft and thought it was sooo cool! The same school of fish went by jumping and swimming and she laughed and squealed with delight! Needless to say, we immediately returned to the ship and canceled the excursion where Erin and I were going in the ocean to swim with the sea lions and instead will be going to the Butterfly Garden. Erin decided she likes the sandy part of the beach, pools, and dry land. Marine life just "isn't her thing".

Upon retunring to the ship we also made a few interesting discoveries. First, Erin and Haley had smuggled about half the Grand Turk beach back on board in their bathing suits. And second, well, this will be the part where you find out exactly how we are "extending" our vacation...

You see, there is a steak house on board, a nice restaurant you need to make reservations to eat at. I really wanted to have dinner there one night, so Ira went to the desk to see if he could arrange that around the kids program so we could have a nice dinner, just the two of us. When he asked the lady what night there was room available, she said she could get us a table on Saturday night. Well, he said he didn't want to have dinner there on the last night, since we were getting off the ship on Sunday. She laughed, in some accent, and told him, "The only way you are getting off the ship on Sunday is overbaord! We don't get into New York until Monday!" Keep in mind, he is talking to a lady working at the front desk of the cruise ship and being Ira, he now proceeds to argue with her for a good two minutes that, no, we do not arrive in NY on Monday, we arrive on Sunday. He knows this of course, as a passenger, because he booked the trip, and he has appointments on Monday... Bet she had a great story to tell the other cruise staff members at the bar later tonight!

So, needless to say, we are putting this spin on it.. we are having such a great time, we have decided to extend the cruise an extra day and teh cruise line and all the other passengers are willing to accomodate us! Good thing we over packed a little, huh? That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Now, someone pleae go feed my fih the extra day and call the kennel and tell them the dogs will be extending their visit as well:o)

not missing you so much, a Pina Colada will do that to you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hello From Sea.......

As I write this, I am somewhere in the ocean between New York City and Grand Turks. We are traveling on the Carribean Princess Cruise Ship and it is truly AMAZING! We sailed from Brooklyn Harbor on Saturday afternoon and have spent 2 days at sea. Each morning we have enjoyed breakfast on our balconty overlooking the beautiful blue water, and as much as I am not a morning person, it isn't a bad way to start the day.

Saturday, the girls had the intersting experience of swimming in a pool on a ship in the ocean. First... it is salt water. Not quite what they expected. Second, the waves and motion outside the ship? Yeah, well, that is also INSIDE the POOL! Erin LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it... Haley? Not so much... The girls are enrolled in the children's program on board. Let me put it this way- We go to pick them up at the pre-determined time and see other parents being greeted by their children running to hug them yeling "mommy! daddy!" Ira and I are greeted with "NO! I am not ready! Go away and come back later!" They won't leave. They have had a Ping Pong tournament, made clay, tons of art projects, an ice cream party, and haveso many friends. They are each in a different group and different room, so they get to spend some time apart from each other and loving every minute of it. Last night, we kept the girls out of the kids dinner time so they could have dinner with us and we had a nice family dinner in the Italian restaurant. They couldn't wait to get out of there.

Today, we had lunch at the pool, swam for a few hours, and took the girls to see the ice carving demonstrations after the kids carnival in the morning. Then they spent the afternoon with their friends playing Twister, doing Turtle things {I don't ask} making clay, beading, and who knows what else! Tonight was pirate night and they are probably walking the plank with eye patches on as I sit here typing! The one thing they have their mind set on is staying up until midnight, so tonight we are taking blankets up to the top deck and watching a movie under the stars at 10:00 {The Waterhorse is showing on the Jumbo Screen tonight} and we couldn't be more excited about it.

All in all, it works out well, The kids play. I go to the spa and sit in the sauna or on the hot-rock tables, and Ira spends his free time in the casinos! {We tried reading on our balcony outside our room, but the sear air acts like some kind of drug and we both promptly fell asleep. It just doesn't seem to work} Who knows what the nexts three days and three ports will bring, but our 2 days at sea have been fan-tab-ulous!

Will keep you posted on our travels... Missing you all!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I love 'em anyway..... Isabel and Rufus

This week they ate... a scrungy from the shower, Haley's fuzzy pink sock, a ziploc baggie with leftover baked beans and a paper cup. Not a bad week. On the bright side... they play with the kids, they are constant companions, they make me laugh, they force me to get some excercise every day, they clean up the crumbs on the floor without being asked and they are just so dang cute! (ok, I could live without the slober, though!)

My Sunshine

She just brightens every day, this Haley does. She is lively and funny and full of life. Her smile is simply adorable, and she is contagious with how she makes you happy when you are around her. That is my Haley.

So Beautiful

Who is this girl? How can Erin be so grown up? Look at her here, she certainly doesn't look 7, does she? I went away for a scrapping weekend and when I came home, Ira and the girls had planted flowers for me for Mother's Day in the backyard. I think this right here is the brightest blossom of them all.


Haley took her last field trip of the year to a children's museum and playground in Philadelphia. Ira got this picture on his cell phone, and I ust love it! Thank goodness for modern technology... she was flying!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, USA!

July 4th is a fabulous day! Take a minute to remember why we celebrate today. It isn't about hamburgers on the grill, swimming and going to see fireworks. Today is the day we celebrate the Independence of our country won so many years ago. It all seems so far removed from us as we sit here in 2008 and lead this life where we can pretty much do as we please. That right came at a price that so many fought for so many years ago and so many more continue to serve today to ensure those freedoms for people all over this world. When I hear our National Anthem, I sing each word with pride. I say the Pledge to our Flag clearly and with pride. I am teaching my children the words to both so that they know them as well. It is something small, but it is an easy way to teach them to have pride in their country.

My grandfather, Henry VanWezemaal, came to this country from Belgium through Ellis Island. He served this county as a cook on a Navy ship in WWII. He was a proud American. I grew up with very patriotic grandparents who taught me a love of land and country. So on this day, The 4th day of July, take a moment away from suntan lotion and watermelon and sparklers and sing the National Anthem. It tells a story....

"Gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there.
Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave?
For the land of the free, and the home of the brave"

That is some powerful stuff.