Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dear Dad...

...Today is Father's Day, a day to celebrate you!

As I wrote this, I thought about listing all the things I love about you but I'm saving those for your 80th birthday:-) I know I will have no problem coming up with 80 things, either! Then I thought about little moments through the years, those moments that you look back on and realize they weren't so little after all.

I was young when you were diagnosed with cancer so I really don't remember so much about the whole time. Maybe I just don't want to remember it because it was such a scary time. I do remember coming home from school and Mom was looking out her bedroom window and crying.
I also remember your quiet faith through that time and how it gave us all the courage to be strong.

I think of all the times you took me to piano lessons. (lucky you!) That 25 minute drive seemed like forever to me, a girl who wanted to be playing football with the boys in the neighborhood rather than going to piano lessons. Unfortunately, I do not play the piano well at all...but I wish I did. Also, I don't think I ever apologized for being such a brat and not speaking to you all the way there! Thank you for taking me and trying to get me to learn something I would have appreciated someday. The same goes for taking me to get my allergy shots. You must have dreaded those days because you knew how much I hated having to go...and I'm sure I wasn't exactly your sweet little girl:-)

I know you worked hard to provide for us at all times. How did you go to work so early in the morning and then work so much overtime all those years??? I don't really remember feeling as if I missed out on having anything growing up and I'm sure that's why. Having said that, I know I was a bit of a snob as a teenager, wanting and expecting the finer things in life. All along, I had the finer things in life
and today I would be so happy to ride in your brown truck:-)


You are such a wonderful grandfather.
I wonder if you know how much you are loved by all of your grandchildren.
They all recognize what a kind, loving, supportive man you are. My girls think they have the sweetest grandfather in the world and I know the others would all agree.
They know you are always there to listen and say a kind word. I wish all children could be so blessed as to have you for a grandfather.

I wish I had tried harder when you encouraged me to learn golf.


I would be playing today if I had. I think it's amazing how you stay busy and are still learning new things. You always loved to golf and to fix or build things in your workshop. Now you actually can make your own golf clubs and also play shuffleboard and even darts...and can put together even the toughest puzzle!

You could fix anything and I never appreciated having a father who was so handy but believe me, I do now!:-)

I wonder if you realize what an impression you have made on Phil. As you know, he hasn't had a father in his life since he was a young boy, so he thinks of you as the perfect father. He has often said he wonders what his life might have been like had he grown up with a father like you.

When you called to congratulate him on his hole-in-one, he was so surprised and touched. He never once in his life has had the experience of a father telling him "congratulations" or "good job". Thank you for being the father he never had.

Well, I could go on and on but I'll wrap it up with this...you are a man of faith like no other I have personally known.

You are also a man of "quiet" faith and I have a feeling it is that quality that has probably influenced more people in your life than you realize. From co-workers, to neighbors, to golf-buddies, they know there is something special inside of you and I know that someday, many of them will be waiting eagerly to greet you and thank you for being the kind of man who leads not just by words but by love and example.

Dad, This is one of my favorite quotes. I think of you every time I hear it.

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." Clarence Budington Kelland


Happy Father's Day Dad...
I love you!





Thursday, June 18, 2009

Writers Workshop...Be Nice, and other Parenting Tips...

Okay, today I'm doing the writer's workshop from mamakat. She had some really good ones, so here goes. Join in yourself if you need a little prompt today:-)

Prompt:Share a piece of unsolicited parenting advice.

Uh-oh...she asked for it. I just happen to be full of free advice these days because I am so sick of some parents and the kids they are sending off into the world. I know, I'm probably going to get a lot of hate mail...but I can handle it. And in case you don't know me, I am still in the raising kids stage, not some grumpy old fart who just doesn't understand this generation, so I'm fighting the good fight along with many of you.

My personal advice to parents:

Tip # 1: BE NICE!!!! Yes, I mean you too, not just your kids. I was forever telling my girls to "be nice". It is a very under-rated quality today. Yes, it's great to be happy, be successful, be strong, be smart...but in the end, nice counts. I remember sending my then-5 year old off to a birthday party where there were some kids she wasn't so crazy about. I told her that it wasn't her party and that she should go, have fun with the other kids and be nice. Another mother heard me and basically bawled me out. "You told her to be nice??? That's what's wrong with our society...we tell our girls to be nice. If some kid is being nasty she needs to be tough and nasty right back." Sorry...we don't roll that way in our family. She doesn't need to be pushed around but she needs to always make an attempt to be nice. Unfortunately, it's hard for kids to learn this when their parents haven't. The competition between parents is so FIERCE that nice flies out the window...and the kids are right there to watch and learn. And they ARE watching!:-)

Tip # 2: Let your children stumble and fall once in awhile. It's the only way they'll learn how to get up and someday, you won't be there and they'll have to pick themselves up all by themselves.

It isn't something that just happens. They need to learn this while you are there to encourage, teach...and then hug.

I have seen parents remove every little stone from their child's path and it is sad and a bit sickening. If they got a bad grade, it was the teacher's fault and they would request a teacher with a different style. No, not request...but insist on the teacher they wanted. They would blame where their child sat in class...or who they sat next to. Please!!!!!

Didn't get picked for a team??? There was something wrong with the process, or the judges, or the school system. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. If your kid doesn't get picked for something, find out if they did their best. If they feel they did, encourage them to keep working hard and TRY AGAIN NEXT YEAR. Sometimes, that's all you can, or should do. (Okay, maybe a hot fudge sundae would help too:-)

My daughter Taylor is 14 years old now and a beautiful ballet dancer. In middle school, she auditioned for a performing arts school and get this...she didn't get in! There were 350-400 applicants for 60 spots and yes, certain kids had advantages. If you had a sibling at the school or your parent worked anywhere within the school system, you had preference. That took care of about 50 of the spots. The other 10 were open and she got put on a wait list. That's it! Her scores were great but there just weren't enough spots. That happens sometimes. She cried that day and then woke up the next morning, went to school and dance class that afternoon. She felt she did her best and was determined to not let it stop her.

On the other hand, I had friends who were calling the school, writing letters, signing petitions, going before the school board, screaming, crying and some even turned hateful and turned it into a racial issue. I honestly pulled away from those friends. Their child didn't get in because of their race or religion? No...it was a lottery...IF they passed their audition, which some of them didn't. Maybe their child wasn't meant to be at that school. Frankly, some of their kids weren't even talented. There...I said it...and it's true! They blamed the dance teacher or art teacher or drama teacher who helped prepare their child and said that they did a terrible job with their kid. It was somebody else's fault...and their kids will go through life believing it is always "somebody else's fault".

My daughter felt she did her best and decided to try again for high school. She worked so hard in those years and guess what...this year, everything she auditioned for she got accepted into...including that high school. (Which we turned down...partly because it is full of drama queens and their parents who feel their child is "entitled". We're doing just fine where we are, thank you very much:-) Children are entitled to a roof over their head, food, education, care and love. And it might be nice if they were taught to be "grateful" for these things, too. They are not "entitled" to be in a certain school, have a BMW at 16, go to Europe for every vacation, carry Coach purses to middle school... They need to know that things may not go their way and if they don't, they work harder next time and they don't give up.

In the case of my daughter, she wants to be a dancer. If she does go down this path, she will have MANY auditions and at most of them, she will hear the word "no". She will have to hold her head up and walk down the street to the next audition and give it her all...again. If I only put her in programs where she was sure to be the star, she would in no way be prepared for the real world. These are our children and while they are in many ways extraordinary to us, to the rest of the world they are very ordinary. Don't get me wrong, I can be as big of a mother hen as the next mom. I hate to see my child hurt, disappointed or embarrassed. But it's this crazy thing called life...and we have to let them learn to live it:-)

Prompt: What do you aspire to be?

On a lighter note, I still don't know what I want to be when I "grow up". hahaha... Seriously. I love decorating, would love a paris flea market type of shop to sell the goodies I find (I may try this online soon), maybe do children's parties because I always loved this. There are available online courses I can take to acquire all the information I needed to get things started. The one thing I do know is there are so many things I want to learn to do yet that I will never be bored:-)

Prompt: Tell us about your blogline...how long have you been blogging, when did you start, what were/are your goals for your blog, etc.

I started my blog 1 1/2 years ago, just for something fun to do. I don't write in a journal but thought this would be a place to write my thoughts once in awhile, post pictures, recipes. To be honest, I didn't even know anyone else who had a blog and never expected to make "friends" online. I'm so happy I've done that. One thing I can honestly say is that I know my blog is not the funniest, most inspiring, not even interesting to anyone but me...and I am totally okay with that. The day I start posting what I think others will want to see is the day it will become work for me and I know myself...it'll be all over:-) I am so happy when someone reads my blog but truthfully, if no one ever did, I would probably be posting the same stuff because I read it...and I know my Mom does, too:-) Thanks Mom!!!!!

5.)If you had 5000 dollars to give away or donate to a charity...explain what you would do with it and why.

Okay, this may sound bad because there are so many hurting people in the world and children who need so very much. But today, if I had $5000 I would give it to a charity that helps Goldens get hip surgery. You all know how much I love my dogs. Actually, they are not dogs but my little boys, right? hahaha Recently, a vet told me my one year old goldendoodle needed hip surgery, as in a total hip replacement. I was devastated!!!!!!! My sweet, clumsy, lovable, happy-go-lucky Maui. I went for an opinion with a surgeon and she said not in a million years did he need surgery. Basically, his hip was hurting a bit and he needed an anti-inflammatory for a week and that was it. In the meantime, I had been researching online and realized that many people cannot or will not pay the $5,000 for a hip replacement (which I do understand) and they give their dogs to a shelter or put their dogs to sleep...even young ones, like Maui, rather than fix their hip. This broke my heart. I stumbled upon a charity that will pay for hip replacements for otherwise young and healthy pets that have been given up by their owners. I know, there are so many people who need help and I wish I could help them all. But I do love my boys so for today, this is my charity.

Sorry this is so long. I realize I could have just posted a tip about freezing a banana for a healthy treat or something but this has been on my mind so much lately. And the one thing I notice as I get older is that I am a little less worried about what others think, which I believe gives me the courage to go for it once in awhile.

I thought Mamakat picked some AWESOME writing prompts today! Thank you, Mamakat!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A "Happy Meal" for Father's Day...

How about this for that special Dad in your life? If you haven't checked out Bakerella's blog, you have been missing out! She is one talented baker...or should I say artist...and this is her version of a "Happy Meal" dessert for Father's Day.
Brownie Burger Cupcakes & Cookie Fries
These are cupcakes & cookies. AMAZING!!!!!!! Click on the link to visit her blog and get all the yummy details!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fins to the left, Fins to the right...


So there we were spending a hot summer day on Sanibel Island. No, we were not there expecting to find big shells in the so-called "shell capital" of the world. (PLEASE...I have yet to find any shell there worth picking up. I once got a coconut, though:-) We were simply there to float in the warm shallow waters for the day and stay cool. SO, float we did...for hours...in that blue bath water. We had our rafts, and leisurely paddled through the water, just us three girls, enjoying this day together. In places it got a little murky but hey, there were a ton of people in the water and it is so shallow, so why worry? I know, Tiger and Bull sharks can come in close...Taylor reminded me of that fact. But I reassured my daughter by saying they didn't come to this area (a little mom white lie) so we kept floating. Did I mention we dangled our fingers and toes over the edge of our rafts to keep cool, gently splashing water on ourselves from time to time? Yes, it was heavenly. Finally, I decided that there was no sunscreen high enough for us to stay a minute longer, so we packed up and left the beach.

As we walked down the trail to our car, I turned around one last time to look at the beautiful parasail in the sky and that's when I saw it...a sign similar to this except it wasn't on the beach but near a bush by the trail leading to the beach.

Now, don't you think the sign at our beach should have been ALL OVER THE PLACE? Maybe attached to a bright red flag with a shark fin on it or something?

No, it was a tiny sign, similar to this but not as clear, posted to one side of the trail on a stake. It read "WARNING SWIMMERS...Recent shark sightings in the area. Swim at your risk". Apparently they were spotted near shore as recently as that very morning. Hmmmm..... My girls were like "MOMMMMMM...you said sharks don't like this area of the Gulf." So what am I, a marine biologist????? I just told them that they had a choice...die of heat stroke on the beach or cool off in the water. I didn't point out that we had a third choice...stay home in our pool:-) Anyway, next time you go to the beach, look for signs like this...it just might save your pretty fingers and toes!:-)

On a happy note, don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY.

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's mine!!!!


The vanity is mine. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is a professionally refurbished yet shabby vanity from the 1920's. Perfect working order...perfect for our home. This baby will be with us for as long as it is standing, I promise you! (Did you know, the fabulous shape of the mirror is called a "tiara" mirror? I love it for that reason alone!!!! hahaha) Thank you all for your kind comments and thoughts.


It's my turn for a giveaway so in honor of my 200+ followers, I bought some fabulous things today for one special reader. I'll post details later today for my fabulous followers. Hugs!!!!!



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ooh la la...


Look what I just won on ebay!


Well, I kind of won... We are still "negotiating". But isn't it stunning? It will be so perfect in Taylor's room. I just told her I can see her sitting at this lovely vanity in her wedding dress someday. ("Oh Mom") :-) Anyway, keep your fingers crossed, my friends. This was a good deal...hope we actually get it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Sweet Award from a Sweet Friend...

I'm talking about you, Trudy:-) Thank you so much for giving me the Lovely Blog Award a few weeks back.


I'm sorry I didn't mention it sooner. What can I say...I told you I'm losing it! (hahaha) If any of my readers have not met Trudy yet at Third Time's A Charm, please visit her blog. She has a talent for writing that often grabs at my heart and she also has a simple way of talking about every day things that will make you wish you could grab a coffee with her and just sit and chat. There is no way you can get to know Trudy and not see what a beautiful and faithful spirit she has. I have never met her in person but I know if I needed a friend to talk to, she would be there. This is why I love having a blog!!! Thank you so much, my friend.

Photobucket

Monday, June 8, 2009

Memory Lane...Favorite Clothes

I love faded blue jeans, especially if they are soft, even ripped-out, frayed denim. To me, this is my perfect outfit and on most days, you will find me wearing a pair with a tank top and cute (hopefully) flip-flops. Add a few patches and look what you have...

But my all-time favorite was inherited from my sister, Debbie. They were a pair of denim bib-overalls that I must have worn when I was about 12 or 13. She had hand-embroidered stuff all over them and they were SOOOOOOOO CUTE!!!!!!! Finally, a hand-me-down I couldn't wait to get my hands on. I can't believe we didn't keep them. My girls would love them...I think:-) Anyway, I just had the great idea to embroider a pair of their ripped, faded jeans. Our very own pair of "sisterhood of the traveling pants":-) How about you...what is your all-time favorite outfit? A prom dress, first bikini, school jersey???

(P.S. This is not me in the jeans...I wish!!!!!)

Before I Forget...Another Great Book

Just this weekend, I left my keys somewhere...twice. Yes, I was busy both times...the first time looking at a new baby in Publix and the second talking to my daughter's ballet teacher. But still... Then yesterday, when I went out to walk my dogs, I asked my daughters to remind me why I was going to the grocery store when I got back from the walk. WHAT???????? Even as I heard myself say that, I thought I must be losing it. Okay...guess I better start stimulating my mind more like they say:-) Anyway, I can't believe I have read 2 fabulous books in a row but I guess there is a first time for everything! hahaha Seriously, this next book is almost unbelievable.

It's called "Still Alice" and it is about a very bright woman who is a Harvard Professor. At the age of 50, she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers. Everyone, including her personal physician, tell her the symptoms she is experiencing is related to menopause, stress...you know, those things we blame for everything as we get older. Finally, she sees a specialist who diagnoses her and it is truly heartbreaking. This book is not a true story but I kept having to remind myself because it seemed so real. "Still Alice" will make you think, feel, laugh, cry...and you will not be able to put it down. It is really about how a family copes with this diagnosis and I imagine it would be helpful even if the person suffering is an 80 year old. Check it out if you're looking for a summer read.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Las Vegas Diet...I mean Vacation..


Gotcha with that one, huh??? Well, we just got back from Las Vegas and our "kick off summer" mini-vacation. Vegas...the city of casinos, huge hotels, shows...and buffets. When you eat at the fabulous buffet at the Bellagio, you can have dessert for breakfast...pizza, too.

Okay, so it was a kind of breakfast pizza, but it was amazing! And we only had a tiny taste of dessert because we were so stuffed...but you should have seen how many little carrot cakes and lemon meringue pies were stacked on some plates...at 9:30 in the morning. Uggh...maybe they didn't sleep so this was actually their dessert rather than breakfast. Anyway, have you ever seen the movie "Vegas Vacation"?


Well, if you have, than when I tell you I LIVED it, you'll totally understand. But be warned, it's not pretty:-)

First of all, I would like to thank my husband for being such a hotel snob. Thanks to him, we stayed at the magnificent Bellagio Hotel and stayed in one of the penthouse suites. Not because we are the last of the high rollers but rooms in Vegas are really reasonable so... Look at this...pretty awesome, huh? There was also a bedroom, kitchen area and 3 bathrooms. Let's just say the best part were the 3 bathrooms!!!

We got into town on Saturday, had lunch in Paris, visited NYC


and just messed around awhile before heading to see Barry Manilow at the Las Vegas Hilton. Yes, I confess...I AM a Barry Manilow Fanilow:-) The show started at 8 so at 7 p.m, we arrived to pick up our tickets with great seats to see the show...only to be told that he had suddenly come down with a flu bug or something that was very severe and he would not be able to perform. (tickets refunded, of course) Seriously, Barry????? How bad could it be that you cannot sing on the ONLY night we are in Vegas that you have a show scheduled??? Well, I was soon to find out and to Barry, I am truly sorry for all of the things I was thinking about you for backing out. I'm still a fan!!!!!:-) No harm done. We actually went over to the Venetian hotel and hung out, having dinner, riding a gondola...fun night.

Sunday morning and my husband is off to golf while we girls are hitting the town. We went to Caesars Palace where there are the most incredible shops...and I have good shopping where I live, so that says something. What an amazing job they have done with that hotel. We then went to the Mirage hotel to see the Siegfried & Roy exhibit of White Tigers & Lions, as well as dolphins, leopards and a few other animals.
Very cool, as you can see for yourself. You get so close to these beauties and it is amazing!





Finally, we're half-way back to the hotel to get ready for dinner with family we have living in Vegas and Taylor, my 14 year old, tells me she is sick. Maybe it was too much heat because it was HOT!!!!! I come from hot steamy Florida and let me tell you, that place is hot, hot, hot! Anyway, no sooner do we get back to the hotel than the fun begins. Taylor manages to throw up 5 times. (I told you this wasn't pretty but wait...it gets better:-) Guess she's not going to dinner. An hour later and I decided that she shouldn't have to be sick alone so I start heaving and that was not a good thing. We had tickets to the "O" show after dinner, the main reason we were there! Long story short, Taylor and I were sick the entire night and I lost count after 20 the number of times we were sick. I'll spare you the details of the rest but I think you know what the stomach flu is... I remember at one point thinking we had to see a doctor or go to the emergency room, it was that bad. (Yes, the thought did cross my mind...swine flu???) In the middle of the night, Phil gets sick and Jordie is the only healthy one the next day. She goes to the gift shop for Lysol to disinfect handles, knobs, faucets...so she doesn't get sick. She spoke with someone who recommended pepto bismol so she bought that, too. Hmmm...pretty going down but...

We spent a lot of time in that beautiful hotel room. We had a great view from 32 floors up. As I gazed at the Tropicana, I though any minute I might see Dean Martin "stumbling" out the door. Did I mention we were all a bit delirious??? We also managed to miss the Beatles "love" show but did get some "groovy" photos near the entrance before we got sick.

No need to dwell on the next 24 hours as the only thing we did was rent movies in our room. Poor Jordie...the only one who wasn't sick. We realized she still had to eat even though we couldn't so my girl got room service for one.



Fast forward to the plane ride home. Flight from Vegas to Dallas...no problem. Flight from Dallas to Florida...look out! We were definitely not flying the friendly skies, that is for sure. I should mention that Jordie is terrified of flying and the more I fly with her, the more I agree. 20 minutes into the 2 1/2 hour flight and she announces she is sick. I know what's coming so I grab a trash bag from the flight attendant. The turbulence is ugly, ugly, ugly!!!!!!!!! She spends most of the flight in the first class bathroom with a flight attendant outside leaning on the door to help her if needed due to the bumpy ride.

On the bright side, we all lost about 5 lbs:-) We got some cool photos and we do have vacation memories that we will NEVER forget. I write this to say, pack your hand sanitizer and be extra careful this summer. There is something verrrry evil lurking out there. My Vegas days are gone for a long time!!!!! Every time I hear someone mention Las Vegas or "cheese blintzes" (a part of the story better left untold:-), my stomach turns...and then we laugh. You have to laugh, right???

"No one needs a vacation more than the person who just had one"
Yep...I'll second that one!

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