Monday, December 26, 2005

Last Night

Last night, as I was putting Anna to bed, I asked her to hug everyone and say Merry Christmas. On her way downstairs, she yelled up:
"Mom, does Christmas come every year?"
"Yes honey"
All through the house we then heard:
"WooHoo, Christmas comes every year!"

I'm still laughing. I love you little girls. Thank you for making all my hard work worth while. Merry Christmas babies, and another Happy New Year.

Also funny:
"MOM! Santa got a Barbie Car down the chimmney!"

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Kranks

Have you seen the movie "Christmas With the Kranks"? Jamie Lee Curtis is in it ( I LOVE her) with Tim Allen. Her and her husband decide, when faced with the fact that their daughter will be out of the country, to skip Christmas and spend the money on a cruise. Ya know, it sounds like a fabulous idea! From Thanksgiving to now I have done nothing but plan for Christmas. Order and shop for gifts, decorate, photos of the girls with santa, plan and make the Christmas dinner, clean the house top to bottom, remember to get co-worker gifts, bake 4 different types of cookies for cookie trays for the neighbors, donate to charities, enough! I think someday, when the magic of santa has passed, I am all about leaving the decorations in the attic, grabbing my bikini and going on a cruise for Christmas. Just call me Ms. Krank, I guess, but I would love Christmas in the lands where palm trees sway. Let's see, Ava will believe in Santa for maybe 8-9 years, so Bermuda 2013!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Twas 2 Nights Before Christmas Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 10, 2005

My Grown Up Christmas List

Typically, around this time of year I begin making up my wish list. I want what I want every year, only it's never available at the Mall. After working with kids through the past couple of Christmas seasons, I wish parents wouldn't screw up their children. The number one thing I see is that kids just need parents to listen to them, to take a few minutes and sit down and listen to them. The number two thing I see is that I wish people that weren't going to stick a marriage out for more than 5 min. wouldn't have kids. I have so many kids that get jockeyed from house to house, that have parents pitted against one another. Kids with so many multiple "step" siblings you need footnotes just to figure out whi is related to who. Mom and Dad, once close enough to have kids, can't even have a civil conversation. Kids having to choose which parent's house to live in. Kids having no father in their lives. Single mom's working 3 jobs to make up for a deadbeat dad. Over half the kids I see have family problems. So this Christmas, I wish people would try a little harder to make their children's lives easier. By that, I don't mean throwing stuff at them, I mean spending time with them and putting them first. I have had nothing but kids in crisis this past week because of the approaching holiday. I'd like nothing better than not to have a line at my door, not because I don't want to work, but because I don't want to see kids in tears. As much as I'd like an ipod for Christmas, my wish is that parents could see what they do to their children and work to make it better.

What if Santa asks me if I've been bad.... Posted by Picasa

All I want for Christmas...... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 03, 2005

In Case You Were Wondering...

Steel wool, in case you were wondering, is flammable. I hate to tell you, but I know this to be true. Just this morning, Brian was warming up the snow blower to clear the drive. It's old, in fact, it was left by a tenant when we owned property, so we don't expect much of it. It's lounder than most, so in an attempt to save his hearing, Brian put steel wool in the muffler. It did quiet the noise, except he had a small fire. I wasn't home at the time, but the girls tell me " Just flames, mama." So, Brian put the fire out, and like a Derby Car, if it still ran, it was fair game. Too bad the cable snapped on the next pass down the driveway.
I have been telling him all along, " We live in the North Country, you need a garden tractor with a blower." Guess what he just said we need? I won't even say it.......

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Dashing Through the Snow~ The annual Christmas card shoot on Thanksgiving Day.  Posted by Picasa

Santa Baby~ 2 Months old, on her way to see Santa. She slept through the whole thing!  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Secret Admirers

One of my high school students has been writing "Secret Admirer" letters to another one of my students. As a counselor, I wouldn't normally have them, but he stalked another girl last year and this girl saved all the letters and brought them in. Anyways, of course I read them, what kind of counselor would I be if I wasn't nosey? I have to say, reading these corney little secret admirer letters brought me back to high school. Wasn't it nice to be an adolescent and be able to write these letters, fold them up, and shove them through a locker? To wait for the receiver to read them, and to go through the feelings of wondering if you had a chance. Of wondering if a relationship was possible, and mostly hoping they would know it was you who sent it and the thought alone would make you happy.
As an adult, I wish I could still do that. Send little noted filled with hope, filled with flattering comments, and filled with love to people. I would write one to my daughters teacher, one to the mail person, one to my sister. A little secret note that you could fill with emotion and love. I would say nice things, compliment them, and wait to see their reaction. I would not sign my name, rather, keep them guessing as to who wrote it, and I would find just the right place to leave the note.
Somehow, along the way of life we grow up and forget to do innocent silly little things like this. We think communication must also grow up and mature, and we forget how something as simple as a note could make someone's day. When I came back from my maternity leave, there was a card in my faculty mailbox. I tore it open with abandon. It welcomed me back, told me to take it easy on my first day, and it said everyone missed me. It was signed: The Happy Hollander. It was as good as that secret admirer note. I walk around school and try to figure out who the Happy Hollander is. I love that I don't know. Whom ever you are, Happy Hollander, thank you.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Duckie Love~ 6 Weeks Old Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 07, 2005

Backyard Posted by Picasa
This is why I hired a landscaper this weekend. Sure, it looks and pretty and nice, but looks are deceiving. I went out on more than one occassion with the rake and my yard cart. I hauled away 5 or 6 carts of wet leaves and it didn't even look like I made a dent. My shoulder hurts and my optimism that I could rake the yard faded away. My yard is almost 1 acre in length. Bring on a good strong guy with a big lawn mower and bagger. I am willing to admit defeat. Am waving the white flag.

The Done List

The "To Do" list, don't you love it when it turns into the "Done List"? Here is what I did this weekend:
Major grocery haul at BJ's
Washed and cleaned Volvo, including armor-alling the seats. I love it when my ass slides on curves. It's a sign of a good clean car!
Put away and organized Halloween decorations, and yes, they must be organized when put away. It makes taking them out easier next year.
Unpacked all my professional clothes and organized. Even gave some away to Good Will.
Purchased more new white hangers so all the hangers in my closet are white. This had been bugging me, hangers in various different colors. That's just not right.
Unpacked and organized books
Organized office
Put away laundry
Cooked a nice Sunday dinner
Hired a landscaper to rake leaves, my favirote thing! Someone else to rake the leaves.

No wonder my head hurts this morning. I think I have a OCD hangover. Pass the coffee.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Cleansing my Aura

Ahh, it feel so much better. I am finally getting the rest of my things unpacked and getting the house organized the way I want it. Brian put up a shelving unit in the office today and I organized and unpacked my books. It looks a thousand times better. The boxes sitting around my house have been really bugging me. I love clean, and I love organized even better. It's not right, I know, to look forward to cleaning and organizing on a beautiful Saturday, but that is the way I like it.
I don't know when exactly I became OCD. My bedroom in high school looked like The Limited blew up and the pieces fell everywhere. There were clothes everywhere. Organization did not exist. I didn't even know how good it felt to clean closets. Somewhere along the way in college my OCD kicked in. When Brian and I got our first apartment I went into Martha mode. When I had Miranda, it intensified 100 percent. I think it's because life is easier to handle when everything has a place, when spices are alphabetized, when clothes are put into their seasonal boxes and stored away, when things unused are given away, when the leather seats in the car have been cleaned and conditioned.
Ayways, I am feeling more like my old self again. I am off to organize my professional clothes by collections and colors. What an exciting Saturday night! WooHoo!!!!! Grabbing a Smirnoff Ice on my way upstairs. Party in my closet.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ava's First Play Date Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Going Back in Time

My father says I have stepped back 100 years in time. Funny, I don't have a time traveling machine and Michael J. Fox has not been spotted here? What he means, is that the village I moved to is old fashioned, and I love this.
When I began interviewing for my current job, I knew I wanted to move here for the schools and for the village. It was filled with our favorite thing, cool old houses. From the day I moved in, it was apparent my father was right. Neighbors came out to meet us and bring us food. They offered to help with anything, and proceeded to do so. They helped me understand the pool and it's various chemicals. They helped me find things like good doctors, dance classes, and even good pizza. When I had the baby, back they came with more food and offered more help.
Most people say with dread " Oh, but it's a small town." True, it's pretty small, not even a stop light. It makes the small town I grew up in look big. When we resealed the blacktop driveway, people at school noticed and talked about it. After living in the city, I like that people are aware and notice change, even if it was just blacktop. It seems we all watch eachother's houses. We notice when things aren't right. Who needs neighborhood watch here?
We had our first trick or treat night last night. The Fire Department actually came out, closed off streets and helped escort the throngs of kids that came out. It was so safe, and so much fun! I had about 300 kids come to my door. Most people came welcoming me to the neighborhood, and congratulating us on the baby. They were friendly, they were chatty. They are my neighbors, and I love this place!

The Boo Crew 2005~ My Witch and my Brat Doll.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Glowing in the Wind

Pumpkin Art
Every year around this time, Brian starts to plan for his artistic pumpkin carving. Last year, he did a beautiful Owl pumpkin carving that took several days to complete. This year, I found the Cinderella patterns and as soon as the girls saw them, it was destiny. He began the process on Friday night and we were able to light them last night. This is the glowing view from my front steps. The girls are aleady talking about what he can carve up next year. Whatever they choose, I am SURE he wil be up to the task. He is already eyeballing the power tools and sharpening the chisel.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bewitched 2004 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Waiting for the Bus
Miranda's bus brings her home at 3:30pm. This is the scene at my house as Baby and Daisy wait for her to come home. Isn't that sweet? They love her as much as she loves them. I think it is important for children to have pets. Pets teach us so much of the important things in life. They teach us to be gentle with things smaller than you. They teach responsibility, compassion, and they teach us to love, unconditionally.
Miranda and Anna have learned so much from this shaggy crew. Miranda does a great job of taking care of her cat. She cleans his litter box, and springs out of bed and makes sure he has food. She hugs and kisses him, and when I go grocery shopping, she lovingly picks out food he will like and treats. Anna will tell you SHE is Daisy's mom. That used to be me, but she feeds her and loves her as much as I do. Lately, Daisy has been MIA from 12:30-2:00. I went looking the other day. She lays on the floor next to Anna's bed as she naps. I guess they are taking an afternoon nap together.
I love these two critters like children. For the times they have been stepped on, carried around when they didn't want to be, lost fur, and been played with too hard, they have quickly forgiven the girls. That's what I am talking about. Loyalty and love. Bark when the bus is out front Daisy.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Four Walls

I heard this Randy Travis song on " Extreme Home Make Over" last night. The show brought me to tears, this song had me weeping:
My Grandpa farmed for a livin',Content to live the simpler kind of life.
My Grandma worked in the kitchen,Awfully proud to be that farmer's wife.
They used to say that they'd got everything that they need,Each mornin' they wake up:
Four walls, three words, two hearts, one love.
With the highway twice as wide,And the farmland sub-divided.It's good to know that some things never change.
I'm still lovin' an I'm still livin',By those simple words of wisdom:
Life an' love come down to just four things.
My Grandpa, Lord knows, I miss him,An' the way that he and Grandma looked at life.
And each day, I count my blessings,To have that kind of love here by my side.
No matter what, we know we've got everything that we need,Each mornin' we wake up:
Four walls, three words, two hearts, one love.Yeah, we've got everything that we need,Between the two of us:Four walls, three words, two hearts, one love.

Ava's Baby Toes Posted by Picasa
Perfect, right down to her cute little feet.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

1960's Style

I have had my worse nightmare come true. 3 doors down from my house I have a new neighbor. He is a recently parolled Level 3 sexually violent offender. From his report, he raped 2 children, on more than one occasion, taking them by force. He did less than 2 years in prision and he's free. The apartment he lives in has children that live there.
From the moment I found out about him, I sprang into hippy mode. I wanted to protest, to hold signs, to enlist people to help, so I printed off his poster, duplicated it by the hundreds and went door to door in my neighborhood. I went up to every house in a 3 streete area to talk to people, hand out flyers, give an updated description of him, and to give out his landlords name and number so people could put some pressure on the people that brought this guy to my neighborhood. I ran out of flyers. I worked so hard, I had to come home to get water and rest. I hauled my 3rd trimester pregnant belly up countless steps. It felt so good to warn people. I felt that I had a duty to warn, and I am glad I did, people had no idea and there are quite a few kids on my block.
My friend Barb is a left over hippy, and I mean that in a good way. She is a little older and not afraid to demonstrate for things she believes in. Typically, she is passionate about making this a better city, saving cool old buildings ( like the birthplace of TV GE tore down. She tried so hard to save that beautiful historic building). She is often heading out with signs and her magaphone, and I really admire her. She goes to bat for what she believes in and has taught her daughter to do the same.
Miranda and Anna went with me on my one woman crusade to warn the neighbors. Miranda knew that this man hurt kids and that it was important we tell people. She was stuffing mailboxes ( illegal, I know), and showing people his photo just like I was. I wish more people did this, took care of eachother, bonded as neighbors, and banded together for common goals.
I am organizing a neighborhood meeting now, and the next step, since the landlords won't return our calls, is to head out to their house with some posters and embarass them in their fine little neighborhood. I just learned that if we stay peaceful, remain on the sidewalk, we can do this without getting arrested. Cool! More people should be left over hippys.

Peace out brother!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Storm Chasing and Mallo Cups

We had 3 pretty freak storms here last night, severe lightning and floods. The streets were all flooded, the thruway had to close the 2 local exits, 26, 27 due to the road being 4 feet under water and mud. I watched it all from my house, but wanted to explore more.
Brian came home from work at 7:30, so I jumped in my car and did what I haven't done since I lived in the country, I went to check out damage and look for the other storm rolling in. There were streets closed, city kids running in the rivers of water in the streets, and all was calm and peaceful. Except for DPW workers, there were not any cars on the road. I stopped at Stewarts for milk ( and the Mallo Cup called my name) and it was dead in there too. When I used to live on the farm, my dad would gather us up and we would go for rides looking at storm damage. I am not sure if that's messed up or not, but it was fun to get out after the storm and ride around in that old farm pick up ( the one without all the floor boards). I am not a person that goes to fires, to me, thats morbid, but I do like to see what mother nature has been up to.
FYI, if you do this, check to see how close the next round of storms is. As I was pulling up to my house, the sky opened up and poured. I had all I could do to run into my house. The pregnant version of a wet t-shirt contest isn't pretty, either.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Would you? Could you?

I have come to some decisions regarding where I shop. Being the wife of a retail manager for the past 11 years, I never thought I would say this, but I HATE big box stores. I hate what they do to their employees. Let's just say my current thought pattern is based on my husband's big box employer not recognizing that he has health complications and disregarding a doctors note he turned in. All the doctor wanted was for him to go down to 8 hour days for 6-8 weeks to see if his health improves ( Fibromyalgia). They ignored it and instead scheduled him for 9 days straight ( he's a manager, it's legal). He collapsed at work yesterday. Now he's getting a "we'll see what we can do" song and dance. He typically puts in close to 70 hours a week and busts his butt. He, in the course of his illness, has only called in sick 2 times in almost 4 years. Thats total days he's called in sick. 2 in 4 years.
So, in support of my husband ( and becuase I just read that John Walton, heir to Wal Mart, was worth 18 Billion dollars. Nobody needs 18 billion dollars), I have decided to support mom and pop shops. I am staying OUT of those big places even if it means I spend more. Luckily, the village I am moving to has this little shopping district a few miles away ( Barneveld) that has a little meat market, pet store, health food co-op, it even has a shoe store ( I just bought 2 all leather loafers there on extreme sale for 5.00/pair, and they are a good name brand and all leather. They will last a while). I haven't been to a big box store in 2 weeks now. It will be interesting to see if I can do it.

Unfortunately, I will need school clothes soon for Miranda. I am not sure what my approach to this will be? It may be mail order, from more upscale places, or outlet shopping ( I love outlets, they tend not to be big box stores). Either way, the buck stops here.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


How did I ever think my 21st birthday couldn't be outdone? Granted, I had a pretty fun 21st birthday, it does not hold a candle to my 34. Being some 7 months pregnant, in the middle of packing, and sweltering in the heat, all I really wanted was to have dinner with my family. Brian took the girls to his mom's house, giving me the house to myself for about 5 full hours to start with. I did nothing more than clean, pack, and enjoy the quite. When they came back, they made dinner for me, helped me pack ( I know this sounds boring, but watching people other than me pack boxes was glorius), and had a cake and presents for me. I think the best part of my day, the part that makes it my best birthday yet was Miranda's card. It said " Mom, you are my best friend. I love you." Brian said she did it all on her own and didn't ask for help. How could I have wanted anything more? The perfect birthday.

It's funny how at 21, even 25 you think life doesn't get any better than this. The REAL truth is that life actually begins at 30 and just keeps getting better.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Swan Lake

I know I brag about my girls a she goes again! Miranda saw a commercial on PBS for Swan Lake on Great Performances. She insisted we watch it tonight. As she narrated the ballet to me and told me who was who and what was happening, I was in awe of her. She knows the plot and can interpret a ballet???????? I can't walk across the room without stumbling. Anyways, she tells me she wants to teach art ( she has said this more than once), but she would like to dance, too. "Oh, how can I do both??" ( mind you her senior year of high school in some 10 years away). The she says " I know! I can teach art during the day and run an after school program where I teach dance."

I am not about to tell her this sounds ambitious. With this spirited little girl, always on the go and always into creative things, she could pull this off. I believe in you little Peeper. I love your dreams. Let them take you places in life. Don't ever stop dreaming.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

My Girls

More than anything, I want my girls to grow up being humane to all creatures great and small, and to realize that there are people in the world that need our help. I want them to see how much we have and how important it is to share our time, energy, and money with others. I think, I just think, I may be on track!
On Brian's birthday, we met him at work to take him out to dinner. There was a moth in his building fluttering around. Miranda caught it, and decided to free it. We had to actually take it outside and free it. Anna said " He'll be with his family." From someone that opens windows to let out bugs instead of killing them, this made me feel good.
Just this week, we got mail from the Ronald McDonald House in Albany. Miranda and I had previously volunteered there and she is forever trying to get us to go back. Unfortunately, with a move, new job, and baby on the way that is not really possible. Anyways, they included an envelope that you could send in a donation. On it it says that just a $10 dollar donation can provide dinner for the families staying at the house. Miranda brought it to me and said " So we can send them help." God bless that kid. She gets it. She gets that sick kids are one of the things that I have a hard time not thinking about. I was teary eyed the entire time we were at the Ronald McDonald House, counting my blessings, but feeling for the families staying there.
So, I will continue doing what I am doing. I am raising girls that will be able to go out into the world and be compassionate to others, even moths.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Our House

Well, the real estate sign is up, we are on the market baby! It's happy and sad all at once. Sad becuase we spent 4 years here, lovingly taking care of and updating this cool old house, but happy to be moving on to other adventures and opportunities for our family. Hopefully, it sells fast. I am having a hard time keeping it clean and packing at the same time.

Our rental property has only been on the market 8 weeks and we have 3 good offers! Woo Hoo! " Move out, don't mess around, move out, you bring me down, move out, move out, move out. "

Words to Live By

I got this in one of those mass emails ( that I normally hate) today, but I love the verse:

Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh when I feel like crying.
Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.
Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.
Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles..
Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one if he comes by.
Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.
Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.
Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.
Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.
Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.
Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.
And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him for nothing, except one more day.

I made a copy of this and put in on my fridge as a reminder not to get too busy in my days to enjoy the really important stuff.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Burger King

I had to drop papers off in New Hartford for our Real Estate Agent yesterday, and my hungry little girls voted to eat at Burger King. Not really my idea of good food, but I was hungry, and we were over an hour away from home.
As I pulled in, I had a moment. It jogged my memory back more than 16 years to a first date that I had that ended up there. I don't know what made me think of it, but I don't think I had been there since that occassion. It was an after movie snack stop, I have no idea what I ate, but I think it involved a Michael J. Fox movie????
It's nice to see that some things have remained the same after all these years. Packy's Pub still has Cans and Clams, Props Inn is still a bar ( my parents once had a date there....), and even Sangertown Mall looks pretty much the same ( and it never did sink). I told the girls I used to shop there. They looked amazed and thought it was cool. I just felt old.

Central New York

It's funny, when I moved to the Capital Region, I think I vowed not to move back there. This was hip, the housing market was awesome, job outlook good and progression was everywhere. I wanted to part part of a bigger city, a city girl. Now I want nothing more than to move back home and to be a country girl again.
In just four years time, how did my mind change so? I'll blame it on pregnancy hormones. Who the heck knew I would be pregnant at 34? I wanted to be DONE having babies at 34 and settled in my career. I guess life really is what happens when you are busy making other plans. Maybe this miracle baby, who against all odds came to me, came at this time in my life to point me in the right direction?
So 6 months pregnant, recently graduated, and under contract with the Holland Patent School District I am ready to head home. I don't care that it's not tech valley, or that the value of homes is about half of what it is here. What I care about, what really gets me, is that I have been given the opportunity to work with children everyday. I have foud this wonderful village that looks like something out of "It's a Wonderful Life." I have the opportunity to go home, have a baby I never thought I would have, and work in a career where I will finally feel like I make a difference. I must have hit the mother load of good Karma!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Ava Joy

I had the big ultrasound today. Miranda and Brian watched closely as we saw all 4 chambers of baby's heart, all four limbs ( always a good thing), tiny feet and hands, the head, the face, and the labia. Yup. It wasn't the best shot in the world, but the u/s tech showed us what looked like two little buds of little girl parts forming. I was right. Again. It's an Ava baby. 3 girls. I am still a little shocked. Thst's 3 girls being teenagers, 3 girls dating, driving, and 3 weddings ( pray at least one elopes or we will never get our condo in Florida). 3 silly girls.
I broke down and bought the baby a few things today, and besides a diaper bag and baby book, this is all I have purchased. I guess I was in denial, but there is no denying it now. The baby was touching her face and even had the hiccups today. The head still looks a little alien, but she has taken on the shape of a baby! Welcome to my womb Baby Ava. May it be a cozy home for 20 more weeks.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I Sneeze When I Pee

It's true. I am almost 20 weeks PG and if I feel a sneeze coming on.......cross your legs! I have gained near 10 pounds so far, which is right on track. 10-13 for this time along is average. I am trying so hard not to gain too much weight.
Tomorrow is the big day. I am having my Level2, 3-D ultrasound. This is the one where you can get an idea of what the baby actually looks like, and if the baby is cooperating, find out if it's a boy or girl. I am really hoping for a boy. Aiden Russell. That would make Brian's year, possibly his life. He want's a son so bad. I am having feelings that it's a girl, Ava Joy, so let's hope I am 100% wrong. I was right, however, with Miradan.

Boy oh boy, I can't wait until tomorrow!!!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Notebook

No, not a cool new laptop computer, I am speaking of the movie The Notebook, based on the book by Nicholas Sparks. I have read Sparks work, and am a fan of his romantic time shattering love stories. In fact, I usually end up in tears by the end of his stories. This movie was no different. We rented it last night, and my throat hurts from crying. What a great story. What a great love.
I have always been a romantic, almost a fatalist romantic, in that I believe things happen for a reason and fate brings people together. It is no different with my own real life love story. It was fate that I went to HCCC. I had thought I wanted to go to Cortland, but never applied becuase of other things happening in my life and with my family. I wanted to be closer to home, so I really didn't explore other options. Although Brian and I didn't have to overcome great hurdles to be together, like Noah and Ellie in The Notebook, it was from the start, a great romance. I had met a guy as romantic as me. One who loved me as intensly as I loved him. I met a man who was heading in the same direction as myself, with the same goals, the same hobbies, even the desire to have 3 children. If I hadn't gone to HCCC, I never would have met Brian.
I saw our lives 30 years in the future when I met Brian, and I was able to see happiness. I couldn't see my life anyother way. As we approach our 10 year Anniversary this June, I realize how lucky I am, to have met my great love. To still be in love with him, to still hold hands, embrace daily, to still be able to see our lives 30 years down the road and to still see happiness. The statistics were not with us, as 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Somehow, we have survived financial crunches, health issues, dissappointments, and have come out together. We still have unrealized dreams and goals to meet, but I know together, we will continue on our journey, hand in hand.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Just Sit on the Porch and Swing

Even my beloved B-52's were hip enough to know the virtues of the porch swing, as they sang about it in "Deadbeat Club". My grandparents had one on their front porch, as did my own parents. I am now the happy owner of one! It is being assembled, not by a Chinamen, but by my husband as we speak.
We had a yard swing we bought when Miranda was a baby. It survived 2 moves and almost 7 years before being shredded and used as insulation for the squirrels. It was canvas, and last fall the evil squirrels that overrun our city somehow figured my swing was stuffed with fiberfill and fiberfill would make lovely insulation for their nest. They shred it open and made off with the stuffing. We saw bits of my swing and the stuffing high in the tree next to my house. Even today, you can look up and see a fine canvas lined squirrel nest. Bastards. I loved that swing. It was big, deep, had a canapoy to keep the sun out, and my whole family could fit in in. Many summer days and evenings were spent contemplating life on that swing. Many great library books were read on it as Miranda played in the yard or swam in the pool.
So, as we were taking the swing apart this spring, my cousin suggested using the frame to hang a wooden porch swing on. Hello! Why didn't I think of that. The frame is perfect! I went to Lou's Bargain Outlet ( the home improvement store formally known as Grossman's, and BTW, who is Lou anyways?) I got one for 70.00, which was a gamble because it wasn't on display and I didn't know how well made it would be. Surprise, surprise! It's made of teakwood, wonderfully made, solid, and looks very nice. Imagine how cute it will look with little pillows and cushions in my back yard? I can't wait!
And somehow, Brian is assembling it without a cross word. He is so patient. He does have 2 little helpers. How could you go wrong? I am going to grab a lemonade and contemplate life again. All is right in the world.

Easy Come, Easy Go

I am using the tax refund money to pay up bills. What a sad thing to have to do with a large windfall of cash. I worked hard this year at tax time and found a lot of deductions for us. Unfortunately, my internships were unpaid this year, and I brought in 0 income. It took a toll on us as now I have to pay back the credit card bill, the taxes I had put off for two quaters, and a stack of medical bills. I love to save money, and would like nothing better than to save this tax refund. It is killing me to be writing out checks and watching it dwindle. Next year I vow to be in a better place, working full time, bills paid off, that some of the tax money can be saved money and some can just be fun money. We will have another baby to add as a dependent, and Anna, not only as a dependent, but we will get the adoption tax credit (10K).

So here's to watching this refund go on our responsibilities and here's to dreaming about next years. Easy come, easy go I guess.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


I first heard this term in my multicultiral diversity class as St. Rose. The class was more than just about people from different cultures. It was about people that are different and the needs of these people as you work with them. Passing. It means people that try to pass as other things. Biracial people trying to pass as white. Gays trying to pass as straight. Transgenders trying to pass as the opposite sex, family women trying to pass as career women. I am now a trying to pass. I am trying to pass as a non-pregnant woman to get a job that I fairly deserve. It's hard work! Do I look pregnant today? Are my clothes covering up my little baby tummy? Did I remember to not mention the baby? Do I need a girdle to pull my stomach in more. I wish I didn't have to pass. I can't imagine having to do this on a daily basis just to get what is due in the world. For all the people that have to try to pass as other things, I feel some of your pain. And it sucks!

Don't You Want Me Baby?

I have put myself out there interviewing for counseling jobs. So far, 8 down, who knows how many to go until I get a job. The good thing is, 4 have gone really really well. I can't believe that Principals and Assistant Superintendents actually find me worthy of second interviews. I haven't offically been called yet, but I have been verbally told to get my applications in, that I was qualified, and that I made a great impression. I called one school to follow up and was told " great, the Principal was just in here looking for your folder." First of all, holy shit! I have a folder and secondly, someone was looking for it.

Yup, they want me. I at least feel like I have a shot at a counseling job, as good a shot as any.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Country Roads

There is this really old country song ( even I don't know who sings it) that goes " Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong." I have always liked that song. I remember it from my own childhood in the country. My sister had the album and we used to sing it. It's funny how things come full circle, isn't it?
I guess I have always been a country girl. I love wide open spaces, fresh air, clothes lines, wildflowers, and the frequent sighting of cows. The country girl came to the city 4 years ago, because it was something I wanted to experience. We bought a house in a historic distric and live 3 blocks from the city center. I found it neat being able to walk everywhere, having the option of taking public transportation ( and actually doing so a couple of drunken nights), and being able to order take-out from anywhere. It's an experience I wanted to have. I wanted to live in a neighborhood, and experience having multiple neighbors. I am glad we did it, but I have reached my full circle. It's time to move back to the country.
I am in the process of looking for a job, and have applied to 3 schools, and 2 agencies in the Capital Region. I have also applied to school positions in Central New York. We have been looking at rural property both here in the Capital Region, which I really do like, and in Central NY. We are at a crossroads in our life and are only sure that we want to sell our house and buy an old country home with some land. Since coming to this conclusion, and we both feel the same way, it is like life makes sence again. It had stopped making sence here, and all the things we moved to this house for have been satisfied. We moved here for Brian to open the Half Moon store. Check. I was able to quit working full time and go to grad school, something harder to accomplish if I had to drive an hour or more to school. Check. It is time to move on to a bigger house, after all, the baby needs his own room, and to wide open spaces. A place where Brian can relax more and ease some of his stress. Maybe he would feel better?
My niece recently asked me " Aunt Deena, ( thats what she calls me) why do you live so far away? Kayana, that is a good question!
So, Country roads, take me home to the place I belong. West Virginia, mountain Mama, take me home, country roads.

April Showers

I really dislike the month of April. My daughter was born in April, you think I would like it, but the month was tainted long ago. I dislike it for various reasons. First, all the rain. Rain daily tends to depress me. I can't let the girls play outside, can't yet do yard work, and the mud!! The mud drives me crazy. The dog really likes the mud and comes in muddy from head to toe. Being OCD, this drives me to drink. I like things neat and clean please.
I have also disliked April due to all the family deaths in April. My grandmother passed away in April, as did her mother. I have a grandfather that died in April, and a favorite great uncle, Uncle Allen, who passed away in April. I had my first miscarriage in April, as well. I find it odd that I would dislike an entire month, as I really do love Spring, but I like Spring May style. Warm weather, flowers and lilacs blooming, Memorial weekend and the official kick off of Summer. I wish I could hibernate the month away, but somebody has to clean up the mud!

Rain rain go away.......

Friday, March 25, 2005

Kitty Boy

My daughter adopted a cat from the humane society today. Technically, I guess I did which is pretty big seeing as how I am not a cat person. I have a big golden retriever named Daisy and am loyal to her. Miranda, however, is a cat person in a dog person house. My husband and I decided to let her get a cat for her birthday. She has been trying to talk us into it for the past two years. In fact when we got Daisy she said " Awww....we should have got a cat." She was 4 years old and made this comment.
We went to the ASPCA in Glenville today and she feel in love with Baby. He is a 1 year old, buff colored kitty. He is actually the same color as our dog. She was so cute toting that cat carrier out of the shelter. It took all her strength to carry it. She picked him out cat toys and a cat blanket to sleep on. She spared no expense. Technically, I spared no expense.
When we got home, we were not sure how Daisy and Baby would get along. So far, it's a hate-hate relationship. Fur flew, cats hissed, dogs barked, and tails got really big. The dog is currently at my feet. The cat is curled up in Miranda's lap. I guess the animals can tell who they belong to. A cat for a cat person, a dog for a dog person. Homeostasis in my house.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


A year ago if you asked me to spell that word, I would have butcherd it. If you suffer through my poor spelling on this blog, you know what I am talking about. Unfortunatly, I have had a crash course in all things related this year. My husband, previously 100% healthy, developed dibilitating (sp) pain about a year ago. This was followed by horrible fatigue, shooting pain throughout his body, and because he is in pain 24/7, depression. We spent almost 10 months going from specialist to specialist to rule out things like MS, MDS, etc....They found nothing. That is how fibromyalgia looks. Nothing. Nothing shows up in x-ray, MRI, blood work ( except elevated muscle enzymes from a combination of muscle breaking down and pain killers). If they rule out everything, but you still feel like a 90 year old man with head to toe pain, it is Fibro.
There is not much known about it. They don't know what triggers it ( research says maybe a virus) or of it ever goes away. They don't really know how to treat it, other than to prescribe pain meds, anti depressants and to say "sorry, there's not much else to do." Thats where we are now. Brian is in pain daily. Sharp shooting pain that makes him stop and grab whatever body part the pain has decidede to hone in on. The pain is so intense it effects his mobility and be the end of the day, he is walking funny. He is pretty down most days. Who can balme him?? There is no end in sight, no cure, hell, not even a specialist around here. Every month or so I break down in the bathroom and cry for him. He is a young man. He was healthy, he eats well, doesn't smoke, never, not once took a drug, and works his butt off as a manager. He may have this the rest of his days. I don't know how he can take this day in and day out. I don't have it, and I can't take it. I am a control freak, and there is not one thing I can do to help him. It's hell. My heart breaks for him.
I guess we have to be grateful that it wasn't cancer, but it may as well have been MS. It's just as destructive. Pain meds every day can't be good for your body. It can't be an answer.

Miss Congeniality????

I went on my first education job interview at a Teacher Recruitment fair. All dressed up in my suit, hair perfect, makeup looking fine, I felt like I was going into the interview portion of a pagent. When I got to my appointment, they had four carefully constructed questions to ask me. The questions were kind of broad and I felt like I needed to answer " World peace. I really do want world peace." The last question especially made me feel like I needed to lean into the microphone and smile and the judges. They asked me " What is the biggest challenge facing educators today and what can we do about it." Fortunatly, I know how to talk in sound bites and had a great answer: " The underfunding of education by our Federal Government, placing the extra financial burden on our already fiscally strapped communities. Educators are expected to do more with less, while teaching to standards and federal guidelines. We have to be creative and go after grants and use our community resources until the government makes education a priority again." Damn, I hope I smiled at the camera! That was brilliant. Somebody give me a crown.

You know, a beauty pagent ( of which I have actually kind of been in and won, Herkimer Co Dairy Princess 1988-89, thank you) and a job interview are really a lot alike. We put on our best, we polish the questions, and we hope they vote for us. And who doesn't want world peace?

Sunday, March 20, 2005


I was watching Entertainment Tonight last night, it was "Hollywood Scandals" night. I must admit this is a guilty pleasure of mine, getting up to speed on the scandals. Last night they focused on the cast of Bewitched. I never realized that a show that brought me so much pleasure was filled with a cast that would go on to experience so mush heart break. The beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery I have come to realize had been married 3 times. Although she went on to have 2 kids with hubby #2, you wonder if she ever found true love or marital bliss? Then, to have undiagnosed colon cancer for 2 years and later die of the disease at just 62. She would be 72 today, the same age as my parents.
The 2 men that played Darren Stevens went on to have their own heartbreaks as well. Dick Sargent, having to hide his gay lover for years until he came out, only to be diagnosed with prostrate cancer a few years later and die. Then we have the saddest story of them all. Darren Stevens #1, what was his name? That is the sad part, I didn't even remember his name. He had a back injury in the 5 seasons he was on the show, became addicted to pain killers, and wound up on welfare, suffering from emphysema his last years of life.
On a happy note, the girl that played Tabitha grew up completely normal and is now around my age. I loved that show. I would rush home from school to watch it every afternoon. When I grew up, I wanted to have a house and family just like Samantha Stevens. That show was kind of magical to me, and when I hear the opening music, I feel nostalgic and a little sad all at the same time. My daughter had been enjoying reruns on TV Land ( our favorite station), and I had to explain to her what reruns were and how old the show was. We will definately be waiting for the movie to hit the big screen soon. I hope they do it justice. This show defines some of my childhood, they need to get it right.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Discrimination 2005 style

You know, I thought women had come so far and made all these advances in the work force. We have had the vote since the 20's, have flooded the work force, and even proved we can parent and hold down careers. Then this!!!
By this, I mean finding a job while pregnant. I am about to graduate with my Master's in Counseling in May. I have worked my A%^ off going to school at night, working, parenting, and doing well in school. I have a 3.89. 2 1/2 years! AND I am becoming a really good counselor. My downfall is that I am pregnant and will be looking for a school job and need a maternity leave during the school year. I had these rose colored glasses on and was thinking that I still may get a job. I was thinking this until I talked to the Principal at the school I am interning at. He said, truthfully, there is not an Administrator that will hire me knowing that I will need a 6 week replacement. He said there are all kinds of unfair hiring practices that go on in the schools. So much for my optimism!!!
Legally, they can't not hire me because I am PG, but they can say there is someone more qualified. I am so disappointed. I have wanted to have this baby for 4 years. I also, more than anything want to start my career as a children's counselor. I am used to juggling a million things. I will be done with grad school, even, that's one less ball in the air. Why do I have to prove myself? Why do I have to hide myself and be untruthful. Becuase I am a woman, and things still are not where they should be in society. That's why. I guess it could be worse. I could be a minority woman, or a gay woman. If I feel discriminated against, imagine how they feel? It ain't right! Excuse me while I go burn my bras.

Monday, March 14, 2005

My Own Private Idaho

Like the B-52's, I am searching for my own private Idaho. Actually, we are looking for Stuckeyville, or Bedford Falls. Those little towns out of movies and TV shows that are picturesque. Main streets with variety stores, coffee shops, lunch counters, and other Pleasantville-esq scenes. We watch reuns of ED on TBS and then go driving around looking for Stuckeyville. It looks like a town in NY, except we haven't found it. We find towns that look close, but the houses are all new construction. Vinyl boxes void of charm and character. We got close when we lived in Hartwick. Cooperstown was very close to being stuckyville, but the housing prices and lack of jobs in Otsego county kind of put a damper on it.
We will hopefully be ready to move out of our 2 family and into our house this year. We have been waiting until I finish graduate school and get a contract. We wander aimlessly on the weekends in search of the perfect town for us, but haven't found the right fit yet. It's been interesting living in Schenectady, but I am ready for a small town. Not too small. It has to have more than one stop light, pizza and chinese, and a grocery store chain that I have heard of. The people can't have missing teeth or drive trucks with gun racks and Confederate flags. I don't want my foster daughter to be the diversity, either, so it has to have some diversity. Am I being too picky???? Does anyone know how to get to Stuckeyville?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Pixie Dust!

Miranda has been busy planning her birthday party. We told her that we were just having a family party this year because she is getting a kitten for her birthday. With the adoption fees, supplies, and vet expenses, we really can't do both. I was afraid she would be upset, since all her little friends are having the Jeepers parties, tubing parties, etc.....She was fine with it! Wanted to know what kind of decorations we could get.
After school yesterday, we went to that huge party store, where, if they don't have it, you don't need it. After looking at all the party themes, she almost jumped out of her skin when we saw the Tinkerbell party ware. "I want to have a Tink party," she exclaimed as she jumped up and down. It was so cute that I was thinking I wanted to have a Tinkerbell party, too. So we got enough cups, plates, napkins, tablecloths, and invitations to cover the house in Tink. When we got to the register, imagine our surprise when it was 50% off! Woo Hoo, an unexpected bargain.
Come April 10, my house will be the one glittering in fairy dust. Hard to believe this little girl will be 7 years old. Faith, trust, and pixie dust my little peeper girl. I can't wait till your party.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Mr. Joy

I had to go in for my monthly maternity exam today, and am happy to say everything looks good! However, of course I have a story to tell. My OB couldn't find the babies heartbeat with the Doppler. I wasn't freaking out because I didn't hear Mirandas until I was around 14 or 15 weeks. My uterus is tipped way back and that is where my little baby is currently nestled. Peeper did the same thing. So, to assure me the baby was find, my Doc decided to do another ultra sound. HOWEVER, with the belly sonogram, they couldn't see the baby too well because of the location, once again. My Doc then gets out the transvaginal ultra sound. This is a piece of medical fun that goes inside "down there." They use it when you first get pregnant to get an early glimpse of the baby. It more or less resembles a sex tox, as it has to go inside "down there." So, I say outloud " Oh, I thought I was done with Mr. Joy." My OB has a wierd sense of humor and didn't get that I was being sarcastic. He said he never had anyone name it or refer to it as "Mr. Joy." I was saying "Mr. Joy", as in "Oh, joy.......I get to have that again."

So now my OB thinks I like sex toys. Just great.......The good news is that the baby's heat was beating nice and strong at 153bpm. We saw a head and limbs, and he was even, at 1.3 inches little, sucking on his toes. Amazing. Um, thanks for a good time, Mr. Joy!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Family Court

I hate family court. It is not a pleasant place. It is nowhere near what you see on "Judging Amy."
The waiting room is the worse part of it. Once you make it through the security check point, which rivals the airport, you get to "sit in chairs" as I call it. They have all these plastic chairs in a little space and it is always full of people. Lawyers, case workers, law guardians, and the families. The awful part is you have to sit in close proximity, so you are there in the waiting room with the very people you are fighting in court.
The lawyers, most of whom only see their clients in the waiting room, have pre-trial meetings out in the open. Confidentiality? Forgetaboutit. You get to hear everything that is going on in each case. The lawyer representing Anna's bio father is what we call the "Loud Talker." Like a character out of Seinfeld, he looks like Eyeore. He never smiles, looks like doom and gloom, and talks really loud. I think he has a hearing problem and can't hear how loud he is. He usually has those pre-trial meetings in the waiting room and we hear everything that will be going on. At least we have prior knowledge of what he is going to present in court.
I hate that place. There are deadbeat dads there being dragged in. Disgruntled moms fighting for custody, foster cases where the neglectful parents are trying to get their kids back. Normally, I like to eveasdrop and people watch. It's just not fun at family court. Anyone thinking about divorce should hang out there for a day or two. It just might change your mind!!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Baby Talk

The girls seem fascinated that I have a baby growing inside of me. It is kind of freaky, if you really think about it. A person grows another person inside of them and then squeezes them out. Only you have no memory of it, thank god!
Miranda is very excited. She is hoping that it's a boy and not another girl to get into her Barbies. She talks to the baby in my tummy and says " Baby, it's your sister Miranda." Cute! She drew a picture at school of me with the baby in my tummy. She drew the baby with wings and said it was an angel. How does she know that? For as hard as it was to get pregnant, and the loss and heartache we went through, I think it is an angel. She is so smart and sensitive. She is a great big sister. The best.
Anna, at 3, has to think about the fact that I have a baby in there. I am not showing yet, and she has a teacher that is 9 months pregnant with a big belly. So, she asks me throughout the day " There's a baby in there mama???" She has the most puzzled look on her face. Tonight she asked me what the baby's name was " girl baby or boy baby." Then she said " Is there 2 Mama." I really hope not. My OB said one, if he is wrong, I will hang him by the toes over the Northway northbound during rush hour. No Anna, just 1. As much as we want another baby, we just want 1, thank you.
I never thought we would get to have these baby discussions in my house. These are some of the best conversations I have ever had. I can't wait to find out if it is a girl baby, or a boy baby. AS long as it's only 1.......

Monday, February 28, 2005

Wierd Dreams

Typically, I have wierd dreams, espeically after consuming dairy products late at night. Well, let the hormonally charged pregnant dreams begin! Last night, my dream began at our income property. In my dream, Extreme Home Makeover was making it over for the tenants. At first I was mad, because nobody told us, but then Ty ( AKA "Spiky Dude") showed up. Every pregnant girl should get to dream about him. He is yummy, artistic, and can design and build a house in 5 days or less. That does something for me......
Later, in the same warped dream, our rental house turned into this old barn in West Winfield, NY. It was still our property, and still being made over. In the end, the Extreme team decided to leave the roof off and the master bedroom was totally exposed to the out doors. I was freaking out, but they were calm and assured me it was fine.
My dream continued and I was washing my car in that old car wash at the Red Barrel in West Winfield. I haven't been there since I was a teen. I didn't have money and when I went insode to get change, I discovered I was pregnant, only in this messed up dream, I didn't know who's baby it was.
Ya know, I usually try to figure out what my dreams mean. I am not going to touch this one! Hopefully, though, I will have more dreams of my Ty.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Girls Night In

We have the junk food, the movies and plans to stay up WAY late. Like maybe 9pm. Miranda is having a friend sleep over tonight, so I did what any cool Mom with sleepover experience would do. First, we stocked up on junk food. We have Chips Ahoy, Jiffy Pop, and Krispy Kremes. Next, it was a run to the movie store for come PG chick flicks. We have Sharks Tale, and Freaky Friday ( don't tell anyone, but I love this movie. I am a little freaked out by Jamie Lee's role in that it hit's a little too close to home. A control freak, Volvo driving, OCD mama. Yikes!).
So, I proceed to pop the Jiffy Pop, and Miranda's friend looks at me and says " Miranda's Mom, don't you have a microwave." Sleep over lesson number one. Pop corn taste better when you shake the crap out of the little aluminum pie plate that blows up like a balloon. It's practically a life skill, being able to make Jiffy Pop. I think I will skip sleep over lesson number 2. Chips Ahoy, when crumbled in a bowl with milk also double as breakfast. Trust me on that one........
I can't believe Miranda is old enough to have sleep overs. I hope I remain the cool mom, providing snacks, just the right movies, and hanging out just long enough so the girls want me around. I can only hope 10 years from now she will want to have her girlfriends over for Friday night movie nights, and that I will remember to get the junk food.
Here's to staying up late, eating junk, and hanging out with girlfriends. Oh yeah, and junk food hang overs. That's sleep over lesson number 3. Make sure you have your tooth brush.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Mama Mia!

I am quite possible too old for this! The last time I was pregnant ( successfully), Clinton was in office. Freinds was "THE" show and the price of gas was .97 cents. Princess Diana had been tragically killed that year, and Titanic was the box office smash ( only never take a hormonal pregnant women to see that film. It took me days to recover). In 1997, I was 26 years old.

Flash forward to 2005, I am 33, will be 34 this summer. Morning sickness everymorning is taking a toll on me. When I was 26, I travelled with a zip lock and didn't think twice of just thrwing up and getting it over with. Now, I don't want to get up because getting up means I will throw up. AND, I am very cranky about having to give up diet coke and coffee. I don't think it bothered me in 1997. I just did it. Without my daily caffeine buzz, I am a mess.

May my additional 31 weeks treat me kindly. I am too old for this! How do those 50 year old actresses you see on TV that crank out babies do it?????? What the hell are they thinking. As it is, this baby will graduate school in 2024. 2024!! I will be, well, OLD! What the hell am I thinking??? I guess it's too late for that question! Mama Mia!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

What a Weekend

My weekend actually started on Friday. I don't work at my internship on Friday, and Miranda had a half day. Today Miranda and I had a special mission. We went to the Ronald McDonald House with some goodies. Our Brownie troop was either going to help out the RMH or the ASPCA, since we picked the ASPCA, Miranda has been concerened about the kids at the Ronald McDonald house. We went on their website to see what we could do for them and she wanted to make Valentines for the children and we saw that they collected snack foods for a "comfort food" pantry they keep. On days when kids have treatments, they like them to be able to pick out some comfort foods that remind them of home.
So, off we were with 2 shopping bags boxes of Little Debbie Snack cakes, and Valentines. Since all the rooms at the house were full of families ( 16 in all), Mirnada got to deliver her cards ( she had candy, too) and meet some of the people that were staying there. We saw the video about the house, and had the tour. What a neat, magical house. For all of the pain it must have seen in the past, it still seems so conforting, welcoming, and almost like a haven from the hospitals and the treatments. The rooms were like doll house rooms, made into real sizes. They were decorated with so much thought.
We decided we would like to go back and cook dinner some night. They have families and groups come in and cook so the families that stay there don't have to worry about cooking. I can't wait to go back. I am so touched that Miranda wanted to think about others, in their time of need. If I can raise her to be compassionate and empathetic, what a great addition to the world she will be. I love you Miranda. May your heart always be pure and beautiful and filled with love for other people.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

It's Tax Time Baby!

Normally, I am not quite so giddy about tax time. I am the family's pseudo accountant. I do the prep work and then give everything to our accountant. We own 2 rental properties and it's no longer as simple as a 1040. There are multiple tax forms, but, I am the queen or deductions. Our rental properties have some awesome deductions like home lones and property taxes. Of course we have the child deduction, but this year, we have 2 other surprises up our sleeve. I donated my car to charity this year. My beloved 1994 Saturn, paid off years ago, dependable as hell, never broke down. I donated it to a program called Wheels for Work, in my city. They give it a good tune up, new tires, and give it to a family that could benefit from having, well, wheels! Somewhere, right now, my car is having a nice afterlife. That's priceless, but I also get the Kelly Blue Book value, $1350.00! Ca-Ching!
The second tax time surprise this year was the medical deductible. My husband had a long year of trying to get diagnosed. There were family docs, specialists, neurologists, perscritions, co-pays, deductibles, etc....We racked up $6500.00 in medical bills. For the first year ever we have qualified for that deduction.
So, after totaling the receipts, patting myself on the back for being a money honey and keeping ahead of tax laws ( ok, and having a good accountant), I have smiles alllllllll weekend! I do believe both the Feds and the state owe me a sizeable amount of cash. I'll take that in large, please!

Friday, January 28, 2005

When You Wish Upon a Star Posted by Hello

This sweet little angel found her way to my home last year because I did wish for her. More than anything, I wanted another child and there she was. She is my daughter. I can't believe it will be up to a judge to decide weather she stays or goes home to a man with a rap sheet that goes back to 1977 with so many offenses he can't remember what the crimes were.
Please, for the love of Anna, my little Doodle Bug, say a prayer, rub a Buddah, kiss a monk, call in the Ya-Ya's, whatever you can do to life her up so that she gets the home she deserves, I am asking you to do. I am begging you. She is my daughter, and we couldn't love anything more.

Getting my *stuff* together

Alright, getting my shit together is what I meant. I will be graduating in 13 weeks, not that I am counting. I took a quantom leap and went back to grad school 2 years ago. It's been a long lean road of late night home work and being creative with the money because I wasn't making any. It is so close I can taste it, touch it, and see myself in an office with the line of kids waiting to see me. BUT, now the time has come to get my shit together to launch my job search.
It's funny that I have learned how to career counsel people, write killer resumes, and work the interviews, and I am almost dreading doing it myself. I have opened my credential file on campus and I have four reference letters, 2 from professors, 2 from counselors, but that is all I have done. I am procrastinating writing my resume. I want it to be perfect, to stand out and bite a school administrator so they will read it, yet here I sit putting it off.
If I had to analyze myself, I would say I was a little scared. 2 years, 60 credits, and 40K in debt is a lot to invest in a dream. I am a teensy bit scared that the jobs won't be there this spring when I am searching. I need to kick myself in the butt and get going. I need to market myself, call on all my educational friends, network my ass off, and write the killer resume. Fortunatley, I have to have my resume in for the Education Expo on campus, so this will force me to get my shit together!!!!!!
I have nothing to fear but fear itself!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Emotional Eminem

I was driving home from class last night when I heard the new song Eminem wrote to his daughter, Hayley. I can't believe I was actually crying. Over Eminen!!! He has really evolved as an artist. I couldn't stand him when he broke on the scene. I thought he was a bad role model and I hated that everyother word had to be bleeped out.
He has come a long way. When he started poking fun at himself and cleaning up the language, I have grown fond of him. I appreciate his struggles and all that he went through. I really appreciate what he is saying to his daughter and how he seems to be doing right by her. I have met so many kids at my new elementary school that have parents that are not just dysfunctional, but outright neglectful. Resources are limited, yet they have 6-8 more kids. Kids that don't have beds, that are so neglected that they pee themselves in school and that are so poor that all they got for Christmas was shoes from a social worker. If Eminem has made it out of his poverty, his white trash life style, neglectful mom, and came out with better parenting skills, maybe there's hope for the kids I am working with??? Maybe they can be the ones that make it? I'm not talking Rap Star making it, I am talking good parent and member of society making it.

Never in a million years would I have thought Eminem would instill hope in me. Of course, I never thought I would shed a tear over one of his songs, either. I hope that he continues to be the dad that apparently he never had and to give his children a better life than he had, and I don't just mean the material needs. I am impressed with him. As a counselor, I obviously have faith that people can overcome, and that people can change. Thanks for the good example Marshall Mathers. Rap on.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Get AWAY from my computer NOW!

I am so grumpy about all the unaothorized activity on my computer. After the whole Trojan, I have tightened up my computer's security like Fort Knox. Even still, I am getting pings on my firewall, other computers trying to access my files, and , AND after all this, I find a CWS Trojan during my daily spyware scan. SAD! I have to scan for virus and spyware daily. My internet activity, although daily, is limited to a few things. I have a Mom's message board that I am a member of, a few blogs I read daily, a couple favorite shopping sites ( Old Navy, JCP, Barnes and Noble), and occassionally, I am doing research. It seems like there wouldn't be so much going on with the few things I do online. My friend JP says "go Mac." I almost wish my computer weren't so new, or I would. When I update my PC next time, two things need to happen. I need to take him shopping with me, and I want a computer that people can't access. I just don't feel safe on the internet anymore and I need to. I'm taking an online course this semster. I don't have 4 days of my life to factory reinstall and redownload all my programs again. Not to mention that is 4 days I will never get back.

So, in short: Leave my computer ALONE. Go away, I'd turn back if I were you. I'm about to Jackie Chan your modem if you don't leave me alone.

Friday, January 14, 2005

That wan Then, this is Now

That was then..... Posted by Hello

This photo was taken in 1981. I am the one decked out like an Army General in the back row. Troop 592, from Cedarville, Ny, Foothills Council. Our leader's name was Rose Gala. What a neat lady. I always hoped that I would have a daughter some day that wanted to be a Girl Scout. I had such a great time as one from first grade, through eighth grade. I never imagined that I would be the leader.
When I searched for a troop in our area, all I found was a waiting list of 80 girls waiting for people to volunteer to lead troops. You see, there were girls, but nobody stepped up to the plate to start troops. I am so proud of Sandi and I stepping up and leading the 12 little girls that belong to and love our troop. These little girls will have the same found memories that I have and will learn some great things along the way.
Rose Gala used to carry this bag bursting with her files, her craft supplies, her first aid kit, and her leader books. It's funny that now some 24 years later, the leader bag I carry looks so familiar. Thank you Rose, for all you did for the girls that used to meet at the Cedarville Fire House afterschool. I'm sure I am not the only one who took away things that made me the woman I am now.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Coming Out of the Dark

I feel like clebrating! Like doing virtual backflips and cartwheels. After 1 trojan virus, 2 weeks of trying to fix my computer and finally doing a factory reinstall, and the past 4 days of reloading and updating everything, I feel like I am back in the land of the living.
It's funny how I have only had a computer for 7 years, but being without it for a couple days was excruciating. I wasn't able to blog, to create, to do simple things like write my parent letter for my Brownie troop. After the re-install, it was particulary difficult. I am OCD, I like things a certain way. I am the girl that has my desktop icons in a certain order and I know if they get messed with. I couldn't sleep until my computer was returned to the exact way I had it.
The good thing is, that the trojan didn't get me. I re-emerged with a better, stronger, smarter, more efficient system. When I reloaded everything, I went online and got all the updates. I set everything up to auto update and auto scan. If I had software that I really didn't use before, I didn't reload it. I feel like my computer is in better shape now. Even though it's only 10 months old, it had a lot of outdated stuff that came factory installed.
So, it's great to be back!!! Now I need to focus on getting a new digital camera, now that mine bit the dust. I can tell you one thing, it WON'T be a Kodak. They can kiss my megapixels.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Who needs Bill and Ted to have an excellent adventure?? Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Family, it's About Time

I love those commercials for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that end with " Family, it's about time." So true. I have been enjoying vacation and my family the last few days. As my life get's busy with grad school, my internship, and trying to keep it all together, I forget to enjoy my family. Just yesterday, we had a snuggle pile on my bed. Brian, Miranda, Anna, the dog and I. We hung out, tickled the girls, laughed, and were this heap on the bed of arms, legs, and paws.
I have taken time this week to listen to the girls, not just hear what they were saying, but listen. Some things overheard at my house this week:
Miranda and Anna were sitting on the breakfast stools eating banannas. Anna was a little messy with hers. Miranda says " Mom, clean up in aisle 1." I almost peed my pants laughing. She's a comedian. Anna and I were watching a movie last night, trying to stay awake to see the ball drop. She grabs my face and says " We're a family." Wise wisdom from a 3 year old.
Anna and I were just petting Daisy. Daisy rolled over to have her tummy rubbed. I said " Daisy, you are such a baby." Anna thinks about it and says " No she's NOT. Her is a DOG Mama." She had a point there.
As I get busy again with my grad classes, my next internship, volunteering in Miranda's school and Brownies, I am going to remember to stop, take time, and just listen to the day to day chatter that goes on in my house. I am never going to get this day back. The girls continue to grow and change bit by bit everyday. This year I am going to continue to live like there's no tommorow, love unconditionally, and laugh, from the belly, once a day.
Welcome 2005! A year of promise, new houses (Sandi), Master's degrees ( Dana AND Kim, tell me that's not cool), and new adventures in parenting.