Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's amazing how much you can grow in a year...

While I was in my hometown for Christmas, I was able to spend some time with my best friend and exchange Christmas gifts. We sat in her parents' living room and just talked. We talked about how we were sitting in the same exact place one year ago and how different our lives were then. We had both just been laid off and although we suspected it was for the best, we were both terrified.

It is amazing how much you can grow and learn about yourself in a year. My extremely talented and creative best friend has started her very own business! I have taken classes in something I truly enjoy for no reason other than to do something I love. That something I love to do has been noticed and appreciated by other people, and 6 of my photographs will be displayed in a coffee shop in my hometown for the entire month of January.

I have found a job working with good people, a job that I truly enjoy and often makes me happy. I have learned that that is more important than any amount of money!

I have learned so much about myself. I have learned that I don't have to meet anyone's expectations but my own, and I decide what those expectations should be.

I have experienced great joy and even greater sorrow.

I love my husband infinitely more than I did and we have grown so much in our marriage.

I have learned that I don't always have to be the "rock." I have allowed myself to be vulnerable and to let other people help me and support me.

With the help of some of you, I have grown in my faith. I have seen and experienced the power of prayer in a whole new way.

2009 has most definitely been a year of growth for me, growth that has been documented right here on this blog in even more ways than I have just written. I feel blessed to know all of you, and to have your support, friendship, and often, your prayers.

I have nothing but hope for 2010 - for myself and for you. I have experienced things this year that at the time I never would have imagined I could survive. And survive them I have. In fact, I feel I have thrived.

So for 2010, I'm wishing you all health and happiness, confidence in yourselves, the strength and courage to follow your dreams, friendship and love.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

our new niece!

After five very busy days in my hometown, I'm finally back to reality. I can't complain though, even though we were running around like crazy, our Christmas was amazing. Spending time with our family and friends is better to me than any present could be.

Sunday morning we visited with one of my hubby's brothers, his wife, and our beautiful niece, Athena!
My sister-in-law was also pregnant and though we asked her to have the baby before we left to come back home on Tuesday, she seemed convinced that baby was staying put until her due date, January 7th.

Luckily for us, our second niece, Aura Emma-Jean, had other things in mind and made her appearance at 8am Tuesday morning, exactly 11 months after her sister, and we got to meet her before we took off!

And I instantly fell in love with her.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all the merriest of Merry Christmases!!

I hope your day is filled with family, friends, love, laughter and all the magic of Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Do you guys have a Kohl's near you? We have one right down the street and I just love them! When you spend money there, they give you Kohl's Cash back that you can use to buy just about anything in the store.

My parents were here last weekend and my mom bought a bunch of stuff and earned $30 Kohl's Cash. They don't have a Kohl's near them so she gave it to me to spend! My hubby and I went the other night and they had so much stuff on sale! We got a new rug for under the coffee table in our living room and this pretty mosaic glass candle holder and only paid $4!!

It's so pretty and my Christmas lights are so pretty and the 2 feet of snow outside is so pretty that it all makes me smile from ear to ear! It doesn't take much to make me happy. ;)

*This post was not solicited by Kohl's and no compensation was recieved from Kohl's. However, if they're feeling generous, I'll gladly accept! ;)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Spirit

I love Christmas time. Hope, love, family, friends, kindness, magic and twinkling lights surround you. There's really no feeling like it. I haven't written about the specifics here (and I probably won't), but the last few months have been difficult for me. So the holiday cheer is doing me a lot of good and I'm feeling optimistic and full of hope for 2010!

Speaking of holiday spirit, MckMama is feeling it too and is hosting an AMAZING giveaway! I would totally LOVE to win it and you probably would too!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Family Cookie Day

Yesterday, there was a Family Cookie Day class at the bakery where I work. I took some photos for the blog I write for them, but I thought I'd share a couple here too.

It was so much fun watching the kids use the cookie cutters and fill the thumbprints. The whole kitchen was filled with smiles and laughter and holiday spirit! It made for a really nice day at work!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blogging as sleep therapy...

I have this problem with sleeping. The problem being that I can't fall asleep for weeks at a time. Then, I'll sleep GREAT for a week! Just when I think I've learned how to fall asleep again, the cycle starts all over.

I lay there in bed trying every technique in the book - deep breathing, clearing my mind, ear plugs, covers over my head - and I'm wide awake no matter how tired I was when I got into bed.

On nights when I give up on these techniques, I compose blog posts in my head. They are elegant, thoughtful and even witty. As a matter of fact, I've definitely composed this post in my head more than once. I tried once or twice to get up and start typing, but that only made me more awake.

In the morning, the words don't flow as eloquently as they did in my head the night before. I wind up deleting them before they are finished or with a bunch of horribly half written drafts waiting to be taken out of their misery.

I even thought about moving my laptop into the bedroom, but my hubby wasn't keen on that idea. The bedroom is not the place for a computer. Didn't want to risk the temptation of checking Twitter while...ummm...other bedroom activities might be happening. Not that I would actually do that, but it's a funny mental image and a valid request, so I agreed - no laptop in the bedroom.


I compose all these blog posts in my head and they actually help me fall asleep! The only problem is I feel like I post much more often than I actually do anymore. I randomly open my blog and realize it's been over a week since I posted anything.

Have no fear my friends, I have not dropped off the face of the planet...I'm just blogging myself to sleep...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

My hubby and I got our Christmas tree yesterday. We drank cocoa, listening to Christmas music, and had a blast decorating our tree!

Our super cute tree before we started.

Me putting the lights on.

All lit up.

My silly, sometimes off color, hubby!

Straightening the star.

It's difficult to tell here, but this is me putting the
tinsel on one strand at a time.
Yes, I'm that anal, please don't judge me.


Me :)

The cute snow couple my Gram made us.

Nativity scene.

We don't have a mantle, so our stockings are
hung from the curtain rods.

I love Christmas, so I'm very happy our tree is up! Not to mention it smells FANTASTIC! One of our favorite traditions is decorating the tree together.

What do YOU look forward to this time of year?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

We drove to my parents' for Thanksgiving on Wednesday night when I got out of work. We spent some quality time with family and, of course, ate way too much on Thursday. On Friday, we did some Black Friday shopping and then headed back home because I had to work the weekend.

I didn't take many photos during our short trip, but I did take a few of my cousin's adorable little girl.

Isn't she precious?!

Gorgeous family shot, if I do say so myself!

Little miss giggles!
This girl has the cutest laugh in the entire world!

My hubby and I got our Christmas tree today! YAY! It smells fabulous and looks so pretty. Photos coming soon!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The "I'm thankful" game was circulating around Facebook this month. Every day, you posted something you were thankful for as your status. I participated, along with a lot of my friends, and it was really wonderful to not only express the things I'm so thankful for, but to read about the blessings in my friends' lives as well.

So in honor of Thanksgiving today, I'm going to share all of my "I'm thankful" posts together here in one blog post.

I'm thankful...

...for all the men and women who have served, are serving, and will serve our country. I am thankful for their sacrifices and for their families' sacrifices, so that we can live the lives we do.

...for true love. I am thankful for a man who everyone thought in the beginning couldn't be more wrong for me. I am thankful to not only love him but to fall more and more in love with him every day. I am thankful that he loves and supports me more than I ever thought was possible from one person. I am thankful that I get to spend every day for the rest of my life with my best friend. ♥

...for my sister, who is one of the most dedicated, hard working, motivated, loyal people I know. She has the biggest heart, and I am thankful not only to call her my sister, but also my friend. ♥

...for my friends. For the people who accept me just the way I am. Two in particular who have loved and supported me through a really difficult time in my life, even when I couldn't be as good a friend in return. They know who they are and I don't know what I would do without them in my life!

...for my job. This time last year, I knew I was getting laid off in December and was terrified. That 6 months was one of the best things that ever happened to me and now I have a job that I LOVE, I have fun every day, and the people I work for are passionate about the quality product they put out, treating their employees like family, and making their customers happy.

...for the opportunities I've had to travel all over the world, to countries rich and poor. Learning about and experiencing other cultures is a blessing. It makes you truly appreciate your life in a whole new way.

...for the roof over my head and the lifestyle we are able to lead. We may not be rich, but we have more than we need to make this house a home.

...for the town I was raised in. In high school, I couldn't wait to get out of that small town, but as soon as I did, I learned to appreciate it in so many ways. NA♥

...for my parents - who have sacrificed so much, supported me and Amanda through whatever we chose to do, accepted our husbands as if they were their own sons, and loved us unconditionally. They have given us a truly blessed life and I am eternally grateful!

...for my sister-in-law. She was just a little girl when I met her and I am so proud of the strong, adventurous, cultured, thoughtful woman she has become! We don't see her enough but that just makes it that much more exciting when we do!

...for my education. So many people in this world live in countries so poor that they never finish high school, or live in countries where women aren't allowed to get a higher education. Even though I don't use my degree the way I thought I might when I was in college, I am blessed to have had the opportunity to learn, experience and grow.

...for the quiet moments in the early morning where it's just me and a warm cup of tea and my thoughts of everything I am so thankful for.

...that I was born in this country and for all the freedoms and opportunities I have as a result.

...that even though I have to work on my day off today {Tuesday}, I get to spend Thursday and Friday with my family!

...that after I work all day today {yesterday}, my hubby will be the one driving us to NA in the madness that is Thanksgiving traffic!

...for all of my blessings, to be home with my family in NA, for TURKEY, and as always for my loving, supportive, thoughtful, amazing husband!

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

What are YOU thankful for??

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Public Service Announcement

You might think that the photos from my vacation are done, but I've been saving this gem for its own very special post.

People of the world, the year is 2009. This... UNACCEPTABLE!

It may be difficult to tell from the sneaky photo I snapped, but each member of this family of four ahead of me in line at the airport was wearing tapered jeans that had pleats ironed into them! PLEATS people!! My gram doesn't even do this any more!

I do not mean to be rude. But people of the world, if you are still wearing tapered jeans with pleats ironed into them, please be aware that in the year 2009 this is fashionably unacceptable!

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Last day at sea

The cruise ship we went on was absolutely huge! There was so much to do on the ship, but with all the island excursions, not much time to do them in. There was an ice skating rink, a rock climbing wall, mini golf, and a wave simulator that you could surf! We saved all of this fun stuff for our last day on the ship when we were at sea all day.

Unfortunately, we were just ahead of a hurricane and our last day was cloudy and extremely windy. So windy that they closed down all of these fun things we planned on doing and wouldn't even let people walk on the upper deck!

So, I grabbed one of these...

...and we had a canasta tournament all day!

All of us, with our waiters, our last night at dinner.

And a towel swan awaiting us.

Sunday morning we were back in Florida.

Snapped a few photos of this amazing ship before we left...

My 2 favorite men in the whole wide world!

The theater where we saw a few shows.

And then we watched the sun set from our plane, on our way back to reality.

Hope you enjoyed all the photos! Despite the fact that we didn't have much sun, it was a great week with family and we had a fantastic time!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mayan Ruins

Our last stop on our cruise was Mexico. I had been to the Mayan Ruins before and I was really looking forward to being creative and taking a lot of photos this time. When we left the ship it was cloudy but not raining so I thought it would still turn out to be a good day.

We got to Tulum, took the tram to the ruins and then the sky opened up! We didn't have an umbrella or a poncho and it POURED. We were drenched from head to toe for a good 2 hours.

There was one girl there with an umbrella, and she offered it to my grandmother instead of keeping it for herself (nice girl, right?!) So, luckily, I was able to get a few photos by holding my camera under the umbrella, but I wasn't able to be as creative as I was hoping.

BEAUTIFUL view of the ocean.

My hubby and my gram.

Flower growing out of the ruins.

The Mayans were apparently a lot shorter than my hubby.

There is something about this place that is so beautiful to me. I hope that I'm able to go back there again in my life, hopefully on a sunny day!

And the day wouldn't be complete without a towel animal in our room...this day...a lobster!

Tomorrow, photos of our last day at sea.