Friday, December 31, 2010

365 / 365: The End

New PJ's, new glasses, new outlook.

Everyone has the "fresh start" approach on New Year's. So do I. And I'll have that approach on Jan. 2, and Jan. 3, and Jan. 4..... I'll take everyday God gives me and make the best of it!

Looking back on the year in blogging, I found many times I was in "survival" mode: as a wife, mother, CCPS employee, human being. Maybe I need to go into "thriving" mode instead. Look at opportunities God is presenting to me. Keep a gracious heart wide open to allow these opportunities to enter my life. Think of myself as a top-notch wife, mother, employee and human being. Who knows? Maybe it'll happen.....

Done surviving, onto thriving!

Sounds good, doesn't it?

This officially concludes my Blog 365 project. Aside from the one day during B's funeral, I managed to complete one year of blogging, complete with pictures. I am extremely grateful to those of you who read it, either on the site or on FB, and even more grateful to those of you who took time to comment. I don't know if this improved my writing, but I know there were days it improved my perspective on life. That's the important thing, isn't it?

Until next time....Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

364 / 365: Partners

Two whole weeks together. They have fought, hugged, fought again, read to each other, argued, played together, beat each other up, walked arm-in-arm in the store, bickered over video games, etc.

Did I say they fought?

This was a long stretch for these two. During the school day, they have a buffer of being in different classrooms. Vacation? Not so much. Thus, when they are together, they have to be separated and when they are apart, they want to be together.

Today, they ganged up on mom and dad, leaving us with no choice but to give them time outs and threaten to "Return Christmas". This squelched their boorish behavior and they managed to redeem themselves through good public behavior and patience as hubby and I did some grocery shopping.

While I hope they stay close, I do hope they don't become crime!

Until next time....fight away!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

363 / 365: Oh boy....

Scale went up...motivation went down. Until today.

Ate a little less, went to the gym, meeting with a trainer tomorrow afternoon, and really studying the new WW program.

Have to get back on track. My health depends on it.

Until next time...control away!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

362 / 365: A Spectacular Stuff n Fluff!!

The boys and I spend an afternoon at the B Ranch. A fun time was had by all!!

It all evolved in a matter of days. To clean out my inventory, I posted a "clearance sale" on my FB page. LB offered to have an actual "Stuff n Fluff" party at her house, sending out invites via FB. By the end of today's event, I sold 30 bears and all my accessories.

While the afternoon was indeed profitable, more important "stuff" happened. I got to see many of my former colleagues. We were able to talk about work in short, sometime comedic spurts. I was able to see their children, many my former students, and trying to figure out how they grew up so fast, so smart, and so beautiful, when I haven't aged a bit..... JOR and SRR got out of the house and played with kindred spirits both young and old. If all the children's energy was harnessed, the B ranch would have power for at least eight months!! It was amazing chaos!

Until next time....stuff away!

Monday, December 27, 2010

361 / 365: Nook Narcolepsy...a Haiku

Nook narcolepsy
Reading, sleeping than repeat
I love vacation!

Until next away!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

360 / 365: Death by Virus

That is MY death by COMPUTER virus!

It started innocently enough. I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like booting up my computer, so I used Hubby's laptop to piddle around the 'net while cooking dinner. I was on the usual sites: Weather Channel, e-mail, news, etc. Nothing risque or dangerous.

Suddenly, things went The mouse decided to stop working and a voice reminiscent of a game show declared, "Congratulations, you won!" The computer declared this every 10 minutes. Clueless, I had to tell Hubby. I was now south....of the border. At least I wish I was.

While he didn't yell, you could tell who he was blaming for this debacle. The looks, the cold shoulder, the snide remarks, all labeled me the resident hacker.

Time for me it to go to work. I Googled the issue and the results gave me some ideas. I then posted the problem on Facebook (along with a caveat to watch for the funeral notice) and got some better suggestions. I went straight to work and tried every spyware, malware and anti-virus known to Geek-Kind. Eventually, the virus was quarantined and I destroyed it happily, even celebrating with a glass of vino.

All is now well at the Ranch. Hubby's computer is working better than before the virus and I'm still in the land of the living. Happy Boxing Day!!

Until next time....protect away!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

359 / 365: Pax

Dream in heavenly peace.

Until next time...dream away!

Friday, December 24, 2010

358 / 365: Wigilia

I don't have many fond childhood memories. This is one of them.

The Polish people have a Wigilia every Christmas Eve. This is a very sacred and special feast. We gather around the table and start the dinner by breaking an oplatek, a thin wafer resembling Communion. It is to remind all at the table that we share good and bad times, and that we should remember those who have passed this year and those who could not be at the table. It is a very emotional moment.

After the oplatek and a prayer, the feasting begins. It is seafood, seafood and more seafood. Although there is a "standard" menu of other delicacies, we here at the "Ranch" feast on seafood!!

Tonight, Hubby cooked while the boys and I went to Mass. He did a fabulous spread of clams, shrimp, breaded tilapia, rice and veggies. What I could taste was yummy!! I only had twenty minutes to eat before going to the next service. However, any Christmas Eve celebration with my family, no matter how short, is precious.

Hopefully, this will become one of the boys' many fond childhood memories. Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia!

Until next time...remember away!!

357 / 365: Hurry Up!!

We can hardly stand the wait!
Please Christmas, don't be late!

Until next time....wait away!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

356 / 365: Parking garage fiasco.

I had to go the hospital for a routine test this morning. Luckily, I got there early, as I totally forgot which part of the hospital housed my department. As I sat in my van trying to get my thoughts together (rough week!), I heard a screech followed by an immediately loud thump. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a mess. The car's front tires went over the little cement barrier and the whole front end of the car hit the concrete pillar and fence. After a second of hesitation, I went over to see what happened. A very shaken elderly lady was in the driver's seat. She didn't know what happened. She was only concerned about two things: her insurance card and her very expensive hearing aid. The hearing aid probably dislodged on impact. Not sure what to do, I assured her that it would be found and that she should just relax until help arrived.

An angel flew by in the form of some hospital poobah, dressed to the hilt with cel phone in hand. She knew exactly who to call and with in minutes, Richmond police and hospital security arrived. As they tried to assess the situation, a "Mickey Rooney" type parked his Suburban smack dab in the middle of the deck. This gentleman claimed to be a paramedic and a hospital administrator. While he was vying for the poor woman's attention, another man had to keep asking Mickey to move his Suburban because it was blocking thru traffic, including his truck and trailer (Why someone had a trailer in a parking garage, I'll never know...). So we had RPD trying to follow protocol, hospital security trying to direct traffic, Mickey Rooney trying to be the hero and Bubba and his trailer trying to leave the hospital.

Needless to say, it became CHAOS! All the while, I just kept holding the lady's hand. Oh how I wanted to do a "3 Stooges Slap" to the whole lot of them and make them understand that this poor lady needed help and needed her hearing aid! They needed to put their egos aside and realize why they were there, even Bubba!

When things started to get rolling, I asked the woman if she would be OK. She gently nodded her head. I went off to my own appointment, all the while praying that someone would take care of HER, not the situation, but HER!

By the time I returned to the scene, new cars were there. Not a trace of chaos to be found. I hope she's OK.

Until next time....treat away!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

355 / 365: Ready to go....

(I had a picture of JOR and SRR in boxes, but I'm too tired to pull it off my camera.)
They were in the boxes, ready to go. Then I realized that it's illegal to ship my offspring off to Tokyo.

Yes, it's the bewitching week. The excitement about Christmas (and the now the possibility of a WHITE Christmas) has caused the boys' behavior to go into negative territory. No they are not terrible....yet. They just need extra guidance to prevent them from going over to the dark side...or Japan.

Until next time...pack away!

Monday, December 20, 2010

354 / 365: Sick kids....a reality check

Both boys have yucky colds. Coughs and snot are everywhere. Not pretty.

While prepping to post this, I was looking for an image to use to show their misery. I searched "sick kids" and the images that came up slapped me in the face.

Oxygen masks, shaved heads, sunken-in eyes, agony etched in their faces.

Give me snot anytime.

Until next time....heal away!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

353 / 365: The Christmas Spirit Elves....

With excitement like this exuding through these elves, how can I not be in the Christmas spirit?

Until next time....exude away!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

352 / 365: Spirit of Christmas....

The 3 boys and I had a joyous evening Christmas caroling at a local fast food joint. This is an outreach program done at my "work" church. We had an awesome turnout from the church....and free food to boot!

As I stood there playing my guitar through the usual set list of Christmas tunes, it hit me. I'm in the Christmas spirit!! There were little children dancing while their parents were ordering, smiles on both sets of faces. A mom requested we sing "Happy Birthday" to the little girl having a party in the back corner. People pulled chairs up to join us in song. Even the young workers behind the counter were mumbling some of the words. As the fam and I were eating, one kind lady came up to us and thanked us for singing and playing. Good times.

Making people happy. Why can't the world try to do that in a month that doesn't start with "D"?

Until next away!

Friday, December 17, 2010

351 / 365: Gratitude....

The van's battery died today. Knew it was coming, but today was not a good day.

Or was it?

The van was home. It could have died anywhere in the county, with all the driving I did this week. MGR was home due to the snow day. This allowed me to take his car to work.

I fretted all day: battery? starter? alternator? All?

When I got home, we pulled the jumper cables out and opened the hood. Corroded battery acid all over. Mystery solved.

SuperHubby finally got the jump to work and we were able to get the van to the auto store for a new battery w/ free installation.

As we celebrated over pizza, I pondered how thankful I should be. This episode could have been a LOT worse. Thank you God for keeping this issue simple.

Until next time....thank away!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

350 / 365: Almost there....

The boys have officially started their Winter Break! I have 6 more hours tomorrow.


Until next time...snow away!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

349 / 365: Celebrating

Note one is in a jacket, ready to make one last excursion before the "storm". The other is in his inside out, backwards PJs, hoping for a snow day.

Wishes come true at Christmas!

While this is a little storm (2-5"), I'll take it! A day to chill, clean, get ready for Christmas, and chill some more. Needed and wanted!

Until next time....snow away!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

348 / 365: Inspiration....

I just finished watching the "Biggest Loser" finale. What an inspiration!

I haven't been really bad this holiday season, but I haven't been good either. Exercise has plummeted off my "To-Do" list and I'm feeling it. Stiff, lethargic and just "blah".

This lard butt needs to get going before I go! These elves need me.....

Until next time....exercise away!

Monday, December 13, 2010

347 / 365: White Christmas?

What a beautiful surprise this morning!!

About 2" of lovely snow fell this morning. It was totally unexpected, as schools in the area scrambled to announce delays and closings.

CCPS did not choose this route. We had school. Of course this is the day I head to the western part of the county, in the hinterlands near the Amelia County line. Luckily my NY driving helped me to avoid many close calls.

Maybe this snow is a sign of the upcoming winter. From my blog to God's eyes....

Until next time....dream away!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

346 / 365: Teaching Angels

This happy little country school is where MGR teachers and JOR and SRR learn. It is filled to the brim with very caring teachers and staff.

The ones that have the "honor" (or in some cases, "horror") of teaching the boys will get a little something from us this week. The theme is, "Enjoy the Holidays from your taste buds to your tootsies!". How I wish I could've done more, but being CCPS employees, we're feeling the pinch.

However, I need them to know that I REALLY appreciate everything they have done for the boys. They go the extra mile for them and I am grateful they are in my boys' lives. I also want to thank all of them for putting up with my "oldest" son! :-) They are true angels for putting up with three R's in the same building!! God bless them all...every one!!

Until next away!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

345 / 365: Family Fun Day!

I had a wonderful day playing Mommy!

The boys and I really got into the spirit of things: attended a church Christmas party, hit the mall to see Santa and the Polar Express and soaked in all the hustle and bustle of the season.

Aside from a few minute "issues", they were an absolute pleasure! I got to see what everyone else sees: two polite, funny, talented young men. I am proud to call them my sons!!

But then again, there's always tomorrow....

Until next time....enjoy away!

Friday, December 10, 2010

344 / 365: Shopping.....

Went Christmas shopping tonight. UGH!!!!

Brain is toast. Time for bed.

Until next away!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

343 / 365: Cold.....

Winter has arrived early. Yes, it's cold. Yes, it's uncomfortable. Yes, I can't feel my toes.

However, I have a sort of warm house and gas to heat it. I'm also lucky enough to have blankets and slippers. There are many people wandering around Richmond tonight that aren't as lucky as me. I pray that get through the night.

Until next time...heat away!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

342 / 365: Nuts over NEOs

NEO2s are devices used to teach keyboarding to upper elementary students. Today I had the honor of facilitating eight classes through this process.

Eight classes of "Keep your fingers on the home row keys", "Arms straight", "Elbows to your sides", ad nauseum........

There are days I miss the pen.

Until next time.....type away!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

341 / 365: The Secret Life of....forgiveness

I finally read the book. Wonderful read!

Ironically, as the story develops into a daughter's battle to forgive and be forgiven by her mother, I was commemorating my own late mother's 73rd birthday.

I've written about my mother's struggles before, but today I had the opportunity to reflect on the struggles we had as mother and daughter. Yes, we had battles, LOTS of battles. Ugly words were exchanged loudly and doors were slammed til they almost came off the hinges. In fact, we were not speaking to each other when I found out about her death.

Being the dutiful daughter that I am, I had always tried to reconcile: numerous phone calls to her went unanswered and letters were returned. I persisted, but to no avail. Coming to terms with this has been a rocky road, but with a peaceful ending. I have forgiven myself, as I know I did my best. Hopefully, she has forgiven me as well. The only thing I can do now is pray that she's at peace.

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you!

Until next time...forgive away!

Monday, December 6, 2010

340 / 365: The Sing Off

A refreshing and therapeutic two hours! Lame blog, but great TV!

SO needed!!! Bring on the fun!!

Until next time....sing away!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

339 / 365: Church musician

Busy day:
-8:30 Mass with the boys at St. Ann's.
-11am Service at Bermuda Hundred UMC (my work church).
-3pm Rehearsal at St. Augustine's.
-6:30pm "Hanging of the Greens" Service back at BHUMC.

Such is a Sunday in the life of a church musician. Although crazy, it's keeping me grounded about the real "Reason for the Season". I need that this year!

Until next time...praise away!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

338 / 365: Concerned....

He's smart, creative, funny, helpful and caring. At the same time he's disorganized, sloppy, scatter brained, active, impulsive and easily distracted and frustrated. His behavior has deteriorated at home and school, and his grades are reflecting his inability to focus on his work.

I think the lovely ADHD Monster is rearing its ugly head. We've been observing the increase in symptoms as he gets older. He has always been "busy", but now, with increased expectations at school and home, it's painful to watch him attempt to focus and complete tasks. What's a mother to do?

Part of me plays back my thoughts as a childless teacher: "All he needs is a good smack!", "A little structure at home wouldn't kill him!", "If you didn't give sugar everyday, he may be normal.", etc.

Well, we've tried the punishments (his butt cheeks' imprints are on the bottom step / timeout area), we've tried the written routines (some have worked), and we do not give him huge doses of sugar (we joke with people, "If you sugar him up, he's yours!"). Sadly, very few strategies are working and MGR and I are at our wits' end.

We are making the doctor's appointment this week.

I am so worried about this procedure of evaluation, medication, more evaluation, tweaking medicine, ad nauseum, because I have seen what it does children. One week they come in all happy and peppy, the next week they're in a catatonic state. Yes, I know meds need to be "tweaked", but I am not looking forward to the horrible side effects of lethargy and appetite suppression for which ADHD meds are known. If you know my SRR, you know that's not him. I also hope the meds will not dampen his beautifully creative spirit. He's extremely artistic and musical and it's sad enough that school, through it's cookie cutter curriculum, kills creativity. I don't want his medicine to do that as well.

MGR has tried to assure me that everything will be fine. He should know. He, too, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was SRR's age. MGR knows that the meds will probably help his creativity, as he will be able to focus on projects longer. He will also be able to get other things done, so he can spend time on his art or music. I am hoping that once these synapses are under control, the world can see what I see: a wonderful soul.

Until next time....control away!

Friday, December 3, 2010

337 / 365: A little bit of fun!

In my effort to get in the Holiday Spirit, I took the 3 boys to the Main Street Station downtown. There was a "Polar Express Open House" there complete with yummies, an awesome jazz quartet, free books and craft activities and a kiddie train ride around the parking lot. We walked around the historic building and watched Amtrak trains go in and out of the station. Afterwards, we took in the sights, sounds and smells of the 17th St. Farmers' Market. They were having a night of craft and food vendors. We really enjoyed walking around checking out everything. The cost to the evening? The price of gas. Even the parking was free! It really worked into our budget.

As we were leaving, I was almost apologetically telling the boys that this was just a little outing to enjoy the holiday season. My JOR then proclaimed, "Mom, it's the simple stuff that makes life fun!" This is why I keep trying to get into the holiday spirit.

I had tears in my eyes as I tried to navigate out of the parking lot and onto 95.

Until next time....enjoy away!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

336 / 365: Whining foul!

Yes, I know, "Life is Good". But I need to vent tonight.

Ten Things I'm NOT liking right now:
-people who don't use their turn signal
-Qatar got the World Cup
-the neighbor's dog and her "recital" every night
-micromanagement of all kinds
-not having two nickels to rub together
-haven't finished shopping or cards
-my aunt is showing signs of dementia
-Stevie Nicks singing "Silent Night" (Yes I've mentioned this before....)
-blogging about yucky stuff

There, I feel better. Thanks for reading.

Until next time....vent away!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

335 / 365: Dr. Nice Guy

I had a check-up with "that" doctor today.

Dr. R. is a wonderful man. This superb OB / GYN has guided me through two pregnancies and deliveries with his professionalism, kindness and great sense of humor.

Today we chatted about his children and grandchildren, boys and football, music and e-readers, and fabulous people we know (as well medical stuff). We also reminisced about how he and MGR welcomed JOR into the world: I pushed him out during an "I Love Lucy" marathon, so the two men at the receiving end felt the need to start singing, "O Ricky you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Ricky...." As they he-hawed JOR's entrance, I couldn't help but giggle. What a happy way to come into the world!

I am truly blessed to have such a special doctor!!

Until next time....laugh away!!