Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I guess I should be grateful that it didn't heat up sooner. It seems like the weather has stayed pretty nice up until last weekend.... longer into Spring than it usually does. BUT STILL.... *whining* I'm just not ready for this heat yet. Yuck... wish we still had a pool! It's funny, we had a pool in our last house and in almost 4 years I could have probably counted the times I set foot in it. Now, I don't have one and that's all I seem to be obsessing on since seeing 102 degrees on our thermometer yesterday! Thankfully the garden is FINALLY finished! We seemed to get the last of it done (fence is up too!) right before the insane temps began. Now, if we see growth, I'll be truly amazed! I've never attempted a vegetable garden and know very little about gardening....period.... especially in our climate! All I can say is YAY for the internet & YAY for my daughter and her little "green thumb"! : ) It's got to work right? Kaydee spurred my curiosity with her recent gardening project in school. She came home from school one day (just before Spring break) with her little bean sprout in a dixie cup. Remember those? So cute! Anyway, Kaydee was just beaming! I promised her that we would try to plant a garden. She really does seem to have a green thumb which is definitely a good thing considering that most plants would probably genuflect if they could as I plant them! I try.... really I DO! I've had success with my plant/shrub choices in the front yard. I've even had success with my potted plants on our front porch! Well, except for the poor lavender plant that I apparently watered just a little too much (in a non-ventilated pot). R.I.P. little lavender. Still though, feeling a little confident, I willingly embarked on our gardening adventure! Kaydee, has run to the garden every morning since we planted to check and see if anything has grown. Nothing yet... well, 1 weed, which she was sad to see me pick. I told her not to worry as I'm sure he had friends that would be surfacing soon. She's so proud of our little garden... me too! Kaydee is probably most excited about the pumpkins she planted... she insisted that we had to have our own pumpkin patch. I'm excited to see if the carrots take root.... or the squash, beans, onions, corn or peas. *fingers crossed* that we see something (other than weeds). Next step, planting some berry plants on the outside edge of the garden and learning how to compost. My Grandfather had the most beautiful flower garden (in New York city too!) and he had his very own compost bin behind the garage. I remember being so excited as a kid to run scraps of carrot peels or coffee grounds to the bin. My Grandmother could hardly finish preparing a meal before I was off and running to the bin with all of the composting scraps.
Well, LOTS to do today and should probably hop to it.... hopefully, not as hot as it was yesterday but I know that's pretty wishful thinking. *sigh* ~*~CIAO~*~

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I can't believe it's that time again!

Well, almost that time! Only 2 weeks before National Scrapbook Day! Geez, It seems like it wasn't that long ago and already a year has passed. I love NSBD! It's the one guaranteed day that I can lock my self away in creative bliss for hours and hours! Just me, my coffee and my supplies.... and maybe some cinnamon bears. *stop yawning*... this ain't for everybody.... just the waaaay super-cool artistic type of folks! Jealous yet? So, May 2, 2009 I'll be locked away.... in the scraproom not the padded room and logged in to one of my many favorite *creative* places... My dear friend, Estee Lynn is hosting the NSBD events at Sb.c this year. A FULL day of hourly contests, challenges, drawings and so much more! She also writes a weekly column there. DO go check out her blog & her column! She is super cool, super talented, super funny.... heck, the girl just needs an "S" on her shirt! I usually participate in some of the NSBD activities but for the most part I use the time to get back into "creative mode" (sometimes life has a way of interfering with that). I work on (and actually complete!) unfinished projects or sometimes get a jump start on new projects. This is an example of a NSBD challenge that I did last year.... I think it was Estee's challenge too come to think of it. It challenged "A day in the life" if I remember correctly.

Not the greatest photos of my layouts but I was in a hurry to upload before the deadline. Anyway, this year I've VOWED to finish altering some antique window panes that I started a very long time ago. Those that know me have heard me yammer on about my collage idea & those windows and *fingers crossed* I'll be finishing them May 2nd! Whew, no pressure there! I've got so much to get ready before I embark on that huge project... lots to clean up and organize before hand and with 2 short weeks..... YIKES! Have a great day! : ) ~*~CIAO~*~

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Well, the kids are bathed & snugly tucked into bed and the dishes are done. My living room however is covered in Easter grass, plastic eggs, crayons, coloring books and those darn Easter toys... you know, the little tiny ones that really hurt when you accidentally step on them barefoot? those ones. So far today I've re-packaged 120 colored pencils, 64 crayons, 27 markers & 15 glitter glue pens no less than 10 times. I think I might have overdone it on the art supplies in the Easter baskets though my kids are thoroughly pleased and that's worth a million! : ) I've taped exactly 21 artistic masterpieces to my pantry door... created by my 2 younger kiddos. I've discovered that the black color wonder by Crayola wasn't much of a mystery to my 3 year old. He quickly discovered that he didn't need the special secret marker to reveal the rainbow of colors underneath the black paper. Nope, any wet object would do as he started with wet fingertips and soon after must have figured "oh what the heck, I'll just lick the paper". We now have black color wonder kids, walls, furniture, clothing & so much more! Can you hear my excitement? Seriously, what was I thinking? I know what you're thinking and nope, my camera battery was dead-dead... sorry, no pics of this precious memory.... and on a holiday too! Shame on me!
I usually like to take a small bit of me time during any holiday and reflect.... think back on my own childhood memories of Easter, Easter traditions, how we've grown & changed, the family members that used to grace our table that are no longer with us, the friends & neighbors that we've been honored to share our holidays with... feeling so fortunate to have so many special people in my life. Holiday dinners at our house have never been about "just family" and always about "all family".... related or not. I love that!
I'm pretty wiped out but in a good-tired kinda way. I've had lots of laughs today, shared a fantastic meal with the ones I love and now I'm just soaking up the "quiet" in my house.

How was your Easter?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

One year ago today I said “see ya later” to my baby bird. I fought tears for the 2 days we spent in Twenty-Nine Palms prior to Kyle’s deployment to Afghanistan. One year ago? It seems like it went by so fast now yet the 8 months that he was gone was the longest 8 months of my life. I couldn’t stand the thought of saying goodbye. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to scare him with my emotions so I held them in as much as I possibly could…. That’s what a Mom does…right? He had more than I could imagine on his mind and needed to see strength. I tried to keep a positive mind set but that was at times nearly impossible. I remember thinking that this was just a bad dream and hoping that I would wake. Since Kyle enlisted in the United States Marine Corps I’ve had one long roller coaster of emotions. Of all of the jobs he could have selected, he chose infantry… a machine gunner to boot! He wanted to do his part….he enlisted with the most sincere and whole hearted intentions. I begged him to be a welder or a mechanic…. ANYTHING but infantry! He had his mind set though and was grown enough to make that decision. He was fresh out of high school, the world was his…so much of life to experience… What else could I do? Now, here I was at his deployment and flooded with so many feelings…less than a year since he left for bootcamp. I felt pride beyond what I could ever describe. So proud of this fine young man that was willing to sacrifice so much in the name of his country. He made a commitment and would honor that. He vowed to protect and would honor that. He put the lives of everyone else ahead of his own and did so willingly. He befriended many brothers along the way. I’m proud to say that rarely a weekend liberty goes by that we don’t have a loud houseful of adopted Marines. As proud as I was & always will be I also felt fear. A fear that rocked my very core. Lots of “what ifs” and lots of moments where I just couldn’t breathe. I had flashed back to the day he was born, to his first steps, his first day of school, the field trips we took, our long walks, his ever creative imagination that always kept me entertained and even the times that he drove me completely crazy. 19 years went by in a flash and now he would be seeing things that would tamper with his young mind….things that no Mother ever wants her child to see. He stood a great chance of being seriously wounded or worse, fatally wounded. It was almost a guarantee that he would not get to come home with everyone that he deployed with… and sadly that was a reality as 2/7 suffered many casualties. Though I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye to Kyle, I felt forced to say goodbye to a part of him that I feared would never be the same…. A part that would remain in a foreign country. The most common advice that I received from friends and family was not to watch the news or listen to the reports of this war. Anyone that knows me knows that there was no way that I would ever avoid those updates. I absolutely HAD to know what was happening. Not knowing would have made me crazy. I had my routine every morning like clockwork. I would get up well before anyone else in the house and check each creditable site that I had bookmarked to track their every move. I followed embedded reporter blogs and even kept up with a few Afgan news sites. I searched thousands upon thousands of images of 2/7 in hopes to see his sweet face or the faces of our adopted Marines that we’ve known and grown to love so much.
I thank God that my boy and most of his unit made it home safely. I pray for those that didn’t and for their families whose hearts are heavy with their losses. I pray for my son who lost 14 of his brothers during that deployment; some that he was very close to.
For those fallen soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force and for the many, many fallen soldiers of every branch you are loved and missed.

Sgt Washington, Michael Toussiant-Hyle (20)
PFC Patton, Michael Robert (19)
LCPL Crass, Layton Bradly (22)
PFC Pietrek, Dawid (24)
CPT Terhune, Eric Daniel (34)
LCPL Whitacre, Andrew Francis (21)
SGT Mendoza, Matthew E. (24)
PFC Wilson, Ivan I. (22)
LCPL Lopez-Castaneda Juan (19)
CPL Mihalo, Anthony G. (23)
SGT Bell Jr. Jerome C. (29)
CPL Karella, Jason A. (20)
CPL Robles, Adrian (21)

In most cases my next request goes without asking but for those that need a gentle reminder; please take an opportunity to thank a soldier. Should you cross paths with someone that serves our country, are related to a soldier in some way, or know of a family that has a loved one serving… in what ever capacity, please let those brave men & women know that they are appreciated. There are so many ways to support our troops. One thing that I’ve learned throughout Kyle’s enlistment is that we naively believe that our troops have enough support. Sadly, many of those that serve do not have loved ones that stand behind them…. Or anyone for that matter. We’ve learned of many that didn’t have someone waiting to greet them on victory field for their homecoming or that didn’t receive one single letter nor care package while fighting for our freedom… while making sure that we were safe. This has been enlightening beyond what I can adequately describe. It took a young boy’s enlistment for my eyes to be opened to all that we don’t see. I thank him and so many others for that and will never again take for granted the freedom that we are privileged to have… the freedom that comes with the ultimate price. Freedom never was nor ever will be *free*.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Another year gone by

2 more years before you get to celebrate the big 4-0! heehee! Lots of fun stuff going on today. The garden is almost done... we have rows now and planned on planting today but decided to have a birthday-kick back-lazy-feast day instead. The boys came home for the weekend so we threw a roast in the crock pot (cranberry glazed...mmmm!), roasted some potatoes in the oven and I baked a devils food double chocolate cake with raspberry filling (i'm not a big chocolate fan but have to admit, the cake was pretty darn awesome. Kaydee made some cards and the cutest little birthday banner... I'm pretty sure there's an entire roll of tape holding it together. Kaydee has this thing with tape... LOVES it! Funny girl! Kaydon tore up the supplies to make his card for Daddy (very typical but Daddy cherished just the same) and now I'm ready to collapse for the night. Dishes are done and gear is ready for tomorrow's journey to my inlaws to celebrate Easter.
For my sweetest heart & bestest friend of almost 18 years... Happy, Happy Birthday! xoxo