Saturday, April 30, 2011


Zip. Zero. Zilch. I got nothing.

I wasn't able to come up with a Z post (until now!).

This is my last post on the A-Z challenge. I have to say it's been fun. I really enjoyed this and can't wait to do it again next year. I have added many blogs to my favorites, and met a couple really cool people. 

I may sign up for another challenged (if you know of any point me in that direction) because this one really got me thinking. 

Later readers, it's been real! 

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I began getting migraines a few years ago. I just thought it was something I had to deal with. Until I hurt my back and went to the chiropractor for relief. After several sessions with the chiropractor I realized my headaches had gone away.

My problem is actually in my lower back. My hips have been uneven for as long as I can remember. I had an x-ray taken when I was in fourth grade and they showed my hips were uneven back then. What happens is when your lower back is out of whack your upper back (in my case neck area) will have to balance things out. In my case it causes me to have severe headaches and extreme pain in my neck.

About six weeks ago I started doing yoga. I could feel a difference in my body almost immediately. One of the poses (can't remember the name) is supposed to align your hips. It hurts so bad when I do it, but within a day or two I feel like a million bucks! (After the pain has worn off, of course!)

I didn't realize how well this was working until yesterday when I woke up with another migraine. My husband took one look at me and said "You haven't been doing your yoga, have you?". It's true, I've slacked off the past two weeks. I can feel it and I'm paying for it now.

For the recored, I don't do the chanting and stuff. That's not for me. But I do meditate and do the exercises and it really makes a different in my overall well being.

If you haven't tried it I highly suggest you do. Even if you get a video and try it in your living room.

**Funsize had the closest guess as to what the word from yesterday meant. It actually means a love for hotels and inns. **

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Xenodocheionology. Can you guess what it means? (NO Google allowed!)

I'll give you a hint: you use this when you go on vacation. 

Sometimes you do it just to "get away".

It can be as inexpensive as $30, or into the thousands of dollars. 

Here are a few more hints:

Comfort Suites Chicago Our new favorite place to stay in Chicago

Our favorite Bed and Breakfast. 

Waikoloa Beach Marriott on Hawaii's Big Island

Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago

Hotel w/ water park. 
OK. Now, what do you think it means? Any ideas?

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Am I the only one who's sick of hearing about the "Royal Wedding"? Somebody shoot me.

But all this talk about weddings has me reminiscing about my own wedding.

I got married when I was 21. My husband was 37.

And we already had a one-year-old son.

This did not go over well with our religious mothers. They wanted us to get married.

My husband is the most romantic person in the whole entire world. He really swept my off my feet. His proposal was like out of a great love story. It was a-maz-ing. It went something like this:

Picture me standing in the kitchen, I was feeding our toddler. My husband was standing in the living room, picking up a log to put in the fireplace. It was January. We were talking about getting our taxes done.

And then it happened.

He said, "You know, if we get married this year it would be a tax deduction."

I said, "Hmmm".

And that was it.

We were engaged.

Looking back I would never accept a proposal like that now. I think I deserve a little better than that. He didn't even get me a ring until two weeks before the wedding. What can I say, I was young, dumb, and in love. A recipe for stupid decisions. (For the record- I've put a lot of work into my husband since then and he's nothing like that today. It's taken awhile, but he's learned.)   :)

We were married that fall. I knew that I was only going to get married once in my life. I took those vows seriously. So I wanted a spectacular wedding. Looking back, I'm happy about our wedding. The ceremony took place in an 1800's chapel. All the woodwork and the pews were original. It was so very "us".

Our reception was at a golf course down the road from the chapel. I think of our wedding every time I drive by there. The food was fantastic. We had so much fun. We don't have as many pictures as I would like, but we have pictures. We forgot the video camera so we don't have any  video which really makes me sad.

I know that many people at our wedding didn't expect us to stay married. I know that they talked about our age difference, and they were probably taking bets on how fast we'd get a divorce.

Look at us now. This year we will celebrate our thirteenth wedding anniversary and we've been together for going on sixteen years.

Every one of my friends who got married around the same time we did is now divorced. Even the ones who everyone expected would make it.

You never know what's in a person's heart.

Marrying my husband was probably the best decision I've ever made.

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.


The best vacation I've ever had was last July when my husband and I spent 10 days in Hawaii.

I immediately felt at home, and I am actually miss it. I feel homesick. I can not wait to go back.

If I could move anywhere on earth, it would be to Hawaii. We plan on retiring there. (If we ever get jobs!) (Read previous post or that joke won't make sense.)

I love this picture so much I had it enlarged to 16X20 and framed.
It hangs above our bed.

Took this picture at dinner the last night we were there. 

I loved this flower so much that I got it tattooed on my foot. 
Three plumerias, one for my son and one for each grandson. :)

This is a volcano. We took a helicopter ride and flew over it. 

Loved it so much that when we remodeled our bathroom we did a palm tree theme.
That picture on the wall is one I took while we were on vacation.
My husband got me a puppy for our anniversary.
I named him Kona, after a city in Hawaii.

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I was laid off from my job in December. My husband was laid off the September before.

I hate talking about money. I think it's tacky and it makes me feel very uncomfortable. But here it is, I'm laying it out on the table.

My husband and I live well within our means. We pay cash for everything, even our cars.  Our mortgage is the only loan we have.

We are not going to starve- we both are able to collect unemployment benefits.

I am scared to death they are going to cut the unemployment extensions.

I literally don't know what we will do.

Neither of us have been able to find another job.

My husband should be returning to work in the summer (fingers crossed).

I work in a very specific field, and there are almost zero jobs in my field in this area.

I hate having to worry about money.

Now that we are in the situation we're in, I completely understand why they say money is one of the top causes of divorce. It's very stressful.

I heard that this recession is very close to, if not worse than, the great depression.

I don't want to even think of what would happen if we lose our unemployment benefits. We have no income and our savings has been used up.

The thought of not having any money saved makes me panic inside. It keeps me awake at night. I feel so much better when we have that cushion.

We life in a nice house, drive nice cars, and our son goes to a private school. You would never know this if you knew me.

I know we are not alone in this, there are many families like us in this country.

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.


Read carefully, there is going to be a test at the end. :)

I was a semi-crunch mom before I even know what "crunchy" meant. Fourteen years ago I didn't have internet, there were no birth clubs or baby boards or websites or any of the information available on the internet today. I just did what felt right for me. I had never heard the term Attachment Parenting, but looking back I realize I probably fit into that category.

I breastfed my son as long as I could, which wasn't long but it was all I could do.

I was worried about vaccines way before it was an issue; I just didn't feel right giving him a bunch of vaccines at the same time. So I worked out a schedule with my doctor that we both felt comfortable with. He is fully vaccinated (I think they are important) but he didn't get 3 or 4 vaccines at the same time.

We didn't co-sleep, but he slept in our room in a bassinet until he was too old for the bassinet. Then he moved into his own bedroom. Sleeping has never been an issue for him, and we were all happier for it. When he was about 9 months old I let him "cry it out" for two nights. (VERY un-cruchy!) It only took two nights and sleeping was never an issue after that. He knew how to put himself to sleep, I didn't rock him or feed him until he fell asleep.

I didn't "wear" him that much in a sling or wrap because the various wraps and slings we have today weren't really available back then (if they were I didn't know it). I had an old school carrier that I wore, and it worked for awhile when we needed it. But I by no means wore him around the house or anything like that.

I held him when he cried.

I let him play on the floor.

I used disposable diapers.

I don't home school, but he does go to a private school.

I had been teaching preschool before he was born, so I was very into positive discipline. I wasn't big on spanking, but it was used in extreme situations. Like when he was three years old and ran into the road you bet your ass I spanked his butt. (He never ran into the road again!) I always gave him choices (do you want the red shirt or the blue shirt) and told him what the consequence of his actions was going to be (if you throw that toy again I'm going to take it away).

I was pretty picky about what he ate. Fruits and vegetables were very important to me. If I did feed him commercial baby food, it was an organic line that featured simple recipes. (Apples and Chicken had apples, chicken and water. No ferrous sulfate or dried cheddar cheese in my kid's food- just didn't seem right to be feeding that to my baby.) Because I had to feed him formula I was picky about the type I gave  him. No soy. I never gave him the powdered stuff. When he was old enough for juice I always mixed it with Nursey Water.  I think I was the most crunchy when it came to what he ate. I really was picky.

What I find interesting is the effect the way I parented has on my son today. He's almost in high school now and I can see the results of being a crunchy mom.

He loves vegetables. He eats carrots and broccoli as a snack. He likes nuts and fruit. He's conscious about what he eats. I think the conscious part comes from my husband and I because we are conscious about what we buy, but there is no doubt the way he ate when he was younger effected his palate today. He likes cookies and cake, but if I have them in the house they are not the first thing he goes for. Nine times out of ten he'll eat a carrot before a cookie. I think it's because I've always given him the choice. Cookies weren't off limits, but they weren't a free-for-all either. By not banning sweets they weren't as intriguing as they would have been if they were banned from our home. Allowing him to have them took the mystery out of them. I always felt it was important to allow him access and show him the way to eat without over indulging. So far, he's doing well. He makes smart choices with food. The thing I find interesting is that he doesn't like food that is "mixed". No casseroles or stews or anything with multiple ingredients. I've always wondered if that's because I fed him simple foods and recipes when he was younger. Or it could just be what he likes, I'm not sure!

The other thing I find interesting is the way the positive discipline approach affected him growing up. When I was growing up if I would hit my brother my mom would make me apologize. Well, when my son was young there was a big movement not to force your child to apologize. The theory was that if you make them apologize when they weren't sorry it was like forcing them to lie. Instead, parents were supposed to correct the child for hitting, and not force the issue if they didn't want to apologize. My son never wanted to apologize and I didn't make him. Now he's 14 and I can't think of a single time I've heard him say "I'm sorry" without being prompted. He does not see the importance of an apology. I'm talked with him about it, but he just doesn't get it. My husband and I are quick to apologize when necessary, so I know it's not a lead-by-example issue. If I could go back, I would make him say I'm Sorry. Because sometimes you don't mean it, but it's the courteous thing to do.

How about you? Go take the How Crunchy Are You  test and let me know how crunchy you are.

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.

Friday, April 22, 2011


The documentary Invisible Children is forever imprinted on my soul. I don't say that lightly. It is something that literally haunts me. The image of hundred of children sleeping stacked up against each other, in public places, with the hopes of safety in numbers and they wouldn't be kidnapped... I can't forget it. The images of people whose lips, ears, noses and hands were cut off. Once you see it, it never leaves you.

In 2003, three friends traveled to Uganda to make a film about what was happening there. What they saw "disgusted and inspired" them. Children were being abducted and forced into the rebel army. Entire boarding schools were being kidnapped. Could you imagine?  Kidnapping an entire school? We can't even fathom it. It's beyond our comprehension.

These three friends discovered thousands of children known at the "night walkers". To avoid being kidnapped these children fled their villages and wandered in packs at night. When they slept, they huddled in large groups often in public places hoping they wouldn't be kidnapped in their sleep.

When the filmmakers came back home they created the documentary Invisible Children, because that is what these children were trying to be: invisible.

The film brought attention to what was happening to these kids. Most people would have patted themselves on the back and went on with their lives, but these three friends didn't stop there. They created a non-profit called Invisible Children and have done amazing things in Uganda.

Today the rebels are not in Uganda. There are no more "night walkers". However, the rebels have moved into  neighboring areas that are even more desolate.

This is the 25th year the war has been going on. The founders of Invisible Children believe the war is going to end this year. They are asking people to join the 25 Campaign. On April 25th they are asking people to be silent for the day. If a whole day isn't possible, for 25 minutes, or even 25 seconds. They are asking participants to raise $25 to donate to Invisible Children.

There is no way I can be silent for an entire day, but I think I can manage 25 minutes. At the very least I can pull of 25 seconds!

(Below is the full length documentary. The video is only available until April 29.)

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Is it just me, or do today's "celebrities" all have the same hairstyle?

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I grew up poor. Very poor. Way below the poverty level. My mom was a single mother with four young children. There were times we didn't have a phone or a car. I can remember times when there wasn't anything to eat in the house. Once I didn't have a coat. Almost all of my clothes were hand-me-downs.

The thing is, I didn't know I was poor. Whenever there was a food drive my mom always made sure I had a can of food to take to donate to the "needy". It never occurred to me that we were one of the needy families. My mom always made sure that we were clean and even if we didn't have the newest clothes, they were always clean and we were always presentable. Our home was always spotless. We may not have had the nicest things, but what we had was well taken care of.

I remember my mom working at a few different jobs. I remember her going to school. She was always trying to make our life better, and that is something I've always admired about her. She wasn't a stereotypical "welfare mom" sitting around doing nothing. She wanted us to have a better life. She even managed to buy her own home.

I went to a private elementary school. I had a great education. The education I received there gave me a great start in life. It was important and my mom knew that.

The other day my husband and I were talking about how we grew up. I told him that I think being poor made me appreciate what I have today. He said he grew up having hard times, too. "I remember my parents having to go to two banks to get a loan." he said. I laughed. "I remember not having food in the fridge. Your 'poor' isn't the same as my poor. You don't know what it's like to be truly poor."

I think it's a blessing that I do.

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge.