Monday, April 25, 2011

Reflecting on the Last Week

A lot of stuff has been going on and today, on my day off, I am trying to take a few moments to reflect on all the great moments.

Our baby girl looked so grown-up and delicate at her dance recital.  She was so poised and beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.  I hope she continues to love dance, because it is such a joy to watch her perform.

Our baby boy turned 11 this last week.  I always tell him that he is special because he made me a mom!  We enjoyed celebrating with him, with his friends and with our family over the past week!  He is such a smart and talented kid.  We are so blessed to have such great kids!  Happy 11th Birthday, Patrick!

Even though he is 11, he wanted the # 12 on his jersey because that's his number!
We celebrated Easter by having our annual Easter egg and basket hunt and going out to eat with Pat's family.  It was excellent food and I didn't have to cook or clean up any of it!

I was finally able to have a Diet Mountain Dew after 46 days away from it due to Lent.  It wasn't as good as I thought it was going to taste, which proves to me that I don't need to have it every day.  Today I am treating myself to a Diet A & W which actually tastes really good!  I was really proud of myself for giving up pop and sticking with something.  There were some definite moments where I wanted to give in, but pushed through.  I have to confess though, that at school as student gave me a root beer float and I drank it without even thinking about it being pop until afterwards.  So, I can't technically say I didn't have ANY pop during the 46 days, but for me it was really about giving up the Diet Mountain Dew.  That root beer float was a total accident! I think God will forgive me on that one!

This week begins with a band concert for Patrick tonight and concluding with an elementary music program for our daughter Reagan, soccer for all 3 kids, piano recitals for Patrick and Bennett, flag football for Bennett and hosting a garage sale!  It will be a busy week ahead and can't believe the month of May will begin on Sunday.  I guess it is always better to be busy with activities rather than sitting at home watching TV!  May your week ahead be full of activities and blessings to reflect on. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What I Am Doing and Not Doing

Where have I been lately?  What have I been up to?  Let me start with what I haven't been doing.....
I'm not
- blogging much
- sleeping as much as I'm used to
-still NOT drinking pop
-not keeping up with the laundry
-not keeping up with the housework
-not cooking as much
-not baking as much
-not reading as much
-not facebooking/twittering as much
-not getting on the treadmill - at all :(

What I have been doing is working.  I'm in my 4th of 8 weeks of a long-term substitute teaching job.  So, not being home during the day has forced me to let some other things go.  My evenings are spent checking the homework, feeding the family, and running children to various practices.  By 9:00, the kids are in bed and I am exhausted and ready for bed myself.  I really don't know how working moms get everything done!?!?  It is tough for me to continue to do the things I LOVE to do, yet keep up with the things I HAVE to do.  So, as a result, some of my things have had to take a back burner for a few weeks.

I'm still keeping up with my NO POP rule for Lent.  The hubby and I are continually noticing at times when we would really like one (for me....every afternoon at school), but we are getting through it and it has definitely been a tough sacrifice for me. Only 9 more days to go until I can open a Diet Mountain Dew!

Next week we will have a birthday in the house.....our oldest, Patrick turns 11!  We will celebrate with him on Monday, with his friends on Thursday, and our family on Saturday!  Phew!  Still not sure how I will fit that all in!  Does the house have to be clean??????  I'm taking the easy route and having the food made and the cake baked.  I just have to let some stuff go. 

So, until I have a moment to check in with all of you.....know that I am still here....plugging away at the important stuff.  Soon, I will get back to the fun stuff!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Heart Stopping - Heart Breaking

Last Saturday night, I looked out our back patio doors and saw a beautiful sunset.  I decided to take a photo with my iTouch because I wanted to see how my new Instagram app worked.  So, I took a photo and then applied one of the edits to the photo and this is what I got.....

I don't know about you, but that sure looks like a heart to me.  When I saw it, it took my breath away. 

On Sunday, I got some heart-breaking news.  A dear friend to me, her name is Mary, had a brain aneurysm and was going to be taken off life support that afternoon.  I just couldn't believe it.  She was one of the most happy, vibrant, and healthy people I knew.  Mary was only 44 years old!  She was my hair dresser, but also a friend.  I only saw her every 8 weeks or so, but when I did, we caught right up where we left off.  She always caught me up on what was going on with her 2 children (busy teenagers), her love life, and her family.  She always wanted to know what was new with our kids and how my parents were doing (she had never even met my parents).  She was considerate, kind, and thoughtful.  Everytime we brought our kids in for haircuts, she always had thin mints or Snackwell cookies for them to eat.  She was just a lovely person...inside and out.  Her loss will affect her large family of 7 brothers and sisters as well as her children.  I will miss her terribly.  Even I am struggling to comprehend God's plan in all this.  Mary was able to continue to give of herself, by donating her organs.  Someday I am hoping to hear the stories of precious loved ones who were saved by her donation.

As I was leaving her Wake on Wednesday night, I remembered this photo that I took on Saturday and thought, if Mary had something to do with that, I wouldn't be surprised.  She would want everyone to know that she was OK.  Whenever I look at this photo now, I will think of Mary and say a prayer for those of us who loved her and whose lives will be forever changed. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

EXPOSURE: A NOVEL by Therese Fowler

Therese Fowler
Pub Date: May 3, 2011

Amelia Wilkes’s strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn’t stop the talented, winsome high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony Winter. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia’s parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult. Anthony’s mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows—and keeps—their secret. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia’s father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested.

Despite Amelia’s frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against “sexting,” the investigation soon takes an even more disturbing and destructive turn.

As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear their names and end the madness once and for all.

I was so lucky to receive an ARC of EXPOSURE.  This was my first novel by Fowler but it definitely won't be my last.  The story had me wanting to turn the pages all the way to the end.  I like to call this a Romeo and Juliet story for the digital age.  It has all the qualities: parents who disapprove, rich girl, poor boy, star-crossed lovers, and drastic measures taken to be together.  Throw in some "sexting" and naked photos and you have the story updated for the current generation.  Every parent of a teenager needs to read this story!  Mature teens will learn many lessons from it as well. I applaud Fowler for writing this story and putting this issue into the spotlight. 

I gave it 5 out of  5 stars.  Everyone who was in love as a teenager or has a teenager in love will find ways to identify and learn from this story.  Bookclubs will find many discussion topics and this would be a great way to discuss "sexting" with your teenager.  This novel will be available from all your regular booksellers beginning May 3, 2011. 

Thanks to Librarything for sending me an ARC of this novel.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.