Photo Friday – Sums It Up

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On our recent vacation to Ireland each member of my family had a different perspective of what made the trip fun.  My husband and I enjoyed everything, especially driving the countryside and seeing the landscapes.  Little Boy enjoyed exploring, taking photographs, and recording videos with his camera.  The teenagers enjoyed…well, this video pretty much sums up the teen boys experience.

Video created by Little Boy.

 


Happy parents, adventurous little boy and two grumpy teenagers…the story of my life.

Happy Anniversary

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Today is the third anniversary of my blog.  I had no idea until I happened to check my email and WordPress congratulated me on the big event.  Interestingly, I am also celebrating my 20 year anniversary of marriage with my husband this month too.  Anniversaries are a good thing to celebrate because they show a commitment.

To celebrate my blog anniversary I am writing today’s blog.  To celebrate my 20 year wedding anniversary my family and I have just returned from a two-week trip to Ireland/England for our spring break vacation.  It was an amazing trip.  What seems more amazing is how I have been married for 20 years.  It seems yesterday when my husband and I took our vows as husband and wife.

We took our boys with us on our anniversary celebration overseas.  People asked why my husband and I brought the boys along if we were celebrating our life as a married couple.  The reasons we brought the boys are simple.  First, we wanted to visit both countries and didn’t have anyone to care for the boys if we went away. Second, the boys are part of our marriage.  They are a result of my husband and I being married, so it seemed appropriate to bring them along.  Third,  we wanted to give the boys the gift of travel.  Overseas travel is something my husband and I enjoy and we haven’t done so since we got married 20 years ago.  With college starting soon for Old Boy and then for Tall Boy soon after, now was the best time to show the boys that a world exists outside of the United States.  Our hope is to inspire the boys to make their own plans for travel when they are older.  This may have been our only overseas trip with all five of us, so we wanted to make sure if was a trip to remember.

Taking three kids on a two-week, two countries trip was no easy feat.  Planning took months.  Years ago when my husband and I traveled we did some pre-planning, but most of the fun was taking a drive and seeing where you ended up.  If we wanted to stay at a place longer we would.  This is wasn’t an option for us traveling with the boys.  We planned each place, with the boys in mind, to reduce the amount of stress it would place on us and them.  Our planning worked.  With minimal stress we were able to see and do all the things we wanted to do.  Every hour I spend researching details of our stay was worth it.

The anniversary trip to England/Ireland had an impact on me.  It made me realize how much my husband and I have in common.  We enjoy seeing and experiencing different cultures and learning new things.  We don’t often do much out of the ordinary in our home, daily lives and yet were more than willing to do and try everything while traveling.  Some folks have no interest in staying in endless lines at the airport for the sake of traveling, but my husband and I are.  I wish I could say our boys shared their parents’ enthusiasm for travel, but at times they longed for the comforts of the familiar more than the spirit of a great adventure.

My husband felt discouraged because our boys weren’t more expressive with gratitude about allowing them to join us on our anniversary trip.  I was less concerned.  My boys are nice guys, but aren’t mature enough yet to realize the sacrifices we made to take them on the trip.  I don’t expect them gush how wonderful their parents are because we gave them a gift.  We willingly chose to take them with us.  The boys didn’t ask to come.  I know ( or hope) they will understand the size of our gift to them some day.  The next overseas trip my husband and I will be alone though.  As much as we enjoyed having the boys with us, my husband and I realized we would enjoy the next trip much more without constantly catering other people’s needs.

To be honest, I’m not happy to be home.  I know I will be in a few days, but our vacation was good at taking away stress.  The moment I walked through my front door I could feel the weight of life responsibilities push down on me.  There are bills to pay, emails to read, laundry to wash, food to shop for, and thank you notes to write.  The joy of living for only in the moment has passed.  As much as I would like to continue in the mindset of my vacation I know the daily grind of life will not allow me to feel as free.

The anniversary vacation reminded me of how fortunate I am, especially for my marriage.  My marriage is the single greatest gift I’ve been given.  I hope my husband and I have many more celebrations in the future.

Happy anniversary to my husband of 20 years and happy anniversary to another year of blogging.

 

 

 

 

 

20 Questions

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I love fashion magazines.  My favorite fashion magazine is Marie Claire.  My oldest sister has subscribed me to the magazine for years.  Marie Claire is a high fashion magazine. It shares ideas for how to put together a fabulous outfit, as well as what the make up trends are, and usually features a high-profile celebrity on the cover.

One of my favorite sections of the magazine is in the very back.  On the last page there is always a section titled, 20 Questions.  It features an interview with a celebrity consisting of 20 questions.  The way the celebs answer the questions always cracks me up.  The answers are so prepared.  No one I know answers questions the way celebrities do.

Today I thought I would answer the March issues’ 20 Question section myself.  You could pick up a copy of the magazine and read Sarah Jessica Parker’s responses, but you already know everything about her.  My answers will be the real deal.  No pre-preparing ahead of time.

20 Questions

What brings you the greatest joy?

My husband.  I would have said my children, but they make me nuts sometimes. Besides my husband is the one who helped me create my kids.

What are your vices?

Wine and lipstick.  They go together.  You drink wine and the lipstick stays on the glass, so you have to reapply.

What is on your nightstand?

I don’t have one.  I have my husband’s dresser that is covered with books I never have time to read.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Eating out.  I love eating out. I would be happy to never eat a meal cooked by me again.

What should every woman try at least once in her life?

A Brazilian wax.  Just kidding.  No one should ever try that.  I think every woman should travel out of their country.

What makes me laugh?

My kids.  My boys are funny guys.  They make me laugh almost as much as they make me yell.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

If I could do a career do over I would be involved in the theater. I was a theater minor in college and loved it.

What is on your bucket list?

I have so many things on my list, but the top of the list would be travel to Chile and be a grandmother.

What is on your feet right now?

Boots and yellow socks.

How did you make your first dollar?

I sold Burpee seeds to neighbors as a kid.  I walked door to door selling seeds.  I did pretty well too.  I made three bucks.

What superstition to do you believe in?

If you throw away a good photo of someone you love, something bad will happen to them.

What items in your closet do you wear the most?

Jeans.  I have over 10 pairs of jeans.  I love denim in an unusual way.

What is the best gift you have ever received?

My boys.  I love them so, so much.  They have brought me more joy than any material item I have every owned.

What is on your liquor shelf?

Nothing.  I don’t have a liquor shelf.

What is on your kitchen counter?

Dirty dishes from breakfast.  I decided to write a blog instead of clean the kitchen today.

What would you never leave home without?

Lipstick or lip gloss.  I can’t function without color or moisture on my lips.

What movie has the greatest ending?

Shawshank Redemption.  This movie is one of my all time favorites.  The ending is perfect.

Who is on your guest list for dinner?

My siblings and their spouses, in-laws, my father and his wife, the boys godparents, former neighbors, parents of the boys’ friends from school, former roommate and his girlfriend, childhood friend and her family, my boys, and Bette Midler.   Bette would be the entertainment.

What is the one thing you wish you had known when you were younger?

Stop holding onto anger and move on.  I wasted too much time in my youth being upset with people.

I Believe In Beauty

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I believe in beauty.

I believe in shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, deep conditioner, mousse, hair spray, flat-iron, hair dryer, finishing spray, curling iron, hot rollers, hair clip, bobby pins, and rubber bands.

I believe in facial cleaner, toner, daytime skin cream, night-time skin cream, eye cream, blemish medicine, retinol serum, sunscreen, facials, facial scrub, skin mask, and eye makeup remover.

I believe in eyebrow power, eye lash curler, eye shadow, tweezers, eye liner, mascara, eye brow brush, foundation, concealer, blush, lip stick, lip gloss, lip balm, lip liner, false eyelashes, and bronzing powder.

I believe in body scrub, body lotion, self tanner, razors, body oil, body soap, loofah, sunscreen, perfume, nail polish, nail polish remover, manicure, pedicure, and cellulite cream.

I believe in healthy diet, drinking water, drinking green tea, daily exercise, healthy weight, weight training, pliates, yoga, running, walking, and meditation.

I believe in push up bra, sports bra, Spanx, granny panties, bikini underwear, tights, pantyhose, socks, sport socks, lace bra, and lace slip.

I believe in boots, high heels, flats, tennis shoes, scarf, jeans dress, t-shirt, clogs, blouse, belt, pant, jewelry, hat, coat, jacket, blazer, evening dress, sweater, yoga pants, running pants, shirts, vest, and skirts.

I believe all these things make me feel beautiful.

I believe using these things doesn’t make me fake.

I believe each woman has her own style.

I believe each woman creates a style to make them feel beautiful.

I believe real beauty comes from within.

I believe I am beautiful with out all these things.

I believe in beauty.

 

 

 

Awe

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When is the last time you felt awe for someone?  Have you ever felt it?  Do you know what it means?  Here is the definition if you aren’t quite sure.

Awe – an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration

I have a friend I am in awe of.  I have known her for over twenty years.  I met her years ago in London when I worked for the US Navy.  When I met her years ago she was a young girl, barely nineteen.  From the moment I met her I knew she was special.

I haven’t seen my friend for twenty years.  I moved away from London and she and I both went about our lives.  About five years ago we reconnected through Facebook.  We began chatting through Facebook messenger.  I read her posts about finding the love of her life and having her first baby.  She read about my adventures with my three boys and husband.  It was wonderful to pick up where our lives were and enjoy learning about what things had changed since we last saw each other.

About two years ago my friend was diagnosed with cancer.  The diagnosis was a surprise because it was noticed shortly after giving birth.  For the last couple years she has fought the bravest battle ever.  I am in awe of her battle.  Since she was diagnosed she has not given up.  Her focus has remained strong and her ability to stay positive is like nothing I have ever know.

The battle has been a long and difficult one.  Sadly, I’m not sure it will be one she will win.  I struggle to type the words that one day her fighting may end.  The thing I admire most is her ability to make other people feel positive, even in the most dire situation.  I don’t know how she does it.  It’s magical in a way.  Each time I chat with her she ends her conversation on a positive note.  Every time.  We both know what lies ahead, but she continues to let me know she is okay, even when I know she isn’t.

My family and I are planning a trip to visit her in a few weeks.  She lives far away.  When my husband asked how I wanted to celebrate my fiftieth birthday this year I told him, “I want to visit my friend.  I want her to meet my family and to meet hers.  But, most of all I want to hold her hand and tell her how much I admire her from years ago and most of all now.”

When I told my friend of our upcoming visit she was excited.  She told me she looks forward to seeing me and meeting the family.  Her voice forever positive, even though we don’t know what changes will happen in the next few weeks.

My friend takes each day as it comes and because of her so do I.   She lives each day to fullest and so do I.  She remains positive and so do I.  She has given me the gift of hope and for that I am forever in awe.

Five Questions I Wish People Would Stop Asking

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The older I get the more easily annoyed I become.  Few are things more annoying than people asking questions that are none of their business.  People don’t mean to be rude.  They usually are just curious or want to engage in conversation.  I hate to sound like the grumpy, middle-aged woman, but a there are a few questions I will no longer answer so don’t bother to ask.

Five questions to stop asking me

1.  Where are you from?

People ask me this because I have a speech impairment and they can’t quite figure out why.  They assume I am from some place exotic that they have never heard of, but the reality is I speak the way I hear.  I don’t hear all the sounds of the alphabet, so I don’t pronounce them all.  When you ask where they are from it distracts from the conversation.  If someone wants to share why they speak in a different dialect they will.  If they don’t, assume they don’t want to talk about it.

2.  Do you know sign language?

Another question referring to my hearing impairment.  I don’t know sign language and it’s silly to assume all people who wearing hearing aids know sign language.  I’m not a representative for the entire hard-of-hearing community because I wear hearing aids.  Not every person whose last name is Gomez knows Spanish.  We shouldn’t assume people know things by association.

3.  Are you planning to have another baby?

I am turning fifty this year.  50.  I don’t know anyone who is pregnant at fifty, do you?  This is such a silly question.  I suppose I should be flattered that people think I look young enough to have another baby at my old age, but I’m not flattered.  I have no plans to have another baby in my life unless it’s grandchild.  By the way, I don’t miss having a girl either (another annoying question).

4.  Will you adopt another pet?

The answer to this question is no.  My sweet dog passed away not long ago and I miss her.  But my husband and I made the decision before she died that we wouldn’t have any new pets in our life.  We have a snake and fish and when they die they won’t be replaced.  People love their pets and find the idea of not having them in their home difficult to grasp.  I have enough responsibilities.  I don’t want the responsibility of an animal.  I have friends and family who have chosen not to have children and my husband and I have chosen no more pets.  It’s not happening folks.

5.  Have you gone through menopause?

I was asked this question yesterday by someone I hardly knew.  I didn’t answer.  I supposed she assumed I was because I refused to talk about my hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings, and memory loss.  Really?  Is this an appropriate question to ask someone you don’t know?  Why would I share such a personal thing?  By the way, I am premenopausal if you must know.  Things are still happening, but not as often.  This conversation is officially over.

I’m sure you have questions that bother you when asked.  Things like, “Are you pregnant?”, “Have you considered plastic surgery?”, “Do you plan like being married?”, and “Does it bother you that you aren’t as thin as you used to be?”  Hopefully, when you are asked these awkward questions you handle them with grace because I no longer do.

As a middle age woman I see it as my right to no longer answer questions that make me uncomfortable.  Please keep this in mind when you meet me in person.  I will however always answer how old I am.  I’m proud of my age and will always answer the question the same way…

I am 49 years old, so don’t mess with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carry On

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A conversation between a wife and a husband.

Wife walks into kitchen.   Husband is sitting at kitchen table reading the newspaper.

“Why is the sugar bowl on the counter? – Wife

“I guess somebody used sugar this morning.” – Husband

“Well, somebody leaves the sugar bowl on the counter almost everyday. They also leave a dirty spoon and sprinkle sugar everywhere.” – Wife

“Yes, somebody does.  I don’t put sugar in my coffee and the boys don’t use sugar.” – Husband

“What do you mean?” – Wife

“I mean somebody uses sugar in her coffee every morning, leaves out the sugar bowl, leaves a dirty spoon, and sprinkles sugar everywhere.” – Husband

“Oh.  I see.  You don’t put sugar in your coffee?” – Wife

“No.” – Husband

“Okay.” – Wife

“That’s all you have to say?” – Husband

“Carry on folks.  Mystery solved.” – Wife

“And…” – Husband

“Sorry.” – Wife (Sigh)

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Seven Day Preparation for the New Year

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Yesterday I read something that inspired me.  It was a post from a friend on Facebook reminding people to prepare for the new upcoming year.

I don’t usually treat the new year with much fanfare, but this year I decided to try something different.  I created a way to prepare myself, so I can really get things off to a great start.

Seven Day Preparation for the New Year

Day 1:  Remove material excess.  Donate.

After celebrating Christmas the first thing I do is clear out unused items.  I don’t like how commercial Christmas has become and my way counteracting materialism is to get rid of stuff.

My husband and I used to hold an annual January garage sale, but found donating our unused items to be better.  I always tell my boys, “If you aren’t using something (clothes, books, toys, etc.) someone else will”. When unused items are out of the house we appreciate the our new gifts more and know we are helping someone is need.

Day 2:  Review Finances

I hate getting the finances in order.  However, once I do I feel more confident and ready for the new year.  For the first three months of the new year I will track what the family expenses are.  I will create a budget based on our spending and visions for the new year.

Day 3:  Revive Eating/Exercise Habits

I don’t do diets.  I never have.  However, I have gained weight and would like to lose it.  Reviewing my eating/exercise habits helps to remind me what I need to do.  I won’t do anything drastic.  I’ll just improve in areas that need some focus.

Day 4:  Review Professional Goals

My first year back to work has challenged me, but I have managed to get a lot accomplished.  The new year will be a good time to visualize new goals.  In order to make things happen, I’ll write and create a plan of action.

Day 5:  Reconnect with my Spirituality

I don’t attend church, but consider myself a spiritual person.  I have neglected my spiritual needs and realize I need to reconnect with my spiritual self.  I plan to continue my studies in Buddhism and reevaluate my Christian faith.  I am on a journey spiritually and realize I need to pay attention to it.

Day 6:  Reflect on Personal Relationships

Last year several personal relationships suffered.  Adjusting to work, after a long absence, proved difficult at times.  I haven’t had energy to devote to relationships outside of my immediate family.  Some personal relationships have not fared well to the change.  I need to look at each one and evaluate what I can to make improvements or let it go.

Day 7:  Remember the Blessings

The most important thing about starting a new year will be to remember the blessings from the previous one.  2013 has reminded me how quickly things can change and how each moment must be savored.  Things like family, friends, good health, financial security, and employment are all things to be grateful for.

I have already completed day 1 and working on day 2.  So far, so good.

Happy New Year preparation to you.

You Never Know

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Several years ago someone special arrived in my life.  I didn’t realize when I met them how special they would be.  I assumed they would be part of my life for a while and eventually they would leave without leaving much of an impact.  I was wrong.

The ‘someone’ I met years ago was my little dog, Daisy.  Daisy arrived unexpected at my front door ten years ago when I mentioned to a neighbor I “might’ be looking for another dog.  At the time my family and I had an older dog who suffered from anxiety.  We wanted a second dog to reduce my first dog’s stress.

We adopted our first dog because she was neglected by a neighbor.  Daisy arrived when a different neighbor heard we may want another dog.  Daisy’s previous owners were not able to care for her and she was in need of a new home.  The moment Daisy walked into our home she stayed.

Growing up my family and I never had dogs.  We did have several cats though.  As a child I wasn’t much of an animal person.  Occasionally, I would come across a dog or cat I liked, but for the most part I enjoyed children more.

As I grew older I still preferred children to animals.  Each time my family requested to have an animal live in my home I was reluctant.  There is so much work involved in the daily care of an animal.  Making sure they are healthy, happy, fed, clean, and entertained are just some of the responsibilities.  I have always had a job that requires a lot of responsibility.  Adding an animal made me feel like I would add more to my workload.

When Daisy arrived at my home she was a lot of work.  She was a sweet dog, but she was riddled with behavioral problems.  She used to bark at everything, jump on people when they visited, climb up chairs and tables to get to find food, eat ANTHING she found, ran out the front door when it was opened, and mooched endlessly when we ate our meals.

It was not love at first sight for Daisy and I.  Having never had a dog before I was clueless about how to re-train her from her horrible habits.  I was frustrated with her behaviors and embarrassed at how ill-behaved she was.  For several years I didn’t feel a connection to her because her behaviors were so annoying.  For a long while I wondered if I made a mistake in taking her into our home.

However, after a few years Daisy began to settle down and I became better and dealing with her issues.  It wasn’t easy, but soon I began to feel closer to her and would refer to her as ‘my dog’ opposed to what I usually did which was to refer to her as the ‘family’s’ dog.

As Daisy grew older she and I settled into a better relationship.  I was the one who filled her water bowl each morning and made sure she went to the bathroom.  I would take her to the doctor when she was ill.  I made sure she was eating healthy foods and taken on a daily walk.  I began to care for Daisy like she was one of my children.  I wasn’t always as patient as some of my family was with her, but I improved.

Last Sunday Daisy passed away.   She lived in our home for ten years.  We were treating her for what we thought was bronchitis, but now realize she may have had tumors in her lungs.  The night before her passing I hosted a holiday party at my home and Daisy seemed fine.  However, by the next morning she was gone.

I woke up Sunday morning and noticed right away she was not there to greet me.  Often she would stay asleep until I woke up.  I walked to the living room and noticed she was in her bed.  She didn’t move when I greeted her.  I leaned closer to her and saw she wasn’t breathing.  I quickly called to my husband to come and look at Daisy.  He put his hand on her and confirmed what I knew had happened…she was gone.

I immediately began to sob.  They were deep painful sobs.  They seemed to come from out of nowhere.  My heart began to ache.  I stared at Daisy in disbelief that she could really be gone.  I began to wonder, “Was she is pain last night?, Could I have prevented this from happening?, Did I tell her I loved her yesterday?, How would I function without her?”.

My husband and I woke the boys to tell them the news.  They were all devastated.  The entire family sat on the floor crying telling Daisy goodbye and how much we loved her.  I was crying the hardest.

When Daisy arrived in my life years ago, I had no idea how deeply she would affect me.  I was not a dog lover.  However, over the course of ten years something changed.  I changed.  I learned to love an animal with my whole heart.  I learned deep love is not reserved just between humans.  I learned I how to be Daisy’s mother.

One week later I am still sad at Daisy’s passing.  I sweep the floor and see a few stray hairs and think of her.   No one greets me in the morning when I wake.  I stare at the space where her bed once lay.  All throughout my home are things that remind me of her.  I miss her.

You never know what things will impact you in life.   For me having a little dog has changed me…hopefully for the better.  I have Daisy to thank for that.

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Between

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A conversation between a husband and a wife.

“Sweetie, do you ever feel like something is between us?” – Wife

Yeah, sometimes.  But luckily it’s something small and I don’t feel it all the time.  Usually only at night.” – Husband

“Should we be worried?  I mean, what if this “something” never leaves?  Won’t it affect our relationship?” – Wife

“There’s no reason to worry.  It won’t be this way forever.  As a matter of fact someday we may actually miss it.” – Husband

“It hurts sometimes and keeps me up at night.  I miss being closer to you.” – Wife

“I miss you too.  The situation is only temporary.  Only a little while longer.” – Husband

“I suppose you’re right.  I won’t worry anymore.” – Wife

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