Our 2nd Wedding, Courtesy of Jeromy


Yes, finally, I'm posting a new blog entry! About time, right? It's been so crazy busy in my part of the world, with so many changes to get through, and blogging had to be put on the back burner for a while. But last night, my little Jeromy did something so incredibly sweet and thoughtful, that I couldn't not share with everyone:

First though, a little background: hubby and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. Yay us! We've been married for seven wonderful years, and it just keeps getting better. Seven years ago we went to City Hall in Baltimore and got hitched, just the two us. We didn't have a full-blown wedding, we decided to keep thins very simple. Although my wedding day has always been one of the happiest days of my life, I do have some girly-girl in me, and I've always dreamed of having an actual wedding. The kind where I get to wear the pretty white dress. Jeromy, my lovely ten-year-old boy, has known about how mommy and daddy got married, and he knows that I would someday like to have a wedding, one he gets to be part of.

Imagine my surprise when last night, right before hubby and I were about to go out to have dinner, I was summoned to the basement in our home. As I descend the steps, I hear the wedding march being played on an electric guitar. I reach the bottom of the steps, and am floored by what I see: pink and blue and white streamers, flameless tea-light candles, and Jeromy in his best dress shirt and tie, strumming the wedding march on his electric guitar, and my husband, waiting for me at the 'altar'. He finished playing his song, stood up on the step-stool, and, well, he married us! He had this whole speech written out, and it was just the sweetest thing anyone has every done for us! It went something like this:
"We are gathered here today to celebrate the remarriage of this couple, or in my words, mommy and daddy. Now before we get started, I'd just like to say a few words. Now ever since you two met, face to face, it was love at first sight. There have been good times and bad times. With the love you two share, it will ensure that through the years to come there will be many more good times and very few bad times

So after seven years of marriage, do you mommy still take daddy as your husband? *I of course said yes as I tried to keep from bawling my eyes out!* And do you daddy still mommy as your wife? *And of course he said yes!*

So with the power vested in me by this family, I still pronounce you husband and wife. Now I wish you a happily ever after. You may kiss the bride!"

And yes, hubby and I kissed. And yes, I cried, because I couldn't believe the lengths my little baby boy went to do something so incredibly sweet and loving. Too often as parents it can be so easy to get caught up in the growing pains our kids experience. But every once in a while, such as in cases like this, our kids can make us forget all our problems and all the nonsense in our world, and they show us the meaning of pure love, and remind us of what's really important.

I have to admit that after having been 'married' by our son, hubby and I don't know if we ever really need to have a wedding like we've planned on. Because truth is, nothing can top what our little boy did for us.

70th Birthday...

Finally, my "off-week" is here (technically it started yesterday), and I get a break from work and the sleep-deprivation that comes with it! I'm hoping this will allow me some time to get some crafting and blogging done (who cares about cookin' and cleanin' right?).

My awesome dad, whom I featured in a POST a few months ago, is having a milestone birthday this year. As of this Friday, he will be 70 years young. Funny thing is, he really does look and act younger than that age! He's incredibly active, and having retired twice already, he just can't seem to sit still; if he's not working, he's not happy. I've been wanting to get back into card-making for a while, and what better way to start of my crafting year (which is really the same as the calendar year, I just think calling it my crafting year has a nice ring to it) by featuring the hand-made card I put together for my super-awesome Dad. Here it is:


At first I didn't think the dark red would work with the blue and gray tones of the paper and cardstock, but looking at the finished product, I really like how the red pops. I've never been a big "stamper", and I'm just starting to dabble in that particular technique. On this card, I used two different clear vinyl stamps to add the HAPPY BIRTHDAY sentiment, and the CELEBRATE star. I practiced a couple of times at first, and I actually didn't like the results of my first tries. But then I read this tip somewhere:

When using clear vinyl stamps, it helps if you place the paper/cardstock on a crafting mat.


I'm not exactly sure of the science and physics behind it, but it worked. I think I did a pretty ok job, and I think with practice, I'll get the hang of applying just the right amount of even pressure to assure my stamped image is clear enough without looking too "heavy". Overall, I was pleased with my results here. Yea, I think my dad will like it...

Stay tuned! I have quite a few family and friends with winter and spring birthdays, so I'll have lots of cards to whip up. Hopefully I'll get to share more paper-crafting techniques along the way. And of course, if YOU have any you wanna share with me, I totally welcome it! Until next time...

✽ HAPPY CRAFTING!

Playing Catch-Up


OH YES WE DO!

I can't believe that my last blog post is dated August of 2010! Yikes! I guess that's what happens when life gets a hold of you. To say that my family and I have undergone some transitions would be an understatement! I won't bore everyone with all the details; suffice it to say that my becoming a working mom, along with continuing to be a homeschooling mommy, has definitely affected the dynamics in our household. With hubby still laid off, my finding a job that I can work from home was truly a blessing, but there was a definitely an adjustment period. It got a bit rough at times, but it was never anything we couldn't handle.

With all of this going on, blogging had to placed on the back burner for a while. Now that our little family have settled into the new groove, the madness of the winter holidays behind us, and as I become better at multi-tasking and time-management, I'm determined to get back into my blogging. I still have so much to share with everyone! I did some brainstorming, and these are just a few topics I think I'll blog about:
✽ Foodie Finds
✽ Homeschooling Adventures
✽ Mommy Adventures
✽ Scrapbooking
✽ Photography
✽ Other crafting
✽ ...and whatever else life brings my way!
So here's to successful blogging...for me and for all you other fabulous bloggers out there! Stay tuned, I'll be back soon!

A Light In The Dark!


It's been said over and over again: God works in mysterious ways.

That has proven to be true yet again! For those of you who have been following my blog, you may have noticed that from time to time I will sort of disappear from the blogosphere. Sometimes it's because life just catches up with me and there's just no time to post. Or, sometimes it's because I just can't come up with anything thought-provoking or clever to post about... I believe we call that BLOGGER'S BLOCK, right?

And there are the moments when I sort of UNPLUG myself for awhile because there are not-so-great changes in my life going on, and the only way I know to cope is to isolate myself and sort of hole up in my own little world. Those are the times when I feel like the walls are just closing in on me, and all I want to do is curl in the fetal position and hide from the big bad world. Ironically, these times when I feel so down and alone are the times when I pray the hardest and call on God to help me out. And true to His form, He answers! Let me explain a little...

About two months ago hubby dropped some alarming news: there was a 99% chance that he would have to take a voluntary layoff at work due to cutbacks. Though he would still be bringing in some income, it would mean a serious paycut. We both agreed that this meant that I would have to find a part-time job. Originally, we thought that a part-time job that I could later give up when he goes back to work would be ideal. But, there was the problem of finding a job where I could work in the afternoons or evenings so that I could still homeschool our son during the day. Well, I'm sure most of you won't be surprised when I tell you that job availability is SLIM PICKINS out there! As time went on, I got more and more nervous, so much that I was literally giving myself stomach aches. It got to a point where I was convinced that I would have no choice but to get a job during the day, which would mean having to put my boy into regular public school. It was just so much change all at once!

And then, A LIGHT IN THE DARK!

It started with me responding to a job listing posted on Craigslist, and has now culminated in me landing a job that is PERFECT for me and my family. I will be working with a nurse staffing agency as an On-Call Coordinator. And guess what? It's an evening job! And even better...I GET TO WORK FROM HOME!! How AWESOME is that?!

So needless to say, I'm ecstatic, and for the first time in two months, I'm breathing normally. Not only will my family and I make it through this financially challenging time, but this is actually a job that I can keep even after hubby goes back to his full time job. I get to keep homeschooling our son, which is so very important to us. Life is good!

What lesson did I learn? That despite how scary and uncertain life gets, God always provides a way for me and my family. Thins happen for a reason. Were it not for my hubby having to be temporarily layed off, I wouldn't have gone job hunting, and I wouldn't have found this great job opportunity. Funny how life works out like that, right? I start training for my new job this coming Monday, and rest assured I will be sharing this experience with all of you. It's been more than five years since I've been employed, so re-entering the workforce will definitely be interesting!

It's official, he's a ROCKSTAR!

I can't think of a better topic to blog about for my "blogging comeback" than my son's rock-and-roll debut...

Yup, it's official! My boy Jeromy is DEFINITELY a ROCKSTAR! Last week he was invited by his uber-cool guitar teacher, Mr. Rogel, to play guitar with his band at a gig. Jer was soooo excited and honored to be invited, as this was the first time he was going to be able to play with a band, AND it would be his debut LIVE performance. As nervous as he was, he just kept working hard and practicing. He had to learn two songs: "Knocking on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan, and "Blue on Black" by Kenny Wayne Shepard. He had less than a week to learn his part for both songs, including a solo for "Knocking on Heaven's Door", we are all a bit nervous about whether he would be ready. There were times during his rehearsals and practice when he struggled, but he kept going. And the night of the gig, my baby boy ROCKED!! These are pics from that night, an awesome Sunday night when Jeromy shined:

Unknown Mami












Where does the time go?! It seems like I blinked, and all of a sudden my little baby boy has turned into a Rock-N-Rollin' young man. Needless to say, hubby and I were so very proud of him. Our nine-year-old Jeromy playing at a real gig, with professional adult musicians and a fellow guitar student (named Joe, who was in high school), just rockin' away on his guitar. That was definitely one of the proudest moments of my life. But even more importantly, it really choked me up to see how happy he was to be up there, doing something that he absolutely loved. Jeromy did an amazing job, and we can't wait for the next time he gets to perform.

We're so proud of you Jeromy!!

Father's Day: Interview with Jeromy

I wanted to do something different for today's post. With it being Father's Day, I wanted to come up with a way to pay tribute to my oh-so-awesome hubby, Fred, and at the same time make our son, Jer, a big part of it. Then I thought, why not do my very first interview, and have Jer be my guest? Pretty cool idea, right? So here it is, an interview with my nine-year-old son, showcasing how cool and awesome his Daddy is:

Ok Jer, are you nervous at all about being interviewed for my blog?
Um, no, not really...maybe a little, 'cause I'm not sure if people reading it will like me.

Oh, don't worry about that sweetie, those who read my blog already like you. So I guess my first question is this: looking back, what is your very first fun memory of your Daddy?
Probably when we were at the Baltimore Zoo. The cool memory I have at the zoo is the two of us going in the turtle shell, sitting on the lion statue, and feeding the birds in the giant birdcage. I was like, three or four.

Cool! Ok...now, how do you think your relationship is with Daddy?
I think my relationship with Daddy is special because we've really bonded.

Great! Now how strong do you think that bond is?
Oh, like, bigger than the universe! It's really strong.

That's really awesome. If you could pick one thing that is your most absolute favorite thing about Daddy, what would that be?
That he's a total goof-ball! And that he loves me very much.


Ha ha! Yea, he's pretty goofy. What is your favorite thing or things to do with Daddy?
Um, swim in the pool, we go out to play pool, whenever we have our own father-son time.


What are some things you guys do during father-son time?
Well we eat man-food, and we watch WWE wrestling together, and sometimes we play PlayStation or Wii. Oh, and sometimes we [NERF] sword-fight.

What are some cool things that Daddy has taught you to do?
He's taught me how to play pool...ummm, he's helped me learn how to use tools, and he's taught me how to ride a bike. He showed me how to throw a football, and how to hit a baseball.

Right. And you and Daddy do martial arts together. What do you think about how the two of you do that together?
Um, I think it adds to our bond. Because every time we go [to class], we train together, we work together, work side by side basically. He's a good teacher, and he's calm...most of the time!

In martial arts, what's your favorite thing to do with Daddy?
Um, the grappling...yea, definitely the grappling.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how special would say your Daddy is, with 10 being the highest most uber-special?
Oh, a number way bigger than like, a million! That number is so big, it doesn't even exist.

Wow! That's pretty big. Now, in all of your nine-and-a-half years, what has been the coolest and most awesome gift that Daddy has ever given you?
Definitely the KISS concert...yea, definitely when he took us to the KISS concert. Nothing can top that.

When you get older, do you hope to be like Daddy?
Oh yea.

In what way would you like to be like Daddy?
Um, be a hard-worker, be a good family-man, teach my kids things.

So I assume that you think Daddy is a pretty awesome dad?
Oh yea, he's the best dad in the world.

What are some things about Daddy that makes him such a great dad?
Um, we do a lot of things together. Even when has to work a lot, he always makes time for me. And he's just the best dad in the world. I couldn't ask for a better one. We laugh together, we have fun together...NOTHING can break our bond.

What's one thing that you haven't learned to do yet, that you want Daddy to teach you one day?
Drive a motorcycle!

Ok...now give me three words that best describe Daddy?
Um, ok...I actually have four: funny, loving, caring, and easy-going.

Alrighty then. Ok, so to wrap it up, tell me what Father's Day message you would like to give to Daddy today...
Um, I would say this: Daddy, I love you, I care about you, and you're the best daddy in the world. I couldn't ask for a better dad than you.


❤❤❤

And there you have it folks, my very first feature interview on my blog! Thanks for reading, and I bid all the Dad's out there a very Happy Father's Day!

Number 30: Relationships

5,000 questions copy

Number 30: What are the key ingredients to having a good relationship?

I was perusing the list of questions on the 5,000 Question Survey, and for some reason this one jumped out at me. But before I continue, let me make it very clear that I am in NO WAY shape or form a relationship expert. My answer to this question is based on my own personal past experiences; I don't claim to have perfect relationships. In fact the exact opposite is true: much of what I've learned about relationships is based on having experienced the good, survived the bad, and endured even in the midst of the plain ol' ugly.

So as I was thinking about the different types of relationships out there, such as marriages, boyfriends and girlfriends, parent-child and other familial bonds, and close friendships, and what I have learned, I came up with a list of five key ingredients that I feel have been essential for me when it comes to maintaining healthy and productive relationships. So here they are, in no particular order:
HONESTY... "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters," by Albert Einstein. Yea, there's a reason the man is known as a genius, besides the whole theory of relativity thing. To me, honesty is vital, and I don't just mean being honest with the other person, but being honest with yourself. I really believe that without a basic yet strong foundation of honest-to-goodness trust, then there's nothing to build on. Can the truth hurt sometimes? Absolutely! But you know what? I'm the kind of girl that if I put on a butt-ugly outfit, I'd actually be mad at you if you let me go out in public looking butt-ugly, instead of telling me, "girl, I love you, but that outfit is SO not working for you! Now please go change!" Believe me, I'd rather know the truth straight from the get go, and I think most of us would too. Even with my son, I try my darndest to give him truthful answers, no matter how difficult the question and/or subject might be, and of course I explain things to him in a way that he will understand at his level. [Seriously, just wait until I post about the time my 9-year-old son asked me what a stripper pole was! Try explaining that one without blushing and cringing!]
COMMUNICATION... “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place," by George Bernard Shaw. Simply put: say what you have to say, openly and honestly. Don't assume that the other person should just KNOW, because guess what? He or she is not a mind reader! Seriously, unless the person is a true psychic, they don't always know what's going on in your head. Say it, write it down on paper, text it, Facebook message it, record it as an mp3 file and add it to their favorite iPod playlist, or even video tape your statement with you cell phone camera...whatever it takes to get your point across, just do it! Because at the exact moment that communication ceases, the bonds holding your relationship together slowly start to fray and weaken. Sharing is caring, right? So share your feelings, your thoughts, what's bothering you, etc. And if you don't, you can't blame the other person for not "just knowing", that wouldn't be fair.

LOVE... “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in," by Morrie Schwartz. I mean really, need I say more? We have relationships because we have love to give, and we want to be loved in return. It's all love baby! Give love, be open to love...BE LOVE! (yea, borrowed that last one from Jason Mraz)


FAITH... "Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof," by Khalil Gibran. And when I say faith, I'm not just talking about faith in God, although as a Christian, I believe my faith in God not only helps me sustain good relationships, but is very essential in my life in many ways. When I say faith, I mean have faith in yourself, in those you love, and have faith in something that is bigger than the both of you. Have faith that your bond with each other is strong enough to withstand the ups and downs. Have faith in yourselves that you are worthy of one another, and that the value of your relationship is worth the risk of possible disappointment(s). Because we in fact are NOT perfect people, and yes we all make mistakes that can drive the people around us absolutely bananas. These mistakes can really rock a relationship at its very core. But if you both can maintain your faith in each other and truly believe in why you are married or together or friends or family in the first place, then you can make through to the other side. Don't always assume the worst in people, it makes for a stressful time.


HUMOR... You gotta laugh! Life is just too darn short to not laugh. I actually had to learn this one from my husband. My Freddie laughs at just about everything, which of course I know is just how he deals with it. He laughs even at times when it gets him in trouble, like when I'm irritated with him or when we're in the middle of an argument. Oh yea, imagine how infuriating it is when I say to him, "don't you dare laugh!", at which point he proceeds to burst out in the most annoying guffaw! But you know what folks? That humor is one of the many things I totally love about my man. My hunka-hunka burnin' love has taught me the value of always finding a way to laugh, even when it seems like life couldn't get any worse. That humor has saved me from ending up in the loony bin, I can't even tell you how many times!

So there's my take on the key ingredients of a good relationship. Now for any of you who are rolling your eyes because you think I'm over simplifying the dynamics of human relationships, I'm really not! Obviously there are a great many facets to any relationship, and I freely admit that there's a very real possibility that I'm totally full of crap. And like I said, I DO NOT have perfect relationships, and I don't know how to have a perfect relationship, or that even such a thing exists! I mean really, if I knew the exact scientific formula to a successful relationship, first of all I'd be richer than Oprah and Dr. Phil combined, I wouldn't have had the mind-numbingly large number of bad breakups in the past [can you say restraining order? TWICE!], I wouldn't have literally cut an ex-friend of mine completely out of my life less than a year ago, and I wouldn't have a sister than I'm estranged with. So again, clearly, I am no expert! All I know is, when I look at my wonderful marriage, my current close friendships, and the incredible bond I have with my parents and [most] of my siblings, the five things I listed above are all the common factors that blend together to create fairly harmonious connections. Do things sometimes go off the rails? Of course they do! But again, for me, I keep coming back to the basics. And when I do, you know what? Life goes on, and life is great!

And of course, I'm dying to know: what do you think of my list? Am I spot on? Am I full of it? What would you add to this list?

*photos courtesy of this SITE

LOOKING FLY!


One of my favorite things about blogging is getting all the wonderfully kind comments from my fellow bloggers. It's so encouraging to have people give you encouragement and positive critique. So to all of you who have left such lovely comments, a huge THANK YOU to you! You all give me a reason to continue my blogging adventures!

If you've been following my blog, you may have noticed that I recently gave it a makeover. I went from a 3-column format to a 2-column format, which I think made my blog look a little less busy and cluttered...simple is always better right? I also chose a different background and banner to fit the spring/summer season. Plus, I just LOVE the color scheme. One of my uber-favorite bloggers, Lemonade Makin' Mama, left me the sweetest comment about my blog's new look:

"Okay your blog is looking FLY! I'm loving all the pretty colors and fun!"


Maybe it's just me, but I find it so cool to have my blog, which is basically an extension of myself, referred to as FLY. It's such a retro way of saying YOU'RE FABULOUS! So thanks to you Lemonade Makin' Mama, for making my day FLY as can be!


Now I have to give credit where credit is due. I owe a big THANKS A MILLION to Megan over at SHABBY BLOGS, who loves us bloggers so much that she creates amazing backgrounds, buttons, banners, and other FLY blog stuff, and she lets us use them for FREE! I don't know about you, but FREE is my favorite F-word ever (well, after the word FUDGE that is). It's really thanks to her creative genius that I was able to achieve such a FLY look on my blog. So if you're looking for a way to vamp up your blog, go check out all the free stuff she has made available. It's really priceless what she has to offer. Just click the button above and it'll take you to free blog design heaven!

I'd love for you to share with me:
Have you ever received a blog post comment that totally made your day?

*rainbow photo courtesy of this SITE

An unexpected guest...

Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from one of my oldest friends, Audrey. She and I went to high school together in Alaska, were in the same graduating class, and we were the best of friends, and in many ways still are. Although she still lives in Alaska and I'm in Maryland, we still manage to stay close. We haven't seen each other in almost ten years, so imagine my surprise and excitement when she calls to tell me that she is on the East Coast for her sister's wedding in Virginia, and the she and her family will driving up to Baltimore this Wednesday, and would I like to get together.

Are you kidding me? Would I like to get together with a very dear friend that I haven't seen in almost ten years? Um, YEA!!

So the plan is they will be driving up from Virginia early Wednesday morning, and we're all going to spend the day together, probably the evening too, before they have to fly back to Alaska on Thursday morning. One of the things we've planned is a trip to the Baltimore Aquarium, which the kiddies will love. I'm so very excited follks!!

Because my mama ingrained in my head long ago that your house has to immaculately clean before you have guests over, I've been scrambling around like crazy trying to make the house spotless. Not that my house is a total dump, it's actually in good shape considering how much I hate to clean. But when I know I'm having company over, I tend to go a little nuts and neurotic (yea, like this is the only time I'm neurotic!), so I've spent the better part of today on a cleaning frenzy.
And is it weird that I'm nervous?? I have no idea what I have to be nervous about, considering this is a gal who I have so much history with, someone who has seen me make some incredibly stupid decisions and make a complete butt of myself, and she remained a true and loyal friend throughout. She was the kind of friend that brought me ice cream at work when a boy broke my heart, and who would listen to hours of whining when another boy broke my heart. She is the most non-judgmental person I know, so heaven only knows why I'm nervous about seeing her. Could it be because she will be meeting my hubby and my son for the first time? Or because the last time she saw me I was about 115 pounds, and now I'm...well, not THAT weight anymore. I've never been to a highschool reunion, but I imagine this is what it feels like before you go, where you get all jittery and anxious because you're not sure if the people who knew you back in the day will think you're a total loser. Yea, I know, its ridiculous to think like that. I'm sitting typing this post, and I can really see how absurd I sound. But then again, another way to spin it is that I wouldn't be nervous if she wasn't important to me.

Now that I've take a long enough break to get this post up, I'm gonna go back to inhaling bleach fumes my cleaning. Here's hoping I can channel my nervous energy into the cleaning process!

Tell me, do YOU ever get nervous when you're about to meet an old friend you haven't seen in a while?

*photos courtesy of this SITE

What's one more anyway?


Back in November of last year I posted about how while some husbands bring home flowers, mine brought home furry four-legged felines (say that super-fast five times!). Well, here's the thing: HE DID IT AGAIN!

My husband is a steelworker, and the mill where he works is this sprawling area near the water. There are always at least a dozen feral cats around there, wandering about. Why doesn't someone just call animal control you ask? Yea, I don't know the answer to that one either, so we'll leave that for another post. Any-hoo, hubby comes home one night and tells me about this little cat that he thinks might have been a house-cat that was abandoned. He told me that she was acting super-scared all the time, and unlike the regular feral cats that roamed around, she was UBER-friendly. For the next two weeks hubby would tell me all about this lovable kitty, how she was getting bullied by the other 'street-cats', and how he thought she probably wouldn't last long. Now believe me, I knew where this was going folks. And as hard as I tried to fight it, I somehow knew deep down that this cat was going to end up at my house.

Then for the pièce de résistance, hubby decides to take a cell-phone picture of said kitty, and THAT WAS IT. I was done...I was hooked...I was bowled over! And now, she is part of our crazy little family. We decided to name her Pebbles, because the coloring of her fur coat reminded me of a pretty pebble I would find by the waters edge.

This is Pebbles after we gave her a bath. Yea, I know, she looks pretty rough...

But she cleaned up really good!

And she even likes helping Jeromy with his school work!

So yes, my family has grown by one. She's become a lovely addition, and so far she seems to have adjusted well. I'll admit that at first there were some concerns on my part: the extra vet bill, extra cat food, would all the animals get along, etc. I figured that despite all that though, why not? What's one more anyway? We were able to rescue a homeless animal, gave her home, and she's given us love and companionship. What can go wrong?