Goodbye summer...Hello Autumn!

Normally when I wake up at 6:30 in the morning because Shiloh needs to go out and pee, I'm not exactly in the best of moods. It's early in the morning, I haven't had my caffeine yet, and all I want to do is crawl back in to bed in nicely air-conditioned room, instead of standing outside in the heat and humidity of summer. But what a surprise this morning when I stepped outside and it was wonderfully cool. It could not have been more than 60 degrees. Why am I excited you ask? Because it means autumn is right around the corner! Yes, autumn, my favorite season. Don't get me wrong, I do like the summer for different reasons, but fall is when I'm happiest being outside. So for today's post I've decided to formally say goodbye to summer, and welcome in the Autumn season:

So farewell to you summer....

I will miss your blinding heat and humidity
(ok, not so much the humidity... or the blinding heat)...

I will miss spending a summer day at the pool,
splashing about and trying not to burn...
I will, however, NOT miss you, pesky mosquito,
whilst my legs have their time to heal from all your bites,
until you return next summer.

And I welcome you, dear Autumn, with open arms,
and the wonders you bring....

The breathtakingly beautiful leaves that turn the many shades of red, brown and gold....

Gorgeous pumpkins for Halloween and Thanksgiving...

And best of all, I get to wear my cozy toe socks again!

So tell me, are you as excited about Autumn as I am?

**All images above (except for toesocks pic) courtesy of Microsoft Free Clip Art.

"Oh, it's an 'E'!"

For you parents out there, I have this question: do you ever experience those moments when you realize that because your child(ren) got 50% of their DNA from you, they are doomed in one way or another? Well, I had that moment yesterday at the optometrist's office with Jeromy, where we went for his annual eye exam and a new pair of glasses.

The doctor began the exam by having my boy read the very top line of a series of letters and numbers (with his current pair of eyeglasses on). You all remember how eye exams go right? Any-hoo, Jer couldn't read it, but, no biggie right? Doc let's down another set of slightly larger numbers and letters... "Um, I can't read those either." .... Another bigger set appears at the top.... "How 'bout now?"......"" ..... By this time my face is scrunched up, trying to figure out if maybe my funny kid is just playing around, or if he really couldn't see. Yet another set of letters drops down, this time it was just two big letters...stil no cigar. Finally the doc lets down the very last line, which is just one GIGANTIC letter 'E'.... "Oh, it's an E!" .... Holy cow!

So the doc starts fiddling around with the eye exam machine, clicking around the levers, rotating lenses, etc. After about 20 minutes of "read the top line", "which is better, number one or number 2?", "how 'bout now?", "can you see that now?", "no, read from LEFT to right, not right to left," the doc finishes, and starts mumbling to himself as he starts writing all sorts of stuff in Jer's chart. "Well, he's definitely gonna need new glasses." Y'all, do you know how bad I wanted to say, "well duh!", but I didn't, since Jer was there. "So doc, how much worse did his eyesight get?" Are you all ready for it? My little man's eyesight went from 20/200 to slightly over 20/400!! Seriously?!

**SIGH** ..... So that's when I realize that my gorgeously handsome boy was doomed to the same fate I was dealt, and I could already see his future, filled with ever thickening glasses, which eventually will have to be special ordered due to the incredibly high prescription and very bad astigmatism. Oh, and by the way, I see dollar bills floating out the window because these special lenses cost a lot more than regular lenses. And when he's old enough to get contact lenses, it will be the same story: no optometrist office within a 500 mile radius will have the lenses he needs in stock, because guess what? Once again, they will have to be special ordered from the one company that makes them..... oh look, more floating dollar bills!

I was a bit surprised at the frames that he picked out, but after staring at his face for about 10 minutes straight, I realized that I like them. I like that they aren't the wire frames that tend to get bent in all sorts of ways due to Jer's very active lifestyle. What do you all think? He's stylin' right?

This kid can't resist a goofy face when he finds out I'm taking pics for the blog!
What can I say, he likes showing off for you.

'Fort Lincoln'

Fort Lincoln
Composed by: Jeromy

A long time ago in the West, there was a strong fort called Fort Lincoln. It had a safe with gold in it, and people were always trying to break in. But they were not successful because there were lasers and motion detectors. But one day one person was able to break in. And then she became rich, but was a Wanted person forever.

A mighty stronghold...

Come park yer wagon here, pardner!

Fort Lincoln's Sheriff

The much-sought-after gold.

Be on the lookout for the thief who robbed Fort Lincoln!

Meet Joey..

Everyone, meet my Godson, Joey!

He celebrated his 4th birthday this weekend. This little guy is quite the character. His favorite thing in the whole wide world is Cars, especially Lightning McQueen. Thus, it was only fitting that he have a Cars-themed party. His grandmother, who happens to be my sister-in-law, hosted the party at her house, where the birthday boy and his guests had a blast eating cake, swimming in the pool, and playing with Joey's new toys. Here are some pics from the his birthday bash:

Joey and Jeromy hamming it up for the camera.

This is Joey's younger brother, Nicky...he's a cutie-pie too!

The yummy Cars cake....Ka-Chow!!

This boy takes his cake very seriously.

Toys galore!!

No Regrets

Thank you, Mama Mel, for tagging me for this fun photo play!

Here's the story:

The first photo folder I have in iPhoto contains very early baby pictures of Jeromy that I had scanned onto my computer, and some of them reflect my first forays into digital photo editing, such as the one above. This photo was taken in February of 2001 at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. My boy was about four months old, and for a February afternoon, I remember that it wasn't very cold at all. I was still a brand-new mommy, and I loved nothing more than cuddling my new baby. And I love this photo because I think it really shows how happy I was to have entered this new and amazing chapter in my life. You wouldn't be able to tell from this photo because of the hugely cheesy smile on my face, but just three months before this photo, I had gone through the most difficult and saddest time in my life, when I up and left my home and family (parents, siblings) in Alaska to get away from an incredibly abusive relationship, and flown all the way across the country with nothing but my baby, one suitcase full of clothes for the two of us, car seat, stroller, and $200 in my pocket. But just in case you can't tell from how ridiculously happy I look in this photo, that was the absolute best decision I had ever made. Because in less than a year I would meet the love of my life, my hubby, who is the most amazing husband and father anyone could hope for. So for me, this photo isn't just a reminder of the first time Jeromy and I visited the Inner Harbor; it also serves as a reminder of what's truly important in my life, and that I have no regrets whatsoever.

This photo tag is pretty easy, just follow these simple rules: Open your first photo folder. Scroll down to the 10th photo. Post that photo and story on your blog. Tag three others (or more) friends to do the same. As for me, I'm going to tag these lovely blogs:

But hey, just because I didn't tag you doesn't mean you can't join in the fun! So if you feel inspired to do so, by all means, play along!


Everyone out there knows how bad the economy is, and how just about everyone, save a select few, are struggling financially out there. Now don't turn away! I promise, this post will NOT be me whining and crying about how tough my family's got it. Ok, I will at least mention that we've had a rough few months, but that's as far as my whining goes. Trust me, don't leave...keep reading, it will get better. But I will suggest that if you have an aversion to 'half-glass-full' people, then you may not want read on.

Yes, I am one of THOSE who has chosen to just put her big girl panties on and suck it up, and to face hardship and struggle head on. Why? I'll tell you why, because the truth is, it could be SOOOOO much worse. Yes, it sucked when Fred was layed off for a while and our savings was just about wiped out; yes, we dealt with medical emergency after medical emergency back to back; yes, we lost our beloved dog, King, and our cat, Georgea; and yes, hubby's truck now has an oil leak (that last one occurred two days ago). But you know what, my lovely readers? Believe it or not, I can find something to be grateful for in every single one of these hardships, and beyond:

I'm grateful that my hubby still has his job.. so many others out there have suffered the brunt of this terrible economy by losing their jobs permanently, and I'm just so thankful that Fred still has his.

I'm grateful that despite all the medical scares, my family and I are still here, alive and kicking.

I'm grateful to know that wherever they are, King and Georgea are in a better place.

I'm grateful for our great friends that have stepped up to try and help us find a way to affordably fix hubby's truck.

I'm grateful for the food that God provides each and every day for my family.

I'm grateful for being blessed with friends who have shown my family and I unconditional support and love, who give of themselves selflessly without any expectations, just to help their struggling friends. You are all wonderful and I treasure your friendships.

I'm so thankful to have a wonderful and loving family, without whom my life would cease to have meaning.

And most importantly, I'm grateful to God, for I know that through each and every hardship, You are there with us, bestowing us with Your blessings. Even if they are not always readily apparent, I know that You are always blessing us with Your love and guidance. On my continuing journey to living a life full of grace, You are my constant and my beacon of hope.

Though I'm not wanting to sound like an Oscar-acceptance speech, I do HAVE to give a shout to you, my lovely reader, for visiting this little corner of the blogosphere and showing me love with your brief attention and comments. This blog has become a creative outlet for me in many ways, and I'm grateful to have shared it with YOU...yes you, the one staring at the screen.... you rock! So the lesson for today is this: if you've never looked at things as 'half-glass-full', you should give it a try, it might just surprise you.

*Photo courtesy of this SITE.

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Edition, Part 2

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! The pictures I post for this meme all have a story (usually a hiliarous one) to it, but instead of telling you that story, I'd love for you to tell me what you think would be a great caption for the photo(s). I know, it sounds like I'm asking you to do work. But hey, it'll be fun! And join me.... just grab the button on my sidebar and start your own Wordless Wednesday series!

Disney, 2008

What do you think this photo says? Please, do tell!

My Wee Bathtub

I need your input, my lovelies. See the photo above? That is a wee ceramic old-fashioned bathtub I recently acquired. I would love to be able to tell you that I acquired this piece while doing some fabulous antiquing. But not quite... I actually mooched it off a neighbor who was moving, and it's not antique at all. It was actually bought at a Bath & Body Works. Any-hoo, I've been staring at this thing for a while now, and I'm not sure what to do with it. The obvious place and use for it is in the bathroom as a holder for girly bath products or makeup. I may very well end up doing that, but I was thinking that there may be something else I could do with it, but I haven't been able to come up with anything. Not to mention the sad fact that I just don't have that much girly bath stuff or fancy face paint (yea, someone call a style makeover show on me, I'm begging you!). So, you fabulous blogger reader of mine you, I am curious to know: what would you do with this wee bath tub? And pretty puh-leazzze, don't say 'throw it away' or it could very well make me cry. I've never been the kind of gal with a talent for decor, I tend to just throw things together, so I would absolutely LOVE to hear your idea(s).

So riddle me this: what's a gal to do with a wee bathtub?

Splishin' and a Splashin' - Part Two

As the summer starts winding down we've been trying to take advantage of the hot weather to get out and have as much fun in the sun as possible. And what better way to enjoy a summer day than hanging out at the pool. My fabulous friend Lisa is a member at an exclusive (which is codeword for fancy schmancy) swim club, and she was generous enough to get passes for us for a mere $10 per person. Now I've been to a few swim clubs and pools, and this place by far is the nicest and cleanest one I've ever been to. Everything from the pool decks to the bathrooms to the snack shack was immaculately clean. There were two slides, a lazy river, vortex (a big whirlpool basically), a separate kiddie area for wee ones to frolic, a separate lap pool with diving board, and a separate 'adults only' pool. We had A BLAST! Between swimming and going down the slides, Jer and hubby had a great time. I swam, too, but I also got to lay in the sun and chit chat with my two fabulous friends. I didn't get to take as many pictures as I wanted because, well, I'm a bit paranoid and klutzy, and the last thing I wanted to accidentally drop my camera phone in the water. But I do have a few to share:

Jeromy spinning around in the vortex.

"Giddyup Dad!"

Hubby's back got a little burnt, despite numerous sunscreen applications.
A bit uncomfortable, but totally worth it, according to him.

If you live in the Timonium area of Maryland, check out Mays Chapel Swim Club.... you won't be disappointed.

So how are YOU spending these last few weeks of summer?

Leap of Faith

It's time...

After three years of homeschooling my boy, it's time for a change. From 1st through 3rd grade, I had used an all-in-one, ready-made curriculum. For 1st grade I used Seton Homeschool's Complete curriculum, and for 2nd and 3rd, we used Calvert School's complete curriculum. So what's the big change? This year, no more ready-made pre-packaged and over-priced curriculum. For 4th grade, I've decided it's time for me to have more control over the materials, lesson planning, and overall pace of our homeschooling experience. Why the change you ask? Well, after spending WAY too much money on Calvert, only to find that I was tweaking so much stuff anyway to fit Jeromy's learning style, I just realized that, yes, I could do this. I could design our own lesson plan for the year, and I didn't have to necessarily rely on a pre-made list to tell me what I needed to do for my child's educational well-being. In retrospect, I don't regret waiting until now to take this leap. I think the past three years has prepared me for this, and I don't regret anything. I think it took me some time to find the confidence and faith in myself to see that it can be done a different way. And to be honest, I think it's taken me this long to really grasp what homeschooling is about, which is the freedom and right to educate our children in the best way possible, and that there are zillions of options out there.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm pretty confident about our new endeavor, but I'm also pretty nervous about it. Not to mention I think my head is going to explode from the sheer volume of information I've been combing through to find just the right books and materials for 4th grade. One thing that has helped beyond measure is living fairly close to a wonderful homeschool book store called For This Child. This place has been my hangout for the past two weeks as I've been conducting my research. But the best part, is that she sells used materials on consignment! So, I was able to purchase a $70 math curriculum for only $15, yay! Also, my good friend Kelly was gracious enough to loan me the materials I need for Language Arts. So far, I haven't purchased anything new, so the savings on our family budget has been amazing. I'm almost done getting everything we'll need, I just have to narrow down Science and art. If any of you homeschooling mommies or daddies reading this have any ideas, I totally welcome them.

I'm excited, my boy is excited, and hubby is just glad that I finally made a decision instead of whining and being so anxious about it. So 4th grade, here we come!

Chocolate-Hazelnut Filled Croissants

My dear BFF (Blogging Friend Forever), The Lemonade Makin' Mama, inspired this week's Tasty Thursday post. She loves just about everything French, and if you haven't yet, check out her blog to see her posts of how she's been inspired by Paris and France... but not until you've shared in Tasty Thursday with me. Because this week, I present you with....

Chocolate-Hazelnut Filled Croissants
I will admit right now, that my baking, let alone pastry-making, skills are pretty mediocre. So, I tend to enlist help from ready-made products, such as the prepared croissant dough I used here, and the bottled chocolate-hazelnut spread, Nutella. I am a total chocoholic, and for me, paring it with the rich flavor of hazelnuts is just genius. Seriously, I wish I could go back in time and find the very first person to think of mixing those together and give him or her a big kiss!

This recipe is super easy: unroll each piece of croissant dough out of the can. Then you spread about a little less than a tablespoon (or more, depending on the size of the croissants) of Nutella on each dough piece, spreading evenly. Next you roll up each croissant, making sure it's nice and tight and the Nutella isn't oozing out of it. Finally, just pop in the oven and cook for the amount of time recommended on the can of the croissant dough you're using, and voila!

Bon appetit mes amis!

Wordless Wednesday: The Goat

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! The pictures I post for this meme all have a story (usually a hiliarous one) to it, but instead of telling you that story, I'd love for you to tell me what you think would be a great caption for the photo(s). I know, it sounds like I'm asking you to do work. But hey, it'll be fun! And join me.... just grab the button on my sidebar and start your own Wordless Wednesday series!

October, 2006
What do you think this photo says? Please, do tell!