Now, I could start off this post with a profound apology to all my lovely blogosphere friends out there who I'm sure have noticed an obvious absence on my part. But I won't...not because I don't love you all or because I'm not sorry that I've been slacking on my blogging. It's because I know you all have been there. Right? You've all been in that part of life where it seems like everything is just thrown at you all at once, and you just don't have enough limbs to keep juggling all the balls of life, let alone have fingers available to type on a keyboard! That has been the case in "Case De Loca" for the past few weeks. And as much as I was tempted to cry my heart out on this blog to all you wonderfully understanding blog-buddies, I remembered that this was a place of bliss for me, and so I figured taking a short sabbatical was best. I am back now, although maybe not in the capacity in which I started, but I'm slowly making my way back to that.

A while back, I did post about how keeping a 'HALF-GLASS FULL' attitude can really help, and in that post, I gave my readers a glimpse of the financial stresses my family is undergoing. But, along with that, I listed the many blessings I am so grateful for. The most important of those blessings is that no matter how seemingly unbearable life can get, God always leads me/us to that 'BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS'. Or to put it plainly, he always provides a way, albeit it's not always easy to find or in the most obvious form, but nonetheless, HE never fails us, nor does HE ever leave us stranded. And once again, HE has provided that BRIDGE. My family is once again undergoing a transition, and we have been blessed with a wonderful opportunity and even more wonderful friends without whom these positive changes could not have been possible. I can't quite elaborate right now, as there are still many factors to figure out, and a few key people in my life I need to inform first before announcing to the world (can you say PARENTS?). Don't worry y'all, I promise, I will post more information later on. Oh, and just to clarify up front: NO, we are not expecting a baby! (LOL)

For now, instead of an apology-ridden post, I want this to be a post of gratitude and positivity, dedicated to you, my lovely readers, for showing me unwavering love and support, and for letting me share with you a POCKETFUL OF BLISS every once in a while. You are all lovely, and you all ROCK!

(above image courtesy of this SITE)

Random Me...

I've been tagged!

Thank you to my wonderful blog-friend, Miss Deva, over at Always Carried Away, for tagging me for this fun RANDOM post. Every once in a while I get stuck and can't come up with an idea for a new blog post. And when that happens, it's always wonderful when one of my blog-friends gives me an inspirational idea. So thank you Miss Deva! According to what I read on her post, I'm supposed to list 25 RANDOM things about me that you may or may not know. So, here it is:

Here are 25 RANDOM MEs...

1. My favorite artist is Gustav Klimt. His painting, The Kiss, is absolutely breathtaking!

2. I once worked on the "SLIME LINE" in a fresh-fish processing plant in Alaska one summer. Oh yea, my hair smelled like fish for a month after I stopped working.

3. I have never seen the movie E.T....what can I say, I was deprived as a child.

4. I have never seen the movie West Side Story...even though everyone always sings the Maria song to me just because I have the same name.

5. My absolute favorite food in the whole world is a Philippine dish called Kare-Kare...which can only be described in English as Oxtail Peanut Butter Stew. Hey, don't judge until you've tried it people!

6. One of my new favorite shows right now is Modern Family... it makes my family seem a little less crazy.

7. I'm thoroughly addicted to has taken over my life. I need help, an intervention, or a smack upside the head..or all three of those.

8. I collect journals...the ones you right in. I have soooo many, most of which aren't written in yet. I just can't resist when I see a really nice one, especially ones that have the really nice leather covers.

9. I'm a chocoholic...a serious one. I would probably eat just about anything if it was smothered in chocolate.

10. I have about 12 books sitting in my "To Be Read" pile.

11. My hubby and I met on AOL about eight years ago...oh yea, just like that movie "You've Got Mail"...ok, well maybe not quite like that, but still very romantic.

12. I can't wear socks or shoes in the house...have to go barefoot. In fact, if you wear shoes in my house, I will probably stare and growl at you until your common sense kicks in and you remove the dirty germ-infested shoes before walking on my floors where my baby likes to play.

13. I have swam in the South China Sea...oh yea, it's true.

14. I'm addicted to Nutella...seriously, we have to hide it or you'll find me at 3 o'clock in the morning eating it by the spoonful right out of the jar.

15. During my first year in college, I changed my major three times... could be why I never finished. Hmmmm....

16. I love to dip my McDonald's french-fries in my McDonald's chocolate milk-shake...don't knock it 'til you've tried it folks!

17. Right now I'm reading "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley....what can I say? It's Halloween season.

18. I collect bags and boxes...not the fashion kind, but you know the shopping bags they put your stuff in at Bath and Body Works, or Sephora, or Nordstrom? I have this habit of wanting to save them because I never know when I'll need one. Drives my hubby NUTS!!

19. My favorite shoe brand is Dansko....such comfortable shoes, perfect for someone with feet problems like me.

20. I have been chased by a moose...yup, a real one, not of the cute and friendly Bullwinkle variety.

21. I have an unusual phobia: I don't like to blow up balloons because I'm deathly afraid they are going to pop in my face. And if it does pop in my face, I will run away screaming and you most likely find me curled up in a fetal position in some dark corner, crying and shaking. I know, freakish and weird...just like me, he he!

22. About 80% of the furniture in my home is from IKEA.... I love how affordable and functional their stuff is.

23. My favorite drink: ice-cold water...I'm a simple gal. But it has to be ice-cold. No room temperature stuff for this water diva! And don't you dare put a lemon in it!!

24. I've been known to fly into irrational rages when the kid at the grocery store doesn't bag my groceries exactly to my liking. Yea, it sounds a bit over-the-top...but seriously, do they not teach them that you don't put eggs in the bottom of the bag underneath other heavier pieces?? Seriously?

25. One of my ultimate life goals: to be a successful, published writer. I'm working on it though, slowly but surely.

If you read all of these, then you and I are great friends now, because you've taken the time to get to know me a little better, and you didn't run away screaming after reading oxtail peanut butter stew. YOU ROCK!

I would like to tag these fine bloggers...

Aunt of 14, Smell The Coffee Lisa, Mama Mel, Unknown Mami, and Carma Sez

If you're on this list and you don't feel like doing this exercise, that's totally cool, you won't hurt my feelings. If you're not on this list but wanna play along, by all means, go for it! 'Cause I wanna know more about YOU!

Meet Roxy...

Some husbands bring home husband brought home this:

We've actually had her for almost two weeks now, and I'm just now getting around to blogging about her. Yes, I know, I'm being a bit blog-lazy. Sorry my lovelies, I'm working on staying caught up, I promise.

Any-hoo, about two weeks ago I get a phone call from my hubby, and this is roughly how the conversation went:

(purple=me, blue=hubby)

"Ok, before you say no, just here me out."

"Um... ok, what's up?"

"There's kittens here."


"The mama died and there's three baby kittens and they're hungry and they're gonna die if they get left here and two other guys are taking the other two if I take this one."
(yes, he said all this in one breath!)

BIG **SIGH** "Oh...all right!"

And that, my friends, is how big of a pushover I can be. To make a long story short, hubby came home with this tiny little black bundle of fur. He explained to me that no one had seen the mama cat for at least three days, and the babies were so hungry. He said he knew he was in trouble when he picked up the littlest one, and she immediately crawled onto his chest, and nestled right into his neck. Y'all, he had already named her by the time he got home! Her name was Roxy.

We weren't sure how old she was, we thought she was only three weeks old because of her size. So we went out and bought some "kitten formula"and bottle-fed her that night. Well, we took her to the vet the very next day and were told she was a healthy six-week old kitten. Back to the pet store to get REAL kitten food. And that my friends, was the beginning of Roxy's adoption into our crazy little family.

She is quite adorable, as you can hopefully tell from the photos. She's very playful, and her favorite way to sleep is curled up right next to someone. She's doing VERY well, growing more and more every day, and becoming more and more acrobatic with each day. Yes, she's quite the daredevil! Luckily, Shiloh (our canine baby) doesn't seem to have a problem with her, and is more curious than anything else. So far so good...she's become a wonderful new addition to our family!

Yes, her eyes are that blue!

She loves curling up in Jeromy's arms...

...or sleeping next to my laptop.

Rockin' Birthday Present...

Ok, remember how I mentioned in my last post that there was more rockin' birthday news to come? Well, here it is my blogosphere friends: this past Tuesday, we surprised Jeromy with the ultimate gift. As I had also mentioned before, his favorite band is KISS...yes, THAT band. So, being the most awesome parents we are, we decided to get him tickets to this:

KISS's North American Tour!
(Image courtesy of this SITE)

About a month ago hubby and I were actually looking for tickets to go see AC/DC in concert in Washington D.C., when we came across a stunning piece of info: KISS was going to be on tour starting in October! Not only that, they were playing in D.C. on the 13th of October, TWO DAYS after Jer's birthday! My hubby being the most wonderful dad that he is, decided we should buy the KISS tickets instead of the AC/DC tickets. Just so you all understand what a sacrifice this was, hubby has been waiting almost 20 years to see AC/DC, and he's already seen KISS twice in concert. But, it was more important for him to make Jeromy crazy happy. How cool is my hubby? Can I get an AMEN people!!

After purchasing the tickets we decided to keep it a secret and surprise with him it. Do y'all know how hard it was for me to keep my big mouth shut for almost two months?! Not easy! Nonetheless, I did. So on Tuesday night, we told Jer that we were taking him to the Smithsonian to see dinosaurs, and he totally bought it. It was a serious clandestine operation y'all, although I was leaving cryptic messages on my Facebook update such as:

"Preparations for operation SMITHSONIAN are complete. Those of you with the necessary security clearance will be updated on the operation's progress. Standby..."

"Operation SMITHSONIAN has commenced. Subject is en route to final destination, E.T.A. approximately 90 minutes."

We got to the Verizon Center in D.C., parked in the garage, and made our way to the elevator that would take us to the entrance. Before getting on the elevator, hubby and I started our "mock" argument, pretending that we were lost and had the wrong tickets. I handed the tickets over to Jeromy and asked if he could read it...and when he read that the tickets were for "KISS ALIVE 35", his eyes got huge and he looked like his heart had stopped. OH YEA! Mission Accomplished!

I can't begin to tell you how excited Jer was! This was his first concert, and he got to see his favorite band. How cool is that?! And what's even better, this was MY first really big concert, aside from being dragged to a Menudo in concert when I was like 9 or 10 (don't ask! please, I beg of you). And of course, hubby loved it too. I gotta say, KISS sure does put on a great show. As a bonus, guess who opened for them? None other than BUCKCHERRY! Those of you who are fans of theirs, yes, they did play THAT know that one, called "Crazy B*@%H". It was ROCKIN' AWESOME! We weren't allowed to bring in regular cameras, so the pic here are all from my cell phone camera. They actually turned out pretty good, considering they were from a cell camera. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed rockin' out to the music:

To see more pics, please play the slideshow:

According to Jer, this was the best birthday he's ever had. Seeing him rocking out, air-guitar-ing like crazy, head-banging to the beat, shouting out loud, and the permanent smile on this boy's face, from the minute he found out he was getting to see KISS in concert, to the time he crashed in bed after his night of rocking out, was priceless, definitely worth every penny and every minute of planning. Happy Birthday, my Jer-Bear... you're the true rock-star of my heart!!

Jeromy Has Turned Nine!

Yes, my lovelies, my baby boy is nine years old. I know it's somewhat cliche, but I'm gonna say it: time flies by too fast. It seems like only yesterday he was a tiny little baby, tottering around on his chubby legs, flashing his nearly-toothless smile, always followed by a joyful laugh.

Jeromy when he was 2 years old
Now, my little man is so grown up. Where once his favorite toys were blocks and my pots and pans, he now favors your typical big boy toys: anything and everything Star Wars, Transformers, and Legos. Where once his favorite musical ensemble was The Wiggles, now, his favorite rock band is KISS. Yes, folks, THAT band.

Because of work schedules and such, we basically had a BIRTHDAY WEEKEND for Jer, which will actually culminate into a most AWESOME birthday gift that is still yet to come. It's a surprise, so you're all going to have to wait just like Jer. Yes, I know, seems a bit unfair. But I promise, I will share with all of you soon. Until then, here is a run-down of my boy's Weekend Celebration:

First, we took Jeromy to the Build-A-Bear Workshop, where he got to create a new furry friend. This has been a yearly tradition for him since he was a year old, and he still loves to do it. I know soon enough he will get to an age where going to BABW will seen "baby-ish," but until then, I will just enjoy seeing how happy he is when he gets to bring home a new friend. This year, his new friend is a Wise Wizard Owl named Po:

Normally, tradition dictates that we all have lunch at the Rainforest Cafe afterwards, but alas, the one we normally go to had closed down. So, Jer chose the Cheesecake Factory instead. I hadn't been there in years, and all I have to say is... OH. MY. GOSH. The food portions were huge, and quite yummy. And of course, we had to have cheesecake, so we each got a slice. And the wonderful guys and gals there had a surprise for Jer:

After stuffing ourselves thoroughly, we watched the "Toy Story" double feature in 3-D. One word: AWESOME!

Packages galore! Today three packages came, all containing gifts from a wonderful grandma and two wonderful aunts. My sister Lotus sent him a beautiful Rainbaby, which was purchased at WINDSTING ARTS, which incidentally is the Etsy shop belonging to my awesome sis-in-law, Anna, over at Wind in the Wildwood. If you have never visited her blog, please do so, she's wonderful. And while you're there, click the link to her shop. The second package actually came from Anna and her delightful family, containing a hand-made soft pumpkin, a cute wolf puppet, an Art Sticker Book that will DEFINITELY be used in our homes school, and a copy of "The Pumpkin Blanket," the perfect book for fall! And to top it off Jer got some good ol' fashioned green-backs to spend as he wishes from his grandma. So in the afternoon we took Jer to Toy R Us to spend his birthday money, along with a gift-card sent to him by another aunt.

Today Jer went to Sunday school, then we attended mass. After a quick lunch, it was time for cake and ice cream. Jer was VERY excited to see the custom cake I made for him. I wonder if you can all guess why?

Yes, I know, my cake decorating skills still need to be refined, but nonetheless, Jer LOVED it! I made a special birthday card for him, complete with a birthday message from his favorite band, KISS (are you all seeing a pattern here?) He also loved the few gifts Daddy and I got for him, especially when he saw that we had bought some special edition Mr. Potato-Heads:

So, needless to say, this was a great birthday weekend. My baby boy is another year older, another year taller, and another year sweeter. Words can't begin to tell you how much I love this guy. He is my whole world, and though his birthdays are all about him, it's also a day for me to remember how blessed I am to have him, how each day is so precious. Because before you know, that little boy who used to love banging on my pots with a wooden spoon has grown into a smart, funny, rock n' roll lovin', guitar playin', martial arts studyin', gorgeous and incredibly loving young man. Happy Birthday to you, my Jer-Bear.

And again, stay tuned folks, there's more rockin' birthday fun to come!


Jeromy the Pirate...arrggghh!

Oh yes, I said it..."Huzzah!"...a cry not often heard in modern times, except for when my family and I join in the festivities at the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival. For those of you who don't know what it is, I will do my best to explain. It is a Festival that runs from the end of August to the end of October, when folks gather together to turn a wooded area of Annapolis into something out of a Shakespearean play. Here people get dressed in their best Renaissance attire (everyone has an outfit like that in their closet right?), walk around "Revel Grove" to visit the numerous shops displaying crafts by both local and national artists, eat all sorts of delicious goodies, play games, and even get a massage by "Her Majesty's Healers". You can also have your fortune told, your hands immortalized in the form of a plaster statuette, and have your hair braided (yes, guys too). There are shows galore, most of them of a humorous nature. Musical acts delight adults and children alike with everything from Celtic Acts to German Medieval Minstrels. One of our favorite acts is Wolgemut (pronounced vol-guh-moot), a truly awesome musical minstrel troupe that plays medieval German wind instruments and drums. It's the Festival's version of a rock awesome! Plus, there's a jousting arena, where men dress up in their armor, mount their noble steeds, and...yes, you guessed it, joust. The three of us (me, Jer, and Fred) decided to go during Pirate weekend...oh yea, did I mention they have "theme" weekends? There's Irish Weekend, Pirate Weekend, Shakespeare weekend, and more. Pirate weekend is our favorite, since my guys love to dress up like pirates. I, on the other hand, dress it up in a traditional Renaissance outfit. We have a blast every time we go, and the weekend we went was not different. So if any of you live in or close to Maryland, you should try to make it to this wonderful festival. Here are some pics I took, I hope you enjoy them.

Beautiful 'faeries' on stilts. They are quite a sight to see!

King Henry Tudor VIII, addressing his 'subjects' in Revel Grove.

My two awesome Pirates... AARRGGHH!

Me and my Pirate boy. Yes, that is a corset I'm wearing.
Thank goodness it was a fairly cool day!

Ok, I'll admit it, this is the real reason I go: FRIED CHEESE!!

Jer munching on a 'Steak on a Stake.'

A noble knight getting ready to joust... getting lined up to charge.

Knights jousting for victory...HUZZAH!

Jer with the musicians of the awesome Wolgemut!

Ok, now for some trivia. Remember, NO CHEATING! That means no looking it up. And I'll know if you did, so don't do it! (Ok, I won't know, but play along, it's fun!):

What is Maryland's official State Sport?