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


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?

I think I'm getting the hang of this Paper Crafting thing...

Is it weird that I love paper? I mean, I really do! My husband thinks it's a little strange for me to go ga-ga over something so simple. I honestly can't tell you why I like it so much, I only know that I do. I love all kind! You should see how I go nuts at the crafts store when I'm in the scrapbook paper section, just looking at all the beautiful designs and dreaming of what I can do with them. I also LOVE stationary. I think that started when I was a kid growing up in the Philippines, and Hello Kitty was all the rage. My sisters and cousins and I all collected Hello Kitty stationary, and I guess it stuck with me all my life.

Any-hoo, I've been very preoccupied with this whole paper crafting thing. I've been churning out scrapbook pages several times a week, and I'm now venturing into making cards. I've made a few in the past, but I didn't really put as much effort into it as I have been lately. I don't have pics yet of all the projects I've completed, but I did take pics of one that I was particularly proud of. This is a graduation card for a very lovely graduate, Kim, who is the also the daughter of my bestest friend, Lisa. I chose the color scheme because she loves pink, and also because it was very vibrant. Hope you like 'em!

Front view...

Detail view of the "diploma" I constructed by rolling up some white paper
and wrapping a small strip of hot pink around it.

Wouldn't YOU have just loved getting your diploma wrapped in a hot pink ribbon?

Drink Capri-Sun? You might want to reconsider...

Ok, before we go any further, I need to give you all a little disclaimer right now: if you get queasy or nauseous easily, I do not suggest clicking the link that is located at the end of this post.

Now that I have that out of the way, I will now share with you all some information that came across my Facebook news feed. One of my friends posted a link to a woman's photo album which consisted of photos of what she and her family 'FOUND' in a Capri-Sun pouch, at least besides the juice. In her photo comments, this mom explains that her family had purchased a box of Capri-Sun at a BJs Wholesale Club. When they got home, they opened up the box and took out one pouch. They noticed that the pouch was leaking, so Dad (her husband) immediately took the pouch to the sink. When he did that, he literally felt something firm and large INSIDE the pouch. So they cut the pouch open, and were VERY unpleasantly surprised. They of course took photos of IT, and the mom posted them on her Facebook, and the album is open for everyone to see. According to what I have read, she had contacted both the Centers for Disease and the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA said they did not think this was a serious enough issue for them initiate a recall. The couple have since sent out a sample of IT to an independent lab for testing. As far as I can tell, they are still waiting for results.

As I'm not completely sure about internet copyright laws, I didn't want to post any of the pics here, since I don't have permission to do so. So, I did the next best thing, and posted a link to the photo album containing the pics. It's open to everyone, so even if you don't have a Facebook account, you should still be able to see the photos. But please BE AWARE: VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED! The photos might gross you out, so be prepared:

I don't know exactly what KRAFT, the manufacturers of Capri-Sun, are doing about this situation, or if they are making the public aware of a potential problem, but I felt duty-bound to share this with as many people as possible, because the health and well-being of our children (and maybe even some adults we know!) is what's at stake. Now, I'm not big on telling other people (other than my child) what to do or what to think, and I'm definitely not going to do that here. That being said, I can tell you that my child WILL NEVER EVER drink Capri-Sun again....EVER!!

I hope this post didn't gross you all out too much, I just love you all and wanted to make sure you all were aware, so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.

And with that, I'm off to check every single drinkable thing in my fridge...


Quite 'Scrap Happy' of late...

Lately I've been quite Scrap Happy, meaning of all my hobbies [yes, I admit, I am quite the serial hobbyist], scrapbooking is the one I've become obsessed with. In the past week I've completed four pages. Now I know that doesn't seem like much, but remember that we're talking about a scrapbooker who at one time took a whole two weeks to complete one layout. Even though I've been into this hobby for a few years now, a blank layout still makes me feel like a beginner. I used to sit there with my photos, some blank cardstock, a few pieces of specialty paper, and I would just stare at it all, hoping and waiting for inspiration to hit.

But lately, I don't know...it's like a switch went off in my head, and I'm finally developing more of a confidence in my ability to get the layout just the way I want it. The hardest part for me was learning to not overthink it all, and to follow my initial instincts, instead of trying to mimic all the gorgeous layouts I see in the scrapbooking magazines scattered around my house. I still find inspiration and kick-start ideas from them, but it seems I've become much more in-tune with my CREATIVE INNER SELF, and it's made me so much more confident with my scrapping. And now instead of spending hours trying to figure out how to get my pages to look exactly like the 'designer layouts' in the mags, I can focus more of my energy on MY photos and MY creative ideas. Bottom line, I've allowed myself so much more creative freedom!

Hubby is very supportive of all my creative endeavors, and he is very happy about the fact that after all the money that has been spent on this hobby, I'm actually producing results. Although what I haven't yet told him is this: as I use up more and more of my supplies, I'm gonna have to go out and buy more! He he!!


Rub a dub dub!

This photo cracks me up because it reminds me of a time when we all managed to find some fun and laughter during what some would call a worst-case-scenario: our hot water heater completely died. I, being the neurotic mother I am, was practically in tears because I had no idea how my little baby boy was supposed to get clean. Plus it brought back memories of living in that teeny tiny trailer in Alaska [when I was little], where the hot-water heater didn't function most of the time, and we had to actually boil water in these huge pots and haul them to the teen tiny bathtub. It was actually these memories that lit up a light bulb in my head. We all jumped in the car and headed out to Wal-Mart, where we bought the biggest Rubber-Maid bin they had in stock. Then it was back home, where I proceeded to boil water in the biggest pot we had. And the rest, as they say was history: in went the hot water, plus enough cold water to get it to a decent temperature, a few squirts of baby bath, and VOILA! Instant portable bath-tub! You were so tickled about getting an old-fashioned "tub bath," right in the middle of the kitchen. It was just like the way the pioneers used to bathe their kids...if the pioneers had big plastic bins. I just love the way you always seem to make me laugh, even during times when I thought I wanted to cry!

Photo: 2004
Scrapped: 2010