Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Visiting the mountains

This week we are visiting my parents at their "summer place."

It's great- a 600 square foot cabin in the middle of the Pisgah National Forest.

There are a few complications staying in such small quarters with 3 of us, 2 dogs, 2 birds, and my folks but I do love it.

And, we have a DSL connection here- no TV but since we don't have cable at home I don't miss it too much.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mystery Solved!

Now that we are trying to start potty training, I know IV will want to use this explanation with DV.

Men are just environmentally conscious! Why didn't I think of that???

Next time I almost fall into the toilet in the middle of the night I'll be sure to think about doing my part for the environment....

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm a Hufflepuff!

Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

I found this pretty cute sorting test, courtesy of Jennifer (thanks!) (click on the link above if you want to be cool too.)

So what does it mean??? Well, I guess loyal, dependable and hardworking are complimentary... but a little boring? I always wanted to be more like Harry!

Your in-depth results are:

Hufflepuff - 19
Ravenclaw - 14
Gryffindor - 8
Slytherin - 6

Guess I would never get sorted in with Harry- ah well.... maybe if I had more time to read the books.....

Thursday, 13 Signs that Summer is Ending

13 Signs that Summer is Ending
(And, DV isn't even in school yet!!!)

1. IV just gave his final!!!
2. Vacation in North Carolina coming up
3. Uniform sales everywhere
4. Teachers crying (I understand, I used to be one!)
5. Teachers working 80 hour days
6. Kids trying to cram the last 1-2 weeks of summer with all the things they didn't do yet
7. The heat is starting to break (OK, this might be wishful thinking)
8. Preparations for Fall CCD classes have begun (oh yeah, now I am busy with that)
9. Sales on cheap, trendy decorating stuff (dorm life, anyone?)
10. Sales on school supplies, calendars, computers and printers (I am a sale shopper!)
11. IV is getting anxious for the start of that game... what's it called? with the little pointed brown ball....
12. Moms with school age kids have this look... like the finish line is near
13. Kindermusic will be starting again!!!

It's weird- even though I work from home and DV isn't in school yet I feel a little sad as summer ends. I think it's leftover from being a kid- or a teacher- or maybe it's our collective unconscious....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday (The uncles and DV!!!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

I stole this post from WhyMommy over at Toddler Planet- and it is REALLY important so please read! Direct any comments to WhyMommy.

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.


P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.

Thank you.

Strengths Finder 2.0

My parents gave me an interesting book as a gift when I had my wisdom teeth removed. I finally got around to taking the online test that goes with it-
Clifton StrengthsFinder measures the 34 themes of talent determined by The Gallup Organization as those that most consistently predict outstanding performance. The greater the presence of a theme of talent within a person, the more likely that person is to spontaneously exhibit those talents in day-to-day behaviors.

Focusing on natural talents helps people build them into strengths and enjoy personal, academic, and career success through consistent, near-perfect performance.
I think focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses is a great idea!

My 5 themes of talent are:
1) Developer
2) Input
3) Learner
4) Strategic
5) Belief

You see the potential in others. Very often, in fact, potential is all you see. In your view no individual is fully formed. On the contrary, each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities. And you are drawn toward people for this very reason. When you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success. You look for ways to challenge them. You devise interesting experiences that can stretch them and help them grow. And all the while you are on the lookout for the signs of growth—a new behavior learned or modified, a slight improvement in a skill, a glimpse of excellence or of “flow” where previously there were only halting steps. For you these small increments—invisible to some—are clear signs of potential being realized. These signs of growth in others are your fuel. They bring you strength and satisfaction. Over time many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you.

You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information—words, facts, books, and quotations—or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable.

You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path—your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.

If you possess a strong Belief theme, you have certain core values that are enduring. These values vary from one person to another, but ordinarily your Belief theme causes you to be family-oriented, altruistic, even spiritual, and to value responsibility and high ethics—both in yourself and others. These core values affect your behavior in many ways. They give your life meaning and satisfaction; in your view, success is more than money and prestige. They provide you with direction, guiding you through the temptations and distractions of life toward a consistent set of priorities. This consistency is the foundation for all your relationships. Your friends call you dependable. “I know where you stand,” they say. Your Belief makes you easy to trust. It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values. Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you. And guided by your Belief theme it will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.
As you can see, I thought this test was very interesting- I only wish it told me what to do with my life!!!

What should I be when I "grow up"?

I guess no test can tell us that...

If you're interested in your talents check out sf2.strengthsfinder.com. I don't know how much they charge, though, since it was a gift.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ketchup, the perfect seasoning!

DV's love of a certain flavor has inspired my post today.

The flavor is ketchup!!!

He won't eat his chicken? Ketchup! He won't eat his broccoli? Ketchup!

Ketchup is also the perfect accompaniment to burgers, meatballs, hot dogs, fried shrimp, fish, pretty much anything at all that we eat.

In fact, yesterday DV requested some ketchup on his chocolate brownie but IV and I aren't quite ready to go that far...

Is this a 2 year old thing? Will he always love the "red sauce" this much???

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday, 13 Girl's Names

OK, here's another Thursday 13 entry- and I totally stole my inspiration from Toni. (She wrote on this exact topic- I copied!)

If we are ever blessed to have a daughter here are 13 names I love!

1. Rebecca
2. Elizabeth Anne
3. Miriam
4. Hope and Faith
5. Joanna
6. Maryanne
7. Regina
8. Adrienne
9. Pauline
10. Susan
11. Theresa
12. Vivianne
13. Rachel

We would love to have another child- and I would love to have a daughter. DV is wonderful so I'd be happy with another son too.

We are not planning to conceive again- but hopefully one day we will adopt and this list will come in handy!!!

I have been thinking a lot lately of how nice it would be to have a daughter to share all my womanly knowledge with :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Erin, I'm so PROUD of you!!!

One of my best friends (from high school, and we've kept up with each other since) just had twins!!!

The amazing thing about this is she carried them FULL TERM (past 37 weeks) and both were well over 6 pounds!!!

The MORE AMAZING thing is they were born at home.

The MOST AMAZING thing is it was an unassisted birth (meaning Erin and family only) and took place in Thailand! Erin and her family are missionaries. They also have 2 children already. Erin is also training to be a midwife.

Erin and Dayton are some of the most faithful people I know and they deserve all the blessings God can send their way.

Congratulations!!! I can't wait to see some pictures!!!!

If you want to read Erin's post here it is! The babies are named Shira Faith and Miriam Joy (isn't that beautiful?)

Now, if only I could figure out how to send some baby gifts to Thailand....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

An award!!!

Toni, of Special K Family, bestowed this LOVELY award on me!

Thanks Toni! I love reading your blog every day- and when I miss a post (due to me being too busy to turn on the computer.... or you being too busy) I am always so excited the next day!

I would like to share the love with:
Jennifer at Playgroups are No Place for Children
Heather at The Queen of Shake-Shake
Aldara at Catholic Mommyhood
Sara at Suburban Oblivion

These lovely ladies (almost all of whom I have met in person) inspired me to begin my blog and meet lots of new friends along the way.

I also think that Amanda of Play Clothes and Megan of Velveteen Mind NEED this award as I read their blogs daily and we frequently share conversations online. Amanda and her lovely children play with us too.

By the way, Amanda and Aldara I miss your formerly daily posts! Moms always understand about the kids using up all of your time, though.

DV's birthday

Here are some pictures taken before and after DV's birthday.

DV and I opening his presents the day after, before going to Church!

The "Dead Worm" cake, as requested by DV. Photographed before the party- crumbs were left later!

We all had SO much fun!!!! Happy 2nd birthday DV!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

It's been SO long!

Last week was REALLY busy.

Our anniversary Tuesday, DV's birthday Thursday, a business party Friday evening, DV's party Saturday... and, oh yeah, my in-laws were in town too. From Texas, which was actually a big help because DV was distracted.

I haven't been posting, I haven't been reading, I haven't been on the computer... but I'm BACK!!!

See ya'll soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Anniversary Pie

Yesterday was IV and my 3rd anniversary! We had a lovely day- of dropping DV at mom's day out- sharing the car- him working and me running errands....

But, I did have the opportunity to make IV my first "from scratch crust" cherry pie EVER. Actually, the crust came out quite well!

I used a recipe that is all butter (trying to avoid those trans-fats) and the food processor.

IV was so happy (or he acted well) that I made it for him (pie is his favorite) that I think I will do it again!

IV also gave me a LOVELY card and my china and we went out to dinner (with DV) at The Original Oyster House and DID NOT have a cocktail sauce in the lap experience!

Overall, it was a lovely day! But, someday I'd like to celebrate with just IV again....

Saturday, July 7, 2007

My anniversary gift!

IV and I are about to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary, five years from our first date, seven years that we've known each other. Our wedding anniversary falls on July 10th and DV's birthday is July 12. July 12 is also the anniversary of our first date.

I was in the hospital for our first anniversary due to IV's impending and early arrival.

For our second anniversary, we went to the Antiques Roadshow and IV bought me a fancy purse that I had been coveting for a whole year.

This year IV really won a lot of points!!!! I have been wanting the Butterfly Meadow pattern of china ever since some friends of ours registered for it- right when we started dating.

IV bought me some!!!!! A six place setting set which includes 6 dinner plats, 6 accent plates and 6 mugs. This morning I have been rearranging our cabinets in order to store it.

The only problem is, now I want everything you see in the photo above.... and even if we could afford it we don't have anywhere to keep it!!!

Thanks for being such a great friend, husband, and everything else IV! I love you!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Sympathy Cards

One of my acquaintances lost her 6 month old daughter. It was a horrible accident.

I'll post about that later when I have my head around it more.

Today I went to buy her a sympathy card. In Hallmark.

There were THREE cards to choose from about losing a child. There were over 20 to choose from about losing a cat/dog/pet.


I am so mad I am about to call Hallmark. What kind of society do we have when there are more cards mourning the death of pets than children?

I wish it meant that parents never lost a child.

I think it's more of a comment about us- not knowing what to say. I don't know either, that's why I was trying to buy a card.

My Church group in makig a gift basket- for the parents and the siblings. I am thinking of giving some craft items for the children- and maybe a gift certificate.

But I really have no idea what to say.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Why NOT to let an almost-2-year-old choose his birthday theme...

"Dead Worms"

That's the theme of DV's birthday BBQ.

Interesting, huh?

We went to visit my grandfather in Florida recently, and DV was captivated by the dead worms on the sidewalk.

You see, in Florida (at least where I grew up) the worms come out in heavy rain and then the sun comes out and bakes them.

I think it's pretty gross, but DV was captivated. He still talks about his dead worms. Every day.

So I guess that's how we came up with the theme- I asked him and he answered.

He remembers too.

At least I have an idea for cute cupcakes... I've already bought the gummy worms and Oreos!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Celebrate Our Freedom

I was going to write an original post here, but then I came across the following at Some Gave All, and decided to just post this- it's more eloquent than whatever I might write.

We often hear this term: Freedom isn't Free. But, what does that really mean and if Freedom isn't Free, then what is the cost and who pays it?

The cost is watching someone you love go away for a long period of time where there is little contact as they endure the rigors and hardships of training.

The cost is watching someone you love serve for pay that doesn't always cover what it takes to live a standard of living most civilians enjoy and suffering a financial impact that can negatively alter a military family's prosperity for a lifetime.

The cost is deployment to combat and the hardships of a soldier far from home while in a hostile place.

The cost is a loved one leaving whole but coming home less than whole, physically, mentally or both.

The cost is a a loved one who never returns from a mission and is never found.

The cost is having to take another's life, even if they are the enemy, and living with that the rest of your life.

The cost is watching a close friend die, maybe even holding them in your arms, help less to save them and living a life of remembering that moment and feeling guilty that it wasn't you who died instead of the close friend.

The cost is a family waiting and watching 24 / 7, hoping and praying as they watch daily newscasts about our military personnel dying.

The cost is a knock at the door no family wants but is a special privilege of sacrifice and if not borne by some, then who would bear it?

The cost is family trees altered for all time to come.

The cost is a lifetime of love.

Freedom isn't Free and the cost is high.

The Fourth of July is a special time to celebrate the freedoms we have, hard fought and won at a great cost. Well we all should enjoy this day, and every day we have to live free, for to do less would be to waste the high price paid that we might.

Robert Stokely

proudly remembering my son, SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 Aug 05 near Yusufiyah in the Triangle of Death south of Baghdad
US Army E Troop 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG
Please think on this father's words as you celebrate your freedom this July 4th.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Thank you

Both of my grandfathers served our country as members of the military.

One grandfather was a proud member of the Navy for 30 years. He worked on aircraft carriers and flew in the planes. He has a whole case full of medals- and after retirement he went on to get his PhD and have a second career.

One grandfather was drafted into the Army and served his required time with honor. He went on to be successful in many business endeavors. He retired early and enjoyed his golden years in sunny Florida.

On July 4th, I am reminded how proud I am to be American.

I am reminded how grateful I am to the members of the armed services who fought for our freedom.

I am reminded that I am grateful for the members of the military defending us today.

I am thankful for those who gave their lives for our freedom and protection. You are not forgotten.

On July 4th, take time to thank those who fought and who fight for our independence. When you see the fireworks or eat the hamburgers remember just what we celebrate on Independence Day.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Friday Four

OK, I know it's not Friday but I have severe blogger's block and so....

Thanks Toni for the idea!

Four great things in the past week:

1) My first open house for the DITY Beads business was a smashing success! (I even got a congratulatory e-mail from one of the big bosses!)

2) My parents are here visiting and watching out for DV. (I love to have time to catch up with them!)

3) IV and I have had more time to hang out and catch up due to #2. (I love my husband!)

4) I have had more time to blog- watch movies- read- and generally veg out due to #2 and the forced rest imposed by my tooth removal. (But, that'll all be over soon!)

Thanks Mom and Dad and thanks IV for all of your support!