Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving Thanks

There are so many things to be"thankful" for in ones life. I could go into some of them now or list a whole bunch of obvious things but I wanted, instead, to share a simple thing, something I am sooo thankful for but may seem trivial to some.

As of Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I went to my last scheduled Doctor's appointment. There! Isn't that exciting?! No? Well, for me, it's a huge "Glory Hallelujah" relief. I'm the person who had never been to a doctor (other than for a yearly physical) as a teen/adult until I was pregnant. Perfect attendance in school and at work. I've never had a broken bone or needed stitches for a cut or laceration. Rarely sick or ill. Yes, I was one of the lucky ones who was able to avoid the yearly "bug" and whose sniffles were usually the result of allergies, not a cold.

The first time I was in a hospital was when I was in labor. I was extra nervous because I had no experience in this area (hospitals or birthing), not to mention I was having twins. My labor and delivery was, of course, not typical. However, the girls were healthy and perfect and when I came home, I had no problems what-so-ever.

Then last year happened and beyond the hospitalizations, it was the constant Dr.'s appointments that really got me down. I was totally out of my element. I was on prescription medication-another new hurdle for me. I had to see a GP, Rheumatologist, Hematologist, Cardiologist, Neurologist and throw in the Gynecologist for good measure. Sometimes I was going to see a Dr. 3 or more times a month, not including all the blood draws. I used to pass out or throw up every time I had to get my blood drawn in the past. Now, I'm so used to it, it hardly phases me. And, even though we had wonderful insurance, it still cost us a pretty penny for all the visits.

So, now I have ZERO scheduled appointments. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. My next blood work isn't due until May-and there's no appointment needed for that. I'm feeling better than I have in years and I'm so excited! I'm thankful for so many wonderful things in my life, but right now, not having to go to the Dr. ranks right up there...  :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

I actually think it's the busiest time of the year. So much happens around the Holidays, but my favorite thing of all is seeing our friends and family. Some don't live here in MI anymore and some are very busy with their lives, to the point that we only get one chance per year to reconnect in person.

Some might say, "That's sad", but I tend to think we are there for each other when we are needed. My Mom, for example, had 9 brothers and sisters. When we all get together for our Annual Christmas meal, there are a lot of Aunts & Uncles, over 25 1st Cousins (including spouses) and then add another 5 or 6 great-grandchildren to the mix. It makes for one big party! Strategically, it's just not something that we can all do more than once a year. Sure, we see some of them at Graduation Parties or Weddings, etc. but it's not the same. At Christmas time, I truly appreciate the effort that everyone puts forth just so that we can all be together and celebrate our family. It's special...

We also have a large group of friends that we gather with during the Holidays. We have been doing an Annual Holiday Party with these folks since we were in High School. Many of us are married now and have children of our own, but we still find the time to get together one day of the year to celebrate that friendship. It's fun and to me, it's important. I only get the opportunity to be with many of these friends during the Holidays, so I want to make the most of it. That usually means being very busy!

Of course, there's the shopping, decorating, getting a tree, baking, wrapping, school parties, family portraits, Christmas cards and all the other Holiday festivities that continually keep us on our toes. But, the most important to me, the one that I am so happy to be busy for, is my circle of friends and wonderful family.

I am blessed and thankful to have you all in my life...

Friday, November 20, 2009


We now join our resident blogger, sleeping soundly, at some unknown time this morning........

Door to Master Bedroom opens.

The pitter-patter of little feet can heard entering the room.

The door to the Master Bath is slowly opened, at which time, both little girls scream in unison, "DADDY!"

Mommy nearly levitates off the bed and is trying to remember where we keep the baseball bat.

Girls tell Daddy that there is an emergency. "The lullaby CD has fallen into the clothes hamper, and we can't get it out!", they lament, with tears in their little eyes.

Daddy abandons the shower to help his little princesses.

Mommy burrows head deeper into the pillows and pulls the cover up really high.

Daddy's cell phone starts ringing. At least the ringtone is a pleasant Billy Joel song...

Mommy looks at the clock at sees that it is 8:15 am. This is a good 2 hours later than Daddy normally gets up.

Mommy is glad that Daddy slept in a little (he's been very tired working overtime) but still, who is calling at this time in the morning? Can't be good.

Daddy comes back into the bedroom and checks his phone. It was his parents. Before he can even listen to the message, Daddy shouts, " OH, CRAP!"

Mommy is positive she is not going back to sleep now. She is sad.

Daddy starts flying around the room like he's practicing for a game of quidditch. What's the deal?

While dipping his head in the shower and throwing on pieces of clothing, Daddy explains that he was supposed to pick his parents up at 8am to take them to the airport.


So, being the hero that he is, Daddy kisses all his girls a quick goodbye and heads off into the fog to complete his mission and then, it's off to work.

Mommy, while trying to fully wake up and get out of bed, suddenly realizes that today is........ FRIDAY!

This is a problem.

The girls have gymnastics preschool on Friday's. At 9am. That's in 30min. And it's a 15 min. drive. And Mommy has no car. And no one is dressed. Or fed. Oh, Lord!

So, Mommy becomes a whirling dervish as she calls Daddy, tells him to come back home with the Yukon, gets everyone dressed, gets food in the little ones tummies, finds the backpacks, combs hair and then realizes that it's also Show-and-Tell day! Hooray! Let's add one more thing to an already out-of-control, crazy morning!

In conclusion, all is well now. Mike came racing back from the airport with the Yukon, jumped into the T-bird, and sped away. I got the girls bundled up and out the door in a flash. I tried not to break too many laws while driving. They were only 10min late to school. It's now 10am and I'm spent.

How was your morning?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Thoughts...

A friend of mine sent me this little e-mail and I just loved it! Too funny, and for me, all true!
  1.    I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
  2.   Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
  3.   I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
  4.   There is great need for a sarcasm font.
  5.   How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
  6.   Was learning cursive really necessary?
  7.   Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5.  I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  8.   Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
  9.   I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10.   Bad decisions make good stories.
11.   You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12.   Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu Ray?   I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
13.   I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14.   "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever.
15.   I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
16.   I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
17.   I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
18.   My 4-year old daughter asked me in the car the other day "Mom, what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?
19.   I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
20.   I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The End is the Beginning

Well, it's finally over. We closed on the Refinance of the new house today at 2 o'clock. I am so relieved to have it done and over with. In the end, we got a great interest rate and our new house payments are only slightly higher than on our previous house, which seems a little silly considering the difference, but I am in no way complaining! I'm just so glad that it's ours...

After all, the whole point of having a home is not just so that you can have a roof over you and a place to lay your head. A home is where you raise a family, entertain your favorite people, and share special moments. A place and space to fill with love, laughter, joy, and a few tears too. I'm ready to make this house our home, one to enjoy and live in for many years to come. 

Oh, I feel like such a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders! I can finally breathe. I can now focus on the important things in life (to me anyways) like getting our home decorated for the holidays, shopping for Christmas presents (yay!), preparing for a Disney World birthday party, playing with the kids and spending more quality time with friends and family. I'm ready for the Christmas music on the radio and bright lights that twinkle on neighborhood houses in the night, for holiday cards from all over to start pouring in and decorating the family tree with our girls.

The Refinance is over! Bring on the fun and spirit of Thanksgiving and let the joy of the Christmas season begin!

Our 1st Family Christmas Pic -2005-

Monday, November 16, 2009

Over the Rainbow

Follow the Rainbow Brick Road...

The girls, mostly Lauren, have been working on coloring and re-designing the bricks leading up to our front steps. They insisted that they were too plain. So, with a little sidewalk chalk, a masterpiece has been born. I don't want it to rain and wash away their creation just yet. It certainly makes walking to the house so much brighter and happier! I love the creativity of little kids-if only we could bottle it up, along with their laughter and joy, only to sneak a sample of it on days where it's missing....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Disney World!

We promised the girls a couple years ago that, when they turned 5, we would take them to Disney World for their birthday. January will be here in no time at all so I've started thinking about the trip and what we hope to do there. We will be driving and staying off site at a condo in Kissimmee.

Mike and I have been to Disney World several times over the years, both together and separately. The things that I love to see and do as an adult are not the same as the kids' wishes and desires. I know that they are going to love it and being able to share this experience with them will be a treasure. The question is, what are some special things for us to do with the girls while we are down there?

We are planning on visiting the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot. We are taking one day off for relaxation (geocaching) and another day to do Sea World. There are obvious kid favorites like It's a Small World, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Kilimanjaro Safari, Fireworks, Character Encounters, etc. but is there anything in particular that we should be sure not to miss with the kiddos?

We are also planning on 2 Character Meals...maybe a breakfast and a dinner. We have never done anything like that before and we need to make our reservations. There is a lot of information out there on the web and it takes awhile to scan through it all. If anyone has any suggestions, it would be much appreciated! I know that the time will be special without any added fuss, but they are my only ones and they only turn 5 once. I want it to be a wonderful time for the whole family, and not going into it blindly will be a big help!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bad Momma

I was having a pretty good morning today, girls were dressed, fed, had their backpacks ready for school, etc. Mike calls and we decide that I will meet him with the girls for lunch and then take them on to preschool afterward. Just as I am pulling out of the driveway, I think to myself, "Hmmm, what's the date today?", and I conclude it's the 10th. The 10th.....the seems like something was happening today but what?

Oh, crap! It's picture day at school today! This is not good.....

I hit the brakes, drive back up to the house, dash inside and find, amongst the 2 paper towers on the counter, the 2 picture order forms. Now, where is the checkbook? Any checkbook! Here, checky-checky! Momma needs money... I finally locate one and then stand in the kitchen thinking, "Wait...what are the girls even wearing?". Nothing special but the shirts are new and their hair is clean and they seem happy enough, so...........I guess we're going to go with it!

At lunch, Mike and I frantically try to decide which package to purchase, which pose, which background and blah, blah, blah. I know that this process had to have been easier when I was a kid. As I am filling out the "separate" checks for each child, Mike says, "Uh-oh.". This is not good either......

On the form, which I obviously didn't read carefully enough,  it says that kids should be wearing nothing with GREEN on it because they now use Green Screen technology and it will affect the pictures. Tara is fine in her Orange, but of course, Lauren is wearing the coordinating shirt guessed it, green. Now what am I going to do? I don't have time to make it back home, pick out new clothes, get them re-dressed, and back out to school in time. Oh, heavens....

In the end, I leave the teachers in charge. I explain the error of my ways and ask that if the green shirt is going to be a problem, to take their shirts off (they are wearing nice, white, long-sleeved shirts underneath) and put their brown vests on over the top. Certainly not the ideal situation. Hopefully their cute smiles will trump whatever they are, or aren't, wearing.

Bad Momma.........

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Me & My Hunny

On September 18th, Mike and I celebrated 16 years of togetherness. Which means, I have been with Mike for over half of my life! Crazy, huh?

We were reminiscing the other evening about our lives back then (1993) and how much we have grown, changed, and become since those teenage years. To put it in perspective, I was 16, a Junior in High School (an emotional basketcase) and working at Chuck E. Cheese after school and on the weekends. Mike was 18, a College Freshman at GRCC, working part time for ProComp at a kiosk in Woodland Mall.

I was into marching band and chorale, hanging out with my friends, playing card games and Friday night's at Pizza Hut. I liked to babysit and loved to sing. Mike was into 60's & 70's Music, computers (shocking), gaming, camping and showing me the world. We had an instant connection, and with the exception of few bad judgment calls on my part during the first few months of our relationship, we've been one solid unit ever since.

I can vividly remember our first date, our first kiss, our first trip out-of-State. I can also vividly remember getting in trouble for all three!  My parents weren't as easy going back then....let me tell ya! Thinking about it is making me laugh right now...ha ha ha. If I had to do it all over again, I seriously wouldn't change a thing, other than asking Mike out sooner. He's such a great guy, and he's all mine!

How lucky am I?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

2nd Appraisal

***************        UPDATE POST        *******************
We had the house appraised again back on the 23rd of October. When the appraisal came back in, we were really pleased to see that the 2nd appraiser valued the house little higher than the first one. Take that, Mr. Lender!

We were really anxious to get the ball rolling again. So, our finance guy submits the new appraisal to the underwriters and we patiently wait....and wait....and wait. What could possibly be holding us up now? Well, I'll tell you. The 2nd appraiser found it in her heart to put a special little note in the back of her report stating that there was some water in the basement when she was out here (on the 2nd rainiest day ever!) and that the home would need to be re-inspected. She feared that we might have structural damage to our foundation. Oh brother....

Our basement is not finished. It's just cement walls and a cement floor. We have nothing down there other than some plastic storage totes and some shelving. We knew that there was an issue with water in one corner when we bought the house but it just hasn't been a priority since we don't plan on finishing the basement for several more years. She noted that the water (puddle) DID NOT affect the value of the home, it just might be a problem for the lender if the house collapses. Oh for pity's sake! Our house is as solid as a rock and she is not a certified home inspector. And, we have home insurance for that sort of thing!

So, Mike and I stood down there for an hour, talking about what we were going to do and trying not to cry too much. Mike did a bunch of research and found that the single biggest reason that water comes in is clogged gutters and drain/down spout issues. We cleaned out the gutters, which I might add are really high up there, and fixed the drain spouts/added more pipe to each one. We also adjusted the sump pump. Then we patched a portion of the wall in the basement where we could actually see water running down the wall. It was behind the furnace, so we had never seen it before, and it appeared that there used to be a window there at one time that had since been cemented in-obviously not well.

Voila! No more water. Nada. Nothing. Dry as a bone even with all the rain we've been getting on a daily basis. We talk to the finance guy and he says that he will send the appraiser back out to re-inspect and we'll be good to go. So, we patiently wait to hear from her...and wait...and wait. Nothing.

Today, the finance guy calls us (we usually have to call him) and says that he has received the report back from the appraiser saying that there is still water in the basement and the problem is not fixed. No, the REAL problem is that we never heard from her, she never came back to our house and there is NO water in our basement. I mean, seriously?! Is this some sort of a joke? Well, it's not funny.....

We are completely at our wits end with this process and having this appraiser actually lie about our situation is more than depressing. I don't know where we go from here. Please keep your fingers crossed that something positive comes our way soon. I can't take much more....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Honor thy deal...or else!

In January, I think I blogged about a horrible experience that I had with Toys R Us. Well, I buy most of my gifts and such on-line, but the other day I saw an ad (that they e-mailed me) letting me know that until 10/31 all of their Imaginarium products were "Buy 1 Get One 1/2 Off!". On the front of this email was a photo of a train table that Mike and I were planning on getting the girls for Christmas. It was originally $159.99. It was currently on SALE for $129.99.

So, I mention to my sister when she is over during the Halloween festivities, that if we go into the store tonight, we could get (1) Train Table for $129.99 and the other would only be $64.99. I thought it might be something that Hailey would enjoy. She loved the idea! And, you can't beat the price! So, on Halloween night, we head out to go Christmas shopping!

The store on 28th St. was dead. There were 2 other cars in the parking lot. They had a bunch of the train tables in stock and the BOGO sign was displayed right on the train display itself. In the ad, which I brought, it also said that the train table was available for layaway. I figured that was even better, since then I would only have to put 20% down and I wouldn't have to worry about bringing the huge boxes home with us right away.

So, to the Customer Service desk we go. Anna and I explain what we need. The manager looks at us like we're nuts. He first informs us that the train is not available for layaway. I show him in writing where it says that it is. He's surprised...he couldn't possibly be wrong, could he? Eventually, he concedes that layaway is possible and begins to ring us up. Whew. I ask him what the train table is ringing up for. "$129.99" he tells me. Good. This is the correct price. Then I ask him to make sure that train #2 is ringing up for half that. He gives me the "crazy" look again. Manager man says, "You can't get another train table for half that sales price. I can only give you (2) at $129.99 each.". Now I'm starting to get a little irritated. I explain that the ad says that "Yes I can!" and he sends a peon to go check the signage. Peon brings back sign on said train table. Lo-and-behold, it says that ALL Imaginarium products are BOGO until 10/31.

That should have been the end of it. But, no...oh no. Now, before I left for the store, I tried putting (2) train tables into my cart online just to see if they would ring up correctly. Yup. Even printed out a copy for myself. Only problem was that the shipping was going to be $30 each, and I couldn't put them on layaway online. So, back at the store, Manager man is having none of it. He thinks I'm trying to pull a fast one on him or something. First he tells me that the $129.99 price is actually for the sale starting Nov.1 and the computers must be wrong. So, he'll be nice and give me (1) for $159.99 and the other for $79.99. Yes, how nice of him! Is he out of his gourd? Why in the world would I pay that when he already confirmed the train price of $129.99 earlier? Then, doing a little more "funny" math, he says that he'll give me (1) for the EARLY sale price of $129.99 and the other for half off the ORIGINAL price of the train, so $79.99. Awww, you shouldn't have! So sweet.... NOT!

Then, another one of the sales associates calls up the Customer Service (...snicker...) desk and informs the manager that the sales price of $129.99 on the table started on 10/30. What? No "computer" error? It's not the EARLY price? Do you think anyone apologizes? Of course not. With great reluctance, and knowing that I have all the evidence on my side, he finally succumbs to $129.99, with #2 at $64.99, on layaway. All the while, he's letting each and every associate know that HE is not answering his phone tomorrow and if corporate calls to yell at him for this TERRIBLE unauthorized markdown, they can deal with it and tell corporate that he had NO choice in order to "quiet" the customer. Ha ha ha ha !!!!! Quiet? Doesn't he know that I blog? HA! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Little Witches!

I had a wonderful Halloween this year. No one was sick (except my mother, who missed all the fun!), it wasn't raining Halloween night, the girls got lots of candy and had a wonderful time Trick-or-Treating. Lauren, Tara and their little cousin, Hailey, were dressed up as little witches. They were too cute! My sister, Anna, wore a witch costume, as well, and brought an extra witch hat for me to wear! Yay!

As usual, Mike and Shaun took the little girls out to go door-to-door while Anna and I stayed back to hand out candy. We didn't know what to expect in this neighborhood but we had a fair amount of kids, maybe 100, with most of them being middle school age. I got to talk with some of neighbors who I haven't had the opportunity to meet yet and the little kiddos coming to the door were adorable. Fun!

The school parties were also a big hit with the girls. Thursday they got to play Ring-Around-the-Pumpkin, paint a pumpkin and do a little dancing! Not to mention cupcakes and lots of extra treats! Friday, they thought it was hilarious that they were able to do Gymnastics in their costumes! Little ones dressed up are always a hoot, but put them on a trampoline, and it's a whole new level of cuteness!

Halloween is over and I'm exhausted! But since it's now November, the real work is just beginning, right? Getting the yard completely cleaned up for Winter, all the Holiday parties, Christmas shopping, decorating, putting up the lights outside, etc. Very hectic but all worth it! Let the Holiday Magic begin!