16 Years Ago Today.....

....I became a Mommy.

I was young and scared. I was not quite 20 years old. After laboring all day and all night, I was told I would need a c-section. I was so frightened; I'd been afraid of having a c-section during my whole pregnancy. But at 1:16 am, Timothy arrived, all 8 lbs. 12 oz. of him, and my life has never been the same.

I never knew how much I could love someone until I gave birth to Tim. I loved him so much, it totally blew me away. It was terrifying and amazing and wonderful, all at the same time. Leaving him with a sitter for the first time was like ripping my heart out. I had to go back to work, but I refused to leave him with a sitter when he was sick, which unfortunately was frequent. He had chronic ear infections and asthma. Before long, I lost my job due to excessive absences. It was the best thing that could've happened, because that's when I became a SAHM. I loved spending every moment of every day with him. He was an amazingly intelligent child. He kept me entertained. His first sentence was when he was one year old: "I got a booger in my eye." He had his own special words for things, many of which we still use today. Once when he was about two years old, he was picking at his older cousin, and I called him an instigator. He immediately replied, "I'm not a instigator, I'm a FLORIDA Gator." He would just say things that would blow our minds! He was so loving as a small child. He would say "I love you." We'd say "I love you too." Then he'd say "I love you all your heart", which was his way of saying "I love you with all my heart". Once he said that in a store, and a lady said "What does HE want?" But he didn't want anything, he just liked to say that.

My song for him was "You are my Sunshine". I sang it to him all the time. And of course, our favorite book was "Love You Forever". One of his favorite things to do was to bring me paper and a pen and ask me to draw him something. He had utmost confidence in my artistic abilities; he thought I could draw absolutely anything. I did get pretty good at Barney and kitties!

So the years went by....he grew and he grew and he grew....and drove me crazy and made me want to run away. And the next second, he'd be sitting beside me with his head on my shoulder. He brings out the strongest emotions in me. He knows exactly how to push my buttons and can make me SO freaking mad! And in the next moment, he's telling me he loves me and I'm melting.

We have the same sense of humor and can really entertain each other. We took him to the Jeff Dunham show with us and we all had a blast. I love his sarcasm. It reminds me...of me!

Everyone tells you that kids grow up so fast, and you hear it so much that it just sort of goes in one ear and out the other. But it is so very true. He is sixteen years old today and I feel like he was two years old, I blinked, and now here we are. He's driving and in the 10th grade. He's talking about getting a job. Where did the time go? I can't answer that. But I know that I am very proud of him. He is smart, caring, compassionate, and fun to be around. He also makes me want to tear my hair out.

And I'm going to show him this post, and he'll roll his eyes, but he'll give me one of those half-grins, too. And he'll tell me he loves me like he always does. Who could ask for more?

"I'll love you forever,

I'll like you for always,

as long as I'm living

my baby you'll be."

~*Happy Birthday, Tim!*~


Friday Fragments 3.27.2009

~ Today I attended another funeral of a friend's child. My co-worker and friend lost her daughter last weekend. She was killed in a car accident. My heart is just breaking for my friend. Her daughter was only 29 and left behind 2 small children, 5 and 7 years old. It was a military service, and it was incredibly sad.

~ Saturday is our March for Babies. I'm excited to walk and proud of the money we've raised, but I'm so over it all and ready for it to be done. I seriously doubt I will do the whole Team Captain thing again next year. Thankless job! But it's for such a good cause.

~ I'm currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. What an amazing book. I don't want it to end.

~ What I need to do this weekend: Catch up on laundry.

What I want to do this weekend: Catch up on sleep.

Can someone send the laundry fairy in my direction, pretty-please?

~ The weather is just beautiful here lately. I'm ready to soak up some sun!

~ It's a fun time to live in my house right now. We moved in last fall, and we saw lots of plants but weren't sure what many of them were. Now that it's Spring, they're blooming, and lots of other plants are popping up too. It's beautiful! Among other things, we have bottle brush bushes, lots of azaleas, wysteria, and the white flowers on the arch above my little hideout (not sure what kind they are!).

~ I'm totally exhausted and my brain is too fried to think of anything else. For more Friday Fragments, visit here. For some other great reads, try here, here, here, and here.

Have a Fantastic Friday & a Wonderful Weekend!


WordFUL Wednesday - Treasures & Quotes

I've mentioned my love of thrift & consignment store shopping before. I've gotten more great deals than I can even list. Most recently, a pair of Express Jeans & a pair of American Eagle jeans for $5 each. I get brand name clothes & shoes for the kids for a few bucks. And I thoroughly enjoy it!
But I have to tell you that the best part of all is finding Treasures.
If you take your time and really look around, you can find all kinds of interesting things in secondhand shops. These are three of my favorite purchases.

I bought these two paintings together. I really loved the paintings, but was sold when I turned them over and saw the identical stickers on the backs of both pieces. They said:
This craft is custom made from slate reclaimed from the roof of an 80 year old farmhouse in Holmes County, Ohio - home of the largest Amish settlement in the United States.
(the price? $3.99 each.)

This kitty caught my eye, and I thought it was cute in its simplicity. Then I turned it over and read this:

Kind Hearted Woman Sign
In olden days, when hobos were common to the American experience, they had a shared vocabulary of "hobo signs". Chalked or scratched on pavements and fenceposts in front of houses across the land, these simple pictures advised those who might follow.
This smiling cat meant "Kind-Hearted Woman" - someone who could be counted on for a friendly word and perhaps a warm meal. In hobo language, it was a high compliment; today, it still is.

The funny thing is that years ago when I was a child, I read a book that mentioned "Hobo Signs" and I've always been intrigued by the idea of them. So that made this a very special treasure! It's proudly displayed on an outer wall of my home. (the price? $2.99.)

And on an unrelated note...this morning, Shelbie, my 13 year old daughter, forgot to take a shirt to school that she needed for a church activity after-school. The flurry of text messages started early. "Mom will you PLEASE bring my shirt to school??" I told her that I would, and I would meet her after school with it. I saw no reason why she couldn't quickly run out to my van, grab the shirt, then jump in the car with the Acteens leader and zip off to her activity. Well, that was just not acceptable to her! She said she didn't have time for that. She wanted me to get up early and drop the shirt off at the office. Which sounds like a minor inconvenience, but the problem is, this is not an isolated incident, and my children HAVE to start respecting the fact that my daytime sleep is just as important as anyone else's night time sleep. I just can't get up in what qualifies as 'the middle of the night' in my world, and be at their beck and call. So, she didn't get the shirt, and I left a little note for her on her bed. I've decided I'm going to start doing this regularly, with inspirational notes, quotes, or just a few lines to make a point.
Today's note:
"Quote for the day: Lack of planning on YOUR part does not constitute an emergency on MY part. Love, Mom." I thought it would be met with eyerolls, but she actually laughed!

For more WordFUL Wednesday posts, visit 7 Clown Circus. Better yet - join in!


Random Tuesday Thoughts


This is my first time participating in Random Tuesday Thoughts, but I've been wanting to for a while, because it suits me so well. I am a random kinda girl.

* - First, I'm going to gripe. I am chairperson of the March for Babies for my unit of the hospital. I am floored by how many people think that all they need to do is show up on the walk day and walk. Just exactly what do they think walking a few miles does to help babies? It's all about fundraising, people! :scream:

% - We are extremely short-staffed at work. Three people left within a couple of weeks; two quit and one changed shifts. It's a big pain in the butt and right now they don't plan on hiring anyone else. :scream:

# - Why is it that some people have no interest in doing certain things....until they see you do them? Then suddenly they have to jump in and start doing that exact thing? Kinda funny....

OK, bitchfest over.

@ - I got Elayna a kit to sew a pillow at a thrift store for $2. It came with everything she needed. This is her creation:

So cute!

+ - Our new cat is such a sweetheart. It was hard to get pictures of him, because he wants to be all over me, loving on me (or whoever is giving him attention at the moment). I'd have to run away from him to take a picture!

His name was originally Snowball, but he's Andrew's cat and Andrew's calling him Wall-E.

Ü - These just made me smile.

& - And this one looks just like Elayna's kitten, Charlie!

^..^ Hope you enjoyed the randomness, or at least tolerated it! ^..^

Head over to The Unmom for more Random Tuesday Thoughts!


Not Me Monday 3.23.2009 ~ Weekend WrapUp

I'm joining in the fun of Not Me Mondays again!

~ I did not forget to pack TOOTHPASTE for our camping trip this past weekend! Nooo, not me. Thankfully we were only gone one night, and I carry breath mints!

~ I did not take all four of my kids on a night hike. In the full dark. Not me! And they didn't end up LOVING it. Uh-uh, not them.

~ We did not see deer, fish, turtles, an opossum, an armadillo, a raccoon, and a beautiful owl. Not us!

~ And surely that raccoon and those deer did not raid our campsite while we slept. Surely that raccoon didn't steal our dogs' treats and attempt to steal their food. Not those sweet little wild animals!

~ We did not take our dogs camping for the first time. (well, 2 of the 4 dogs) And they did not thoroughly enjoy their little midget selves! Not them!

~ I did not give in and let my kids swim in that cold spring water. Not me!

~ I did not partake in my one vice - sunbathing. I didn't skip sunscreen altogether. Not me!

~ We did not see the most stars we'd ever seen in our lives. The older kids did not get to see shooting stars for the first time. I did not get to have a spiritual discussion with my oldest daughter about the beauty of nature and all things God created. NOT ME!
~We had a wonderful weekend & hope you all did too!~


Friday Fragments 3.20.2009

1. Three of the most important men in my life, were born in March. My oldest son, my husband, and my father. Interesting, no?

2. We're celebrating their birthdays this Sunday at my parents' house.

3. We're going camping on Saturday, our first camping trip of the year. I can't wait! I need this mini-vacation.

4. My MIL may be moving to England! That's where she and her family grew up, and now that she's getting divorced, she and her sister are seriously considering moving back. It would be so weird for them to be so far away! I really hope they fly us over if they do move away, though. How cool would that be?!

5. Andrew informed me this past week that he is "kind of gangstery". I asked him what that meant, and he said, "I say things like, What up, Yo?" That, my friends, is the definition of gangstery. Yo.

6 . I'm just about to hit my 300th post! And to celebrate, I'm going to do another round of Ask Me Anything. I did it for my 200th post as well. But I have a lot of new readers since then, and I figured some of you may want to ask some questions too. I'm all ears! Ask away, I'll answer pretty much anything within reason!

*Have a GREAT Weekend!*

Friday Fragments are courtesty of Half Past Kissin' Time. Go see!


This totally pets my peeve.

I think most all of us have pet peeves. I have a few relatively minor pet peeves. They annoy me, but they don't make me crazy or anything. Things like:

- the empty toilet paper roll being left in the holder

- when someone empties the ice trays and doesn't refill them

- not replacing the trash bag

- when someone starts a job, but doesn't finish it

- when someone chews with their mouth open/talks with their mouth full

- when someone moves any of my decorations a fraction of an inch

- I could go on...

OK, maybe some of those are a little crazy neurotic OCD excessive. That's just how I roll.
But there's another pet peeve that I have that turns me into a raging madwoman. I seriously wanted to rip the limbs off of a certain person who did this thing last night. And I don't believe a jury in the land would convict me.

Do.not.EVER. come up to me at work, while I am CLEARLY on the phone, clearly having a conversation with the person on the other end of the line, and start talking to me as if you are the only person on earth. In my opinion, this is equivalent to saying "I am far more important than you or the other person on the other end of the line, so start listening to me. NOW." It's arrogant, and unbelievably RUDE.

Since I work with nurses, we discussed it and decided that the ripping off of the arms would really adversely affect their nursing skills. So next time this person, or anyone else, does it, I will simply rip off a leg. She can limp around and still do her job. And then, perhaps, she'll have learned her lesson!

What pets your peeve?


Wordful Wednesday ~ Gone Postal

So, I painted my mailbox this weekend. This is something I've always wanted to do, and finally I just did it! It's simple but I like it.

(click on the pictures to see them full-size)

(that house is the one across the street.)

(The swirly parts are our house number, in case you were wondering.)

And, here is a picture of my favorite spot, my sanctuary.

I wish you could see my windchimes, stones, and little garden decorations. I wish you could tell that the glider seat is purple. When I get a new camera, I'll take better pics. But...there it is, the selling point of my home, the place I spend my down-time, my quiet little sanctuary. Just me, a book, and a glass of sweet tea, and I'm in heaven!

See more Wordful Wednesday posts at Seven Clown Circus.


Weekend Wrap Up & Not Me Monday

I'm wrapping up the weekend with a Not Me Monday, my first one in fact.

1. I did not stay awake all day Friday to spend time with John, after working 12 hours the night before. That would be crazy!

2. I did not fall in love with dozens of dogs while volunteering for the Pet Rescue at Petsmart on Saturday. Who would do that? Not me!

3. I did not go thrift shopping yet again! I mean, who thrift shops all the time?

4. I did not drink way too much sweet tea this weekend. That would not be a good idea at all!

5. I did not add another animal to our zoo this weekend. I do not have the word "SUCKER" tattooed on my forehead in large red block letters. I am not the one everyone at work comes to when they need to rehome a pet. NOT ME!

6. I did not marry a man four years younger than me. He turns 32 today!

Happy Birthday to the Love of my Life!

*I DID, however, fix my roots & brows this weekend! Whew, I feel better now.*


Friday Fragments

~* We're going to see Jeff Dunham live next week. I can not wait!

We're taking Tim as one of his 16th birthday gifts. Yes, that's right, I said 16th birthday. I haven't quite accepted the fact that I'll be the mother of a 16 year old yet. Un-freaking-believable!

~* I've been crafty lately! I have been painting. I haven't painted in forever. Sunday, I'm going to paint our mailbox! I'll definitely post pictures, even though they'll just be craptastic cell phone pics. I am also making tie blankets. I don't know where this sudden burst of artistic-ness came from, but I'm enjoying it!

~* I am in serious need of some maintenance. I have put myself on the back burner lately and OMG, it's showing!
These are my roots.

And um, who stuck those giant caterpillars on my forehead?!

Yeah, this weekend I will be taking care of these problems! And that is honesty in blogging, folks. I wouldn't share my roots and brows with just anyone....oh wait, I just did, didn't I? Heh. I earned all of those gray hairs, and then some....

~* If you don't blog on the weekends and missed my post about Premarin, please take a moment to read it; it's really important information and I was surprised that so many commenters didn't know anything about the horrors of making this drug.

~*Have a great weekend!*~

For more Fragments, go here ~> Half Past Kissin' Time


Wordful Wednesday - For the Pet Lover's Soul

This week I've been reading Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul. The stories are so inspirational, and there are some quotes in this book that really touched me. So, I had to share them.

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." Chief Seattle

our dog, Izzy

"I wish people would realize that animals are totally dependent, helpless, like children; a trust that is put upon us." James Herriot


our dog, Tater

"No matter how little money you have and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich." Louis Sabin


our dog, Suzie

"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made." Roger Caras


our dog, Sasha

"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul." Jean Cocteau


our cats, Lilly and Charley


Weekend Wrap-Up

~ I made my first pineapple upside-down cake and it was great!
~We took it to my parents' house, where we ate stone crab claws and visited and had a nice time.
~Ladybug went to a birthday party for her friend, in which all of these 13 year old girls had a full English Tea! They even dressed up in vintage clothes and had a great time. I think it's a great idea and it gave me something to think about for the Princess's next birthday!
~I did a whole lot of sleeping! I'm taking meds right now that make me sleepy and I am SO glad that tomorrow morning I will take the last dose!
I've decided to dispense with the silly nicknames I use for my kids on the blog. I'm just tired of them, and I love my kids' names and I want to use them! So, for future reference...
T-bone: Tim
Ladybug: Shelbie
Spiderman: Andrew
Princess: Elayna
Hubby: John
and as most of you know, I'm Cyndy.


Educate Yourself - Premarin

I know that most of my readers are many years away from menopause.

But there's a very important issue regarding medication prescribed to many women for menopause symptoms. This drug is called Premarin. It's a shortened version of Pregnant Mares' Urine, because that's what it's made from. It's also sold under the names PremPro, PremPac and PremPhase. The production of this drug has cost the lives of over a million horses.

The issue here is the treatment of horses for the making of this drug. There is no government regulation for the treatment of these horses. They are kept in stalls & strapped to urine bags 6 months out of the year. They are kept in production, foaling every year, for eight to nine years, then sold for slaughter. A horse's normal life span is 20-25 years. The foals are sold at auction, usually for slaughter as well.

I recently spoke to a volunteer from the Horse Sanctuary near my home. She said of all the horses they have who have come from all sorts of neglect & abuse situations, the Premarin mares are the saddest cases. Some of them have lived at the Sanctuary for years, but still will not allow any human to get anywhere near them. They can only feed and water them, they can't give them any type of care that requires contact.

What we need to do is refuse to take Premarin or any other drug containing Pregnant Mares' Urine. There are many alternatives to aid in the natural life changes of menopause. Menopause is not a disease. It can be dealt with without hormone treatment (my mother is proof of that). Premarin also has risks; it's been linked to breast cancer, heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes.

I'll leave you with a few links about Premarin and Premarin Mares, so you can Educate Yourself! (or your mom, your grandma, your aunts, your friends!)


Believe in Your Dreams

I have this sign hanging up in my bedroom.
I've had many dreams in my life, and I am blessed to say that many of them have come true. But there are a few that I'm still chasing, too. I feel like I will reach these goals and realize these dreams in time. I just have to believe in them, and keep reaching for them.

Do you believe in your dreams?
Are you chasing them?
Or have you given up on your dreams?

To Nag or Not, Updated.

Remember when I posed the question to you all, To Nag or Not?

You all came through big with support and advice, which I greatly appreciate. I lots of comments on that post!

Now it's time for me to let you know how things are going now!

First of all, I took the advice of some of you, to have a talk with him. A heartfelt talk. I told him that I worry about his health, especially since his dad passed away at a young age due to heart problems. He said that he understood and that he did want to eat a healthier diet.

Although I was already buying & cooking relatively healthy foods, I made an even bigger effort to do so. I'm using the Mediterranean way of eating as a guideline, and we've completely cut out beef from our normal diet. I've realized that there are so many little changes I can make, that make a huge difference.

Also, since he always wants me to choose where we dine out, I try to choose places that offer a healthier menu so that he's not tempted by crap food. Like these!

He's started exercising every night.

I wouldn't say I nag, exactly. But I do suggest and occasionally remind.
One day last week, he looked at me sheepishly and said, "So, I went out to lunch with the guys at work, and I had a cheeseburger and fries...." and I said "okay...." and he continued "...and it made me sick." Those of you who have cut out greasy foods and then tried them again probably know this feeling....once your body isn't used to that crap, it makes you very ill! So, not that I was happy that he got sick of course, but I thought, "success! Muah ha ha!"
Best of all, he is more conscious of what he's putting into his body, and that's what matters the most. I can't do it for him, but I can help him along the way!

Thank you all so much for the great advice!


It's Time for a Pass, Again!

I'm tired. I'm whooped. All this craziness has caught up with me. I think it's a super-busy time for everyone, right now. So....it's time to break out The Pass.

That's right, you get a pass, I get a pass, we all get a pass.

Take a break. Enjoy a bubble bath, read a book, give yourself permission to spend time alone. Take a day off of work. Grab some extra sleep. Grab some extra me-time (and if you just said "me-time? what's that?" then you must take EXTRA me-time!! stat!) And guilt is absolutely NOT permitted.
The laundry can wait. The cobwebs aren't going anywhere. Pizza for dinner one night won't hurt anyone.
I totally agree with those who say that we are better parents when we make sure to take time to ourselves on a regular basis.

So, now you have a pass. No excuses. Take the pass and use it. Pass it on if you'd like!


Weekend Wrap Up - 3.02.09

Friday: I did the second and final Book Sale to raise money for the March for Babies. I worked a 12 hour shift overnight Thursday, and then stayed an extra 6 hours for the book sale, so I was at work for a little over 18 hours. J got off at noon and helped me with the last of the sale & helped me pack up. We did well and I enjoyed the sales, but I am glad they're over! It was exhausting.
Friday night, we went to a Gator baseball game with my parents, and had a blast! J didn't think he'd like attending a baseball game, but he really enjoyed it and we plan to go back & take the kids.

Saturday: I slept in until I had to get up to get ready for the funeral. It was touching and beautiful, and very, very sad. I will never again hear the song "No Place That Far" by Sara Evans, without crying. That was his Mom's song for him. For those of you who don't know it, it starts out "I can't imagine any greater fear, than waking up without you here, and though the sun would still shine on, my whole world would all be gone......." It's a beautiful song. His sister's song for him was "Angels on the Moon" by Thriving Ivory, which was also incredibly poignant and emotional.
After the funeral, J and I ran errands and then snuggled on the couch, watching movies, until time for me to go to work. I don't usually work on the weekends, but I picked up an overtime shift.

Sunday: J and I had breakfast together, then I went home to crash. That afternoon, we picked up Spiderman from his Nana and then ran a few more errands. I did a lot of thrifting this weekend and found some great deals! The girls got dropped off at 8pm and the Princess was sick with a tummy virus. She took a long hot bath and then went to bed. Sunday night, Spiderman coughed all night, so needless to say both of the little kids stayed home from school today. J took off of work as well. We took Spiderman to the doctor because his cough was nasty and kept him up half the night. The Princess felt much better today though.

Now I'm back to work and the kids will be back at school tomorrow, and the whole routine starts all over again.

One more thing: go visit this blogger today, a wonderful person who I totally admire, and leave LOTS of comments for Tuesday!

I hope you all had a great weekend!