Weekend WrapUp 11.30.09

It's time to wrap up the weekend, and wrap up yet another month as well!
Friday was fantastically low-key. I slept in the morning, and vegged the rest of the day. John and Tim had to work, so the girls and I just hung out at the house. The neighbor kids came over and my friend came by to visit, so the house was full. Then it was time to go back to bed. I never got out of my pajamas. Bliss!

Saturday we slept in and then went to my parents' house for the Gator game. Both of the teenage kids brought friends along with them. My brother and sister and their whole families were there, so it was a full house. We watched the Seminoles get spanked!!!, ate lasagna, and had a great time. We also laughed at my mother, which is one of our favorite activities. The older she gets, the funnier she is, without meaning to be. She complains about us "picking on" her, but she loves the attention!
Shelbie & her friend took about 8,888 pictures of themselves. I'm looking for a good convent to send them to, any suggestions?

Sunday was church, and we had our Family Dedication. It was very simple and nice. Then we got home and put everyone to work cleaning the house. In my spare time *snort* I made chicken & dumplings and rice krispy treats for the Fifth Sunday Dinner at church, plus made spaghetti and meatballs for lunch. I rock like that.
Sunday evening we loaded up and went back to the church for dinner. One of our friends was complimenting me on the chicken & dumplings but ended up saying "Great job, Dumpling". So my new name is Dumpling, and they're picking on him pretty hard. One of Shelbie's friends had NEVER had chicken & dumplings, the poor child. He went back for THIRDS and was totally crushed to discover that they were all gone. So yeah, they were a hit.
And now, after all of that, I'm now at work. Just call me Superwoman!

Hope y'all had a great weekend, and don't forget to link up below!

~* Today is the last day of my UPrinting Thank You Card giveaway; I'll be posting the winner tomorrow, so be sure and enter if you haven't already!


Fragtastic Friday

I'm all mixed up because of the holidays, and when I realized it was Friday and I could Frag, I got so excited! So without further delay......let's Frag.

~ I may live in Florida, but it's snowing on my blog. Look closely and you'll see it! I found out about that effect from my friend Manic Mother. I got my new winter design from Hippo Scraps Blog Layouts. Isn't it adorable??

~ Shannon at The Nut House has the coolest thing going on! She is donating one canned good for each comment she receives on this post, to her local food bank! I think this is fabulous and I would love to see her get tons of comments on that post!

~ We celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents' house yesterday. My contributions to the spread of food were: Black Eyed Pea Dip, Rice Krispy treats (with butterscotch chips mixed in, and turkeys on each one that were made of candy corn & icing. so cute & I forgot to get a pic!), fordhook lima beans, and dinner rolls in the shape of a turkey (courtesy of Publix).

~ We had a great time. I missed the kids (mine were with their dad for the holiday & Andrew was with his grandmother). But they will be back tomorrow! Two of my aunts were visiting along with my cousin and her family. And of course my sister & niece were there along with my niece's boyfriend. We all LOVE to laugh so there was much laughter going around!

~ We also love to take pictures!

Me & John =)

this is my cousin, sister, niece, and aunt (clockwise from left)

Same crazy group

my dad and two of his sisters

my cousin's adorable daughter, M.

~ Quick story about M - her older brother hit her in the face with a (soft) ball. She wanted to hit him back, but her mom said "no way! you'll break his glasses!" so she looked at her brother, dead serious, and said "B, will you take off your glasses?"
I nearly fell off the chair!

~ Tomorrow is an interesting day. It's the day of the Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles football game. It's also the last game that our seniors will play on their home field, "The Swamp". Including our amazingly gorgeous quarterback, Tim Tebow. It will be a very emotional day. It may also be FSU's coach's last visit to The Swamp, as this is most likely his last year coaching. FSU is a huge rival for us. They aren't nearly the team they used to be, but the emotion is still there. We have relatives coming in from out of town. ESPN Game Day will be at The Swamp. Some of my family will be there, the rest will be watching on TV. It's going to be a good time!

~ Two reminders: My UPrinting Thank You Card giveaway ends on Monday. There are VERY few entries, so get in on it before it ends - your odds are very good!
Also, in case you missed it, I'm starting a Random Acts of Kindness carnival/meme/theme, whatever you want to call it. I'm considering doing it every Tuesday, but not completely certain. Anyway, be sure to post about your Random Acts of Kindness and link up here! The holidays are the perfect time to be practicing Random Acts of Kindness & brightening the lives of others. Um and if anyone wants to do a RAK for me? Make me a button for this carnival!

~ Have a wonderful weekend, and as always, check out
Half Past Kissin' Time for more Fabulous, Fantastic, Fragalicious Friday Fragments!


Thanksgiving 2009

I love having a time to stop and reflect on all of the things that I am thankful for.
They say that in order to see the rainbow, you must endure some rain.
I have endured some rain.

People who have always been wealthy may not appreciate small things as much as those who weren't.
People who have always had good relationships may not deeply appreciate a wonderful, healthy relationship.
But me....I have endured the rain. Storms.
I believe in gratitude.

I am grateful to have many things for which to be grateful.

I am grateful for four awesome kids. I am sometimes blown away by the people my oldest two children are becoming. Yes, they drive me crazy on a daily basis. But they are truly great kids. They have good hearts. The little ones are equally wonderful and when they're not making me pull my hair out, they are quite cute.

I am grateful that my relationship with my parents has improved greatly this year.

I am grateful for my wonderful friends. I'm the type of person to have a small circle of close friends. I don't warm up easily to new people. But that's just me. I don't need to be BFFs with everyone I encounter. I'm very content with my group of friends. This includes my wonderful bloggy friends, also, of course. xoxoxoxo

I am grateful for the wonderful church that we have found. We were led to this church by Shelbie, our 13 year old daughter. She started going to their Acteens group with some of her friends, and we attended some of the Acteens events at the church and then began attending services. It is the perfect fit for us,(and that's a big thing for me....I am very picky about churches) and we've made some great friends there as well.

I am grateful that, although our house that we loved fell apart, we were able to find a nice home in the same neighborhood that we love so much.

I am grateful that, through financial hardships, (including a layoff and a sudden loss of another source of income) we have still been able to provide our children with a comfortable home and the things that they need.

I am grateful for our pets and all of those that we have fostered.

I am grateful for my wonderful husband. I don't know what I'd do and where I'd be without this man. He works so hard to provide for our family, including three children who are not, biologically, his. He does so much for my children. He spends every moment with us, other than when he is working. He is a true family man. He makes me laugh, keeps me grounded, puts up with my craziness, and loves me the way that I am. I could not ask for more.


Random Acts of Kindness

Photo Courtesy of Stressie Cat Art

I'm sure you've all heard of Random Acts of Kindness. There's even a foundation, with a website that gives you ideas and information. I'm pretty sure I've seen a blog carnival floating around with this theme, but I can't find it.
So, I decided to start my own!
My purpose is not to brag about doing nice things or talk about how wonderful I am. That's just a bonus. The purpose is to keep this more in the forefront of my mind, so that I do Random Acts of Kindness more often. And, to inspire others to do the same thing!
So, every Tuesday I'm going to host a Random Acts of Kindness theme, right here on my blog, and I will have McKlinky down there for anyone who wants to join in.
(I was late getting to it this week, so you're getting it Wednesday instead. Better late than never, right?)
My latest Random Act of Kindness happened yesterday. I have a co-worker who is also a good friend. Her job here is a difficult one, and can be very stressful. For some reason, on Monday night an idea popped into my head to make her morning a little brighter.
I pick up blank note cards every time I see a package of cute ones, mostly to use for Spirit Jump. So I pulled one of those out and wrote a little note to her inside, wishing her a great day. Then I left it in her office on her computer keyboard.
When she came in this morning, she had the biggest smile on her face. She thanked me and said "You have no idea how much I needed that!"
I love that I helped her, in some small way, to have a better day!
So, I challenge you to think of some Random Acts of Kindness that you can perform. There are millions of ways to do this. Start simple and go from there. And don't forget to blog about it, and link up here!


Weekend WrapUp

I seriously had one of the best weekends ever.
First of all, Friday night, I had my date. I met Beth, a.k.a. Manic Mother, for the first time. We had dinner together. I was a little nervous....what if we had nothing in common and couldn't think of anything to say to each other? And just stared at each other in awkward silence??

But there was nothing to worry about. We started talking immediately and never stopped. I think we annoyed the waiter because we took forever to order. We were busy talking! Beth is open and real and I just love her. I can't wait to meet up again! Oh and it was so dark we didn't get any pictures. =( Next time!
Then, when I left there, Shelbie's volleyball tournaments were still going on. I made it in time to catch the last two games, AND see her team win the championship! SCORE! Those girls were so proud of themselves.

Then, Saturday was Elayna's last softball game. She played very well and they won the game. So both girls' seasons are now over and ended on a very good note!

John & I went straight from there to Beef O'Brady's (for those of you who don't have one near you, it's a family-oriented sports restaurant). John and I had already planned on going there to watch the Gator game, and Elayna's team also met there after the game for a celebratory lunch. I watched part of the game, visited with Elayna, and also did some (mostly-window) shopping. I'm really wanting to try shopping at only small businesses this year and I got some great ideas walking down Main Street in our little town.

Sunday, we literally spent the whole day at church. It was our day to help with set up, then we had service (in which we were officially announced as members), then lunch, then set up for our fall festival. We woke up to pouring rain and were worried that it would be canceled, but it was just moved inside. The show went on, and it was a lot of fun. My girls came home early from their dad's and Andrew came home early from his grandma's so that they could attend the festival. They had a blast! My parents came to the festival too.
And now I'm at work, feeling very sleepy but very content after such an enjoyable weekend!

Today's Question of the Day is:

What is your ball-game of choice? Have you ever played? Or are you just a spectator?

My answer: I have really enjoyed watching volleyball. Softball is fun too, and I always loved watching Tim play baseball back in the day. But I think it's the fast-paced action that has made volleyball really fun for me to watch this season!

And if you want to link up with the Weekend Wrap Up, you know what to do! Seriously, it's free and painless...I promise!

P.S. One last thing - go enter my giveaway!


Friday Fraggin'

Finally, Friday rolled around again! I thought it would never come.
So, you know what that means! It's time for Fragments!

~*~ I have a date tonight. A date with a friend. Just the two of us! There will be more details to come on this later! But I am SO excited. =)

~*~ I started a fragment list earlier in the week. Sometimes I think of things that will make perfect fragments, and I write them down. The problem is....I can't find my list.

~*~ Are you ready for Thanksgiving? I can't believe it's almost here. Fortunately, we will just be going to my parents' house so there's not much prep I have to do, I'll just be making a few dishes. Christmas, however, will be held at my house this year for the first time EVER! That will be interesting.

~*~ One afternoon this week, we went to our pastor's home to visit him. He brought out his young golden retriever.....who was wearing a PullUp! She is in heat and as you may know that can be quite messy, so they got the brilliant idea of putting a PullUp on her. Hilarious!

~*~ Is anyone going to see New Moon this weekend? I want to see it at some point, but it's SO not worth going through teeny bopper hell. (I'm much more of a fan of the books, notsomuch the movies.) I'll wait, thanks!

~*~ And now, I'm off to an Honor Roll celebration for my straight-A student, Elayna! :o)

Hope y'all have a great weekend. Visit Mrs4444 for more Fragments!


Dear Peeps!

It's time for Letters to Someone, or as I am calling it today, Dear Peeps! Letters to Someone are the brilliant creation of Short Mama of Family of Shorts, which is one of the cutest blogs I've ever seen.

FamilyofShorts blog button
Dear Shelbie,
Before leaving the house, please be sure you have two matching sneakers, preferably both of them belonging to you. Grabbing one of your own sneakers and one of your younger sister's sneakers, then running out the door, causes everyone to be late when you realize it halfway to school, and have to turn around and go back home!

Dear Friday,
Why must you take so long to arrive every week? I love you dearly, please stop being so elusive.

Dear Hips,
I would really appreciate it if you would stop hurting. I realize I'm not exactly young, but, seriously? I'm 36. That's not ancient. So, why? Why must you cause me this unholy pain?
Painfully Yours,

Dear Aunt Flo,
You know I don't like you. In fact, I despise you. It's bad enough that you visit me once a month. But twice? Only 2½ weeks apart? That is SO not okay. You are not welcome here, lady. Stay away!

Go visit ShortMama for more Letters to Someone!


Prematurity Awareness Day - Shouldn't Have to Be

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day. I've blogged about my husband's firstborn son, Baby JW, many times. I'm going to re-run a previous post for today's entry, but first I want to tell a quick story.
On the latest visit to Baby JW's grave earlier this month, we glued new Hot Wheels to his flat stone, and put a Happy Birthday balloon in the ground beside his grave. It was the small balloon that has a stick instead of a string. After we stuck it in the ground, it started waving side to side. The funny thing was, nothing else around us was moving. Not the flowers on other graves, the grass, nothing. John said, "Look, he's shaking his balloon!" Then, the flowers on the other graves started moving too. And John said, "Look, he's shaking everyone's stuff, it's a party!" It was so cute.
Don't get me wrong, the loss of Baby JW is something John will mourn for the rest of his life. But our visits and volunteering for the March for Babies have helped him with the grieving process, and I'm glad that he is able to see beyond his grief, and know that Baby JW is in a better place, and celebrating in heaven.

Shouldn't Have to Be Originally posted 12/31/2008

We shouldn't have to put this Christmas tree on a cold little grave.

We shouldn't have to glue cars onto a hard slab.

We shouldn't have to see the brand-new grave beside his, of a baby who only lived for one day.

There shouldn't have to be a baby section in a cemetery.

There shouldn't have to be parents with empty arms.

There shouldn't have to be parents wondering what their kids would be doing that Christmas, if only they had lived.

I shouldn't have to kneel down and tell that baby how wonderful his father is.

I shouldn't have to tell him that he will see him again in Heaven, of this I have no doubt.

I shouldn't have to tell him about his little brother, and how I wish they could play together.

He shouldn't have to wonder what his son would be like today.

He shouldn't have to visit his firstborn son in a cemetery.

He shouldn't have to miss his son, every single day.


Weekend Wrap Up 11.16.09

It's that time again....time to wrap up my weekend.
It was a busy but mostly uneventful weekend.
Saturday morning Elayna had a softball double-header. They won both games and had a blast.
Saturday afternoon, we watched the Gators play a messy, ugly game, but they won, and that's all that matters to me.
We went to the library and then John and I fed the kids dinner early. Then we all watched Herbie Goes Bananas. After the movie, we put the kids to bed, lit candles and had a nice romantic dinner to ourselves. It was nice and we decided we should do that more often! It had been forever since we'd done that.
Sunday was a lovely, cloudless day filled with church, shopping, outside play, laundry, bathing dogs, kids visiting friends, kids' sports practices, and then more church. Instead of a church service on Sunday nights, we have 'grow groups', which are small groups that meet in the home of a couple who attend the church. We really enjoy that small group time. The little kids have their own group, and the bigger kids go to Youth Group. We're gearing up for our Fall Festival also, which is next Sunday.

So, yeah. Nothing but excitement going on around here! I love weekends like this though....laid back, easy going, family time.
Of course that laid-back feeling will end soon, since the busy week is starting. Wheeee!


I've decided to add a fun Question of the Day to my Weekend WrapUp posts. Today's question is:

If you could only drink one beverage for the rest of your life (not including water), which one would you choose?
I tend to get addicted obsessed with a specific drink and stick with it. For years it was Diet Pepsi. A few months ago, I was obsessed with sweet tea. But now, I have a new one.
It's Diet Dr Pepper.

LOVE it and would happily drink it for the rest of my life (or until the next obsession comes along!).
Play along, answer the QOTD in the comments or join in on your own blog!
If you join in on Weekend WrapUp and/or QOTD, be sure to add your link to MckLinky.


Friday Fragaholic

OK. I admit it. I am addicted.
My name is Cyndy, and I'm a Fragaholic. (Hi, Cyndy!)
It's been one week since my last Frag, and I can't hold out any longer.
It's Fragging time.

~* I officially established my place as Shelbie's volleyball team's lucky charm this week. Complete with a very wet hug from my very sweaty child. They won both games and Shelbie did great. Now...it's tournament time.

~* Elayna's last softball game is tomorrow, it's a double-header.

~* We're in the process of getting everyone in the family vaccinated for the H1N1 flu. Thus, my poll on the right sidebar. I'm curious as to how my readers feel about the vax. I was initially hesitant about it, but I did my research and especially because of my job, felt that we should get it.

~* I was reading the Molly Lou Gifts blog this week, and the blogger is going to shop only from small businesses this Christmas season. No big box stores, just small indepent businesses, both local and online. I think this is such a great idea and John and I have decided to try to do this as well!

~* Hurricane Ida brought us a cold snap. Yesterday the high was only 62, and right now (4 a.m.) it's in the 40's! BRR! I'm a total wuss with the cold weather. I get cold so easily and I hate to be cold. The worst is when my nose is cold! I am seriously considering buying one of these.

And I will wear it with my Snuggie.

And anyone who laughs at me will get that evil stare that I give my children, which leaves them shaking in their boots.

Muah ha ha ha!

Have a great weekend!

For more Friday Fragements, visit Half Past Kissin' Time.


Best Punishment Ever

I'm joining Mama Kat today and choosing one of her Writer's Workshop Prompts.
Here's the one I chose:

1.) Describe the best/most creative punishment you have ever given your children or received yourself. (inspired via Twitter by Maya from Musings Of A Marfan Mom)

My best punishment ever popped into my mind as soon as I read this.

When my oldest son, Tim, was about 12 or 13, he was constantly complaining that he got into trouble for things that the little kids, Elayna & Andrew, got away with. The little kids at this time were about 6 and 7 years old, respectively. So, basically, he was right. I expected more of him than I did of six and seven year olds. Shoot me!
I finally got tired of his complaining. An idea struck. I told Tim that if he wanted to be treated exactly the same as the little kids, that was fine. But it had to be in EVERY way, not just getting away with the things they got away with. I told him that for one week, he would be treated exactly the same as the little kids in every.single.way.
In a typically cocky adolescent male fashion, he said "That's FINE!!"
At the time, we lived in a town home, and in the complex there was a pool and a soda machine. He was normally allowed to walk down and get a soda or hang out, ride his skateboard, whatever.
But the first time he tried that, I feigned shock and said "Oh no! We don't let the little kids walk around the complex alone, remember? So there's no way you can do that. Remember? You're a little kid now."
He went to bed at the same time as the little kids, 8:30 pm. He wasn't allowed to use his cell phone - the little kids didn't have cell phones. He couldn't watch certain TV programs that were deemed inappropriate for kids of the age that he wanted to be treated. Literally in every way that I could think of, he was treated exactly like the younger kids.
Once that week was over, he never, ever complained about the little kids getting away with more again.
And I? Felt pretty brilliant.

Because while I am not a perfect mother- nor do I aspire or pretend to be one- I am a VERY good mother. I have no doubt of that. =)

P.S. Thank you for your comments on yesterday's post. They encourage me more than you know. xoxo

The End!


Wicked Stepmother, Circa 2009

Yep, that's Me.

I read a post on AnyMommy's blog the other day. (I love her, by the way.)
The one about Just Rewards (crazy computer won't let me link directly to that post).
That post really made me think. About my stepson.
Because Andrew has issues as well, although most of them are undiagnosed at this point (we're working on that). And because of that, I have rules and discipline for him that others do not understand. Rarely is anything said to my face, but I know for certain things are said behind my back, probably far more than I know. But that's ok. Because they don't understand.
The best example I can think of is what happens at Elayna's softball practice & games. Two hours for Andrew to find something to do. Since it takes place outdoors, it's really not hard. He thoroughly enjoys himself. However, I realized early on that some ground rules would have to be set. Minor problems arose early on, and I am a 'nip-it-in-the-bud' kind of mom. I have to be, especially with him.

Rule #1. Stay where I can see you. I think it's obvious why I have this rule.
Rule #2. Don't play with other kids' toys. You're welcome to bring your own. This one came about after several occasions where all of the kids were playing with one kids' toys, and they went missing or they fought over them, with Andrew right in the middle of it all.
Rule #3. Keep your hands to yourself. Andrew is very touchy-feely. There are issues with this. He was hugging kids (whom he'd never met before) on Day One of practice. Some mothers are not a fan of this. I understand that. Also, spinning little girls around by their arms can make them pop out of the socket. Not fun.

The "sentence" for breaking a rule is that he has to sit in the stands with me for the remainder of the practice or game.
I'm not a total hardass. I give reminders. I give warnings. But after about the third warning, when I looked around and couldn't find him anywhere, and eventually found him behind a building with another child's toy in his hand...it was discipline time.
So everyone looks at the poor, dejected child, chin in his hand, miserably sitting on the stands, bored and sad. But he won't do it again, right?
Until a few practices later. I see him running around with something in his hand, but I didn't know what it was and got distracted by something on the field. Finally a few minutes later, I see him from another angle. It's a freaking Gameboy. Not only is he breaking Rule #2, he's doing it with a toy that would cost me around $200 to replace!
Repeat above scenario. Poor sad child. Evil wicked mean stepmother.
And that's just one example out of hundreds. And you know, at this point, I just don't care. Those who are judging have no idea what our life is like. What he's been through. What we've all been through. There are reasons for the things that we do, and frankly they are nobody's business.
And you know what else? Overall, my methods work. He listens to me better than anyone else. He has only had to sit out on those two occasions. He's very careful to ask me if something is OK before he does it. In fact he's one of the better-behaved kids at the practices.
But I guess the reason I am posting this (other than to vent) is to say to my readers...please don't judge other parents too harshly. Please step back and think that there may be more...so much more...to the situation than the 5 minutes you happen to see.

Grant That I May Not Criticize My Neighbor
Until I Have walked a Mile in His Moccasins.
Native American Saying


I Love How....

I love how my MIL practically demands to have Andrew whenever she wants to have him, which is more often then we'd like. But then when we actually NEED her to watch him for us....she can't. Or she makes it all complicated. And it's like she's doing us some huge favor. No really...I love that!

I love how my family thinks trash day means taking out the kitchen trash. That's it. Even though we have trash cans in both bathrooms, the bedroom, the laundry room and the living room, plus two recycling bins! No seriously - I love that!

I love how my kids wait until the very.last.minute. to tell me they need something for a school or church activity. That really rocks - I love it!

I love how people say one thing and do another. I truly love that!

P.S. I got the button slide show done! If you're not on there, it's probably because I couldn't find your button. If you want to see your button on there, PLEASE just tell me! I had so much fun I added my Prayer Buttons as a slide show on my right sidebar! If you need to know how to make one, let me know. My wonderful friends hooked me up with the codes (and it's VERY easy!).