Friday Fragments ~ Frazzled!

Dude, we are getting our butts kicked tonight at work! It's insane here, and this is the first time I've had a chance to BREATHE since I got here!
WHEW! I was turning blue! (Speaking of which....if you choke a Smurf, what color does he turn? Hmm? Something to ponder.....)
At least it's now officially ~FRIDAY~ and time to Fragment!

~~ I mentioned in the beginning of this month that I had been very indulgent over the holidays, and I was going to get back into my healthy eating habits. I did...and I've lost 6 pounds! Yay me!

~~ I posted my Chicken & Dumplings recipe over at Southern Loving - check it out!

~~ I got a new phone and I absolutely love it. I thought it would just be ok, ordinary, another phone, but it's awesome!

~~ I was having a thoughtful night recently and posted this on my facebook:
"As I've grown older and wiser, I've learned to accept the flaws that I can live with, work on the flaws the I can't live with, and be at peace with myself." It's my new motto.

~~ It's taken me nearly two hours to write this relatively short post because we are so busy!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

**For more Friday Fragments, visit Half Past Kissin Time!**


Simple Things

Soul Aperture, an absolutely beautiful blog, is donating $1 to Doctors Without Borders' Haiti Relief efforts, for each person who participates and links in on her Simple Things post.
What a fantastic idea!
Here is my list of Simple Things that I appreciate.

~~ Shelters over walkways and outdoor waiting areas, so that when it rains, I don't have to get soaked.
~~Shuttle services, for the same reason, and the nice warm shuttle buses.
~~Health insurance....very good health insurance.
~~My job in the medical field. The field that I love.
~~Playing board games with my kids.
~~Back massages.
~~Best friends who are loyal, no matter what.
~~Tylenol PM/Simply Sleep.
~~Simply hanging out with my family, watching movies and relaxing.
~~Russell Stover Marshmallow & Caramel Chocolates. Yummm.


WordFUL Wednesday ~ Casualties....

....of the piƱata.

No matter how many times you tell them to stay AWAY from the BLINDFOLDED person wielding the large stick....sometimes, they just have to learn the hard way!

Visit Seven Clown Circus for more WordFUL Wednesdays!

Stepping Out

Some of my long-time readers may remember that Andrew, my stepson, just came back to live with us a little over a year ago. If you're interested, there's more on the history here,
here, and here. It's just too long to get into here...but for a quick summary, his biological mother has been in and out of his life since he was a small baby, and hasn't seen him at all in over a year. She hasn't called in months, allowing both Andrew's 10th birthday and Christmas to pass without even talking to him. Although we have changed our phone numbers, she has MIL's number and knows where she lives, and has never hesitated to call her in the past (when she wanted something).
She's never went this long without at least calling.
So, it appears that she has totally dropped out of Andrew's life. We don't even know where she is. We heard a while back that she was back with her husband, but more recently I've gotten some info that suggests she is no longer with him, nor her baby she had with him.
I hope his "mother" is gone for good this time. I truly believe that would be in Andrew's best interest. Far better than the in & out crap she did for the first nine years of his life, or the emotional abuse she put him through when he lived with her.
Andrew very rarely mentions her. When he does, it's usually to tell us about some bizarre thing that she forced him to do. It's always negative.
When Andrew moved back in with us over a year ago, he asked me if he could call me Mom. I told him, as I'd told him before, that he could call me whatever he wants to call me. He mostly called me Cyndy; he seemed content just to know that he could call me Mom if he wanted, but out of habit just called me by my name.
But a few weeks ago it occurred to me that I don't remember the last time he called me Cyndy. Towards the end of last year, he started calling me Mom more often. Gradually he has completely stopped calling me by my name. It's always Mama now.
I'm just glad that I can fill that role. It's not always easy. There are challenges. But it gets better all the time, and this recent change confirms that.
One more change you may notice - after this post, I won't be referring to him, here or elsewhere, as my stepson. I usually do, mostly for clarification; sometimes with the blended family situation, it's hard to remember who belongs to who. But from now on, he'll be called our youngest son.
Because at this point, it's time to "step" out.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood,
but of respect and joy in each other's life.
- Richard Bach

Andrew & John, 2009


Weekend WrapUp - Birthday Edition

Happy Monday! I hope y'all had a great weekend. We did!

Friday was mostly the usual routine, with some last-minute prep for Elayna's birthday party thrown in. I also made chicken & dumplings for dinner. I'm going to share that recipe on Southern Loving soon, they are sooo good!

Saturday was the big day - Elayna's 9th Birthday! The party was absolutely wonderful, probably my favorite ever. Everyone had a blast! I took about a million pictures and I wish I could post them all, but I will restrain myself. =D

My parents provided a lot of the decorations from their personal collection. They grew up in the 50's and are big fans of the music & culture. They especially love Elvis, and they are responsible for Elayna's love of Elvis as well.

That's a real, working record player!

I found the poodle skirt at a costume shop.

She loved it!

One of the gifts she asked us for was a bible with her name printed on it. I found this adorable Princess bible for her...she loved it SO much!

All of the girls....acting silly!

After a dinner of burgers & fries, diner style, we had Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes;
they were a big hit!

Then it was time to destroy the Jukebox Pinata!

Coca-Cola in glass bottles was a fun refreshment..........

....and the Sundae bar was another big hit! They ate those while watching Coraline in 3D.

The girls didn't even keep us up all night! I think they were exhausted.

Sunday we had a waffle breakfast and then the girls were picked up. We had a relaxing day of church, chilling at home, going to a friend's birthday party (the girl on the far left in the above picture, she's my friend Heather's daughter Savanna), then more relaxing!

I hope this week treats you well!
Link up below if you participate in Weekend WrapUp.


Fragments de Friday

Mommy's Idea

It's time for Fragments de Friday from the Casa de Dysfunction!
For some reason, many of my Fragments for this week are about Elayna. But since her birthday is tomorrow, I guess it's fitting!

~Yep, my baby girl will be NINE years old tomorrow. I can hardly believe it. The years have flown!

~ I mentioned before that one of the things she wanted the most for Christmas was a Chia Pet. She loves it, and it has sprouted twice now. He looks pretty good!

~ Her betta fish, Savanna, tragically died over the Christmas holiday. So we got her a new one. This one is male and he is red. She originally named him Riley Cooper, after one of the Gator football players. However, she recently changed his name to Riley POOPER. "Because he poops a lot, and because it's funny."

~ Last night at dinner, she said grace to herself, and when she was done she told me that one of the things she prayed for was no more earthquakes in Haiti. =) Love that kid.

~ Tomorrow is Elayna's 50's Rock and Roll Sock Hop party! We have had so much fun preparing and I think it's going to be a BLAST and very memorable. We've already chosen a theme for next year's party too! I will be taking & posting lots of pics.

Now for other subjects.....

~ I have a RAVE about Dansko Shoes' customer service. Many of our nurses wear their clogs and rave about them. About a year ago I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and told that I have to start wearing better shoes. So I went ahead and bit the bullet and bought a pair of Danskos (they're not cheap). I haven't had any problems with my feet since! I liked them so much I bought another pair in brown (the first pair was black). So, everything was great until the first pair started squeaking. First one shoe, then both. It was really annoying! So this week the Dansko people were here at the hospital again for a scrub/shoe sale, and I went to talk to them, and asked if there was anything they or I could do to fix the squeak. They asked me what size my shoes were...and handed me a brand new pair! The squeaking was a known problem they had and their policy was to simply exchange them for new shoes. I walked out wearing a brand new pair of $120 shoes! That is excellent customer service!

~ On Wednesday, I posted about our fundraising efforts for March for Babies and why we do it. Within MINUTES after posting, we received our first donation, and just a few hours later we received a second donation! And that made me cry. At work. Like a baby.
I'm not sure who the first donator was (feel free to comment, kind person!) but the second one was from my new friend Dina of 4 Lettre Words. Another reader, Katrina from the Sevin Family, started a team after reading my post, and is going to participate in her town's walk, and yet another reader, Inappropriate Sue, put my button on her blog & asked her readers to come over & give their support (which you are also welcome to do if you feel inclined). I am SO very moved by all of your support! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

~ See this weather? THAT'S what I'm talking about! I love storms and I LOVE those temps! That's the Florida I know & love.

As always, wishing you a wonderful weekend!
Don't forget to check out my Southern Loving food blog.
Visit Half Past Kissin' Time for more Friday Fragments.


WordFUL Wednesday ~ Why?

So that other parents have ornaments that their children made, and hung on the tree themselves, on their Christmas Tree, instead of one "In Memory Of".

So that other parents see their childrens' faces light up on Christmas Day, instead of decorating their grave.

So that other premature babies live....we March for Babies.

Can you help us?

In Memory of Baby JW

Visit Seven Clown Circus for more WordFUL Wednesday posts!


Random Tuesday Thoughts


Random #1 - I saw three great quotes on friends' Facebook pages yesterday (Martin Luther King Jr Day).

From a high school friend who has two beautiful biracial boys:

"Thank you Dr. King for paving the way & opening doors for my children. May they never know the discrimation you suffered but always remember the sacrifices you made.

And from another friend:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

One more:

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Random #2 - I normally would've slept all day, but Shelbie had an ortho appointment. Since the ortho is close to the mall, and Shelbie had gift cards burning holes in her pocked, we stopped there too. It was just me, John and the girls. We had Chinese food for lunch and then had Cinnabon before leaving. I got new Wallflower PlugIns (totally feeding my addiction) from B& BW. It was a very nice afternoon!

Random #3 - My scrolling button marquee thingy has decided not to scroll any more. Any ideas? Suggestions? Interventions? HELP? Please?

Random #4 - Tonight when I woke up for work, John called me outside. There was a big, beautiful owl sitting on a tree branch just across the street from our house. I LOVE owls, and it was so cool to watch him! This isn't him, but he looked just like this:

Random #5 - Andrew has said for years that he sees things and people at his great-grandmother's house. He never sees these things anywhere else. He has seen a man, and an "old woman with a hole in her". Now MIL lives with her mother, the great-grandmother, so he's there every other weekend. He told MIL this weekend that the "old woman with a hole in her" is still there in that house.

Do you have any ghostly experiences to share with me?

Happy Tuesday!

Visit The UnMom for more Random Tuesday Thoughts.


Long Weekend Wrap Up

It wasn't really a long weekend for me. I still worked my normal schedule. But for the kids it was a four-day weekend. They had Friday off for a teacher workday, and then of course Monday is Martin Luther King Day. Since it was our "kidless" weekend, they left early and will be coming home late (Monday afternoon).
I don't have anything terribly exciting to report. We mostly did errands and spent the rainy evenings curled up at home watching movies! The most fun thing we did is shopped for Elayna's birthday.
One of her gifts is a new Bible, and we got it at Family Christian store. While there we learned that they are not only taking donations for Haiti relief, but they are matching all donations, which I think is awesome. Do you have one near you? Check it out!
I tried a delicious new recipe, which I blogged about here.
I got a new phone and had a blast playing with it.
Last night we watched The Orphan. Holy Moly, that's a freaky/scary movie! If you're into those types of movies, I recommend it.

Hope you all had a great weekend and have a great upcoming week!


Friday Fragments!

That is SO me right now. I have not had nearly enough sleep in the past few days and I am beat!
I'm so happy it's Friday and time to Frag!

Mommy's Idea

~ This morning I saw a lady wearing black capri pants, black tights, and black ankle boots. It was almost painful to watch. I wish I had Stacy from What Not to Wear on speed dial!

~ My amazing friend at Classy Chaos is donating $1 to Haiti relief for every comment left on this post. Please go leave her a comment!

~ This week, Andrew lost a tooth. For some reason, he decided to brush it. (funny how he never wants to brush them when they're still attached!) So, as you may have guessed....he dropped it. The tooth went down the drain!

~ I told y'all I won some awesome blog prizes; now I get to show them off!
I received this awesome wine/coffee package from Stacy at Stacy's Random Thoughts. They make this stuff themselves! It has beautiful custom labels and I plan on keeping the bottles forever! I may have gotten a little excited and poured a glass of wine and lit the candles before I remembered to take a picture. Maybe. *hic*

~ I also won these amazing Bedhead Pajamas from Pajamas & Coffee. I won first place in her contest for my version of Santa Baby.

I LOVE to sleep. I LOVE comfy pajamas. This was such a great win for me!

~ I uploaded some pics this week from an extra memory card and just loved this one. This is Elayna and Tater, who is like a living stuffed animal. He's so cute!

~ I KNOW there was something else I wanted to Frag about, but I can not remember what it was! Welcome to my life!

Have a great weekend!


Works for Me Wednesday

Two posts in one day, because when I go a few days without posting....my brain overfloweth.

This post is brought to you by:

And it's a very simple conservation tip, which is very frequently practiced by yours truly, the DysFUNctional Mom & Dad.

You're Welcome!

Visit www.wearethatfamily.com for more Works for Me Wednesday posts!

Wednesday Mish Mash

I haven't blogged since Friday!

So this post will be a little bit of this and a little bit of that - Mish Mash!

First order of business - I got an award! And I got it from TWO wonderful new friends!
Here's the award:

And I received it from Working Mommy over at Lessons Learned, and from Short Southern Mama!
I love awards, thank you SO much!

This one comes with these rules:

List 10 things that make you happy. (try to do one of those things TODAY!)
Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.
Make sure to link back to the person that tagged you!

Here are 10 things that make me happy, in no particular order:
10. My pets...they have been very entertaining lately and are so easy to please.
9. Diet Dr Pepper.
8. Listening to my kids playing together and getting along.
7. Blogging
5. My sweet husband
4. being cozy and warm
3. reading a good book
2. doing something to brighten someone else's day
1. Chocolate!

And I'm tagging these 10 peeps:
10. Short Mama @ Family of Shorts
9. Amanda @ Garibay Soup
8. Tater Tot Mom
7. MaryMac @ Pajamas & Coffee
6. Stacy @ Stacy's Random Thoughts
5. Triplets Plus 2 Mommy
4. Liz @ Loving Mom 2 Boys
3. Elastic Waistbands & Comfortable Shoes
2. Mama Wheaton @ The Unperfect Mom
1. Dina @ 4 Lettre Words

And if I left you out, it's not because I don't love you, it's because I could only choose 10!

One more thing, while I was over at Short Southern Mama's I saw that she was doing Wishful Wednesday. It looked like fun, so I'm jumping in! Visit the Seattle Smith's to play along.

I have a couple of dreams, most of them involve winning the lottery. =D
But I had a dream last night that reminded me of an old dream of mine....I used to always want to open a book store. In the dream I had last night, I was walking through a huge bookstore that was all color-coordinated with beautiful books and beautiful furnishings. I kept wishing I had my camera so I could take pictures, and wishing Elayna, my book-loving child, could see that place. It was amazing, and maybe one day I'll open my book store and it will look just like that!

Thanks for getting me OVER 200 Followers! You all are awesome. xoxo


Friday Fragments ~ Freezing.

Mommy's Idea

Welcome back my friends
To the Frags that never end
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside...

(who can name that tune? with the actual word instead of "Frags", of course!)
I missed Fragging last week so I'm just going to jump right in!

1. I started a new blog! It's a food blog and will feature recipes, tips, pictures, and other fun stuff. Check it out - Southern Loving.

2. My friend Manic Mother wrote a great post about a wonderful organization who helped her family this Christmas. It's called Nellie's Catwalk for Kids, and they help out children with cancer & their families. Check it out!

3. I overheard two funny conversations between The Littles today.
First, we were riding in the car and they were discussing college. Elayna was talking about how many years she would have to attend college since she wants to be a veterinarian. Then Andrew said "My Auntie H has already paid for my college, but I want to be a police officer. I wonder if I can get that money back?"
Then, while I was cooking, they were having a deep theological discussion. They were talking about the fact that God created everything, and then Andrew said "But who made God?" And Elayna replied, "Only God knows that. Unless he told Jesus....."
I just love the way their minds work!

4. I'm pretty tired of talking about the weather, so I'm just going to say this: It's still freezing, and I'm still pretty pissed off about it. And ONE more thing - if I hear one more person say "Oh this isn't cold, try living in Maine (or Alaska, or whatever....)" someone is going to get HURT. WE are not used to these temps. It's all relative. And for Native Floridians, IT IS COLD.
That is all.

5. I have 194 followers. I usually don't pay a whole lot of attention to that number, but it's so close to 200 that it caught my attention. Won't you give me a cheap thrill and help me get to 200?
Pretty please? *batting eyelashes*

6. I finally uploaded our Christmas pics. I really didn't take many, but I'm posting a few favorites.

The whole crew at the In-Laws' house

My MIL's only child besides John, ha ha....her old dog, Roxanne.
She wanted to join in the gift action.

The Littles got these crazy candy teeth things. They loved them.

At our house now, this was one of Elayna's main
requests from Santa....a Chia Pet cat.

When we saw this it just screamed "Andrew"....cars + dinosaurs = a big hit for him.

Shelbie with nail polish in her fave colors, light blue & lime green.
Tim opening up his Busch Gardens ticket.

The Christmas Tree

Our House

7. ETA one more URGENT fragment ~ Baby Kara Faith was born today, please click the link to read about her and keep the baby & family in your thoughts & prayers!!!!

Have a great weekend! Visit Mrs4444 for more Friday Fragments.