14 October 2012

September Wonderama

Here we are at the Big E! It's been quite a few years since we've visited.
I made the girls pose with this ginormous pumpkin. I explained to them that it was just one of those things you do at the Big E...and one of those things you do being a member of this family:) Pose on command. When will they catch on??
Roci is, apparently, a four leaf clover finder expert...
She told me she'd been finding them all week. I was impressed. As a kid, I remember wanting to find one and never being able to. I wanted to press it for her, but I forgot about it and found it two days later in my pocket book. I was sad until I remembered that she was a four-leaf-clover-finder-expert. No worries, right?? She'll find another:)
Aalyia is measuring herself to see if it will be worth it to buy a bracelet that will allow her unlimited rides on the fareway... for the bargin price of $25:-O
That's what Mercedes decided. The girls each were given $20 to spend as they wished and Mercedes offered to pitch in $5 more for each in order for all of them to get a bracelet. At first, I thought they were crazy.
The infamous Big E cream PUFF!!! Yes, I ate some! My system was able to hold it together til I got home... I have a lactose issue, but I had to have it anyway.
It was so heart warming for me, to watch the three of them come down together!
But the girls spent a good amount of time at the fareway.
I think they got their money's worth of rides...
             Mercedes wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel together as a family. I tried to explain to her that I hate heights and being 'old', I can't seem to handle rides like I used you. I get so sick so easily. Once a upon a time I would have tackled the craziest ride without thinking about it. The swings used to be one of my favorites. I used to live in Long Branch, NJ and loved going to the boardwalk to enjoy the rides at the end of the pier. There was a swing ride at the end and it would go out over the water. It was wonderful to watch the waves swell and crash against the end of the pier while flying over in the large swing. It was exhilarating... I cherish the memories I have of my childhood in Long Branch. I am so happy that my children will have their own special memories here in what is their home of Springfield, MA. I pray that their memories will be as special as mine are.


                               This was Aalyia's favorite ... the different themed fun houses:)

                                 We didn't get to visit the State Buildings:( but I got a picture for Gage
We stopped in at Farm-a-rama. That is where the gigantic pumpkin was along with the plastic cow ready for milking. That's the way we city folks like 'em.

Mercedes entertained the
crowd with some piano playing! It was fun to see her enjoy the baby grand. The sales associate assured us it was a great deal at only $8,999. Yes, we'll take two to go, please.
The girls tested out the $7,000 bed that the other sales associate assured us was a steal of a deal for the quality we'd be getting. He asked what he could do to get us into the bed that night... I told him if he could get get it for us for free, he had a deal. He stopped smiling at that point...
I'm so glad we splurged on this evening. It was worth every penny to make these memories with the girls... and my hubby:) 
These photos are from our trip to Fenway Golf. 
This trip was a treat courtesy of Mercedes!! Thanks girl! You can't put a price on memories:) Of the many things I'd like to leave my children, I pray that my love of the Savior and my love for them is on the top of their list!

30 September 2012

Project 10

I decided to use October to put together a new financial plan. I will use this month to look up bookeeping ideas that will actually work for me and set up some savings goals. I will post what I find once a week with the hope of having something in place by the end of the month. It has to meet 3 criteria: easy to use, realistic, and easy to use;)
I tried a binder idea I got off the internet and it was a big mess. I used it for a year and a half and finally scrapped it; too bulky. I also used an envelope idea, but it wasn't organized enough.  I've learned that different things work for different people and I just haven't found what works for me yet. In the end, the goal is the same...
to turn these:
Into these :D
That is a worthwhile goal.
I have a feeling that it will be somewhere between the two systems I've already tried. I just need time to work on it and this goal will force me to do that!

23 September 2012

Projects 8 and 9

Oh my has it been a long time or what?!
I have not forgotten you my little blog. I am in the ever on-going process of learning how to juggle my time and I have to accept that it is a SLOW process for me.

I do have pictures to post from my number 8 project, which was to catch up on cleaning up the backyard, decluttering the attic and basement. I am so happy to report that even though I didn't finish them the way I wanted to, I made huge improvements in organizing and overall appearance. I delegated the garage to my hubby and he assures me he'll 'get to it'.
My pictures are stuck on my camera and my computer can't seem to pull them off tonight. I think it's telling me that I need to go to bed and leave this for another time:)

I had decided to make project 9 a month to start exercising again. I hate to exercise, but I like to eat. Unfortunately, my metabolism is rebelling against my diet so I have to make sure I am burning those calories off before they make their new home somewhere on my hips and butt.
I am happy to report that I have consistantly worked out 6 days a week for the last 4 weeks. Even though I started the 27th of August, it is my September project. I have lost a total of 2 pounds and have some definition in my abs and my arms and legs are starting to get tight. I can finally do 12 push ups again, (when I started the program last year, I couldn't do one, but got up to18!). Progress, progress.
My workout choice is P90x. I completed this workout last year and was impressed with the results. I wasn't body builder cut, but I looked GOOOOOOD! I could have looked better, but I wasn't disciplined enough with the diet part. I love food and love to eat. I am doing better this time around with smaller portions and cutting down on my sweets and carbs, but not enough to look as shredded as I want. I have to accept that at 44, I have to work twice as hard if I want the ripped results and I'm not sure if I want it bad enough. Life is short and I think that I need to accept that I am working out to maintain what I have; and that is okay.
So! I decided to post a picture of what I looked like 2 weeks after P90x a year ago. It was taken in January. (Had I been smart, I would have planned to have finished the work out in the summer, but I did do it for me, and not to show off.) I am kind of a shy person so I opted for the headless shot:) I also can't show anymore of me than what is here because of the shy thing:) although my legs and butt were pretty tight. This is what I'm aiming for this year. I have two months left on the program so we'll see how far I get this time.
The more I look at this photo, the more it makes me laugh! I never thought I would pose like this, but I was pretty excited at the time and thought it would be good to have something documented so I could look back on it from my nursing home bed and know that I did have lean abs and arms at one time:-P Now that's a depressing thought...

I still have a few days to think about my October project. Hmmm....

08 August 2012

Project 7... still in progress:)

On July 31, with one day left of my July yard project, I found myself scrambling around to try to weed my yard! Talk about last minute:-P
I was only able to start on it when I came home from work; which was around 5:00 pm!!
With the help of my wonderful hubby and some help from Roci and Aalyia, we set off to make a dent in our little jungle:)

This is the area I usually use for a garden! If growing weeds was acceptable, I think I could win a prize with this mess... notice how they trained themselves to spread. Very clever.

 We even had vines growing over the basement window!!
 In this mess are miniature rose plants:(  I ended up moving them to another location because there wasn't enough sun.

 These are some of my hydrangea bushes after I was able to prune them and clean them up a bit.  They are much more impressive in person.

The pile of weeds reached the back of the tailgate on Bobby's truck!! I don't think you can appreciate this unless you've seen how small our yard is.

You may be wondering where the 'after' pictures are. Or, then again, maybe your not! I'm assuming that if you are reading this, maybe you are;)

 Bobby was sweet enough to pick up a few bags of mulch and worked on laying it down while I tackled the weeds. By the time I thought to take pictures of the 'after', it was too dark; and, I'm sad to say, I didn't get to finish. Bobby reminded me that making progress is what is most important.
As I looked around my half finished yard, I started to think about my half finished basement clean up, and my half finished attic clean up, AND my half finished garage clean up and I felt dejected. I had started all these projects during my purging project and hadn't finished them. My husband, being the nice guy he is and always trying to look at the positive side of things, suggested that I use the month of August to catch up on things. Hey! What a great idea:)
SO!! My project for August is playing catch up. I will focus on tying up the loose ends from my unfinished projects which are, mainly, my yard and the dark places I hide my messes!
When we finish planting and mulching, and if the weather holds out, I hope to take some happy pictures of the yard. I am no Marthat Stewart, and lack her army of helpers, but I hope to create something I will be satisfied with.

23 July 2012

What's a-happenin' hot stuff??

Yes, that is a line from the movie, Sixteen Candles. C'mon, it's funny...

I just wanted to send a quick update. Quick is a relative term. I had way more pictures I wanted to upload and it took 45 minutes to get these on so I didn't do anymore. Do you know what time it is?? Did you know that when you allow your time to be sucked up by other things, you may be forced to be up 'til all ungodly hours??? I didn't until recently.
As I was saying... update!
           I had just found out the Rebecca was moving!! I'm so sad to see her go, but I wish her the best!
                                                Photos from the Pioneer Trek in New Hampshire.
                                               Fourth of July at downtown Springfield
   We went with the Rousseau's, the Baird's, the missionaries, the Metzger's and part of the Rich clan.

                                  Bobby entertained the crowd with skateboard tricks and handstands.

                                     The Elders were able to join us!! There's Ben at the end:)

                                                   Look at those GORGEOUS ladies!!

Happy birthday to Roci and me! That's right. We share a birthday on the 15th:)

Flowers from the girls at work along with some nice jewlery...

Tom Sawyer, the ageless boy. At Exit 7 theater in Ludlow.
This is the entire cast.
Yes, our whole family is involved. Bobby is back stage.

Mercedes is playing the keyboard.
         Roci plays Mary; Aalyia and Kaleigh sing in the chorus and bribe Tom to let them help paint the fence:) Jillian plays Mrs. Thatcher and sings with the chorus:)

And there I am manning one of the spotlights!! Who would have thought?? It's been a great experience even though it meant giving up most of the summer. I think it's been worth it. Opening night ROCKED!                             Keep up the good work.

01 July 2012

Project 7... My yard

I was hoping to get a head start on my yard, but apparently summer decided to come in hard. I have no shade in my back yard, which is where I would like to start, and with 90 degree + heat,  it is hard to think of sitting in the blazing sun to weed. BUT, I do plan on making my best attempt at tackling this project although, had I taken the time to plan, I would have done this in April or May when the weather isn't so intense;)  A lesson learned regarding the importance of having a plan; any plan!
 So many weeds to pull and plants to move around, oh and the mulching!
I will provide before and after pictures because I feel they make posts much more interesting...

18 June 2012

Project 6... part two Yard Sale!!

Wow. Purging is hard work.
I had decided that the yard sale would be one day. Whatever was sold was sold and everything else would be given away or donated. I still have to finish my attic. I know if I look around there is more I can part with. The end goal is to have things that are absolutely loved and have a purpose. I am well on my way to reaching that goal. This yard sale did not make much. Considering the hours I put into organizing and cleaning, I made about $4 an hour. I know it's a bit sad, but it's more than I started with. No shame in honest work.
It was nice to have a goal set because it kept me motivated. I took action and I accomplished what I set out to do.  I'll keep picking away at it and make sure to keep on top of what I bring into my home. I have to remind myself to ask, 'Why do I want this?', 'Do I need it?', 'Does it have more than one use?' Hopefully being mindful will keep me from amassing unecessary JUNK!!
My project for July will be my yard. It's in sad shape. I need to remulch my beds, weed, fertilize, and landscape in front of the pool. I am entertaining the idea of rain barrels, too. I would like to fix my patio as well, but that might be a bit ambitious. But that's okay:) Setting the goals is what is making the difference for me. I'm really good at talking a good game so that is why I decided to blog about my projects. It would keep me honest!
I'll be sure to take before, during and after pictures. I like pictures with blog posts. It's like adding an accessory to an outfit. It is not necessary, but it can help tie it all together.

04 June 2012

Project 5...and 6: PURGING

To 'purge' means to cleanse or purify. That is the feeling that I want to have in my home! I didn't just want to declutter, I wanted to purge!!!! What a great project:)
I recently realized that my May project was going to spill into June. I decided that I was going to rid our home of all clutter, junk, and exesses stuff! The torando last year made me re-think what was important to me in my home and what is really necessary to have. I know of 3 people who are moving and have talked about all the junk they've had to get rid of and how overwhelming it is to have to do that while packing. I felt I should take the time to put my things in order before something big happens. Why wait?? It's an ambitious project, but I have a whole month to do it in, right??
 My original goal was to stock pile my garage with all our wonderful extra stuff and have a yard sale on June 2nd. When I realized that it was going to rain on that Saturday, I slowed down and decided to go through my rooms one by one and do a thorough job. Extending the deadline into June sounded more realistic. I have thrown things out from time to time, but this time I needed to be ambitious. I had 14 years of accumulated stuff and if I was serious about this project, slow and steady would be the best approach:)
I started with a pad of paper and wrote down each room on a separate sheet. I started with the kitchen because I knew there wasn't alot to rid myself of in there. I went through each cabinet and just wrote down the things that I didn't want or use anymore. Extra plates, cups, expired food, gadgets that I thought I had to have;), old towels, pot holders, cookbooks, magazines, etc. It felt so good just to make a list. I moved into the diningroom next because I knew that would be an easy room as well. Then the two livingrooms and bathroom. Extra towels, old shampoo bottles, empty packages, hairbrushes we never use. Books I'll never read again, old VHS tapes of trendy workout videos, magazines from 1998. Really? Why have them?? Out they would go. That was it for the first week.
The three bedrooms and office were next, (closets included), with the two baths and second floor porch. Everyday I took about a half hour and did this for each room in the house. It took about two and half weeks total. Once armed with my list, I felt empowered.
The following week with my list in hand, I started back at the kitchen and started with each cabinet and piled all my unwanted stuff on my kitchen table. One pile to the garbage, one pile for yard sale, and one pile for donation. This would be the formula used for each space I hit. It's best to have a bag or box on hand so you can sort as you go.
 I have gone through each room and closet so far on the first two floors of my home. It feels so incredibly amazing to look at my neat closets, shelves, and drawers and know that everything that is in there is being used and loved. No more holding on to stuff that I may use someday or things that I thought I had to have because I wanted to remember something. Do I really need that faded, peach Guess sweatshirt with all the holes in it? Or what about the acid washed jeans?? Really?? If I'm not wearing it, out it goes! Elephant pants? Yea, let's not talk about those right now...
I'm in the process of working on the basement. I am about a third of the way done. I threw out six 30 gallon bags of trash alone from there and I'm only A THIRD of the way through!! Yikes. So many books, (especially homeschool books and materials), old clothes, games, dolls, videos, and dried up craft supplies have made their way to my garage.
I decided I would keep two containers in my basement. One will be for clothes that we decide we don't use or want. The other will be for stuff that we are getting rid of. Once they are full, we can decide to sell them or. more than likely, donate them to Goodwill. That should help keep my decluttered house, well, decluttered!
Don't worry, nothing is making it's way back in. Once it's out, its out for good. That's the firm rule.
Next will be the attic and I will save the garage for last. I may even delegate that to my hubby. Why should I have all the fun?
I'm hoping to have my yard sale on June 16th if it doesn't rain. If anyone is looking for homeschool texts, kid's games, clothes, brand new men's workboots (size 8.5), a Bopee, an exersaucer, stuffed animals (cleaned of course;) ), books, and other STUFF, just stop by and maybe we'll have something for you:)

I'll post pictures of the yard sale when it finally happens... Promises to be interesting!

24 May 2012

Dandelion Run

I'm a bit fuzzy on the details of how I got here, but at some point in the last few months, an extremely energetic friend of mine, ( and I say this with the UTMOST affection:) ), approached me in regards to running a race. First off, I don't run. I jog... and not consistently. People tell me that if you are moving your legs in a way that is more than walking, that is running. I beg to differ. Running to me means propelling yourself forward with great effort. I tend to shuffle along, hence the difference between jogging and running. But I digress.

When my extremely energetic friend, let's call her 'EEF' for short, has an idea, it is always a guaranteed adventure. I honestly don't know where she harnesses this energy from but I know that it could run a small city for at least a year. I say this affectionately as well!
So, 'EEF' tells me about this race called the Dandelion Run in the town of Derby, VT.  It is supposed to be very scenic and 'Oh so much fun!', and we need to do it. We were supposed to run in a relay race this year called 'Ragnar', but the team fell apart. (Don't tell 'EEF' I said this but I was happy:)
This Ragnar relay was roughly 176 miles (yikes!!), and the Dandelion Run would be a 10k (6.2 miles) so I happily agreed. My extremely energetic friend, 'EEF', set out to find a hotel room and plan out the trip. This is where she balances me out because I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, which really is a nice way of saying I'm not organized. She, on the other hand,  is very organized. I know that is the reason why she gets so many things done. She doesn't just talk about it like I do. She is extremely pro-active and detailed oriented which are only two of the many qualities I admire about her. But, again, I digress:)
EEF's husband generously donated some hotel points so we could get a hotel room in White River Junction. I don't remember if it was in Vermont or New Hampshire. We were on the boarder and I know we bounced between the two states a few times. We arrived at the Hampton Inn around 7ish, I think, dumped our bags and asked the friendly clerk where we should eat.
Jesse's was the steakhouse that came highly recommended and let's just say, for now, that it ranks as one of the most memorable girl's night out in along time:)

We had to head out early because we had til 8:30 am to check in for the race and we still had to drive about an hour and a half to get to Derby. We checked in successfully and grabbed a racer at random to take a picture of us because it was extremely important for me to have evidence that I was in reality registered AND participating in the race. You see, I had decided a few weeks ago that I would be walking. I had tried to train and ended up with very sore knees and didn't want to cause any permanent damage to my frail, aging body;) I also didn't want to ruin the experience for myself by stressing. I wanted to focus on having fun; and fun would mean walking.
                                                                             Palesa, Jenn, me and Crispy

It was an absolutely beautiful day with perfect temps in the 70's and low dew points. The drive there was very picturesque; lush and GREEN! I felt as if I had driven into one of Bob Ross' paintings with the 'fun' trees and 'happy' little clouds.
The starting/finish line was at a lake where they would be providing entertainment and lunch afterwards. As I looked around at the 100's of people, I started to get excited. It hit me all at once that I did want to participate!!!! By golly, I was going to 'run'! Without telling anyone that I had changed my mind about walking, I decided that I'd shoot for 3 miles of jogging. That would be perfect and I knew that my max in the past was 4 miles so 3 should be easy, sort of. So at the starting line I looked around, and smiled at my friends and co-runners and waited for the start. Chris and Jenn passed me within seconds. Chris is a runner so that wasn't a surprise. Jenn is strong so that wasn't a surprise either. Another lady from the Springfield ward, Palesa, had decided she was walking the whole thing because it wasn't worth it to her to hurt herself:) Smart lady.
I shocked myself and the others as I jogged  behind, at a distance, from Jenn and Chris. My legs felt a little funny; as if they weren't sure of what to do! I know they were screaming, 'Have you completely lost it?'  But I told myself that I had gone all that way and with so many other people doing it, I needed to try. The first hill caught me by surprise. I was so winded. It felt as if my heart would pop out of my chest. But I didn't give up. I knew I wouldn't come in the top 20 or even 100, but I wouldn't let myself come in last even though I joked about doing that very thing before. As the second hill loomed ahead, I realized the only way I would finish was to keep trying. With my I-pod shuffle and loving voices in my head cheering me on, I tried myself all the way to the finish line!!! I didn't even stop for water. I grabbed the cups the way the marathon runners do and got water up my nose trying to drink it, but I was determined to keep moving for fear that if I stopped for even a second, that I would not be able to go on. It is with some pride that I report to you that I finished the race at 1 hour and 15 minutes! I must say that is pretty great considering I didn't really train and I had started out with the mindset that I would be walking. Imagine what I could accomplish if I had applied myself? Hmm... phew, moment passed;)

           Jenn and Chris basking in the after glow of crossing that finish line! These girls ROCK!

When I was .2 miles from the finish, I experienced this excrutiating pain in my hip and I though I would pass out. I was SO done, but I wanted to finish; needed to finish. Look at the flamigos waiting for me! I did it!

Yes, I did pass out eventually. I love the lonely dandelion next to my head.
See my time??? I came in about10 minutes after Chris. She was moving fast, so that made me feel good. Oh and did I mention, Ms. Crispy ran Ragnar last Saturday?? Yea, show off. I'm sure she didn't feel as if she was moving fast because not only did she run Ragnar, her son and herself had been sick during the week. But she was moving fast because I watched her disappear over the hills to be seen only after I crossed the finished line.
Dang, did you see the 42:26 below?? Way too many show off's here!!!

We took a drive after lunch around the half marathon course and holy cow was it hilly!!!! The views were gorgeous, though.

I want to remind my 'EEF' that I love you just the way you are!!!! You have given me some great memories this weekend that I won't forget:)

I will never look at a Dandelion the same again.
They are so pretty aren't they?? Who decided that they were a weed??

It was beautiful out there and I came home with lots of fun pictures, beef
jerky and a t-shirt:) Oh, and two swollen knees, sore ankles and a hip that feels like it needs to be replaced;)
no joke
hey, you okay??

We were just 4 miles from the Canadian Boarder, so we took a quick drive over.

We topped off our trip with a visit to Joseph Smith's birth place. It is so pretty up there!!
 Thanks for all you do and your willingness to always serve those around you!  You make things happen and that, my friend, is wonderful!

My 'EEF' apparently is half human/half cyborg because she was talking about signing up for next year. As excited and accomplished as I felt at the moment, the experience was more like childbirth for me. I survived something hard and painful and will need time for the trauma to fade before even entertaining the idea of doing something like that again.
But, I did survive and it feels so good to say, 'I DID IT!!'