Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh how I dream of a white Christmas

Growing up we mostly lived in tropical locations, at least we lived in tropical locations from the time I was 4 when we moved to Hawaii until my dad retired in Orlando. So any Christmas memories I still have are of warm Christmases. Occasionally my dad would be transferring during the Christmas season and we would stop in Ohio en-route to visit family and get a small taste of snow and cold. When I married and settled in Fort Myers and started a family it seemed like every Christmas was warm. It never felt like Christmas when we were running around in shorts and swimming in the neighbor's pool. But, our relocation to Georgia three years ago promised the possibility of cold Christmases at the very least and even promised the slight chance for a white Christmas. Oh how I dream of a having a white Christmas....maybe one year!

Remembering what is good!

With a adverse and uncertain year gone by and the threat of another year just as bad as the previous approaching, I am reminded over and over again of the blessings God has poured out on me and my family. With the Christmas season here, I decided I wanted to reflect on the seasons and traditions, maybe even start a new one or two, to basically reflect on what is good in my life and the world right now, and journal it over the next month or so. There is nothing more promising than the Christmas season and the gift the first Christmas brought over 2000 years ago. So hopefully, this year and my little journal will serve as a current reminder of all that is good in my life and help me, and my family, remember that we are indeed blessed. I am taking 30 minutes each day, to relish the season and reflect on Christmases past, enjoy this year's Christmas, and and to dream about future Christmases.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Silver and Gold

One thing that has been the hardest for me with our relocation is making friends. One of the biggest reasons I did not want to leave Florida was because I had rooted….after all, being a Navy Brat, Fort Myers was the place I had lived the longest than anywhere else in my life. The idea of starting over and having to make friends all over again was not a very pleasant idea. I love my old friends. Everyone of them are dear to me. And maybe every time I'd meet someone new I'd compare them to an old friend, not so fair to the new person. Although I am somewhat more shy (yeah---me shy) than I used to be, I am still a very social person and really need that social interaction with other people. I crave it. Funny thing is, I had friends (although their football affiliations are a tad bit questionable…I mean LSU and Georgia..c'mon!) right in front of my face and was too blind or too or ..oh heck I do not know, but when I sat back and opened up a little bit, there they were, right in front of my face all along. People who would give me and my family the clothes off their back if we needed them. People who I can laugh and cry with, people who I can be myself with, people Chris and I both can count as friends. You know, the kind of people who you can just drop in to their house at any time and be received with warmth and love. I still miss my old friends somewhat fiercely, especially the really old ones, you know the ones from junior high, who went through that awkward,self conscious time with you, I mean, if we can manage to get through that terrible time together and still manage to be friends, you really have to love each other right? Although in this crazy disconnected world we live in does not allow me to see or hug all those old friends, everyone of you should know I love you and I miss you and you will always be an integral part of my life and of who I am. And to the new ones, I love you just as much, and am so glad we have each other to get through the good times as well as the tough times, and I have reached a point where I could never imagine leaving Northeast Georgia cause I’d have to leave you all behind. took me three years to reach that point, it is the first time I have not gotten the urge to run back to Florida when the going gets tough….and for that and for you I am grateful! I love you all!

Monday, October 6, 2008


Fall is definitely in the air up here in the Northeast Georgia mountains. One of the main reasons we left Florida was to move to a place that would experience some sort of seasonal change. Although we are not near the peak of leaf changing seasons the leaves are definitely starting to change. I have the distinct privilege of crossing the Lake 4 times on the way home, as I leave work each mile brings me further and further into rural Hall County away, with each mile I leave the stress and hub bub of my work day. And right now with the leaves starting to change to contrast of the red leaves against the water and the trees yet to start their annual metamorphosis is quite striking. Combine that with the cool crisp night air the wafts through our open windows at night and it's official, fall is arrived.

In Northeast Georgia there are definite annual traditions that also herald in the beginning of fall, corn mazes dot the landscape, apple picking begins, Burt's Pumpkin Patch opens up for Business, Cumming Country Fair in Forsyth County, and the list goes on an on. These traditional fall traditions are still all so new to us migrants from South Florida, where the closest thing we had to a pumpkin patch were the imported pumpkins that dotted church lawns. And a Hayride was out of the question because the heat and humidity was stills so sweltering in mid to late Ocotber.

One of my fondest memories of fall is also fairly recent. Our first fall up here. We headed on a spur of the moment whim to go driving in the mountains to look at the leaves. We stopped at way stations along the way, took little paths, found a farm where we roasted marshmallows, took a hay ride, took a train ride, etc. From there we pulled off to waterfall hunt and found several waterfalls. We stopped at Vogel State Park for a picnic lunch and more stunning views of the leaves. We drove around to Blood Mountain to where the Appalachian Train crosses the road. That is before we knew a lot of people, were involved in almost nothing, and had nothing better to do than spend time together as a family, I kind of miss those days. Now we have to block out a weekend to even consider taking a day like that now, and I think every weekend is booked between now and the end of October.

Homework 1

So...I want to spruce up my blog, so naturally I find an online class at SISTV titled Bling Out Our Blog. So I am moving into unchartered territory. See, when it comes to handling and fondling paper and creating scrapbook pages and cards...well I can handle that, but now I am moving into the electronic world and, for all intents and purposes, digital scrap booking, and well...I guess its just intimidating to me. So this class gives me homework and homework today is what we want our blog to reflect. Well, this is me after all, and by nature I am all over the board so naturally my blog will be too. I really want this to be place where I can share what is happening in my life, reflect on my feelings or what is going on around my life or my world, and yes eventually I do want it to be a place where I can share some of my creations, I have not done much of that yet. So there you have it! Keep checking in and hopefully I will try to incorporate some of these "things" I am creating my own banner...already sounds complicated to me. We will see

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dinner table conversation and Shona's 10k

Oh six months or so ago we implemented a new “tradition” so to speak at the dinner table. Since we all come together as a family and eat dinner together after being separated from each other for 8 hours or more we started asking each other to tell the rest of us three things that happened to them throughout the day and how they felt about it. Now, we are not die hard stringent about making sure we do it every night and some weeks we do it every night and some weeks we do not. Truthfully it is sometimes hard to come up with three things that seem worth of mention. And truthfully I am not sure we have learned too much from each other for the six months or so we have been doing it, although I have to say there have been little tidbits I have gleaned from Chris. Anyways, last week the kids started doing it again, maybe since they are back in school and we are on a more regular schedule, and lo and behold I actually learned something from Phoenix I do not think I would have otherwise had the intuition to pick up on. One of her three things that happened to her was that when we went to the mail box her Highlights Magazine and National Geographic Kids magazine was not there, and had not been for months, and that made her feel sad. I had no clue she looked forward to those magazines every month, In my eyes they were just more pieces of clutter messing up her bedroom, when in reality they were something she welcomed every month with anticipation. I guess Santa is going to have to deliver those again this year for her, if she can wait that long.

So on to the 10k. The day finally arrived. My friend Audie and I had to actually run into Atlanta and pick up our race packets the day before the race. While there we decided to scope out the course…BIG BIG BIG Mistake. Granted the description described the course as challenging, and some even ventured to say it was the most difficult 10k in America, but really, how challenging could it be since it was for all intents and purposes in suburban Atlanta? Well…lets just say in 6.2 miles there were five very steep, very long inclines, with some declines, but nothing that matched the inclines, and it was not an out and back course, it was a linear start at point A and end at Point B route. The first two inclines were by far the most challenging; they were between a half-mile and a mile long each. Being the engineer I am, I am researching the grade change in for each incline cause I am curious that way and beside I feel like I deserve bragging rights. Needless to say those first two inclines we walked up. I actually found my “sweet spot” at mile 3 but was a little hesitant to push myself too hard since I have not run 6.2 miles in over eight years, and I did not want to push only to tank later on in the race, although our second half time was a lot better than our first half time. We completed the race under our goal and have something to shoot for next year. Phoenix and Griffin joined me towards the end and crossed the finish line with me. The Kenyans won. They ran it in 28 minutes (In my dreams I’m a swift and very svelte Kenyan).

Being a part of the race was an experience in itself. There were over 10,000 participants. Live bands and DJs set up along the route, spectators cheering us on, running with Olympic elite, looking forward seeing thousands of runners in front of you and looking back to see droves of runners behind you. There was also a 100k-bike race and a 10k wheelchair and inline skate race as well with all their elite participating. Pretty amazing to experience. All the proceeds benefited the World Children’s Center and apparently the event raised over 2 million dollars for the Children’s Center. Publix supplied all the food at the end of the race, trucks, and trucks of fruit, ice cream, sandwiches, you name it they had it. All free for participants and their families.

Honestly after surveying the route I considered making up an excuse to not show up, but I am glad I did not and made it. Next up (I think) is the Zooma women’s half marathon on November 18th.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The 5K

The runners: Phoenix, Shona, Mary, Brian, and Audie.
The cheerleader: Griffin.

Well, the day finally arrived, after one postponement due to a hurt knee, I finally ran the 5K I had set for a goal this year. It's been 9 years since I ran an organized race so I was a bit nervous. After all I am carrying scores more pounds than I was back then, and although I was not nervous about running in general, I was more worried about my pride. I just did not want to be last. Phoenix decided she was going to run the 1 mile run in conjunction with my 5k.

We woke up at 4:45 AM so we could get to Downtown Atlanta by 6:30. We had plans to meet my workout partner Audie and her friends Brian and Mary. Now those of you who know me well know I am never on time, so I had a very restless night worried I would oversleep, but I did good. When I woke Griffin up, he promptly went to his window and yelled out to me "But Mommy its still dark and I am still sleepy". Phoenix woke up ready and rearing, she slept in the clothes (all pink of course) she planned on running in so she just had to roll out of bed and put on her shoes.

We met Audie and Brian and Mary and waited for the race to start. The race organizers actually had a gym represented there and one of their aerobic instructors warmed us up, which was very cool. We lined up at the starting line and the gun popped and off we went. Now, I do all my training on a treadmill because I either work out in the morning before work at the gym, or more often then not during lunch. Now, let me tell you its much easier running on a treadmill, knowing your pace, having the fans blowing on you, etc, etc. I had a hard time finding a good pace. I did have a goal to run the entire 3.2 miles under a 15 minute average mile (mind you I run walk intervals right now). At every mile they had people with stop watches sitting there yelling out the times. At mile one I was a 14 minutes, at mile 2 I was at 29:44 minutes and at the end of the race I was at 46 minutes, which comes to a 14:37 minute mile, so I beat my goal and set a personal best, and I was not last (thank God). So that is out of the way. Now Audies bright idea is to run a half marathon in November, we started the training program two weeks ago.

Shona approaching the finish line.

Audie approaching the finish line.

Phoneix's fun run started after our race. I was worried about her getting upset if she did not "win" or if she had to walk a little bit. Let me tell you, nothing phases that little girl, she is not afraid of any challenge. She started really fast and got a pretty bad side stitch but she worked through it by walking a little bit. She finished strong too. She was so proud of herself, as were me and Chris. She told us all that she thought the 1 mile was too easy so she wants to run 3 miles with us next time.

The one mile fun run starting line.

For some reason she thinks she is in a fashions show for every picture.

Starting the race.

Finishing the race.

Finishing the race.

Shona, Audie and Phoenix.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Well its hard to believe its been since Memorial Day since I have had a chance to post to this blog. Since memorial day we have had vacation, fourth of July, Chris's birthday, my mom stayed with us for 6 weeks, Phoenix has spent 2 weeks at summer camp, Griffin had a camp weekend with mommy and daddy while Phoenix was gone, and finally, yes finally school started. Man, even though we as parents seem to have to be a tad bit more responsible, like having to get up every day at 5:30 am every morning so that Phoenix does not miss her 6:45 am bus (no more sleeping in for the heck of it), its somewhat of a relief to be back on a very predictable, reliable schedule. Granted with the beginning of the school year comes after school activities, which makes it seem like we are gone every night of the week between church and the two kids activities, but at least we know what is expected and when. No more slacking.

Phoenix started second grade today. We are very fortunate that her first grade teacher looped up to second grade so she has the same teacher and the same class with two more additions who happened to be in her kindergarten class. Her teacher is awesome and Phoenix is truly blessed to have her. As usual Phoenix was ready and rearing to go at 6 Am. She carefully put together the outfit she planned on wearing today (right down to matching unmentionables) and carefully laid it out the night before. She decided to take her lunch and made sure mommy had it prepared the night before to her specifications and had her backpack carefully packed. She could not wait for the bus to get here so she could see Miss Regina (her bus driver who spoils her rotten). She was our predictable happy go lucky Miss Phoenix this morning.

Griffin on the other hand. Well he did pick his clothes out the night before and seemed excited then 5:45 am arrived and well, lets just say he is not a morning person. First he wanted his hair spiked like daddy's but then decided he hated it and threw a temper tantrum because of it. Then he decided he did not want to go to pre k quite yet. Well you get the picture. He was the polar opposite of his big sissy.

So mommy picked them up after school and the roles reversed. Go figure.

This weekend we will all be participating in a 5k as a family. Mommy and Phoenix decided to run it. Daddy and Griffin will walk it, and be there for Phoenix if she decides she cannot make the full 3 miles with mommy. So wish us all all luck.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Memorial Day

We found ourselves spending Memorial Day celebrating a coworkers 1 year anniversary up at their lease site in the mountains. Their trailer is right on Boggs Creek and the kids had a blast playing in the creek and just running around being kids. We had a really nice time relaxing and spending time with friends, Phoenix and I even tried our hand at Karaoke.

Funny, I always get the urge for a change once I've been somewhere for 3 or more years. And true to form that urge is starting to surface (we have been here 2 1/2 years), chances are we will end up somewhere else at some point (not any time soon though, gosh lets not get those rumors started), but for the first time since we have moved here I actually consider Gainesville home. For 2 1/2 years I could easily have packed things up and moved back to Florida and picked up where we left off without batting an eye. But that day driving up to the mountains to celebrate a friends anniversary I realized Gainesvlle finally feels like home, and aside from the people in Florida I have no desire to go back there. And now I have the urge to move again, go figure. My mom did that for 20 years, must have been hard to just finally get settled in only to up and move again, by necessity, unlike me who has the desire to move, guess thats the by product of being a navy brat, it just gets in your system and it is hard to shake (wonder if I will ever shake it?).

Griffins Birthday

Well, I am a little behind, and several people have asked me what about Griffin's birthday. So I am posting Griffins birthday pictures. We did a small celebration at home then he had a party at school with his classmates. I attempted to make a pirate cake but it was a very busy week at work and preparing for an out of town trip, so that whole Martha Stewart thing was not happening. But we tried to stick with the pirate theme as best we could, as shown in the pictures (his hair has been cut since then, man he was looking like a girl). Griffin was so excited with those cheap little trinkets. He got a rock tumbler, so we have been polishing rocks ever since (boy is that thing loud). Its hard to believe my little guy is 4. He's trying so hard to grow up on me, he is counting the days until he is seven like his sissy. But with another year came the deep seated desire to do do everything in his power to annoy and agitate his big sis. And, man he knows how to push her buttons, all of a sudden I am nothing more than a referee in my own home. Funny thing, I know God gave me kids to teach me patience, but it ain't working. I pray for patience every day, but He never gives it to me, I am impatient waiting for the answer to that prayer, along with a whole list of other things I want or think I need.

Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chris's New Do

Chris got a new do...not sure what has gotten into him, I would say a mid-life crisis but 32 is kind of young for a mid life crisis I think. There are two significant things about the new do: first he actually has some hair to DO something with (he's always kept it buzzed for the nine years I have known him) and he had it colored. I have to say I kind of like the change!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Girls Weekend/Dude Stuff

This weekend was Phoenix’s weekend to celebrate her birthday with her friends. Her very best friend from Fort Myers came up for the weekend, and her best friends here came to our house for a certified girls weekend. Daddy and Griffin went to the woods to do “dude stuff” as Griffin put it.

Phoenix choose to take her friends to a little girls boutique and get their hair and makeup done, she is such a good girl, she choose orange and blue hair spray for her finished doo, GO GATORS. We then came back to the house and the girls played while the mommies talked. We made cookies and pizza and had ice cream. Mommies indulged in some Irish Coffee ( I was painfully reminded why I do not drink after that experience).

Around 8:30 daddy called on his way home, apparently Griffin was a little cold and actually started having some breathing issues so they came home to be safe. So much for “dude stuff” we made them stay in the basement so we could finish our girls night.

The girls summoned Uncle Kevin via video chat and proceeded to act like little girls being silly, not sure if Uncle Kevin knew quite what to think, but the girls had fun doing it.

They settled into mommy’s bed in front of Disney Channel while the mommies settled down on the sofa bed watching a chick flick. I think we were all up until about 1 am…and had to be up at 7 to get to church in the morning. It was an awesome night.

None of us get to do those sorts of things very often anymore. It made me really appreciate my family and the awesome friends I am blessed with. They just love me for who I am and we enjoy each other. Those sorts of friends are harder to find and make as we get older, so when you find them you really, really appreciate them!

Enjoy the pictures!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Phoenix turns 7

My little girl turned 7 today, hard to believe. She decided she did not want a party but wanted to go with her friends next week to have brunch at the American Girl Place so we celebrated as a family today. We got started late because mom was up late making the cake (yeah I surprised myself with that cake, to quote someone who told me this week, I'm turning into a regular Martha Stewart). We decided to get her a computer, but I am not sure if she was more excited about the computer or the doll cake. To my surprise, she knew a lot about that computer, I guess they teach more than reading, writing and arithmetic in school today.

She is growing into a remarkable young lady, extremely sure of herself, knows what she wants, and quite bossy (she gets that honestly I think) and she loves, I mean adores, her little brother, and he adores her. We got lucky in that department.