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For some becoming a mom is easy.  For others it takes a lot of work, patience, and time.  And there are the moms whose arms are empty.

Our family tree grew with a branch grafted from another five years ago.  There are circumstances from the first year of Olivia’s life we’ll never know, but we do all we can to reinforce our love and work hard instilling the best values we can.  I can’t, and won’t, romanticize the unknown.  However,  if I had the opportunity, I would love for the woman who brought her into this world to know that she’s a beautiful, bright, inquisitive little girl who sees the good in everyone she meets, the wonder in all she does and is loved by so many.  I believe it takes a village to raise a child and  I have an extraordinary group of friends who have loved my child as much as they would one of their own and I’m very appreciative.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and to those who have cared for and loved a child.  You are just as important to our lives as sunshine and rain.

Tis the season to be jolly…fa-la-la-la-meh.

I’ve been trying to get my holiday mojo, but it hasn’t quite worked in my favor.  Yet.  By saying “yet” means I’m still holding out hope.  For the past couple of months, I’ve been pounding the pavement and begging asking friends and family to help me with the canned food drive at Fabul-O’s school.  I was the PTA chair.  In the past, students have collected food for a food bank, but, this year, it was decided that each class would sponsor one of our school families who applied for assistance.  I reached out to 60 area churches requesting a $10 grocery gift card thinking for sure I would get the 43 I needed.  Students would provide the canned goods and we would give the families the card to purchase their turkey (can’t give out fresh food, especially poultry, due to health concerns).  Not a single church offered to help.  Including the one O goes to daycare at nor the one we attended for 5 years.   Grocery stores, some dear, dear friends, our National Guard unit and family stepped in to help me out.  I was able to meet the goal.  Next came time to divvy up the goods.  There were 3 families who had no transportation to pick up the goods, so arrangements were made to deliver it.  Out of the other 40 families, less than half came to get their goods.  *sigh*

Then came the unit Christmas party.  I am the new family support leader.  And I had one month to plan it.  The to-do list was divided among three of us.  Only one of us – you guess who – had her list completely done and ready to go on party day.  Another of us arranged the food, which was a huge deal and it was done, but the little “completer” items and part of the entertainment fell under them and it wasn’t done.  The last one of us ignored my texts and voicemail reminders of their completer items and they were totally forgotten. Our budget didn’t allow for duplicate purchases and 15 minutes before party time she dumped “Santa” gifts out to wrap IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN who were going to be receiving said gifts.  Oy vey.

Overall, the party was a huge success and a good time was had by all.  Santa was a HUGE hit and I’m a rockstar because I know him 🙂  I got several compliments on my “attention” to detail and making sure each and every soldier had something to take home by making ornaments for them all and having a wrapped gift.  Granted, only half of the soldiers were there for the party, but the effort was put into it and it was noticed.  Next year I don’t know how I’ll handle if, if they vote me back for another year, aside from taking on the whole thing by myself.

Now it’s on to Christmas for my family and a trip to see the in-laws.  I’m about half done with shopping and have TOTALLY blown the budget, so I need to re-evaluate and see where we are.

I have the spirit of giving.  I have it all year long, but I can’t seem to get into the Christmas spirit.  I’m trying to be more peaceful and work towards getting my life back in order.  The last task at hand is Girl Scout cookie sales that begin in January.  After that, I’m taking some time off.  A lot of time.

I’m not a total Scrooge, I just have had so much going on it’s hard to wrap my mind around joy and peace when I know it’s there.  I’m still taking baby steps.

In case I don’t post again before Christmas, which is HIGHLY likely, I wish you all the very Merriest of Christmases and a New Year in which all your dreams come true.

Be well,

Susan

To all our veterans: Thank you for your service.  We’re forever grateful for your service.  That includes my husband.  Despite what problems surround us, he has fought the good fight and has always been willing to answer the call of duty.  I’m proud of him.  Olivia told him last night, “Thank you for being a Soldier boy, Daddy.  Because of you and all the other ‘Vetrins’ I don’t have to go to school tomorrow.  That’s nice of you and I’m proud of you.”  I reminded him that is probably the nicest thing anyone will ever say to him.  Especially in the 5 y.o. age group.

Yesterday, the Marine Corps celebrated its 235th birthday.  When I got married, I married a Marine.  Our groomsmen were Marines.  My girlfriends dated Marines.  It’s what we did.  The Marines were my first real “taste,” if you will, of the military.  Except for one Coastie.  Anyway, I went to UNC-W and Camp Lejeune wasn’t that far away, so the Marines would come into town to mack on the college girls and we would score free beer.  It was then that I realized the old saying was true:  A uniform is the one thing that can make most anyone look good.   It wasn’t until Will left the military, joined the reserves and got ready to deploy to Iraq did I fully understand what it was to be a military spouse.  Remember, we were no longer active duty, and had not been for many, many years; we were a reserve family.  Since that time, my appreciation has grown from ogling cute boys in uniform to appreciating what the uniform stands for.  I didn’t grow up in a military household and, in my opinion, it’s hard to grasp what the call of duty is during peacetime when you’re 20 years old.   At least it was for us.

There are tons of jokes using the branches of the military as acronyms and we’ve heard them all.  After all, we’ve been in three branches: Marines, Navy and Army National Guard.

From our Navy friends: Marine stands for My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment

From old Navy friends: Navy stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself

From Marines: Army stands for Air Force Rejected Me Yesterday and Ain’t Ready to be a Marine Yet.  Others say US Army is: Uncle Sam Ain’t Released Me Yet!    Backwards: Yes My Retarded Ass Signed Up.

There’s a lot of fun that goes into those.  Everyone’s dog is bigger than the next person’s in their eyes.  And that’s fine. It’s the pride in the uniform and the dedication to do the job that makes it work.  It takes all the branches to protect us.

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure, and privilege, of meeting some of the most wonderful people.  People who have touched my life in ways they will never know.  I have hugged wives whose husbands were deployed.  I have cried over videos of homecomings.  I have stood on the tarmac in tropical storm weather holding hands with other wives and families waiting for it to finally be my turn.  I have been to funerals, arranged for food to be brought in for families and ordered Gold Star banners.  I have felt inadequate in wishing I could do more.  I always will.

Over the years, my appreciation has grown up a lot.  I appreciate our Nation and the jobs that it takes to keep us safe, a man in uniform still makes my heart skip a beat and I still firmly believe a uniform is the one thing that can make most anyone look good.

Hooah!

Hi, I’m Susan…slacker blogger extraordinaire.   But it’s not without a reason.  (Never said it was a good reason).  Diznee pictures are screaming to get off my evil CF card.  I didn’t buy a new reader before now because Will needed something to get me for Christmas.  And he did.  Along with a minimuffin pan that our secret blurter gave away.  Conversation was a little something like this:

Me:  Olivia, if you and daddy go shopping, I’d like to have one of the muffin pans that has a bunch of little holes in them to make tiny muffins.

Olivia: We already got that for you so we can’t buy it again.

So, now I we had this dumbass brilliant idea to rearrange the living room.  When it’s only the size of a shoe box to begin with, you ain’t got a lot of options.  But let me tell you what we used to move the heavier-than-hell-two-ton entertainment center.  The same entertainment  center, which was empty, that took 3 men to bring in the house when we first bought it.  The same entertainment center we pinky swore would be sold with the house should anyone ever decide they want to live her after us.  We used these.  But we used the ones designed for hardwoods because I was paranoid of still scratching our floor with these because the package didn’t specifically state, “Susan, don’t fret, your floor will be fine.”  And that damn thing is so heavy, the entertainment center now has slippers because we aren’t lifting it to remove them.  Oh, yeah. We never unloaded it…still has the t.v., Wii, DVD player, mack daddy huge tuner thingy for our surround sound, all our DVDs and CDs in it.  Slid like a cold knife through tepid butter.  Meaning: not without some effort, but we certainly didn’t break a sweat and no one complained about it.

Rearranging brought with it the asinine idea to drag everything out of hiding so we can sort through it.  Oh, yeah.  We’re also trying to prime and paint the addition at the same time.  Nobody ever said I we were good planners.

Pictures to resume on my next night of insomnia, which is likely soon.

I hope your Christmas/Holiday/Festivity, whatever you celebrated, was Merry and Bright and your New Year totally rocks.

From our family to yours, we wish you the Merriest of Christmases and a New Year in which all your dreams come true.

The Ls

We wish all our family and friends a wonderful Thanksgiving. Without you our lives wouldn’t be complete. We are grateful for so many things and our most sincere thanks go to our extended family serving our great Nation.

Peace be with you whatever you do today and enjoy the company of those you are with.

Be well…

h/t Shannon!

We give our most heartfelt and grateful thanks to those who are currently serving our great Nation and to those who have served in the past.  We are are proud to live in the land of the free because of the brave.   We proudly stand tall and support those who are serving from the four corners of the earth to keep us safe.

I am proud to be a military spouse and I’m proud of my Soldier.   A long time ago, I read on a blog something along these lines, “soldiering is an honest calling just like farming, plumbing, …”  I agree.

Our prayers are many and hearts are full.   So, again, I say thank you.  Thank you from the depths of my heart to those who serve our nation as a member of our Armed Forces and those who serve our nation on the home front.

Fabul-O had originally requested to be a Ninja for Halloween.  I said no.  Her backup was a Power Ranger, to which I, again, said no.  After some careful negotiations, she asked for a purple costume with wings and a wand.  Bless costume(dot)com because they had a purple plum fairy?  Plum purple fairy?  I can’t rember, but it was purple with wings and a wand.  And a headband with flowers that make it “da best ever” and put me at the top of her “bestest mommy ever list.” 

Years past, we would simply take Olivia to the local mall for some treats and she would pick where she wanted to eat.  Her choice: Pizza Hut.  Not this year.  We packed up and headed to the big city to see Shannon, Tony and Emily and went trick-or-treating in their neighborhood.  In the pouring down rain. 

Fabul-O loved it.  Loved it, I said.  And she was sure to let Emily have her turn at ringing the doorbell, but when she didn’t want to, Fab stepped up her big girl skills and accepted the responsibility.  Both of them were very aware of their loot.  Very aware.  They were some pretty dang cute fairies, if I may say so.

Huge thanks to the Shannon’s for hosting us.  We had a great time and can’t wait to see you again soon.

olivia 1

And Shannon totally made the night with some glitter spray. 

princess glitter

 

I’m getting both today.

Thanks to Tricare, my brain check will be at no charge because we’ve met our out of pocket expenses for this year.  Dr. Curry’s office won’t get that, so I’ll wait for my reimbursement check.  Since it’s National Cheesecake Day, The Cheesecake Factory has half-price slices when you dine-in.  If you get the red velvet one they donate .25 to charity.  I don’t like red velvet, so I’ll make contributions to charity my own way.

My fingers and arms, up to my elbows, are numb.  So are my toes.  Found that out when I dragged the door over them and didn’t flinch.  I also realized heat still makes me a little faint.  That could just be the sissy Southern Belle in me, though.  My nausea isn’t going away and sweet tea takes the edge off.  Seriously.   My “spells” are fewer, but come one with more of a vengeance.

I’m seeing Mamma Mia Sunday night and I’m very excited, but I won’t be driving into uptown for it, even though it is a Sunday night.  I don’t think I’m quite ready for that kind of nightime/flashy light/head turning looking all ways for traffic driving.  I’ll be riding with a friend.  I still get disoriented and I’m not chancing it.

On a scale of 1-10:

Headache: 6

Nausea: 9

Overall health: 7

I am 36 today.  Doesn’t really feel much different than 35, but I think it’s running the same psychological scheme on me as getting a minivan did.   It’s just not the same rolling with the windows down listening to Bon Jovi as it was in my SUV.  And the van gets worse gas mileage.  Go figure.

Today I’m celebrating with a bottle of Tylenol, a cold compress and hopes of not tossing my cookies with the nausea.  I am still stuck in this vicious cycle of migraines.  Nothing seems to help me break free, but the Demer0l and Vic0din from the ER Monday night after I passed out again sure did put  a dent in it.  After being euphoric for several hours, I can appreciate why people get addicted.  I’d love to wander freely with an “eff you” attitude and not caring if my feet ever touched the ground again.   For some reason, when I was under the influence it was tolerated, but if I’m just in a bitch mood people take offense to it.  Odd, huh?

Be well.

Today we are grateful to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Our thanks and thoughts go to all those who have served, and continue to serve, to keep our country the best in the world.

My festivities include being able to keep food down and not collapsing everytime I stand up.  I’ve been ill – not contagious ill, but woozy, dizzy, lightheaded ill – this week and yesterday I passed out at work after a small meeting with my employees.  I went downhill after that  so  Will drove me to the ER where I was pumped full of fluids, forced to pee and had yet another gallon of blood drawn.  A CT revealed ye olde noggin is okay, but my right shoulder and hip are bruised from falling.  For those who may not know: concrete is hard and isn’t what I would recommend passing out on.   I’ve been out of bed for about 3 hours today and was super glad to get back in.   I slow cooked a Boston Butt the other night so we did have barbecue today.   I’m secretly hoping Will is going to make a trip somewhere to bring me a special treat – maybe a hot fudge brownie sundae from Bruster’s. 

I hope you all are enjoying your day and take a minute to reflect on what it means to be an American.  It truly is a blessing to live in our great Nation.

Peace and love from our family to yours.

So, we’re doing something a bit unconventional this year for Thanksgiving.  We’re trading our usual turkey for mouse.  The residents of Chateau L are packing up and heading to Florida and we’re pretty dang excited about it.  If you’ll remember, last year’s Plan B vacation ended up in D0llywood since Fabul-O freaked out at Ripley’s Aquarium and I proclaimed D*sney was too hot, too far and too expensive to get down there and she hate it.

We started looking at the stars, they aligned (sort of) and the logistics were pieced together without much effort.  Fabul-O is excited and the date is penciled in on my calendar when I can call and have my annual salary sucked off my credit card to make a reservation to have dinner with a princess.

we all scream for…wait.  What’s that?

There is an ice cream truck that crusies our street.  This evening he was cruising past our yard and I began focusing to identify the muffled tune snippets playing.  “Home on the Range.”  “Oh, Susannah.”  “Happy Birthday.”  Ya’ll ready for this one?  Yeah?  You sure???  “JINGLE BELLS.”  I kid you not.   The ice cream man is playing Ho-Ho tunes in April.

I learned something in parenting tonight.  Ya’ll know there’s always a struggle of what to call things so as to keep it appropriate and repeatable as it creeps back past the lips of babes.   Tonight, I told Olivia we were going to dye some eggs.  The moment it crossed my lips, I wanted to back up 12.2 seconds and rephrase it.  Four year olds have the knack of a million questions.  She wanted to know why eggs died.  Did their mommies and daddies leave them?  Were they sad? And it went on and on and on.  The only way I knew to remedy it was to throw in some spelling.  D.I.E. means something stops living.  D.Y.E. means we’re going to change the color.  We’re going to D.Y.E. the eggs.  Lather, rinse, repeat…x 4. 

Uh-uh.  Wasn’t happening.  At the risk of bruising the dead horse I had been beating, I gleefully, and loudly, exclaimed we were coloring the eggs.  Coloring. Coloring. Coloring.  

To end it all, Fabul-O chimed in with, “Why dem eggs died?”  Oy vey.

We just finished COLORING eggs and have grassed the basket for the bunny.  

Here’s to hoping all the good stuff is still in there come sun-up.

I’m still alive and slightly kicking.   My hiatus has been good for me.  I’m still lagging behind in the real world, but I’m feeling a bit refreshed and renewed.  That’s a good thing.  I’m hoping to get my groove back before too much longer.  I know you all are just dying to know the goings on at Chateau L.  Heh.  Oh, the irony in THAT one.

I’m FOUR days ahead of O’s Valentine’s party at school.  WOOT!  Due to a local day care closing, which brought with it an influx of toddlers, O’s class has been combined with the older 2s/younger 3s class to create a larger toddler space.  24 of those darlings at once.  Teachers combined, too, so it’s pretty well oiled in there.  However, that means DOUBLE everything that goes on.  Friday is the big V-day party.  The note sent home asked EVERY parent to send a bag of candy.  Ummm. No.  Not happening from this mama.  Teacher and I talked about this when I was at the school for the Chinese New Year.  Obviously she wasn’t kidding.  I think my eyes may have widened to the size of the tires on my car when she said that and I begged to please bring something besides candy.  They aren’t doing special snacks or lunch and they didn’t need any special drinks.  Just 24.bags.of.candy.  I simply can’t bring myself to do it.   I’m making cookies.  I know it’s still a sweet treat, but, duuuude, it’s not candy.  Besides, I like stealing her Olivia likes cookies more than those chalky candy hearts any day of the week.

I wish you all a fantastico week.

Be well.

Monday, I went to Olivia’s school and talked to the kids about the Chinese New Year.  I stayed and we made paper lanterns to celebrate.  One little diva told me we couldn’t be celebrating the Chinese New Year because it was Groundhog Day.  I explained that more than one thing could happen on the same day and today we were talking about the Chinese New Year on Groundhog day.  

A wee bit later, she and Olivia had a little pow-pow and it went  a little something like this:

Kid: My mommy says it’s Groundhog day NOT Chinese New Year.

Olivia: My mommy says more than one thing can happen on the same day so we can talk about both.

Kid: Huh-uh.  Because MY mommy is right.

Olivia: Well, MYmommy is smart.  We win.

My.Kid.Rocks.

Today begins the Chinese New Year.  2009 is the year of the ox.

May the New Year ring in happiness, success and propserity.

Olivia turns four today.

Our conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Good morning, birthday girl!

Olivia: Good morning, Mommy.  I’m a big girl today.

Me: Yes, you are.  How does it feel to be the birthday girl?

Olivia: Feels okay.  Sort of like yesterday.  You know, mommy, the threes are gone and the fours are here.  It’s going to be a good year.

We’re hoping for a fantastic 2009.  Happy birthday, Olivia…we love you bunches and bunches.

As the stroke of midnight approaches, we are counting our blessings from 2008 and we’re laying some of the trials of the year to rest.  The Ls are entering into the New Year with renewed spirits and open hearts.   We are grateful for our friends and family and we wish you nothing but the best for 2009. 

I offer a toast to all of you for a year filled with peace, joy, prosperity and good health. 

Be well…

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