Dreaming of a Stunning Sunny Summer

 I’m so sorry ladies, this is a week late. Let’s just jump right in!
What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber from Bold Fit Mom, as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers, between two bloggers! This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Ask me if you want to swap!2015AskAwayFridayHost
Now welcoming our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts…
Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Echo from The Mad Mommy
Grab our brand new button, follow our amazing hosts, hop through the great link ups and make some new friends!

TamaraLikeCamera
This week, I am swapping summer time questions with Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings and Echo from The Mad Mommy! I adore both of these ladies and I highly recommend you check out their blogs!
AAF with Echo and Stacey

Echo‘s questions:

1. Do you have any big things planned for the summer?

I don’t have any definitive plans, but I really want us to spread it out. I don’t really want to have one big weekend and then too broke to do anything else. I want to explore my new state and I found out about a bunch of things that are fairly local, like Lion Country Safari, sea turtle hatching, and the local water park.

2. What was your favorite summer time activity when you were a kid?

Hands down swimming. I remember spending at least four hours a day in the pool. I spent all summer at the Boys and Girls Club Hollywood that had free swim twice a day for two hours. Four hours was not enough, so I joined the junior lifeguards for another hour in the water.

3. What are your kids’ favorite things to do in the summer?

I’ve passed on the passion for swimming to my kids so they also love to get in the water too.

4. Do you have a favorite summer dessert or beverage?

I have never thought much about what dessert or beverages I eat during the summer, but I’ll definitely think about this year.

5. What song reminds you of summer?

It’s in the title!

Stacey‘s Questions:

1. What is something that you don’t like about summer?

The HEAT! I can’t stand the heat! Now that I’m in Florida, I can’t stand the humidity either.

2. What is your favorite summer movie?

Do people have these? I don’t even know. I love that blockbusters come out during the summer and it’s a great reason to be INDOORS!

3. What is your go to summer outfit?

I’m not much of a dress gal, but now that it’s hot and humid here, the summer dresses seem very appealing. Typically, my attired doesn’t change much. That’s probably because I haven’t lived in places that have major temperature swings.

4. What is your favorite summer fruit?

It’s a tie between strawberries and watermelon. I find it’s easier to find a great watermelon than it is to find great strawberries.

5. What would be your dream summer vacation?

A cruise along the Mediterranean sounds awesome!

My Questions:

1. What was your best summer ever?

Oh, I’m pretty sure it’s a tie between when I went to the France and the summer I went to the Bahamas. France was great but I was also a teenager on a very tight budget. Bahamas was more of a kick back relaxed vacation.

2. Would you rather go to the pool or the beach during the summer?

Pool by far! The sand gets everywhere, in the car, in your cracks, it’s so icky. I do, however, love to be in the water with the waves. If I could do it without the sand, I’d be in.

3. What was your worst summer?

One summer, I went to go visit my dad and basically spent the entire time sitting in the house with my stepbrother, while he worked. Bored out of my mind. We didn’t do ANYTHING.

4. As a child, were you excited that summer was over or did you want it to go on forever?

Normally, I was ready to get back to school by the end of the summer. I rarely did much and even swimming would get boring. I didn’t really have any friends who spent the summer with me. At the Boys and Girls Club, people would come for a little bit and leave. I was the only one who was there all day every day. As I got older, I ended baby sitting and really didn’t spent time with my friends outside of sports.

5. Do you have any “end of the school year” activities for the kids?

I’m trying to find out what’s around to end out this school year with a bang. I would love to take him to the local water park, the Rapids.

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An Unusual Week of Feeling Accomplished

At the end of my world, I want to know I did something, affected someone, completed something. The days I hate most are the ones that I feel like nothing got done, including spending time with my children.

I have days like that. Days where I do “stuff” all day long, but by the time I lay my head, I can’t really remember what that “stuff” was.

Thankfully, that wasn’t this week. Lots of kid time, cleaning time, friend time and wife time.

My cousin came into town and we had a blast. Mini shots of Jack Daniel’s, the gym and a beautiful walk along the beach. I was able to fully enjoy her company, with the children during the day, without at night. Although in regards to working out, I’m glad she left. I realize that I’m not in the place to enjoy a “regular” gym, and have been really enjoying my time at CrossFit over the last month.

palm beach city

I started a book drive for low income families a little while ago and I was trying to create my own logo. After weeks of trying, I’ve given the project over to another cousin that hopefully bring it to life. I’ve seen drafts and it’s getting there. In the meantime, I have been asked to provide a flyer to pass out, and I finally finished it.

Rooted Readers - Full page -

My sister in law has been gracious enough to ask her students to support the drive and some friends and family have donated some books. It looks like I will hit my minimum mark of 150 books. Of course, I would still love more… a lot more. My ultimate goal is over 500.

After such a rough last week, we were healthy enough to finally to family photos. It’s been about three years and none with Butterfly. Alee Carter from Your Life Photography took over 400 photos, mostly because even though she was healthy, Butterfly was not ready to entertain or be entertained.

Family Photo

She is finally in better spirits and can give me a smile like this instead. I know it’s a soft smile, but I love her little grins.

Butterfly

After over a week hiatus, we completed our third podcast. It was cut short due to time constraints, but our next one should make up for it and possibly we’ll have a guest! So far, I’m loving the experience and the idea.

Spring is here. I’ve never done it before but I’m so ready to clean this house from top to bottom. Over the last month, I’ve been cleaning the garage box by box, with a growing give away/donate pile. I don’t look forward to cleaning the bathrooms or the floors, but I have my husband and son to help, right?

My birthday is next week and I’ve told my husband that I wanted to go out of town. He’s planning to surprise me, but I’ve been thinking of much more. If time were no option, I would love to do a European tour. You know, one that’s up and down or left and right of the Mediterranean. I would love to venture into each country and spend some real time see the historic aspects that we just don’t really have here in the states.

Blog hopping this week, I was inspired by these posts which made me feel like I could get some things done: Fun Snacks for Healthy Kids, 9 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund, and On the Last Day of My World.

ten things banner Finish-the-Sentence-Friday-New-Pin-720-FUN-250-x-250

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Thank you, Bernadyn for inspiring part of this post.

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Hot and Humid in Florida

This week has been one of the busiest and shortest weeks I’ve had in a long time. I wanted to work on my third podcast, but with my partner going out of town, I couldn’t swing meeting on another day. So, you won’t hear anything this week. But if you missed last week, I would LOVE if you’d listen to last week’s episode and tell me what you think.

Run Your World 2

And yes, if you’ve been here, you’ve heard a few times now, but I’m extremely passionate about getting this going.

All of that said, I did have time to answer a few questions for #AskAwayFriday! This week, I’ve swapped with one of the OG’s: Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings. We’ve swapped before, but I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to do so again.

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber from Bold Fit Mom, as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers, between two bloggers! This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Ask me if you want to swap!

2015AskAwayFridayHost

Now welcoming our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts…
Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Echo from The Mad Mommy
Grab our brand new button, follow our amazing hosts, hop through the great link ups and make some new friends!

TamaraLikeCamera

 

Don’t forget to stop by Stacey’s spot and check out her answers, and here are mine:

You have unlimited funds, what would be your dream family vacation?

This will likely be lame to some, but an all out Orlando trip for a couple of weeks. Although I would love to travel the world, the kids aren’t going have nearly as much fun (and be required to sit a lot more) than going to Disney. At no less than $400 to get in, I’d probably use their concierge service where you are walked to the front of each ride line. We’d go to every special event, stay on site and go to Universal Studios and Sea World. Then a couple of down days, lounging in the pool and going to the spa before getting back to life.

I noticed during one of your “10 Things of Thankful” that you mentioned that you could be a homeschooling mom…Is this something that you have been considering?

The public school system in this country is pretty awful considering how much money we pump into into the system. We can’t afford private school. I’m finding that although the charter schools are better, it’s pretty questionable on whether common core or any of their tactics are going to help my kid succeed.

What has been the best part of the move to Florida? The worst?

The worst part is the easiest. I hate the humidity! So many days I take a shower and walk outside only to be hit with another shower. The best is our support system. Family is super supportive. As I type up this post, we’re on our way to visit a college. We were able to drop off my girls so that we can pay attention and not worry about chasing little ones around.

Now that spring is here…what are you looking forward to as spring/summertime fun?

For it to be fall… summers here are hot and humid, see last answer. I really don’t know though. This year, I will have three children to keep busy and determine if summer camps are a go. So many things to consider. I’ll be honest? I haven’t thought much about it, but it’s on my to do list since I’m starting a calendar of activities on this site.

What’s one thing you’d rather pay someone to do for you, rather than do yourself? Why?

Each day that goes by, this list gets longer and longer. Cooking, cleaning, organizing, and most online promotion work. That could be a post in and of itself.

If you could go back in time and interview any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

This is a hard one. I’ve never really wanted to interview most historical figures. I’m way too practical. I’ve heard so many stories about people who we thought of as great, only to find out they are jerks. Maybe Alexander Graham Bell or Albert Einstein. I would love to find out how their brains work in thinking of the unquestionable, versus building on the existing. I wonder if it was purposeful or accidental.

I love your #InTheRaw series. What gave you the idea for it?

I have a lot of issues with my family. I often feel I don’t have anyone to turn to because either I’m judged about my feelings or it’s received as a non-issue. So, I end up sitting on it for a long time and never say anything. Especially within my family, because I have my own functional family and don’t struggle to pay my bills, it’s taken as I don’t have any problems and therefore I should be completely understanding and allow people to treat me poorly. Then, I figured that others probably feel the same way. I just wanted an open discussion of bad relationships, where people could vent or tell a story of how they got through a tough situation to encourage others. I think a lot of people sit in the dark about their problems because unless it’s near life ending, it somehow becomes competitive.

I have always been drawn to strong and feisty women, such as Maya Angelou or Maureen O’Hara. Who would you choose as your role model in life?

Ms. Angelou has some great quotes. Right now, I think Michelle Obama. I find her beautiful, intelligent, motivated, but able to support her husband when she needs to. I find the balance or what she manages to be admirable.

What is something that you hope your kids take with them into adulthood?

Sympathy and determination. No, those aren’t related. I would love for them to understand others struggles. I would also kllike for them to not take “no” for answer. Life is hard, but you have to carve out your own life. You can’t let life happen to you because it goes so fast.

Sometimes it is so hard for us moms to make sure we get a bit of “me time”, how do you manage to fit it in during the craziness of day to day life?

Umm, what is that? Lately what I’ve found that leaves me guilt free. I’ve been working with several non profit organizations, where I get to go to meetings and network and talk to adults. Also, the last couple of weeks, I’ve been going to Crossfit, so that’s some me time.
There you have it. That’s all for this week. I hope you’ll join us next week.

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Dream A Little Dream Of Me #TToT #AAF #FTSF

I thought I would have a partner this week, but alas, I do not. So… I asked myself the questions. This will be a little different from my last mix-ups. Here we go!

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber from Bold Fit Mom, as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers, between two bloggers! This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Ask me if you want to swap!

2015AskAwayFridayHost

Now welcoming our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts…
Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Echo from The Mad Mommy
Grab our brand new button, follow our amazing hosts, hop through the great link ups and make some new friends!

TamaraLikeCamera

Dream A Little Dream Of Me #TToT #AAF #FTSF

1. What’s changed most about your blog since you started blogging?

When I started blogging, I read blogs that were real but I was completely afraid to be that person. I didn’t want to seem like I was a complainer. I didn’t want to seem fake, so I started with a lot of informational posts. They were cool, but it really wasn’t me.

I’m so thankful that I have found the blogging community. There are Facebook groups for almost every type of blog, including no type. I have found support and a sounding board. Both have given me the ok to be me. As I evolve to really open up, tell stories, and become a better communicator, I have found that there are people who want to read it.

2. What’s changed most about you since you started blogging?

When I started blogging, I was pretty lost. As someone who graduated law school, but did not pass the bar, you are stuck in a precarious spot. Law firms aren’t that interested in hiring graduates who haven’t passed. If they hire you as a paralegal, they want a paralegal – not a lawyer. Yet, they don’t want to hire you as a paralegal, because they know that there’s a strong likelihood that you want to take the bar and actually practice. They know, and you know, that you did not spend possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars on a degree to make only 50% of the pay.

I am thankful that I kept going. Changing with each blog post, evolving and learning on what I want to be and what I don’t. I’m still not sure whether I will practice law in a traditional sense, but I have started to find a direction with my life. I’m not sure I would’ve gotten this far if I was just working a day job.

3. What are you looking forward to most this year?

There are a lot of things in the works ~ personally and professionally. I am thankful that I get to look forward to travels, possible family moves, a growing business and stepping into a role as a work at home mom, instead of a stay at home mom. I’m also very worried that I won’t be able to keep up, but I won’t know unless I try.

4. Have you accomplished any big goals recently?

No… and yes. I started Crossfit last week and have been going consistently. I am thankful to Groupon (and to the gym) for offering such a deal that I couldn’t turn it down and it’s close enough that I can go and they have a place for my children to go while I work out.

I’m also thankful that the transition from 100lbCountdown.com to aprilnoelle.com has gone fairly smoothly and except for working to get my subscribership up, my viewership is very strong.

5. What chore do you like least?

I am very thankful that my husband sweeps and mops the floors because I hate doing them. I hate picking things up too, but at least I feel some sense of completion.

6. What was the last movie you saw in theaters? How was it?

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to receive free tickets to see the new “Annie” prior to its release with my daughter, Bee. Annie was the first (and only) movie she has seen in the theater and she thoroughly enjoyed it. I wish it had more singing though. We have spent more time watching the original at home. Thank you Netflix!

7. It’s a beautiful day and you have finished all of your work. What do you do?

I am thankful that here in Florida, there are very few bad days. I am also thankful that we live in a relatively safe neighborhood, so I open the garage door, pull out our chair and let the kids run wild. Not only do they have tones of fun, they exhaust themselves for the evening.

8. What’s your dream date night?

I am thankful for the date nights that my husband plans from top to bottom… ones where all I have to do is get ready to go. I like to go to dinner and dancing, but not really clubs. I just like to have a place to talk to my husband. A walk along the beach has been a favorite.

9. When’s the last time you received something besides junk mail or bills in the mail? What was it?

I am thankful that I have made a lot of great connections in my new city. I love being able to go to some awesome events. The downside (but also upside) is that I get invited to a lot of things. Sometimes things way outside of my budget. The most recent was an invitation to the Inlet Grove Foundation Awards with guest speaker Iyanla Vanzant. As much as I would love to go and think this would be worthwhile cause, I don’t think it’s in my budget this year.

10. What’s your dream car?

I used to really want a Jaguar. Then I was blessed to have several friends who had acquired my precious Jaguar. I am very thankful that they showed me the err of my judgment and the extremely high cost of maintenance. Thus, my new dream car is an A8 Audi with Brilliant Black exterior, Velvet Beige Valcona leather interior, with Dark Brown Walnut wood inlay.

Ten Things of Thankful

Finish the Sentence Friday

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Get to Know Me a Little More with #AAF and #FTSF

Happy Friday everyone. My son has been home for Spring Break and instead of partying it up, we’ve had a pretty stilted vacation because he’s grounded. Fun for me, right?

Thankfully, I get to “Ask Away Friday” with a newbie, Kevin of Who Woulda Thought? Since he’s new and some of you may not know me, we did some “get to know you” questions. I want to make sure you head over there and check out his 50 Shades of Grey review. Pretty funny!

Disclosure:
Some of the links are affiliates. I may or may not receive a commission from your purchase.
It will not cost you any more. 

AskAwayFriday with Kevin - Who Woulda Thought

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber from Bold Fit Mom, as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers, between two bloggers! This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Ask me if you want to swap!

2015AskAwayFridayHost

Now welcoming our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts…
Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Echo from The Mad Mommy
Grab our brand new button, follow our amazing hosts, hop through the great link ups and make some new friends!

TamaraLikeCamera
Make sure you give a warm welcome to Kevin. Don’t forget to stop by, check out his answers, and here are mine:

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

Is it sad that my favorite food then and still one of my top five now are McDonald’s french fries. To this day, if I go to McDonald’s, I have to get some fries. Thankfully, I can get the small and that’s enough, because you know, Super Size Me didn’t do me any favors.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

No really a fair question since I don’t have all of my music on my music player. So, right now, it’s Be Blessed by Yolanda Adams.

What is one of your favorite quotes?

When-someone-shows-you

This quote has served me well, from heart ache and pain, in my adult years. I do believe people can change, but they have to show me that change before my heart changes. Promises just aren’t good enough any more.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Floors. All things floors ~ vacuuming, sweeping or mopping.

I would mop, but the kids would just get the floor dirty again. April Noelle
If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

Probably my age now. I’m old enough to drink and be taken seriously. I’m young enough to not have too many body issues and it’s one of those ages that depending how you take care of yourself, you can be seen as 25 or 45.

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If you knew the world was ending at the end of this year, what would you make sure you do?

This is a tricky question. Does anyone else know?

If everyone else knew, I’d stockpile food and make sure everyone that I love is close. I’d create my own bomb shelter, because we all know that most people won’t prepare until the end.

If no one else knew, I’d travel the world with my family, going to the best locations and seeing everything that I haven’t gotten to see yet.

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

Normally watch television. I have a DVR full of shows that I haven’t been able to see lately.

What would you name the autobiography of your life?


What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

This is a hard one. This will also be my entry to Finish the Sentence Friday.

My proudest moment was finishing law school as a single mother. 

Quick backstory… I got pregnant after my second year of law school. My son’s father (now husband) was also in grad school many, many, many miles away. He couldn’t help physically until our son was about six months. Because of distance, we weren’t solidified in the relationship. Fast forward, we’ve been married for eight years and welcomed three other children into this world.

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What is something you learned in the last week?

My daughter may be “advanced”. I’m not sure though. Butterfly’s 15 month appointment was last week, even though she’s 16 months. The doctor asked how many words does she speak. My response was a couple of dozen. The doctor looked startled and responded “That’s a lot.” So far, Butterfly says these words:

  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Bee
  • MeMe (her nickname)
  • Bunny
  • Shoe(s)
  • Chicken
  • Cheese
  • Ets-o (Let’s Go)
  • Rewe-et-o! (Ready Set Go)
  • One-oo-ree-or-i (1-2-3-4-5)
  • e-i-n-e-0 (B-I-N-G-O, her favorite song)
  • i-wuv-u (I love you)
  • tak-u (Thank You)
  • yes
  • no
  • pwees (Please)

These are the words that I have some sort of meaning to them, she has some sort of understanding of what these mean. I am proud to say she says “Thank you” unprompted (and correctly) often. She repeats almost everything though.

 

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Love Behind the Screen with Bernadyn {B is 4}

I’m doing another swap with a new friend, Bernadyn of B is 4 today. Her site is bursting with creativity, sharing her crafts, recipes and other DIY projects.  She will be joining me today in “Ask Away Friday.”

AAF with Bernadyn

 

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber from Bold Fit Mom, as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers, between two bloggers! This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Ask me if you want to swap!

We are sad to be losing Amber as one of our amazing co-hosts, as she is working to pursue other business ventures and focusing her attentions on her fitness ventures. We wish her nothing but the best, and hope for her thriving success!

When one door closes, another one opens…and we would like to give a huge Ask Away Friday welcome to a brand new co-host…drum roll please…Welcome Echo from The Mad Mommy! She is both a friend and a fellow blogger. I dig her.

2015AskAwayFridayHost

Now welcoming our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts…
Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Echo from The Mad Mommy
Grab our brand new button, follow our amazing hosts, hop through the great link ups and make some new friends!

TamaraLikeCamera
Be sure to read Bernadyn’s answers to my romance questions HERE. And here are my answers to her questions:
1. What is your favorite quality about your husband? Well, what quality are we speaking of? My first thought is that I love my husband’s behind, but I have a feeling that’s not the type of quality that you’re talking about. His best quality is his unconditional love for his family. He is there for us, his parents and siblings. His family comes first and foremost.
Wedding

2. Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?  If so, what do you plan on doing to celebrate? Does “kinda” count as an answer? In theory, we do. We try to do something most years, but rarely do anything on Valentine’s Day… Restaurants are busy, stores sell out of chocolate, flower delivery men are making their rounds. Often I’m not part of that melee, but we try to do something. Try being the operative word. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time we did celebrate. But I want to! As of now, we do not have anything planned.

3. Where is a travel destination you and your husband would like to go if you could go in the next month? Normally I’d want to head north, but it’s way too cold to enjoy it. So, I think it’d be New Zealand or Australia. How long can I stay? I’m told I need a good couple of weeks to really enjoy it, then with the flight, I would need a few more days to recover.

4. What is the best marriage advice you’ve received? The best marriage advice I was received was during pre-marital counseling. The Pastor asked,

If he did not change from who he is today, could you live with him forever?
Click to Tweet

It got me immediately. I couldn’t rely on his potential, I couldn’t rely on hopes and promises. I had to rely on what was. I took a good look at him, watched him for the next couple of weeks, watching his good habits and bad, his work ethic, how he treated me and his son with as an objective eye as I could muster. I only wanted to be married once and I didn’t want to screw it up.

It has served me well. Even after marriage, when I get angry, I try to determine if it’s in line with the man I married and somehow that makes it resort to let it go.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many things that I try to change, but now I realize that he had to want to change them too, which stops a lot of anxiety for me.

 

Spring 2009

5. Describe your ideal date. I would love the prom night date. I never went to prom, so I would love the limo pickup with my husband standing there with a bouquet of flowers. Champagne and chocolate in the limo, where we’re taken to a nice seafood restaurant. Then we take a nice long walk along the beach, just talking and enjoying each other’s company. I’ll probably change my “ideal” date if this ever occurs.

 

Of course, in reality, I’d settle for a night where my husband makes the plans and sets up and schedules child care, getting more than a couple of hours out of the house where we can talk.

6. Do you have a favorite book or movie with a love story in it? Not really. I think romantic movies are one of my least favorite genre, right next to westerns. I can do a romantic comedy, but movies like the Notebook are cool, but not a favorite. Oh, I love the Princess Bride…that counts right?

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7. Do you have a couple you know who you admire? It’s my in-laws. Happily married after 38 years of marriage. They are gentle, kind and respectful of each other, still have date nights and love to spend time together. I didn’t see that growing up, so it’s nice to see up close.

8. What is one relationship advice you would give to your children when they’re adults? Besides what I answered in #4? I would say that love is an action, it’s not a noun. You don’t fall out of love unless you just don’t want to be in love. Yes, marriage takes work, but if you choose the right person, it’s easier than you think.

Spring 2010

9. What do you do to keep the spark going in your relationship? I remind myself that I want to be here, be in his arms and in his bed. I want to be his for the rest of my life. Then I do something just for him, out of the ordinary. Something simple like leaving a love note, making his plate, doing the entire bedtime routine alone. Then he typically reciprocates with something I’d appreciate, him cleaning the kitchen, giving me a massage or getting up with the kids in the middle of the night. I know these are little things, but all I have to do is watch a television show or read a few Facebook posts to know that not all women get a faithful man who’s happily married and even happier to come home at night after 11 years.

10. It can be tough sometimes to spend quality time together when couples have young kids.  We try to spend a couple hours together talking after the kids are in bed since we rarely get out on our own without them.  How do you find time or what do you do to spend quality time together with your husband? Lately, I’ve been working on making sure we have a routine so the kids do go to sleep at a decent hour so we have time alone every evening. However, since we moved, this has become a lot easier with my in-laws able to watch my kids. I’ve also humbled myself in being open with asking for them to watch them, just when I need a break.

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Into the Woodlands with Sylva Fae {#AAF}

Happy Saturday everyone! I’ve been busy “Being Uncomfortable” and haven’t been able to finish this post! I hope to tell you all about it this week! Since I’m already late to this party, let’s just get started!

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers! By offering a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Now to welcome our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts… NEWAskAwayFridayHost550

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera, Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter, Christy from Uplifting Families, Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings and Amber from Bold Fit Mom
So…grab the brand, new button, follow our amazing hosts and co-host, hop through the great link ups and make some amazing new friends!

#AAF photo AAFBadge200_zpsb37e620f.png
This week, I team up with Sylva Fae who blogs about her children’s escapades in their enchanted woodland and the stories they inspired her to write. Don’t forget to stop by Sylva Fae’s place and read her answers to my questions.

AAF with Sylva Fae

1) I see you are a fitness fanatic, how do you find the time in between being a mum and blogging? LOL. I would hardly consider myself a fanatic. I want to lose weight and have a bunch to lose. At most, I like to work out… with friends. I don’t like to go to gyms. When I’m baby-free, I do my at-home workout programs.

2) Did you make any New Years Resolutions? How likely are you to keep them?  Yes, I always have a list of running resolutions. Although I haven’t addressed this list yet, I’ll add or reassess some at the beginning of the year. Even if my resolutions are lengthy, I always try to make progress. I’m not someone who sets an unrealistic expectations, but I’d love to get somewhere. Since I tend to have SO many, I’m not sure it’s possible to achieve them all since I have children.

3) Frozen is a regular feature in your house too! Personally I love it but my favourite has to be Brave. Which is your favourite children’s film? Do you know the words to all the songs? Frozen is a regular in my house, but I try not to play it too often. I prefer to watch Brave myself and so does my daughter! I find so many gaps in the Frozen story. My favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast. And I know every song and used to own the soundtrack when people actually had CDs.

4) If you were a character from a children’s film, which one would you be and why? The most vivid is probably Belle. We’ve been watching a lot of Disney movies lately. Belle was fairly straightforward and open with her feelings and the fact that she loved to read!

5) Getting girls to sleep! Is it just girls (I have three) who seem to wake up at bedtime? What impact does their disruptive sleep have on the rest of the family? I’ve learnt to survive on four hours! I’ve HAD to survive on four hours, more often than I’d like to admit, but two of the three are girls and I never had this problem with my son. He slept through the night very early, without waking up to even nurse at 6 months with 12 hours straight sleep. The girls are up no later than 2 a.m. every. single. night! For the last two weeks, the baby has been waking up to nurse too! It’s not too disruptive for the rest of the family, since as a stay at home mom, I don’t feel like my husband should get up. o every night, I get up and stay with her until she passes out from exhaustion or I decide to nurse her.

6) What are your favourite children’s books? I don’t have a favorite. We read whatever they’d like. We have about a dozen at home, but then go to the library for many, many more!

7) TV, Internet or book? How do you relax when the little darlings are finally asleep? Television. As much as I like to read, living on four hours of sleep means that working my eyes is just too much work.  I’m out within 15 minutes!

8) Where would you go on your dream vacation? Money is no object in this fantasy. A tour of the Mediterranean by land and by sea. I would love a month long tour of those countries including Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel.

9) Your children are Bee, Bunny and Butterfly – which creature would you change your name to, to follow the theme? Definitely Mama Bear! I’m protective.

10) OK I’m sending you some SylvaFae fairy dust to sprinkle and make a wish – how are you going to use your magic wish? I wish I could find real balance. I want to be able to have it all and do it well. I want to get my business off of the ground floor and start building something for my family.

 

This has been another edition of Ask Away Friday. I hope you have a fabulous week!

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Bringing in the New Year with #AskAwayFriday

My New Year’s was eventful… but I can’t say in a good way. My husband’s godmother was in the hospital and my children were already at my in-laws. When he left, I felt lonely and depressed having no children. Also, I hadn’t eaten much for the day so ended up feeling very sick by the end of the night. At the last minute, I decided to go to church, so I was around my children at the beginning of the new year. It was worth it, even though I was exhausted and ready o go to sleep as soon as I walked in the door.

Despite the lack of positive events when the clock chimed midnight, I reflected on how very grateful for everyone that’s in my life. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful set of friends, most of which I wish I were closer. Anywho… let’s talk about our wonderful AAF!

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers! By offering a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Now to welcome our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts… NEWAskAwayFridayHost550

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera, Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter, Christy from Uplifting Families, Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings and Amber from Bold Fit Mom
So…grab the brand, new button, follow our amazing hosts and co-host, hop through the great link ups and make some amazing new friends!

#AAF photo AAFBadge200_zpsb37e620f.png

This week, I exchanged questions with Cascia who not only runs her own blog, Talbert Zoo, her blog, but also runs an online magazine, Healthy Moms Magazine. With her five children, she chronicles her journey through photos, videos and some humor.
AAF with Cascia
1. The first thing I noticed when I visited your blog was that you are a health and fitness enthusiast just like I am. What prompted you to get interested in health? In short, I’m fat and I don’t want to be. I started the blog to keep me accountable. The longer answer is that once upon a time, I was fit. I was a high school athlete, but I never really learned how to eat. I ate whatever I wanted because I would burn pretty much anything off. When I became depressed in college from losing my best friend (she didn’t die, I screwed up the relationship), I started picking up weight. Then in law school, I gained even more because of my depression. I finally hit the pinnacle of my weight at 260 pounds after losing our son. I needed a way to find myself back to me. So, 100lbcountdown.com was born.

2. How many children do you have? How old are they? I am the proud momma of four children ~ 10 year old boy Bunny, 3 year old girl Bee and 1 year old girl Butterfly and deceased son Alexander who would be 7.

All Three 1014 Logo 1

3. Where do you live? Have you always lived in that town/city? I currently live in West Palm Beach, Florida now… We moved here last summer but previously, I’ve lived in many places in southern California, most surrounding the 10/210 freeways (if you know the area).

4. If you could have a cup of coffee (or tea if you don’t like coffee) with a celebrity who would it be and why? I think it would be Mark Cuban or Oprah. I would want to find out more about their daily activities and how I could mimic them to be more successful.

5. What songs are on your workout playlist? LOL! I don’t listen to music during workouts. I listen to books on tape and podcasts. I get to enter someone else’s world and think about how I’m not working out. I love to work out with others, but have not found a steady workout partner. I like listening to Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew and Alison Rosen most often.

6. Do you remember the first car that you ever owned? What was it? Of course I do! It was a Chevy Sprint. It cost me $300 and smelled like cigarette smoke. When I bought it, it was the only car in our household!

Soon after I got it, my dad used it to take my sister to a playdate. In our tiny neighborhood, he managed to get into a car accident and smash in the driver side door. I no longer could close the door completely or roll down the window. This meant the summers were brutal!

7. What is on your bucket list? Travel to every continent. Witness my children get married. Have my own business successful business. Be an awesome grandmother!

8. If you could change careers what would it be? Well, I’m a SAHM, so I would love to have a career itself, but that said I want to be a real estate developer. I want to find out more about the industry and have developments all over the nation.

9. Today is January 2, looking back on the past year what is one news story that really moved you? I know there are many news stories that really should have moved me such as Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the one that touched me the most was the suicide of Robin Williams. The man brought us so much joy, yet suffered most inside. The true face of depression is not always someone looking somber or depressed, but are often fighting internal demons.

Having been through several bouts of depression, I often get, “Well, you looked like nothing bothered you” or “You didn’t look depressed”. Sadly, too many people don’t. You just can’t walk around looking sad all day without questions from everyone about “What’s wrong?” When you can’t always articulate the answer, you don’t want to try to answer it, especially to someone you barely know.

10. Looking back on the past year again, what was your greatest accomplishment from 2014? Being consistent. I blogged more, I lost weight and I took on and completed projects. It’s been years since I felt like I had completed something! Next year, I just want to break out of my comfort zone and make sure that I feel accomplished in 2015. {

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Finding courage… {#FTSF and #AskAwayFriday}

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

As mothers, don’t we always wish that we and our children would sleep in peace. I successfully weaned Butterfly during the night over Thanksgiving just so I she could get some sleep! She still wakes up at night, but thankfully goes back to sleep within a few minutes.

I have embarked on doing acts of kindness specifically for this season.  I try to be kind all year long, but during this season many are colder and people are reminded of what they don’t have by the sales and shopping frenzy that others go on. Try one or two of them this season and change someone’s day!

This week, I’m going to combine my Finish the Sentence Friday and #AskAwayFriday prompts. Cross my fingers that it goes well! It’s a long one!

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers! By offering a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Now to welcome our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts… NEWAskAwayFridayHost550

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera, Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter, Christy from Uplifting Families, Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings and Amber from Bold Fit Mom
So…grab the brand, new button, follow our amazing hosts and co-host, hop through the great link ups and make some amazing new friends!

#AAF photo AAFBadge200_zpsb37e620f.png

Jessica Pen and the Needle AAF and FTSFThis week I exchange questions with Jessica Starks at The Pen and The Needle. She is a college student, blogger, and writer who is constantly striving to pursue her dream of having a successful writing career. Her blog hosts a wonderful, inspirational series entitled Weekly Blessings. I ended up reading them all!

1.What inspired you to begin your blogging journey?

I’ve talked about why I started blogging here and here. However, this is a great question to segue into the Finish the Sentence Friday question of “I’ve never had the courage to…” Being courageous when you’re young is easy, primarily because you don’t understand the consequences of your actions. As you get older, your life becomes somewhat mundane and acts of courage tend to involve more acts of sacrifice.

According to Dictionary.com, courage is the ability to do something that frightens one or strength in the face of pain or grief. Courage requires you to give of your life or time. All acts requires you to give in some way, being selfless.

As a youth, I was pretty fearless. I was involved in all sorts of clubs and groups that required me to talk, act or dance in front of my entire student body. I had to ride a bus 30+ miles in the dark without any supervision, with my valuables and alone. According to the dictionary definition, I was brave. I don’t know if I was brave or naive.

My first true act of courage was choosing my son above all else. As a single woman in law school, I knew that a stigma would be attached, could be attached. As a black woman, I could easily become a statistic. As a law student, I could have easily dropped out and not pushed through to the end. Everyone would’ve understood. I didn’t know where my life would lead, but I kept going anyway.

Daniel's 8th birthday

My second act of courage was changing my career path. It’s easy to keep going on a path that you know that will find you financial success. It’s harder to give that up to raise your family, in order to make sure that your children have a life where they never feel alone.

All Three 1014 Logo 1

My third act of courage was submitting an original story to an anthology… and it was accepted! Since it was a personal story, the real act of courage was allowing my real world life to be published in a a real book sold on Amazon called Clash of the Couples!

One thing that I have not had the courage to do is step out on my own. I know it sounds silly, but the fear of success is real. I have succeeded in almost everything that I’ve put my mind to ~ there’s one glaring exception. Yet, that exception startled me. I wasn’t sure what to do next or how to do it.

Before I started blogging, even when I thought I was going to use it to market my business, I thought of it as a hobby, yet the amount of time it takes to promote it takes time, real time around from my family and something needs to change.

How do I manage a life in a different way? How do I step out and truly make this blog (or my future one) a real success? I know that what I need to do will require me to take time away from sleeping for my family and I don’t know if I’m ready for it. I read, listen and study tools on how to take this to the next level.

Yet, I have not had the courage to do it. I’m at the point where I need to do it, for my sanity and our family. So, this is the first step of stepping out. It’s currently 4 a.m., well within my normal sleeping hours, but it’s quiet and uninterrupted.

Here’s to having courage in 2015!

2. What is one of your favorite things to do with your children?

That’s simple, snuggle! Touching can change someone’s entire spirit, positively or negatively. When my children want to just sit with me, calm down and watch television or just give me a big hug, there’s nothing in comparison. My spirit is lifted it calms any anxiety that I did have.

3. Since you’re into healthy eating, what is your favorite healthy food to make?

I know I’ve answered this question before, but for some reason today, it really struck a chord. Why is it when someone chooses a salad over a burger or skip dessert, they are into “healthy eating” and when they don’t, they’re just eating. Sadly, I know that I’ve been a culprit of spreading it’s use with my site.

But today, as I eat two baked chicken wings and a side of asparagus, I don’t think of myself as eating healthy, I’m just eating.

When did “healthy” become a bad word?

I remember during one of pregnancies, I ate mostly meat and vegetables, with breakfast being Shakeology (mainly because if it wasn’t that, it wasn’t going to be anything). I would constantly get questions about whether that was healthy for the baby to drink all natural ingredients. Yet, even though there has been TONS out there about how fast food is unhealthy, picking up a burger wouldn’t even get a curious glance.

I’m sorry, I completely hijacked your question. I don’t really have a favorite healthy meal. We eat chicken a lot. I bought some frozen shrimp because they defrost (and cook) super quick. I finally found some spaghetti squash to sue in spaghetti, which was a hit in the house, but takes a LOT more time to make. YOu have to roast the squash first for about 45 minutes. It’s super easy, but just time consuming and a little more preparation than I’m used to.

4. Think back 5-10 years. Would you have ever imagined your life would turn out the way it has?

Heck NO! Not even close.

Ten years ago, I graduated law school. I had just found out that I had not passed the bar and I wasn’t quite sure where I was going or how I could afford to take the time to take the bar again ~ financially and physically.

My husband and I weren’t yet married and we were still trying to figure out whether our relationship would last. {10 years later, we’re still going strong!}

We lived with my mother, trying desperately to figure out how to NOT be living with her any longer.

Five years ago, I was still in a deep depression from losing our son. I was masking my feelings in a glass. I cried often, and couldn’t see past my tears. Since I was so closed off, I don’t know if anyone knew or cared what I was going through. My husband tried… we were married by then. But he didn’t really know what to do except keep himself together.

I was still working, spending long hours begging my son to do his homework. I mean, how much homework could a first grader have? But he had enough that it would be our daily struggle from the time I got home from work until dinner (at least an hour, if not two). I couldn’t fathom having more children. This one, was a generally good kid, and I could barely keep things together.

Then, I woke up, realized where I was… and that I was a wife and a mother, with a son who needed me desperately. I knew my husband wanted more children and I had to be right, sane and sober for him and any future children.

So, here I am, five years later, with two more little girls, enjoying stay at home motherhood. As far as I know, my husband is happy and I am too!

5. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

Being able to write like the answer to number 4.

6. Are you an animal-lover? Why or why not?

I have a post in my drafts that has been sitting there for a while called: My House is a Pet-Free Zone. There are a lot of reasons that I’m not, outlined in the post, which I kinda wish I finished before I started this post! It’ll be a lot funnier than this one. I’ve never had an animal or had any desire to have one, so I just don’t it. But here are my top three reasons:

  1. I think they’re like children that never end up taking care of themselves.
  2. If kids did even part of what the animals did, your kids would be in the bath all.the.time!
  3. There’s no way I’m doing that much vacuuming/cleaning/changing!

7. Do you have any unique talents? If so, what are they?

I don’t know about unique, but I do sing… and I think I sing well. One day I’ll post a video or something. I also tend to be good at most sports. The only thing that hinders me is the shape that I’m in. When I’m out of shape, it’s all bad. But when I’m in shape, throw, hit or kick a ball and I’m all over it and normally on the winning team!

8. If you could pick any actress to play you in a movie, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I have NO idea. Come to think of it, I would love if the actress was unknown and playing me was her breakout role!

9. What is your favorite TV show right now?

I’m aching to say Scandal… because I am an avid fan, but I think I’m going to have to say Black-ish. I have not laughed so hard in a long time!

scandalBlackish

10. What is one major lesson your children have taught you?

Patience. Even when I want to scream, somehow the only words that come out of my mouth is “Yes, sweetie”. Sometimes, I surprise myself at how calm I have become. This is not at all to imply that I don’t scream or yell (even though I wish I didn’t), but everyday, it’s a little less, and in turn, Bee is they are a little less loud.

FTSF

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Holidays with My Blogging Buddies ~ #AAF and #FTSF

Illness struck my household this week, even knocking down my husband for a day. Now that I’m able to move without a little one in my arm (and catching up on chores), and I’m finally on to completing this post!

Since I wanted to participate in both this will be a COMBINED Finish the Sentence Friday and Ask Away Friday post! Read on…

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers! By offering a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Now to welcome our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts… NEWAskAwayFridayHost550

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera, Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter, Christy from Uplifting Families, Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings and Amber from Bold Fit Mom
So…grab the brand, new button, follow our amazing hosts and co-host, hop through the great link ups and make some amazing new friends!

#AAF photo AAFBadge200_zpsb37e620f.png

 Ask Away Friday with Echo
In honor of Thanksgiving, Echo from the Domain of the Mad Mommy and I decided to swap and discuss our traditions! I asked 5 questions and April asked 5 questions, but we will each answer all 10! It can be so much fun to see things from another point of view!
What is your favorite holiday food? A holiday meal is not complete without turkey with cranberries and stuffing. When the savory and succulent turkey mixes with the sweet, but tart cranberries, topped with the absorbent and textured dressing ~ there’s nothing else like it!
If you you had to lose one of this season’s holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years), which one would it be? Sadly, New Years! I can’t stay up until midnight unless I’m working. Plus, unless the kids stay out all night, It’s no fun to go out and party, then pick up the kids in the middle of the night. Everyone’s sleep and resting and then we get in and out of the car to bundle them up.
For the last few years, my New Years has been spent in church. Not to say that the message isn’t important, but we arrive at 10 p.m., then stay up to 12:30 or 1. I’ve realized there is a reason that I don’t go to clubs late anymore… and it’s not just the music! I’m SO tired by the time 10 comes around. I may be “awake” doing things, but I’m thinking about my warm and comfy bed.
What is your favorite location to go for the holidays? A cabin in the mountains! It’s the one time I break out of my “I hate the outdoors” shell and bundle up and play in the snow with the kids. I love sitting in the cabin with the fire blazing in the background and just relaxing together with the kids laughing and playing in the foreground and background.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory? When I was pregnant with Bee, I decided to host my first holiday gathering. I’m not sure if it was because I was nesting or what, but 37 weeks pregnant, I decided to invite 30+ people to my small home. My husband readily obliged and cooked a fantastic meal combined with dishes from the family. I loved watching my family get a little tipsy while I sat back and watched. It was nice to be around them and everyone was relaxed, playful and jubilant!
Do you have the same meal for Christmas and Thanksgiving? What is it? The only real difference in our meals is one of them will have ham and the other will have a roast. My husband dry ages the roast, then marinates it for days before the event. He finishes it off by grilling it that morning. When he’s done, you can cut it with a spoon.

Do you host the big holidays or go to them? Go to them! I have hosted one Thanksgiving dinner (see above) and one Christmas dinner. I’m not a great cook and get really self-conscious cooking for new people and really avoid it at all costs. Thankfully, my husband is a great cook and knows some good meals to make for large groups.

What is one item that your holiday isn’t complete without? Definitely a tree. Things did not seem the same last year without a tree. We put one up on the wall (picture to follow). Although creative, it just did not feel the same.

What is one activity that your holiday isn’t complete without? I’m not sure that there’s anything I can’t live without… each year, our holidays have swung from surrounded by family, sleeping on the floor with no say on what to do or how to do it, to being just the three of us (before the girls were born) in a cabin in the woods, a lighted tree and only eating our favorites. What I miss, however, is caroling. I love singing and I miss hanging out with friends from long ago, singing the favorites to friends and family.

Decorations: yes or no? (Dare to share) I LOVE decorating… but I have none to share this year, yet. I’ve never decorated for Thanksgiving, but I might change that next year. This year is too close!

Now that I think of it, I don’t really take pictures of my decorations… but here are some old pictures of my decorated Christmas.

2013:

Tree on Wall 2

2012:

2012 Christmas 2012 Christmas 2

Describe your perfect holiday! I would love to rent a cabin in the woods for whole family, instead of just us. Lots of fun, family and snow! 🙂

Head on over and check out Echo’s answers!

Bonus… I thought I’d die when… 

Well, that would imply that I had such strong feelings towards something. I typically don’t.

But I can tell you a story…

One day, I was watering the grass on a cold winter’s day… this was a California cold, so it was a brisk 50 or 60 degrees. One of my household chores was to water the grass, which took about an hour each time.

Dressed warmly, with a sweatshirt and a glove (on my non-watering hand), singing, desperately trying to make this chore “fun”. As I turned toward the street, I saw a familiar car. I did a double take because I couldn’t place where I saw it before.

1975 Chrysler

My initial reaction was that it was my neighbor’s car… one I hadn’t seen in a while. That first reaction didn’t sit well with me. Something was up.

My feeling was quickly confirmed a few seconds later when the car drove by again. By this time, my mind was racing, wondering who that was and why they were driving on MY street.

The peak of my curiosity hit when the car drove by a third time. In general, I’m very aware of my surroundings and would typically be nervous by this point. In my heart, I was at ease, but I still didn’t know why.

The car started down the street again… and my mind was put at ease.

The driver of the car was my biological father… and the car was my grandfather’s. I hadn’t seen that car in a few years and my grandfather has never visited me. That’s why I couldn’t quite place the car. I had NEVER seen in it my neighborhood!

Having my father visit me was also first time event. I can’t recall another time he had done that either. I hadn’t seen him in a long while, having moved to another state.

I’m sure for a lot of girls, they would be very excited to have their father visit them when that was out of the norm, but for me, it was EXTREMELY uncomfortable. After my chores, we, as a family, were heading out to see the Christmas lights, my favorite event of the year!

If you knew my stepfather, it was NOT his favorite time of year, and he was convinced to do it this evening. Rescheduling was not an option. So, I was put in the predicament of visiting with a father I barely see, who didn’t even take a few minutes to call first.

Long, complicated story short.. He had been in town a few days, didn’t know when he’d be leaving and call first because he didn’t know if I’d be home (He has said a few things along this line, so I shouldn’t be surprised). My heart broke with this news.

I couldn’t really enjoy the lights… I thought I’d die from heartbreak.

This has been another edition of Finish the Sentence Friday…

FTSF

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Just the Basics with Suzanna {One Hoolie Mama} #AAF

 So many things happening on 100lbCountdown this holiday season. From the publishing of my first book, to $2000 in cash giveaways, to supporting families in need (check link to the right) and losing weight, I’ve got a lot of corners covered. Please browse around and get some details on all of it!

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers! By offering a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Now to welcome our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts… NEWAskAwayFridayHost550

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera, Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter, Christy from Uplifting Families, Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings and Amber from Bold Fit Mom
So…grab the brand, new button, follow our amazing hosts and co-host, hop through the great link ups and make some amazing new friends!

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One Hoolie Mama
Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama is a blog that I’ve visited from time to time. I first had to figure out what was a “hoolie” means! I found it was short for hooligans! Too cute. Then I found out all about her family, fur and non alike. So, this week, we exchanged questions and amazingly she managed to ask some basics that I don’t think I’ve answered before. Here we go!
1) What has been the best part of being a stay-at-home mom? I love spending time with my kiddos… relaxed, snuggle time. I also have control over how much television they watch and what they’re learning. I’m also a LOT less stressed.
2) What has been your biggest challenge thus far in your weight loss journey? Consistency… my word of the year. I can do it for a while, but continuing is always my problem. I’m patting myself on the back because I’ve been consistent since June. I’ve lost 28 pounds over the summer, the bulk in the last month using Personal Trainer Food.
3) What part of your journey that started off challenging now comes as second nature to you?  Have you fallen in love with cardio or meal planning or something completely different? Nothing really. I’ve always like veggies and the types of workouts that I like are the same. Making sure that I eat well, everyday is a challenge. With the kids, it’s so easy to grab a piece of candy or animal crackers. Or grab a drink with dinner with friends. I’m a team-player, and and as an adult, I’m pretty alone or the team captain. I don’t mind being the captain, but I need a captain myself sometimes.
4) What is your favorite part of blogging? Being able to be “me”. I feel like I have to put on a facade or a happy face in my life. The problem is that happiness doesn’t really come naturally to me. Sometimes a smile brightens my mood, but other times, it masks my pain.
5) What is your favorite food or drink? Really depends on my mood, but I’ll say steak. My husband makes the best steak on the grill and there’s really nothing better.
6) What is your favorite month of the year and why? Probably October. I love fall, the cooler air, the falling leaves, the impending holidays. It’s the beginning of my favorite season.
7) If your funds were unlimited, where would you take your family on vacation? A European tour. I would probably hit up every country and take a look at their history, their cultures and their foods!
8) What is your favorite form of social media and why? I’m the most consistent with using Twitter and Facebook. I guess I like Facebook the most for personal reasons. For the blog, I get the most play from Pinterest… plus I don’t have to hold conversations, which with two little ones is often hard.
9) What has been easier for you so far – raising a boy or a girl? My son by far… shopping is super easy, there isn’t much variety and I hate shopping. He plays well by himself. The girls “want” me a lot more, I need to be integral in their play. It’s sometimes exhausting. Plus for girls there are so many different shopping choices from clothes to toys, that they always want something!
10) Where do you hope to see yourself in the next 5 years? Debt paid off, my girls in school, me with a part time job, hopefully with a non-profit ~ either one I started or one of the many that I’m involved with. I want my husband and I to be closer than ever and my faith stronger.

 

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Blogging as a Mother with Brittnei {Homemaking with Style} #AAF

My baby turned ONE this week and boy was I excited! What seems to be the case most often is I can’t decide what to do (except the basics) until the morning of or the night before. So I had to hustle to get it all done! I’ve taken lots of pictures but my in-laws had made collages already, so I think this shows the year in review just fine!Julianna 1st birthday - LelaniJulianna 1st birthday - LaDawn

…on to #AskAwayFriday…

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers! By offering a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Now to welcome our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts… NEWAskAwayFridayHost550

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera, Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter, Christy from Uplifting Families, Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings and Amber from Bold Fit Mom
So…grab the brand, new button, follow our amazing hosts and co-host, hop through the great link ups and make some amazing new friends!

#AAF photo AAFBadge200_zpsb37e620f.png

AAF with BrittneiThis week, I exchange questions with the lovely and thoughtful Brittnei from Homemaking with Style. She’s sweet, caring and loving. Her blog broadcasts love and truth. We co-host Creative Style Linkup together and had started with hosting Countdown in Style. She is the proud mother to one, and pregnant with another. She has opened herself up to the judgment of others with so much grace. I am proud to think of myself as her friend.

1)  What are your favorite types of blogs to read? I like all sorts of blogs, op-ed pieces, mommy blogs, and humor blogs, just to name a few. I read blogs that fit my mood or help me change it. As a stay at home mom in a new state, I don’t really have any friends. Having friends across the US makes it hard to communicate because when they are ready to talk, I’m ready to go to bed.

2)  Do you have favorite bloggers? If so, what do you think it is about them that has drawn you to them? I like bloggers who are truthful, who share their story, who share their struggles, who tell me that I’m not alone or weird. It may change based on what’s going on in their life. There are too many to count, and I don’t want to name them because now I feel bad that I don’t get over there as often as I’d like. I don’t read blogs for fun as much as I used to since my Butterfly is mobile and trying to walk.

3)  Motherhood has its ups and downs.   For you, what is the most challenging thing about being a mom? Managing all of their personalities. With Bee, her personality is so strong, and Butterfly still needing me physically, I tend to push Bunny to the back burner. Once Bee has a meltdown, pretty much everything else goes downhill. Whether I turn all of my attention on her or send her to her room, the response is still the same: Butterfly starts crying and Bunny feels excluded.

4)  Are there things that you do now as a wife or mom that you never could have seen yourself doing before you had a husband and kids? LOL! EVERYTHING! I never pictured myself being a wife or mother. I did not like my upbringing and figured that I could be a hot shot, jet setting lawyer who never put down roots, had a maid and cook. Now, I’m a mom, I cook (which I pretty much only learned during marriage), I clean, and I wipe bottoms! I always thought I was too selfish to have children, now I would give my life for them.

5)  Most people who work a consistent full time work schedule tend to have a favorite day of the week. As a stay at home wife and mom, do you have one? If so, why that day? Anytime I can get both of them down to sleep. It’s really hard because Bee doesn’t like sleep. She doesn’t like naps, wakes up in the middle of the night multiple times, comes in my bed and tosses and turns. I may get three hours of a break in a 24 hour period where both girls are sleep in their beds.

6)  I saw you posed a question on Facebook about whether or not people homeschool and you mentioned you were thinking about homeschooling your two girls. Do you want to expound on that and share where your family’s decision might be leaning towards if you know at this point? Well, my son is in public school. This year, for the first time, he has entered a charter school. Although I find the charter school much better than the public school, the amount of “stuff” that I have to deal with doesn’t seem worth it.

Right now, he eats school lunch, but it’s microwaved, which I don’t like. I would like to make him lunch, but I know he’s not the kid who will be comfortable going against the grain and eating food from home.

There just doesn’t seem to be something that’s great for my son. It seems like it’s just a touch better than the last. I think something is good, but then talk to a parent who compares it to another school and I start wondering, “Should my son have that too?”

Also, as a charter school, we get asked to pay a lot out of pocket. I mean, the club options are above and beyond what his last school had, but it’s costing us too. Since the school is new, there’s no real protocol for getting information to the parents, so after two months of school, I don’t really know what they do in the clubs. Having the girls somewhat prohibit me from “dropping in” since they can be a distraction.

The desire to homeschool just might be my desire to control. I don’t know really. We’ll play out this year and decide before he goes to middle school.

7)  Does your family have a favorite meal that you prepare that they all love? LOL! I don’t think so. I think they are willing to eat most of the things that I make, but no, I haven’t had any special requests. As I mentioned above, I didn’t learn to cook until I got married and quite frankly, I haven’t really even tried to do more than the same five or six dishes until we moved to our home here.

8)  If you could have a chef, a maid or a personal stylist for your family but only one, what would you pick and why? Maid. I don’t mind cleaning, but it seems to be never ending. I spend most of my time cleaning up after someone. My husband and I get into that never ending conversation of who cleans what, how much and how often. I hate the conversation because unless I clean right before he comes home, he doesn’t think I do much of it.

I like the idea of the chef, especially since I don’t like cooking. Yet I spend so much more of my time cleaning, it just wouldn’t make sense. I could learn how to cook better in the time I spend cleaning. Plus the maid could clean up after me.

The personal stylist wouldn’t be any good because unless s/he laid out my clothes every day, I would likely put on jeans and a t-shirt when I wake up in the morning regardless of how many nice clothes I have.

9)  What is your least favorite thing about blogging? Goodness, the time it takes to actually put a post together. Images, linking, referencing, and promoting, it’s just a lot of work. I wish I had an assistant to do it for me. LOL! I like the release of putting my words and feelings on the page, but I wish I could just write and have someone else take care of the rest.

10)  Have you ever been to a blog conference?  If so, how was your experience? If not, do you have one in mind that you would like to go to one day? No, I haven’t had the opportunity to go to a blog conference. I would like to go but unless it’s local, I doubt it would be in my budget in the near future. I haven’t researched any of them because I don’t window shop. I don’t want to see what I can’t go to. I don’t know what they are about or where they are, although I should look to see if any will be near me. Maybe I should start one!

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