Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hope you have a wonderful holiday season! :) (2 days until my birthday... but who's counting?)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just a Couple of Pics

Heidi's Dog, Weller, all snuggled in his blanket

Here Weller helps with the dishes

Weller and Echo posing in front of the Christmas tree (Echo blinked in both pictures!)

The finished Christmas tree. Notice the branches go all the way to the ground and it's about 6' wide. It's a fat tree!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Woohoo! The home stretch!

The year is almost done! Amazing year it's been too!

Quickly, Happy Birthday to my December birthdays:

Nickel, 12/25
ME! 12/26.

I think that's it. I also think it's the last time I'm doing this. I simply have too much to do and can't deal with the guilt if I forget someone! HAHAHAHAHAHA

I need to update the links here. I have friends with Blogs I haven't added, and some have changed. Goodness, this blog is going to the dogs!

Our tree is up and decorated. Pictures coming soon (we're not done with it all yet).

Until next time... take care!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since you know I'm not going to have my act together to post anytime soon (since my last post was 3 weeks ago), I figured I'd jump online really quick right now to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I have many things to be thankful for and I hope you do too!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Be impressed

Look, I have been WAY behind the 8-ball for months now and here I am posting twice in less than a week. Just barely less than a week, but I made it nonetheless.

PJ posted a bunch of pictures recently. I wish I could remember what they are of... wine festival at least. I know there was something else too. I don't remember what (and I'm not motivated to go check out our site. You can do that yourself). doh! :P

In other news, I've started Christmas shopping. This year, since the kids are older, we told them that we are getting them one big gift and then everything else will be stocking stuffers. Now, we've never done stockings in this family (maybe they have at other homes, but not mine), so, we had to get stockings. Pottery Barn was having a FAB sale and we ordered stockings on Friday night (or was it Saturday night?). Anyway, there was free shipping and free personalization and most of the stockings were on sale. I was able to find six different stockings and they arrived YESTERDAY! Holy smokes that was fast! I'm impressed. The quality is good too. It's perfect...not too expensive, but not too cheap. I am so ready to start filling them.

I can't wait to open presents now. HAHAHAHHAHAHA

I was checking out video games last night. We have an Xbox 360, courtesy of my previous boss who had decided he was done with it. Anyway, I was looking for a good game that would appeal to me, and possibly the kids, but PJ too. I don't much care for games that are all shooting/killing, etc.; I'm not into sports games or driving games. I'm pretty lame like that. Anyway, does anyone remember Castlevania ? That's what I want to play. lol. They don't have one for Xbox 360. There's one for the regular Xbox, but the 360 is not backwards compatible for that game. CURSES!

Well, that's enough random rambling for this week.

Happy (early) Halloween!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just Discovered - Wild Cherry M-n-M's

I just discovered the limited edition Wild Cherry M-n-m's and I LOVE THEM!!!

Sorta like a cherry cordial, but not. Very yummy. :D

Go buy some and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And the Chimney's Clean...

We had some chimney sweeps come out today and check over the chimney and clean it and do whatever it is that they do (not tap dancing on roofs, for one). It's good to have that done. It's recommended that they come yearly, but we're on the every other year plan. ha! We don't burn sticky wood or miscellaneous things, so I'm comfortable with that schedule. So, now we have a nice toasty fire burning. It's helping keep the house a pretty decent temperature, which is good (since you know I hate to be cold).

In other news, Ethan's dad was married this past weekend. Congrats to Corky and Courtney! I believe it was a good time. Ethan had fun.

PJ and I attended a hot air balloon festival with Mike and Judi and their twins. There was a wine tasting too. Mike and PJ got quite toasty there too. **shrug** It was nice to catch up with Judi and we had a fun time taking a hay ride, petting some animals and just walking around at the festival. No hot air balloons while we were there (they had launched early in the morning and it was too windy in the afternoon for a launch).

Later that day (it was Saturday), we went to see my mom, Bo, and my sister was in town also. We had dinner at Panera (take out) and watched some of The Pirates of the Caribbean. I left there with my sister's dog as we're dog sitting him for about a month. Weller is adjusting nicely, but is still learning the routine and the pecking order. He's a real sweetie (usually) though!

PJ and I went to a wedding on Oct 11. Here are the pictures. Congrats to Maria and Phil! Kerry was their photographer and here are her pictures.

I guess that's enough updating for now. Better save something for the next one. :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

PJ's 20 year Reunion

So, PJ's 20 year HS reunion was last weekend. Check out the pics here:

Reunion Pictures

Hello there...

I'm finding things are getting stabilizing at work...I'm still busy, but I feel like I'm catching up. I've had to let a few things go around the house. The laundry for instance, it's done but not put away. I don't seem to have enough time to do it all. Oh well.

This weekend we have Maria and Phil's wedding, PJ's Mom's Family Reunion, Tina's Birthday Party and fortunately, I don't have any plans for Monday (thank goodness for long weekends).

Wishing you a happy, long weekend!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To our October Birthdays!

Courtney, Oct 5
Tina, Oct 16
Trisha, Oct 23
Corky, Oct 24

Hope your day is great!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just Checking In

I'm not dead...just really busy. And I don't feel like I have a lot to update about. I work, I do chores around the house. That's really it. HAHAHAHAHHA

PJ's 20 year high school reunion is this coming Saturday. I don't know what I'm going to wear. *sigh* I found a dress, but didn't like it and will return it. I'm back to square one.

In other news, I do have a new dress for the Oct 11 wedding we're attending. Success! I need to order some wedding presents too... Three weddings in 4 weeks. And one we missed in July that I *still* have yet to send something for. Oy! I'm way behind the times!

Ooo...we got the Nissan in tip top shape. It's had a little work done, but it's now passed inspection. PJ needs to install the new stereo. At some point we'll need to fix the A/C and it'd be nice to have it repainted (like that cheapo paint job from Maaco). I'm glad it's coming together. Much better gas mileage than PJ's truck.

Speaking of his truck, it's in the shop. Failed inspection. A buddy of PJ's is doing work on it. I think we'll have it back in the next day or two.

So, wasn't that exciting? lol. Hopefully there will be more exciting updates in my next post.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Solemn Day

It's a sad day as we remember 9/11. :( The Pentagon memorial was unveiled today. I'm sure it was a hard day for many people.

Happy Birthday to our September birthdays. Kurt, 9/7 and Ben, 9/27.

School has started... It's hard to believe we're already into September. So far, so good. The kids like their teachers and classes. That's good. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Block Party Cometh...

Only a few days away until our block party!!! I hope we'll be seeing you there!

September birthdays and first day of school coming soon! woohooo!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fizzled Out...

I had grand plans of getting the house cleaned tonight, making some dog food (my dogs are on a homemade diet) and organizing some stuff for the block party. It's 10.52pm and the only thing I've managed to do is sort the laundry. Now I just want to hit the hay!

My mom settled on a new house yesterday. I have to look up where it is again, but it's a little house on a few acres...maybe 1.5 hours from my house. I'll get to see it next weekend. Very exciting news!

Today is my grandmother's 80th birthday - woohoo! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Still not all here...

We have pictures up on our website. I won't post the links yet since I need to clean them up some (PJ uploaded way too many). But if you're brave or killing time, they're all there...vacation, family, miscellaneous (like the weed that's taller than Megan that was in my flowerbed!).

At some point, remind me to tell you about "The Compound."

I've had a bunch of high school friends suddenly show up on Facebook (over the last few weeks). I'm not sure what happened, but it's pretty neat to see who's on there now and to reconnect. I need to update my life story for them...

It's PJ's dad's birthday today. Happy Birthday, Pat!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Happy August Birthdays

Happy Birthday to our August Birthdays!!

Ethan, 13 on the 3rd! Woohoo!!!
Donald, the 7th (I believe. We celebrate his 80th on Sat, 8/9)
Pat, the 12th
Gram, the 15th (milestone 80th!)
Kelly H., the 21st

I think that's all of you. Hope you have a happy day!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's Official...

We've started planning for the block party. Info to my fellow planners went out tonight!

Mark your calendars - Sunday, Aug 31.

PJ and I just got back from vacation...I'm so behind on everything, including blogging, as you can see. As soon as he uploads our pics, I'll post links. Ten days was a long time to be gone, but it was good to see family (PJ's in OH, Mine in IN) and then we did the touristy thing in Gettysburg...the kids will thank me when they're older. ha!

I hope we're going to see the new Batman movie tomorrow (The Dark Knight as if you hadn't heard). We'll see if it fits into our schedule!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Quiet Sunday

So we were supposed to have Samantha's birthday parties (notice it's PLURAL) this weekend. We had a small scheduling conflict arise and had to cancel them. It's made for a very quiet and relatively unproductive weekend. ahahahahahah.

On Thursday (Sam's birthday, but she was at her mom's), we had a few friends over since there was no work on July 4th and everyone could sleep in!

On July 4, we swung by a BBQ and then headed to a friend's house where we could watch fireworks off the back porch (and escape all the traffic). Good times. We left there a little later than I hoped. Saturday morning came to early.

We picked up all the kids on Saturday morning and headed home. I had a few errands to run and then I parked my backside on the couch to finish a book I had started a week or so before. I finally got up to shower (stinky!) about 5pm. We were taking Sam and the family out to dinner at Friendly's. Now THAT was a fancy meal. :P After dinner and ice cream, we ran a quick errand at Wal-Mart (which makes me want to poke my eyes out). When we got home, Ethan had a friend spend the night, Megan went to a friend's house and I finished the book!

Sunday has been a lazy day. PJ went to breakfast with Joe. I did manage to get almost all the laundry done (should probably go check on it now) and I also made Sam's dinner for lunch (we ate around 2pm) - chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, corn and watermelon. She was happy as a pig in mud and the other kids didn't complain either. With the help of some of the kids, I made all the labels for PJ's father's day gift (one of those small hardware sorting cabinets for hanging in the shed). All in all, I am glad the weekend was low key.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

July Birthdays

Happy Birthday to our July birthdays!

July 3 - Samantha (16!!!!)
July 15 - PJ's mom
July 25 - Lisa

Hope it's a happy day for you all!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

End of an Era

PJ's last night as a bartender was this past Friday.

It was a fun night. Here are all the pictures....

In other news, we had a 4th-of-July-early-surprise-birthday-party (for PJ's mom) on Saturday. I don't have any pictures of it. *shrug* Sunday, we had lunch with some friends. Delicious pizza and good company!!

This coming week, we'll get ready for Samantha's birthday. She'll be 16 on Thursday! Woohoo!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Cat's Out of the Bag

In case you haven't heard yet, PJ is only working two more bar shifts...tonight's (which is already half over as I write this) and next Friday. He's going to be around on Friday nights again!! We're excited!

Family pics tomorrow. Can't wait - they'll be fun! Kerry is staying with us tonight to make it easier to get going in the morning. Yay!

Okay, I must go sort the laundry so I'm not TOTALLY behind all weekend. Later!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Four Years Already?

Today is our 4 year wedding anniversary. :) I can't believe it's been 4 years already. Where has the time gone? And we still like each other. HA!

Happy Anniversary, PJ! Here's to the next four. :D
I *heart* you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Holy Forgetful Blogger!!

I completely forgot my May birthdays, didn't I?!

Happy Belated Birthday to you all!!

Will (5/6)
Dad (5/29).

And Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there. LOL. I'm so late!

I can almost feel my fingers...

So, last week...Wednesday to be exact, we had some serious storms come through our area. We lost power at work. We lost power at home. We almost NEVER lose power at home, so when it didn't come back on after a couple hours, PJ and I began to formulate our "what do we do with all our frozen goods?" plan.

Well, we went to the store and picked up 6 - 20lb bags of ice. We transferred everything into the chest freezer and then packed it full of ice. We opened two bags and left three intact. We put the 6th bag into the upright that's in the basement. We had already lost the ice cream and a few other miscellaneous items, but the meat was all still frozen when we made the transfer.

Then the power came back on (it was off a full 24 hours). That was good. Especially since we are experiencing a freakin' heat wave right now (and right after the storms too...they ushered in the hot weather).

Last night I took three bags of ice out of the freezer and Ethan dumped them all over the trampoline. Tonight, I had to dig out the loose ice. My fingers have almost thawed. At least all the frozen good are back in their correct place and we're having steak for dinner tomorrow. :D

In other news, it's already June 10 and I haven't wished anyone a happy birthday.

Happy Belated Birthday, Chris (June 5) and Happy upcoming Birthday, Tammy (June 14).

And Neil, don't think I've forgotten you even if you ARE in Hawaii...Happy Birthday (June 25)!!!! Bring me back something cool. :)

I hope everyone is well. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yeah, whatever

So, okay, I'm like 2 months behind. Sorry, I've been busy. I'm not going to even try to get to pictures anytime soon. HA!

Happy post Memorial Day. Hope it was a good weekend for you.

We were busy. Four BBQs in 3 days. Was really nice to see PJ's family from the NJ area. They came down to MD and we went up. Nice time. :)

Ethan only has a few baseball games left... I'm very happy about that...tired of all the running around. Ethan went to FL this weekend with his dad for his Grandma's wedding. Congrats to Patty and Barry!!

Um...I'm sure there's more... Joe's home from school. Not sure if he's working yet. HELLO boy...get a job!

Megan, Sam and Ethan are all ready to get out of school. I don't blame them. Ethan and Sam seem to be doing really well. We're not sure about Megan yet.

Work has been SO busy. I'm in class the next two days and Ethan has a game on Wed night... busy, busy, busy. Can't wait for the weekend again! LOL

Monday, April 28, 2008

Barely Hanging On!

Just coming up for air long enough to let you know I'm still alive. Too busy to do much of anything these days and I'm WAY behind in my posting. So, **waving hello** to everyone....I hope to be back soon with updates and pics!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Teaser Pic

Really, I'm going to post more soon.

Look how big he is?! :-O He's almost a teenager....

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Happy Picture

I owe you guys more pictures and updates, but I have a funny little picture story for you.

We have this nice (unassuming, practical) little dry erase board in our bathroom.

It matches the theme of our bathroom and it lets us write little notes to each other. Like this one:

One day, I came in and found this!

In case you can't tell, that's supposed to be me and PJ in a hammock, declaring our love for one another. None of the kids claims it as their work and neither PJ nor I drew's a mystery. I asked them about it and now there's a new picture on the white board that no one will claim (same general theme, but I think I know this artist's handwriting.) Silly kids. :P

For your viewing pleasure, here's the complete picture.


In other news -

Ethan's team won their game on Saturday (second one). Their game tonight was rained out. I'll have pictures from opening day soon (they're downloaded, but not yet uploaded).

Our sodded lawn looks AWESOME.

My flowers are all blooming. :) Check out this cool tulip.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Go Nationals!

Ethan's LL team won their first game last night. It was a fun start for them to the season. Of course, we have friends on the losing team and that's always a bummer. :(

We're going to a Passover Cedar (Seder also) on Saturday night. I'm excited to go!

The sod/grass is growing! Yay!

Let's see... I guess that's all. haha. Have a great week!

Friday, April 11, 2008

We have not fallen off the face of the earth

I promise....we are still here. I might even have stuff on which to update you. I just need to get on it. :P Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

April Birthdays!

Doh! It's April already and I almost forgot!

April 10 - Jordon (Ethan's friend)
April 22 - Dawn
April 25 - Joe and Mom (mine).

Happy Birthday, Everyone!

Sod, Dirt and Woodchips - Oh My!

In a recent post, I mentioned the Big Load of dirt and woodchips we had delivered on March 28. Well, over that weekend, we spread all that dirt in the low-lying areas in our backyard. The woodchips were put into the trampoline pit. Here are all the pictures.

The driveway AFTER we were done:

This left our yard looking like this:

You know, we have THOUSANDS of pictures on our server and I cannot find one.single.picture of our backyard before we started any work. I know I forgot to take an "immediate" before picture, but the only picture I can find is this one...and it's from when we looked at buying the house (and the yard doesn't look all that bad!):

So, anyway, after all the work we last weekend, we had 6 pallets of sod delivered this past Friday. Holy Smokes! That's a lot of sod!

All day on Saturday, we (well, the guys) laid down sod. Trisha & I fixed lunch and Lisa got the beer and took pictures. Tammy helped with water bottles. We four also discussed many important, completely-unrelated-to-sod things. You know, like shoes and whatnot.

Anyway, when we (them guys) were done, we found out we had TWO extra pallets of sod leftover (and this was after we put down 2700 sq ft of sod). It appears the sod farm estimates when they deliver...of course this meant we probably could have paid for about 1800 sq ft of sod, but we didn't know that. Anyway, from one pallet, we sent 30 rolls home with John, who had helped all day, and we gave 30 rolls to our neighbors, who have similar yard issues due to their dog. The other 60 will go to PJ's sister, Tina. PJ, his dad and his brother are loading up the pick-up truck now. For all the pictures, go here.

Here's a video of the was the only way I could capture most of it without having to post too many pictures.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Vintage Prints

My mom recently got her hands on an old photo of my grandfather. I think he's the little one in the picture.

Big Load!

That's our driveway. Five cubic yards of topsoil and 3 cubic yards of wood chips...the backyard is getting a makeover this weekend. But iyiyiyiyiy! My muscles are sore just thinking of all the work we're going to do!

Echo has Whipworms. How she got them, we have no idea...especially since Polo doesn't have them...but they're both getting a shock treatment this week (and then again in 2 weeks) and we have to change their monthly heart worm meds (from Tri-heart to Interceptor). The good thing about the new dirt and sod is that we'll cover up most of the eggs since they are hard to kill. I also have to be vigilent about scooping in the back yard (ugh).

We have a busy weekend planned. Sam has a winter guard event. Megan has homework. Ethan has baseball. We're hitting the hot tub expo to try to find a new hot tub cover and then we're spreading all that dirt and the wood chips. I hope to have more pictures of all the progress.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Baseball Schedule Posted

Check out the family calendar...practice dates/times and game dates/times are now posted!

I've been lax on remember to use my camera for anything lately...I'll try to get back in the habit!

For instance, Ethan cut off all his hair tonight (mostly by himself with just a little help from me). He wouldn't let me take pictures though. :P

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I've been really behind in posting...not a lot to announce, I guess. Anyway, Happy St. Patrick's Day.

And here's some news:

The CNU Marching Captains will be participating in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade! They’re one out of only 12 bands selected nationwide to perform, so this is quite an honor for Joe, the band, and the school.

Once they march in the Philly parade, then can then be eligible for the Macy's Parade. Maybe we'll see him march there in 2009!

Congrats to Joe and CNU!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Death by Coughing

I have a stupid chest cold. I don't have a whole lot of congestion...except for what's in my chest. I'm coughing up a lung here.

Ethan found out he's on the Majors Nationals Team this season. Parent meeting on Monday, 3/10.

Sam's guard team is doing pretty well. She and PJ have also been working hard on Algebra and she's doing a lot better in that class!

Megan's family birthday party this past weekend was a success! We gave her dollhouse accessories (furniture and a doll family). She's been playing with it a lot. Soon PJ and Megan will have to finish the roof and there's wallpaper to install now too.

PJ's birthday is this Sunday. He's having a bunch of guys over on Saturday to home-brewing lessons and bratwurst. I'll be finding something else to do. Like cough up a lung... *sigh* *cough*

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What day is it?

Last night Ethan had baseball tryouts. He'll be in the majors this year (of his little league). He thinks he did well at tryouts. I can't tell you how he really did because I don't know! You can't see much at the training center where tryouts are held! Hopefully we'll hear what team he's on in the next 10 days or so.

Tonight, PJ and Sam will probably be heading up to the high school to go over AP class options. There's some sort of informative meeting. I need to get to the grocery store too, in preparation for Megan's family birthday dinner (PJ will celebrate with the family too, but he picks his meal on Sat, 3/8, when he's having some friends over).

PJ will go to CNU on Thursday to see Joe's band perform. His mom and sister are going to. They'll have a good time, but it'll be a long day.

Megan's birthday is just two days away! She's pretty excited to have a "real" birthday this year! (ah, the curse of the leap year birthday).

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I've updated links on this blog. Heidi (my sister) for instance, finally has a blog of her own. Feisty! If you want to check it out, she's here.

I also updated my Bloglines (my feed reader) to make sure it included everyone's blogs. Phew!

Now, I just need to get my sister-in-law on board and I can keep up better with my brother's family's activities! :P

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse coming!

On Wed, Feb 20, there's a total lunar eclipse.

10:26pm eastern time.

Here are all the details.

Doll Baby

PJ and the girls worked on Megan's doll house yesterday. Here are some pictures.

Ethan got sick at school so now I'm working from home and he's resting in his room. Fun times...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Eventually We'll Catch Up

As you can guess by now, PJ and I are not known for being totally up to date on movies. There is just not enough time in the day/week/month/year to watch very many movies and do all the other things we always seem to have going on. Well, we finally watched all of The Bourne Identity (warning: spoilers, if you haven't seen it yet). It's about time, huh? Gotta love FiOs On Demand.

It was a good movie. And I totally want to see the next too. ASAP. But who knows when we'll have the time. LOL

In other news, it's President's Day and PJ is off with the girls. Not sure what they're doing. I had to work. Fun.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

(image from here)
I know I'm a few hours early, but I wanted to make sure my Valentine's wishes arrived on time! :) Hope it's a great day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chesapeake Primaries

So, did you get out and vote? I did. I'm doing my part.

I uploaded some pictures from the kids making dollhouse furniture, making gingerbread houses and even PJ's humongous hamburger. You can see the pictures here.

In other news, the weather is icey (or is it icy?) tonight. So Ethan is pretty sure he's going to have a delay tomorrow. I don't really care, except I have to go to work. I've had a lot to do lately.

Have a wonderful day! Valentine's Day is almost upon us. PJ and I have the really romantic plans of nothing to do! You have no idea how exciting that really is. :P

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Spring Cleaning!

So, it's not spring yet, but it was very spring-like weather yesterday. I had a bee in my bonnet for whatever reason and decided to clean out my closet. I ended up with a full bag of clothing to donate and about 500 miscellaneous hangers. :-O I also organized my clothes according to work, leisure, formal and pants, skirts, etc. It'd been a while since I had done that. It feels good. Next, I'll be tackling my shoe rack. The Lupus Foundation will be here on March 13 (this was the earliest!) to pick up our donations, so I'm harassing the kids to go through there stuff too.

In other news, the kids got their report cards yesterday. Ethan and Megan did great! Sam...not so much. She definitely had good grades in a few classes, but she's not doing well in Algebra at all. Um...hello girlfriend, get your act together. Anyway, her mom took away her permit, so no driving for her until she's back on honor roll. PJ pulled her out of Color Guard. After this weekend's show (a big one that her school is hosting and all of us are volunteering at), she won't go to any more competitions or practices. She's bummed, of course, but I think she's forgotten what's important here. *sigh*

Tonight, we're a busy sort...meeting up with a friend to pick up Ethan's keys that were left at her house; we're attending a meeting in preparation for the volunteer work on Saturday and at some point, I need to run some errands.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I have a lot of things on my mind lately, but nothing I can readily discuss here or really anywhere else. It's frustrating.

But onto more exciting news...our Wills paperwork is completed. We have just a few little things to complete to get our financial goals in line and then we're done with the "grown up" activities for a while. Sometimes being a grown up is no fun. :P

Friday, February 01, 2008

February Birthdays

Well, look at me having my act together on the first of the month!

February 3 - Jordan
February 7 - Natalie
February 10 - Rob (hello, bit 3-0)
February 22 - Kristin in Richmond
February 29 - Megan! woohoo, she gets to have her birthday on her birthday this year!

Happy Birthday everyone!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

National Wear Red Day

Hmm....I'm at a bit of a loss for updates recently. I don't want to just give a play by play of the weekends, but sometimes there's not much else to tell you.

So, today I want to draw your attention to heart disease and women. Tomorrow, 2/1, is
National Wear Red Day.

“Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women of all ethnic
backgrounds.” -
American Heart Association Website

Check it out and take precautions now!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Snow Tubing Pictures

Pictures from Aaron's birthday are here.

if they look sort of squished, I'm sorry...I'm looking into that, but I didn't see the problem until too late to work on it tonight.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sam Drove!

You know, this is my 154th post. I feel like I hit the 150th post like 4 weeks ago and I should be much farther along than 154 by now, but I digress...

Anyway, I was writing to tell you all about my weekend. Friday night, I left work just a few minutes early. PJ and I went to the dealership where we picked up his truck (that was in for transmission work). I took his truck and he went to work at the bar (taking my car). I went home to Petsmart to pick up some dogfood (being lazy about the homemade diet right now) and then I ran to Kohl's where I scored a fabulous deal on a comforter set.

After that, I picked up the girls and we went home. Ethan was staying at his dad's house since his uncle was coming into town and I don't know why else, but it was fine. The girls and I headed home where we did our chores and ate dinner (ooo...lean pockets and stuff) and then they watched some TV while I watched TV in my room. I also did more chores (during commercials, of course).

Saturday morning, PJ and Sam went to breakfast. Ethan came home and then we all went to help Susan move (that's Seth's girlfriend). Jacob, Kim, and Tony were also there and we knocked out the moving in about 30 minutes. Amazing. Granted, it IS a one-bedroom apartment, but with all those helpers and well-packed storage pods, it went quickly. We had pizza and then cut out of there to do our next set of errands.

PJ stayed home while I took the girls and Ethan to run errands. Found a new jacket for Megan, exchanged a shirt for Samantha and found a new coffee pot (our carafe broke and we haven't been able to find a replacement carafe). Once we were home, I finished chores and PJ continued his work around the house. I took Sam driving before I started dinner. :O

Sam and I drove around a nearby shopping center. It has "regular roads" and parking lot roads in it. So we practiced parking and turning and using blinkers and backing up and then...dum, dum, dum...I let her drive home. She had to drive on a road with a DOUBLE YELLOW LINE for about 2 blocks. LOL. And then she was in our neighborhood. She even parked the truck in the driveway (which is a big deal since both other cars were in the driveway too). It was only a little scary, but she did a great job! She went to tell PJ about her experience and I started dinner. Joe came over for dinner and then left to go back to school (and he made it safely!). The rest of the us watched Supersize Me. If you're one of the 12 people who haven't seen it yet. Rent it. Watch it. Learn.

We made it an early night on Saturday since we had to get up at the butt crack of dawn on Sunday. We drove to PA to go snow tubing for Aaron's 15th birthday. Most of PJ's family made it. I stayed in the lodge and read, which was good because I think it was like 15 degrees outside and I stongly dislike the cold. Brrr! Everyone had fun though and then we went to Tina's house where we had yummy food and fun conversations.

We left last night around 6pm to get home and I think it was around 730 when we finally got into the house and unloaded all our stuff. Ethan went to his dad's since there was no school today for MLK, Jr day and I tried to get to bed early (HA!). It's bitterly cold again today. I'm looking forward to a spring thaw. Snow tubing pictures to follow soon. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where There's a Will...

So, if you recall, we met with a financial planner a couple of months ago. One of the tasks he assigned us with was to get in to see a lawyer and finally get a will and whatnot done. Well, PJ and I finally did that today.

We met with a lawyer that the financial planner referred us to. He was a knowledgeable guy who's been in the business a long time. He had a lot of information and practical advice for us. Nice guy too.

We were asked to come with a brief financial summary and some ideas on who we wanted to appoint as trustees, executor, etc.

The lawyer asked us a series of questions and then we discussed our options. Our situation is more unique than the standard family since we're blended and PJ has a few stipulations already set up in his property settlement agreement (what you get when you get separated in Va).

The drafted documents will be mailed to us in the next couple of weeks and then we'll review and approve/edit them. Once that's complete, we'll head back to his office to sign everything and then we'll have to update some of our documents, like our life insurance beneficiaries. I'll be glad when we can finally cross this important step off our list. I feel like a huge burden will be lifted.

Here's some information for getting your own will done (and in general, this can be done with software at home, but our situation is a tad bit more complicated):

  1. An executor is the one assigned to handle all the administrative tasks after a death. This is often a spouse, however, if you both die, someone else must be named. If you don't name one, the courts will. This should be someone who is organized and who you trust to get all your affairs in order (funeral, general paperwork, taxes, bills, etc.). Make sure your executor can find all of your files and whatnot. If you pay your bills online, make sure they are left some directions with how to access those accounts!

  2. Once the executor is done with his/her job of executing the will(s), the remaining funds of the estate (if there are any) are then distributed. If a trust was set up, then the assests are turned over to the trust and trustee. A trustee should be designated to help distribute the funds of the trust to your survivors (in our case, our kids). The trustee should be someone who makes similar financial decisions. For instance, if your kid goes to the trustee to ask for the money to buy a car, will the trustee make the same decision as you would?

  3. In Virginia, you are not required to have an executor that's a resident of the state (misinformation I had received originally). The executor will have to appear in court wherever you resided sometime after your death, so keep that in mind.

  4. Wills are valid even if you move states, etc. The lawyer advised that you update your will at least every 10 years, but also after any major life changes. Generally, you can always call the lawyer to ask if a life change requires a will update. They'll answer that question free of charge usually. :)

In addition to the will, we're also having a power of attorney drawn up. This basically states that if either of us is unable to do something legal/financial, the other can do it. So, if I'm in a coma, PJ can sell my car (since he's not on the title, this would otherwise be an issue for him). These documents are particularly important for elderly parents to complete naming one of their adult children before they have a stroke or other debilitating problem that renders them unable to make decisions. The lawyer said that he received calls almost DAILY from family members needing a power of attorney for a sickened parent and the parent is not truly competent. It requires them to go to court and do a million things. In the meantime, the mortgage is not getting paid because no one can access the parent's checking account.

We're also having a Health Care Power of Attorney done. This gives the other spouse the power to make medical decision in the event the injured spouse can't. Ours also list various other family members as alternatives (in the event one of us has passed already). These are not only for life and death situations, but those are included of course.

Finally, we are also having a Living Will done. Neither one of us is interested in being kept on life support. So, this dictates that making the decision easier for our surviving family members.

No one likes to think about the inevitability of death, however, if you don't want the state to decide what to do with your estate, even if you don't have kids, you should look at getting this taken care of. If you leave behind family members (kids, siblings, parents, etc.), you will make their lives infinitely easier if these things are discussed in advance and then dictated legally.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Everyone can use this advice

I don't have a lot of my own news to update you with, so I thought I'd link you to an EXCELLENT financial blog that I follow. As a matter of fact, I'm going to add him to my blog roll.

Anyway, here he gives you 8 tips for getting control of your finances in 2008 (or really, at any time). His advice is spot on.

Go read it!

Yes, I know all those links go to the same place...that's because I think it's really important! Go check him out!

His blog is Get Rich Slowly.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Behind Door #2

So, on 12/31, PJ and I decided on the right Beater Car for Sam. She was eligible to get her permit on 1/3 and we knew we needed to have our ducks in a row. So, we did a little negotiating and found this puppy. Isn't she a beauty? Yeah, I know, she's older and a little banged up, but she is still running and at 17 years, that's pretty good. 1990 Nissan Stanza here.

Her "issues," if you will:

  • clutch is a little loose, but works
  • a bit of cosmetic damage inside and outside (but not bad for 220k miles!)
  • speedometer doesn't work
  • A/C doesn't work
  • Gas tank, hood and trunk releases don't work (new cables necessary?)
  • a very little rust on one panel
  • reverse lights don't work
  • passenger side front door handle doesn't work
  • door seal needs to be replaced (but it doesn't leak)
  • the stereo doesn't work and it's missing rear speakers, but don't you know we have an extra set in the attic? And an extra stereo too....cuz we're geeks like that. We're not in any hurry to fix the radio though (that's just a distraction for new drivers).
  • one directional tire was misinstalled
  • few extraneous electrical/engine tweaks needed...

Anyway, PJ can fix almost all the problems himself...granted he needs a little time to do that all, but the car runs and with the exception of the reverse lights not working, it's legal. We have inspection next month, so we'll have to get those lights working by then. In the meantime, Samantha can practice shifting in the driveway.

Samantha DID get her permit on Friday, 1/4. Look out Virginia, Sam's gonna start driving. :)

In other news:

Happy Birthday to our January birthdays...I think it's only Aaron, Sam's cousin. Since he's in West VA and they allow kids to get their permit when they're 15, Sam was REALLY glad she passed the permit test on her first try so she could get her permit before Aaron. Aaron will be 15 on Jan 19! We'll be snow tubing in PA to celebrate (I promise to have pictures!).

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires!

You and PJ, that is.

Near the end of the holiday vacation, but before New Year's, PJ and I were at home. I know we were both showered/dressed to leave the house, but I can't remember the time of day (mid-day at some point).

PJ looked out our kitchen window and saw a little bit of smoke in the neighbor's yard. It was a thin column of smoke, like you might have for a small campfire. PJ commented on it. Now, outdoor fires in residental areas are illegal where we live. And on top of that, there's like a 13" rain deficit, so while the ground wasn't parched (had recently had rain), it wasn't a good idea. I commented on how these types of fires could get out of control very easily and PJ pashawed my comment.

PJ continued to watch. I was doing something in the kitchen (computer stuff? grocery list? I can't remember). Then PJ started to get more interested in the fire. He commented that it appeared to be a lot smokier now and then he said the little old lady next door was running (as much as an 80-yr old grandma can run). I thought he was just pulling my leg, but he said she really was running. I went out on the back deck to see what I could see and I could see that there was some fire, but I couldn't tell how much.

We saw the neighbor-lady carry out water in a dog bowl. And then in a tupperware container. PJ realized this wasn't going to solve the problem and he leapt into action grabbing his trusty 5-gallon bucket (the one he uses for the fish tank) and ran to the neighbor's house.

He made his way into the backyard (through a gate, no sense ringing a doorbell in this case). He saw that the wood retaining wall had caught on fire. He tried the hose, but being winter, the outside water was off. He ran up the back steps to the house to the kitchen sink (their kitchen is upstairs, like ours). He hadn't seen anyone yet, but he went ahead to fill up the bucket in the sink. Well, the water pressure gave him a trickle. He was beyond frustrated, but since he still hadn't seen any homeowners, he didn't feel right about heading to the tub to fill his bucket up (the situation wasn't dire enough yet).

The homeowners did show up (we don't know where they were, in the basement???) and one of them unlocked the basement door so PJ could turn on the water (they weren't tall enough). Then PJ got the hose and extinguished the fire. Damage was only to the retaining wall, but no one was hurt and no major property damage.

Thank goodness PJ was paying attention! The neighbors brought us food on New Year's Day. And though they try to teach me Spanish with each visit, I haven't gotten much farther than "gracias" or "adios." **shrug** At least we like our neighbors, even if they are trying to burn down the neighborhood. :P

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Death of a Tree

We used a tree bag this year. It was our attempt at preventing needles from littering the house when it came time to remove the tree. Well, let's just say it was fantastic! :) We're using one every year! The tree was debagged at the curb and the trash guys hauled it away and it'll be recycled into mulch or something. It's already gone...we're officially un-decorated for Christmas now.

Christmas Pics are here!

Our Christmas with the kids - 12/22

My Mom's - 12/23

Yasha's - 12/25

Mom & Dad's (Judy & Pat) - 12/25

My Dad's - 12/26

A Birthday Story

So, on Dec 20, we went to a funeral. It was a Thursday and it was a pretty rough day. D.O. was young and well-loved and it brought back a lot of memories and it reminds you how precious life is.

After the funeral, several of us (a lot) met up at TGI Fridays to catch up and tell stories and whatnot. I had some things to take care of and left around 5. PJ said he wasn't staying late and that I'd see him later. It was a pretty crappy evening as I spent a lot of time reminiscing and whatnot. PJ got home around 930pm. I was getting ready for bed. He said he'd been out doing last minute birthday shopping and that he stopped by Glory Days. I was irritated he was home so late, but I figured he had just needed more time (than me) to process everything and decompress from the day, etc., etc.

Fast forward to my birthday (12/26, in case you forgot to pay attention)...PJ and the kids brought my birthday gifts to my dad's house. I opened them there and I got some pajamas, socks and fondue forks. Now, I'm not trying to come across as greedy, but I thought, "He didn't come home that night for this?!" And based on my Christmas presents, I know that the kids and PJ had all been to Victoria's secret, Bed, Bath & Beyond and the mall, so I knew those gifts were not gifts that PJ had been out shopping for the night of the funeral. I didn't say anything because I was happy with the gifts and saying something certainly would have made me sound ungrateful (which I wasn't). Besides, I figured he might have stopped to get one item, but mostly he had probably just spent more time hanging out with everyone than he was willing to admit to. Having a fight about that wasn't high on my list of fun things to do on my birthday.

We left my dad's not too late and got home...I took Megan to the store to redeem a gift card and we ran a couple other errands. Sometime after dinner, PJ started questioning me about items that were on the table (because where do we store all this new Christmas stuff??!!). I turned to talk to him and low and behold what do I see? A bag, from a jewelry store. And in it were a pair of earrings and a journey pendant necklace. PJ redeemed himself. :) And then, of course, I had to tell him the story that I just told you and he got even greater pleasure out of it all. He spent some time congratulating himself. LOL. He's a good guy. And he wasn't out all night at the bar as I had started to think he had been. HAHAHAHAHAHAH! Phew!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Where did December go?

Since I don't have time for a full update yet, here's a little bit about the last couple of weeks. I promise you that soon you'll hear all about Stanzas, fires and a few other things.

On 12/22, we celebrated Christmas with the kids. We had breakfast casseroles for dinner (lukewarmly received) and then opened gifts. We sent each of the kids on a scavenger hunt for their final gift. It was fun!

On 12/23, we celebrated Christmas with my mom, Bo, my sibs and their families and some of Bo's family. Delicious food and fun gifts! We celebrated mine and Nickel's birthdays too.

On 12/24, I worked a half day and PJ was off. He ran some errands and whatnot. I don't remember what Ethan did...oh I think he went to see I Am Legend. That evening, Ethan and I went to church and then we just hung out.

On 12/25 (Christmas day, for those of you following along at home), we went to Yasha and Kirk's for brunch at 11am. Then we left to pick up PJ's girls by 2pm. Then we headed to Pat & Judy's house for a Christmas celebration with PJ's family (all the sibs and whatnot). Good times, good food. We also had birthday cake. When we got home, the three kids who haven't yet gone off for college found out that they were also getting new computer desks (pics coming soon). They assembled them right away.

On 12/26 (hey! that's my birthday!), we went out to visit my dad, stepmom and her boys. Jordan had already left for work, so we missed him. Heidi and Kurt had already left too. Rob, Dawn and Nickel were there though. We ate, opened gifts, had birthday cake (again, 3rd time!), birthday gifts and played some CatchPhrase. Finally we left to get a few more things done at home. The girls went home that evening.

On 12/27, PJ and I must have done something...I can't remember what. Ethan hung out with a friend most of the day.

Early on 12/28, Ethan flew out to CA with his dad for a visit with family out there. He'll be back on 1/5...he's having a blast. PJ worked on 12/28 at the bar too. I played his new xBox 360. LOL

On 12/29, we went out to dinner with Joe and some friends and then was out way too late. Except for being tired, I was fine the next day (the benefits of being DD).

On 12/30, we went to watch the game at Andy & Lyndsey's house. The Skins won, which made everyone there very happy (and I don't care).

On 12/31, we hosted a dinner party where we played CatchPhrase AGAIN! Fun though.

1/1 was spent recuperating and cleaning up. I was very tired, but otherwise no major issues.

1/2, unfortunately, saw us both back to work. LOL

Our Christmas decorations are 98% removed and put away. The house is almost back to normal...tonight I'll hopefully finish that up.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, it's 2008. I've been a little MIA lately...the holidays are just hectic and now that we are resuming normal activities I can think about posting updates and stuff. Unfortunately, I'm not really ready to post a lot of information...heck, I haven't even dowloaded the pictures from Christmas yet and we celebrated on 12/22!!!! Phew!

Anyway, just wanted to pop on and let you know I was alive and updates would be coming soon. Happy New Year to you all and I hope 2008 is a fantastic year for you!