Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 ~ really? Already?

This year seems to have just flown by but I have to say, it's nice to have this blog to look back on to see just what I did this last year, how much the kids have grown, where I was a year ago.
I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions 'cause I'm just not disciplined enough to keep them up, but I do want to get better organized this year. Try not to let life just happen to me, but get some control.
I will definitely be continuing with "The Story of Me" this year. It's been very therapeutic for me and the family really seems to enjoy it. My inspiration was my grandchild who will be making their appearance in just 4 short months. I know I would have loved to have read stories from my mom and my grandmother.
The attached picture is my mom at 3 yrs old. What I wouldn't give to know what it was like when she was growing up. This picture, by the way, was given to me by my wonderful cousin Linda who has recently reconnected with a distant cousin who went through her family's boxes of photos. It was hands down the best Christmas present I've ever received.
I've been trying to convince my mother-in-law (who writes fabulously, by the way) to write more of her story. She'll send me a little story once in a while via email and I have them saved in a folder so someday I can make them into a booklet with pictures for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I encourage all of you ~ challenge all of you out there. Write down your own stories. It doesn't matter where you start ~ just start writing. On the computer or in journals. You may not think there is anything interesting enough to write but I promise, it will be. Generations to come will be thrilled to know how you lived and what you thought. What things were like back in the "old days." And don't forget to add pictures. A picture is absolutely worth a thousand words.

In any case have a wonderful New Year's Eve. Stay safe and I'll see ya in 2010!

So this is new..

DSC07740 Notice anything new? How about the stud in my son's ear? We were at the mall just before Christmas passing by one of those kiosks that pierce ears and Nate asked if he could get his ear pierced. I think it shocked him cause his dad and I both said "sure, let's go." I figure of all the things he could do, getting his ear pierced is the least of it ~ I'll save my battle for another day. Besides, he's so cute, he can definitely pull it off.
He looks less than enthusiastic here DSC07735
Watching them get the gun ready DSC07739 notice his sister right behind him making sure he's okay.
And the moment of truth... DSC07738
He did really well. Didn't hurt that the girl who did it was cute and more than happy to pose for a pic with him DSC07741
Guess who got new earrings for Christmas???

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Handmade for Christmas

I had been hoping to get more handmade stuff done for Christmas this year but alas, it did not happen. I did get this made for my wonderful MIL DSC07776 Turquoise is definitely her color and I threw in a bit of green to mix it up. I think she liked it.
While I didn't make this night shirt for Jen, I did do the embroidery for it. DSC07755 It is a play on the whole "eating for two" thing. She's a sleeper so now she has an excuse to sleep!
And I made a few things for the wonderful office workers at the school DSC07758 DSC07757 I don't know what I would do without them and wanted to thank them. DSC07761The bag is for Julianne's teacher. I also made a little zipped tote for one of Nate's teacher but somehow missed getting a pic of that.
I have some other handmade gifts I still need to mail out (yes I know they are a bit late!) so I can't show them yet.
I had hopes of making Julianne a dress from "her" peace sign fabric but that hasn't happened yet and I also wanted to make a couple of overnight bags for the kids but you know the saying about best laid plans....
I did have a couple of custom orders I needed to do before Christmas. I got an order to embroider a couple of sheets DSC07751 DSC07749 I was a little nervous about these cause I hadn't done sheets before but they came out really good. I also had an order for another xtra large embroidered screen bag but I can't seem to find the photos for it. It was for a 13 y/o and it was a large screen bag with a matching zippered bag (for her toiletries) and a travel pillow for sleepovers.

Things are also picking up a bit on the Etsy shop. I had a couple of sales this month for the little girl screen bags and matching wallets. I have a bunch of stuff I still need to put in the shop ~ maybe tomorrow I will get a chance to do that. There will be some big girl screen bags along with the busy books, some new coasters and wallets.
I'm looking forward to business picking up in the new year ~ for all of us!

Brrr ~ Cold!

It's actually been very chilly here the last couple of days with temperatures dropping into the 30's a night or two. It's been pretty nice during the day ~ lovely blue skies. Richard is off for the week so we probably should get outside and do something fun. Mostly we've been hanging around the house, catching up on laundry; getting ourselves reorganized and relaxing from the craziness that was Christmas. I even cleaned up/out my whole desk area. Found stuff I had forgotten I had. That's my pre New Year's resolution ~ to get more organized. I really need to tackle my sewing room but I think the family will have to send in search and rescue cause a person could get lost in the mess there.
I got Richard the fire pit he's been eying which has been kinda nice since we like to eat out by the pool in the evening. I definitely see roasted marshmallows in the future, especially since Julianne got him some for Christmas.

Even poor Sadie with all her fur has been chilly She did not mind being wrapped in in all these quilts.
We haven't had to turn on the heater yet but we have all been sleeping under a double layer of quilts.
Speaking of quilts, I got "most" of the top done of the Snoopy quilt DSC07768 It still needs borders and to be quilted of course, but this will go on the spare bed in the nursery at Jen & Jeremys. She's been asking for this for a while and so I've been collecting snoopy prints for a couple of years now. I think it turned out really cute.
I think there are close to 30 different prints on this. My initial idea was to border each square in the white fabric with the black paw prints but I didn't buy enough initially so I went with a rail fence type border. DSC07764
Of course I've still got lots to do... found a few tutorials on making crib sheets so that's probably next on the agenda. I've also got some really cute fabrics to do the crib quilt in mostly beige/browns ~ puppies of course... Then there are the really colorful puppy fabrics Jen found for a playpen quilt. She's been busy painting. She painted one wall a chocolate brown and is going to stencil beige puppy prints on it. I can't wait to see it. Will keep you posted on the nursery progress. Can you tell I'm excited???

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Did ya miss me?

So I took a little unplanned time off from here...It's as always ~ when I have lots of stuff to write about I'm too busy to write it and it has been a very busy time here. All good I assure you.

First and foremost I want to wish you all the happiest of holidays and hope yours was as wonderful as mine was. Jen & Jeremy came up on the 23rd and the Ginkster came up on the 24th. We stayed up late on the 23rd so the kids slept in and we opened presents around 10:00 am on the 24th. DSC07789 DSC07792 DSC07793Presents were so nice all around and I was mostly grateful to be with those so precious to me and as an extra special gift I got to feel my grandchild kick for the first time... just think he or she will be with us celebrating their first Christmas next year. I hate to wish my life away but I'm really looking forward to that.

We had two trees this year. Our traditional tree which Julianne was kind enough to decorate mostly on her ownDSC07780
And this year we had the addition of the "white" tree.DSC07800 It is outside by the pool. Since we've moved back to Florida I've wanted a tropical tree so last year after Christmas I bought myself a white tree for next to nothing. The idea was to put "tropical" ornaments on it. My BFF Maryann made it her mission to supply me with the coolest ornaments for my tree. DSC07803 DSC07804 DSC07806 Aren't they awesome? And so special because they came from her. I only wish she could be down here to see it for herself.

I have so much more to fill you in on but this post would be a gazillion pages long so for now, just know we are all well here and I promise to be better about keeping up with all of you. Those of you who also have blogs, I have been reading, I promise, and will be better about commenting in the future. You are all so very important to me and I've missed you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank you!

Just wanted to wish all of you out there a most happy Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for all of you who read this post and especially those that comment. I can't tell you how much that means to me.

We are headed up to Jen's for Thanksgiving tomorrow ~ I will post pics when I return.

Things are coming along with the "Night of the Arts" at Julianne's school. Looks like I might just pull this off. Also seems we may have the superintendent of schools as well as the press in attendance and I've got to give a welcome speech. Not my favorite thing to do but like the president, I've appointed someone else to write my speech for me! Not sure how much I'll get posted this coming week but after Dec 4th I should be back. So much to show you. I've been sewing my little fingers to the bone. Lots of screen bags, wallets, busy books & travel pillows.

And just because I don't like to post without pics ~ here's one of my very strange and deformed son ~ showing off how far his shoulder blade can come out ~ Gross!DSC07543

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Soccer season is over

Can I get a hallelujah? Maybe an Amen? It was a terrible season. We didn't win a single game. We only scored twice the whole season. It was so painful to watch. Great bunch of kids ~ but they were terrible players. They just didn't want it bad enough. They were out run, out maneuvered, and just outplayed. If it had been me, I'd have quit. But the kids, they had a great time anyway.
It was really hard for Nate since last year his team only lost one game all season. He's a good player and one of the strongest on this years team ~ but last year they were almost all really good players.. and they played well together.

This year, not so much. But as they do in this society... they all got trophies

I may be a bad parent for saying this but I think it's wrong. I think trophies should be a reward for winning. Now you get a trophy for playing and they really don't mean as much. I know, they are supposed to be rewarded for playing but seriously???

In any case, Nate is not discouraged and has opted to play soccer again in the spring. Last year he played baseball in the spring and did well but he really likes soccer more. Our coach has given them the option of playing on the same team but I'm thinking we'll be looking for a different team next time!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My littlest is now famous

Well, not really but she has now been on TV. Public TV anyway. The chorus from her elementary school sang for the School Board at their last meeting ~ and I believe all their meetings are televised.
In any case if you click on THIS LINK it'll take you to the site. Click on Part 1 Entertainment and you'll be able to see her. They show her close up quite a bit ~ partially cause she's the most beautiful child there but mostly cause she was right next to the music director when he is making his announcements.
I mostly posted this so family could see her cause I will warn you, it's bad. Our chorus can't sing and really only a parent (or maybe a grandparent) could sit through this.... but if ya'll want to see her ~ there she is.

Skipping ahead to the present

I was going to wait till the end of my "Story of Me" posts for this one.. Remember the surprise ending I promised? Well I just can't wait anymore so we are gonna skip ahead in my life to right now.

My life so far, with all it's ups and downs has been a wonderful life. I wouldn't trade it for anything and I plan on having lots and lots of adventures to write about in my future.. which brings me to the inspiration to write all this stuff down... the next chapter of my life.

I'll bet you can all guess what this is..
Baby Cox
That's right ~ It's my GRANDCHILD!

No, we don't know whether it's a boy or a girl. Jen & Jeremy have chosen to wait to find out. Yes, it's driving me absolutely insane ~ but I completely respect their decision to wait. Jen is due in the last half of April and I couldn't be more excited.
I know some soon-to-be grandmothers freak out and think of it as a sign of aging ~ but me, I've always wanted and looked forward to being a grandmother. Being a mom is hard ~ being a grandmother is the reward for all that hard work.

I completely look forward to this next phase in my life and promise to keep you updated on Jen's progress. I went up to Jacksonville on Thursday. Jen invited me up to go to her ultrasound with her. It was so amazing. The little jelly bean was waving at us all. After the ultrasound she went into the other room for her check up and even though it wasn't scheduled, they let us hear the heartbeat since I had driven all that way.
Jen thought I would cry and I did get a bit choked up when I heard the baby's heart beat but mostly I felt completely calm and serene. I knew this was what I have been waiting for, for a very long time.

I'll leave you with a pic of the expectant mom and dad, waiting to go in for the ultrasound. DSC07530
No belly pics just yet cause even though she's almost half way there, she's not really showing yet. She has been feeling the baby move for a few weeks now. Boy, is she gonna have her hands full!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Story of Me ~ Part 3 ~ A Bumpy Road

When I left off last time, I had just lost my mom. I've got a few more "bumps" ahead in my life road but then it gets better, I promise!

Well, remember when I said my (then) husband and I were doing well and had even decided to have another child? Also remember that I felt my body go in to shock at being told that my mother was not going to survive? Well these two things collided big time. Turns out I did, in fact, get pregnant right around the time of my mother's passing. Unfortunately my body didn't deal with it in a normal way. All pregnancy tests (both urine and blood) were coming up negative and there were weekly trips to the doctor to try to figure out what was wrong with me. I was given meds, injections and all kinds of stuff before the doctors AND my body finally registered what I had already known. I was "with child." Unfortunately the meds and the injections and everything else my body went through were quite harmful to a fetus and this new life didn't survive. Consequently, neither did my marriage.

I'll take most of the blame for this. In reality, we were just too young. We should have never married in the first place. I don't, for a minute, regret it though. I wouldn't have my amazing Jennifer ~ and for her, I'd go through hell and back again. Anyhow, I messed up the marriage. I really did... you see after the loss of my mom and then the loss of the pregnancy I was in a really bad place mentally. I decided that the more you love someone, the worse it will hurt when they are no longer there. My solution was to push everyone away. If I didn't care, it wouldn't hurt. The closer I was to someone, the harder I pushed.

I think a lot of my family really didn't even notice. I mostly acted normal on the surface. My dad certainly didn't notice. He moved on rather quickly although I think the "moving on" started before my mom was gone (that's a story for another day). My sister Joey didn't notice ~ she had her own life and her own problems to deal with. My other sisters and brother lived out of state so they really didn't notice.

Jennifer was fortunate to be young enough not to notice that Mommie was staying later and later at work and that a lot of the weekends she went with Daddy to see his family while Mommie stayed home. My husband did notice. Everything with us was now a fight. There is a part of me that always knew we shouldn't have married and now I wanted out. I wasn't quite strong enough or maybe aware enough at the time to just say "enough." My solution was to pick fights. If we fought enough surely he'd do something or say something bad enough for me to have a reason to leave. I needed it to be his fault. It wasn't a pretty time and while my ex is certainly not without fault, he had the calmer (and at the time saner head) and he sat me down and we decided to end the marriage before we wound up hating each other. It was as easy of a divorce as you can get. One lawyer, lenient terms and it was done. We remained friends for several years ~ until he started dating his current wife. She was not comfortable with our level of friendship. I can't say I blame her but it caused the kinds of problems that normally happen in a divorce. It just took a while longer. Years later, we all get along for the most part. We are both now happily married and Jen has 4 parents who love her and could show her what a marriage should be. So while I still mourn the loss of a child I will never know, things really turned out for the best I think.

Of course while all this was going on a few other things were happening as well. Since my mom was not here to watch Jennifer, we put her in daycare. It worked for a while but about the time she turned 3 we had some issues with her daycare provider and enrolled her in private school. University School in Broward county is a wonderful school. It actually starts with preschool at 3, preK at 4 and so on until you get your PHd! It's all part of Nova University. It was a difficult school to get into but between Jen being very "gifted" and the fact that my sisters best friend worked there (eventually becoming principal), we were able to get her in.
When my ex and I first split, I stayed in the townhouse we owned and he moved in with his parents. I was able to make the mortgage payment and take care of Jen and I. His child support went to pay for her school and helping out with some of the other stuff. It was all working out well until the next bombshell dropped.

I lost my job! I worked for a very large worldwide company and I guess times were a bit tough for them. They had just gone through a merger and technology was changing. Our department had to let someone go and even though I had seniority I was the one gone. There was some bullshit reason given I'm sure but the reality of it was that I knew too much. My boss's boss was doing a lot of things he shouldn't have been and I knew about it. I won't go into a lot of details but I could have made him lose his job as well. The coward didn't even come into work the day of the layoff. I even had physical evidence of his wrong doing and considered turning it in, but I just didn't have it in me to be that vindictive and in the end it actually turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.

This layoff, of course brought about some other changes. Jen and I ended up moving in with my sister Joey while my ex and his brother took over the townhouse. Financially it was the necessary thing to do but it was quite an adjustment for all of us. As I said though, it turned out to be a good thing. I ended up getting a job for a computer sales company. Turns out one of my former bosses at the big ass electronics company was now working for this company and when he found out I had gotten laid off, called and pretty much offered me the job on the spot. It was a good job. We were a small branch of a larger company based in NY. I learned a lot working there ~ had a lot of fun ~ and ended up meeting a really cute future software engineer named Richard. But that wouldn't happen for a few years to come so you'll have to wait a bit for that story.

In the mean time Jennifer was growing up ~ smart and beautiful. She was well adjusted. Loved living with my sister who's boyfriend (now husband) also ended up moving in as well. We were our own little strange but happy family. Because of our circumstances Jen and I ended up closer than most I think. We really relied on each other and she was much older and wiser than her young years. She was also totally spoiled (completely my fault) although never rotten. In my mind I had a lot of making up to do with her. While I had never really pushed her away, I hadn't really been the mom I should have been while recovering from my mom's passing.

I made the decision not to date. This was partially because I really didn't want to be involved with anyone ~ remember love still equaled loss in my mind ~ plus Jen was all I really needed. I was happy and content in my life. We had our own routine and I didn't have to answer to anyone else. Life was good.

Another good thing happened right around this time although I didn't think it would be good when I first got the news. My dad was dating ~ and it was serious. I didn't know too much about this mysterious person. My ex actually met her before I did because he was still bowling on a league with my dad and my dad brought her to the bowling alley with him one night. All I knew was her name was Patty and she was YOUNG! And now my dad was bringing her to a family get together. I was all set to hate her. No one was replacing my mom. Well the happy ending to this part of the story was that as much as I wanted to despise her, I just couldn't. No one could replace my mom but she didn't try. Have you ever just met someone yet feel like you've known them all your life? That was Patty for me. From the first day it was an easy friendship. I can tell you that I tormented myself over it. How could I be this disloyal to my mom? But over time, I came to realize that the relationship and love she and I would develop was an entity all it's own. They got married in December of 1983. It was a beautiful ceremony with Jen as flower girl and me as the photographer. Her gift to my father was to surprise him by flying my brother in from Texas. At the time my brother Sonny and his wife had Mary had already divorced although they were still in touch. She and daughter Trish actually came for the wedding and they ended up back together and remarried not long after.
I felt after losing my mother, that I had also lost my father because he was off doing his own thing and Patty really gave him back to us. We were a family again.

Life still had another bump instore for us and it wasn't long before we lost my grandmother (my dad's mom) to cancer. It was hard to see her sick because all of her life she was young and vibrant and lots of fun. You never wanted to bend over any where near her cause sure enough your backside would feel the sting of her hand ~ she just couldn't help herself. And you NEVER want to fool around while playing cards with her ~ she took her gaming very seriously. We spent many many fun times as a family playing games ~ usually for $$. She really would be missed by all of us.
Stephanie Pierceall 9/10/11 ~ 7/86

I'll leave you here for now. I will tell you that some exciting days are ahead for me. I will have some crazy times, will find the love of my life, move here and there, and add some amazing characters to my family. You'll just have to stay tuned.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On being 53

It's that time of year again ~ "Go me, it's my birthday..." In any case, it's been a wonderful day. The kids and the hubby woke me with gifts. How many husbands would give their wife the gift of Johnny Depp? Well, not the real thing but the movie "Chocolat" which is one of my favs.

I've gotten lots of phone calls from friends and family along with lots and lots of facebook birthday wishes. And then there were these DSC07519 DSC07520 DSC07521 They are from the one and only ~ bestest friend in the whole world ~ Mary Ann! They are beautiful ornaments that will go so wonderfully on the white christmas tree I got to put out by the pool area.
She even sent this one to Richard DSC07522 Which he just loves. Isn't she just the best?
I also got a beautiful necklace from my mother in law. She came up over the weekend to celebrate. This is me celebrating DSC07517 Couldn't let the last of the champagne go to waste, could I?

While she was here I did some sewing... I made her this set of coasters. DSC07513I love the way they turned out. I may have to make more for me! Oh, and I also made this DSC07514 It's a surgeon's cap for her doctor (she's been seeing the same one for close to 30 yrs) and he's an avid bowler. I think he'll get a kick out of it.

And last but not least this DSC07518 zippered bag for a customer. Julianne hates it when I make and sell stuff from the peace sign fabric. She thinks it's all hers. She will be getting something special for Christmas made from it but don't tell her. It's a secret.