Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Honey!

So today is my wonderful husband's 50th birthday. I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you all a little bit about Honey.

He believes in living a life with a purpose. Treating others with the respect you would expect them to show you. While not labeling himself a "Christian" he does believe there is a force, greater than us out there in the universe. He has very strong political opinions and is intolerant of arrogance and ignorance. He is open minded when it comes to other peoples beliefs and life choices. Treating each person as an individual rather than lumping them in to some group. He is always open to listening to what others have to say. He is fiercely loyal and protective of those he loves and while he does not show emotions easily ~ he is easily moved by them. He is an amazing father, husband, friend and human being. I adore him with every fiber of my being and trust him beyond measure.

He was born May 29th, 1961 in Caracas Venezuela. His mother is from Germany and his father, an American. When he was 3 or 4 his family moved to the Bahamas where they lived until he was 9. From there they came to the United States, living first in New Mexico and Houston before settling in Ft. Lauderdale Florida.

In high school Richard was a member of ROTC ~ and a handsome member at that. Richard went on to attend several colleges and finally settled on a career in computer programming.

To the outside observer, Richard seems quiet, almost withdrawn. To those that know him though he is quite different. He is loyal and loving with a very unique sense of humor. He is unbelievably brilliant and at the same time very down to earth.

He's gone through so many looks just in the time that I've know him ~ and I've loved them all.

His greatest achievement in life I believe is being an amazing father. Now, he didn't come into fatherhood easily. Poor guy grew up an only child and was never really around children only to find himself an instant father (at 25) to a very precocious 7 year old.

It was pretty rough on all of us for a while but happily we all survived and now with Nate and Julz he is much more mellow and self confident in his role as "Dad." Although he has called Jen on occasion to apologize for how tough he was on her and to tell her that he realizes she was a dream child compared to what he deals with now! He loves babies ~ and his very low tone seems to agree with them.

He's a pretty darn good husband too. He tolerates me and all my craziness as well as my crazy friends and family. Secretly I think he loves the insanity that is me!
Being a software engineer he's hardly what I'd call outgoing, which is why it's so funny that my friends call him "Honey." I have to tell you though, he loves it! It all started when I worked at the YMCA in Raleigh. I went into work before Richard and he would come in a bit later to drop the kids off for preschool there. He would always come into the office to give me a kiss goodbye before heading off to work himself. I had been calling him "Honey" for years (he calls me "Love!") and I'd always say "Bye Honey." Then my friend Donna started saying "Bye Honey" to him when he left and has referred to him as Honey ever since. It spread and my best friend Mary Ann (my other honey) also calls him Honey. And he really is a "honey" of a guy!

Several other things about him ~ he LOVES animals and more importantly, animals love him. The man has never met an animal that didn't attach themselves to him. We even had a bit of an incident with a parrot called Sugar Lips that jumped on his shoulder and we couldn't get her off him. Even the owner had a tough time getting his bird back.

He also loves music and plays the guitar quite well, although not often enough. His taste in music is extremely eclectic ~ you never know what he will be listening to. Sadly for me, he HATES musicals.

His newest role as "Grampy" is one he adores. He is not the kind to run and pick Charlie up right away (that would be me!). It's the times, without all the craziness when he can just sit and hold her and talk to her while she looks up adoringly, that he cherishes.

This is definitely the man I want to spend the rest of my life with ~ through sickness and in health; for richer for poorer; till death do us part!

I Love You Honey. Happy Birthday!

Monday, May 23, 2011

And They Are Off.....

So Saturday I went to my first Steeple Chase Race. It was hotter then hell but we had a BLAST! Richard, the kids and I packed up our car with a big picnic cooler and headed for Malvern, PA for the 81st Radnor Hunt Races. Of course it was the perfect opportunity for Jules and I to wear hats without fear of ridicule. Turns out the only hat each of us had was pink and black (and hers had white). And the whole family turned out wearing combinations of pink, black and white. I was in pink and black. Jules was in pink and white. Nate wore black and white and Richard was the man in black!
It was about a 3 hour drive and the weather was beautiful. We took I95 up which is an interesting drive ~ especially through Baltimore and going through the tunnel.

In any case, we arrived just before noon and met up with Alex and they boys who got there just before us. We were parked on the back side of the track right by jump number 5. We had about an hour or so before the first race and we set out our picnic. Sandwiches, pasta salad, lots of drinks and snacks. Coolest thing ever were Alex's flip flops with the build in bottle opener! She rocks.

We had lots of fun waiting for the first race, especially Ty and Grampy Richard.
Nate and Bryce found a shady spot to chill

We had a great view of the races. I had never seen horses jumping before. The sound of them going over the hurdle made me really nervous. I was so afraid one of the horses would stumble but all was well. We also had some friendly bets going on between the 7 of us. We each put a dollar in the kitty and whoever picked the winner got $7.00 We stayed for 4 races and the Albury's cleaned up. My favorite part was at the last race, we told the little boys that their horses both won (a tie) and gave them each a couple of bucks. You'd have thought they won the lottery! So adorable.

In between races we chilled at the cars. Like I said it was terribly hot but every once in a while we'd catch a nice breeze. We are already planning next years trip. We are springing for the more expensive tailgating spots right up against the fence. We are bringing a tent, folding chairs and a little blow up kiddie pool. We'll have Jen, Jeremy and Charlie with us too.

We did walk up to the main race area for a little bit. It was waay to crowded for me but boy talk about the smell of money. There were so many sponsor tents and parties going on. The outfits themselves were worth blogging about. I wish I could have discreetly taken more pics of the ladies and gentlemen in their race day outfits. Lots of summer dresses and fun flowery hats. Men in pastels with bow ties. This one, though, I had to show you. This guys jacket was just BEYOND FABULOUS!

All in all a very fun day. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be able to see Alex and the boys more often. Getting to be Grammy and Grampy to them is just wonderful. Of course, the boys adore Nate and Julz as well ~ I think the feeling is mutual.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

So Maybe Virginia Doesn't Suck Afterall....

If you had asked Richard and I a few weeks ago how we like living in Virginia our answer would have been "We hate it here." It seemed like everything sucked.. and our every thought was on how to get back to our lovely Florida. Even the kids really didn't like it here and wanted to go "home."

It was cold, the people were not friendly, Richard wasn't crazy about his job, our house sucked. Well we still hate the house (so so much) but the weather is warming up and we warming up to Virginia.

All along we new there were so many benefits to being here and we could spout them all. The education system and schools were so much better here. The terrain is much more interesting. Beautiful vistas everywhere you drive. There is so much to do here ~ DC, museums, caverns, movies, theater, wineries, blah, blah, blah.

We are closer to our unofficial daughter Alex and her family, my friend Britt from NC lives less than 1/2 hr from here, my cousin Nate and his family are 15 minutes away, I can get to my BFF Mary Ann in much less time, and of course, most importantly is that Jen, Jeremy and CHARLIE will be just 2 1/2 hrs from me by the end of the summer. We knew all that but yet we just wanted out.

Even we couldn't explain why. The winter was cold but the snow was pretty and it really didn't disrupt our lives. The people were not as friendly but we have plenty of friends we keep in touch with via electronic gadgets on a regular basis. I've gotten to see Mary Ann 3 times since the new year. She came up here, we met and had a great time at a quilt show, and I went down there once. We drove to Philly to see Alex and the boys. Been to DC twice and had a good time. Jen's been up to visit as has Richard's mom. The grocery store here is phenomenal. Richard is really learning so much at his new job and most importantly, we were together. Yet it was taking it's toll on all each of us, separately and together.

But like I said, the weather is warming up. Spring has sprung. People are starting to come out of their houses. We are taking walks around the neighborhood and people are actually saying "hello." I've now met 3 neighbors. 2 of them are very nice. Richard is getting more comfortable with his job. The kids are making friends and getting out of the house.

Yesterday both kids were at friends houses. Today Nate went on a field trip to Hershey Park in PA with the school band.

Julianne was at a birthday party. I'm starting to meet other parents. Our moods are improving greatly. We still hate the house, but that's another post for another day. Thing is, if we had won the lottery last month ~ Va would have been a distant bad memory and we'd have been back in Fla. If we won lotto today I guess we'd have to buy two houses. One here and one back in our lovely Florida ~ so we'd have the best of both worlds.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Death of Osama Bin Laden

It's obviously a big day in not only the history of the United States but of the world. I'm not even sure I can express all the emotions I am feeling, never mind those of a nation.
I personally did not know anyone whose life was lost on 9/11. I don't even really know anyone who lost someone close. Did that make any difference on how I felt, and still feel about the events on 9/11? To be honest, I'd have to say yes.

Needless to say, it is a day I will remember for the rest of my life and I was devastated. My world, our world would never be the same. I grieved and I cried for all those lost and for the families of those lost. I held my family closer and I became a bit more patriotic. But I can't even begin to imagine how much worse it was for those who experienced the loss on such a personal basis.

I think a quote I've been reading on Facebook expresses it well. "I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure" - Mark Twain

Is it over? Not even close. There are still those who are losing their lives every day. Our men and women of the military have my eternal gratitude. And I can't help but feel for those innocent civilians whose lives have also been lost in a war I can't completely agree with.

I think there are more bad times ahead. There will be retaliation I'm sure. There will be more lives lost both here and overseas. I don't pretend to have answers but I do believe in our president. I trust and I pray he will do what is best for us. In the mean time, I will continue to hold my friends close and my family closer. I will not take for granted the freedoms we enjoy here. I will be proud to be an American. I will continue to thank our men and women of the military when I see them as well as their families who sacrifice just as much for us.

Today I will celebrate our victory. Tomorrow I will pray for peace.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Two Days Of Fun On The Water

So while we were in Winter Park last weekend for Charlie's birthday we got to really enjoy some time in and on the lake at Jeremy's parents house.

Looks like Charlie is ready to go

Here comes Julz and Sissy Jennifer

They have a great pontoon boat and Jeremy's dad Richard was more than happy to take us for a spin.
This is the boat and boat house seen from the front of their house.

Of course the big attraction for most was the inflatable raft attached with a rope to the boat. Me, I prefer to stay "in" the boat and just enjoy the wind and the sun. On Saturday the boating group included Me, Jen, Julz, Jeremy, Charlie, James (my ex) and his sister Valerie. Oh and let's not forget Captain Richard.

First up on the raft were Jen and Julz. Julz was a little nervous at first but having her big sister with her helped a lot.

Of course as time went on and the boat picked up more speed they really got moving

Here's Jen attempting to stand on the raft.

And here's the result of that attempt ~ Julz on the raft all by herself!

Of course Jen's dad wanted in on the action. Here he is attempting to stand

And here's the best pic of the day ~ Epic Fail!

Charlie and I preferred being on the boat

Hanging out with Daddy

And Mommy

And of course, a little nap.

She did take a dip in the lake but she wasn't crazy about it.

Time to come in for the day

Day 2 crew was Captain Richard, Honey Richard, Jen, Julz, Nate and Me.

Julz still preferred to go with her Sissy rather than riding solo but they got even braver. While this looks like Jen is trying to harm her sister here, she was actually helping her attempt to stand. The end result found them both in the water!

Jen decided it was time for her to make another attempt.  She used Julianne as a balance by holding onto her life vest (nice, right?)

This time she was successful!

They considered it a victory for both of them

Even Richard enjoyed a turn on the raft ~ I think we could both get used to this life!

Of course I have to say, the highlight of the day was Nate's first ride and his backflip dismount:

Another dip in the lake to end the day and the end to an amazing weekend!