Our Boys!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The end of November

Today, I have a lot of things on my mind as we come to a close on the month of November. A lot has happened this month - good and bad. Today I finished reading the book The Shack. Honestly, I never had much intention on reading it, even though most of my church had read it a few months back. I guess I don't have a lot of time lately to do much of anything other than doing the "mom" thing - I've also been in a spiritual rut for awhile now. Anyway, I was at my parents house for Thanksgiving and I saw this book on my mom's desk. I started reading it the night before we left and really couldn't put it down. I can only encourage you all to read it if you haven't already - it has totally changed my outlook on my relationship with God/Jesus/Sarayu - you'll understand it and come to your own revelations should you choose to read it.

Anyway, a lot has happened this month. My baby turned 4 on the 4th which was also election day. I pray that Obama turns out to be a great leader - whether he was your choice or not is irrelevant now - but we can all pray that he makes good choices in leading this nation of ours. Prayer can be powerful, even in the face of adversity.

We have faced more obstacles than I ever thought fathomable with Evan this month. I won't go into detail, but parenting a child with any kind of special need is beyond comprehension sometimes - I just ask that if you are a believer, that you pray for us if we ever come to mind as we tread through life with him. I believe there is a purpose in what we are going through - although I don't know when or if we will ever understand it in this lifetime.

I turned 38 just a few days ago. Guess that's not too old by most standards, but I feel like I've aged a lot recently. In the past few days - especially with Thanksgiving the day after my birthday, I've thought a lot about where I want my life to go (and yes, The Shack has opened my mind and heart to this task). I'm also extremely appreciative of the family and friends around me - the people who I know are TRULY in this walk of life with me - the people who are really there for me NO MATTER WHAT (you know who you are!!!) I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart - I can be pretty hard to love sometimes. To my parents and my husband especially, there aren't enough words of gratitude.

This morning, as I left early to sing at church, it was snowing. There was about an inch already on the ground and it was so peaceful to drive in. For me, it was a time of reflection. Maybe the snow was a visual cue, the cue I needed to wipe the slate clean and start again on my outlook on life - to stop seeing so many things as negatives and try to focus on the positives (those who know me well know I'm a "the glass is half-empty" type person).

Maybe this post is too sappy for most of you, but I just want you all to know that I'm thankful for each and every one of you. A new month begins tomorrow!!! Every ounce of pain and joy builds our character, the scars are reminders. December is usually a month of hope, so I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season.

I promise the normal and "funnier" posts will come soon! ;o)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Girls Cruise Week Nov. 8-13, 2008

This year, my girlfriends and I all met up for a Carnival Cruise to Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel, Mexico out of Tampa, FL. It was a full 5 day cruise and it was AWESOME!!! We had a great time - I have a gazillion pics from all of our adventures, but kept it to about 15 or so for this post.

Believe me, I have some great blackmail photos - but I'll just stick with the "what happens on the cruise stays on the cruise" motto! hahaha!

I'm looking forward to going back next year and I know that whatever we decide, it will be a great time with great memories! Thanks girls, it was just what I needed!!! Love you all!

From one of our dinner pics, this is the whole group of us! Back row from L to R: Me, Eloisa & Linda. Bottom row from L to R: Jill, Cathy, Cheryl & Gina

The Lido Deck Pool where we hung out during the day. Sometimes we laid out right in front of the pool on the upper deck, but mostly we laid out near the railings on the water side - it was a GORGEOUS view!!!

Guess we could've brought our kids. This was an amazing little splash park with a huge water slide for the kids - I almost went down the slide, maybe next year!

Gina and Jill (who are the organizers of the trip) gave each of us these awesome coozies that said "Mexico Girls Week 2008" and a cute little tote bag for all our sunscreen!

A pic of us from the formal dinner night.

My best friend Linda and I after dinner at the club.

This guy was such a cheesball, but Gina wanted his hat - so he had to get in the picture too.

And now he's everywhere. Here he is with Linda and Cathy.

Due to the Hurricane hitting Grand Cayman a few days before our arrival, we had to dock in a different port. So since the water was more shallow, they had us get on these tender boats that would drive us to the docks. Despite the water being a little rocky, you couldn't really see any damage anywhere. The taxi driver who drove us into town said it wasn't a bad hurricane at all.

And here is the proof - the beach we laid out at was absolutely beautiful - and the water was so clear and blue and amazing!

I had to get in the water - not only because it was so unbelievable hot, but because I love the surf!

This was just a cool pic of the water I took before we got back on the tender boat to take us back out to the cruise ship - I might frame this one.

I took this at the port in Cozumel. Now I haven't been to Cozumel in 9 years, and let me say is is a massively huge difference from the last time we were there! Just beautiful!!! I didn't have fond memories of the last time we cruised here, but I do now!

Two of the guys we met were engineer officers on our cruise ship, we saw them as we were getting off the boat to go into Cozumel and Antonio was wearing a Michigan shirt, so of course we had to get a picture of it - I mean come on, we're OHIO STATE FANS for cryin' out loud. Should've known they were no good from that moment!!!

The Cozumel girls! The mexicans weren't wanting to barter much, but I still got my tanzanite ring at the last moment - guess they wanted to sell us something after all before our ship set sail!

One of the bars we visited was Senor Frogs, we also went to Carlos and Charlie's - 2 of the more notable mexican hot spots.

This was a great sunset picture right by our ship outside Fat Tuesdays bar.

"Say hello to my little friends" - the towel-made animals our cabin steward made for us nightly, along with the coconut monkey bank I got for Blake (don't worry, I drank all of the pina colada first before transporting it back!!!)

Me & Linda at dinner on the last night.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My baby is 4 on the 4th!!!


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy (early) Birthday Blake!!!

Well, it's been a VERY busy weekend as you can see from the posts below, but we topped it off today in style!

Since Blake's 4th birthday falls on election day (I think it's cool he turns 4 on the 4th), we decided to celebrate it a couple of days early with our families since they all live in Cincinnati. So both Grandma's and Grandpa came up along with Aunt Stacy and Uncle David. We had pizza and my "new favorite" kind of cake . . . cakes that are made with cupcakes! Very low key, but very nice. I think I finally figured out after my firstborn that you don't need to have an elaborate birthday party for every year a child has a birthday . . . plus, I'd go broke if I did!!! ;o)

Blake and his cake made of cupcakes - The Backyardigans of course!

All my boys - and we even included the giant Pablo balloon.
"Can I open 'em now, PLEASSSSEEEE"
He's following in his older brothers' footsteps - he fell in love with this Pikachu pillow at Toys R Us, so Grandma Dear had to get it for him.
Would you like a chocolate or vanilla cupcake???
Don't worry, I have enough hot air to blow this candle out!
Blake also got a keyboard for his birthday, complete with microphone. "Let me sing you a song Grandma Dear..."
Mommy and me!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Comb's Halloween Bash

So tonight we went to an adult-only Halloween party given by our good friends Sandra and Travis Combs. We all had a bloody good time!!! Can't wait til' next year - wonder what we'll be, might have to start planning now! hahaha!

Shawn and I before we left. This was Sandra's wedding dress, she trashed it at her own wedding so she thought it would be great as a "dead corpse" outfit. Shawn was some gruesome creature - I don't even know what you would call it!

Party people (in great costumes) in the house!

Leave it to Shawn to climb in the coffin and scare people as they walk by.

Time to sing "It's a nice day for a WHITE WEDDING" - not really, I let Shawn sing that one!

Dancin' in the fog!