Friday, December 30, 2011

Good Riddance 2011

I wanted to write a nice long recap post about all the happenings in 2011, but it ain't gonna happen people! I am still recovering from the holidays and too busy taking care of my husband who now has pneumonia (that I passed on to him).

I will say that I am ecstatic to see 2011 come to an end. I am even more excited for my little sister to get married tomorrow. What a great way to end the year by celebrating two people in love!

Happy New Year to you all. May 2012 fulfill all your hopes and dreams!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On the Mend

After a whirlwind few months of constantly being on the body shut down last week.  It was 11 days of getting out of bed or off the couch only in emergency situations (using the restroom, heating up chicken broth, going to the hospital, etc).

If I could only put into words the illness that I just recovered from.  The correct term would be pneumonia, but it was so much more than that.  My body literally shut down on me.  There were days I physically could not move.  Lifting my head for even the slightest thing was exhausting and nauseating all in the same breath.

On the worst of days, I couldn't even get myself to the bathroom to urinate.  My husband was a trooper and kept bringing me clean clothes and washing my soiled ones.

To sum it was horrible.

But, on a brighter note....I am now back to work and the holidays are just around the corner.  And needless to say, the next time my body tells me to slow down I will surely listen!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shopping, Shopping and More Shopping

I'm not usually one to complain about shopping, but the past 3 weeks have been insane! In a 24 hr period I am only doing one of the following:  sleeping, working or SHOPPING!

Not only have I been shopping for my own family and inlaws, but I am also doing all of the shopping for our company party at work.  This requires purchasing 25 gifts (unisex gifts) and trying to stay between $30-$35.  In my mind this seemed like such a simple task....boy was I wrong!!!

For one thing, gifts are either geared towards a male or geared towards a female.  Purchasing something that both gendors would enjoy is nearly impossible. 

Secondly, most gifts are priced at either $20 or upwards of $40.  Finding 25 items that fall around $30 gives you slim pickin's.  And evidently, it is frowned upon if you buy duplicate items in order to get to your desired spending amount.

I am currently 7 gifts away from finishing this task and I am stumped.  Any ideas would be much appreciated.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Portable North Pole

I seriously just spent an hour on this website.  Check it out

Here is a video to my husband (I also made one for my nephew and brother-in-law).

Oh, the things I do to waste time at work....LOL!

Not Enough Hours in the Day

So today is my 3rd day back to work after having 11 days off.  And to be completely honest....I need another vacation! I was more busy during those 11 days off, than I would have been had I gone into the office.

My time off consisted of a ton of shopping, 3 Thanksgiving celebrations (all on separate days), holiday decorating (both indoors and out), my sister's birthday, laundry and house cleaning, and spending time with family.  All of these items bring me great joy, but I greatly missed having a single minute alone with my husband during those 11 days.  By the end of my time off, we were so physically exhausted from being on the go, that I think we were both ready for me to go back to work.  At least during a normal work week we have dinner together and get some quality time to talk about our day, upcoming events, etc.  It's hard to put into words how badly I missed those simple conversations.

The good news, is that I have many scheduled days off in December and I am counting down the days until then.  I have promised myself that I will SLOW DOWN and enjoy those days as much as possible.

And because this post was kind of a is a picture of Lainey displaying her holiday spirit as we decorate the Christmas tree.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I'm on vacation next week and I am counting down the minutes until this work week is over!

I'm truly hoping that somewhere in the 9 days that I have off, I can find at least ONE day to relax.  I plan to stay in my pj's and not move off the couch.  At least for just that one day.

A girl can dream...right?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm Hoping it's just a Phase

I'm grumpy....and have been for a few weeks!  I'm hoping it's just a phase.  I initially thought it had something to do with hormones and "that time of month", but as the feelings linger, I'm beginning to think it is more than that.

I tell myself every morning when I wake up, that today is going to be a good day.  And within minutes, something triggers and I am one big bundle of stress with very little patience for anyone or anything.  I'm hoping it's just a phase.

I know it has a lot to do with me having a lot on my plate, but my life has always been hectic and busy with me going in a million different directions. Why is it any different now?  I guess I'm getting older, and the little moments that I am missing out on mean so much more to me.  I want time to relax with my husband.  There are days when we barely see each other.  Just long enough to ask how our day was and then off to bed.  I want time for ME.  To curl up on the couch with a good book or a movie.  I want time to play with our pets.  To sit on the floor with a toy and enjoy the happiness it brings to our cats & dogs.  I want time to cook dinner and bake cookies on the weekends.  I WANT MORE TIME!

I'm hoping it's just a phase and once I get used to the time change and it being dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home from work things will change.

I'm hoping it's just a phase and once the holidays get closer I will enjoy the time spent with family.

I'm hoping it's just a phase and I will snap out of it soon, because if I don't, I have a feeling my husband is going to strangle me!

Friday, November 4, 2011

It Wasn't Me....

I work for a small company.  We have 10 employees and that includes the 5 people in management.  The remaining 5 individuals remind me a lot of children.  They whine and cry, they tattle-tale, they need to be given direction every minute of every day, they need you to clean up after them, they are unable to complete the easiest of tasks without someone holding their hand....they are just like children!

I can handle most of the above, only because I've been doing it for almost 10 years and it doesn't phase me anymore.  But the one thing I can't handle is the childish act of denial!  If you did something wrong or broke something it is no big deal as long as you tell someone about it.  Accidents happen...people make mistakes.

Except, that is not the mentality of anyone working here.  For every one of these questions I have asked the past couple days, every employee answered with "It Wasn't Me!"  Well, I'm smart enough to know that SOMEONE had to do it.  Last I knew we didn't have a ghost working here!!!

  • Who broke the scissors? (for the 3rd time this week) wasn't me!
  • Who spilt 10 gallons of water from the water wasn't me!
  • Who took my microwave meal out of the freezer? wasn't me!
  • Who used the last roll of toilet paper without telling anyone? wasn't me!
  • Who left the dock doors open so all the heat can get out? wasn't me!
  • Who left the freezer door open causing it to defrost? wasn't me!
  • Who left the security door unlocked overnight? wasn't me!
  • Who moved these bins out of the shipping dept? wasn't me!
  • Who forgot to shut the hose off after filling the wash tank? wasn't me!
  • Who left paper jammed in the copy machine? wasn't me!
  • Who let the forklift just sit and run for an hour? wasn't me!
  • Who signed for UPS while I was out of the office? wasn't me!
  • Who keeps pouring coffee into the garbage can? wasn't me!
  • Who left rotten bananas on the break table? wasn't me!
  • Who used the restroom (#2) and didn't flush? wasn't me!
  • Who keeps throwing used kleenex on the ground? wasn't me!
Does this even give you a little insight into the world I live in Monday through Friday?  It's getting so hard for me to take.  If I wanted to work with children all day I would run a daycare.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I had the most disturbing and horrifying dream last night.  I've been awake for over 3 hours and I can still remember every last detail.

It was so disturbing, yet so real, that I can't stop thinking about it.  I know there are supposed to be meanings behind your dreams, but I'm not sure I want to know how my subconscious mind came up with this!

I would give you the details, but I won't allow myself to write it down.  Just know that I am totally freaked out by it and my brain won't stop replaying it over and over again.

The worst part is that my deceased brother was the main character and while I love that he is showing up in my dreams I just can't even fathom why he showed up in the manner in which he did.

I wish I could forget.......

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

We had such a busy weekend.  Saturday morning my mom and I participated in the local Howl-o-ween Pet Parade to raise money for the county animal shelter.

Here are some pics (The bigger dog is my mom's and of course my cutie pie Lainey)

Webbie the Bumble Bee (left) & Lainey the Turtle (right)



There were many different categories you could enter for your pet.  Both dogs entered the Best Kisser contest and my mom's dog was the winner! 

First Place - Best Kisser

After the pet parade I hurried home because we were participating in the Trunk-or-Treat at the church.  Here are some pics of our "trunk" complete with orange Halloween lights, cobwebs, black cat, tombstones, severed limbs and even a couple strobe lights.

Note:  We ended up being the only people who decorated our trunk...but, it was worth it to see the looks on the kids (and parents) face when they approached our vehicle.

And lastly, here are a couple (horrible) iPhone pics of our yard.  Although, these were taken a few weeks ago and we have since added to the decor.

I'm looking forward to passing out candy tonight to the trick-or-treaters.  I hope you all enjoy your Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Retail Therapy

I'm in desparate need of some retail therapy.  I can't even tell you the last time I went shopping for clothes.  It had to have been a few years ago when I lost 30 lbs and didn't have a single thing that fit me.  Well, I'm in that same boat again except this time it's because I've gained back almost the 30 lbs and nothing I have fits me.

My problem, which I'm sure is common, is that I don't want to spend a lot of money on clothes to fit this "size" because I don't want to be this size.  But, I've been saying this same thing to myself for almost 6 months now and I haven't done a single thing to try and lose weight.

I'm actually typing this after just finishing a double cheeseburger from Sonic....Ughhhh!  What is my problem?  I can't say NO to anything food related lately and it's killing me (and doing major damage to my butt and thighs).  The other night my husband wanted chocolate chip cookies and I ended up eating 4 of them right out of the oven.  And then ate another 3 at lunch the next day. 

And what is even more disturbing is that I don't feel the least bit guilty after eating all that junk.  In the past I always got very emotional after I would binge.  The guilt always got the best of me and made for a very stressed out girl.  But, the guilt would sometimes help me refrain from making bad food choices. 

I need to make some changes....both physically and mentally. I need to start taking responsibility for my actions.  I need to stop complaining about my weight since I am not doing anything about it.  I need to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Physical Therapy

After 7-8 months of hip pain, I finally decided to make an appointment with my doctor.  The result was a physical therapy recommendation.

I'm currently in my 2nd week of PT and can finally see that maybe this is what I needed.  At this time we are trying to "strengthen" my hip by doing a lot of stretches and small leg exercises. 

I will update in a couple weeks to update my progress.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Puppy Update & I'm a Horrible Blogger

Oh my gosh....I can't believe it's been so long since I have posted anything!  Life became incredibly busy and I just didn't have the energy at the end of a long day to put my thoughts into sentences.

I'm still not sure this post is going to make any sense considering I have about a bajillion things to get done here at work and only a limited amount of hours left in today to do it.

Okay, enough of that....Since my last post we have taken our puppy Lainey back to the vet for her final puppy visit.  She gained another 7 lbs!  She was 7 lbs when we got her at 7 weeks old.  Three weeks later at 10 weeks old she weighed 14 lbs and three weeks after that at 13 weeks old she weighed 21 lbs.  I can't even put into words how quickly she is growing...It kinda breaks this puppy mama's heart!

We have greatly improved on the potty training in the last few weeks and I can't even remember the last time she had an accident in the house.  You still have to keep a close eye on her, but she will go to the door and sit when she needs to go outside....yay!!!

As far as sleeping, she is still in bed with us.  I know, I know....we shouldn't be doing this, but for the time being it is working for us.

How could you not want to snuggle up next to this face every night!

 On Wednesday we took her to doggy daycare and the trainers there just fell in love with her.  Actually, so did 2 of the other dogs.  The trainer said the three of them were inseparable!  I thought it was so cute. She was so, so tired that night though, and at one point she found a way to get up on our bed, pull the covers back and crawled up under the pillow to sleep

Doggy Daycare is EXHAUSTING!!!

And one last puppy update....WE GOT HER A HALLOWEEN COSTUME!  Yes, we are "those" type of people who dress our dogs up in clothes, coats, costumes, etc.  I firmly believe the dogs love it too (or at least that's what I tell myself)

Lainey is a Turtle and Stewie is a Pumpkin....too cute!

Okay, enough cuteness for one post....back to the mounds of paperwork staring me in the face!

I'm hoping to be back soon with posts about our Halloween/fall decor and a little about my brother and the 6 month anniversary of his passing.

Happy Friday everyone!  Oh, and one last thing.....GO BLUE!!!  (for those of you not from Michigan, tomorrow is the big rivalry between University of Michigan and Michigan state)

Friday, September 23, 2011

11 Weeks

Our puppy Lainey is 11 weeks old and has doubled in size and weight since we got her 4 weeks ago!  We are just smitten with her...

But honestly, with a face like this how could you not be!!!

Potty training has had it's ups and downs.  She will go 2-3 days without any accidents in the house and then one day she will have half a dozen.  It's frustrating.  We aren't doing anything different on those days when she decides that peeing in the house is so much better than going outside.  We've even tried puppy pads and she won't use them.  We have resorted to putting a puppy diaper on her at times and that seems to do the trick, but if you don't watch her closely she can have that diaper off in 2.2 seconds.

We have also given up on the cage at night and she is currently sleeping with us.  It's not ideal and I know we have started something we might not be able to change, but I was desperate.  If we put her in the cage at night she is up 4-5 times to go outside.  She cries and whines until you are about to lose your mind.  For 3 weeks we tried everything to make this work.  Putting the cage next to our bed beside me, putting a blanket over her cage, me sleeping with my hand inside the cage so she could touch me, giving her a "heartbeat toy" so she would feel comfortable.....NOTHING WORKED!!  After me spending 2 days crying because I was SO tired we decided to try her sleeping in bed with us.  She slept ALL NIGHT!!!  Not one single time did she wake up.  It's been a week now of me getting a full nights sleep and I am a much happier person to be around. 

We are so happy to have Lainey!  She has made our little family if she would only stay little!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover - Complete!

My kitchen cabinet project is finally DONE!!!
Pictures to follow soon. (my iphone was broke all weekend and my digital camera got left at work)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Zander!

Today is my nephew's 13th birthday.  HE IS A TEENAGER!!!

I can't even put into words how this makes me feel.  I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday.  And although Zander might not remember, I hope he knows that he changed a lot of lives on that day.  Many people, including myself, opened their hearts and found more love than they knew they ever had, and it was all for him.

To watch him grow from a small baby to an intelligent young man has been exhilarating. 

Zander, thank you for being such an amazing person.  But, most of all, thank you for making me an AUNT thirteen years ago today!

I love you!

Have a great time on your birthday, eat some cake and SMILE for the camera!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover - Continued

Slowly, but surely, I am making progress on our cabinets.  It makes for a long project when you can only work on the weekends.

Our kitchen basically has 4 sections.  The bar, the area with microwave, the area with stove and the area with the sink and fridge.  I am done with 3 of the 4 sections and have started the final section.  I hope to finish the final section this weekend and then I can put my kitchen back together.

Here are some updated photos of my progress:



Sections 1 & 2 Finished

Section 3 Finished

Section 4 "Partially" finished....

 I am so happy with the transformation that has taken place.  I truly believe that all my time and effort will be worth it once I am done!  The kitchen is modern, brighter and feels "clean"!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

One of the main things I wanted to change when we bought our house was the kitchen cabinets.  Our house was renovated before we bought it, but the kitchen did not get even half the attention of the rest of the house.  The previous owner did put all new cabinet doors on, but left the old frames.  So, if you look closely you will notice that the doors and drawers are not the same wood as the frame itself.  Also, all of the cabinets under our sink area were not updated and they didn't match any of the other cabinets.  It drove me crazy!

In the first year of living in our new home, I had a local company come and quote me to stain the cabinets.  Needless to say, it was way more money than what I had intended to spend at that time.

Then, just recently I had a company quote me to paint the cabinets.  Again, the amount of money was ridiculous!

At this point I knew that if I ever wanted these cabinets changed, I was going to have to do it myself!  And that I did (or am doing).

Here are a couple pictures of our kitchen the first week after moving in.  In the first picture you can see our new cabinet doors and if you look closely you will see that they don't match the frames.  In the second picture you will see how the cabinets under the sink share no resemblance with the others.

A couple weeks ago I stumbled across a product called Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations.  I immediately showed my husband, and we watched the tutorial video, looked at the before/after pictures, used the virtual tool and then agreed that we were going to try it.

With Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations there’s no stripping, no sanding and no priming required, so its super easy to do!  And the best part is the price!  A small kit will cover 100 sq ft and was around $79 and a large kit will cover 200 sq ft and cost about $140.

You can choose from 70 different colors and finishes so there is no doubt you can find the custom look you are going for.

There are four easy steps:  1.  Apply Deglosser to degloss the surface  2.  Apply Bond Coat (this is the paint color)  3.  Apply Decorative Glaze (optional...we did not do this)  4.  Apply Protective Top Coat

Although, this process is pretty is very time consuming.  Especially because I am doing the project on my own.  If you had more than one person I'm sure you could finish your kitchen over a weekend.  At this point, after 2 weekends, I have half of the project done!  I just hope I don't run out of steam before I'm finished!

Here are some photos of my progress so far!  Please excuse the messes inside the cabinets and also the photo quality is poor as these were taken with my phone.


After applying Coat #1
(we ended up needing 3 coats instead of the recommended 2)

Coat #1 on the backside of the doors
(we did 3 coats on the front and only 2 coats on the backside)

Upper Frame Complete

Slowly but surely making progress
We decided to add new hardware to the cabinets for a more modern feel.  All in all, this project has cost us less than $300 and that includes 30 cabinet pulls, the transformation kit and all of our supplies.

Note:  We have noticed that some oils from the wood are seeping through a few of the cabinets causing yellow/brown streaks.  I contacted Rustoleum yesterday and was told that certain types of woods contain more oils than others.  He recommended deglossing those doors again, coat with an oil based primer and then finish with the bond coat and protective coat.  Rustoleum is going to reimburse me for the cost of the primer as this product is 100% gauranteed!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Addition

We have a new addition to the family.....Her name is Lainey!  Today she is 7 weeks old.

By brother has a pit bull that my parents have been taking care of for about a year and a half.  During this time, my husband and I have fallen in love with my brothers dog and we knew that if we ever got a puppy, it would be a pit bull.  I know that they have a bad reputation, but I truly believe it is all in the way they are raised.  We have witnessed the gentle soul of my brothers dog and after only one day we are head over heels in love with ours.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Renovation Failure

When hubby and I bought our house we knew that we were probably going to have to do something about the carpet.  There was new WHITE carpet throughout the whole house.  It sure did look nice for about the first week, but then it became such a hassle.  I spent so much time scrubbing out marks on the carpet.  Not to mention that since my husband is in a wheelchair, we had many a battle between that chair and the white carpet.

Two years after moving in, it was decided that the white carpet had to go.  It was still in good condition, but I felt like it would be so much easier for my husband to get around the house if we had a smooth type surface.  I was also convinced that it would be easier to clean up all the dirt/mud/water that comes off the wheels of his wheelchair if we didn't have carpet. (you will see I was sooo wrong)

So, in January of this year we tore the carpet out and donated the carpet and padding to a fellow employee of mine who was in need.  And....we put down laminate wood floors.

The first couple weeks I was in awe....I would just sit and stare at the new floor with a cocky little grin on my face!  Our floors looked awesome! (see pic below)

I {heart} my floors!!
 But then the "newness" wore off and reality set in.  First of all, dark colored wood floors and white Jack Russell Terrier hair DO NOT MIX!!  I could swiffer the floors every 5 minutes and I would NEVER be able to stay on top of all the white dog hair.

Secondly, the amount of dirt/mud/water that comes off those wheels from hubby's chair is astounding!  If it rains outside....we have puddles of water to clean up.  If he goes out to the lake fishing....we have 1/2 a beach in our living room.  If he goes out to water the plants....we have dried mud particles everywhere!

It is a constant battle!!!

The absolute worst part of having wood floors is that no matter how many times you sweep or swiffer the floors, IT WILL ALWAYS BE DIRTY!  I could walk across our carpet and not realize it was dirty unless I stepped in something or noticed a stain.  But, walking across wood floors (especially in bare feet) is HORRIBLE!  Every little crumb, dog hair, cat hair, piece of dirt, etc. literally sticks to your feet.  Almost magnetized in the same way that a swiffer is.

Thirdly, this is not an ideal situation when you have white furniture.  I don't just "sit" on the couch.  I have to pull my feet up and get comfy.  But every time I do that, the debris from the floor (that are now on the bottom of my feet) gets wiped off onto the white cushions of the furniture.  So not only is the floor always dirty but SO IS THE COUCH!!

White couch.....Ugh!!

Don't get me wrong....wood floors are awesome (and a good selling point to new buyers), but I made a BIG mistake!  This was a total renovation failure!

I can't even begin to tell you how badly I want to rip out the floors and put down carpet again.  Definitely not "white" carpet, but something that would SAVE MY SANITY....because, I'm about to lose it. 

Can someone please convince my husband that this is a good idea?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fall Inspiration

I was in the basement the other day and came across some of my fall decor items.  I love decorating with the seasons!

Here are some of my fall inspiration items.....

(note:  these pics were saved in a "favorites" file on my computer so I don't have the links to give proper credit to the owners)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Want some cheese with that whine?

I'm having an "off" day.  I kind of just feel like an emotional mess (and no, it's not that time of the month).

It's hard to put into words what I'm feeling.  It's a little bit of fear, a lot of sadness, and a splash of insecurity. 

Summer is coming to an end, which I am okay with, because Fall in Michigan is my 2nd favorite time of the year.  But, I am feeling like I didn't really "do" anything this summer.  Five years down the road am I going to have any memories of summer 2011? 

I feel like I am stuck in a rut.  Following the same routine!!  I have not spent nearly enough time with my family this summer and I haven't seen my girlfriends in months.  I know we all get busy and life tends to "take over", but this is not how I want to live.  I want time spent with my nephews, shopping trips with my sister and wine shared between girlfriends.  I want days spent with my parents and siblings, laughing until our side aches.  I want these things so badly, but instead of actually making it happen, I sulk about it.

I'm really good at whining, crying and complaining about all the things that make me unhappy....but horrible at actually "doing something about it". 

Case in point:  I lost 30 lbs in 2009 and managed to maintain that loss through most of 2010.  But, as ashamed as I am to admit it...I have gained back 23 of those pounds I lost.  Instead of getting off my butt to do something about it, I decided to eat 2 packs of Nutter Butters and whine about it on my blog.

In general, life is so good right now.  The problem, is that I am so concentrated on the things that make me sad, scared and insecure that I am missing out on opportunities to do things that make me happy, fulfilled and secure.

I need to make a change.  I need to "stop and smell the roses".  I need to learn how to find happiness in the most mundane situations.  I need to!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Is it just me?

Is it just me, or is this week flying by?  Although, I've been a day ahead of myself since Tuesday so maybe that's the reason.  Tuesday felt like Wednesday, Wednesday felt like Thursday and today just feels like a Friday.

By tomorrow I'll probably be complaining that this has been "such a long week".  I'm good like that.....

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just around the corner

I was out running errands this past weekend and it seems like all the garden centers have their mums out.  This makes me sad...this is a true sign that fall is just around the corner.  But, where did my summer go?  I feel like we've only had about a month of good summer weather here in Michigan.  And I've still got summer projects that need done.

Don't get me wrong, I love Fall and I love that college football starts in less than a month, but I am not ready for summer to be over.  Even more, I'm not ready for Fall because that means we are only one season away from winter.  And in case you don't know....winter in Michigan sucks!

Please summer...stay a little longer will ya?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Still finding it hard to cope....

Next Thursday marks 4 months since my brothers death and I'm still finding it hard to cope.  It is difficult to lose anyone you love, but losing a sibling is traumatic and devastating to the whole family.

Losing my brother just feels like life is out of order.  He was too young to die....a child should not die before a parent.  It simply IS NOT FAIR!

The most difficult part of the loss is that we still don't know the "cause of death".  Waiting on autopsy results is excruciatingly painful.  In order to move on with my life I need to understand what really happened.  Could the death been prevented?  Was it an accident?  Was it caused on purpose?  I am in desperate need to know the answers to these questions.

There is also the GUILT....I have often felt that I should have been the one to die instead of my brother.  He had overcome so many obstacles in his life and was just starting to "live".  There is also the guilt that comes from "if I would have just made more time to see him".  Life gets busy and sometimes it seems like such an inconvenience to plan get-togethers.  And most nights I was too tired from a long day at work to pick up the phone and call.  I hadn't seen my brother in months before he passed away and I have not forgiven myself.

It was so hard watching my parents experience the grief of losing a child.  We've all tried to move on and in doing so, we have stopped talking about it.  For me it feels like I am living a dual living in total grief and one totally ignoring it.  It's exhausting and difficult to keep up. 

My brother, Chris, and I on my wedding day last July

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It Feels like a Sucker Punch to the Gut

I've read two books the past couple weeks and they have both tugged at my heart strings.

The first was A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard 

I was moved and inspired by the raw power of her voice and most of all her strength.  It is not an easy read and you find yourself not wanting to put it down, but wishing the entire time that it wasn't a true story.  Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped on the way to school at age 11 and she recounts everything until she was rescued 18 years later (only 2 years ago in 2009).  These memories will rip you to the core. (have kleenex ready)  I'm in awe that someone could live through such dreadful events and yet still believe in happy endings.  Dugard is an inspiration!

The second book was What we Have by Amy Boesky

This was another "tear at your heartstrings" type of book.  Amy does not have one single female relative who has lived past her mid-forties.  They all died of ovarian cancer.  Amy and her sisters know what this means for them:  they need to fall in love, get married and pop out babies before the age of 35 when they will get complete hysterectomies.  Her (and her family's) story is all about love, loss and survival.  It was even more heart wrenching for me to read because Amy and her family are from Detroit, Michigan and I, too, am a Michigander.  As I was reading the book I really felt like I knew Amy.  Almost like I was experiencing everything right along with her.   This was a story about grief, tragedy and heartache...but you will continue turning the pages.  Beautifully written and inspiring!

But now that I've read two, back-to-back, heart wrenching - sucker punch to the gut - type of books, I need something more uplifting.  Anybody read any good books lately?  I'm not picky about the subject matter or even if it is fictional/non-fictional.  I just know I can't spend another few days engrossed in a book with a box of kleenex at my side.  My husband won't let me...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Life is short...

Our family had a pretty big scare a couple weeks ago.  My sister-in-law, 28 years of age and mother of a 2-year old, went in for surgery and they found a lot of cancer once they had her cut open.  It is a very rare kind that won't react to radiation or chemo.  The doctor told us that had they not found it, she wouldn't have lived another 6 months.  They had to remove her entire bile duct and stretch her small intestine in it's place.  They removed half of her liver and a third of her pancreas. 

Her scheduled surgery should have only been about 2-2 1/2 hours long and they ended up being in there for almost 8 hrs.  As family members sitting in the surgical waiting room you can imagine how anxious everyone was.  And for myself and my husband, "not" being in the waiting room seemed even more difficult.  We all knew it wasn't going to be good news when the doctor came out, but we were not prepared for the news we were told.

She was in the hospital for 11 days while she fought infection, controlled her pain, and got her liver enzymes under control.  As of this weekend though, she is finally home and recovering, with her husband and son being her biggest cheerleaders.

Needless to was scary (and still is).  But, being reminded that LIFE IS SHORT does a mind good sometimes.  We are all trying our best to make the most out of each and every day, knowing that it could be our last.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making a house a HOME!

I was looking through some old pictures of our house today and I was amazed at the changes that have taken place in the 2.5 years that we have lived there.  It made me very emotional thinking about all the ways in which we have made our house a "home".

Here are some before/after/current pictures of some of the changes we have made. (editors note:  I apologize for some of the picture quality...some of these came from my phone camera)

Living Room:

Living Room (before)

Living Room (before)

Living Room (just after moving in)
Living Room (just after moving in)
Living Room (after 1 year)
Painted the walls, swapped some furniture from the family room,
new rug and changed curtains/wall decor

Living Room (current)
Added hardwood floors

Living Room (current)
Changed pillows/wall decor

Dining Room:

Dining Room (before)

Dining Room (just after moving in)
New Light fixture above table

Dining Room (after 1 year)
Painted, changed curtains, new wall decor, tablecloth

Dining Room (current)
added hardwood floors & new table


Kitchen (before)

Kitchen (before)

Kitchen (before)
Kitchen (just after moving in)
added stainless steel appliances
Kitchen (after 1 year)
added new floors

Kitchen (current)
painted walls & bar countertop
**Note: the blue is funky in this picture...sorry**

Kitchen (current)
new curtains

  Guest Bedroom:

Guest Bedroom (before)

Guest Bedroom (just after moving in)
Guest Bedroom (current)
painted walls, furniture & rearranged furniture
**iphone pic - very dark

Guest Bedroom (current)
painted bookcase, new bedspread
**iPhone pic - very dark

Guest Bedroom (current)
new bedspread & curtains
**Note:  wall decor has been added, but I don't have a current photo

Guest Bath:

Guest Bath (before)

Guest Bath (just after moving in)

Guest Bath (after 1 year)
added new floors

Guest Bath (past 3 months)
painted, changed shower curtain & painted cabinet under sink
Note: The green reminded me of toothpaste...didn't like it!

Guest Bath (as of 48 hrs ago)
painted (yet again) and changed shower curtain
Note:  I'm not sold on the yellow yet...and there is too much "white".  I'm thinking of
changing out the shower curtain (yet again) and maybe new rugs.  Plus, the wall decor still needs to be added.

Later this week I will show you the before/after of the outside of the house.