Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless/Wordful Wednesday

'Tis the season for winter sports, but ice skating in Florida??? Who would have thought. Chris and I both grew up in northern states and we often wish that our kids could experience winter and the Christmas season the same way that we did.

This week they got to experience a small piece of northern fun. We took the whole crew skating at a local ice skating rink.

I was a little unsure of what to expect prior to taking the kids skating. They all said that they wanted to go...however only CJ has skated before and that was once or twice about seven years ago.

We let them know before we went that they would fall on the ice and it is not as easy as it looks.

When we got to the rink everyone was anxious to get their very stylish rented skates on and hit the ice. To my surprise, they all took to it right away.

The girls traveled around the rink holding the sides and one of our hands for the first half hour. CJ headed right out and gave it his best shot. He fell...a lot...but he never gave up or got discouraged. He loves to play hockey in the garage and would love to try ice hockey. I believe his desire to play was all the motivation he needed to keep trying.

After the first half hour, Caley was skating like a pro. She stopped holding the side, was pulling me around the ice, and spent quite a bit of time skating on her own. Caitlyn was a little less adventurous, but she eventually stopped holding the side and ventured out on her own too.

The boys had a great time and loved being able to wear their hockey jerseys on the ice rather than just around town.

By the time open skating was over, everyone was having a great time and loving the ice. The girls cried when we had to leave the rink. Who would have thought of all the activities I have ever asked them if they wanted to do, it would turn out to be ice skating. It looks like ice skating lessons are in our future.

You can take the people out of the North...but you can't take the North out of the people!!!
For more WW go HERE and HERE.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ready for Santa

Christmas Eve dinner is over, the Candlelight service at church has come and gone, a few of the gifts have been opened and played with...
The cookies and milk are in place and waiting for Santa...
The new Christmas PJ's are on and everyone is in bed.

Now we wait for the Santa to arrive!

Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ 2 days to go!

Counting down the days until Christmas at Downtown Disney.
For more WW go HERE and HERE.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless/Wordful Wednesday ~ Santa Sightings

We have been seeing Santa all over town this year. We saw this Santa at Norway in EPCOT.

This Santa showed up to our Pack Meeting on Monday night to had out Pinewood Derby cars to all of the scouts.

For more Wordless Wednesday go here and here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I WON!!!

Last Friday night our town held it's annual Christmas tree and street lighting festival. At the festival there were lots of local vendors with things to sell and give away. Several of the vendors had raffle ticket drawing for cute holiday baskets full of all kinds of Christmas stuff. I entered several of the drawing, not for a minute thinking that I would win ANY of them. Well, of all the great surprises, I got a call yesterday from our local power company. I actually WON the raffle that they were holding. I won this cute sleigh full of all kinds of cute stuff. The sleigh was filled with 4 scented candles, a candle snuffer, vanilla scented potpourri, an oil lantern, two leaf shaped candle stick holders, a light -up snowman, a fleece blanket, and a Manheim Steamroller CD.
How fun!!! I guess I should enter raffles more often!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why We Should Believe in Santa Claus

Whenever my kids question me about wether or not I believe in Santa Claus I always answer them with a very confident, YES! For the last few years they have come to me with stories from the kids at school and in the neightborhood who do not believe in Santa or who say that there is no Santa Claus. My response to them has been that I think those kids are silly not to believe in Santa. I expain to them that it is harmless to believe in Santa, and if you don't believe in Santa you might not get a gift from him on Christmas morning. So, wether they really believe or not, we continue on with the myth and the tradition.
This week I was thrilled to read a story in the Sunday Parade magazine that helped me to justify my continuing belief in Santa. Here is a short exerpt from the article...

"There is a moment in J.M Barrie's Peter Pan when the audience is invited to revive the dying fairy Tinkerbell and told, 'If you believe in fairies, clap your hands.' And every time, the theater breaks into sustained applause. That is not to suggest there are theaters full of seriously deluded people. What it does tell us is that there are times when we need to pretend to believe in things we know not to be true. We know that the world is a place of suffering and hardship, and we know too, that justice and kindness and love and such things will not always prevail against these hard realities. Myths help us to get by. The day they all die and we tell our children exactly how things are, the world will be a poorer, less enchanted place. So don't be ashamed to clap your hands at Peter Pan or act as if Santa exists. He stands for kindness and generosity, and those things are alive and will continue to be alive --as long as we believe."
~ Alexander McCall Smith

To read the article in it's entirety go to Parade magazine online.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Question of the Week ~ Favorite Holiday Movies

The question of the week over at Multiples and More is..."What are your favorite Holiday movies?" Here are a few of mine.
  1. It's a Wonderful Life (it is not Christmas without this movie!)
  2. Miracle on 34th Street
  3. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
  4. The Santa Clause
  5. Polar Express
  6. Christmas with the Krank's
  7. A Charlie Brown Christmas
  8. A Christmas Carol
  9. Home Alone
  10. When Harry met Sally (I know this is not a traditional Christmas movie, but there is Christmas in it, and I love to watch it at Christmas time.)

To see what other people are watching at Christmas time...head over to Multiples and More!
Happy movie watching!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Light Up Winter Garden

Tonight we went to one of the events that I look forward to every year at this time. Our town hosts an event call "Light Up Winter Garden." This event is normally held on the first Friday night in December. This year it had to be moved back one week because we had torrential rains last Friday. If we were living up north, it would have been a blizzard. In Florida it was just an ALL day rain.
Light up Winter Garden is a festival in which the West Orange Ministerial Association organizes a public reading of the traditional Christmas story accompanied by the singing of Christmas songs. Yes, in Florida we are actually allowed to read from the bible in public. I hope that tradition never ends. At the end of the Christmas story the City of Winter Garden "flips the switch" and turns on the downtown Christmas lights for the first time of the season. After the Christmas story has been read, the City shows a Christmas movie on a large outdoor screen, brings in "snow" for the kids to slide in and play with, has vendors in the street selling all kinds of foods and crafts, and of course Santa sits in the center of the street and visits with the kids. We really look forward to this festival each year, and I am glad we were able to be there tonight.

Caitlyn holds her candle while the crowd sings "Joy to the World" at the end of the reading of the Christmas story. All of the lights along the main street are dimmed. It is very cool to see everyone holding a candle and singing together.

Caitlyn gets a chance to sled down a snow hill for the first time, ever! It was a cool night, about 55 degrees, but this is as close as Florida kids get to real snow.

CJ spins his way to the bottom. He really seemed to enjoy himself. He is the only one of our three kids who has actually seen and touched real snow.

Caley makes her way to the bottom of the hill. Not bad for a Florida girl!

Three Florida kids playing with "snow." We told them to make snowballs. We forgot that they did not know how to make snowballs. Oopse, eventually they figured it out.

A little bit blurry, but here are some of the lights that are brightening up in our little town. It is finally starting to feel like Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Win a $100 Visa Giftcard!!!

"Common Sense With Money" is hosting a great giveaway, just in time for Christmas. A $100 Visa Gift Card is up for grabs!!! Head on over here to find out how you can enter to win.

You will also find the recipe for this very yummy looking Holiday Chocolate Fudge. There are also ideas for several other fun Homemade Christmas Gifts. Good Luck!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

See A Free Movie Tonight

Head on over to Attention Target Shoppers to find out how you can earn FREE movie tickets & enter a giveaway to win a General Mills Movie Prize Pack!!!
You will also find links to coupons to save $$$ on your favorite General Mills cereals.
Thanks Ginger!!!

Wordless Wednesday

Ready for Christmas!!!
For more WW go here and here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Morning ~ housework, Afternoon ~ Parade, Evening ~ Party!
For more 6WSaturday's go here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless/Wordful Wednesday

Is there anything better than a new puppy?
Today we are super excited and happy to welcome "Bailey" to our family!!!
For more WW go here and here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Bit of Christmas

What this blog really needed today was just a touch of Christmas. I am trying to get into the spirit. I have been so busy with other stuff, I have hardly had time to think about Christmas. I just hope I can find time in the next few weeks to enjoy the season!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

After the Feast

Thanksgiving dinner was over, the dishes were done, it was time for pie!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We Thank Thee

For flowers that bloom about our feet;

For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;

For song of bird, and hum of bee;

For all things fair we hear or see,

Father in Heaven we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky;

For pleasant shade of branches high;

For fragrant air and cooling breeze;

For beauty of the blooming trees,

Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Great Season

Tuesday night was the last game of the season for the WGLL Minors Orange team. As luck would have it Orange was playing Red (the best team in the league) for the final game. Our guys played a great game. They came out swinging right away and scored 3 runs in the first inning. They scored another 3 runs in the 2nd and kept Red to 0. In the last few innings things began to unravel a little bit. The Red team caught up and actually went ahead by 2 runs. In the bottom of the 5th inning Orange was up to bat. Lucky for us the top of the batting order was up first. The first two batters hit singles and were on 1st and 2nd. The 3rd batter came up and hit a line drive deep into center field. The runners on 1st and 2nd scored to tie the game and the batter got a triple. The 4th batter came up, hit a single and brought our runner at 3rd home to win the game. What an exciting way to end the season. Our guys were really excited!

Orange won the game 9 to 8 and ended the season with an 8 and 2 record.
Congratulations ORANGE!!!

Thursday Thought

"You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."
~Leviticus 19:18

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ End of the Season

His last at-bat for the fall Little League season.
for more WW go here and here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Raingutter Regatta

Saturday was a very busy Scouting day for Cub Scout Pack 220. We had two big events scheduled. The first was Scouting for Food. This is an annual event in which Cub Scouts and Boys Scout all over the U.S. go through their local neighborhoods to collect non-perishable food items for local food banks. Pack 220 collected 300 bags of food which we donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank. It was a great experience for all of the boys. It was their opportunity to put into action several of the values that Scouting teaches (ie. courteous, kind, helpful, loyal, cheerful, and reverent).
The second event of the day was the Raingutter Regatta. For this event each boy/sibling makes a boat that they then race down a length of raingutter filled with water. The kids propel the boats by blowing into the back of the sail. It is fun to watch and a very competitive event for the kids.
My scouts, the Webelos II's, are the oldest boys in the Pack and most of them are very experienced Raingutter Regatta racers. You could really see their boat building and racing experience come through this year. They ran some good races and it took quiet a few heats to finally come up with a winner.

The sisters of the Webelos II den were ready to race too. Most of these girls have several years of Raingutter racing experience, just like their brothers. They ran some good races and they all had a great time!

CJ was very determined to win a medal this year. We (with a lot of help from Grandpa G.) worked hard on the boat this year. We have learned a few tricks in our 4 years of racing. This year we kept the boat design very simple, made the boat nice and smooth so it would glide through the water, and added a Yankees logo for some extra luck.

In the end hard work, determination, and a strong desire to win paid off. CJ won first place in the Webelos II division. We were also very proud of two other Webelos II den members for winning design awards. Colin won "Most Seaworthy" for his Navy Battleship and Gabe won "Most Original Design" for his King Neptune themed boat. Congratulations to all of the boys on a great day!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thursday Thought

When you cease to make a contribution,
you begin to die.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Top 10 Reasons My Blog Has Been Neglected

1. I have been co-chairing the biggest fundraiser that our Cub Scout Pack does all year.

2. I spent a lot of hours planning the first ever Cub Scout Pack 220 Halloween campout. I was responsible for planning all of the activities for the weekend.

3. I am taking classes so that I can earn my K-5 certification and go back to teaching. The school told me to expect to spend 12 hours per week on school work. It is a least that many hours, usually more!

4. I spend 2 hours every week volunteering in the classroom, so that I can earn my K-5 certfication.

5. I am a Cub Scout Den Leader. It is only supposed to take 1 hour each week. I think that is 1 hour in dog years!

6. My son is playing fall Little League (2 practices and 1 game each week).

7. All three of my kids come home with math and reading homework every day.

8. My family produces an unbelievable amount of laundry every week.

9. Grocery shopping must be done or my family does not eat.

10. My housework has been neglected for soooooo long that I think my house may soon be engolfed in a giant dust bunny!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Picking Pumpkins

Sunday the kids and I went out in search of a pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkins. In past years we have always gotten our pumpkins fr0m Target or Wal*Mart. Sadly, those are two of the best places in Central Florida to find pumpkins. This year I was hoping to find a more traditional pumpkin patch with a little Fall flavor from which to choose our pumpkins. Luckily, as I was out driving around last week I saw a few signs for a local pumpkin patch. I had no idea where it was, or what they would have, but we went anyway.

We ended up in a small town about 15 miles west of our town. When we arrived at the location we were happy to find that the pumpkin patch was a fundraiser for a local Cub Scout pack. They had a very nice set up and good prices.

In the center of the pumpkin patch the Cub Scouts had set up a nice photo spot with hay bales, mums, scarecrows, and lots of pumpkins. Caitlyn and CJ chose their pumpkins right away, Caley took a little bit longer.

After looking and looking, she finally decided to get a tiny little pumpkin. It is about the size of a softball, but really cute.

On the way home from the pumpkin patch we stopped by a house that we love to drive by every Halloween. This house is located about 1 mile from our house. The house is on a quiet two lane road that is lined with big moss covered oak trees. It is perfect for a spooky Halloween scene. The people who live in it go CRAZY with decorating every year, and every year it is a little bit different. When we stopped to take a look, there were about 6 other car loads of people doing the same. The home owners have posted signs inviting people to walk through their yard and take a look at all of the decorations. In the day light it was spooky, but not too bad. When we drive by at night it is all lite up and very scary. Walking through in the daylight is good enough for us.
Now that we have our pumpkins we are one step closer to being ready for Halloween.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Go Orange!!!

The WGLL Minors Orange team got another win on Thursday night. This was the second meeting of the season for the Gray and Orange teams. The Gray team was a bit weak on pitching, which made this a pretty easy win for Orange.

Final score ~ Orange 10, Gray 0
Way to go Orange!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Pumpkin Patch

A memorable Fall from our past
for more WW go here and here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Last Friday we had to say "Good-Bye" to the sweetest dog that I could ever hope to own. Shelby was a part of our lives for 13 years. She was a part of everything that we did. She traveled with us on our vacations. She was part of every milestone that we celebrated. It has been a very difficult 4 days trying to get used to the fact that she is no longer here. I never realized how much one little dog could fill up a house. I didn't realize how quiet the house would seem when she was gone. I didn't know how lonely I would feel when she wasn't there to follow me to bed each night. I took for granted how nice it was to have her meet me at the door with her happy face. I have been thinking about all of the happy times and I wanted to write about it in this blog so that I never will forget...

Shelby was born on April 22, 1996. She was one of a litter of 6 puppies. A friend of mine from work was trying to go into the Sheltie breeding business. My friend soon found out that she got too attached to the puppies to be in that business. Still, she couldn't keep all six, so I asked if I could buy one from her. She said yes, and I bought Shelby from her for $50.00. Shelby was kind of a gift to Chris, who I was dating at the time.

I was working the night that I got Shelby. My friend brought her and her 3 remaining brothers and sisters to work, for me to choose from. I as actually kind of interested in one of the other puppies, but Shelby choose me. She came up to me and wouldn't leave until I picked her up. She hooked me in at that moment with her sweet smiling face and her soft gentle eyes.

As soon as Shelby moved into Chris's apartment she made herself at home. She was a very easy puppy. She didn't cause too much damage. Her biggest faults were that she liked to chew on the edges of carpet, which later turned into throw rugs when she was afraid of thunder, and she had a small stuffed bear that she chewed the face off of. Pretty good, considering some to the damage that I hear other dogs cause.

When Chris and I got engaged, Shelby was there. When we moved to Buffalo and bought our first house, Shelby was there. When we had our first baby, Shelby welcomed him into the family and watched over him like he was her own puppy.

Shelby was a great dog to photograph. All we ever had to do was set up the shot, back up, and say "puppy treats?" Shelby would look straight at the camera, perk up her ears and cock her head a little to the side. It was a perfect shot every time.
We were always coming up with different crazy ideas for dressing Shelby up for holidays and special occasions. One Halloween she was a tacky tourist, another year she was a pumpkin, and the best was the year that she was dressed as a Fireman and CJ was dressed as a Dalmatian. Shelby liked her costume a lot more that CJ did that year. He was only 16 months old and not really into Halloween yet.

It wasn't just Halloween costumes that she wore either. Every year for Christmas she wore Santa Hats and Reindeer Antlers. She never complained or got mad at us for it. She always just sat there with a look on her face as if to say "do you really have to do this to me?" And, yes of course we did. She was so cute and she put up with it so well, that who could resist dressing her up and getting that perfect Holiday shot.

As Shelby got older she began to have a few health problems. The biggest of which was lympho-sarcoma. She was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2004. At the time we had the choice of putting her down within two weeks or treating her with chemotherapy. We choose the chemotherapy. After 5 chemo treatments and a very tough summer, the vet told us that Shelby was in remission. At that time we were hoping to have another 2 years with her. To our surprise and joy Shelby stayed in remission for 4 plus years. Actually, even at the time that she died, she never had any signs or symptoms of cancer. This is nothing short of a miracle.

The condition that finally took our sweet friend from us was degenerative myelopathy, a degenerative condition of the spinal cord. We tried to work through the condition, but in the end Shelby let us know that she was ready to go. She was paralyzed from the center of her spine back and could not walk. Our wonderful active dog could not go outside to chase birds or run to the fence to bark at the neighbors dogs anymore. After two weeks of living this way Shelby told us it was time for her to go. She stopped eating and just laid calmly on the floor all day long.

Making the decision to have Shelby put to sleep was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. We knew it was the right thing to do, but it did not make it easier to do. I know that she is happy now and can finally run and bark like she did when she was young. I just wish she was still running and barking in our backyard.

Shelby was the sweetest most trust worthy dog I have ever known. It will be hard to find another dog like her. We will always miss her. We will always remember all of the great things about her and we will always be grateful that we got to have her as part of our lives for 13 years.

Good-bye sweet girl, I will never forget you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

That is What I Like to See

That is the best news I've had all week!
I sure hope they are right. We could use a cool weekend.