Monday, December 29, 2014

Where I am From

I am from the polka dancing, fun-loving Mommom where I learned to enjoy life. I am from a strong minded, stubborn Nanny who taught me to be a confident woman. I am a proud grand-daughter of a WWII Navy veteran who was modest and refused to be recognized as a hero.
From knee high boots and black nail polish, from Snickers and diet Pepsi. From the purple flowers planted in my yard, the vegetable garden soil between my toes.   I am the love put into each and every blanket I crochet and scrapbook I make.  From 'Pride & Prejudice' to 'Sons of Anarchy', from 'Journey' to 'Papa Roach'. 
I am from Pennsylvania, the descendants German of ancestors who settled in the same area I was born and raised. From deviled eggs in the spring, garden vegetables in the summer, pigs in a blanket during fall, pork and sauerkraut on New Years Day.

I am from vacations at Cape Cod, Ocean City, Walt Disney World and Ireland. From a proud American to an American history buff of historic places like Gettysburg, Williamsburg, Philadelphia and Washington DC.
I am the child who spent every-other weekend at Dads. From clean your room, do your home work and you're grounded kind of home.  From being made to eat liver and spinach for dinner (I wonder if my mother ever noticed the liver was spit out into a napkin and thrown away). I am my grandfather's slide show to the annoying person behind the video camera.
I am from child attending bible school, who remembers singing "Zaccheaus" and "Jesus Loves Me" to the bible school teacher feeling joy passing along the stories of Jesus. 
The girl from a broken family who had an amazing high school English teacher to send me in the right direction instead of making bad choices.  I am the oldest sister of three who protected one another from verbal abuse of a step-father.  I am the mother of three boys. A mother who is determined to break the cycle and raise my children in a loving, safe environment.  
The wife of an honest, dedicated, hardworking, warm hearted, loving husband who makes sure my needs are put before his.   I am the hockey mom doing my best to be on time for all practices and games… drives, waits, motivates, cheers and shivers while sitting in a cold ice rink.

The lucky daughter-in-law with two role models of a successful, loving marriage and tender loving parents.  From the Easter egg decorating, halloween pumpkin contests and gingerbread house making my mother-in-law plans each year for her grandchildren. 
From a home child-care provider of Aunt Tami's House, who is devoted to children. From an animal lover of two dogs and two cats to the proud mama of a chocolate lab puppy.  From a funny girl who likes to laugh to a good friend when you need  a hug.
I am many things to many different people and places.  I love all the things I am and the people who helped shape me into the person I am today!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winning the Christmas Pickle

Hiding the Pickle on the Christmas tree is a tradition our family has had since the boys were toddlers.  The boys would rush down the steps to find the pickle.  Whoever found the pickle got an extra gift, so of course they tripped over one another to get to the tree first.  
Winning the pickle prize was quite an accomplishment.
The typical prize would be a game or toy the boys could share.
As they grew, the pickle prize lost it's luster.
The boys no longer cared if they won the prize or not.
 This year Zachary was the only one looking for the pickle because his 
brother's couldn't get out of bed.
 He looked a good 5 minutes before his Dad joined in the hunt.
I hid it well!!
 ps. The pickle is behind one of the red stars!!
This year the Pickle Prize was $50.00
You should have seen his brothers faces when they knew what Zachary won!!
I think next year they will get out of bed, don't you?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Conversations with Zach {lost debit card}

Zach: Mom, I can't find my debit card.


ME: Where was the last place you had it?

ZACH: Burger King and I used the drive thru.  I didn't go anywhere that night once I got back.

ME: Did you check the trash? Maybe you threw it way with the bag.

ZACH: No, and it would be too late with the trash. I thought about it. I definitely didn't.

ME: Check your car again.

ZACH: Cleaned out my car. I swear I did nothing different then I usually do. This blows my mind.  It's always in my car or on my bed.

(Did he just say he keeps it in his CAR or the BED????)
(deep breath!)

ME: Did you check the laundry?

ZACH: Yeah.

ME: Did you check UNDER the bed?


ME: If you can't find it, you will have to call the bank, get it cancelled and order a replacement. 

ZACH: Found my Walmart debit card that my paycheck is on. Is it possible to transfer money on that one.


ME: No. I can't do that.  Is there any money left on that card?

ZACH: Like $1.25

(Dude, you're screwed!)

ZACH: I've been looking all day.  If I can't find it by 2:30, I'll call.

(Jeopardy Theme Song)

ZACH: What's the number?


Monday, December 22, 2014

Snow Day

 January 2005 our region was hit with a huge snowstorm.  The kind of storm that you don't see people for days.  The kind of snowstorm that there are no cars on the road and it is so quiet and peaceful.
We lived in town at the time with no back yard to go sledding on.
We had to improvise. 
 The elementary school that the boys went to had a huge hill in the back.
We couldn't drive on the roads because the plow truck didn't come often. 
When it did, your car was boxed back in... after you spent countless hours digging it out.
It took us about double the time it would normally take to walk to the school.
But we made it and the boys wasted no time climbing up the hill!
We tried different types of sleds.  The boys liked the snow boards the best.

 At the end of the day we were all ready to go home and drink a huge pot of hot chocolate!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Karate Kid

In 2005 Brandon became interested in Martial Arts.
There was a class held at a local YMCA.
 He earned four different belts and made it to the green belt.  
He had four more levels to make it to black belt.
  At one point he broke some boards with a karate chop.
 Not too shabby for a 7 year old.
Brandon stopped doing karate when he began playing ice hockey.  
He tried doing both at the same time,
 but hockey is a huge commitment and it was tough to keep up with both. 
We let him choose between the two and he picked hockey.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Conversations with Zach {brotherly love}

Is Ahren moving back in?
I don't know. 
He didn't say for sure.

Tell him I love him and he better quit cigs.
It's disgusting.

 I think that's why he isn't moving in. 
I told him he'd have to quit smoking.
That's what I was thinking when you said he wasn't sure.

I don't like that he smokes.

Well mother, you know it's a process.
I read like 6 out of 100 people max are able to quit cold turkey.
The symptoms are to strong too handle.

He quit for awhile, but said stress makes him start again.
 It's rough out there.

(Yes, Zachary it is.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What does Christmas Eve look like at your house?

Christmas 2001
Probably the only time I wait to the last minute to do anything is on Christmas Eve. I got into the bad habit of wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve.  Although it isn't as hectic and stressful as it used to be when the boys were younger.  There are less (but more expensive) presents to wrap.   I like to wrap presents watching the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart and drinking a glass (or two) of wine.
Christmas 2009
Christmas Eve is when we hide the pickle on the tree.  In the past the boys would rush down to find the pickle.  Whoever found the pickle first got a prize.  The pickle prize varied over the years from toys to games and now... money.
Christmas 2007
We also spend Christmas Eve with good friends of ours.  We have Chinese take out and unwrap gifts.
Christmas 2006

Christmas Eve is always the time we would take a family photo.  Not the easiest thing to do with three uncooperative boys and dogs that can't sit still.  Seems like each year it gets harder and harder to get a picture.
Wishful thinking on my part, but maybe this year the boys won't moan and groan!!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Gator Crossing

Cape May, NJ has a fabulous Zoo.  It's not huge like some zoos, but it is very family friendly.
Each summer we spend a week in Ocean City, NJ.  Cape May isn't far from there, so we take a day trip to the zoo.  It's one of my favorite places to visit each year.
 Gators creep me out!  They always look like they are up to no good. 
Sneaking up on you, waiting to grab you in their powerful jaws.
I learned a few facts from a report my son had to do when he was in elementary school.
They can live 30-50 years old!  
Zoo's feed them rats.
It is Florida's official state reptile.
Even though some gators were taken off the endangered species list, they are still considered endangered because hunter cannot always tell the difference between the different types of gators.
Visit the National Parks Conservation Association to donate towards endangered species.
 Cape May Zoo 2004
Pictures courtesy of Todd Miller


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Otter Lake and a Teddy Bear

 We had a springer spaniel named Teddy and we took him camping with us whenever a campground allowed pets.  Otter Lake was one of our favorite campgrounds located near the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
The scenery and lake was gorgeous.  The lake also had a lot of DUCKS!
Springer Spaniels are known for hunting birds.
The term springer comes from the historic hunting role, 
where the dog would "spring" (flush) into the air.
I wish I had pictures of Teddy 'springing' off the dock to jump in the water.  
It was beautiful.
Teddy loved the water.  He would swim after those ducks until he got tired.  
After the swim we would dry Teddy off to keep him warm.
I loved snuggling with my Teddy Bear. 
 Even though he is technically not a lapdog, Teddy seemed to think he was.
 Teddy passed away August 30th, 2013.
My heart still hurts when I think of him.
I miss him very much.
 Otter Lake Camp Resort 2004.