Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving (5 days later :))

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful annual family bonfire on Saturday (it's a post-Thanksgiving tradition! :)) I love my family more then words can ever express and even though we are spread out in Maryland, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina, we are about as close as a family can possibly be! :) Most of us were together on Saturday for the annual bonfire (minus my two cousins and their families). A great time was had by all and it was an awesome way to reflect on ALL we have to be thankful for! Here are pics from Thanksgiving day (I'll share the bonfire pics in tomorrows post). Our beloved Baltimore Ravens played on Thanksgiving night, hence the reason why hubby is in a jersey! :) (That wouldn't TYPICALLY be holiday dinner allowable attire! ;)) But I let him slide this year! ;)

I miss you all! Hopefully once I get back to posting regularly I'll hear from all my "old friends" (aka you ;)) again! :)
 Mia and I

 The weather was GORGEOUS, so we got to spend some time outside enjoying the sunshine! :)
 Mia and her great-grandmother (hubby's grandmother)

 Hubby and both of his grandmothers

 That's the best pic you can get of a 2, almost 1, 1 and 6 year old! ;)....cousins! :)
 The beautiful table
 Chowing down on some pie (a rare treat for these kiddos! :) And actually Mia was eating the whipped cream off of the pie that Manuel didn't like! ;)
3/4 of the cousins, in their jammies and ready for bed! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Hello dear friends!

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted but I wanted to stop in, say hi, and share some pics! :) I just haven't really been into blogging lately, so I haven't posted. I mean when you can't even copy and paste Facebook statuses because you just have NO desire to blog, then it's time to take a step back and just not post! :) I've still continued to read my favs, post comments, etc. but I just haven't been posting.

In my last post I made mention of some issues we were having with Manuel, behaviorally, at school....thankfully he's had a week and a half of REALLY good behavior (even to the point that he got to bring home the class "pet"-a stuffed Build-A-Bear, named Bentley complete with a ton of accessories! :) so, fingers crossed, it was just a really bad (albeit short) stage he went through. Long story short, he was getting really angry and hitting friends only at school (he seemed to be "acting out" when he felt like he was being treated badly by peers or being talked about-regardless of the reason, it's clearly not acceptable, so we were really worried about him). After LOTS of prayers, lots of talking, and punishment, things seem to be turning around. We are going to have him talk to someone (a counselor) just to be safe! We'd rather it be nothing and at least hear it from a professional then him have something going on internally, and not address it. Please continue to pray for our family! Manuel is the sweetest, kindest soul out there, so this was way out of left field for us! Hopefully we've nipped it in the bud and things are on the upswing.

We've been having a great couple of weeks, and this past weekend was Manuel's "reward weekend" for all of his good behavior. Here are some pics...
 Manuel and Bentley sitting down for veggies and dip

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FRIENDS! If we are friends on Facebook, you know the first 23 things that I'm thankful for (because unlike this blog, I've kept up with my Facebook statuses! ;)) But just know that I'm thankful for each of you who read my blog. You all have become dear friends to me (even though we've never met...is that weird? ;)) I hope to be back to regularly posting soon....AFTER month end at work! :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Days of Thanks...11, 12 and 13

Hello friends! Happy Weekend! :) I hope everyone has enjoyed their Saturday and Sunday! :)

Here are my last 3 days of thanks! :) ...

Day #11 of my Annual 30 Days of Thanks...today I am thankful for our freedom. Goodness knows there are so many people out there in other countries who would LOVE the freedom we are provided by living in the U.S. Most importantly, I'm thankful for all those men and women who made it possible! God bless the veterans, those who lost their lives fighting for us (and their families left behind), and those still in active duty!

Day #12...today I am thankful for one of my greatest friends in the entire world, Selina! Although many miles separate us and we don't see each other as much as we'd like to, we can always pick up right where we left off! She is always there to lend a listening ear and I couldn't be more thankful! :) Who would have thought that the girl I "met" at Veronica's party in 9th grade, who was so tough and scary (that cracks me up now! ;)) would become one of my best, most treasured, lifelong friends? Love ya Dr. Read! :)

Day #13 of my Annual 30 Days of Thanks...today I am thankful for my girls! There are only a few of them out there who are TRULY my friends, and they know who they are! (if I saw you last night, you're definitely in that bunch! :)) We might all be real grown ups now ;) BUT when we get together we can pick up right where we left off! I love you all! :)

And for good measure...(I went to a Thirty One party last night, and came home to this adorable scene! :) ...
They had built a huge fort and everyone was passed out! :) (That's Mia in the far background! :))

Thursday, November 10, 2011

9, 10, and Prayers

Good Morning Friends!

I know I never posted Day #9 of thanks yesterday, so I'm going to post #9 & #10 in one day...

Day #9....today I am thankful for my aunts, uncles, and cousins! We are SO fortunate to have one another and to be so close! Although hundreds of miles separate some of us, our hearts are always close and bonded. To see families who are distant and not active in each others lives just makes me realize how truly lucky I am!!! My aunts and uncles are like second parents and my cousins are like siblings. We are there to help each other in our most difficult times and rejoice with each other in our times of happiness and joy. I love you all more then words can express! :)

Day #10 of my annual 30 Days of Thanks...today I am thankful for Nonna! She has been the most amazing mother/grandmother to all of us! Even at 81 years old she is still so full of life and "zest"! :) She plays bingo, goes to church, and shows the nursing home who is boss! ;) We don't ever visit her without coming home with a bag of goodies and her bingo winnings! :) I'm SO glad that my children have been able to know such a great woman! We love you Nonna! (not that she Facebooks, but still! ;))

Please pray for Manuel, pray for Manny and I. Something is going on with Manuel and we need to get to the bottom of it. His behavior (ONLY at school) has taken a complete 180 over the last two weeks (for the negative). Our hearts are heavy as we try to figure out what in the world is going on. It doesn't seem to be bullying, but clearly he is struggling (not academically, but socially), clearly he is acting out, and clearly this can't continue to happen. My heart isn't up for getting into specifics right now as it's still so confusing and out of left field that I'm not even sure I understand what is going on completely, but just please pray for us. Pray for my sweet boy who doesn't have a mean or angry bone in his body, but SOMETHING is going on. Thank you friends! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day #8 of Thanks...

Day #8 of my Annual 30 days of thanks...today I am thankful for June 9, 2005, around 7:20am that is when I found out I was pregnant. I honestly believe that if I had never gotten pregnant I would not be here today. My life was on a very fast downward spiral, involving NOTHING good! Although it was a complete shock and I wasn't sure what I was going to do, my life changed that very second for the good. Everything stopped that day (the partying, the drugs, etc.) and I've never looked back. That is why I always say, Manuel saved my life. I truly believe he did! :)

Don't get me wrong, I love Mia as equally, but I was in a VERY bad place when I found out I was pregnant with Manuel. The pregnancy, the experience, the entire thing was just "different". I love both of my babies more then life itself, but my sweet son, my first born, my first baby, saved my life! :)

Oldies, but goodies :) ....


 I had temporarily lost my sanity for a span of time and let my husband buy him two birds, "Bath" and "Gomez" were their names :)
Not an oldie, but still, ADORABLE! :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day #7 of Thanks...

Hello friends! I'm pretty tired on this Monday morning, but with good reason...I actually stayed up to watch the Ravens vs. Steelers game, the entire game, so getting about 5 hours of sleep isn't really up my alley, but it was SOOOOOOO worth it! Go Ravens!!!!! :)

Now, onto Day #7...

Day #7 of my Annual 30 Days of Thanks...today I am thankful for the fact that my children will grow up in a household where they realize the importance of, not only attending church regularly, but the importance of TRULY worshiping! Also, where God will always be #1 in their lives...

Me: "Manuel, do you know who Daddy's best friend is, in front of EVERYONE else?" (I was referring to Manuel).
Manuel: "Daddy's #1 best friend is God!" :)

Manuel: "If church is so important, why do we only go to church one day a week, but go to school 5?"
Me: "Good question, buddy!" :)

Every night we say family prayers, before we start we always make sure the TV is muted. The other night I said to Manny, "Hey Mans, mute the TV for a second." and even though it wasn't prayer time, Mia automatically started saying her prayers! Even at her young age, she is starting to "get it". We couldn't be more proud! :)

Have a great day friends! :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day #6 of 30 Days of Thanks..

Happy Sunday!!!! We just got home from church, and hubby and I tried out a couples Bible study class. I was such a nervous wreck walking up the stairs, to head in the class. I swear I was going to have a panic attack. It was SO ridiculous because HELLO, if you don't feel accepted and loved at your own church, then where in the world can you feel comfortable at!??!?!? :) Clearly, I have issues! ;) Manny was just laughing (in a loving a way, of course! :)) at me as we walked up the stairs. It was a HUGE step for me to walk in those doors and I'm glad I did. We plan to go back next week! :) Now, its' time relax, HOPEFULLY nap (my children did not get the memo about Daylight Savings time and were up at 5:30AM!!!!!) AND there is a HUGE Ravens vs. Steelers game on tonight that I'm TRYING to stay for (way past my bedtime! :)) I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend! Until tomorrow... :)

Day #6 in my Annual 30 Days of Thanks...today I am thankful for my dad, Lou! I miss him dearly, not a day goes by that I don't think about him, and I really wish he could have met Mia (he would have DEFINITELY called her, "Miss Hollywood" ;)) but I know he is in no greater place. He is free of drugs, alcohol, and all of his health issues. He is happy and free! I'm glad I got to spend the last few years of his life showing him love, family, and letting him get to know Manuel. They had a truly special bond! Love you and miss you Dad! :)

In case you are new, here is the background behind my dad...here, here and here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day #5 of Thanks...

Happy Weekend All!

I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy time with family and friends! We are off to a birthday party this afternoon (for one of Mia's little friends from church) and then hubby and I are off to see Third Day in concert. I am SOOOOOOOOOO excited!

Just wanted to share my day #5 from my Facebook status...

"Day #5 of my Annual 30 Days of Thanks...today I am thankful for Linnie! Honestly, I don't know what I would have done with either of my children if it hadn't been for her watching them for the last FIVE years!!!! :) Even when Manuel was sick and had seizures (way back when) I NEVER had to worry about his safety or well being because I knew he was in great hands (and the same goes for Mia now). She is like a second mother to them, and if they can't be home with me, I couldn't ask for a more wonderful person to take care of them! :) And she certainly makes sure my babies (and all of her babies) don't starve! ;) LOL! We love you Linnie!"

Have a great weekend everyone! :)

And for good measure....

Manuel's Kindergarten picture (pic of a pic, so poor quality, but A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E! :))

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day #4 of Thanks...

Happy Friday!

I have gotten in the habit of shooting myself an e-mail each morning of what my thankful Facebook status was for the day, so I can just copy and paste it when I share it here, BUT this morning I overslept ONE HOUR AND FIVE MINUTES (this is huge for me! I NEVER oversleep!) but still managed to get to work on time (go me! ;)) But I'll share with you the gist of what I posted...

Day #4 of my Annual 30 days of Thanks...today I am thankful for my sister. She is a great person and super "smart. She has suffered a great deal of loss in her life but she continues to persevere and honor those who have suffered the same loss (sweet angel baby(ies). And she's has enough college credits, masters and all sorts of fancy degrees that she makes up for my lack thereof! ;) I love you Ames!" **My Facebook status flowed much better and sounded a lot nicer then this, but I tried to remember most of what I wrote. Facebook sounded better! :)**

My sister has suffered a loss that is TRULY unimaginable to my brain. To lose one child (at any age, gestation,etc.) is not something I can wrap my brain around, to lose your 3 sons within 24 hours of their birth, it's just, it's really, clearly I don't even have the words. I know how bad my heart hurt/still hurts and they were my nephews (an honor that I hold very dear). I can't imagine if I had felt them move, grow, and thrive for 23 1/2 weeks, and then one day they were just gone. Ugh, it breaks my heart to just think about. Yes, my sister has gone on to have two more beautiful, amazing children (Vivienne and Spencer), but she NEVER forgets about her sons, or stops honoring their memory, 3 years later. They "celebrate" their birthday each year, they honor them at all sorts of remembrance walks, and they are, of course, remembered on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Not only does she honor her boys, but she honors all of her friends who have lost children...through writing their names in the sand, releasing balloons, etc. And each day in October she dedicated a day to child(ren) that have been taken from this Earth too soon, where she personally knew the parents. She really is a great person and I love her with all my heart! :)
I snapped this picture with my cell phone this morning and I thought it would be an appropriate one to share in this post...
Our God is so great and creates such beauty. In our times of sorrow and sadness, we have to remember that this life, my friends, is only a breath compared to eternity. Tough times will come, we will experience sadness and loss, but eternity, behind this great beautiful sky, is beyond our comprehension!

Happy Friday friends! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day #3 of Thanks...

Happy Thursday Friends! :)

Here it goes for today...

"Day #3 of my annual 30 days of thanks...today (and everyday!) I'm thankful for my mom! Not only is she always there to help us, especially when we are in a bind with the kids, BUT she did an awesome job (if I do say so myself! ;)) of raising my sister and I, during our most difficult teenage years, by herself! She always taught us to put education first, never leave yourself reliant solely on one person, and always believed that I'd find my soulmate even when I was sure I never would! ;) She's finally making her dreams come true by starting her own Italian cookie business, and she really is just a wonderful, great person! Love you Mom!"

My mom is pretty awesome, and nothing that I write could even begin to touch how truly wonderful she is! She has done everything in her power to make my sister and I the women we are today, all by herself. She loved us at our most unlovable times (well, my sister was pretty "perfect" all the time, but I was moody and difficult during my teenage/early 20's! :)) She tried to sustain a marriage thinking its what was best for my sister and I, always putting herself last until she finally realized that my dad was never going to change, and she had to make big decisions. I'll never forget the day that my dad came home out of his mind (high on drugs and/or drunk. I was 14, my sister was 16) and my mom said to him, "Lou, either you wake up tomorrow morning and commit to getting yourself better, or when we wake up tomorrow morning you better not be here!" I can't even imagine the strength and courage that took knowing that her whole world would change if we woke up and my dad was gone, but she did it for us!!!! (Needless to say we woke up the next morning and my dad was gone-but that's another story, for another day to any of my new readers). She struggled for years to keep a roof over our heads, food in our cabinets, and clothes on our backs. Eventually we lost our house (one of the saddest, hardest days of my life. Not because I was sad for myself, but because I was SO sad for my mom!) but no matter what, she never gave up, she always pushed education, and truly made my sister and I the people we are today. I am SO proud to call her mom and I love her more then words can say! :)

Oh, and she is the best Nonna on the planet to Manuel, Spencer, Mia and Vivienne! :)
My mom and my sister on her Amy's wedding day
My mom and Vivienne, Christmas 2010
One of my favorite pictures ever of my mom and Manuel :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day #2

Happy Wednesday Friends! :)

On the days that I don't have anything exceptionally exciting to share (like today) I will still share my Facebook status with the off chance that it might inspire someone to take a look at their blessings, even the teeny tiny ones :) or at least make you smile! :)

Day #2 of my annual 30 days of thanks :)....today I am thankful for my husband! God only knows (literally :)) everything we've been through in the last 5 1/2 years of marriage, but it's made us stronger, better people with the real knowledge of what a marriage is and the hardwork it takes! He is an AMAZING father and fantastic husband! I am so thankful to have met him, fell in love with him, had children with him, and God willing, spending the next 50+ years with my best friend and soul mate! :)

*On a side note...I did not post this part on Facebook (afterall it's a status update not a short story! ;)) but I do have to say...not to judge, but it sort of sickens me how celebrities, and heck, even people I know, take marriage SO lightly! "Irreconcilable differences", really? Do you have any idea what REAL problems are!??!?!?! Don't get me wrong, I know that my marriage has not seen the darkest of darks like some other marriages, but Manny and I have been through SO much in the short (relatively speaking) time we've been together, and it takes work, it takes commitment, but isn't that what marriage is all about!??!?!?! Okay, off my soap box for today! :)
Have a great day! :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween and "30 Days of Thanks" begins :)

Hello friends!

Let me first start off by saying that last year, via my Facebook status updates, I did "30 Days of Thanks" and each day I listed something I was thankful. I got really awesome feedback from friends who appreciated my positive, upbeat posts in an "arena" that can be pretty drama filled and negative, so I wanted to do it again this year. In case we aren't friends on Facebook, I"m going to start off each of my blog posts with what I posted for that day on Facebook. It really makes you have to sit and reflect on the true blessings in life. Of course the first few days are easy but as you near the end of the month it gets more difficult BUT then you find yourself realizing the blessings in the smallest of things, which is truly awesome! :)

"and so begins my 30 days of thankfulness (in no particular order)...Day #1-I am so thankful for my sweet, beautiful, kind, ornery, wild children! :) If they are the only two little souls that every call me, "Mommy" I am one blessed lady! They bring me so much joy and happiness. It's not always easy, but I know God has given me two of the greatest gifts I could ever ask for! :)"
Now, on to today's post :)....

My goodness I miss blogging when I'm "out of the loop" for a few days/week! I hope this post finds you all doing wonderfully and if you celebrate Halloween, I hope that you and your children had a WONDERFUL time. We did! :) Even though yesterday was the last day of the month and SUCH a busy day at work, I knew there was nothing that was going to stop me from taking my children trick or treating. With that said, I worked my butt off over the course of the weekend to set myself up for a pretty "easy" day at work so I could leave right on time (4:30pm). The kids and I got home, got dressed, and handed out candy while we waited for Manny to get home from work. I tried to get a few good pics of the kids, but with an almost 6 year old (who was actually VERY cooperative) and a super independent, strong willed almost 2 year old (who was not cooperative), I didn't have the photo shoot I envisioned HOWEVER, it was not a major fail like last year ;) The kids got a ton of candy, most of which will be donated to the troops on Thursday at Manuel's schools Fall Festival (such a neat idea, and really, the least we can do!)

Here are some of our pics (I'm super bummed I didn't get a pic of Manny and the kiddos, but we PLANNED on taking at least one once we got home, but needless to say as soon as we all walked in the door, the kids were D-O-N-E! :)

 Darth Vader :)
 The kiddos watching for trick or treaters, waiting for Daddy, and just being plain cute :) (on the other side of that note on the door is letting the kids know we were a house that was celebrating Halloween and giving out candy! It's a thing our neighborhood did which I really liked that way it takes the guess work out of "should we knock or shouldn't we" :))
 The duck fueling up before heading out :)
 The duck hat last about 3.5 seconds! Oh well, they were both still adorable! :)
 Stopping at our sweet neighbors house first. Mia was really into it, and Manuel wasn't shy this year which was such a nice surprise! :)
 There is NOTHING that scares me more then Michael Myers (and that Halloween theme music, EWWWW! Gives me shivers just thinking about it! :) But Manuel and Mia were not scared after a minute or two (at first they were a little taken back :)). Mia kept saying, "Hi, hi, hi"
 They thought this guy was hilarious :)
 Enjoying a lollipop after all her hard work! :)
 My sweet boy! :)
 My kiddos and I :)
Have a great day friends! :)