Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012

Our Christmas was absolutely wonderful and amazing! Not because there was an over abundance of gifts (even though we were all spoiled, of course ;), it was all about the family, the love, and remembering that TRUE meaning of Christmas with our children! :) As 2012 comes to an end, I have to say that it was certainly an awesome year for our family, but so many families have hurting hearts, so its hard to be truly happy about what you have when so many are suffering, but I pray that 2013 brings joy and happiness to all of those hurting hearts! Here's to a great 2013 for all of you! :)

And for good measure (some pictures of Christmas Eve, before we headed out for our annual festivities! :))

 We tend to keep Christmas Eve more "casual" and break out the dresses and suits for Christmas Day :)


Manuel actually took this picture of Manny and I..not too shabby! :) (however, I do look 9 months prego and I promise, right now, there is no baby baking in my belly! ;)
I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and cheers to a great 2013! I hope that 2013 finds me blogging more and re-connecting with all of my blogging buddies who I "lost" through the latter part of this year because of being SO busy at work! :)




Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my blogging friends! :) May the peace and joy of the Christmas season fill your heart. PLEASE remember it's not about the gifts, it's about family, giving, joy, and most importantly the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I'm finding it a bit difficult to fully embrace Christmas because my heart is in Connecticut with all of those grieving families. I can't even imagine their pain, however, I feel that it's a disservice to all of those lost lives if I don't make myself get happy and enjoy Christmas with my husband and children in honor of those angels.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saddness

The reality of my life is this..11 out of the 20 deadliest shootings have occured in the United States, 6 (I believe) of those 11 have occured since 2007...that is a staggering, heartbreaking, awful statistics. Words can't even begin to explain how sad my heart is over what happened on Friday. Babies, sweet, innocent, babies, who had their entire lives ahead of them, gone, at the hands of a madman. And those poor teachers...mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, wives and friends. SO senseless. SO heartbreaking. My heart has been aching (literally) since this all happened, then add in the mix a memorial service for a very dear friend (on Saturday morning), my heart has reached it's maximum sadness quota, and to think I am just a bystander, looking in. I can't even begin to fathom how those families feel...to lose a loved one so unexpectedly. My heart just hearts, plain and simple.

Please pray for those families, please pray for our country, please pray for the world. PLEASE come to know Jesus if you don't, please, please, please. I can say this, what happened on Friday will FOREVER change me as a mother! FOREVER! A majority of those sweet babies that died were Manuel's age...can't.even.fathom.

Today I share my Facebook status from Friday night...

there is so much tragedy in todays events, one of them being our ability to SO easily forget...this time next week I'd venture to say people will have moved on, people will have "forgotten" (those not directly affected, of course), and they will be going on and on about the SUPPOSED end of the world (12/21/12) but friends, lets not forget what the Bible tells us, "Therefore keep watch, because ...
you do not know the day or the hour." So instead of forgetting, instead of moving on, instead of these sweet precious "babies" being taken in vain, lets DO SOMETHING ABOUT!!! Learn to be kinder, love deeper, reach out to a stranger, help those in need, do something simple as saying thank you when someone holds a door open for you, raise your children with morals and values, be the change you want to see in the world because if not, the rest of our lives (however long it is until He comes), will be spent dealing with these tragedies, which sadly, will probably be happening more and more!
 
The entire country is in my prayers tonight...as we are planning on Christmas day, planning our next holiday party, families are planning funeralsl..just entirely too hard to wrap my brain around. All I can do is pray!

If you feel led, please participate in the blog day of silence on Tuesday. I know people might not "get" the idea behind a blogging day of silence, but it just shows solidarity, rememberance, love, compassion. If you feel led, please do so...
 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lets see if this works...

Hello dear friends! :) It's been awhile, because honestly, what's the point in posting if you can't upload pictures?!?!?!?! I know $3 a month to be able to upload pictures is a small price to pay, but I just don't find it necessary at this point, since I really wasn't blogging all that often, recently. Perhaps if I get pregnant sometime soon, and want to document my pregnancy, etc. then I'll think about it. But for now, I saw a suggestion on another blogger about using a photo website, getting the HTML code, and posting that here, so we'll see if that works! :) Time consuming if I wanted to post an entire events pics (Thanksgiving, post-Thanksgiving bonfire, etc.) but for a one pic post, it'll work! :)

Speaking of the holidays...our Thanksgiving was WONDERFUL! Truly, truly awesome! Such a blessing to be surrounded by family and so much to be thankful for! :)

Ohhh, I have to post my favorite picture from Thanksgiving, so this will actually be a two pic post! ;)

Photobucket

Christmas is fast approaching and we are really excited! Manny and I have decided not to exchange gifts this year and instead of have spent our Christmas budget for each other on giving back to charities. My gosh, I can't even begin to explain the joy it brings to my heart just to give back. It's awesome!!!!!!And being able to teach the kids along the way about giving and how important it is, is just an added blessing! :)

We took the kids to see Santa last night! Manuel and Mia were very excited UNTIL we crossed the threshold into the Santas Wonderland, then Mia froze up! :) She wouldn't look at Santa, she wouldn't talk to him, she wouldn't even face him! :) Santa wasn't even trying to press the issue so he just immediately invited Manny and I to get into the picture too! ;( I wasn't mad, but I would have liked him to have tried a bit harder to warm her up to him, especially when there wasn't a long line AND had I known we were going to be in the picture, I would have made sure Manny and I wore Christmas colors! ;) But either way, here is the end result...

Photobucket

I continue to pray for all of you daily. I pray this Christmas season is alive in your hearts and minds, even if it your pockets are empty. It's not about the gifts, I promise you! :) It's about love, family, giving back and MOST importantly, the birth of our Savior!

Lots of love to you, my friends! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving

I don't know why I even ATTEMPT at putting my 30 Days of Thankfulness on my blog every year...I NEVER succeed! ;) I post religiously on Facebook, each and every morning, but the process of putting it over here too is obviously something my brain can't handle! ;) However, I did want to log on and wish you all a VERY Happy Thanksgiving! I pray with all my heart that your hearts (and bellies ;) are filled this Thanksgiving. When I sit and think about how much family I'll be surrounded with tomorrow and the love that my heart will feel, it saddens me (beyond words) to think that there will be people who tomorrow (and possibly everyday), will be without loved ones, without food, and without knowing the TRUE spirit of Thanksgiving! :( I pray for those people. I pray with my whole hear that they would find someone, even just ONE person to spend the day with.

Be well my sweet friends! :) I have offered to give the prayer before dinner tomorrow, which I'd like to share here, as my prayer to you and your families, as well as a picture of my adorable kiddos from last year. It's crazy how much they grow in ONE year! :)

And for good measure...
*Well, apparently I'm out of space and can't post anymore pictures unless I buy space! :( That might be something I'll look into, but not now! :) In case you need to see my children from Thanksgiving last year ;) go back to my Thanksgiving post 2011.

For now, here's my prayer:
Jesus,
   Thank you for this...the ability to sit here, surrounded by family, together, with all of this food in front of us, happy and blessed. Please bless the hands that prepared it. As we begin our meal of Thanksgiving, Jesus, please help us to remember that no matter what worries are in our hearts at this moment, no matter what burdens we may carry, we have so much more than so many others and should be thankful! Help us to remember your words, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"
(1 Thess 5:18) And we ask all of this in your precious Holy name, forever and ever. Amen.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day #11 of Thankfulness and Ravens game :)

Manny and I went to the Ravens game today...it was an awesome game to be at, and the weather was P-E-R-F-E-C-T! :) Hubby and I had a wonderful time! And the kiddos had a great time with Nonna and Poppy! :) But on to my thankful thought for today and some pictures...

Day #11...today I am thankful for all the men and women who have fought for our freedom. I particularly hold this day close to my heart as I remember my grandfather, who I was never able to meet, who lost his life in the Korean War. He died a hero, as he saved many others and was given the honor of a purple heart!

 All geared up and ready to go (excuse the mess in the background...that, my friends, is reality! ;))

 Special tickets to go on the field before the game...such a cool experience!

Waiting for the game to start! :)
 Very touching Veterans Day tribute
 Our beloved coach, John Harbaugh :)
 Our beloved players :)
LOVE the scoreboard! ;)
 
I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! I've taken a vacation day tomorrow since banks are closed and I can't fund loans...yeah for a Mommy & Mia day! :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day of Thankfulness #9 & #10

I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend! :) Manny and Manuel are on a boyscouts outing, and Mia and I are headed to the mall for some Ravens gear! :) After all my hardwork at the end of last month, during the hurricane, my work gave me tickets to the Ravens game, with onfield passes before the game! Hubby and I are SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited!

Now, onto my post ;) ....
Day #9 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness...today I am thankful for my mom! She has taught my sister and I some of the most important lessons in life..work hard, education is your first priority (although I may not have followed that exactly my sister has 55 ;) Master degrees :)), don't get discouraged because you will find "the one", and so much more! There are times when Manny is working a lot of ove...
rtime and I think to myself, "I just don't know how single mothers do it!"...not only did my mom do it, but she did it, in what some would consider the most difficult years of a childs life, their teenage years!!!!! :) She was the epitome of what great single mother should be...working herself to the ground to take care of my sister and I, never putting anyone before us, and raising us to be strong, independent adults! And although I can be a TAD emotional, a bit neurotic, and maybe down right crazy ;) she loves me anyway! Thank you SO much for all you've done for me Mom! Thank you for helping out with the kiddos when we get in a bind and need your help! We love you!!!! :)
 
 
Day #10 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness...today I am thankful for my dad, Lou Simpson! Anyone that knew my dad, loved him! He would do anything for anyone and was definitely one of the most kind hearted people I know/knew. Unfortunately my dad spent his life battling addiction, and in the end addiction won :( but I know he is in Heaven, happy, healthy and free! :) My dad taught me the power of forgiveness, and because I was able to forgive him, Manny, Manuel and I (Mia wasn't here yet :)) were able to show him a ton of love before God called him Home. My only wish is that he would have gotten to meet Mia....he would have absolutely LOVED LOVE LOVED her! :) In the event that there is Facebook in Heaven ;) I love you Dad! :)
 
 
 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day #8 of Thankfulness

In case you are thinking, "What happened to Day #7?" I'm choosing to keep that one strictly on Facebook. It was SLIGHTLY (and I mean just a teeny tiny bit) politically based, so I didn't want to post it here. Not for any particular reason, other than this blog is not meant to stir ANY sort of controversy, debate, meanness, etc. so I just made the decision to leave it over in Facebook land! ;) Moving on...
 
Day #8 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness....today I am thankful for my hilarious, super sassy, curly haired, "Shirley Temple", Mia Grace! The bond that she and I share is truly something that words can't describe. She is my sunshine on a cloudy day and keeps me on my toes. She is my partner in crime, attached to my hip, and my best friend. I know there are stages in life when mothers and daughters aren't always best friends, but I pray she and I are this close forever! :) May 23, 2009 was the day I found out I was pregnant with her and looking back, a mere month before, when drug addiction rocked my marriage, my faith and my sanity, had I given up on my marriage, my husband and the life I knew, she may not be here..once again God just shines in our lives, making sure His will was done and giving me one of the greatest blessing in my life. I love you Mia Grace! :)
 
 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day #6 of Thankfulness

Day #6 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness...today I am thankful for my first born, Manuel I've said it before and I'll say it again, (through Gods plan/hand) my sweet boy saved my life, there is NO doubt! From the age of 18 until June 8, 2005 my life was a complete mess! Looking back, there is NO reason I should still be here today...I was on a downward spiral of hardcore drugs, drinking every single d...
ay, and just living a life that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. On June 9, 2005 I took a pregnancy test and received one of the biggest shocks of my life and found out I was pregnant. That very second everything stopped and I started living for my unborn child. My SUPER ornery ;), smart, loving, heart of gold, almost-7-year-old, saved my life that day and he doesn't even know it! :) Manuel Christopher, I love you!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day #4 & #5 of 30 Days of Thankfulness

I knew it was impossible for me to post each day, on time, for 30 days! :) But already I think I'm doing better than I did last year! :) And, in my defense, after an awesome time at our church Fall Fest (it was postponed from last Sunday because of Hurricane Sandy), we came home, only for Manuel to be struck by the stomach bug! :( Not sure what it is, but when Mia had it last weekend she handled it so "well" and for being only almost 3, she did such a great job. However, my sweet almost 7 year old didn't do so well, and sure made a heck of a clean-up job for Manny and I! :( I know they can't help it, so of course I wasn't mad, it's just funny how much different kiddos are, regardless of age! ;)

Now, onto my reason for this post....

Day #4 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness...today I am thankful for our church, Oak Grove. Church is not about a building but rather a group of people who gather to celebrate/serve/worship. Come to Oak Grove today and check it out! :) If you come to the 9:30 service it's "Team Jersey Day" so wear your RAVENS gear! :)


Day #5 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness...today I am thankful for my job, the fact that I've had it 6 years (which is a blessing in itself in this day and age, ESPECIALLY in the mortgage business), and the ability to work from home and take care of my babies when they are sick! Thankfully, knock on wood, Manuel's stomach virus was short lived and he seems to be doing better today! :)

I'll post some pictures tomorrow from the Fall Fest! :)

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day #3 of Thankfulness

Day #3 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness...today I am thankful for my childrens laughter. It was a rough start to the day, with them bouncing off the wall since well before 7am ;) however, listening to them play and really crack up right now, makes it all worth it! :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day #2 of Thankfulness

As I mentioned in my post from yesterday, every year on Facebook I take the month of November and each day my status is dedicated to something I'm thankful for. Since not everyone (even though I think I'm speaking to myself at this point when it comes to blogging, but that's okay! ;)) is my friend on Facebook, I also like to TRY and post those items on here as well. So far, so good, I'm two for two in remembering to post it here! ;)

Day #2 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness...today I am thankful for my husband, Manny (aka Mans! ;)) Although I could spend the next 28 days telling you just how thankful I am for him, I'll spare you all! ;) But for today...He has shown me that no matter what, if you are a victim of circumstance and handed things in life you have no control over and/or "self inflicted" pain/issues you can rise above it...
all and change, REALLY change forever, and never look back! He is the backbone of our family. He is strong when I am weak, an AMAZING father, and the guy who would help out ANYONE in their time of need. I've never met anyone with such a good, kind, gentle soul. If you are suffering, if you are struggling with addiction, if you feel like there just isn't a reason to change and give your life to God, think again! Look at Manny's life as an example of a life well lived! :) From drug addicted felon to father, husband, church Usher, man of God..doesn't get more inspirational than that! No, he/we aren't perfect, but he is my soulmate, and there is truly no one else on this Earth I can imagine spending the rest of my life with! Love you Mans! :)
 
Have a great weekend friends! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

Hurricane Sandy came through Maryland late Monday night and things were a bit "hairy" for several hours, throw in Mia getting the stomach virus and me still having to work full days because it was month end in the mortgage business and unfortunately when a borrower is located in Georgia (for example) they don't want to hear YOU have a Hurricane coming through, they just want their money  (UGH!!) but we survived. We were SO blessed to never lose power and Mia's stomach virus was short-lived! The weather cleared up and the kids were able to go trick or treating last night. They had a blast. Mia was over it after about 10 or so houses, and Manuel and Manny continued on for a bit longer. Fun was had by all! :) I can't believe it's NOVEMBER already, but with November comes my annual "30 Days of Thankfulness" via Facebook status updates. Each day I take the time to really reflect on whats important and post only thankful, grateful items. It really makes you think and realize how much you have. I try to also post those status updates on my blog (I don't have the two connected because pretty much no one I know in real life (other than Manny) knows I blog because I feel if people I "know" were reading it, I wouldn't be quite as forthcoming! :)) but anyway ;) my plan is to post my thankfulness on here too for those that I'm not friends with on Facebook.

Day #1 of my annual 30 Days of Thankfulness...today, I am thankful to/for God! I know it's cliche and people say it all the time but I am TRULY amazed to see what He has done in my life and my families life! Growing up I always knew who God was and always believed, BUT there is a difference in knowing God and KNOWING God. Each day it humbles me to see how great His power really is. Thank you God for giving me this day and all You've done/will do for me!

Okay, so it's 5:56am, I have to get ready for work and shouldn't be blogging! ;) Soooo, for good measure...









Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012

I wouldn't be a true blogger if I didn't post our annual Pumpkin Patch pics! ;)

But first a quick update...life is truly going wonderfully! If you all recall the early-middle part of this year was difficult for our family as we were going through some struggles with Manuel. He was having a REALLY hard time in Kindergarten! (not academically, but emotionally/mentally). There were talks of him having ADHD, meetings at school, so much praying, fears, anxiety, concerns over what his future would be like, etc. I was a wreck! At one point I literally got down on my hands and knees and begged for God to help him/us. It just came out of left field and I was beside myself with worry for my sweet boy. We sought counseling and things seemed to really work themselves out. I'm SO pleased to say that he has done a complete turnaround (and have NO doubt this was a God-thing! :)) and he is doing AWESOME! Because the school system was in the loop last year with everything going on, to stick with protocol and procedure, we had a follow up meeting with the school a few weeks ago....it was me (Manny is on mandatory overtime at work to get a government job completed), the asst principal, the guidance counselor, the school psychiatrist and Manuel's 1st grade teacher. It couldn't have gone better! :) His teacher said she has absolutely NO concerns...he participates, he stays on tasks, he works well with others, he's social, and she overall couldn't be more pleased with how he is doing! :) He even brought home a 92% on one of his first tests!!!! :) What a relief! I pray he continues doing well and that time of trial and tribulation for my sweet boy was just a stage! He has found his "niche" in cubscouts and says he wishes he could go everyday! :) Manny goes with him to EVERY meeting/event (I know some people have a bad perception of the scouts because of a few awful predators! :( but we have no worries, again, because Manny is always there! I love seeing Manuel thrive and him get excited over learning the "motto", handshakes, etc.

Shewwww, that was lengthy, sorry! :) Just a much needed update! :)

Manny, Mia and I are doing great too! :) Working, going to church and preparing to go to Disney on Ice this Saturday (Manuel is coming too, of course! :)) We are all very excited!!!

I hope life is treating you all well!

And for good measure...

 Cousins :)











Monday, October 15, 2012

I remember...

So many sweet angels names went through my head as I lit 3 candles in honor of my nephews, Mateo, Ian and Anthony. They will never be forgotten...along with Cohen, Caroline, Baby M, the Green Beans, and so many others.

Until we see you in Heaven sweet angels...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pregancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day (October 15th)

I'm sure you are aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it is also Downs Syndrome Awareness month, but you may not know that October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Honestly, I probably would have never known either until my sister lost all 3 of her precious sons, triplets, Mateo, Ian and Anthony in May 2008. Trying to wrap my brain around losing one child is too much to even fathom...I truly can't even begin to understand an ounce of the pain caused by losing all 3 of children at the same time! :( My heart was (and still is) broken and I'm not the one who carried those sweet boys for 24+ weeks...I can't even imagine how my sister felt/feels. Truly heartbreaking! Praying for all of those families out there who have lost children, especially my sister and her husband, and my blogging friend, Jackie and her family who lost sweet Baby M. I can't imagine your pain, but I pray for peace. No children will ever replace the precious lives you lost, but you will see those sweet babies one day, and what a joyous reunion it will be. It brings a smile to face just thinking about it! :)

Mia, Manuel and Vivienne (my niece) honoring their cousins/her brothers last year,
October 15th 2011 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Two posts in one week!?!??!?

I know I just posted the other day, but we interrupt your regularly scheduled "only posting once a month" ;) to show you the adorableness that is Mia's first day of dance class...

It's not "real" dance class since she is only 2 1/2 years old, and all of the studios around here require you to be 3 for actual ballet, so for now Mia is in "Mommy & Me" dance class and as far as she is concerned it is as real as it comes! ;) Last Thursday was her first class and she LOVED it! She was a tad shy at first (she had fallen asleep on the way there) but once she woke up she really rocked it! :) You would have thought she was auditioning for Broadway! ;)

We had a GREAT weekend! On Saturday my mom, sis, niece, Aunt and Mia walked in the local Alzheimer's walk. It was a beautiful day and felt great doing something for a wonderful cause.
Ohhh, and yes, I got all of my hair chopped off! :) I've been wanting to do it for awhile now, but Lauren (one of my best friends/hairdresser) and I decided to wait until it was officially Fall because humidity+my curls+short hair=NOT CUTE! ;)
 

 Vivienne (the littlest "ATW" Amazing Tumminello Women :))
 My sis, Aunt Lucy, Mom and I :)
Mia and Vivi
 
On a side note (just because I know how people are! ;)) Yes, Manny, Manuel, Mia and I do things together ALL THE TIME but Manuel really dislikes having his picture taken, so that's why the majority of my pics tend just be of Mia! :))

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! :)