Tag Archives: Family

10 Tickets to Paradise

22 Apr

Sunset View In Key WestLast week, my husband and I joined 8 of his family members on the island of Key West.  This was our first vacation since we got married almost 3 years ago. Neither of us had been to Key West before.  We had such a good time- ate great food, enjoyed a maragarita (or 7),  lost track of time, stayed up late, took in the sites, and came back with a rather bronze hue on our Anglo Saxon skin.

If you’ve never been before, I would strongly recoomend a trip to Key West….but not for 8 days.  The human body is not supposed to live that lifestyle for such a long period of time.  Plus, the island is only 1 mile wide by 4 miles long, so it’s pretty easy to see it all in a few days. Regardless, it was absolutely wonderful.  It was cathartic for both of us worker bees to get physically away from all things work-related for so long. The sand, sun, and memories made with family helped give us some perspective.

One thing I wish I would have known about this island paradise before traveling there is the chickens.  Chickens are everywhere and roam the streets like pigeons do in other cities.  They also start cockadoodledo-ing at around 5am every morning.  The first morning, it was kinda cool. The second morning, I wanted to march into the street in my pj’s and give them all a stern talking to.  By the third and fourth mornings, I was plotting terrible things for anything that so much gave a hint of a doodle-do.  Since we don’t do too many exciting things, I have to ration my fun among as many posts as possible. With that in mind, I’ll post a particularly hilarious chicken pic tomorrow.

It’s hard to do justice to the time we spent with family on vacation, so I thought I would share a few pics to help explain.

Living the Dream  Phil caught this nurse shark- no joke! 


Thanks, Mom.

1 Aug


Saturday was our dog JJ’s 4th birthday. This is a milestone for us, well me, considering he is my first indoor pet and also our first big purchase together. We’ve learned a lot over his short life, bonding through the injuries and illness and learning to work together through the middle of the night potty training and such. My family, being farmers, didn’t get it. Why would you let an animal sleep in your bed or find it a babysitter? So it was especially meaningful getting this cRd today, addressed to the Beardog himself and complete with note about how embarrassed my mom was to walk into Hallmark and ask for a card for her granddog 🙂

Another Bad Day Beater

20 Jun

I had a select group of photos, mostly candids, that I keep stashed away in case I of a bad day. While today was actually particularly good, I still had to swipe this from a friend and added it to the mood-improving archives.

In Perspective

19 Jun

I feel like I should include a disclaimer to start this blog post since there will be mininal wit or humor.  The past few weeks have been, well, odd.  The mix of so many joyous and sad occasions within a short time period have made me increasingly sentimental and pensive.

Don’t worry.  Phil and I are totally healthy, happily married, and pleased to be parents only to a bulldog for years to come.  So there is no hidden meaning or “read into” with this post.  I’ve just been reflective lately.  I suppose there is nothing wrong with that.

This weekend, I gathered with several of my longtime girlfriends to celebrate one friend’s upcoming marriage.  Over wine, lake water, Tom Petty, and grilled food, we laughed until our faces hurt, hugged more times than I can remember, and took a few pictures that I’m sure will resurface for years to come.  These girls are like my family- sisters I never had.  And in the words of my mother, a weekend getaway in the foothills of Missourri was truly “good for my soul”.  Although we are an unlikely bunch of friends (a couple Catholic schoolgirls, a couple country bumpkins, a couple cheerleaders, and a former MXPX fan turned LA diva), I feel so blessed to have them in my life some 10 years after we first assembled on the campus of Illinois College.  And that’s not all, I have even moreof these sister-like friends, many of whom have known me since I stopped wearing dresses to school.  They love me in spite of my many imperfections and can provide the same sort of achey cheeks within a few hours. During the 5 hour trek home, I wondered, “What did I do to deserve such good friends?”

Later today, I called my pops to wish him a Happy Father’s Day.  As we talked about weather, my tires, his retirement, and then I finished lecturing him on how he needs to get back in to see his chiropractor, we exchanged “I love yous” and hung up the phone.  I thought about my dad- his leathery, always tan skin, and the toothy grin and nubby fingers we share- and wondered, “How did I end up with him?” His relationship with his own father was not always exemplary.  So I’m not sure where he learned to be a father, but he does a great job.

A few hours later, my heart broke for one of those dear friends I mentioned as she watched her mother fight for her life.  Feeling helpless during this poignant moment, I asked God to spare her from this heartache. But he didn’t.

My life and my head have been full of moments like these and others over the last few weeks that make me feel so fortunate to have my health, my family, my home, and my job.  As a result, I have been hugging a little tighter, putting chores off a little longer, listening a little deeper, and making sure the people around me know how much I value them in my life.

I know I won’t always feel so appreciative and that it will be easy to get caught up in the rush of life and the “woe is me” when things get a little hard.  But in the meantime, I will annoy my husband with out-of-the-blue “I love yous” and arm touches (which he tolerates), kiss my dog more, and appreciate the people and things that make life- although so unpredictable- a completely worthwhile adventure.


8 Mar

Like most mothers, my mom Barb is my biggest fan.  Let me qualify that by saying that my husband likes me a lot more than most people in this world.  But when it comes to the details of my recent trip to Old Navy, latest accomplishment at work, or dilemma over dishsoap, my mom is all ears regardless of the topic.  She intently listens, gives her thoughts if asked, or reassures me, depending on what I need.

Don’t get me wrong and say what every daughter is thinking right about now- yes, my mom has her quirks.  She can also set me off faster than a dead battery on my remote start, but I know I can do the same to her. So it’s fair. However, when it comes to a mother-daughter relationship, 9 times out of 10, I couldn’t be luckier to have Barb.

This isn’t the first time during my blog’s short life span that I have devoted an entire post to a Barb love fest, but this time I want to focus particularly on a one-liner from my mom that I will hang on to and invite you to do the same.

During a recent “I’ve never been so stressed/the world might end/I am doubting my own abilities and mad at life” talks on the phone, my mom offered this little gem to go along with my self-loathing: ” Well, if you are so confident you are going to fail, then you might as well have a great attitude along the way. It’s hard for people to be mad at someone who is enjoyable to work with.” Well said, B.  (And don’t think I missed your sarcastic tone when you pointed out that I’ve made up my mind that I am going to suck it up. I get the message.)

She quickly changed the subject afterward to the garage sale we are planning this spring.  This tells me two things: 1) She has nothing more to say on this topic. 2) She has probably been buying things on major markdown in hopes of putting them in this garage sale and making a profit.

I wish that last part was a lie, but she has probably been “scouting” good garage sale items. I know her all too well.

Sunday Serenity

20 Feb

The combination of sweatpants, couch time with my guys, a good cup of coffee, and my husband's sheer giddyness for the Nascar race are just too much right now. Just as I was about to burst into song to express my happiness about this peaceful Sunday, I opted to blog. It's the simple things in life that are so rewarding, like this tough guy under a blanket, who is positioned strategically between his parents like a church camp counselor keeping two teens apart. Happy weekend, everyone!