Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Once Upon A Family

Today I attended a blogger luncheon hosted by Once Upon A Family

Who are they? Their website said that they are a company that makes products that to add joy, closeness and meaning to every family's story.  

And it's true. I had a chance to check out some of their stuff, and I was impressed!

They had holiday themed items, like a Santa Pillow, to help celebrate traditions.
To treasure the passing on of life's lessons, they had things like value lessons box
And, they had products like the love notes box to help build and maintain loving relationships.

They fed us lunch. Yum!

They sent us home with goody bags that had the Santa Pillow, a box of holiday cards and a box of conversation starter cards that I can't wait to open!

If you have a minute or need some great gift ideas, check out the Once Upon a Family online store
Which one of their products could you see yourself using?

I was not paid to write this post about Once Upon a Family. They did treat me to lunch and gave me some swag, but all opinions here are definitely my own. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Math Wizard

Tonight was Math Night at the elementary school.

And, so, even though I'd been up since 5am, driven two hours in commute to and from work and worked a full day, I made sure we went to Math Night.

Math is a noble creature.
It deserves its own night of celebration.

I used to like math.
I was even kind of good at it.

My boys, they both love math.
And at Math Night you get to play games, earn star stickers and collect a prize and a bag of popcorn at the end.

Here's Remy playing a few math games tonight.

And he even got his older brother to play a few games.

And then, a genuine, Math Wizard snuck up on them. 

Unfortuneately, the popcorn burned and set off all the extremely loud fire alarm and flashing lights, causing our well-trained children to file outside immediately...

We rocked Math Night.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Duct Taped Weaponry

I think the shiny silver and gold duct tape was originally 
to keep the gun from falling apart...

and then progressed into a fashion statement.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


My broken vacuum cleaner apparently uses belts that are NOT easy to find. Anywhere.
The high school off-season football program may take up more time than actual football did.
This means getting my son to the high school before 6:30am every morning because no bus will get him there in time.
This also means he may not be able to take the bus after school due to weight lifting.
And I'm trying to figure out how to get him home if he can't take the bus.
Which makes me angry that their dad doesn't live close enough to help with the daily parenting.

Christmas is now less than a month away, and I have no idea how I'm going to afford it.
Life is so complicated.

But, I'm thankful for the roof over my head,
the food on my table,
the car that transports me,
my job that supports me,
my family who loves me,
and my amazing children.

Thank you for listening. I just needed to vent.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I took my dog on a walk this morning and admired the changing colors on our trees.
This is my favorite time of year.

This Thanksgiving weekend has been a very calm and relaxing holiday.
With my older son recovering from knee surgery...and my younger son out of town with his father...
it's been quiet and restful.

I've had time to make pancake breakfasts for my older son and his friends.
I've been able to walk the dog in the morning.
I've been able to lie on the couch and read all day.

It's been wonderful, calm & restful, and for that I'm very thankful. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sea Change

People write for so many different reasons.

I write to express my creativity and have fun.
I write to tell a story.
I write for therapy.

I just finished reading a novel called Sea Change by Jeremy Page for BlogHer Book Club.
It's about a man who experiences a terrible tragedy and then spends five years on a boat, writing an alternate ending to his life.

He literally journals how he thought his life would continue on as if the tragedy had never occurred.

It was fascinating...and sad.
I can't imagine his mental state to carry on like that.
To live in almost complete isolation on his boat.
And to live in a made up world most of the time.

But, it was an intriguing read, and the writing was beautiful.
It's not a book I would have picked up to read on my own, that's part of what I love about the BlogHer Book's discovering writing gems that I might never have found on my own.

Join in on our discussion about Sea Change over at BlogHer Books!

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Not the Usual Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving has been a little different.
My son and my mother had surgery two days ago, so they're both recouperating.

We ended up ordering Thanksgiving meal, instead of cooking, to make things easier this year.

And while, the meal was good, it wasn't the same.
The process of cooking, the usual smells, the coming together in preparation....

that was all missing.

But, I'm thankful.

Thankful my mom and son are healing so well.
Thankful we were able to make the holiday a little easier this year.
I'm thankful I was able to spend time with my family.

And at the end of the meal, we played a rousing game of Blokus.
4 generations of family.

I'm thankful for that and so much more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An Impressive Display of Holiday Cheer

I saw this in my grocery store today.

A snowman made out of Coca-Cola 12 packs!

Impressive and creative!!

Seen any cool holiday decorations yet?
And, yes, I'm one of those people who prefers you not put out Christmas decorations 
until Thanksgiving is over. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Knee Surgery & Chicken and Dumplings

The day started with my 14-year-old having knee surgery 
due to a lateral meniscus tear from playing football.

They shaved his knee and then let me initial it...
you know, to be sure I had their permission.  
(OK, not really, it's to verify they are operating on the correct knee.)  

Then the surgeon showed up and wrote "YES" in big letters on the same knee...
and wrote "NOT" on the other knee.

He knew what he was doing.

And the surgery went well.

And now my son is home.

My grandmother has dropped off his favorite meal.
She made him chicken and dumplings.

And all is right with the world again.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Eve of Tomorrow

Tonight there is rain, thunder and lightning.
Tonight I crawl into bed, tired, eyes itchy, head hurting.
Tonight my mind races, hoping I have done everything in preparation for tomorrow.

Phones are charging.
Game devices are charging.
Kindle is charging.
Books are packed.
Laptop in its case, so I can work remotely.

Because tomorrow, first thing, I have two family members scheduled for surgery.
And that, my friends, makes for a long and stressful day.

The surgeries aren't too serious or life threatening, but they aren't a walk in the park either.
And so as I climb into bed, into darkness with thunder in the background, I can't help but worry.
And hope we're all prepared. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reason #32 Why I Love the Weekend

It's a chance to take Annie in the car with me to run errands.
(She LOVES the car!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reason #23 Why I love the Weekend

I have time to make my boys pancakes.

What do you have time to do on the weekends?

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Zombie Apocalypse Drill

My son's high school had a Zombie Apocalypse Drill yesterday. 

They used the Theater Department as the Zombies and the victims.
The used the EMT Department (high schoolers training to be EMTs) to assess the victims
and they used the Criminal Justice Department to arrest and do some crime scene investigation.

That's a creative learning drill!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Worrying Never Ends

When you become a parent, you become skilled at the Art of Worrying.

You worry whether you're eating the right things 
caring for the baby growing inside you.
You worry the baby is getting enough to eat 
and worry why he's crying when he's a newborn.
You worry he's growing and progressing at a normal rate 
as he becomes a toddler.

You worry he will adjust to school, that he'll make friends and do well.
The worrying never ends.

You worry about new things every year.

My first born son is just months away from turning 15 years old...
and my new worry?


He'll start learning to drive.

Heaven help me.  
The worrying never ends.

What are you current worries?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Portal to Another Dimension?

On my drive home from work, I looked up in the cloudy sky and saw this:

You see it, right?  The circle in the sky? mid-photo?

It must be a portal to another dimension, right?

Or have I been watching too much sci-fi lately?

No, it MUST be a portal. 

Seen anything strange lately?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Things You Shouldn't Do in a Meeting

I've sat through a lot of meetings/presentations during my time. 
Enough that I feel qualified to tell you 
what you should and shouldn't do in a meeting. 

Things you shouldn't do in a formal meeting:

Chew gum
suck on your pen
do your nails
have side conversations with other people
***Play with your phone***
Play with your hair
Wiggle in your chair.


It's all about respect. 
Someone is taking the time to share info with you, 
you need to respect them and give them your full attention.  


Make eye contact with the speaker
Sit up straight
Always have a pen and paper
Take notes

What's the most outrageous thing you've seen people do in a meeting?
Any suggestions to add to my list?

Monday, November 14, 2011

6 Random Things That Are Driving Me Crazy

Sometimes the little stuff adds up. I've been feeling a little grouchy and irritated lately.

  1. The motor in my side mirror won't shut when my car is on, there is this awful noise coming from my side mirror that won't STOP! (But at least my car gets me to work and home reliably every day!)
  2. Every time I turn around, my boys are throwing a football. It's a non-stop, 24/7 game of catch. (at least they are active and athletic)
  3. The weather keeps jumping around from 80 degrees and summer-like to almost freezing. Back and forth and back and forth.  Just turn cold already!! (Thank goodness we don't have super harsh winters)
  4. My closet looks like a tornado hit it, and I can't seem to make the time to organize it. (At least I have clothes to wear)
  5. My ex ends up spending every weekend on my couch. (At least he wants to spend time with his boys!)
  6. I can't complain about things without feeling totally guilty for complaining. (I always have to look for the glass half full)

What about you?  Anything driving you nuts?
What do you feel guilty about complaining about?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Night Haiku - Treasured Time

Laughs with my two boys
Sleeping in and books in bed
Treasured time at home

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Nothing


I'm sitting here trying to think of something to write...
and I've got nothing.


That's the funk I've been in lately.

Sometimes I think there's a black hole inside of me, sucking every bit of confidence and creativity and desire...

Here's the definition of a Black Hole from NASA:

A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.

Because no light can get out, people can't see black holes. They are invisible. Space telescopes with special tools can help find black holes. The special tools can see how stars that are very close to black holes act differently than other stars. 

Every now and then this black hole shows up in my life.
It's hard to fight the gravity pulling me into it.
But I will.
I always do.

Why am I even trying to write anything?
Because I committed myself to NaBloWriMo,
to write a blog post every day in November.

So, do I sit down and just write something, anything, to fill the space and mark off a day?
Do I do it because I set a goal for myself and I need to achieve it?

Will writing this count?
What does it count for?
What does it mean?

That's the kind of mood I'm in tonight.

It's a nothing-kind-of-mood.

What goals do you set for yourself and how hard to you stick to them?
Do you ever end up in a Nothing Mood?

Friday, November 11, 2011

American Hero Dog Awards

Tonight I discovered the best award show ever on TV,
The American Hero Dog Awards!

So, I called Annie into the bedroom.  She's my Hero Dog.

And had her watch the show with me.

It was so touching and amazing.
Dogs that are involved in military operations, therapy programs and search and rescue....

Seriously the best awards show EVER.

Thank you, American Humane Association, the Hallmark Channel and Cesar Cuisine for such a moving event!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My grandmother is more hip than I am

Photographic evidence. She keeps up with fashion trends way better than I do.

My grandmother lived in Baton Rouge for all my life...until the last couple of years.  She moved to the same town I live in now, and I get to have her in my life and my boys life on a much more regular basis.

And that warms my heart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

la Madeleine Country French Cafe

30 years ago, in Dallas, TX,  a Frenchman named Patrick Esquerre decided to open a country cafe to celebrate his love of fresh food with the help of his mother, Monique.

Today, they operate over 60 locations around the country, and I had the opportunity to visit their newly re-designed bakery-cafe inside of NorthPark Center in Dallas. 

I need to let you in on a little secret...I was already a big fan of la Madeleine BEFORE today, but now I'm even more so after touring their new cafe, meeting the founder, Patrick Esquerre, and the CEO, Phil Costner, and tasting some fresh pastries

During our tour, I discovered that they set up their pastry station at the entrance to the cafe, so that customers can see their deliciousness being made right there!  I also learned they bake their own bread on location every day!  Talk about FRESH! (It smelled heavenly in there)

We were also given the opportunity to try some of their amazing pastries, and I considered it my duty to taste-test everything for the general public.  You know, to guarantee their freshness and all that.

They passed.  Trust me.  They PASSED.  DELICIOUS!!

We had an opportunity to speak with the founder, and he was just delightful. Hearing his story, his mission behind the restaurant, was inspiring. He shared a story that he and his baker shared an apartment in the beginning, and they took turns sleeping and baking. One slept, the other baked.  And vice versa. 

It's great to see how modern and gourmet the restaurant experience is now with their new modular kitchen and digital menu display yet it still retains that warm, quaint, country French cafe atmosphere. 

Did you know they are also up on all the current social media too?  I found them on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube...and they have their own BLOG!

Thanks, la Madeleine, for letting me see your new digs, talking to your peeps and the swag I got to take home.

(my goodies!)