Friday, May 29, 2009

Disney's Up movie review

Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!

This is my first time doing a movie review (and probably the last since I rarely ever go to the movies) so bare with me.

I received tickets for the screening of Disney's new movie Up.
It started with a short movie about how babies were made. Don't worry, it wasn't the true story. There were cute fluffy cloud guys making babies of all species for the storks to deliver. One gray cloud was in charge of making not so nice specie babies (sharks, alligators, etc). His poor stork! Everyone laughed through the whole thing.

As for Up, it was the funniest Disney movie I've ever seen. Mr. Fredrickson wants to fulfill a promise he made to his wife of living on top of Paradise Falls. As a balloon salesman he cleverly attaches thousands of balloons to his house in an attempt to fly to South America. He has an unexpected passenger, Russell, who is a Wilderness Explorer in need of earning a 'helping the elderly' badge. Two more companions, Kevin, a beautiful bird accompany them on their adventure making the adventure even more hilarious. What Disney movie would be complete without a villain? This one isn't too scary and my kids were only mildly afraid.

My five year old son laughed so loud sometimes I had to tell him to shhhh. I was nervous about my two year old daughter going but her attention was captured during the entire movie. If you don't laugh at least 200 times, you need a new sense of humor. I give
's way, way, way UP! I highly recommend this movie for kids and adults of all ages. My fifteen year old was even cracking up along with my twelve year old daughter and her friends.

I did learn an important lesson about attending a screening. Get there early. Very early. We arrived an hour and a half early and wound up in the third row from the front. Some families were turned away causing several tears from little ones.

I read in one review that Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is Up's stiffest competition. Up is going to blow Night at the Museum out of the water...or sky.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My 100th post

I tossed around several ideas for my 100th post. Then a dear friend gave me the idea to write a list of 100 goals. Some are big, some are small. Will I complete them all? I have no idea. And don't worry, I won't make a list of 200 goals when I hit 200 posts. These are in a completely random order:

1. Lose my last 10 pounds before the Sexy by Summer contest ends (June 15, 2009).
2. Schedule a Mom's Night Out and Couple's Night Out for my area of Tampa.
3. Get Carson into Kindergarten.
4. Remember to take my Adderall every right back.
5. Learn to use my time more efficiently.

6. See The Kiss
in person...and any other Gustav Klimt paintings in the museum.
7. Tour the Louvre (no Hubby, you may not get ice cream instead).
8. Go skydiving...and make it to the ground safely.
9. Pay for my mom's veins to get fixed so she can wear shorts (sexy mamma!).
10. See all four kids graduate from high school.
11. Learn to water ski...again.
12. Go to Callaway Gardens for a family vacation (where my family used to vacation).
13. Be more organized.
14. Visit Puerto Rico.
15. Drive an Aston Martin.
16. Learn to drive stick shift (which should probably be done before number 15).
17. Fit back into my high school graduation least the bottom half of it (go boobs!).
18. See all four kids graduate from college.
19. See Hubby retire early.
20. Drink a Pina Colada while getting caught in the rain.
21. Go snorkeling in the Keys (and take all jewelry off, back off barracudas!).
22. Go scuba diving in Australia and not get stabbed by a sting ray or eaten by a shark.
23. Go to a movie premiere.
24. Write 500 blog posts.
25. Make $100 from Adsense by 2020. (
Click on the ads! Click on the ads!)
26. Visit King Tutankhamen's tomb.
27. Pet a tiger.
28. Get a kiss from a giraffe.
29. Graduate from college (preferably before
30. See an Indian India.
31. Go wine tasting in San Fransisco now that I'm old enough...waaaay old enough.
32. Ride in a gondola in Venice, preferably before it disappears like Atlantis.
33. Go sledding where I met Hubby, with Hubby.
34. See Andrea again.
35. Renew vows in a Victorian or Edwardian themed ceremony.
36. Meet my half brother Bryan who is in the Marines.
37. Jam with a Reggae band in the Bahamas.
38. Take the kids to Disney.
39. Go out on my Uncle Mike's boat.
40. Walk in the Breast Cancer 3 Day before they raise the requirement to $5,000.
41. Buy a vacation home in Costa Rica and farm coffee beans.
42. Go camping again with Hubby in the mountains...without his best friend this time.
43. Get a tattoo with Hubby's name...his real name.
44. Go to Japan for our anniversary (not at Epcot, that doesn't fly anymore).
45. Watch the sunrise on the East Coast and sunset on the West Coast of FL on the same day.
47. Stay with Hubby at The Column's Hotel in New Orleans.
48. Visit the cemetery in New Orleans...instead of going shopping (power of having sisters).
49. Own a home in South Beach next to Jennifer Lopez...or at least in the same zip code.
50. Finish this list.
51. Walk for the March of Dimes again.
52. Stand in the middle of Times Square and spin in circles.
53. Run through a field of flowers like Laura Engles.
54. Zipline through a rain forest.
55. Host a Secret Party...shhhhh.
56. See my friend Gary.
57. Donate to Make a Wish.
58. Ride every ride at Busch Gardens in one day...except the kiddie rides of course.
59. Visit all the Titanic Museums.
60. Attend the Knight Parade (Tampa's version of Mardi Gras, pirate style, Arrrrrr!).
61. Go to a Bucs game.
62. Voluteer for MADD.
63. Meet Steven Curtis Chapman (and Mary Beth).
64. Photograph old farm houses in black and white.
65. Buy a good camera...then do #64.
66. Have a drink at Friends in Prague.
67. Donate to Trisomy 21.
68. Buy or receive a "mother's ring." (Dec, Feb, Feb, Feb, June, hint hint.)
69. See Hubby give his daughter's good men, not idiots.
70. Start making afghan's for the homeless again.
71. Travel Europe for a month with Hubby.
72. Clean out the's very scary in there.
73. Redecorate the kid's rooms. (Burgundy paint with gold spray paint??? Blech!)
74. Buy an antique bed.
75. Watch African children Africa (and not the Africa at Busch Gardens).
76. Take a mission trip with Kris.
77. Get a passport (sort of important with all my out of out-of-country goals).
78. Buy an electronic gadget in Japan...then spend 3 years trying to figure it out.
79. Hold Beth's baby...after he/she is born.
80. Attend 20th high school reunion looking hot, hot, hot!
81. Watch Hubby hold our first grandchild....but not for a very, very, very long time.
82. Attend at least one of Kelly's colorguard competitions.
83. Help raise money for
Jade and Joe. (Jade has autism)
84. Give Maisie flowers after a dance recital...after she learns to dance.
85. Find something made in America in China.
86. Cheer for Carson in a T-ball game.
87. See and photograph the Aurora Borealis wearing a very large jacket...with my new camera.
88. Be a bridesmaid in my baby sister's wedding.
89. Have my mom and bio mom meet.
90. Visit my grandma's grave.
91. Ski in the Swiss Alps...okay, watch Hubby ski in the Swiss Alps (I hate snow skiing).
92. Float down the a very large boat.
93. See Adam Lambert in concert with Reyna.
94. Discover a way to promote Kelly's friend Ben and his amazing dance talent.
95. Surprise Melissa by stopping by her store unannounced.
96. Buy a CD/DVD scratch removal kit...that actually works.
97. Take Kelly to see "So You Think You Can Dance."
98. See my son fall in love with and marry the girl of his dreams.
99. Eat a fabulous dinner prepared by Chef Kris...preferably way before #100.
100. Die before Hubby. (Can someone cross this off my list after it happens, please?)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Trisomy 18...the emotional side

The first time I'd ever heard of Trisomy 18 was 13 years, 4 months, and 3 weeks ago. I was sitting in a doctor's office in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. It was the second week in January. I was seven months pregnant.

But let me back up a few weeks. On December 15th, 1995 I was at work at The Shoe Show smiling and saying, "Welcome to The Shoe Show!" whenever a customer would walk in the door. I was moving shoes around and noticed a cramp in my stomach. I thought walking around would make it go away. I was wrong. After an hour my manager suggested I call my doctor. They suggested I come in as soon as possible. I called Hubby but was shaking and crying so hard my manager had to take over the phone call. He grabbed Kelly and hurried down to the store while my manager helped me to the backroom to lie down. Twenty minutes later I was helped into the truck and we made the hour long trip to Asheville, from Sylva, in 45 minutes. It was the scariest 45 minutes of my life.

We went to the ER where we were met with one of the doctors from the office. He assured us that babies are born early all the time and everything would be ok. We decided to try and stop the contractions. I was given a shot and placed on a medication to help stop the contractions. I had to take it six times a day. I stayed the night and was surprised to find myself in the same room I had stayed in one year and 364 days earlier. The next day Kelly celebrated her second birthday in the room she was in two years before. I felt so bad that she was having to spend her birthday in a hospital. I was able to go home later that day and was placed on house rest which meant our trip to Florida for Christmas was canceled.

Since we hadn't been able to see the sex of the baby during the last ultrasound I asked my mom if she would give us the money for a gender scan as our Christmas present. We had this done on January 2nd. For a few short minutes we were able to relish in the joy of discovering we were having a boy. We were told his growth wasn't where it should be and my due date was moved. After speaking with the doctor it was recommended we have a Level II ultrasound done. I hadn't had any problems during my pregnancy with Kelly so this was all very frightening. We made an appointment, I drank a bunch of water, we waited in the waiting room for over an hour, left and went to our doctor's office. I peed (big relief), they sent us back and we were seen right away (that's the short version). During the ultrasound our tiny little boy was diagnosed with Dandy Walker Syndrome
. The doctor suggested I have an amniocentesis so we went ahead and did it right then. There is a one in 200 chance for a miscarriage during an amnio but this is usually when the procedure is done earlier in the pregnancy. Because my body was already in contraction mode this sent me into labor again. We went straight to the ER, got another shot and I was sent home to rest.

Then the waiting began. During the two weeks of waiting for the test results we had a huge snow storm which resulted in Kelly and I having to be pulled down our mountain top driveway and carted off to stay with my sister-in-law since our truck wouldn't make it up to our house. I had a Level III ultrasound which was new technology then. It was scary having five doctors from different specialties peering at the screen which showed our tiny baby. At an ealier appointment I remember, vaguely, our doctor mentioning Trisomy 18 and meeting with a geneticist (I blocked a lot of things out as a coping mechanism). These specialists were all looking for markers which could indicate what may be wrong with our little boy.

January 18, 1996. This date is embedded in my mind forever. I was sitting in my sister's-in-law living room when Hubby walked in the door. He gave her a look and she went outside. The two words he uttered were the two I didn't want to hear. "Trisomy 18." We held each other as we cried. I decided to stop taking the medicine and I wanted to go home. Later that night we were back in the ER. My blessing of a doctor convinced me to remain on the medicine until we were closer to my due date. She felt that the longer he stayed protected inside me the better chance he would have at being born alive. I kept my precious baby boy safe for two more weeks...

Trisomy 18

Most people are born with 23 pair of chromosomes. Sometimes due to genetics, maternal age, or simply a fluke, an extra chromosome is added. The most common trisomy is Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome. I was introduced to Trisomy 18, or Edward's Syndrome, thirteen years ago. Trisomy 21, 18, and 13 are the only known viable trisomies at this time. All others end in miscarriages usually early in the pregnancy.

There are two screening tests which cannot diagnose chromosome disorders but can be used to indicate whether further testing should be done. One is
AFP or the triple screen test. It's a blood test performed typically between the 15th and 17th weeks of pregnancy. AFP tests can give false positives causing families unneeded stress and worry. The other screen test is a Level II ultrasound which can be used to look for certain markers known in Trisomy 18 babies. Some of the markers sonographers look for are heart malformations, a small mouth and jaw, external ear variations, clenched fist with overlapping fingers, underdeveloped or altered thumbs, short breastbone, club feet, spina bifeda and kidney size (one may be smaller than the other). If only one marker is found the chances are good that the baby is normal and healthy. If two or more markers are discovered futher testing would be suggested.

If the screen tests indicate that there is a possiblity the baby could have Trisomy 18 a diagnostic test can be performed. The CVS or (Chorionic Villi Sampling) which takes a piece of chorionic villi for analysis is performed in the first trimester if there are indications of a chromosomal anomoly. An amniocentesis uses a long needle to draw out amniotic fluid which surrounds the baby. Results usually come back in ten days. This is considered an evasive procedure with a 1 in 200 chance of causing a miscarriage.

Sometimes Trisomy 18 remains undetected during the pregnancy. Once the baby is born, however, there are several physical features which will indicate the disorder. The baby will be very small despite being carried to full term, she may have a small head, small wide-set eyes, a small lower jaw, cleft lip and palate, vision and hearing problems, and the facial features will be close together making her head appear to be larger than it is. Club feet, under developed fingernails, an unusual shaped chest and overlapping fingers in clenched fists may also be apparent.

Most T18 babies have heart defects such as
ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, or patent ductus arteriosis. They will suffer from mental retardation, delayed development, brain anomolies, seizures, and digestive and urinary tract malformations. They will be fed through a tube, have infections treated, and possible surgeries if the parents choose to do so.

Trisomy 18 occurs in 1 out of every 3,000 live born infants, or 1 out of 5,000, or 6,000, or 8,000 depending on which site you visit.
5% are translocation (piece of chromosome breaks off and sticks to another chromosome)
95% are full trisomies (affects every cell of the body)
95% die as fetuses or embryos

50% don't survive the first week after their birth

10% live past their first birthday
90% are girls

90% have heart defects

2-3% of families will have another baby with a trisomy

"While we tend to focus on trisomy 21 because it is the most common trisomy, it is important to remember that trisomy is a common occurrence in pregnancy. There is no known cause or cure.

Ack! She passed the test!

I knew this day would come but I didn't think it would arrive so quickly. Well, the entire process lasted about three months.

For the last six months Kelly has been bugging us about taking her learner's permit test. Being the good parents we are we ignored her as much as possible no matter how much she whined. Then my mother-in-law gave her the book. Gee, thanks. Kelly looked at it and decided she didn't need to read it (what teen does?). Whenever I asked her if she was studying she would reply, "I don't need to." "Ok," I'd say in my best I-can't-wait-to-say-I-told-you-so voice. She took a practice test, failed, then realized that indeed studying was required. What? Mom was right? Write it down on the calendar!

Let the studying begin! This was a fun process. She tried making flash cards which involved me making flash cards. Kelly's favorite find was that children must be thirteen in order to sit in the front seat. I had to look this one up because I thought she made it up so she didn't have to fight Reyna for the front seat. Kelly was right...shhh. So, for two months I heard, "Why do I need to know about drunk driving laws? I'm not going to drink and drive!" And, "Who cares about farm equipment on roads? We live in a huge city!" And my favorite, "What do immigrants have to do with driving on the road?" Really, what do they have to do with it?

Last month she took the drug and alcohol test which lasted four hours. It took her all of a few minutes for each section then she wandered around the house looking for something to keep her occupied while she waited to do the next section. Oh, and you can look up all the answers to the questions by using the links they provide on the side. You have to be a real kind of stupid not to pass this part. She passed (whew!) and received her certificate in the mail a few days later. Then she took the signs test and passed with flying colors! Well, I would hope so since she's had to read them to me for the last two years because I was too lazy to go to the eye doctor. (FYI, I went last week and am waiting for my purple beaded glasses to come in. How stylish am I?)

The rules of the road test turned out to be more of a challenge. She studied and took practice tests. Studied and tested some more. When she felt she was ready she had to beg for a few more weeks until we could no longer ignore matter how hard we tried. For those who don't have a teenager you may be surprised to learn that the test can be taken online. Yup, that's right, at home with only Jimminy Cricket on your shoulder, or is it Mr. Blue Bird (zippity doo da zippity a...). Kelly signed on, entered Daddy's credit card number and hit 'submit.' Then it asked for a parents initials as well as hers to verify it was her taking the test. Funny thing about that is she and I have the same initials (which got her in trouble at school for initialing something then saying they were her initials not mine...mmmmhmmm). So how do they know it's really me entering my initials? They don't! Next she had to answer 10 questions to make sure it was her taking the test. These are to prevent stupid person A from taking the test for stupid person B. Uh, yeah, great security measure. I could only remember six and here they are:

Do you live on a boat? What kind of question is that??
Have you ever been sky diving? Ummm, she's only 15 so I would think not.
Do you speak French fluently? She's lucky she speaks English fluently.
Have you ever been to Disney? How can you live in Florida and not have been to Disney?
Have you ever been to Mexico? Yup, she's the reason the swine flu spread.
Have you lived in Florida for the last 5 years? Why only the last 5? Why not 10? Or 15?

These annoying questions popped up while she answered the twenty questions that stood between her and her almost freedom. So, time for the test. This is where the fun began. She started taking the test and read the first question. A few seconds later I heard, "MOMMY HELP ME!" I walked over and read the question then the multiple choice answers. Ummmmmmmm..... This is when I realized that I would be totally screwed if I were to have to take the test myself. Fortunately for Jimminy Cricket my kid's mom had no idea what the answer was. Not that I would have helped her if I could because, well, that would be wrong. Plus my mommy wasn't standing over my shoulder giving me the answers to me test. I had to earn it! And I had to take it twice, shhhh.

She had fifty seconds to answer each question. Well, at least they put a time limit on this section so people couldn't Google all the answers. She missed one because she ran out of time while pondering a question that had something to do with double white lines and construction workers. Or double white lines and one way streets. Finally question twenty popped up on the screen and she answered it. Hubby had wandered into the kitchen by then and the three of us stood there waiting...and waiting...and waiting... I think they did that on purpose. She has a pretty good lap top which is normally very fast. The next screen loaded and there it was. Seventeen out of twenty. My baby had passed the test. I congratulated her then realized that meant I now had to teach her how to drive. "Wait!" I yelled. "Go back and fail!" As usual she didn't listen.

So if you live in Tampa watch out for The Bus. Stay off the sidewalks and out of the ditches because my teen is about to take over the roads. I pray there are survivors...mainly myself.

Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

I remember a book that one of my teachers would read to us when we were in elementary school. It's a story that has stuck with me after all these years (well, not that many). It's the story of the Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies. Here is the shortest version I could find online. At the bottom is a link to the original version.

"Once upon a time, there was a tiny village nestled between two mountains. Each person in the village was very happy because he was given a bag of Warm Fuzzies at birth. You could reach into your bag and pull out a Warm Fuzzy whenever you wanted, and everybody wanted to all the time. Warm Fuzzies were given to other people on the street, at home, everywhere. Warm Fuzzies made you feel just like they sound - warm, happy and contented. Everyone in the village was happy, everyone but the bad witch. Now we all know that bad witches are growly. They like us to be unhappy, sad. The bad witch in this village was no exception. She tried and tried to make the people stop giving away Warm Fuzzies. One day she whispered in the ear of little Johnny Brown, "If you keep giving away all of your Warm Fuzzies you won't have any left for yourself." Johnny didn't listen at first, because everyone always had lots of Warm Fuzzies. The more you gave away, the more you got.

Then the witch said to Johnny, "If you give COLD PRICKLIES you will be able to keep all of your Warm Fuzzies." Well, Johnny got to thinking about this, and noticed that his mother was always giving away Warm Fuzzies. So was his father, and his sister. Soon he thought they would have no more for him. So Johnny started saving his Warm Fuzzies and started giving COLD PRICKLIES. Soon the whole village was giving COLD PRICKLIES. Everyone was gloomy and sad and very grouchy. The village was no longer happy, and there wasn't a Warm Fuzzy to be found!

This had been going on for years and years, and the wicked witch was very happy. One day an old man came to visit the village. When he spoke to anyone they frowned at him and turned their backs, often walked away. The old man continued to be friendly, polite, pleasant, and one day a very young boy smiled back at the old man. It made him feel good - so good that he patted his dog, and the dog didn't bite him! This was the first Warm Fuzzy given in some time, and the little boy dug into his bag of Warm Fuzzies, as they were much nicer than the COLD PRICKLIES, and he started giving them away. The townspeople grumbled and growled for a while, but soon they felt like giving Warm Fuzzies. One by one people went home to find their Warm Fuzzies and soon everyone was again giving Warm Fuzzies. The bad witch was so upset and disgusted that she left the village and took her COLD PRICKLIES. After all, they didn't stand a chance against Warm Fuzzies.

To this day that village is happy and contented. Maybe, just maybe, if we give enough Warm Fuzzies our world can be as happy and pleasant as that village."

I think that everyone needs to be reminded of this story every once in a while. I hear many – myself included – make a reference to warm fuzzies. I never hear the term 'cold pricklies' but they are given every day. I give them to my kids, to my children, to friends and even strangers.

I gave one to someone at the Steven Curtis Chapman concert last weekend. I was sitting on the ground as the seats were all full and a guy stopped right in front of me. Instead of nicely saying, "Excuse me" I chose to rudely say, "Well, I could see." And I was at a Christian music concert! Right after I said it (twice) I felt horrible but was too embarrassed to say that I was sorry. I passed out two cold pricklies but held on to a warm fuzzy. I am not proud of myself.

Looking at the big picture, I know I’ve handed out many more warm fuzzies than cold pricklies. I've even given some to people who have given me cold pricklies. Sometimes my first instinct is to hand them a whole bag full of cold pricklies, but as I've grown I've learned to cool down before deciding which to hand out. Sometimes I'll still pass out a cold prickly, but more often I choose to give the person a warm fuzzy instead (this is sometimes known as "killing them with kindness"). I am a sensitive person and will admit that I have cried on more than one occasion after receiving a cold prickly even if it was from a stranger. They are hurtful, painful, and leave me with cold feelings, although, I've even give myself a cold prickly after handing one out (I gave myself a truckload last Saturday).

I wonder how we would act if we had to physically hand someone a warm fuzzy or cold prickly. Would you hand out as many? More? It's become so easy to be mean, nasty and/or negative with technology. Nasty emails are sent over the internet every day. You can get a divorce using software from Best Buy. People break up using a text message. What happened to facing the person you're ending a relationship with? Having the balls to tell someone off to their face? We even send warm fuzzies through technology. Hubby and I text each other often to say we're thinking of each other or just to say, "I love you." Sometimes it's when we're in the same house!

I encourage you to look back on today. Did you give anyone warm fuzzies or cold pricklies? Did you receive any yourself? If I'd have had to hand the man who stood in front of me a cold prickly before I made my comment, I know I wouldn't have said it. If I could go back and do it again I would hand him a warm fuzzy before nicely asking him to move.

I had a positive feeling as I was searching for how to make warm fuzzies and cold pricklies. There were several websites that showed how to make warm fuzzies but only one (that I could find with Google) on how to make a cold prickly (Styrofoam ball with toothpicks in case you were wondering).

How to make cold pricklies:

While flipping through different warm fuzzy websites, I found this statement which I think speaks for itself:

"To have a positive sense of oneself and to affirm the worth of others are both part of living peacefully. Children must develop understanding that peace flows from within to those around us. Each of us is unique and special. Celebrate and experience this beauty."

I think Google has developed ADD from me. I was trying to find a website with a craft for making cold pricklies. I center clicked on several of them and then was weeding my way through them when I stumbled on the education guide for a wonderful campaign called Turn Off The Violence. When you have time I encourage you to read it. There are lessons for all ages including the Warm Fuzzies story.

A Warm and Fuzzy Story: Claude M Steiner's

Shortened version from above.

How to make yarn fuzzies.

Send virtual warm fuzzies (not as affective in my opinion).

I guess it's a good thing that I couldn't find a craft on how to make Cold Pricklies. I do remember my teacher using a Styrofoam ball and toothpicks. I not support the practice of making Cold Pricklies.

Now go forth and give Warm Fuzzies!

cold prickly image
warm fuzzy image

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sharing a beautiful woman with the world

I've been working on a post all day today and I can't seem to get it finished. It just doesn't feel right. Or maybe the timing isn't right. It seems all I can write about is not being able to write. Right now, I'm thinking it's distractions. I currently have fifteen windows open on my computer. I keep checking my twitter, email, and various Steven Curtis Chapman youtube videos.

Fifteen minutes later...

This post is taking a direction that I hadn't planned on because of those distractions. Earlier in the week I was struggling emotionally. I felt I was being attacked on the competition website that I belong to. It's been ongoing over the last few months but it took a big turn after I submitted "Drunk drivers killed my friends."
Ugh, I hate highlighting and deleting but I was getting off topic (just deleted 2 long paragraphs). Anyway, another blogger informed me that I'd placed my post in the wrong category. I disagreed but asked the site's permission to move it (I'd struggled with where to place it as there are several categories). He disagreed again. Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I brushed my tears away and tried really hard to let my hurt go. I was then accused of plagiarism, using multiple accounts to vote myself up (because I really need that whopping $40/$10 winners receive), and not posting often enough (you only need to post once per time slot). My favorite accusation was from an anonymous commenter. They "outed" me as being another blogger. Why is this my favorite? Because she and I have known each other since high school. She owns a business in Melbourne (not Australia) and has one son which she writes about. I live in Tampa, am a SAHM, and have four kids all of which I write about. I guess I'm more of a supermom than I thought since I can live on opposite sides of the state, stay at home and run a business, and chase after 5 kids.

So anyway, this is part of the reason I haven't posted much this week. It's drained me mentally and emotionally and I'm trying to get back on track. I've had support from Hubby and some of my friends. (hang on Carson wants a jewwy samich...) But there is one friend in particular that wasn't just there for me this week but has had my back for twenty years (ACK! Now I feel old). After high school we drifted a bit because I went to college but I knew if I showed up on her door step she'd drag me inside (which she did when Hubby and I were looking for a house near her several years ago).

She is the one who encouraged me to start blogging (so yell at her if you hate reading this stuff). She knew what Hubby would look like before she met him proving to a friend how well she knew me (I like tall skinny guys so if you're short and fat, keep walking. Oh, wait, I'm married...keep walking no matter what you look like) She's the one who sends me silly pictures of herself running errands just to make me smile. She's the one who has taken some of the most beautiful pictures of me and my kids. She even let them eat on her leather couches and white carpet. She tells me when my posts sound like crap and points out my excessive use of comas and spelling errors. She tolerates my overly used exclamation points and my favorite color (pink) even though it's the color she despises the most!!!!! She thinks of me when she's on vacation halfway around the world with her amazing husband who still needs to hide the cords running through their house (love you Man!). She puts up with my endless lack of computer knowledge and is always having to fix things I screw up. She's the one who found my blog when I thought it was lost (again, blame her!). She is all of these things and so, so, so much more.

A few months ago she and I along with two other friends of ours filled out one of those email surveys. When I was finished I jokingly said that I felt I hadn't gone anywhere or done anything. She sent me an email back, which I just spent 10 minutes looking for and can't find...again. She had gone back through all of my answers and told me of all the things I had accomplished. It was one of the most beautiful things anyone has ever done for me.

If you haven't noticed I'm on a Steven Curtis Chapman high since seeing him in concert a week ago. It's a high that I hope lasts a long time. I was sitting at my desk starting this post and I got distracted again (damn ADD). I clicked over to youtube to start another SCC video and was excited to find a 10 minute long medley. I clicked back here and (hold on, Maisie has to go potty...) stared at the screen. Then I decided to check my email. As I clicked to open her message SCC started singing one of my favorites. Click here- I Will be Here- you have to listen to the song to get the full effect of this.

I hope she doesn't get mad at me for sharing this but once I read it, after I wiped my tears away, I wanted to share with the world what an incredibly wonderful, loving, and fabulous person she is. This is the end of a day long conversation:

Me: Did I ever tell you that you're a good friend? You're a great friend and I'm blessed to have you in my life.

Her: Thanks... and yes you tell me often... and I am so thankful for that. You always know how to make me grin when I need one. Thank you.

I think you deserve more than you get from people. In people, I mean pretty much everyone that comes in contact with you. You give and give and NEVER expect. I pray that one day I’ll be able to be HALF as generous as you. The best part about you... is you are this way without even trying or knowing it.


She and I have watched each other grow in so many ways. Our friendship has survived time, distance, and families. I know that she will always be here for me as I will be here for her. I love you and by tomorrow people all over the world will know it for this is why I joined the competition site, to share not to make money.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Because I'm a mom

God or the Great Moderator of Time is trying to tell me something but I'm not getting it. I have about twenty posts started on various topics and at least five to ten new ideas popping into my head every other day. I can't seem to get any of them completed.

Laundry is piling up despite the one or more loads I do every day. Dishes are scattered all over the house even though I try to round them up every few hours. The kitchen counters are barely visible under the stuff that gets dumped there by the kids. Shoes, socks, toys, crayons, crumbs, dirt and clothes litter the entire house.

Emails come in by the 10's every half an hour. My Coke caps are piling up on my desk – when they aren't being thrown across the floor – because I never seem to have time to enter them on I finally got four entered before Maisie demanded a bath. I grabbed my notebook so I could work on a post while she was in the tub but my 120 pound German Rottweiler insisted I pet him and there is no telling him "No." Then, he wanted out...& then back in.

Because I'm a mom.

Is someone telling me I should stop writing? If so, I’m not listening. It would however make some people very happy. Well, only certain people on a competition site that my posts get transferred to. I neglected my readers by wasting several days defending myself to people who shouldn't and don't matter to me. I'm trying to refocus and get back to my personal blog where those who truly care what I write about are.

My guess is that the Great Moderator of Time is trying to get me to use my time more wisely. Maybe it is possible to get everything done in one day. Maybe I need to make a list every morning of all the things I'd like to get finished for the day and then prioritize (many people with ADD love making lists and I'm one of them!). But why do I have a feeling that making a list won't work either? That despite my best efforts I'll still get to the end of the day with most of my list unfinished?

Oh, that's right...because I'm a mom.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Golden Rule

Treat others how you want to be treated.

Eight simple words when linked together make such a powerful statement.

The first time I heard these words I was in elementary school. I remember hearing them one day over the loud speaker during the morning announcements. Then the mysterious voice coming through the ceiling informed us that we needed to remember these words. If the principal saw us in the hall he may stop us and ask us to recite The Golden Rule. I saw him later that day and ducked into the bathroom terrified he would ask me as I wasn't sure I had memorized it, yet.

I have tried to live my life by this rule as well as raising my four children to live by it as well. As much as I hate to admit it I have not always treated others how I wish to be treated. I must remember that I am human and make mistakes (and I make a lot of them). When I am able, I ask the person I have hurt for their forgiveness even if it was a stranger. Some move on before I can ask them to forgive me. Most importantly, I ask forgiveness from God. He is the one who will decide if I will be allowed into Heaven to join my baby boy. I have to remind myself of this in times when I'm being criticized by others. My loyalty is to one and one only, God.

In my lifetime I have been called selfish, uncaring, a bitch, a whore, fake, mean, ugly, a bastard, malicious, and many other hurtful things. In almost every occasion in which I have been called an unkind name it was the result of someone else's insecurities or in a heated argument.

In my lifetime I have been called loving, caring, selfless, amazing, beautiful, kind, sincere, open, transparent, inspiring, and many other wonderful words. In almost every occasion in which I have been called a kind name it was the result of me in a shining moment. I am proud to say that my shining moments far outweigh my unkind moments.

I have built some amazing friendships and relationships by just being me. Some have chosen not to be my friend because our personalities have caused us to clash. I have written many posts about my loves and relationships. I've opened myself up to the world. I've exposed my heart to complete strangers in every corner of the earth. Why? Because of all the names I've been called, good or bad, the one I've heard the most is "giving." I give myself to you, my readers, in hopes that I may be able to help just one person.

It is my vision to help an adoptee make the decision to search for his/her biological parents, or to not and be happy with the family they have. It is my dream to reach out to those who want to make themselves healthier through eating better and exercising. It is my goal to touch one person who struggles as a parent and let them know I share their frustrations. It is my life that I choose to expose to hold the hand of a mother who has had to bury their child as I have had to bury my own.

Where is all of this coming from? My heart. I need not do any research for this post. I have no need to cite the source where the words have derived from. This is my soul, my heart, my everything that I give to you in hopes to make your life happier, healthier, painless.

If there were a camera attached to my monitor what you would see right now would be a solemn face streaked with tears. The last few days have been bipolar. Friday night I hit a very high high in having the chance to spend time with my biological dad. Saturday morning I reached a very low low at the Walk Like MADD. Wonderful memories of Kevin and Stephanie filled my head, memories that will always be alive in me even though they are no longer alive. Joy filled me as I thought of my sister-in-law and nephew who survived. Then the pain of my loss hit. My heart was pierced further listening to a wife who lost her husband when their daughter was only eight months old. A little girl who has overcome many obstacles and has many more as she survived the accident that killed her mother.

I was hit again learning that I'd upset my bio-dad to the point where he almost went home. Fortunately he stayed and we had an amazing day. He was able to see his oldest grandchild shine by herself and has learned to love her even more. We were blessed to hear Steven Curtis Chapman at Busch Gardens and arrived just in time to hear him sing "God is God." This song hit us both elevating our happiness to an extreme high.

This past weekend caused me to take a good look at my life and my actions. If I were to pick my life apart I would find several situations that I would choose to erase or go back and do differently. But those experiences have helped to form the person you read about when you log into my blog. Without them, I wouldn't be who I am. I learn from the mistakes I make in order to help myself become a better person. In turn, this makes me a better mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, etc. Learning from my mistakes helps me to love better and have stronger relationships.

Out of this jumbled mess of words I hope you are able to take away something positive. I hope that you take some time to look deep into yourself. Are you being the best person you can be? Or are you being rude, slanderous, or flat out mean? Are you living your life by The Golden Rule? Stop. Look. Listen. Reflect. Love. And give.

The picture was taken a few days after Hurricane Andrew hit Homestead, Fl. It was a beautiful sunrise amidst severe devastation. I felt blessed to travel there and assist in the clean-up.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Drunk drivers killed my friends

On Saturday I will be walking to help stop drunk driving which is one of the few Causes that is 100% preventable. I am walking in memory of my friend, Kevin, who with his dog was hit head on by a driver who had been drinking. Both Kevin and his dog were killed. I'm also walking in memory of my friend Stephanie who was killed along with her unborn baby her senior year in high school. I'm walking in honor of my sister-in-law who was hit by a driver who had been drinking. She was pregnant and was in a coma. Fortunately, she and my nephew, who is now 25, survived.

I don't normally do this but with the Walk Like MADD this weekend I felt I had to. I strongly believe that everything, good or bad, happens for a reason. I believe that I was meant to receive this email today. This email may be an Urban Legend or a Hoax but it really doesn't matter because people are killed every day from people who drive after drinking alcohol. Here's the email:

I was walking around in a Target store, when I saw a Cashier hand this little boy some money back. The boy couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 years old.

The Cashier said, 'I'm sorry, but you don't have enough money to buy this doll.'

Then the little boy turned to the old woman next to him: ''Granny, Are you sure I don't have enough money?''

The old lady replied: ''You know that you don't have enough money to buy this doll, my dear.''

Then she asked him to stay there for just 5 minutes while she went to look around. She left quickly. The little boy was still holding the doll in his hand.

Finally, I walked toward him and I asked him who he wished to give this doll to.

'It's the doll that my sister loved MOST and wanted so much for Christmas. She was sure that Santa Claus would bring it to her.'

I replied to him that maybe Santa Claus would bring it to her after all, and not to worry.

But he replied to me sadly. 'No, Santa Claus can't bring it to her where she is now. I have to give the doll to my mommy so that she can give it to my sister when she goes there.'

His eyes were so sad while saying this. 'My Sister has gone to be with God. Daddy says that Mommy is going to see God very soon too, so I thought that she could take the doll with her to give it to my sister.''

My heart nearly stopped.

The little boy looked up at me and said: 'I told daddy to tell mommy not to go yet. I need her to wait until I come back from the mall.'

Then he showed me a very nice photo of himself. He was laughing. He then told me 'I want mommy to take my picture with her so she won't forget me.'

'I love my mommy and I wish she didn't have to leave me, but daddy says that she has to go to be with my little sister.'

Then he looked again at the doll with sad eyes, very quietly.

I quickly reached for my wallet and said to the boy. 'Suppose we check again, just in case you do have enough money for the doll!''

'OK' he said, 'I hope I do have enough.' I added some of my money to his without him seeing and we started to count it. There was enough for the doll and even some spare money..

The little boy said: 'Thank you God for giving me enough money!'

Then he looked at me and added, 'I asked last night before I went to sleep for God to make sure I had enough money to buy this doll, so that mommy could give it to my sister. He heard me!''

'I also wanted to have enough money to buy a white rose for my mommy, but I didn't dare to ask God for too much. But He gave me enough to buy the doll and a white rose.''

'My mommy loves white roses.'

A few minutes later, the old lady returned and I left with my basket.

I finished my shopping in a totally different state of mind from when I started. I couldn't get the little boy out of my mind.

Then I remembered a local news paper article two days ago, which mentioned a drunk man in a truck, who hit a car occupied by a young Woman and a little girl.

The little girl died right away, and the mother was left in a critical state. The family had to decide whether to pull the plug on the Life-sustaining machine, because the young woman would not be able to recover from the coma.

Was this the family of the little boy?

Two days after this encounter with the little boy, I read in the news paper that the young woman had passed away.

I couldn't stop myself as I bought a bunch of white roses and I went to the funeral home where the body of the young woman was for people to see and make last wishes before her burial.

She was there, in her coffin, holding a beautiful white rose in her hand with the photo of the little boy and the doll placed over her chest.

I left the place, teary-eyed, feeling that my life had been changed for ever.. The love that the little boy had for his mother and his sister is still, to this day, hard to imagine.

And in a fraction of a second, a drunk driver had taken all this away from him.

Now you have 2 choices:

1) Send this message to others, or

2) Ignore it as if it never touched your heart.

Many people think that they know their limit but they don't. I'd be willing to bet that most people would be way off if they guessed before taking a breathalyzer test. If you've had just one drink, don't drive.

If you want to make a donation to support the efforts of Mother's Against Drunk Driving, please visit

Here are the stories from the pictures above. I encourage you to read them:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A birth mother's story....

With the help of the internet, more and more adult adoptees are telling their stories. We're sharing our joy, our pain, our triumphs, and our myriad of issues. We're realizing that we're not the only ones in the world who have low self-esteem, insecurity problems, conscious or subconscious feelings of abandonment, etc. all related to us being adopted. Some of us were made to feel like unwanted bastards while others of us were loved as though we'd been conceived by our adopted parents.

It's not only our stories that need to be told. So many birthmothers want and need to share their stories. Some became pregnant from a one night stand. Some were date raped. Some were raped by a close family friend or relative. Some were raped by a stranger. Some were in love but unable to care for the child they conceived. Despite how they became pregnant, these birthmothers loved their unborn child enough to give birth to them and then give them away to parents who could give them a life the birthmothers felt they were unable to provide. This is more of the story from the brave and selfless woman who I am proud to call my biological mother:

Previously, I wrote the basic story of me being pregnant at 14. To keep it from being too long I didn't go into detail about how it really affected me, my parents & my brother. I'll start with me first. I already explained how I was too afraid to tell my parents. I really didn't want my friends to know either because I was so embarrassed that this had happened to me. I didn't tell anyone. I kept all this to myself & had to deal with it on my own. I wanted so badly to be able to talk to someone. I didn't have any friends I could trust not to spread it all over school. You know how people are with news like that. You tell someone & ask them not to tell anyone else. They tell someone but say "don't tell her I told you & don't tell anyone else". Then they do the same thing & it's all over the school. It was so hard not to have anyone to confide in.

When my parents found out, they went to the school to meet with the principal. Between the three of them they decided it would be best for me to be tutored from home. One of the history teachers came to my house a couple of times a week & helped me so I could pass the 9th grade & start high school the next year. I'm not sure how everyone found out, but it didn't take it long for it to get around school. My parents still made me go to church & I hated it because I felt like some kind of freak show. Some of the kids from school would go to our church just to see me. I never understood why. Pure curiosity or maybe so they could go back & tell everyone they saw me? At first there wasn't much to see because I wasn't showing much. I heard everyone was shocked that I was six months along because I didn't even look pregnant. Maybe that's why they went to church… to see if it was true.

It was a lonely 3 months being home all day alone & no one to talk to. Even when my parents came home we would talk about other things but we never talked about my condition. No one, including my mom, told me not to eat all day or to rub lotion on my tummy. Yep, you guessed it. I gained almost 50 pounds in 3 months & ended up with stretch marks. I had a couple of friends that were there for me & would come visit but they didn't know about stuff like that. That's why it sucks for so many young girls. The guys don't have to go through all the weight gain, stretch marks, labor & delivery.

The last 3 months seemed to go on forever. I can remember everyday wishing it was over. I was scared of actually having to go to the hospital & going through the pain. During the last month the Dr. told us he was going to do a spinal so I wouldn't feel anything from the waist down. He said it would be a lot easier on me since I was so young. The night my water broke I went in & woke my parents up. I remember feeling panicked. After the baby was born I had to lay flat on my back for 24 hours after the spinal or they said I would get a migraine. All I could do was stare at the ceiling. Like I said in the other post, I wanted so badly to go to the nursery & see the baby but couldn't. Walking out of the hospital empty & going home just felt so strange.

When school started back I was so scared to go. I didn't know how everyone was going to treat me. It was scary enough starting high school, but to go back after what I'd gone through was even worse. I remember some people whispering but after a few months most of the people I knew were over it & acted like nothing happened. They treated me like everyone else.

My parents, I'm sure, had a harder time than they let me know. I know they had to be embarrassed to go to work & church & face everybody with a 14 year old pregnant daughter. All their friends seemed to be there for them. I will never forget one of their friends, Mrs. V., would come & get me every once in a while & take me to the park where we would just walk around & talk. She was the sweetest lady! I saw her in January at the hospital after my son & his wife had their baby. I told her that my daughter & I had been reunited & she said she had heard from one of my friends. She was so happy for me. My parents never talked about how it affected them. I know my mom had it harder because of circumstances I can't go into. There are people that might read this that I don't want to hurt. They didn't plan on telling my grandparents, aunts & uncles but my mom's mom & sister called & said they were coming for a visit. My mom's side of the family ended up knowing but my dad's never knew. My dad told his sister (his other sister passed away) after my daughter & I were reunited. She was shocked but okay with it. I just realized I haven't asked him if he told his brother that lives out west. Once my daughter, Katie, contacted me I was a little afraid to call my dad & tell him. Like I said it was never talked about in our house again. My dad was in shock at first but then he said if I'm happy, he's happy. He even asked me for her phone number so he could call her. Now I was the one shocked! Once he met her he fell in love with her. My mom is in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. She was diagnosed young and had just retired the year before at age 65. I was devastated. She had worked her whole life & when she retired she wasn't even going to get to enjoy her retirement. I regret so much we didn't find each other before she got this horrible disease. She would have loved her, too. Katie went to the nursing home to meet her and Mom just kept staring at her. We think she thinks Katie is me since she looks like me.

My brother is 2 years younger than me and had just started junior high. It was hard for him because some of the kids would say stuff to him about having a pregnant sister. He told me that he got into a couple of fights. He never talked to me back then about it but I guess he talked to my parents. I don't know what he went through or how he felt but I know it had to be very hard. Guys just starting junior high want to fit in, not have to defend themselves from circumstances out of their control. He did act a little different towards me for a long time but I can't blame him. It wasn't fair that he had to go through that at a young age either. When I called him to tell him Katie found me, he said the same thing as our dad. He welcomed Katie with open arms, too. So did his wife & kids. They email and text each other often.

As for my other kids, Katie has already talked about them. Yeah, they were shocked to find out their mom had a baby so young & they had another sister. I'm sure my son wishes she'd had been a boy since he's already got 3 sisters. lol. Just kidding. He loves his big sis. They're more alike than the girls. They both have ADD and like to show their unchewed food. I did teach him better manners! I'm sure Katie's mom did too. lol. In final, I thank God that my family is now COMPLETE. I got Katie a cake that had that written on it. She has been welcomed with loving & open arms by all of us. My husband refers to her as one of his daughters. I think he even got teary eyed the day we met seeing how ecstatic I was. l missed you Angel & I am so happy to have you back with me! I love you very much!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mother's Day 2009

I was awoken on this glorious of holidays by "Mommy, get me a bottle." "Please?" I mumble to the small body wriggling into the bed next to me. "Mommy, get me a bottle." I dragged my happy mommy butt out of bed and got the requested bottle. I know she's almost 3 and should be done with a bottle but she's my last kid and I don't care, so leave me alone about it. I crawled back into bed, pulled the covers up, and shut my eyes. "Whimper, whine, scratch, whimper, whine." I dragged my happy mommy butt out of bed to let my Rotti out to do his business. Feeling rather smart at this early hour I decided to wait by the door knowing that as soon as I laid down, he'd want back in. Sure enough, 30 seconds later he scratched at the door. I let him in and he stepped on my foot. Had it been the little 12 pound shit dog dachshund it wouldn't have hurt. But since it was my 120 pound lap dog, it was a rather painful stomp. I crawled back into bed and attempted to fall back asleep.

Twenty minutes later I opened my eyes to see a small head two inches from my face. "Wake up, Mommy, issa bootiful day!" Hubby attempted to get her to say "Happy Mother's Day but she was in her own world and ran out to watch cartoons. After seeing the theme of the cartoons for a couple of hours she caught on and finally said, "Happy Mommie's Day, Mommy!" Awwwwww.

One of the last things I said the night before was that I wasn't doing anything on Mother's Day.

The first thing I did was make Hubby coffee. Then I did a load of dishes and wiped the counters down. Then I got on the computer and waited to see if anyone was going to offer to make me breakfast. Two hours later, my tummy rumbling, I got up and ate a piece of chocolate cake. In came Reyna my 12 year old with a sleepy "Happy Mother's Day" and several coloring pages from a Muppet coloring book. That would explain the riping noises I heard coming from her room. I told her thank you and planted my happy mommy butt back at my desk. In came Kelly the 15 year old. "What are you fixing for lunch? Are we doing anything today? I need help with my homework. Can't you just do the negatives? You didn't finish it. Here, google the answers for this." Ummmm, 1. It's Mother's Day and I'm not supposed to have to do anything and 2. I seem to recall graduating from high school several years ago so I shouldn't have to do anymore high school math.

I decided to make a big pot of French Onion soup and clean up the kitchen while it was simmering. In came Hubby to make some creation out of last night's pork. To get out of his way I abandoned the cleaning part. Kelly and I went back and forth in our usual mom vs teen banter and I too my not so happy mommy butt outside to cry and feel sorry for myself. Apparently I forgot to raise my kids to be nice to me once a year. Crap, I always forget the important stuff! At least I got lots of hugs and "Mommy, I love you's" from Carson. Such the mamma's boy!

I ate my soup and some of the pork creation, which as usual, was delicious. Why is it whenever I create something it tastes horrible? While stuffing my face I decided to catch up on The Biggest Loser. They'd all been sent home to fend for themselves then discovered they had to run a marathon. Even Ron finished it! Rrrrrr! Damn motivating and inspirational people. I changed clothes and took my happy 18 pound lighter mommy butt to the gym (AnyTime Fitness, plug plug!).

On the way to the gym I decided to call my mommy and tell her Happy Mother's Day. She asked if my kids did anything nice for me. I laughed and told her she didn't know her grandkids very well. She told me a cute conversation between my dad, Bubby, and my 15 year old nephew. Nephew didn't want to do something my sister asked him to do so apparently my sister sent her son in the direction of my dad who asked him, "Don't you rely on your mom for things?" Nephew replies, "Yes." Bubby says, "I try not to make the people I rely on mad. If I make them mad, they may not want to do the things I rely on them to do." My dad isn't one of those grandparents who lets his grandkids do whatever they want. I'm sure Nephew wasn't too pleased with Bubby after this conversation but I bet he did whatever my sister wanted him to do! My mommy told me to enjoy my workout and was glad I was doing something for me. I told her I had to go to work off the chocolate cake I'd eaten for breakfast.

The gym was packed! I'm kidding. There were about 5 other people in there and I was surprised to be the only mom...not really. I did 10 minutes on the stairmaster, some squats with the stability ball, then decided to be adventerous and try out the treadmill. After 30 minutes of walking and running-ok, it was really jogging but running in my book-my hip started bothering me. Two years ago I fell onto the side of the tub cleaning baby poop out of the water since Maisie decided to tell me she had to go potty after she went in the bath. I spent 2 weeks on the couch ordering the kids was great! Anyway, I was still on a Biggest Loser motivational high so I decided to try the bike. I wound up peddaling away for 50 minutes! That was mostly because one of the guys that works at the gym sat next to me and started talking to me. Maybe this is why people bring buddies to the gym with them. I discovered I can stay on the cardio machines a lot longer when I have someone to talk to.

When I left, Chris said, "Maybe you'll go home and there will be balloons and flowers and dinner." I laughed. I pulled into the driveway and attached to the tiki post were 3 balloons. I laughed again. Maybe, just maybe......nope. I opened the door and the mess was still there with hamburger still sitting frozen on the stove. Kelly had put the balloons out for me and glued "Happy Mother's Day" on one of them with foam letters. It was sweet.

But, the greeting I received when I walked in the door made up for it all. Four kids came towards me telling me how much they missed me (maybe next time I'll work out even longer!). The best part of the day was cracking up while Maisie serenaded me with the chorus to Britney Spears' "If you seek Amy" over and over and over and over and over. I'm thinking we need to find a new radio station the next time we're in The Bus.

I hope all the moms out there had a wonderful Mother's Day. Some may read this and think I had a horrible day but they'd be wrong. Mine may not be a perfect family but they're my family and I love them very much. Today went exactly how I thought it would go and I'm just fine with it. Now excuse me while I go clean up the chocolate pudding that Maisie just spilled all over the floor......

Oh, and to my friend confuciusness, if I were going to make up how my Mother's Day went, it would NOT be like this. <3

Benefits of the purty garnish...parsley!

I always thought of parsley as an irritating garnish and a waste of a plant. That was until Hubby bought some for my herb garden (I asked for cilantro, but, whatever). Of course, it's the herb that grew more heartily than any of our other herbs (sage, basil, rosemary, basil, and lemon sage). Hubby brought in a huge pile of it one day and I just stared at it wondering what the heck to do with it all. I have a plastic thing stuck to the wall over my stove that holds spatulas and stuff and it quickly became the drying center for the parsley. I told Hubby we needed to bust a hole in the ceiling so we could dry the herbs from the rafters like they used to in the 1700's (See? I remembered something from our trip to Williamsburg!). He didn't respond to that suggestion.

So, with all this newly drying herb I decided I should do a little research on it. I was curious as to the nutritional value of of it more than the taste as I've been known to simply throw in whatever herbs and spices are within reach while I cook.

Who knew that parsley is actually the most popular herb in the world? And not just as a pretty garnish. The name parsley came from the Greek word which means "rock celery." Learned something else new- it's related to celery. And here's some good news, it'll keep growing back every year...yay!

Here's a cool little nutrient chart I found to show that it's more than just purty to look at:

Food Chart

Look, it's extremely low in calories!

Here are some of the health benefits:

Parsley contains two types of unusual components that provide unique health benefits. The first type is volatile oil components-including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. The second type is flavonoids-including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.

Parsley's volatile oils-particularly myristicin-have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. Myristicin has also been shown to activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps attach the molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that would otherwise do damage in the body. The activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke).

A Rich Source of Anti-Oxidant Nutrients

The flavonoids in parsley-especially luteolin-have been shown to function as antioxidants that combine with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules (called oxygen radicals) and help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. In addition, extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood.

In addition to its volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley is an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are also important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene).

Vitamin C has many different functions. It is the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant, rendering harmless otherwise dangerous free radicals in all water-soluble areas of the body. High levels of free radicals contribute to the development and progression of a wide variety of diseases, including atherosclerosis, colon cancer, diabetes, and asthma. This may explain why people who consume healthy amounts of vitamin C-containing foods have reduced risks for all these conditions. Vitamin C is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which explains its usefulness in conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. And since vitamin C is needed for the healthy function of the immune system, it can also be helpful for preventing recurrent ear infections or colds.

Beta-carotene, another important antioxidant, works in the fat-soluble areas of the body. Diets with beta-carotene-rich foods are also associated with a reduced risk for the development and progression of conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetes, and colon cancer. Like vitamin C, beta-carotene may also be helpful in reducing the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. And beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, a nutrient so important to a strong immune system that its nickname is the "anti-infective vitamin."

Parsley for a Healthy Heart

Parsley is a good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins. While it plays numerous roles in the body, one of its most critical roles in relation to cardiovascular health is its necessary participation in the process through which the body converts homocysteine into benign molecules. Homocysteine is a potentially dangerous molecule that, at high levels, can directly damage blood vessels, and high levels of homocysteine are associated with a significantly increased risk of heart attack and stroke in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Enjoying foods rich in folic acid, like parsley, is an especially good idea for individuals who either have, or wish to prevent, these diseases. Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore vitally important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells-the colon, and in women, the cervix.

Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis

While one study suggests that high doses of supplemental vitamin C makes osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative arthritis that occurs with aging, worse in laboratory animals, another indicates that vitamin C-rich foods, such as parsley, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

The findings, presented in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases were drawn from a study of more than 20,000 subjects who kept diet diaries and were arthritis-free when the study began, and focused on subjects who developed inflammatory polyarthritis and similar subjects who remained arthritis-free during the follow-up period. Subjects who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were more than three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who consumed the highest amounts.


Parsley has been around for over 2,000 years. It was sacred to the ancient Greeks who used it for medicinal purposes, decorating the tombs (I think flowers would have been prettier but they didn't ask me), and to decorate winners of athletic contests. Haha! They even used it as a garnish on people.

Charlemagne gets some credit from historians for possibly being the first to use it as seasoning because he grew it on his estates. Woot! Woot! for Charlemagne!

A newer version of parsley is gaining popularity. Well, it's newer than the 2,000 year old parsley. Turnip-rooted parsley was developed in the past two hundred years.

When choosing parsley, fresh is always better as it's more flavorful. It should look fresh and crisp and have a deep green color. Wilted or yellowed leaves are damaged or over mature. I've had to pick some yellowed leaves out of ours before. They don't look nearly as appetizing as the vibrant green leaves. Whether you choose fresh or dried try to buy organic to avoid any consumption of harmful pesticides or fertilizers. If you buy fresh parsley you need to put in a plastic bag in the veggie drawer of your refrigerator. You can spritz it with water if it starts looking dry. Since we had such an over abundance I chose to dry most of it. I hung most of it up but laid the extra on paper towels on the counter until they dried. I pulled the leaves off the stems once they were dry, then rubbed them between my hands to break them up and stored them in glass bottles. One of these days I'll get Kris and Melissa's bottles to them! We had so much I was trying to find people to give it to.

Like I mentioned above, I throw in whatever I have when I cook. I've used dried parsley on baked chicken, in French Onion soup, spaghetti sauce, on pork, and in meatloaf. I've used the fresh leaves in salads as well as spaghetti sauce.

Minor con of parsley-

Parsley is among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating parsley. Laboratory studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body. Yet, in every peer-reviewed research study we've seen, the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is relatively small and definitely does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium to the meal plan. If your digestive tract is healthy, and you do a good job of chewing and relaxing while you enjoy your meals, you will get significant benefits - including absorption of calcium - from calcium-rich foods plant foods that also contain oxalic acid. Ordinarily, a healthcare practitioner would not discourage a person focused on ensuring that they are meeting their calcium requirements from eating these nutrient-rich foods because of their oxalate content.

The information in purple came from:


Our garden is out in the Florida sun most of the day. Hubby sectioned off a part of the yard with wood Parsley grows well in a wide variety of soils and sun exposures. Plant the seeds in the spring after the last frost by first soaking them overnight in water to increase the germination rate. Sow the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and 4 to 6 inches apart, and in rows about 12 to 18 inches apart in the garden.
So the next time you see pretty parsley on your plate, you'll know that it's not just there to make the plate look pretty. Chop it up and add it to your meal. Or you can eat it to clease your palate and make your breath smell better!