Friday, September 30, 2011


Day 30: Share a picture you love

Welcome to the end of the 30 day challenge! This has been fun. Now to find a picture I haven't shared before...

Emma, age 8, and her Daddy
I love the happiness and love in this picture. I miss those days. The love is still there, but the times of happiness just to be together are less frequent. I know it's part of growing up, but sometimes the whole teenage thing just stabs me right in the heart. I know it's all part of  growing up into an independent adult, but still... why does it have to be so hard on the parents? And who made it go so fast??

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Day 29: 3 things you cannot live without

I'm guessing this beyond the usual food, water, oxygen, shelter, clothing, and caffeine. So here are three things, in no particular order.

Lip balm. Nivea, Neutrogena, Burt's Bees, Carmex, whatever. I have to have something on my lips! If I don't use any, I wake up with little cracks or whatever in the center of my lips and that HURTS. Even Sophie asks for some, as I'm putting my makeup on in the mornings. She'll point to the tube on the bathroom shelf, say "Me! Me!" and purse her lips. It's so cute!

My iPhone. Yes, I realize it sounds awful to feel that way about a phone. But it is so much more! Games and shows to entertain Sophie (and Emma), email, internet, diet, GPS, and more. Last night I walked 2 miles while watching an episode of Doctor Who, in the park! Now isn't that mind-blowing to think of? And FaceTime is great when my husband is traveling.

These two. Come on, I couldn't leave them out, could I? I was just telling my husband a few days ago that three years ago, I was perfectly happy with only one child. Our family was perfect and complete. But now, I can't imagine not having both girls. I honestly believe the world would stop if anything happened to either one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I heart books

Day 28: Favorite books

I love reading. Seriously. I love so many books, too, and some I can't even remember the names or authors! So, I'm going to just list in no particular order.

James Patterson's Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series
The Moonstone
Janet Evanovitch's Stephanie Plum series
Harry Potter series
Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series
Mexico and Hawaii by James Mischner
The Hope and The Glory by Herman Wouk
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I know there are more, I just can't think of them all right now. Books are my drug. I read compulsively, and rarely leave a book unfinished. I just really enjoy reading! I may come back and add more later, or possibly have a Round 2 post of more books.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Day 27: Three wishes

Hm. What would I wish for? I'm sure the standard rules apply...
One thing I'd wish for is money. Not a lot, just enough to take care of everything that needs taking care of. Trips to dentist, medical bills, car repairs, house repairs, vet visits, class trips to Washington DC, along with the everyday bills and expenses. Nothing extravagant. But, I read "The Monkey's Paw" in junior high and have been afraid of wishing for money ever since.
I'd wish that the girls grow up healthy and happy, and still love (and like) each other and us also.
Third wish? Oh, I have no idea. Once the family is taken care of I guess I could think of something fun and extravagant to wish for. I can't think of anything right now, though.

What would you wish for if you had three wishes?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Operation Birthday Surprise!

This weekend was my husband's 40th birthday, and we had a surprise cooked up for him. On Friday, his mom and sister came down from Chicago to spend his birthday with us! The last time they were here, Sophie was two weeks old. She quickly warmed up to her grandma and aunt, though, and of course Emma was thrilled to have them here. My husband was very surprised and happy to see them. We spent time together on Friday, and all day Saturday, ending in a surprise birthday party for him at Carrabba's restaurant.

(Just a side note- out of all the restaurants I called about the party, Carrabba's was the easiest to work with and most flexible. Even though it was a busy Saturday night we had no problems reserving space for the party, and were even able to bring in our own birthday cake, which they kept in the kitchen until it was time. It was my first experience with the restaurant ever, and I highly recommend it to anyone planning an event like this.)

On Sunday, we had breakfast together at our house, then they left on the return trip home. We were so worn out we didn't make it to church, just rested at home. Emma ended up going to my parents house for the afternoon to spend some time with my cousin who was visiting from Colorado, and leaving before next weekend.

Catching up on the challenge!

So I got behind. We had a busy and amazing weekend (more on that later). For now, a catch-up on the missing challenge days.

Day 23: Favorite blog hop you participate in.
This one is simple - I don't. I like the idea, and I have participated before, but I just don't have the time right now! The one I do like, though, is The Mom Pledge Blog. It is moms committed to eradicating cyberbullying among the mom community. They have a monthly blog hop.

Day 24: Favorite places to shop

I love to shop :)
Target, JC Penney, NY & Company, Babies R Us, craft stores, office supply stores

Day 25: Put your iPod on shuffle and share the first ten songs
1. The Outsider - Marina and the Diamonds
2. Bonkers - Dizzee Rascal
3. S&M - Rihanna
4. Drive In, Drive Out - Dave Matthews Band
5. My Sharona - The Knack
6. Sitting Still - REM
7. Perfect Circle - REM
8. Sick of Myself - Matthew Sweet
9. The Real Thing - Gwen Stefani
10. A New Neighbor - The Whole Nine Yards soundtrack (the link isn't for the music, but to the scene in the movie where Oz and Jimmy meet. LOVE this movie!)

And that brings us to today.
Day 26: Best concert you've been to

I haven't been to many concerts. My first one ever was New Kids on the Block (I was 12, ok?) I went to a Martina McBride concert at Dollywood with a friend, Alanis Morrisette for my 18th birthday, and to a free show Lynard Skynard put on a few years back. Best of those by far was Alanis. Love her music, we had good seats, and it was a fun time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Holly Hobbie
 Day 22: What are your hobbies?

I like to make things. I even sell some of the things I make :)
I also enjoy making things for our own use - like Sophie's first birthday party decorations. I just wish I had more time and space to create more! I have a whole supply of things to be creative with, but not enough hours without a curious toddler. But, she won't always be a curious toddler. I'll have time again.
Sophie's birthday cake
Birthday banner


Hair clips
 I've also made several things for both girls' bedrooms. I don't have any pictures of it, but I made Emma's name out of wooden letters, and I've painted four small square canvases with a letter on each to spell her name. I had fun decorating Sophie's nursery, too.
I made this for Sophie's room with scrapbook paper, ribbon, and a fabric iron-on.

A poem by a family friend, with the same paper and ribbon

I found these wooden blocks on sale and painted them to match her room.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just for fun

Tonight Emma and I were watching last night's season premiere of Glee. We love this show! During "We've Got the Beat" (third video above), Sophie dropped her toys, ran to the center of the room, and started dancing like crazy. She spent the next 10-15 minutes standing frozen, captivated by the screen. She loves music and dancing so much!


Day 21: Something that stresses you out

This won't be a shocker to anyone, because I know we all feel it - money. There just never seems to be enough, is there? And it's not even for things like vacations, new car, new clothes, but basics. But that's life, especially "in this economy." (I hear that expression all the time and it drives me crazy.) It's like we're all part of this juggling act of incoming and outgoing and trying to keep all the balls up in the air.

But, someone always has it worse. In the paper this weekend was an obituary for twin baby girls. One died at one day old, the other at two days old. I cannot imagine that family's heartbreak. I am sure they'd much rather have money stress and be homeless with a complete family than bury their two baby daughters. Other people have so many bigger issues. My car might not sound the greatest, but I can use it to get to work. We have food to eat. We have a house to live in. We have clothes to wear. With those simple things, we are richer than a majority of the population of the planet. I just have to remember the bigger picture.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Day 20: Share a picture of yourself.

Lovely. I get to share a picture of myself! (Times like this I really want a sarcasm font.)
Since I have no pictures of myself handy, and I'm usually the one behind the camera anyway, I'll use the handy little front-facing camera on my phone and do  just what I get onto my teenage daughter for doing because it irritates me - take a cell phone picture of myself.

Monday, September 19, 2011


First, to explain yesterday's title for anyone who didn't get it.
In the late 90s, a band called Everything But the Girl had one big hit in the US - "Missing." I used to LOVE that song! Oh who am I kidding, I still really like it.

Day 19: Share your nicknames

Mama! (Sophie pretty much always says it as if it has an exclamation point at the end)
Mom, mommy, mother
Jen (but only if you're MY mother... otherwise don't)

That's about it... Christine is a hard name to nickname, except to Chris, and I've never liked being called Chris and now it's my husband's name. Well, my great-uncle (grandmother's brother) always called me Chris, my whole life. No one else was allowed, though. I'm not big on nicknames for myself, anyway. A few special people throughout my life have had little nicknames (like my grandmother used to call me Teenie), but that's it. And I prefer it that way!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Everything but the girl

(If you are a 90s kid/teen like me, you should get the title reference) =)

Day 18: Something I miss

My grandmother
Lazy summer days
"Little" Emma
Hours reading on the porch swing
Old friends

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Challenge day 16: Something you regret

The logical part of my  mind tries not to have regrets. What's done is done, right? Move on and learn. But my emotional mind? Does't often listen.

Times I didn't speak up, didn't stand up, let someone else negatively influence me, times I apoligized for doing my best and succeeding to make someone else feel better, times I let loved ones down, time I didn't spend with love ones who are no longer with us.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Challenge day 16 - halfway there!

Day 16: Five blogs I visit daily

Ok, I honestly don't visit five blogs every single day. But I do visit more than five several times a week! I just can't do every. single. day. Who can? I am "following" many, though, and I visit every time there's a new post.

So, five eight of my favorites in no particular order. (I couldn't narrow it down any more!)

A Bumbling Idiot  "A homeschooling mother of five." Love her stories! Her youngest is also a January 2010 baby, like Sophie.
View from Down Here Written by Nain, a lawyer who doesn't write "lawyer-y" - reading her blog is like having a conversation with her. She and her husband T have some big news, too.
Passion. Dedication. Life. Us. Another mother of a January toddler (can't call them babies any more!) who writes engaging stories about her family, running, doing fun things, and reenacts events with Discovery Village and takes pictures :) (I love those posts!)
Depression Cookies Tia and her mother coauthored the fabulous book by the same name as the blog. (Buy the book here. Trust me, you want to read this book. It's amazing.) They're working on the sequel now and I can't wait! The blog is about more than the books, but it has the same overall theme as the book: mothers and daughters.
bhulbhulaiyan I had to copy and paste this blog title, because I don't trust myself to ever get it right! Anjuli is a very talented writer, though, and you MUST see the pictures of her daughter's recent wedding. A charmingly beautiful outdoor wedding! And the most recent post "One size fits all" is simply touching.
Love, Life, and a Baby This blogger is the force behind Fit Mama Club.  She is a family therapist (I think I have that right?) in NYC and also has a toddler Sophie's age (we really need to have a blogging play-date sometime with all these blog babies!). Her most recent post is a must-read for everyone.
She Started It "It" being her book. Anjali also blogs about her family, and this summer blogged and photographed a beautiful trip to India.
Teaching What is Good Kate is also a homeschooling mother, but her site is more than that. She has a frugal shopping ebook, recipes, and thoughtful insights about many things. We are also working on a first for both of us- a joint blog post exploring a subject we have different views about. Who knows where it will lead? (And no, you have to wait to see what it's about!)

Ok, so there's my list. Visit each one - I know you won't regret it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Smoothie love

Peach-mango-banana smoothie

Since beginning Fit Mama Club, a few people have mentioned smoothies to me as easy, healthy, on-the-go breakfasts. I remembered that I would make them when I was pregnant with Sophie. So I dug out my recipe booklet.

The first one I made mostly followed the recipe: a banana, frozen peaches, honey, vanilla yogurt, & orange juice. Then I started experimenting. I added in a handful of fresh sliced strawberries one day. Today I used the banana, peaches, & mango with the yogurt & juice. I also have an idea I want to try soon. I will brew a cup of jAVERDE Triple C coffee (a chocolate covered cherry flavor), and blend with frozen dark cherries, chocolate syrup, and yogurt. Or ice cream. Or use yogurt then freeze, so it's like I'll be eating ice cream for breakfast, but healthy. Hm, I like that idea!

I'm trying to make them healthy - I know that smoothies can really rack up the calories! I use fat-free vanilla yogurt (I bought a large container of Yoplait and spoon it out). The fruit is all unsweetened - because why does fruit need added sugar? I've never understood that. I'm sure I could leave out the honey, but I love honey so much. And just a spoonful isn't too bad. Right?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tips for a new blogger

Day 15: 3 tips for a new blogger


I may have been blogging for years, but I do not feel qualified to offer up tips to someone starting out. I am sure I break pretty much every blogging "rule" there is! I'll give it a shot, though.

1. Write about what you want. Blogging is personal, and in the end do it to make yourself happy, not a hypothetical "reader" figure in your head. Write what you need to write.

2. Use spellcheck. Please.

3. If you can't be nice, at least be civil. Nothing is a bigger turn-off than a ranty attack against someone.

That's all I've got. There are many blogging "rules" others put out there, like have an overall subject or theme to your blog - I don't. Others say to keep posts short, and some even limit at a certain word count. I never count words - I just write until I get it all out. Short, long, whatever. It's my blog, my outlet, my perogative. Some say to write for a target reader (not a specific person, but a general idea of characteristics you're targeting). I don't. I write what I need to write. Before I click on "publish," though, I do think 3 thoughts: Am I comfortable with my mother reading this? My husband? My daughter? If I'm not comfortable with the answers to that, I revise. Usually.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking ahead

Day 14: Share something you're looking forward to

I'm really looking forward to the holidays this year. To me, it's never been about the presents. It's the family time, the traditions, that make it special. Now that Sophie is a little older I'm excited to see her reaction to things like the Christmas tree, and to incorporate in the advent calendar I made. I only wish I had done that years ago when Emma was little so she could grow up with it, also.

I can't wait to see the girls open their gifts (some I'm making this year), decorate the tree together, bake cookies, I even hope it snows a little!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fit Mama Club Week 10

I realized this morning that I forgot to post my FMC update this past Sunday!
I've also added a button in the right column that shows my progress as I update it on Pretty neat, huh?
Sunday morning I weighed myself when I got up. I hadn't weighed in a few days, so I was curious to see the results. At first I thought I had no change at all, but then I realized the needle was on a different line - I had lost again!

Last week's loss: Five pounds!
Total loss: 17 lbs
This week's high: Really getting a handle on what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. Also I'm really doing well with my water. Not always 8 full cups, but close to it - usually 7. I also am rarely drinking soda and switched to sugar-free lemonade and fruit punch at home. I order water when we eat out, also.
This week's low: Didn't get to exercise as much as I hoped, but still "snuck" some in all week by taking the stairs at work, doing some yard work, things like that.
Next week's plan: Exercise more! I've noticed I have more energy, and when that is combined with the pain relief I have from physical therapy I'm feeling good!

Day 13- Bible verses

Challenge day 13: Favorite Bible verses/quote

I have a couple favorites that I've always remembered. I can never quote them exactly, nor could I tell you book, chapter, and verse, so I looked them up.

One has to do with equality. As I've grown into an adult, it's always been in the back of my mind as a kind of measuring stick for how I treat others and how people in general act toward each other.

Galatians 3:28 ESV

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

To me, this means that we are all equal in the eyes of God. No one is more deserving of mercy, and no one is less deserving. On any level.

The other one is a verse that a family friend quoted to me many years ago. I used to have a near-debilitating fear of the dark, even into my teens. I could not bear to be in a totally dark room, or go outside without a light after dark. Not alone, anyway. If someone was with me I was fine. After she told me about this verse, though, I used to say it to myself repeatedly whenever I had to go outside at night. And it helped. In fact, I am pretty sure it's what cured me of that fear. (Although living in town now where we have street lights at night isn't bad either.)

2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Help a mama out!

I posted today on Adventures in Babyfooding about a problem we're having with Sophie lately. Any advice? I'm desperate!
Post is here.


Day 12: Share your goals you'd like to accomplish in the next year

You  know what? I'm not a big goal-setter. Maybe that's a problem, maybe not. I have general ideas, but not "I want to do x by date y." I used to have one, finish my bachelor's degree before I turned 30. Didn't happen. Life and lack of extra finances got in the way - college is expensive!

I do want to continue losing weight and get in better shape. My goal would be to wear a size 12 clothing. I'm tall, so that's a good size for me.

Beyond that? Survive the fact that my eldest daughter will be in high school in the next year. I'll have 14 year old and 2 year old daughters. Can you say girl drama??

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Breakfast experimenting

This weekend, I did some experimenting for breakfast.

Yesterday morning, I started out making biscuits. I use Bisquick and follow the recipe on the box. Nice and easy. I also wanted eggs, but we only had a few left. I had an idea, though.

I rolled out the biscuits and baked them. As they were baking, I scrambled the eggs and cooked some bacon. Well, I microwaved some bacon, anyway. After the biscuits were done, I cut some in half. Then I put a spoonful of eggs, a strip of bacon broken in half, and topped with some cheddar cheese. I put the top of the biscuit back on, and put them back in the oven for a few more minutes on a lower temperature until the cheese melted.

It was a success! Everyone loved them. Now Emma wants me to replicate her favorite from McDonald's, a McGriddle.

This morning, I wasn't sure what to make. I didn't want biscuits again, but we were out of eggs so no omelets or pancakes. Emma wanted cinnamon rolls, but we didn't have any of those either. So I turned to Google. I found a recipe for cinnamon rolls using biscuit dough. Score!

I made the dough as usual, and put on a floured surface. No kneading here, though. I pat it out into a rectangle, and brushed it with melted butter. The actual recipe said to use heavy cream here, but I don't have any of that. The cinnamon mix is 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp nutmeg mixed together. I sprinkled that all over the dough, and rolled it up. This is where it got difficult. The dough was so soft! I think I will knead next time, after all. As I cut slices off for the individual rolls, they fell all over the place. It made nine rolls, and I baked at 350 for 20 minutes. The icing consisted of 6 tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and 4-6 tsp milk. I used 5 tsp and the leftover melted butter, which was about a teaspoon. It didn't make quite enough, I thought. We could have used more. The rolls tasted good, but weren't as gooey as cinnamon rolls usually are.

No pictures; neither breakfast lasted long enough! I am sure I'll make both again, though.


Day 11: Something you're afraid of

Odd that this would be today's theme, considering that it's the 10th anniversary of the biggest terrorism attack against our country. Maybe it was planned that way.

Although, that is one thing I'm not afraid of. Even right after it happened, I wasn't afraid of it happening again. Maybe because we don't live in a major city, I didn't feel like there would be a target on our area.

What am I afraid of? Something happening to my children. Snakes. Spiders. Ducks. Cows. Hey, no one said fears had to make sense! By it's definition, fear is irrational.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Christmas is coming!

I realized recently that we don't have an advent calendar. I loved using ours as a child. I remember sitting in my father's lap, reading the verse for that night and putting the ornament on the fabric tree. I wanted to make one for our family to use  now, but one problem - I don't sew.

I found a ready-to-be decorated calendar at a craft store. I wasn't even looking for it!  I also found a felt nativity set. I glued the figures onto the calendar. That was the easy part.

My original idea was to make something similar to what I had grown up with - 24 pieces of scripture that corresponded with the 24 ornaments. Since I didn't make the same design, that wouldn't work. Instead, I printed up a list of 24 different things to do. It took a while to come up with that many ideas, but I did it! I used Excel to make "blocks" of paper that will be easier to cut out. I'll print them, cut out, and fold each one and put into the calendar. Each day the girls can take out the paper and we'll do the activity as a family.

I can't wait.

Here is my list of things to do:
Make cookies
Read the Christmas story
Watch White Christmas
Decorate bedroom doors
Breakfast for dinner
Make handprint/footprint reindeer
Make Smores
Play board games together
Watch Polar Express in PJs
Do something nice for each other
Take cookies to the neighbors
Write a letter to Santa
Make paper snowflakes
Make Christmas cards for grandparents
Make brownies
Unplugged night
Drive around to see Christmas lights
Read a Christmas book together
Make an ornament
Share favorite times of the past year
Visit Santa
Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
Make hot chocolate with marshmallows
Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Meet my husband

Day 10: Tell us about your special someone

A picture of a picture so not very clear. Our wedding reception, 10/18/97

My husband and I have been married almost 14 years. We actually got married only four months after we met each other. Crazy, right? But like they say, when you know, you know. And I'm not exactly the model of patience. So, we did it!

So what do you want to know about him? He loves his family. He loves Star Wars, Bruce Willis movies (especially Hudson Hawk but also Die Hard and many others), and Chicago sports (Cubs, not White Sox).  Our birthdays are six days apart, but he's 7 years older than I am. He's a great husband, and I have never regretted getting married.

Daddy-Daughter football day
Giving Sophie a ride
The girls love their Daddy <3

Friday, September 9, 2011

Challenge Day 9 - Must-see TV

Day 9: Tell us about your must watch TV shows
I like TV. It's fun :)
I'm not overly obsessive, but I think that's because we DVR pretty much everything we watch. It really is freeing, you know?  Some things we just have to watch live, though. Here's our list of must-watch shows.
Big Bang Theory
Criminal Minds
There are several others we watch, also. Eureka, Warehouse 13, and Haven on Syfy. Rizzoli & Isles, The Closer, Psych, Burn Notice. The CSIs. Hawaii 5-0. Ghost Hunters. Emma and I like Big Brother - it's our guilty pleasure. Sophie likes Sesame Street - I download a few episodes at a time from Sprout On Demand and she'll watch a few minutes in the mornings as I'm getting ready for work. That has been a lifesaver for me!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 8 - Friends

Day 8: Share a picture of your friends

This is a tough one! I have friends, but not many pictures with friends! Somewhere I have some actual prints that I could scan and post, but I'm not sure where those albums are. So here are a few that I do have on my computer.

Emma and me with our friends Damian and Ala

Twitter friends at a tweet-up

College days

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Writing break

As before:
I found a first line here and start with it and just write. I'll write until I have to stop to think and we'll see where this goes. Enjoy! (Hopefully)

The water looked deep and inviting.  It was so hot outside,  and all she wanted to do was cool off a little. She was in a hurry, though, and didn't have a swimsuit anyway. She sighed, pushed her hair off her sweaty face, and took a drink from the bottle of water in her bag. She kept walking down the barely-paved road, trying to stay in the shaded areas, not that it helped much from the heat. What a day for her car to break down, right in the middle of a record-high heat wave. And of course her phone battery was dead. If she had only checked the phone when she got into the car, she could have plugged it into the car charger. No use dwelling on that, though. She was only a couple miles from town. At least she had the water with her.

She heard a vehicle on the road behind her. She turned to look; this was not a heavily-driven road. It was a large pickup truck, dark blue but covered in dust like everything else. It slowed down next to her, and a window rolled down. She found herself looking into the darkest blue eyes she'd ever seen, nearly matching the color of the truck. "Was that your car back there? Need a ride to town?" the mouth attached to the eyes asked her.

"That's ok," she answered, snapping back to life. She was raised to be cautious and not get in cars with strangers. This one didn't seem too strange, though. Neither do many serial killers, she thought to herself. "It's not that far, really."

"Come on," he urged. "It's 105 degrees out here and you could have a heat stroke! At least sit in the air conditioning for a few minutes and decide if you want to ride in with me."

Oh, what the heck, she thought. He didn't have to know she had pepper spray in her bag along with the water, did he? She opened the passenger door and climbed in. "My name's Matt," he said, holding out his hand in greeting. "What's yours?"


Day 7 - Vacation time

Day 7: Tell us about your favorite vacation

Well, there was the time in college a huge group of us went to Jamaica... that is way up there on the vacation meter! Montego Bay, swimming in the Caribbean, visiting several spots around the island, a week of mission work... but also the same drama from school.

Epcot on New Year's Eve? That was lots of fun also.

My favorite vacations, though, were trips to Panama City when I was growing up. We moved from there when I was 5, but always visited several times a year. It was like a second home to me. I loved my grandmother's house, across the street from a park, two blocks from the ocean, lovely older neighborhood with quiet streets and a lake (the duck pond, we called it) within walking distance. The smell of the air, the feel of the grass, the oyster shells in the street... Of course I liked to go out to Panama City Beach and do the "fun" things, but my heart belonged to PC itself. I always dreamed of living there as an adult.

The last time I was there, Emma was 3, nearly 4. We went down in January that year, and stayed with my grandmother. That's also where Emma had her picture in the newspaper, and had stitches that trip.

So much has changed - my grandmother's house has new owners, who have changed it. Old family friends have passed away. But I still hold on to the trips in my heart, and wish so much my girls could have had the same experiences.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Challenge day 6

Day 6: Favorite movies

I have seen The Whole Nine Yards so many times, but I still laugh out loud every single time. I LOVE this movie!

Ah, Rent.  I love Rent. The movie, the soundtrack, the cast. The songs. The eye candy. I just love everything about this movie!

Luck, be a lady tonight.... Great movie.

"Just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait!"
"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain"
"I could have danced all night...."

This is a classic movie. I love Eliza Doolittle's spirit, passion, and fire.

Slumdog Millionaire is such a fantastic movie. I just love it! It's such an inspiring story, and who doesn't love Jai Ho?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fit Mama Club Week 9

I forgot to post my FMC update yesterday!

Last Week's Weight Loss: 4 lb
Total Weight Loss: 12 lbs
Last Week's High: Physical therapy is going well! I actually have very little pain now. My doctor said he'd consider 80% pain relief a success; right now I'd say I was at 98% relief. This week I'm going to talk to my therapist about stopping - I don't think I need it any more.
Last Week's Low: I made a couple questionable choices... but the good far outweighed the bad.
Plan For This Week: Exercise more, for sure.

Challenge day 5

Day 5: Share a picture of something that makes you happy.

Sophie and her Papa
I love this picture of Sophie and my father. For so long, it's taken a while to warm up to him each visit. This visit, though, was on Father's Day this year. She went in their house, and right up to her Papa! She loves to go outside on the deck, and he took her out there. She sat in his lap, babbled to him, played with his beard, and gave him the sweetest hug. I was so thrilled to catch it with my camera!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Challenge day 4

Day 4: Tell us about your family.

Don't I do enough of that as it is? :)
Ok, there's my husband and myself. October will be our 14th anniversary. We have two daughters, two dogs, and a cat. My parents live about an hour away from  us, and my husband's mother and sister live in another state. I'm an only child and my husband has the one sister. Our immediate family is quite small.

However, my father is one of ten siblings, and there are very few (like maybe 3 total) of us onlies on that side. I am one of something like 26 grandkids, and Grandma had 30-something great grandchildren. My cousins live all across the country, and we don't get together often. This past March, though, was my parents' 40th wedding anniversary and many family members came for the celebration. It was so much fun.
Our family! Some of them, anyway.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Challenge day 3

Day 3: Tell us about your job.

I try hard not to blog about my job. To start with, I really like my job. I'm a liaison for an ambulance company (the second-largest ambulance service in the country) at a local hospital. I've been here for over three years, and also was the first liaison. I jokingly say that I was "the experiment" but it's kind of true. There are others now, but the duties and job description were developed through trial and error after an initial idea. I am very lucky to work for the company that I work for, and the people that I work for. I never thought I would end up in anything related to health care, but I can honestly say this is the best job situation I've ever been in.

Another reason I don't blog about my job is that any interesting story would totally break HIPAA and I'd be fired. Not worth it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Challenge day 2

Day 2: Tell us about your blog

My blog introduction (at the top of the page) tells a lot about my blog. I write about random things, whatever strikes my fancy. Whimsical, serious, fun, newsworthy - whatever makes the Muse jump out and say something. My blog is my outlet, a place where I can express myself freely without interruption or censorship. Do I worry sometimes that I'll offend someone close to me? Sometimes. But then I make myself get over it.

I do write about my girls, but I try very hard not to let this be a "Mommyblog." Honestly, that term makes my skin crawl. I love my daughters with everything I have, but "mommy" doesn't make up all of ME. So many women lose themselves when they have children, so much that their entire lives are centered around the kids. I don't want that to happen. Because if we do our jobs well as parents, the kids will move out and have their own families, and what then? What's left? Besides, children are only THAT interesting to their own parents and grandparents ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What a surprise!

I visited blogathoner Anjuli's blog bhulbhulaiyan today, and was surprised at the end of today's post. She was awarded the Liebster award, and passed along to me!

I agree with  Annette Gendler that Anjuli deserves it - I love her blog (and her name!) This award is intended to connect bloggers, especially those with less than 200 followers.

In accepting the award, I must :

* Show my thanks to the blogger who gave me the award by linking back to him or her.
* Reveal my top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
* Post the award on my blog.
* Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the internet—other writers.
* And best of all – have fun and spread the good will.

Ok, so my five picks... this is the hard part! 

Depression Cookies - Written by Tia Bach, coauthor of the book with the same title. Yes, I've mentioned the book a few times lately. Well, it's a wonderful book! And by reading the blog, you'll see why. She shares her mother, her daughters, and her writing process with us.

The Traveling Fridge - Midge and I "met" through Twitter, and she is just as fun in person as she is online. She takes fun vacations, too, and posts really cool pictures on her blog.

Ph.D. Candi - Denae, until recently, was on my TV as a local news anchor. She is another local Twitter-friend. Through her tweets I can "experience" lots of fun local places that I won't get to any time soon but would love to try. I'm building a "must-visit" list, though! She is now working on her Ph.D. in Communication (thus the name of her blog). Check out her Etsy shop, too (linked on her blog) - she has some fabulous vintage finds!

Love, Life, and a Baby - I found Joonluv's blog way back when we were both members of the February 2010 birth club on She is the force behind Fit Mama Club.

Let's Talk and Walk - Yet another local Twitterer! Glenneth is a real fitness inspiration. I get tired simply reading about all she's accomplishing! You will find fitness information and inspiration on her blog, and eye candy every Wednesday. Can't beat that!

30 Day Challenge, day 1

Through another blog, I found this challenge - a 30 day blogging challenge from Katie's Journey. While I can't guarantee I'll remember to go to her blog and link up every day, I thought it would be a fun little thing to do.

So here is day 1: Introduce Yourself

Hi! My name is Christine. I'm 32, but have a birthday this month. I'm married, and in October we'll celebrate 14 years of marriage. We have two daughters that are 13 and 1 1/2. No, we're not crazy, although by the time Sophie graduates from high school we'll have had children in the house for 30 years.
About me? I love to read. I want to read like an alcoholic wants booze. I need to write. Sometimes, I just have to get things out before I explode. Or go insane. I have this drive to create things. Pretty much anything else you need to know about me can be found somewhere in my blog- I'm somewhere between conservative and liberal (it really depends on the issue). I am a member of a religion, but open and accepting of others and don't begrudge anyone their beliefs (or disbelief). I love autumn, boots, heels, fall clothes, the color red, handbags, Etsy, and wooden things.