Friday, May 1, 2015

Dreams of a long and healthy life...starting now!

Well, keeping up with blogging is proving to be tricky with a toddler running around all of the time :-).  It also doesn't help that my trusty old laptop decided that it has had enough and, sadly, is no more.  But, I will do what I can, when I can, just like I do with everything else! Now, I know that I am supposed to be putting together ideas and weighing the pros & cons of a Fall wedding...and I will, but I need a breather from wedding planning for a minute. I do think, in fact, I am almost positive that I am going to go with a winter wedding though...we shall see! So excited :-)

For now though, I have decided that it is time to get healthy.  It is a great. lifelong dream of mine to be more comfortable in my own clothes and for that matter, my own skin. I have struggled with my weight for my entire life and I have to say the thought of starting a new routine is discouraging. Mainly because it has been my experience that it takes an enormous amount of effort to break my unhealthy habits and change the way I eat so that I can lose weight....but yet it takes no effort at all to eat what I want, when I want and end up right back to where I started, or worse!  But so it goes. I have to get healthy. And I have to get my family on board, because figuring out one dinner a night is challenging enough!

As far as family history goes, I decided that I was given a lot to work with.  Like me, my Nana had a big family to take care of and also had a healthy baby in her 40's. My mother is in her 70's and still works full time! She is still going strong except for the fact that she has smoked for most of her life which has had the expected impact on her health.  The point of all this is that I think if I start taking better care of myself, I will have many years ahead of me to enjoy with my family and to watch all of my girls grow up.

As if dieting alone isn't difficult enough, during my last pregnancy, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  My doctor took immediate steps to address it because of the danger it posed to my pregnancy.  Thank God they were paying attention!  Anyway, I didn't realize what a drag it is to deal with this condition.  Literally....drag!  A lot of the time that is exactly what I am doing.  Dragging my self out of bed, dragging myself to the store, dragging....well, you get the idea. I am always feeling tired and my mind is foggy.  It has wreaked complete havoc on my memory and worst of all it makes losing weight or keeping weight off very difficult. I really thought I could just take the medicine they prescribed and start feeling better.  Not so.  Most days it feels like the medicine does nothing. In fact, the only evidence I have that the medicine actually works is that when I forget to take it, or if I take it too late in the day, I end up feeling just awful. Apparently, there are many foods that I need to avoid or that I may even be allergic to, that if eaten, exacerbate the problem and even create more problems, like stomach pains. Anyway, I have decided that the days of feeling crappy have got to go.  I am going to see an endocrinologist to make sure that I have been given the right medicine. I am going to get some B12 injections and I'm going to get some testing done so I know how and what to eat. Who knew that I would need such guidance at my age? As a matter of fact, the "what to eat" is becoming a huge dilemma.  Many things that I have read suggest that I might benefit from going gluten-free. Other articles have led me to think that maybe Paleo is the way to go.  Both of those diet/lifestyle changes intimidate me, not only because of the limits the diets impose but also because of the cost. It seems that taking better care of myself isn't gonna be cheap!  And to top it all off, when perusing gluten-free and Paleo recipes, I am seeing a lot of the things on the "hypothyroid do not eat list"! Ugh! Looks like getting started is going to be a challenge but staying with it, will take everything I've got! I will try to document my progress so that I can be accountable to someone or something if I start to lose my way....wish me luck!

Harper Grace-my littlest reason to get healthy ♥
By the way, a resource that I find very useful for questions about hypothyroidism is Hypothyroid Mom And as always, any suggestions and or feedback are always welcome!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

♥My Wedding - I can do this! ~ Part Two ~ Spring♥

Now it's time to take a look at all of the things that make the prospect of a Springtime wedding appealing.  I have to say Spring has some tough competition after looking at Winter's possibilities but I'm going to give it a go anyway.  After all, this is Charleston, South Carolina and this apparently is a wildly popular place to get married.  In the early spring you start seeing the azaleas and pink magnolias blooming and what a sight!  Downtown you see the quaint cobblestone streets lined with palmetto trees and old really is picturesque and charming here...there are so many beautiful backdrops for a wedding in any season!  The Pictures below are just a glimpse of how beautiful it is here when things are in bloom.  The picture in the upper left was taken last summer...I think it was July.  It is a picture of the driveway at my Uncle's house, in Whitmire, SC. I love it there, it is beautiful!  The picture on the bottom left was taken in March, two years ago, outside of my (then) office, downtown Charleston.  And the other picture was taken at Magnolia Plantation...very beautiful place with many wedding options but I think out of our league budget-wise.
My "Spring" search yielded many beautiful and inspiring ideas.  I even came across some ideas for a St. Patrick's day wedding which didn't sound like a bad idea!  There are two reasons why that idea sounds appealing to me. One is very personal to me. My father passed away 8 years ago, on the day before St Patrick's day.  Now each year, in an attempt to keep my spirits up around that time, I try to keep my focus on March 17th and either planning to go out with friends or to do something for the kids. It keeps my mind busy and gives me less time to be sad! This year the kids got hot-fudge filled cupcakes. We got the same cupcakes, except ours had Irish cream frosting! That kept me busy :-). Anyway, the second reason a St Patty's wedding sounds like fun is because like the Christmas party idea, people like a party on that day. Two birds, one stone...right?  It would narrow down the menu planning stress too if we decided to make it Irish themed because we could have the bar stocked with Irish beer and whiskey, Bailey's, stuff for Irish coffee, and then we could do Irish fare...bangers and mash, Irish pasties, corned beef or lamb or fish and many fun ideas to play with!  I'm starting to see a trend...looks like I'm getting the most inspiration out of these two-for one holiday/wedding ideas!

Here are a few things that caught my eye on my hunt for Spring wedding inspiration. Flowers, flowers, flowers...everything is blooming!  And, pink drinks? Lemonade for the kids and Charleston Pink Lady's for me!  I came across the most delicious looking drink: Charleston Pink Lady Cocktail. I might have to whip a few of these up just for sampling purposes :-).

On the dress front, I found that narrowing down the dress choices for this season is easy! For one thing I am very picky, for another I do not have the figure that seemingly 98% of the women modeling wedding dresses have, so only a few fit the bill for me. Of course, lace...the one in this picture is sleeveless with an open! I also really love the pearls and beading that I am seeing in the belts and sashes.  I hope the belted look is as figure flattering as it appears to be because if it is that is the look I would be going for. As for Spring colors, the pinks are subtle and delicate but the purples and mauves! I had never even considered those colors but they are marvelous!  The purples could be worked into a Fall wedding as well if I paired them with cranberry's instead of pinks. The arbor below looks like it might be pretty if set near the beach and it definitely helps narrow down the choice between an outdoor ceremony and a chapel ceremony!  If I were going to go this route, maybe a late afternoon, outdoor ceremony so that I could still incorporate candlelight into the reception decor. The ideas are swimming around in my head, all good things, no pressure!!  For now I have resolved to delight in this process and to keep gathering far, so good!

I welcome any and all comments that will help me make my decision! Until next time/next post - Part Three-Fall ♥

Sources: All of the images posted on this blog post, with the exception of 'garden pictures' were taken from my Spring Wedding inspiration board on Pinterest.  I put all of the images together in a collage using the PhotoGrid app so that I might get a clearer vision of the elements I would like to include in my wedding.  I am a new blogger and I in no way shape or form wish to take credit for these photos so I will post links to my Pinterest boards so that you can click through and view the blogs or websites that they originated with. This is a learning process for me and I hope I am doing this right but if there is a better way to go about this, I will learn and make corrections as I go!

The following is a list of some of the sites I visited during my search. Thank you for the inspiration and wish me luck! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Yay! I was nominated for the Liebster Award!

How exciting to be nominated for the Liebster Award! It is humbling to see that people are reading and enjoying my blog! The Liebster Award is passed from one blogger to another as an awesome way to let you know they enjoy your blog, to share and get to know one another and to welcome people into the blogging community. This award carries no real value per se but I am flattered to receive it because there is no requirement to give it, it is just one person in the blog community 'paying it forward' and showing support for another.  Thank you so much Whitney @ Oh Baby Baby for nominating me!

Make sure to choose bloggers with less than 200 followers & don't forget to notify them!

Here are the questions I was asked:
1.Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging for so many reasons - therapy,  to learn, to remember, to try my hand at writing.

2. What is your favorite food?
Hands down, sushi. Yum! 

3. What was your first job?
Maybe this will explain the answer to #2.  I was 14 and I bussed tables & washed dishes at a Japanese restaurant! 

4. What are you having for dinner tonight?
Ahhh...the bane of my existence...figuring out what to make for dinner! Sweet and sour chicken/veggies/rice.

5. Pick one word to describe your blog? 

6. If you can go to anyplace in the world on a free vacation for a week, where would you go?
Ireland...British Isles....Ireland ♥ 

7. Who was your favorite teacher?
My oldest daughter, Sadie.  She is not a teacher in the traditional sense of the word but I sure have learned a lot from her.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully in a bigger house because my children are growing so fast! 

9. Who would you say has been the most influential person in your life?
My beloved, Sean.  He helps me to be a better person.  He is a man of his word and he makes me believe we can achieve anything ♥

10.If you had to be any animal for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
My 9 year old asks me this question all of the time, I would have to say an eagle. 

11. What is your favorite color?
If I must choose, I suppose pink.

11 Random Facts About Me:

1.I love historic houses.  I went to school for historic preservation and this is one of my favorite websites to drool over :-) Circa Old Houses
2.When I was younger I said I wanted to have 5 sons someday.  I ended up with 5 daughters.
3.I love books although I never seem to get a chance to read.
4.My memory is not what it used to fact, it's terrible.
5.I love cars.  My first car was a candy-apple red 1965 Mustang.  It was imperfect but so cool!
6.I used to collect vintage chintz ware china...but that was before kids!
7.I am scared to fly.
8.I love cruising.
9.One of my favorite things ever is to get a pedicure...what a luxury!
10.I live in South Carolina but I am from New York and I am long overdue for a visit.
11.Hydrangeas, peonies and roses make me happy!

Here are my nominees:

Nominees, you are under no obligation to pass on the award.  This is all for fun!  You can pass on the award to just a couple of bloggers if you like.  Do what works for you!

And here are your questions!

1.What do you make for dinner on a busy or "not in the mood to cook" kind of night?
2.What is your most delicious crock-pot meal? 
3.What is your favorite quote? Or piece of advice?
4.How much do you spend a week on groceries?
5.What is your favorite cocktail/mocktail?
6.How/when do you find time to blog?
7.Why do you blog?
8.What is your favorite chick-flick?
9.Would you, or have you ever belonged to a book club? Thoughts?
10.Would you rather be Katniss Everdeen or Elizabeth Bennett...or some other heroine? Why?
11. What is your passion?

By the way...if you are reading this post and feel compelled to answer any of these questions...please do! I would love to hear what you have to say :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

♥My Wedding - I can do this! ~ Part One- Winter♥

My dream wedding.

Girls always seem to have a vision for their wedding. They know exactly what they want and have always wanted.  Sure, maybe the vision changes slightly over the years to keep up with the times and current trends but for the most part...they know what they want.  All that is left to do from there is to save up and make it happen.  OK, perhaps I'm oversimplifying a bit.  Of course, sacrifices may come in to play and they may have to tweak things a bit to stay within their set budget but that doesn't stop them from blissfully planning the day of their dreams. 
Four of our daughters at a friend's wedding.  September 2011
Then, there's me.  It makes my head spin really, the whole thing.  That is not to say that having a wedding causes me stress, quite the contrary...I am only doing this once and I want it to be perfect.  The problems with this?  Oh where do I start?  Well, to begin with, I am a Gemini.  That means that I can't make a decision to save my life!  Believe me, it's a very annoying quality.  For example, I want a fall wedding as much as I want a spring wedding, a chapel wedding, an outdoor wedding, daytime wedding as much as I want a candlelit evening wedding, and so on. The next thing, cost...WTH?? Shame on you America...averaging $25K for a 4-6 hour dinner party?  I have seen much better prices for overseas weddings but then you have to factor in the cost of travel which puts it right back up there in price. Then perhaps the most complex issue is my last gripe.  I guess it is more of a modern day complication...children.  He has two, I have two and we have our newest bundle of joy, bringing our total to 5.  All girls, all excited about us getting married, all expecting to be a part of the day with some even expecting to be a part of the ceremony itself.  There are days when I think of just doing a cruise wedding to alleviate some of the planning stress, but add kids, the price goes up - add kids, honeymoon changes to a familymoon, leave kids out....sad kids, sad mommy!  What to do?  Well, so far, the solution has been, nothing.  I have done NOTHING! So, I think what I will do is try out some ideas.  Maybe one will appeal to me more than another and we will finally get somewhere...darn you are so not helping! :-)

Let's start with Winter

Things I love, love, love about winter and Christmastime weddings.  I love the contrast of White with deep reds, cranberries, tartans/plaids.  It is so stunning!  Also, long-sleeved wedding gowns...with all of my indecision, there is one look I have always loved - I love long-sleeves and lace. It is just so feminine and timeless looking and what better season for long sleeves than winter!  That is a definite bonus in favor of a winter wedding.  The next thing...candles.  There is something so cozy and inviting about candle light on a cold day.  It is obviously even more beautiful in the evening, and if a roaring fire can be worked in there too....that would be awesome! I love the look of evergreen worked into the decor and even the bouquets, not only is it a striking contrast against the red and the white but it also smells heavenly!  I am thinking about plaid...maybe for the cummerbund and for the girls dresses and maybe worked into table decor somehow.  If not plaid, then maybe red or cranberry velvet...and then of course whichever I choose, I will be sure that my shoes match!  Funny, all of this fashion talk coming from me.  I am so not the fashionista...I don't even wear make-up but this is my wedding for crying out loud...exceptions must be made!

Oh my gosh, those cranberry drinks look divine!  And another cool is it having a pre-Christmas wedding?  I never ever gave it a thought because I thought it would be inconsiderate to expect people to want to attend a wedding so close to such an expensive holiday.  But, now that I think about it, isn't a wedding just a big party?  Don't people love Christmas parties?  I know I do!  And if the venue is decorated for Christmas already, that's a little less work for me, right?  The more I talk about it, the more I love the idea.....hmmmmmm my wedding dreaming is turning out to be kind of fun!

I welcome any and all comments that will help me make my decision! Now time to change gears for my next post...Part Two-Spring ♥

Sources: All of the images posted on this blog post, with the exception of the picture of my children, were taken from my Wedding, Wedding Gown and Winter Wedding inspiration boards on Pinterest.  I put all of the images together in a collage using the PhotoGrid app so that I might get a clearer vision of the elements I would like to include in my wedding.  I am a new blogger and I in no way shape or form wish to take credit for these photos so I will post links to my Pinterest boards so that you can click through and view the blogs or websites that they originated with. This is a learning process for me and I hope I am doing this right but if there is a better way to go about this, I will learn and make corrections as I go!

Monday, February 16, 2015

My shooting star...

Yesterday, I took a "Metallica drive".  It started out as a quick run to the pharmacy but I set Pandora to "shuffle" and Metallica came on.  I must've been in a vulnerable or sentimental state of mind because it took me back to the time I was first introduced to the song, and to Metallica.  I met someone in college that was unlike anyone else I've ever met in my life.  He was a busboy and I was a cashier & bartender at a local crab house, and that is where we met.  Tony was this cute little guy, with an infectious smile, that was always walking in and out of the kitchen spinning his serving tray on his finger.  Everyone liked him, you had to like him, he was just a kind, gentle soul and he was just cool.  Anyway, we spent so much time together at work, that we ended up hanging out together after work most nights and just doing typical college stuff.  Drinking, partying, laughing, socializing....just plain old fun.  He introduced me to his roommates and I introduced him to mine.  At the end of a day of classes or work we would make our plans, we were always together.  My boyfriend wasn't too happy about it but I guess my friendship with Tony was more important to me so I just dealt with it.
Tybee Island ... 1990ish

Tony played guitar.  He was self-taught, he also taught himself to play bass...he was really good.  He collaborated with friends and other musicians through the years and was always part of a band or two or three. One year, I think he even played at Ozzfest! One of the things that always struck me as remarkable about his ear for music was that most of his family, his parents and brother included, are deaf.  Sign language was his first language...he told me that his babysitter taught him words and how to talk.  I remember visiting him once during summer break, at his parent's house in Maryland.  It was so quiet in the house and when he introduced me to his family, they all just waved to was a strange feeling.  Anyway, one time, I dropped by his house and he was playing his guitar.  He was playing Metallica.  He said I'm not sure if you will like them but they are pretty cool and he picked up his guitar and played Metallica's "One" for me.  I loved it and now when it comes on the radio, I am back in that moment.
Tony 2010ish

Tony and I always kept in touch through the years.  Sometimes by phone, sometimes I would get a letter or a postcard, then later, email and Facebook.  When Facebook came along, it was awesome!  I could talk to him, see recent pictures, listen to his was great.  He ended up buying a house in Arizona, which was huge for someone that never stayed in one place for too long, he used to get restless and then off he would go, on to some new adventure!  I never really liked it when he had a girlfriend because I hated it when he got his heart broken by some careless girl. A breakup was usually followed by another cross-country move...NY, California, Arizona, California...lot's of back and forth.  I always watched from afar to make sure he was doing OK.  One day, he posted a picture of his brand new love on Facebook.  It was a black Ducati bike, which he lovingly named Pearl.  I know he loved it but I was not a fan.  Recently, my fiancee (Sean) and I had planned a trip to Vegas because one of our family members was getting married.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to get together with Tony and introduce him to Sean.  Not sure Sean was as excited about the idea as I was, because of course he was not really clear what kind of friend this guy was to me....I assured him it was always purely platonic so he played along and agreed a get-together would be cool.  I knew once they met, he would understand and we have an awesome time!  Well, I guess I could go on and on detailing our experiences and our history and trying to explain why he meant so much to me but some things just can't be explained.
The day in Vegas never came.  A few months before our trip I got the devastating news that Tony was gone.  The news came in the form of an instant message on Facebook, from one of our mutual friends.  The message just said, "are you OK" and "it really sucks".  I was took me a minute to connect the dots.  And then the panic came over me as I checked Tony's Facebook page.  He was gone...gone forever.  His last post was a picture of himself and his was a nice day and he was going out for a ride.  I fell apart, I left work....I cried, a lot.
I went to his memorial service in Maryland and saw his family for the second time.  It had been many, many years and I doubt they remembered ever meeting me. The whole thing was very difficult to bear.  I wanted to pay my condolences to his mother, and I knew it was going to be difficult to convey what I wanted to say because I do not speak sign language.  When I saw her face, it just crushed me.  I am a mom and I thought about the pain she must have been feeling and there were just no words.  I just touched her face and looked into her eyes...there was nothing more I could do.  I wanted to have my friend back, I wanted her to have her son back.  It has been 3 years and it still makes me cry when I think about it....when certain songs play, I relive it all.

I used to tell Tony that he was my shooting star.  I have reluctantly grown to accept the reality that I will only see my friend in my dreams.....

Saturday, February 14, 2015


A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

Not much to say today, except to say that I love my family and they give me great joy!

Harper & Meaghan ♥ 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A dream is a wish your heart makes....

Ahhhh that song, from Cinderella.  Funny story about that song...when I was 6 years old, I entered a talent contest, with my bff.  I was the singer and she was the dancer.  The catch was, I was singing the song at high an old 45 playing at LP speed on the record player. It made so much sense to us at the time, like it was a real talent.  Well, guess what?  We won!  At the time, I felt great, like cool, they really thought we were talented!  Of course, I now realize that they thought it was some sort of stand-up routine because they were clapping and laughing like it was the best thing they had ever seen.  It was a win-win though, we won the contest and they got free entertainment :-)

Music soothes the soul.  There is something so blissful about having the right music on at just the right time.  Think about it...the feeling you get when your favorite song comes on the radio, or when you are feeling blue and something comes on that relates to your situation and validates your feelings.  It transports you.  It's like the old Calgon commercial (yes I am dating myself here), "it takes you away".  It is therapy for me.  At the end of a hectic day, especially when the kids have driven me to the edge of insanity, I love to put my headphones on and listen to Beethoven or Dario Marianelli's Pride and Prejudice soundtrack...and presto!  Instant serenity!  Or how about those nights when you just need to make a quick run to the store - more likely than not, the item you are running out to get, can wait.  It's all about the drive, the song, the volume!  By the way, those are not "Beethoven drives".  Those drives range anywhere from Audioslave, to Radiohead, to Katy Perry, to Tupac....depending on what the situation calls for.  You've gotta love Pandora...if you don't know what this is and you can relate to anything I've said, then you owe it to yourself to download it.  Trust me on this.

We had to get all of the kids headphones for Christmas to protect our sanity.  At any given time you will hear music coming from different parts of the house which would be fine except for the fact that this is not a big house and with all of the music playing at once it just becomes a lot of noise.  The headphones solved the problem for the most part and comes with an awesome side effect...we get to hear them all singing.  It's very funny and makes for great blackmail if we can manage to catch it on video!  Seriously, one of the best parts of being a parent, messing with your kids :-)

My fiancee makes and produces music.  Right now it is his side gig, but one day soon that will change because he is doing some great things!  When he sits down in his studio (currently a small corner in our bedroom) it's like he's climbing into a sailboat and heading out to sea.  When his creative juices really start flowing, it's like the wind has caught his sails and suddenly he is miles and miles away.  It is great to see him enjoy himself and to hear how his music comes together but sometimes I have to call him back to shore. He is on the brink of greatness, and I hate to mess up his flow but every once in a while a girl needs her quality time :-).