I love my freedom. I love my America.

S'mores anyone?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Belated Merry, Merry Christmas

This blog post is way overdue, but I wanted to send a Merry Christmas to all of you before any more time passed.

I've been extremely busy with out of town company all week and, unfortunately, a sick husband. He was so sick he wasn't even able to celebrate Christmas with my family at my mom's. He's on the mend, but still quite a way from feeling 100%.

Enjoy the last few days of 2012. Here's to a healthy and happy new year!

Friday, December 14, 2012


I can't stop thinking about of those affected by the shootings that happened today in Connecticut. It just breaks my heart. Will you say a prayer or two or three for all the families involved? I sure am.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

And baby makes three.....

I'm super excited to let you know I'm going to be an Auntie again! My younger brother, Tate and my sister-in-law, Erin are expecting their first child in June! We've been waiting forever it seems for this to happen. We knew it would, we just didn't know when! By the time the baby is born, they will have been married 6 years. So, so happy for them (and me!)
 Here they are last month at a Notre Dame football game.

As of right now, they do not plan on finding out the sex of the baby. I clapped when I found out because Tom and I didn't find out when I was pregnant with Olivia. The element of surprise is unbelievable-especially since I felt all along I was having a boy. However, I've already done some shopping (imagine that) and it is kind of hard finding gender neutral baby items these days. Of course, I have managed to find a few things.
My mom and other sister-in-law have already been talking about when Erin's baby shower will be. We think April is the perfect time. My head is spinning already trying to come up with ideas for what will be a fun, fun day. I'll use pinterest to inspire me with ideas for theme and decorations. I can't wait.
June will be here before we know it. I can't wait to hold that little baby in my arms.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Thanksgiving Delights

On Thanksgiving Day we're thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.

For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.

We're grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.

The list of all we're grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!

By Joanna Fuchs

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Leapin' Leopards

Olivia decided last year that she's too old to go trick or treating. Let me tell you, it was sure bittersweet. We didn't even carve pumpkins. I just hate that my little girl is growing up.
Now, because she's older, it's not trick-or-treating that she dresses up for, it's Halloween parties.
This year she was invited to a party at a friend's house and after many costume ideas, she decided on being a leopard. I personally feel it was a great choice. All we needed to buy was her headband/tail (combo at Claire's for $10.00) and her shirt ($5.00 on clearance at Deb). She had what little else she needed to complete the costume.
Personally, I think the best part is her make-up. Yes...she did it herself! Thanks to a tutorial on        you-tube she found exactly how she wanted her face to look and went at it. Mind you, she only practiced one time (partial face) before doing the blow-out full facial for the party. This girl has some serious talent when it comes to art!
Without further ado, here she is

(i love her new look with braces)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's New?

Hey blog friends,

What's new with you? Not much here on my end which is why you haven't seen a post in 2 weeks. I don't know what it is, but I just NEVER find things to blog about.

Since I don't have much to talk about, I'll at least let you know that I'm super excited about my shopping trip coming up in 3 weeks. My two local sister-in-laws and my mom and I are heading to Gurnee Mills in Gurnee, IL and then IKEA in Bolingbrook, IL. We'll be gone over night....basically Gurnee one day and IKEA the next. Yep, a whole day dedicated to each place. We are going to shop til we drop. This is the 4th year in a row for us. A tradition has begun!!

In my mind I'm thinking of all kind of things I want to look for/purchase while I'm gone. Soon I will get it all down on paper (or on the notepad in my phone if I feel real techno-geaky). Doesn't it always seems when you're looking for something you never find it? I'm hoping that's not going to be the case for me.

Have you ever been to Gurnee Mills or IKEA? If so, what's your favorite part of each place?

Hope you're all doing well and enjoying the cool Fall temps and beautiful colors out there. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Remember I posted about a J.Crew giveaway? Well, guess what? I won!

I won, I won, I won! I'm so excited. I've never shopped at J.Crew but I'm ready to do so!

Monday, October 1, 2012


 In 366 days (leap year) we went from this.....

to this!

More to come on his birthday party later. What a fun, fun time we had!

Monday, September 24, 2012

J.Crew Giveaway - $100 Gift Card

Did the title of this post catch your eye?

If so, head over to In This Wonderful Life and see how you can win a $100 gift card to J.Crew.

Best of luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just Stuff

Seriously? It's been since September 1st that I made a post? Oh for heaven's sake. I'll tell you, I don't know what it is, but I just am so busy doing a bunch of NOTHING that I can't seem to keep up with anything.

With that being said, I've got so much running thru my mind that I think I'll just simply make a post about "stuff". Stuff that is on my mind, stuff that I need to get done, stuff that is just stuff.

  • Leighton turns one on October 1st. In less than 2 weeks, that is. His birthday party is on the 30th of September and I just can't believe it.
  • My daughter is a typical teenager and proves it every.single.day. I have been really struggling lately trying to parent her. I get mad, I cry, I yell, I cry, I talk, I cry, I pray! This too shall pass. Or at least that's what I keep trying to tell myself.
  • Tom's band hasn't had too many gigs lately. It's nice having him home, but I miss the money. Honest truth!
  • I volunteered myself to help work the concession stand at the 6 home Notre Dame football games. I'm getting "paid" by earning money to put towards Olivia's trip to Washington DC in the spring. The entire 8th grade class goes (about 280 kids). We've already had one game and it was so, so much fun. The next game is this weekend.
  • We are finally starting to do some stuff (organizing, decorating) in our basement. Mind you, we've lived in our house almost 10 years and we're finally getting around to it. Yeah, procrastination with a capital "P". I can't wait to post pictures of the room Olivia is helping to decorate. It's her and Tom's music room.
  • I absolutely cannot believe it's the middle of September already. The weather and trees are starting to show sure signs of Fall.
  • At this time, we're planning on out of town guests for the Christmas holiday. I'm trying not to stress about what needs to be done before that, but as the weeks get closer, I get more nervous. It will all work out, I know it will.
  • I spend way too much time on my computer at home. It's like an addiction. There are so many things I could/should do in the evenings but I don't. I think I'm actually lazy.
  • I've put on a few extra pounds, but I have no ambition to do anything about it. Now, it's not much, and most probably can't tell, but I sure can. It's just more fun to eat another candy bar then work out. Why do I do this to myself? The longer I wait, the harder it will be to get motivated.
  • I should be working, but I'm blogging.
  • The more I type, the more I think of to type about. I think I better stop. Yeah, I better stop.

Until next time.....

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Simply Awesome-God's Beauty

I love to watch the sun set. We live about 35min from Lake Michigan so it's nice to go every once in a while take it all in. Olivia and I decided to take a spur of the moment trip a week or so ago because we knew it would be awesome based on the day's weather. Boy am I glad we did. Here are some of the many pictures I took that night. It doesn't matter how many times I look at them, I can't help but love them all over again.

I love the silhouette of Olivia in this one
Really Beautiful
Breathtaking colors
Partly behind the cloud
I love how the sun is "sitting" on the water
Olivia's mind blowing creativity
Love her reflection in the water

Splish Splash
My favorite picture of the evening
It's almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Picture Overload - 1st Day of 8th Grade

My beautiful daughter, Olivia.

Traditional picture by the lamp post

A close up (I used the flash so she's a little whiter than normal)
Striking a natural "I'm 13 and cool" pose
First time for highlights. She LOVES them.
Today is Olivia's last first day of middle school. Next year, it's on to the high school. She'll be one of over 3,000 kids. Yeah, that's H.U.G.E.! But, let's not go there yet. We'll get thru 8th grade and then move on.
This morning went very smooth. Olivia got up to her own alarm and ipod. She got ready, had breakfast and let me take pictures. Then, she was off. I did text her once I knew she was on the bus to see how everything was going. I'm sure she was overwhelmed with socializing because I never heard from her. Go figure.
I'm anxious to see how her first day was and read paperwork she'll bring home regarding supplies, etc that each teacher will require.
Here's to hoping the rest of the school year is as smooth as the first day.
A girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The day before

Well, it's the last day of summer vacation for Olivia. It's the day before school starts. How in the world can my little girl be starting 8th grade? The last year of middle school. I really think time is flying too fast. I say it EVERY.SINGLE. YEAR. and I mean it.

A little later Olivia and I are going to head over to school so she can get her locker set up and take a quick tour to see where her classes are. Although the 8th grade open house isn't until next week (doesn't make sense to me), I feel it's best if Olivia gets a chance to see how far apart her classes are and how much time she'll have to socialize in between. We all know that's the focus of the day, right??!!

I've already asked her to get her clothes laid out and have everything ready today. A little over kill, but it makes me feel better. The less stress tomorrow morning, the better. Her backpack is ready and packed with the little bit she'll need on the 1st day. I know all the teachers will send home lists with detailed items needed, so I didn't buy too much ahead of time.

Over the past couple days I've been "reminding" Olivia that we WILL take pictures by the lamp post before she heads to the bus stop. It's a tradition! She'll be fine with it, but always likes to give me a hard time.

So, the next post I make will most likely be with the pictures taken on the 1st day of 8th grade.


Friday, August 17, 2012

End of Summer

As an end of the summer event, Olivia and I went to a waterpark located about 1hr 20min away. We've been before and always have a good time. It's called Deep River Waterpark and you can get information here.
The day started very cloudy and dreary. As we drove I couldn't help but wonder if we were making the right decision. I knew the weather channel indicated it would be partly cloudy and a high of 84 but I sure was nervous.
Well, within an hour of getting there, the clouds broke apart and the sky turned blue with only a few puffs of white things left in the sky. It did get to the low 80's and was a perfect, perfect day. A great day to end the summer before school starts next week.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cutie Patootie

I haven't posted any pictures of Leighton lately, but today I'm going to. I'm still babysitting almost every Friday which has worked out real well and is so, so much fun.
In 2 short months we will celebrating his 1st birthday. Time flies incredibly fast.
Leighton is unbelievably into music. It runs in his blood. Both his dad, Ryan and grandpa, Tom play instruments. He's got the beat!!
In addition to crawling all over the place, he pulls himself up on everything and even walks behind his push toy. He has 6 teeth. His 2 bottom arrived in April and all 4 on top (yes, all 4) arrived about a month ago all within a week of each other. Crazy, huh?
He's a messy, messy kid. It's hard to get a picture without something on his face, clothing, body, etc. Yesterday was no exception. Oh well. He's a great baby with a perfect disposition so I can deal with the messiness!
It's alot of fun having a little one around the house again. But boy oh boy is it tiring. Ha!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Groove, Inc.

This post is about my husband, Tom and the band he's in called Groove, Inc. Tom has been playing keyboards for over 40 years. He's been in many, many bands during his late teen/adult years. Some he has enjoyed tremendously, some not so much. This band, he L-O-V-E-S.
The guys in the band each have multiple years of experience in their own field of instrument. Each guy is a family man and takes their music seriously. They get a long great and truly enjoy and appreciate each other. That's hard to find (according to Tom).
Band members are:
Tom - keyboards
JR - vocals
John - guitar
Bill - bass
Shawn - drums
Some of the artists they play are:
Journey, Styx, AC/DC, Foreigner, Great White, Bon Jovi, Ted Nugent, Maroon 5 and many others. Lots and lots of good dance music.
Most weekends they are playing either Friday and Saturday nights, or at least one or the other. Very rarely do they have a weekend off. When they do, it's kind of odd having Tom home during the evenings (ha).
Last night the band played as close to home as possible (about 20 minutes from our house) and so we got a group of about 20 people to head out to support the band. They did not dissapoint. A GREAT time was had by all. Here are a few pictures of the night.

To end the post, I'll leave you with this video of Tom doing what he does best! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No Way, It Can't Be

Sorry, but I'm just not believing the calendar says tomorrow is August 1st. There is NO WAY it can be this close to the end of summer and beginning of another school year. Where has time gone?

I've had one heck of a fun summer and I sure don't want it to end. Our weather has been very nice for laying out, going to the beach, swimming and other fun outdoor stuff. It's hard to believe leaves will be falling soon and I'll be back to wearing shoes and socks. Wait, NO.....I refuse to think about that quite yet.

Our vacation this summer to Gulf Shores was the highlight of June. My sister-in-law from South Carolina just left after visiting for a week. That was our highlight of July. I'm anxious to see what the highlight of August will be for the memory book.

What about you? Have you had an enjoyable summer? Are you ready to move on to cooler temps or are you wishing Summer would last forever? Regardless, I hope it's all good.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Chance to Win!

Have you ever read Megan's blog "In this Wonderful Life"? She's got a great giveaway going on right now. Click here and find out how you can possibly win.

Good luck!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday and Sunday Stuff

Boy do I have a lot of stuff planned for Saturday and Sunday to get ready for company that comes on Tuesday. I always tend to wait til the last minute. I guess you could say I work best under pressure.

I'm super excited because my sister-in-law from South Carolina is coming for a week long visit. Normally it's a family trip, but this time it's just Terry. I'm super duper hyped about it. I'm going to take Wed, Thurs and Fri off work to spend quality time with her.

What do we have planned, you ask? Well, not really much of anything except for Wednesday. We can come and go as we please. Olivia may choose to join us or not.

On Wednesday we will be going to a HUGE outdoor flea market in Shipshewana, IN. It's only open on Tuesday's and Wednesday's during the week so the timing is perfect. We'll leave in the morning and come home mid to late afternoon. I didn't go at all last year, so I'm anxious to go next week.

Back to this weekend: I have cleaning to do. You know, the normal before company arrives. I need to sweep, dust and clean the bathrooms. Terry will be staying in Olivia's room so Olivia has a job ahead of her this weekend too. Her room is a P-I-T pit!

I'm hoping to get most of my chore list accomplished Saturday so I don't have to do much to do on Sunday. (It's my birthday). Then I'll just do last minute stuff on Monday and Tuesday after work.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's Picture Time

Here are quite a few pictures from our trip to Gulf Shores. I had some trouble putting them in order. Ugh! Rather than mess with it any more, I figured I would just publish this post and be done.

No doubt about it, we had a great time. I can't help but smile when I look back at all the pictures I took. It's a great trip down memory lane.