Thursday, December 31, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We were so excited to make the decision to celebrate Christmas in Fl with my Gramma, aunt & uncle.  It was hard for me to leave the house for that long.  I was a little anxious about it, I played every worse case scenario in my head (it catching on fire, our tree falling into it, someone breaking in).  And even though we didn't leave any presents under the tree (for this exact reason), I have heard dozens of reports about homes broken into around Christmas and all the presents being stolen. I'm telling you - my brain is a complicated space. But I am so happy we went.
We enjoyed every moment there.  The trip down started rough.  We had warmer than usual weather here, so we had a lot of thunderstorms during the day.  It was a pain to pack up the car during the rain!
Once we picked up the girls from cheer practice, we jumped onto 75S.  It was already dark, we left at 8 that evening.  There is a TON of construction on the eway, so on top of torrential down pour, darkness - the roadways being narrowed b/c of construction made for a long drive through northern Ohio.  Once I hit Lima, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. 
Dennis had slept the whole time, thankfully Cai was up and keeping me company.  As we drove through the rest of the state, she & I played license bingo.  As we entered KY, I planned on going at least 1/2 way.  Surprisingly, I made it all the way through KY and 1/2 way through TN.  The ONLY reason I stopped was b/c our gas was getting low and I didn't know when the next stop would be.
Dennis was shocked I drove that far.  I am NOT a good long distance driver.  I get tired every, single time.  I don't know why, it is so frustrating.  I was proud of myself for driving so far and letting Dennis get a good amount of sleep. 
As soon as we gassed up, I climbed into the back of the van, where we had a makeshift bed so I could stretch out my bad leg, and slept.  The storms picked back up shortly after we got back on the road.  I could hear the thunder and the lightening flashes were very bright. 
Once daylight hit, we were in Atlanta.  We missed morning rush hour (phew) and stopped for gas and breakfast.  The girls stretched and went to the bathroom.  We climbed back in to the car and kept driving. 
Our next stop was once we entered FL.  The girls were THRILLED!  Our first pic of them was near a REAL palm tree.

I don't remember it taking so long to get to my Gramma's once you get off of 75, but it honestly felt like we drove FOREVER before we got to Arcadia.

We were ALL so excited to pull into Gramma's driveway 18 hours after leaving our house. It was the best Christmas Eve gift ever!  And she is psychic b/c the moment I walked in, I asked if I could shower (eww, I felt so nasty) & she said of course, I already have it all set up for you!
That was an amazing shower  :)

The girls loved exploring Gramma's house.  Having only been to her camper during the summers she came to OH, they could not believe how large her home was. 
We unpacked and relaxed until Uncle Rick & Aunt Claire got there.

We joined them in their annual Christmas Eve dinner at Chili's.  After dinner, we headed over to Gramma's.  The girls opened their Christmas Eve gifts from us, a movie & matching pj's.  They spent time getting to know Uncle Rick & Aunt Claire.  It was awesome.  Shortly after getting there, Bryleigh puked every where.  It was disgusting.  But Aunt Claire didn't blink an eye and cuddled with her while she laid on the couch next to her.  It was very sweet.

We were all exhausted after our long trip and still had to get up early for Christmas mass, so we said good night and headed to bed. 
The next morning, we all got up and got ready for Church.  Mass was a lot different there, than it is up here.  After Mass, we headed back to Gramma's and waited for Uncle Rick & Aunt Claire to get there for the girls to open their gifts.  The girls were thrilled to finally open their gifts and enjoyed playing with them most of the morning.

Gramma's friends started arriving early afternoon and we set up for dinner.  After dinner, we cleaned up and lounged around relaxing.

The next morning, we decided to head out to downtown Arcadia for their antique sales.  The girls loved it.  We saw lots of cool things and enjoyed spending our time together.

We went back to Gramma's and got ready for a trip to Ft. Myers beach!  Watching the girls run into the Gulf was a great feeling.  They had so much fun.  Since I was being tortured with my monthly visitor, I didn't swim, but I loved watching the girls & Dennis splash around.

As we drove back to Gramma's, we decided to shower and head out to Fisherman's Village to walk around.
The girls bought a board game with their Christmas money from Nana.

We didn't do much on Sunday, we needed a break before heading out again Monday.  It was hard knowing we only had that day left before we had to leave Gramma again.

Behind her house is a field and there is a donkey that lives there.  She became friends with the girls.  She would run the fence line with them.  Enjoyed eating carrots and hee-hawing when we would go back in the house.  It was adorable.  We named her Eeyore - so original, I know. 

Monday was Cai's b/day and we enjoyed ice cream cake and she got to open her gifts from Gramma.  It was awesome to be able to do that since she has never been able to spend her b/day with Gramma before.

When we left Monday evening, it was with heavy hearts.  We made a stop in KY to visit a friend of Dennis' & we picked up a few random things at the local Walmart.

Once we finally walked in our door (to a clean house - I made sure it was perfect before we left), we all crashed in our beds.  I, unfortunately, picked up a bug during the trip and felt miserable by the time we got home.  I slept A LOT. 

I still don't feel well and do not think I will be up at the ball drop! 

I hope your Christmas was fantastic and you have a safe New Years!

Bring on 2016!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY November 23, 2015

Outside my window… it’s dark..evening comes fast in the winter!

I am thinking… about so many things, my mind is overwhelmed.  I feel like it just won’t turn off.

I am thankful… for my family…they keep me sane…when they’re not driving me crazy

In the kitchen… we had crockpot chili!  YUM!

I am wondering… if I will EVER be done fighting w/the dealer about fixing my car!!

I am reading… same book as last week…haven’t gotten much reading done this past week.  Boo.

I am hoping… my car will be fixed for my deductible!!!

I am looking forward to… Thanksgiving with my family

I am learning… a lot of interesting things from Bry’s dr.

Around the house… we decorated for Christmas!!  Don’t judge me!  :)

One of my favorite things… sitting in a quiet house w/the Christmas lights on and a fire going <3

What I am listening to...the dog snoring on my lap

A favorite quote for today...

A peek into my week... work tomorrow & Wed, dinner w/the fam on Thurs, a little shopping & gift wrapping fundraising on Fri.  The weekend will be spent relaxing.

Join me & link up at:  The Simple Woman's Daybook

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christmas, Christmas time is here...almost

I decided to decorate before Thanksgiving this year.  It is the first year we’ve ever done that.  Last year, as we were packing up our decorations, I honestly felt like I didn’t get to enjoy them for very long.  Between school stuff, their practices & Christmas activities, our weekends were barely spent at home.  I know this year will be just as busy, which is why we did it now.  Plus, we usually do it the weekend after thanksgiving b/c it’s a long weekend.  But it’s always chaotic and stressful b/c we’re still trying to clean up from dinner and it ends up running into the following week.

This year, we had dusted, vacuumed and everything was ready for decorating.  Dennis brought in all the totes Sat morning and I said ‘fuck this – take them back out’ haha.  For a brief moment, I thought I was an idiot.  But, we decorated and by this am, the house was clean, once again, and ready for Santa.  Ahem, I mean Thanksgiving.

Our sweet Elf, Tippy, still won’t be visiting until 12/1, and the girls cannot wait! 

I didn't realize until after the picture that my lights were falling down - oops!


Friday, I went back on my Zoloft.  I’ve been so anxious the last few months – I just needed something to help me calm down.  But, while I know this will work in the next couple of weeks, I was anxious about starting it.  I HATE taking medicine.  I HATE putting more stuff in my body.  So even with the prescription ready to pick up at Walmart, I avoided it for a few days b/c I couldn’t stand the thought of another med, even though I know I needed it!!  Does that make sense?  My mind is exhausting. 

 Anyway, yay for Christmas happiness and medicated peace of mind…

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...

Monday, November 16, 2015. So many things are running through my mind…here we go..
Outside my window...
I left at lunch for about 20 mins.  The temperature was amazing!  It was 63 and sunny.  It changed to cloudy and as we enter nightfall, the darkness has come more quickly.
I am thinking... 
I am thinking this past weekend was nice.  I loved watching the girls perform a sport they love so much.  I enjoyed not running the kids to practice yesterday and everyone being home, relaxing.  It makes my heart happy.
I am thankful...
I am thankful for prayer.  It gives me some relief when I feel so anxious.
I am going...
I am going to relax the rest of the evening.  We did yard work when we got home from work, then ran to the store, dropped Bry off at practice and came home to clean up and make dinner.
I am wondering...
If I can talk Dennis into picking up Bry from practice..
I am reading...
a JD Robb book…the title escapes me at the moment   
I am hoping...
I am hoping I can get semi-organized in the next few weeks so I can have a little more me time during the week.
I am learning...
I am learning it’s very hard to be still…’The Lord will fight for you: you need only to be still’ Exodus 14:14.  I have been very anxious the last couple weeks and it’s hard to let the Lord fight for me. 
In my kitchen...
 Is a mess leftover from dinner.  We had potpies and tv dinners.  After yard work and a quick house clean up, no one had any energy to put into dinner prep.

What I am listening to...
Cadence talk to her BFF on the phone
 A favorite quote for today...

A peek into my week...
I have a dr appt in the am.  Cai has tutoring after school on Wed and practice that evening.  Tumbling on Thurs for Cai.  Fri is speech therapy for Cai.  Saturday is the Levis tree lighting and Sunday starts a new week of practices for the girls.
Join me & link up at:  The Simple Woman's Daybook

Sunday, November 15, 2015

All-Star Cheerleading

When Cadence was 3 yrs old, she was shy.  But not the normal 3 yr old shy.  Completely debilitating.  She would freeze if you spoke to her – she wouldn’t make eye contact.  She would walk away, as though you weren’t there.  Her dr suggested we put her in a group sport., where she’d perform in front of people.
I found a great gymnastics center and she LOVED it.  It took a few months for her to talk to the coaches and make eye contact.  But finally, she felt comfortable with them.  And even more, she loved doing the activities.  For 6 mos she was the happiest kid ever.  And it really did help.  She was still really anxious about talking to people, but it was better. 

Then summer came to an end and we were told of a schedule change & price increase.  Ugh.
I couldn’t work with the schedule change, unfortunately.   BUT, in its place, I found a tiny level cheer team.  I enrolled her and she’s been a cheerleader since. 

She again went back to not speaking very often, except with people she was friends with.  But at her first competition…she ate up the attention!  I was shocked.  I was sooo worried she’d go out on the mats, in front of 100’s of people and freeze while her teammates performed…but she was on it.  She loved it!  I am fairly certain I cried at her first competition!
1st year cheering - tiny
As the years have gone by, she’s been on a few teams.  She started w/CSE for 2 yrs…but the coach/owner ‘retired’ to take care of her kids and so ended a decade of a great team and coaches.
2nd year cheering - tiny
She started on a the team that ‘inherited’ CSE, but I wasn’t a fan of their head coach.  Luckily, two of her old coaches started their own team.  She moved there for 2 years.  But again, all good things must come to an end and SEA ended so both coaches could pursue their studies. 

3rd year cheering - mini

4th yr cheering - mini
As every season ended, I would ask her if she was sure she wanted to do it another season, b/c once she was signed up, there was no backing out.  And every year she said yes.

After SEA, I found Titans.  Honestly, the price & minimal amount of competitions is what caught my eye.  They were a good team…but their coach left A LOT to be desired. I have now learned, we were very spoiled with our previous coaching experiences.  What we had w/CSE & SEA is not normal, unfortunately.  When TCE season ended (THEY WERE NATIONAL CHAMPS!!), Cadence finally said no, she did not want to cheer the following season.  I was shocked and a tiny bit disappointed. 

5th year - youth L1
 As a mom, who sat through HOURS of practices, I was very lucky to be surrounded by AMAZING moms.  While she was with CSE, I made quite a few friends, who I am still friends with today.  Titans was a lot different than CSE & SEA, the families all stayed to themselves and they didn’t speak to other families.  It was weird for me, having come from such a warm, friendly team. 

 After a season off, Cadence begged me to find a team.  Again, I looked for one that was inexpensive (I use the term loosely, as all-star cheer is CRAZY expensive) and found COCG.  Two of my friends brought their daughters and it felt good to watch Cadence do her thing.  And Bryleigh was able to join in on their tiny team!  She was ecstatic.  It was a hard year.  Being off a year was hard for Cadence.  It was a lot of adjustment.  Also, being with a coach that she didn’t know, again, was hard.  She missed Morgan, Chelsea & Stacey.  These were the coaches that made her love the sport.  She got through her year as a ‘ruby’ (Youth L1) and considered not joining for the most current season. 
Cadence's 6th yr - youth L1 & Bry's 1st yr - tiny
But she was excited to go with her friend again and joined.  This has been a heard season for her.  She’s now cheering on a L2 team.  She spends 30 mins an evening practicing facials, or BWO or arm movements.  She holds cans of veggies in the air to build up strength since she’s a base.  The very beginning of the season she wanted to quit - but I don't believe in starting something and dropping out before you finish.  Her coach was tough, and I told her it’s b/c it’s a tough level.  I have to reassure her that her coach believes in her and likes her and that she should not let what some of her teammates have said to her, affect her (way easier said than done!)…but in July, she decided she was going to prove her teammates wrong.  She may not be the best – but she is probably the most dedicated.  She tells me all the time she just wants to be able to tell them suck it.  I am proud of her determination. 

She was sad to see her friend leave a few months into the season (so was I) but happy to have her cousin join!  She said at least she has one person she can trust and knows likes her.  It makes me sad she thinks this, but proud b/c she’s not letting it stop her from doing a sport she loves.

Bryleigh has wanted to cheer as long as she’s been able to walk.  She loved following her sister around cheering with her and stunting.  Last year, her first year, as a tiny, she was on a duo team.  They always looked so freaking adorable out there performing in front of everyone.  This year she is on the ‘sapphires’ youth L1.  She is excited to have been put as a flyer.  She works very hard, too. 

Two weeks ago they had their team pictures – omgosh – they all looked amazing. 
Bry & her teammate trying to stay warm waiting for pics on a chilly Nov afternoon

Bry's 2nd yr cheering - mini L1 & Cadence's 7th yr cheering - youth L2
And yesterday was their first competition of the season!  They didn’t place as well as they had hoped – but they did so much better than their showcase in Oct.  It was obvious the amount of work all the girls have put into their routines!  We were all very proud of them.

They have another competition in a few weeks.  I can only imagine how much better they will look.  I don’t know if this will be Cai’s last year or not…she’s endured a lot this season, emotionally, but even if it is, her hard work has made me so proud! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Fall Ya'll!

I love, love, love, love…love fall.  It makes me happy.  I love the chill in the air, the color change, the drab sky, the smells, the fall foods, the fireplace going…it all makes me so happy.  Yesterday, we met my friend Alex at one of the metroparks & she took some awesome fall shots of the girls!  As anyone who knows me knows…I love pictures!  She needed kids to practice on and this way I had more control over posing the girls.  It’s hard to pose and take pictures.


I am so happy with how they turned out!  After the first snowfall, I think we are going to do more…and I may have bring Blitz along! 

Things have been busy at home.  We have doing some deep cleaning around the house and junk purging, as well as enjoying Halloween activities.  The girls had a great time trick or treating last nite.  They got SOOO much candy.  It was an obscene amount – but they LOVE going.  I love looking at the house.  We take them in a subdivision called “The Colony”.  They are mansions on the river.  Every one is breathtaking. 

My favorite house is the castle.  I love getting to sneak a peek when the kids get their candy!


Next weekend we are looking forward to their team pictures…hopefully it’s not too chilly.  I really need to find some new crockpot recipes.  I feel like I’m doing a lot of repeats.  It’s not always a bad thing b/c I know at least there won’t be leftovers, but it’s kind of boring too.  I think I’m going to try and put together a month of crockpot meals to freeze.  I’ve heard it’s a lot of hard work…sooo…we’ll see if it comes to fruition.  If you know of any good ones – please feel free to send me an email!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Happy 6th b/day Duchess!

Even though Bryleigh turned 6 back in August, she really wanted to have a Halloween b/day party.  I, also, thought that sounded like a lot more fun than another summer one.  So, we set out to have a spooky celebration.

I went to pinterest for some fun ideas.

I have a huge tote of crafts, so I was able to use a lot of that…I found a lady to make an awesome cake and it was comparable to a plain, old sheet cake. 
I didn’t spend a lot in decorations, I had a lot from the previous year..I really only used orange & black table cloths on the tables & made a photo backdrop.  Saved money & stress!

Bryleigh & her cousins
The crafts I laid out were simple & basic.  I did the popsicle stick scarecrow/Frankenstein/witch and ghosts from cotton balls.

 For the popsicle stick craft, I glued the popsicle sticks together before the party and also painted the green ones.  The kids only had to cut construction paper to make a witch hat, Frankenstein or scarecrow.  There were googly eyes too!  I also glued magnets on the back to hang on the fridge!

Here is a link to the website I found it on:  Frankenstein  & Scarecrow
I had copied a ghost outline on some paper & laid those out for the kids to cut and glue cotton balls.  Cotton ball ghost template...

We had a cupcake/cookie/brownie decorating station.  We donated them to the fire dept.  One little girls was eating all the sprinkles that fell on the table – haha!
We played candy corn bingo, too.  There were quite a few girls from her cheer team there, so we had a lot of cheering & stunting going on!  It was insane, but fun!  There was also a costume contest.  An adorable Minion from her class won!


There was a spooky lunch...and lots of kids! 
Since we are at the age of 'drop off' parties, something new I did this time was had a couple (multiple arrivals could sign in at once) sign in sheets to list parents name, phone # & any allergies their child may have. 

 I have an amazing family and quite a few of them stayed after to help clean up.  I was so appreciative of that!  Do you go crazy with your kiddos b/day parties?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Today was all kinds of hectic.  I had to leave work at lunch to meet the Little Caesar Fundraising pizza kit delivery guy...65 pizza kits...I know that doesn't sound like much, but it looks like this:

After it was dropped in the driveway, I had to open and load into my car so I could get it to the parents.
The ENTIRE back 1/2 of my van was full.  It was insane.  I kept the a/c going (even though it was cool outside) to keep the food cold.  I was assured b/c it was cool out, it would be fine sitting in the car until delivery after work.  So, back to the office I went.
I left at 4:15 and picked up the girls from running club.  We went home to let out the dogs, for the girls to grab a bite to eat & for Cai to change for their newly added Wed cheer practice.
As soon as we opened the door we could smell dinner in the was mouthwatering!

We were in and out of the house in 15 mins.  I raced to the Church to meet the parents to pick up their pizza kits.  Because I was on my lunch, I didn't have time to load them by order, so I was separating while standing in the parking lot.  It was a bit hectic.  Once we got a majority of the orders passed out, we headed to Cai's practice where the rest of the orders would be delivered.

This practice is only for the next month to help the girls clean up their stunts.  Because there is already a practice being held at the gym, the girls were at a local park.  It was such a chilly day, but the girls did well.  I think it helped they were able to run around & get out some energy when they weren't the group working on their stunts.

When we finally walked in the door at 8:15, we were starving and exhausted.  It was so nice to not have to worry about making dinner.

The meat was still juicy and had flavor.  I don't think I used enough cheese, so on tomorrow's leftovers I will be adding a little extra.

Chicken Philly recipe

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen)
2 sliced green peppers
1/2 onion sliced
garlic salt

I laid the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot & added the sliced veggies.  I added some garlic salt to about 1/2 cup of water and stirred it up.  I dumped it on top of the food, set it on low (10 hrs), covered it and left it for the day.

About 1/2 hr before we got home, Dennis shredded it (using the mixer!) added sliced swiss cheese (we were out of provolone) to the top.  By the time I got home, it was melted and ready for a hoagie bun. 
We had macaroni salad with it and it was awesome.  Even the girls finished it.  There was PLENTY for leftovers tomorrow. 

Yay for easy crockpot dinners!