Monday, February 28, 2011


I've been looking for ways to MAKE myself write more, and I came across this "challenge" on another blog, so I thought I'd give it a try.  Basically, you have to write every day, for 30 days.  And each day is about something different.  Here is the list of days, and what you're supposed to do.  So, I guess this is Day 0, and tomorrow will be Day 1.  I gotta tell you, NOT at all excited about the picture part.  May have to do everything BUT that.  We'll see.  Anyway, see you tomorrow! 

Day 0: The 30 Day Challenge Explanation and Description
Day 1: Introduce, recent picture of yourself, 15 interesting facts
Day 2: Meaning behind your blog name
Day 3: Your first love
Day 4: Your parents
Day 5: A song to match your mood
Day 6: A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 7: Favorite movies
Day 8: A place you've traveled to
Day 9: A favorite picture of your best friend
Day 10: Something you're afraid of
Day 11: Favorite tv shows
Day 12: Something you don't leave the house without
Day 13: Goals
Day 14: A picture of you last year - how have you changed?
Day 15: Bible verse
Day 16: Dream house
Day 17: Something you're looking forward to
Day 18: Favorite Place to Eat
Day 19: Something you miss
Day 20: Nicknames
Day 21: Favorite Picture of yourself ALL TIME Why?
Day 22: What's in your purse?
Day 23: Favorite Movie
Day 24: Something you've learned
Day 25: Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 26: Your Dream Wedding
Day 27: Original Photo of the city you live in
Day 28: Something that stresses you out
Day 29: 3 Wishes
Day 30: a picture of yourself this day and 5 good things that happened since you started the challenge

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Jason's school has something called Circus of the Kids.  They put on a circus, and it's supposed to be AMAZING!!!  He has decided to do it this year.  He is doing the skating.  If you click on the following link, it will show you one of the previous circuses that this company did.  The skaters come on about 30-60 seconds in.  I can't wait to see the performance.  I will tape one of the dress rehearsals and let you actually see HIM, but in the meantime, this is what he will be doing.  

He's really really excited about it.  But it'll be A LOT of hard work.  He practices 1-2 hours EVERY SINGLE day, except Sundays, between now and Performance time.  On Saturday and Performance Days they practice about 4 hours a day.  Luckily it's only 2 1/2 weeks, but I'm sure he'll be EXHAUSTED by the time it's over.  But, like I said, he's excited about it, so I'm really happy for him.  And I can't wait to see my baby boy "perform!"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I told you one of my goals is to lose weight.  I haven't updated lately on all my goals, so I'll have to do that soon.  I've decided to only do it once or twice a month, so I'll get around to it.  Eventually.  ;)

Anyway, back to the other goal.  I've still only lost 11 lbs.  I'm stuck.  And getting VERY frustrated.  At what point do I say, I'm not going to look like Jennifer Aniston, so why bother?  At what point do I say, if you don't like me simply because of how I look, then that's YOUR problem, not mine?  At what point do I say, I'm in a crappy mood all of the time worrying about it, so why do I keep bothering?  At what point do I say, as long as I start making better choices about the things I eat MOST of the time, then what's wrong with not looking like a super model? 

I GET that it's unhealthy.  I understand that.  But honestly, I can't remember when I WASN'T overweight.  And no, I'm not happy about it, but maybe there's worse things I could be?  I'm not a drug addict.  I don't beat my kids.  I'm not a thief.  Does being overweight make me a bad person?  I don't think so, but I think other people do.  I think a lot of people don't take the time to get to really know me because I don't fit the "ideal" of what I should be.   I never have been.  But that doesn't make me a bad person.  I LOVE my kids.  I LOVE my husband.  I LOVE my family and friends.  Shouldn't I be judged on THOSE things instead of how I look?  

I've spent most of my kids lives telling them not to judge people by the way they look.  There is no black and white.  There is no rich and poor.  There is no smart and dumb.  People are PEOPLE.  First and foremost.  Get to know them, before you decide whether or not you want to be friends with them.  Don't judge them on the way they look.  Judge them on who they ARE.  And I think they're pretty good about following that.  So if my kids can see past the way people look, then why can't adults?  Aren't WE supposed to be setting good examples for our children?  For the future generation?  Aren't WE supposed to be teaching them how to grow up to be respectful and trustworthy?  How can we expect THEM to do those things, when we don't do them ourselves?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jessie's Girl Part 2


I HATE cleaning house.  WITH A PASSION.  I think part of it is because it never stays that way.  As much as I HATE cutting grass, at least IF I cut grass, I can pull into the drive every day and see that it's been cut.  The house never seems to stay that way.  And then I get frustrated, and I stop wanting to do it.

Today I started a chore list for the kids.  I've started it many times, but I never follow through, so hopefully I'll be able to stay on top of them this time.  My kids are 11, 9 and 3 1/2.  I know that they shouldn't have the same types of jobs, but I do think they should have jobs.  Do you agree or disagree?  If so, please tell me why.  I keep going back and forth with whether or not this is the right thing to do, so any advice will be greatly appreciated.  Another problem I have is, how much is too much or too little?  Is there any such thing?  Should my 3 YO have jobs also?  If so, what kinds of things should I give her to do?  These are their job lists so far.  I'd really appreciate any input you might have.  Thanks!


We started a monthly Game Night in our neighborhood.  Actually, it's only 4 families, but we have a lot of fun.  We've only had it twice so far.  Last night was night number 2.  We rotate houses and it's always the 3rd Friday of the month.  That makes it easy because we know when we're planning other things, NOT to plan them on the 3rd Friday of the month.  We actually end up talking and laughing more than playing, but it's really just about getting out and being with other people and hanging out.  So that's what we do.  I think last night our game lasted about 30 minutes, and we were together for 5 hours.  So you can see how much we really PLAY when we're together!  The game was fun though, so if you're looking for a game to play, you might want to check it out.  It's called "What's Yours Like?"

Friday, February 18, 2011



My parents keep the kids for us every week for one night.  Sometimes we have "date night" when they are gone.  Last night was one of those nights.  We went to dinner at Panera Bread - yeah we're big spenders! - and then we went to see "Just Go With It" starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.  If you haven't seen it, it's pretty cute.  Adam Sandler plays a Plastic Surgeon who wears a wedding ring to "get" girls, but doesn't want to be tied down, so the wedding ring, and his "pretend" marriage, keeps that from happening.  Jennifer Aniston plays his always there to listen assistant.  Finally he meets a girl he really likes, and now he has to have an EX wife, in order to be with her.  Oh, and of course fake kids.  Yes, I'm sure you know where this is going.  Jennifer and her kids are his kids and soon to be ex wife.  Yes, it was predictable.  Yes, you know the ending.  But it was a lot of fun getting there.  At least for me.  We laughed through the whole thing.  It was really funny.  I totally suggest checking it out if you're looking for something fun to watch.  Just don't blame me if you don't like it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I went to my parent's church this past weekend.  A good friend of the family came into the church on Sunday, so I went to share in the ceremony.  During the service the priest gave a homily that really hit home with me.  I've told you before that I don't go to church very often anymore.  One reason is because I go to church and I spend the time thinking about all of the other things that I need to do during the day or the week.  Or I spend the whole time with Sarah climbing all over me or refereeing the boys.  But this time I went by myself, and I vowed to not let my mind wander because I wanted to BE there for this friend of ours.  

Anyway, Father's homily was on Choices.  And it really sank in.  You know how sometimes you hear things that might not have hit you yesterday, but today they do?  Well that's what this was.  So much of what he said made sense.  We make choices EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  And we have to live with those choices, whatever they may be.  We choose to get married, or not, and we choose the person we marry.  Most of us, choose to have kids.  We don't get to choose whether we'll have a boy or a girl, but we get to choose to have a child.  We choose what we want to study in college; what career path we take; where we go to school; where we go to church; IF we go to church.  They're all choices that we make.  And because we make those choices we also have to live with the consequences and rewards of those choices.  

I CHOSE to study Psychology in college.  My original intent was to be a social worker or a psychologist.  But then I found out that my life is too "normal".  I couldn't handle the stress and emotions of everything that goes with that choice.  So I CHOSE not to go that route.  And now I have a useless degree!  Actually, I pretty much use it everyday in my job and my family, but I just don't get PAID to use it.   But again, that's a CHOICE that I made.  And I'm okay with that choice.  I'm not sure I would have been a good social worker or psychologist anyway.  But do I question that decision?  Sure, pretty much every day.  But again, it's a choice I made, and I have to live with the consequences of that choice.  

We choose the friends we keep.  We meet a lot of people in our lives.  But we CHOOSE the ones that we call friends.  They're special to us.  It doesn't mean they're any better than the person sitting next to them, it just means they're the better choice for us.  Whether it's because they are like us, or different from us, or they make us laugh, or we just "connect" with them.  We choose them as our friends.  And that's a choice we make.  But it's OUR choice to make.  

I get to choose the choices I make for my kids.  My husband and I do.  You may not agree with those choices, but they're not YOUR choices to make.  They're ours.  Yes, you may have done things differently, but that doesn't mean that we're doing anything wrong.  It's just different.  If you put 10 different people together, you're going to have 10 different ideas on the best way to raise kids.  It doesn't mean any of them are right or wrong, they're just right or wrong for US. 

Sometimes I question the choices I've made in my life, and I wonder if my life would have been different if I'd made different choices so many years ago.  And maybe it would be.  But then I wouldn't have a husband who I love dearly one minute and want to ring his neck the next!  ;)  I wouldn't have 3 BEAUTIFUL children that I see blossoming each and every day into amazing little people.  I wouldn't have the friends that make me feel like maybe, just maybe, I AM a good person.    

Choices.  They're a part of our every day life.  And I'm glad I CHOSE to go to church that day, because it was a good choice.  For me. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about what I wrote yesterday.  Of all the things I've written in the past year and a half, that one hit home for me the most.  I think because I didn't worry about what other people would think about it.  Or worry that someone that knows me would read it and see a side of me that they hadn't seen before.  Or worry that I was saying something that would upset other people.  I just wrote what was in my heart.  I wrote my true feelings.  And I wrote about something that I've been thinking about for a long time.  NOT just since November, when I first read Cops Wife's post.  It's something that I've struggled with for a very long time.  And reading that post from Cops Wife made me realize how important that subject is to me. 

You see, I've pretty much been in the "outcrowd" my whole life.  I'm not skinny, or pretty or popular or smart or an athlete.  I'm just me.  And I've spent my whole life worrying about what other people think of me, and wanting to please everyone because I want them to like me.  But guess what?  That doesn't always work.  I've tried SO hard with some people, people that SHOULD like me, or at least PRETEND to like me, but they don't.  And I don't know why.  I've tried figuring it out.  I've tried analyzing everything I've said and done around them, and I honestly don't know what it is that they don't like about me.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying everyone likes me.  Because that's pretty much far from the truth.  But for the most part, I can get along with just about anybody.  (Except maybe my hubby and my kids on any given day! ;) )  

BUT, I can pretty much get along with most people because I don't make waves.  I don't instigate.  I don't talk politics or religion.  I don't always tell my true feelings.  And I'm okay with that.  I have a few select friends that I can be honest with.  And I know they will love me, for ME.  I don't have a lot of "friends".  I never have.  And that used to bother me.  I'd look around and see these people that have hundreds of friends, and I'd think, why can't I be like that?  Why can't I be someone that everyone "flocks" to?  But then I realized, they don't really have "friends."  They have acquaintances.  I have a lot of those too.   That doesn't make them anymore special than me just because they have more acquaintances than I do. 

Yeah, I may only have a few friends, but I know those friends will be there for me when I need them.  I know they love me for the person that I am.  I'm never going to look like Sandra Bullock.  It's not going to happen.  I look more like Roseanne Barr.  But they've chosen to look past my "looks" to see the person that I am inside.  And while I may not be the greatest person in the world, far from it, there are a lot of people I've met in my life that never got the opportunity to know ME, because they couldn't get past the outside.  They couldn't get past the fact that I'm not good at sports, or a brain, or pretty, or skinny.
THAT'S why Cops Wife's post was so important to me.  Because even as adults, ABC were still acting like children.  But you know what?  They're not the only ones.  People do it all the time.  ADULTS do it all the time.  How can we teach our kids to be more accepting of people, when they look at us and see that we aren't doing the same thing?  How can we expect them to be better people?  They're just following our example.  I TRY to teach my kids not to judge people.  Their Mom is fat.  Guess what?  It's a fact of life.  Do I WISH I wasn't?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  IS THE POPE CATHOLIC?  Of course I wish I wasn't.  But I am.  I have been for as long as I can remember.  But guess what?  They still love me.  And I think because they love me, they are more accepting of people that are overweight.  They have 2 cousins that are handicapped.  Jason is almost 12.  Do you know less than 1 year ago he said, "____ is handicapped?"  It never even registered with him.  Because he's been around him his whole life.  He just knows him as his cousin.  I WANT my kids to be a little naive.  I want them to be accepting of people that aren't like them.  I want them to embrace the differences in people.  I want them to look inside of someone before they decide whether or not they want to be friends with them.  

Yeah, I'm not the best parent in the world.  But I do my best to teach my kids to accept other people.  I do my best to teach them that everyone is different.  And I do my best to teach them that there's more to a person than just what you see on the outside.  And I hope and pray, that by teaching them these things, that they WON'T become the bullies on the playground. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Have you guys heard of Cop's Wife?  If not, you need to check her out.  At times she's funny.  Other times she's heartbreaking.  But she's always inspiring.  If you have been reading her, then you know where this is going.  If not,  then you need to check her out.  I promise you won't be disappointed.  

Anyway, back in November she wrote a post that went VIRAL.  That's how I discovered her.  You can read that post HERE.  I STRONGLY recommend reading it.  I promise you won't be disappointed.  That was back in November.  Since then, she's received a lot of positive feedback, (THANKFULLY), but she's also received some negative feedback from basically the last place it should have come from.  You can read that post HERE.

Now for MY thoughts on the subject.  When I read the first post, I couldn't believe that ADULTS were saying those things.  ADULTS.  In front of a child.  A CHILD.  Let's be clear here people.  Boo is 5 years old.  FIVE YEARS OLD.  SERIOUSLY?  I'm a girl.  And I have a brother that is 1 year and 10 days younger than me. Do you know how many times I played cars with him on the fireplace fan pretending like it was a car ramp?  Or how many times he played school or dolls with me?  We were CHILDREN.  Did my parents freak out that he was playing dolls or school?  Or that I was playing cars?  NO.  Because we were CHILDREN.  You get the point, right?  

I have 3 children.  Jason is almost 12.  Andrew is 9 and Sarah Beth is 3 1/2.  My boys like boy things.  They like Ben 10, Backugan, Star Wars.  Sarah, being the youngest of the 3, she plays with her dolls and her strollers, but she's just as likely to be playing Ben 10 or Star Wars with her brothers.  And from the time Andrew was about 2 years old, he's LOVED cooking, cooking shows, and anything about cooking.  We bought him a kitchen when he was 3.  (Actually my parents bought it for him for Christmas).  And he LOVED that kitchen.  But he was a boy.  He wasn't SUPPOSED to have a kitchen, right?  My guess is that if ABC had seen that he had a kitchen, they would have made sure that I knew that it wasn't "right".  Really?  Who are YOU to tell me what's right or wrong for my children?  The only 2 people that get to decide those things are me and their father.  They are OUR children.  Not yours.  And if you have a problem with him having a kitchen, oh well.  For all you know he could be the next Emeril.  I bet you won't be making fun of him then, will you?!

If you know me well, you know that "bullying" is my hot button.  And that's EXACTLY what those women were doing.  They were BULLYING Cop's Wife and Boo.  How sad is that?  You are a GROWN woman and bullying a child makes you feel better?  What does that say about the type of person that you are?  Am I being judgmental?  You bet I am.  You know the difference between you and I?  You actually DID something to cause that judgment.  I didn't just look at you and decide that you were not a person I want around me or my kids.  I heard  about the things you said.  And you don't deserve to be around my kids.  Sure you go to church and you send your kids to a church school and I don't.  But that doesn't make you better than me.  You're an example of one of the people I am talking about HERE that probably wouldn't like me because I don't go to Church regularly.  But YOU'RE one of the people that I DON'T want around my kids even though you go to church on Sundays, and I don't. 

And then I read the 2nd post, and I was even MORE disappointed.  Yes, I know not all churches are like that.  I get that.  But her church is.  The same church that she volunteers at, PAYS to send her kids to, attends services every Sunday.  The same church that is supposed to be her religious family.  The same church that wants things from her, but can't support her during this time.  The same church that NOT ONE TIME asked how Boo was doing.  That's NOT the type of church she, or anyone else for that matter, belongs in.  

I have so many thoughts about this topic going through my head, and I don't even know what to say or how to say it.  You see, there are bullies everywhere.  Most people think of bullies as the kid that beats you up on the playground or takes your lunch money.  But they're not the only ones.  What about the ones that say you can't be my friend because you're too poor, or too fat, or too dumb, or not a cheerleader, or not an athlete?  They're still bullies.  Make no mistake:  Anyone that puts someone else down to make themselves feel better, is still a bully, whether they hit you, or steal from you or call you names.  They're still a bully.  And it's bad enough when they're kids or teenagers.  But when you're an adult and you're still doing it?  What does that say about you?  Do you know what it tells me?  It tells me that the only way you can feel good about yourself is by making others feel bad.  It tells me that you are insecure.  And childish.  And anything BUT a Christian. And MOST DEFINITELY a BULLY! 

I have a lot more to say, but I think you get the picture, so I'll shut up now.  Thanks for listening.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I haven't been able to take pictures because my camera died.  I'm tired of buying expensive, (expensive for ME anyway), cameras and having them die within a year.  The one I just bought today is a Kodak and it was under $90, shipping, batteries and battery charger, and SD card included.  Plus it's 14MP.  I figure if they're going to die every year anyway, then I might as well just get a cheap one.  So that's what I did.  

I needed a new camera because I plan on getting A TON of new listings, and of course I need to be able to take pictures of them with something other than my video camera or my cell phone!  My video camera takes good movies, but the pictures are pretty grainy.  I figure with this having 14MP it should be a lot better.  Plus, like I said, if it's going to die anyway, then I might as well not spend a lot on it. 

Once it comes in I'll start taking some pictures of the kids and posting them on here.  They're getting so big.  I can't believe Jason will be 12 this summer.  How'd that happen?!

Anyway, I hope my new camera is a good one.  It had pretty good reviews on, so that's a good sign. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I did make a FEW of my goals this week, so I guess that's better than last week!

TO LOSE WEIGHT: I told you I gained 1 lb last week.  THIS week I LOST 1 1/2 lbs, so now I'm down 11 1/2 total.  I sure wish the next 11 lbs would come off as fast as the first 11!  :(  Oh well.  I only exercised once this week, so I need to up that for next week.  Of course, that's what I said LAST week!  But I did have a MAJOR migraine last week.  For 5 days.  It pretty much sucked.  I know that's not a real excuse, but it's the only one I have today!  Also, I didn't drink my water.  So I need to do that as well.  So far, I'm not doing too hot in sticking to this goal.  I need to get much better.

TO BE MORE ORGANIZED:  I've still been using my calendar, but I'm not NEAR as organized with things as I should be.  If I had my Semonin and Thirty-One stuff more organized, it would be easier to keep up with things.  I've started organizing my stuff, and I plan on finishing up the organizing this week.  I don't think I'll EVER be organized around the house, but oh well.  Baby steps, Michelle.  Baby steps!

TO WRITE MORE:  This is my 4th post for this week, so that's good.  My goal for next week is 4 posts as well.  I think that's a good number.  That's about every other day.  Some people I know write every single day, but I don't think I'm there yet.  So I'll stick with 4 posts a week for awhile.  I made it this week.  Let's see if I can do it 2 weeks in a row!

TO DO BETTER IN MY BUSINESS:  Real Estate:  I told you last week that I signed up for 4 Service Desk time slots for the month of February.  I have 2 of those this week.  One tomorrow, and one on Wednesday.  I also have my "goal" meeting with my Broker on Friday.  I'll let you know what happens next week. I also told you I ordered some pens.  I'm REALLY glad I asked to see a proof, because they put the wrong logo on there!  They had the 31 logo on both sets of pens.  The 2nd proof they sent me was right, so they should be shipped this week or next week.  I expect they will come later than the 31 pens since they took longer to get right, but I could be wrong.  I'll let you know when they get here.  And I'll be passing them out everywhere I go!

Thirty-One:  I told you the pens haven't come in yet, but I'm hoping they'll be here this week.  I am also going to do a giveaway on a site that promotes WAHM.  I'm actually doing 2 different things.  One is a lifetime "membership" promotion for $5.  The other is a giveaway.  I agree to give away an item, and then she promotes it on about 20-25 sites that she owns or works on.  Not a bad deal.  So I am going to work on that this week to get that started.  I also ordered a few other things off VistaPrint.  Gotta LOVE VistaPrint.  If you're not familiar with it, you should check it out.  You can get some pretty good deals on promotional items there.  I ordered my old business cards, which I didn't like, and my NEW business cards, which I LOVE.  Anyone that knows me well knows that Butterflies are my "thing."  So I decided to go with a butterfly "theme."  Let me know what you think.  
This is the front: 
 And this is the back:
I REALLY like them!  I also ordered some postcards, notepads, thank you cards, and a few other things that were either FREE (my favorite word), or on special.  And they've all got the same "theme", which is kind of cool.

Well, I guess that's it for this week.  I'll update you again next week.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


This week is Chinese New Year.  It is the year of the Rabbit.  This is Jason's year.  I wish it could have been last year while we were there.  But that's okay.   

People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog. 

That's actually a pretty good description of Jason.  He's very articulate.  He's also very talented, especially at drawing and creating things.  (Of course I could just be a little partial)!  ;)

Anyway, I thought I would post some pictures from LAST year's Chinese New Year, so you can see what we saw while we were there.  Last year was the year of the Tiger.
 There were fireworks right outside of our building.  I did my best to take pictures, but as you can tell, they didn't exactly turn out great.  It was much prettier in person, but at least you can get an idea of what we saw.
 I LOVE fireworks.  They were so pretty.
 There were so many that it started getting really cloudy, really fast!
This is just a small portion of the debris that was on the ground after everything was done.  But it was all picked up and cleaned by the next morning!
 Jason was the only one of the kids that stayed outside the whole time.  It was too loud for Sarah and Andrew so they went back inside after a short time.  Plus, as you can tell, it was VERY cold.
 More Fireworks in the sky.
 They were so pretty.  I wish the pictures had turned out better.
 This one's not too bad.  It's a little cloudy, but that's because it was so cloudy outside from all of them being set off.
Look at all the clouds of smoke!

I have a lot more pictures, but those are the best ones.  Chinese New Year is pretty cool.  The kids are out of school for the week.  All of the businesses close.  Jack, Ryan's grandfather came last year during Chinese New Year.  We thought that was a good time for him to come because the kids would be out of school and Ryan would be off work.  It was REALLY cold, but I'm still glad he came during that time because he was able to spend more time with Ryan and the kids, and not just me and Sarah!  I think he had a good time.  I know we did.
This was taken at YuYuan.  It's a famous place in Shanghai.  I think I've posted pictures and told you about it before.  There is a very famous Tea House there.  It was very pretty, but VERY cold.  I don't think Jack enjoyed it as much as he could have because it was so cold.
 Again, this was taken at YuYuan.  The architecture on the buildings is absolutely AMAZING!
 The Pearl Tower.  It's one of the famous places in Shanghai's Financial District.
 The mall.  Look at all the people.  It's crazy the number of people in Shanghai.  There are approximately 20 million people that live there.  How crazy is that?!
 One of our favorite places to eat was Little Sheep for Hot Pot.  I think Jack really enjoyed it.  It's very tasty.  Plus, we had our own little room so it was a little bit nicer.  That's Jack and I waiting for our food.  Now you see why I HATE having my picture taken, and I'm usually the one BEHIND the camera!
 That's Ryan holding up the meat before we put it in the pot.  It's lamb.  And it takes about 2-3 minutes for it to cook because the soup is so hot.
 Yes, we did have a Hooter's in Shanghai.  The Hooter's Girls LOVED Jack!
And of course they LOVED Sarah too!
We took Jack to the World Financial Tower which is the tallest building in Shanghai, and the 3rd or 4th tallest building in the world.  It was too high up for him.  He didn't want to stay that long.  This is him and Ryan standing in front of the window.  The view from up there is AMAZING!
He took this from our apartment.  This is the back of the apartment.  We lived on the 22nd floor, so we were able to see a lot of things.
One of the kids' favorite places, especially Sarah, was the Wild Animal Park.  We took this on the way out.  They just had this black bear standing there taking pictures with people.  It was pretty cool, and something you'd NEVER see here!
A few days before he left I took him shopping at the Underground.  That's the famous place to shop.  You have to bargain for everything.  It's a little overwhelming at times, but it can also be fun to feel like you got a "deal."

I think Jack enjoyed his visit with us during last year's Chinese New Year.  I know WE enjoyed it.  I wasn't ready for him to leave, but after spending 2 weeks with 5 people when you're used to living by yourself, I'm sure he was MORE than ready!


A couple of weeks ago I entered into a contest where you had to describe "A Beautiful Moment."  I described the fear/joy of discovering that I was pregnant with Sarah Beth.  Imagine my surprise to discover that I won 3rd place.  WooHoo.  Go me!  ;)

You can read about it HERE.  Be sure to check out the 1st and 2nd place winners as well.  You can tell why they won; they're very good writers.  And make sure you check out the rest of the site.  I promise you won't be disappointed.  But make sure you come back here and let me know what you think of my story. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


If you're familiar with migraines, I'm sorry.  I've had them my whole life.  My mom said I was about 3 when I first came to her and told her I had a headache.  When I was little I used to describe them as feeling like I had a pencil running through my head.  That's actually a pretty good description of how they feel most of the time. 

But the last few days I've felt like I have THIS

wrapped around THIS

And I've looked/felt like THIS

So you might want to stay out of my way.

About 6ish years ago they started getting really bad.  I went to my family doctor, 2 neurologists, and an allergist.  None of them could help me.  I had 2 CT Scans, 2 MRI's and I don't even know what other kinds of tests.  They couldn't find the cause of the problem.  The only thing they COULD tell me is that I've had them for so long, and they've been so intense, that they've caused scar tissue on the left side of my brain.  Nice huh?!  Anyway, after years of being on lots of different medicines, I just decided it wasn't worth taking them if they weren't going to work, so I stopped taking them all and stopped going to the doctors. 

I eventually went to a chiropractor, because I was all out of options.  FINALLY I started seeing some relief.  Thank You Dr. Troy!  I kept going to him until we moved to China in 2009.  But then we moved.  And I stopped going.  And of course they came back. But we were in China, and I didn't trust anyone there.  And then by the time we got back he had left the practice he was at in order to start his own practice.  And it's not going to open until March.

In 35+ years of migraines, I've NEVER gotten sick from them.  NEVER.  Until yesterday.  Yesterday I did.  And it was VERY scary.  What was also scary is that it's very different from what I'm used to.  If you get migraines, you know what they're like.  Yes, they're very intense.  But they're usually the same all the time.  In the same place, or around the same place.  This one isn't.  And that's scary.  And usually when they're really intense I can take some medicine and it takes the edge off.  But not yesterday.  So that's why I knew I needed to call and beg for mercy!  When I walked in he asked me how I felt and I told him my TEETH hurt.  That's how bad it was.   So he gave me an adjustment.  He said I have some pretty big knots on my right side.  My teeth don't hurt anymore, but I've been dizzy all day.  (More dizzy than normal).  But hopefully after a few adjustments they'll go away again.

In the meantime, if you see me and I look like THIS

Please don't take it personally, and please don't hold it against me!