Feb 22, 2011


Me, The Man of the House, #1 and  #3 took a little trip.
We went to Orlando on Friday and touched back down in Raleigh last night... well, some of us did
#1 was able to get away from school, but had to fly back by herself on Sunday evening.
#3 and I came back last night.
We left you know who there to attend a conference and work.

We tried to count up how many times we have been to Disney World. Somehow we came up with the number eight (with kids). We usually go every couple of years because of a meeting or conference that Art has. 
This time was no different. 

We did go a few days earlier than we needed to because the girls wanted to go to 
Harry Potter World at Universal Studios.
We have been to Universal Studios before, but have never stayed there. 

I fell in love with the Portofino resort. It was beautiful!
If you squinted and held your mouth just right, you could ALMOST pretend that you were really in Portofino, Italy.



Do you see much difference in the quality of the two pictures?

There was a cute little bakery where we got coffee and pastries in the morning.
( I want a room in my house that looks and smells just like this.)

We had dinner on a balcony overlooking the square. There were italian singers and musicians that would come out on the balconies behind us and sing and play during the night. 

#1 and #3 were so giddy about going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I forgot just how important HP was to them and that #1 especially grew up waiting for each of the books to come out and then would stay up all night reading them, even the one with over 700 pages.

The bad thing about Harry Potter World is this:

once you are in Universal Studio's Islands of Adventures  
you have to make your way all the way back to HPW and then once you are there,
 you wait in a line to get a ticket stating the time you can actually enter the HPW.
We had a three hour wait.
That was not a  big deal to us because we were hungry and literally had gone straight to the Harry Potter area when we got there, so that gave us some time to wander around and actually sit down 
to a decent lunch.
(FYI: I had fish tacos.)

the main entrance

on our way to Hogwarts 

there is an awesome 3D ride inside 


the Butterbeer stand

Barrett with her Butterbeer and look what her dad is doing... as usual!

So after this adventurous day we relocated to Disney property
and to the fabulous 
Waldorf Astoria.

our view...

silk robes and slippers for everyone

in the lobby
(taken with my iphone)

I am so sad that it is not as wonderful in the pictures!

The colors (peacock blue, green, silver, cream and taupe) were beautiful.
Unfortunately I do not think it shows up here.

We are pros at catching the buses, monorails and boats and buzzing through the four different parks, going straight to what we want to do
or getting fastpasses and then slowing down to enjoy it all. 

It was so nice to see flowers of every color this time of year.
I took so many pictures of the flowerpots and hanging baskets so that I can copy them in a few months. 

After doing that on Saturday, we enjoyed a day by the pool on Sunday.

Now that we are home, I have been freezing the entire day. 
I am so ready for warm weather!

Feb 13, 2011



Sometimes it is the little things in life that bring us the most joy.

Here are some of the little things that bring me joy and that I love:

bubble baths with friends...

or alone



smiley faces

front porches

good daddies

being able to watch the home team win...

and celebrating

drizzle castles

a good nap

family recipes

puppy kisses

the smell of rain

making new friends

snow days

school spirit

big bites

sidewalk chalk

sister pictures


 a good long pedicure

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day! 

Feb 8, 2011

365 DAYS

My mom passed away one year ago today.
 I cannot believe that it has been that long and then again it seems like forever ago. 
I am choosing to celebrate today.
My mom turns one today in "forever years". 

On Sunday we (along with my brother's family) went to my hometown and went to church with my dad and then out to eat.
We placed the flowers in the church in honor of my mother.
It was so nice to have all of her friends come up to hug me and express how much they miss her.

I am glad to get the year behind me. 
It was an entire year of "firsts". 
It was a year of not being sure exactly what to do on those days. 
It was a year of feeling guilty if I didn't do anything on those days. 

Not having my mom has been hard.
I thought that the holidays were going to be awful, but honestly they were not.
The hardest times were the regular days. 
I cannot tell you how many times I, out of habit, looked for her while shopping at the mall.
We always went there every time she came to visit. 
I cannot tell you how many times I reached for the phone to call and just say hi or ask her a question. 

I can remember two of my hardest days:

One day was when I did not think about her the moment I woke up.
I didn't think about her until late in the morning and that crushed me. 
I felt she was slipping away, not on my mind, and that scared me. 
I didn't want to move on and her to become a memory.
I wanted her to remain a part of my life. 

The other hard moment was back during the summer.
It was after I had gone to pack up my mother's clothing and I brought them to my house in plastic bags.
We stacked up the bags in our garage until we took them to the battered women's shelter the next week.
That evening I went for a walk and when I came back I rounded the corner and was hit in the heart at the sight of my mother's things. 
I was so saddened that my mom's life was deduced to being stacked in the garage in garbage bags. 
At the moment, I felt that was all I had left of her. 

It is the little things I do not want to forget:

how soft her cheek was when I kissed her hello and good-bye,
 the pink frosty nail color she always wore,

 the sound of her clearing her throat every time she answered the phone, the way she pronounced "Italian" and couldn't say "oxygen", the way she folded my towels wrong, the sound of her digging through her purse, the way she pushed her food around on her plate and how slowly she ate, the way she said "hmmm",  her finger over her lip, the fact she didn't wear enough mascara, her back seat driving, how she always had a tissue in her pocket, her potato salad, the sound of her walking up the stairs, her toes, the methodical way she signed her name, the way she could never master a camera, her quiet laugh,  the way she unwrapped a piece of chewing gum and how the way she chewed gum drove me crazy, how still she sat in church, her bad dream she repetitively had, her bug mole... and many many more

I often think about how it would be if we could get letters from heaven, even just one a year.... or even just one. How great would that be? I heard somewhere just a few weeks ago that every time we think of our loved ones that have passed way, at that exact very moment, they are thinking of us too. 
She thinks about me a lot. 

Feb 7, 2011


I do believe I have gotten myself into some trouble.

We ordered three iphones through Verizon as soon as we could last week.
Three of them came today. 

The Man of the House did not splain it to me like he should have.
He said, "All you have to do to activate your phone is plug it into your computer." 
I did not know that it was important to only plug MY phone into my computer.

I was just curious and  so I grabbed one of the phones from the box
hooked it up to my laptop and clicked a few times when it told me to 
just like that, #2's Blackberry died....
all the way over there on her college campus. 

Why did The Man of the House find it necessary to call me asking all of those technical questions like,
"What did you do??!!"

#2 does not have a working phone right now.
She cannot call or text ANYBODY.
She has to come home.

I think my hole just got a little deeper because I may have erased all of her contacts, pictures and entire life off of her Blackberry account. 

Feb 1, 2011


Usually three o'clock is naptime around this house. The house becomes mysteriously quiet and still. There is no barking, bell ringing, toys squeaking or claw sharpening going on. Today I found the crew having their siesta in my room...in my chair...snug as a bug in a rug.

And this is where and how they stayed ALL afternoon.