Thursday, December 27, 2012

Project 366: Week 41

281 marathon

281|366 - Oct 7, 2012 -- max and his dad ran the Lakefront Marathon

282 door installed

282|366 - Oct 8, 2102 -- door installed!


286|366 - Oct 12, 2012 - isn't this what cupholders are for?

287 swimming

287|366 - Oct 13, 2012 -- max at swimming lessons

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Project 366: Week 40

275 lil tux

275|366 - Oct 1, 2012 -- little Max trying on his tux for the wedding

276 new door

276|366 - Oct 2, 2012 -- our new door arrived!

279 sleepover

279|366 - Oct 5, 2012 girls' sleepover before the wedding...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Project 366: Week 39

268 bonobos

268|366 - Sept 24, 2012 - visiting the bonobos in their outdoor enclosure

269 donut

269|366 - Sept 25, 2012 -- I'll take a chocolate chocolate chip with chocolate frosting please.

270 silly hat

270|366 - Sept 26, 2012 -- it lights up too. Crazy!

271 bouncy

271|366 - Sept 27, 2012 - this huge bouncy pillow kept the kids occupied for most of the trip

272 camping

272|366 - Sept 28, 2012 - camping with our friends is fun!

273 baby possum

273|366 - Sept 29, 2012 -- look who we found snooping around?

274 spooky bushes

274|366 - Sept 30, 2012 -- getting the house 'spookified'

Project 366: Week 38

260 boat ride 

260|366 - Sept 16, 2012 - boat ride/tour in Lake Michigan with Amanda and Steve

261 froggy

261|366 - Sept 17, 2012 - impromptu rain dance in the driveway

261 rain fun

261|366 - Sept 17, 2012 - impromptu rain dance in the driveway

262 make shift swim suit

262|366 - Sept 18, 2012 -- if you don't have a swim suit, underwear makes a good substitute!

263 silly sam

263|366 - Sept 19, 2012 -- silly sam

264 smiles

264|366 - Sept 20, 2012 - sweet smiles

265 rainbow

265|366 - Sept 21, 2012 - finding our pot of gold

266 bachelorette party

266|366 - Sept 22, 2012 - celebrating my BFF's bachelorette party

267 panorama

267|366 - Sept 23, 2012 -- playing around with the panorama setting on my phone

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Project 366: Week 37

253 BOB run

 253 | 366 - Sept 9, 2012 -- Inaugural run with both the boys in the double BOB

  254 mini dash

 254 | 366 - Sept 10, 2012 -- Sam had to try on the costume as soon as we got home.

255|366 - Sept 11, 2012 - Sam chilling in the long grass at Granna and Grumps

256|366 - Sept 12, 2012 -- Sam snuggling on a little baby -- he loves babies.

257|366 - Sept 13, 2012 -- going cross-eyed in the car

258|366 - Sept 14, 2012 - working hard at Auntie Laura's desk

259|366 - Sept 15, 2012 - heading to Al's run with Laura

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Grief

This weekend I just couldn't shake the thought of the tragedy that happened in Newtown, CT on Friday.  It left me, like most other mothers and human beings, reeling.  I am still mourning the victims I didn't know.  I can't bring myself to look at their pictures or read their names.  I can't believe that someone could kill innocent and helpless little angels.

In the face of a tragedy such as this one, it feels like there is little that you can do for others.  I have been praying for the families touched by this terrible act. It is the least I can do in this situation. Perhaps the events touch me more deeply because our oldest, Max, is a 5-year old....and I can't help but imagine the unimaginable and think about how I would feel if he was ripped from our lives in an instant...

I've faced tragedy and sorrow and grief before.  It still aches inside of me on a daily basis.  I've learned through experience that grief and pain and sorrow never go away.  They never lessen in intensity.  You just learn to cope with those feelings and live with them on a daily basis.  It was a lesson that took a long time to learn; one that I am still learning.

The events on Friday still seem completely unconscionable to me.  It feels like we live in a world full of evil and darkness and it is hard to imagine that there is light on the other side. I'm sure we've all experienced heartache and pain on some level....I'm sure that every one of you that reads this blog could share a story of our deep loss and pain.

Everyone deals with grief and sorrow differently.  For me, I have spent this past weekend in silent reflection, prayer, and holding and squeezing my babies a little bit tighter...overlooking the crumbs on the floor, the underwear strewn all over the bedroom, the water spilling out of the bathtub from overzealous 'scrubbing'.  In these moments of sorrow and sadness, it is all I know how to do.

This weekend, I prayed for the marriages of the parents who lost a loved one.  I watched my parents through the loss of my brother and I know that grief has a way of wedging itself between two people and tearing them apart; and that it takes strength, courage and faith to work through your pain and suffering.  I prayed for the community of Newtown who need to come together in this time of loss to comfort, console and rebuild from this tragedy.  I prayed for the Lanza family because the grief and guilt they are feeling now must feel like the burden of the world on their shoulders -- to know that someone they loved was capable of such a horrible, unconscionable act must be agonizing. I have prayed for each one of those angels -- that God, in a way that only He can, has comforted and enveloped each one of those souls in white light.  I prayed that their pain was short and that they saw the face of God before they felt the fear in their hearts.  

My husband and I clung to each other Friday night as we let waves of emotion wash over us in light of the events.  I snuck plenty of extra hugs and snuggles in each day with all of my babies -- big and small.  I peeked at the boys asleep in their beds more times than I needed to on the video monitor each night. I crept into their rooms long after they were asleep to sniff their heads before retiring to my own bed...

I pray that everyone grieving this tragedy finds their way to deal with this and to find comfort in this time of sorrow.  May God bless our nation as we grieve this tragedy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 30

I am thankful for frosting faced little ones who aren't afraid to ask for what they want (even in little voices).

This morning, Sam and I went to have 'coffee' together.  I asked him what he wanted and he responded "a muffin like a cupcake with frosting".  When he saw this one in the case, it was over for him.  I asked him to order it for himself, and in his little voice he asks "can I peas have the frosting muffin with the orange carrot?" Melts my heart.....

And, for the record, he is the PERFECT coffee companion -- he asked me how my day was and sat across from my like the perfect gentleman.  SWOON!  :)

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 29

I am thankful that I get to see random things like this during the day at my job.  Who wouldn't love seeing peacocks outside their window?

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 28

I am thankful for cold nights which entice me to snuggle up on the couch with a blanket (and maybe my hubbie) and get some crafting done....

Torani Syrup Review and Recipes!

If you have a love affair with your local coffee house, you most likely already are familiar with Torani Syrups.  I know I am!!

So I was thrilled when She Speaks offered another opportunity to sample some Torani syrups and blog about them.  I am starting a collection of Torani syrups in my cupboard and have found SO many everyday uses for them!

Here are a few simple ideas:

1.  Pumpkin pie enhancer -- add two shots of Pumpkin Spice Sugar Free Torani syrup to your pumpkin pie recipe!  This was a GREAT addition to our pumpkin pie for Thanskgiving.  It added a new dimension of flavor to the pie and made it taste extra creamy and flavorful!
2.  Make your own 'salted caramel coffee drink -- add a shot of sugar free salted Caramel Torani syrup to coffee and add a more liberal splash of milk or half and half.  This is my new drink of choice -- and it is virtually calorie free!  SO good when you have that dessert craving at night (just use decaf coffee).
3.  Use Torani syrups in place of 'extract' in your dessert recipes.  Especially useful in frostings or cookies.  You can make easy peppermint cookies or salted caramel flavored frosting!
4.  Mixed drink enhancer: a shot of peppermint in your vodka martini....some sugar free vanilla in your eggnog get the idea.  A little more flavor makes EVERYTHING better, right?  :)

Want to try any for yourself?  Here's a great coupon for 10% off that I can share with you!  Add Torani to your holidays!

About Torani:
Since 1925, 3rd generation family-owned Torani has been crafting great tasting flavored syrups that coffeehouses use to make their flavored drinks taste so delicious. With over 120 flavors in Regular and Sugar Free varieties, Torani flavored syrups are perfect for flavored lattes, mochas, coffees, cocoas, Italian sodas, teas, lemonades, cocktails and smoothies. Coffeehouse professionals choose Torani flavors because they are expertly crafted and made with the highest quality ingredients, like natural flavors and pure cane sugar. The Sugar Free flavors have no calories and are sweetened with Splenda. Now, Torani flavored syrups are widely available at retail so you can easily create authentic coffeehouse quality drinks at home.

Disclaimer:  I received  two 750ml bottles of Torani Syrups plus a recipe booklet, and 5 coupons for $1 off my next Torani purchase.