Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When the Dog Bites...

Well, it didn't exactly go as planned. This past weekend, all 5 of us plus Momma were to head down to Ft. Bragg, about 5.5 hours away, and visit April for the weekend. We decided we would leave Saturday morning vs. Friday night, and get up at 5 AM to be there by lunch. Do you believe in bad omens?

Wake up at 6:18. Already running late! Spoke to Momma, her Vertigo was giving her trouble, so she decided not to go with us, as that would be quite a miserable trip. At 8 AM I FINALLY get Mr. Pokey (aka "hubby") in the truck and we leave. After filling the gas tank and a stop for lunch, we finally arrive in Fayetteville around 1:45, at April's house on base around 2 PM.

So we're chatting, she's showing us the baby's room, and Chandler wants to play on the playground that is in her backyard (it's communal). Take her dogs, Chester (a black lab) and Petey (a great dane mix) out to use the bathroom and run. Chester & Chandler are playing, and as Chandler runs away from him and is about to climb up the slide, Chester nips him on the calf. He's crying, saying "I'm bleeding!!" and we think he's being overly dramatic until we see it. Seems Chester got him pretty good. We're 300 miles from home, on a military base, and have no choice but to take him to the ER.

After waiting 45 minutes for the Triage nurse to assess the damage, and then doing all of the paperwork, it's now 4:30 as we sit down in the waiting area. At 7:15, we're finally taken back to an exam room. 7:30 Doctor arrives and cleans wound, says he's not going to stitch it in case it gets infected, and he'll be right back. 8:45, I go stand in the hall and give evil looks at everyone, a nurse finally arrives and bandages his leg, sends us off with meds at approximately 9 PM. If this is what socialized health care will be like, I want absolutely no part of it!!

We finally got dinner around 10 PM. April was very upset that Chandler was hurt, and worried about Chester because a report had to be filed, but she called last night to tell me that Chester is on Quarantine (house arrest) for 10 days, nothing more to worry about there. I can say I definitely know how to find the hospital when she goes into labor and I go down there.

Chandler is healing. He was a bit nervous around Chester when we first got back to April's, but got over it very quickly as Chester & Petey licked him half to death. I am trying to get him to take it somewhat easy on the leg while it heals, but how do you convince an 8-year-old that he should not play football during recess?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Shaken Patriot

Yesterday, I logged on to FoxNews.com to see the headline that a CH-47 Chinook went down in Iraq. I was overcome with grief and sadness, as this was just a routine "moving" mission, not a combat one. All 7 on board were killed.

My brother Kenny is a CH-47 Pilot, who just returned from his second tour in Iraq. It could have so easily been him. I immediately called him crying to tell him I love him. After 14 years in the Army, he is so close to retirement, but also dreading the next deployment. Besides the two to Iraq, he's also done one in Afghanistan and two in Korea, when he was an Air Traffic Controller. During his tour in Afghanistan, he earned the Bronze Star.

As you can probably tell, I am extremely proud of my brother and a die-hard American Patriot. I love my country. I cry when I hear the National Anthem, as well as "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. And I understand so well the sacrifice that our soldiers make for each and every one of us to be able to post these blogs, argue about politics, and the fact that I can choose which brand of bread to buy at the grocery store.

The average American takes Freedom for granted. It's time we stand up and let the world know that Americans are NOT the evil spawn of the West. We were built on great ideas, passions, and drive to achieve our goals. We love our children, our families, and our religion. It wasn't until the 9/11 attacks that terrorism really entered the forefront of our minds. We're just trying to make it through each day, pay our bills in an increasingly expensive world, and live as we feel God would want us to. So if you are not already, get registered to vote right now, and make your voice heard on election day. Whichever candidate represents your views more clearly, cast your ballot. No more complacency!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Recommend... Adorable Tea Roses by Katie at A Petal Apart

Katie at A Petal Apart has come up with these ADORABLE Rose teabags, I came across them on her blog and thought they are perfect for anyone I know who loves tea. I'm including one of her photos here, but you should go see these. What a perfect gift for a secret sister, teacher, coworker, or just to indulge yourself.

"I Recommend..." is a new feature of my blog, when I come across something that I think others should know about, I'll put it as my post for the day. These are not paid ads, they are just little things I want to share with everyone.

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pink Saturday ~ Potpourri & WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

Pink Saturday is hosted by the lovely Beverly at How Sweet the Sound. Each week the list of participants seems to grow, I hope you'll check out all of the Pink Saturday postings.

This week I stopped in at Pier 1 and was wandering through the store (looking for napkin rings that I had no luck finding), and on a lower shelf on the wall I spotted this beautiful Potpourri. It smells like "Pink Grapefruit", so I brought it home and put it in my big Southern Living at Home Hurricane vase and set it on the kitchen table. I love the layers of beige, green, and pink, and I pulled the dried pink roses (that don't feel real, so I'm not 100% certain that they truly are) to the top and it looks so lovely as a centerpiece.

WINNERS ANNOUNCED!! I've randomly drawn names for the winners of the three $50 Gift Certificates to CJO Glassware & Gifts, and they are...

Joyce of Justified Journey
Sally of SmilingSal
Lisa K., a repeat customer who subscribes to my email newsletter and posted her favorites.

Willie randomly chose these winners, and they've been emailed, but this was alot of fun. I'll have to come up with something to do in October, since my wedding anniversary is that month. Thank you all for your comments, it's nice to know we're not "alone" out here in BlogLand.

Happy Pink Saturday!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Never Forget September 11th

Where were you when you heard about the attacks on America? I was at home with my littlest one, he was a 18 months old, and the girls were at Pre-K and 1st Grade. As I sat down early that morning after the school bus had come, I was checking emails when one came through that a plane had just hit the North Tower. I turned on the news, and was shocked to see the gaping hole in the building, and wondering (it seems so naive now) how they were going to get those people off the highest levels. Moments later, I saw the second plane hit the South Tower, live on TV. As the morning unfolded and reports that a bomb had gone off at the Pentagon turned into a third plane, and later the crash in Pennsylvania of Flight 93, it seemed the world had gone mad. I sat there anxiously watching for news of survivors being pulled out, only to see the Twin Towers crash down with so many still inside. To this day, I get very emotional about September 11th. Later, my brother would deploy to Afghanistan as an Air Traffic Controller who earned a Bronze Star while he was there, and has also done two tours in Iraq as a Chinook helicopter pilot, so the realities of America at War are something we have dealt with every day. We will never forget. I hope that in time, I can help my children understand the magnitude of that day, and that they never see anything like it again in their own lifetimes.

America has become too complacent. We should ALWAYS remember the raw emotions of that day. This is the most touching video, please take a few moments to watch it. CLICK FOR VIDEO.
Wishing you all peace on this day. Today is not about politics, pink, or anything else but remembering those who died on September 11, 2001.

So Tired of Fundraisers Already!

Wow, the kids have been back at school for 2 weeks and fundraisers are already making me batty. The girls attend the same school, and the FIRST WEEK brought home their school's fundraiser, selling magazines and overpriced cookie dough. The mags aren't so bad, they're from QSP and they do have a few I like and should renew/subscribe to. (Inserting pretty photo of one of them, just to break up the text and tempt you should you want me to email you a link to support the girls, LOL).

But by the time I buy from each girl, they really don't get much credit for the big "Mega Party" at school. And I'm not in a position to write big checks to the PTA. The first night it came home, they had to fill in a booklet with names & addresses that needed turned back in ASAP. I don't have that many friends & family outside of our school, and why would I send them to other parents at school??? So I called family, told them they would be getting these things TWICE, and to do what they wanted with them. Then, the girls get a prize (a weepul, which is a fuzzy pompom ball with eyes & feet on it) when they log in and submit 12 email addresses. The "Weepuls" are a big status thing with this middle school crowd, and the pressure is put on me to once again harass people I know. So I do the emails. Grrr, aren't you glad you aren't in my family? (Inserting another tempting magazine photo, you know you want this one, right?)

So the Middle School fundraiser isn't so hot for us, and on Day 5 of school my son brings home the Innisbrook fundraiser. No interest here. I'm cheap, I like cheap wrapping paper that is easy to fold and easy to rip. Don't need overpriced chocolates (more on that to follow), but a friend wants something and her girls are both doing the middle school fundraiser. The same weekend, when my SIL shows me what her kids are selling on the other side of the county. INNISBROOK!! And the other elementary school very close to us is also doing INNISBROOK!! That's at least 3 of them, all doing it at the exact same time.

Get an email from the Girl Scout Troop Leader, a good friend who took over the troop for me when I decided it was time to get out. Would I be the "Nut & Candy" Mom. Girl Scout Nut & Candy sales start in October. We sell nuts (obvious one there) and chocolates, among other sweets. So if I'm going to buy this stuff, I'll buy from the troop because I know how hard it is to run a troop without funds.

Then I went to the Band Parents meeting. Since the PTA took their cookie dough fundraiser away, we'll be selling jewelry and chocolates. Grrrr... I believe that is in November. (Oooh, this one looks like fun!)

So if you see me coming, I'll understand if you run the other way. At least the girls opted not to do Cheerleading this year, which has it's own fundraiser. Last year I was writing checks to everyone and their brother, and this year the checkbook just won't stretch as far.

End of rant. I'm sure many of you are in the exact same boat!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Retiring Some of My Lines at the end of 2008

Sometimes, I think I try to be too much to too many people. Once I started naming my lines, the pressure was on to include EVERYONE in my family and close friends. So at the end of this year, I've decided I'll retire some of those lines, and paint what I like to paint. The hard part is trimming down without feelings being hurt. My favorite lines to paint are Sharon, Emily, Mandi, Rebecca, Judith, Elizabeth, April, Natalia, and Nicole (the rose lines are all the same, just different colors). I love Julie, but it's definitely a much more time-consuming line to do, but I know I'll leave it just because I love it. Connie is one that I wasn't so sure about but I love the jewel tones and it will stay. Angela is hard for me to paint emotionally, but it's very special and will always be part of what I do. I'm torn on Ashley ~ it's the Virginia Dogwood, my state flower, and named after my own adorable pooch. But I don't truly enjoy the act of painting it, just did it because I was asked if I could. Carole has such a Christmas feel to it, and is named after my best friend. I've only painted one pitcher set Karen so far, it would be silly to retire it too quickly! Kelsey is so fun and festive for summer, like the young lady it's named for, so I may keep it around as a special-order option. Michelle is a sweet person, but let's face it, my Calla lillies are not as good as I would like them to be. Marcia is definitely gone after the holidays, it's very holiday-ish anyway. Alana is so easy for me to do, my daughter could probably paint the grapes, and I like the colors so it will probably stay for awhile.

So what do you think? If I have to trim it down, which would you take out? It's like choosing a child for me, so I'm really hoping to hear from everyone out there, since you can be much more objective than I can. I've linked each of them above, or compare side-by-side. I appreciate any feedback you offer.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Show and Tell Monday: Put my Car up on Ebay!

Today I listed my little yellow Mitsubishi 3000GT on ebay. We have so many cars around here, and it's so rarely driven that it seems dumb to have it just parked in our driveway, which is weird in itself. To get back to the house, you have to drive in past my neighbor's house on the single paved lane. To the right is their side yard and our front yard (the house sits sideways behind the neighbor), and to the left is a wooded ravine. Not much room to negotiate!! With Willie's truck, my truck, mom's car, and the 4 other cars he picked up to fix the day I found my dishes, "tight" is an understatement!! But isn't it cute? It's not pink, but it's alot of fun to drive!! It only has 81K miles on it, which to me is low ~ I'm married to a "car man" and we drive them forever here. Momma's car has over 400K miles on it, although it's ready to move on to scrapmetal Heaven. My truck has 160K miles on it and I think nothing of it, drove it to Kansas this summer without a thought.

Okay, back to laundry today, now that listing the car is accomplished!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pink Saturday ~ Stacking Shaker Boxes

Happy Pink Saturday!! This is my first time participating, so I'm so excited to share with others and go see all of the other Pink Saturday Offerings from these Fantastic Ladies.

This week I managed to finish up a set of lacquered boxes in my absolute favorite theme ~ Pink Roses (to match my Sharon line). I'm offering these as a set, and I was inspired by a tiered cake when I was decorating them. They are so romantic, and would be perfect displayed together or separately. I'd love to hear your comments on how you would use them. Be sure to read my September 5th entry to find out how you can get a FREE $50 Shopping Spree at CJO Glassware & Gifts.

The top box is my small rectangle, measuring approximately 5" x 3.5" x 2.5" tall. The base is white with random roses, and the top is a bouquet of small roses. The middle box is my medium, with a cabbage rose on top and vines of climbing roses around the bottom. This one measures 6.5" x 5" x 2.75" tall. The bottom box is a large size, featuring a cabbage rose and rosebuds on the lid and a trellis of climbing roses around it's bottom. The large box measures approx. 7.75" x 6" x 3.25" tall. They are all lacquered with several coats, the final two layers being pearl so they shimmer. The set retails on my website for $50, and is a OOAK item, so first one gets it. I'm sure I'll do more of these in the future, but no guarantee as to when.

Please visit all of the Pink Saturday posts that you can this week. I'll be adding more bookmarks to the right hand column as I find more places to explore.

Hope everyone stays safe this weekend, Hanna is here giving us some much-needed rain in the mountains of Virginia, and it's such a dark & dreary day that I'm looking forward to reading your comments & seeing the other beautiful blogs.


Friday, September 5, 2008

An Anniversary Celebration!!

You may not believe this, but exactly one YEAR ago today, September 5th 2007, was the first time I ever picked up a paintbrush and attempted to paint florals. My mom asked me if I could paint some furniture, so I bought a book and started copying what I saw. I've never taken art classes, no videos, just kinda figured it all out on my own. It's amazing that I had a talent hidden so long, and a blessing from God that I can create such beautiful things. My mom is my biggest supporter, and I'm very lucky to have such a great lady in my life.

So to CELEBRATE, I'm offering THREE $50 Gift Certificates to CJOGlasswareAndGifts.com ~ no purchase necessary. Just post a comment here telling me YOUR personal favorite line or piece that I have painted, and why you like it if you want to share that as well. Tell your friends to come say hello as well, if they will just tell me who pointed them here, I will give you an EXTRA entry into the drawing for each one. You also get an EXTRA entry each day you come back between September 6th-12th and post a comment on that day's new blog entry. You have until September 12th, Winners & links to their blogs (if they have them) will be posted on September 12th. You can only win once, so hook your friends up with a $50 shopping spree!!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Romantic Home ~ for the birds?

I've been wanting to do a birdhouse for quite some time, and finally finished this one up today. It's just as cute as I'd imagined it would be. The sides are all painted pink, with the roof & base in a pure white. On each side of the roof is a bouquet of darker pink roses, the front is a climbing bouquet of roses that stretches around each side, and the rear is a large cabbage rose, so no matter which direction you look at it from, you can enjoy it. The eaves are trimmed with large white pearl beads, and the base features pure white ribbon roses. To top it off, the final coat of lacquer is a pearl, so it has such a romantic shimmer to it. It has a shabby chic feel to it, and matches my Sharon line perfectly.

I'll get it up on my website in a few for $28, first one to grab it will get it AND a set of Sharon votive candle holders FREE ($12 value).


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Emily's 13th Birthday

Today my oldest turns 13, and it's sad yet so exciting. Thirteen wonderful years, though at times she makes me crazy. I think that's a trait we daughters pass on, just to be sure the next generation gets their fair share of turmoil.

Em is such an easy-going personality most of the time. To look so much like me (only darker skin, hair, eyes like her Daddy), yet be so opposite in personality is amazing. Everything I like, she hates. And vice versa. She is ANTI-PINK, how crazy is that? She prefers talking on her cell phone and painting her nails black, while I hate telephones and never have time to do my nails. She's disorganized whereas I'm on the verge of OCD. And she teaches me so much about myself, when I can get her to come out of her bedroom.

I adore my daughter, and it brings tears to my eyes to think that 5 years from now, she'll be at college turning 18. I hope that as she gets older, she'll realize that it's beauty within that is important, not Abercrombie or Hollister. That the only things that matter in life are what you've achieved and not what has been handed to you. That there are no free rides. That hard work pays off, maybe not today or tomorrow, but in the end. That 99% of the time, Momma was right. That Character DOES Count. And that PINK is beautiful.

So I hope you enjoy looking back at how she's grown with me. Unfortunately, there are no digital baby photos of her, so these start at about age 2.

Finding Easter Eggs, 1998

In Kindergarten, 2000

One of my all-time favorite photos, waiting for the School Bus, Spring 2001

With little sister Niki in Uncle Kenny's Wedding, August 2001

At her 7th Birthday Party, a "Mermaid" theme pool party, 2002

Off to School, 1st Grade

Being crazy with Little Sister, 2002. Blackmail material?

As a Fairy for Halloween, 3rd Grade, with Chandler as we head to HarvestFest at the Elementary School

Christmas 2003

Summer 2008, holding her cousin Brooke while visiting Grandma & Grandpa James

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Show & Tell: Steal of the week ~ my Limoges Lyric Dishes!

Oh, how cool is this??? I went with hubby yesterday to look at a used car he wanted to purchase, and while we were talking the lady said she had some porcelain dishes in the back that she needed to get out, she was going to put them in a yard sale. Let me tell you, I know NOTHING of China, and just thought they were so pretty I asked her how much. $10 for ALL of THIS!!

It included 4 teacups (actually 6, but 2 were broken), a serving platter, 6 dinner plates, a serving bowl, a sugar bowl & lid, 3 berry/fruit bowls, 6 saucers, 3 salad plates, and 3 cereal bowls. The only thing stamped on the bottom was "Vita Ware China 22K" so I was trying to find out more. I did a search on ebay for "22K China" and discovered that they are Limoges-American "Lyric" pattern. So over to Replacements.com I went to see what else is offered, and at their prices I would have paid $325 for all of this.

They're so pretty, with their blue, pink, yellow, and gold, that I'm excited to get it all cleaned up and put it on display in the dining room. And on Friday, 2 days before finding these, I found the beautiful blue rose fabric & the coordinating paisley shown with the dishes. I'd love ideas on what to do with these fabrics in the dining room besides placemats or table runner, which are obvious choices.
Today I'm working on more of my Goji Shot glasses. With Convention only 2 weeks away, Linda is attending and passing out flyers for me (should be about 3000+ people there who are all Goji addicts like us!), so I'm trying to build up my inventory on those. I've also got a couple of adorable PINK projects to finish up in the next day or two, can't wait to share them with you all.
Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, August 29, 2008

It's So Darn QUIET Here!

I miss my kids. They are amazing children, very rarely any trouble for me (although the youngest & oldest do fight often), and since they went back to school on Tuesday, it's been so quiet here that I almost feel lost. This is my trio on the first day of school.

The fact that it's been so dark, rainy, and quite cool hasn't helped my mood, but I've been busy creating new PINK things that I love. They're drying right now, I shot the first coat of lacquer this morning, but I'm excited to share them next week on Show & Tell Monday. I'm slowly settling back into a working routine, and now that I'm blogging here I need to work that into my morning schedule. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

Friday, August 22, 2008

All Blinged Out

While I'm not a Boutique Member at Make Mine Pink, I love Pink Friday, and challenged myself to come up with something for Pink Friday this week.

This is a beautiful candle holder, shaped like a brandy snifter. It stands 8" tall and has my "Marcia" line silver & white flowers painted all over it, with little green foliage on each flower. The center of each flower is a Swarovski crystal. It glimmers & shimmers, and I set a dark green votive candle in it for display. It's available by clicking here, and is a one-of-a-kind item, so it's first-come. Other pieces in my Marcia line also have the same flowers, but anything that would need washed after use doesn't use the Swarovskis. Grab it while you can, and as always I offer $10 flat rate shipping in the USA no matter how much you order.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Lacquered Boxes on my website

I've finally gotten around to taking photos of some of the lacquered boxes I've finished, and gotten them up on my website. Some I did last year and I've put them at 50% off just to get them moved quickly.

This is a jewelry box, I LOVE it because I used a pearl lacquer. I can't seem to capture the pearl in the photo, but the pink & white just have this gorgeous shimmer about them.

This little blue jewelry box is cute, it's so petite that I didn't want to overwhelm it, so I added just a few daisies to the top.

The above round shaker box is so pink & romantic, a perfect little accent or storage piece for those of us with a pink fetish.

This jewelry box is fire engine red and is so much prettier in person. I wish I was a better photographer.

And a favorite of my mother's, the Victorian pink roses on the sage green background of this little oval shaker box really pop. Has such a vintage feel to it, I really love it. This is what inspired my "Elizabeth" line of glassware.

See all of these and more on my website, CJO Glassware & Gifts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Welcome to Casa de Crystal!

I thought it would be fun today to post photos of my home. It's not what you would expect from someone who loves pink & shabby chic roses, that's for certain.

This is my living room, with my beautiful RED furniture. My coffee table is 40" square, and my husband built it for me years ago from an old chicken coop. It weighs about 100 lbs. and is perfect. On the wall is a beautiful fireplace screen; I wanted something ornate, iron, and fan-shaped, but when I was decorating this room I couldn't find anything. Then one of my friends had this fireplace screen she wanted to get rid of but didn't want to donate it to the church yard sale, so she gave it to me in trade for hubby's old weight bench that I wanted to get out of the garage. The candelier on the table is Southern Living at Home, I was a consultant for about 3 years.

This is the dining room from the living room. The outside door leads to the screened porch, where my oldest was sitting when I snapped this pic. I absolutely hate the chandelier, it's what the builder put in, and since the house was under contract at that point, he did everything as cheaply as possible in the end. My furniture is definitely my favorite ~ the curly cherry trestle table & stepback were built by Charles Neil and are very special to me. It's currently cleaned up today, but usually this is my "studio". The entire bottom of the stepback is full of paints & supplies, the top is full of things that need painted and a select few things I've painted for myself.

This is the baking center in my kitchen, another Charles Neil piece. I've been slowly replacing all of my red/yellow/green accessories with pink & sage, and recently painted the walls butter yellow. Below is a closeup of some of my painted pieces I did for myself, as well as some more Southern Living things that we use all of the time.

My bedroom has laundry piled in it, so no sharing that today. Another day, perhaps. And since this is Post #2 for today, I'll stop there. Have a great evening!

Back-to-School Shopping

Oh my!! Today I took the kidlings to Walmart to do their supply shopping. After fighting massive crowds (JMU is coming back into session, so the store was packed with freshmen & their parents), and working the 3 different lists, we managed to survive. $187!!! Okay, so I did grab some cereal, milk, 2 pair of shorts for Chandler who has outgrown everything, and a package of chicken to make for dinner tonight, but all of that only added up to about $40. How is it so darn expensive???

We're not even buying "school clothes" other than sneakers for the kids until the weather starts to show signs of being cooler. Chandler has outgrown everything, but the girls' clothes still fit them from last year.

I know other parents feel my pain here. We did haircuts last week and physicals the week before, Monday will take us to the dentist AND orthodontist, and Tuesday they go back. The money tree has definitely been plucked bare this month.

Okay ~ we're off to the new elementary school Orientation this evening, with Kenny & Devin arriving tonight, and tomorrow evening is Middle School Orientation for Niki and Open House for Emily. As chaotic as it is, I'm looking forward to the kids going back to school, allowing me to work more and break up fewer fights.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 18, 2008

R.I.P. Dear Angela & Jessica

I've mentioned before my sister's death, on November 17, 2007. She was 24 years old and had a 4 yr old and an 8 month old, both girls. On Nov 17 at around midnight, her husband was picked up for posession of cocaine. At 7:30 AM she went to bail him out of jail. No one knows exactly what happened the next half hour, but at 8:10 AM, calls came in to 911 that there had been a car accident. Her husband was driving an estimated 86-93 mph down a busy street in the St. Petersburg, FL area, ran a red light, hit a pickup truck that was turning, skidded along about 100 yards, and hit a building. Angela was killed instantly. He walked away with a bruised rib. This has been a very hard year for my family. My brother was able to come home from Iraq for the Memorial Service (her husband would not allow my dad & stepmom to make any final arrangements for her, nor let her body be released), and my youngest sister April was at Army Basic Training and was told a few days after the wreck and managed to go to Florida at that time with Kenny. Custody of the girls has been given to their paternal uncle, who is a good guy but is a 30-yr-old bachelor. Florida court system at work. Needless to say, it's been tough. We're all working through it the best we can. Below is a photo of Angela with Kaitlyn.

So Friday, I get a call that my stepmom's mother has passed away. It was expected and she was in pain, so it was a blessing for her, although still hard to say good-bye. My stepmom (who has been married to my dad for 31 years, so she is someone I adore) has now lost her mother & daughter within 9 months. April has lost her sister & grandma. They have all gone to Indiana to the funeral.

Yesterday, stepmom (Julie) calls to tell me that April's best friend was killed in a horrific accident near Tampa. Jessica had just gone up to NC a few weeks ago to paint the nursery for April, and was throwing her baby shower in October. April's in Indiana on Leave, and I doubt the Army is going to give her leave to go to Florida. How much more can one young lady & family endure in a year? Nine months to the day of Angela's death, April now has to say good-bye to the person closest to her. Jessica forced April to buy the adorable green dress, and only a week ago April was here telling us about her buddy. The photo above shows Jessica on the left and April on the right, another friend in the center.

My heart breaks for April & for Jess's family. To keep losing people at such a young age is so difficult, and I'll keep Jess's mom in my prayers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Monday ~ It's Show & Tell!

What a wonderful weekend we had here! April's visit went so nicely, I hated for her to leave yesterday. We didn't do a whole lot, other than grill out and took her into town to get a pedicure (we all know how hard it is to do our own toes at 7 months pregnant!). I got some cute pics of her and her belly. Aiden Joseph James is due in October, and I didn't realize she was going to be alone for delivery more than likely, so we made plans that I will go down in September to learn my way around the base so when she goes into labor, I can drive down to be with her. I can't imagine going through labor without someone I love to hold my hand, and am thrilled she wants me there to see my nephew born. How adorable is she here?

On Thursday, I finished designing my "Karen" line and chose to do the first pieces as one-of-a-kinds. I found this pitcher set at a local antique shop, and while it's a bit vintage it's not antique. The amber pitcher & glasses are a perfect backdrop for the yellow & white daisies. Usually, I set up a photography studio to get glassware photos, but today I opted to shoot these on the screened porch. The colors go so nicely with my furniture out here, it's tempting to keep this set for myself!

This week will be busy, I hope I can find some small moments to get work done. Niki has band practice today, then wants to go visit a friend who's in town from Florida. Tomorrow is her eye appointment to get contacts, then Friday we are going to visit our Lady Friends that we volunteer with before running our usual errands in town and getting all 3 kids haircuts (and myself too ~ I desperately need a trim right now!). Hopefully I'll be able to knock some more things off my to-do list, it seems for each thing I cross off I add 2 more.

Have a Blessed Day!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kenny's Home from Iraq, April's Coming to Visit

What a relief! My younger brother Kenny is home from Iraq, he landed in Savannah on Sunday. As a CH-47 pilot for the Army, this is his 2nd tour to Iraq, and he's also done one in Afghanistan and 2 in Korea over the past 13 years. We're all so proud of him and his accomplishments, but yet he breaks our hearts on ocassion. My mom was really hoping he would be able to come for at least a short visit when he returned, but he doesn't have enough Leave time available at this point if he wants to come for Christmas, which I know is important to her also. Although I saw him in November when he came home for our younger sister Angela's funeral in Florida, Momma hasn't seen him since June 2007. With her heart attack in May, and Angie's death in November, I know mortality weighs strongly on our minds around here and you always want to make sure that you took every opportunity to spend time with people you love. Especially those that go out into battle . So maybe he'll call soon, I couldn't reach him and left him a voicemail, but hearing his voice on the recording felt nice.

On a happier note, my baby sister April is coming up from Ft. Bragg to visit me for a 3-day weekend this week. She's pregnant and due in October, so her mom (my stepmom, technically she's my half-sister) told me to be sure to get a good belly picture. I'm excited, as she and I are really working to build a relationship. We are almost 13 years apart in age, so we haven't always had alot in common, but as she's gotten older and is now becoming a mom, we're finding more common ground. And we both want to be a big support to our parents, and make them proud of us, which also brings us closer together.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fun Day at Lake Monticello

Yesterday, we went with hubby's parents to Lake Monticello and went out on the lake for the day. The kids had an incredible time, as did we. They rode a large raft tied to the back of the boat, similar to water skiing, and Grandma Karen worked hard to find the wake of other boats to really let them take a good bounce. The only person who fell off the entire day was me, which was funny. It couldn't have been a prettier day, with a sunny sky and upper 80 temps. The kids woke up this morning with very sore arms, but after such a fun day I don't think they mind very much. The water was SO warm, it was wonderful to jump right in from the boat. Another fun memory from this summer for the whole family, and it was good to spend a day with the in-laws.