Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spreading the word

For the first time in my life, I've learned in a difficult way that I really have no control whatsoever over my life and the lives of those I love. It was a false security that I had (my anal scientist/eductor background I guess) that I actually could control or manipulate things to do what I wanted them to do. Not in a bad way of course...I wasn't practicing voo-doo on a guy I had a crush on and he didn't like me back or anything! Just a sense of control...especially since I had never really been tested and when I had...I always received whatever I asked for, it just took a bit longer to get them.
Now I am learning to Let Go and Let God. I let God decide if my child should be given the chance to live. I am letting God decide when my needs for attentive care stop overriding our family's needs of a working husband. And luckily, God has been so good and has given us everything we could ask for in life...just with a few obstacles.
But I'm also learning that my experiences might benefit someone else that is going through all of this. Here I am, a healthy 28 year old (at least for three more months) in the prime of life, taking vitamins, and going to the doctor and my son is diagnosised with a birth defect. His defect is called Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction (LUTO) and is 77% fatal BEFORE birth even and only about 18% of those that make it to birth can have full functioning lives ahead of them. I know the road will be long with many doctor visits and surgeries ahead, but I'm so thankful to have made it to 26 weeks and 4 days. Never thought I'd go this far 10 weeks ago when I first heard that awful diagnosis and was told to terminate my precious baby then and there. I'm glad I didn't listen fully to them, but opened up my heart to God's diagnosis.
Here's the links that I have found to be extremely helpful to me. Hopefully if you find yourself in this terrible situation one day or know someone that is already there...please tell them there is hope. Let Go and Let God carrying you down the path that He is showing you. It might not be the path you would chose, but for the first time giving up control...never felt so GOOD!

Thursday 13 #4 Disney Rides

Thirteen Things about Disney rides I love!

There are more than 13 rides I love at Disney World and more than 13 places to eat, more than 13 shows, more than 13 characters...are you picking up on a pattern here? Here's the short list for rides.

1. Cinderella's Carousel. I always name my horse too. Just makes me feel free of all worries.

2. Space Mountain. My first "scary" ride as a little one, and I was hooked. I loved that the lights were off and you couldn't see where you were going.

3. Big Thunder Railroad. I know it is only traveling at about 35mph, but it is just fast enough to ruffle your hair while allowing you to take in all the scenery and details of Disney on the ride.

4. Peter Pan's Flight. It is short and cutesy, but it's always been one of my favorites. I just like to pretend I really am flying.

5. Kilimanjaro Safaris. I love being able to look at wild animals acting naturally and not being in cages. I remember one time a giraffe was chasing a zebra in circles. Our tour guide let us stop and watch for several minutes. It was so amusing to see them interacting as they might in the wild.

6. Spaceship Earth (aka - the golf ball). I love that you actually learn in this ride, but the Disney team also added in a few funny things within the scenes. It is also neat thinking you are traveling up a huge sphere and back down again.

7. Carousel of Progress. I love seeing the family progress with the progression of time. You leave wondering how things will be in another 25 years. Plus, I honestly love the song "It's a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining on the edge of every day" - or something similar. But the tune is catchy without being annoying (i.e. It's a small world).

8. Tower of Terror. It's controlled so it's really not terrorizing...but it's still fun and an adrenaline rush. And because it is never know how many times they will drop you, could be 2, could be 4...but it's always fun. Make sure you make a funny face at the second opening of the doors to outside...they take your picture. I've got some great expressions that have been caught if I do say so myself...always the ham!

9. Aerosmith's Rockin Rollercoaster. Hey, I am an adrenaline junkie after all. And this little doozie flips you upside down numerous times and takes off at top speed. No slow climb up a hill, you start out fast and with the sounds of Aerosmith in your ears. What a great time for us 1980's kids!

10. Haunted Mansion. I didn't open my eyes on this ride until I was 10. I'm such a scaredy cat...still can't watch horror movies either! But now I just appreciate all the effort and effects. Plus the great mixture of scary and silly to keep it PG for the kids.

11. Journey into the Imagination. Now I do have an issue with this ride though. I LOVED the original ride better with the Dreamfinder andFigment. It was just cute and silly and I loved the song...One Little Spark. The new ride is fine and much more interactive...but the old one is the one from my it will always hold a special place in my heart.

12. Pirates of the Caribbean. This has always been another one of those rides you just have to go on. I wish they had not had to all PC with the songs and the scenes of the men chasing the pretty girls...but what can you do. I still love it! Yo Ho...a pirate's life for me!

13. Splash Mountain. What Southern isn't familiar with the "Song of the South" story and Zip-a-dee-doo-dah? And what person wouldn't want to visit their own "laughing place" as often as possible? Not too much the refreshing "dip" at the end on a hot Orlando afternoon!

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Songs

Do you have a song that every time you hear it you just smile...or even get up and start shaking your "bon-bon"? On rainy mornings like this morning...I need a little pick me up usually. Do you know my surprising choice of song? Johnny Nash's "Bright, Sunshiny Day"! Oh, you know the one..."I can see clearly now the rain has gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It's going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day" I can still see his music video and that cheerful...albeit tacky yellow outfit he wore strolling down the road. Yes, I was born in the 70's and I'm showing my age!

A few other go to songs are "Walking on Sunshine" - "I'm walking on sunshine, woooah and don't it feel good!!" and U2's "Beautiful Day" - "It's a beautiful day. Don't let it get away. It's a beautiful day." This song came out the year Ian and I got married and we had our wedding montage set up to it on video. So naturally, it brings back warm fuzzies from our wedding. Another song I can't help but smile over is a song from church that came back to me suddenly when Matthew was given a poor diagnosis. It's called "Eagle's Wings" - "And He will raise you up on eagle's wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun, And hold you in the palm of His Hand." I sang this song with tears streaming down my face in the shower the night before learning from our specialists if they were going to say the only thing to do was terminate or if they would be willing to help my strong little fighter. Happy to say, they have been able to help...though Matthew doesn't like to cooperate! Typical of a man I guess! ;)

As I was thinking these songs over in my mind, it occured to me (I take awhile sometimes) that they all have to do with beautiful days and sunshine in particular. I feed off the sun; I was nicknamed sunbunny by my parents when I was little. I guess that's why during stormy, gloomy weather (both literally and emotionally) I turn to the sun in song if I can't do so any other way.

Here's hoping you and your's have a bright, sunshiny day...even if it is raining now!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day world!

I love Earth Day. I really miss being a teacher on this day, more than any other day (including Teacher Appreciation day!) In April we always started on our ecology units in biology class so an Earth day unit just fit in naturally with our state curriculum to cover natural resource cycles. I would always have my kids in all classes (physics - biology) build a dream house that included plans of efficiency. You would be surprised how detailed a 14 year old would be and how much excitement they showed for their house! And with the added knowledge that saving money on your utility bills means you can blow it "toys"...that really got them involved.

Now don't get me wrong...I'm not the tree hugging hippie that for every newspaper I buy, I plant a tree. I leave the tv on when I'm not in the room and I own a gas guzzling SUV. But I still appreciate the beauty found in nature and want to preserve it for my grandchildren to enjoy.

I have been gone (so to speak) from my "home" here in Georgia for nearly years with my husband's stint in the coast guard. Now that I am home and able to see more of the area than just the roads leading between my parents and my in-laws...I can take in all the changes. They have torn down my favorite teenage walking trails that were behind my high school to put up a strip mall with an Italian restaurant, Kinkos, Hallmark and a Starbucks. Even though I'm all about food...I'd much rather enjoy the trails that bring back so many good memories. They have widen many roads in the area taking away the front yards of most homeowners and even a few houses completely. It honestly saddens me to not recognize my surroundings in such familiar places.

So in honor of our environment, I have decided to post a recipe I make with my school kids as we enjoy learning outside for the day. It requires no baking and I get rave reviews from the kids with smiles and messy hands. We just do this in our science room on top of heat plate (which uses less energy than a stove top to boil milk). It's quick and easy. Here it is. Enjoy!

2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Mix cocoa and sugar in a bowl and mix in milk. Bring mixture up to a slow boil adding in butter. Let the mixture boil for two minutes, stirring constantly so the sugar and milk don't over burn/carmelize! Take off heat and mix in the remaining ingredients. Take the mixture in spoonfuls and allow to cool on wax paper. We called these mudpie cookies. YUM!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday 13 #3 Personality traits

Thirteen Things about my personality

This is going to be a post about my personality traits...some that I am praised for and others...well...let's just say they are not well received by myself or others. ;) But these are what make!

1. Sarcasm - I've got it in truck loads! This is both good and bad depending on how literally my conversation is taken. I can NOT use sarcasm with my mother. She takes things personally and I have learned that with her.

2. Wit - It kind of goes hand in hand with sarcasm to me, but my friends insist it is different. I can come up with snappy one liners to any situation...whether to lighten the mood or to imply insult. As you can probably see, this is a double edged sword. It's handy at the time, but can cause hurt feelings if my emotions run faster than my head.

3. Perky- There's just no other way to describe it. I love to laugh and have others laughing. I see it has my purpose to cheer others up that are down around me. Because of this, I'm fortunately rarely down myself and when I am it doesn't take much to lift me out of it. How can you make others laugh when you are all pouty?

4. Attention-seeker- I never know if this is a positive thing or not??? I am a HAM! I don't think I do it to take attention off others, I just thrive being in the middle of a circle of people. I'm the one the family relies on speeches at family functions. I'm the one that goes up to the newcomer and welcomes them. I'm the one that will make conversation with anyone within a 20 ft radius of me in public. Oh yeah...and I'm a camera hog too! :)

5. Dare-devil- This is the trait both my mother and husband like least about me! But I love it. I'm a thrill seeker...always looking for an adrenline rush that tops the previous one. From simple things like amusement park rides to sky diving. I want to try it all once.

6. Curious- Curiousity may have killed the cat, but it's only made me more curious! I love to learn new things about anything (religion, biology, psychology, books, family traditions...). I love questions, both answering and asking. This may be why I love to do surveys on myspace too... I just think you can never learn too much.

7. Family-oriented- You never realize how much you love them until you leave them...and then you realize you didn't appreciate them fully until you have your own family. Now that I am a mother and wife, I fully understand the range of feelings and emotions that overwhelm you. And how nice it is to have family nearby to make memories and share occasions with.

8. Competitive- I hope this comes across in the good sense...since that is mainly how I do intend for it to! Though...I have been know to get a little poopy if I am losing in a family board game. I like to be successful whether in class, family or trival pursuit! I am not boastful when I do win, I'm all about the "good game" play. But I have been known to be a sore loser, and that is something I've been working on.

9. Moody- There's just no easy way to put this one down. Depending on my hormones I can go from laughing to yelling in two seconds flat...much to the bewilderment of my husband! He's used to me now, and knows it is short lived...caused by my "womanly issues". But don't be surprised to hear me rave about how sweet and charming he is, only to want to rip his arms off for not putting his dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink.

10. Impatient- Another one I'm working on...and getting loads better with during this pregnancy. I'm learning to take things one day at a time and just being thankful for what I am given here and now. Why wish your life away? This was a hard lesson to learn and I definitely don't wish the way I learned it on anyone...but it was a lesson I desperately needed.

11. Independent- This is another of those that can be seen as bad by some. I know that Ian and I are one in every decision we make and have become one unit working together through our marriage. But if the unthinkable were to happen...I could carry on for our children. When we were first married, I only saw my husband 4 months out of 12 due to his responsibilities to in the coast guard. It helped me to appreciate our time together even more, but realize that I was my own person that could handle being in hot water while my husband was underway.

12. Easily amused- I laugh out loud for no reason...sheerly because something tickled me internally. I rarely allow myself to be bored...even on bedrest, because I can always find something to hold my attention. And with being so easily amused...I amuse others easily as well. It's win/win for all. :)

13. Worrier- Hey, I'm a wife and mother after all. I worry when Ian has to drive down to Savannah for his reserve duty. I worry when William wakes up with a fever. I worry about Matthew almost daily! But now I've learned to talk over my worries. There's no need to worry by myself, and just talking it out with my hubby, mother or the Father...I feel so much better. Easy to worry, but again...easy to distract. My mind wanders quite frequently, so luckily this has never been a big issue...but it is still part of me.

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, April 14, 2008

He answered!

Wow! Ask and you shall receive...even if it seems impossible. One of the things I do find most annoying about spring in North GA is that it takes its time making up its mind about which season it wants to stick with when winter rolls into spring. You never know when a cold front will swoop down and force you to take the jacket out of the closet once more. This weekend was wonderful...sunny, warm (80's) and just beautiful for William and his grandparents to hang out on their huge back deck. Grandma got out the sand table and William had a ball. I even was able to sit out on the patio swing and enjoy some outside time for the first time in awhile...which I later regretted that night with the increased soreness I felt from sitting upright!
But even with such a picture perfect weekend that is seen so often in the Georgia moutains, I heard a cold front was on its way for Sunday evening. It got down to about 41 last night and a high only in the 50's is predicted for this afternoon. Not cold enough for snow...but I thought I would put in a request anyway. As I have written before whenever I find myself starting to doubt all that me and Matthew are going through...God has given us snow. Both last night and this morning I asked God for a few snow flurries. I said I didn't care how much or when it happened...but I just needed some reassurance that my baby wasn't going to be born so early at 24 weeks. And you know what...He answered me!
The thermometer says it is 43 degrees out there at the moment, but just 10 minutes ago...we had a rain/snow shower mix. I could see the pure white snow flakes drifting in lazy patterns amongst the cleansing rain drops. I smiled and thanked God for looking after us. "Our God is an awesome God, He "rains" from Heaven above." And yes, I spelt reigns wrong on purpose. I'm off for our 4th surgery in just one hour, gotta pack my overnight bag. I'm feeling very encouraged now. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thirteen Things about Atlanta restaurants.

This is a list of restaurants that I love to visit in the Atlanta area. Some are just found here and others are chains that I love to eat at...but haven't seen in too many places.

1. Houston's Steakhouse. Located just inside the Atlanta perimeter a few miles from the Governor's mansion...SO yummy! We go hear for all of our big family functions like graduations and work promotions.

2. Melting Pot. Now I know this restaurant is in many states, but having gone so long not being near one...I had to post it. It's a fondue restaurant...THE fondue restaurant. Ian gave me my promise ring here and we always go to it on our "dating" anniversary in October.

3. The Varsity. Again, most college towns have a varsity...but they don't have THE Varsity. The Varsity is just steps away from the GA Tech campus in the heart of downtown. You don't come for healthy options or even friendly come for the history and the fellowship of your gameday friends. Nothing beats an ESPN Thursday night game in downtown Atlanta, eating at The Varsity before kickoff.

4. The Swan House. Again, just inside the perimeter and located at the Atlanta History Center. This house is brings back a time of southern belles and gentleman strolling arm and arm through the magnolias...while their chaperone strolled a few steps behind. I went for the first time at the brides maid luncheon of my cousin.

5. Marietta Conference Center. Specifically Hamilton's restaurant located in the resort section. This little (big) gem is located about 10 miles north of Atlanta in Cobb County. Weddings and proms are standard fixtures on the abundant grounds. I had my bridesmaid luncheon here. And they are known for their spectacular Sunday brunches.

6. Bugaboo Creek. This I know for sure is NOT an Atlanta only chain...but it's only location in the entire south is in Atlanta. Well, Kennesaw...about 15 miles north of Atlanta. It is primarily a northern eastern steakhouse with a heavy Canadian influence and just so yummy. But my favorite reason for going is the atmosphere. The dishes are a casual upscale setting, but the place is so family friendly. At timed intervals, all the "critters" on the walls and hanging from the ceiling come alive. A squirrel dangles from a lantern, a skunk pops up from a basket and a bear and moose take turns telling jokes and listing the specials on the menu. William loves it here!

7. Ray's on the River. This is the place to get authentic seafood in Atlanta. It is right inside the 75/285 junction just on the outskirts of the city. Note I did say authentic...not necessarily fresh...who am I kidding in a land locked city! ;) But it is SO good and so beautiful. Located right on the Chattahoochee River. Big floor to ceiling windows give every table a good view, and there is an outside dining area for the whole two months of the year Georgians aren't dripping from the humidity.'s right near the hospital I'll probably be delivering at...they do have take out...hum...

8. Fogo de Chao. A Brazilian restuarant again located in the swanky area near the Governor's mansion. But it's worth the swank and price tag! It is an all you can eat semi-buffet. The vegetables, fruit, salad and desserts are located for you to get at your wish. The meat comes around via the servers and they slice you off sections of lamb, fillet mignon and pork tenderloin. The choices far exceed just those, but I listed those just to show you some of the diversity. It's place to go to when you don't have plans for afterwards...just want to enjoy time out with family and/or friends. My little family of four would sit there for 2 hours sometimes just talking and nibbling.

9. Copeland's. I prefer the one in Kennesaw because of its proximity to my house, but there a couple in metro Atlanta. This is a jazz/cajun restaurant. I'm not usually into cajun food of gumbo or crawdads...but I love their penthouse salad and crabcakes. Oh...I'm feeling the craving now. The atmosphere feels like one you need to dress up's in old south, bayou elegance you could say...but jeans are welcome thankfully. You can tell the wait staff the amount of "punch" you want in your entree...from mild to wild. They aim to please

10. Ippolito's. An Italian jewel that surprisingly has made it 2 plus years right next to an Olive Garden! You KNOW it's good if it can withstand that competition. Of course, I go to the one in Kennesaw...but there are one or two others in and out of the metro area to choose from. The Garlic break knots are too die for! Olive Garden's bread as NOTHING on these!! The portions are just a tad bit smaller, but taste more authentic to me. Not like it came out of a jar and some 30 year old "chef" sprinkled oregano on it. It tastes like an Italian grandmother is lovingly preparing each dish. You don't need a box to go...even if you are can't help but finish.

11. Kani House. Got to have at least one Japanese steakhouse on the list. I've been to several ones and this is by far my favorite. I don't know if it is just for sentimental reasons or what with all the dates Ian and I went to here, but it just tastes good. And the service is outstanding. They act like they want to interact with you...not like they have too. And it's just a few minutes from my parents house in Woodstock. Can't beat that!

12. Sonny's Real Pit BBQ. Now I know this little guy is all over the southeast, but I had to post it. It's good southern food, cooked slow and served fast. Ian will sometimes just stop by whenever he is out to get some homemade cornbread or banana pudding. It's great for those on a budget too. Just look for BOGO free coupons and the entire family can eat for less than $15 bucks! I love the choices of sauces too...smokey, sweet, spicy or savory...they have it covered.

13. Shakespeare's Tavern. Now most people that are coming here are coming for the play productions and not the food...but get there a half hour earlier and enjoy some great English staples. it's not all about the food...though it is tasty. This is the spot where Ian and I had our first date together and later where he took me on my 23rd birthday and proposed. So, this does have a special place in my heart. It is located just down from the Fox Theater in downtown. Look them up to see what shows they have going on and get tickets...and some good English food too!

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

All things green

With the onset of spring comes all things that are green...ha...that kind of rhymes. Oh, the little things that amuse me...anyway...back on topic now. Green is one of my favorite colors. It is hard to pick JUST one, so I say one of my favorites. I'm really into sunny yellows, dramatic reds, all shades of blue, calming silver, earthy browns, and royal purples. The only color I repeatedly do NOT like is pink...I guess it's the tomboy in me. Just don't care for it.

But why does green stand out to me? My birthstone is the peridot; my favorite jewel is the emerald. I'm a lover of trees more than flowers (allergies). I'm a lover of the mountains more than the beach. I eat green salads EVERY day...sometimes twice. Heck, I'm part Irish! OK...still doesn't tell me much!

So, I looked up the meaning of green. First off it said that green was favored by well balanced people. HA! That made me laugh...and move on to another website. The next one said that green symbolizes fertility, life renewed and nature. Now that is more like me! I'm the nature girl that gets her energy from the sun. In winter, I notice I become as dull as the grey grass...but I'm ALIVE at Christmas with all the green garland, trees and wrapping paper. Life renewing ...changing...growing...fresh starts. How rejuvenating! Who doesn't like second chances and clean slates?'s greatest mystery and miracle...the coming together of two to make one. Even as a science nut that "knows all" I don't know the half of what God's hands do to form a new life inside a woman. But I'm in complete awe of it.

Green is good, refreshing, naturalistic. I think I will now start saying that this IS my favorite color. It fits me! And it goes with everything, yellow, blue, me! :)

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