Sunday, October 20, 2013

Preparing for Halloween

This weekend started out with Fall Festival at school on Friday night. It's sad how as time goes on, naturally my kids don't enjoy it like they used to. They get stressed out by the little crazy ones running around. I hate to admit it but they're definitely getting too old for it. David did play some games and I FINALLY got them both to go in the Haunted Hallway! Only took 8 years ;-) They liked it, although it was a little creepier than I thought it would be considering the age group of the kids going in it. For tonight's event, Sam dressed as a hockey player (since her real Halloween costume isn't finished yet) and David was TMNT's Leonardo. That big full moon was a nice background touch for these photos when we got home...

Saturday we set out to try and find the rest of the things my daughter needs for her Halloween costume. She's planning to be a "Night Fury Trainer", like Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. Very cool. The shopping was easier than I thought it would be and we got everything she needs. My husband ordered a furry, Viking-ish vest for her online a few weeks ago and so far the darn thing isn't here. We paid for expedited shipping only to find out the other day that it was shipped standard post. It probably won't get here until a couple of days before Halloween. At this point I'll be happy if it comes at all... :-/

We spent some extra time enjoying the creepy, gruesome sights at Party City. 
(Check out the body parts all packaged up with nutritional information and all.... Yum)

Today the kids enjoyed the mild, fall weather with some driveway hockey. They had friends over to play too but after a while it was just the two of them playing. They are both really good and entertaining (but I am wimpy and it was cold so I didn't stay out there too long to watch them). I love that they still do this together. Thank goodness someone in this town knows how to play hockey and score some goals this season!!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Goodbye Tommy

Yesterday was a terrible day. After much agonizing, praying and denial, my parents came to the decision to have Tommy put to sleep. They couldn't let him suffer. His breathing had gotten much more labored, he didn't want to snuggle, he no longer wanted food...he was fading fast.

I haven't seen my parents this distraught in a long time. It's heartbreaking. They've been through this many times before but I think maybe this is particularly difficult because he was just a kitten. He was my dad's shadow. He was their baby. He brought so much light into their lives in the short time he was here. And to hear my mom say she doesn't think she'll ever get another pet is pretty sobering. I've lost count of how many cats she has had over the years. She still has Sebastian... but I think he may be the last. I wish I could do something to take away their pain, I feel so helpless. All I can do is hug them and remind them that everything happens for a reason. Or so I'm told. It's just that sometimes it's very difficult to believe that there COULD be a good reason for some things... This is definitely one of those times...maybe someday we'll be able to understand. I still can't come to terms with the fact that nothing could be done to save this tiny little ball of joy.

Click here to read more about Feline Infectious Peritonitis and the dangers it can pose to your pets. I think everyone who has or is thinking of adopting a young cat should be informed.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

David Says...


I just found this in my son's school writing folder and my heart melted ❤️ Ever since he learned to speak he has been an adorable little story teller. Our family & friends have always gotten a kick out of the things he comes up with and for years we've been saying that we should keep a book of all the sweet, random and quirky things his mind works up. He has that admirable quality of being funny and entertaining without even trying. I ❤️ my awesomely random little man.

Monday, October 14, 2013


A couple of days ago, my parents told me that their kitten, Tommy, was acting strange. He wasn't his usual energetic self, and he seemed to be breathing fast and heavy. I sat with him last night while visiting with my parents. He just laid there. He'd look up at me if I talked to him but it seemed to take a lot of effort for him to do much else. This was not the energetic little kitten we knew. I thought maybe he had a virus or hurt himself wrestling with their other kitty, but of course I figured he'd get better. But my dad took him to the Vet this morning and was met with some very sad and shocking news.

The Veterinarian believes he has Feline Infectious Peritonitis. It's hard to explain but to put it simply, it's a virus that cats can get from other cats who are carriers of it. Not all cats who contract it get sick - especially not with the most serious strain of it, which is almost always fatal. Sadly, that is the strain Tommy has. They believe he probably contracted it from his littermates not long after birth and it lay dormant in his little body until now. That is how it happens - usually while the cat is still in its first year of life. Once the kitten starts to become sick, there's no stopping its progression. It's incredibly sad and hard to believe. My parents are devastated. His heavy breathing is due to his lungs filling with fluid. They can drain the fluid to make him more comfortable for a while but it will return in a short time. 

My parents have a tough decision to make. Tommy will almost certainly need to be put to sleep - but when? They don't want to let him suffer but the thought of putting this beautiful kitten to sleep is too much for them to bear right now. All this while my mother is recovering from cataract surgery she had early this morning (which went very well, thankfully).

We'll see what tomorrow brings. I can't stop thinking about the poor little baby and it's just unbelievable to me that nothing can be done. Praying for a kitty cat miracle. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dreamy Dinner

So my husband told me earlier this week that he was going to be making a special dinner this Friday. A nice, proper, 5 course meal...(wow!) He didn't want me or the kids to know anything more than that - he really wanted it to be a surprise. I had my hopes of what it would be. (I've been dying for some kind of slow-cooked meal for a long time now!)

Throughout the day today while I was at work, he kept texting me teaser updates...
I really couldn't conclude much from these pics...although I could make out maraschino cherries, red wine vinegar and some kind of MEAT in the lower right picture. YUM!!! My stomach growled all day.

And this is what I came home to....
The table was set beautifully with our nice China which was given to us by my in-laws but we have never used before. I can't even explain how beautiful the pieces are.

He made the centerpiece pretty is this?

"Princess" folded napkins {which he folded himself. Fancy-schmancy}

The entree... French Onion Beef over Garlic Mashed Potatoes. 

Good Lord. It was AMAZING. It was melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
You can find the recipe here (or by clicking on the photo above)

The dessert -- chocolate and cookie & cream layered pudding with a maraschino cherry on top :)
I think I gained ten pounds tonight, but I don't care.
He also served a fruit plate (course 1), french onion soup (course 2) and salad (course 3). I didn't get photos of those, I was too busy enjoying being with everyone and trying not to drool over the amazing smell of what I hoped was some kind of beef cooking behind me in the kitchen :)

This dinner was the most thoughtful thing my husband has done for me - possibly ever.
And he's always thoughtful.

(that's my little boy in the background)
I always know I'm lucky to have such a loving husband, but this gesture meant a lot to me and I hope he knows how much I love and appreciate him. {Sorry to brag - can you blame me??}

Happy BIG Birthday to Mom ❤️

My mother's birthday was this past week {and it was a big one!} and once again we celebrated over dinner at her favorite restaurant with her closest friends. Although we would have loved to do something spectacular for her big birthday, no one could afford to do much. Which pretty much makes me feel like crap. But thankfully that kind of thing doesn't matter to my mom. She just wants to be with the people she loves. That we could easily accomplish. Lots of laughs, good people and great food. And pictures :) We always look forward to this yearly celebration.

My gorgeous sister with her favorited niece and nephew...

The two strongest women I've ever known ❤️

This picture combo makes me so happy I just can't stop looking at it. My sister, my mother and I on either Easter or Mother's Day 1992...
...and then us again on October 9th, 2013. Twenty one years later and we don't look much different ;) Priceless.  

Happy Birthday, Mom. You are the best and I hope you always know how much you are cherished by the ones who love you. Here's hoping this coming year is the best yet for you. Or at least better than this past year has been. You deserve all the happiness in the world ❤️

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Maniac Monday

Photo from

Ahh Mondays. I always hate Mondays. I know, how unique. But this Monday was unlike any other - it was just plain crazy. I don't even know where to begin..... As I settled in at work a little after 9am, my husband started texting me that something odd was going on at home. Not at our house, but nearby. He heard lots and lots of sirens. He turned on his police scanner and right away heard chaos and chatter... there was a fire, and it sounded big. I turned on my scanner app too and it didn't take long to notice that the firefighters sounded different - we've listened to the scanner multiple times before and I had never heard them sound as serious and rushed as they did this time. Something was definitely very wrong.

We could hear lots of yelling, barrages of half-garbled commands back and forth over the radio. Calling for more engines to respond, more tools, asking for addresses of nearby fire hydrants... At this point we thought they were at one of the nearby shopping plazas. But then after a while, we made out phrases like "back of the house" and "we're talking to S.W.A.T"...Then we heard someone yelling repeatedly "Stay back! Stay back!" followed by more garbled responses back and forth.

Within minutes the local news sent out a a text alert stating that police and firefighters were on the scene at a house fire, but their efforts were being hampered by the alarming sound of gunshots coming from inside the house! Police ordered all neighbors within 1/4 mile to seek shelter in their basements until further notice. They shut down all power to the neighborhood. The house continued to burn fiercely as the firefighters simply tried to keep it from spreading to surrounding homes. That was all they could do at that point. They couldn't get right near the burning house for fear of being shot at. I  seriously could not believe what I was hearing.

I worried that things would keep getting worse and that maybe this shooter could get out into the community, if he hadn't already. So we started calling the schools to see if they were locked down. I was floored when my daughter's school had no idea what I was talking about. I told them what I knew. My husband called my son's school - they were in full lockdown. The secretary said the kids weren't even being allowed to leave their classrooms to go to the bathroom. We continued to listen to the scanner and within the next 20 minutes the school district sent out an alert that all schools were in lockdown. As much as you don't ever want to hear that your child's school is in lockdown - on this particular day it was almost comforting news.

The next few hours went by and we stayed glued to the scanner and the news as more details became available. It had begun with a domestic incident. Around 9 am, a frantic woman had called 911 and said "he has a gun and he's going to kill me". A man could be heard yelling in the background. Thank God for her, the woman escaped the house and ran. Police showed up to find the home engulfed in flames and heard the gunshots. At around noon the police released a photo of the man and said he was well-known to law enforcement and has lived in the town his whole life. Around 2pm the roof of the home collapsed from the fire. Police felt confident the man was inside and was no longer a threat, so they lifted the lockdown. But at the same time they acknowledged that they still didn't know for sure that he hadn't gotten out of the house at some point, so I was still very uneasy. I just wanted them to find him.

At 3:00 I got a phone call from my from my husband who had gone to pick my son up from school. When he got there, parents were being turned away. Suddenly the school was back in lockdown. When I was finally able to get through to the main office they said they had no idea why they were back in lockdown but they could not release the kids until the police gave the ok. I was petrified for a minute. Did they think this lunatic was near my son's school with his guns? I felt so helpless! The secretary sounded nervous. But she assured me the kids would be inside the school until the police felt it was safe... We had no choice but to wait, so my husband went to pick up my daughter at her school. There were no delays with her release. Shortly after he returned to my son's school, the lockdown was once again lifted, and everyone was able to go home. But at this point, the police still did not know for sure where this guy was. Finally around 5pm, an alert went out that he had been found dead in his basement. It was over. Not a great ending, but at least he didn't hurt anyone else as he clearly hoped to do...

They have since determined he died of smoke inhalation. He had holed himself up in his basement with an oxygen tank and a rifle, and apparently died while waiting for a fight, ready to open fire at anyone who came looking for him. So scary.

I'm very happy with the way our police department handled the whole thing as far as ensuring the safety of the children and residents of the town. It has to be the craziest thing they've ever been through. Our town has its share of crime for sure, but this kind of thing is very unusual - thankfully. It's definitely something we'll all remember for a long time to come. Just another example that you really do not know who your neighbors are. Always stay on guard.