Thursday, March 28, 2013

Joel's 30th Birthday

Last year Joel's birthday was...lackluster. I felt terrible about it; the three of us went out to dinner, no gifts from me, and that was about this year I certainly had some making up to do! And he definitely was surprised! We have done a lot of work to our house in the past week and had to get a new transmission in our NEW car so he was under the impression that we were low on funds and that I couldn't do a lot of gifts and he knew I didn't want a party at the house-but I had a few tricks up my sleeve....I always have a few tricks up my sleeve!

Phase 1: I left a birthday card with money in it in the bathroom so he could get himself some breakfast.

Phase 2: I told him he had 3 small gifts...there was about 20 different things awaiting when he got home from work...and our little sweetheart was so cute-as soon as he walked in the door she yelled enthusiastically "we got you presents Daddy-TADA!"

Phase 3: I told him a Jehova's Witness was at the was my dad and step mom to give him his gift.

Phase 4: I told him we were meeting my mom and step dad for dinner.....27 of his friends and family were waiting at the restaurant when we arrived!

It was a great day and I know Joel had a ton of fun! His exact words were "you are the greatest woman in the world"

and then here are some cute pics of the cutest thing in the world from today....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I did something today...

Oh my God...30 seconds ago I hit send on an soon as it was gone I thought 'oh boy....what did you just do?!' I didn't even proof read it, I just hit send like a maniac! I think I'm going to have a panic attack....I don't even want to say yet what it is...but I'll just say that I have volunteered to do something BIG.

I get these grandiose ideas in my head, I get so excited and then I always have that feeling afterwards of 'what I was I thinking....'

I think either nothing at all will come of this...or it's going to be a humongous undertaking.

Maybe it'll be really amazing....I'm nervous but I feel excited about the possibilities...wish me luck, there is a small possibility that in 6 months to a year I'll have been a part of something kind of great, I feel like it is something I am supposed to do.

I like foreigners better.

Well, maybe that title sounds mean, I enjoy talking to foreigners ....more....maybe there's just not a delicate way to put it. I think Americans can be very rude, unfriendly, selfish, opinionated, defensive, arrogant, entitled, pompous ....yea, I guess that sounds a little mean-and in fact in my colorful description of Americans I, an Americano, am being a little rude...unfriendly....opinionated...defensive.... arrogant and entitled to say all of it!

What does this have to do with my LIFE LIST and my blog?! Nothing really, I just received one of the nicest emails ever and it got me thinking about WHY I gravitate to my foreigners so much... part of the reason is that they are a TREAT to talk to. Their accent alone is completely endearing, the formal words, phrases and displaced conjugations are precious, and the way they put a sentence together can be so poetic! So here's part of the email I just received from Pricilia, my Brazilian mom friend....

"We love our friendship. One of the best things that happened to us here in U.S!"

then recently, I had sent her a thank you card, two days later I received a card from her telling me she "will guard this letter like it is a treasure"

One time I gave my friend American friend "Shammon" (name change to protect her reputation) a sapphire ring that my first boyfriend had given me at 14..... and she pawned it for $10 reasoning that "a pack of smokes was a pack of smokes man". I gave Pricilia a piece of paper and she's guarding like a treasure. Nice, Shammon, real nice. 

I just wanted to share her sweet words with you, sometimes I hear people say such unkind things about our immigrants living her-they're so ignorant I will not even repeat them- I just want to do everything I can to encourage every American to simply be friendly to the foreigners who have left everything behind to live in this country and to understand that our cultural differences are just DIFFERENT-not wrong or bad.

I cannot imagine how trying, stressful and emotionally wearing it would be to move to a new country, where you don't know anyone, you don't know where anything is, you don't have credit, you don't speak the language.... I would NEVER be brave enough to take on something like that.....but mostly because I cannot stand the complete disregard for decent television programming in other countries.

This post is totally apolitical and not an invitation to have a discussion about immigration policies in the U.S. it's just a slight nudge on the back to ask someone where they're from, learn something about the culture of a local business owner or look up a word in a co-workers' mother language to make them feel welcome and that someone has shown an interest. 

'My' Brazilian and 'my' Russian have deeply enriched my life and my daughters life-to read about how we hooked up with them click on their links above!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


When our daughter was born in 2010, the hospital had a professional photographer available to take some newborn pics of our baby. Obviously we took advantage of this however when we ordered the photos we only choose 2 of the shots taken, reason being we paid $80 for just a few prints of those two poses! So we picked the two we liked the best, then they gave me a piece of paper with the photo info on it in case I ever wanted to order more. I saved it always planning to look into it but a few weeks ago (2 and a half years later) when I came across this piece of paper I was overcome with could I not have these pictures of my baby! It killed me. I instantly picked up the phone to see how much it would be for the disc. $130 for the disc was a lot of money for a few pictures but without hesitation I told her to charge it! And I'm so glad I did, after all my daughter will be 3 in October and there's no telling how much longer these pictures would be available. It was the best $130 I've ever spent, for 8 of the best photographs I've ever seen in my life. It is ironic that this disc arrived yesterday since I also found out yesterday that my brother and his wife are expecting another baby in October.

We chose to not discover the sex of the baby until he/she was born...but I was CERTAIN I was having a boy-I knew 12 people who were having 13 baby girls in the same year (including my brother) - what were the odds of me having a girl too?  So on the morning of my scheduled c-section, only a few minutes before we walked out the door, I decided to grab a tiny pink hat someone had made for the baby shower. Someone had told her they 'thought' I was having a girl so all the gifts she gave us were pink. When I opened the pink goodie basket I thought 'great, what the heck am I going to do with all this pink stuff?' But on our way out the door I thought I ought to grab the pink hat JUST IN CASE we don't have a boy! That was the ONLY girly thing we had! And a friend had brought me some pink roses so I decided to use that in the picture too, so even though we didn't have a girly outfit to put our surprise daughter in, the pictures turned out SO ADORABLE!! Thanks Sue, I'm so glad we had that adorable hat!

Last night when I looked at these pictures...I got that feeling inside...that feeling of being in love. Normally, I plan out all my purchases far in advance...but I'm glad this time I didn't, having these precious pictures of my sweet baby girl, even though it's nearly 3 years later, has made me overwhelmingly happy.

7 pounds 7 ounces of God's greatest creation....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Weigh in Wednesdays

The two of us together in the second picture weigh 80 LESS than the picture of me eight months pregnant!

Ok neither of these pictures are flattering but what I like is looking at the difference in my legs!

Arg...I am begrudgingly writing this post. I have been putting off my 'weigh in Wednesdays' because I have NO good news to report! And today is no different! My last report of an actual weight loss was back in October when I got to 161 which made a total of 100 pounds lost! Over the holiday season I've have fluxuated a little (only going up) and so I've spent the past few weeks just trying to get off my holiday weight. I have to say it is NOT easy to try to lose weight in the winter months, the last time it was warm enough for me to talk a walk was in November-so essentially that means I haven't had hardly any exercise in 5 months! (dancing not included) This winter has been rough here in Michigan. It's been a LOT of work, I normally LOVE winter but now I am sick to death of it, I just want a nice warm day in the 40's so I can take my little girl for a nice looooonnnngg walk. This is how cold it friend from Russia told me that she feels like she's living in the North Pole, she said it's way colder HERE than it is in RUSSIA....RUSSIA!

This morning I weighed in at 162- not too bad considering the obscene amounts of chocolate I've been eating. I've really had to cut back. For example today instead of eating 3 chocolate chips cookies, I'm only going to have 2. It's a struggle but I think it'll be worth it in the end.

That really is the truth of it. I love to eat healthy, I'm back to juicing, I'm drinking a lot of water....but I LOVE chocolate...I figure it kind of evens out. So my HOPE is that once it warms up and I can start going for my walks again and playing with my little girl at the park then I'll start dropping the lbs again.

So even though it has been around 6 months since I've lost anymore weight, I am pretty pleased with where I am. This time last year I think I was about 182 which is only a 20 pound weight loss in 1 years time but this time 2 years ago I weighed about 240 pounds. 

I would really like to lose about 10 more pounds before our Hula recital in June...I'd prefer my hula skirt to do more swaying than my arm flab.

*****LOL MOMENT as I sit on the couch writing this I say out loud to my husband "I need some more fat pictures of myself" my husband responds "said no one ever" I laughed so hard!! I was referring to needing to find one that I haven't already posted a million times on my blog!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

what a place...

This was our hale all to ourselves for one amazing week

It's been a few weeks, but I am going to finish this soon! When we went to Hawaii in 2009 staying at the Kona Village Resort was definitely the highlight of our trip, I know that we would not have enjoyed our trip had we stayed elsewhere. This place is magical and one post would not have done it justice in any way, I have already written about the private beach at Kona Village, the gourmet food and what makes this my favorite place on Earth. After this post today, I still want to share deserving pictures and stories of the staff, the grounds and the cocktails!
Today I'm going to tell you about the 'hale' (thatched roof hut) we spent a week in. When I was planning this trip I knew what I wanted, something very Hawaiian and I found EXACTLY what I was looking for at the Kona Village Resort.
I am not a thrifty traveler and do not stay at budget hotels. Everyone has specific things that are important to them....for me it's the hotel or resort that will make or break your trip. I like to stay at unique, one of kind hotels/resorts which will not only enhance my trip but that will make it unbelievable. With champagne taste and a beer bottle budget this does limit the frequency of my vacations and that's just fine with me! This is how I look at it- I could eat McDonald's every day for a week or I could save my money all week by eating simple meals at home and then reward myself at the end of the week with delicious food at my favorite restaurant....but with resorts...I could care less about food...I literally could eat Salteen crackers all day every day and it wouldn't bother me.

Everything I have to say about this enchanting place was pre tsunami, the village has been closed for the past 2 years and under construction. I have no idea what kinds of changes will be made but I sincerely hope they are minimal. The resort is due to reopen in late 2014, there is no doubt it will book up quickly as many of their loyal visitors are eager to return to paradise. 

In the Village, everyone has their own thatched roof hut or 'hale'  There are several different styles, sizes and locations. Ours was one of the smaller ones in the Village-though much bigger and nicer than an average hotel room.

Comfy bed and sheets. The entire room was completely spotless. Every night we would return to our hale to a complete turn down service-they would close the blinds, turn down the bed and turn on the lamps. I felt like King Kamehameha.
Our sliding doors going out to our patio which faced the lagoon.

I loved it all, the walls, the wooden shutters, the plants- it was simple but perfect. 

I took this picture because I loved the wood on the ceiling, but this is a good opportunity to mention that the hales are not air conditioned.  We were there in August, one of the hotter months and there was only one night where I actually felt too hot-so I took a quick, cool shower which cooled me down and I slept like a baby. With the ceiling fan, the windows open and the nearby breeze from the ocean..I promise you will not miss the A/C...but again, there may be changes being made as we speak. Oh yea, no TV's either. Trust me, when you're in Hawaii, the last thing you want to do is watch TV.

AAAHH...this just makes me smile. This is how you take a vacation.

The view of the lagoon from our balcony.

This was taken in the bathroom, I wish I had a full picture for you, instead you will have to trust my description. It was a large bathroom with an all glass shower, full bubble tub and over sized counter tops. The tub came in use to was the perfect place to cool my sunburned body and the shower was fabulous. You know how most hotel showers are kind of gross and you don't like to linger in them and you certainly don't want to accidentally bump into the shower curtain-this was probably the cleanest and nicest shower I've ever been in...and I loved being in it because the Awapuli shampoo and conditioner they provided you with each day smelled amazing. You were also given a lotion with a similar scent. I still have some that I don't use, I just like to smell it sometimes to take me back.
Each hale is complete with a 'privacy coconut' when you do not want to be disturbed just set this little coconut outside on the steps to your door. 
Across from this little table was a mini fridge, coffee maker and signature Kona Village coffee mugs. Every day they replenished our supply of Kona Coffee, bottled water and choice of soda, for me it was Diet Coke...this was back when I knew it was bad but wanted to remain in denial. It was so wonderfully convenient.

 I think I had a smile on my face the whole time I was writing this. Below are some more of my stories and pictures from this wonderful trip back in 2009.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

St Patti's 2013

 Well we had a busy St Patrick's Day! I started volunteering at my church back in January every other week, yesterday was my off week but I received an email on Saturday night desperate for volunteers on Sunday, so I went to the service and then off to the 2 years room...and I'm glad I did I was the ONLY volunteer there with 14 toddlers! Luckily one of the girls who is 'on staff' helped me out. After that I picked up Valeryia (the Russian) and we met up with my mom for lunch. We had a fun time...although while I was chastising my poor mother for mispronouncing her name I was informed that I had actually been pronouncing it incorrectly for the past two embarrassing!!! Not only do I feel like an idiot but I think it's permanently programmed in my head!

Before taking Valeryia home we drove through Starbucks to buy a stranger coffee. Did any of you get a chance to buy coffee for the person in line behind you? Please let me know if you did!! I'm going to do it again on Easter!

After Z took a long nap in the car, we went shopping then the three of us went out to dinner - it wouldn't have been St Patrick's Day without corned beef, cabbage and green beer!




2012- cutest picture ever

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