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Friday, April 17, 2015

Another Birthday

Another birthday has come and gone. I swore to myself I was not going to do anything crazy for Angel's birthday party this year but we all know how that goes. When I started thinking about planning her birthday party shortly after the holidays (Yes I plan that far in advance I'm a little what you would call an enthusiastic  planner).  I wanted to do something small but magical to make it very memorable. This will be the last year she would spend her birthday with kids from her preschool class. I looked into jump houses, princess boutiques and even considered having a castle jumpy in my backyard. You would not believe, or maybe you would how expensive these things are. Not that I am cheap, as I have been called, I just would rather spend my money on other things for her. After I considered many avenues I decided just to have a party at our house in the backyard. But what's a party without a little bit of entertainment? Then I thought what could that be? I thought about the standard jumpy in the backyard but what if it rains? I couldn't have 10 to 15 kids in my house. So I did what any mother of a daughter that lives in a princess fantasy land would do, and I hired Anna and Elsa to come and celebrate Angel's birthday with her. Now don't get me wrong Anna and Elsa aren’t cheap, in fact they are very good businesswomen. I knew the surprised look on Angel’s face would be priceless and worth every penny they cost.

I was a bit worried about the turnout as I invited all of the kids in her preschool class and I got two RSVPs from them. Don't people RSVP anymore?  How do I know how many cupcakes to buy?  How much food to get?  How many prizes I would need for the kids? One year on Lucy's second birthday I bought large Easter bunnies to give as treats and we only had three kids come. I was stuck with 7 extra chocolate bunnies!  My advice from one parent to another is if someone invites you to a birthday party even if you can't go just let them know, it's common courtesy.

The day of her birthday couldn't have been more perfect!  The weather was absolutely beautiful! It was a cool spring day with sunshine. We had an excellent turnout with lots of kids too. Anna and Elsa were perfectly spectacular. They sang songs for Angel and our guest, had story time with the children, made a craft with them and even helped them all decorate their own cupcakes. When it was time to go they presented angel with her own signed snowflake ornament.
Everybody had a wonderful time including me, which is rare as I am usually stressed during these types of events. I think one of the big factors of why I was a little calmer was due to the fact that my Michael was with me. I thank God for him every single day, he is my balance. Where I usually would have to do everything myself he helped me in every way possible. I didn't have to worry about putting Angel's bicycle together; he helped me clean the house, helped with the food, helped with decorations and even hung snowflake lights outside to keep with the theme of Frozen. He wanted Angel to be as happy as I did. As if things couldn't get any better I looked over at one point and he was filming and taking pictures of all important aspects of the her and the event.

So maybe next year I'll keep things simple with a small birthday party.

Nah I say that every year…….

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Best Friend Title

In the past I have written about my wonderful friends a.k.a. my General Counsel. I have been blessed with a variety of friends. Some I have known almost all my life and some I've known for a few years. I cherish every single one of them. The other day I was talking to someone, and I referred to my best friend. It got me thinking about the title of best friend. Some titles, like mom or grandparent are given by default, but most titles like CEO or doctor must be earned either by selection or by hard work or both. I think the title of best friend is one we throw around loosely. However, it is an important title that one should not take lightly by either calling someone a best friend or being one.  This got me thinking, what qualifies someone to be a best friend?

I remember when I was in my early 20s my friends and I would qualify our friendships by saying, that if you ever called me in the middle of the night and needed me to come bail you out of jail I would. Thankfully no one ever had exercise that promise. Looking back over the years I think about what my friendships mean to me and what my best friend has done for me. Having friends is great but having a best friend is even better and being called someone's best friend is the best. Friendship means growing with each other.  To be a best friend you must grow and adapt together, a friendship is a relationship after all. I'm not writing about my mom.  She's one of my very best friend and gets an award for being one every time, and I'm not talking about my fiancé. He is a new best friend that I look forward to making an old best friend. I am writing about a person who I have known since I was 13. I don't remember the first time I met her, but I do remember I wanted to be her friend. She was beautiful even back in the 90s with big hair. In the early years of our friendship we became inseparable.  She was like a sister to me and still is. She is kind, loving, caring, patient, diplomatic and of course still beautiful.   We have had our ups and downs like most good friendships and made it back to one another. She is the person I always call for advice, not making a decision sometimes before I talk with her.  She's genuinely concerned for me, she will honestly tell me what she thinks, and I respect her thoughts.  There is no malice or jealousy between us. I don't talk to her every day, sometimes when I do it's for a few minutes and sometimes it's for an entire hour on a Saturday morning over a cup of coffee.
The person I call Laura gets the title of my best friend and I hope I have hers. I love her and look forward to growing old with her like those old ladies on the birthday cards.  Who is your Best Friend?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Food Experiment Follow up

This is a follow-up to my last post about my food experiment. I've had lots of questions and comments since my last post about my food experiment especially when I was stuffing my face at a gathering this past Saturday. After the fall to the king cake on Friday, I proceeded to go on a full on binge this weekend.
Friday for lunch I did eat a salad to try to compensate for the king cake but the rest of the weekend went downhill. I took my sweet Angel to the movies and basically had popcorn for dinner. Later, I snacked on leftover peppermint Hershey kisses from Christmas. Saturday morning I got up and I had a steaming cup of coffee filled with hot frothy delicious milk. None of that coconut milk crap. For breakfast I had a big bowl of cereal. I will say it was Kashi but still it was cereal with almond milk. That afternoon I went to a gathering where there was no shortage of incredibly delicious food that was not on my required eating list. Pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans topped off with bacon, chips and homemade salsa, spinach and artichoke dip, crackers along big logs of cream cheese one covered in jelly and the other was rolled in salt-and-pepper, gumbo, sausage, 4 types of cheese and the worse of all was a homemade chocolate chip cheesecake topped off with fresh strawberries. I will admit I eyeballed that thing for over an hour waiting for someone to cut it.  That never happened so guess who cut into that beautiful thing??? I stood guard and continued eating it until about a quarter of it was gone. Quite a few people there knew about my eating plan and kept asking me if that was on my list. HAHA….. It was delicious! I cannot explain how incredible that cheese cake tasted, almost as good as the slice of King Cake that started it all. The weekend continued this way and was polished off Sunday night with a big bowl of toffee ice cream.
The downside to all this cheese cake eating? Saturday night and pretty much all day Sunday my stomach hurt so bad. I don't know if it was the dairy or just the fact that I was not used to consuming that kind of food. I had extremely bad stomach pains, of course gas, I was bloated and my face was swollen.  So guess what I went back to doing yesterday? I have to admit that I do feel much better eating clean, which is one of the main reasons I started this food experiment. I don't have those peaks and valleys with my blood sugar and (Oh my I can’t believe I am admitting this) my arthritis wasn’t nearly as bad.  
It's hard to eat clean especially when you have severe cravings that you cannot deny, but the consequence of eating like that for me isn't it worth it. Will I eat like that again? Of course. Just maybe only one day a week and certainly not to that extreme, but that cheese cake was good.

Friday, January 23, 2015

My food Experiment

We are 3 weeks into the new year and I wonder how many of us have kept to our new year’s resolutions?  I don’t usually do resolutions I make a list of obtainable goals, which I guess are about the same thing.  Usually my goals are things like travel to a new place, experience something I have never done, get healthy, etc.  I always incorporate getting healthy and leave like that because getting healthy could mean many things like exercise more, lower cholesterol, eat better, reduce stress, whatever.  For the past 2 years I have participated in the Daniel Fast along with my church.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Daniel Fast it is based on Daniel fasting in the bible to show his devotion to God. There are several types of Daniel Fast but basically you are only allowed to consume fruits and vegetables for 3 weeks.  This is not about weight loss.  It is a mental, physical and spiritual journey with yourself.  You really learn a lot about the effect food has on your body and how addicted you are to certain things. The first year I did this I was completely unprepared and lasted a little more than a week.  Last year I did much better but at week 2 was craving protein so badly I broke down and had some salmon.  This year I knew I couldn’t do the strict Daniel Fast so I looked at other types of healthy eating plans.

For the past 3 weeks I have experimented with what I like to call my Whole 30, Paleo, Daniel Fast, clean eating plan. These are all clean eating plans that have the same basis, which is eat clean, 1 ingredient foods, nothing processed.  They all have their own guidelines.  I took something from each of them and blended what I thought would work best for me.  At first I did a detox to get myself off of processed foods.  This took about 3 days and I suffered from headaches and some nausea.  I eliminated all dairy, sugar and all processed foods.  Basically, I ate whole proteins, vegetables, fruits  and nuts. The first week wasn’t bad at all once I got past the headaches (which were very mild) and I  was surprised at my self-control and ability to pass up things that I would have normally eaten.  Week 2 I was still going strong but I was getting tired of eating eggs every morning. 
In the mornings I also drank what I began calling fish food (which is exactly what it smelt like) but I do recommend it.  Green Vibrance is loaded with green stuff that is good for you but taste awful!  I mixed it with some juice and did a shot of it, holding my nose at first.  What I really wanted was a cup of coffee with some hot frothy milk and sugar.  I actually day dreamed about a Starbucks caramel macchiato. MMMMMMMM. At the beginning of week 3 I could feel myself getting weaker.  I had done a great job of passing up cookies, cakes, candy, even croutons in my salad.  Today I hit my breaking point.  Down here in the south around this time of the year we begin the celebration of Mardi Gras.  Along with Mardi Gras comes the King Cakes.  
If you don’t know what Mardi Gras is then you have been living under a rock. If you don’t know what a King Cake is please let me explain; King Cakes are like giant cinnamon rolls topped with sweet frosting, green, purple and gold sprinkles.  Some bakeries fill them with cream cheese, Bavarian cream and other flavors like pecan praline, raspberry, apple or lemon.  There is a plastic baby that also goes inside them (which is not eatable and not relevant to this post).  This morning I purchased a few King Cakes for some of my customers.  They were warm when I picked them up, fresh out of the oven and the aroma of absolute deliciousness filled my car.  By the time I dropped the last one off the eggs and fish food shot had worn off.  When one of the girls asked if I wanted a piece of this delightful cake I could not be rude and say no.  I was salivating over the thought of it.  When the first bite hit my tongue it took everything I had not to shove the entire thing in my mouth and get another piece. I think I even forgot to breathe while I was eating it. I felt like a crackhead getting a fix.  It was soooooo good! So I have blown what I worked 3 weeks for. 

The moral to this story is, there isn’t one.  Just kidding, I did feel much better eating clean and I came to realize how much crap is in the food we eat.  Moving forward I will be more cautious about what I put in me and my families bodies. I do eat healthy and will adopt trying to eat non processed foods, but there ain’t nothing wrong with a little sweetness every now and then especially when it is fit for a King ;)   

Happy Mardi Gras y'all!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 What a Fantastic year!

The holidays are upon us which means it is the end of the year.  I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect on 2014. I have to admit that this has been one of the BEST years of my life!  I have had years where great things happen like the year my Angel was born, but that same year was filled with heartache and hurt.  This is the first year that I can remember where every aspect of my life has been good, not just good GREAT! I am recognizing this and thanking God for all my blessings. I think back to 5 years ago when I was broken hearted, unemployed, pregnant and alone and how different my life is now. So much, much better.

I guess I will start at the beginning of 2014 when I rang in the new year kissing the man I now call my fiancé (I know! More on that to come).  Valentine’s Day I was not as bitter as I have been in years past. Cynical yes bitter no.  I made it through another 27th birthday and celebrated it at home with my best present ever, my sweet Angel.  I got through a dance recital, soccer games Halloween (3 costume changes!), all things Frozen, and I am not talking about cold things, and those never ending kid birthday parties.  I did some of the most traveling I have ever done in one year going to 6 European countries including Prague, Amsterdam, Belgium and one of my new favorites, Paris.  Domestically I did some major traveling there too hitting some cities I have never been to like Chicago and Key West.  I threw Michael one of the biggest baddest surprise birthday parties.  I made a big career move and am in a new role that I absolutely love!  My friends and family are still around me, supporting me and best of all loving me.    

Now back to my fiancé, Thanksgiving day I got one of the most unexpected surprises of my life when this man that loves me for me, got on one knee and asked me the question I thought I would never hear and of course I said “YES”!  Michael is the knight in shining armor I have waited for.  He makes me so happy and has become my very best friend (2nd only to my one and only Mom).  The greatest thing is that he loves Angel like his own.  He has 2 boys that Angel absolutely adores.  We are all working on blending our family.  I am actually working on a book about blended families since I have to explain all of this to Angel.

I am looking forward to 2015. I have no doubt it will be just as good as 2014.  There will be more adventures; Angel will start kindergarten (KINDERGARTEN!!!!  When did this happen?), of course a wedding, a move, the blending of families and big announcement.  I will ring it in the same way I did 2014 and the way I will every year moving forward.  I am attaching pictures from this year.  Enjoy!
I hope each of you has a wonderful holiday!  Merry Christmas and Happy Happy New Year! 

Romans 5:3-5
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

To those of you who are new to my blog please know that names are changed to protect peoples privacy.