Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy 6th Anniversary Josh and Chassi

Dinner parties with friends

We are a part of a "dinner club" group with some people from my work and last weekend was our month to host. We've been rotating through different themes...Italian, French, Mexican, Tapas, etc.. My friend Mickey and I always do ours together - we decided to go very informal and chose the theme "Redneck dinner party". 
We had babyback ribs, smoked chicken, mac and cheese, tater tots, Mississippi mud cakes, banana pudding, moon pies and of course squirt cheese in a can and fried bologna sandwiches for appetizers. We put together a cd with everyones favorite country or southern rock songs. I think it was agreed by the end of the night that evidently we must be rednecks, because everyone had a blast and enjoyed the food, music and decorations.

Last night we attended a much more formal dinner party at our friends Dale and Elizabeth's house. They set a beautiful table in their back yard and we had dinner under the stars. Dale made a delicious pork loin and Elizabeth made a heavenly coconut cake. The weather was beautiful and they have the perfect yard for hosting. It was wonderful to catch up with friends I don't get to see enough, and make some new friends as well.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Denise, Nikki and I went to Chattanooga to do some training this week and it was a good, but busy trip. Our parent company is really embracing and promoting a healthy corporate culture. They have a fantastic campus with beautiful views and lots of walking trails. Their cafeteria offers healthy foods at reasonable prices. If you choose a less healthy option, it cost more. So a turkey burger cost less than a cheeseburger. They have no fried foods on the menu. Even the vending machines follow this example. For example a bottle of water might be 75 cents, diet coke 1.25, but a regular coke would be 2.00. They also have a fabulous fitness center right in the building. Hopefully this will make a difference in their workforce. Tennessee is 46th in the nation in overall health and we hope to help improve those statistics.

Jenni rode along with us and visited her friend Molly while I was working. Chattanooga is such a pretty city. I need to plan to go back when I can explore more and not have to work.


I'm slowly getting some of the feeling back in my chest and even though I'm excited to get some sensation back it can be pretty painful at times. Mostly burning and stinging, but occasionally I get a shooting nerve pain that takes my breath. My surgeon gave me fore-warning this would happen and that it is normal while the nerves are healing.


I love where I work and I love the people I work with. I believe in our mission to promote health/wellness to other organizations. Lately it has been like working in a whirlwind. I don't know if I'm coming or going most days. I'm still having a bit of a struggle with my memory and sometimes I have trouble remembering the right word when I'm talking. It is very frustrating and I'm beginning to wonder if the chemo scrambled my brain just a bit. I do much better when I'm organized and not pulled in 10 directions. 
Until I get completely back to normal (whatever that is) I will just keep notes and make checklists. One of my missions this summer will be to focus on my work/life balance. I want to do more than go to work and come home and rest. I am going to work hard on getting all my energy back and celebrating life.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A great time on the beaches of South Walton

We had a great vacation, but as they say... all good things must come to an end. On Friday night Josh and Chassi treated us all to a great dinner at Pompano Joe's restaurant. The food was great and it is located right on Miramar beach, so it was a beautiful setting as well. It was hard to leave our beautiful vacation home, but we will just have to plan on visiting there again soon. We all have a tiny bit more color than we left with, except for Chassi who seems to tan great. I think we have too much irish blood to ever have a golden brown color.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Date night

Last night Bryan and I snuck away to have "date night". We couldn't decide where to go so we ate dinner at Bayou Bills and went to Red Bar for music/dessert. We love both places so it was hard to decide. There were a thousand stars out last night, it was a peaceful and beautiful night on the coast.


No beach time today, it was full of jellyfish. We have two nice pools in our subdivision so we made use of those instead. It's hard to believe we only have a couple of days left. I brought a bag full of books and I've only started on one. There is just too much to do here -not that I'm complaining, we are having a great time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Beware of toddlers on the beach...

Have you ever tried to have a snack on the beach with a toddler around? I was eating a peanut butter sandwich on the beach today and Emri walked up and patted my sandwich with her sand covered hand. I didn't realize it until I took a big bite and got lots of sand grit in my teeth.


Yesterday we spent part of the day at the beach, part at the pool and then headed to Seaside for dinner. 
We were sitting down to dinner at an outdoor pizza place in Seaside and Anna Belle asked "Are we still in Florida?" we said "yes" and she replied "Oh, because I thought this was heaven". Then she proceeded to ask Josh a thousand questions 
about heaven, vacations, etc... She never seems to run out of questions. It makes me smile, because Josh was also the question kid - everything seems to come full circle. 
I had forgotten how exhausting all those questions can be. 


We try to take a family vacation each year, this year we chose Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. It's been a very long year, and I was glad to get away to relax. We rented a very nice house that is about 3 blocks from the beach. It has 5 bedrooms and 3 baths and is plenty big for us all to move around. We needed lot of room with 3 preschoolers in tow. The subdivision also has a couple of swimming pools so there are plenty of water activity options for everyone. Josh is not a big fan of sand, he much prefers the pool. Bryan, Josh and Jenni also have bikes and there are plenty of bike trails for them to enjoy in this area.
The first night we decided to go by the beach on the way to a restaurant. This is the first trip to the ocean for the girls and when they saw it they were in awe. It was about 6 o'clock and the tide was coming in. Morgan said "oh I think I'm scared" and then they both ran to the water and squealed. Before we knew it they had stripped off their clothes and were running in the shallow waves. We had to walk back to the house and change and dry off before dinner. They also
had a great time at dinner helping Chassi crack the crab legs she ordered. Everything is an adventure with those little girls along.
If you need a place to stay - this one is highly recommended and the owner Kerry is a dream to work with.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The perfect Mom

The Perfect Mother by Erma Bombeck

Everyone said Sharon was a terrific mother.

Her neighbors said it.

Sharon painted the inside of her garbage cans with enamel, grew her own vegetables, cut her own grass every week, made winter coats for the entire family from remnants, donated blood and baked Barbara Mandrell a doll cake for her birthday.

Her mother said it.

Sharon drove her to the doctor's when she had an appointment, color-coordinated the children's clothes and put them in labeled drawers, laundered aluminum foil and used it again, planned family reunions, wrote her Congressman, cut everyone's hair and knew her health insurance policy number by heart.

Her children's teacher said it.

She helped her children every night with their homework, delivered her son's paper route when it rained, packed nutritious lunches with little raised faces on the sandwiches, was homeroom mother, belonged to five car pools and once blew up 234 balloons by herself for the seventh grade cotillion.

Her husband said it.

Sharon washed the car when it rained, saved antifreeze from year to year, paid all the bills, arranged their social schedule, sprayed the garden for bugs, moved the hose during the summer, put the children on their backs at night to make sure they didn't sleep on their faces, and once found a twelve-dollar error on a tax return filed by H & R Block.

Her best friend said it.

Sharon build a bed out of scraps left over from the patio, crocheted a Santa Claus to cover the extra roll of toilet paper at Christmastime, washed fruit before her children ate it, learned to play the harpsichord, kept a Boston fern alive for a whole year, and when the group ate lunch out, Sharon always figured out who owed what.

Her minister said it.

Sharon found time to read all the dirty books and campaign against them. She played guitar at evening services. She corresponded with a poor family in Guatemala in SPANISH. She put together a cookbook to raise funds for a new coffee maker for the church. She collected door to door for all the health organizations.

Sharon was one of those women blessed with a knack for being organized. She planned a theme party for the dog's birthday, made her children elaborate Halloween costumes out of old grocery bags and her knots came out just right on the shoelaces when they broke. She put a basketball hoop over the clothes hanger as an incentive for good habits, started seedlings in a toilet paper spindle, and insulated their house with empty egg cartons, which everyone else threw away.

Sharon kept a schedule that would have brought any other women to her knees. Need twenty-five women to chaperone a party? Give the list to Sharon. Need a mother to convert the school library to the Dewey Decimal System? Call Sharon. Need someone to organize a block party, garage sale or a school festival? Get Sharon.

Sharon was a SUPER MOM! Her gynecologist said it. Her butcher said it.   Her tennis partner said it. Her children

Her children never said it.

They spent a lot of time with Ricky's mother, who was always home with them and who ate cookies out of a box and played poker with them.

I had a wonderful "non-perfect" Mom. I still don't know how she managed to do everything she did for us and still teach all those classes. She was our brownie troop leader, we took every kind of lesson imaginable and she never missed a beat-Mom was always there for us. We constantly had friends at our house and she never complained, and of course they loved her just as much as we did. Granted our house was never spotless, but Mom always had plenty of time to spend with me and my sisters to talk and laugh. She knew the importance of being there for us. She is my role model and I miss her every day!

A favorite poem - My kids

They know me in a way no one else ever has,
they open me to things I never knew existed.
They drive me to insanity and push me to my depths. 
They are the beat of my heart, the pulse of my veins,
and the energy in my soul - they are my kids.

Mother's Day

Maybe I'm partial but I think I have fabulous children. Here are two of my favorite Mother's day messages.


We are all excited to be heading off for our family vacation tomorrow. Last year I got my diagnosis the day we left to head to the mountains and I think I was weepy and in shock the whole week. It was a very emotional trip for all of us. Since then I've been through too many tests and doctors visits to count, in addition to surgery and chemo. When I look back it is hard to believe all that has happened in the past 9 months.

This year we are headed to Santa Rosa beach for the week, and I guess for once I really feel like I truly have earned a whole week off. I plan to relax and celebrate life with my fabulous family! Please pray we have great weather and a safe trip.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to my sisters!

My sisters both have birthdays this week. Linda's is today (3rd) and Lisa's is the 6th. Dad and Sherry drove up and we all got together on Saturday to celebrate. I have an amazing family - we may be nutty and loud, but we love each other and enjoy spending time together.

Happy Birthday Linda and Lisa!