Monday, October 29, 2007

San Diego Zoo

My daughter, son-in-law & granddaughter and I went to the San Diego Zoo yesterday. We had a great time seeing the wide variety of animals on display there. This zoo is huge! We were amazed at all of animals (whose names we couldn't even pronounce) that were endangered or extinct! This zoo didn't have your run-of-the mill animals like lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, rhinos, etc. No, it had things like a Visayan Warty Pig from Asia, Yellow-backed Duiker from Arica, Lowland Anoa from Asia, Japanese Serow from Asia, and a Buergers' Tree Kangaroo from Australia. These are just a few examples of hundreds and hundreds!! We were there from 11:00 - 4:30 and only saw about 2/3 of the park. Our feet were tired from walking around so much. It was a lovely park with more than ample shade and beautiful landscaping everywhere!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California Bound

My daughter is safe and back in her home as of yesterday! I decided this afternoon to go ahead and fly out there tomorrow and see them. I am so frustrated with Delta though! What a racket!! I used skymiles to get my first ticket (when I was going to fly out Tuesday, 10/23) and I had to pay $75.00 since I was purchasing my ticket less than 21 days out. Well, when I couldn't go on Tuesday due to the wildfires I called Delta and had the miles put back in my account and because of the wildfires they were waiving the re-deposit fees (normally $75.00 - what a joke that fee is!) They did refund my $10.00 I paid for taxes but of course they don't refund my $75.00 fee. So today when I called to schedule another flight for tomorrow they wanted to charge me ANOTHER $75.00 - I asked to speak to a supervisor and she informed me they are only allowed to waive the fee one time and what I should have done is rescheduled in the first place instead of redeposit my skymiles back in my account. I told her "well two days ago if I had known what the wildfires were going to do today and if I had known that the area I wanted to go to was no longer under an evacuation order today then I would have booked a flight for Thursday instead!!!" DUH! UGH!! So frustrating! I had decided NOT to go because I was so mad and I was just going to schedule a flight 21 days out so as not to pay another 75.00 but my husband talked me into going...he reminded me that we still can't get a ticket from FL to CA for $150.00 and with the flight I picked out it used 12,000 less skymiles than I was originally using - so that was a major plus!! So, anyway, I am leaving tomorrow heading for San Diego, CA for a week....just in time too because it has turned cold here!! I've been freezing all day and my daughter says it is HOT out there - with all the fires I guess :-(

Monday, October 22, 2007

California Wildfires

I am supposed to fly out to see my daughter, her husband and my granddaughter tomorrow in San Diego, CA but I received an early morning phone call today from them letting me know they are having to evacuate their home due to these wildfires raging in CA right now. I am not sure if I am going to be able to go see them tomorrow or not.

12 Year Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my dear husband, Gregory....I love you! Thank you for the last 12 years of your friendship, love and devotion....I adore you!

Monday, October 15, 2007

My stepfather needs prayers

My stepfather, Pete, had a heart cath this morning. The doctor found 3 blocked arteries, one of them pretty significant. He called in another heart doctor for a 2nd opinion because he is not sure how to proceed at this point. The doctor is recommending heart bypass surgery now which has to be scheduled so he is planning on sending my dad home in a couple of hours....with those 3 arteries STILL blocked. All of this is much to the great dismay of my mother. Before he went in for this procedure today we knew he was having some problems but we didn't know how "severe" the problems were. Now that we know it is really scary to think that he is coming home without them fixing things. If you are reading this, just say a little prayer for my sweet Pete. Thank you and God bless....

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Darling Dakota

My sweet youngest child has hit the tweenage years and HIT THEM HARD! If the last 3 months has been any indication of what the next 9 years is going to be like (the age at which he will no longer be a TEENager) I believe my knees are going to have calluses on them from all the praying and my hands are going to have permanent fingernail impressions from the balled-up fists when I am trying to keep my mouth shut out of frustration and rely on God for PATIENCE instead to see me through.

One minute I have a loving boy around me who wants to "play with" my hair and run his fingers through my hair (because he loves my long hair), play a game with me, sit in my lap and surf the internet together looking up information, crawl up in my bed and watch a show together, take a walk, or various other activities....then in the blink of an eye this other child I don't recognize pops out of nowhere and rears HIS ugly head! In the place of MY sweet boy, I now have an argumentative, crying, sulky child who looks at me like I am the most ignorant person in the world! I reach out for a hug and he pulls away with horror like I am covered with leprosy or something.

He looked at my blog the other day when I was sharing it with somebody else and he was so offended because there were no pictures of HIM on here! Now I have a myspace page with pictures of HIM all over it and I just never even thought to put pictures of him on my blog. I told him "but honey, look let me show you....I wrote about your birthday on here and I bet I put a picture of you there..." and I scrolled down to that posting but guess what?! I put a picture of HIS CAKE - not HIM! Oh my goodness - did that ever set him off!!! Now I am not one to "coddle" my children - I'm really not, honest and I can only deal with so much "temper tantrum" and sulking before it's off to the bedroom with you so I don't have to look at that sulky face...BUT, there have been some things going on within our household lately (of which I'll be announcing at a later date) besides just him being a tweenager that I think may be causing him to act this way so for that reason I am posting some pictures of my "sweet little man" on here for him to see that I want everyone to see HIS pictures on my page just as much as any other pictures I post on here. Enjoy!

Uncle Dakota and his brother-in-law Bryant (the big guy) rough-housing with nephew Allan - Feb 2007.

When I got back from Brazil in September, we went out to eat with my mother-in-law for her birthday. This was at the Chinese restaurant we ate at.

In July, my daughter - Tina and her baby, Bailee came into town. Dakota is such a good Uncle to all his nieces and nephews! He loves on them and is so eager to see them and they LOVE and ADORE him!!

Dakota is in the kayak at my dad's beach house in August. He is getting pretty good at manuevering that thing! Dakota and I were dancing the ChaCha Slide at Relay for Life in April - we love participating in this Relay every year. Raising money for cancer research. We also like doing this dance!! We danced it about 10 times that night!! LOL

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Butterflies & Seagulls

We love going to the beach here where we live. We went one Saturday back in September and when we got there we were so excited because the surf was pretty flat in the Gulf and the the water was that beautiful clear blue-green color. We carried our chairs and cooler down to the edge of the water and got comfortable and all the seagulls showed up waiting for THEIR lunch! haha
It just gave me a chance to snap some up-close pictures of them while they waited for us to throw them some leftovers.

The seagulls almost blend in with our sugar-white sand beaches we have here in FL. I have always loved our sand! You can't find sand like this anywhere else in the world!
Today Dakota and I went to a kids' park to meet up with some other homeschooling moms/kids for a play date. We had never been to this particular park before. There was a huge wonderful butterfly garden planted at the entrance of the park and hundreds of butterflies were flittering all over the place! They were fascinating to sit there and watch. Dakota helped me capture several good pictures of them by pointing out some that were landing on flowers long enough for me to snap a picture.

Under the Overpass

I just finished reading this book called "Under the Overpass" by Mike Yankoski. This book is a powerful book I highly recommend for everyone to read! It's about 2 young college men who spent 5 months living on the streets to experience life as the homeless do. They had to rely on the kindness of strangers, sleep, eat and use the bathroom wherever they could find or people would "allow" them too. This book is a journal of their time on the streets. It will give you a whole new perspective on things!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Jay Peanut Festival

After we finished at Barktoberfest and loaded Jet (our lab) and Dakota up in the truck to head home, I asked my husband if he would ride with me up to Jay to the Peanut Festival. He looked at me like I was crazy at first because Jay is a very small community out in the boondocks and it takes about 45 mins - 1 hour driving through cotton fields and farmland to get there. But he is always very easy-going and good-natured about things like this especially if it means us "doing" something together so he agreed to accompany me. We dropped Jet and Dakota off at home because Dakota said "he didn't want to ride all the way up there!" and off we went.

The ride was very had been years since I had been out that way. I was sad I didn't bring my camera when we passed a couple of cotton fields that were positively white with cotton - it looked like fields of snow!!

The weather was beautiful! When the sun went behind the clouds it was just perfect - not too hot. We walked around the festival for an hour or so looking at the vendors' booths. We didn't purchase any peanuts but we bought a bunch of homemade goodies (banana nut bread, cookies, and pralines) from churches who were doing bake sales.

I just love this time of year - there are so many festivals and things to do and the weather is wonderful!

Dad's Birthday

Today is my dad's birthday!! Happy Birthday DAD! He is celebrating by vacationing in the Smokey Mountains this week!

Monday, October 8, 2007


The city we live in has an annual celebration in October at a park's called "Barktoberfest" and it's for the dogs. We attended this event on Saturday - our first time going - and were pleasantly surprised by all the vendors set up giving away FREE food and products for pets; the competitions going on for dogs and various other activities. This event is sponsored by the no-kill Humane Society as a fundraiser. In order to enter competitions participants have to pay an entry fee and vendors have to pay a fee to set up. From what I hear they raised quite a bit of money. We took our black lab down there - he was exhausted by the time we left - so much to smell and do!! LOL

These first two pictures were two of the dogs down there in costume - they are not my dogs - these pictures came out in our local paper the next day after the event took place. The bottom picture is my beloved lab. We didn't put him in costume. He was hot enough as it is - it was near 90 degrees Saturday and he is close to 90 lbs and black - he doesn't need a costume on top of his black coat!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Homeschooling Woes

Okay, so we had a meltdown this week...a clash of wills so to speak, between Dakota and I and after much thought and prayer the last 2 days I've decided to make some changes in our homeschooling routine. Let me first explain that the last 2-3 years of Dakota's homeschooling has consisted of mainly unschooling with some internet schooling thrown in as needed...but there has been very little "structure" to speak of. (I know this isn't proper English but I have rewritten this sentence about 4 times and frankly I am tired of rewriting it so it's staying like that! LOL) At his request to become a better speller and wanting to work on some other things he felt ready to undertake, we decided this year to add a little more structure to our homeschooling routine. Not only did I spend a lot of time this summer researching curriculum and trying to decide what to purchase for him but I also decided to enroll him with this woman who teaches small 1-hour classes (2-4 students only) on Tuesdays. I enrolled him in Grammar and Geography with her. He has been attending for 4 weeks now.

We've diligently been plugging away at his work and getting in the routine of spending 3-5 hours a day on school 4 days a week - and then Tuesdays he would go to this woman's house for 2 hours. He had his first test with her last was a Geography test where he had to know and label all the European countries on a map. He had them down pat. When I picked him up that day he was so distraught because he thought he had failed that test...he is a perfectionist to the point that he won't try so many things if he "knows" he can't get it perfect. This drives me BONKERS!! It also drives me BONKERS to sit with him while he is writing because he writes and erases, writes and erases, writes and erases...over and over and over! Ahhhh, I just want to scream! Okay, just had to get that out...I know I am getting off subject here (LOL)! So anyway, because of this one test it totally ruined his whole week last week!!!! He fought with me about school every day. He had a defeated, dejected attitude. It was horrible! He had to learn rivers and oceans in Europe for his test this week and we studied and studied and he knew them and finally by this past weekend he was so excited because he knew all of them and could spell them. He kept wanting us to call them out to him so he could spell them for us and tell us where they were located. But beginning Monday when he knew the next day was "test day" all of a sudden he had memory lapse and couldn't remember anything. Tuesday when I put him in the car to drive him to "school" he started crying - by the time we got there he was in hysterics! I couldn't believe the way he was acting! Because he didn't want to go in and take a test!!

My 11-yr-old is as tall as I am and weighs almost as much as me so there is no moving him if he doesn't want to move so he was pretty much planted in the car crying hysterically and begging me to not make him go take that I finally went and told his teacher what was going on and told her I was just going to take him back home. She pulled out his test he had taken from last week (which she had graded) and handed it to me and said "I'm not sure why he is so upset...he made a perfect score." I looked and he had a 100% written on the top!

I took his paper out to the car and showed him and I think Dakota was genuinely shocked that he had gotten a perfect score. Well anyway after having a playdate with some other homeschooling moms yesterday and talking to them and discussing it with my own mom I have decided to pull him out of that woman's classes and just continue teaching on my own at home. I think the added "newness" of structure along with "a structured teacher" is just too much for him to handle all at once and it became overwhelming for him. Boy I hate doing this too because this is one of those times when I sure don't want him to think his "temper tantrum" made me change my mind! Grrrrr

Get Paid to Blog!

For those of you who have been following along with my blog you know that I started this as a way to discuss my journey getting out of debt. I follow the blogs of a few other people who are also doing the same thing and one of those people, Amy Bass, led me to PayPerPost- where you can earn money to blog! I just joined PayPerPost last week and I've already started earning money! This is a great opportunity to earn cash for doing something I like to do anyway!

If you love to blog I encourage you to check out Blog Ethics and start earning money for what you write in your blogs! The site is very user friendly and there is even a "myspace-type" set up within the site where you can connect with other posties - which makes for great social networking! What are you waiting for?

The money I earn from PayPerPost will be used to start knocking out that debt of ours so we can purchase our first home together! Keep checking back - I plan on adding in tne very near future a debt reduction countdown and a goals and earnings diary so you can track my progress. Getting paid to blog from PayPerPost will help me reach my goals that much quicker!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Proverbs 31 Woman

I'm teaching a weekly Bible study to a group of women on the Proverbs 31 woman. This has been an awesome Bible study. When I first chose this study it was with a little "resentment" at this superwoman in the Bible that we women of today are supposed to emulate...but as we have proceeded through each section of this study my eyes have been opened to what made this "superwoman" SUPER - her love and devotion to God. She put him first and foremost in her life and everything else just fell into place.

We are just beginning Week 4 - this is only a 6-week study. Week 1 dealt with "The Ideal Woman" and what kind of legacy are we leaving behind. We discussed the world's ideal woman vs. God's ideal woman and the huge differences between the two. Ask yourselves these True/False questions:
  • I worry more about fat grams than having a daily quiet time
  • I would not have a problem going out in public without my makeup
  • My first thought in the morning is "Where is my Bible?" not "What should I wear today?"
  • I would feel more self-worth if I were successful in the business world
  • Looking at a lingerie catalog throws me into a major depression.
  • A bad hair day can affect my whole mood
  • I would rather someone say I am kind-hearted than pretty.
  • I am able to look in a full-length mirror while wearing my swimsuit and say, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

Week 2 discusses "A Woman Who Fears The Lord." God desires our whole heart. The Proverbs 31 woman followed God with a whole-hearted devotion. "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you" (1 Sam. 12:24)

Week 3 was about "A Woman of Worth" - this is what we discussed yesterday...we had such an awesome discussion! We started off talking about a woman's worth according to the world (which we can tell by the magazines in any checkout line at a supermarket what we are worth to the, sex, sex) compared to what we are worth to God! He sent His son to die FOR US and he doesn't expect anything from us except love and obedience....

The choice is yours:

Worth according to the World: Worth=What you look like, what you do, what others think of you


Worth according to GOD: Worth = Who you are in Christ

"Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mom turned 60 on Friday, September 27th! My twin girls will be turning 20 on November 25th! I'll be turning 40 on December 7th! We are all 20 years apart. We've been teasing my daughters that one of them has to carry on the "tradition" and have a child and we've been trying to guess which one it would be but neither one is interested in anymore children right now! LOL (Felicia has two boys already and Tina has a daughter who will be a year old in November.)

Anyway, back to my mom...this last year or so she has started coloring her hair and wearing it so stylish she looks rather pretty these days! Before that she was letting it go gray. I never thought anything about the gray because that's just a natural fact of life....we're gonna go gray at some point of our life....but when she had her hair colored that first time - WOWZA - she was a different woman!! Now we won't let her go gray again! LOL So happy birthday mom! We love you!