Monday, December 30, 2013

Cute Christmas Kiddos

I wasn't able to post these pictures because Blogger wasn't cooperating for me for a few weeks, but I fixed the problem after much troubleshooting and some much needed time over Christmas break.  

I present to you two of the cutest kids I've ever met!  They;re spunky, sweet and super adorable especially since it was such a rainy, cold day.  Miss April absolutely loved the camera and Mr. Trey wasn't nearly as impressed.  I'm not sure if it was the camera, the weather or the hat... 

We did a mini session that was supposed to be 30 minutes, but rapidly became a 15 minute session due to weather.  Even with the limited time, I was able to capture several good photos of the entire family and the kiddos!

 Siblings!
 A little girl and her daddy!  This photo melts my heart ever single time I look at it! 

If you like these photos, please visit my website: www.turnaroudphotography.zenfolio.com 
My facebook page: www.facebook.turnaroundphoto

Much love.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oh Philadelphia

Oh Philadelphia how I adore you and thank you for all the wonderful memories.  From an outsider looking in, I can see how they only see an old, dirty city, but for me, I see memories, lots of wonderful memories!  I see art, history, great food, snazzy bars, college memories, first jobs...  It's my city.  It's the city I know and love.  It's Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love!  As I am writing this the city is preparing to dominate the Cowboys.  Go Eagles!  

Over Christmas, Ryan and I were able to sneak in a visit with Delia and Bud in downtown Philly!  To say it was fun would be an understatement.  It rained the entire time we were there, but we made the most of it!  We started out by meeting Delia and Bud at the Reading Terminal!  The best friend, I missed you, You look Amazing, I love you, hug was perfection!  I love raw best friend hugs and that's exactly what Diz and I had.  It was perfect!  She was waiting in line when we met up because my lovely husband had to have the "Best Sandwich in America,"  the Pork and Broccoli Rab sandwich at DiNiC's in the Reading Terminal.  After getting our sandwiches, we found a seat, chowed down, shared a cookie and headed to get a drink.  We found a swanky bar with a great beer list and we settled right in! There is something to be said for easy conversation.  I love how comfortable I feel with Delia and Bud and I really love how comfortable my husband feels with them.  I'm very lucky to have amazing girlfriends who have amazing significant others. 

After a few beers and an abundance of quality and quick hilarious conversation, we headed outside to find the rain at subsided momentarily!  It was picture time for sure! 
Ryan & I (Thanks Diz for snapping this picture!)
Delia & Bud! I love these two!!
The boys were sweet enough to get us some hot malt wine while Delia and I browsed a few shops, made a return and enjoyed some girl time.  This is Delia's classic face!  Gosh I love her!
And here we are! Thank God for studying abroad in Galway, Ireland and being roomed with this lovely lady!
Today, I thank God for friends!

Much love.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Traditions To Be


This year especially I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed and unprepared for Christmas both spiritually and physically.  My mind has been going a mile a minute, work has been stressful, I’ve been up late working on special projects for people, our schedules have just been jam packed and to top it all off, Little Man isn’t with us this year.  *tears…lots of tears* The holidays, but especially Christmas without the little man is rough.  He brings an excitement to the festivities and really makes Ryan and I focus on family.  We decorate together, bake cookies, sing Christmas songs, watch Christmas movies, hide the pickle ornament in the tree, open the advent calendar daily, put ourselves in other’s shoes and ask ourselves what they want for Christmas.  We get our family Christmas tree, tour the Botanical Garden of Lights, kiss under the mistletoe, and snuggle a lot.  The holidays bring out the late nights of PJs, movies, and snuggles!  I miss having little man to cuddle with.  He’s a little homebody just like his daddy.

Well, this year is different.  Little man is with his mama in Iowa and Ryan and I have been doing our best to get that Christmas feeling.  We set up the nativity, wrapped Christmas presents, watched some Christmas movies and went to the Botanical Garden of Lights.  None of these were quite as energized.  Kids are amazing.  Once you have them, you never want to go back to pre-kids, at least I know I don’t.  Since I don’t have any little ones in the house at the moment, I am very nostalgic.  All I have been doing is planning traditions that I want to have with my children.
 
My absolute favorite tradition is the “Shepherd’s Sack.”  A friend posted this blog on facebook and I fell head over heels in love with it! The idea of the “Shepherd’s Sack” is that a little burlap sack is hung in place of each child’s stocking and throughout the month of December the child receives monetary rewards for good deeds, kind words, and being Christ-like.  Then on Christmas Eve, the burlap sacks are emptied and counted.  The money the children earned is then used to buy something for a family in need.  It could be a chicken for a family or they could sponsor a child for a year.  All depending on how much money they earned. After the presents are bought, the children get to hang their stockings by the chimney with care! The purpose of this is to remember that living a life that honors Jesus Christ, you will be rewarded in heaven. 

Every other tradition that I enjoy fails in comparison to this one, but I am a sucker for traditions and creating memories, so there will be many more!  I want to have an Elf on the Shelf!  That will be so much fun!  I think it really invigorates children’s imaginations and I thoroughly believe in the power of a good imagination!  Let the Children set up the Nativity with little guidance from us.  We will read the Nativity story so that they become very familiar with it, but I really want to see the children’s interpretation of where all the figures should be placed.  It’s something we always did growing up.  I want all the kiddos to sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve!!  This is one family tradition that we did pretty much until we were married!  All the kids piled into the largest bedroom with sleeping bags, pillows, stuffed animals, flashlights, books, and big dreams of the coming morning!  It’s a hoot for the kids and makes managing bedroom doors very easy for the parents wink wink!   Finally, I want to sing Happy Birthday Baby Jesus on Christmas morning before opening a single present!! 

Much love.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fwd: FW: Another Timely Reminder

I received this in an email titled "Fwd: FW: Another Timely Reminder ........." containing the chart below, and am wondering if it's true or not... Anyone know?

American Red Cross
President and CEO Marsha J. Evans'
salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses
MARCH OF DIMES
It is called the March of Dimes because
only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy.
The United Way
President Brian Gallagher
receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.
UNICEF
CEO Caryl M. Stern receives
$1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE.
Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.
GOODWILL
CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year.
Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business.
You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT.
He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! Nice Guy.
$0.00 goes to help anyone!
Stop giving to this man.

Instead, give it to ANY OF THE FOLLOWING

GO "GREEN" AND PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE IT WILL DO SOME GOOD:

The Salvation Army
Commissioner, Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only
$13,000 per year(plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization.
96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.
The American Legion
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Veterans of Foreign Wars
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Disabled American Veterans
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Military Order of PurpleHearts
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Vietnam Veterans Association
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
Make a Wish: For children's last wishes.
100% goes to funding trips or special wishes for a dying child.
St. Jude Research Hospital
100% goes towards funding and helping Children with Cancer who have no insurance and cannot afford to pay.
Ronald McDonald Houses
All monies go to running the houses for parents who have critically ill Children in the hospital.
100% goes to housing, and feeding the families.
Lions Club International
100% OF DONATIONS GO TO HELP THE BLIND, BUY HEARING AIDES, SUPPORT MEDICAL MISSIONS AROUND THE WORLD. THEIR LATEST UNDERTAKING
IS MEASLES VACCINATIONS (ONLY $1.00 PER SHOT).

This is not to say that the organizations at the top are not good organizations.  This is only saying that if you want 100% or a large portion of your donations to go to the cause, the bottom section seems to be your best bet.  This also does not included all the organizations that you can donate to.  There are hundreds, thousands, maybe even more of organizations that use the majority of your donations to help those in need. 
 
Aside from the chart above, I know that I definitely need to be better at donating and what better time than now.  I'm blessed to not want for the basic means to live a good life and there are so many deserving individuals who want every single day.  God Bless.
 
Much love.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gramma



 
Gramma has been in a nursing home for years, but she was always healthy enough to come home for the holidays….until this past year.  Gramma came to Thanksgiving in 2012 and was really nervous.  She definitely wasn’t understanding that she was indeed allowed to leave the nursing home for Thanksgiving.  Since then we have seen a steady decline in her health, but a year later, we decided Heck!  It can’t hurt to bring her home for Thanksgiving again!  So we did.  It took my strong husband to lift her because she can’t walk or even feel her legs and my two brothers to help break her free from the nursing home and it was all worth it!  The second she got in the door she was greeted with amazing smells, smiling faces, lots of hugs and kisses and a GLASS OF WINE!  There are a few things my Gramma knows how to enjoy and they are a single glass of wine and dessert.  She always has room them!  It made me so happy to watch her drink her glass of wine, something she hadn’t had for a year.  I know it was hard on all of us to bring her home and see her struggle, but it was completely worth it.  She was with her family and that’s what the holidays are all about.

I was lucky enough to sit next to her at dinner and help her.  She knows she needs help and she’s completely open to being helped.  It’s very humbling to watch someone who has always been so strong resign herself to letting her granddaughter hold her drink for her and cut her food.  I enjoyed every second of eating Thanksgiving with her.  It’s a memory that I will hold dear for the rest of my life because I fear it will be one of the last holiday meals we share so intimately. 

My Gramma is a spunky lady!  She married young and had seven children.  She cared for my Grampa through shingles, blindness, cancer, oxygen, super grumpy moods, and the list goes on.  She is a woman beyond her years, always very educated and very forward thinking.  She thought women should be educated and I never once heard her utter a racist comment.  Oh and to this day she wears her lipstick, loves her family, and goes to church every Sunday.  I love her dearly and wish I was closer so that I could visit her more.  She is sucker for surprise visits that involve walks outside, puppy cuddles and a sweet treat!  Gramma, I’ll be there over Christmas with Lira in her Christmas sweater and a tin of homemade goodies for us to enjoy.  Heck, we might even go for a walk inside of course because it’s chilly up North!  Love you Gramma!
 
Much love.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Candids

{Thanksgiving 2013} was very relaxing.  We didn't stress over food, looking cute or having a perfectly clean house.  Instead we went to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving parade, lounged around and read, cooked, welcomed guests and wore comfy outfits.  It was an extreme;y stress free holiday for me!  That may have had to do with the fact that we had just gotten back from Jamaica and didn't have a care in the world. Whatever the reason may be, it was so nice to see my family!  Living a few states away makes me nostalgic for holidays and excuses to see my parents and siblings.  Luckily for me, this Thanksgiving was full of family time!  I even had the pleasure of meeting my brothers' girlfriends! 
 
Pops all bundled up at the parade!

My little sister looking cuter than ever! 

My parents cheering!!

Mike (my little brother) and his girlfriend!
After Thanksgiving Day Proper, we lounged as a family, went for a hike, played Apples to Apples and just enjoyed some family time around the fire. 
Tom while playing Apples to Apples

This is the relaxation I was referencing.

Here's some more chill time.

Finally, pops snoozing on the floor in front of the fire!
 I hope your Thanksgiving was as relaxing and enjoyable as mine!  I am very Thankful for my family and the love we share. 

Much love.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Boss Quit.

I wrote a post a few weeks back that alluded to lessons I learned from work.  Well, in a nutshell, my boss gave his two weeks’ notice and from there work took a rapid downward spiral.  Then I went to Jamaica, celebrated Thanksgiving and now I am back at work without a boss.  It’s a catch 22.  When everything was jiving, my boss was phenomenal.  When things were going to great either personally or whatever, things were horrible.

Note to Self: Keep your personal life out of work. 

I know that it is hard to do especially when you have “friends” at work.  They need to be on the same page and keep personal things out of the workplace.  It’s possible.  I’ve definitely not excelled at it in the past, but I am going to be working on in the future. 

I thought work was busy a few weeks ago.  Well, Boy O Boy was I wrong.  Now I know what busy really is…or at least a more busy version of what I thought busy was.  I am fried after a mornings worth of work because I am digging through files to figure out where on earth numbers are coming from.  There is no rhyme or reason and I’m not a fan of spreadsheets that aren’t linked, have no instructions, and have an insane amount of repeat information.  Processes will be streamlined in the near future for sanity’s sake.

Happy HUMP Daaa-yee!

 
Much love.