Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Travels

"I-95 Winter Day"

For the past three years we have been traveling across the seas to see family during the holidays and whether we go across the sea or across state lines I always ask myself why am I doing this again? I will not be traveling over the holidays anymore. I'm done! It's tiring, frustrating, the car becomes a huge mess, we have to worry about the pets, the kids have to leave their new toys behind, I mean, it's just a real pain in the neck, literally, all that driving and uncomfortable sleeping...ugh!

But each time, when it's all said and done, we're glad we did it. It's a family thing.  We don't want to deal with the inconveniences of winter travels but we want to see family. We want to be close and feel the warmth of each others company.  We feel blessed that we have the opportunity, the possibilities, and the people to go visit, many do not or can not.

I am thankful that we are able to travel and that we have places to stay and that we can see our family, even if only for a little while, during the holidays. I hope to visit more often through the year and then maybe we wont feel so guilty not traveling during the busiest time of year.

I'd like to wish everyone a new year filled with promises fulfilled, hope and dreams attained, and relationships built or rebuilt. May you all get exactly what you, happiness, and love!

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams" ~ Thoreau

Let's talk next year ;-)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Outdoor Wednesday - Signs of Fall

I'm holding on to the fall season until I absolutely have to move on... enjoy the photos!

"Crab apples"

"Wild Berries"

"Evening Sun"

"Praying Manthis"

"Autumn colors"

Visit Outdoor Wednesday for more outdoor fun.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blue Monday: Art by William Crute

I am not an artist, nor do I know much about mediums and styles and all that, but I can tell you how I feel when I look at certain artistic works.  My daughter Em has the gift, though she may not agree and she is her own worst critic, she can just paint or draw something and before you know it it's done and she will claim it's not at all good, while I sit in awe and wonder "who is this child?"  Anyway, this is not about her works, I will talk about her another time because I have much to show off, since she wont :-)

This post is about the works of my friend, William Crute.  I have yet to own any of his works probably because I can't make up my mind, but I do admire them via his online gallery. Someday I plan to visit his live studio and it wont be difficult for me to find the one that fits perfectly over my couch in the "reading room."

For now, I would like to share some of his works with everyone out there  because I think he has an amazing way of capturing the little details that we miss.  There's so much to truly admire when we look at water, the rocks in the water, the ripples, the stars, every leaf and twig. But we don't. We generally look at the entire picture and embrace it for what it is in the moment.  We are in too much of a rush to appreciate the little things.

Bill, somehow, captures all those little things.  When I look at one of his paintings I can almost hear the stillness, the shuffling of the grass dancing in the wind or the ripples in the water as it pushes toward the shoreline.  When I look at some of his works I mentally relax and go to a more peaceful place.  I begin to see the little things that matter so much.  Apply this appreciation to everyday life and you could easily walk away feeling happier and more satisfied about life in general.

Take a look around, I hope you'll enjoy his works as well.  Here is a preview of his latest work, but feel free to visit his website, share with other art lovers and if you want to purchase a piece, contact him directly through the site contact page.

"Seagulls Joy"

"The Day Begins"

Click here to visit the gallery --->William Crute Art Gallery

I am participating in Smiling Sally's Blue Monday! Visit the site to see more Blues around the world!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blue Monday- Sights around DC

Today on blue monday... 

The ceiling in the National Museum of the American Indian.  This is an amazing structure with it's little window peaking at us from above.
I really enjoyed learning and helping my kids learn.  I think we have to go back, there's so much to see that one short afternoon is not nearly enough.  The kids loved the "ImagiNations at Play" area, so much fun and so much to do.

The United States Air Force Memorial located in Arlington, Virginia honors the men and women who have served in the United States Air Force.  The monument overlooks the Pentagon, the Potomac River and Washington DC. The monument was officially dedicated on Saturday, October 14, 2006. The United States Air Force Memorial which was designed by James Ingo Freed, symbolizes flight and the flying spirit with three stainless steel spires that are 270 feet high and represent contrails of the Air Force Thunderbirds as they disperse.  The United States Air Force star emblem is embedded in granite beneath the spires. The Memorial also has a paved runway entry, a bronze Honor Guard statue,  and  walls with inscriptions and for visitors to pay tribute to fallen airmen.

Visit Sally to see what other Blue awesomeness others are talking about!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It is COLD!!! Updates....

OK well, for me, the one who has not lived in the North East since 2009 and the one who thought 65 degrees was cold enough to wear a jacket while living in Cuba, for me, it's COLD at 45 degrees in Northern Virginia (NoVA).

On to the updates..... and trust me, there's more than I can write in a 12 chapter book but we'll go with major events:

1.  The House.  We stressed about where to live (because it's what we humans do best), buying the house, not buying the house, renting and then buying the house.  OK so we bought the house and I do love it, except it doesn't have a basement which would be really helpful, but then again maybe this way I wont be tempted to put a few boxes away to sort through later.  I either get it done or it becomes part of my furniture.  Those boxes do make great desks and coffee me, I know.  It is a great house. Split levels and with an added room which quickly became the kids play room/music and art room.

2.  The new Odyssey.  We bought a new car.  Yes, it's a minivan, never thought I'd be OK with that but man it's so comfortable.  I love it.  A week after we bought it I ran into a girl who ran a red light. Yup... front end damage, air bags deployed, Honda said, it's OK we'll fix it and the insurance said heck yeah!! Fifty days later, I got my car back.  We rented with insurance paying most of that, the car is fine now and hopefully, it will not be making contact with any other vehicle for the rest of it's life.  Oh yes, this all happened before I even had a place to live.... geez! Can we add anymore stress to our lives?


3.  The kids.  They went to Summer Camp. The Boy went to Farm Animals camp and the Girl went to Rock Climbing.  They both loved it, it was a great week for them and for me.  They went to one school for one month and then moved to their permanent school after we moved.  It all worked out and they really were not affected, except that the Boy doesn't like to sleep alone.  After sharing a room with his sister for the last three years, one can see why he's hesitant to be in his own room, alone.  So we put a mini fish tank in his room, he loves it.  The Girl has a Dwarf Hamster and she's happy.  All is well in their world.

"September 11 2001 Memorial, The Washington Monument, and Great Falls on the Potomac"                         

4.  Work.  Michael is working, after all, it was his job that plucked us from Cuba and planted us square in the middle of the traffic jam capital: DC Metro... it's really not that bad. I've only been in a jam twice, once because Fairfax County closed it's roads to put on a street fair and I didn't know until I was at the point of no return and the second time because I thought traveling 2 days before Thanksgiving on any road between 3 and 7 pm would be a good idea.  Never again.  Oh yes, work.  I'm working at a new gym teaching one class.  Hopefully soon I'll be teaching more than just one class but for now, it's a start.  I'm in the door.  Soon I'll be teaching Spin at the base Gym. I'm excited because I'll be working with military members again and that is something I always want to be able to do.

5. Thanksgiving.  I volunteered to host Thanksgiving Dinner at our new home.  That meant no travel for us.  I did very little prep work, ordered a brined, fresh, organic raised turkey from Whole Foods, asked my guests aka family members to each contribute some dishes and then the kids, the husband and I got to work on the rest.  We had a fantastic time working on our meal together the day before and then bringing it all together the day of.  I was ecstatic and felt the blessings showered upon us.  After all, it's been a long time since I've been able to have MY family together, all six of us :-)

"Thankful Tree"

NOW.... moving on to December, so much to do, so little time.  I have cards to order, presents to purchase and/or make, traveling to New York to see family and to Carnegie Hall to see the Older Boy perform.  Again, filled with Excitement.  Can't wait!

"running trails"

In the mean time, I am busy doing all that and training for a the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon in February and possibly another one in March.  I just have to manage to stay warm after each run because inevitably, I always get distracted and then I get super cold before my post-run shower and then it takes me two hours to warm up.

I hope you all had a great holiday week.  Thanksgiving IS the best holiday. There are no candies to give out, no presents to buy, no pressure, just eat and enjoy the company, that's all!!

Until next time...which will be Blue Monday, have a great rest of the weekend!!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Signs of Fall

I love the Fall season, almost as much as I love Spring.  The thing I've missed most about this time of year is the changing foliage, the warm colors, the ability to make soups and stews and of course gathering with friends and family to celebrate the season and all we have to be thankful for.

Many people are caught up in the negativity that's is just about everyone in social networks, the media, even at the coffee shop today, ugh!  Anyway, I am a very positive person and truly believe in taking personal accountability for how things go in my life.  What job I do, how well I do it, what we eat for dinner, and what we watch on TV... I decide, WE decide these things and WE decide whether we're going to be happy or sad about the end result.  Do I learn from my mistakes or do I just blame others and keep on doing them?  When you fall, do you just stay down or do you get up and keep on walking?

I'm writing this today because for a short moment I was feeling a little down.  I'm not working in my field as much as I was before, I have been unpacking for ever, it seems, and we are just now recovering from colds, strep, infections, etc... It's been a crazy four months for us and today, in the stillness of my home I again realized, I'm not doing what I love, yet.

I called my good friend, Lin and she made me laugh and reminded me that there are reasons why things go the way they do. I need to stop fighting in my head and putting my emotions through such a roller coaster because everything will fall into place when the time is right.  She's right. That's how it always happens and I know that too, but sometimes we go to the dark side and OMG...not a good place to be.

Today she reminded me that I need to just be thankful for what I have, embrace this down time because I obviously needed and she reminded me to MAKE A LIST!! 

I need my list to keep me focused and to keep my goals in check.  

I have so much to be thankful for in my life.

I feel renewed, Thanks Lin!!

If you ever feel blue, call a friend, talk to someone who can put things into perspective for you. While I am super positive, it helps to have good friends to talk me through my crazy moments of sadness.

Be Happy, Stay Happy, because Life is good, Living is Good!!



Saturday, October 27, 2012


'Tis the season for the ghouls and goblins to come knocking at your door for a trick or a treat... 

I am from the Dominican Republic so this is not a traditional holiday for us, however, growing up in Jersey, I did take part in some dressing up.  One of my favorite costumes was when I dressed as a Gypsy girl with a kerchief on my head, a white fluffy shirt, colorful long skirt and lots of bangles on my wrists.  My cousin and I would just dig through her stuff and mine and somehow put my costume together. That was probably more fun than anything else we did that night.

My kids have always enjoyed this time of year, not just because of the candy but because of the creative ways they get to dress up and the pumpkin decorating/carving/painting in which we traditionally take part. 

Ms. N wasn't sure what she would be this year, but she did know she wanted to be scary.  We found this hooded skull robe in the Halloween box, sprayed her hair free and as you can see threw in some face paint not meant to depict anything in wasn't until someone at school said "wow she makes a great Zombie" that she turned to me and said "Mom I'm a zombie!" OK we've settled that.

Of course, her pumpkin also had to be scary. She did a great job all on her own. No prize for this scary lady but everyone really liked it and that was enough for her.

Mr. J seen here as Captain America. He really wanted to be a super hero and thank goodness I found this little costume for 1/2 price at a local Rite-Aid Pharmacy.  I made the shield out of a Chinet paper plate, paint, and a little white glue glitter for the star.  He loved it!!

Mr. J is the happiest boy ever.  He did not want a scary pumpkin because he believes everyone should be happy, so here it is... big smile, wide eyes,  and simple.  Nice Job!!

Just in case Hurricane Sandy comes through on Halloween, at least we know the kids got to wear their costumes.  But they are looking forward to parading with their friends through our neighborhood. Should be fun, as always!

Be Safe and Have Fun!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Still unpacking and organizing---help!

We moved from GTMO Cuba, took three months to get a home and finally received our household goods. That alone was enough to cause me some serious stress. We have been moving for the last 22 years, yes military moves us, but military doesn't unpack us, organize us, paint for us, etc... not that I expect that to be the case.  My point is, there's a lot to do once the "stuff arrives" and that's where I am now.

We went from a military home, all white paint and not much we can do about what we were given except get comfortable with our furniture and goods in the space we were given. That's probably the best part of living on base. You know what you're going to get and you learn to live with it.

This time around we did not have the option of military housing so we decided to buy a house.  Good thing is this are has a high rate of transition and renting or reselling if needed wont be an issue but I'm not focusing on that now since I just moved in.  OK so now we're in a house we can do whatever we want...paint, curtains, carpeting, etc... That's the fun part.  But sometimes it feels like there's so much to do that I truly feel like I'll never get done.  I feel I need to start hiding boxes in storage just so I don't feel overwhelmed.

We are all moved in and life goes on as usual for everyone. For me life goes on as usual plus I continue to attempt to get organized and figure out what I want where and how to set up rooms so they are livable and kid-friendly.

Meanwhile, the kids get comfortable in what used to be a "formal dining room" and is now the "Play Room" or better yet "the Fun Zone." I believe children need to have a special place in their home where they can go play and just have fun, a place not their bedroom which I like to reserve to sleep and read before bed.  This room is a bonus and the kids love it.  Check out the box tunnel they made with some of our moving boxes.

OK so I'm letting myself get overwhelmed. I know, I just need to take breaks long enough to regroup.  I still hiding some of the boxes until I'm ready for them is a good idea ;-)

So back to the play room.  Think of a very square room, windows only on one wall, well lit area, wood floor with a kid-friendly area rug. Piano on one wall.  I have a changing table in there thinking about using it to organize baskets with toys, at least until I find a place for it... any idea about the changing table? I've seen people convert them to liquor bars or to display nice pottery or dishes in the dining room.  The idea in the play room right now is to get a few long but not tall book shelves or shelve units and clear plastic bins so they can see the toys in the bins. I'm having trouble figuring out the best tools to use in there and the most cost effective. I'm not trying to spend a lot but need to have some organization system that works.

Share your ideas to help me get organized.  I'll post pictures of the rooms. I welcome all ideas!!

Thank You!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Blue Monday- Family Weekend at UMW Fredericksburg VA

We had a great visit with Em this weekend during Family Weekend at University of Mary Washington. I can't believe I have 2 kids in college! AGHK! I don't feel a day over 30. I like thirty. It's like being a mature adult but still get away with acting a little immature once in a while...well I do that now but I often get weird looks for those in my age group.  HA! Guess who has more fun! That's right! ME!

Anyway, back to .... what was I doing? Oh yes, the girl in college. Yes, family weekend. Oh what fun. 

They were excited to see each other again, after only one month. Oh boy, the next visit isn't for another two months, YIKES!

Mary Washington is in a great location right in the middle of Old Town Fredericksburg VA. 
This weekend there was so much going on, but most enjoyable was the street art by local artists.

The antique shops...

And a fun meal at Pancho Villa, where a very sweet waitress named Marilyn befriended us like we were old family members from out of town.

I'm glad we visited and hope to return again soon. Next time I will have to visit the vineyards.

Maybe I'll pay her to go have fun with siblings and I'll take a tour of Lake Anna Winery and check out the local goods....hmmm!?!

Enjoy the BLUES here and at Smiling Sally's Blue Monday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Outdoor Wednesday-a butterfly and a rainbow

Sharing my outdoor Wednesday a little late but I had to put it out there because it was such a beautiful day! Enjoy!

We took the kids to the community garden to plant some fall seeds and the experience was more than I hoped for....