Oops, My Bad

For some reason, the first contest that I decided to hold on my blog went a bit wrong, and it's all on my part (and yes, watch for more, I think it's a fun idea and I look forward to giving away more prizes). Anyway, the tie that I mentioned in my previous post was incorrect. Katie, you and Stef tied. But don't worry, I'm sending the three of you each a little something because it was my mistake. Just chalk it up to my dementia. :)

I'm off to finish my au gratins'.

Happy New Year!!!!

We Have a Tie

We have a tie. . .the winners are Stef and Roxane. I might point out that they were the only two to play my little game, but they were both correct. Anyway, watch you're mailboxes, ladies!

"Where do I begin? About a love so sweet la la la la la, where do I start?" If you can't tell, I'm in a musical sort of mood today. I was hammering away on the piano earlier and came across the sheet music for the theme song of "Love Story". Kinda makes me want to watch it again.

Anyway, we had a blessed Christmas. Due to the weather, my Dad couldn't make it (I imagine many of you were stuck or had family stranded in one place or another) but he and Maddie are on the way I as type. I can't wait to see him - as usual, it's been too long. I'm sure Maddie is getting so big! It will be a circus around here with a large puppy, crazy Rudy and cranky Nala. My guess is that the cat will find his hiding spot and we won't see him for a few days.

We spent Christmas Eve with my family on Craig's side. It was a fun-filled day and night. The boys had a blast helping Aunt Amy pass out the presents, which is tradition. I think she's been the present passer-outer since before she could read. It truly was a fantastic day.

The Lovejoy's were stuck in town for Christmas so they honored us with their presence for Christmas dinner and conversation. Their daughter, Mariana, and Murray played until they were exhausted (little Mari is a smart one; Wade and Kristine have a run for their money). Maggie entertained us all just by being herself. She's so funny and charming and all around wonderful. I'm so lucky that she's my sister. Thanks, sis, for not sharing your reasons for not eating pork. I'll remember to make you something else from now on!

The rest of our holiday included blowing snow, shoveling, clearing sewer vents, and more blowing snow. Sheesh! This one will definitely go down in the books for the whitest Christmas ever.

The best part of the whole time for me was feeling Christ's presence in my heart. For the first time in a long, long time, I truly knew (and still know) that He is with us always. What a wonderful feeling!

I'm off to prepare for Dad's arrival. I can't wait to have us all together again.

Most likely, my next post will be in 2010, so I pray that the rest of your 2009 is beautiful.

Have a safe and happy New Year.


Do you think I have the correct spelling of the title? The first person who posts a comment with the correct spelling will win a fun prize (for real!).

Too much to say, so many pictures and not enough time. Stay tuned; I promise a full post tomorrow (Wednesday).

God Bless,

A Tribute to Lemmondrops

I've been putting off publishing this post, because I fear that it won't be as eloquent as it deserves and I don't want to sound maudlin. With that in mind, bear with me.

Tomorrow will mark the death of our blogger friend, Emilie Lemmons. She passed away last Christmas Eve after a long battle with cancer. On earth she left her two young sons; Daniel and Benjamin, her husband Stephen, friends, admirers and faithful readers. Emilie had many gifts; first and foremost, her role as a mother and wife. She also had the gift of expression. I so wish that I could have just a tiny bit of her talent. But what's most important (as our fellow friend Roxane , stated much more eloquently than I can) is that her children will know their mother by the honest and true words that she wrote, and of course, Stephen's memories. Although I never did have the chance to meet Emilie, she was a true inspiration. She helped me find passion; in motherhood, in writing, and most of all, the faith that I needed to find so much when my beloved mom passed away. From what I gather, Emilie was peaceful and humble; so much so that she never knew how very many lives she touched. She reminded me of my own late mom, who passed just one year before Em did. Emilie and I never did have the chance to meet but thanks to her, I found a wonderful friend, Roxane.

It may seem strange that I'm so enthralled with a woman that I have not met, but if you could spare a few moments, please read some of Emilie's posts. I promise that you will find yourself enthralled with a woman who loved her family, her life, and her writing.

God Bless, dear Emilie. We all miss you and know that you are at peace. Could you give my Mom a giant hug for me? I will return the favor if I ever get the chance to meet all three of your "boys".

Sometimes, there are days when you can write and write and talk and talk, but nothing eases the pain and sometimes, nothing makes sense. Today is one of those days. My prayer for all of you is that you have something or someone to be grateful for. I know that I am blessed with many!

Be safe in your travels this week, and Merry Christmas!

The Reason For the Season

We celebrated another "first" on Saturday. Murray received hockey skates for his birthday. The weather was beautiful and the pond behind the Beckerleg's had a shimmery, clean sheet of ice. Craig and I were prepared for the fact that Murray would be scared, even to put on the skates, but as soon as we began to lace them up he was thrilled. He kept repeating, "skate, hockey, ice skate, hockey" and when we finally put him on the ice he was in his own version of heaven. Of course he's in need of a lot of help (one person on each side) but even when he took his first fall he just giggled and got right back on the horse, so to speak. When we explained that it was time for a break and took him in the house, he cried, so Craig trudged back out and let him practice. We are thrilled that he enjoyed it so much. I suppose it's time to start saving our pennies - I wonder if Moorhead Youth Hockey has a lay-away plan? I did take a ton of video, but I can't seem to get it to download. I'll keep trying.

As we prepare for the wrap-up of advent and the celebration of Christ's birth, I've noticed a pretty awesome change in myself these days. This year I've spent more time reflecting upon our blessings, asking questions and learning more about our faith, and pondering the wondrous gifts we received when Christ died on the cross for us. Tonight will be the first time I attend reconciliation in 5 years. I'm apprehensive, but I love the feeling of being cleansed and am so grateful that Jesus died so that we can be forgiven of sin. I pray that my faith journey will flourish in the days and weeks to come. I have to thank my friend Roxane for this gift of new-found faith; through her and her wisdom I've embraced Christ in ways I hadn't dreamed possible; of course I know that God gave us the gift of our friendship and for that, I am honored.

May you have a blessed Christmas filled with peace and joy!

Too Much Tragedy and TV

I'm on my way to pick up Murray early, but I had to post first.

First and foremost, I would like to request a prayer for babies and their loving parents.

A small bit about unemployment: it seems I've been bored for too long. My good friend informed me a few minutes ago that I need to set a schedule and stick to it. It works for him, so I'm going to attempt to act like I have to go to work tomorrow (plus I have an interview) and get on with my day. Instead of watching re-runs of "My Wife and Kids", "Full House" (which is completely cheesy and my guilty pleasure) and "Desperate Housewives" between loads of laundry, my plan is to get active again. When I'm not applying for jobs, I could volunteer or do something to help out a person or family in need. I want to get back to water aerobics as well.

This morning I woke to the sounds of one of the animals vomiting. Turned out to be Rudy, who has not been ill in his five years of existance. We're diligent about our vet check-ups, so I couldn't figure out what was happening. He was sick every half-hour from 2am to 6am. Every time I cleaned up the mess, he looked at me with those big brown eyes and you could just tell how embarrassed he felt. I called the emergency clinic at five am and after consultation they assured me that it was probably a diet issue. We are strict on their diet - 2 cups of Iams twice a day, so I surmised that he must have eaten something that wasn't dog food behind our backs. I held his food today until noon, and so far he hasn't been sick. I am so relived. I love our animals so very much, as you know.

I've discovered over the last year that there are so many hardships and devastation in the world. Our family has had several in the last month or more so today I pray that joy will come to those who have been afflicted by tragedy.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Peace to all.
P.S.Since I've written this post, I have set up a volunteer schedule that I'm quite thrilled about. More on this later.

Paris and Pigs

What has this world come to? Really, Paris Hilton and her pets and hair products? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE animals and would own a farm if I could, but is this really all she has to discuss? Aren't there more important things in the world? Honestly, I'm so annoyed I had to turn the channel. At least she got me motivated to do something productive. I'm off to go clean something that I never otherwise would have. Thanks, Paris. You are truly an inspiration. Oh, and NINE fragrences?

P.S. I just realized how annoyed I am. I have a few questions that are supposed to be statements. I guess I'm guilty of my own pet peeves.

Clint Black and Conflict

I've never been a person who enters contests. Even when the prizes are, for example, a vacation in the Bahamas or front row tickets to see George Strait. Besides, since I've been in the advertising world, I've not been legally allowed to win said contests. But now that I'm not, I called a radio staion a whim today. The prize was tickets to see Clint Black (whom I love) at a nearby casino. I answered the question correctly and won! The problem lies with the fact that Craig has to be in the cities for meetings and Murray and I had planned to join him. I can't help but thinking that the concert would be super fun but I wonder if I would have as much fun without him. Craig hates concerts so I'm thinking he will skip it.

I just realized that this a ridiculous problem to have - sheesh - what's happened to me? I've gone completely materialistic and selfish. Anyway, I don't know what will happen, but it was fun to win. My guess is that the tickets will be given to someone who really wants them unless Craig is able to be home,
More tomorrow. Much love!

Marriage Vows and Injured Noses

The wedding was beautiful. Ryan and Ronnie are officially husband and wife, the wedding party looked wonderful (especially Craig, if I do say so myself) and fun was had by all.

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that I'm a huge klutz. I constantly have bruises; I run into things when I'm in a hurry and fall down when I'm not paying attention. The most recent episode, in fact, happened on Saturday night.

Craig and I were cutting a rug on the dance floor. We took swing lessons before we were married, so I feel sort of comfortable dancing with him. The problem is that he is an awesome leader and I'm an incredibly incompetent follower. Two-Left-Feet is my middle name, but I love to dance so I do it anyway! Craig had just pulled me into the "skin the cat" move when we lost our grip and I went flying. I wasn't wearing shoes, so my pantyhose took over and I ended up across the dance floor. My nose of all things broke the fall. It really, really stinks (no pun intended) to have an injured nose when you have a cold. We don't think it's broken because thankfully, my eyes weren't black this morning but it's swollen and painful. My DH took very good care of me; bringing lots of warm washcloths and tissues to stop the pain and bleeding.

Murray was hysterical on the dance floor, as expected. He ran like a crazy man before the DJ started and after that it was no holds barred. He went home with Craig's parents (God bless them) and was so wound up that he went to bed very late. That was fine with everyone involved I think. He slept until 8:00am this morning.

If anyone has any funny stories to share about weddings, injuries or the two combined, I would love to hear your comments.

Dogs + Chocolate = Poison

Two years ago, about this time, our two golden retrievers ate two pounds of bakers' chocolate and three bags of chocolate chips. When I discovered the mess, I hauled them both to the vet where they spent the day expelling their bodies of the poison they had ingested. One large emergency vet bill later, they were both fine. It turned out that Rudy didn't have a trace of chocolate in his system, hence, Nala had consumed every bit. Since then, I've been extremely careful about where the chocolate is stored. Yesterday I found a half eaten candy cane full of chocolate kisses (it was in the stocking stuffer pile that I had hidden under the bed). There were no traces of foil or the plastic cane. This time, I decided to watch them closely and only take them in if one or the other showed signs of illness. Thankfully, they are both thriving. When I told Craig, he jokingly replied, "Well, we'll just have to see which one passes away first." We never would have let that happen of course, so I kept vigil yesterday and through the night. Anyway, I'm happy to report that the incident passed with no ill side effects. Lesson learned - again.

We have a busy weekend ahead. Tonight we will attend a groom's dinner for our friend Ryan, who is marrying a wonderful woman tomorrow. It will be so much fun to have the group back together again. Craig is a groomsman, so Murray is going to attend the wedding with me, and then Dennis and Mary will take him to the reception (spouses are invited to ride in the limo with the wedding party). We're excited to see him dance (you know how much he loves to rock out) and when he's partied himself out, Dennis and Mary will take him home for the night. I just love having kids at weddings; they are usually the first to get the dancing started!

For now, I'm off to continue my job search. Although it does get tiresome sending resume after resume, I hope that it will pay off in the end.

Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!

Red Tape and Rigmorole

I spent the last two-plus hours on the ND Unemployment website (a.k.a. UI ICE). I cannot believe the hoops I have to jump through to receive a very small sum of money each week. Don't get me wrong - I'm happy that they don't hand out cash to anyone who asks for it. I was just surprised at the amount of activity they monitor. I felt like I had to explain what I've been doing every moment since I was released from employment. Now that I have the initial red-tape paperwork complete, I have to report that I've applied for at least 2 positions weekly. It should be much less time-consuming from here on out.

So I've attacked that chore, and I'm sitting on my couch, guiltily watching "Wife Swap" re-runs. How pathetic can I get? That's a rhetorical question. Please don't answer it when you comment. :) Anyway, after applying for four jobs and dealing with the government, I feel like I have accomplished quite a bit for this morning. Unfortunately, I have a list a mile long today: bills, picking up after little one, getting my resume printed, laundry, present wrapping, etc. But you know what? I don't mind a bit. I'm really liking this work-at-home-mom business. I know it can't last, but I'm going to enjoy every minute. And besides, most people have to deal with these everyday tasks while employed!

If you get a chance, I was featured in The Forum in an article featuring parent blogs. You can check it out at: www.inforum.com I was honored to be included!

I can't end this post without mentioning Urban Hair, a new salon in south Moorhead. I've been friends with Lisa, the owner, for almost ten years and she's been taking care of my hair for a long time. They offer massage therapy, essential oils, special services, and of course, the best hair care in town. If you would like more contact info, let me know. I promise you won't find a more trendy, comfortable and reasonably priced studio anywhere. The grand opening is on Friday at 4:00pm - ribbon cutting, tours, and wine and cheese - all are invited. I don't mean to sound like a commercial, I just really think you will love Lisa, her staff and her salon. If you watch Valley Today on channel four or eleven, Urban Hair will be featured tomorrow morning.

Ok, I'm finally off to my chores. Have a blessed day.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace. . .

Murray and Craig constructed a fort last night. For some reason, our camera isn't working, hence the blurry image.

Murray took this shot; we're not counting on him growing up to be a photographer. However, at least he snapped it when the floors were freshly scrubbed.

One of my favorite times to attend Mass is during the week, when the students from St. Joseph's school attend. Today is The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, so I asked Craig to do the daycare run and I went the the 8:00am service. It's so heart-warming to see those little bodies participating. Their take on all things Catholicism is so innocent; I tend to get more out of Mass when the children from school are present. Partly this is due to the fact that the readings and homily are geared towards young minds; the other part is that I don't have a rambunctious toddler in tow. Although I love having Murray with us at church, sometimes it gets a bit hard to concentrate when I'm attempting to stop him from kicking the pew, shouting at the people behind us, or asking for something to eat. Today was the perfect beginning to a brand-new day.

Late Night Mutterings

It's 11:40pm. Craig is finally home from a ferocious week of traveling. He woke Murray up, but the cries have diminished and he'll be asleep soon (again). Meanwhile, I'm trying to concentrate on the latest novel I'm reading. I find myself distracted. I'm on page 423 in a seven-hundred plus page book. It was riveting at first, then at the very least, distracting, but now I find myself bored to death. I will finish the book; I've never been a person who could stop reading because I wasn't entertained. I will say that this is painful reading and I hope that the last chapter will be well worth it. The first work I read of Wally Lamb's ("She's Come Undone") was fascinating through and through. I just can't throw myself into this particular book at the moment. I have faith, though, that the letters to "Lolly" will be appreciated in the end. I love to read so very much; I can't give up on a book.

Due to my recent unemployment, I've been enjoying working around the house again. I love that my husband comes home to a clean house, dinner cooking and clean laundry. I love that Murray and I aren't in a hurry to go anywhere and that we spend more time with together. I love that I have the opportunity to explore my options. I love that I have more people interested in taking piano lessons (teaching and piano combined is a passion). I pray that this lasts until God has another idea.


This Isn't the Worst That Could Happen

When I last posted, I was at work and life was looking pretty great. Life is still wonderful, but we've hit a bump in the road. Yesterday at 12:40pm, by boss informed me that he had to make cuts and although he looked down other avenues, my job was the first to go. I was so much in shock that I was dizzy and sick to my stomach. He explained that it had nothing to do with me (thankfully) but that the company wasn't doing so well and changes needed to be made. I am heartbroken - I loved my position at MMC and the people that I worked with. However, we (they) are a small company and it makes sense to let me go. My boss was very sad too; he said that he really didn't want to see me leave, but at this point there weren't any other options. Tomorrow I will go in and clean out my desk, say my goodbyes and start anew.

I was devastated and am still saddened. However, I have no hard feelings or resentments and am looking at this as an opportunity to start again with a clean slate. I have so many dreams, and this might just be the perfect opportunity to pursue them. I'm going into this with an open mind and heart, and praying that God will guide me to where I need to be. As my sister pointed out, "This too shall pass", and "Things will be greater later." Also on my list of favs is "When one door closes, another opens". My resume is ready, but I've also made a list of options that I'd like to investigate before any serious decision is made. I'm so grateful for the things I've learned at MMC and for the friends that I have cherished while there (even through the rough stuff).

I'm off to bed; tomorrow will be emotionally exhausting, but I will prevail! Tomorrow is another day and the world is full of opportunities.

God Bless,