Friday, November 12, 2010

So….another little blurb for Shutterfly. Not only do I absolutely love their adorable, affordable holiday cards (, I also love a ton of their other products too!

Their holiday invitations have saved me on more than one occasion ( and their Christmas ornaments make awesome presents for grandparents, parents, etc. (

Most of all, what I love about Shutterfly is their photo books ( These have always been one of the cherished gifts that I give. I have used them to documents family vacations, the kids growth through the year, and special projects we have done around the house, just to name a few. But one of my favorite uses for these photo books is to keep track of my children’s schoolwork and art. I scan their projects and assignments into a jpg file and then create a book out of it for them to have forever! It keeps all of their work together, and I can throw away the original without feeling guilty since I have saved it forever into one of these books!

So, whenever I need a gift idea, and invitation, holiday cards, or even prints made – I always check out shutterfly first! They have great prices to start with and they usually have special deals to boot! Check them out – I am sure you will be glad you did!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

thanksgiving Countdown #11...

Today I am grateful for one hour. Actually, it is 2 separate 1 hour segments that I get each day with my kids.

I drop Gavin off at school at 8am. I take Evie at 9:10. This gives me about an hour of quality one-on-one time with my precious little girl. This morning we had a tea party, pretend birthday party, and played candy land. Some days she chooses to watch tv - but lately she has wanted to play or have me read to her. Part of the time is spent trying to get her dressed and her hair brushed - but either way, I am very grateful for that morning time with her.

On the flip side, I pick Gavin up at 2:10. I pick Evie up at 3:20. So again, I get an hour with him. Sometimes we do homework (he usually finishes his week worth on the first day though), sometimes we play wii, sometimes I take a nap when he plays wii. Once in a while we go for walks or stay at the playground for a while. And sometimes we run errands (not much fun - but waaaay easier to do with just G).

So today I am thankful for the one hour I get each day with each of them.

We interrupt our thanksgiving countdown...

for this!!!

Due to the fact that I have no time or energy to handmake my Christmas cards this year (sorry folks), I heard about this great little give-a-way from Shutterfly. I LOVE shutterfly and their products - so I was thrilled to hear about this promotion. Of course, I had JUST ordered 100 of my own cards literally the night before I heard of this - but who can't use more cards?!?!

Shutterfly is giving away 50 free holiday cards to bloggers!!!! You can go to their site here. It doesn't matter how big or little your blog is...go and sign up! Who doesn't love free stuff? :-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving countdown #10...

Today's thankful post is a no brainer! In the words of the amazing Maya Angelou - "How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!" Today, and every day, I am forever thankful, forever grateful, forever awe inspired, by the American soldiers...past, present and future.

I have run across many great quotes about Veterans and Veterans day. But first a little history lesson. Many people get Memorial Day and Veterans Day confused. To make it clear, Veterans day celebrates ALL soldiers, living and dead. They recognize all service done honorably by the men and women of the US military.

There are 5 branches of the US military. The Air Force, the Marines, the Navy, the Army, and the Coast Guard. I have been privileged enough to have friends and family serve in all of them! And I am even luckier now to be a proud Air Force wife!!! I get to see the amazing-ness every day and to bear witness to the unselfish acts these people perform.

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
— John Stuart Mill (1868)

I understand that not everybody supports the war. Make love, not war, right? But it is these soldiers that give those people the right to have that opinion. These soldiers who protect their country in God-forsaken land in the middle of the night while others are home, in their beds, fast asleep - who give people their freedoms. It hurts me to the core to think there are people out there that think soldiers are nothing but the most amazing gift we have in our country.

"There are some who've forgotten why we have a military. It's not to promote war, it's to be prepared for peace."
President Ronald Reagan

Sure, protesters have every right to burn the American flag, to yell obscenities at heroes coming home from war, to carry signs that are meant for the soldiers to feel shame. But ya know what?!?! It was those exact people that they are yelling about that gives them the opportunity to express themselves in that way. Another awesome quote I saw was this:

“When you men get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she is dating a p*ssy.” General Tommy Franks
(and anyone that knows me knows that I absolutely HATE that "p" word - but I still love the sentiment).

SO to end my post with yet another quote..."As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I vow to make every effort on this day (and always) to make sure all the veterans I know (or even don't know) understand how grateful I am for everything they (and their families) have done for me, my family and my country.

thanksgiving Countdown #9.5...

Bonus blog!!! I have been super thankful for my Japanese Culture Course I signed up for through the Family Readiness Center on base. It was supposed to be 10 weeks - but ended up only being 7. I got a special prize for attending all the nights :-)

Tonight, sadly, was our last night. I have learned so much throughout these past months. Seriously! Did you know that in Japan, dishes are sold in sets of 5. Not because their families are larger, but because their number for 4 is also the same sound as their word for death. So 4 is considered a bad omen. So they sell plates and bowls and sake glasses in sets of 5. I also have learned how to write my name in Kanji, how to make origami swans (1000 are made to bring good luck and health to a person), how to cook a few Japanese meals, and how to eat out on the town in a Japanese restaurant. I sang karaoke, watched a formal tea ceremony and made some friends on base also.

So, Group 1, I am forever thankful for you!!!

thanksgiving Countdown #9...

Today's post will be a trickle down effect. The waterfall effect. Whatever you want to call it...but it ultimately ends up the same. I am grateful for being a stay-at-home-mom.

I know the stigma for SAHMs is lazy, uneducated people who don't want a 'real' job. This, of course, is a thought by someone who has never been nor never known a SAHM. Sure, I can be lazy. But it is a rare day that I get to sit on my bum and watch soap operas (OK - most wednesdays (since it is Tuesday night in the states) I find time to skype with Ashli to watch gLee - but not always - and that is only for one hour). And I am not uneducated. I graduated with honors from high school and college. I have 2 Masters degrees (my MBA and then continues to also get my MBA in healthcare admin). I held a great job for 5 years.

I CHOOSE to be a stay-at-home-mom. This means we are able to survive financially on one salary (and, no, it is not the salary we will have when Patrick is a real doc - but it is manageable). And I am thankful for that.

I CHOOSE to be a stay-at-home-mom. This means I am able to attend most, if not all, functions at my children's schools. I can pick them up, drop them off, stay with them when they are sick, volunteer to help in their class and go on field trips with them. I can eat lunch once a month with them at school. I can be involved with the PTO, sports, activities and class projects. And I am thankful for that.

I CHOOSE to be a stay-at-home-mom. This means i gave up my Ann Taylor and Banana Republic suits and ended up with Old Navy sweatshirts and my favorite jeans. This, I am not always so thankful for, but appreciate anyway.

So today, I am focusing on the hardest job known to man (or woman), and being utterly and totally thankful for every aspect of being a SAHM that I have been through, am going to go through, and especially what I am going through now.

These pictures are from Family Lunch Day at Evelyn's school today.

Monday, November 8, 2010

thanksgiving Countdown #8...

Today I am thankful for my secret cleaning ladies! Seriously, they make my life so much less stressful. I know I am a stay-at-home-mom and should be able to clean my house anytime, all the time. But I don't. And I don't want to. I am not very good at it, and it makes me anxious. Yet, I always feel so much better when the house is clean. And Patrick LLLLLurves a clean house (typical Type A surgeon).

Patrick 'know's about these secret ladies, yet we choose not to discuss it because he hates paying someone for something that we could easily do. But when he saw how much happier we both are - I think he decided to turn a blind eye to it. Plus, I hate having him clean all the time when he is home because I want to spend quality time with him - not watch him scrub the shower.

And when I know they are coming, I clean too. As to not waste their time...I will start the laundry, do the dishes, put away clutter, pick up toys, technically I am cleaning too! (at least that is what I tell myself).

But it is such a joy to be able to go grocery shopping and come home to a miraculously clean house! I can type on my blog and the toilets are getting scrubbed. I can make dozens and dozens of cookies (before she does the kitchen of course) for the Base's Dorm Storm (where we take cookies to all the airmen in the dorms over the holidays) while the carpets are being vacuumed and the floors are steamed. I can totally relax knowing I have a few moments where the house is perfect - before the kids get home and crap it all up again. But I know deep down, the germs are gone, stains are cleaned, bed linens are fresh, dust is removed and floors are glistening.

And for that, I am truly thankful :-)

Thanksgiving countdown #7...

Today I am thankful for gorgeous weather. We have had some seriously perfect November weather here, and after reading about snow posts from Ohio, I am very grateful that we still have high 60 degree weather. Today I went golfing with some of the other ladies taking lessons and then again with my friend Lynn. I tried to stop at every hole and just take a breath (you never get to have that exact moment again - so I love when I can be "in the now" and truly appreciate That Moment). And gorgeous weather certainly aides in my ability to be "in the now" or "in the present" or "in the moment". It puts me into my Zen place very easily.

It was also nice when we had to take the train (about 70 mins each way) into the city for an audition for a modeling gig for IKEA. Evelyn and I went (and luckily ran into some other friends from Yokota) and it was nice to walk between stations and the photo shoot and to simply enjoy a little girls night out. I am crossing my fingers that we get as much of this weather for as long as possible!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

thanksgiving Countdown #6...

Today I am thankful for western civilization. It wasn't until I came upon this....

eastern public restroom that I realized how spoiled we are. And, of course, I took my kids into the handicap restroom so they could actually sit down. Seriously - how do you expect to do you business in this thing. The look alone made me want to vomit.

It also made me realize how nice our cars, shopping malls, restaurants, schools, houses, etc are! But - today I am eternally grateful for anywhere that has nice restrooms.