Thursday, September 30, 2010

Grace Williams...Wanted

Grace came home from school today with this piece of paper.  Evidently she was "caught" showing respect to her teacher, classmates and to the school and was given this award because of it.  There was an assembly of all the 3rd grade classes and all the kids who received this award were recognized.  She was also elected Mayor of her class by her classmates.  

We are so proud of you Grace!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Check Out My New Blog Button!

Check out my new Blog Button.  Isn't he cute?  I would love for you to grab it and place it on your blog... hint hint.  As many of you know, I have a thing for gnomes.  It started here and then continued here, so when I saw this cute little thing I had to grab it and turn it into my blog button.

I know some of you may be wondering how you can make your very own blog button so here is a link with very simple instructions.   Have fun!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grace & Carly

Grace and Carly talked Erin and me into letting them have a sleepover last night after Jon's welcome home party.  I'm glad they got to spend some more time together.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Welcome Home Jon!

My good friend, Stacy's husband Jon, came home from Afghanistan last week and they had a Welcome Home party for him today.  They went all out and rented a jumpy house for the kids, had a big tent with tables and chairs set up outside and of course, tons of food!  Jon grilled out burgers and hot dogs and chicken breasts and everyone brought a dish (or two) to share and drinks!
Stacy and Jon, the man of the hour
Karen, Jenny and Erin
Kristy and Big Timmy (there's a funny story behind the "Big Timmy" that I'll have to share sometime).
Oh my!
Erin showing Stacy some love!
Two of my favorite girls ~ Stacy and Erin!
The kids had a blast in the jumpy house!
And somehow it always comes back to Guitar Hero. What can we say? We're all a bunch of ROCK GODS!
Erin and Dave jammin' out!
Karen and Kristy evidently thought something was REALLY funny!
The beautiful (NOT!) cake that Stacy got for Jon at Sam's Club.  We were all joking that any one of us could have done a better job than that.  It was good though!
Erin and me
Grace got to spend time with her good friend Carly since they came in from Fayetteville for the party.  They had a blast and it was like Carly had not even moved.  

Welcome Home Jon and thanks for the great night with great friends!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ben and Katie

I just stumbled across a blog of a couple named Ben and Katie.  Ben was in the army and in August 2009, they were on their way to dinner together when they were involved in an automobile accident.  Katie was injured but in stable condition but Ben's injuries were life threatening and he was in a medically induced coma.

I just spent way too much time reading their entire blog and was so moved by her compassion, devotion and love for her husband that I wanted to share it with all of you.  Life is so short and we never know what may happen to change the way we live forever.  Take a little time and read about Ben and Katie's story and then say a prayer for them and for his recovery.

This post of hers particularly moved me and and makes me wish that Dave were home right now instead of flying so that I could hug him and tell him how much I love him.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A peek into my heart...

150th post!

A few ramblings from my heart...
I miss my man and what he was before the accident. He is still my Ben, my husband but things have changed for this season of our lives. Nobody can know what I am going through unless you have been in my shoes in some way. I just miss my husband and my best friend...plain and simple! I miss being protected by Ben, adored by Ben, challenged and taught. I cannot just jump in the car with Ben to go on a date, run errands or go work out...those times I believe will return but they are not there now!
One of the biggest things that I think I miss is his attention and his affirmation. I get to tell him all day long that I am proud of him, that he is doing a good job, he is awesome in all he does, he is a good man and husband and go up and hug and kiss him any time I want to! I don't get this anymore and I miss it so much! I never did ignore when Ben did this before but I didn't value it in the way that I would if I knew I wouldn't get it for a long time! I long for Ben's encouragement, his love and his passion for life! I will say that I got my first commment from him as his wife the other day. I put his blankets in the dryer to warm them up (do this a few times a week) and a few days ago when I put them on Ben he said, "you are the best wife!" I was bursting at the seams! He doesn't know how much I needed this!
One thing that does inspire me so much and gives me strength is that Ben never gives up. He is one strong man. Yes, he has stated that he wants to leave the hospital and go home but never has said he will give up or surrender! You think I am strong...just guess where I get a huge part of my strength besides the Lord!! Ben is amazing!
I am committed to my Ben, I am in love (more and more each day) with my Ben and I will be with Ben until literally death takes us apart! Ben is my soulmate, best friend and nothing can take us apart!
So, if you are married, do Ben and I a huge each other! Love each other like you have never loved before! Show each other that love by putting aside your own needs and take care of the one you love. Wives, respect your husbands...don't pull them down or shoot down their character. Husbands, love your wives. Not just in the "love" kind of way but in a way that shows you adore her and her alone! Love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man. Hold each other tight and thank the Lord for all He has blessed you with!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lunch with Chef Erik

As a member of the OWC, we get to attend these fun monthly luncheons. Most of the time, it's a 'themed lunch'.  And yes, I am now a lady who 'lunches'. 

Today was our first luncheon of the year and the theme was, 'Lunch with Chef Erik'.

They had arranged to have the head chef for the O'Club demonstrate how to make today's lunch as well as have a pastry chef there during the mingling time frame to show us how to make Pecan Pralines. Also on his table were other desserts for us to sample ~ 'Almond Joy' balls, chocolate covered pretzels, and an English Toffee candy. So yummy!

Here is our Pastry Chef using this super cool laser thermometer! If I cooked, I might actually want one but since I don't.....  My friend, Stacy, though was drooling over it.  It's basically a gun that shoots a laser into the pan to test the temperature of the candy (or whatever else you may be cooking). No more awkward candy thermometers!

When Stacy asked him where get got it, he replied that 'The Marine Corp issued me one ma'am."  Gotta love it!
Here's our awesome chef preparing the Pecan Pralines...

For about 45 minutes or so before the actual luncheon started, all of us ladies were mingling, drinking and watching candy being made. So you know Stacy and I had to take advantage of this and get our picture taken.
When it was time for lunch to be served, we all sat at our tables and the head Chef comes out to start with the demonstrations. First he showed us how he made Creme Brulee, one of my absolute favorite deserts, and then our main course, Salmon Wellington.

After the demo's were done and we were waiting to start being served, Stacy and I snuck up to the table and took a picture of the plate he made.

Some fun ladies at our table ~ Megan, Sandy and Bridget

 My plate of Salmon Wellington. In case you didn't know, Wellington is a puff pastry that is usually wrapped around beef. It is delicious! The seafood version wasn't half bad either, with a chive butter sauce, served on a bed of arugula, fresh chopped veggies and asparagus.

I seriously wanted to lick my plate. 

Our beautiful table set up. Every table had different cookbooks on them. And we all got to take home those cute little olive oil carafes you see sitting there with the twine and rosemary tied around them.

 Next months luncheon theme is 'Western'! Time to break out the cowboy boots and hat! We're gonna go saddle us up some yummy critters to eat!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lady Gaga and the Fame Monster Ball Concert

Yesterday was the big day...Lady Gaga's Fame Monster Ball Concert in Raleigh!  Gia and I talked months ago about going to this then just kind of put it to the side.  At some point, we started talking about it again and figuring out ways we could do it with the kids and all and started making plans.  She purchased our tickets and it was a done deal!  

We had no idea what to wear.  Part of us wanted to dress really wild and crazy but knew there was no way we could compete with some of the things that we knew we were going to see.  We even tossed around the idea of dressing REALLY conservative, even "Carol"ish but then decided against that.  We finally decided just to dress like we would if we were going out somewhere for the night or to any concert.  

We started the morning by sleeping in and just relaxing with a cup of coffee and watching the Disney DVD.  Dave was trying to rope her in to our level of Disney enthusiasm and get her all all excited about our upcoming trip in January.

We decided to head to Raleigh pretty early because we didn't want what happened to Dave and me at the U2 concert to happen to us tonight.  (If you didn't read about it, we got stuck in concert traffic trying to get to the U2 concert.  It took us 2 hours to go just a few miles and ended up missing the opening act.)  We wanted a good dinner somewhere so we headed to the Cheesecake Factory and it was delicious!  We were surprised at how many young girls we saw that were all dressed to go to the concert.  Gia and I felt so old!

Once we finished dinner, we went ahead and proceeded to the concert venue.  We knew we were going to be early (unless there was traffic) but didn't have anything better to do.  And wouldn't you know it?  No traffic!  None!  We got to the RBC Center within minutes.  The concert was not scheduled to start until 8 p.m. and we were parked shortly after 6.  We just sat in the car and people watched and checked out all the crazy outfits.  After a little while, we saw people lining up at the door so we made our way over there also.  At first not as many people were dressed up as I thought there would be but as the evening wore on, more crazies came out to play!

Right behind us in line was this group of ladies that we started calling cougars because they looked to be actually older than us and they were all dressed up in some crazy get-up too!  We didn't feel quite so bad once we saw them and they were actually very nice.  We started talking to one lady who was originally from NY but now lives in Raleigh and she was so nice!  She asked if we were thirsty and we told her "sure".  She called over Jerry, their limousine driver, who just happened to have a backpack of water and wine!  he poured us a glass of wine and we continued chatting with "cougar".  When she found out that our husbands were in the military and both were at home with the kids so that Gia and I could come to the concert, she raised her glass and toasted us (and Jason and Dave too for their service!).

At one point, this group walked through the line and on around and acted as if they were "somebody".  We had no idea who they were only to find out that it was the group Semi Precious Weapons who was the opening act for Lady Gaga.  I have no idea why they were just walking around unless it was to see how many people might recognize them, which I doubt was very many.

It was finally time for the doors to open and for us to make our way in.  We first had our pictures made at this Monster Ball set-up then went to buy our concert t-shirts.  Finally it was time to make our way to our seats, which were almost has high up as you could go.  Gia got the best available at the time and not even the cheapest, but they were at the very top.  Whoever got the cheapest tickets must have been sitting outside of the stadium.  

Semi Precious Weapons performed a short set and like I said, we had never heard of them and now, after hearing them, I doubt I will ever listen to them.  They were a little crazy and freakish and not my cup of tea.  But they were fun to watch just for the entertainment.

And then the show really started.  The lights went out...the stage was dark...and you could only see a silhouette of who you knew to be Lady Gaga...and then you heard her.  It was fantastic!  As reported in the Raleigh News and Observer, 
"Imagine the most garish display you’ve ever witnessed – a Super Bowl halftime show, say. Now multiply that by about six, and you’re in the ballpark. Gaga exudes a sense of universe-ruling determination that is rare nowadays, and she commanded the room like a general.
“Scream, Raleigh!,” she hollered, and everybody did. “Now dance, [expletives]!,” and everybody did that, too.
The two-hour show had a rough storyline of Gaga and her retinue of backup dancers trying to get to the “Monster Ball.” You didn’t notice much beyond the star, however, clad as she was in everything from a see-through nun’s habit to a wedding dress made of crystalline feathers that sprouted into wings.
She didn’t just sing and prance, either. At various points, Gaga played a freaky-looking standupkeytar that looked like a triangular turtle shell.
Most impressive of all, she sat at a piano for a couple of songs and just played and sang. She was down to her underwear by then, of course. And yes, the piano was on fire. But she played and sang beautifully, showing that she’s a powerful belter. From a strictly musical point of view, it rivaled anything I’ve ever seen Tori Amos do.
Otherwise, most of the set was high-energy dance music loud enough to rattle ribcages at the back of the arena, with hits including “The Fame,” “Just Dance” and “Paparazzi.” During the latter song, flames began shooting from her naughty bits.
It was brilliant."
And brilliant it was!  It was fabulous!  The only thing that could have made it better is if we had been closer.  After the concert, we hung out and looked at all the crazy outfits that all the crazies were wearing and we just started snapping pictures of them all.  Some people knew we were taking their picture and some didn't but I don't think any of them cared and some people LOVED it!  Once there was really no one left to take  a picture of, we headed home.  Traffic was horrible, we were starving so we had to make a run through a drive-through, and I missed our exit, but other than that we made it home fine and finally got home around 2:30 a.m. this morning and went straight to bed!
Before we left, Gia and I modeled for pictures!

Here we are waiting in line to get inside RFK.
Not sure who this person is on the left and whether it was a man or a woman (I think man) but the other two ladies were with the group of cougars.
Many of the following pictures are of just people dressed up in all kinds of crazy outfits.

This is the lead singer for Semi Precious Weapons

Lady Gaga playing a piano that was inside the hood of the car.

After the concert we took lots more pictures of all the freaks and crazies.

These girls made their dresses out of duct tape.... yes, you read that right, duct tape.

This person in the blue tunic and white leggings came out of the ladies restroom but I'm not so sure she was a she.

These two were probably the most bizarre that we saw.... unbelievable!