Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring has sprung in Missouri - we've been blessed with beautiful weather and unseasonably high temperatures throughout the month.  The weatherman keeps saying it is more like May, and I love it!    The trees and bushes are all in bloom, and our spring flowers are quickly making their appearances, seems like something new is popping up every day.  I just hope we don't have a cold snap in April, that would be brutal.  And, as some people are saying, if it is this nice in March, are we in for a miserably hot summer?  I hope not, but I really am enjoying the weather we're having right now, so I will just be grateful and enjoy what we have.

We are also seeing a late influx of the flu throughout the United States, and in our local area as well.  Our general region has been on red alert the past two weeks, and all our employees had to show proof of vaccination in order to be able to work within the hospital and areas directly related to the hospital.   The discussion for next year is that all employees will be required to have the flu shot as a part of employment, unless they have an allergy against it.  And knowing that we have had several patients in hospital die from the flu, I do understand why health systems are mandating this for employees, so that we aren't spreading it unintentionally.

I haven't had the flu in several years, but I did come down with a very nasty upper respiratory infection this week.  I wondered if it might be the flu, but I never had a fever more than 100 degrees, which is one of the determining factors for the flu.  My bout started with a scratchy throat on Monday, and went from there; first time I've missed work for more than a day because of illness in quite awhile.   Several friends on Facebook say that they've had the same thing, and it lingers for weeks.  I can see that may be the case, as it is Saturday and while I'm up and function again, I still have the whole cough and congestion thing in full force.  Yuck.

 I'm enjoying a quiet weekend, getting my strength back and preparing for the week ahead.  Enjoying my favorite kind of Saturday morning, with a freshly brewed pot of coffee, some music playing on Pandora, and catching up on the computer.  Later this morning I have a massage - and the best part is that it is paid for through my flex savings plan, with a prescription from my physician.   One of the best uses of my money- helps relieve that stress that I tend to carry in my back, and it is still within my budget and Dave Ramsey approved!

As you can see,  I have still been having fun this month with the Photo-a-Day challenge on Facebook.  All of my photos are taken with my iPhone, and then I use some finishing tools on my phone to add filters, frames, etc.   I've also started posting my photos on Instagram, so if any of my family/friends would want to follow me on there, it is fun!   Instagram is a photo-sharing site, kind of like FB but without all of the other junk - my username on there is nancycatherine71, if you are interested in doing it, and posting some yourself!   But in the meantime, I will still post some on here.

This one I took in the grocery store on my lunch break one day - the word of the day was "fruit", and I had hoped to buy some strawberries to eat, and take a photo of them when I did.  But it was not yet strawberry season, and they were very puny-looking.  So Brian and I were skulking through the produce while I snapped photos with my phone.  This was one of my favorites for the whole month:

I enjoyed a visit from my dad earlier this month; he was in town for a judge's conference and stayed with me on a Thursday night and then we all enjoyed Friday evening together at Susan and Ron's home in Stockton.  Brian and I grilled out for dinner Thursday night, and then Dad assumed his usual position later in the evening and so did Rocky... I was the only one awake in the living room, at 8:30 at night!

Let's see, what else - oh, we enjoyed a trip down to see friends Chris and Jana in Kimberling City, at their bar and grill, Fishtales.  Brian loves their burgers - says they are a close second to his favorite burger joint, Five Guys Burgers and Fries...

Last weekend we spent Sunday afternoon at friends' home near Springfield, for a birthday barbecue.  They had two little donkeys, Pebbles and Bam Bam.  Daniel was very excited about them on the way to the house, but once we got there and heard them loudly braying, he wanted nothing to do with petting them!

Things have been going great with Brian, he is very down-to-earth and grounded.   One of the best things is that in addition to our relationship as a couple, Brian has also been such a positive person in Jace's life over the past several months, something for which I am so thankful. Jace and his dad are close, and Jim is very involved with Jace in sports, etc.   But I remember being 13, and having another adult besides your parents is sometimes what you need - someone else who can tell you the same things your parents are saying about school, grades, friends, peer pressure, etc. - Jace seems to really listen to Brian, and Brian has the background and experience in working with kids and teens, it is just a very natural thing.

(flowers from Brian, "just because")

Looking forward to the upcoming Easter weekend, and time with my family in St. Clair.  Annie and Matt will not be able to join us because of timing and airfare; we will miss them so much!   But we'll take plenty of photos and know we'll see them soon, hopefully this summer.

My coffee's cold and my massage is in less than an hour, so better close and get this Saturday going!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Eyes Are Smiling - 2012

Three days after a date that always makes me reflect back on both happy and sad times, comes a date that makes me nothing but HAPPY!!   My sister Annie turns - ahem - "30-something" today, on St. Patty's Day - and it is so appropriate, with her beautiful auburn hair!

Ann and Matt - 2010

Ann and Mom - 1980 
And here's a photo of Ann in 1980, when she was just three or four.  I love these photos of her - I am probably a bit biased by my memories, but I think our niece, Eva (Rob's daughter, the only granddaughter) looks a lot like Annie did when she was little.  That petite frame and beautiful features, they really do favor each other.

Annie is way out in North Carolina now - she was tired of the Midwest winters, and decided that she'd make the move somewhere warm about five years ago (or probably more- time gets away so quickly!) and she and Matt live out in Charlotte where she is a pediatric speech therapist.  But she and Matt travel back to visit both of their families a couple times a year at least, AND we keep up with her via her blog Adventures in NC

Ann is the "quiet" one of the family - although she can certainly speak her mind if she needs to do so.  She and I love to share book recommendations - and, she will also drink my red wine with me when we're all home for holidays!  But I'm sure that today will find her celebrating with her hubby and a good Jack and Coke - what any Irish lassie would enjoy on St. Patty's Day!  

We love you, Annie - will miss you and Matt on Easter, but hope to see you both this summer - either here in MO, or perhaps I'll be heading out to see you in NC!  Love you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom...

You would have been 72 today - hard to believe.  And I'm getting ready to turn 41; the same age you were when we lost you.  That's even harder to believe.   Today I listened to one of my favorite songs, a song that always makes me think of you - "Finally Home" by MercyMe.    As much as I love my life here on this earth, one of the things that I can't wait for is to see you again someday...  the first verse of this song reminds me of how good that will feel...

I'm gonna wrap my arms around my Daddy's neck
And tell him that I've missed him

And tell him all about the man that I became
And hope that it pleased him

There's so much I want to say
There's so much I want you to know

When I finally make it home, when I finally make it home...

I love this song, and knowing that I will see you again and be able to talk to you about our lives.  Happy Birthday, Mom.  Thinking of you today and always.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A few more photos....

"A Favorite Photo" -  this is from my 30th birthday party...

"Handwriting" - A card from my Grandma G.


"Night"  (Rocky is ready to come inside!)

"Where you work" - I took this from the
walking path around the pond behind our building

Mom, I'm Hungry!

Having had plenty of friends and coworkers who have shared experiences of their sons and the teenage years, I've been waiting for some of these issues to come up with Jace - and it seems like puberty has finally arrived, folks.  Jace has never been a big eater - he's always eaten just enough to get by, and then he's ready to leave the table and get back outside or to whatever he's doing.  But first I noticed him starting to eat more at mealtime, and NOW it seems like it is snack time, all the time.  I used to be able to buy snacks and they would last for a week or so - but I come home now and my little 13-year-old has cleared through a whole box of Cheezits in two days, or a bag of cookies in an afternoon.   Luckily his metabolism is so fast that he isn't packing on the pounds, but I've told him that he cannot eat junk food like that, or he may have a problem with weight down the road - AND it certainly isn't doing his body any good with all of the empty calories he is consuming.

Last night we (Jace, Brian and I) were watching an episode of Top Gear on History Channel (a total guy show, but I enjoy watching something with the two of them, and it is pretty entertaining) and we each had a bowl of pudding for dessert.  Jace finished his lickety split, and was ready for another bowl!  I countered his request with a banana, which he happily accepted.  Then he had another banana, and still wanted to know what else he could have.   So I brought out some roast beef I had made in the slow cooker on Saturday, and I heated some up and made him a sandwich.  After all of that, a fudge round to top it off!  

I know my shopping list is going to increase - and one of the biggest challenges will be finding/making healthier choices for him to snack on, rather than the Honey Buns and other junk food he would wolf down if I kept it in stock...   I bought some cheese, bananas, oranges, canned pears (he loves) and will hard boil some eggs tonight as well.  When I made him a chore list today, I made sure to put very specific snack instructions at the bottom - "You can have a cup of pudding and a fudge round, but no more sweets after that - have a banana, piece of cheese or peanuts if you're still hungry, and I'll fix dinner as soon as I get home!"

Baseball season is in full swing, with practices twice a week, so we've got to keep this boy fueled up!  Any suggestions are absolutely welcome - should be a busy and fun few years coming up!

Oh, and I have the remaining photos from my February photo challenge, will post those tomorrow!