Sunday, November 30, 2008


It's Thanksgiving weekend, my family is leaving to go to New Hampshire on Thursday, I'm going to Disney World on Friday, the PTA at my children's school (which I'm president of) has a million activities going on next week, and to top it off, Mia's birthday party is this weekend.

A normal person would have probably just called a bakery and ordered a cake -- a very wise choice! Or maybe they would have made a sheet cake, added a few sprinkles, and called it a day -- also a nice option.

I don't know what it is, but three times a year, I pull out my cake decorating supplies and go to work. I've never had any training, unless you call watching "Ace of Cakes" training. But for my children's birthdays I feel the need to become Chef Duff. There have been times (like last Dec.) when I've had complete disasters, stayed up all night, and vow that I will NEVER put myself through that torture again.

Then there are moments like these.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Yesterday we were having our house appraised ... translation: everyone had to pitch in and get our house in shape to have someone walk through every room. This is no easy feat, especially since Mia loves taking things out of her room and placing them all over: lines up her shoes on the stairs, pulls out every blanket she owns to recarpet the living room, uses the kitchen as her own, personal playroom -- you get the idea.

Anyway, when I told the kids they had to clean on their "day off" they scoffed and complained. Alex was set to work cleaning their room and their office. Knowing that it is best to separate my children when you actually want something to get done, I called Domenic down for his assignments. His first question to me was, "can I clean the windows."

Now, obviously I had more pressing issues than shiny windows, but I told him that once he cleaned the cellar & straightened up the mud room that "yes, you can clean the windows."

The cellar and mudroom were cleaned in record time. Then he proceeded to clean EVERY window in the house! Who knew????

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I love Thanksgiving on so many levels: it's a day to sit around in pj's and watch parades; it marks the beginning of the holiday season; I can now play Christmas music round the clock with no complaints from anyone; we eat the absolute best comfort food ever; we get together as family and just enjoy spending time together; unlike Christmas, there is no pressure to purchase & wrap gifts.

Most importantly, I love this holiday because it gives me an entire day to contemplate the blessings in my life. So often I focus on what is lacking in my life, even in prayer. I ask for guidance in helping others, being a better person, feeling comfort, etc. But today, I choose to focus only on being grateful, because I have been blessed beyond measure.

I have an amazing family, a wonderful husband who works tirelessly so that I can stay home with our three incredible children.

We are fortunate to live near my husband's parents, brothers, and uncles. Although I miss being near my own mother, I couldn't ask for a better substitute. And family makes the best friends!

I am grateful for my friends; they laugh with me and lift my spirits when I am discouraged.

And my most recent blessing is being chosen as a member of the 2009 Walt Disney World Mom's Panel. I am humbled and in shock that I was chosen as one of 16 panel members to help give advice to Disney vacation planners. The best part of being on the panel is that I have made 15 new friends that I can't wait to meet in person. This is an experience that I want to remember always, so I will be using my blog to report my adventures.

And lastly:
I'm grateful for the parade that turns my children into zombies for 3 hours so that I can write this blog.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don'tcha Want One?

Meet Scampi (Awwwwww).

Scampi belongs to my brother in-law, James. He's a chef, hence the name. Isn't she so sweet? James just rescued Scampi from a shelter down south. She's part shepherd, part rottweiler, part ??? -- 100% adorable.

When he brought Scampi over to meet us, James asked, "are you going to get a dog now?" Funny!!!

I will honestly and freely admit that I should not own pets. Children, I can & will take care of...pets, not so much. But thank you, James, for making me an auntie. I can't wait to dogsit, play with, and adore your new addition...spoil her rotten...and then send her back home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday

To me, that is. I know it's a little odd that I'm writing my own birthday post, but I have to share the fact that my children genuinely surprised me this morning. Sure, they said "Happy Birthday" when I woke them up at 6:30, and Fred had a card and gift sitting on the counter waiting for me. It was this that I didn't expect...

That's right! A birthday cake at 7:00 a.m. They had hidden it in their closet, and when I called them downstairs for breakfast - VOILA! I know my mother in-law helped them out last night, but it was pretty impressive that they were able to surprise me. I also, loved seeing the expression on their faces as they realized that they really did pull off their plan.

Hope the rest of the day is as great as it started out!

(And in case anyone is wondering - No, I didn't choose their perfectly coordinated clothing)