Sunday, December 30, 2007

If I Could Get The Chance

If I could get the chance to say one thing to one person, it would be...

Dear Man At The Gas Station,

You have managed to change my life. On the Friday afternoon, the day after Thanksgiving, I ran into you at the Shell Gas Station while paying for my gas before leaving town for a weekend up in Chicago. I was also paying for cigarettes. You made a joke about saving a lot of money if I would just quit. We laughed and then you told me that the only reason you made the comment was because you had quit a month ago on Chantix. You changed my life that day.

You see, I had been looking into the drug for sometime now, but had never had the opportunity to ask someone who was actually taking it about the side effects. When you told me that you hadn't had any and that if you did, they would be better than dying, you triggered something deep inside me.

The following Monday when I arrived back in town, I called my doctor first thing and asked for a prescription for the Chantix. I have now been smoke free for 26 days and never before imagined that it could be this easy. You told me that it would be and you were right. Never before would I have believed that a stranger could have such a big impact in my life and I hope to have the chance to have an impact like that on someone else some day.

Thank you. I will now live a healthier, smoke free life. A life where I'll get to see my children grow up, get married and have kids of their own. As I approach my one month anniversary of being a nonsmoker, I'll think of you and wish you luck that you're still doing well, too.

Thank you,


If you had the chance to say something to one person, what would it be?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Worth It

There are days when all you want is some quiet time to yourself. Days when the kids are loud, the house is a cluttered mess, the dog is looking at you pathetically because it's been forever since you've taken her outside and the laundry your worked so hard to get under control last week is quickly piling up again.

And then you begin getting your son ready for bed. He spends two minutes telling you that he's not tired enough to go to sleep, even though it is almost 10:30pm. And then, after you go to tell your daughter that it's time to get ready for bed and she doesn't argue with you about it for a change, you go to check on your son (1 minute after you left his room) and he's snoring away, most likely dreaming of Webkinz and baseball.

These are the days you want to hold on to. To lock the day in a box to revisit later when they are too old for hugs and kisses and you putting them to bed at night.

The Day In Ryan's Eye's

Sometime in between last night and this afternoon, someone gave Ryan access to the digital camera. I thought I'd share.

Ballerina Bret? Your guess is as good as mine.

Obviously it's way past Ashley's bedtime.

My guess is he was helping to remind me that the Christmas clutter is way out of control and it's time to. get. rid. of. it.

Pretty glad we remembered to empty the trash can yesterday.

His new Leapster game that came in the mail today. We set up his team and got started. Two minutes later, he quit because it was "too hard!" We'll try again later.

The loves of his life - baseball...

...and Darth Maul.

He also got this book of all of the Presidents for Christmas. It's pretty cool. It fans out and has a separate page for each President. Ryan was in the process of taking a picture of each one of them - one at a time - when I confiscated the camera.

Our little cameraman...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Normalcy, Or Something Like It

Four whirlwind Christmas's aside, things are starting to resemble some sense of normalcy - if you look beyond the fact that my house is past the point of cluttered chaos. It looks as if Toys R Us blew up in my livingroom - no exageration there.

I thought that I would maybe try to keep the tree up until next weekend, but taking it down would really help take care of the clutter. We'll see.

We've all been busy enjoying our new Christmas toys and are planning on going to see the Chipmunk movie later. But first Bret and Ryan are trying to figure out their new Madden Football game on the Wii. Ryan is very frustrated because it is nothing like playing it on Uncle David's PS3. For those of you that have seen what Ryan is like when he's frustrated, it's sure to be worth a good laugh or two. (Remember how he beat the living daylights out of his 4-wheeler last year?) Oops, guess Santa didn't look too closely at how it's played. My guess is we'll probably be stopping for the PS2 version while we're out today.

And.....according to, in 3 weeks, 1 day, 12 hours, 37 minutes, 1 second I have not smoked 382 cigarettes and have saved $72.00. Wow. In my head I knew the numbers would be high, but not that high! It's a real eye opener.

Not smoking over the holidays have been difficult and I sometimes wish I had waited until the holidays were over, but I look at it this way: my biggest hurdle will soon be over. If I can get through each day, one at a time, past January 1st, I'm out of the woods. Don't get me wrong, the last thing I want is to smoke (and I won't!), but the urges are still there sometimes. I need normalcy. Once the holidays are over and things return to normal, it should be easy again. This sitting around bored is taking it's toll. I need to stay busy. I think I'll go take my shower now and then herd everyone over to the movie theater.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hitting The Road Again

Today is our last day up here at my mom's house in Chicago. It's hard to believe Christmas is over and that we will soon be approaching New Years. As soon as I finish my beloved mug of Peppermint Mocha we'll be packing up and getting the kids (and ourselves) out of their pajamas and onto the road.

Any bets on whether Bret will actually let me listen to my new CD in the car - over and over and over again? It's rare when I find a CD where I enjoy listening to the whole thing.

By the way, it has now been 22 days since I quit smoking. Hooray - I hit 3 weeks yesterday and didn't even realize it. And another big perk? We got here faster without making any stops and made it through the holiday without one.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


All Christmas photos are up over at Flickr.

Merry Christmas - Part Two With The S's

Christmas came and went faster than ever this year, it seems. Once again, my Grandma outdid herself with last night's Christmas Eve dinner.

Grandma, hard at work.

Ashley, having no business looking as grown up as she does this year.

My brother, David and Ashley.

Ryan and Bret.

Dave, Lori, Ryan & Bret.

Ryan gets the Imaginext Jungle set he's been begging for.

Ashley gets her long awaited boots.

He didn't really ask for this, did he? (He did.)

My Aunt nearly gave my Grandma a heart attack when she opened up her Williams Sonoma gift certificate and exclaimed, "Wow, a thousand dollars. Thank you." My mom had ordered it online with her credit card number. It gave everyone a pretty good laugh.

We got Grandma pretty good last night when she opened her last gift. She's been wanting this Bose stereo system for some time now and had no idea it was going to be hers this year.

Ryan got her pretty good, too. His new toy came with a pretend snake and he kept tormenting her with it.

So off to bed we went last night to await Santa's visit and woke up this morning to find our presents waiting for us under the tree.

I retired my scrapbooking supplies this year and went digital over at Snapfish. So much easier, plus without smoke breaks, I didn't think I could handle doing any scrapbooking yet.

Ryan was really excited about his Baseball Guys Play Set.

Ashley has a place to store her earrings now. (Which will make it easier for mom to browse, too!)

Go Cubs!

So, my buzz from my homemade Starbucks Peppermint Mocha has now worn off and I've successfully made it through Christmas without smoking. Even with family members going out all last night, I did great. Not even a single urge to join them, but I did drink two cups of real coffee last night. I've officially joined the grown up table now.

Heavenly Caffeinated

I'll have more Christmas pictures for you all when the caffeine buzz from my new Espresso Machine and Starbucks Peppermint Mocha ingredients wear off. I am very happily caffeinated right now on this Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas - Part One With The W's

This weekend we kicked off Christmas, Part One with the W's. Last night we joined Bret's family for dinner, professional photos a'la Grant and of course, presents. The kids had a great time playing with their cousins and the new pony that Santa had brought Brooke that morning since they won't be in town for Christmas either.

Ashley & Ryan pose with Grandma Jerry.

Ryan was super excited when he opened his new Lego Harbor. He's been asking for this for some time now.

Ashley got some mind boosting games for her Nintendo DS. Okay, I was the one who really wanted them - I've got to keep up with her some how.

We were really excited for Grandma Jerry to open her gift from us. We had gotten her a digital photo frame and I had loaded it with hundreds of pictures of the whole entire family from over the course of the last year.

Super Cool Bret with his new Cub's coat. He did his runway thing and had us all cracking up.

Sleep wasn't really in the cards for us last night since we got home late, put the kids to bed and tried to get everything cleaned up and put away. I think it was almost 2 am by the time Bret and I got to bed. Thankfully the kids let us sleep until 8:30 this morning.

Peaceful looking isn't it?

Peaceful until the wrapping paper started flying the next morning.

We spent the day playing with all of our new toys.

Ryan really loves his new Leapster L-Max and Animal Genius game.

Tomorrow morning we'll be loading up the kids and the dog into the minivan and heading up to Chicago for Christmas with the S's (my family). I'll try to post more while I'm up there.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Barely Made It Through That One

Something has been off today. I've been moody and fighting the urge to go outside and smoke all day. It's the closest I've come to messing up in the last 18 days.
Trying to get past it, I've spent the last two hours cleaning up my house, putting all the baby stuff away (the babies are gone until after the New Year) and attacking the ever growing mountain of laundry. (Although I do find comfort in the fact that I'm not the only one. Thanks for making me feel better Jamie.)
Keeping myself busy wasn't helping so I sat down and tried to figure out why all of a sudden I'm now fighting the biggest urge yet to end my 18 days of smoke free bliss. Then it hit me just as my blood sugar plummeted. I have barely eaten all day. I had oatmeal for breakfast, snacked on lunch meat and cheese at lunchtime and had a bowl of soup for dinner. It's now after midnight and I'm starving. But instead of realizing I'm hungry, my mind is taking it in as a craving to smoke. I think I've found my biggest trigger.
You see, not only has the Chantix taken away almost any desire for me to smoke, it has also taken away cravings for food. I've lost 5 pounds, but my blood sugar has been chaotic.
So with that in mind, I got up and started boiling some water in my coffee pot for some yummy oatmeal only to dump it as I changed my mind in favor of Rice Krispies cereal with cut up banana in it. I sat down and took a bite and nearly got sick as I realized that something tasted horribly wrong with the milk. (I just bought it. It doesn't expire until the 24th, but man was there something sour going on with that milk.) Sadly, I watched my uneaten cereal and banana disappear down the disposal and reboiled water for my oatmeal.
I'm taking this as a lesson. I should eat before I get to the point of total mind loss. Also, I should go to bed before I start talking about something more boring that what I'm eating.

Don't Mess With 'Em

This may be the funniest thing I have ever heard! EVER! I am still laughing right now and have listened to it 4 times already.

Click HERE.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Internet Is Being Friendly Once More

Here are the rest of the pictures from our visit with Santa last night. Let me just state for the record that I wasn't aware that I, too would be in the picture - hence the ponytail.
Big hugs for Santa.

Happily, my Christmas shopping is finished (after a quick run to the mall after overhearing Ryan telling Santa what he and almost all wrapped. I'm now 16 days nonsmoking and Bret has made it 3 days now. (He quit on Monday.) What more could you ask for during the holidays?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa Visit Turned Photo Shoot

Tonight we took the kids over to the mall to see Santa and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was not busy and that you are free to take your own pictures. Ryan was instantly in awe, while Ashley acted like one of the grown ups. Ryan climbed up on his lap and proceeded to tell Santa his whole. entire. list. of. things. he. wants. for. Christmas. Yes, it kind of dragged on like that. LoL.
Ryan happily poses for pictures with his new best friend.

Ashley joins in.

Santa has quite a sense of humor. He and Bret clashed a bit over their favorite baseball teams.

If you live here in the Peoria area, you have got to try and get over to see Santa and his wife at The Shoppes at Grand Prairie. They are the most friendly people ever, who enjoy what they do and so obviously love children. Santa was even trying to corral little Mitchell in the store when we had no luck.

I have more pictures, but for some reason the internet isn't being too cooperative tonight. I'll try to add them later. (If it even lets me post this.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Weekend Update

Was it just me or did this weekend seem to go by way too fast? Or maybe we were just really busy.
Ryan had a cosmic bowling birthday party to go to on Saturday. He had a blast and did really well. (Thank you for bumpers!)

Immediately after the bowling party, we made our way through the quickly accumulating snow to our nephew, Mitchell's birthday party. Little Man is now 3 and we have started a whole new something with our present to him. He kept referring to the dinosaur we got him that it was his new pet dino. Pretty cute, isn't he?

At some point during the weekend, we found our way outside to play in the snow. The temperature here has dropped to the 20's and it's way too cold!

After proving to her that she could indeed clean her room just as well as I can, I ran out and found her a little Christmas tree for her room. She's been begging for one since Grandma told her she had some extra little ornaments that she could have. She was very proud and excited.

And today I am 13 days as a nonsmoker, but fighting a horrible cold that has now decided to settle into my chest. I should really go to the doctor, but who actually has time for that? I thought that when you quit smoking, you're suppose to be able to breathe easier and taste and smell things better. Apparently my body didn't get that memo, because it can't do any of those things right now.