Thankful Thursday: Working Mom

After 11+ years of life with children,
leaving my babies each day and going to work never seems to gets any easier.

But I must admit,
it makes the coming home so much sweeter!





Black and White Wednesday: Fan Club

Last night as we were walking into one of our favorite restaurants
to meet my favorite sister,
I decided to snap some photos of the kids (big surprise, right)
along the beautiful stone entrance wall.

As I was looking through my lens and corralling my kids
I hear this thick, sexy Russian accent say,
"Are you always taking pictures?"

I immediately turned to see where it was coming from
and that's when I saw her...
Dita's Darling's

I laughed when she put her hand out introducing herself
thinking I wouldn't recognize her.
Her reputation precedes her.

She and my sister worked together for years and are very good friends.

I knew she was a big fan of my blog and I've heard the most amazing stories about this wild, beautiful Russian with a heart of gold
and a personality larger than life.

She came upon my blog last summer and has been an avid reader ever since.
I was so flattered when I spoke with her on the phone several months ago
and she knew every single post; every picture.
She told me she was in love with my kids and, of course, JR.

Well, as luck would have it, we finally met last night in the flesh,
completely by coincidence.

She did not disappoint!
I about fell off my barstool when I said I had to get home to edit for Black and White Wednesday in the morning and she said
"I know....Long Road to China! "
I was hysterical!

Yes, my Number One Fan...today IS Black and White Wednesday
and it's only fitting that the beautiful photos of YOU are front and center for today's post.

I give you the aptly named GG
(aka Gorgeous Grandma, a moniker her grandchildren have given her).


Gorgeous, indeed.
Grandma? I think not.

Let me tell you, she's more like Raquel Welch Eat Your Heart Out!
(here she is with my equally beautiful sister!)

Of course she and JR were instant buddies....
they told me it was the immigrant factor.
I had to pry them apart around 10pm to get the kids home to bed!


GG is a colorful character for sure....right down to her brand of cigarettes and taste in jewelry.

FB FavoriteThings
Yes, that diamond ring is as REAL and exquisite as she is!
Raquel Welch ain't got nothin' on you, Girl!

GG, thank you for loving Dita's Darlings as much as you do!
We love you right back!

It's Black and White Wednesday
To see some fabulous images, click on over to


Thankful Thursday: Daddy Duty

This man takes it seriously!
I snapped him here watching the World Cup at our favorite watering hole.
Yep, he's the real deal!




We spent a wonderful afternoon with some very special old friends on Sunday.
There are lots of pictures of our day (as usual) but since I have been posting
at a snail's pace lately and am backed up for what seems like MONTHS...you
probably wouldn't know that!

I just had to join in this Black and White Wednesday
with two of my favorite images of these adorable little ladies.

I just can't get enough of their expressive faces
(not to mention their killer Joan Crawford eyebrows and long eyelashes!)
More to come!


JRR BW Yard Haze

It's Black and White Wednesday
To see some fabulous images, click on over to



Not exactly a word you'd use to describe life with a teenage boy!

But to me that's exactly what this shot captured between my best friend
and my godson the other day.


Even if it was just for a moment!
Vee you are an amazing mother and in only a few more years
(and an equal amount of gray hairs!)
these teen years will be well behind you.

It's Black and White Wednesday
To see some fabulous images, click on over to


Special Treat

I'm not a soda drinker.
Never was.
The only time we ever had soda in our house
when I was growing up was for parties.
On my father's to do list before each event
was pick up soda from the local soda vendor.

He'd bring home 2 (sometimes 3) cases from a local mom and pop (punny!) shop
filled with all our favorites:
Kola (with a K), Orange, Birch Beer, Half and Half, Wild Cherry,
Lemon-Lime (it was a green color, not like Sprite or Mountain Don't),
and who could forget Cream!

They were in glass bottles that we'd have to return the following week
under penalty of...well, of something.

And when the party was done...the soda was gone
until the next time.

My mother's no soda mandate from way back actually saved our teeth and
we all know now, proved to be a much healthier approach.

Since I never acquired a taste for soda on a regular basis,
I carry the same mandate in my own house today.

Special Occasion = Soda
Occasion Over= Soda Gone

Surprise, Surprise...WonderBoy pushes the limit on this
almost every time we go grocery shopping.
(He doesn't win but he is a persistent little bugger!)

The other evening while out at our favorite sushi joint,
we had the opportunity to try Japanese Soda.

Lemme tell you, I'm a marketing sucker; hook, line and sinker!

This soda made such an impression I let both kids
have 2 bottles each (EACH!) at dinner.

It wasn't that it tasted so different from most soda I have tried,
its that it was packaged in the coolest way.

It comes in glass bottles and you need to peel the plastic shell from the top of the bottle.
Once you do that, you uncover a plastic lid with a plunger that you punch out for use as a tool.

By doing this, you've exposed the top of the bottle which is plastic and
has a clear round marble in it.
(it kinda looks like a roll-on lip gloss with a ball/marble in the neck that doesn't come out.)

You line up the plunger over the marble and give the plunger a pop with an open hand
and BAM....the "marble" shoots into the soda and
creates carbonation inside the bottle.

At $2.50 a "pop" (excuse the pun) at dinner, I was enthralled
but $10 on 4 sodas hurt my inner Thrify Girl.

Since then, I was on a mission.

On Sunday, WonderBoy, Sweetie and I set off
with two of our best buddies in search of our booty.



We found the mother ship of Cool Japanese Sodas (and exploding gum, but that's for another post!)

We bought one in every flavor...actually, we bought MANY in every flavor.
And, at $1.39 each; we're stocked up for the next several special occasions!


(look closely and you'll see the marble just below the neck of the bottle, it can't come out because the top has a smaller diameter)

Now I can't say that it'll give you "wings" but I can say that WonderBoy told us after his special treat he felt like he was on top of the world!


I actually had to number and keep a running tab (sign out list) of these sweet treats
or my little Soda Monster would devour them in a day!
At last count there were 9 left in the garage refrigerator!

If you have the opportunity to try one, don't pass it up.
Marketing Genius and Sugary Yumminess at its finest!


About A Boy

A shy boy who came to this country when he was more than a decade old,
leaving all he knew behind to follow a dream of a better life.

Hearing the chatter of a language foreign to him;
he worked hard at learning to fit in with his new peers
and was so proud to be called an American.

He excelled in a sport that transcended language and privilege.

Those smoldering blue-green eyes and jet black hair
coupled with his trademark sweet manner worked together famously in ensuring
that the "new kid" would never be without company.


Still, it was a hard road.
A road that took courage, patience, perserverence and character.

The very traits that that beautiful boy still possesses today
in the man he has become.
The traits that make me so proud to be his wife.


Happy Birthday, My Love.
You make it all worthwhile!
Fortysomething never looked so good!


Scenes from Summer: Part II

After Scenes from Summer: Part I,

I decided I'd continue to chronicle
our summer adventures in a series.

JR and I both work full-time but we always try to spend as much time outdoors with the children after work as we can in the Summer.

Luckily daylight savings time is on our side and it doesn't get dark until almost 9pm.
Perfect time to chase the lightning bugs).

Whenever the weather cooperates we eat outside. I make a point of setting the table and using the good dishes even when its just us because to me, we're just as important as company!

The kids find things to do in the yard and between corralling them and making sure no one gets too riled up (translation: starts crying!)...
JR and I try to enjoy a cocktail or two as we talk about our day.
(It sure comes in handy that I worked throughout college and grad school as a bartender!)

Today the outside temperature actually registered at 104 degrees and in my book,
that calls for a frozen Cue*rvo Gold Margar*ita with Cointre*au and lots of kosher salt.

(and yes, it was as good as it looks!)


Sweetie found an equally yummy little surprise.


Much to her brother's dismay...she insisted upon being the first to pick it and eat it.





Now, if only we can keep the pesky little chipmunks away from the strawberry pot we might be in luck and actually get to enjoy a few more ourselves!


***Go ahead, say it...I know you're thinking it.
I know you noticed how AMAZING my editing skills were in this post?
And I mean, WOWZA!
Totally unlike my usual...well, as you probably figured out by now, I had a "ghost" Photoshopper at the helm of these photos.

My dear (real life) girlfriend, Maddy at The Maddy Chronicles, was kind enough to take my photos to a new level and unleash the power within her upon my VERY grateful images!

Thanks so much, MaddyGirl....you never cease to amaze me.

I love you and its back to Photoshop school for me!


Black & White Wednesday: A Special Bond

Sweet Kiss Yard BW Kids

Divine Intervention

enabled these two
to travel through life together
as beloved brother and sister.

There is no greater gift.

Except, perhaps, the one JR and I have been given...
sitting here front and center witnessing every second of it!

It's Black and White Wednesday
To see some fabulous images, click on over to



I have a friend.
She adores her family.

She shares my love of children.
She has a gift.
She makes beautiful things by hand.


Her gift for making beautiful things has, in large part, helped realize her dream of completing her family, one beautiful member at a time, from different parts of the world.

Their family is not complete, though.
There is one little girl all alone on the other side of the world who is still waiting to come home
to her sisters, her brother and her mommy and daddy.

She doesn't even know that this incredible family of hers is praying
and working so hard together to get her home.
She has no idea how much love they have for her and how her life
will be infintely changed for the better once she is safe in their arms.

I have a friend.
We've never met in person but our hearts have, no doubt, met many times before.

This is her daughter; still so far away.

This is my daughter holding hers in her arms...

and telling her that her Mommy is coming soon to get her.

And with a kiss my Sweetie said...
I love you, little girl, would you be my friend?


No question about that.
One day, Sweetie...when Liliana's home..we will all meet...friends.

Hurry home, Liliana...your family (and your friends) are waiting.

This beautiful beach towel was made with love by Robin at Red Thread Stitches.

It's personalized with my daughter's initial and her name embroidered below in a whimsical orange stitch (which you can't see here). (Please excuse the sunblock smathered all over it!)

She loves it.
I love it...not only because its insanely adorable but because
I know the heart of the woman whose hands made it for us with love.

If you're looking for a unique gift, visit Robin's sewing blog to see all of the gorgeous creations she makes and help bring Liliana home.