Sunday, December 2, 2012

Our New Adventure

Well... the new adventure sure has been that...  We have finally accomplished our goal of moving to Florida!!  It took a while to sell the house in PA, but we did it!  We had to put a lot of work into it and some extra things (selling a house is NOT fun!), but it's done.  There were many days that I had 2-3 different contractors in the house at the same time.  Trying to work with Pack Rats for the pods has been a nightmare.  They have made multiple mistakes and their system doesn't handle changes well.  Our movers were FANTASTIC!  Terry and Pat from Kauffman's Movers are the best! 

We decided to rent instead of buying right now.  The timing wasn't right to buy with getting Kate into school, so we found a great house to rent for now.  We will start looking after the new year.  I actually need a break from looking at houses anyway.  They are all starting to run together.  We finally decided on looking for a house with 1/2 acre+.  After all the BS we had to deal with in PA with a BAD neighbor, I don't want to be able to see or hear a neighbor here.

We had a pretty easy trip down from PA to FL.  (Other than the rain, the ENTIRE way down and the van being packed with not an inch of spare space in the back!)  We stopped in VA to visit with Chrissy and Seth before stopping in Richmond the first night (Monday).  We then drove to Savannah, GA to stop the second night (Tuesday).  We made it to Oviedo in about 4 hours the next day (Wednesday).  We met with Paul to look at rentals on Wednesday afternoon.  We picked one and had the contract that day.  We moved in Saturday morning, which was good since that was when we needed to check out of the hotel!

It also had a pool with the enclosure.  It is my retreat.  I find solace out there.  I am finding more and more that I need to sit out there a few hours a day and soak in the sun to really feel good for the day.  It's been a challenge living with only the items we were able to bring in the van.  We have been sitting on the folding chairs that we use for soccer games and sleeping on air mattresses... and I am Sooo sick of it!  I don't even want to talk about how challenging it was making Thanksgiving dinner with hardly any supplies.  I am please with how it turned out.  Our dining room table was 2 desks put together and we ate on paper plates, but we were all together and that's what really matters.

The house has an amazing view of a lake. (I would think of it as a pond, but down here, it's a lake.)  We went for a walk around the lake behind the house. 3 Sandhill Cranes were visiting (we usually see them at the golf course). We have a resident Egret (whom we have named Eugene). He was hunting for clams (we thought it was for fish, but at closer examination, we found tons of clams!) There were countless butterflies and dragonflies too. I picked up a pine cone and much to my surprise... we found what we think is a green anole. Amazing what we have in our backyard!!

Having to get Kate enrolled in school really motivated us to get what we needed done.  We had our driver's licenses that first Friday and had Kate in school on that next Monday before Thanksgiving.  She had 2 days of school and then a 5 day holiday!  We became Platinum Pass holders for SeaWorld, one of our favorite places on Earth!  We have been there 3 times already!  Kate even got Ray to go on the Manta.  A benefit of having the Platinum Pass is the "Ride Again Privilege"... Once you ride a ride, you can ride again without having to get back in line.  Kate rode the Kraken 15 times the other day!!  I can't believe she didn't get sick!  We also get preferred parking.  It's almost mean to drive past all the people walking from the back of the parking lot as we get a spot, literally, right up front... almost!

Ray and I went for a walk down Lockwood and stumbled across the Little Econolockahatchee River (people around here call it the Little Econ).  It was amazing.  The color is an amber color.  I have never seen that color in a river before.  It's called a blackwater river and it's from the tannins from decaying vegetation in the water.  The banks are all white sand too.  So different from what we are used to!

We joined the YMCA yesterday.  Kate and I went this morning before school.  I took the water aerobics class and Kate worked some machines.  I was, without a doubt, the youngest one in the group!  I think the average age was 65 - thanks to me bringing the average down!  I think before I was there, the average age was 75!  The ladies were extremely welcoming though.  I was able to get a really good workout too.  I am feeling it in my legs, but not my knees.  I love working out in the water.

We finally got one of the pods today (11/29)! YAY!  We haven't had a chance to completely empty it, but I actually have one of my small totes of scrapbook materials!!  It's not everything, but it's a start. LOL.  I can't wait until I have all my supplies and I can be creative.

I got a call from a coworker today letting me know that our office (in Reading) is no longer open... and that my old boss and co-founder of my old company was let go.  We knew it was coming, but definitely didn't think it was going to be this soon.  It's the end of an era.

(update as of 12/2/12 - We received the 2nd pod yesterday.  Everything is unloaded and about 80% of it is put away!  We are exhausted!!!  We have the last pod coming tomorrow.  I can't wait to get it unloaded have everything put away.  Life can get back to normal... at least as normal as we get!)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Well, we have the house up for sale.  It's been on the market for almost 3 months.  It's a tough market and I am trying to stay patient... Ray is still looking for a job.  The overseas job fell through.  It was an extremely long 9 month process, all for naught.  It's a difficult time to be looking for work.  He has a few prospects, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.  We've had a busy couple of months since I last posted.  Keeping our house ready for showings all the time is exhausting... but it's the cleanest it's ever been! :)  I have been working in Wilkes-Barre 2 days a week.  It's a very long and boring drive.Kate has been playing volleyball with the high schoolers this summer... and doing VERY well!  I think she has found her new love.  Sean is still dating Brianna and he's working at Smokey Bones.  Ray and I decided in May to make a lifestyle change.  We knew we wanted to lose weight, but we want to do it the right way.  We started counting calories and using the fitness pal app.  Ray is down 37 lbs and I am down 23 lbs, to date.  At first I was a little frustrated that he was losing more, but he is walking every day and really working hard.  I am so proud of him.  Kate graduated 7th grade with flying colors.  She finished the J-Stroke volleyball season (thank goodness).  I can honestly say that she improved, but she was not happy that a few of her teammates quit and they didn't win a single match.  She had a great basketball season.  Coach Marty loves her play and tenacity!  She had a very successful soccer season this fall.  She made the varsity team and actually played most junior varsity games to help them out.  She hates sitting on the side lines!  The coaches really appreciated her dedication.  We went to Florida in April to look for houses.  We determined the neighborhoods and schools we want to live in.  We got a great feel for the neighborhoods all times of the day.  We looked at a few houses and have a few in mind.  We will be ready to move on them as soon as we hear something.  We aren't taking any major vacations this year with the potential move, but we went to Hershey Park, went on Uncle Mark's boat in the Cheasapeake, and went camping.  We went to the Flower Show in Philly again this year.  It wasn't the best, but it was definitely enjoyable.  Ray turned 50 in June.  Hard to believe!!  He still acts like a kid!! ;)  Dad retired at the end of June.  Mom through a surprise retirement party for him and invited old co-workers from Penco and Eastern Lift.  She also invited old neighbors and family.  It was a great time!  I got to see people I have seen in years!  And the best part was that she actually pulled off the surprise!!  I don't think Dad has every been surprised before... he usually figures out when we try to surprise him or what we get him as gifts.  We had a very nice time on 4th of July with Michelle and Randall at Jeremy & Carla's house in Wyomissing.  The parade was nice and the fireworks in West Reading were FANTASTIC!  For being such a small borough, we sure do put on a nice display.  I have been participating in the Berks County Circle Journal.  It's been nice getting together with old scrap buddies and being creative.  I can't wait to have a dedicated space for scrapping again.  It's been so exciting since the Summer Olympics started!  I get so emotional and patriotic during the games.  GO USA!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

busy weekend

1/20/12 - friday - normal school and work day. kate had bball practice until 6:00.  kate slept over at hannah's house.  i was wiped out, so it was an early bedtime for me! 

1/21/12 - saturday - SNOW, SNOW, and more SNOW.  yuck!!!  luckily it was only about 3-4 inches and it was very light, so it wasn't too bad to shovel.  mike and michele got a late start coming over because of shoveling and stopping for an extra inner tube for sledding down their big hill at home.  the kids had a blast sledding.  kate wanted to build a fort, but didn't get much help, and it's a lot of work to do by herself.  she decided to build a ramp for them to catch air.  it was pretty cool!!  mike made me a cake for dessert to celebrate my bday.  it was so sweet!  we love spending time with them!

1/22/12 - sunday - we walked outside and it was 19 degrees!!  ugh!  we went to olivia's friend bday party.  it was at the painted plate in west chester.  the kids got to decorate a ceramic item.  they were surprisingly good.  olivia absolutely lives in her pink cowgirl boots, so it was a cowgirl theme.  the cake was awesome!  she was so cute in her hat and boots.  we rushed off at noon to get kate to volleyball practice.  while she was at practice, ray and i ran to boscov's to get him a blazer, pants, and shirt for our meetings in VA on thursday.  we came home to watch the flyers play against boston.  always a great rivalry!!  we are tied 5-5 in the 3rd... very nerve racking!  hartnell has a hat-trick!!  it's been a very hard hitting, high scoring game! i LOVE it! going to OT... the refs have been very bad today.  now it's going to shoot outs... makes me VERY nervous!  we lose in the SO. bryz needs to stop the shooters! ugh!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


we've been busy, but i really have been slacking with updating the blog...

1/10/12 - it was corey and gidget's anniversary today.  sent well wishes to them thru facebook.  it was a normal crazy tuesday... kate had basketball and then volleyball.  ray wasn't feeling well so i took kate to volleyball.  i have been trying to get to know some of the vball parents.  i have been talking with alyssa's mom, serena.  she's a hoot. watched day 2 of 3 in a row for the sixers - got a W!!

1/11/12 - wednesday - regular day of work, school, and bball practice.  day 3 of 3 watching the sixers. it was a tough loss... still in first place though!!

1/12/12 - thursday - regular day of work, school, and bball practice.  watched the flyers beat the islanders, but it should not have been that close.  i spent some time labeling my cricut cartridges.

1/13/12 - friday - it was corey's bday today - sent well wishes to him thru facebook.  work, school and kate had a bball game at brandywine heights.  we got our first pay from health equity and they messed up a few things... charged me too much for insurance, took money out for hsa contributions, and didn't take out local taxes.  i headed out there alone because ray had a second technical interview with hutchinson recruiting.  it went very well!  when we got home, we had family movie night.  we turned the lights out and turned the audio up.

1/14/12 - saturday - today was the berks county scrappers winter fun crop.  i went with kim and aunt sherri.  i only got 2 pages and a few flowers... but i don't usually expect to get anything done!  i had a great time catching up with scrap friends i don't get to see.  ray and kate did some running around getting new school binders.  came home and watched the fly guys - they lost, but gotta watch - win or lose.  kate was exhausted... she passed on out the couch.

1/15/12 - sunday - slept in!!  it was SO nice!  took kate to vball practice while ray started working on cleaning out the attic.  when we got home, i went through old totes of crafts and the kids' school work.  it was a walk down memory lane.  ray started scanning old docs.  he is really doing a great job of getting rid of old things that we don't have space for.

1/16/12 - monday - MLK day - non-banking day, but still had to work.  got some things straightened out with the paychecks.  kate had off from school, but we worked on kate's science fair display.

1/17/12 - tuesday - this is probably the craziest day of the week.  i had a crazy day at work with deposits since yesterday wasn't a mail day.  ray got bloodwork and ran to the store.  i ran home to make french toast for dinner before getting kate from bball practice, then off to science fair to put the graph & chart on the project (since she forgot), and then to vball practice.  they have been working on some team building activities and they are definitely working.  kate said to me that she really likes the girls on her team.  i am so happy!!  we came home to grab dinner and watch the flyers.  they beat up on the wild 5-1!!!  ray got AWESOME news today.  the recruiters called and the technical interview went very well.  we have to go down to virginia next week for them to interview me to make sure i can handle ray being away for so long.

1/18/12 -  wednesday - worked and then went to kate's bball game.  they played reading and we killed them!  kate's vball coach (from wyo - coach wentzel) and his wife came to watch kate play.  she was so happy to see them.  i love that she is so involved in learning plays and communicating with the coaches.  she runs the plays on the court and it was neat to see her talking strategy with coach baer.  ray and i are going to virginia wednesday night (my birthday) for the interview on thursday.  kate has a half day wednesday and then we will drop her off at mom's.  mom will then take her to school on thursday morning and go to her game and bring her home until we get home.

 1/19/12 - crazy day at work.  busy the entire day... traffic was ridiculous today.  people we driving like idiots and i was very frustrated!!!  i have to fill out a packet of psychological profile questions for the recruiters before we go down next week.  they came in the mail today.  there are ~600 questions with 3 essays.  it was the same packet ray had to fill out.  kinda silly if you ask me... but i did it and in record time!  ray will return it to them tomorrow so they can review it before we go next week.  kate had a bball game vs oley tonight.  the schedule said at the high school, but it was at the oley middle school.  uncle mark was there to cheer on kate.  she loved it!!   after the game the girls had a pizza party and cheered on the senior high girls jv and varsity at home.  they had a scrimmage during half time.  they got to play in the new gym in front of 50-60 people.  what a cool experience!

Monday, January 9, 2012

basketball game

work was very crazy today.  this was my first day doing deposits full time at work.  needless to say, the day FLEW by!  kate had another basketball game today.  uncle mark and aunt sherri were able to go too.  she is always so happy when they can come.  we won 22-5.  kate had a good game.  she scored a basket before we got there (i was late because of work) and caused a few turnovers.  she was playing tough defense all game.  aunt sherri commented on how calm she is when she is running a play. 

kate loves having her hair braided when it's wet so it is crimped in the morning.  she looks goofy when the braids are in, but looks cute when it's out.  so, i put the braids in tonight while we watched the sixers beat the pacers!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

good cook...

not much happening today... kate had volleyball practice today (pictures are blurry because it's in a church with poor lighting and i took it with my iphone) and then after we looked for new basketball/volleyball shoes at dick's.  we couldn't find any that she liked in her size... ray and i worked on cleaning out some of the attic and old paperwork.  i made meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy for dinner.  kate was helping me with the potatoes and asked me how i became such a good cook.  it made me so happy to think she thinks of me as a good cook.  i can't wait to help her have a love of cooking too.  we then went to volleyball scorekeeping training.  it's extremely confusing at first and the girls are responsible for doing it during the tournaments.  i think it's good to have them involved and i am sure they will catch on very quickly. 

this week...

wednesday 1/4 - normal work day and then kate had a basketball game at schuylkill valley.  she had another great game.  she make 3 out of 4 free throws and a field goal.  she was fouled as the buzzer blew for the end of the 2nd quarter. so the free throws were taken without anyone on the line with her.  it's a lot of pressure with everyone watching and she did a great job!  she made both of them!!

thursday 1/5 - normal work day and then kate had basketball practice.  kate was guarding mckenna during practice and jammed her thumb.  she iced it and luckily it was on her left hand, so doing homework was fine.  the flyers played so we watched them pull one out with ~30 seconds left to win the game.  we just love watching them play.

friday 1/6 - crazy work day (last day for kristen and lindsey - so glad they won't be there anymore! and starting the transition to convert everything to heq.) and then kate had a basketball game at home vs hamburg.  she had her thumb wrapped by the trainer and it didn't seem to affect her game at all... in fact, she had an outstanding game!  she was playing awesome defense and made a few baskets too!  she caused a lot of turnovers and was very aggressive.  i love watching her play that way!  we came home and watched the sixers play.  it was their home opener and they had a few players from the past there.  bobby jones, moses malone, and dr. j, and a few others.  i remember watching them play when i was a kid.

saturday 1/7 - well, to say it was a lazy day is an understatement... i slept in until 11am and then stayed in bed watching tv with kate for another hour.  it was great!!  we watched the flyers play this afternoon.  they squeeked it out and won in the last 6 seconds of the overtime!  danny briere had a hat trick (and a fight)!!  it was so cool! 
we have been looking for houses in florida.  it's hard looking for good neighborhoods - we need a good school with good athletic and academic programs, houses with a some land, but with neighbors.  close to shopping without a lot of traffic, close enough to seaworld, but with low crime.  ray was up until 3am last night looking at websites and he found that crime was higher in the dr phillips and windermere sections.  we also decided against the 32828 orlando area because of the power plant and prison.  even though it's farther away than what we have here, we decided that if we are paying that much for a house, we don't want them that close.  so we decided to move to the oveido area.  we seem to be able to find more land and exactly what we want.  it's about 30 minutes from seaworld.  i guess we can handle that... ;)  i am so anxious to find out about ray's job... they expect to talk to the companies this week.  it's hard to wait.  after looking at houses and neighborhoods, i want to move now!!!  we will be working on cleaning out the attic tomorrow.  we are trying to prepare this house for moving. we can't spend anything on upgrades until ray is working, but we can clean it out.  after that we will work on the basement.

kate has been playing outside all afternoon.  she just loves being outside!  luckily we are having a nice 50 degree day in january!  she is going to LOVE being in florida in the winter! 

ray and i are watching mel brooks - history of the world... it's so goofy!it's totally ray's sense of humor!  i LOVE that we have such a great time together.  he is always making me laugh! 

once kate came home, we watched green lantern.  it was so nice spending some time together as a family.  ray and i watched the sixers (since i recorded it).  i am so happy they are good enough to watch!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

practice, practice, practice... and homework

we always joke with Kate about "how do you get to carnegie hall?" - practice, practice, practice...

today was back to school and work for us.  kate had school from 7:00-2:30, then basketball practice from 4:00-6:00, then volleyball practice from 6:00-8:00, then homework until 10:45... it was a VERY long day (for all of us!)  i hate when she has these long days, but i am hoping it makes her a stronger student and athlete.  she really learned a lot at volleyball tonight.  it was her first day of travel and there were a LOT of fundamentals being taught.  i know she didn't like when the coach would stop the drill and show her (and others) how to do something the correct way, but she will get so much out of it.  she really listens and tries to make the appropriate changes, coaches LOVE her!!  they worked on overhand serves at the end of practice and she was starting to have success.

i stepped outside of my comfort zone a bit and talked with one of the volleyball moms.  we had a really nice time.  i am so glad i did that!!!

off to highlight my hair and then bedtime... i am exhausted!

Monday, January 2, 2012

feeling blue (not sad)... (kate's post on facebook tonight)

kate has wanted to color her hair for a while... i finally gave in and decided that it's only hair and it will come out.  i wanted to put it underneath in the back, but she wanted it front and center.  i didn't let it in for too long... i figured we would see how this went and then maybe do it stronger next time.  we found blue, red, or ruby.  she decided on blue because it's wyomissing colors.  first step was to bleach the piece of hair, then wash that out.  we then had to apply the color and wait about 10 minutes.  we washed and conditioned and she blew it dry.  it really isn't too bad...

my "little word" for 2012

2012 - TREASURE...

my "little word" for 2012 is Treasure.  i chose this word because i need to record, appreciate and treasure the everyday moments - not just the big events.  with the huge changes about to happen in our lives, i really want to take the time to enjoy it and not just stress about it!  i am trying to be more patient and understanding, so slowing down to document everything will help me to treasure this time, at least when i eventually have the time to slow down and enjoy it!  i am excited to be journaling our lives.  i know it's not all fun and games everyday, but our story needs to be told.  i might miss a day or two, but that's just the reality of life and i am not going to put that pressure on myself.  it's not about a a deadline, but about enjoying life and recording it.  i think by keeping track each day, i am hoping i will be more motivated to do something each day.  i don't mean it has to be something "show stopping", but just to get off the couch and do something.  i want us all to have a healthier lifestyle, so getting off the couch will help that.  we need to clean more too.  i am going to work on one room a day and by just taking 15-30 minutes, i will be able to keep it manageable. 

jan 1 - we went to mike and michele's.  we love spending time with the them.  we can truly be ourselves with them.  we are very casual people, and it's so nice that they are too!  we watched part of the eagles' game with them since tyler is so into them right now.  he would jump up and down every time the team would score.  it was adorable!!  the kids did shrinky dinks... i haven't done them since i was a kid.  kate really enjoyed designing them.  we had a delicious pork and potato dinner.  (it means good luck to have pork on jan 1).  we then played uno roboto.  it was a fun twist on the traditional uno game.  then the kids played wii.  nicole received nail manicure set for christmas, so i did the the girls nails (and mine :) )

jan 2 - kate was working on her science project and history project.  for science, she is doing an experiment on how yeast reacts to sugar and sugar substitutes.  there have been MANY issues, but i think she has finally figured it all out and it is working well.  ray and i went and got haircuts this morning.  i got a lot cut off, but it's still a bit of the same shape.  we are hoping to clean out some of the attic today. with us hoping to hear about ray's potential job this week, we want to start preparing for it. there is only so much i can do by myself. we are planning on putting a lot in storage so we can have some insulation put in the attic. there are a few more things we need to do to the house to get it ready to sell.

the flyers are playing in the winter classic vs the rangers today.  i just love watching them play.  we watched the alumni game on saturday and i was brought to tears.  between seeing some of my favorite players to listening to the "God Bless America" song with kate smith and lauren hart to watching bernie parent playing goalie at age 66.  it brought me back to such incredible time in my life when i got to spend so much of my time with my nana - i still treasure that time.  she was such a huge flyers' fan!  i took a few minutes to think about how different my life would be without having that time with her.  i am so lucky to have had that time.  we definitely lost her too soon.  i can only imagine how proud she would have been to see sean play hockey and kate play soccer/basketball/volleyball. 

Bernie Parent waves to the crowd during introductions. (AP)

Here's the article that was in the Philly News by Tim Panaccio about one of my favorite players: Shjon Podein (#25)

Shjon Podein did several things in the Flyers Alumni Game he never would have done as a player under Terry Murray.

 First, he logged 12:09 ice time. He took five shots on goal -- most of any teammate. And here’s the kicker: he got the game-winning goal.
Stuff like that never happens in reality. Only in your dreams.
Or, in this case, at a Winter Classic Alumni Game which the Flyers alums won, 3-1 over the Rangers.
“I definitely wasn’t thinking that,” Podein laughed when asked if he thought he’d score a goal, let alone a game-winner.
Podein tallied 44 goals during his four-plus years as a Flyer. Not many were game-winners, either. In his entire 11-year NHL career, he scored just 100 goals.
“I didn’t have a ton of goals, so this was pretty high up there,” he laughed. “It was a blast.”
His goal, off a Rick Tocchet assist, gave the Alums a 2-0 lead in the second period.
Ever get an ovation like that?
“Definitely, the most people in one area for sure,” Podein laughed. “I said it from Day One when I got here. Philly fans are the greatest. It’s not just a cliché. They’re unbelievable.
“They’re demanding. They’re harsh. They’re friendly. If you just give them everything you have, they respect you for it. That’s why it was so great playing here.”
We asked about his ice time.
“I was telling the guys after warmups today, that I doubled my ice time over the last five years,” Podein said. “That was awesome.”
Podein often plays in alumni games in Minnesota, where he grew up. The last organized game he played was in Tokyo in the 2006 Asia League Ice Hockey.
“I played for the Nikko Ice Bucks – that was my last organized game,” Podein recalled.
Incidentally, he had seven goals in 26 regular season games for Nikko that season.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

family get together

we had an impromptu family get together with uncle mark, aunt sherri, seth, christina, casey, josh, mom, dad, kelly, patrick, olivia, and us.  it was so nice to see everyone.  uncle was  making us a variety of drinks... not sure what was in them, but i kept drinking!  josh was playing helicopter with olivia.  she would hold his thumbs and direct him around.  she was having a blast!  that was the only way they could get her to the car without fussing.  then we ended up playing poker.  this was kate's first time playing.  she was doing a really good job!  olivia had a blast with josh playing helicopter... but i think josh had just as much fun!