Hello there!

Well, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted to my blog. Nine months to be exact! All I can say is that I’m going to try to post more regularly in 2016.

Lots of things have happened since May. We went on our summer vacation to Arizona, we bought a camp, Justin started his freshman year of high school, Kaitlin started her junior year and they both went to their school’s homecoming. Also Mike and I celebrated our 20th anniversary with a trip to St. John, and we celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. With the new year has come Kaitlin’s dance competitions/conventions and my training for the Zydeco half marathon in March.

Also, Kaitlin is beginning to look at colleges and decide on a major. She has ordered a graduation ring and bought a dress for prom, and it’s all beginning to move too fast. She will be a senior next year, then graduate and head to college. It seems like yesterday she was born. That brings to mind another thing I’m going to try to do in 2016 – slow down and enjoy these years of our lives. That also sounds like a good topic for a future blog post!

Here are a few photos from the events mentioned in this post. I will give more details about the trips to Arizona and St. John in future blog entries also.

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Homecoming 2015

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Kaitlin’s first day of school (junior year)

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Justin’s first day as freshman

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Summer in Arizona

Our view for the week in St. John

Our view for the week in St. John

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Kaitlin at dance competition

 

 

 

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Busy month of May

Well I haven’t written anything on here since the beginning of the month! May is a busy month for us. I have tried several new recipes as we had a challenge in our boot camp group to eat “clean” during May. I did not take photos of any of these new meals although several of them were very tasty. I also have not done any projects this month either. I guess you could say it was a month of celebrations!

We celebrated Mother’s Day.

Me and my kids for Mother's Day.

Me and my kids for Mother’s Day.

My mom, sister and I for Mother's Day.

My mom, sister and I for Mother’s Day.

We celebrated Justin’s 8th grade graduation.

Officially a freshman!!

Officially a freshman!!

Justin and I at his last school mass.

Justin and I at his last school mass.

And we celebrated Kaitlin’s 11th dance recital.

Beautiful dance to "Georgia" and my favorite costume.

Beautiful dance to “Georgia” and my favorite costume.

Here she is having fun with hip hop.

Here she is having fun with hip hop.

The month’s not over yet! We leave this weekend to drop Justin off at a week long summer camp. Kaitlin is on the dance team at her high school and they are having twice a day practices to get ready for their camp mid June. It’s gonna be a busy summer!!

Linking up this week with The Pin Junkie

 

 

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What I’ve learned

I wasn’t really sure what I was going to write about this week. Then I saw that Emily at www.chattingatthesky.com hosts a monthly link up inviting bloggers to share posts about what they learned that month. So, that’s what I’m writing about today.

Here are 5 things I learned in March:

1. I like quiet time. I enjoy waking up around 5:30 a.m. before anyone else gets up so I can read my devotionals and drink my coffee in the dim light of the lamp. This past weekend I enjoyed sitting on the balcony of our condo while Kaitlin took classes at her dance convention. It was just her and I for the weekend and while she was busy, I was able to do some reading and also get some work done.

2. Giving up my one diet coke a day was not as hard as I thought it would be. I gave it up for lent and after a few days my cravings were gone. I now have a new favorite drink – mixing half unsweetened tea, half lemonade!

3. If you are persistent and put yourself out there, you will eventually get what you are looking for. I’ve been responding to numerous job postings daily for online freelance writing jobs and I’ve managed to land a contract. Also, I’m going to begin writing content for websites for a friend’s company.

4. When things get out of whack in my life, I automatically want to make it all better immediately. This could be a disagreement with a loved one or an issue with one of my children regarding school. I’ve learned (actually re-learned and probably for the millionth time!) that I can’t make it all better. I can only do what I can do which means make amends if I’ve done wrong, allow the other person to be themselves or allow them to work through their issues. I need to put the rest in God’s hands. No matter how much I worry or how many scenarios I create and hash through in my head, it won’t make a difference. I’ve learned that I feel great peace, safety and ease when I come to this same realization time and time again.

5. Red velvet cake is my favorite. Justin had a red velvet cake for his birthday and I think I ate the whole thing myself!

 

 

 

 

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Planning for summer 2015: Grand Canyon

WeekendBloggyReadingSince we finished our summer vacation last year, I’ve been thinking of where our family would go this year. Last year we spent a week in a gorgeous lakefront home in Lake Rabun, Ga., swimming, tubing, boating and hiking to waterfalls. It was wonderful and we were all in agreement that a trip to another lake house would be great. But I like to change things up a bit so I tossed around the idea of going to the beach in Destin, Fl. (which we’ve done many times), taking the kids to the Bahamas, visiting Disneyworld and Universal Studios in Orlando, or even Gatlinburg, Tn. When my husband suggested the Grand Canyon, I knew that was definitely our place this summer.

I love planning trips and got right to the task. My sweet 16-year-old daughter informed me that it’s much more fun when her cousins come with us on vacation so we extended an invite to my sister, her husband, her 21-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son. We also invited my mom and step-dad, so as of now the 10 of us are headed to Arizona for a week in July.

I always begin my planning process by choosing some accomodations. Since all the lodges at the Grand Canyon were already booked, I looked at nearby hotels. There were some hotels and they were okay but we usually prefer to stay in a modern and spacious 4 or 5 bedroom home where we can sit around to visit and talk, and cook and eat together.

I’ve been successful in the past on www.vrbo.com so I began my search there for this size home with certain amenities like a hot tub, internet, cable television and great views. There was nothing really near the Grand Canyon and there were a handful in the town of Williams which is about an hour away. Flagstaff and Sedona, both about two hours from the Grand Canyon, were options as well. Once I researched each of these cities, I quickly realized the red rock views in Sedona were just what I was looking for. Luckily, everyone in the group felt the same way so I was able to narrow down my search to that area.

I found a few available homes on that site however we chose to go with a 5 bedroom rental named “Sedona Hideaway” through Red Rock Realty in Sedona. The home is located on 2.5 acres and has views of Chimney and Lizard Head Rocks as well as Boynton Canyon. It contains walking paths along the property and features a hot tub and several outdoor patio and seating areas. The kitchen includes modern appliances and the living room has comfy leather sofas and a large screen television with surround sound.

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Now that I’ve found us a place to stay I’m in the process of planning our activities.  The problem is that there is so much to do and see that I’m not sure we’ll be able to fit it in. My husband, kids and I are flying into Phoenix on a Friday and staying at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort. It has a waterpark and looks like it will be fun for the kids. My sister and her family as well as my mom and stepdad have decided they are driving (21 hours!) and will meet us in Sedona on Saturday.

Sunday – I’m figuring that after two full days of driving they will be ready to relax so Sunday may just be hanging out at the house and whoever is interested can go out and about exploring. I want to tour a Hopi Indian Reservation with a guide so if no one else interested in this – may choose this day for that. If not, will do later in week.

Monday – Grand Canyon. Drive around the south rim, walk a few trails, stop to take photos, eat picnic lunch and possible dinner at El Tovar lodge if I’m able to get reservations. I’d also like to see the sunset as I’ve heard it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before so I’m in the process of finding the best spot for that – maybe Yavapai Point. I’d also like to do a half-day Colorado River float so am contemplating coming back another day to do that.

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Tuesday  – Sedona. Hiking at Devil’s Bridge, Doe Mountain, Fay Canyon or any other of the red rock country trails. Swimming at Slide Rock State Park where the rocks form a natural water slide! Maybe Pink Jeep tour in the afternoon or horseback riding.

lake powell

Wednesday – Lake Powell. We’ve rented a 44′ pontoon boat with water slide and bathroom aboard to spend the day out on the lake. We are considering renting a powerboat and tube for a few hours to pull the kids.

Thursday – Jerome. Visit what is know as America’s largest ghost town and have lunch there. Then go on an African bush safari at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in nearby Cape Verde.

Friday – Sedona hiking and sightseeing again or back to Grand Canyon for the half-day float trip. If everyone is interested, this could be day we do Hopi Indian Reservation with tour guide.

Saturday – Head home.

Seems like a busy trip! I’m really excited though and hope to get to do most of these things.

 

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Happy 16th Birthday to my sweet daughter

Sixteen years ago today my daughter, Kaitlin Elizabeth, made her first appearance into this world two months earlier than anticipated weighing 3 lbs. 13 ounces. I’d always thought that the birth of my first child would be one of the most exciting days of my life, yet it was one of the most frightening.

Being the planner and organizer that I am, I had been reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” I was healthy and took care of myself so when I came upon the chapter about preterm labor I skipped right over it. That wasn’t going to happen to me. I had been having lower back pains and a slight tightening in my abdomen however I just contributed the back pain to being pregnant and the tightening to harmless Braxton Hicks contractions.

I was working as a business reporter for a daily newspaper at the time. The night of Feb. 3 I had to attend a Chamber of Commerce banquet for an assignment and I remember it being a late night and a long day. When I crawled into bed that night, liquid gushed out of me and I asked my husband, “What do you think that is?” He asked me, “Was that your water?” I remember telling him I didn’t know but I surely hoped not.

We called my doctor who told us to head to the hospital to check things out. Once there, the doctor on call told me my water had broken so they were going to monitor me. He explained that sometimes this happens and mothers are still able to carry the baby to term. He added that it may require me staying in the hospital until that time but it was too early to determine what would happen.

We didn’t get much sleep that night – I was uncomfortable and fearful of the unknown. I remember being thankful for the light of day. For some reason things seem less scary to me in the daytime than the night. I was hooked up to a monitor to determine whether or not I was having contractions and so far nothing was happening. Slowly, I began to feel dull pains that gradually increased in intensity. Still nothing was showing up on the monitors. Finally, my doctor came in, examined me and said, “We’re about to have a baby.” Thirty minutes later, Kaitlin was born.

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She spent a month in the NICU and was able to come home weighing four pounds. By the time she was six months old, she was bigger than other babies her age. If you see her today, you would never guess the 5′ 9″ teenager was once a preemie.

I guess you could say she had a mind of her own being born two months early and that trait is still with her today. She doesn’t follow the crowd just to fit in and stands true to her beliefs. I’m proud of the fact that she makes great choices when it comes to friends and peer pressure. She is a talented dancer and manages to keep her grades up and stay committed to making all of her dance practices and competitions. She aspires to be a professional dancer and I think with her talent, determination, hard work and commitment, she can do whatever she puts her mind to.

I am proud to be her mother and I love her.

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Welcome to my world

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a few years now and I finally bit the bullet and did it! I put if off because I had no clue how to create the blog. Also, what was I going to write about? I have numerous hobbies, a family consisting of my husband, two children, two dogs and a cat, I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer and travel agent.  I love to travel, I have run several half marathons and one full, I enjoy photography, reading and cooking and decorating, however I don’t really consider myself an expert  at any of these things.

Well, I researched setting up the page for the blog and figured I could do it. I mean, there are tons of blogs out there and if they can do it surely I can too. Coming up with the name for my blog was another issue. What was the title going to be if I couldn’t figure out what the blog would be about? Getting tired of just thinking about it and ready to move forward, I told myself I would just wing it and pray that it would work out. Hence the blog title – A Wing and Prayer.

After creating the page, I sat around for two weeks looking at a blank blog before sitting down today to write my first entry. I’m not sure how often I will write but hope to put in at least one post per week. I’m thinking my posts will most often be about my family, my running and training routines, projects I’m working on around the house, favorite recipes I want to share and random thoughts and ideas I’d like to share also.

This is what I plan but since I’m winging it, who knows what will happen!

My family minus one dog and the cat

My family minus one dog and the cat

 

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