Organization Project

I love organization and I like for most things to be nice and neat and not scattered. It gives me a sense of peace and serenity. When things are not organized, it causes my blood pressure to rise quickly and I feel out of control. I did not know this about myself until recently and the more I encounter dis-organization, the more I realize how much it bothers me. I am not anal about it. But on a scale of 1-10, I am sure I weigh in around a 7 or 8. You see, anal to me is everything has to be organized whereas for me, most things have to be organized, but not all. For example, anal organizers tend to organize their pantry in alphabetical order and their spice racks. They can even go so far as to organize their closets by putting all their white shirts together and then progress from left to right by shade variations.

Me…my pantry is not in alpha order and in my closet, you will find a red shirt next to a white shirt. But, in my pantry I like all the cereal boxes together and do not want my syrup by the spaghetti sauce. And in my closet, I want all my suits together and shirts together but the colors do not have to go from white to pink to lilac all the way to black. That to me equals a 7 and not a 10.

Well recently, I decided to take my closet organization to the next level and organize my shoes. I took pictures of all my shoes and then made labels to put on the outside of my shoe boxes so I can quickly know which shoes are in which box. I love it!!! It has made my mornings smooth because I am not flinging shoes all over the place and I am not opening five boxes to find my favorite pair of black heels.

I saw this idea a few years ago in a Costco magazine where this lady started a business with this same concept. Her business uses plastic holders that you drop the pictures in and then adhere that to your shoe box. I thought that it was a novel idea, but that novel idea came with an expensive tag. I decided I could do this myself and so I did with no money spent. I just spent a Sunday taking all my pictures and in my free time, I get a few pictures and tackle a few shoeboxes at a time. It has worked out great.



Just Simply

Some of the best things in life are simple. Maybe that is why Simply products are so good! Lemonade is surfacing as my favorite drink these days and my favorite is Simply Lemonade. They make a traditional lemonade and also a Raspberry Lemonade. Both are simply delicious.

For starters, all lemonade is not created equal. Some are sweet and some are tart and some taste like water. I am picky about my food, but I am particular on my lemonade too. When I am out at a restaurant and want lemonade, I always ask the waiter if the lemonade is sweet or tart. I prefer sweet over tart. It is hard to find the right blend of sweet and tart, but I have finally found it in a bottle. It is refreshing and has a great, fresh taste as if it was freshly squeezed in your personal kitchen.

Simply also makes Orange Juice and Apple Juice which are great as well.

Dreams Don’t Last Six Weeks

It has been about six weeks since Derrick’s death and sadly I am still in a state of disbelief and asking myself if this is the longest dream I have ever had? It feels like I wish I was waking up and will tell everyone you will never believe the dream I just had. But, I am sadly realizing with my tears that dreams just don’t last this long. So if it is not a dream, then what is it? My brain desperately needs for something to make sense. And if a six week dream is not logical, then I am struggling to find what is. Surely if a six week dream is beyond the bounds, then Derrick being dead has to be out of bounds too, right?

Herein lies the dilemma. I have painful proof in my heart that he is no longer here but I do not have any sensical or logical reason in my head to counter any of it as to why he is not here. He was not sick. He was not in a car accident. He was not any of those things. He was perfectly 100% healthy. I saw him last around 4:30 pm and two hours later he was gone. I sat there in disbelief telling myself this did not just happen. It is not humanly possible to be here one moment and gone the next one. But, all of the logic in my head got defied that day. The truths that I thought was truth were swept away like a big wave that comes to shore and washes away the sand. That leaves you feeling extremely hurt, confused, lost, and empty. You then start to feel like you are on sinking sand because what you thought was sure is no longer sure. What you thought couldn’t happen did happen. What you thought was impossible became possible right before your very eyes.

So, as I try to cope the reality pierces my heart. In crisis, your natural character rises to the top and begins to take over. My natural character and DNA is largely analytical and logical. In school, I needed to know why 2+2=4. It was not good enough for me to memorize my addition and multiplication. It needed to make sense. So, as my DNA begins to go to work and I analyze this situation, I continually come back void, frustrated and helpless. As I reach for logic to help ease my pain or at least soothe my hurt, there is no logic. There is no answer that makes sense on why he is no longer here. I feel like a desperate woman looking bef=hind Door Number 1,2,3  and frantically running around looking for the door that has the special thing behind it. In six weeks, I have not found the door or the special thing. Have you ever been on a scavenger hunt and you are running around with anticipation with the clock ticking trying to locate all your items and find the items before the clock runs out? I am on a hunt like that and I hear the tick tock of the clock in my heart that whispers to me “You will feel better” once you come to the place where you understand why he is dead. I think or I guess that if you lose a family member who has cancer, you grieve but then you may come to a resolution mentally at some point that “Oh, well they had cancer. They are in no more pain. We knew it was going to come to this.” I could be off base because I have not lived through that, but I am guessing you resolve it in your head WHY they are dead as you work through your grief. I have not been able to resolve the WHY. Nothing makes sense. This is what drives to comforting logic that “Oh, this is just a dream. I am dreaming and I am about to wake up and tell my husband all about it.” But….this morning I have hit a mark I guess and realized dreams just don’t last this long!

That is the truth for today. Some say truth will set you free. I am feeling more pain, but not freedom.

I wish it was only a dream…but unfortunately dreams do not last this long huh? I am not sure what is next, but I will continue to work through this grief as best as possible.

Five Hour Energy


These can be seen in every gas station open, every day in every city. They usually run you from $2.99-$3.99 depending on the location. But, no matter what the cost-when you need it, you will pay premium dollar for it. I am typically not a “pop a pill, drink a drink to make you feel better” kind of girl. In fact, I abhor taking medicine altogether. But, thanks to my husband who is Mr. “I’ll try the newest med”-I have become a believer and spokesperson for these little 2 oz. bottles. I can attest that this bottle works 100%. There is no crash. There are no jitters. You just feel energetic and most importantly, you feel awake and functional. During the last 30 days dealing with our family crisis, sleep has been at a limited amount and just to get through the day is sometimes extremely difficult without snapping your neck into two pieces as your head leans forward like a free fall because you are so sleepy! I have taken these in desperate times albeit skeptical at first. The skepticism is now gone and belief and set in. Also, I was minimally comforted as well as a I looked at the ingredients on the back and was glad to see it has a negligible amount of caffeine and the rest are full of B-vitamins. They come in several flavors and they even have a maximum strength for the days your neck has already snapped in two and you need to put it back together. Happy swallowing!

Writer in the Making

I enjoy writing which may be obvious since I have a blog. I enjoy reading as well, so I have often wondered does the two go hand in hand? My daughter Lauren is a great reader at the age of eight and she loves books! She also may be a writer in the making. As part of her school work, they are encouraged to keep a journal (which I love) and this gives them time individually to write and also to have some quiet time while the teacher may be working with other students. One of her recent assignments was to write a personal narrative and the goal of the assignment was to include sensory details and work on sentence structure. I haven’t read much of Lauren’s journal thus far, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how she wrote and what she would write about. I thought for an 8-year old she did really well. She definitely included lots of sensory detail and seemed to understand the goal of the assignment. Also, I was pleased with her correct spelling and using correct grammar and punctuation in her narrative.

I have included it below because 1) I am a proud mommy! and 2) she just may be a writer in the making!

My Cruise Story

When I went on my cruise, we went to Mexico.  It was really, really hot.  I drank a lot of water.  Sweat was pouring down my face!  I could feel myself getting weaker and weaker.  I was dragging myself. Every second felt like a minute.

I went swimming. I also went snorkeling. I had a blast!  I saw a starfish. I saw schools of fish. I even saw a fish that looked like Dorothy in the movie Finding Nemo.  I saw red, blue and purple fish.  When I saw a seahorse I almost screamed. I have never seen a seahorse before.  But luckily, I didn’t scream.

The guy who swam with me went down and blew a tiny ring. Then it grew and grew and grew.  Then he swam right through it.  I wondered how he could do this then, it hit me, this guy is a professional.  These are the fun things I did on my cruise.

Written By:  Lauren Mason

Cruising Along

This year’s family vacation was a huge hit! We did something different and went on a cruise. It seems like each year, we vacillate between the beach or the mountains, and this time I suggested we do something different and go on a cruise. Marcus and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon and had not been on one since that time.

Marcus was hesitant at first for fear that Lucas was still small and too active to be on a big huge boat and it was unsafe. Now, Marcus is indeed right when it comes to Lucas’ activity level. He can be a force to be reckoned with and you literally have to come home in skates just to keep up with him. But I thought he surely is not the first 3-year-old that has gone on a cruise before, so I convinced Marcus to be brave and let’s take on the challenge of cruising with the kids.

I am glad we did. We had an absolutely wonderful time on the cruise and the kids enjoyed it as well. The greatest thing about the cruise that we enjoyed is that we all had our time. In one vacation, we had family time, couple time and alone time. We never get that. We all spent time together as a family each morning as we ate breakfast together and we would all do the excursions together as we docked on the islands. After we would come back from the excursions, the kids would go to Camp Carnival where they would spend the rest of the evening. This allowed Marcus and I to be able to have dinner together every night in the dining room uninterrupted. That was great! Then, there were other days when the kids would go to a special kids event on the ship and Marcus stayed in the room to study while I went and found bingo games and anything else that sounded interesting. I actually got back into reading while I was on the cruise and had a great time doing so.

We chose Carnival Cruise Lines for our cruise because of the great kids’ programs via Camp Carnival. They were open from 9am – 10 pm. absolutely free! After 10 pm, they charged a babysitting fee and was open until 3 am each night. Our ship was Elation and it was filled with about 2,500 cruise goers. We docked at Playa del Carmen (Cancun) and Cozumel and they were both magnificent.

Some of the highlights on our trip was Lauren snorkeled for the first time and both Lauren and Lucas rode a jet ski for the first time!! They were both more courageous and brave than I would have ever imagined.  Also, it was neat to experience Mexico and the beauty there. I wonder what it is like to live in place that is home for you, but just an attraction for millions. I wonder what it is like to live so close the water and on any day of the week, you can ride the waves, snorkel, beach bum it, or just see and hear the water. It sounds wonderful.

We had an awesome time and this will in fact go down in history as one of the best vacations ever.

Hanging Pasta

Fettucine alfredo ranks at the top as one of my favorite foods! I absolutely love it. When it comes to sauces, alfredo is always my first pick and pesto comes in a strong second. Red sauces such as marinara do not typically make my top choices if alfredo is on the menu.

But my post today is not about my favorite foods. It is about HOW to eat one of my favorite foods called pasta. I have recently been interested in etiquette and all the do’s and dont’s of proper manners at the table specifically. Lately, I have observed that there are lots of people out there who do not know how to eat pasta! I do not claim to be an expert, but I must say I am glad to say that I know how and I try to practice it.

I will never forget the moment of truth for me around this. I was in college and out to lunch with my boss from my student job on campus. We were at Olive Garden eating fettucine alfredo and she stopped me mid-eating and told me to get my face out of my bowl! Yes, she did. My pasta was hanging out of my mouth and I had my face, head, and shoulders all engaged and bent down trying to slurp it up and get it all in my mouth. Hanging pasta!

She gave me an etiquette lesson I will never forget about how to eat pasta. She politely told me to pick up the spoon they had put in the pasta bowl and she showed me how to pick up the pasta with my fork and then twirl it on the spoon. Wow! I never knew or thought about why they always gave you a spoon with pasta. So, from that day forward I have committed to not having any more hanging pasta. But, it is amazing to me how most people I have seen over the years do not do this including my kids. That is the worst sight-to see someone eating spaghetti and slurping or their head burrowed so far in their bowl, you cannot even see their eyes. That used to be me. Now, I have moved from hanging pasta to a pasta twirler. I am trying to teach my kids the same.