From The Home Office

A NEW FAMILY MEMBER!!!

Last week, we took a short trip to Orlando to unwind, and prepare for the holidays. While we were there, we found Santa and Mason sat on his lap for the very first time. He'd never wanted to do it before. Mason walked right up to him, sat on one knee, and swung his feet over Santa's other knee... …

Short Winter Trip!

I am almost completely ready for Christmas. I just have a bit more wrapping to do. So, it'll be nice to take a small breather before all the Christmas company starts arriving in a couple of weeks... …

Elf On A Shelf Mischief!

Our elf, Christopher, returned on Friday and Mason and Max are SOOOOO excited! So far, Christopher has turned my entire inventory of LED "candles" on (so I had to buy more batteries!), has almost started a fire by roasting marshmallows in the middle of the night, took a ride on our ceiling fan, and used Mason's toy bulldozer to bulldoze an entire (brand new!) bag of gourmet (expensive!) chocolate chips... …

Better Early Than On Time!

Unfortunately, we weren't the only ones who were doing their Thanksgiving shopping on Saturday... …

Do You Think I’m…Obsessed???

While my bedroom closet may be in disarray (that's an understatement!), and the laundry may be backed up for three days, I am very organized with regards to business, paperwork/bills and...Christmas. Yes, really. It's a bit of an obsession for me... …

Polar Vortex? Where??

I admit it is "chilly" here (by Florida standards) but it's nothing like our old friends in Maine are experiencing. Last week, they received 21 inches of snow... …

The Librarians Are Here!

Our good friends, Scott and Kelly, arrived from Wisconsin on Monday. They are enjoying the warmer weather, despite the fact that it's chillier here than any early Florida November we remember... …

What A Party!!!

What A Party!!!

Ali and Justin's annual Halloween Party was Monday night and, boy oh boy, what a bash it was! WARNING! FEATURES OFFENSIVE CONTENT AND GROSS PHOTOS!…

Richard’s Halloween Costume Has Arrived!

Richard’s Halloween Costume Has Arrived!

In case I haven't gushed about him enough, I want to again tell you that Richard is the best husband on Earth! Each year, he lets me choose his Halloween costume and he never knows what he's going to be until Halloween.…

The Ghouls Are Out!

The Ghouls Are Out!

We had a great time decorating the yard for Halloween! Max and Mason made some cute headstones out of cardboard. I told them to watch out for rain, and to bring them in if it starts sprinkling. Just 24 hours later, we had a major drenching and, well, it looks like we're gonna need more headstones! …

A Deluge!!

A Deluge!!

We returned from our vacation in Tennessee last week and it has rained here, heavily, every…

Making The Kids Wait. Heh…

Making The Kids Wait. Heh…

I finally gave in last weekend, and let the boys put up the Halloween decorations. The china cabinet is now full of my horror babies, faux fall leaf garlands are hung here and there, and skeletons, witches, and other ghouls grace every corner... …

Getting SOOOO Excited!

Fall is, by far, my most favorite time of the year! Shorter days, cooler weather, and a crispness in the air that I wish I could bottle up and save for next summer! But, the best part about fall is our WritersWeekly.com fall 24-hour short story contest... …

Headin’ To Georgia! Will We Find Cooler Weather?

We are on the road right now, heading to Georgia for another wedding. Yea!! That reminds me that I never posted a picture of the yarn painting I made for Matt and Sarah's wedding gift... …

Another Wedding Cake By Ali!

Another Wedding Cake By Ali!

Last week, I shared that our son Matt got married. This week, I wanted to share that our daughter, Ali, a pastry chef, made the wedding cakes (yes, plural). And, unfortunately, she asked me to help. Now, don't get me wrong. I love cooking with Ali. We have a lot of fun and she has taught me SO much over the years. But, wedding cakes are SO stressful. I mean...one little mistake and a catastrophe may ensue! …

We’re Outta Here!

We are looking forward to escaping Florida's heat for few days... …

Awesome Lightning Storm!

We went out to dinner on Saturday night, and were treated to a lightning storm that lasted our entire dinner, and an hour afterward as well! We ventured out on the pier after dinner to enjoy the show. Rather than describe it, I'll share some photos... …

Bookstore On Date Night! Yea!

When we got home, the boys excitedly went through the bookstore bag. Max grabbed MY book, and said, "Yea! You bought me Orange is the New Black!" …

Ali Picked Out Her Wedding Dress!

Ali Picked Out Her Wedding Dress!

Ali's future mom-in-law, Sharon, came into town again last week so we gals hit the road in search of the PERFECT wedding dress. I honestly thought we'd have to go to several stores over several days but, within three hours, Ali had picked the perfect dress! And, it was the very first one she'd tried on! …

Guess Where I’ll Be This Weekend?!?!

The Summer, 2014 Short Story Contest IS THIS SATURDAY! Rather than sweating and getting a sunburn, spend the day in the cool air conditioning, and come play with us! …

R.I.P., Percy. :(

We lost our beloved doggie, Percy, last week. We adopted him from the shelter for Frank, who was around 12 years old at the time. However, Percy attached himself to me. Frank didn't mind that his dog was protecting his mom. Percy followed me everywhere, even to the bathroom. He suffered from severe separation anxiety... …

A Funnel Cloud!

A Funnel Cloud!

On Monday night, we had just eaten dinner, and were watching TV when I glanced outside, and noticed this sky... …

Mason is 8!

It's hard to believe but Mason turned eight years old this week... …

Summer Camp Memories

Max (age 12) and Mason (who will be 8 this weekend) have attended one summer camp this month, and are already on their second... …

Matt And Sarah Were Here!!

Many of you remember Matt, our (unofficially) adopted son who came to live with us many years ago. He worked for BookLocker and WritersWeekly for years and he still does ebook conversion work for us on the side. After college, he moved to New York to attend Columbia for his Master's. He then landed a super job in Boston doing actuarial work, which has always been his dream (yes, we don't understand that level of attraction to math, either, but he's happy!). Matt and his fiance, Sarah, who we also adore, were here over the weekend and we all had a blast... …

I’m Going to Be a Mother-in-Law!

Our daughter, Ali, has been dating her soul mate, Justin, for more than three years now. Shortly after they started dating, they were in a bad car accident together and they subsequently recovered together at our house. They've been deeply in love ever since. Early Saturday morning, Frank came into our room, looking for my good camera. He said he needed to take some pictures of his medical records for his new job. I told him to just scan them. He said no, that was too much trouble, and left. I didn't really think much about it... …

My Knee is Still on Vacation

I gave up, and finally visited a "sports medicine" doctor in town. Despite the fact that the Jet Ski wasn't even turned on, much less moving, when I fell off, they still let me come in. I have an MRI scheduled for this week. I'm still pretty bummed that I couldn't go kite surfing on Mother's Day but our beach vacation was wonderful, and so very relaxing! As promised, here are some pictures... …

Short Mother’s Day Trip

Richard, Max and Mason are taking me to St. Pete Beach for the weekend for Mother's Day. We're hoping the big kids can join us there for an afternoon. We have a house sitter to take care of the pets. I had asked for kite surfing lessons for Mother's Day but I'm still recovering from the sprained knee... …

How I Sprained My Knee

Last week, I told you how I sprained my knee but I couldn't tell you how. Now I can. You see, we were trying something out and, if we liked it, we were going to buy our adult children gift certificates for their Easter baskets... …

Sprained My Knee on a Romantic Getaway!

Richard and I escaped last weekend to Ybor City, Florida, which is known as "Tampa's Latin Quarter." We ate dinner at a Turkish restaurant. The food wasn't that impressive but the belly dancer was entertaining. The waiter told us the town would get more interesting as the evening went on. In his words, "The drunker they all get, the better it gets!" …

The Manatees!

We LOVE manatees! The first wild one we saw in Florida was in our very own backyard, the day we closed on this house. We've had a special affection for them ever since. There are three at the local museum and Max and Mason love visiting them. Last Sunday, we had cabin fever so we threw on shorts and t-shirts (it was 90 here!), and headed north on I-75. Just half an hour away is the Manatee Viewing Area in Apollo Beach... …

Run or Dye 5K

No, I did NOT run a 5K. Our son, Frank (age 21), did. Mason and I went with him and we had a wonderful time! I've never been to one and I somehow envisioned a couple hundred runners racing down a few downtown streets. I pictured myself sitting at the finish line to get Frank's picture as he broke through a yellow ribbon. I was SO wrong... …

Have You Ever Seen The Oddly Beautiful Roseate Spoonbill?!

Frank and I took off early one day this week, jumped in the kayak with our fishing poles, and paddled around the corner to the bay. Despite the tide moving quickly, we didn't get any bites - not even a nibble. However, Frank said we caught plenty of breeze and sunshine! The boats around us weren't having any luck either but the sea breeze was brisk, the air was warm, and the sun on the water was beautiful. We decided to do some exploring, paddling through a natural tunnel of sorts between the mangroves. When we emerged, we found a peaceful inlet with numerous very happy water birds of many colorful varieties. I was THRILLED to find a flock of my favorite birds, Roseate Spoonbills! …

Laptop Meltdown Leads to Day of Crafting!

I'm remaining pretty consistent with burning out a laptop about once every three years. I diligently back up my machine every single night and I double back up the accounting program info. On Saturday morning, my laptop started making a high-pitched whining sound. We figured out pretty quickly it was the fan. Since it was three years old, we decided to run to Best Buy for a new one rather than risk a meltdown during repair. Richard then spent the entire day (and several hours into the night) transferring all my programs and files. The result was I got the entire day off on Saturday... …

High Speed Chase!

High Speed Chase!

I had to run an errand yesterday morning. This is the high season here on Florida's gulf coast. We're overrun with snowbirds and we don't mind because their vacation dollars keep us from paying state income tax. During the high season, the traffic is pretty bad here so I was surprised when, pulling out of our neighborhood, there was no cars at all. I turned right, away from the island. About a mile up the road, I could see lots of flashing lights. No traffic was coming my way. They had the road closed down, and were forcing all the cars to turn around. I stopped at the light. My windows were open and a guy walking by asked, "What's going on down there?" I replied, "I have no idea!" …

Zach’s Got A Girlfriend!

Zach (age 27) has a new girlfriend! She's 29 years old, really friendly, and in advertising. We liked her immediately! …

Good News! Mason (age 7) is NOT a hoarder!

Good News! Mason (age 7) is NOT a hoarder!

Our neighborhood is having a garage sale soon and we definitely plan to participate. Last weekend, Mason asked me help him to clean out the closet. Yes, Mason is our first child who ever WANTED to clean out the closet! …

Frank’s Hospital Job Offer!

Frank (age 21) is in school, and wants to be a surgeon. He's been on the Dean's List since his first semester of college (he works very hard), is a waiter, and recently applied to volunteer at one of the local hospitals. On his first day at the hospital this week, he was offered a paying, part-time job in the surgery department! …

Colds and Devoted Pets

The rain and cold finally went away this week. It was 86 here yesterday! Unfortunately, Max and Mason both came down with a cold so they're stuck inside, sniffling, coughing, and drinking warm tea. Since I spoil them rotten when they're sick, I don't think they mind too much. The older kids say I'm going to turn them into little hypochondriacs. My response is, "I spoiled you, too, and you turned out just fine!" …

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