Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for Zinger

Zinger is for the month of April! Where did it go? I was amazed at how fast the month disappeared.

But there is also a sense of accomplishment. I fulfilled the April A-Z Challenge. I did get behind a few times, but always got caught up. It was fun to write something everyday for a different letter of the alphabet. I hope that there was something for all of my readers. I may have strutted like a peacock when talking about my kids and grand kids, but then, that is my right. I hope I didn't offend anyone when I got down or maybe had different opinions than any of you. Again, why does anyone have to pretend they are anything than who they are. I hope over the course of the last month, each of you got to know Monica a little better.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Y is for Youth


Are we talking about our own days gone by? Or are we talking about the younger generation? They are equally important.

Do you remember when we were younger? Nothing could stand in our way. We were invinsible. We were reckless and impulsive. The future would happen later.

Fast forward 30 years. We let everything stand in our way from money, health and time. We sadly recognize our own mortality. We think and plan till we take the fun out of everything. Our future is here and now. Why do so many of us give up our youth because we aren't 20 anymore?

I hear so many people say, I'm too old for that or that is for the younger generation. Why? I am a firm believer that age is a number, not a state of mind. I am fast approaching 50. Am I dreading it? Heck beats the alternative! Do I want to relive my youth? Absolutely not. But I don't want my mind to grow old. Sure activities and interests change over the course of one's life. But why not have a passion for what ever you enjoy. You did 30 years ago!

Here is my challenge to everyone out there in the blog-o-sphere. Do something you enjoyed when you were younger. It doesn't matter what. It could be dancing, swinging at the park, playing hoops, reading,... It can be something as simple as skipping down the sidewalk. Just do it! You will be amazed at the transformation in your mind.

U is for UMI Shoe Review

We were so excited to see the UPS man today. A brand new pair of sandals by Umi Shoes arrived! I have no experience but I have heard wonderful praise for their product. So when I received the opportunity to review their shoes, I jumped at the chance.

I decided to choose a size for my grand daughter, Alexis. The shoes are in European sizes, but the comparison size chart is perfect. We chose the Tampico sandal in a two tone brown. Alexis was so excited to put them on her feet. She barely gave me time to take a picture.

The sandals have a double velcro strap at the ankle. The colors are like rich dark chocolate and milk chocolate intertwined. They are absolutely beautiful shades of brown. The style is perfect for the young lady who isn't a toddler anymore but not quite a "big" girl.

Umi Shoes believes that it takes years of experience to make a great pair of shoes. They also believe that caring for little feet also means caring for the earth. They have high standards for safety and durability and meet strict guidelines for child-safe materials. As well as being great shoes for your child, Umi Shoes are great for the environment.
Become a fan of Umi Shoes on Facebook and Follow Umi Shoes on Twitter to keep up with the latest on their shoes and little feet.

As you can see, the sandals are a fabulous fit and Alexis is an absolute diva about showing off her new footwear.

X is for Xylophone

X is the toughest letter in the English alphabet. I found lots of cool words that begin with the letter X, but the were all Greek to me.(ha ha -no pun intended) Most of the words that begin with X are in fact Greek words. But they don't mean anything to me.

I pick Xylophone because most everyone had one of these musical contraptions when they were young.We were making beautiful music and our parents thought we were attempting to break the sound barrier. OK, so neither one of us were correct.

But I think that when you watch a child play a Xylophone, it is magical. The look on their faces when they first discover that they are making the sounds and changing the sounds. I have yet to see anything but joy on a young child's face as they discover the joy of making music.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for A Woman Who Helped Me

There have been many women who have made an impact on my life. The greatest of these was my sister Jo. She helped me to be a better person just by being her friend and sister. As a kid, she was a pain in my butt. She was 5 years younger than I and always taking my clothes and getting into my stuff.

As we grew older, we had our share of spats. And growing up in the household we lived in, grudges were taught to be the norm. Somehow, we always managed to break that mold. Our love and respect for each other overcame the need to be right.

As an adult, we had a wonderful relationship. We have been each other's rock through some really bad times and each other's cheer squad through the good times. We learned from each other as well as supported each other over the bumpy roads of marriage and motherhood. We both had our quirks, but we brought out the best in each other.

We would talk everyday, even if it was a game of phone tag. We could laugh and cry. We could vent and support. The one thing I appreciated the most was that we could disagree. And we did! But we could discuss opposing views (quite passionately at times) and still end the conversation with I love you. And mean it!

She has been gone 4 months now and I still carry this huge hole in my chest. I still dial her number on my phone. I still look at her facebook page everyday. I miss her. Amazing how that skinny little kid grew up to be the most influential woman in my life. She helped me to really live!

Heart of Haiti is a collection of one-of-a-kind art made from recycled materials and sold at Macy’s. Macy’s (in partnership with Fairwinds Trading and Brand-Aid) launched the collection in October to help provide opportunities for struggling Haitian artists to earn an income and provide for their families with dinity. Heart of Haiti operates on the concept “Trade, Not Aid.”

Below are are few examples from this extrordinary collection. The baskets are exquisite. And the colors are vibrant. Visit Macy's to look at the entire collection and find the perfect gift for Mom or another special woman in your life.

Heart of Haiti is offering a 15% off promo code!!
This discount is also applicable to Rwanda Path to Peace products.
But hurry. This offer is good May 3rd-5th.

I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.

V is for Vacation

What is your dream vacation?

My vacations have always consisted of going to theme parks, shopping, and all the other "tourist" type activities. But my dream vacation....

I would love to take a month long car trip around the United States. There is so much of this country I haven't seen. And so much is missed when you fly.

Being the oldest of 5 kids, traveling when we were younger consisted of being in a car or camper. The ability to fly with 7 people was pretty much out of reach financially. Despite much of the unhappiness growing up, I do have fond memories of our family vacations. We would make charts for saving and earning our spending money. We always made rough estimates for KOA's, food, gas, and all the incidentals. It was part of the appreciation for the trip.

I miss the days of planning out our expenses and time lines. Even when my kids were younger, I was a heck of a vacation planner. But when you always do the same thing, what is there to plan? When you go to the same place all the time, I don't care how fun it is, it loses some of it's magic!

I would love to drive the coastal highway 101 through California. Stop and see some of the missionaries. (One of those boring side trips as a child, but fascinating history as an adult.) Go to the Grand Canyon. Visit all the relatives I have found. Attend a family reunion or two. Visit Nashville. Check out the East coast. Etc....

It will be a very long time before I go on a "huge" vacation. But in the meantime, day trips to the coast, a little hike in the mountains, or a campout on the river are wonderful mini vacations!

U is for Unheard

Do you ever feel like you are talking to yourself in a room full of people?

Do you ever say to yourself,"I thought about doing that"?

Do you ever feel unheard?

I believe that many of us do not listen. I find myself in many situations, where a conclusion is based on something other than what I have said. It is a lonely feeling to process and put out a thought or feeling only to know that it fell on deaf ears. As people, we are allowed to change our minds and we are allowed to have opinions that differ from those closest in our lives without changing our value. Everyone has a right to be heard.

I often wonder, do you or have you ever listened to what is being said? Do you ever stop and think that this is a human voice in real time with real time thoughts and feelings, not just a sound byte that you play over and over again. Do you ever hear?

Take a moment and really listen to those around you. When a person goes unheard long enough, they cease to have anything to say.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Tyler

Today, you get to meet the last one of my kids. My second child, Tyler. He is such a unique, strong willed person.

He was born on Thanksgiving day in 1985. We had to postpone our dinner plans, but it was definitely worth it. He was 2 weeks early and has done everything on his time schedule ever since. Potty training Tyler was a piece of cake. It took 1 day, when HE decided he was ready.

Growing up, he always had a soft heart. And he was a tall kid. He towered over his big brother at a young age. My favorite recollection was when he and his best friend were playing, they were in the 3rd grade I believe. His friend was showing off for his older brother's friends. He started hitting Tyler. I look out the front window and Tyler is standing there crying. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that Jason was beating him up and didn't know why. Like an idiot, I asked him if he hit him back. He said no. When I asked him why, he said because he didn't want to hurt him. My heart broke. But everything worked out.

He was a natural athlete, but had no desire for sports. He loved the plays. We went to West Side Story at the local high school. He had to see the movie and thus began his love for movies. He is actually quite knowledgeable. In fact the whole family likes movies. He also writes wonderful poems and letters, many of which he has given to me on birthday's or Mother's day. I still have them.

Tyler has always been analytical. He likes everything to be ok. He does not deal well with stress. And drama, he will walk away. He is devoted to his wife and kids. I am very proud of the father that he has become. And proud of the man he has become. I enjoy talking to him because he is straight with you. I know that even if I don't like what he says, it is an honest statement.

Tyler is about to embark on his first tour in Iraq. And it breaks my heart. I was an absolute mess when his older brother left a couple of years ago, and I know I will be this time too. I fully support the military. And it is the greatest sacrifice a mother can give by sending her son to war. I only pray that those insensitive people who bash our service men and women, will understand the huge sacrifice that these young people go through as well as their families.

I pray you stay safe Tyler. I Love You.

S is for Save The Earth

Yesterday was Earth Day, but many activities continue through the weekend. Saving the Earth should be an everyday effort. Not just 1 day a year.

Get a tree from Lowe's today in honor of Earth Day.

10 Ways To Go Green is a wonderful article by the World Watch Organization. If everyone just adds 1 tip, it will have a huge impact on our planet.

Friday, April 22, 2011

An EGGS -eptional Day

What is more fun this time of year than decorating Easter eggs. And I enjoy it all the more when I get to do it with my grandkids.

Yesterday, I helped my grand daughters dye eggs. I love spending time with them. The wonder in a child's eyes when they create something is so satisfying.

Alexis is concentrating so hard. I love doing things with her. She is so eager to spend time with me that we have a really good time together.

Lttle Zooey was priceless as she was discovering the Easter eggs. But at the end of the day, she did what any 8 month old little girl would do...

She tried to eat it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

R is for Resolution

Resolutions are promises we make to ourselves to be better, happier people. We all make them and break them. New Year's resolutions seem to be the most prominent, but we make worth while resolutions every day.

We all make the standard resolutions...Lose weight, stop smoking, exercise, quit drinking, etc. But do we make these for ourselves or because we think that it is expected of us?

I resolve to be a better me. I am going to take the time to make myself happy. I found a post on Facebook and added it to my status a few weeks ago...

A wise woman once said . . . There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right; pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life; getting back up is living.

True words. The time as come. I am taking back my life!

Q is for Questions

Why? This question constantly plagues me these days.

To my parents - Why did you have children? Why is there so much hatred in your hearts?

To my living siblings - Why did you abandon our sister? Why are you afraid of me? Why do you continue the pattern of hatred taught to us?

To my lost siblings - Why did you die so young?

So many why's and no answers.

P is for Paper

I am a Paper Whore.

No! It's not a bad thing. At least I don't think so. I collect paper. Paper is so pretty! Paper is good!

Really now, I am an avid scrapbooker. Am I great? No, but I aspire to be. So I had to have tools of the trade. I would get at least 2 of every paper I liked. You have to have a couple to do a two-page layout. Add a couple more for those unpredictable mistakes. On top of that, the stores have those wonderful collection sets with all the mix and match papers to make a scrapbook a coordinated work of art. Now I don't even have to take a shower or fix my hair to get my paper fix. There are hundreds of outlets on the Internet.

After having shelves full of stacks of paper, I am now introduced to digital scrapping. Now I get a digital fix of my favorite papers. Heck, I can even make my own. Now I have external hard drives on my shelf. Takes less space and I never run out of my favorite pattern.

I know I am an addict. But I have yet to hear of a 12 Step program for paper addiction. When there is a program, call me. I'll be at the local craft store!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

O is for OMSI

OMSI is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It is a wonderful place for young and old. Last week I had the opportunity to take 2 of my grandchildren as part of the Military Kids Month Activity.

There are so many exhibits and hands on activities. The ball room was their all time favorite. There are so many different suction tubes to experiment with that send the balls all over the play room. There are rooms for chemistry and physics. There is an exhibit that shows fetuses from conception to birth.

The featured exhibit was on Early Egypt. Complete with a mummy and sarcophagus. The ability to take a ride on a camel was a real perk. There was also a juggling show that demonstrated how important math and science are to jugglers. The show was specifically for the military kids.

All in all we spent more time at the museum than I had planned.GSBFSSF11501551 But when a 5 year old and a 3 year old are playing nice and are focused, you stay with a good thing. We finished the day with an ice cream cone.

It was a good day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for New York City

The Big Apple! The City That Never Sleeps! New York City!

I had the pleasure of visiting New York City in 2005 with a middle school tour group. It was the best vacation of my life! I love Disneyland and all of the traditional family vacation spots, but this was the first time I had ever been on the east coast. It was my opportunity to fulfill some of my adult dreams.

The trip was 1 week and we were only in NYC for 2 days. We left Portland at midnight and arrived in NYC mid morning. And we didn't stop. We took a bus trip and saw the sites of the city. We spent the afternoon in Central Park. That night we went to see Wicked on Broadway. WOW! I have always dreamed of going to a broadway show. And this was an incredible show. The evening ended with a group photo in Time Square!

The next day, we did it all. We hit the subway, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Ground Zero, 5th Avenue, and the Empire State Building. We put so much into those 2 days. My dream is to go back and spend a little more time in New York City.

What a city!!

M is for Military

The military has a strong hold in my life and my heart. Today's post is to honor all of those in my life who has had or now has the privilege of serving in our military.

Great Grandpa McNeil

Grandpa Lucius G Lacy II

Grandpa Clarence James Souza

Uncle Gary David Lacy

My Brother Lucius G Lacy IV

My Son Kelly Robert Madsen

My Son Tyler John Madsen

My Son Joshua Allen Madsen

My Nephew Justin Lacy

My "Daughter" Cheyanne Mortenson

There are so many others that I know serving in our armed forces today. And so many more that I don't know. I only have 2 words for you...