Saturday, April 30, 2011

Launch party for launch that never-was

So I got myself all excited about the Shuttle this week. On the heels of having another dear friend battling cancer, I needed something to DO I guess. Something to MAKE. So, I focused on the shuttle launch, the last for the Endeavor and I invited everyone I could think of!

My old Tampa roommate and co-worker Kim came over from Sarasota with her boys who are 4 and 5.  Cooper so loves having new friends come play. He is still asking about my friend Anne's little boy Sam, and is so glad when they are 5 and under ...little "like me" he says. We really do spend a lot of time with kids 6 and older so he likes kids closer to his age.

 Aimee's friend Lynn and her family came over too! 
Lynn and I caught up on blog love and chatted over decorating, food and of course, more blogs :)

All my other friends called or texted me "too much traffic, meet you at the secret spot, going out on the river on my friends boat" in response to my invites for my big launch party. Then those texts turned into "LAUNCH SCRUBBED", "No Go", "Party at your house Sun if goes up?"

I was sad for my guests, both who traveled from Orlando and Sarasota to come.  But we made the best of it and the kids had fun! Kim and I took the boys to the beach where I did impromptu photo shoot of her boys and then we went to Grills where I maintained by wine buzz with a nice fresh glass of Sangria and my favorite Caesar Salad with seared Tuna.  Cooper ordered his "Psgetti" per usual also.

 After getting up early for the Royal Wedding and celebrating the launch that never-was, 
I was was a long day!
NASA is saying maybe Monday....but by then the Obama's are already gone but the hype will rise again I am sure.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yeee Haw .....we went to a Hoedown and a Royal Affair

 Last night was Cooper's school's yearly fundraiser.  You can image how thrilled we were for the Hoedown theme and the chance to wear our Uncle Bobby cowboy boots officially!

 Obviously, Cooper sang his heart out.

I could hear him with the funny "deep" voice he does just singing as loud as possible! 
Somehow I think he got my "ham-bone" gene :)

Speaking of ham-bones...this morning, Lady Josephine Muffin Cherry and
 the newly crowned Duchess of Godiva (formerly Lady Mabel Muffin Cherry)
watched the royal wedding this morning together via Skype. 
We had a grand old time :)

Today is a BUSY day!  We are getting ready for friends to come over, have a shuttle launch party and watch the final lift off of the Shuttle Endeavor.  Duchess Godiva may need a nap!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Week 2011

Cooper and I have been busy the last week or more doing Easter things and spending a lot of time with friends and adding some new fun adventures for just the two of us!

Last weekend, I took Cooper to the Hidden Acres horse stables, where you get free pony rides with a donation to their thoroughbred rescue program. 

Cooper LOVED riding, we were the only ones there after formal lessons and one of the owners took Cooper around for almost 20 minutes.

She taught him how to approach horses, feed them and then he got a mini lesson on how to sit, hold on, balance etc. He was so serious listening to her and was so happy on that horse.

    Woody, Jessie and Bullseye waited in the car..
they didn't need to get all dusty like we did! 

We have a new reading spot now for our before bedtime books.  Just so you know...we can't get enough of Dr Seuss right now...specifically "The Lorax".

Last weekend we stopped at Pop Pop and Phina's house, the gardenia bush has been flourishing since it's been unattended! 

But "the ring game" just looked quiet and neglected.

Mom and I took Cooper to the church's Easter egg hunt last weekend also.  He had a ball and man have we been eating too much candy!  
Great on the heels of my last post about wellness right? 

Thursday night was family dinner night for the gang to get together.

I hosted this month but did a beach picnic instead of having everyone at my house.  Main dishes consisted of, grilled chicken sandwiches on Cibatta bread with pepperjack cheese and pesto with hummus and pretzel chips for the adults and Applegate Farms ham and cheese or natural peanut butter sandwiches for the kiddos. 

Plenty of healthy munchies were there too but mostly the kids ate the cupcakes Rochelle brought filled with pink icing to announce they are having a GIRL! and candy out of the Easter eggs from the hunt. Oh well I tried!  I mostly drank my sangria to be honest! It was a long week :)

 It was a really great night! Besides "the schlep" I made with all the stuff down to the that was exhausting by myself so I was smart enough to ask for help on the way back up!

Friday my dear friend from ISPE visited, and then on Saturday was the Annual Easter Bunny visit and day with Meredith and Brody!

(sorry this picture is so bad, it's a pic of the pic and downloaded from facebook)

Then today was Easter Sunday...Cooper was so into it this year and "got" that the Easter Bunny was coming!

It was a great busy busy week or so. I am truly blessed!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The State of our Health - 2011 Edition

So I started this post because I got an email from AppleGate Farms telling me I have been selected as one of 15 bloggers to review their products in July, taste test the food they send me and then blog about it.  I realized there is so much on my mind about how I got to eating AppleGate Farms I should start at the beginning.

So why has this ice-cream addict been reading labels, watching what and how much I put in my mouth and staying up at night pondering the state of our nation's eating habits? This is incredibly long and may not make sense but hang in've been warned :)

It's no surprise to you all who love me that most things now days have roots and begin with my dear Hope. After battling cancer 4 times over she "got on this bandwagon"  and begged me to watch what meat I bought. She warned me of antibiotics, growth hormones and other toxins that were added to our chicken/beef/lord don't even whisper hot dogs!  I knew she had just had the battle of her life with (at the time only) breast cancer,  I heard her...but I didn't really listen.  That was now 6 years ago.  I have since lost not only Hope to cancer, but my father and as of this date, am watching another dear high school friend battle stage 4 melanoma.

Right now you are thinking...this can't be Ann-Marie and this is not her blog!  Is she really about to blame meat for cancer and if so she needs to get on psychotropic drugs.... quickly! Let me be clear, I am not saying that at all, I am saying that as I watch those I love die/suffer, specifically 2 women under the age of 30 when first diagnosed with rare and uncharacteristic cancers, I have to mankind...what are we doing to ourselves and what are we doing to the food we eat?  We all know America runs on the almighty dollar and when push comes to shove, things that may be safer for Americans may not be the most lucrative way to do business.  Years and years of that way of thinking, has exposed American's to more toxins/growth hormones/antibiotics/environmental hazards then ever...and it's just getting worse.  So it's those thoughts, mixed with Hope and other's cancers that got me asking the question: Are we really damaging our body chemistry and make up so much over the years that our own body can't defend itself when something bad triggers it? 

I have worked in sales and marketing for the past 10 years and I was an English Major in college...the answer to all those questions I have in my head at night that I just rambled about here on my blog:  I have no flippin' idea! But I know we sell and market things to people by expanding on the good things people want to hear and ignore or exclude the negative things..yes in a way..we lie.

Here's what I do know: I know that Cooper and I have been sick every 4-6 weeks almost to date for just shy of 1 full year. 

I know that I have not been taking care of my health at all and I have been living under a lot of stress. (ie: a loved one dying every 6 months consistently for the past 3 years, giving birth to an amazing son in that time but dealing with mental illness and ultimately divorce from his father, being laid off, hired, fired and now hired again). Can I get an AMEN on the stress level I have been living under? My coping cream, chocolate, and diet cherry coke to name a few.

Cooper lately has been having asthma-like attacks and just two months ago, the Dr. put him on daily breathing treatments in addition to the cough related breathing treatments. Plus I can't tell you how many cycles of antibiotics we both have been on!  In addition to all this a few months ago we had our roof leak which led water damage in the house (including Cooper's room) and now months later I feared black mold spores in our walls/AC vents and drywall.  You are now thinking I need meds for psychosis...I's ok I would to if I read all this so far!

Here's what I did: I sat up at night...pondering why my perfectly healthy kid was on daily breathing medications and was told to take allergy medication daily.  I thought a lot about how the current school of thought with physicians was to treat symptoms, not the find the root cause of the symptoms but to throw out medications at us. My gut was telling me...I don't think this is right.  So....because of the water damage, I had the AC vents cleaned,  put a HEPA filter for air purity in Cooper's room and have my friend Kevin coming out to change out the dry wall and check for mold.  But I also changed our eating habits to reduce preservatives, some glutens and increased our fruit and veggie intake. I researched how to keep Cooper (and myself) eating the things we love ( dogs) yet pay attention to the amount of nitrates etc we were getting in our foods.   If our sickness (specifically Cooper's) were due to an allergy...I wanted to get rid of it...not treat it! 

Here's what happened: We haven't been sick...well....YET.  Cooper has gone weeks now without one of those "night attacks". We sleep better, we have a very solid schedule at home and we just...I don't know...feel better and think clearer. We have been medication free for the most part.  I did make an ENT appointment for myself and have an allergy test coming up just to see if anything comes up I should know about, and I had a CT scan to make sure there is nothing blocking my sinus cavity. Cooper has a follow up with his Dr in 2 weeks and this (knock on wood) has been the longest so far we have gone without getting  a cough/cold/sinusitis issues.

So back to AppleGate.   I am not sure how much food, what kind or what it means that I will be a taste tester. I know I love whatever I have bought from them so far and I love what they say about their products which you can read HERE.

I love that Cooper eats his all natural yogurt now at night for his "dessert" and I love that cookie dough is now not one of my major food groups. 

I also love you if you read all the way to the end of this post :) I will keep you posted as far as our health, the dry wall demolition and maybe remodel that comes with it and of course back to regularly scheduled Cooper's photos/videos and updates.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring 2011

Cooper and I had so much fun today!  
The day started with the AC people bright and early at our door to clean the air ducts. We have had terrible colds/allergy issues this year I fear that the roof leak has caused mold to grow in the house so my first step was to have the air ducts cleaned out today to clean up our air quality.  
Since they came so early and we had to get out of the house, Cooper and I took a quick trip down to S. Tropical Trail to this great field of flowers on the river I have been dying to do pictures at.  I posted more on the photography blog HERE.

After that Cooper had his "meeting" with the principle at Divine Mercy and he called him "Mr Clark" the whole time ...that's not his name so I have no idea where he got that from but it's so funny. I can't wait to see Cooper in this uniform next school year! 

Then I decided to take Cooper to work with me and he was so good. He visited with Aunt Mary, played with the facility puppy who he kept calling Lola "like Hopey and Co Co" he kept telling me and then tonight it was a nice night of pizza, sangria  and photo editing while Cooper watched a movie.  

Ahhhh....Friday night with nothing to do all weekend but photoshoots and maybe some furniture painting and crafting :)  Happy Friday!

Monday, April 4, 2011

March marched on.....

March flew by! are some pictures to show what's been going on.

 I have been crazy with all the rooms!  Since I am convinced we have a mold problem now that I had the roof repaired, we are about to have Cooper's room ripped apart and my kitchen. So once those walls are re-modeled more decorating will be done for sure!

 These pics are from a spring carnival they had in the mall parking lot...we went last Sunday night and Cooper rode the "tea cups" for the first time...we had a blast.
For my birthday I took that Friday off and  I got an early morning massage, met Rochelle and her kids and Hope and Jake's boys at the beach before she threw me an 80's bash party. The kids had fun making a band for me and playing along to 80's music.  Cooper loved the drums.

 (I love this picture and how little boys play!)

Rochelle went all out with party favors, gift bags for the kids etc.  

Cooper has still be obsessed with Toy Story....Woody/Buzz :)

Aunt Mary is loving her time at's me and some girls from work.  She loves to look at old pictures and loves when Cooper comes to visit.

Cooper and I opened the pool this weekend!

I need to try to blog more...I realized I need to keep journaling because time flies fast!