Playing outside

Brooke, being the old biking pro that she is, immediately wanted to head outside and teach Bub the ropes on bike riding! She pushed him off and walked beside him for a while, then when he took off on his own.....you should have heard her cheer! It was so sweet watching her help him out! He fell over a few times *yes, even with the training wheels!*, but I was SUPER proud of him for getting up and trying again.

The kids have been calling for me to come downstairs for the last half hour so they can ride their bikes....I must go:) I hope you enjoy all of our Christmas pics!!

Merry Christmas and wishes for the most lovely New Year you've EVER had!!!


Christmas Dinner....

I didn't want to do a massive turkey or ham this year since, of course...it's only us:) So I decided to try something new and just keep my fingres crossed that it would turn out well!

The menu:

Orange Balsamic glazed Cornish Game Hens w/ Rosemary
Yukon Gold potatoes w/ pan dripping gravy
Homemade dressing *MaryJo's recipe!*
Southern style green beans w/ bacon
Corn on the cob
Croissant rolls
B's favorite homemade chocolate cake with super special homemade frosting

After much work....I pulled it off and I have to say that this tops every dinner I've ever made for Christmas! You should have seen Brooke tearing into her hen! Bub wanted everyone's legs! B got in trouble with the kids by dipping his fingers into the chocolate cake....BEFORE dinner started! It was delicious, beautiful, and is waiting downstairs for me to put away! HA!

Look at those babies roast!

The kids wanted to help me decorate the cake this year....a masterpiece if you ask me!

The family, minus the photographer, at the table. Notice that B made sure that NO ONE got left out...also notice that Hobbes eyes are not looking at the camera:) HA!

YUMMY! The hens look so good I could eat them off of the screen!

The cake. B loves this cake and only gets it twice a year...for Christmas and on his birthday:)

Christmas Morning

I was woke up at 5:30 this morning by Bub....but lucky for me, it was only because his leg hurt:) He climbed into bed with me until around 7....when Brooke's little head popped up...eyes wide! The kids stayed in their room while I went to wake dad up.....then they headed to the living room to see if Santa had remembered to stop by their house last night! They got most of what was on their list *and the rest will be knocked out at dad's!*.....thankfully they didn't have much on their lists this year....I am lucky to have kids who don't want EVERYTHING just to be able to say they have it:) Merry Christmas to my sweet family! Thank you for another year of smiles, laughter, and love!

WOW! Santa DID COME!!!!

Bub couldn't figure out HOW to get his bike out of that bag!

Bub loves his gift from Joey! Thanks Joe! We miss you:)

OMG!! Santa GOT BROOKE A CHIHUAHUA WEBKINZ! What can I say....like father, like daughter! Brooke adores chihuahua's, even though ours is always trying to bite her hand off...HA!

yes....very happy!

Hobbes....overseeing the festivites!

YAY! Brooke got High School Musical 2 Soundtrack! *she spent over an hour in hre room playing with her HSM dolls and making them dance to the new soundtrack!*

Brooke loves her new Webkinz! Mommy didn't get a Lil'Kinz this time....YAY for mom!

Bub standing next to his new bike.

Brooke....wanted to get in on a pic with the cool new bike too:)

Christmas Decorations

I love my new Santa ghord! Just LOVE it! The trees you see on the stands are actually candy confections...they are just precious!

I got this beautiful reinder candle holder from a friends yardsale. It's the perfect addition to my mantle this year! On each ends are the kids mini trees that they get to decorate every year.

My favorite spot this year....my end table! I found this vintage looking Santa candy dish at Kirklands...it's my FAVORITE Christmas purchase this year. The Merry go Round is a gift from my MIL. It plays music and every kid who comes to my house loves to give it a spin! I took this pic last night after we put out cookies for Santa.

Bub's Santa ladder...he's wanted one for ages, and I found one on clearance last year at Kirklands. He was beyond happy to put it out this year! Also, look at my Santa star...isn't it so cute!?

The view from my couch:) It's a little dark, but the lighting with my camera is still hit and miss...HA!

I looove Christmas! Every year I add something to our slowly growing collection of Christmas things...I have decided to collect Santa's since I realized this year that I already have a little collection growing! I love the house this year....the pictures simply don't do it justice because the lighting is all....wrong! But my house is cozy and comfy....smelling of Christmas....and that feeling just wraps around me each time I step inside!

Christmas Eve!

We spent Christmas Eve doing absolutely NOTHING! All of our friends were busy, and we have no family here...so we stayed home all day! We all went out for a ride and played on a rock pile that is behind the house...and we stared at the massive moon for a while *it was BEAUTIFUL from the street behind our house! Almost as if you could touch it! Mars was also bright and visible right beside it....beautiful!* Anyhow, the kids wanted to eat dinner outside, so we had fish sticks and macaroni *from the box!* How's THAT for Christmas Eve dinner!? After dinner, we went to look at Christmas lights, then came home to open one gift each.

These crazy kids love to eat on the patio even when it's freeeezing out!

YAY! We finally get to open SOMETHING!

OHHHHHHHH....I Got Sharpay!!!! Brooke was THRILLED when she opened this one!

Bub opened his gift from dad....and was happy to see it was a new set of Galactic Heroes!

me....looking pretty shabby because I'd done nothing to my hair or anything else....and threw on clothes to go see Christmas lights. I don't like this pic of me AT ALL, but it HAD to be included since my WONDERFUL husband got me the most incredible present! Proof that he listens to me!!! AHHHH! It's the Coach bag I've wanted for AAAAAGGGGGESSSS!!! YEHAWWWW! Thank you B~I love you to the moon and back...you really surprised me this year:)

Candy Cane Cookies

Before our groups cookie swap, the kids and I experimented with a few new recipes! This year we tried candy cane cookies....they were so pretty AND yummy that we ate them within the hour of baking them! Enjoy these pics of the process...sorry there are no pics of the kids...we were too focused on the cookies! OH! We added peppermint oil to the red portion to get that candy cane taste. YUM!

Favorite ornaments of 2007

Each year I find more ornaments to add to my tree. I will hopefully eventually have an entire tree that matches:) I love the rustic, country, old fashion look...but there are some glittery snowflakes and red and silver balls still in the mix! This year....my favorite ornaments are these....rusted tin pipes that hold the kids letters to Santa! I loooove them and the kids kept coming back to the tree and adding new things to their lists....very cute! The red is Brooke's, the green is the boy's!



Today marks 10 years.

I know that mentioning it/writing about it/talking about it is depressing to some people.....but it gives ME peace to remember and play those last moments in my head on repeat.....and it was something so significant that changed me...my life....forever, that I can't help but acknowledge it.

TEN years....wow. It's mind boggling how fast it's all gone by. Even more so mind blowing is how I can remember everything....down to the smell of the hotel bed sheets that night....the look on the nurses face when I showed her your Senior picture and begged her to save THAT boy, not the one who was cut up and lifeless...the locks of your hair that were scattered around the hospital bed...the way that hair felt in my pocket everytime I touched it over the next few days....the feeling of desperation that came over me when I woke up to "Blue Christmas" and the sadness I felt when D heard "All by Myself" and told me how he really was...all by himself. The wounds that were so raw and bleeding in that moment have a way of opening up again each year when this week rolls around.

It's been a hell of a week for me....and to end it thinking of you....ten years later....wishing I could be home and sitting next to D and daddy....for no other reason than to know that WE are ok and have made it through another year, healthy and whole.....a mirale in and of itself;)

I miss you as much today as I did that first day. The love has never ended...the thoughts of you never cease. You're always alive in my heart....and I carry your memory with me, hold onto it tightly....everyday.

I miss you Ricky~catch a few balloons from me today;)


Lots of good stuff to share!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We went to Disney, but I am waiting to post pictures when I get my mother in law and my sister in laws pics.....we had a great time...but came home very tired from rushing around:) I think next year we've all agreed to nosh out on turkey and dressing *and 7 layer!* around the house....MINE! Because, YES....next year, it's my turn....and hopefully I will get to do some proper Black Friday shopping! haha!

In other news.....I went to a yard sale on Friday morning and found the greatesy yard sale find of my LIFE! Brace yourself for gut panging jealousy.....I got a Magic Bullet!!! Brand spanking new in it's package....WITH a blender and juicer......for, get this.....TEN DOLLARS!!! That's $10.00 for those who read best in numbers. I am beyind thrilled.....I also got a really great plate to place on the high shelf in my living room, a few vintagey stockings, a new Santa to add to my collection, and 2 phones. Love yard sales, but love them even more when I find a lot of things that I can actually use...and I have been wanting to get a bullet for about...ummm.....3 years?? Here's a picture of my kitchen's newest best friend....

Now.....best for last......Brooke lost her first tooth tonight! YIPPE YI YAY COW PATTY! We have been waiting for ages....my kids are the only kids in their classes to have NOT lost a tooth yet....Brooke's has been quite loose for a while, but tonight it started bleeding while she was flossing...freaked her out...so I convinced her that it needed to come out before it got infected or worse, so it wouldn't come out while she was sleeping and cause her to swallow it on accident! Mwahahaha....my ploy worked and she ran upstairs to have her dad help her pull it. It came out easily enough and she grinned until she fell asleep. I am looking forward to the tooth fairy visiting tonight and finally putting that tooth fairy pillow to use:) Here are some pics of Brooke's adventure!

It's GONE!!!

I think this was the first night in a loooong time *maybe since last Christmas?* that Brooke WANTED to go to bed *I should really learn to space these things out...lol*! If you look closely at the small pillow by her head you'll see her tiny little tooth inside it's cozy pocket. Congrats Stringbean!!! We're so exicted that you finally lost your first tooth! Now....if only I had a way to sneak pictures of her showing it off at school tomorrow.....


No regrets.....

I see the headline all the time, "No Regrets". It's very common and I'm sure we've all said it at one point in our lives. Yet I find it hard to imagine living...with no regrets, and often wonder what it says about the people who have none.

What would it be like to not regret eating half a roast chicken all by myself because it was so moist and yummy that I couldn't pull myself away from it? What would it be like to not regret NOT making better grades in school...not finishing college? What would it be like to not regret the fact that I went a full Mother's Day one year not telling my mom Happy Mother's Day? To not regret the time I yelled at my kids when my nerves were shot and I sent them off to bed without a kiss goodnight or a story to tuck them in? To not regret blasting a friend in a nasty blog that everyone read and picked apart? To not regret the fact that I didn't hug my brother goodbye the last time I saw him? To not regret telling my dad that I was moving out because he didn't agree with the choices I was making at the time?

To not regret telling half truths to my family and to others that I love when we first moved to Florida? To not regret going for almost a year not talking to my dad? To not regret losing touch with my cousins and not sticking to the plan we had for raising our kids to be as close as we were? To not regret listening to my instincts when they were telling me...to wait....to run? To not regret trusting my heart when it was telling me not to trust someone else? To not regret going 10 miles over the speed limit and being pulled over by a cop....another 180 bucks wasted! To not regret making more time to talk to my sister as she's grown up....here she is 16 and I still think of her as a little girl? To not regret....so many things that I still can hardly admit to myself.

While I don't believe that one can live without regrets....

saying that you live with no regret....isn't really about living with NO regrets. It's about living with the knowledge that you can forgive yourself when you mess up. Knowing that things happen in life that are out of your control. Knowing that you can forgive yourself..and learn from that regret.

Thank God that I have a heart that can recognize my wrong, regret it, ask forgiveness...or forgive myself....and in turn, gain a little wisdom to help prevent creating a new regret tomorrow.



If you've ever been to MGM and stayed for the Fantasmic show, chances are you've been witness to one of the greatest tidal waves ever. We had perfect seats....way in the back and near dead center, so we had a perfect view of this fantasmic wave. As is the norm for me.....my mind took a turn for the philosophical and analytical.

Inside this stadium sat thousands of people. Black, white, red, yellow.....rich, poor, those of us somewhere in between.....old, young, and again, those of us somewhere in between. Boy, girl, woman, man. Each has a different story to tell....each has a different life that they are heading back to once they leave the confining magical comforts that Disney has to offer.

Yet in a space of about five minutes.....all were united for one purpose.

The perfect wave....

It took a bit of catching on.....starting from the far right. A spattering of hands here and there, with a crowd in the middle doing hand signals to encourage the other half of the stadium to join in. After a few tries....it caught on and everyone rode the wave. Starting as a slow sweeping motion....and spread to a great wave that made it's way across the crowd. Once it reached it's end....it was tossed back to the other side....and everyone laughed and cheered in unison.

One common goal....simple, yet complex....accomplished in a crowd of people who didn't know one from Adam's house cat....a mammoth sized laugh that erupted from each mouth once a wave reached its appex.

A lesson for me here......

to stop trying so hard to fight misconceptions. To stop trying so hard to make others try to see why I do things that I do, to stop defending my every action to those whom I shouldn't have to defend them to. If I can just ride the wave.....of life and everyday living in general...then maybe I can prove my worth.....to myself:) Because it doesn't have to be so hard.....to go with the flow, yet still live what I believe in. Maybe that is the key to happiness? To my happiness? Accepting that varying opinions of me....and my varying opinions of others....are a passing thing. A thing that can change with growth, and understanding.

To ride this wave.....life.....a belly laugh when the wave runs its course......and to join in again when the wave is pushed my way:)

That the wave doesn't end until I breathe my last.....is truly....Fantasmic***



Nort, Brooke, and Bub

Brooke, Riley, Taylor

Bub and Mason stuck together most of the night....until Bub got tired and Brandon had to carry him!

Me and my gurrrrls:)

Kids posing in the backyard....impatiently waiting to trick or treat!

I am just now getting around to posting these.....sorry!!!

This year it was decided that the Halloween party would be held at our house this year...something about Lake Carolina doing good candy?? I dunno....LOL! We had quite a crowd here and everyone had a great time. Brooke was Cinderella this year and Bub was Yoda for the second year in a row! Bub originally wanted to be a ghost....sheet with holes for eyes and all....but once he realized that he could see everyone else through the holes but no one could see him....he decided he wanted a change:) Carrie, Lori, and I did our annual "faux flip off" which LOOKS like we are flipping each other off....but we're not because we are using our ring fingers. This tradition started on our first Halloween together....TOTALLY by accident! Lori snapped a pic of me pointing at Carrie, but it looked like I was flipping her off. The pic was pretty funny....so the following year Carrie insisted on returning the favor. This year, to round it out...Carrie and I both faux flipped Lori:) What a way to send her off, eh?

Cute pic of Bub and B:)

Our guys carrying the babies....making themselves useful, you know?!

So....he rarely looks at the camera. Ah well....at least I look pretty!

Yes, my name is Mrs Duhon and I am from a little town called...Stepford!