Monday, January 31, 2011


St Pat's kicked off Catholic Schools Week with their annual Jog-A-Thon.  And let me tell's come a long way since my St Pat's days.  We never had a DJ (that I can remember), we never got free popsicles afterwards (that I can remember) and I'm almost positive we did ours in the afternoon, not in the morning when its nice out.  But I digress.  Noah's participated in the Jog-A-Thon last year but its not the same as this year.  He was just an imposted PreK kid.  This year he is a true St Pat's student.  It was surreal for me to watch my own child do the same thing that I did growing up in school.  Here's a couple pics that I took as I manned the First Aid table (which later turned into the PreK babysitting table).....
So excited to start jogging
Noah and his 5th grade buddy
In the very front to start off the Jog-A-Thon
Action shot
Some of the teachers (and me) doing the Cupid Shuffle

Most of the school gets into the Cha Cha Slide
Me and a very tired Noah at the end (pic taken by a 4yr old)
All in all, a great time and a success.  Noah completed 19 laps and raised $70 for his (our) school!  I'm so proud of him!!!


*Next on my list of things to do.....figuring out Picasa, photo editing, and changing the blog around a little bit*

Thursday, January 27, 2011


For months now, a few ladies at work have been trying to get me to come to Zumba with them.  It was just too much for me to try to get away from the kids while I was in my last semester of school.  But now, I really don't have an excuse for not at least trying it with them.  My mom has done Zumba in the past and loves it so I knew I'd have fun.  So I went last night and let me tell was awesome!  It was a mix of Latin dancing, belly dancing, with the concepts of line dancing (and we all know how much I LOVE to line dance!)  It was a lot tougher than I thought too but the good kind of tough.  I felt so good afterwards (even ran my way home).  My hips are even a little sore today (I haven't shaken my hips like that since my ridiculous Ybor days way back in my college years).  Can't wait for Monday's class!!!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A simple word.
Music to my ears.

I might fall a tad bit on the paranoid side when it comes to the kids.  But they are my kids...why would I not be paranoid about them? 

We never really thought that Noah's quiet nature growing up was actually a sign of his speech delay. I just thought I had the most amazing, quiet child.  He didn't really make too much noise when he was playing.  He did a lot of whispering to himself.  My pediatricians insulted me when the wanted me to fill out an autism questionaire on Noah.  They pushed and pushed about a hearing test until I caved.  His hearing was perfect so off to a speech evaluation we went.  The SLP had the audacity to tell me there was something wrong with my child.  She used the dreaded "D" word in association with my perfect son....Speech Delay.  I was in denial.  Noah was not delayed.  He was just quiet.  So we  started speech therapy after his second birthday.  Ms Barb came to our house every Tuesday to work with us.  Noah did a lot of animal sounds but not a huge amount of words.  He did begin to learn the rules of conversation and looked forward to Ms Barb coming.  Then when we moved, we got a new SLP, Ms Jeanie.  And boy did Noah love her!  Turns out she was married to one of my cousins and when I was very little, we would be at family functions together.  What a small world!  Well from the first moment she spoke with Noah, she nailed it.  He had apraxia. Pretty much he had/has difficulty planning and producing the movements that are required for speech.  His tongue, lips, and jaw don't work as quickly as they should.  She gave us exercised to do to stretch out his facial muscles.  Noah LOVED them.  It was part of our bedtime routine and to this day, he'll occasionally ask to do his exercises.  In the short months that we worked with Jeanie, Noah's speech improved.  On his 3rd birthday, we had to say goodbye to the woman who brought Noah's speech out.  She gave me a boy who has the most expansive vocabulary.  Some of the words he uses I never imagined a 3 year old to say.  He still has some work to do.  He has problems with certain letter sounds and he does something funny with his tongue but I also have to remember he's only 4. 

So why bring all of this up?  Emmy is at the point where she needs to be talking.  You could definitely tell the difference between Noah and Em as a baby.  Emmy is never quiet.  She's talking no matter what she's doing.  Our house has been filled with noise and babbling from the moment she learned she could make noise come out of her mouth.  A drastic difference from Noah's baby period.  Well now that she's almost 18 months, I find myself freaking out that she isn't really saying words.  Noah was only saying maybe 6-8 words by this time so I've been a little paranoid about Em.  But this week she has blossomed into a talker.  She's routinely saying words.  Her vocabulary includes: Mama, Dada, No, Hi, Where, Wow, Uh-Oh, Chest (she says this when she's trying to say Chester...our cat), down, go, and my favorite....Justin.  She sees a cat and says "Chest" and we have to remind her that not all cats are named Chester.  But Monday was the greatest.  I kept saying, "Where's Uncle Justin?" and she would reply either "Where" or "Justin." He even heard her say his name! 

Today, this is what I walked into her room and found.......
She's so smart.  She can read upside down!!!
She's pulling every book off of her bookcase, stops with the dog book, and flips through the pages screaming "DOG" every time she sees a dog.  Can you imagine how nice it is to hear this and see this??? As much as I love peace and quiet some times, I love that she is already talking!  When I became a parent, I never imagined I'd have a child with a delay of any sort, especially a speech delay.  It took us 3 years for Noah to be able to truly communicate with us.  It's been music to my ears listening to Emmy make her first words without having to struggle the same way her big brother did.  

I'm so blessed and can't wait until my house is filled with squeaky little girl words!!!


Every day I am thankful for the Early Steps program for providing us with weekly speech therapy at no charge to us because most insurances do not cover speech therapy.  Because of this program, Noah is back on track with his speech.  I am also grateful that Easter Seals was able to provide us with the most amazing Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) (Jeanie) when we moved to Seminole.  If you are thinking about donating to a local charity, please keep Easter Seals in your thoughts.  They provide services to children and families living with disabilities. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blonde moment of the day

Being a nurse makes you a little crazy about washing your hands.  I have hand sanitizer attached to everything....purses, keys, backpacks, strollers, diaper get the picture.  I'm washing my hands a million times a day with either soap and water or the hand sanitizer outside of every room while I'm at work and it's the same at home.  My ring has taken a beating because of it.  It's not the biggest of rings (but it is absolutely perfect for me) but I get disappointed when the sparkle disappears after days in a row at work.  I've scoured the internet trying to find a good way to clean my rings that doesn't involve a trip to the jewelers.  Low and behold, I found my solution, thanks to Michelle, aka The Real Life Mom.  I tried both of her suggestions and prefer the woolite way better (again just my rings came out sparkly-er)

About every week or two, I get my supplies out and get my ring back to sparkling condition.  However, today, I did not get the result I anticipated.  Note to self (and anyone who might try this)...plastic solo cups CANNOT withstand 2 minutes in the microwave.......
The cup on the left was what I ended up with.  I put it next to a non-melted cup for effect...this makes me a dumb dumb!
I don't know why I had a HUGE brain fart but I did.  I guess I can blame it on my blonde hair, right?!?  Only good thing that came out of this is my microwave smells Snuggle fresh now ;)

I am fortunate enough to know Michelle before she was The Real Life Mom.  She was the Real Life Graduate Nurse/Registered Nurse/Newlywed when I worked with her way back when.  We were pregnant together (via Facebook) with our girls.  Her lil lady is a week younger than Em so I was lucky enough to have fellow pregger to talk to who understood what I was going through/feeling at any given moment.  Her blog is absolutely amazing and she was my inspiration for starting my blog back up.  I do blame her for my blog obsession because I have been completely/totally sucked in to the Blogging World.  I'm so proud of you Michelle!!!  Your blog is phenomenal and you are such an inspiration!!!!  Check her out at The Real Life Mom!!!!

Let's see if I can get through the rest of the day without melting anything is my night to cook ;)


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth!!!

And I truly believe that! 

My family just adores Disney!  John took me there for the first birthday I celebrated after being with him.  We ate in the castle and had an amazing time.  When we moved to Orlando, we went to Disney or Downtown Disney all the time.  We looked into getting married at Disney.  Our kids have gone to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party every year since they were born.  I've run in a Disney sponsored half marathon (and really have to bump up my training since it's in a month).  We took our first family vacation to Disney.  We have annual passes.  We go just because.  People think we're crazy for going to Disney so often but who can say no to a land full of imagination, fantasy, and Mickey Mouse?!? 

So of course, we took the opportunity to spend the day at Disney for Noah's birthday.  We hit up the same rides we always do (Noah's big into the rides), rode the train for the first time, took the kids to the Country Bear Jamboree for the first time, and just had fun.  The kids love it, John and I love it, and we love being surrounded by the excitement!

The weekend of my half, we're going to Disney without the kiddos.  It will be a nice little adult getaway.  My parents, Tim and Sharon will be up with us.  Sharon is running the half with me.  So John and I are looking forward to enjoying the adult side of Disney.....Epcot, Hollywood Studios (which will always be MGM to me) and enjoying some time together.  Yes, I'll miss the kids desperately (and think about them every minute and bug John with my wondering if we should have left them at home) but I'm looking forward to hanging out just the two of us.

Here are some pics from our fun trip!!!

I just adore the castle!
Playing with her pirate gear
Ready to make Dumbo take flight
We love Disney!!!!
Love Love Love
In line for his first roller coaster!
Winnie the Pooh is the best ride to wait on.  They have play areas for the kids
Talking on her pretzel phone while Daddy and Noah wait for a ride
You can never have too many pictures of the castle!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You saved our lives. We are eternally grateful

I just love the little green aliens from Toy Story. 

Noah has been obsessed with the Toy Story movies since we took him to see Toy Story 3 when it was in the theater.  We have anything and everything Toy Story.  So it was only fitting that his 4th birthday party be a Toy Story themed one.  I'm also on a big cupcake kick so I decided to take on the task of baking cupcakes instead of our usual Publix cake.  But the question is, how do I top the monkey cupcakes???? alien cupcakes!!! 

Thanks to my favorite research tool (google) I found the best recipe.  Easy to make and oh so fun to look at!!!!

I'm also obsessed with buttercream frosting from Publix.  I've been using this amazingly delicious frosting ever since I laid eyes on the container of it at the bakery. Who would have thought that you could buy the same frosting they ice their cakes with?!?!  So task number 1, the perfect shade of alien green.
Note to self...don't take a pic of green icing in a green bowl with bad lighting :(

I'm not good at icing yet.  Don't hold that against me!
Sour Patch Straw antennas, Mentos eyes, and sour candy ears
I'm in love!!!!  They came out so great (if I do say so myself!!!)
My Toy Story table. Noah's toys came in handy!
I'm loving the way everything came out!  I've gotten so many compliments on my aliens that I think I'll end up making a batch for work soon.  All in all, our party was a success and so were my cupcakes!!!

Next up....our Disney celebration for Noah's birthday!!!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!!!

Happy Birthday Noah!  4 years ago today, I gave birth to you.  You changed our lives forever.  You showed me what it means to love someone unconditionally.  You helped me realize that I needed to be a better person.  From the moment they put you in my arms, I was hooked.  You are my little man and always will be.  Mommy loves you!!!

Our first family picture
My favorite picture of Noah
My love
An amazing picture that my cousin Greg took of Noah
Cheesing it up for Mommy
The best big brother in the entire world!
My little man ready for his first day of PreK
Celebrating his birthday at school
Handsome man
Happy 4th Birthday Noah Jackson!!!
I love you!  Happy Birthday!!!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I can't believe he's 4

Tomorrow my little baby turns 4.  I don't know how that happened but, in a blink of an eye, Noah has gone from my little man to a big kid.  He's in school, he's a big brother, and now, since he's 4, he won't be wearing pull-ups to naptime.  Strange I know but this one is slightly selfish.  He will not completely potty train so I told him that when he turns 4 there's no more pull ups for steps but steps all the same.  And since his birthday falls on a school day (which I am totally jealous of....I never went to school on my actual birthday), it was only appropriate to go all out for his first school birthday!!! 

Without further adieu......

A barrel full of monkeys waiting for their ears

The finished product
I'm so excited that Noah's growing up and having such a great time experiencing all that life has in store for him.  It makes me sad to know that he's not a little baby anymore but I'm in love with the boy that he's becoming.  He has blessed me so much.  He has taught me how to love...completely, totally, unconditionally. 

I love you Noah Jackson!!!


Friday, January 7, 2011

5 Years Ago.......

I married my best friend 5 years ago today.  At 1pm, at St Patrick Catholic Church on Saturday, January 7, 2006, I walked down the aisle to my future.  It was a picture perfect day and the most amazing wedding.  My parents made my childhood wedding dreams a reality.  As with any wedding, there were a few snags along the way but nothing catastrophic.  We got married and danced the night away!  It was the best wedding ever!!!

Our lives have changed so much from that moment.  John and I thrusted ourselves into married life.  We packed up all of our belongings, moved to Orlando, and started our lives together.  We figured out how to survive on our own.  We were blessed to become pregnant that first year and welcomed Noah into our lives 5 days after our first anniversary.  Shortly after, we made the move back home to Pinellas County.  Between the two of us, we've switched careers, gone back to school, dealt with financial issues, bought a house, bought a new car, and adjusted to our lives.  Our faith was tested when Emmy wanted to come into the world a little too early.  John stepped up to take care of our family while I was on bedrest.  He went from just being Daddy to being everything.  It was a difficult and emotional time but our little princess hung in there and was born healthy.  We rejoiced the day she was born because our family was complete. 

To say our relationship is picture perfect would be a complete lie.  Our relationship has been tested time and time again and somehow we've overcome all of it and stuck together.  As many times as I want to kill him, there are so many more times that I just can't be without him. He's everything I need and he's the perfect father for my children.  I love him more and more each day.

My dearest John, thank you for choosing me.  Thank you for loving me the way you do.  I cherish every day that we share together and look forward to the many years I love you always and forever!

Here's to many more years together!!!


A wedding day flashback!!!

And Two Become One

It's official!!!
This is one of my favorite pictures

It wouldn't be our wedding without a little line dancing!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My first attempt at being crafty and homemade!

In my attempt to be more crafty this year, I stumbled across the easiest, quickest gift to make (and it came with the printable for the tags....for free!!!!) on one of my favorite blogs. I think it has become my "go-to" gift.  When I saw the posting, I instantly knew that I had to make it to send to Noah's teachers as a "welcome back to school" gift.  And from that moment on, it was all I could think about.  I even made John stop at Michaels on the way to the movies on NYE so I could get the jars.  I spent my morning mixing the sugar and soap and even busted out my scrapbooking case to make the tags.  It was so nice to actually open that case up and see all of my supplies: cardstock, punches, ribbons, etc.  I was obsessed with scrapbooking and still aspire to be obsessed but my life has gotten in the way.  This will change this year!!! 

I forgot to take pictures of the process until I was tying the tags on so I only have a finished product picture.  Next time, I'll be better.  I am so impressed with the way it turned out that I'm going to make a set for myself.  The scrub made my hands feel AMAZING!  Noah's teachers really enjoyed it too!

I love that you can see Noah through the ribbon

It's so pretty!!!  Thanks lizard & ladybug for the idea and tags!!!
I can't wait to find unique jars and make this scrub and modify it for the occasion!  I hope everyone's hands are ready!!!


What the Heck?!?!?!?

I absolutely have no idea what's going on with the little blog I've got going on.  Posts are being deleted (or lost in "draft" land) that have been posted for weeks.  I just don't get it.  Oh well.  I think I'm back to the way things should be.  So please excuse the fact that my graduation post is for some reason showing up under today, instead of sometime in December when it was actually posted. 

I know there should be something more profound posted today instead of my complaining right now but this is all you get right now.  There will be something better this afternoon!


10 years in the making!!!

The blog is not 10 years in the making. You'll find out what that means in a moment. But I've decided to give this blog thing another try. Why not write down all of the happenings in our lives for all to see?!? Fingers crossed that I can keep up with it. Be patient with me. This is a long one. So drum roll please.......

Graduation Day has finally arrived! I cannot believe that its been 10 years in the making. When I graduated from high school in 2000, I never thought it would take me 10 years to get my bachelors degree. I was the type of kid who wrote off community colleges because I was "too good" for them. There was no way you'd find me stepping foot on one of those campuses. So off to USF I went, and LOVED every minute. I was super involved from the start and getting a job in the Marshall Center just amped up my involvement. I made lifelong friends and had the time of my life. Chi Omega opened its arms to me and I met the most amazing women and was a part of the strongest sisterhood. To this day, my closest friends are Chi Omega women. But as my years at USF grew, so did my extracurricular activities. Class became a distraction from my life. I had to tear myself away from my job and activities to go to class, only to go straight back once class was over. I had a bunch of credits but no end in sight. I kept applying to the CON but they kept telling me to take time off. How could I justify being a 4th year student with no graduation date in sight? If you know me at all, not having any control of this particular situation did not sit well. I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I just had to get into the program. So in a panic, I looked up tons of community college programs and applied at 4am one morning.

I will never forget the surprise I got less than a week later when HCC told me I was accepted and only had 4 days to accept my seat for the upcoming semester. Again, if you know me at all, change doesn't go over that well with me. I only had 4 days to make the largest decision of my life. Do I accept and head down the path towards the career I want? Obviously the answer should be an easy yes. But by saying yes I had to say goodbye to life as I know it. I had to leave my job, my friends, everything at USF. How could I possibly do that? Trust me, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I had the support of my friends but no one truly understood what leaving meant. I had to start all over. And there was always the fear of being "out of sight, out of mind" which turned out to be the case. In my leaving, friendships that I thought would stand the test of time dissolved faster than you could say nursing school. The one person I thought was my forever friend turned out to be anything but that. It was all a devastating blow. I spent nights crying myself to sleep over leaving and wondering what things would be like if I never left. The regret I felt was overwhelming (and I do not believe in regret). Slowly, my new life started to evolve and I became comfortable with my decision and who I was turning out to be.

Through my time in nursing school, I truly found myself. I knew who my true friends were and made some of the best friends I've ever had. But the most important thing that came from my devastating decision to leave USF was meeting my husband. I believe that if I stayed at USF, I would never have met John and the life we have would not exist. 5 years ago I graduated from nursing school and my life truly began. I married my best friend 3 weeks later and we made our move to Orlando to start our life (and family) together.

Fast forward to August 2008. I got the itch to get my BSN and continue my education. I applied to USF's CON again and was pleasantly surprised that I was accepted to the Fall 08 admission, not the Spring 09 like I planned. Its funny how both nursing schools accepted me very quickly. So now that hard work began. I had to take online classes, which I hate. I had to figure out how to manage a family, a full time job, and school. Needless to say, it was a very hard work. After taking 2 semesters off, it was hard to go back for the last 3 semesters.

Fast forward again. Graduation day has arrived and I'm an emotional basketcase (go figure). Putting on my cap and gown, walking across that stage, hugging Judy Genshaft, and moving my tassle was the culmination of 10 years of hard work, sweat, tears, laughter, friendships lost, and friendships gained. How I kept my emotions inside is something I will never understand. The feeling of accomplishment is out of this world. And as I made John traverse the USF campus to take pictures at very memorable locations, all I could do was smile. Smile because I did it. Smile because I finally have that diploma (that will be professionally framed in an overpriced frame) to hang on my wall. I have finished what was left unfinished for years.

I was talking to a dear friend (and my old boss at the MC) on Thursday (2 days before graduation) and she said the most profound thing to me. She said that the struggle I had making my decision to leave, dealing with that decision, and dealing with the friendships that fell apart, was completely worth it because she could see that I was truly happy with my life. That she sees so many of us who have the degree but are still searching for the one thing that makes us truly happy, whether it be that perfect job or that perfect someone. And it was probably the first time that I realized that I was truly happy. Looking back, I would not change the course I chose. I used to long for the day that those broken friendships would be repaired but I've grown up and realized that if they were meant to be, they would have survived through all of this. I've realized that I'm not the one missing out. They are missing out on going through life with me. I have an amazing husband, two beautiful children that are my entire world, a job that I truly love, and a great circle of friends. And now I have that elusive degree from USF.

What more could a girl want????

Oh wait, now its time for a masters degree!!!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Here's to an amazing 2011

It's that time of year when everyone is making resolutions for the new year. Of course, I plan on making some resolutions (and hoping to stick to them) but they might not be the traditional resolutions I usually make. Here are some of my resolutions for the new year:

1. Get healthy. I've made strides in 2010 to do this by losing 25lbs. I still have about 20 more to go. I've taken a few months off of my weight loss program (and haven't really gained any weight) so now it's back on the wagon. I'm also making this a family resolution. John's current cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure are all indications that we need a family initiative to get healthy. We have 2 amazing young children who deserve to have their parents healthy and living to an old age. One way is to run more. I committed to this last year and fell short. Completing my first half marathon was amazing. So amazing that I'm anticipating my next one at the end of February. Of course my training has slacked BIG time so its back to basics and back to training.

2. Be a better mother. I know in my heart that I'm a good mother to my children. But I know I can be better. This year we're not going to stay inside and play. We're going to enjoy our backyard and the environment. Since Noah's in PreK in the mornings, it leaves me the perfect time to spend with Emmy. We're going to start going to the library, to story time, do all the things that I wanted to do with Noah but didn't.

3. Be a better wife. John and I have a funny relationship. We're each other's biggest supporters but biggest opponents at the same time. We're both so freakin stubborn that it is ridiculous. This year, I want to focus on strengthening the relationship between us, not as parents, but as partners.

4. Be fiscally responsible. I just love that term. John and I can spend money, let me tell you. We waste an obscene amount of money on stupid things. We try to budget but never stick to it. This year, I want to make a conscious effort to rebuilding our savings, cutting down on our frivolous spending, and overall becoming more responsible with our money. I am blessed to have a great job that provides much more financially than what I grew up with. My parents struggled so much to provide my brothers and I with whatever we needed. I don't want my children to go through the same, especially when it can be prevented.

5. Strengthen our family's relationship with God. We've slacked big time when it comes to our faith. Going to church is not a priority anymore and that's just not ok. We still haven't baptized Emmy (which breaks my heart and I'm sure my mother's heart). I want my kids to grow up, standing firm in their beliefs, just as I did.

6. Enjoy life to the fullest. In my line of work, I meet the most amazing children and young men/women, all of which are left to battle for their lives. Working in the cancer world is emotionally draining, especially when you become attached to your patients. This year, we've lost the most amazing people to the ugliest of beasts. One patient in particular came into my life and left a lasting impression on me. Blake took everything that was dealt to him and faced it head on, without fear. He found strength in Christ and that was all he needed. When he relapsed a second time and there was nothing else we could do for him, he accepted that and truly lived his life. He did anything and everything. He made the most of the little time he had. I'm still having a hard time dealing with his death but he has inspired me to live my own life. To encourage my children to live their lives. To experience all that there is to experience. Life is something that I take for granted too often and it can all be taken away in an instant. I don't want to look back on my life and wish that I had done things differently. I guess I ultimately want to be more like Blake.

Here's to a new year. May 2o11 be the start of a brand new me, a brand new Crimella family, and a brand new outlook on life.