My Family…Really; My Kids.

I like looking at pictures of when my kids were young/small. Like everyone does. I reminisce in my mind of how old each one was when we took the picture, where we were, the circumstances surrounding the photo. It’s a lot to take in and a lot to remember and many times I get emotional. Sometimes it is just hard. I know another mom who understood me getting emotional while looking at pictures and she is one of my best friends; Jackie. Things with Thomas were never really “normal.” He was always special needs but we had no idea *how* special needs he is until Thomas was 12 years old. So we dealt with a lot of difficult behaviors and a lot of difficult times. We still took pictures on holidays and times away. Even through the trials Thomas put us through we tried so hard to be a “normal” family…whatever that may be. It took me a lot of years to learn there is no such thing as “normal.” Or as my friend Wendy liked to say, “Normal is just a setting on your dryer.” Truer words were never spoken.

Fast forward to today and things are so so different I would say they’re pretty darn good. Thomas has adapted wonderfully to living in his group home. He makes no bones about it that he doesn’t live in my house anymore. He says, “Mom, this is ‘your’ house, not ‘my’ house, I have my own house.” At first it kind of killed me inside. To hear him say that. But he is correct. And I can’t argue with him. He’s right.

Thomas comes to “my” house just about every Sunday. I usually pick him up in the afternoon and he stays until around 6pm. After he takes his scheduled medications he’s good to go and wants to go home. While Thomas is here he’s pleasant and I enjoy being with him. The girls like being with him and I love taking pictures of when they’re all together. Now I love pictures. There’s nothing but positive thoughts when I look at recent pictures. Yesterday my kids are doing a project together; Lelly made cut out Christmas tree cookies and they all decorated them. It was sweet and nice and just so so great. If the girls aren’t around Thomas and I take selfie’s. Thomas loves it and tells me to post the picture on Facebook. Thomas is always good for taking a picture; all I have to do is tell him. “Thomas smile! I’m taking a picture!” And he’s good to go. I wish I could say the same for Samantha but she’s 14 and well, yeah she’s 14. I’ll say no more.

This isn’t all about Thomas, I love being with all my children. My girls are wonderfully typical and I appreciate that about them so much. It probably sounds weird to appreciate your kids for not being special needs but I do. Thomas is Thomas and he is who he is. The girls are who they are. I really enjoy spending time with my girls. They talk to me. I can’t ask for anything better from my girls or from Thomas.

Holidays

I’m not writing about Covid because it’s all we see on the news and all we seem to talk about. I’m here to discuss the holidays. And since I am a Christian, I’m writing about Christmas. I have my tree up and most of the house decorated. There are some decorations that I changed their usual place of storage and now can’t find them. I’m not that worried because I’m sure they are in a nice safe place wherever that may be.

I usually put the tree up right after Thanksgiving and this year was no different. I wished I had the time to do it earlier but it didn’t work out. The house is festive with the tree up. I enjoyed putting the ornaments up too this year. Most of my ornaments are ones that my kids have made when they were in grammar school. I love those. The rest are slowly being changed over to non breakable ornaments. You would think at this point in my life with the kids grown/older I wouldn’t have to worry about things breaking. Yeah…not so much. It’s the animals! Omg, we have one dog who I swear thinks she’s a lot smaller than she really is. Riley is part golden lab part golden retriever and she insists on walking through the small space between the love seat and the Christmas tree, taking ornaments with her. All you hear is the clanging of glass and every now and then the crash of one hitting the floor. At least the cats don’t climb in the tree anymore. That would make me crazy.

I’ve done quite a bit of Christmas shopping this weekend. It was nice to tick off the list or have the girls send me links to what they want. Lelly says she usually forgets what she tells me to but by the time Christmas Day rolls around. She’s funny. I got my fix for shopping while shopping for others. The only person who is hard to shop for is Thomas. He has so many things and clothes already. And he’s not like into anything like video games or television programs or sports. He’s a tough one. He does love clothes and shopping. I have no idea where he would get that from…

I also hit the thrift on Black Friday where everything was half off! Shoppers Sky I tell you! I didn’t hit the jackpot this time but still walked away with nice things. It was crowded too. But the people were nice so all was well.

I hope we all get our shopping done early so we’re able to truly enjoy the season. Covid or no Covid!

A Weekend Away

Tommy and I decided to celebrate our anniversary somehow so we went down the Jersey Shore to the very southern tip to a town called Cape May. It’s a great town with tons of Victorian homes and bed and breakfast’s. We stayed at a hotel that was right across from the beach, we had the most awesome view from our front door of the beach. The beach itself was gorgeous. And you could tell it wasn’t that way because it is the off season. We walked down to the water shoes sinking in the sand the whole time. We got to the water and it was breathtaking. The view was incredible. It was a gorgeous day out; 65 degrees but there was no way I was taking my shoes off to test out the water.

In Cape May they have a small town with shops and stores, some expensive boutique types some touristy. There was even a throwback store; a 5 and dime! That was pretty cool. We visited some of the stores but then we had enough of the town and decided to drive down to Atlantic City to shop the outlets there. Yayyyy! We spent a couple of hours there Christmas shopping for the most part. Tommy went to Bass Pro Shop since we don’t have one anywhere around here. I chose to shop in other stores more my speed.

Friday evening we had reservations at a winery/restaurant. It was an adventure getting there, the grounds were a farm/vineyard in the middle of nowhere. Finally we were in the right trail. It was very nice we sat inside and were served fast. Like very fast. I kind of felt as though they were like, ok here’s dinner…bye!

Saturday afternoon we went whale watching and that was pretty cool. We did see a whale and watched it blow water out the blow hole and dive under the water and come up again. I’d never seen a whale so I though it was pretty cool. Tommy did too.

Next thing we know it’s Sunday morning and we’re off to go home. We were ok with that, it was time. On the way home we hit another outlet mall and we breezed through in about an hour or so. That was fine. We were both ready to get home. I missed my kids and my house. I like going away but at the same time it’s nice to return home afterwards. There’s nothing like your own kitchen to cook dinner and your own dishes to wash lol!

Anniversary

This year Tommy and I celebrate 25 years of marriage. We’ve been together probably close to over 30 years but married when we were 25 years old. I had graduated nursing school the year before. We had a long engagement because Tommy had proposed when I was in nursing school and he promised my father we would wait until I graduated. Yes, he asked my dad for his blessing. Sweet. My father gave his blessing and also told Tommy, “No returns”. Love my dad.

So I wasn’t returned to my Dad and I’m blessed to have spent the last 25 years with this man. We met at 15 but didn’t begin dating until we were 17ish. We were friends between the time we met and the time we were a couple. We went to concerts with a great group of friends, went to the movies, the beach, that crazy water park in NJ called Action Park. We also went to a lot of parties. We had a really great group of friends that we hung out with and did things with. It was a really fun time.

I remember laying on the beach in Maui with Tommy when we were on our honeymoon. We were saying how we wanted to return to Hawaii, “maybe for our 20th anniversary,” we said. Never knowing how fast 20 years would go by. For our 25th we wanted to go away someplace special and we even contemplated Hawaii, but it’s so far and the jet lag is a bitch. So we discussed Aruba, the Grand Canyon, I cant remember where else. But… the world had other plans.

We had an incredible celebration last week with our girls and Alyssa’s fiancée Sam. Lobster tails and steak for dinner, great wine and chocolate mousse cheesecake. We reminisced about Hawaii, it’s funny the things you never forget. We started our honeymoon on Maui which was incredible. Then we traveled to the “big island” where we booked at this seemingly empty, huge beautiful hotel where we were promptly approached to buy drugs. We were appalled I mean we could get that at home! So we hightailed it out of there to some bargain motel and called the resort in Maui begging the concierge for a room to finish out our honeymoon there. We were so lucky; They had a room! We booked the flight back to Maui and got off the big island quickly. It was an adventure but we had such a great time.

So 25 years later and here we are. I still love this guy and he loves me. It’s really cool that we are together as long as we are after all the trials and seasons that have passed. I can’t imagine myself with anyone else. I mean Tommy really gets me. And we laugh together. He can make me laugh as much now as he did when we were teens. He’s very quick witted and comes up with good ones no matter what the situation, even when it’s not supposed to be funny, but you gotta laugh.

Here’s to the next 25!

School is Closed

In accordance with the city rules they have closed my school for two weeks due to a certain number of Covid cases. I was already off from work for half of those two weeks.

After being a stay at home mom for years and then returning to work full time I can’t lie and say I haven’t been “ok” with staying home. I have had to take a few mornings to get to urgent care and be Covid tested which was negative thank God, but otherwise I’ve been seeing how my house gets along without me. Like I’m a bystander. Alyssa is working remotely so she’s pretty much unavailable during the day except when she comes down from her room for lunch or something in the kitchen. Lelly is taking her college classes at FIT via online forum. Some days she’s very busy with school work, other days not so much. It depends on the day. Samantha is fully remote right now as her high school is closed due to Covid cases present there. She is in a “blended” program where she’s supposed to physically be at school 2 days a week. Right now; no.

I’m having my hair done during what would be work hours. It’s different. The world seems to be on a weird hold. And I don’t like it. Like everyone else I crave normalcy.

I’m also getting school work done quicker than had I been at work. So I’m not complaining at all. I’m still battling that freaking bio chem class, trying to pass, my brain does not work that way no matter how I try and stretch it. Maybe if there were a way to incorporate bio chem to thrift shopping I would be outstanding!

Instagram and The Thrift

I list things to sell on a site called Poshmark. Sometimes it’s my thrifted finds like vintage designer bags or clothes, it really depends on what I find. Right now I have on trend denim for sale; high waisted jeans. Omg…they are sooooo not me. I’ve tried, Lord knows I’ve tried but no; not a good look for me. I don’t know how I wore that style back in the 80’s. My girls however look amazing in high waisted jeans. They’re also 19 and 22 years old. I don’t need to do the math.

Recently Alyssa began an Instagram page called Shoppers Sky. It’s to post thrift finds that we are selling. But it’s difficult getting the page off the ground. I’m not complaining, just telling it like it is.

I will complain about bio chem, yes this class still plaques me. I can’t wait to get to the point where it is over, and I don’t need to make my brain memorized and digest things that it just doesn’t want to.

I enjoy the thrill of the hunt for thrifted finds that I sell. Sometimes I have people request for me to search for things on their own personal wish list. Sometimes I find what they want, sometimes I don’t. You never know what you’ll find at the thrift, but I have found when you put an object “out there” and almost stop looking for it; it shows up! No kidding. That’s what happened when Tommy and Lelly went looking at those chairs that have an egg shape and a base and hang from a hook at the top. To buy one from a store was so, so expensive so we didn’t buy. Two weeks later guess what shows up at the thrift store? Yes!! Two of those chairs. I almost fell over. The Sal Val wanted 150.00 less than retail and the chairs were new! I was so excited to buy one. Score for the thrift store!

Politics

So it looks like we’ll be swearing in a new President come January. I’m ok with that. I am not “into” politics, I never really have been. Sometimes local figures catch my interest because I can usually see their work right in front of me and then I’ll be impressed that someone actually did something. But national politics? Ha, no way! And I won’t talk politics with anyone. Not even my husband and we’re usually on the same page. About a week and a half ago Tommy wanted to talk about the upcoming election. I told him I don’t talk politics. “But I’m your husband!” Nope I wouldn’t budge.

So here we are on the cusp of a new administration. I’m still not talking about him/her/they. I don’t see the point. No one is going to change the other’s mind about where they stand. And people getting so giddy or distraught? I don’t get it. Any one candidate can say they’re going to do A, B, or C. I’m not impressed with any one person until they actually do something they said they would do. And that’s not only on a national level but a local level as well. I think I follow local politicians more closely than national ones.

Thankfully I don’t pick my friends based on their political views. I would say that most of them happen to be like minded but these are lifelong soul sisters and brothers and we rarely if ever talk politics. We don’t avoid the subject it just doesn’t come up.

I have to go, there’s yard sales to get to!

Bio Chem…

This class is getting the best of me. I immensely dislike this class and I hate to admit something like that. I’m not going to say it’s a useless class, there are some lessons that are very useful and I am learning information in a more in depth manner than I was originally taught way back when I was in the associates program. However there are portions of the course that I believe are unnecessary. There I said it. But it’s not up to me to decide what is necessary to learn and what is not.

This college I’m attending has “objective assessments” that is essentially the final exam. They give you more than one chance to pass. However if you do not pass the first time you are placed in “remediation” and expected to do all this review work and homework and meet via phone conference or web conference with available course instructors. This is where I’m at. Remediation. I don’t mind the review work, it’s been very helpful, I wish someone had pointed this out before. But ok we’re here now. I also don’t mind meeting with the course instructors. They’re very smart and they just love bio chem. Sometimes I want to gag but that wouldn’t be nice. Plus I really do need their help. So I’m polite.

I’m hoping to finish up all my review work *and* another pre test this coming week so that I can take the final again and with a whole lot of prayer and Jesus pass this class and put it behind me. If you feel like praying for me go at it I need it!

Shoppers Sky!

I’ve posted before whether it be on Facebook or in part of a blog post that whenever I have a great shopping day its been a “Shopper’s Sky!” My dad used to say that to me whenever I had a great shopping trip. Before he passed I was thrift shopping more and more and he got a real kick out of my finds. He would bring up memories of his mom going to the thrift store and finding him warm coats and jackets and he remembered wearing them until they were totally worn out. My dad also used to say he and I were “frugal” because his mom was Scottish, that Scots were on the cheap side. Well I can vouch for that for certain purchases. Not for the majority of my bags, however I have found high end bags and accessories at the thrift and I use them with the same enthusiasm as those I’ve purchased in the boutique.

So last week my Alyssa mentioned that she follows specific Instagram accounts, people who are selling pre-loves designer accessories and goods, mostly found at the thrift. She asked if we could do the same? I said yes! I would love to do that and share my finds! So we’ve decided to name our Instagram account “Shopper’s Sky”. I love it and couldn’t think of a better name!

So stay tuned and don’t forget to check out Shoppers Sky on Instagram!!

Halloween Huh?

I’m not a big Halloween person, I never really was. Even as a kid. I mean we dressed up every year and gave out candy but the house decorations of years past compared to house decorations of this present time are nothing! I remember my Aunt Marge *loved* Halloween. She had the coolest vintage/antique cards and house decorations ever. She made you want to like Halloween even though it wasn’t really your thing.

So this year with Covid still a concern we weren’t sure if we would get our usual extremely high number of trick or treaters. So we didn’t really buy that much candy and since I’m being honest we ate most of it before the big day arrived. Yesterday morning I was scheduled to take a proctored final on my computer for my online BSN class, “Care of the Elderly.” Things didn’t work out, the online proctor couldn’t access control of my computer for whatever reason so I chucked it in, rescheduled for later that day and headed of to Shoprite; what I usually do on a Saturday morning.

After a usual trip to the Sal Val thrift shop I did some laundry, vacuumed; chores I mainly do on the weekend. Next thing I know there are a ton and I mean a ton of trick or treaters in my ‘hood. Crazy I tell you. We kept our front door closed so people wouldn’t come to us, but that didn’t stop our lunatic, anxiety filled, barking dog Lola from being herself and barking crazily at anyone who had the nerve to walk past our house. Insane I tell you; and she’s medicated with a prescription from the vet.

Next thing I knew it was 4:00pm and time for my test. Again the proctor had an issue with my computer so thankfully Lelly was still home and I was able to use her’s. I was in Alyssa’s room in the attic and Lola was barking and barking. Crazy hound. I managed to work and finish the exam.

Aaaaaaand I passed!!! I was so, so excited. I finished the test not knowing which way it was going to go; pass or fail… I didn’t feel confident either way. One more class closer to finishing!!