I Can't "GIVE" My Daughter Away...

With less than a month to go until Caitlin's wedding, I could tell that Robby was becoming very introspective about the whole affair.  Although he wasn't saying much about the wedding or her moving to Cleveland, I could just tell that this was not going to be easy for him..."giving" his daughter away to another man.

We were home by ourselves one evening and "Father of the Bride" came on television.  I love that show but considering we were in the middle of a wedding ourselves, I was not about to suggest we watch it.  Robby, however, clicked on the show and before we knew it, we were caught up in George Bank's world of conflicting feelings about losing his own daughter.  At the end of the show, I realized just how difficult Caitlin's special day was going to be for her dad.

As the show began to come to an end, Robby sat up on the couch and although his eyes were glistening with tears, he made a statement in very firm resolve:  "I am not 'giving' my daughter away."  Hmmm...I thought just a moment before replying because I knew that he was not joking.  When I did speak, I asked exactly what he meant.  He told me that he shouldn't be expected to "give" one of his children away; he had not "given" his boys away and he definitely was not "giving" his daughter away.  OK...so, I had a little work to do here.  I said, "So, when the pastor asks, 'Who gives this woman..."  He said, "He better not ask me that question because I will say, "Not me; I'm not 'giving' my child away."  Well...I officially had my hands full!

Having not grown up with a father, I find the relationship between a father and his children fascinating.  Caitlin will be 23 years old this year and I often times still find her sitting in his lap with her arms around his neck.  As the wedding day neared, I knew he was beginning to not only think about her getting married, but also moving away to Cleveland.  Up until now, she has always tried to make it home from college on the weekends, spending time with us.  Reality was setting in.  I thought about his statement and came up with what I thought to be an acceptable solution.  "I understand you not wanting to 'give' your daughter away, so what if we just get the pastor to say:  "Who "presents" this woman for marriage?"  He said that would be OK...but just don't let there be a slip up and the word "give" end up coming out (ANOTHER note to self on my ever growing list...).

I decided to attempt to lighten the mood a little and laughingly suggested that not only he, but all of her brothers should walk her down the aisle together.  OOPS!  I saw a light bulb go off over the top of his head, as he said, "Now THAT'S a GREAT idea!"  Try as I might to turn that light off, I couldn't get it to go out.  Perhaps if I didn't mention it again, he would forget about it?  Well, one thing I know for sure is that when I am seated in the church that day, I will leave Caitlin and her dad in the back, behind a closed door together.  And as they link arms to travel down the aisle for her marriage ceremony, people better have their hankies and tissues in hand.  Because tears will be falling with each footstep as father and daughter make their way to the altar.  And one thing is for certain...Robby will not be 'giving' his little girl away as he embraces her what I am sure will be the longest hug of their lives; he will merely be "presenting" her for marriage...

When You Get A "Call Back" On Your Mammogram...

The first time I got a "Call Back" on my mammogram, fear immediately gripped me and I felt like throwing up.  My heart began to race and I could not stop shaking or crying.  My husband came to my rescue as the strong supportive mate that he is.  When they told me I would have to wait days to have additional tests run, he insisted they do them right away...and he also got the results the same day.  I KNOW...unheard of, huh?  Well, he just has this way about him; he never takes "No" for an answer.  That was two years ago.  I agonizingly went back to the breast center and had more films taken and an ultrasound...waited all day for the results...and was finally relieved to find that everything was OK.  Because of that abnormal mammogram, I had to undergo another one 6 months later and then again another 6 months later.  Last year I did not have a "Call Back", although, I had great anxiety when I had to return for my routine mammogram;  I suppose that will always happen.

Last week I headed back down for my annual mammogram.  After completing the test, the technician told me that I should receive a letter in the mail from my doctor in about two days.  I really didn't think anything about it until I realized that it had been a little longer than that.  I started to call the office, but since my doctor had just retired, I thought perhaps his partner, taking over for him, was just taking a little extra time; truly I never thought this could happen again.

I got up Wednesday morning and had my errands written down and headed out early to get started on them.  My first stop was at the hair salon, where I was getting with my hair dresser to decide what hair style I would wear to Caitlin's wedding.  I left there and stopped by the pharmacy and then was on my way to my next stop when my phone rang.  I didn't recognize the number, but that isn't unusual since I don't have everybody's name programmed in my phone.  I said, "Hello" and that's when my whole day stopped...

It was the doctor's office.  They told me that the report had come back on my mammogram and they needed to take some more films.  I was in shock!  I asked what the report said and, of course, didn't understand what she was telling me.  They could schedule me a WEEK from today.  A WEEK?!  The nurse told me she realized that was a Friday and I would most likely not get the results until the following Monday; "I know that will make for a long weekend", she said.  Suddenly I became more than shocked and more than sad...I became angry as I told her that was the day before my daughter was to graduate from college in Texas.  YES!...My weekend with my family for this special event WOULD be ruined.  I know that I was "Shooting the Messenger" so to speak, but I was distraught.  If you have ever been there, you know what I am talking about.  If you haven't, I pray that you never have to experience that feeling.

I called Robby and promptly fell apart; this was a repeat of two years ago.  David, my son who graduates from medical school in less than a month was in town also.  They put their heads together, Robby trying to get me an earlier test date and David trying to talk to me clinically about what the problem most likely was (he had done a clinical rotation in radiology).  No matter what anyone said, I was still very upset.  David eventually called the radiologist he had worked with and asked him if he could not only review all of my previous mammograms and ultrasound film but also do my additional tests the following day.  He agreed and we got busy having the breast center copy all of my films to a disk to take him.  Oh...did I mention that this doctor is in Mississippi?  Yep!  We would be picking the disk up at 8 a.m. and then heading over to have my tests done 4 hours from my home.

I didn't know what the outcome would be.  I prayed fervently that everything would be fine like before.  Whatever happened, there would be two things that were for certain:  1.  I would leave the following day with the results and 2.  I would be using a breast specialty center that a friend of mine uses and recommended in Dallas for all of my future breast screenings.  These centers do ALL necessary testing in one day AND give you your results; there is no waiting for other appointments or the reading of results.  And part of the fear of getting a "Call Back" is the waiting.  Waiting causes your mind to think of every worse case scenario there is. 

I went to bed early the night before and did not sleep well.  Robby, David and I got up early and headed to Mississippi.  Four hours is a long time to ride and think; the ride was quiet on my end.  I put my earphones in my ears and listened to my i-pod most of the way there.  As I turned inward, I realized that my guys were handling my silence OK, but so wanted me to talk to them; I just couldn't. I cannot explain the thoughts that go through one's mind when something like this happens.

We reached the hospital around 12:30.  David took Robby and me to the cafeteria while he met with the radiologist and my films were reviewed.  Robby got something to eat but I didn't feel like I could get a bite down; I finally agreed to eat part of a cookie.  It wasn't long before David came back to get us and we were on our way to the radiologist's office.  He took one look at me and said, "First, I need you to calm down."  He took me into the room where my films were still up and began to show me two different views.  He and another radiologist had looked at the films and both agreed that the area in question was simply a lymph node that was clearly visible from one of the other views.  I had brought him several years of my films and they said that had always been on there; in their opinion, I did not need additional films or an ultrasound done.  I was relieved; worn out mentally, physically and emotionally, but relieved.

Why do I bother to even tell you this story?  Well, for a couple of reasons:  First, I do believe in having mammogram testing done.  Yes, it is scary and I, personally, have anxiety every time I walk into the clinic.  Second, I want people to be aware that there are call backs done every day that turn out to be OK.  I don't understand why some are done; perhaps some radiologists are erring on the side of caution or maybe they are not having other radiologist double check questionable areas before they make a final judgment.  And third, I want women to know that YOU are in charge of your health care; if you do not like what is going on where you presently are, then change.  Don't stop getting tests done, just change where you are getting the service provided.  There are many options out there, one just has to look for them and choose the one best suited for them.  I am VERY thankful that my situation turned out positive once again.  Do I already have anxiety about next year?  I'm not sure.  But I believe that my choice to seek out a breast center, specializing in breast care will make a huge difference.

What Happens At The Bachelorette Party...

This past week had been a rough one for me.  Friday found me trying to rest and recoup from having some dental surgery.  Caitlin had her Bachelorette/Lingerie Shower party planned in New Orleans on Saturday and I was supposed to attend.

I was actually surprised when Caitlin and her friends asked me to tag along for the party in the first place, however, they did ask and seemed excited that I would be traveling with them to the Big Easy.  By Friday evening I wasn't feeling too bad...except when, while watching television, a terrible storm blew through with hail and high winds, knocking a huge tree down on my fence and tearing up my beautiful French courtyard (ugh...).

Yea...Lovely, right?!  Well, now I was pretty glad that I would be leaving town so I wouldn't have to look at that mess the next day. 

When we woke up Saturday morning to leave, a cold front had blown in with that storm the night before and after making a few wardrobe adjustments, we got on the road.  Caitlin, her maid of honor, Sarah and I were traveling together, everyone else would meet us at the hotel.

The lingerie shower was at 5:30, before we were to head out for dinner.  The girls did a great job decorating with pink and black...

The girls even made Caitlin a sash, which she wore all evening long...

Now that Caitlin looked like the "Queen of the Party", it was time for her to open her packages...

After the gifts were all opened, we set out for dinner at Lucy's, a Mexican restaurant about two blocks down the street from our hotel...

After dinner, the girls dropped me back off at the hotel; I wasn't going to hit the streets with them for the rest of the party...this chick was hitting the hay!  I did, however, send my camera with them to take some more shots of the party continuing; here are a few of those...

Here's Caitlin with her "Sorority Family"

 And high school friends

 The sister-in-laws were in attendance too

There were other pictures taken and it looked to me like the girls had a GREAT time.  However, we all know one important thing about Bachelorette Parties..."What Happens At The Bachelorette Party...STAYS At The Bachelorette Party"!!!

Now that we have checked this off of our "To-Do List", it is on to the final sprint in this race toward the wedding day...ONE MONTH TO GO!  (Heaven help me...)


Dental Implants...NOT A "Quick Fix" (sigh...)

Although I told myself I was not going to sit around and worry about having those tooth implants put in, I couldn't help it.  I sat there all evening and dreaded the procedure.  I worried about not getting an IV; would I be too aware of what was going on?  I worried about taking 3 Ativan before the procedure; could taking that much harm me?  And what if they knocked me out so much that Robby had to physically carry me in the office that morning?  I wasn't so sure he could do that any more; I didn't want him to throw his back out.  I worried, worried...and worried some more.

When I got up at 5 a.m., my tummy already had butterflies in it and I was dreading that 2 hour drive to have my dental work done.  I was supposed to take my 3 Ativan 1 one before arriving at the office.  The reason this worried me so much is because I had only ever take 1/2 of those tablets whenever I felt myself having an anxiety attack.  So, as we neared the halfway point to the office, I asked Robby to pull over at a gas station so I could use the bathroom; I thought that after taking all of that medication, I might not be able to do so later.  When I got back into the car, I decided that I would start out only taking 2 pills and see how that did and then take the third one.

By the time we arrived at the office, my head was bobbing a bit and I can say that anxiety could not be found anywhere.  Robby and the receptionist had to help me back to the treatment room where by that point I could barely keep my eyes open.  I opened them once and looked strangely at Robby.  He asked, "Are there two of me?"  I nodded, put my earphones in and programmed my i-pod and  promptly fell asleep.

From time to time, people would come in and out of the room to work on me and I did whatever they told me to do.  But mostly I slept.  Suddenly, I wondered where Robby had gone.  I turned my music off and texted him to find out where he was.  He said he would be back soon.  When he got back, they were cleaning me up to leave and I asked what time it was; I had been there for 4 HOURS! That's when I was able to understand what they had been doing.  There was a lot of work to be done in there and there was no way it could  all be completed in one visit for several reasons.  I had that party for Caitlin on Saturday in New Orleans that I was hoping to attend and my doctor was going to be out of town the entire next week; he didn't want me to be in a lot of pain or have complications without him being in town.  That is when he told me what all he HAD repaired and he had also made a temporary bridge of teeth that he cemented in for me to make it until the wedding (Whew!...).  Then, I got the rest of the news...

The week after the wedding was going to find me back in his office to have a bone graph done.  YEA...That kinda freaks me out!  But when the tooth was originally pulled, part of the bone came out with it.  So, the bone graph would be part of this entire process.  It would have to heal for several months and then I would return for part 3 of this little project.  After the bone graph heals, I will go back in and have the posts implanted into the bone.  And once again...I will have to wait for those to heal before getting the actual teeth placed in.  Final expected date of completion?...AUGUST!

WOW!...When I do it, I really do it BIG, don't I?  Well, the process had begun and all I can do is go forward from here.  Robby drove me home, while I slept the entire way.  He stopped and picked up my pain meds just in time too.  And sweet fella that he is, he also stopped and bought me a cup of frozen yogurt.  I plan on resting and taking my meds today and tomorrow and HOPEFULLY I will be able to make that little party on Saturday down in the BIG EASY!

Please Excuse The Rant...But I've Had A BAD Day!

Some days it seems like everything just keeps going downhill. Today was one of those days for me.  It really didn't start out that way, other than the fact that my day was going to start out with a dentist appointment at 9 a.m.  Although I'm not that fond of going to the dentist...OK, actually HATE it...today I would not be having a procedure done.  A crown had loosened up and I just needed to have it cemented back down.  Knowing this, I walked into the office without all of the anxiety I usually possess upon entering.  However, by the time I walked out my day had already done a turn around for the worse...and it was only 10 0'clock.

The crown that I thought could merely be re-cemented turned out to be a bridge that could not be repaired.  My dentist, matter of factly, stated that I needed to have two dental implants done.  WHAT?!  OH CRAP!!!  He held up the piece he had taken out of my mouth and that's when I realized that I now had a space back there with NO TEETH!  Panic-stricken, I told him that my daughter was getting married in one month...what was I going to do?!  He told me that I needed to have those implants surgically put in, but that they would have to heal before the new teeth could be put in.  UGH...could I have something temporary?  That was a possibility, but now my anxiety was really beginning to take over and I found it difficult to breathe; I needed to get out of there before I burst into tears.  IMPLANTS?...SURGERY?  OH MY GOSH...Saturday was Caitlin's Bachelorette party and lingerie shower in New Orleans. (sigh...)

When I got into my car, I DID start crying.  I couldn't believe my dentist visit had turned out like this.  I immediately dialed a specialist in Shreveport to see is he could handle putting those implants in for me.  He assured me that he could do them right away...tomorrow at 8 a.m.  He also reminded me that this was a surgical procedure and I would need to be somewhat sedated and have someone to drive me.  I told him that I realized that, as my anxiety level rose even more.  I set the appointment and drove straight to Robby's office where I fell apart.  He cancelled his Thursday appointments so he could drive me.  I put four boxes of wedding invitations that had to be sealed and mailed in the office and headed off to my next appointment...my annual mammogram. 

As the technician performed my mammogram, she kept saying, "I'm sorry if that's uncomfortable" and all I could think about was those dental implants and having screws put into my bone and how much MORE that was going to hurt than the mammogram I was presently having.  I got dressed and headed back to the office to seal those invitations...284 of them.  As I came to the end of sealing them, I was still upset about having those dental implants and as I passed through the office kitchen I noticed some cookies...I took one; comfort food.  HEY!  I was stressed and probably wouldn't be able to eat anything solid for days.  I loaded all of the boxes of invitations up in my car and headed for the post office.

Robby has always had this little saying he used to tell our kids:  "Nothing good ever happens after midnight."  In recent years, I have added another saying..."Nothing good ever happens at the post office, either."  Let me explain.  One year, every time I went to the post office, it seemed that someone had run their car right over the sidewalk and into the brick wall...I'm NOT kidding.  And then there is the line that ALWAYS stretches to the door and noticing that fact, one of the employees will shut their window down and go take a break.  There is a drive thru window that one could go through to keep from having to stand in that long line...except it is ALWAYS CLOSED!  So, the previous week, I had stood in that line to get something and then asked the clerk if I brought all of my invitations down there the next week, could they stamp them for me?  He said, "Sure; just don't bring them on Monday or Tuesday because of taxes."  GREAT!  Wednesday would be fine with me if I didn't have to stamp all of those invitations.  And so I walked in to the post office with boxes of invitations teetering in my arms and WOW...there was no line (THAT'S when I should have known SOMETHING was going to go wrong...).  I walked up there and stated that someone told me I could bring my invitations down and they could run them through a stamp machine.  The two clerks looked at each other confused and the woman said, "WHO told you that?"  Hmmm...I didn't like her tone of voice, but replied, "The clerk that works on the other end."  They looked at each other again and she said, "YOU must have misunderstood because we don't have any machine to stamp those with."  OK...so, the hair began to stand up on the back of my neck now as I said, "I did NOT misunderstand, but I sure wish I had known I was going to have to hand stamp these...I would have done THAT on Monday!"  Then, that very unpleasant lady reached into one of the boxes and felt the piece we had tied around the invitation and said, "Those will cost EXTRA!"  CRAP!!!  I had already payed the newly inflated price of 44 cents for each RSVP post card and now I was going to have to pay 65 for each invitation.  I grabbed my stamps and boxes and announced that I would be sitting in my car HAND STAMPING my invitations!

After FINALLY leaving the post office, I headed home.  In the distance I saw Sonic.  I wheeled in and got a Diet Cherry Limeade...HEY!  I was STILL stressed out and it WAS diet after all.  So, upon making it home I decided to put my feet up and attempt to not think about those tooth implants any more today.  By this time tomorrow, it would all be over with and I would hopefully either be asleep or comfortable on pain medication.  Thinking about how things are going to be sometimes makes it worse.  I have a tendency to make myself sick just THINKING about what something will be like.  So...I might not be on here tomorrow to let you know what it's like having tooth implants done, but soon, I hope...WISH ME LUCK!

Hey, Politicians...Leave Us Moms Alone!

I don't write much about politics, but when Hilary Rosen attacked Ann Romney for her decision to stay at home and raise her five boys, I became very disturbed.  Politics and Washington have tried to drive a wedge between everyone with opposing views and NOW they are trying to drive one between moms.

Moms, don't let them do it.  We, as mothers, should stand firm and reject this notion that one type of mother is better or more valuable than the other.  We are all mothers...we are a diverse lot.  We are different individuals who mother differently, but one thing is for certain...we should be able to band together and not attack one another for our differences or life choices for that matter.

Mothers, of all people, should realize that our job is difficult enough without allowing some outside force to come between us and drive us apart.  I think that Hilary Rosen's words about Ann Romney were nothing more than an ugly attempt to do just that.  Just because Mrs. Romney was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with her boys does not mean that she does not and cannot feel the pain of other women not so fortunate.  Because "she" did not personally struggle with finances does not mean that she did not struggle with other issues regarding the rearing of her family or was not acquainted with those who were struggling financially.  We do not know these things, so how can one judge her?  To  attack her for wanting and choosing to stay at home with her children is despicable.  I'm sure that she could have "chosen" to work outside of the home if she wanted to; there are many powerful, professional mothers who do so.  But to make her feel unworthy, guilty and out of touch with other women because she did so is just plain mean spirited.

I have been a working mother, a stay at home mother and a mother who worked at my home to make a few extra bucks while staying at home with my children.  I went back to college while I was a mother of four and felt bad every day I had to leave my children with someone else.  Mothers (stay at home or outside workers...) have enough pressure on them without politicians getting involved.  We should be "one", supporting each other in whatever we must do for the sake of our children and families.

Here is what I think about mothers...ALL MOTHERS:
We  physically labor to bring our children into the world.  Look into their eyes and instantly fall in love.  Many of us are drawn to give up our jobs and take on the task of staying at home and raising those children.  But, alas, financial obligations make that impossible.  We do what we have to do; find someone to care for our children and return to work.  We do this because we love our children and our family and we do what we must do; it is required of us.  We are a mother now and when we became a mother we left "self" behind.  Some of us decide to give our outside job up and stay at home with our children.  For some, it may be an easy decision; there are no financial worries.  For others (like I was...), it will be a financial sacrifice.  There will be no extras for mom; no manicures, new outfits or even dinners out.  This mother has also found that she has died to "self".  Mothers are both "different" and the "same".  We love our children, families and others.  We are giving, caring individuals who attempt to pass these traits on to our offspring.  We tell them that "Words hurt", so choose them wisely.  So, I implore you to remember these things when outsiders in the political world attempt to pull us apart and divide us.  Remember what our duties are and where our loyalties lie; within our own families.  Do what you have taught your own children to do.  Do NOT judge a book by its cover, do NO bully other people because of their differences, stand up for the choices you make, but respect the choices of others.  We ARE mothers; it is OUR responsibility to teach the world a thing or two about living differently with respect for others.

Books I Am Reading Or Have Read: The Stephanie Plum Series

For those of you who have never read the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich just let me tell you that you do NOT know what you are missing!  These books are numbered but continue with the same characters that one cannot help but laugh at, love and silently admit to having family members or friends just like them. 

I read a lot of pretty intense novels but when I want to lighten my mood, I reach for a Stephanie Plum novel.  Such was the case when I was recently in Florida and Key West.  The first day I was on the beach I finished "Shanghai Girls" and then immediately clicked on "Eleven on Top" by Janet Evanovich, quickly followed by, "Twelve Sharp".

One of the things that I like so much about these books is the fact that they are such quick reads; perfect for the beach.  Another thing is...well, Stephanie Plum, herself.  Stephanie is the main character who is a bond enforcement agent (Bounty hunter...), working alongside some pretty funny characters.  Evanovich gives such a vivid picture of these characters that I was a little disappointed by the movie that recently came out of her first book, "One for the Money".  That is why I am once again suggesting that you READ THE BOOKS to get the full enjoyment out of Stephanie Plum and her  antics.

Stephanie is always just barely getting by so she is always attempting to apprehend the next individual who has failed to make their court appearance.  She carries all of the right equipment but somehow something always goes wrong and she ends up being the one at the wrong end of the stun gun, while chaos surrounds her very existence. Blowing up cars and buildings and basically just being in the wrong place at the wrong time with some pretty quirky people she is desperately trying to apprehend, is only a part of Stephanie's daily life adventure.

Some more of the colorful characters in Stephanie's life include her Italian parents and Grandma Mazur.  Grandma is a one spunky gal who lives with Stephanie's mom and dad. They live in New Jersey in the Burg.  The Burg is one of those old neighborhoods where people have been living their entire lives.  The houses all look about the same and it is a community where everybody knows everybody's business.   Grandma's favorite social activity is going to funeral home viewings!  And believe me...these are no ordinary viewing for Grandma; she has been known to knock a casket over just to get a peek at the dearly departed when it has been closed!  She drives Stephanie's mom and dad nuts, but I KNOW that some of you might have someone a little like her hanging around in YOUR family tree too.

And what story would complete without TWO men in one's life?  First, there is Joe Morelli, Stephanie's on again off again boy friend.  She has know him since they were in school and they reconnected.  Joe is a manly man; Italian, good looking and a cop in the Trenton area.  He tries to keep Stephanie safe and out of trouble but that is a big ticket to fill.  That's where "Man # 2" comes into play; Ranger.  Ranger is the dark, mysterious guy who dresses all in black and has a security squad of his own.  Ranger and Stephanie met while Ranger was also working for the bond enforcement agency and he also feels compelled to keep her out of harm's way. 

I also love the fact that Stephanie really knows how to handle the stress of her job.  She does what any stressed out woman would do...reach for the sweets!  Every day of her life, she can be found scraping up her spare change to get a doughnut, tasty cake or even birthday cakes left at the bakery with other people's names on them. It doesn't matter what the sweet might be as long as it takes the pain of the position she is in away...if only for a moment.

Stephanie has a few constant companions who keep her company while she tries to stay afloat daily; Rex is her pet hamster and Lula is the ex-prostitute turned file clerk.  Lula is a larger than life (literally...) figure.  She stands out not only because of her boisterous demeanor, but also the manner in which she dresses; florescent spandex...on a 300 pound woman!  This cast of quirky characters keep a smile on the reader's face with each turn of the page; see why I think it is the perfect light read for summertime (or any time...)?

If you are looking for a good book to read on the beach or just something to lighten your mood, let me recommend that you start reading the Stephanie Plum Series; they are sure to tickle your funny bone!  I am currently reading "Lean Mean Thirteen" and there are 18 books total, so get started today.  But BEWARE...They are very addictive!

                                                                       HAPPY READING!

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Are Females Born With Innate Cravings For "Comfort Food"? (aka: Chocolate)

I know that you have all seen that pithy little saying, "STRESSED spelled backwards is DESSERTS".  Do you think that this is a mere coincidence?  I think NOT!

From the time we are born, we seek comfort.  As a baby and toddler it is often a pacifier, thumb or blanket.   Once sweets have been introduced to a child, there is nothing that will satisfy like them.  And as a young girl reaches puberty...well, it's CHOCOLATE.  And from there out, chocolate remains the favorite "comfort" food that most women go to whenever they have a grueling day at work, school or a relationship problems.  OK... Basically, whenever the moon and stars are not perfectly aligned and things are not going as planned; THAT'S when they reach for the CHOCOLATE.

I almost never order dessert because I know that it is the ENEMY; of my hips that is.  That is the thing about comfort food.  It really DOES comfort you for the moment, but then that feeling of remorse..."What have I done?!"... almost immediately takes over.  However, when I do want a dessert, I suggest that Robby and I get one to share and then I hold to my rule to only eat a small portion...and NEVER eat the last bite (this makes me feel a little less guilty...go figure!).  But chocolate...now THAT is the true "comfort food" that most women reach for after a tough day or "that time of the month".

When Robby and I were in Miami the last time, we ate at this wonderful restaurant, Houston's.  As I was looking for some healthy choice for dinner, I spotted it...the Hot Chocolate Brownie, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and then drizzled with caramel.  I made my dinner choice and as the waitress walked away I looked Robby in the eye and said, "And I will be having that brownie for dessert...for us to share, of course."  Another thing I love about Robby is that he KNOWS when to just shake his head OK.  I could tell he was a little surprised that I wanted that dessert, but it was just CALLING MY NAME!  Girls, you know how that is.  It also reminded me of another time when my husband was called to go for a "Chocolate Run" for an adolescent girl and he did not bat an eye or even consider saying no.
We were counselors for a church youth camp one year; I was the sponsor for a group of the girls and Robby was one for the boys.  It was during free time that evening that a group of the girls decided to head over to where snacks were being served.  One girl in particular was on a mission; she said she HAD TO HAVE CHOCOLATE.  Well, as fate would have it, we got there just after they had closed up shop.  This young girl turned around with a look that was a cross between desperation and determination and emphatically said, "It is "That time of the month" and I HAVE TO HAVE CHOCOLATE!!!"  We all just stared at her (knowing her pain...) and then all eyes flew to the face of my husband (who had to keys to the van...and thus the ability to "Get Chocolate").  Robby looked into the eyes of all those females and did the only thing he could do; he pulled out the van keys and said, "Come on...we're going to get chocolate."  Well, he made MAJOR brownie points (no pun intended...) that night with woman around the world...OK, the women that were there at the time.

And so, as I made that pronouncement the I would be ordering that "Hot Brownie with Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce", I didn't care about my work-out plan or healthy eating or fitting perfectly into my mother-of-the-bride dress for the wedding...I just knew that I HAD  TO HAVE THAT CHOCOLATE!  And when it arrived it was SO YUMMY that I made an absolute fool out of myself moaning in pleasure and making obscene facial expressions with each bite that I took.  Oh, I adhered to my rules about sharing the dessert with my husband, but I believe that I may have broken the one about allowing him to have the last bite; I believe he thought I was going to raise the bowl to my mouth and start licking the last drops out of it.  I'm not sure why women have such an addiction and craving for chocolate to comfort and soothe them.  I suppose it really could be that theory I have about it being innate; I could conduct a study to prove it (any volunteers?)   Oh well, whatever the reason, I don't know a woman out there who does not LOVE and at times CRAVE chocolate.  That hot chocolate brownie thing I had was well worth EVERY sit-up I had to do afterwards!

WOW! Twice In One Week...MORE FREE SAMPLES!!!

Wow!  Twice in one week...I've got a few more FREE SAMPLES to share with you from our friends at Mommy Page.  Just click on the links below for the samples you want.  Remember, supplies are limited...CLICK FAST! 

Garnier Moisturizer


MORE FREE SAMPLES...Get Them While They Last!!!

As a "Mommy Page Ambassador", I am happy to pass a few more FREE SAMPLES your way again!  Just click on the links below and grab them wile supplies last!!!

Soft Lips (this sample usually is gone fairly quickly) 
Tums Free Sample  (note that they must be a Rite Aid Wellness member to request this one)

A "Vintage Bridal Photo Shoot" Taken Just A Bit Over The Top!

Friday morning as I prepared to once again leave for Dallas, to pick up Caitlin's wedding dresses and have her Bridal photos taken, I thought, "I once liked to 'Do It Myself'".  I was afraid that this wedding had perhaps drained every one of those creative juices from my body.  And if it had, I knew right where it had transfused them...to my daughter!

When Caitlin said she had a "few" items put together for me to bring for her "Vintage Bridal Photo Shoot" to Dallas, I though, "How much could it actually be?"  She had sent me to my mother's house to collect an old ladder and some wooden fruit crates from the 1930's.  I had Robby put the back seat of my vehicle down to make room for the length of the ladder and then went upstairs to see what else was left to pack.  When I got up there I was AMAZED at the amount of items that she had set aside for me to bring!  I got everything in the vehicle, but as I stood back to look at it I wondered where we would put our luggage...or the two wedding dresses for that matter!

Luckily I was able to close the back to my vehicle and then I headed off to Marshall to pick Caitlin up and head straight to Dallas for her final fitting on her wedding dresses.  The alterations lady once again met us at our hotel room...at 9 p.m.!  We completed the fittings by 10...she was out...and we were the proud of owners of two beautiful wedding gowns, just waiting to be photographed the next day!  I asked Caitlin what time this photo shoot was going to take place and she said somewhere around 4 or 4:30 p.m.  Good!  That would mean we could sleep in; not have to rush (ahhh...).  Then I remembered that our coordinator (and best friend...) had sent me a message earlier in the week telling me that the temperature was predicted to climb to 90 degrees!  Surely not...

Well, those weather folks sure do know their business of predicting weather; it was about 87 degrees when we arrived for our OUTDOOR photo shoot!  Mentally, I had told myself that it was a "Springtime 87 degrees"...OK, 87 degrees is 87 degrees and by the time I had carried the first load of vintage props up the hill and begun to help set things up, sweat was DRIPPING from my body!  We told Caitlin to just sit in the car with the air running until everything was set up and then we would get her so she could put the first dress on.  In the meantime, I was back at the site sweating like a hog and climbing on the unstable, vintage ladder to get something out of a tree when I reached out to steady myself and got a HUGE thorn stuck in my thumb!  I jerked it out as I looked at the tree limbs and they were covered with these huge thorns.  CRAP!  I remembered my mother telling my something about poisonous thorns; I sure hoped these weren't them.  The photographer had gone home to get an ice chest of bottled water (before we all passed out from dehydration...) and I headed back down to the air conditioned car to find a needle to remove the remnants of that possibly poisonous thorn.

The photo sites were set up, the lighting was getting good, it was finally about 85 degrees in the shade now so we began to get Caitlin dressed for her photos.  I truly wish I could post the vintage scenes we set up and even the photos I took of her, however, she has sworn us all to secrecy so please tune back in the first week of June to see photos from this beautiful photo shoot.  Although we were itching from the bugs and grass out in the field we were allergic to, sweating through the heat and even coughing a bit at the end of the day, I must say (as did the photographer...) that this was the most unique and beautiful bridal shoot I have ever seen!  Caitlin not only had two dresses, but also many different head pieces and three bouquets.  I sat there on a sheet, wondering if I would die from the heat or the poisonous thorn first.  But there was one thing I knew...all of the effort and thought that Caitlin had put into these photos had been well worth it.  This photo shoot had given me just a glimpse of what her wedding day would look like once every idea she had was implemented.

It was 7 p.m. by the time the photo sessions was complete and we got Caitlin out of her wedding gown and bagged both of them up.  That's when I looked around and realized that all of that stuff we had packed up the hill for the shoot had to be packed up and taken back down the hill (sigh...).  We finally got it all packed back up and headed off to eat dinner before making it back to our hotel room. 

When we made it back to our room, we quickly got our showers and hopefully washed any bugs down the drain that were still clinging to our sweat-dried bodies.  We each took an antihistamine and hit the bed.  Needless to say, I immediately fell into a deep sleep.  Sunday I would have to made the long trek back to Louisiana.  But I was excited that we had checked another task off of our list.  This put us just one step closer to Caitlin's special day.  And now, I was truly excited to see how all of the decorations that had taken residence on the top floor of my home were going to look once strategically placed for the wedding and reception.  OK...RIGHT NOW, I am sorta burned out on "Doing it Myself", but I must admit that the vision is BEAUTIFUL and I'm sure will be worth all of the effort in the end...