Tuesday, May 1, 2018

BaBa Blooms

My plants are Blooming.

They want to go outside but we need to have our  last May snow. Its still to cold here at night to put them outside. 

This plant is also planted in my Mom's front yard, where they have thrived in the humidity. However they will grow anywhere, even out of a plastic bag on the floor. Where they started to grow before even planting them. Those bulbs are all from a plant my Great Grandmother grown (we called her BaBa). She would plant them in the ground each summer and pot them each winter. I would really like to know why she did this? I guess my mom kind of inherited the plant, well really she actually probably saved it from the trash or a slow death from a Pennsylvania winter. 

Even when I lived over seas as a teen my Mom had a good friend take care of her Grandma's plant for over 3 years. It was still alive when she returned and it was returned to her. It was another ten plus years before it was removed from its pot. Now it grows so large outside year round it needs to be trimmed.and my Mom has planted many of them. This year I will separate the ones with multiple bulbs and do some repotting. I look forward to Spring. 

Happy May. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Leave a Tip or Two

I just read that the top 3 cruise lines will be raising their daily "gratuities". These fees are gratuities that are split between the stewardess, waiter, room service delivery guy, and/ or the towel dude, and a few others. Of course they can be male or female.

At first I was thinking $3 is a little too much but if the service is top notch they deserve it. We are very clean and I'm a freak about keeping our room organized. Like my life it's organized chaos. The most we need is towels, a vacuum, and a wipe down. We are the easy room. I actually saw multiple stewards exiting a room with a face mask on. I would say a little prayer for them as I walked by. Some people are disgusting and we know this. No dollar amount could get me in there to clean up after them. Being a stewardess/ steward is a hard job. I once was told they had to clean a bowel movement out of a sink. Gross! And you don't want to tip?

If you want to be cheap than I suggest you find something other to do than cruise.

On our last day at sea, I met some people who told me they went to guest services and had their tips removed. I mostly think it was because they got nicer as they got drunker and tipped, then at the end of the cruise they were over budget. That is so rude! Straight ignorance.

You probably got served first from your tips and you take them back? Some people are just morons. I paid my 18% and left a tip each day to someone. When we walked up to a packed bar we would be noticed and served right away. The drinks got stronger, the staff got friendlier. Everyone called my husband by name.

The men and woman working on a cruise ship are paid nickels and pennies. They don't see their families for months and never get to travel like we do. My daughter always leaves a note and picture, plus we leave a tip of $10 or more depending on the service. Our steward barely touched our clean room but when I needed a towel he was on it. He was no Ms. Karen (our first stewardess) but he was great. It's really just human decency. However, these days so many are lacking this.

Remember cruise ships are registered to foreign countries so they have no minimum wage like an American ship would have. So take care of the people taking care of you. We are all part of the same world. The world is really small, so just think of us all riding in the same big boat.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Lucky in Love

We are far from perfect but I was blessed to meet my soul mate at a very young age. I had no idea we would even end up together, especially since I chased him and he didn't respond. After that I figured he was not meant for me and instead he became my best friend. Not just my insta-boyfriend.

I don't think I tell him enough how Amazing he really is. He is a great Dad and Husband but he's an even better friend. He is the other part of my brain that thinks for me. He is the only person who knows every single embarrassing thing about me, that no one knows. He makes me feel good about myself, my body, and my crazy up and down weight. He never once picked on my weight and has said I was beautiful at 200 pounds and 135 pounds. Plus every crazy number in-between.

He is about to start a new chapter in his life and I want the world to know how proud I am of him. I know he is about to go far and change our lives. He is about to attend college full time, for the first time. 

No matter what we have been through, we never give up. We have had a crazy ride. A crazy ride that probably will never stop, but I am on it forever, and okay to never get off. We are not perfect but we are an EQUAL TEAM.
Just remember to "Never leave your Wingman behind"!

Almost 20 years later and he still takes my breath away. 

Reach for the stars baby, I'll be behind you all the way! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Father's Day - Pictures on Gold Giveaway and Review

So what do you get the guy that has it all? 

(This box filled with beautiful jewelry!)

It is almost Father's Day and I know EXACTLY where I am heading for the man that has everything. I headed directly to Pictures On Gold's easy to navigate website. 

My Dad served over 32 years in the U.S. Army and I thought I would give him a new set of Dog Tags.
I think after 32 years, he deserves an upgrade.

I chose the STAINLESS STEEL DOG TAG PENDANT (with a 24" Ball Chain).

It is absolutely gorgeous.

(Or maybe it's just me?)

The beauty of Pictures On Gold's website is the ability to custom order any item and add a photo of your choice. You can also add your on  personalized engraving on the back.


There are so many options to choose from and it can be created from the convenience of your home.
It is so easy to create a beautiful custom piece that your Dad, Husband, or Dad-like role model will enjoy for a life time. 

I own a two beautiful Pictures on Gold pieces. I get compliments everywhere I go.

Let me show you how easy it is to create your pendant. You can create it in 5 simple steps. I like working on my smartphone, so I am going to show you how easy it is to create your custom piece from your phone. I was able to complete the process in five minutes. Of course, choosing the right picture took about five hours. 

First head to PicturesOnGold.com

Step 1:

Decide what item you want to create. The choices are endless so prepare to look over so much beautiful jewelry for another five hours!

Step 2:

Choose your engraving type and add your photo!

Step 3:

Decide what you want the reverse.
This is where you add the engraving.

Step 4:

Choose from a beautiful chain to match.

Step 5:

You can now any special requests.
The best part is the back ground is removed so you photo turns out Amazing!

Now I would like to give you a chance to win a Dog Tag Pendant with the photograph and engraving of your choice.

Leave a comment below, to enter; State what you would have engraved on the back and who you would gift it too.

A winner will picked at random on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
The will receive prize pictures above, will be created just for you!

Please follow Pictures of Gold on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Please subscribe to my blog.

The Winner ( picked at random) is Monique London!


(I received this item free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Breastfeeding from the NICU and Beyond

Getting pregnant was pretty unbelievable. We tried for 8 long years. I remember taking two tests, those fancy digital kind, and they both read Positive. I thought to myself "why did I buy these fancy new age tests?" My husband was asleep on the recliner, after a long hard days work. I was so sure these test did not work properly that I spent 2 hours researching their reviews on line. I still was not convinced. So, finally, I decided to drive to the store and just buy 2 more with the "plus and minus" signs, you know the old school kind. Those two were positive as well. However they had to be wrong because having a baby was everything we wanted and we had been trying so hard. Could this dream be coming true?

When my husband finally woke up, I told him about the tests and how they all showed POSITIVE results! He was in disbelief as well. We both agreed not to tell anyone, and had a unspoken rule, never to use the word "pregnant". It was now banned from our vocabulary and we were not allowed to say the word. Somehow we both felt if we spoke this amazing word out loud, it would not be true. We made an appointment with the doctor the following week.
 I was still sure they were all False Positives. 

I was so wrong. The tests were right! We were 8 weeks pregnant.

My pregnancy was pretty rough from the start. I had a short cervix and was constantly having to have it measured. I had to go in every other week and then as I got further along, every week. I was not allowed to push a full shopping cart, carry my own groceries, carry a laundry baskets, or many other tasks. I sometimes had to wait hours for help, just to remove grocery bags from my car. Of course I took in the cold items myself. I was then put on full pelvic rest. My short cervix was such a worry as my baby grew, I was warned my cervix may have to be stitched shut. Which would land me on bed rest. I decided to follow the doctors orders and eventually I was given the all clear. My cervix started maintaining its size and there was less worry once I passed 28 weeks, since a premature baby has a better chance or survival after this point.
I should of just planned for a preemie, maybe I would of been better prepared.

I had my baby shower at the start of my 33rd weeks, which was a Sunday. The next day I was back at work and all I wanted to do was go home. I just wanted to eat some left over baby shower cake! I still needed and wanted to look through all my gift bags of the cute baby gifts we just received. You know that dream all mom-to-be's have, where they wash everything and put it neatly away? Then they pack a hospital bag? Those were just that, a Dream! I got off work early for a check up at my OB. I was told to rush to the hospital and they would let them know I as on my way. I really was not told much, except that my blood pressure was very high. I had undiagnosed Preeclampsia. My blood pressure was sky high and I was told I would have to stay for 24 hours to be monitored. I only had the clothes on my back and still no cake.

After 24 hours, I was told I would not be leaving and my daughter would have to be delivered soon. My labor was induced that night and I would deliver sometime the next morning. I was given magnesium sulfate to take the swelling in my brain down. This had to be the worst part of the whole experience. It set my brain on fire and I felt like just having a conversation was a struggle. My body spent about 9 hours in labor overnight. The doctor arrived shortly after 6 a.m. and my cervix was at the right size. He used a giant wooden stick to break my water, immediately my daughter leaned on her umbilical cord. Her heart rate started to drop very drastically. I was told to flip over, then flip back. I was so confused. At the same time about ten people enter my hospital room and I here someone shout "GO, GO"! I was rushed in to the operating room and my beautiful teeny daughter was born by emergency c-section with in the next five minutes. My husband just stood in the room. He was not sure what was happening. A few minutes later a lady asked him if he has seen his baby yet. He said no and they brought him in the room where they were working on her. She was blue and they were getting her to breath.

 It was about 18 hours before I was physically capable to visit my daughter In the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I was unable to even touch her, It was very hard just looking at a baby you have been waiting forever to swaddle in your arms. It was 2 days before I could touch her. They did not want to stimulate any part of her body yet that did not need to work.

On Day 2 I woke up feeling a whole lot better. I went to visit my daughter in the NICU and returned to my room for breakfast . I returned to find a very nice hospital grade pump sitting next to my bed. A nurse explained to me that they would be feeding my daughter soon, that she would only need a marble size amount of food. The nurse explained the NICU had a refrigerator where I could store what I pumped and told me where in the NICU it was located. I really wanted to pump. I had every intention on breast feeding. I pumped this little container full and I was proud of myself (see photo below). I was going to do whatever I had to do to make sure she got breast milk. Anything to help her gain weight and be healthy. NICU pumping obviously is common, because I was immediately handed multiple sheets of labels that have a scan bar with your name for storage identification. The sticker is to go go on any bag or container of milk. This way the nurses can feed your baby your milk when you are not there.
Most NICU moms have to pump because breast feeding is not an option and most preemies begin to feed before they can be held or even touched.

 I was told that half of this storage container was used in each feeding, because a preemie at birth only need about a marble size drop of breast milk. This was the size of the containers that they gave me in the begining.

On Day 3 I was finally able to hold her. It was the best day ever. She was so tiny, I was scared. I knew how to hold a baby but not one so tiny and fragile, not one weighing only 3 pounds. It was pure bliss. She was beautiful. I only got to hold her for a few minutes. Since handling had to be kept at a minimum. Daddy had to wait another two days to hold her. 

I pumped as much of possible over the next 3 days I was in the hospital. I thought I had a good supply in the NICU fridge by the time I left. I pumped when I got home. I pumped in the NICU while I was visiting. I pumped in traffic. I pumped everywhere. I was determined to keep up with her feeding. As she grew she was starting to be fed more.

After 35 long days my daughter was released from the hospital. I managed to keep up with her feeding until this day. The following day I had to suppliment with formula. No big deal I thought. I will continue to pump. The NICU had me mixing formula with breast milk to add extra calories from day one. I figured this was a minor setback and I would catch back up. I wanted to master pumping and breast feeding so bad. I tried breastfeeding but never could get her to latch. So I continued to pump. I would pump and pump for over an hour, getting only 14 ml total! I did this for about two weeks. I kept suplimenting with formula. I kept pumping even though I knew it was not working. I blammed myself. I did not want to stop pumping because that would mean I had given up. I pumped for over an hour one morning and got 7 ml total. I told myself this has to stop. I am using more electricity than I am producing milk. I finally gave up and unplugged the pump. 

I beat myself up over everything. I felt like I failed my self and my daughter. I felt like my body had failed me. Looking back I know the only thing I failed was being nice to myself. I wish I could go back in time, I would of let go earlier. Pumping for so long and not producing anything was my sign. I should of given myself a well deserved break. I did just spend 35 long days in the NICU and did not get to sleep with my child or hold her daily to my chest. I was stressed being apart from her. 

All these things do not help milk production. It was not me or my body. It is just the life of a NICU mom. It is normal and is very likely to happen to anyone and even me again. My advice to any new mom struggling with producing milk is the following: 
1.  Do not look around the fridge and compare your milk stash to the mom who has half the freezer full. We are all different, she could have twins, and some breast milk may be donations.
2. Trying was and is what is most important. The colostrum and what ever else is given is better then nothing.
3. Never blame yourself. It is okay to use formula. Not having a baby on your chest does affect your supply.
4. Be nice to yourself. You just had a beautiful baby. There are a million other things to worry about. Running out of breast milk should not be one of them. Worry about what college they will go to or anything else. 

I really want to remind any of you ladies out there, NICU Moms or not, that if you want to stop because of lack of supply it is okay. I look back and say I went from "Big Bust To Dust". There is no need to pump like a mad women to only get drops. It is OKAY to let it go. Take that extra time to cuddle your baby. All our bodies are different and unique.

Before giving birth I was visited twice by lactation specialists who talked to me about breast feeding vs. formula, they really push for breast feeding. I wish they would have visited me in the NICU and helped teach me tips, form and most of all helped us latch. I was to embarrassed to ask for help. Next time around I will go find one and make as many appointments as possible to try and make it work. 
I am honored to share my story as part of the The Honest Company's - Feeding Stories Campaign.

My daughter will be 5 this month. She is smart and healthy​. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day - Honor and Remember

As we celebrate Memorial Day I want to give a huge THANK YOU to our men and women in uniform past and present. Thank You and may God Bless you all. I know the sacrifice you give to our country every day. I know this because I come from a long line of proud Army Soldiers. HOOAH!

I would like to introduce you to my Grandfather. This is SP5 (Spec 5) Charles M. Beaver. He was a soldier and a warrior. He served in 2 wars, WW II and Korea. After 22 years of service he retired in 1965. He was stationed at Valley Forge Army Hospital. (Where my Dad was born.)
He was a father to 4 rambunctious boys and a husband to the best lady I ever knew, my Grandmother Beverly J. Beaver.

Pictured below is my Grandma, and her 4 sons, the littlest boy, is my Dad. They are on their front porch, waiting for a ride to the airport. All 5 of them packed and ready to go to Puerto Rico. My Grandfather just had a heart attack while serving there. This picture is from July 1955. I am sure my Grandmother wanted to pull her hair out. Four young boys and knowing her husband had a heart attack must of weighed heavy on her skinny little heart. 

 I never got to meet my Grandpop Beaver, yet he is still one of my Heroes. He instilled values in his sons; which resulted in many acts of selfless service. I honor and respect this every day. I honor and cherish our military. It was my life. I am grateful for the tradition he passed on. I wish I could of heard his voice and some of his stories. I know his sons honored him by joining the service and serving most of their lives. I know 100% he would of been super proud. I have no doubt he watched over each and every one of them. 
He passed away shortly after my Mom and Dad started dating, in 1969.
He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A great honor for a great man. 

Alongside him his brother also served and was stationed overseas in WWII. My Grandmother would tell me a story about his time in Europe.  She would say "once he was blown open by a Nazi blast. His insides were on the outside. A Nazi soldier came by and put his intestines back in and whatever else was hanging out and bandaged him up. Of course he robbed him but, he saved his life."  I always remember this story as the pure form of human nature. We join the military to protect and serve. Sometimes we are drafted or join because it is what you have to do to survive.  An enemy soldier with a good heart towards humanity showed he could be a good person and a soldier. Never wanting more than to protect and survive (and maybe a few cigarettes, money, a belt, or a knife. This Nazi soldier could of left my Great Uncle to die but he had a heart, conscience and I am sure a belief in God. 

I grew up with a Dad in the Army, well forever, because one thing I know: Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier. In 2009 I was doing some family Genealogy and I was sent the picture below in the left corner of my Grandfather. I was blown away to see a V Corp patch on his sleeve. This picture is taken somewhere in Europe during World War II. My Dad was stationed in Germany and was also in V Corps. I think it was awesome they were in the same unit. My Grandfather would of been super proud knowing his son was in that unit and also a Command Sergeant Major (CSM)! 

Wasn't he a cute little boy?

I was so blessed and lucky to have this soldier walk me down the aisle!!

My Dad was an Amazing soldier. He knew everyone. Even the cleaning lady. He treated everyone with respect and was very hands on. He was old school and had no problem approaching someone in P.T.'s at the grocery store or the PX parking lot. It showed the values of a soldier never stop. No matter if it was a vacation, he was always in "Army Mode". He still is and always will be. It is what we Love about him. He will always be our CSM. (Even if my Mom out ranked him with E-10 status.)

The famous wave. These hand shots only show up in these days in theme park ride photos.

My Dad's last duty station was PEC. I loved it there. I could drive there in one day and they had the best water park. 

All my Uncles (my Dad has 3 older brothers)  served our country as well. They are all retired Army, Army National Guard, or Army Reserves. Combined they have over 116 years in service and 4 combat tours.

Here are the Beaver Boys at Arlington National Cemetery for their mother's burial. 

May 1999

They were blessed to get together again for a Brother Reunion in August 2015.

  • August 2015

My Grandparents are both eternally resting in Arlington National Cemetery. 
If you ever get a chance to visit go sit under the beautiful tree near Area 51, his Marker is 1997.
My Grandmother was also laid to rest on top of him.

The front of the Tombstone has my Grandfathers information inscribed. 

Notice the Shady tree nearby. That is the tree I keep referring too. I find this one of the most beautiful serene places in America. I really want to return, lay out a blanket and just spend some time there. I find it a place of comfort not sadness. I would give my daughter a small flag and teach her about where we are and why we are there. 

 If you or your child ever have a chance to visit. Say hello for me. I do not know when I will ever make it there since I moved so far away. I used to go every few months when I lived in five hours away. 

If you get to visit this grave please take add a rock to the top for me and take a picture. If any rocks remain, please leave them and take a photo as is. I know Arlington is very strict and takes very good care of its cemetery. So I doubt our rocks remain long. If you live nearby and are headed there I would love if you could take a rock for me and place it on their headstone. 

My Dad did this for me on one of his past visits. I hope he stops by this summer and can drop a rock off for me. I always find the best Colorado rock and he will haul it across the country for me. I promise to keep them small. 

Here is my Dad at his Dads grave site.

The back of the tombstone is inscribed with my Grandmother's information.

I know that they are gone and here lies just bones. They continue to live in our memories and our stories. I know we will see them again in heaven. 

I came across two different scripture verses that I thought were good for Memorial Day. I share this with those who lost a loved one and all those buried around my Grandparents. 

John 15:13 - Jesus said to his Disciples "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, a time to die...... a time for war, and a time for peace.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Night Out With The Nuggets

NBA Date Night!

A few Thursdays​ ago I received a call stating I won tickets to a Denver Nuggets Game. I was pretty excited since I have not won much this year and never been to a professional basketball ball game. My husband grew up going to NBA games and seeing the greats like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. (A long time ago, my husband took an NBA towel that belonged to Michael Jordan, but without a picture, it is just a story and a towel :) 

(That's real NBA sweat, gross!)

Upon arrival it was chaos. There are many parking lots all named after Toyota cars. The closer lots are up $35. We circled around unable to find our way to any lots that were $15. My husband spotted a giant park garage right across the street and we parked there for $15. So go straight to the garage instead of circling around for hours. I think it's rigged for you to only find the expensive lots. 

Always take a picture of where you park.

We headed to Will Call to pick up our tickets. The line was massive. There are to windows. A-R and S-Z.
The split in this alphabet did not seem equal by any means. My last name begins with a B. My husband said to go in the short line with the letter of my first name and just be like "oh, I think I'm in the wrong line" while he waited in the correct line. 
I nervously​ tried. I kept looking back at him. He is 20 people away and I'm up next. Nervous, however my husband keeps slipping me the "you got this" smile. I told the guy immediately "I think I'm in the wrong line". He replies "Yes you are" with a laugh. He gets up and gets my tickets for me and tells me to "Enjoy the game". Score! 
My husband is still 15 behind in line. We headed straight to the entrance. 

On the way to Denver I joked that my seats better be row 13 or better. Like I'm some sporting event snob, more like a hard working wiener, I mean winner! I was kind of joking but guess what? 
We got row 13!! I was pretty stocked.
(Row 13 is also Rockies, Coors Silver Seats Row number.)

The Pepsi Center is very exciting. I've never attended an event there. Everything was full of energy! We headed upstairs to go find our seat. I tried getting my hubby in the picture but he's just to tall. A lady asked us if we came from a Rockies game because we had on our Rockies gear. That's how Rockies fans roll, I mean dress.  We do not own any Nuggets gear yet. I'm supposed to get 2 Jersey's​ any day now. 

Of course since I am a giant dork, I had to stop and get a picture​ with the Mascot. A mountain lion named Nugget. I figured I'd never see him so this is my one and only photo opportunity. 

Obviously Pepsi is the major sponsor here. Go figure, it is the Pepsi Center. Even the bathroom has Pepsi everywhere. I figured the faucet were Pepsi too but now I think it's just to mark hot and cold. They looked Pepsi to me. 

When wearing​ your Breckenridge Brewery shirt you must stop and grab a beer for the game. Then pose for your crazy wife. 

After getting snacks and drinks we headed to our section. And look who is waiting for us. He is actually standing at our row blocking us from getting to our seats. 

Of course I was super excited and he took a selfie with me.

Nugget then played with kids at the end of my row. He kept poking both of us with his tail. All we could do was stand there as it kept poking us. We finally had to walk away and go a few rows down to stand. I was shocked meeting Nugget but now I really just wanted to get to my seat. 

We were actually pushing it out of our face. I don't like being poked by strange mountain lions. Either does he, this is the face if a man who is tired if being poked. (Control that thing.) 

NBA games are full of excitement. Just like baseball, always keeping fans entertained and involved in the game. 

This had to be the game of the year. Even though we lost. The score was 103 to 105 with the Nuggets in the lead. Then​ Oklahoma Thunder called a timeout with 2.5 seconds on the clock. I thought "no way, this game is o-v-e-r"! Never think magic can't happen! In those last few seconds the Thunder threw a 3-point shot to win the game 106 - 105. Pretty amazing game. 

King Soopers had a flying blimp. Yet I have no clue if it was filming because the over view did not play anywhere. 

Getting a Selfie was extremely hard. The seats are so squeezed together you can barely turn around. The guy next to me was probably annoyed. Oh well. 

I should of asked the dudes behind me to take our picture. I had to take their picture because they were screaming VIP the whole time and had the signs to match. They should of painted their bellies instead  That would of been funny and kind of gross at the same time. 

One more selfie try. I really enjoyed my first NBA experience. I would definitely go again. I think my daughter would love all the excitement as well. 

I still have no desire to see an NFL game. 
I'd love season tickets again though.