Friday, October 30, 2009

Relocation!

My blog has been relocated to www.alildashofdiva.com don't forget to bookmark me and check in for updated blogs often!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book List 2009-2010

I love books. Its a passion. I love to look at them and collect them and read them. Only problem is that I buy a ton and then don't have the time to read them forever! Plus, once I read a book I cannot reread it. Within the first few words my brain recalls every single thing that happened and I can't force myself to read it over again. With the exception of the Twilight Saga. Those I can reread for some reason.

Anywho, so I have this large collection of books and have only read a fraction of them, so my goal is to get through my book list before I buy anymore books! So here is the list of what I have already read and what is left to read between now and the end of 2010.

Read in 2009
Jackie Collins - Lovers & Players
Lori Foster - Causing Havoc and Hard to Handle
Lisa Gardner - Gone and Hide
Rachel Gibson - See Jane Score and Not Another Bad Date
Charlaine Harris - Dead Until Dark
Carl Hiassen - Skinny Dip
Kay Hooper - Hiding in the Shadows
Linda Howard - Cover of Night, Drop Dead Gorgeous and To Die For
Jenna Jameson - How to Make Love Like A Pornstar, A Cautionary Tale
Stephanie Meyer - Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn
Rachel Pastan - This Side of Married
Nora Roberts - Angels Fall and High Noon
Sapphire - Push
Wm. Paul Young - The Shack
Janet Evanovich - One For the Money, Two For The Dough, Three To Get Deadly, Four to Score, High Five

To Read 2009-2010
Lousia May Alcott - Little Women
Ann Brashares - The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights
Dan Brown - The DaVinci Code
Sandra Brown - Chill Factor
Sylvia Brown - If You Could See What I See
Robert Bosnell - American Owned Love
Lorenzo Carcattera - Gangster
Mary Higgins Clark - Where Are You Now
Janet Fitch - White Oleander
Lisa Gardner - Say Goodbye
Julie Garwood - Shadow Dance
Rachel Gibson - Tangled Up In You, True Love & Other Disasters
Elizabeth Gilbert - Eat, Pray, Love
John Grisham - The Testament
Sara Gruen - Water for Elephants
Charlaine Harris - Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, Dead & Gone
Paul Hendrickson - The Living and The Dead
Linda Howard - Cry No More, Up Close and Dangerous
Lisa Jackson - Deep Freeze
Sophie Kinsella - Confessions of A Shopaholic, Shopaholic and Sister
Leslie Levine - Ice Cream for Breakfast
Sue Margolis - Neurotica
Rosalyn McMillan - Blue Collar Blues
Martha Moody - Best Friends
James Patterson - Four Blind Mice
Ann Rice - Cry to Heaven, Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat
Nora Roberts - Blue Smoke, Chesapeake Blue
Tori Spelling - sTori Telling and Mommywood
Danielle Steel - Impossible
David Talbot - Brothers (The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years)
Alice Walker - The Color Purple
Jennifer Weiner - Goodnight Nobody, Certain Girls,
Lauren Weisburger - The Devil Wears Prada, Everyone Worth Knowing
Gaston Leroux - The Phantom of the Opera
Nicolas Sparks - True Believer, Dear John, Three Weeks with My Brother, The Notebook, The Choice, At First Sight, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember
Janet Evanovich - Hot Six, Seven Up, Hard Eight, To the Nines, Ten Big Ones, Eleven on Top, Twelve Sharp, Lean Mean Thirteen, Fearless Fourteen, Finger Lickin' Fifteen
John Sanford - Hidden Prey
Anna Maxted - Behaving Like Adults
Helen Walsh - Brass

What is on your book list? Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Laundry Room Makeover

My laundry room is in serious need of a redo. It's functional but so boring that I never want to set foot in there. My budget is exactly ZERO at this point, so I will have to re-purpose items. I do have left over paint in a sage green color or a soft yellow that I can paint the walls. So, any suggestions?


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Road Trippin' Part 4

Monday was MIL's Memorial Service. It was 8 months to the day of her passing. We got up and got ready and headed to the church. As soon as we walked in Sean lost it. I knew it would be a really hard emotionally draining day for all of us, but I really didn't expect this. The three of us huddled together before going in search of the Pastor. She came in and took the big picture that we had framed of MIL and started arranging the picture and MIL's ashes on the altar. Tori (my SIL) came in and had a huge floral arrangement that one of MIL's friends had provided of MIL's favorite flowers.
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All the family started arriving first and Hannah and I got to meet all of Sean's family. Aunts and Uncles, cousins and even his other sister (that he didn't grow up with). All of MIL's friends who she had known most of her life. It was amazing to see all the people that MIL touched during her life. The one thing that every single person said about her was what a strong, brave and loving woman she was. Truer words were never spoken.

During the service we had asked MIL's older brother and sister to speak first and Uncle E ended up speaking for both he and his sister Aunt A. She was too emotional and couldn't. Then the friend of MIL's that we had stayed with when we first got to Cedar Rapids talked about her memories of MIL and what a special woman she was. After that it was Sean and Tori's turn. Hannah and I sat in the pew and as Sean and Tori took turns talking about their mom, it was all I could do to not do the ugly cry and start sobbing. I bawled, Sean bawled, Tori bawled. Every one in the church was bawling. Finally the service ended and everyone stayed for the luncheon that was being provided by MIL's old employer. Memories were shared and there was a lot of laughter along with it.
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Later that day, we all decided to meet up and start going through MIL's things to decide what we were keeping and what we were getting rid of. It took all afternoon to get about halfway through.
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When we were ready to call it a night we decided to all go for dinner at the Pizza Palace again. So the three of us, Tori and Cousin T with her 2 girls went to dinner and had a great time. We decided to meet the next morning to finish going through MIL's stuff and then that night we would go to dinner at the Greek place in town where Sean and I went the night we got engaged 6 years ago! It was a really long day, but we were all relieved when every box had been gone through and all was packed up and loaded to bring home.

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Tori and Cousin T decided to take the girls to the park near Dick's house for a while to play and just be outside and be kids. They had a great time! Tori had also brought her two dogs down with her from Montana so the girls loved playing with Doug and Ida at the park too.

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We all loaded up in Cousin T's minivan (That I fell in LOVE with BTW!) and headed to the Greek restaurant. We laughed and talked and of course ate way too much delicious Greek food. After dinner they dropped us off at Dick's house and it was time to start getting things ready to load back up to head out for home the next day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Road Trippin' Part 3

Saturday was a great day. We went uptown and met up with Sean's Aunt N and Uncle D and his cousin's daughter L who is a freshman at Cornell now. This was the first time I had met any of his family besides MIL/FIL/SIL and we have been married almost 6 years! We decided to head over to the Skillet Cafe for some lunch and had a great time getting to know each other. After that L had to head to the airport to pick up her dad who was flying in from NC for MIL's memorial. We all decided to meet back up at the Cornell football game that afternoon.

We went and did a little shopping at the Commons (bookstore on campus) and got Hannah and I our Cornell wear, since Sean already has a lot. Then headed over to the field and found Aunt N and Uncle D. It was a good game and gorgeous weather. Hannah made friends with the cheerleaders and also the mascot, Ulysses the Ram.


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After that we went to the grocery store to pick up stuff to make a dinner on Sunday to thank Dick for his hospitality. When we were on our way home, we drove by the house that Sean lived in when he was growing up. And this being the Midwest and the tiny town that it is, Sean decided to stop and talk to the owner who was outside raking leaves. Hannah and I stayed in the car for about 15 minutes and then Sean and the owner walked by the car and Sean told me to bring Hannah. The man invited us in and literally showed us room by room what changes had been made to the house since they had bought it. They have owned it for 15 years I think and had done a wonderful job at keeping the look of the house the same and had done a lot of renovations. We spent over an hour with this man in his house and when were leaving he invited us to come back anytime we were in town. Now, that is what it is like in small towns. Not here in the big city. I was in shock the whole time. Sean thought nothing of it! It was very nice of him and I did enjoy seeing the house and it was neat to show Hannah where Daddy had lived as a kid.

After that we went back to the house and just chilled. We ordered pizza in that night since the Iowa Hawkeyes game would be on and we all hung out together to watch. Thankfully the Hawks won and all was well in Dick's house. The next day we decided to head over to Lisbon for breakfast to this little restaurant that has been there since Sean was a kid. One of his schoolmates mom is the owner and when we went in she recognized Sean and talked to us for a while. It was fantastic food and really fun to experience taking Hannah to someplace that Sean used to go growing up.

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After that we went back to Palisades Park and hung out for a while just relaxing. Then went home and cooked dinner. We wanted to get to bed early Sunday night since the next morning would be hard with MIL's memorial service.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Road Trippin' Part 2

So picking back up where I left off last time...Thursday was the Homecoming Parade for Mount Vernon High School. We decided it would be fun to go to that and then hit up one of the restaurants uptown for dinner afterward.

Mt Vernon is a really quaint old town. It was established in the mid 1800's and all the buildings are from that time. It was beautiful weather and the leaves were starting to turn colors. We decided to stop in at the church where MIL's Memorial service was to be held to see if we could talk to the Pastor in person for a few minutes. When we got up to the offices at the church, we introduced ourselves to the secretary and were told that the Pastor was actually in a meeting about the memorial right at that moment. She went and got the Pastor and we were able to be a part of the planning and all that. It was great. After that we walked along Main Street for a while before the parade, visiting old friends and stopping at the Fire Dept where Sean used to work.

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Then it was time for the parade...

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I can't believe I didn't get a single picture of the Pizza Palace. The PP has been in that same spot for as long as anyone can remember (at least 30 years). The people are still the same, the interior is still the same, the menu is still the same. Part of its charm from what I hear. Anyway that is where we went for dinner and Sean was in heaven. It was all exactly as he remembered it...now, mind you he only moved away from this little town 6 years ago to move out here when we got married. So its not like it had been 20 years since he had been there! lol. After dinner we got in the car and headed back to Cedar Rapids for the night. The next day we would be going back to Mt Vernon to stay with Sean's friend Dick. Dick is the assistant athletic director at Cornell College. That is where he and Sean met. Sean's family has a really long history at Cornell. His grandfather worked there, his father worked there. Everyone goes there for college. Its a big deal in his family. So Friday we headed to Dick's and got all settled in. We took Hannah on a little mini tour of Cornell, seeing as if Sean has his way that is where Hannah will go to college. After that we decided to head over to this gorgeous park called Palisades Park. It's on the Cedar River and is really a beautiful, restful place.

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We decided after that to head back to town but we wanted to stop in at a farm that one of Sean's friends parents own. We rolled up to the farm like the true city folk we are in flip flops. Yep. That was fun. Did I mention it had been raining a bit? Yep.

Hannah had a great time though running around and playing with the kittens and the dog. She loved seeing the cows and a bull. The pigs sleeping. The geese yelling at us for getting too close to the corn field. The goat laying under a pen. The llama walking around. The chicken coop and of course the bunnies.

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When we were done there we headed to the store that MIL used to work at, Gary's. Its a little grocery store in town. We picked up a few things and of course ran into more people Sean knew or who knew his mom. After that we headed back to Dick's to get ready for the homecoming football game at the high school. We got all bundled up since it would be a little chilly outside. We went and hung out in the endzone with the fire dept just like old time's. They all teased me about the last time I was there at a football game in October and I was literally wearing long john's under my jeans, two pairs of socks with my boots, three shirts under my jacket and covered up with a wool blanket. It was like 30° that last time! And I am from Phoenix! lol, nice to see I made a lasting impression though! This time I was not so cold and we had a great time. Unfortunately the football team lost, but that's alright it was fun anyhow!
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hannah's First Day Of School

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Hannah started pre-k the Monday after we got back from our road trip. She talked about it the whole time we were gone. She woke up on her own an hour before we had to leave the house...she is NEVER up that early anymore! I made her eggs for breakfast and off we went. I picked up my mom on our way to school..you know, moral support for me! We walked in and I signed her in. We walked hand in hand down the long hallway to the last class on the left and walked in the door. Her teachers, Miss Carol and Miss Marie greeted us and off Hannah went! Wait, what?! She took off and sat at a table with a few other girls who were coloring. One of the girls said to Hannah, 'you can be my friend ok'? Awww! So I stood there and talked to the teachers for a few minutes and then told Hannah I was leaving and would be back after lunch to get her. She said ok bye! Ah, hello short one, I am not leaving here without a hug and a kiss! She obliged and off Mimi and I went. I dropped Mimi off at home and as soon as I got home I started bawling. Yep, I am a big cry baby. My house was too quiet, I was all alone in the house for the first time in...for-ever!!! (little trips to the store with Mimi or Daddy don't count). What on earth was I going to do with myself for 4 hours in a house this quiet? With no little person running around screaming and dancing and watching cartoons and all the other million things that she does all day.

I did some cleaning and reading and watched some shows I had been wanting to see. Finally it was time again to pick Mimi up to go get Hannah. We decided to have lunch with Sean at the hospital after we picked Hannah up so he could hear about her first day too. So we went and got her at school and the little stinker didn't even want to come home with me! But at least she had fun and even made a couple of new friends right off. Her teachers are really impressed with how polite she is and how easily she has made friends. They said, 'everyone is her friend, she is so sweet and nice to all the kids'. Aww, that makes a mama feel good. I must be doing something right then! After we left we did go have lunch with Sean at the hospital and then dropped Mimi off again at home.

She has gone to school for 2 weeks now and absolutely loves it. She wants to start going full day's but we aren't ready for that. So for now, she will keep going 2 half days a week. And I have learned what to do with my 8 hours a week of free time...ANYTHING I WANT!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Time Flies...

When you're having fun, isn't that the saying? Well I must have been having a BLAST over the last month because I don't know where it went!

Ok I know where part of it went, but the other part is a blur.

We went on our road trip over the last two weeks...what a trip! We left Phoenix around 11 am on the 21st of September and made our way north and east. Arrived in Las Vegas, New Mexico (didn't know there was another Vegas did ya?!) by about 9 pm that night. We found a decent motel and then went in search of dinner. Unfortunately, the whole town of Las Vegas, NM closes at 9 pm. I am not even kidding. Even the drive-thru's at the fast food joints were closed! We ended up having to get dinner from the gas station. Blech.

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The next morning we got up at the crack of dawn, ok it was really well before the crack of dawn...to get back on the road. We got all ready and packed up and on the road by 440 am. At 442 am we were pulled over by one of Las Vegas, NM's finest (who clearly had nothing better to be doing at 442 am) for going 41 in a 30. We were literally the ONLY car on the road. Anyway, add to that it was less than 40° outside. The cop asks for Sean's license and insurance and heads back to his car. We are sitting there, trying to find the humor in the situation..when we see another cop car approaching us. He does a U-turn and pulls up next to the other cop behind us and has his lights flashing and points his spotlight on us. At this point I look at Sean and start cracking up. It was like an episode of Cops..I could hear the song in my head..bad boys bad boys whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you...! Eventually the one cop comes back over and says he is going to give us a warning since obviously we are from out of town, he hands Sean his stuff back and tells him to sign on the dotted line. As he is handing the warning back to Sean he is smiling and says 'have fun and be safe wherever you are headed...oh and you can just scrapbook this or throw it away, whatever'. Teeheee! What a way to start the morning!

Things were pretty uneventful until we reached the border at Colorado and it was SNOWING! Say what?! I so didn't pack for this kind of weather!

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The rest of Colorado was pretty boring. No one got pulled over, there was no car trouble, nothing else noteworthy. Until we hit eastern Colorado where the wind picked up and the sky turned dark grey and it started raining. And it continued to POUR all the way across Nebraska!

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Finally when we reached about Lincoln it cleared and we had sunshine and blue skies.

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Our plan originally was to make it to Omaha by night, but Sean was antsy to get into Iowa. Thankfully, Council Bluffs Iowa is right across the river from Omaha Nebraska. We crossed over into Iowa around 8pm and checked into a hotel. The next morning we woke to tons of fog and some chilly temps, but nothing like the cold of Northern New Mexico/Southern Colorado! We got on the road by about 8 am and made it into Cedar Rapids Iowa by just after noon. The first few days of the trip we were staying with one of MIL's friends from high school and her husband. What kind and wonderful people Larry and Ann are! After we got all settled in our rooms, Ann made us all lunch and we sat on the screened in porch and ate our lunch and talked. After that Sean, Hannah and I got back in the car and went to a park that Sean had gone to as a little boy. It had changed some, but overall still the same.


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I will post more later and trust me there are tons more pictures!