Friday, January 30, 2009


There are no words.... Please pray for this family. You can click on the button below to read all about Tuesday.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Random Letters

Sometimes I am amazed at what my children know, yet I don’t know that they know they know these things. Gabrielle has been very interested in the alphabet and letters lately. Last week I was writing random letters down to see if she could tell me what they were.

Here is an example of our letter practicing:

Mommy makes a “T”

Gabby looks at it and says “Tyler”

I look at her confused and say” yes, Tyler does start with this letter, but what it the letter”?

Gabby shrugs shoulders and says “I don’t know”.

Mommy replies “T” and moves on to write an “I”

Gabby replies “Ian”

Again mommy is confused. Why is she saying names and not the letter?

Gabby then wants a new letter. Mommy makes an “H”

Gabby replies “Hope” but then does say “H”

Mommy then makes an “F”

Gabby replies “Faith”

Then it dawned on me. These are all kids in her preschool class. She can identify the first letter of many of these kid’s names. I was pretty impressed!

They grow up way to fast!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm still waiting....

As a person who likes some things in life to be perfect, I am still waiting for that perfect picture of my two children together.
I mean a photo with both my cuties looking at the camera,
legs down,
underwear NOT showing,
eyes open,
arms and hands in place,
a perfect photo is all I want.
A photo to frame.
In years past we have done the mall thing to do Christmas cards. I have had such bad experiences. Meaning two kids won’t stand next to each other or sit next to each other without fighting or crying. So since Gabrielle’s birth the entire photos end up being a good shot not perfect of Joey by himself and then a good shot of Gabby by herself and then finding a card with two frames and blending the card to one. It works but I still want that perfect shot. A shot with my two kids together and looking happy, one with Gabrielle’s beautiful dimple showing. One with Joey displaying a natural and not forced smile.
Well I have to tell you that mama is still waiting….

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordful Wednesday~ President Barack Obama

If you have been reading my blog for the months before the election than you would know that I am a Republican and I voted for John McCain. The night that the election was decided Jeff was out of town and the kids were asleep as I watched alone the electoral votes come in and soon the winning of Barack Obama as our next President of the United States of America. As I listened to his victory speech I began to feel not so let down that McCain had lost the election. I also sat and was so happy for all of the African Americans who now felt like an equal and felt their emotion as I watched many people with tears rolling down their faces. I soon changed my attitude towards the 44th President and knew that as an American it was time to embrace this change in our country as well as the emotions of so many people who felt that never in their life time would they see an African American become President.
January 20th 2008 was a historic day! This is a day that I never want to forget. I love when our country feels excited and together. I love when you can feel the patriotism and feelings of happiness to be an American. I watched the inauguration from start to finish. I have had tears roll down my face today. I am proud to be an American and I am going to stand behind our new President, because to me I feel that is what being an American is all about. I may not have voted for him, but I believe that no matter what your skin color is and no matter if you consider yourself a democrat or a republican that the President of the United States is someone to respect and honor. I hope that as a country we can respect not only the President but also each other no matter our skin color or religious beliefs.

So today for wordful Wednesday I want to show some of my favorite photos from the past 24 hours! There are many more, but these are not my photos and they were not easy to copy. My favorite is seeing all the people in Washington DC to watch Obama be sworn in as President.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Heat Wave, A book review, and A movie Review!

It is a heat wave!!! Today the temperature got up to 22 degrees! Woo hoo. They even closed schools last Friday after our very low and zero degree temperatures. My niece enjoyed a day with no school.

I know I am late to get on the bandwagon, but if you have not read any of the Twilight series books and have thought about it here is my take. First I love fiction more than nonfiction. I tend to read more fiction. With that being said I DO NOT enjoy Science fiction what so ever. I avoid science fiction at all costs. I am guessing that Twilight falls under fiction, but it took me some convincing by others to give the book (s) a try. I first started hearing about the books in November. My cousin, sister in law, and hair dresser all read the books. They all urged me to read them. I was very reluctant due to the fact that when I heard about vampires I thought this is not for me. I won’t enjoy this type of book. I ended up asking Jeff for Twilight for Christmas. I had the book sitting on the counter and read the other book he got me Jon & Kate plus 8. (I really liked the book... I love the show too) Anyways, I let a few more days pass and picked up Twilight and began reading. I was unable to put it down. I was not put off by the “vampire” part of the book. I was intrigued and ended up reading the book very fast and staying up into the wee hours of the morning to finish. I did then go on to the last three books and I have to say that I really. Really. Really. Enjoyed the books. So if you are looking for something to read that is entertaining I do suggest the Twilight series!

Now I did then go and see the movie with my cousin. This is the first time that I have done a book series and then seen the movies. I have to admit that this was a BAD route! I should have just stuck with the books and skipped the movie. After the books I wanted more Bella and Edward. Wrong move on my part. The movie I give a c- maybe even a D. I was disappointed in the movie in so many ways. First off the acting by the MAIN Character BELLA (Kristen Stewart) was HORRIBLE! If I was the writer (Stephenie Meyer) I would be embarrassed by the fact that her main character in her wonderful books was acted out by an actress that looked bored, like she was speaking her lines with no emotion or feeling, and that she just looked out of place. Sounds so harsh, but it was so HARD to watch when you LOVED the book and wanted so much more from the movie.
Other things about the movie that bothered me were there were things from the book that were left out. I mean good parts of the book! Then the producers of the movie added their own pieces to the movie that never happened in the book. For example in the book Bella’s dad never gives her mace. In the movie they show mace at least 2-3 times and make it out to be more than it needed to be and it NEVER happened in the book.

So all in all if you want a good read I do suggest the Twilight series and I would really skip the movie and keep $7.50 in your pocket!

Am I the only one that read the books and was REALLY disappointed in the movie?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordful Wednesday- Vacation ~ Sanibel Island, Florida

Angie, over at 7 Clown Circus started this. It is for those of us that can't post a picture for "wordless Wednesday" and not talk about the photo!
This photo was taken in Florida... on an island... This is Sanibel Island, Florida. I am blessed in many ways and for me Sanibel is a BLESSING!! This is the place to go to relax, swim, enjoy the ocean, see wildlife, watch beautiful sunsets, shell, etc. This is also the place that Jeff and I got married. On the beach in barefeet.
I got a surprise phone call from my dad who invited the kids and I down to Sanibel with him. We are so looking forward to going. Right now outside it is SNOWING. The temperature is maybe 8 degrees. We can't wait to see the sun and enjoy the warmth. We are also going to SURPRISE the kids and go to Disney World!! I am so excited. Please don't tell my kids... I also found online that at Disney they have a little boutique for girls. They make the girls into a princess of their choice. Gabrielle is now at an age that she loves to dress up and I am so excited to see her face when I tell her that she gets to have her hair done, nails done, be pampered, and DRESS LIKE a Princess... What fun!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Picture Time! Kalahari

The Botvinnik & Zapp Families ~Sammy, Joey, Jeff, Laurie, Gabby, Bianca, Alex, and Nicky
Here is the water park... (above)

2 Swimmers ready (Joey & Nicky)

At dinner one night both Nicky & Joey won a coloring conest! How cool that they both won!!!

The floor was open for dancing and Gabrielle went up and got her groove on!

The menorah

Sammy... Is he not the cutest little thing!

On the last night we ended up giving Joey Benadryl. He was having a reaction I believe to the chlorine. Here he is about 10 minutes after taking the Benadryl. I was waiting for the Front desk to bring up clean sheets after I discovered something nasty all over the sheets. I hope it was not there the first night we all slept in the bed. Yuck! As soon as they came we put my little prince into bed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Traditions, a new year, and our holiday memories

It is amazing to me how fast time goes by and it is now the beginning of January. I have so much blogging to catch up on, stories to share as well as photos. The middle of November up until now the time got away from me and we were doing so much and going from one activity to the other. This is the first year that it really did not seem like Christmas to me as well as some of our normal holiday traditions did not occur and new ones took over.

In our family it is tradition that we put up our Christmas tree as a family the weekend after Thanksgiving. I actually spent Thanksgiving alone this year due to be sick with the flu. I did stop over at my mom’s house where everyone was for maybe an hour but did not last long and it was also apparent that everyone was afraid to catch my illness. So I returned home to a quiet home and my laptop. This year Jeff put up the Christmas tree alone. The kids were in bed and I was either sick or too busy with Ebay to try to help. It was so nice that he put the tree up and hung the lights on the tree as well as doing some decorating to the mantle and our house. The next day the kids were very excited to add ornaments to the tree and they did not want help as the placed the majority of the ornaments on the bottom of the tree as this was as high as they could reach. They wanted no help and putting the ornaments higher or spreading them out was not an option. Our tree remained this way and it was a reminder whenever I looked at it to the day that the kids decorated it. All on their own.

I sold on eBay from September through December. I still have a few auctions going and may continue into February. I am proud to say that I made more than last year(which was my goal) and it is always a relief when I know that Christmas is paid for and we are now not in debt from buying our loved ones gifts. I sold more than I ever have and I was busier than I ever imagined I would be from buying, listing, packing, shipping, and returning. Jeff helped in making trips to the Post office or the UPS drop off location. For that I was grateful. On a few occasions when I had many things to ship he even helped me with packaging items for shipping.

Jeff continued to be a major rock for our family to allow me computer time or time out buying especially in the evenings when I could go alone without kids. It is always hard to sell “hot” toys and take 2 kids into stores like Toys R Us or Target and not have them want everything I am buying. He was also busy with working and transitioning his clients to someone new and getting information for the new territory he will be working in. I am very blessed to have a husband that is so helpful at home and with the kids. I can’t stress upon how busy eBay selling really is, especially with the volume of items I was selling. Laundry often goes to a last priority as does making dinner.

Joey and Gabrielle enjoyed the school parties, holiday parties, and the excitement as we waited for Santa to come. We did a new tradition in our family. We bought an Advent book as well as an Advent Lego set that was a welcomed event in the evenings before bed. The book has a story for every night leading up to Christmas. It was a fun book and had some messages that I hope the kids will remember.
For anyone that knows Gabrielle you would know that she is ALWAYS either singing or talking. She also enjoys dancing and dressing up. She was very excited to sing in her first (of many we think) Christmas concerts. She did an amazing job. At the age of three she knew every word and hand movements to all the songs taught to her at school. She and Joey were placed next to each other during the concert. Joey would sing the song if it was one that he liked. Gabby on the other hand sang every note to every song. I was so proud of both of them, but also very excited for Gabby. Being the younger sibling she has often sat through these before watching Joey. Now that it was her time up on stage she was definitely a star of the show.

As much as I wish that we were baking cookies and doing craft projects as we got closer to Christmas there was really no time. We did take the kids on a Sunday to the Disney on ice show. I love to watch the kid’s expressions when their favorite people Mickey, Lightning McQueen, or Tinker bell are right in their reach. We had fun and memories were made.

Christmas Eve this year was different in that we did not go to church. This is the first time in many years that I did not go to church on Christmas Eve. Felt a bit weird and out of the norm. We were blessed in a different way this year. This year Jeff’s Dad (Pops or Papa John) and his girlfriend (Dee) came and spent the night at our home. It was nice to have them and let them experience Christmas with us. I sure hope he enjoyed it and enjoyed experiencing watching his grandkids experience what Santa left behind. Maybe this flooded him with memories of his own kids in Christmas past. We loved having the time with Pops. I am hoping maybe he will make this a new tradition with us and I would love to throw church back into the mix.

The day after Christmas we did again something that is new and not tradition, in years past we just hung out at home and had family time. This year we met up with our friends that live in Chicago. We met them at Kalahari a water park that is in Sandusky, Ohio. We spent our time swimming, playing games, video games, hanging out laughing and talking. We also all got experience Hanukkah. Ever night the Botvinnik (Alex, Bianca, Nicky, and Sammy) family lit the menorah and celebrated Hanukkah. Every night also we had to remind Gabrielle that she is not to blow out the candles that were placed in the menorah. Although we as families practice different religions and celebrate in different ways there is a respect there for both methods and is never a topic of discussion or feeling like one way is right and the other is wrong. I have nothing but love for the Botvinnik family.

As the year closed I did reflect on some of the changes and events that occurred in 2008. We are no longer a family that is weighted down by bottles, diapers, wipes, Sippy cups, and entertainment toys for babies/toddlers. We no longer have a member of our family in a diaper or crib. We all now sit on the potty and have a big comfy bed to sleep in. This is sad in some ways to me that there will be no more babies, but in other ways the freedom we have now is exciting at the same time. We will be welcoming a new baby in May (my brother and sister –in-laws first child) I am more than thrilled to be an aunt again and look forward to getting some baby fixes and then returning that said baby and going home to a night of uninterrupted sleep. We don’t know the sex of this baby and it looks like it will be a surprise to even the expecting parent’s but with that being said I have reoccurring dreams that it is a girl… Sorry guys!
We also have now entered a time with both kids in school. This of course lingers in my mind that my stay at home time is coming to an end and it is time for a real job again. Not that being a stay at home mom is not a real job, because any of us that do it know that it is a very hard demanding job that never ends and has many challenges at the same time it is also a very important job that has many rewards not only for the parent but for the child/children too. Family time and vacations are now going to be revolving soon around a kindergartner. In the fall of 2009 my first born will be experiencing real school as well as learning how to read and learn in a way that he has never been challenged before.
2009 also brings the realization that almost 5 years now have passed since giving birth to our stillborn daughters Samantha and Sydney. It is amazing how fast 5 years have flown by and how memories and images seem to stay so fresh while other images and memories seem to feel like they never happened. I am just in awe when I say or think the words 5 years! For almost 5 years now 2 very important and loved babies who share my DNA have remained a very close part of who I am. Not that I feel like I should forget or not feel that way, but they remain a constant and as I know I have moved on in some ways I think I need to reflect in other ways how I have been unable to live and be happy. Hard to talk about but I am hoping that in 2009 I am able to work on some own questions that I have been letting surface and how I can move on and be a happier person and a better person as well.

I am hoping that in 2009 I can work on answering questions like “what do I want”, “what makes me happy” as well as making time for me and allowing myself to be a priority. In that there are things that I need to work on. Exercise, diet, losing the baby fat, as well as two habits that I need to break. I am also hoping to work on becoming healthier spiritually as well as physically and mentally. I also have some motivation for weight loss in that I will be the matron of honor in my cousin’s wedding in July.

Some memories of 2008:
*Going to Sanibel with the Botvinnik family in March
*Hawaii alone with Jeff in May
*Watching the kids grow
*Gabrielle starting preschool
*Joey’s success in soccer and t-ball

I have many photos that need to be down sized and then uploaded which I will work on soon. Hoping all of you have a happy healthy 2009 and I look forward to getting back into blogging.

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed