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Summer's Drawing to a Close

Summer is dwindling down, and will be over before you know it. Not summer the season, but summer vacation. In just 13 more days Natalie will be going back to school. I've already done all her back to school shopping for supplies, uniforms, and necessities. Which is always fun, except for all the money spent on such items. Though I love the whole school uniform thing cause it's no hassle, I hate that we're buying 2 whole sets of that she only wears to school. I'm both relieved and worried. We've had enough issues in the past with certain teachers, and faculty members at the school that I'm just really not looking forward to do it all over again. I personally cannot wait until she is out of this elementary school and into middle school next year. But I am trying to keep an open mind, and remain somewhat hopeful that this year and this teacher will be different.

One of my biggest concerns is that Natalie has really gotten into playing this one video game, and doing stuff online and I'm afraid that it will interfere with her desire to learn and excel. I'm just not sure how to get her excited anymore. Maybe it's time to try Sylvan, or at least it will be if this year doesn't go according to plan. I checked out their website and found that they have samples you can download for grades K-5, and a partner site called Book Adventure where you can search for grade appropriate books, and quizzes which will come in real handy! This way I can make sure that not only is she reading, but that she's comprehending! I'm going to have to weed through all my old links and check out what other types of tools I can find to help her succeed.

Other than gearing up for school there really hasn't been a whole lot going on around here. I've been doing lots of reading. I finished my Walt Disney book. I read the MJ Unmasked book in under 12 hours - which let me just say that not all the sensational claims lived up to the hype. It did manage to change my opinion on a thing or two, but it wasn't quite the bombshell it was supposed to be. Now I am onto reading Night World.....yes, more vampire books. I'm really having a difficult time finding just the right books. Some I've picked up are just too lame, and others I just can't fully get into. But so far I am enjoying the first book even though it is considered "young adult."
Ruben and I are still dieting. I've lost 10 pounds since we came back from Disney 3 weeks ago, and Ruben has lost 18. Though I swear you can't see it on either of us. The only difference I've noticed lately is that it seems my panties are a bit larger. I know this cause they are constantly bothering me because they shift and ride up. Had they fit right I wouldn't be having this problem. I wish I could actually see the difference. I'd think that with all the walking I've been doing that my legs would slim down some, but they haven't really. Or at least not noticeably. I go back to the clinic next week for another weigh in, so I'm hoping to shave a few more pounds off before then. I'm a little concerned about my surgery coming up for the 24th. I'll probably be resting for about a week, and while I can watch what I eat, I won't be up for walking or biking. I'm hoping that the inactivity doesn't affect me in a huge way!

While I'm looking forward to the peace and quiet that comes with back to school, I feel as if I'm in a race against time. It's not like we have any last minute vacation getaway planned, but I would like to do something before school starts again. Perhaps if the weather isn't too bad we can visit a park or zoo, or even catch another movie or something. Do you have any plans to celebrate the end of summer?


Thank GOD!

According to this report Kim K, reality ho and Reggie Bush, Saints
Running Back have broken up. Maybe now we'll have a winning season!


New Moon Footage

Just wanted to share some New Moon footage that was shown at Comic Con this year. I'm not sure when there will be an official release of these trailers, as this footage was not to be seen by anyone outside of Comic Con. But someone was kind enough to break the rules, tape this, and post it on YouTube. Enjoy.


Blackberry Cobbler

I was mashing up some blackberries to make blackberry water (it's a Mexican thing, Ruben's family blends water and sugar with whatever ripe berries or melons are around. It is very good!) So I'm sprinkling sugar on them and mashing them up, and it dawned on me that I should actually be making cobbler out of them. Blackberry cobbler was my absolute favorite dessert mom made. Problem is I don't know the first thing about making cobbler. I read somewhere that you can use already prepared pie crust, but I don't think it taste the same. If that is a shortcut, there has got to be a better way to spice it up. I'm hoping that someone can tell me the right way to make a cobbler - and hopefully one that's not to difficult!

Speaking of my mom, tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of her death. I think I can honestly say that it has finally gotten a tad better, but not by much. It's times like this that make things the most difficult. Like thinking about something she used to make, something I never learned how. I think that so much was lost. And not just recipes, but family history, facts, relatives, etc. It's amazing to me how a little thing like blackberries can bring about a flood of emotion. Maybe by using them to make a cobbler I can heal a little.


Distractions, and New Addictions

Like so many others out there, I have seriously been neglecting my blogging duties because of several new time consuming addictions I have picked up recently.

First, all of my spare time was being spent reading. Now that I have finished several different series and books, I have slowed down a bit while I search for new interesting reading material. While I was at Disney I bought a new book after visiting the attraction Walt Disney: One Man's Dream. I found myself both curious and intrigued by what I had learned, and naturally wanted to know more. The book, Walt Disney: An American Original, is a biography of the life of Walt. I'm taking a it a bit slow--so I'm only half way through with it, but so far what I have read, I have really liked.

I've already selected what my next book is going to be. Unmasked: The Final years of Michael Jackson. I know, it's kind of funny. Somehow I've gotten caught up in all this craze since his death....Natalie too. She's been blaring his music at full volume for the last few weeks. Yesterday she was singing Man in the Mirror at the top of her lungs. You could say she's even become a bit obsessed with him and his music. it's funny how much she can take after me at times. In any case, I did the same thing after Anna Nicole Smith died--I bought the book Blonde Ambition.

I've become a Facebook junkie, but not so much for Facebook itself. I accepted a couple invitations and now I'm enthralled with playing Vampire & Mafia Wars. I've even downloaded the apps so I can play them on my iPhone.

All this game time has really interfered with everything else. Though I have been walking at home on the treadmill this past week, I really haven't had much desire to do so. Ruben and I have committed to dieting, and while I've only taken off a few pounds since we returned home, Ruben has gotten off to an excellent start! He's lost 10 pounds already. The first few days all he ate was salad. He even moved the treadmill downstairs to the living room. That way he watches shows he dvr'd while he walks. We made an agreement that if he loses 100 pounds, I'd get him the motorcycle he's been wanting. We really are striving to be healthier. I've just got to get back on track and return to my nightly walks. I just have been feeling like a cold is coming on though--one likely brought on by stress.

Stress has been at an all-time high since we got back. Ruben's company is once again laying off employees. It's quite terrifying when you think about it. I mean here it is hurricane season and we just returned from a vacation in which we spent mostly all of our savings--now add on our new windows, and a review of my case with Social Security. Yeah, all we need now is for Ruben to lose his job. Though it looks like he may be in the clear, at least for now. They laid off and demoted several people from his department across the country, most of whom he knew. On the flip side, he received his 10 year packet from work. It sounds like they have some really great choices this time, lots better than for his 5 year. I was surprised to find out they still offered this given their financial problems. It's a nice surprise. He gets to choose from a foosball table, a Canon camcorder, a Dyson vacuum cleaner among other things. Not bad huh?

Ruben also got confirmation from his advisor. He's all set for classes to begin in September. The school accepted 62 of his credits from ITT. He just needs to take like 18 liberal arts classes in addition to the curriculum for the BSM program. His advisor said everything was all set with his financial aid, and that he's be receiving his books and schedule shortly.

On a final note, my surgery to remove capsular contracture and correct placement issues has been approved. My surgery is scheduled for August 24. I'm excited, and I hope this final surgery really will correct my problems and even things out a bit.


Happy Birthday Ruben!

One of Ruben's friends at work sent him this video for his birthday. I just had to post it here, so everyone could enjoy a good laugh.

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Home Again

Hi All!

We're back from vacation, and as I type this, some 275 pictures from our trip are slowly being uploaded to Flickr. We had a wonderful vacation with the exception of the heat and rain. I'll never book another trip there in the middle of the summer. It wasn't just that the temp was in the 90's, it's that with the heat index the temperature was well over 110! Heat like that just really zaps the energy right out of ya! We got back Tuesday evening, and we're still trying to settle in. Ruben of course unpacked as soon as we got home - my suitcase is still sitting on the floor. Luckily, the house we rented was equipped with a washer and dryer, so we brought back very little dirty laundry.

Now that we're back, we're hitting the diet hard! I was fortunate enough not to gain anything while we were gone - but I didn't lose any either. Of course there is no such thing as dieting while on vacation, so I ate like a mad woman. I only broke even due to the many miles we walked daily.

Yesterday I finally got my car back from the Dodge dealership after two full months! Once I got in my car I discover that my stereo and XM reciever were not working - and since it's aftermarket equipment they are not responsible for it. I was completely livid, cause the service manager was a complete jerk about it. He tried to make like since he gave me a oil change on the house, that we were even. Ha! A $30 oil change does not make up for possibly frying more than $1000 worth of stereo equipment. Ruben took it to the place that installed it, Car Audio Connection over in Harahan and the guys there fixed it for free. I'm just so relieved that I didn't need a new unit. When they pulled out the deck they found that the dealership hadn't even re-connected the wires. So now I wonder what else they may have done half ass.

Also, yesterday I had a follow up appointment with my plastic surgeon. Sometime in the near future I will be going back into surgery to correct my left breast. I don't really know when yet, cause first we have to get approval from the insurance company. But I will keep you posted.


Seeing Shamu

Today we're at Seaworld -- and let me tell you it's hotter than hell
here! Tomorrow's our last day, before we leave Tuesday afternoon so
we'll be heading back to Hollywood Studios. But today we're going to
check out the shows and rides at Seaworld. There are two pretty cool
looking coasters I can't wait to get on!

Deadly Crash at Disney

Woke up this morning to this news; Early this morning there was a deadly monorail crash at Disney World. WOW, so glad we skipped Disney yesterday - and so thankful that we were not involved in such a horrible accident!


Happy Birthday America!

Today we are taking it easy and avoiding the parks. It's going to be a
lazy day of shopping and swimming. We slept in a bit late this morning
and now we're kicking the day off with breakfast from Cracker Barrel.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July!



After a delicious Mexican lunch we headed over to the Outpost so
Natalie could get her face painted.


Hello from Hollywood Studios

So far, our trip to Disney has been a wet one. It's raining already
this morning. We have a 70% chance of rain with a high of 89 -- which
I suppose is better than the forecast for Friday that is a 40% chance
of rain and a high of 96. Either way it's humid.
The rain yesterday shut down several rides, which sucked ass. Since
the good rides were closed, the indoor ones were freaken packed! It
was insane. We weren't getting anyway at Magic Kingdom so we hopped
over to Hollywood Studios, where we rode Tower of Terror twice and the
Aerosmith rockin' rollercoaster. We went on a backlot tour and ate at
a 50's diner. The park closed at 7 last night for some private event.
Which was fine cause after dinner we were just too exhausted and
soaking wet to continue.
Not sure what today holds for us. We're off to a wet start today.
Hoping the rain will stop real soon.
::Fingers crossed::