Words from my heart…

To me, one of the worst things in life is knowing you have hurt a friend’s feelings. It appears that I have done just that recently.
I felt the need to share this in case anyone else was feeling upset by my actions.

A dear friend wrote to me and shared that she was hurt because she and her husband were not invited to Bill’s birthday dinner.
Maybe there are others of you out there who feel the same way?
Luckily for me, this friend came to me and spoke her mind so I could clarify things.

Let me start by saying that Bill did NOT want a party. And he hates surprises! However, I wanted to do something special for him as it was his 50th.
I took him away for the weekend and hired a private room so we could have a surprise birthday dinner for him.
I had to make an executive decision on numbers guest-wise as the location was expensive and we were limited for space.
I was absolutely delighted when all of Bill’s brothers and their spouses wrote to me and said they wished to attend the event.
Bill’s Mum also flew in from NC to be there.

There were a lot of people I would have liked to have invited. We know a lot of amazing and special people, and Bill is much-loved by many.
And in return, we love a lot of wonderful people.
However, I was limited to a certain number of guests.

Please know it was not my intention to leave anyone out. There was no hidden agenda or bad feelings.
I would never want to hurt anyone’s heart.
I only wanted to do something good for Bill… a small celebration of his turning 50.

There are many of you out there that I would have loved to have come to this event, but please know it wasn’t a big party and I wanted to keep it as intimate as possible, because I know that is what Bill likes.

I hope you all understand my predicament and where my heart is.
Please reach out to me if I have offended any of you at all. I will listen with an open mind and heart.

Contemplating life and friendships.

Gosh, it’s been a long time since I have written. I have so many posts in my head.

I have so much to write about Gwennie… about her amazing progress at school… about her intellect, her kind heart, her talents, and sweet ways.

I have much to write about work… I am waiting on new photos of our amazing instructors and studio. There are some big changes going on and things to share.

I would like to write about my husband…. about his amazing new store and his unending impeccable hard-work etiquette.

But, whenever I am feeling down and a little sad… that is when I am truly inspired to write. I guess it is a little like therapy. We need to purge and let go to be able to move on.

I feel a little abandoned and cast-aside by some people I thought were friends. In hindsight, I realize that true friends stand beside you because they truly love and know you… but it doesn’t stop the pain from rising when people, due to certain circumstances, unceremoniously dump you. It doesn’t matter to what standards I hold others and myself; I cannot expect everyone else to think or feel the same way as me.

Needless to say, I am hurt and sad, and sometimes, downright lonely. I don’t really trust anyone and I always have an exit plan in my head. Always. Maybe that sounds bizarre to you. But I think you would be lying if you didn’t “get it” a little bit. Let’s face it… we all want to be loved and cherished.

I try to give out what I would like to receive. Am I perfect? Hell no. I know I have messed up many times in life, but I put them all down to experiences learned. But I do know that I have a good heart and I would do anything for anybody. If you cross me or hurt me repeatedly, then I have a very hard time forgiving you. I am a true Lioness. Mess with me and I will go into protective mode and shut you out. It isn’t because I don’t care about you, it’s because I need to protect my heart and the ones I love. Those of you, who really know me, understand I have been through A LOT in my life. Those of you who don’t may not understand why I am so sensitive. I’ll tell you one day if you will give me the chance. I would like to learn more about you too. Listening to one another’s trials and difficulties brings us more together, I believe.

I do believe that our upbringings and cultures play a lot into all of this. Before I go into anything, I just want to say that I am NOT putting down any culture, country, belief, or anything. I am just retailing my experience.

I have never felt truly at home here in the States. I love it here. I love this country, I love Florida and the weather, I love my husband and the good friends I have made… but it has been hard to make friends and still I find it very hard to truly trust any of them 100%. I feel like I constantly have to keep my guard up. I used to give so much and now I feel like it’s in my best interests to hold back…. Because no-one is capable of giving what I am used to giving. God, that sounds selfish, but I have friends from back home who I have known since I was tiny and we haven’t seen each other for years, yet we are still there for each other 150%. No question.

I feel like an outsider here. I don’t get the flakiness of “friendships”. How you can be the “in person” one month and then not the next. Why people can’t hold true to their word. Why I feel like I have to do all the work. If I don’t reach out to people, I don’t hear from them. It sucks.

And you know what? I know I am not the only person to feel like this. I know a lot of people feel this way. So what is it with our/this society these days? Are we so spoiled with the crazy technology available to us that we can’t physically communicate with people properly anymore?

Maybe.

And I know the people that will respond to this post. They will be the friends who live hundreds or thousands of miles away. And again, it will make me a little bit sad, because if I were a free bird, I would move back to be closer to these people. But I have made my family/home here and it is my responsibility to stay put.

I would love to hear how you feel. Be honest! Good or bad.

Where are you, Christmas?

Yesterday, Gwennie and I were driving home from school and we decided to bust out the Christmas music.
Is it just me or does anyone else get all emotional listening to holiday songs?
I love Christmas.
I am not going to lie… there have been a few Christmases I would rather forget, but on the whole I LOVE Christmas.
I am not in the slightest bit religious but I will belt out Oh Come All Ye Faithful with the best of you.
I love the spirit of Christmas… the joy in children’s eyes and the act of giving to others.

Christmas is a time of remembrance for me too. I think about loved ones who are no longer with us.
Memories of Christmases-past with these loved-ones brings a smile to my face.
I am also reminded that there is someone important missing from our family.
There should be a little two year old boy running around our house right now.
But while his physical presence is missing, Henry remains constantly in our hearts.

I think about Christmases when I was a little girl.
I have fond memories of my Mum, Gran, and Great Aunt all cooking in the kitchen.
My Mum used to make the best mince pies and petit-fours.
My dear Gran would stuff the turkey each year.
We used to have the best parties over the holidays… I have such great clips in my head of fancy-dress hoorahs and evenings spent playing games and laughing raucously with family and friends.
I am an only child but I always felt surrounded by loved ones. It is a good memory.

Christmas definitely changes once you have a family. It’s so important to make your own family traditions.
Today, Bill, Gwennie & I are getting ready to decorate our tree together.
As I mentioned earlier, Christmas is a time for giving. I am trying to instill this concept into Gwennie.
Every year we have taken part in Operation Christmas Child. This year, we are adopting a Christmas Angel through G’s school.
We will be buying a present for a little 5 year old girl who “loves anything Barbie”! I can’t wait to go shopping for her with Gwennie!

So where are you, Christmas? I think you are in our hearts… in our memories… in our souls… in the laughter of our children and in the joy sparkling in their eyes.

Happy Christmas everyone!

A white Christmas at Ormond Road with Sammy Sparkles

A white Christmas at Ormond Road with Sammy Sparkles


Christmas at The Chase

Christmas at The Chase


Playing with one of my Christmas gifts whilst my Gran looks on (at Little Owls)

Playing with one of my Christmas gifts whilst my Gran looks on (at Little Owls)

It’s snowing here in Wordpress Land!

And also on my blog! Cute!

Time for another update. We just enjoyed a couple of great weeks with my Mum here in town. It was so lovely to have her here and Gwennie just lapped her up.

Usually it is my poor Mum who comes over and gets sick (attack of the airplane germies), but she has since combated this by dosing up well with immune strengtheners and tonics. This time, it was both Bill and I who were poorly. Bill was fighting something off the first week when we had Thanksgiving. We hosted at our house and enjoyed having Bill’s Mum and one of Bill’s brothers, Bob and his family, come join us. Everyone mucked in and brought wonderful dishes of delights. It was a lovely afternoon.

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Mum, Gwennie, and I braved Epcot the next day. It was busy but bearable and we had a wonderful time. Epcot is definitely mine and Mum’s favourite of all the parks.

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On the Saturday, we braved Downtown Disney! That was a zoo! But we had fun and Gwennie loved going on the train and merry-go-round and we forced our way around the shops! We enjoyed a great lunch at Fulton’s Crab House.

Mum gets on really well with Ginny (Bill’s Mum) so they spent some time together whilst I was working and Gwennie was at school.

The second week of Mum’s visit, I got sick. I came down with some ghastly virus and was rendered out of action for the final weekend of Mum’s stay. I was so disappointed as we had plans to go to Animal Kingdom and/or Sea World. Alas, it was not to be.

Mum and I went to G’s school one morning and volunteered with her class… we had so much fun decorating pine cones for Christmas with the kids and making snowmen with the children’s painted white tootsies! Gwennie was very proud to show off her Granny!

All too soon, it was time to say goodbye, and Mum flew back to the UK on Wednesday evening. I know she was thrilled to be reunited with her little King Charles Cavalier, Alfie!

Bill came home with a Christmas tree this week. We have yet to decorate it, but that is the plan this weekend. Frank Frankypants (our Elf on the Shelf) has arrived and is up to his usual antics. This time he has a sidekick in tow… Buzz Lightyear!

After some discussion with Miss G, she is all signed up to start at the Orlando Ballet School in January. She is also going to be taking yoga classes at her school. She loves yoga and wants to incorporate it more into her regular schedule! She was a little hesitant at keeping up with the ballet, but when Bill and I talked to her about it, we discovered it was because she was finding it “tricky”. She has gone up a class this semester. She is the youngest in her class (she is 5 and the eldest is 8). She is learning a lot more theory now. Bill and I stressed the importance of not giving up on things just because they get tricky. We put it in context with her achievements such as writing and counting and Maths. It seemed to help and so she wanted to try a semester at OBS… AND practice yoga. Can’t complain with that! At least she loves to be active and do things which are good for her!

Right now we are looking forward to the holiday season. It’s a really busy time for Bill at work especially as he is putting together a new store at the same time. Hopefully it will all move along as smoothly as possible!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!

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Prancer!

The holidays are coming!

…and I haven’t posted in ages!

October was a funny old month. It was a month of feeling pretty blue. I am glad to say I have since picked myself up, dusted myself off, and am back on track again.

The end of October brought the loss of a dear friend of ours. Herb O’Brien was an amazing man who was like a father and mentor to Bill. It’s so sad to think he is gone and we won’t see him again. We loved him very much and we love his family. We flew up to Seattle the first week in November to attend his memorial service. It was held at his beloved Radar. It was a very touching affair and it was so good to see old friends. I am so grateful that I was able to go and I am very thankful to my lovely co-workers at The Bar Method for covering my classes so I could go and support Bill and Herb’s family.

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We enjoyed a lovely weekend with one of my dearest friends, Jenn, last weekend. It was her birthday and so she came to stay with us for a couple of days. We went to Epcot for the day on Saturday and had a wonderful time! She is so easy to be with and Gwennie adores her too!

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I had my evaluation with Karen at The Bar Method last week. It went well and was a positive experience! I am really looking forward to the future! I feel so lucky to be doing a job that I love!

Gwennie has had a busy week what with a Thanksgiving Pow Wow with her Kindergarten and The Nutcracker ballet recital! Such precious memories!

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Now we are gearing up to the Thanksgiving celebrations which we will be hosting at our house.

My Mum arrives on Monday! Can’t wait to have her here for 2 weeks!

A very happy Thanksgiving to one and all! I am so thankful for my amazing family, for dear friends, a job that I love, and good health!

 

A week (or two) in September

I have been itching to write a post for a while now but life just gets in the way! I have had so many topics in my head depending on the day and my mood.
I guess now will be a mish-mash of thoughts and happenings!

What’s going on?

Spent a lovely mini-weekend with my beloved Bar Method Babes.
Karen (the boss from heaven) treated us all to a retreat at an idyllic location in New Smyrna Beach in honour of our 1 year anniversary of the Winter Park location.
We all met up at the house, which was tucked away up a country lane surrounded by beautiful fields, after lunch on Saturday.
We took part in some team building exercises, which were a lot of fun.
Karen, generous as ALWAYS, gave each of us a gift of a framed group pictures and she had made hilarious Paper Plate Awards for each and every one of us.
Mine was: Most Likely to Get Anyone to Do Anything Just by Opening Her Mouth!
Then it was time to get our fun on! Trish had made a wonderful welcome cocktail with Malibu and Pineapple Juice (and other special secret Trish ingredients!!!!). It was perfect!
Then the wine bottles were cracked open. We all made pizza together. Ellen was our Pro Pizza Maker… she had us all in fits as she rolled and flipped and spun the dough around like a true Italian!
I have the most beautiful memories of this amazing group of women, each so different in looks, style, background, and personality, as they all came together and just laughed and laughed and laughed.
I have some great videos of our weekend, which I won’t share here… anyone who wasn’t there probably wouldn’t truly “get it” anyway… but for us girls, it was a great memory to keep and we all said how much we rolled around just watching the footage again.
We played a game into the wee hours…. Ellen brought it and I forget the name, but it was something like “Guesstures”… a type of Charades. It was absolutely raucous and hilarious!
We all cozied up and slept a little before congregating in the kitchen once more for breakfast and more giggles.
It was a great bonding experience and we really missed the ladies who were not able to make it… Kendra, Kelly, Morgan, Fionaaaaaaa, and Suzanne.
A huge thanks to Karen for making it all happen. Once gain, I am blown away by this amazing family that I am so lucky to be a part of.

The Bar Method Winter Park 1 Year Anniversary Retreat

Talking of families, I want to give kudos to my darling husband, who still amazes me every day with his supportive nature and actions.
Bill held the fort whilst I went away for a night. As typical as life is in throwing its curve-balls, his shop was broken into on Saturday night.
Thankfully our BFF James was in town staying at our house and so he watched Gwennie whilst Bill drove in to town to meet with the Sheriff.
Really, really fortunate, else it would have been an even more difficult situation for Bill.

I feel very blessed to be surrounded by such good people. Bill has just been amazing with my new work commitments.
Obviously, as the owner of a successful business, he is the bread-winner in the family. For me to work, it had to fit around his schedule.
However, he has been so kind, supportive, and helpful to me. It has been a transition to go from stay-at-home Mum to back-in-the-workforce Mum.
We live out in the sticks and to get G to school and go to work means driving around 60 miles a day. I get up at 5am most days during the week.
I spend about 2 hours in my car every day. Sometimes more.
I have to admit, I was feeling a little burned out last week.
Even though he works all hours, Bill immediately jumped in and offered to take G to school an extra couple of mornings this week so that I could have an extra hour or so in bed.
I appreciate it so much… it truly is the little things that mean so much. I am so lucky to have such a great husband/friend.
He has thrown himself into his new workout regime and has spent 4 mornings this week working out with his TRX personal trainer.
I’m really proud of him, because I know he does not love working out!

Bill & Gwennie at Daddy Daughter Donut Day

Gwennie continues to enjoy her new school life.
I did laugh this week as she came home informing me that her class is raising money to adopt a manatee.
She thought that adopting a manatee meant that said manatee would come and live with us… in our pool… or pond across the road.
I had to explain that the money raised to “adopt” the manatee would just go towards caring for him in his natural habitat.
Cue sweet disappointed face!
She is all fired up to go back to Sea World and visit the manatees there though.
I am looking forward to less humid days so that we can get back into visiting some of the parks on a weekend. So much fun!

Dear Kate is still the matriarch of the house. I hate watching her start to struggle with her stiff back legs.
She doesn’t seem to be in pain, but it is an effort for her to get up after being laid down for a while.
I loathe that she is getting older. She will be 13 at Christmas. I wish we could press the pause button.

Sweet old lady, Kate!

God… are you there?

Those of you who have ever had children know that they come out with the most amazing and funniest things on a daily basis.
Usually several times a day in fact!

Here’s another one of Gwennie’s classics.

We played outside by the pool for an hour this afternoon.
I was feeling pretty weary and begged a few minutes peace whilst I laid on the sunbed.
Gwennie decided to busy herself with the pool brush.

G: “I’m cleaning, Mummy!”
Me: “Oh thank you! You are such a good helper.”

Much huffing and puffing followed and then…

G: *sigh* “I wish I had some help… not you though, Mummy! I know you are tired!”

A little more huffing and puffing, followed by…

G: “God? Are you there?”

Wow.

My little bathing belle!

Of movies and sushi!

Happy weekend!

Bill, Gwennie, & I went to see “Ice Age: Continental Drift” yesterday. It didn’t fail to disappoint.
Again, the reviews for it were a little mixed, but I think I look at these animated films now through different eyes… those of a 5 year old. I see the silly humour in everything and don’t take them too seriously.
The cast was a fabulous of array of stars… the old faithfuls of Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Queen Latifa, and John Leguizamo. This time they were joined by Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj.
As always Scrat stole the show with his hilarious antics!
Gwennie’s favourite was JLo’s character, Shira, a beautiful sabre toothed tiger. I fell in love with Sid’s Granny, fabulously taken on by the wonderful Wanda Sykes.
Before the movie began, Maggie Simpson starred in a short called “The Longest Daycare”. It was absolutely brilliant! We all loved it!
The entire movie theatre enjoyed the entire entertainment and there were rounds of applause after both the Simpson short and the movie finale.

Afterwards we headed on over to a restaurant we haven’t tried before. Sushi Pop is located near UCF.
Bill had read good reviews about it and so we decided to give it a whirl. It is such an understated little place on the outside and we were so surprised when we walked in!
It is very spacious and modern and has a very cute ambience. There is Manga art on the walls and Gwennie was mesmerized by the TV screens playing Anime type movies.
Banzai trees are displayed all over the locale. The waiters and waitresses are all dressed up in cute little outfits. Lucy, our waitress, looked like a modern day flapper girl.
The food was tremendous. Bill and I both enjoyed the Pop Salads and then the Ceviche and Hot Mess rolls. The fish was super fresh, as were all the amazing flavours.
The chef put together a dish of tempura chicken with bok choy and rice for Gwennie, which she enjoyed.
Then we all shared two wonderful desserts… a coconut creme brulee and something completely decadent called PMS (think chocolate lava cake filled with chocolate and peanut butter… accompanied by sea salt caramel ice cream!!!! OMG!!!!). All washed down with a Japanese wheat beer (I don’t remember the name!) and a lovely glass of Sauvignon Blanc, which was deliciously apple-y and complimented the rolls perfectly.
Lucy was delightful and was super attentive, cute, and a hit with Gwennie… especially after awarding her with a bunch of chopsticks to take home, complete with a child’s chopstick “learner” tool!
We will definitely go there again.

Today we are getting ready to enjoy an afternoon with Grandpoo by the pool. Here are some photos of the crazy duo from last week!

Swim buddies!


Ready, steady….


Bubbles!


Blowhole!