Sunday, July 8, 2012

One of a Kind

Here we are again at the World Series of Poker.  This is the first year we've come out here without the girls and I find myself not relaxing by the pool but standing next to Trevor's table watching him play.  It's something I used to do all of the time before we had kids and I don't get to do it very often anymore.  Most people think I'm crazy and ask how I can possibly stand and watch poker but time flies by as I spend most of my time people watching and occasionally catching hands in between.   This World Series is bittersweet for a couple of reasons.  First, it's bittersweet because the girls aren't here.  It's great that I can relax for a change and watch Trevor play but I miss my little babies like crazy and Vegas is Ava's favorite place to visit.  She knows really nothing of what it really is but she knows she gets to come out, hang out with her favorite guys, play in the pool, drink milkshakes from Burger Bar,  and see the Statue of Liberty.  She knows Daddy plays poker for a living and he plays tournaments out here.  But neither girl knows what really goes on here or that they're visiting "Sin City" each year.   Kids are special because they also know nothing of real life problems.  The biggest problem my girls face each day is what they want for breakfast or who had the toy first.  They don't know about the truly chaotic world they live in or the tragedies occurring on a daily basis.  Which brings me to the second reason this trip is so bittersweet.  A few years ago, we had the pleasure of getting to know our friends Jay and Ken's friend Andy.  Originally from Tennessee, he lives in Florida now.  We heard many stories before we met him and once we met him, I knew he was a special kind of guy.  He lives his life to the fullest and the big smile he wears never leaves his face.  We spent some time with him since then getting to know him a little better.  Andy doesn't take a second for granted in life like so many are guilty of.  We all say we are going to make the effort to not take anything for granted, live life to its fullest but how many people actually do that each day?  We all get busy and wrapped up in our lives and the tasks we need to accomplish each day and never really take a second to look around and be thankful for what we have that's important.  We're healthy, happy, have a roof over our head, and food to eat.  These are the important things in life - not what brands we wear, the cars we drive, the size of our homes, or our money in the bank.  Far too often, we complain about things that don't truly matter.  I know I'm guilty of it.  I am extremely thankful for things things I have but it's still easy to always want more.  Today, and for the past few days, I've spent a lot of time thinking about all of this and about Andy. When someone's life is in danger, it puts things in perspective.  Things happen daily that make you think about how precious life is and how quickly it can end but it hits even harder when someone close to you is in danger.   Andy is 28 years old - far too young to be sick in a hospital bed.  But there he lays in desperate need of a lung transplant.  My heart aches for him and for his family and friends.  Anyone who knows him knows how special he is.  He has his closest friends and family sitting by his side waiting for the news he so badly needs right now.  Any lungs that become available within a 2000 mile radius are his - so now everyone sits and waits.  I know Andy well enough and waiting for news is excruciating so I can't imagine what it must be like for those closest to him.  Andy is a fighter and that's just what he's doing now.  I believe he's going to continue fighting his battle and I'm holding onto hope that the news will come that Andy's getting new lungs. So, what's the point of this blog?  I want no sympathy as I am not one of those closest to Andy.  I want this story to be a lesson to those who read this.  Cherish each day you have and the loved ones around you.  Be thankful for the things you have and forget about the inconsequential things in life.  We hear everyday that life is short and hear multiple stories about it so as cliche as it may sound, it truly is short and precious.  Everyone should live life like Andy - always smiling and happy and living each day to the fullest and best of your ability.  Andy has been sick his entire life and not one time have I ever heard him mention his sickness or how he was feeling.  Next time you wake up with a headache, stomach ache, cold, hangover, whatever - try not to complain because there are people out there fighting for every breath.   Andy - we love you and are pulling for you.  We can't wait to laugh with you again.  Until then, keep fighting!  Love to you, your family, and friends. UPDATE:  After I finished writing this blog, I got a text informing me that Andy's friends and family said their final goodbyes to him.  He became too sick to be able to safely endure a transplant and was removed from the list.  It is deeply saddening to hear this news and my thoughts are with his family and friends.  Andy is truly one of a kind. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


So, here we are in 2012! We had a great time on New Year's. Last year, we went to a bar with my friend Katie. We had fun, but we decided that night that we were going to stay home every December 31st going forward. Approaching the big day, we had no plans except to stay home with our girls and hang out. Trevor got home from work a few days before and mentioned having a game night with the family. By New Year's Eve, we were expecting 9 people plus ourselves at our house. My mother in law made several different kinds of super delicious stuffed mushrooms, spinach dip, pepperoni bread, cheese bread, and a veggie tray. My mom brought some yummy homemade guacamole and for dessert, Nicole brought a chocolate cake. We played Mad Gab with 2 teams. Ava was on one team and she held the cards for someone and later took a shot making up her own phrase which was "peanut butter peanut butter jelly peanut butter jelly on my nose". Not sure where the "on my nose" came from but if you've ever played the game, you'll understand why she was repeating the same thing over again. It was a hilarious game so we did nothing but laugh the entire time. Nicole was a master and got almost every single answer within seconds so naturally, her team won. At midnight, we were all together to toast to a new year including Little Miss Ava who soldiered through the night and wouldn't go to bed until almost 2 am (which she made up for the next morning by sleeping until 11 am with the rest of the house).

January 1st meant it was time to really get moving. In just 6 days, I was hosting a surprise baby shower at my house for my sister in law Trinna. She's due February 3rd with a little boy she's naming Jordan. This will be my second nephew but this is the first boy on Trevor's side of the family so it's exciting! With the help of her best friend Mo, we spent the week preparing for the big day. Trevor and his dad had a big plan of a Sixer's game to get her here. She thought she was stopping at our house to pick up the tickets with her dad. Having it here, however, had one obstacle - parking. Our development is 1 court - nothing else, so hiding cars here is impossible. It does back up to another development though so my wonderful husband valeted and chauffeured people into the next development and hid every car including one of ours since she thought we weren't home. When Trinna finally arrived, there were almost 50 people hiding in my kitchen while she stood outside of the front door looking through her keys trying to figure out which one opened our door. When she finally came in, she looked at the living room with a look of confusion on her face for a second or 2 until everyone screamed surprise! She said she genuinely had no idea what she was walking into so that's the reason for the blog title "Success!" We did it! And the shower turned out better than I hoped it would. Trinna received lots of gifts for baby Jordan and got to see lots of friends and family. My cousin Laura made the most amazing cake to match our jungle theme. Here are some pictures...

There was a vanilla chocolate chip cake on top and 3 dozen cupcakes below. The cupcakes were 3 different flavors: banana chocolate chip with peanut butter chocolate chunk filling and peanut butter frosting, lemon cake with raspberry cream cheese frosting, and red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Besides the incredible detail, the flavor of her cakes are unlike anything I've had before. They are the most delicious cakes and cupcakes I've ever eaten, hands down and not just because she's family. Everyone at the party couldn't stop eating them so if you're reading this and you're in the NJ area and need a cake, get in touch with her! For favors, we had 3 chocolate covered oreos - 2 drizzled to look like zebra print and 1 with an animal face on it - again made by Laura. Here's what they looked like:

Check out my invitation company page, Avatation Paper Company to see the invitation and some of the decor I made for the shower!

Now it's time to work hard on projects - some new and some old. We have a lot we'd like to accomplish this year so there's no time for relaxing! We've been waking up at 5 am (although the past couple of days it hasn't worked out for me...oops!) to get things done before the girls wake up. Trevor leaves for work between 9 and 10 am and then it's just the girls and me. We tried to put a schedule together, but since he can't guarantee he'll be home at any specific time, I just have to work as hard as possible to get things done with two kids attached to me or beating each other up and then hide in my office when Trevor gets home to get the rest of my work done. It's non stop from 5-7 am until 10-11 pm so it's pretty exhausting and hectic. This weekend, we're taking our dads and step moms out to dinner and my dad and stepmom are keeping the girls for the weekend. Saturday, we're headed to North Jersey to celebrate our good friends Dan and Kerri's engagement! We don't get to see each other much these days so I'm really looking forward to spending the weekend together. I'll be back with another update soon!