Time Out

IT’S TIME FOR A TIME OUT

Well, friends, it’s become crystal clear to me that I have once again bitten off more than I can chew. Apparently I think I am Superwoman sometimes and have endless amounts of free time to do whatever I want. This is not the case, unfortunately. I love my blog, but most of the time it turns into a nagging voice in the back of my head reminding me that I haven’t posted this week yet. I don’t want that and that was definitely not my goal for this project. I am not saying I am shutting down entirely again, but I’m not going to make this a necessity. I may just use this forum to post pictures or give mini celebration updates every so often. I know, my return was short-lived, but circumstances in my life are changing and I need to start focusing on my future endeavors. So far my 31st year on this planet is proving to be more challenging than anticipated, but that is only giving me the opportunity to make some positive changes. I am working on finding my happiness each and every day and I hope that all of you blog followers are doing your best to BE HAPPY too!!

Lots of love and happiness to all,

Hayley

Honoring the Fallen

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October 5-6 was

FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS MEMORIAL WEEKEND

Well, this is not the happiest holiday I have celebrated, but it is definitely one of the most meaningful. As I have mentioned a couple other times in this blog, the Westland Fire Department lost one of their own this year. It was a horrible day that I know all of us who are connected to that department will never forget. The weeks and months that followed were a blur of long days, memorials, fundraisers and of course the funeral. Brian Woehlke died fighting a commercial building fire on May 8, 2013. He was only 29 years old and he left behind his wife, Jenny, and his baby girl, Ava. As I am writing this I am again feeling the enormous gravity of his loss. I cannot begin to imagine what his family has gone through and is still going through to this day. I am proud to say that the WWFA has gone above and beyond to provide care for the family and preserve the memory of Brian. The amount of support from the community during all of the fundraising events was incredible. This past weekend Wayne County hosted its first annual Heroes on Hines Run. This run was set up to recognize all of the fallen first responders and to celebrate all that these brave men and women did for their communities. Also, Wayne County just constructed a memorial honoring all of those who gave their lives so that others might live. Rich and I, along with many others from the WWFA, ran in the 5K. Here are some pictures from our morning:

Our before and after race pictures. You would think this would be opposite, right? Well, truth be told, my birthday was the day before the run and let’s just say we celebrated a wee bit too hard that night….but hey, look at us afterwards! All smiles and no hangover!

Some of the other WWFA runners post-race. Go team!

The results – 28th in my age group. Yes….I am not the fastest and have zero endurance, but I’m getting better! Check out #2 – yay Jenny!

A pic of the Wayne County Memorial on Hines Drive.

Brian Woehlke’s name on the memorial wall.

The WWFA Team also won the Team Spirit award for having the most runners sign up and complete the race. No surprise there, we already knew that there would be tons of supporters! If you live in the area and you get a chance, go see the memorial and pay your respects. We will never forget those who have fallen in the line of duty.

Women are the BEST

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SEPTEMBER WAS WOMEN’S FRIENDSHIP MONTH

Ahh, women’s friendship is a complicated manner. Women are fickle creatures. We like what we like and we dislike everything else….with a passion. I know I have written about this topic before and I always go back to the point that all women are crazy Bs. For reals. I’m 100% willing to admit that about myself and on behalf of every other woman I know. Men reading this are nodding their heads vehemently in agreement. The twist on this is that men are the ones who make all of us women crazy!!! Ooooooh, now you men are shaking your heads in utter defeat. I know. Accept it. It’s true. Women need other women to help balance them out. We need each other to have someone to complain to about our husbands/boyfriends. We also need women to complain to about all those OTHER women we strongly dislike. Yes, we like gossip. No news flash there. All of that aside, a friendship between women can be one of the strongest bonds in one’s life. Women understand each other in a way that a man never can. Women will always have each other’s backs and will always be there to support one another in all of life trials and tribulations. I have been lucky enough to have some of the best ladies in my life that I can always count on being there if I need them. Even though we are all older now and live all over the continental United States, my posse ladies are always there for me!! Love you guys! I was able to hang out with the 2 remaining Michigan posse chicks this month (and our newest honorary member, Baby Morgan):

Bahama Breezin’ it up!

Monica and I at the movies….we had a very opinionated lady that sat extremely close to us. Entertainment at its best!

I also had 2 weddings this month where I got to see some of my other gal pals. These were both Fire Fighter weddings. The bond between Fire Fighter wives is one that is easy to build. We are all in the same boat right off the bat so we have an understanding of one another automatically.

Farmington Hills Fire chicks

WWFA Fire wives celebrating the Caldwell wedding

Sassy!

I had a little extra bonding time with some of the WWFA fire ladies at the Neon Vibe 5K:

Our before and after shot

The whole group after the run

Lastly, I had a lovely morning/afternoon out with some of my work buddies this month:

We are true artists

Always remember – A good friend will hire you a lawyer, a great friend will help you bury the bodies…..

September Shake-Up

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SEPTEMBER IS:

A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT HOLIDAYS!

I have celebrated a variety of September holidays over the past week and a half. I couldn’t commit to a full-blown post about a single one, so I decided I’m just going to post all my pics and just give a little blurb about each one. Who am I kidding, everyone is in this just for the photos!

ALL AMERICAN BREAKFAST MONTH

You can’t have an all American breakfast without a Bloody Mary….duh.

NATIONAL CLEAN HANDS WEEK – SEPTEMBER 15-21

Washing my hands at work and checking out the snazzy sign we have up in our bathroom. I have entered the expert level of hand washing. That’s what happens when you have one kid in diapers and one kid who cannot yet wipe his own butt…..lots and lots of soap being used up in my house.

NATIONAL CHEESEBURGER DAY – SEPTEMBER 18

The Dege Family had a nice little cheeseburger dinner at the local Smashburger. They know how to do a pretzel bun right.

FLASHBACK BONUS – INTERNATIONAL EAT AN APPLE DAY – SEPTEMBER 21

I know I said no repeats, but I couldn’t resist this one. This is Roman this week with an apple:

This was Roman on the same holiday two years ago:

At least he has lost a little bit of the crazy eyes. (He’s actually just masking them in his current picture. Don’t be fooled, he’s still crazy.)

 

Coupon Queen

SEPTEMBER IS:

NATIONAL COUPON MONTH

I am not a big coupon person. While I fully appreciate the concept of saving money, as I’m sure most people do, I do not do well with coupons for some reason. Mainly because I just forget to use them unless they are for something I actually need. Believe me, when I get my hands on a diaper coupon you better believe I will be using that one. I have noticed that coupons in general are for name brand products that I would not buy regularly. All that being said, I am utterly fascinated by that Extreme Couponing show. I think two things about the people on that show: 

1. These people have a lot of time to dedicate to couponing.

2. These people are replacing couponing with doing crack.

It’s an addiction to them. Although, any ‘extreme’ habit can basically be categorized as an addiction, right? I think that’s a fair statement. For this month’s holiday I did not go the traditional coupon route. I have evolved with the times and used two iPhone apps to help me celebrate. The first one I’m sure everyone has heard of and probably used – Groupon. I love me a good Groupon. I believe Groupon is a highly effective way to get a legitimate deal on something fun and exciting. I have used it in the past for restaurants, auto services, massages, concerts, etc. All cool stuff. This time around I used it for something new. My pal Sara found a Groupon for the Detroit Urban Challenge. It is a race/scavenger hunt sort of thing around Downtown Detroit. Sounds interesting, no? Oh, well it was! The Groupon was for ½ off the registration fee – $20 instead of $40. For some unknown reason when I bought the Groupon I got an extra $15 discount! Bonus! So the $40 registration fee turned out to be only $5 bucks. Groupon success! Here are some pictures from the event: 

Hula hooping at Hart Plaza

 

Aaarrrrgh!

 

We came in 15th place out of 215 teams!!! Next year we are shooting for Top 5.
P.S. – Our team name was Legends of the Masonic Temple, a play on the show Legends of the Hidden Temple (hence the shirts). I did not really remember this show, much to Sara’s dismay, but a lot of people really geeked out about our attire that day! Purple Parrots forever!

The next app I used to celebrate was something new to me, Ibotta. This app boasts, ‘cash, not coupons’ as its slogan. This is an alternative way to save money that can actually be used in conjunction with traditional coupons. What you do is go into the app and choose products you want to purchase. When you click on the product it will have several different options to earn your cash. These range from watching a 30 second video, learning a fact (aka pushing the button and then clicking done….literally 2.2 seconds of your time) or posting something to Facebook or Twitter. I flat out refuse to be one of those annoying Facebook users so I did not earn any moolah with that option. Then you go to the store and buy the items. After purchasing, you need to take a picture of your receipt and also scan all the items to verify that you actually bought them. It was a little more work than I was prepared for, but the payoff was pretty good. I bought 4 things and earned $2.25. Not too shabby. Then I noticed if I bought one more item within the next 2 weeks I would earn a $10 bonus. I got a little overexcited about this prospect and went to Target later in the day to pick up a few more deals. I ended up getting 4 more products, earning another $2.50 and getting the $10 bonus. Now I had banked $14.75 and was ready to transfer my money to PayPal. All I had to do was hook up my account and then hit transfer and voila! Free money!! With the extra added bonus I basically got all of the stuff I bought for nothing. Just think, if I had real coupons for these products I could have possibly made money using this app. Uh oh…I think I’m getting a taste of that couponers high….. 

A montage of my Ibotta experience.

Leo enjoying some of my couponing spoils.

Maybe couponing isn’t so bad after all.

 

 

BONUS PICTURES

This kid likes his sugar.

Our morning pick-me-up.

My Own Holiday

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I am slacking on this blog; I missed a week already. After my geocaching date mix-up, everything got all disorganized. In my defense, August is not a super thrilling holiday month. Even the site where I go to find all of the holidays pointed out this factoid. I did actually celebrate TWO monthly holidays last week, but they were both quite lame – Panini Month and National Cupcake Day. I was desperately trying to find something fun and cool to celebrate, but instead I just have a bunch of pictures of me and the kiddos eating food. No one wants/needs to see that, especially after all the food holidays I celebrated in my first year with this blog. B-O-R-I-N-G.  So, for this post I am celebrating a much more fantastic personal holiday:

Baby Leo’s First Birthday!!!! 

Not too much explaining to do for this one, so away we go!

On Leo’s actual birthday we took a trip to Maybury Farm.

Checking out the sheep…not so sure about him.

Rich and Roman with the crazy llama. He was making weird noises so we got out of there before he decided to take a bite out of one of our children.

Me and my boys.

Daddy and his dudes.

Easy rider.

Birthday party day! Leo and Grandma.

Opening gifts with his little helpers, Roman and Brooklyn.

Cake time!

My dad’s birthday is the day after Leo’s, so we will forever be smooshing their celebrations together. I love this picture; so funny!

We love our baby boy!

Alright, party’s over.

Finders Keepers…Or Not

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AUGUST 17 IS:
GEOCACHING DAY

You may be wondering how I warped into the future and am writing this post prior to the actual holiday. Well, you see, my brain doesn’t function as well as it did before I had two mind-sucking little people constantly stealing my intelligence. Yeah…I got my weekends mixed up. I realized this when it was too late and then just decided to go with it. Hey, this is my blog and I do what I want. Deal with it.

Now I will begin to chronicle this week’s escapade. For those of you that don’t know what geocaching is, here is the lovely Wikipedia definition:

Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing into the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little financial value, although sometimes they are sentimental.

I had never been geocaching before, but I was well aware of what it was because my parents are actually semi-avid geocachers. To start our adventure I downloaded the FREE geocaching app. This app will allow you to search for geocaches from anywhere. It is pretty crazy to see just how many of these things there are all over the place. When I searched from our house, there were 5 within a one mile radius. Seriously, they are everywhere! We were visiting Rich’s mom on this holiday (or what I had thought was this holiday) and I figured it would be fun to see if there were any close to her so we could all go together. Not surprisingly, there was one that was just over a quarter mile from her place. The rest of our journey will now be relayed in this fabulous photo montage:

Using the Geocaching app to find a cache.

Setting out on our quest.

Following the yellow brick road….sort of.

We made it to the coordinates, now it’s time to start the search.

Searching…..

More searching….

About to throw in the towel, but wait…

What’s this???

We found it!

Roman was excited.

Leo just wanted to eat it….like everything else he manages to get into his little hands.

VICTORY! We’re pros now.

Oh, then on the way home there was a giant turtle in the road. Rich was going to pick him up and move him, but as soon as he touched him that bad boy bucked him off like a wild horse! Not related to geocaching at all, but like I said I do what I want with this blog. :)

 BONUS PICTURES

Mommy and Leo being silly.

Roman checking out our deer friend in the backyard.

To Market, To Market

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NATIONAL FARMERS MARKET WEEK

Before this week’s holiday I had been to a couple farmers markets in my day. I will admit that it is definitely not a habit of mine and I typically just lazily purchase my fruits and vegetables at the super mega grocery store. It was a refreshing change of pace taking the time to peruse the fresh, organic and locally grown produce at our downtown farmers market. I did not realize until I did my research for this holiday that Downtown Farmington holds a regular Farmers and Artisans Market every Saturday from May to the beginning of November. The awesome things you find in your own city when you do a little exploring! I told Roman the night before that when Dad got home from work we were going to go to the Farmers Market. He got all excited and started talking about cows and pigs and all that lovely FARM stuff. I had to explain to him that there were no animals there, just fruits and vegetables and things like that. He agreed and said yes, fruits and vegetables to feed the animals. Typical conversation with a 2 ½ year old, they only hear what they want to hear. Anyhow, we hit up the market early on Saturday and were pleased to find a lot of great offerings:

As you can see, it was a beautiful day!

 

Super fresh!

We had a little breakfast too and it was marvelous. I had a breakfast sandwich and Rich got a bacon waffle. I will repeat that, a BACON waffle. It was downright sinful tasting. The boys could not get enough:

Yum town.

Then we ran into some of our Farmington Hills pals, the Schertel posse. Yippee!

Yeah, Rich and I have on matching shirts…..nerd alert.

I am sad you cannot really see Karen’s super cute baby bump that was housing their TWO baby boys. She actually just had the twins TODAY!!!! Yay! More friends for Roman and Leo! After making several laps around the various stands we ended up buying green beans, blackberries, peaches, lettuce, peppers and popcorn. It was a good haul and it was really nice to get out in the open air to do a little sidewalk shopping. I think we will try to go up there more often. It is always good to support your community and it is also a much healthier way to buy some quality food.

 

BONUS PICTURES

Brotherly love

Holy crap! My hair fell off! Don’t worry, it’s going to be donated to a Michigan based charity – http://www.childrenwithhairloss.us/

Lovers + 1

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July is:
SHARE A SUNSET WITH YOUR LOVER MONTH

Although I am posting this in August we actually celebrated on July 30th, so don’t worry it’s totally legit. Originally Rich and I had planned on doing this earlier in the month, but that didn’t pan out due to his crazy work schedule. To give you an idea of how much daylight we have lost this month, in case you hadn’t been taking notice, the sunset time during the first few days of July was 9:16pm. By the time we ended up sharing a sunset at the end of the month it was 8:55pm. That is 21 minutes of sunshine gone! It’s only going to get worse my friends; the threat of winter is always looming here in Michigan. Since the sunset was relatively early in terms of Roman’s bedtime (he typically goes up to his room at 9pm and then books are read, delays are had and then finally the ritual tucking in occurs), he ended up getting to stay up with Rich and I to enjoy the sunset. Hence, the Lovers + 1 title for today’s blog. So, it wasn’t quite as romantical (yeah, I meant to say romantical) as I believe this holiday is meant to be. Plus, you add in the omnipresent swarm of mosquitos and then it’s just downright irritating. Our house faces the east, so our backyard was the place to be for the sunset. As you can see, we don’t have too much of an ideal view for watching the sun go down:

Trees, trees, trees everywhere!

That’s okay, we made it work. Here is a picture of us at 8:55pm, right at the posted time of sunset:

Please disregard my snazzy ensemble, I just got done doing my awesome jog/walk.

Here we are 5 minutes later, just so you can compare the difference in light:

Roman is clearly disgruntled here, he’s flipping off all those darn mosquitos!

I only obtained about 12 mosquito bites during this little adventure. Roman got 21. Yikes. I think we will save our next sunset for the fall when it is nice and cool out and we don’t have to worry about getting eaten alive. Granted, it will be much earlier, but then Leo can join the fun too!

BONUS PICTURES

Bathtime fun!

Who doesn’t love a picture of a picture? Karri and I at our company BBQ.

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