It never fails ….

It never fails that something throws a kink in your plan.

I had gotten myself organized right down to the minute.  My list of things I needed to take care of prior to leaving for Disney on Monday was extremely detailed, right down to the time I actually zip up the luggage.

I thought I was home free and for once, going to relax as I prepare my family to leave for vacation.

Then I got the call from the daycare.  My little boy who never gets sicks wasn’t feeling well and had a temp of 100.6.  That in itself is not too bad.  By the time we got to him about an hour later it had spiked to 101.7.  Hubby decided to take him on in to the doctor.

Bless his heart.Only 45 hours from Disney and he is diagnosed with strep.  He never gets sicks so I couldn’t believe it.  My hubby called me from the doctor’s office and I could hear my little one crying in the background.  From the sound of it, I could tell he felt really bad.  I immediately went into paranoid mom mode.

The thought of him not being able to enjoy his trip to Disney just breaks my heart.  The thought of mom sitting all week in a hotel room with a sick little boy doesn’t sound too promising either.

But in true Collier fashion, as soon as the antibiotics and the ibuprofen kicked in, he was running around the house like the little wild man he is.  He was chatting about Mickey Mouse and wanting to start packing.  I really hope it lasts.

We just put him to bed after another dose of meds.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Here’s a new pic of him.



Hi Ho, Hi Ho It’s Off to Disney we go….

My family and I, along with our best friends and their children, leave in less than a week to go to Disney World.  I am sooooo excited.  I don’t know who is anticipating the trip more, the children or the parents.

I’ve never been, so it will be fun for me.  But, I just can’t wait to watch my children.  And then, there will be the scrapbook pages when we get home.  My husband jokes that we plan our lives and take all our photos with scrapbook pages in mind.  There may be some truth to that.  I’ll have at least a good week of scrapbooking our vacation memories when we get home.  I’ve been collecting paper and embellishments for months.

As excited as I am about the trip, getting ready to vacation is just a nightmare for me.  Packing and getting ready to leave for any amount of time sends me into panic mode.

I’ve written before on this site about my yearning for my lifestyle to be “Martha Stewart, HGTV and Southern Living all wrapped up in a Norman Rockwell painting,” especially around the holidays. Not going to happen! I do make quite the valiant effort each year.  Unfortunately, four Christmas trees and 36 boxes of decorations later I’m still trying to put my home back together after last Christmas — and it’s July!  (That might be a slight exaggeration, but it did take me a while).   Anyway, that’s another post.  Back to my original topic.

The panic if feel during the holidays is nothing like what I feel now.  It takes on a whole new level when I’m going to travel. About a week prior to any vacation, I go into an adrenaline-driven whirlwind of trying to tie up every loose end in my life.  I can thank (ha ha, that’s Southern for “think”) of a million minuscule things that I must take care of NOW.

The funniest part of it all is that I spend so much time cleaning house, organizing drawers (because, of course, that is of the utmost importance), digging dust bunnies from under the bed, writing my memoirs, filing the box of bills and papers that have accumulated over the last year and a plethora of other just as mundane tasks, that I have all my packing to do at the very last minute.  I will be in a mad dash as I’m rushing out the door stuffing the last “just- in-case-I-need-it item” into the zipper pocket on my luggage, trying to get to the airport on time.  It’s a good thing my husband loves me.

I’m normally a fairly organized person.  The mere mention of the word “vacation” tosses my organizational skills out the window.

Oh well. The good new is …. Hi Ho, Hi Ho it’s off to Disney we go! 

I know as soon as we are on that plane, all will be good.


Thoughts to ponder….

I was just thinking today ….

With the economy the way it is these days and the day-to-day struggles of just getting by, it is very easy to get caught up in the “why me’s?”  and quickly throw a huge pity party.

The rising costs of fuel and food are taking its toll on everyone.  My husband and I feel it.  We feel the struggle more than we ever have.

I work in the nonprofit world with families of very low income.  Any issue I’m feeling affects them tenfold.  I’m learning very quickly not to focus on the pay that I don’t get, and focus on what my job does give me.

What does it give me?  It gives me the chance to use my skills and go home at the end of the day feeling like I’ve done something important.  It definitely gives me a great appreciation for what I do have.  And if the stories of the families we work with don’t do it, then one quick peruse through the newspaper or a quick listen to the morning news surely will.

Not to sound cliché, but I think I may be finally learning to “not sweat the small stuff” and really focus on what I HAVE and what’s important.

What do I have?

  1. I have a home … it’s not just a roof over my head, it is a home.
  2. I have a husband who provides for his family and comes home every night.
  3. I have a best friend.
  4. I have a little boy who still tells me he loves me every morning.  In fact, this morning he loved me “a lot, a lot, a lot.”
  5. I have a teenage daughter who trusts me enough to come to me when she has a problem, even when her teenage hormones are telling her I’m a freak of nature.
  6. I have an education.
  7. I’m alive.
  8. I have a God and the freedom to worship him.
  9. I have a car to put that expensive gas in and a job to drive it to.
  10. I have a kitchen and the ability to cook the food we constantly gripe about the cost of.
  11. I have luxuries that 100% of the families I work with do not have.
  12. I’m healthy.
  13. I’ve made mistakes and have been able to learn from them.
  14. I’m finally gaining the maturity to appreciate numbers 1 though 13.

I could sit here and continue this list all night long.  It’s amazing how many things to be thankful for you can come up with if you only take the time to try.  The list could go on and on.  What do I have to gripe about?

Enough mushiness for now. Night!

A rare moment….

I was trying yesterday to no avail to get my daughter to pick up her shoes and dirty socks from my living room floor when my son came running through, picked up the socks and said “do I put ’em in the laundry room?”

I was astonished – not only at the mere fact that he picked up those stinky socks but he did it happily, to his own accord.  Then, on his way back through the room, he grabbed the equally stinky volleyball shoes, headed toward the stairs and proclaimed, “Sissy is my best friend.”

WOW!!   I love it.  I’m not sure if she was bribing him or if he was trying to butter her up for something.  Either way, I just love it!!

A few minutes later they went out to the pool, hand in hand.  After a while I took a quick peak out into the backyard to see what they were doing.  They were smiling and laughing.  My daughter was holding her little brother, making faces at him and doing a very good job at entertaining them.

I was one of those rare moments you don’t ever want to forget.  They were both lost and involved in just being together.  One of those rare moments free of sibling rivalry.  A stranger looking in would have seen the sweetness that only their mother can truly appreciate.

Now, as I sit here writing this, things are back to normal.  I can hear stomping, doors slamming, my drama queen yelling “mooooommmmmn” and my sweet 5-year-old proudly proclaiming to his sister “you have a very big butt!!”

Still, just gotta love it.


Guilty pleasures … and Grease is still the word!

Good morning!

Guilty pleasures … we all have them.  I have a few, well quite a few … too many to list here.  I guess probably my biggest is cheesy movies.  I LOVE THEM!

I watch all of what I call the “junior chick flicks” with my daughter.  She’s 14 and I’ve been doing it for years. Yes, I love “The Princess Diaries” and yes, I know all the words to “High School Musical,” both 1 and 2. We are eagerly awaiting the premiere of the third install in the HSM saga. 

Both my children and I sat in anticipation Friday evening as we watched the timer so cleverly placed by Disney Channel execs in the upper right hand corner of our television screen countdown the minutes and seconds to the premiere of “Camp Rock.”

Of course I do have the real guilty pleasures.  Those cheesy movies that are much more refined, much more mature and age appropriate.  The list is long,  but my favorite — “Grease”.  I’m sure all those “Grease” aficionados know what I’m talking about.  The music, the characters…doesn’t it just take you back?

I was in sixth grade when “Grease” was released in theaters. I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to go see it. At the the time, the costumes, the characters and the music were “so cool.” Even more exciting was the day I got my “Grease” album.  I could already sing every word and the album just allowed me to sing in front of the mirror with accompaniment and my very own background singers! (Something I would never, ever do now! )


Now 40 (ugh, gasping for air),  I can still sing all the words to each song. “Grease” is definitely still the word!  My best girlfriends and I recently took our daughters to see a local theater company’s production of “Grease.”  I think they enjoyed it as much as we still obviously do.  I think we may have embarrassed them a little as we sang .. at times loudly … to each song.


That afternoon in the theater brought back memories of sitting in my sixth-grade classroom on the days our teacher would allow us to bring music to school. I got my brief 15 minutes of fame as I was the first in my class the have  the album (my daughter once told me she knew what a record album was …. “A really big CD that they listened to in the old days”) and we spent many a Friday afternoon listening to it.


My friends and and I had a “reunion concert” of our Grease favorites yesterday evening.  We were all gathered for the 10th birthday of one of the gals’ daughter.  When the younger girls tired of the karaoke machine, we did it!  We broke out the karaoke version of Grease.  Our daughters were once again driven to hide in shame in the corner as we sang and danced.

Soon they too will learn to appreciate the guilty pleasures of “Grease.”

Well have a good day.  I have homemade bread in the oven and it is smelling quite yummy.


Back to the 80s

I read a post recently about the 80s.  I’m aging myself, but it really took me back.  I still love to listen to 80s’ music.  My daughter actually shares my taste in music and listens to quite a bit of the 80s’ stuff herself.

We spent a recent evening downloading clips of what she calls the “oldies but goodies.”  Gee…. I hate the fact that now what I listened to in high school is considered the oldies!!

My daughter had 80s day at school a few weeks ago, so we had a great time trying to figure out her wardrobe for the day.  (This was much more my speed than trying to tell her what they wore in the 50s.  She’s still not convinced I wasn’t alive then.  Of course, Mom predates everything, right?.)  And true to character, Taylor informed me of 80s day about 12 hours prior to needing the outfit. But it was doable.  She wound up looking something like Flash Dance meets Debbie Gibson, or maybe even Punky Brewster. Either way, she looked pretty cute and she was satisfied.  Her outfit was complete with – I hate to admit it – some huge green earrings that still call my jewelry box home.  I don’t <shriek> wear them anymore, but some things I just haven’t been able to part with. 

Now I’ve got Debbie Gibson tunes going through my head. 

But for now, since I have to be up at 4 to take our exchange student to the airport, I think I’ll call it a night.

But before I go, here’s a pic of my daughter on 80s day.  Being a child of the 80s and a Texas gal, I think she needs bigger hair!



Saying goodbye

Well, it’s 11:58 and if I don’t write quick, I’m gonna miss another day of blogging.

It was a really busy weekend and I feel like this is the first moment I’ve had to sit down.

In just over 24 hours, we’ll be saying goodbye to our second exchange student.  It is so bittersweet.  She’s been with us for almost a full year and it’s very difficult to say goodbye.  I feel like I’m sending my own child away for good. I still feel the emotions building up when I think of last year’s student and our tearful goodbye.  Now, I must do it again.  But, like I said, it’s alittle bittersweet.  Our “exchange daughter” has been quite a challenge the last month or so.  I hate to see her go, but I’m a little relieved to be sending her back to her own parents.

I just hate that she’s leaving after the few bad weeks we’ve had.  Hopefully, between now and her 5 a.m. flight on Wednesday, we’ll have a chance to talk.  I really want her to know how much she means to us and what a great experience, for the most part, it’s been.

And if it’s not bad enough, we have another student arriving in mid-August.   I’ll have children all over the world before it’s all said and done.

I’ll have to write more about our experiences later.  For now, I’m tired!  I have to be up for work in a few short hours.