Thursday, December 29, 2011

thankful thursday (fab fun for the fam)

Family traditions are funny and sometimes they come from out of nowhere. When I was little, my dad took my brother and I to see the Harlem Gl*betrotters. He took us because his dad took him. I remember it fondly. Turns out, Jon went to see them when he was little too! He remembers it so vividly that he can even name some of the players.

Last night we took Cooper to see a game, and just like that, the tradition continues!

The Gl*betrotters were in town for one night and they didn't disappoint! What was disappointing is that I didn't take my camera. I SO regret it.

We simply had the BEST time!

Even though Coop had done a bit of research before we went, I don't think he was ready for how much he was going to love it.

coop, jon at trotters

On the way home I asked him whether he had a good time.
His answer?

"Momma, I LOVED it!"
"They had some spectacular dunks!"

As a parent there are times when you work hard to make things happen for your child.......and the result is less than satisfying. But when you get a reaction that's so happy, so full of joy and so from the heart, well- there is nothing better.

After the game the players line up around the court and kids can get autographs and have their pictures taken with them. Since I didn't have my camera, my pix are less than good. No matter- Cooper was elated!

His favorite players were Ant & Cheese.
That kid makes me laugh and so do these shots!

coop & cheese

Coop & Cheese

Cooper getting Ant's autograph
He slept with the ball last night. That's how much fun it was.

I'm thankful for parents who start traditions
I'm thankful for the means to be able to continue them.

I'm thankful for the staying power of a bunch of basketball players committed to entertaining a crowd and amazing us with their skills.

I'm thankful for a basketball loving little boy who actively pursues the perfect dunk shot.

I'm thankful for my sweet hubs, who waited in line at Will Call for 45 minutes with a smile on his face....all because he knew what was inside and how much our child would adore the experience.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to spend time together doing something that we ALL enjoyed!

What a great night- truly fun for the whole family.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry, merry


may the joy of the season be with you all year long....
merry, merry christmas-


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the tackier, the better!!

We're white light tree people at Christmas. Well, I'm a white light tree person- Jon would love colored lights just like the ones he grew up with but that's not happening. I did give in a little bit and the tree in Cooper's room has colored lights.

But although I don't like them for myself, I LOVE colored lights for other people and my motto is, the tackier the better. Our city is all about people decorating with a colored light (or 700,000 of them) and every year streets are jam packed with hundreds if not thousands of people who love to look at them just like me.

And really....who could blame them.


We take a tour of all the tacky lights with the F's each year and this is always the last stop on the tour. It's legendary.

As if it wasn't enough that the mom and dad lit up their house each year to the delight of thousands...when the son got married, he and his wife bought the house next door and now it's a two-fer.

Seriously- it's hard to put into words....

I snapped this of the F's. Aren't they great?

Where is my family?? Sadly they were in the car. We stopped for cocoa mid-trip and in a horrific chain of events I slammed Cooper's fingers in the door. In 9 years of that kids life that's never happened. I wanted to die- poor little thing. After some ice, hot cocoa, 2 motrin and a giant chocolate chip cookie to dull the pain he was fast asleep in the back of the car recovering from the injury.

I managed to muster up some happy though, and posed for this shot with Jess. It was taken by her son- and was truly a laughable moment!

Not lots better than spending time with good friends & celebrating the season!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Today I left our house as its owner.
When I came home, I was a renter.

I don't have a recent picture....I need to take one.
This one makes me smile was taken at Christmas in 2009.

There is no sold sign....there never was.
I got an e-mail from a friend asking whether I know of any houses in our neighborhood that might be on the market.

Well, maybe mine.
Jon and I talked, they drove by, liked what they saw, came for a visit and said "we love it- how much?"

Yup, that's the story. It was unexpected, completely random, almost never happens and is absolutely thrilling!

And so we went into high gear putting a plan into place- a plan to start a new chapter in our lives.

And although it's a huge change....and although Cooper is not thrilled...and although it means doing things VERY differently....

I can hardly wait.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas House

There are six shopping days left until Christmas.
I'm working on five of them. Hmpfff. I may need to make a few changes to my schedule.

At least my house is ready for the festivities.
Every year I want desperately to join on of the blogland Christmas Tours- and each year I miss the deadline.

That's ok though.
Better late than never.


Nothing says welcome to our home like a Christmas wreath (for the first time in FOREVER I have a faux wreath....I usually make my own but sometimes cutting corners makes more sense).


A little bit of tree and our living room mantle.


I always use a white poinsettia in our entryway...and add a little bling to make it sparkle.

The bannister gets gussied up too!

When Cooper was little, we lived in another house and we had a sweet grandmother of a woman who lived across the street. Cooper loved her and the feeling was mutual. She gave him a nutcracker when he was 3 and he was obsessed with it. Santa saw an opportunity and brings him a new one each year.


They sit on the kitchen windowsill now, but next year we'll need to find a new spot. Wonder who will join the lineup?

And on the other kitchen window....


I'm not a huge fan of the nandina bush itself....but I LOVE using it at Christmas. The bunches of red berries are so festive and they're great in arrangements.

I don't have a picture of the whole tree (I'm having trouble with my camera and it's not cooperating AT ALL!).


Our tree has red balls, white lights and ornaments collected over the years. Santa also brings Cooper a special ornament each year. One of my favorites was this golf cart that magically looks just like ours!! That Santa- he's a whiz with a paintbrush.


Our house wouldn't be complete at Christmas without the creche.


It's my absolute favorite...made to match the one my parents have and handmade with love by their dear friend, Uncle Phillip.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Hope your home does too-

Saturday, December 3, 2011

getting ready

I love Christmas...and today I started the journey to get ready.

Garland on the steps? Check
Christmas village? Check
Nutcrackers on the window in the kitchen? Check

Still to come...the tree, wreath, tabletops, and fresh greenery everywhere I can think of.

To help get into the spirit I've been listening to Pandora.
And looking at pictures from Christmas' past.

I found this one....from 2008-


I love the wonder & joy of Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

thankful thursday-

thankful for....

doctors who find solutions
co-workers who understand the stress
(and who help to relieve it)

neighbors who provide the perfect connection
and open the door for new adventures

thursday (because it's almost friday)

warm sweaters
and cold temperatures

passed septic inspections
helpful phone reps

spending time with the boys i love
and looking forward to what will come

decisions made
dreams followed

sunny days
blue skies and a special place called windy point

Monday, November 28, 2011 more!!

Jon snores.
He actually sounds like he's cutting down an entire forest.

It just started to get bad...but it was so bad that I really couldn't sleep in our room on some nights. It would wake me up in the middle of the night like a freight train.

Poor guy.
He knew it was bad and did a little research.

Enter the zQuiet.
I thought it was a sham...and expensive sham.

But it came in the mail a few weeks ago-

Jon loved the thing!

We were once again able to sleep peacefully.

Unfortunately there was another member of the family who also loved the zQuiet.


I swear, I'm giving her away.
I almost cried when I walked into our room and saw it in gnawed up little pieces on the floor.

And Jon....when I told him he went ballistic.
To say that we are huge fans of the zQUiet is an understatement.

So Jon called them today...I thought he was out of his mind.
What are they going to do honey? The dog ATE it. There isn't a warranty for that.

But guess what?
Those super kind folks are sending him a new one- at no cost!

How awesome is that???

So, if you've got a snoring problem (or sleep with someone who does..) check out the zQuiet.

I'm pretty sure you'll thank me, you'll thank them and you'll sleep in peace!!!
(just make sure that you hide it from your dog)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tongue and Cheek

Yesterday we stopped at the drugstore to pick up a few things...
Cooper needed a new toothbrush and took great care in choosing one himself.

The one he picked had a tongue and cheek cleaner which impressed him. I didn't give it another thought.

Until, I walked into the bathroom last night and he was rubbing the back of the toothbrush on his cheek. The OUTSIDE of his cheek.

It took me a 1/2 second to figure out what in the world he was doing.

Goodness, he couldn't be any sweeter.
I ADORE that child...


And now, the INSIDE of his cheeks are appropriately maintained too.

Hope you hug your kid today...just like I hugged mine!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Muffin News

I've got piles in various places around the house. I really need to get it under's a constant battle.

Over the past few weeks I've been working at it more than usual and came upon a recipe that I'd clipped from somewhere and wanted to try. Oddly enough, I had everything I needed to make it (the main ingredient is pancake mix!).

Banana Praline Muffins- YUM!

You can find the recipe here. It's really easy and would be perfect to make for a brunch or breakfast on the go (which was my intent).

I made them last week and was pretty impressed with myself.

Don't they look delicious?
I'm pretty sure they were....but the only one in our family who might be able to give a review cannot talk.

Crazy dog.
She loves a carb.
And evidently, a Banana Praline Muffin.

Let me know how yours turn out...if you're so inclined.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vegetable Challenged

Cooper didn't have school today (but Jon did) so we spent the day together at the river. Our neighbor planted a fall garden in our field and there were some random crops still in various stages of growing and we were doing some exploring.

I found this-

And I promptly sent the picture to Jon with a message that said,
I thought I was so funny.

Until tonight at dinner when I said, "Hey, didn't you think my beet message was so hilarious?"

And he said, "Yeah, especially because it was a radish!"

Oops, I'm beet red!!
(and I make myself laugh!!)

But really, does that look like a radish to you? It was white inside, and it did smell radish-y, but my word. It was enormous!

Here's hoping you ate some veggies today that were recognizable.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I'm a total procrastinator- it's a flaw, I'm aware. I'm pretty sure I could reduce a large amount of stress if I could just be more organized and plan ahead. But that would take planning and being organized- and I'm no good least on a consistent basis. On the other hand, if I just lower my expectations I might achieve the same thing.

Who knows.

Anyway- I'm TRYING!
And today I saved 40% on my Christmas cards by ordering in November vs. my typical mid-December time frame. Genius.

What's different this year? Instead of pouring over options, trying to come up with something witty and stressing out about the perfect photo- I used a picture from the summer that I like, sent a generic wish for happiness & love and called it a day.

What about you?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"delete this from your memory" (an early morning exchange)

I woke up today and couldn't bring myself to walk on the treadmill. It was dark and cold and I was super cozy. When I finally pulled myself out of bed, Cooper padded in to our room and promptly sneezed five times.

Then he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said the words I never want to hear.
"Momma, I'm sick"

Poor kid- sneezing, sniffling, headache, body aches.
So. NOT. Good.
I had a marathon meeting from 9 until 5 that I simply couldn't miss.

So, like any good mother, I dosed him up with meds, stuck him in the shower and waited to see whether there might be any hope.


So, I got him snuggled back in bed and sent an email letting my team know that I would need to attend the meeting via phone.

I'm thankful that I have that option because otherwise, I'm up a creek.
There is no back up plan.

To calm my nerves and get me ready for the battle of an 8 hour conference call, I did what I'm sure many people would.

I cleaned out a closet.
I've needed to do it for a while and I had 30 minutes to kill since I didn't have to drive to work.

And after I was finished, I shot a message to Jon-


From: Carolyn
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 7:39 AM
To: Jon
Subject: Sick kid

No school for him.
Poor thing.

His response-

From: Jon
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 07:48 AM
To: Carolyn
Subject: RE: Sick kid

What wrong with him? Too much candy? His ear hurts? Do you need me to come home?

My response-

From: Carolyn
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 7:55 AM
To: Jon
Subject: Re: Sick kid

Not ear silly. (he had this weird ear wound...but it's not a reason to stay home)
He is sneezing, stuffy, head aches, throat hurts, can't move his body hurts.

I can work from home today- you stay


He shot me back a message letting me know that he had downloaded some sports stuff on his computer that Coop might like and this was my response-

From: Neblett, Carolyn []
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 8:55 AM
To: Jon Neblett
Subject: RE: Sick kid

Awesome, thanks.

I cleaned out the hall closet- tons of stuff to take to the Good Will and
lots to throw away too. I'm getting brutal!

Hope you have a good day-

And with that, I thought the exchange was finished and we'd both go on with our days.

Until this came....

From: Jon
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 9:26 AM
To: Carolyn
Subject: RE: Sick kid

Wow that's awesome.

Another thing I think we could do is revamp our whole disk/glass situation.
I think we could buy some place setting of just one thing. We have such a hodge podge of plates, bowls glasses ect. Some of which we use very little if at all. I don't know how much that stuff costs but Im willing to pay for it as I really think it would help us stay more organized. Im thinking something very plain but practical (like a solid color).

Perhaps we could take all the old down the river. Let me know your thoughts.

My response-

From: Carolyn
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 10:38 AM
To: Jon
Subject: RE: Sick kid

I'm not sure what a disk/glass is but I think you may be treading on thin
ice here.
We have dishes- they are blue/yellow/white and we have a service for 8
(dinner plate, bowl, salad plate and cup/saucer). What about them isn't
organized and what about dishes that we already have isn't practical?

So that my head doesn't explode- this is probably a conversation to have in

: )

His response-

From: Jon
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 10:42 AM
Subject: RE: Sick kid

I will never speak of it again, please delete from you memory.

The word disk should have said dish.


Ok, couple things here.

1) I'm not sure what he could have written that might have shocked me more.
2) I ADORE our dishes. They make me happy every time I take them out of the cabinet.


3) I have been working really hard over the past year on being more organized and being less attached to "stuff". I'm purging and getting rid of things that I never would have dreamed of throwing away before. And for the life of me, I couldn't imagine what in the world was wrong with the way our dishes were organized and how changing the color of the dishes would help.

Unless he doesn't like the dishes.

But seriously- is that even possible? How could he have an opinion on the dishes that we've used for our entire married life?

4) To be clear, these dishes pre-date him. We didn't register for everyday dishes when we got married because I had these and they were basically brand new.

So, when he got home I brought it up. And do you know what he said?

"It really doesn't have anything to do with being organized. I don't like those dishes. Well actually, it's not that I don't like them really- it's just that I'm TIRED of them"

Really? Tired of them? Do they really impact you that much? Would it kill you to eat from the same plate that we've used since 1999?

And then I wondered.
Are these dishes out? Am I screaming 1995, which is when I got the dishes? Am I living in the past? Are they offensive? In bad taste? Tacky?

Should I cave and get new dishes (after all, he did say he'd pay for them!)
Because really, I do love plain white dishes and have coveted them from Wade and Sarah ever since they registered for them.

But a replacement plate is selling for $54 at Replacements and $30 on e*bay. That's gotta count for something. And so does using what you have- and not creating more excess.

What do I do?

Monday, October 31, 2011

happy halloween

Although my pictures aren't great, I think this was one of the best years in terms of Cooper's costume. There has been some stiff competition in the past- but this year was the 1st time that he decided his entire outfit.

He had an idea and he delivered.


Yup, that's him on the left with his friend L.

Cooper was a Monkey Suit. Get it??
We thought it was hilarious and genius all at the same time.

He found the mask at the grocery store and begged me to buy it.
Then, he figured out the rest of the costume on his own- painstakingly going through every pair of pants until he found just the right ones.

See how the pants have the stripe on the side, just like a tux does??
No matter that they're wind pants. They fit the bill.

I love that kid.
And the best part was how much fun he and L. had on their quest for candy.

But not before a little horseplay on the swings.

It makes me laugh whenever I see them-

The best was that the mask was too big so he had some trouble maneuvering. They'd be walking up the driveway and L. would make a turn onto the sidewalk and Coop would keep right on walking....a little kid in a suit with a purpose (oh, and a monkey head).

L (sweet kid that he is) ended up holding on to Coop and leading him from place to place to be sure that he wouldn't get tangled up in the shrubbery. Now, that's a true friend.

If you know me, you'll realize that this probably wasn't my 1st choice for his costume (or my 27th), but I got so overcome with pride that he did it on his own that it really didn't matter what he was. He loved it, he was proud and he had a great night.

I can't think of a better Halloween treat.

Hope yours was great too!

Monday, October 24, 2011

oh momma -look! i wanted you to see this....

those were words that cooper just said to me as we're snuggled up on the sofa to watch the world series.

what was he referring to you may wonder?


I said, "why in the world did you want me to see this?"
He said, "well, you said your foot was hurting, i thought you might have gout"

He's referring to the fact that I've been complaining about my heel hurting. I have plantar fasciitis....NOT GOUT.

My word.
That kid does make me laugh.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Guess where we were this weekend?


Hmm- give up?
Maybe this will help-


We went to the VT vs. BC game!!
Did the graffiti throw you? Yeah, I was thrown off too.

Jon's sister and her hubs have season tickets to Tech and they graciously invited us to come up for the game. And what's a football game without a great tailgate...especially if that tailgate is in an abandoned apartment complex complete with what I think may have been gang signs.

Goodness, they're cute (and not concerned in the least bit by a little graffiti)!

And as you can tell by our tailgating surroundings (and our beer of choice)....they spoiled us with nothing but the best!


We had so much fun....laughing, playing, posing, eating, drinking and hanging out together.





They love our kid & he's crazy about them too.
The day was perfect for a ball game- clear blue skies and crisp weather.

Also perfect for some brother/sister together time.

It was homecoming- and so the Highty Tighty Band and their Alumni were in all their glory.


I'm a sucker for a marching band- I always have been. Let's be clear- I wasn't IN the band....nope, no such talent in that area, I'm just a fan.

They were great!

But then....the boys hit the field.
The stadium was electric.



But not as electric as it was when they scored!


Can you see the people who are horizontal? They're being thrown up in the air to celebrate the score. Can you imagine?

So much fun!!

VT collage

As the sun went down, the scoreboard was in our favor- great ending to a great day!


But Kathy wasn't done yet....what could make the day even better than it already had been?

Yup. That's kale salad.


Kale, yeah!!!!
Enough said.

Thanks Kathy & Mike....we had a blast!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Fave-

This is kale.


I haven't been a fan of kale for the majority of my life.
Actually, I haven't been a fan of kale ever.
Until tonight.

But let me back up so you'll have the whole story. I'm really trying to make some changes in the foods that I eat. My friends at Relay Foods are helping and some real friends are too!

Enter Sarah. We work together (although in different states) and she's one of those all natural, healthy, crunchy sort of people. Anywhooo, we had dinner together while I was in Atlanta and the conversation turned to vegetables that we love (see, I am changing....who in the world talks about vegetables they love??? oh, and yes, this was hours after I ate a chili cheese dog at the Varsity!).

Sarah loves kale.
What??? Gross. No can do.

But she tells me about this amazing salad that one of her friends has turned her on to and it sounds interesting. So I googled it, ordered the ingredients from Relay and made it for dinner tonight.

And you know what??
I LOVED IT!!! And even better....Jon did too.

The trick to eating raw kale and loving it is to massage the kale with olive oil and salt.
Yup, it's a fact. I watched 2 videos that told me all about it.

Then I added chopped onion, grape tomatoes, avocado and lemon juice.

I massaged some more and we ate it as a side dish with salmon.
Stop the madness, we're super food maniacs tonight!


Seriously delish.
I can't wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow!

I think I'm going to try making kale chips (take leaves, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 8-10 minutes).

What you do think? Will you try it??