Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas JOY

Holidays bring SUCH JOY and HEALING to my life as we, my family of 5, form new traditions that I pray my babies will look back on with TONS of warm fuzzies and GREAT memories!!

We will be doing our traditional Christmas Eve Feast again this year! A house filled with laughter, noise, crying (of course, there are LOTS of babies!), game playing, seafood and sweets! Our home is opened up to all our family and friends as we celebrate and rejoice together!! We chat about what has happened in the past year (yes, there will be LOTS of running talk, and teasing from my husband OF COURSE,LOL!), jokes about what New Years resolutions we will once again attempt, kids singing Christmas favorites, toasting glasses of yummy wine . . . all of this is JOY to me!!

This is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Christmas season. Yes, it's to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but along with that it shows me just HOW MUCH God loves ME. Despite my insecurities, my brokenness, He has surrounded me by all these amazing friends that support me and LOVE ME and "this" is what has been in store for me all along. All the years of darkness and fear have led me to this. I've listened to His voice, followed my heart, have been obedient and now I'm able to experience His ABUNDANCE and I couldn't be any more thankful.

Matthew 16:25 "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."

Thank you Lord for filling my home for the holidays, filling it up for birthdays and other special occasions that we celebrate LIFE! The more I identify myself in Christ and my obedience and perseverance has paid off in ways I can't use the word Thank You enough to express.

Breaking bread with people we hold close to our hearts and "do life" with, and sharing our joy over some wine is SO WHAT I'm looking forward to on Friday! So now it's time to get things started in The Auditore Home!!! :o)

Menu for this Year!

Baked Cod
Fried Shrimp
Fried Calamari
Seafood Ceviche
Linguine and Clam Sauce
Broccoli rabe

Assorted Sides

Big Ol Fancy Christmas Cake ordered by my sis!
Italian Wedding Cookies
and some of these yummies:
Rainbow Cookies
Oreo Truffles
Grasshopper Brownies
Chocolate Coconut Candies

And I'm sure I'll add on to the list when I finalize it tonight! :o)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I know I'm not a "good blogger" or very consistent with it and that's really okay. Sometimes I have the extra time to sit and write down my thoughts and sometimes I JUST DON'T. This is a very busy season for me and for my family as it is for most of us. I just had to share some AWESOMENESS as I sit here and reflect on just how GOOD God is!

So, my husband works for a company that had a big Convention a few weeks ago and I will try to get right to the point here....LOL....So they were handing out awards and everyone went up and thanked graciously as anyone would, but there was one man who went up there and not only thanked eveyone but thanked the Lord for everything He had done in this man's life to bring him to the place that he is at, started to point to a particular scripture in Malachi that described a part of his life. Anyway, at the end everyone not only clapped but stood up to clap...WOW....imagine having that kind of BOLDNESS for God? Whew! Then afterwards, the owner of the company's brother was chatting with the guy and mentioned starting a daily morning prayer group over the phone. So how does this affect me? Well, they heard it through the grapevine what Chris and I are doing and the path we are on to eventually plant a church and they asked him to join them. Yes, to some this may sound weird but to be honest I really don't care anymore. God has shown me SO MUCH, especially this past year and a half that I just CAN'T ignore, discount or NOT talk about it!

So, this morning he had his little prayer phone call with the other 3 guys and it was GREAT! He loved it and I JUST LOVE HIM! There is NOTHING like having a husband who leads your home spiritually. I didn't think marriage to this man could be more perfect, truly, but this brings a level of deepness, love and respect that nothing else could touch.

Now, the really cool thing is shortly afterwards when I dropped Christopher off at school, totally stressed out about what was ahead of me today, the director at his school called me into her office to give me candy canes to use for our Orange Santa Distribution Day event and then asked if she could pray for me. She very lovingly held my arms and the words that came out of her mouth were EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I instantly felt warmth and love and was just so very thankful to her! Now, don't get me wrong, it's taken quite some time for me to come to a place to receive that without feeling a little bit (or alot) weird. But I am so thankful I am at that place because let me tell you....there is just no feeling that I can express that compares to that kind of peace.

So as I sit here in the midst of a HUGE to-do list, 90% of it is doing for others, serving people I don't know, God stepped in and lovingly reminded both Chris and me just how much HE loves us and to keep on the path that he guided us to.

This day has been a blessing to us. I am so thankful for those of you BOLD in your faith and your love of God to not hesitate to share it with others. These two people, both of whom Chris and I don't even know very well, listened to God, acted with their heart boldly and had a HUGE impact on us both!

This is why I just *LOVE* this spiritual journey!!! :o)

Hopefully I'll be able to share more of what's going on soon! Thank goodness for Facebook though! LOL

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tis the Season to be Jolly!! :o)

Ahhhhhhh....the holidays are HERE at last!!! Christmas Tree lighting at The Domain, store fronts decorated in red, green, silver and gold, Christmas music jingling in my ear, Egg Nog and Gingerbread creamers, oh this is MY SEASON!!! I feel most alive this time of year. I am truly full of joy when I reflect on holidays and what they bring to me. Christmas time brings such warmth and such a sense of healing to a part of my soul that's untouchable. The random acts of kindness, the baking, the cooking, the holiday cards from family members and friends that I don't get to see or speak with on a regular basis, Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, all the laughter and joy around me, hanging ornaments on the tree and remembering the special meaning of almost all of them . . . these things just FILL ME UP!

Planning menus, reviewing sale adds, writing letters to Santa, working on Christmas crafts --- oh how I just love this!! It's exciting and invigorating, how can it NOT bring life to me?!?! Watching the kids hang candy canes on the tree, begging to just have "one more", laughing as they check their stockings to see if there was anything left from last year, asking 100 times for the baby to STOP touching the tree (LOL). . . THIS is what I "live" for!

Sure I let my "Holiday Gina" come out the day of Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve when I'm preparing the meal and well, she's not so nice BUT quickly changes once everything is set and ready to go! I LOVE serving my family and my friends, it truly brings me the most joy. From here on out, it gets a little more hectic, some days are more stressful than others, but there's just something about catching a glimpse of the sparkly decorations around making everything just a little bit prettier that makes that stress not seem like such a big deal!

So here's to The Holidays 2010!!

Thanks Heather for photographing my family once again!
You capture these moments of joy for me and I'll always be thankful!

Monday, November 15, 2010

San Antonio Rock n Roll

Finished my last Half Marathon, full report here! Intimidated a bit by DOUBLE THE DISTANCE but am thinking I'm pretty sure I may be finished with half marathons once I complete the Austin FULL Marathon.

But then again, who knows! LOL

Menu Plan Monday 11/15

I'm trying to incorporate fish into the menu weekly whether it's for lunch or dinner. Found a really cool season packet by McCormick at HEB for Salmon and it ROCKED!!!! Had it for lunch last week and am doing it for the family this week for dinner!

Happy Monday!!!

Mon: Sausage and Peppers (doing it with Chicken and Feta sausage, should be good!)
Tue: Pasta Fagioli, salad
Wed: Honey Mustard Pork Chops (a good WWatchers recipe!), jasmine rice, broccoli
Thur: Baked Ranch Chicken Breasts, roasted veggies, Red Lobster cheddar biscuits
Fri: Pot Roast
Sat: Salmon, rice and green beans
Sun: Baked Ziti

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 11/7

Okay, trying to find my groove again and get better at blogging!! :o)

I ALWAYS have my menu on my Google calendar and will try to be better at putting it out here too! I *heart* menu planning!!!

Monday: Sofrito Pork, Beans and Tomato Salad
Tuesday: 40 Clove Garlic Chicken in Crockpot, green salad & bread
Wednesday: Quesadillas, Fruit Salad
Thursday: Baked Cod, corn on the cob, cranberry salad
Friday: Beef Stew in Crockpot
Saturday: MNO
Sunday: Chili, Cornbread

My Irish Sweetie!

Today was a WONDERFUL day! Chris and I were able to take part in a very special family's Baby Dedication, not only as guests but Chris actually performed the ceremony and I was blessed to be named one of the two Godmothers. This family holds a VERY special place in my heart.

They are two of the most giving and loving people I know. I adore them both! Honest, nurturing, giving, humble, loyal, organic (yes I admire those organic types!), the list really can go on and on. There is something about this Irish Beauty, aka Sabrina that just boosts me up every single time I talk to her! She is one of my biggest fans. And I don't mean "fan" in the way of idolizing or worshiping another person, I mean that type of "fan" like a mother or family member can be to someone. She's encouraging, motivating, loving and seriously just breathes life into me when we get to visit with each other! She speaks my language. She knows what I need to hear and doesn't hold back. I truly need a friend like her!

I hate that I forgot my camera but am just hoping that she emails me a pic from today!! It truly was an AWESOME day and I just LOVED sharing it with so many of her newer friends that I just KNOW she's had some great impact on! Every person she touches, she leaves her mark...I just love her!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chosen, Me? Really?

I've been chosen! Me? Really? Is this a joke????

So I've been really pensive lately, analyzing a ton of different things in my life! I think it's been spurred on by the running, seriously. I usually keep my mind WAY TOO BUSY to focus on anything for too long, but my long runs FORCE me to do just that...think!

I wanted to share some things that I think are just plain AWESOME! They may not seem super special to everyone but I'm just BLOWN AWAY by it all! This may go all over the place since I don't reread my posts a hundred times, don't always spellcheck and/or edit...I just process out loud and hit here I go!

As many of you know I have a heart for Hutto's Orange Santa program, gathering and distributing toys for families in need. Well, a few weeks ago I was put in touch with a gentleman that is the President of an amazing group called Celebration of Love. His vision started with just him and a handful of families reaching out to do what we do in Hutto, for our soldiers in Fort Hood after being inspired by his experience with this program in California. He had the heart and passion to help others and let God lead the way. Never giving up, overcoming some obstacles I'm sure, he has now, 7 years later grown to support not just the soldiers, but now almost 10 school districts, has a food pantry and resource center and just gives his life away to show God's love to others! I'm BLOWN AWAY at how excited he was to meet me and help us reach even more families than we have in the past.

I walked into a meeting today at his office, looking at an executive meeting table full of people older than me, more educated than me, with more life experience than me too I'm sure and I felt like I was going to have a minor panic attack! LOL I put a smile of my face, wiped my clammy hands on my blue jeans and made eye contact with a sweet lady that I later found out is a member of a church in Georgetown trying to do more of what we do at my church! We got to chatting a bit, I finally was able to relax, chew on my gum and jump right into the conversation asking tons of questions like I usually do! I made everyone laugh a couple times as I settled into feeling like "Gina". I was asked for my business card by a few people, and as funny as it sounds, I gave them my "family contact card" explaining that I'm just a stay at home mom that values community outreach so it's nothing fancy, has all my kiddos names on it as well as my contact info! :o) I approached the President and VP of COL asking some more questions, then moved onto the Marine Corps SSgt Hargrave who is the Toys for Tots Coordinator, then onto some of the other school district heads and left the office beaming, FULL OF EXCITEMENT!

After a very great meeting, I sat in the car and realized my hands were sweaty and shaking, heart was racing and I had a permanent smile plastered to my face!!!!



Broken, insecure Gina?

It just hit me full force and I started to pray right there at the light on Vision Drive asking God if this is what he has been preparing me for the past 4 years!


All my flaws, my crazy past, my insecurities, my crazy mind that can never focus . . . Gina . . . the girl that has never been "good enough" is actually GOOD ENOUGH!

And you know what they say about God, he gives in abundance. The wealth and riches are NOT financial, we make it, but JUST make it and that's okay. The riches that he gives me grab my heart, take hold of me and won't ever go away!! How amazing is that?!?!?!!?!!

Not only is he showing me that sure, I can help people, but he has put others in my path to help bless people in abundance!!!

Orange Santa has provided families with toys and it's been a great program!! I'm just so passionate about it and blown away at how everyone comes together to pull it off! But now this year, not only are we able to give gifts to these children but with the help of Toys for Tots and COL, we are going to be able to use our fundraising money to FEED THEM ALL!!!!

Yep, you read that correctly, FEED THEM ALL....300 FAMILIES here in Hutto!!!!! We typically collect toys, raise money and use that money to buy the rest of the gifts to fill the wish lists but now with the help of Toys4Tots and COL all of the money we collect will go to give these families a Turkey dinner, complete with sides, rolls, pie and a half gallon of milk!!!


$26 feeds a family of 10....that's all it takes!! If any of you have the heart to give, it's so easy to make such a HUGE impact with such a small sacrifice.

I truly am blown away today.

I've been working through so many things on so many levels and my eyes were opened this afternoon. I got a small glimpse of the HUGE picture of God's plan for me and my family. My friend Kyle said it really well so I'm copying him . . .

"I'm writing my story as I go."

I am choosing to follow my heart, and I know that God will lead me in the direction I need to be going.

WOW, what a way to kick off a new week and a new month!!! :o)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Chosen Half Marathon

JOY! That is exactly what I felt right there!

My beautiful girls!

blowing kisses to my babies!

2 of my sweet little angels! So proud!!

I have really needed some time to decompress emotionally to get my thoughts together for my "official" Post-Race post! :o) All of my Facebook family already knows by my 100 posts how it went but I wanted a detailed post to look back on.

Just came in from my first Marathon training run, 3 miles and it *hurt*. My legs were stiff, all sorts of pain in different areas but I feel good strange. But it proved to me today that I am made for this running thing!

The training for this race was tough but I did it thanks to an outstanding partner, I was able to push through the physical part of it. There is a flip side to the training that I had not anticipated, the emotional side. I have worked through ALOT of stuff during this training. Realized some things that I felt really convicted of but also focused in on many of my strengths. I tend to beat myself up ALOT but there is just something about all this physical exertion that did something for me mentally...brought to the forefront of my mind just how strong I really am. How all the qualities many of my friends love me for (that I usually think of as my flaws), are truly gifts and I am thankful for all the aspects of my personality and what makes me "ME".

I search for acceptance. I try to please everyone. I want to be a good person. I like to try things new. I hope to be the person people can relate to and feel comfortable around. I want to be the best at everything I do. I live for relationship and love. These are just a few things I focused in on. I looked at what running meant to a few other ladies I've had and/or have a relationship with and tried to identify with it but realized I can't completely and that's okay. I mean even my running buddy and I have different reasons we run...we love different things about it, her-the training, me-race day! :o)

I've questioned over and over, especially when I have been in pain or when I'm waking up at 4:15 to get ready to run, why I'm doing this. Is it okay to have this as a priority or am I being selfish? This training stuff has been very hard on my heart regarding the selfish stuff. I grew up with a father always telling me I was selfish. Hey, even my mom told me once that I was selfish when I decided to move in with my dad after the divorce. Even though I know she didn't mean it in a hurtful way, she was young, scared and hurting too, but it did hurt me. I carry some major baggage from my childhood. My father was violent, my home life was chaos and discontent. I was always just trying to find my place and never did. I was hopeful that I would in college but then got kicked out of the house after graduation and that dream was crushed.

Now without pouring my entire life story on this one post and going completely off track...this is the stuff that was brought out during my race on Saturday. A friend of mine told me to leave it all out on the road so I let it come out and settle out there on those freaking hills! :o) This race was a tough one, hill after grueling hill but I didn't walk once. I took every one of them and claimed them as my own. Each hill was my "mountain" to climb over and joyously run down (and I ran down them FAST, hence the sore toes yesterday, hey I had to make up for how slow I had to go up those suckers!). As I would look at each one of them and watch people walking, I pulled something out of my heart that I wanted to leave there and I did just that. I found some healing out there on that course just like a friend of mine told me I would. I struggled with only doing the half marathon since there were some people on the team that took on the full. I deep down wanted to do the full but knew I'd never be trained enough to do it in time. I received this email regarding getting a 13.1 sticker for my car...LOL, which I did NOT get by the way:

Save it! Save it! Save it! You are about to be a marathon runner. When I ran the half I was already discontent. I stood in the half line looking at the full line to pick up packet and I knew right then that I was not a half runner but a full. You are the same! I know because I know your drive and the healing that will come in that full! Soak it all in! The half is harder than the full. Serious. You are gonna rock it!!

I celebrate all of my friends that ran the half and the full marathon on Saturday but their run has nothing to do with me. This was my race and I was successful. I had NOTHING more to give when I crossed that finish line. I set a goal of 2:30 but was really hopeful I'd finish in 2-2:15 , but those horrible hills...ugh! At least I KNOW I'll beat my PR in San Antonio which was originally going to be my first half marathon so I'm taking this one as a really, really tough training run...LOL! :o) There seemed to be so many challenges for me once I decided to do this race, right down to finding out the day before the race that I was the only one without my name on my bib, my name was assigned to a different number but someone else on our team had that was just a mess! I cried my eyes out that night and was SO DOWN on myself casting the blame on me and almost didn't do the race. Kyle fixed my bib and wrote my name on it, and did a really good job I must say, and I just pushed along. My time is wrong on the race results page next to my name but is more accurate to the bib I wore which supposedly belonged to a 90 year old man that didn't really weird! :o)

So in a nutshell, course sucked but was scenic. Humidity was icky but the rain cooled me off and the wind was actually refreshing. I learned just how strong this little mind of mine is and when it tells my body to do something, I just do it! My body isn't in the best shape yet, but I know I'm on my way and progressing every time I get out there and hit that pavement. I run for me. Not because anyone else is doing it. I do it for me.

Looking forward to where this journey takes me....who knows!? More marathons, ultra races, Ironman Triathlons...the possiblities are endless! :o)

Here's to one more race under my belt!!!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I started reading a new Devotional Book, Praying for Purpose by Katie Brazelton this week and it has me thinking SO MUCH which is why I knew I needed to get this started! This book is great because it basically has a topic, a question for you regarding this topic and story about a regular person and a biblical story tying into it as well. Best Part? It's only 2-3 short pages a day....that's my kind of reading! LOL

First 3 Topics?
  1. Fear
  2. Consequence
  3. Perseverance
All things I TOTALLY connect with....I just can't wait to see where this book takes me...very excited!

It also got me thinking about my connection with other people. At different seasons in my life, I am closer to some people than others and vice versa, which I've come to feel okay with. There are those relationships that even if you don't speak for weeks or months, or even years, once you talk it's like you never stopped. The relationships that I have like that I've realized are the ones that THE OTHER PERSON shared their pain, their "junk" with ME. Everyone knows I pretty much tell you my whole life when I first meet you, bad thing to do? I don't believe it is. I truly believe it's a gift. It's one of my gifts and I will no longer feel bad about having the personality I have.

When you share a part of yourself with another person, and I'm not talking about just your favorite things or hobbies, I'm talking about the deep stuff . . . the stuff that makes you feel a little vulnerable to that other person, that is when you establish a connection to them, one that can't be broken. I have these connections with quite a few different friends and even when we have gone through different seasons, the connection is still there and always will be. It's not something I feel I have any control over.

I have a friend that I connected with on a deep level a few years ago, Amanda, and even though we have had a roller coaster of a relationship, there is just a connection there. Some will wonder why or how, but that doesn't really matter. We connected with each other through our pain. Childhoods were very simliar, personalities are identical, but the way we live our lives looks a little different which is why we don't see each other often or spend alot of time together, but that connection we have won't go matter how hard either one of us tried to make it go away.

Then there is my Kimmers, we connect on many levels, childhood, culture, personality, and have grown closer through our running together. I read an article about running partners and the relationship that develops during training is a connection that will never be broken. We both have questioned ourselves over the past year about whether we can do it and are running our first 1/2 marathon this weekend and training for our first full marathon in February. We push each other, motivate each other and do a whole lot of laughing and sharing on our long runs together. I adore her and dont' think I would be where I'm at on this journey if it weren't for her.

Then there is my friend Danielle, another amazing lady that I became friends with when I was 22 and why are we still friends even though we live in different states? Our connection. Our deep connection through our pain. She is totally opposite of me and even though she doesn't share all of her stuff with everyone, she did with me and through that we connected on a deep level...I feel safe with her and she feels the same way with me.

There are more friends I can write about of course and I'm thankful for every single one of you! My point here is that all it takes is letting that guard of yours down, open up and share that junk deep down inside of you....what comes from that is a connection like no other . . . a life long relationship! Regardless of your "personality" , I know there is someone out there you would like to be closer too and instead of waiting for them, go to them! We were created to be in relationship and there is NOTHING like a girlfriend!! Your husband can only be so much to you and spare him, he does NOT want to be your girlfriend...LOL! :o)

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Heaven....or Pumpkin decide!

I've been busy over here and playing catch up since our getaway! I blog in spurts and know I don't have a huge following but am thankful for Facebook since that's my main source of communication and is EASY for a busy Mom like me. :o)

Despite the weather (feels like summer NOT Fall!ugh!), we are in full FALL spirit! Pumpkin this, pumpkin that, pulling out fall clothes to see what fits and what can be passed down to friends, cleaning out toys and bedrooms ready for Christmas and Birthday Season to come, Baking, Crafting, Baking, looking up soup and stew recipes, planning menus for the holidays . . . OH HOW I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR! It's when I feel ALIVE!!

Fall decor is up but I already can't wait to replace it with Christmas which I do Thanksgiving weekend. We went out Sunday night and Boo'ed our friends with some yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins and other goodies and officially got "Boo'ed" tonight! I love to see our community of friends and families growing and getting out there to spread the cheer and spirit of this season with others....IT'S WONDERFUL!!!!

Our Boo Bag left on our porch....have NO IDEA who left it but they scored BIG TIME in Chris's book....
all of his FAVORITES!!!

Now if we can get a cold front and/or some rain and these HORRID allergies would disappear, it would be wonderful! :o) I don't need to freeze my butt off, I know that will happen soon enough, but would like to stop with the shorts and tees already! LOL

So in the Fall Spirit, here are some AWESOME recipes I've been trying and LOVING over the past month....enjoy!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

4 eggs
2 C sugar
1 can pumpkin
1 1/4 C vegetable oil
3 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
12 ounches of mini choc chips

*beat eggs, sugar pumpkin, vanilla and oil until smooth
*mix dry ingred. and mix into pumpkin mixture.
*fold in choc chips
*bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes

Pumpkin Butter
Very yummy to add to your morning toast or english muffin! I added it to my Fage Greek Yogurt today and it was DELISH!!!
Pumpkin Pancakes
(served these with Sugar Free Butter Pecan Syrup...mmmm!)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice ( I made my own)
21/2 C pancake mix
2T brown sugar
1 3/4C milk
2T veg oil

2T vinegar (don't understand why?)
1 can pumpkin

Pumpkin Spiced Latte
Who needs Starbucks? LOL
Had this tonight and it was GOOD!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese
had this over a friend's house this morning and it was GOOD!

Pumpkin Pudding
going to try this sometime this week!

Let's not forget the ever so DELISH pumpkin seeds we'll be roasting this weekend....oh yeah!


Friday, October 15, 2010

I had an AMAZING weekend celebrating my BIGGEST BLESSING, my marriage! How lucky am I to have a husband who makes me feel like this?!?!?!? Seriously....
Pics coming soon! :o)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Celebrating a Decade!!!

I have had a wonderful week thinking back on the past 10 years of my life with the most amazing man I know! We have true love and I never want to take that for granted. My childhood wasn't the greatest, and I spent my teen years full of lots of resentment and my early adulthood angry, hurt and confused. BUT, looking back over the past I am able to see what God was doing in my life. All of that "junk" I carry with me created some of my strong personality traits, my perserverance, my forgiving made me the person that drew the LOVE OF MY LIFE to me!

He loves ME!

What a lucky girl I am!!!!


Tomorrow, we are VEGAS BOUND!!!! YESSSS!!!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Where it all started...

Oh the place where it all began!!! LMAO!!! He was the quiet, good boy, sweet boss, not the boss that went out drinking with employees like me after work! :o) I was the party girl that busted my butt at work and then went out and played just as hard. We were both in relationships that were not good for us. My boyfriend was cheating on me, Chris was very unhappy in his relationship and we were just friends. Seriously. Just Friends.

The story is a long one but I'll keep it short. Chris was that boss that just listened to you. He didn't try to fix your problems or judge you, just listen. I always found it easy to talk to him once I finally had a conversation with him. He was the "good boy" and I was the "bad girl". Not really a bad girl, but just all screwed up! I had daddy issues, all my boyfriends treated me badly, blah blah blah so in my early 20's I just rebelled, BIG TIME! I moved to Florida from Massachusetts when I turned 21, and wouldn't you know it Chris moved to Florida from New York 3 months before me. We both worked at Ruby Tuesday, but we didn't really "know" each other. Like I said, I did my thing and he wasn't into the kind of fun I was into AT ALL. LOL Plus he was 9 years older than me so we were definitely at different places in our lives.

My relationship at the time was falling apart (boy cheats on girl) and I was training to climb up the little old restaurant ladder and guess who my Trainer was...yep, Chris. We got to talk alot and eventually started talking on AOL (man that seems so old!), more on the computer than in person...he was shy. :o) Through those conversations we realized how much we had in common! Our lifestyles at the time were not the same, but our values were 100% on the mark! We were both the oldest of our siblings, both of our parents' marriages fell apart when we were 8, and we found out we were both New York Natives and Italian American (Half Sicilian too!LOL). I still remember feeling like fate was just banging down my door!

I remember just knowing he was the ONE. I thought about him 24/7 and then some. I no longer wanted to be in a drug or alcohol induced haze to numb anything...I wanted to feel the way I did...I felt alive! I truly was for the first time deeply, madly, crazy in love! He was everything I wanted, all I needed, the most perfect gift I had ever been given! Things moved so fast for us!! We went on a date to an adorable little Italian restuarant and he danced with me outside . . . just him and I . . . it was like a movie....FOR REAL! I never wanted to be away from him...our goodbyes lasted FOREVER!!! We were like teenagers....couldn't stop giggling and kissing and as soon as we would get back home we'd stay on the phone forever...even to the point of falling asleep on the phone. Oh he was the one. The one I dreamt about as a little girl...that knight in shining armour...yep...that was him!!

I was living with my sister at the time and remember going apartment hunting. Chris was helping me find a place of my own since I NEVER lived alone. Got kicked out of the house right after graduation and was forced to live with my boyfriend until I moved to Florida and then started dating serious boyfriend number two and moved in with him very quickly, then moved in with my sister when that relationship failed. I really did want to live on my own and see what it was like, but Chris made a good point... "Why live in separate places when you know we are never going to want to be apart." . . . so needless to say I moved in with him right away! :o)

That was March 1999. We were engaged in July 1999. Married in October 2000. Had our First beautiful baby girl in February 2003. What can I say? It was just RIGHT. We both knew it despite what other people said about us moving too fast, we wouldn't listen to them, we listened to our hearts.

Ahhh, so to keep with the "10" thing, I am thinking back on my 10 FAVORITE dishes at Ruby Tuesday! God knows I ate me LOTS of Rubys! :o)

  2. Sonora Chicken Pasta...mmmm!
  3. Spinach Dip was delish!
  4. Super Nachos were oh so good!
  5. Let's not forget the burgers...oh the burgers!
  6. Portabella Mushroom Sandwich
  7. LOVED the salad bar! YUM!
  8. The Turkey Burger, those onion strings! Oh My!
  9. White Chicken Chili, Broccoli Cheese Soup aka BCS! Whew!!!
  10. And we can't forget the Oreo Tallcake and The Blondie.....oh boy!
I'm hungry! LOL

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10 Things I LOVE About My Man!

This will be hard, because as corny as this will sound I love EVERYTHING about this man of mine!! He is perfect in my eyes, even in his "imperfectness" . . . there is no one else I could ever imagine myself "doing life" with!


  1. His lips....hands down the BEST kisser I ever kissed! Whether it was our first kiss or the kiss he gave me while I was washing dishes the other day, my pulse quickens and I don't want to pull away. It has always been that way when we kiss!
  2. He LOVES his family. He never puts anything before his babies or me. He is the foundation of this family, our rock for sure!
  3. His work ethic. I fell in love with him "on the job"! LOL Everyone adores Chris, admires him, works well with him, learns and grows because of him. He is a compassionate leader, hard worker and a GREAT motivator!
  4. His sensitivity and compassion. He always considers other people's feelings and is led by his heart first. I've learned ALOT from him in this area of my life.
  5. His calm spirit. He is calm under pressure and always knows what to do and/or say to calm me down when I'm wigging out! :o)
  6. His chivalry for sure! The man STILL opens the car door for me!! He is a gentleman in EVERY way!
  7. His honesty. He is the Truth Teller in my life, whether I like it or not.
  8. He's a dreamer and he loves to share those dreams with me, big or small.
  9. He doesn't yell and he doesn't hit.
  10. He's steadfast . . . slow and steady . . . complete opposite of me! :o)

I could truly go on and on, I am his biggest fan you know! This would embarrass him quite enough but I meant every word.

One thing I learned over the past decade is that *shit* happens. Problems come up. Children exhaust you. Tragedies occur. Finances are STRESSFUL. Sometimes the world outside seems like its spinning around like crazy. BUT, having a true "soul mate" gives a stability like no other. Sure, we have had our share of ups and downs, that's what life is but we don't go to bed mad, it's a rule and we always forgive each other.

My heart still skips a beat when he comes home from being out of town for the night. I still get butterflies in my stomach when he gives me that tender smile of his when we see each other in a crowd.

He is faithful.
He protects me.
He loves me.

Here's to MANY more years of bliss!!

Our Wedding Song!

Today I start trying to put together outfits for Vegas, making the kids' itinerary for everyone volunteering to help out while we're gone, doing some church work, house work, getting kids off to school, etc., and started my morning off listening to a VERY special song!!! Life gets so complicated sometimes, it's nice to just sit still and reminisce.

I still remember when we were trying to decide on wedding songs for the DJ!! I initially wanted Always and Forever by Heatwave, I'll Be by Edwin McCain, and there were quite a few others as most of you know I have a WIDE WIDE range of music genres that I LOVE!!! Well, Chris put this CD in for me and sang it to that moment I KNEW this was the song!

Love you baby!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Milestones over our First Decade of Marriage!

In honor of celebrating 10 years with my Handsome Groom, I'm going to try to pick just 10 milestones over the past 10 years....

#1)Took a chance and made a HUGE move to Austin, Texas!

July 2002

Adrianna Carmela 2.8.03
Christopher Anthony Alfio Jr. 4.28.06

Sofia Flora 7.6.09

#5) Bought our 1st House!

#6) Celebrated my 30th Birthday.
**don't have a pic!**
#7) Celebrated Chris's 40th Birthday with family and friends.
#8) Became connected to and enjoy serving our Community here in little ol' Hutto!
#9) Took our first big family vacation to Disney World!
October 2007

#10)Experienced a new level to our relationship, our "Spiritual" Connection. Focus on living our lives the way God intended us community, serving one another.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Blog!

Well, new season stirs up the desire to start something new!

Soooooo here it is! Going to start blogging about my running! I've looked back over this blog and it has made me feel so good in so many ways reminding me of some very wonderful memories. With that said, I've also felt convicted of my motivation with some of my posts over the years but I know I've grown a TON and seeing that on the computer screen in front of my face is a great reminder! :o)

So along with all the fun stuff I'm involved with and some of my personal growth/challenges I'm faced with DAILY, which I will blog about here, I also want to share this new season of fitness and new level I'm at in a separate blog. Now, can I maintain both and facebook? Hmmmmm...not too sure yet, we'll see how it goes! it is!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

She Will Be Loved...

One of the greatest things about music is that it sparks up so much emotion in me! I was listening to Pandora today while getting dinner ready and this song came on and just broke me into tears. It was just the song I needed to hear today to go along with the verbal affirmation I got today from one of my very best friends.

If you know me, you KNOW I'm pretty passionate about just about everything...If I love, I LOVE...if I hate, I's all or nothing with me, I change my emotions like the wind and don't look back too much. I'm EXTREMELY forgiving, sometimes to a fault. And although I love with every piece of me, I've never truly believed that anyone really "loved" me. This of course started back in my adolescence and I carried those feelings with me into young adulthood. Had a couple of relationships that were so very wrong for me on so many levels. I loved them, or at least thought it was love, but they didn't love me back, not in the way that real, true love is supposed to be. I've done just about anything and everything you can imagine to seek approval and/or love from people. I've made lots OF MISTAKES along the way, for sure! Then just went I was pretty close to what rock bottom looked like...alcohol, drugs, partying like nobody's business, completely wild, there he was....MY SOULMATE!

Listening to this song, I feel so connected to Chris...even though he isn't a Maroon 5 fan like I am, the words make me feel connected to him. They describe his love for me. Chris is the first man in my LIFE to make me undoubtably know he loves me. There has never been a moment in over 11 years now that I questioned his love for me and that is one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given.

Now fast forward to about 4 years ago and I met another Chris, but in the female form! :o) My sweet Erika! Although very different from me, we just connected. I met her during a lonely time in my life. I was living here in Texas, starting a family, becoming a stay at home mom no longer working, and I just felt all out of sorts. I wasn't really happy here, no matter how hard I tried to be. And while I love my family that I have here, we were all doing the same thing sorting through our own stuff and trying to figure it all out too! That's what happens when all of us got married in the same year! :o) I NEEDED a friend, and I didn't just get a "friend", I got another sister.

This girl knows what makes me tick. She knows what I do and why I do it. She knows when I'm speaking in truth and when to let my words slide because they are coming from emotion and not logic. She knows when I need a push and when I need a hug. She's LOVES me. She accepts me, doesn't want to change me and wants nothing but to see me grow. She is the best encourager I know. She is here living life with me everyday and even when I was a total bitch, she has NEVER turned her back on me. I'll say it again, she LOVES me. It is rare to find those friends that truly love you and will go above and beyond to help you be a better you. I only had one other friend before meeting Erika that loved me like that, and that was my friend Danielle who crazy enough is JUST LIKE ERIKA! :o) It's really crazy!

I'm always growing.
I'm always changing.
I'm always trying to be the best I can be.
I can be moody.
I can be alot to handle.
But I'm loyal.
I'm fun.
I'm faithful.
I'm loving.
I'm dedicated.
I'm giving.
I will serve and serve and serve.

All I ever wanted was to be loved.

Thank you God for delivering Chris to me and through him I am surrounded with the family I've always wanted, and thank you for Erika, through her I've learned just how special I really am, and am surrounded by so many wonderful ladies now.

My heart is just bursting with love!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is it REALLY almost over??!!

Where did September go???? I feel like I have so much to write about but my head is just spinning and I can't focus! I got to thinking about why I want to blog, what is the reason for it? Everyone knows I facebook enough and don't really need a long winded post on "What's going on in our world". So I think I'll keep it simple and make it a picture post of what I've been up to!

Experienced my first Beth Moore Simulcast and CAN'T WAIT for the day I can see her in person...this was AN EXPERIENCE to say the least! Total different blog post in itself! :o)
Booked our 10 Year Anniversary....GOING TO VEGAS BABY!!! So excited, I've never been!!!!
Baby Girl just EATS AND EATS AND EATS! LOL Wants to use a spoon and be just like the big kids in EVERY WAY! LOL
Christopher started PreK a couple of weeks after Adrianna started school!
He LOVES it!!!
He helped me pick out what his special First Day of School treat was going to be!

Adrianna's First Day of School Cake!

THANK YOU GOD for the change in seasons...this is when I feel my BEST! We are working on the holiday calendar stuff. I'm checking out all the fun little crafts that I would love to do but will commit to only a few this year and that's OK. I'm excited about all the community stuff we have comming up and all the AWESOME WAYS to serve! I'm looking SO FORWARD to continuing OUR family traditions that Chris and I have made for our precious babies. I'm excited at all the FUN stuff coming up with our family and friends!!! AND I can't wait to do The Chosen Half Marathon next month, my first Half Marathon!!!! WOO HOO!

Now I better get to's WAYYYYYYYYYYYY past my bedtime! LOL

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September Menu Plan

Sorry, I'm a little late on this. With my husband's works schedule and being away one-two nights a week, I was waiting on his travel schedule to tweek my menu for the month. And well, here it is! Now this is something totally new for me to try. I have been toying with this idea for over a year now and am thinking that now is the time. :o)

Now I know there are some of you ladies out there that are like me and will jump on the idea of trying something new BUT if you've never menu planned you may want to stick to a week by week plan and build up to a monthly. Or hey, if you just want to dive on in then join me! LOL I will be posting this week about different reasons to Menu Plan, why do a monthly, different templates, tips, etc. But for now here is the plan, I have to get my Sunday started!

September Menu Plan

  1. Spaghetti
  2. Breakfast for Dinner
  3. Meatloaf, mashers, baby carrots
  4. BBQ Brisket, scalloped potatoes, corn
  5. Chicken Tortilla Soup
  6. BBQ with Friends
  7. Ropa Vieja in Crockpot over rice
  8. Chicken,Spinach & Cheese Quesadillas
  9. Leftovers
  10. Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potato Fries, Brussel Sprouts
  11. Dinner with Friends
  12. Dinner with Friends
  13. Tacos
  14. Pizza Night at the School
  15. Pasta Fagioli, bread
  16. Tuna Cheesies and veggie dippers
  17. Date Night
  18. Dinner with Friends
  19. Chicken Bruschetta, rice and fresh veggies
  20. Burgers on the Grill, baked potato wedges, salad
  21. Leftovers
  22. Breakfast for Dinner
  23. Pizza Night at the School
  24. 3 Packet Pot Roast, parsley potatoes, corn
  25. Baked Fish, rice and fresh veggies
  26. Spaghetti and Meatballs
  27. Honey Mustard Chicken , couscous, and salad
  28. McTeacher Night at McDonalds
  29. Leftovers
  30. Breakfast for Dinner
  31. Burritos, spanish rice and beans

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Out with the old, In with the new!

bye-bye New Balance, Hellooooo Nike!

Sad to see you go but THRILLED to have these pretty thangs! :o) I was SO EXCITED at Rogue today when after trying on 7 pairs of shoes at Runtex and leaving with nothing, finding THE shoes!!! Not only are they PERFECT, BUT THEY'RE PINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you feel my excitement?

Back at the beginning of the year when I decided to go forward and take on this running thing I got fitted at Runtex for my blue beauties, aka New Balance 1011. At the time (having a 6 month old and still in that postpartum body transition thing!) these were the shoes I needed. I pronated alot and needed the support and stability. My poor joints and body were still recovering from the 60lb weight gain, of course I needed the stability! :o) But now being 30+ lbs lighter and running more seriously I guess I was ready for a different shoe. I tried on the good ol Asics, New Balance, Mizunos and Brooks over at Runtex but they just didn't feel right. I've been having some issues with 2 toes on my right foot and come to find out, my foot GREW, OH JOY! Ha! So after I left Runtex with Erika (my saving grace, couldn't imagine going with my two little ones by myself!!!) we decided since we were down there to just run into Rogue.

Now this guys seemed like he knew what he was talking about! Not anything like the Latin Lover Boy salesman at Runtex!!! LMAO! I put on the Asics, felt good, then a pair of Brooks, felt better (liked the bean bag feeling at the arches), then.....came.....the .....Nikes!! I slipped them on and OMG, I just KNEW they were the ones! I knew that I couldn't leave without those shoes! Light, yet supportive, Roomy, but felt secure, Pretty, oh and yeah Pretty because I don't care what anyone says the shoes have GOTTA look good!!! :o)

The funny thing is as I tucked my New Balance into the Nike box to keep them, I felt a little sad. My poor shoes have been replaced. Those strong blue babies went through my first 5k, 10k, and Triathlon with me! I put my first "long run" on those shoes so they will be kept forever! :o)

So tonight I celebrate on a treadmill (hubby is out of town, so I dont' have a choice) my new Nikes and my reaching a new level with this FREAKING AWESOME sport!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Okay so after talking with a friend at church yesterday, I realized I MUST do some confessing here! I love Mondays for the simple fact that I can try to get it right this week. It's a fresh start and there is nothing I like better than putting the negative behind and moving forward. It's VERY easy for me to drop something that doesn't work and move on, not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing since that can be sort of inconsistent, but whatever, it's me!

Most of my friends know I LOVE Facebook! I can update through my phone and the people who care about me, know that I have a busy life so it's a very simple way of keeping them updated. One of the drawbacks about FBK though is that it may seem like I always have it together and her is a little confession....I DON'T!!! LOL

I can go on and on about all the great things that I've been up to and routines I've instilled but I can also go on and on about all the sucky things I do and can or cannot maintain. But instead I think I will bullet-point some simple confessions to show you that I'm not perfect, I don't have it together all the time, I have lots of insecurities, but I just push forward which is all I can do!! LOL!

  • I've fed my kids more fast food and junk this summer than I wanted to and I MUST stop this insanity!!!!!
  • My upstairs game room and 2 out of the 3 kids' rooms are TRASHED and I dread going up there to get it together...looks like a BOMB EXPLODED in the game room!
  • My laundry was completely done and put away and guess what, it's loaded back up again which is how I will spend my Monday!
  • My couponing has gone to crap and I'm completely unorganized with it! Coupon box is all screwed up and I don't feel like I have it together there at all.
  • My budget system went out the window this summer and although I know we need to get back on the ball (we're starting The Money Makeover program next week) I am dreading the "confinement" of a budget.
  • I feel fat most of the time no matter how much weight I lose, and this is a battle I've had since I was a teenager.
  • I'm not always comfortable in my own skin and question "Who I am" sometimes.
  • I don't always want to "Do the right thing" and have to force myself into that behavior at times.
  • I have "Daddy Issues" and "Abandonment Issues" that I thought would go away but they love to creep up during times of stress.
  • I don't know how to relax AT ALL but deep down wish I could!
  • My car is a hellhole most of the time, I have no value for a clean car and really don't care. :o)
  • My bills are stacked up on my desk and I know I need to get to them TODAY but really don't want to and probably will put it off as long as I can since I HATE DOING BILLS!
  • I get excited by my running and feel great afterwards but still think I suck at the running thing!
  • Don't always feel good enough.
Okay so there you have it! These are just a few things I wanted to confess. It's okay to have our moments of insanity, moments of self doubt, moments of poor me, but you just can't stay there. You've gotta focus on the bigger picture of this thing called life and just move forward. I know that I have to stay positive and if I'm feeling negative or down then that's usually a sign that I'm under some stress and I need to do some reprioritizing of some sort. I will admit, I've gotten really good at re-evaluating, taking an inventory of what is what and what needs to go. So that could be considered inconsistent but it's important for me to do that since I'm one that likes to constantly try something new.

So why I like Mondays, is simply for that reason! It's a fresh week, I can put together the schedule for the week (which I don't always stick to) and get some focus. BUT I do have 3 children so schedules MUST have some flexibility and I'm okay with that. :o)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

9.77 Miles!

obviously this is NOT me, but I just LOVE this pic!

Well, I can't believe it...I DID IT!!!! 9.77miles plus a half mile warm up so "technically" I did a little over 10 miles in 2 hours 2 minutes and FELT AWESOME!!!! Had a couple of good laughs with the girls of course and LOVED LOVED LOVED my new fuel belt...worked GREAT for me!

I felt like a real runner today and it was well to put it in one word FREAKING AWESOME, okay two words, whatever. ;o)

Took the electrolyte pills, had exactly enough water (32oz) since the weather was PERFECT, started off with a Myoplex Lite Shake at 4:15am, sipped on a cup of coffee on the way and popped some Extreme Jellybeans in my mouth at 5:15 and then took my Cliff ShotBlocks at mile 5. Everything just worked like a charm today! Stretched and had some Dunkin afterwards, then came home a took an ice bath...what a way to kick off a Saturday, I feel really really good!

I was talking to Kim today when we hit mile 7 and said, "Can you believe how good we feel?". We really can do a half marathon, not just that but FOR SURE can do a full one! I felt like I could have easily done 3 more miles today...and THAT amazes me!! Now I am by NO means like the more elite runners I know BUT I know I have the potential to be that, and that right there my friends will drive me for sure! One day I won't be doing intervals but for now, I am okay with the walk breaks. My pace was still great (12.29) for the distance little old me did and I couldn't be happier right now...gotta LOVE the whole "runner's high" thing...LOL!

Sometimes I am still in disbelief that I am doing this. Different seasons in life bring different things and boy am I glad that this is the season in my life for running.....I love you pavement! And I'm thankful for my friends that get up at ungodly hours to run together, encourage each other, laugh together and are always willing to try something new!

Love you girls!
Happy Saturday!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some of my Favorite Things!

So yes, I know you probably don't care what some of my favorite things are lately, LMAO, but this is my blog so I'm going to share anyway! HAHA! :o)

I've been really enjoying drinking hot tea at night, the green and white Liptons are my newest but my old time favorite is pretty much any Tazo tea, but I'm partial to the Chai! I was ADDICTED to Chai Lattes when I was pregnant with Sofia! YUMMMM!

My Garmin! This is hands down the BEST running tool you can have!!!

My and my hubbie's FAVORITE moisturizer! Doesn't matter the season, it's good stuff!
DryMax socks from RunningWarehouse...these are the BEST!!!! Thankful to my "seasoned" running friends for the tip on these!! :o)
Thanks to my AWESOME sister for this bottle of perfume over a year ago...I'm hooked! LOVE IT!Homemade Bath Salts!!! I've made quite a few and have recieved various sugar and/or salt scrubs in the past few months for my nightly baths and LOVE THEM!!! You can put any essence oil in them, but I prefer mint and/or eucalyptus! Ahhhhhhh!!!! Oil and Salt or is OH SO SOFT!!!! Screw you Bath & Bodyworks....I'm too frugal for you! LOL
Mixing two of my favorites lately...FIBER ONE CEREAL and CHOBANI GREEK YOGURT...
oh yeah! (Favorite Greek yogurt is Fage really!)Groupon is one of my new FAVORITES! I recently purchased a $50 Gap gc for $25 and a $20 Maria Maria Restaurant gc for $10 (Carlos Santana's restuarant in Austin). This site ROCKS! Sign up and have your area deals (groupons) emailed to you daily!
So these are just a few things that were on my mind tonight! I could go ON AND, snacks, clothes , etc...but I am going to go enjoy one of my FAVORITE things...cuddling with my hubby! :o)