Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Back & Really Looking Forward

What a year this has been! Dear Hubs and I feel truly blessed by our beautiful gift from heaven, Dear Bebe.

I was pregnant for most of 2008 and while I did not write about it until the day she was about to arrive...I went through the terrible morning sickness, the aches, the swelling, you name it. But I kept blogging and even started my own website, Bella Rosa Antiques. This was kind of a dream I'd had and I'm so glad I took the plunge.

At the end of each year I like to take a look back and celebrate the good the bad, and the ugly. Mostly all good of course, so, on my New Year's Eve post, the last one of 2008, won't you come along with me? Just a few highlights...

In January the ball began rolling on my new website, Bella Rosa Antiques. How excited I was. I'm still excited.

February soon rolled around and I found out I was pregnant with Dear Bebe on Valentine's day. How cool was that? Oh how I wanted to blab to the whole world about it...but we chose to be cautious as I am an "older" mom. This is obviously not an early ultrasound photo, but I wanted to show you how amazing the technology is. We were always wowed each time we had one done.

Also in February Dear Hubs and I attended a "blues" party at our church. We dressed up in vintage clothing from the 20's flapper era. Since Dear Hubs does not like his photo to be shown on the blog (I have stuck them in here and there but usually those "hard to see" photos) this is a photo of the Pastor's wife and I. Don't laugh at my fake mole.

I was thrilled about starting the Bella Rosa Antiques website and had a giveaway to celebrate the new name by giving away one of our silver word garlands. I enjoy giveaways and haven't had one since summer. Hmmmm....
In May I thought someone was trapped in the attic while watching the finale of "American Idol." Just recently I thought a tree had fallen on our house. My life is starting to sound like James Thurber story. Ever read one of his stories? He's one of my favorite authors. Anyway, this particular night was reminiscent of one of his fun tales... and I had to share it with you.

One of my "crafty" projects was working on a DVD for our assistant pastor. This is not one of the photos I used, but a photo from a different DVD slide show I created last year. I'm artistic but in a different way from many of the bloggers...I create with video and music!
My youngest stepchild graduated from high school! (There are three) I've known Dear Hubby for 7, going on 8 years now and I've watched the kids "grow up." I've been there for some tense moments and for the great ones as well. We were very proud of my stepson and of course, I was tearing up. How handsome he looked! We were very emotional knowing his next step would be Army boot camp.

This next post was fun. Turns out I wasn't the only one having a baby, or two, or three.... this led to the "Bunny News Update."

I was thrilled when I hit 100 posts and decided to have a giveaway. My 2ooth is coming up VERY soon so stay tuned to see what I will do! I love making the little graphic advertisements like the one you see below, so there is my other "crafty" side.

I finally came out of the morning sickness phase (oh it was bad, poor Dear Hubs) and I was motivated to cook again. Food finally looked appealing, which is why all of a sudden I started cooking and putting my recipes or pictures of food on the blog.

Ever year we participate in a family yard sale out in the country which turns out to be enormous because of all of Dear Hubby's siblings.

We even fit in a Billy Joel concert ... this was a highlight of the summer for me. He's still an amazing and talented artist. I was so worried about effect the noise might have on the baby! Who knows, maybe she will be musically inspired???

I couldn't wait to start working on the nursery. I had a scheme in mind and Dear Hubby did a fabulous job on it. My Stepdaughter also helped with painting soft clouds on the aqua ceiling.

Some before...
Some after the polka dots. He painted each one by hand with a shoe polish spongy thingy. I was amazed he did this.

Okay, yes, I was actually being crafty here. I painted an old barn board (Dear Hubby loves to find those) with this French saying "Mon Bebe Doux" which is how Dear Bebe was given her bloggy name!

Maybe I am craftier than I thought. I also whipped up a chain cover or cozy for this chandelier we had in the basement (Dear Hubs can't resist clearance sales and found this one at Lowes two years ago! He has a good eye on what I might like, what a sweetie, I'll have to keep him for sure. Tee hee!)

Then I turned 40. Ewww. This was painful. Very pregnant for the first time and very 40. We didn't do that much to celebrate because well, quite frankly, I was huge and didn't feel like going anywhere. And how cute was Dear Hubby? He had "Jillian" put on the cake, knowing I would take a photo. Jillian is not the name on my birth certificate. I guess you could say it is my nickname. I'll have to post this coming year about how I chose to name my blog.

Being pregnant I was having the "nesting" issues pretty badly... so I kept urging Dear Hubby to get some of the makeover projects done around the house. Remember our little bathroom project? There is the before, below is the after.

September came up rather quickly and My Stepson graduated from Army boot camp. How proud of a moment that was! Unfortunately I was too pregnant to go, but Dear Hubs came back with the pictures and played them for me on our TV. He's about to be deployed somewhere next month and we still don't know the location. We pray it is somewhere safe.

Then I was looking forward to October for the birth of Dear Bebe when SURPRISE! She arrived early...
Here she is still in the hospital, two days old. She was a lightweight at 5 lbs 14 oz. She has tripled in size since!

I'm starting to think her eyes will remain blue while we're not sure of her hair color yet. At first glance it looks light brown but then there are red highlights that pop out in certain lighting. Maybe she will have auburn? Here she is about 2 months.

The first two months were rough, I have to admit. No sleep = grumpy Jillian. Dear Hubs to the rescue! He really pitched in to help and we got through it together. Thank you sweetie! Dear Bebe is the most precious and best gift I have ever received. I am cherishing all of our moments with her as each one happens.

I'd also like to add here a THANK YOU to Dear Mother (er...Gramma, who is known in blog land as Ms. Daisy) for hopping a train three times to come visit her Dear Grand Bebe.

We even made it through an election year. I was so tired of all the advertisements. On a positive note, Dear Hubby happened to snap this photo! It looks like McCain is pointing right at him.

Then for some insane reason we decided to host Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now New Year's Eve get togethers at our house. At least we are keeping the house clean!

And who would have thought we'd end 2008 with a bang? The eArThQuAkE! Yes, we'll refer to it now as EARTHQUAKE '08...
I hope you've enjoyed a look back on a year with Jillian's Pages. One of my goals in '09 is to come up better posts, although as Dear Bebe gets older it will be more and more difficult to handle her, the two blogs and the website. I don't shy away from challenges too often. I'm also really looking forward to each stage of Dear Bebe's growth. Each one is so neat. (I'll check back in with you when she becomes a teenager on that thought!)

Have a wonderful New Year and thanks so much for stopping by, visiting, lurking or whatever may have brought you here. And thank you to the pals I've made through the blog. It has been an honor to get to know you.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Just when I thought the excitement was over....along comes an EARTHQUAKE! The Jillian's Pages household was literally shaken up around midnight this morning.

Here's how it happened:

Dear Hubs and I were getting ready for bed. We had just watched "The Dark Knight," the latest batman flick. As I'm getting ready to turn out the light I said "I feel like something bad is going to happen." I kid you not. I said that. And he said "whaddya mean, something bad is going to happen?" I'm sure he thought I was being a bit kooky. I said "I dunno, like something is going to fall or drop." I shrugged it off and turned out the light. He was being a sweetie and letting me sleep while he put Dear Bebe to back to bed after her latest feeding.

About an hour and a half later I woke up to the sound of an extremely loud boom and the whole house shook. We live in the woods so my first thought was "A TREE HAS FALLEN ON THE HOUSE!" I jumped up and Dear Hubs and I were like "What the heck was that?" Only we didn't say heck.

I checked on Dear Bebe and she was still sleeping. But the noise wasn't going away. There was still this loud rumbling sound. So we're looking out windows and turning on outside lights looking for downed trees. Nothing. We looked down the "hill" we live on to the lights twinkling of the town below and nothing unusual was going on. Dear Hubs mentioned an earthquake and I'm like "not here in Central Pennsylvania." Come ON. Must have been an explosion. So then of course you start wondering about bombs being dropped somewhere. In this day and age you never know.

By the time we were up again at 5 am for another Dear Bebe feeding we discovered it had been an actual earthquake! It registered 3.3 on the Richter scale. The funky blue area on the graph above is it. Wow! I have felt an earthquake. I can't even imagine what a stronger quake would feel like because this one scared me to pieces. I was shaking for awhile afterwards.

We looked over the contents of our house, nothing had fallen or broken. But I'm still hoping Dear Hubs checks out the foundation of the house. I'd hate wake up one morning at the bottom of the hill.

And that my friends is the night we really did rock around the Christmas tree.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bebe's First Christmas

A Bebe. A Christmas gathering. People. Put them all together and you have one overwhelmed little one. It was Bebe's first Christmas and she was so good. I couldn't have asked for a better gift this year.

We went to my Dear Hubby's family farm for Christmas yesterday. He has many siblings and we all descend upon the farmhouse like ants to a picnic.

And poor Dear Bebe was like "Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa." Okay, she didn't say that but sometimes I could see the look on her face!

Meanwhile, somehow it has become tradition to blast A Christmas Story on the TV in the background as TBS runs it in a marathon broadcast all day. Mostly because Uncle R says "This is the greatest movie ever made!" Mmm.....I'm not so sure about that but I still enjoy watching it too, so I don't say anything.

So after being held by Mommy and Daddy for awhile, she was held by Aunt K. We told Aunt K she needs to live much closer because she was so great with Bebe. They spent a lot of time together...which Bebe enjoyed!

Here she is with Cousin C. Another good moment but it was short lived. Cousin C just got married and probably didn't want the child "bug" to rub off on her just yet.

Cousin K. also had a chance to hold Dear Bebe. Yet another fun time but then cousin K said "I want a baby!" And Aunt K said ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh noooooooooo. Cousin K is still in high school... but she was great with Dear Bebe too and I'm so glad they had a chance to be together.

And FINALLY Gramma M got a chance to spend time with her Dear Grand Bebe. (Gramma had been cooking all morning for us...and please don't be upset with us for making Dear Gramma cook ...she has said when the cut off year is and it is coming soon.) By this time however, Bebe was getting bleary eyed. Can you tell?

Gramma and Bebe had a great moment and there is just something about a Gramma. They know exactly what to do and the next thing you know Bebe is over Gramma's shoulder for a snuggle. Really glad they were able to "meet." It was their first time!

So Dear Bebe made it through the long drive there, the whole afternoon, and the long drive home.

Whew! Who knew a first Christmas could be so tiring?

And I'll bet Dear Bebe was tired, too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Birthdays

Last weekend my family was here to celebrate Christmas together. We also have a few December birthdays too. Dear Hubs is one! He was born on Christmas Eve. I can imagine it is tough having a birthday during the holidays. We tried to make the day special for he and my neice...and we had tons of fun.
How precious is this photo? To be so young again...

Here she is opening her Christmas gift...

And my Dear Sister (Mrs. Tuneful, guess how she got her name????) thought to bring her guitar and we sat around and sung Christmas carols. Last year we were at their house and did the same thing. Now I think it will become a new tradition!
Now tonight is Dear Hubby's birthday. Happy Birthday, honey! We'll have friends and family over after attending a special Christmas Eve service at our church.
And we'll celebrate the most precious birthday of all. The baby Jesus.
Luke Chapter 2 Verses 1-7

[1] In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. [2] (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) [3] And everyone went to his own town to register.
[4] So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. [5] He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. [6] While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, [7] and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Panic Time

This was the last big weekend left to shop for Christmas presents. If you are a 9 - 5 Mon through Friday working soul then this was it for you to get out there and get your gifts. Well, Saturday morning was my time to get out there. I may not be getting a paycheck and paying in to Uncle Sam, but I'm working everyday taking care of Dear Bebe. So, Dear Hubs said "get er done" and I didn't waste a second before heading out.

There was no way I was heading to a mall. Forget it. Not around here. I still haven't really seen the economy woes here in our area like I've been hearing about on the news. Restaurants are still packed, there's an hour wait usually, and you can't find a parking spot. And if you do, there's a three car line up and a war about to be waged for it. WOW! This really makes me think the internet is the perfect choice. I did shop a lot on the internet but there were a few things I needed to get in person.

Out into the maddening crowd, forging my way through in my car like an army tank. Really. It was literally more like the maddening traffic. You could tell people were just crazy, pointing their cars in any direction like maniacs. PANIC had set in. You could see the look of fear on their faces because Aunt Sue or little Tommy wasn't going to get that last Isotoner slipper or Chia pet. The rush was ON. And I decided it was time to get in defense mode or I was never going to make it back home without a major dent in my car. And that's when I realized all I wanted to do was get back home to my Dear Bebe.

I did manage to get a few of the things I needed but all of a sudden these things didn't seem so important anymore.

Oh how motherhood changes things.

That is, until when Dear Bebe turns 5 and just has to have the latest toy. Then I suppose I'll put the armor back on and head out into battle. Wish me luck.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Kitties & Bebe n Christmas Trees

Some of you have asked how I'm going to deal with having a toddler around with so many antiques. In my post a few weeks ago, I wrote about my love for decorating with vintage ornaments.

Well, the truth is, I'm probably going to do what I've done in the past with my kitties who love to play with ornaments, climb Christmas trees, and run through my antique collections.

This is Miss Minnie. (Her name is Minnie but I just have to add the "Miss" because it IS her personality. She owns the place.)

And that is Miss Minnie hiding(?) at the back my Christmas tree in 1997. I would have loved having the whole tree decorated but she was just a kitty toddler (must have been her terrible two's...or is that 7's???) and loved climbing my tree. She still loves it when I get the tree out because she likes to nibble on the branches, but her climbing days are over.

I miss those days! As much of a pain she was, it was fun.

So, I look forward to my Dear Bebe growing and growing, running around, and getting into things. Anything valuable or family heirloom related will be placed up higher than she can reach.

The rest will have to be plastic for awhile. And just in case Bebe has a need to climb the tree, we've got the baby gates! We bought them two years ago to keep the cats out of the formal living area. Unfortunately two of the cats figured out how to hurdle them right away. Miss Minnie didn't figure it out (or was too lazy) for at least a year.

And hopefully someday, Dear Bebe will enjoy antiquing with me... and we can replace whatever may break during these discovery years. I can't wait.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dasher and Dancer, Comet and Cupid, Donner....and ....

Look who stopped by for a bite to eat before heading out next week to deliver Santa's toys!

Dear Hubby puts out corn for them in hopes of catching a deer sighting.

Yes, I think that is Dasher,Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner....and hey....Blitzen and Vixen didn't make it out of bed today? And oh yes, where o where is Rudolph???

Now I know these are not actual reindeer but isn't it fun to pretend? And how beautiful... I was holding Dear Bebe when I had to take a second glance out our back window...

They actually saw me and left for about ten minutes and came back.

Here they were sneaking back up!

Hope you enjoyed my picturesque moment's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Ha ha!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Love For Vintage Books

This is a picture of the bookshelves in our family room. I've loaded them up with my vintage book collection and other antiques, family photos, etc.

When I began buying the old books I had no idea it would become "a thing." Do we ever realize this until we have too many?

I just know I love the wonderful, one of a kind, artistic designs on these 19th century hardbound books.

You just won't find this kind of detail on books today. Why is this a lost art? Maybe it costs too much?

I just know I'm glad they were created.

I have a special section for poetry with books by Tennyson, Browning, and more. Then there's my "classics" shelf. This could be bigger but I think I doing okay since I haven't been collecting that long.

The best part is...I only buy if I can find them for 5.00 or less. There have been a couple of exceptions. I think I paid 12.00 for a Nicholas Nickleby book because it is in "pristine" condition!

I have just picked up a gorgeous, red and gold bound book called Pirate Island.

Now I've never heard of the title and probably won't read it...but it looks fascinating, doesn't it? Maybe someday, when Dear Bebe has grown and I will again have time for such a luxury as reading an antique book.

I wonder who's book it was and if they enjoyed reading it. A lot of them have writing on the first page from the giver to the receiver and a date. This one is 1896.

What do you like to collect?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Mary Tyler Moore Moments

The other day I was feeding Dear Bebe when I decided to turn the TV on. There was Oprah. Even though I rarely watch her anymore, I was completely taken in by a show she was airing. It was a Mary Tyler Moore reunion show. It appears Oprah had been infatuated with the show and I do think it had a lot of influence on her career choice, local TV. She got her start at a station in Baltimore.

The funny thing is, when I was a young producer living out on my own in America's Heartland, I too felt that familiar urge to run outside and throw my hat up in the air. Except I didn't wear hats. But I was going to get one if it meant re-enacting that famous moment.

Now that I am a stay at home Mommy, I too can look back at my early days in TV and smile at how much fun I had.

So here I am, in a photo with Oprah herself! Yes, it looks like we are best buds, but the reality is, there was a line of people waiting to get their chance for a photographic moment. I was attending a PROMAX conference in Chicago and we (local TV promotion producers) were invited to her HARPO studio.

My first TV station job was located near the beach. I decided the low pay was well worth getting to wear shorts and interviewing hot lifeguards. Looking at the photo now I'm wondering why I didn't stand CLOSER? Then I realize I was not supposed to be in the camera shot! I was a producer, not a reporter.

Here I am with Joan Rivers right after a friend and I handed out the statues during an award ceremony at the 1990 NATPE convention. NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) is where TV station managers buy their programs. Joan had a show at the time and was there to promote it. This was probably before her QVC days, or maybe right near the beginning. Gotta love my hair there!

Here I am with Merv at the same convention. Note Alex Trebek of Jeopardy in the background right....

Merv was really nice and funny! I remember asking if I could take his photo and I tilted the camera vertically in order to get his whole picture...and he shook his finger in the air and said "NOOOOO BODIEEEEEEESSSS." This was the same week I was asked to run out and buy makeup to cover up the shiny spot on Ted Turner's forehead. I was in New Orleans and had no idea where to go. I did what any other producer would do... I hailed a cab, asked for the nearest drug store and guessed which color to buy!

While working for an NBC affiliate I was able to participate in an NBC Marketing and Promotion conference. Loved the parties NBC threw. All the promotion folks at my table were thrilled when Kelsey Grammar decided to sit at ours! I almost didn't ask for the photo and now I'm glad I did. Why miss a moment like that? Again, look at that hair. I think I could only afford one hair cut every six months at the time. Ha! Now that I think about is so not Mary.

I have loved my career in local television. I have met all kinds of people and celebrities from Oprah to Jay Leno. There were days when I wondered why I ever decided to go into the industry because the money is in sales or the on-air talent. But it was a LOT of fun and I followed my dream .

Will I ever go back? This has not been decided yet since I am going to be with Dear Bebe for a few years until she can attend school.

But, now that I reminisce, looks like I made it after all.