Sandie Simply Says

June 5, 2009

Spin Cyle: I love you!

Filed under: Spin,Step Life — by Sandie @ 9:31 pm
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I’m late with this week’s Spin Cycle, which really doesn’t matter since I haven’t participated in weeks! I keep telling myself, THIS is the week I’ll get back on track with my blogging. And then Facebook life gets in the way and my blog falls to the wayside. I’d already made up my mind that I wasn’t going to participate in this week’s spin and would just jump in next week. Then I read Jen’s spin (scroll down to the second story in her post) and I decided I wanted to share MY “I love you” story.

My older two daughters (Ashley and Amanda) are not “my” daughters. That is, I didn’t give birth to them. They don’t even live in my house, unless you count the 6-8 weeks they visit in the summer and the week at Christmas as “live.” They are Tony’s daughters from his first marriage, but I still consider them “mine.” My friend Tina actually sums it up best: they are the daughters of my heart.

I met “the girls” (as we’ve always called them. Even when we say “the girls” now, we know we’re referring to Ashley and Amanda, even though we’ve added three more girls to our family (and for those counting, yes, we really have FIVE girls and no, we’re NOT paying for any weddings!)) when they were 5 and 6. Tony talked about them so much, I felt like I knew them before we ever met. It was pretty much love at first sight for me. I’m sure they were just wondering who this strange chick that didn’t even speak Spanish was (true story: I was pretty much the first person they remember meeting who did not speak Spanish fluently).

The girls and I got along well from the beginning. That’s not saying we haven’t had our problems. I think ALL families go through various growing pains, but everything seems to be heightened when you have a blended family (especially when third parties (bio mothers and maternal grandmothers in our case) have issues with the new blended family…or more specifically, me. To this day I have no idea what she had against me back then, other than I shattered her dream of the two of them getting back together). While the girls liked me, and probably even loved me, their loyalty was with their mom. For the longest time, I wouldn’t even talk with them on the phone for fear of upsetting their mother.

As the years have gone by, their mother has become more accepting of me in her daughters’ lives (she even created one of those “Mother of the Year” videos for me that went around last Mother’s Day). As she’s become more accepting the girls have become more open with me. And I was finally able to chat on the phone with them without fear of their mother flipping out.

When I did talk with the girls on the phone, I always ended with “I love you” which was met with a hurried “Good bye” from which ever girl was on the phone. Until one day about three years ago. I was chatting with Ashley about something teenager-ish and was getting ready to hand the phone back to her dad. I said my customary “I love you” and this time was greeted with “I love you, too!”

What? I had to play the words over again in my head. Yep, she really DID say “I love you!” Strange as it may be, I was more elated by this “I love you” than I have been by any other before or since (it took Amanda a little longer before she said it to me, but now she regularly does too). It was like all the heart ache and tears I’d felt all those years melted away with those three simple words. Suddenly, everything was worth it.

I was walking on air for a good week after that phone call (the next time Ashley made me that happy was when she wished me Happy Mother’s Day out of the blue one year. Up until that point, I had not ever been acknowledged by either girl for Mother’s Day (not that I was looking for it, I mean, they HAVE a mother, so it never really bothered me. Didn’t stop me from turning cartwheels when she DID though)).


April 20, 2009

Spin Cycle: Mind Your Manners

Filed under: Spin — by Sandie @ 5:47 am
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This week’s Spin Cycle assignment is all about manners. Want to know more about the Spin Cycle? Visit Jen at

Living in the South, manners have taken on a whole new meaning. My friend, Ginger, once blogged about the fact that Southern women don’t get mad. I believe this is in a large part due to the fact that everyone is so polite down here. Even when they insult somebody, it’s done politely: “Bless her heart, she has the face like a horse’s butt.” Who can get mad at that?

I remember the minute I realized I was in a different world down here. My husband and I had stopped at a gas station just inside the Georgia border. I had to use the restroom, so I went insde. A man had walked out the door a several seconds before I got to the door. When he saw me approach the door, he stopped, walked 3 steps back to the door, and opened it for me. I was in shock! Especially since I’d just moved from an area where holding a door open was almost unheard of.

I think the biggest thing that sets Southerners apart from anyone else in the country are the ma’ams and sirs. I grew up in the midwest. Ma’am and sir were just not words that were used often. And depending on who you said them to, could even be taken as an insult (“I’m not OLD enough to be called ma’am!”). Getting used to being called “ma’am” all the time, took some time. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m not shocked every time I hear it. And I’ve long since stopped being insulted by it (or could it be that I reall AM old enough to be called ma’am now?). Teaching my kids to use ma’am and sir is a whole other ballgame though. I just hadn’t done it.

Alyssa picked it up a bit when she started school. Her first grade teacher was a bit of a stickler for it, but I’ve noticed over the last couple of years her usage has declined a bit. Angelina, on the other hand, has just picked it up. Every time we ask her to do something, we’re answered with “Yes, ma’am!” (Doesn’t matter if she’s talking to me or Tony, the answer is ALWAYS “yes, ma’am!” We’re working on correcting that one!). I find myself hoping this is something she keeps up after we move. It just sounds right and will be a great legacy from our time here.

March 27, 2009

Spin Cycle: Quirks

Filed under: General,Spin — by Sandie @ 7:34 pm

This week’s Spin Cycle assignment is all about quirks. What quirks do you have? How about your spouse? Which ones drive you batty? Which ones drive your spouse batty?

When I first read the topic, I thought “Hey! I can DO quirks! I have plenty of them!” But then as I sat down to write about them, I could only think of two:

1) Whenever I eat a bag of plain M&Ms, I separate all the M&Ms by color before I eat them. Doesn’t really matter where I am, I dump them all out and start sorting. But it doesn’t stop there: I then count the number of M&Ms in each pile (or sometimes I’ll arrange them in such a way to tell which pile has the most). I’ll then eat one M&M at a time from the pile with the most M&Ms until it’s equal in size to the next biggest pile. Then I’ll eat one M&M from each of those piles until they both equal the same as the next biggest pile. I do that until all the piles are the same size. Then I eat the rest of the M&Ms, taking one from each pile until they’re gone. I ONLY do this with plain M&Ms, NOT the peanut variety. I also ONLY do it with the 5 oz bags. Snack size? I just rip it open and dump it in my mouth. The 1 pound bag? I eat them by the handful. But give me a 5 oz bag and my compulsion begins.

2) I love Big Macs. I used to eat them at least once a week. However, I have never once in my life eaten one intact. I start with the top half…the middle bun, beef patty, and top of the bun. I eat that just like one would eat a regular burger. I then take the bottom bun and beef patty, fold it like a taco and fill it with french fries. I then eat my french fry taco. Yum!

So, there you have it. My two quirks. I’m sure if you ask my husband he’ll give you a whole list of them. But I’m going to stick with these two.

Want to read more about quirks? Visit Jen at for more Spins!

March 12, 2009

RTT, HASAY, Spin Cycle: Three for the price of one!

Filed under: General,HAYSAY,Spin,Weight Loss — by Sandie @ 8:24 pm
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I’ve been neglecting my blog the last couple of weeks. Between the constant fretting and worrying over my assignment situation and the time change, I’ve either been too stressed or too tired to put coherent thoughts together. So, I’ve decided to string my three regular meme-type posts into one. So today you get my HASAY update, my Spin Cycle post and Random Tuesday Thoughts (OK, I know it’s Thursday, but work with me here! With the time change this week it FEELS like Tuesday!).

HASAY Update (brought to you by Casey at Ugh! The last thing I’ve thought about the last couple weeks has been HASAY. Or losing weight. The good thing: I’m normally a stress eater, however the stress of the last week or so has caused me to NOT want to eat. I actually went to the kitchen over the weekend, with the SOLE purpose of finding something chocolaty and/or sweet to satisfy my depression. I opened the refrigerator and then closed it. I opened the pantry and then closed it. Fridge again. Nothing. Didn’t feel like eating a thing from there, so I retreated quickly from the kitchen. Unfortunately, I’ve made up for it over the last couple days. So, I’m about even from last week’s weight and still down a pound over all. And I made it to Ab Lab twice this week AND walked a mile and a half yesterday. Yay me!

Spin Cycle (brought to you by This week’s Spin Cycle is about survival. I have to admit, when I first read the topic I thought about Survivor the TV show (which happens to be on my TV as I type…how coincidental!). That’s not what I want to spin about though. What do I want to spin about? Hmmm….good question. You hear about all these great survival stories on TV: women who’ve survived breast cancer, children who’ve survived some insurmountable challenge, survivors of plane crashes, natural disasters, or some other tragedy. Thankfully, I’ve never had to deal with any of that. But when I think about survivors or surviving THOSE are the people I think of. Quite frankly, I’m in awe of them. I look at some of the things they’ve survived or lived through and wonder could I do the same? Would I be as strong? Would I hold out hope and make it to the other side? I guess that’s one of those questions you never know the answer to until you’re faced with it. And, well, I hope I never have to find out.

Still no word on my assignment issues (brief recap for those too lazy to click on the link above: I received an assignment to Italy, Tony did not. Trying right now to either get an assignment for him or cancel mine). I know things are being looked at/worked now, but I also know that we could be right back where we started when all is said done. Strangely, I’ve been calm the last couple days. I don’t know if I finally just ran out of worry/stress or if God has laid a calming hand on me, but I haven’t felt that panic that had overcome me last week. I know everything will work out in the end, though it may not be the way I want it to.

I was driving down the road behind a Volkswagon Beetle today and have decided that there must be some sort of law that all VW Beetle’s in the state of Georgia MUST have the same tag. It seems every Beetle I’ve ever seen has this tag:

I hate the weather this time of year. The weather is so crazy right now, you can’t help but get sick (and something has been going around my office…I hope it stays far away from me!). How crazy you might ask? Well, it SNOWED on 1 March. Just one week later it was in the 80s! Even the weather man is having a hard time…they predicted a high of 70 today. I guess somebody forgot to tell Mother Nature that because the temperature thingy inside my van proclaimed it to be 84!

With that, I’ve completed my Tuesday, er, Thursday Random Thoughts (brought to you by!

January 25, 2009

Spin Cycle: The Soundtrack of My Life

Filed under: Spin — by Sandie @ 9:50 pm
Tags: , , ,

Trisha Yearwood sings a song called The Song Remembers When and I’ve always thought how true the song is. I’m sure I’ve heard a million songs in my lifetime, but there are a few that always take me back to another time, no matter where I am when I hear them. The following are a few of my favorites.

My high school years will forever be defined by this song:

Every time I hear that song, it reminds me of my best friend from high school, Ken. Ken did not have the best home life, so we spent many a Friday and Saturday night driving around town simply avoiding his house. We’d drive and drive just waiting for Biz Markie to come on the radio. And when he did, we’d blast the radio, roll down the windows (even in the dead of winter), and scream the words for all the world to hear. In that moment, we’d both forget all our problems and revel in the simple joy of belting out a good song (OK, so maybe it’s not a “good” song, but we loved it!). Sadly, Ken and I lost touch a few years after high school. I still think of him whenever I happen to hear Biz Markie on the radio (or whenever I watch The Little Mermaid, but this post is about songs, not movies…I’ll have to explain that one later).

This song takes me back to weekends at the club at Shemya:

This song was played every Friday and Saturday night I can remember during my time at Shemya. And every time the song played, I danced to it. My dance partner was always the same: Brian. We were nothing more than friends. I was dating someone who refused to dance with me (I should have dumped the loser then!) and Brian was married, but on the brink of divorce. So, we danced (and I always sang along). The song spoke to both of us, though I think it said different things. Brian and I have both moved on to bigger, better, and happier times, but once I hear the opening bars to this song I’m instantly back on the dance floor, swaying slowly, singing along.

Last, but definitely not least is this song:

Armegeddon came out shortly after I returned from Korea. Tony was still in Korea and we weren’t sure just where our relationship was going (if someone had told me back then that I’d be married to him less than a year later, I probably would have laughed in their face!). Whenever this song played on the radio, it made me think of him. To me, this song is “our song” and a little over 10 years later, I still don’t wanna miss a thing.

This Spin Cycle has been brought to you by Jen at Wanna join in the fun? Click on over!

January 15, 2009

Spin Cycle: What if?

Filed under: Spin — by Sandie @ 10:37 pm
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This week’s Spin Cycle is simply “What if?” We’ve been given no other direction, just “What if?” I’ve struggled with how to approach this topic. Do I keep it light-hearted and answer a question like “What if I won the lottery?” Or do I take a more serious tone with it. The truth is, I’ve been thinking about the “What ifs” quite a bit lately and I’m not sure why. So, I decided to go the serious route and maybe, just maybe I’ll get some relief from just typing it all out.

I met R almost 15 years ago. We were both stationed at Shemya, AK. There were only about 500 people on the island at the time. And only about 30 of us were women. As you can imagine, everyone knew who ALL the women were! I mainly hung out with the firefighters, R being one of them. They took good care of me, making sure I was not the focus of any unwanted attention. At that time R and I were merely friends.

I don’t remember when he left Shemya, I just know it was before me and he went to Luke AFB, Arizona. We kept in touch and planned to see each other when I drove through Phoenix on my way to Beale AFB, California. That didn’t happen, but we kept our friendship up. At some point, our friendship turned into much more. I talked with him nearly every night. Shared nearly everything with him. He came to see me and we spent a wonderful weekend together. At some point, I fell in love. Hopelessly, head-over-heels in love. When he finally fessed up to me that his “roommate” was actually his live-in girlfriend, I didn’t care. He was convinced that an “open” relationship was the way to go and I was so in love I agreed. We saw each other whenever we were going to be in close proximity with each other.

Then came the day he broke my heart. It was the day after Christmas. I was visiting a friend in Vegas and R and I had made plans to meet mid-way in Kingston. I’d called to hammer out the details and he dropped the bomb: he and M were getting married. In 5 days. I have no idea what was said the rest of our conversation. I just remember hanging up the phone and bursting into tears. The next day, I went back to California. The normal 10-hour drive took me 9 as I raced down the highway. My emotions vacillated between anger and sadness. It didn’t take long before R and I were talking again. I had an addiction and he was my drug. He was my one bright spot in an otherwise hellish two years (Beale was an awful assignment for me), so it wasn’t hard for me to convince myself I wasn’t really the “other woman.” R and M had an “open” relationship still, so really, it was OK.

But I knew it wasn’t. I received orders to Korea and decided my year spent there would be my year of healing. And boy was it ever! I was able to find a place where I was at peace and met Tony. Eventually, we married, have five beautiful children and have made a good life with each other. I will give R credit though: I was stationed at Luke after I left Korea. R and I went out to dinner once when I first got to town. We talked a few times after that. When I finally told him about Tony, he stepped back and gave me my space.

There are days I still think about the “what ifs” though. What if he hadn’t married M? What if he’d chosen me instead of her? What would my life be like now? Realistically, I know if R and I had gotten married our relationship would have been doomed (as was his relationship with M…I gave them 5 years, they made it 7). I defintely wouldn’t have my girls or my husband and I just can’t imagine my life without them.

In the end, this is one “what if” I can live without.

January 6, 2009

Guilty until proven innocent

Filed under: Spin — by Sandie @ 8:00 am
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This week’s Spin Cycle is about guilt. Don’t know what the Spin Cycle is? Visit Jen at to find out more!

I think our actual assignment is to post about something we feel guilty about. However, that would take me all week. You see, I feel guilty about every little thing I’ve ever done wrong in my life. And some things that aren’t even my fault! Case in point: I still feel guilty for not going back to Home Depot to pay for the screen door we bought for our kitchen door. I didn’t know we didn’t pay for it until a week or so later when my husband told me (so I had a blissful guilt-free week to enjoy my screen door).  We bought unintentionally stole said screen door over SEVEN years ago!   Confessing it here just makes me feel guilty all over again.  Anyway, I’ve decided to talk type about some other forms of guilt.

The first is the “Mom Guilt.”  I think we all feel this to a certain extent.  We worry about every little thing we do and how it’s going to scar our children for life or make them turn into horrible human beings.  Unfortunately, I have a big ol’ heap of mom guilt.  It started when Alyssa was 11 months old.  I was going to a school for the military for 2 months, Tony was working mids while trying to pack up a house and move, so we took Alyssa to my mom’s for a few months (my mom was virtually a stranger to her).  She doesn’t remember that time, but I still feel guilty about it.  It doesn’t help that my once outgoing infant came back to me a toddler fraught with separation anxiety and to this day she has issues with stranger anxiety.  It could just be that’s her personality, but I’ll never know and I’ll forever feel guilty for leaving her.  And now I feel like I can never do enough for my kids.  I feel like I give less than 100% to my kids because of work.  I want to volunteer more at the school, but I can’t.  I want to get them more involved in activities, but just don’t know how I can fit it in.  And it kills me when I have to leave them in someone else’s care when they are sick (even when that someone else is their dad). 

I also have Guilty Stepmom Syndrome.  I’m sure we’ve all heard of Guilty Dad Syndrome.  The syndrome some noncustodial father’s get.  They feel guilty that they don’t get to spend much time with their children, so they compensate by spoiling them rotten and allowing them to get away with everything and have no respect for those around them.  Many times it results in the children turning into ungrateful brats and dad can’t understand why they don’t respect him or treat him as nothing but a paycheck.  Well, I have a milder form of this (I’m thankful to say that Tony doesn’t have the slightest trace of Guilty Dad Syndrome).  I feel badly that we live so far from the girls and that we only get to see them once or twice a year.  So, I over compensate.  I bend over backwards to try to give them whatever they want.  I pay for their cell phones.  I even upgraded our plan so they’d have unlimited texting and picture mail.  I send them $50/month.  This is their “allowance.”  It was my idea to send it.  We told the girls we wouldn’t send any other money during the year, but we still do.  I won’t take a vacation without them.  The one time I did (and it wasn’t even a vacation, it was a long weekend in Orlando), I spent the entire weekend feeling guilty that we went somewhere without them. 

Hopefully, Jen’s magic wand of forgiveness will cure me of the Mom and Stepmom Guilt.  Meanwhile, I’m headed to Home Depot to pay for that screen door!

December 10, 2008

In the beginning…

Filed under: Spin — by Sandie @ 7:52 pm

This week’s Spin Cycle assignment (brought to you by is to tell how I got started in blogging and the story behind my blog’s name.

How did I get started?  My friend Tina started a blog, that’s how.  I’d heard about blogging, but until Tina started blogging it was something that lonely people with no friends did (and we just won’t talk about my message board obsession, hmm K?). Or celebrities who think we actually care what they have to say.  After reading Tina’s blog, I became intrigued.  And because I like to do everything Tina does (I even had another baby just so I could have 5 kids just like her…OK, I didn’t really, but Tina is seriously my idol), I starte my own blog.  The first few months, I was gung ho and blogged nearly every day.  Then, as life got in the way, my blog entries got further and further apart.  Then I discovered that my friends Debbie  and Ginger  had also started blogging and it reinvigorated me.  I moved my blog to wordpress (which I find MUCH easier to use than and started blogging again.  I’m trying to be more consistent now (but as you can tell, it doesn’t always work out) and I’ve started venturing out to read other blogs (sometimes I even comment on them!).

How did I come up with the name for my blog?  I held a contest.  Though, I guess it wasn’t much of a contest since I only had one reader at the time and therefore only had one entry.  But I liked the name, it fit, and was much more creative than anything I could come up with at the time!

November 22, 2008

I’m thankful for…

Filed under: Spin — by Sandie @ 8:05 pm

This weeks Spin Cycle (brought to you by is all about what we’re thankful for. I must admit, I wasn’t surprised. I mean this IS the week of my birthday and we’re always thankful for that! What? That’s not the most important holiday this week? What do you mean you didn’t even know it was my birthday? What is this Thanksgiving you speak of? I thought everyone was celebrating MY birthday all these years! Hmpf!

OK, OK, so I know all about Thanksgiving. And posts like this always make me think of the TV sitcoms where they sit around and discuss what they’re thankful for. Everyone has something sappy to say with the gratuitous joke thrown in for good measure. Which actually gives me a topic for another day.

So, what AM I thankful for? Let’s see…

I’m thankful for my children.
I’m thankful that we’re all healthy.
I’m thankful that I’m employed with a fairly recession-proof job.
I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head with no immediate danger of losing it.
I’m thankful I don’t have to wonder where my next meal is coming from, that my cupboards and refrigerator are full.
I’m thankful my parents were able to make the trip down to see us AND that they are in good health.

And most of all this year, I’m thankful my husband will be home in time for Thanksgiving. I’m grateful that we’ve been lucky enough to spend every major holiday together since we’ve been married. So many military families can’t say the same.

And along those lines, I’m thankful for those who are away from home right now, protecting our freedoms all over the world. God bless them and bring them home safe.

November 14, 2008

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…

Filed under: Spin — by Sandie @ 9:27 pm
Tags: ,

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens;
Brown paper packages tied up with strings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

That’s the first thing that popped into my head when I read today’s topic for the Spin Cycle (What’s the Spin Cycle? Visit to find out!)

So, what are my favorite things?

Favorite pastime: I love to read (sadly I don’t get to do enough of it anymore). Stephen King is my all time favorite author, but I also like Dean Koontz, Mary Higgins Clark, Ann Rule (great true crime author!).

Favorite TV shows: ER, Law and Order (doesn’t matter which one), CSI (the original)

Favorite movie: Say Anything starring my all-time favorite actor: John Cusack!

Favorite food: I’ve never met a chocolate cake I didn’t like. And it has to be a REAL chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I had the BEST chocolate cake today though…chocolate cake with chocolate icing covered in chocolate shavings. It was to DIE for!!

Favorite place I’ve lived: Phoenix, AZ…if it wasn’t for my husband, I don’t think I ever would have left (at least not willingly!).

Favorite nonalcoholic drink: Diet Coke

Favorite alcoholic drink: hmmmm…I love me a good margarita on the rocks. Tequila sunrise comes in a close second!

My all-time favorite thing: having my family under one roof. My whole family…all five girls, husband, and yes, even the dog. Unfortunately, this only happens twice a year. It’s the only time I don’t feel like there’s a hole in my heart and my family is incomplete.

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