Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Unanswered Prayers

I treated myself to a movie this morning.  Kinley decided that it would be okay if mommy vegged while she played.  I saw Garth Brooks on Oprah and heard about this movie that was made based on his song Unanswered Prayers.  That song has always been one that could strike me to the core. 
So I set my DVR to record it and finally watched it today.  It's called Unanswered Prayers and played on Lifetime.

I cried.  A lot.  Through most of the movie. 

And it really made me think about how lucky I am to have all that I have today.  Because God knows that if half of those prayers that I prayed in my past had come true, I wouldn't have all that I have today. 

Teaching myself to believe

When I was little, one of my favorite things to buy with my $1.00 allowance, was a brand new box of chalk.  Mom would walk all of us "uptown" to the dime store and I would be able to get my box of chalk and also a few pieces of the 10 cent candy.  That box of chalk was excitement.  I thought of all of the writing I could do on my chalkboard at home.  All of the lessons that I would "teach" to my "students" (little brother).  Little white sticks that were crisp, perfectly formed, smooth and dusty.  I loved it.  My brothers bought toys, I bought chalk.

I would guess that I knew that I wanted to be a teacher since about second grade.  Mrs. Genetti was my second grade teacher and I can still remember some of her lessons. That's a long time to have a dream--and not give it up.

I am a year from graduation.  I took the longest route to get here.  I let life happen and get in the way, and from that I learned to not let Kinley make these same mistakes. 

Teaching in IL is scary.  There are severe cut backs.  Hundreds (maybe thousands) of teachers are unemployed because there are just no jobs.  No money to pay them.  Retirement benefits are paid in full at the ripe age of 67.  Can you imagine teaching at 67?  I sure can't.  NO way. 

To say that I'm feeling discouraged is an understatement.  I did a search in the IL teachers job bank and there is nothing.  Literally. 

Had I not lolli-gagged along through life and had just got the job done when "I was supposed to" in my early 20s, I probably wouldn't be in this position.  I wouldn't be in this position.  It's disappointing.

I'm too far into the degree program to change it now, but part of me wonders if I need to get right back into another program after graduation.  Or maybe even take some classes towards something else along with these last few teaching classes.  Thinking of myself doing another profession is hard.  I mean, I've always wanted to be a teacher.  That's just in me.  Trying to find another path is going to take some soul searching.  What would make me equally as happy?

Richie thinks that I should just chill about it and that I will find something after graduation.  He says that I will sell myself to the administrators and will have no issues finding something.  But that's just his style.  He's the kind of guy that responds to everything with "it'll be fine--don't worry about it, everything will work out" and then I'm the one that scrambles to make sure that it does work out.  This time, I'm not so sure that I can scramble my way out of this. 

I like to think that I could stand out from the rest.  I like to think that I'm one above.  I want it more.  I've worked so hard to overcome so many obstacles, and it has made me so much stronger and want it so much more.  But those kinds of things aren't asked on applications or in interviews.  I found the video of my very first lesson plan.  We had to "teach" it to our classmates.  The goal was a ten minute lesson and I remember my nerves were just on fire.  I couldn't imagine "teaching" for TEN WHOLE MINUTES.  And then I watch that video and I remember how alive I felt during that lesson.  I think I ended up "teaching" for about 16 minutes that day.  I knew then that I was meant to be a teacher. 
(this is a video of a video--quality isn't the greatest--and notice that my hair has not changed, ugh!)

This was four years ago.  That is how far I let this go.... I should have graduated years ago.  I kick myself about it daily.  But you know what, that is life.  It rarely goes as planned.  Well, it does for some.  But not the majority.  You make a plan, and God laughs.

I will finish this time.  I have to.  I owe it to myself.
I just pray that those districts looking for teachers will see in me what I know is in there. I have to believe that it's in there.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I hope you dance...

I Gobbled It Up...

I had *the* best Thanksgiving weekend.  Normally I wouldn't say that after spending three nights with the family...but this weekend, it was different.  Everyone was in the spirit and just in happy moods.  We got to see all of my siblings and nieces and nephews and it was just really a nice visit.  Kinley was soaking up all of the attention (and food) and was a really good little traveler.

We devoured delicious food not once, but twice.  We had dinner on Thursday and Saturday.  And believe it or not, I ventured out on Black Friday.  Yes, I did it.  But not at 2 a.m. like some.  I waited until Kinley was up and nursed and had breakfast.  I think that we (Richie and I) got to the first store around 8:30.  I don't know why people rush...there were still plenty of selections and great deals.  The big sale goes through 1:00....  so I got all that I wanted and then some.  I was selfish and spent all of my birthday money on me.  Me, me, me.  (Well, we did buy the Big Buck Hunter game for Richie, so I wasn't totally selfish)  I got so many nice clothes for school.  I am totally set.  It has been years since I've bought that much stuff for myself.  And I truly feel like a new woman with all of my new clothes.  You know how it is when you feel like you look good.  You walk with a longer stride and stand up a bit taller.

I was actually tempted to do a fashion show for you and try on, snap a picture, post it here....but I didn't.  I do have a picture of the beloved jeans (they are A.N.A. brand from JcPenney) and one of the sweaters that I bought.  And the boots!  They are $100 boots that I scored for $29.  So I got them in black and brown.

So the jeans.  Ahhhhh, the jeans.  They make me feel skinny!  I haven't toned at all, I haven't lost anything....but in these new jeans, I feel skinny.  That is worth millions in my mind.  And I do plan to get more.  They are still on sale, not Black Friday cheap, but on sale, nonetheless.  (this picture makes me realize how much I need to do something with this hair of mine.)

And speaking of hair, I was going through some old pictures from during my pregnancy for a project that I'm working on and I just can't believe how frumpy I let myself get.  Geez-o.  My hair is just long and blah.  I need to get a new style.  Any suggestions?  I have a lot of hair to work with, here.

For my birthday present from my mom and step-dad, I got a new Ipod touch.  I never even knew that I wanted one...but wowza is it cool!  I can text (my favorite thing), play games, facebook, email, anything I want, from this thing!  It is pretty awesome.  And Richie has not put it down since I opened it.  haha  He's super addicted to that Words With Friends game.  If you play, comment me, I'll send you a game (or he will).

It was a great weekend.  Hope that you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving too.  Let the Christmas countdown begin!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I call it, a Christmas miracle.

A miracle has happened.  True as can be.  The moment we've I've been waiting for.....

I found my PERFECT mom jeans.  They are so cool, they don't even deserve to be called "mom" jeans.  But I'm a mom, and I'm wearing them, and I love them.  So there.

And, I bought them on the dreaded Black Friday.....for $16. 

Yes, like I said, it is MY Christmas miracle. 

I'm only kicking myself now for not buying more than one pair.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's getting hot in here...

I'm exhausted!  What a busy day!  Not only did Kinley wake up to cold symptoms but we had errands to run and lots of cooking/baking to do today in preparation for our trip south to mom's tomorrow.

We were out doing our errands when the freezing rain started.  This is when I start to feel dread.  That ick of winter is upon us.  Don't get me wrong....I love snow.  But I love it from the inside, with a fire, and hot chocolate.  You won't usually find this girl frolicking in the snow.  I'm just not that tolerant of the snow.  I think I can recall one time that we did some sledding....and that was only because we were nuts brave.  Well, I was brave.  Richie loves the snow.  Me, on the other hand, whine and cry and moan and act like I'm literally about to die.  So yeah, Richie doesn't force the whole Joy outside issue.  It's just not in me.  Even when I was little....I just didn't dig it.  I had two pairs of socks on my hands under my gloves and still, I froze.  Maybe I'm just a little more sensitive than the average bear?  That's what I'm going to go with.  Yes.  I am just sensitive.

Kinley and I got our three errands finished and got home to start the task of cooking and baking.  I like to pretend that I enjoy cooking, and I really do, but I get so nervous that what I make won't be liked by others.  Richie always enjoys what I cook, so I need to learn to just chillax on that. 

We made homemade orange cranberry sauce, pureed butternut squash and then toffee cookies.  I worked my tush off!  But I really enjoyed it.  I had the Christmas music channel on the TV and it was just nice.  Me and my baby girl and the kitchen... I look forward to the days that she can hop on the counter and help.

The cranberries, zest, OJ and brown sugar.  All in it's yumminess.

The start to the toffee cookies.  Yes, those are saltines.

My assistant is keeping the lids in order.


Boiling now....and will be for the next several hours.  Smells so good.

Tell me you don't want one....really.

Yogurt has the shelf life of......?

Kinley is such a yogurt fan.  She loves all flavors, any brand.  We started her on the Yo-baby stuff and she always gobbled it up.  Now, she eats the Yoplait Kids stuff.  But I was given a free Gerber yogurt four pack (thank you, Gina) the other day and decided to give it a try. 

Now I'll be honest, it's always given me the creeps.  Seeing it there on the shelf next to the other baby foods.  Why wasn't it refrigerated?  Thinking of eating yogurt straight off the shelf gave me the weebie-jeebies.  But I thought, what the heck, I'm out of her regular stuff so I'll try it.

She liked it!

But, I was still creeped out.  So I did what I do about everything, and wrote to Gerber to ask them just why it is that their yogurt isn't refrigerated but all others are.  And here is what they said:


Thank you for your e-mail concerning Gerber® Yogurt and Fruit Blends.

The Yogurt Blends are specially prepared and packaged to require no refrigeration until opening as they are pasteurized after culturing and do not contain live and active cultures.

So there you have it.  I'm not familiar with the whole pasteurizing process so that answer is Greek to me, but whatever.  I do think that the Gerber yogurt gave Kinley indigestion or something though, cause she had such terrible gas after eating it....and even urped (is that a word) some of it up.  Kinda gross.  I am so not used to her spitting up anymore.

I bought our regular yogurt at the store last night.  I feel safer giving her that.  Not that anything is wrong with the Gerber.  Just my crazy, psycho mommy ways.  I warped my own sense of mommy-hood.  I became this breastfeeding, baby food making nut job and now over-think every.single.thing that is Kinley.  If you had told me that I'd be "that" mom back a few years ago, I would have laughed at you. 

I'm pretty excited about Thanksgiving.  I think I'm getting myself worked up.  I made Kinley's shirt yesterday (got her some cute Ugg looking boots to go with the outfit) and went grocery shopping for ingredients for my sides last night.  I've decided to make the butternut squash (thank you, Angie) and a cranberry orange sauce and then the toffee candy (thank you, Trish).  I love cooking for the family....just wish I had a bigger home to host.  Not that anyone would come up here to join us.  I think that our families feel that Chicago is a world away....it's only a few hours.

Kinley is 11 1/2 months old and still has no teeth.  Not that I'm complaining.  My boobs thank her.  But I/we are pretty sure that there are two coming.  On her bottom front, the gum is really bumpy.  Really, really.  And how I would love to take a picture to see what ya'll think as well....she won't let me even touch her gums right now, let alone take a picture.  Poor baby.  What can you do besides orajel? 

I'm rambling.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Resourceful me...

I'm feeling super creative today.  Or I must be...  it didn't start that way, that's fo-sure.  I was thinking about how difficult it was going to be to find a Thanksgiving dress this late in the game (for Kinley, not me) and then saw on FB that a friend was making shirts for her little ones.  I then remembered from way back when, when I worked in child care, making these hand print turkeys.  And......well, viola!

It was no easy task with each little finger needing to be a different color, and well, it's slightly smudged.  But dang it.  It's cute.  And yes, I'm biased.  So what. 
Resourceful me.  Saved us a good $30 on a Thanksgiving outfit AND made a "First Thanksgiving" keepsake.  Go me.

Country roads...

Spending time in southern IL this past weekend really reminded us of all that we left behind when we moved to 'the big city.'  And I admit that we both felt that twinge that made us feel like we made the wrong choice.  But then we really think about it, and the reality of life, and know that what we did was right.  We did the 'adult' thing and made the choice that was best for us and our family.  Our family is what is important and making a living is top priority.  We have to eat.  We have to have a roof over our heads. 

It's sad to say that southern IL is pretty desolate when it comes to jobs and earning a good living.  I mean, it is for Richie's line of work.  People there just don't care much when it comes for tree work/tree care.  Understandably so.  There are some lower income areas and tree care doesn't rank very high on the priorities.  So we have to be up here.  We have to be where he can make a living.  Chicago is that place.  There is money up here, the people have money, the people spend money.  And my (future) job of teaching will make more money up here (if I am fortunate enough to find a job post graduation) than I would down there. 

Kinley's home will be Chicago-land.  Her opportunities will be endless.  That is what we want for her.  Better than what we had.  I dream of offering her the chance to try everything, dance, gymnastics, ice skating, horseback riding, anything she dreams of.  I think that the opportunities up here, are so much more plentiful.  Maybe not plentiful, but accessible-or different. 

So yes, while the twinge is there, the reality is too.  And we're okay with that.  We've come to terms with it and with each passing day that we have up here, we begin to settle in just a little more. 

Kinley has her own photo album (it's in very sad shape, or maybe very well loved) that she likes to have with her pretty much all day.  We have pictures of her friends and her family in it.  She loves to point at her cousin, Brenna and just talk and talk and talk.  She talks to all of her pictures.  I tried to capture it here.  But then Lucy barked (and then Kinley "woofs").  Lucy or "Gah" takes priority over all things (well, not Super Why, that is her ultimate).  For Kinley's birthday, I'm going to get her a more child friendly album that she can't destruct love to shreds.  And then I want to make her an album of just Lucy pictures.  I think she'll go nuts over it.  I really should get started on that.

Today I have so many errands to run....okay, not "so many." Maybe two.  We've decided to go to my mom's for Thanksgiving.  Well, she's hosting one on Thursday and one on Saturday.  My step-dad's family on Thursday and then my family on Saturday.  We're going to go to both.  Mom wants to show off Miss Kinley (and why should she not--she IS the most beautiful baby ever born--and me? biased? what?) on Thursday and I can't wait to see my neice and nephew on Saturday.  I'm excited to go.  I just dread being away from home for another two nights/three days.  Ugh.  So part of my errands today is to find her a turkey style outfit.  I didn't buy one cause I really didn't intend to do much for Thanksgiving...but it seems that we will. 

I'm also on the hunt for birthday shoes.  And Christmas tights.  I bought a pair off of Ebay and they are all gross.  They are white with Christmas trees on them and even though they're new, the red has made the white turn pink.  I'm so not happy about it.  So add that to my list.  We're going to be taking Kinley to see Santa on Sunday and I have to get the tights and Christmas shoes by then.

Today on my errand run, I have to go to Hobby Lobby to get my bulletin board.  I have been looking on Craigslist for some time but to no avail.  I looked at Hobby Lobby (it is literally 2 mintues from my house, how lucky is that?!) and they are only 8.99 and with my 40% off weekly coupon, I call that a SCORE!  I have big dreams for this bulletin board.  We are going to change the world.  Or maybe just organize mine a little more.

Richie and I are trying yet another budget plan, and this is going to be a part of it.  Or that's what I tell myself.  I mentioned waaaay back in an earlier blog that show called "Till Debt Do Us Part" and the financial guru advisor on there recommends the cash plan and using jars for your different expenses...  so yeah.  We're going to start that.  Add jars to my shopping list today. 

Last thing, did you watch Oprah's two "Favorite Things" shows?  Oh. Em. Gee.  I would give anything to be in that audience.  Daaaaang.  So then someone on FB posted a status update asking "if it were your show and you had to name your favorite things, what would they be?" and I've been racking my brain all night/morning about this.  As if it was critical or something.  But really, how sad is it that I really can't even think of ONE.  I'm working on this, cause I think it will be fun.  So tell me, what would be on your list?  You can blog it (and link back to me) or put it in my comments.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The perfect day

Ahhhhhhh!  Normalcy!  How I've missed you! 

It's not easy being away from home with a baby.  Sleep?  Yeah, what is that?  Kinley doesn't like to sleep if we're not at home.  Life just gets turned upside down. 

We were down in southern IL for two nights/three days.  When we finally rolled back into the windy city area last night, we were so relieved.  Kinley slept the full 5 hour car ride home, so we anticipated a late night ahead of us.  But nope, she ate and then played a little and then went to bed by 10:30.  Bliss.  She missed her bed.

As did we.  We both melted into the bed.  We love our bed.  It is nothing short of amazing.  We joked that we were both ready to just make out with the bed last night.  No shock that it felt like the instant we closed our eyes, the alarm was going off.  Kinley woke up a tad earlier than normal (5:45 instead of 6:15) and we got to see Richie off.....he was chaos cause he was running late.  Poor guy.  Bad way to start the week.

I realized last night that THIS Thursday is Thanksgiving.  How did I miss that?  I was thinking we still had another week.  Geez.  Pressure!

Yesterday was my birthday.  I wrote this whole long pouty, poor me, pity part post about my birthday being on Saturday---when it wasn't at all.  It took a text from my friend to help me realize that I'm pretty clueless and that my birthday was on Sunday and not Saturday.  Duh.  If I'd have stopped pouting long enough to actually look at the calendar I would have known that.  So embarrassing.

So yeah, yesterday was the day.  I'm now the young age of 32.  Richie got me a cake and lit 32 candles and it almost required the assistance of the local volunteer fire department.  No joke.  I sure wish I had taken a picture.... but I was so embarrassed by the flames (and the singing...they were singing happy birthday, I wasn't singing) that I didn't even think to take a picture of the fire ball.  But the cake said "Happy Birthday, Mommy" and that was the best surprise ever.  It's my first birthday with Kinley Grace here...what better gift.

My birthday night ended with Kinley and I sharing a big bowl of homemade mac-n-cheese and it was at that moment that it was the perfect birthday.  Every moment I share with her is perfection.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Refilling my glass...

On second thought....

Spending my birthday with the most amazing little girl, doesn't sound half bad.  I am so thankful for my blog.  It's my out, my sounding board, my therapy.  It allows me to get it all out....and then look at it from another angle. 

Tomorrow, Kinley and I will have a good day.  I couldn't ask for better company.

I love you, baby girl.  Thank you for reminding me of all that I have to be thankful for.

And, thank you to some pretty great friends.  You make me smile!

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

Here I go with another one of those blogs where I'm probably best to just keep my mouth shut.  But I can't.  I've never been one to be able bite my tongue.  Okay, maybe I have.  I think I've always been one of those people that wishes they weren't one to be able to bite their tongue.  Did ya get that?  Cause I had to say it outloud three times to be able to type it.  No joke.

I have had *the* day from...you know where.  Kinley amused me with a twenty minute nap this morning so that I could dish to my bestie on the phone.  I rarely get phone time anymore.  She had to hear first hand what I'm about to spew all over this post.  Ew.  Spew is an ugly, gross word. 

I'm just in one of those moods, in one of those funks.  And Kinley choosing to not nap was just icing on the cake. 

Finally, at 2:00, she went to sleep.  I finally got my shower.  I finally got to clean up the mess from last night and all day today (aside from the tornado of a mess in my living room) and "brewed" myself a cup of instant coffee.  I'm new to the instant coffee world.  I received a free sample of Nescafe Tasters Choice and I must say...I am enjoying it.  Even with my 'sounded better than it tastes' creamer.  Heck, I'd venture so far to say that it's a pretty kick butt cup o' coffee. 

I really hesitated even blogging today because I just know that it's a boo-hoo, poor me, pity pot, pity party (table for one) kind of post.  And a blogger that I really 'look up to' (that's not the right way to say it, but you catch my drift) recently did a blog and mentioned that she doesn't do posts about nagging about her husband because frankly, who wants to hear it?  So I have been having this war in my mind about to post-not to post....  and here I am.  So you know who won that battle.

Tomorrow  Sunday is my birthday (I don't say that just to get "happy birthday" comments....although you can if you want.  Comments make me smile.).  I'll be the young age of 32.  Tomorrow is deer season.  Richie is a hunter.  *deep breath*

While I know that hunting is his *thing* and he told me from early on that hunting is his number one love....I always hit this low each year that it rolls around.  Not because it's hunting season, but because it ALWAYS falls on my birthday.  I try to lie and say "oh, it's no big deal, it's just a birthday" but this year, for some stupid reason....it IS a big deal.  I've put Kinley first every single day since she's been conceived.  (I'm not complaining about that for a second.)  But damn it, I want my day.  I want to wake up to a Starbucks or DD in hand.  I want to have my baby brought to me for her morning nursing so that we can cuddle and nurse in bed.  I want to have a day ahead of me to look forward to.  Maybe time alone to get my eyebrows waxed and hair cut (boy do I need it) or maybe a pedicure or maybe just mall time to wander and try things on without having to cram a stroller in the tiny space with me. 

My bestie and I talked a few weeks ago about a plan for my day.  Richie was going to go hunting, her mom would watch Kinley and her and I were going out for dinner and a few drinks.  Well, that can't happen now because of the way that Richie's work schedule is, we have to do Thanksgiving down there this weekend as well. 


Here is where I get pathetic.

I'm going to wake up on my birthday alone.  Take care of Kinley and hopefully arrange some time to take a shower.  Today, it almost didn't happen.  I hope to find time to see a friend or two while in town.  And maybe catch some lunch at some point during the day.  My goal is to find somewhere to have some friends meet up (baby friendly of course) for dinner and conversation.  We'll see if I can pull that off.....or if Richie will join us.

And then, maybe, I'll see Richie for a few minutes before he goes to bed Saturday night.  Happy Birthday to me.

In Richie's defense, he did take me to see The Lion King last weekend.  He said that we were celebrating my birthday that day.  But while I appreciate The Lion King (I really, truly do) I still feel somewhat shafted.  I didn't get a card, no coffee in bed, no baby brought to me in bed, and no time off for "me time."  It was your average, same as any other, kind of day.  But we went to Texas Roadhouse and to see The Lion King.

Ugh.  I just want to kick myself.  I'm so pathetic.  Why am I so unappreciative?  Who wouldn't be happy to go see The Lion King?  That is what I said I wanted....and he delivered.  But do you see my point?  That just because of hunting season, my day got moved?  It's been moved every year that him and I have been together.  I should be used to it but I'm not. 

I need to respect that this is his hobby.  It's only a few days of the year and this year he's only partaking all day Saturday and Sunday morning.  Get off the pity pot, Joy.  You're acting 2, not 32.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Ugh.  My day is just so blah today.  Ever have those days?  Sure you do.  We all do.  Normally I put on my smile anyway and push on through....but today, I think I'm going to stay in my pajamas and put on a movie.  I honestly can't remember the last time that I watched a movie.  That's bad.  I deserve a movie!  We'll see if Kinley agrees....I have a feeling she won't.

Yesterday, Kinley and I drove over to the homeless shelter to deliver our apple juice and ketchup.  As I drove down the main street of town, I saw the stores window displays all ready for Christmas.  The fake snow, the Christmas trees, the lights.....and the street lights are being decorated for the holiday as well.  I've never seen real trees put on top of a light pole before...but I have now.  They have real trees up there, folks. 

All around this little shelter, life was going on.

I rang the bell and waited for someone to come to the door.  A lady answered and invited us in.  I told her that I saw the website and their needs list and while it wasn't much, I had some to share.  She thanked me over and over and asked if she could take my name to add it to the donation list.  I looked around quickly while she took down my name and inside I saw bunk bed after bunk bed and a lady putting fresh sheets on them.  But sadly, no lights, no fake snow, no trees. 

Kind of made me sad.  Made me think about how those people feel that come there at the end of their day. 
I felt proud as I held my baby there, showing her what it's like to give.  I hope that as she grows, we do this often and it will become a common thing to her.  And as she's older, we'll share times of serving together.  And I hope that it warms her heart the way that it warms mine.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Christmas ghost

I have dinner started and it's smelling so divine in here.  I just hope it tastes as good as it smells....or that I'm not burned out on the smell by the time that dinner gets here and not want to eat it.

Kinley took an early nap and it's an hour into it...I'm brave to start a blog at such an unsure time.  It could go either way--she'll either be getting up very soon, or sleep for another hour.  She's looking pretty cozy in there.....so I'm thinking it'll be the latter.

I turned on the Christmas music channel on the tv while I was nursing Kinley and then never did change it.  So in the background I hear "I'm getting nothin' for Christmas....." and I realize that it's got to be one of my least favorite of them all.  In general, Christmas music makes me nostalgic-to say the least.  It makes me warm and fuzzy but also makes me remember some times that I'd love to forget.

If there was a machine (here I go inventing "machines") that could zap memories, I would invest in it.  Or I'd at least pay a nice fee for someone to zap me with their machine.  For some reason, Christmas music takes me back to around 2002-2004--the happier times that I was with my ex-husband.  We had just built our home, his career was soaring, I had a great job....life seemed perfect.  I remember how excited I was at Christmas time.  Decorating every room of our home....even the bathrooms.  I had Christmas shower curtains, Christmas soap dispensers.  It was overboard, but I *loved* every second of it. 

Christmas music played through the house and Christmas scented candles burned so that the whole house just oozed with Christmas. 

I felt so on top of the world then. 

In 2005 it came crashing down.  Fast.  Hard. 

I've not been able to capture that holiday spirit quite the same since.  It's almost like I let that part of me die with the marriage.  Because of that, I hate despise him.  I loved the town that we lived in.  It was my home.  It became the place where my heart grew roots.  Driving through there last weekend, I felt reminded of those roots again and its hard to fight the tears back.  Driving by my old church.  Driving by the grocery store that I frequented.  The restaurants that I went to.  All of those places were me.  I gave them away and I really don't think I should have. 

Let me make one thing clear, I don't miss him.  I don't want back what we had.  It took several years and lots of praying to say that and mean it. 

I want back that part of me that was shattered by him.  I don't know that it's ever going to come back.  Sometimes I wonder if it's a hole that is yet to be filled by something new.  Whatever that is, I'm not sure yet.  I think that Kinley has a lot to do with it.  Maybe my traditions with her and Richie are what will grow in the place of what was.

Zapping the memories that make me want to cry and scream and feel that ache in my heart seems like such a quick fix.  But let's be realistic...there is no machine.  Duh.  I guess that over time, those aches will soften and eventually go away.  I'm sure that it's because I'm holding on to them....for whatever reason.  Maybe this year will be the last year that I'll feel that haunting when Christmas rolls around.  A girl can dream.

And you don't know how many times I "highlighted" to delete this post.  I feel so vulnerable when I speak about my past.  Ugh.  I hate that.  Maybe I need to learn to stop going there.

Begging you to "like" me...

So, you're here.  You're reading.  Why not become a fan?  Yeah, so it's my cheap and pathetic attempt to make myself feel wanted and appreciated.  Just stroke the ego for a second, k?  It's a simple click, there on the right, to "follow" which doesn't mean that I want your money, your time (well, a few seconds of it) or your first born.  And if you're really nice *wink, wink*, you will "like" me on Facebook too.  That clicky doo-dad is there on the right as well.

Hey, a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do.

I ain't too proud to beg!  (but I do feel extremely uncomfortable using the word "ain't" in my blogs for the second time in like a week)

I got up at about 5:30 this morning.  I heard Kinley doing the warm-up cries and felt the urgency to get up, run down to start coffee and go pee before the real ones come wailing out.  So I did just that.  An hour later, I just finished my first cup and Kinley is still sleeping.  I guess she just wanted me to be up extra early today.

Isn't it horrible though, that I feel such urgency to get that tiny bit of "me time?"  I feel sort of guilty for that.  But I'll do it again tomorrow.  Richie and I were saying that we can't wait until the time comes that we can say that she can't get out of bed till the little hand is on the "7".  When is that?  Three?  Four?  Few more years.

We went to Aldi last night and got her the shopping cart and kitchen.  Both for under $50!  Oh, and we picked up some Apple Juice and Ketchup for this homeless shelter in town.  Brandi, at The Drunken Housewife, inspired me to look up a local shelter and do something.  So I did.  And I found the Lazarus House.  On their list of "urgently needed" is milk, apple juice and ketchup.  And while my fridge can't hold a few extra gallons of milk for them, I did get the apple juice and ketchup.  So Kinley and I are going to drop those off today.  At some point.  After her morning nap.

Aaaaaaand, she's up!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coming clean

I got up a little early this morning to try and get back some "me time" and instead of using it wisely to get my blog written, I got wrapped up in overnight FB posts.  And now, I hear Kinley upstairs calling the dog to her room...."Gah, Gah....woof, woof......Gah, Gah."  Why she calls Lucy "Gah" is beyond me.  But she does.  And it is so adorable, and we encourage it and now call the dog "Gah" as well.  Lucy just wants attention, she doesn't care what we call her.

Yesterday I went out to grab the mail on my way to run some errands and found this:
It's one thing to get pulled over and have the black hole form in your gut, but it's a totally different feeling when it shows up in your mailbox.  Completely unexpected.  Well, I didn't expect it.  But it wasn't my ticket.  When I opened it and saw the three pictures of my husband blowing the red light, it was no wonder that *I* had no clue.  He wasn't surprised.  His reaction?  "I figured it got me."  I'm not mad.  Why should I be?  It's a ticket.  It could have easily been me.  And I've been on the receiving end of getting reamed for getting a ticket before.  It's not fun.  So I laughed it off with him.  We'll send them the $100 and go about our lives.  Knowing better.  Those cameras do work, by golly! 

I've got this issue....okay, I have several issues, I know.  But there is a BIG issue that always comes this time of year.  I talked to Richie about it again this past weekend on our way home from the Lion King and he just makes jokes and laughs at me about it.  I guess he truly doesn't understand how serious it is to me.  He doesn't understand how deep it is and how real it is.  He doesn't understand that some days I feel paralyzed.  Some moments seem completely insane.  He doesn't get it.  But I guess someone who doesn't have the same "issue" wouldn't understand.  How can you explain something that the other person totally doesn't "get?"  It's like when you first feel your baby move in your belly...you just can't explain that feeling to anyone that hasn't felt it.

My mom has an extensive background in mental health (on the professional side of it, not the personal side) and I asked her while she was here this past weekend.  What can you do for hypochondriasis?  She just laughed at the question.  Why does everyone laugh and make jokes when I ask or try to talk about it?  It just makes me want to keep it locked inside and try to deal alone.  It really does.  But I'm learning that I can't fix it on my own.  It just comes in waves.  Some days are worse than others.  Now that I have Kinley, it's worse.  Because not only am I completely afraid for myself but I'm terrified for her.  I can't use antibacterial hand wipes enough.  I can't sanitize enough.  I can't wash our hands enough.  I am almost to the point of not wanting to leave the house.  And it's mostly because we're in the height of flu season.  I mean, I can't get onto FB without seeing at least 2 or 3 statuses (is that spelled right, it looks wrong) about someone with the flu.

The minute I see it, I am thrown into panic mode and I have to get up and wash my hands.  It doesn't matter that the person posting the status is five hours away, or in another state for that matter.  It gets in my head and makes me crazy.  After seeing the Lion King, we were walking out of the theater and into the lobby when we came upon the cleaning staff dealing with a vomit situation all over the floor.  Zap.  Right into my head, I began to panic.  I was reminded that I was just in a theater with thousands of people, breathing their air, inhaling their germs.  I'm now infested and bringing all of this home to my baby.  I freak. 

I want to live in a bubble.  I want to protect myself and my family from being sick. 

This morning, I see this on my status update:

Kinley's pediatrician posted this overnight.


It's primarily the stomach flu that scares the heck outta me.  I have a phobia, I think.  For years I have tried working through it to even figure out why and the only thing I can blame it on is the years of my dad being so sick when we were young kids. But it's scarred me and I'm just warped now.  So the issues are in their prime during flu season. 

What can I do?  There has to be something that can help me deal.  Something that will help me be "normal" about germs.  I know that come January when I'm back in school, Kinley will be in child care and exposed to so many things.  And I know that they aren't going to be as crazy about the hand washing that I am....  how can I protect her?  To be honest, this is why I want to breastfeed longer.  At least I know I'm giving her that much.

I just wish I could be "normal" and not worry so much about it.  It truly is exhausting to have this fear over my head every day.  It's there. Every. Day.  I'm thinking about educating myself on the hypochondriasis, because maybe that's not the problem at all.  Maybe I'm just a germaphobe?  Is that the same thing?  But educating yourself is the key to overcoming and conquering.  Why not start there?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Routine, Schmoutine

I'm a girl of routine.  I like things a certain way, in a certain order.  Some would call this slight OCD, I just say I'm particular.

Last night as I was brushing my teeth before climbing into bed, Richie was standing in the doorway to our bathroom just watching me.  I looked up and said "whaa?" (I had a mouth full of toothpaste bubbles).  He just laughed and said "nothing."  I knew that it was more than nothing.  He was watching my weird tooth brushing routine.  I do it the same way, every time, mornng and night.  To me, it's not weird.  It's thorough.  I twist my head and my brush in every direction until I can be sure that each tooth has been scrubbed.  And then, I brush my tongue.  This is where Richie laughs.  I guess it looks funny the way that I do it....but that's just the way it goes.  And don't expect me to change any time soon, cause it ain't happenin'.

But aside from the tooth brushing thing, I shower in a particular order as well.  Wet the hair, wash the face (I'm using a new cleanser, I'm still in the trial phase with it and still unsure if I like it), wash the hair, condition hair and leave it in while I wash and shave, then clean the ears and face again and then rinse the conditioner out.  Order, see?  If one step gets skipped, I feel off.  All day.

Today I'm off.

I got Kinley down for her nap at about 10:30 and then switched over the laundry, put some clothes away and then jumped into the shower.  I was on the face washing part (the first time) and I hear her screaming over the monitor.  Ugh.  Pit in your stomach.  That is the *one time* that you don't want to hear the screams of your baby--in the shower.  I thought to myself that surely she'll put herself back to sleep.  But no.  She just gets louder and more upset.  I begin to panic.  I *know* that nothing is wrong but all of the what-ifs come flying at me.  What if she has diarrhea and has a mess in her crib?  What if she got sick?  What if she had a bad dream?  What if she lost her pacifier?  What if she heard a scary sound?  What if someone broke into our house and is lurking in the hallways and she saw them?  Okay, so that last one is a bit far fetched....but it did cross my mind.  I was in a panic, remember?

So I put things on high speed.  Shave my armpits, wash super fast, skip the shaving and rinse my hair super fast.  I jumped out and towel dried as fast as I could and took off running down the hall. 

Ahhhhh, she was just laying back down to sleep.  Grrrr.  Had I just given her a few more minutes.....

Of course when she saw me come flying in to her room ready to fight off whatever it was that woke her, she started the ma-ma-ma-ma thing which made we swoop her into my arms and immediately drop the towel so that she could nurse.

Ten minutes later, I laid her back down to sleep.

I walked back to my room and got dressed knowing that the rest of my day will be off because I have stubble on my legs.  Ick.

That's the life of a mom, I tell ya!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas: Is that all?

SKinley is napping (still! going on over 2 hours) and Richie is absorbed in Nascar aka: napping.  My parents left this morning which left us our whole day to catch up.  I was so very behind on my Shakespeare class and with only three units left before the final, I HAD to get caught up.  And so I did.  Good thing we all have boots cause it was getting deep in here!  I have never typed so much BS as I did today for that class.  I had no clue what I was talking about, but I so made it seem like I did.  So we'll see how these grades turn out.  I got an A on my midterm and was spewing BS then too....so I think I'm pretty good at it.  Not that it's something to be proud of, right?

I got Kinley's invites printed and addressed.  We just need to get stamps and send them on their way.  There's no turning back now. 

We "celebrated" by birthday yesterday.  A week early.  We had to take Richie's truck to get new tires so we dropped it off and then decided to grab a close lunch rather than venture to this nicer place that I wanted to go.  Time was just not on our side and we didn't want to risk being late to the theater.  So off to Texas Roadhouse we went.  We do love eating there, but it so lacked that special-ness that I craved.  Oh well.  We each had a beer and felt so rebelious for doing so before noon.  Half of the beer in and we were both feeling the slightest buzz.  Lightweight.

Can you tell we don't "hang" very often?  We quickly realized that we've become "that" couple.  The couple that would rather be with the baby at home than out living it up.  And on the rare occasion that we are out, living it up, we do nothing but gush about the baby.  Yeah.  That's us.  And we're so proud of it.

On the way to the train station today (to take my parents back) I requested that we change the radio to the 24/7 Christmas channel.  Yes, they are already doing it.  My husband then declares that "Christmas music puts him in a really bad mood."  And there it starts.  I kid you not, he ranted about Christmas for about 25 mintues.  Solid.  I was so badly wanting to kick the back of his seat and scream to shut up....but my parents were in the car.  I agree with some of his views, SOME, but not all.  This year (and every year here on out) is different.  Christmas isn't what it was but what it will be.  We have Kinley in our lives and because of her, it's going to be so much more than it ever was in the past.  He doesn't agree.  He feels that Christmas is all about expectations and disappointments.

Children have become so full of expectations and then filled with let down.  They expect to receive all of these insanely expensive gifts and then after the frenzie of opening everything as fast as they possibly can, they look at you and say "is that all?!"  It chaps me, and it chaps him.  Understandably so. 

Why have so many children (and adults) forgotten about what Christmas is about?  And I'm not getting all religious on you....who am I to preach religion? but what I'm saying is that Christmas is NOT about getting your kids as many presents as can fit in your car on five trips to the mall.  Christmas is  NOT about maxing credit cards so that you prove your love with the best gift to your spouse.  To me, Christmas is about giving, sharing and loving.  I just don't understand the idea of shop till you drop and knocking yourself out by getting up at 2 a.m. on Black Friday to get a $20 discount on something.  Really, it's not worth it.  To me.

I dunno.

The whole rant that Richie started on got us all talking about it and Richie and I kind of came to an agreement that Kinley won't be raised with the expectation of 90% of kids out there that think that Christmas is all about "what did you get me?"  She will be raised to know that giving is more important than receiving.  How many children out there don't get a Christmas at all?  How many children out there wish for a wam coat or socks or warm pajamas?  I just couldn't sleep at night knowing that I didn't do *something* to help, yet I got up at 2 a.m. to get my child the newest video game.

My mom chimed in that there are students at the Illinois Blind School and the Illinois Deaf School that have wish lists for Christmas as well and most get next to nothing for Christmas.  Just breaks my heart.

Santa can't carry that many presents on his sleigh....he can't carry enough for each child to get 10-12 presents.  He can only carry enough for each child to get 2-3....so wish wisely.  And then we'll teach her that going out to shop for a child less fortunate is so much more fulfilling. 

Easy to say....my baby is not yet a year.  But it's our plan.  Our goal.  To raise a respectful daughter.  A daughter that appreciates what she is given and won't turn around and say "is that all?" 

Friday, November 12, 2010

How do dissemble a toaster in 30 seconds...

It's easy.  Just drop your engagement ring in it.  You're probably thinking--"how in the__?!"  Well, last night I made turkey burgers and while mashing and making them into patties, I took my rings off and put them on the ledge above the sink.  I kept forgetting to put them back on until just a few hours ago.  I grabbed them, put on the wedding band and....clink.  I dropped the engagement ring.  Gulp.  Sh!t.  No biggie, I see it down there, I'll just pull it out on the crumb tray thingy.  Slide it out and sh!t.  It's caught up on the center stone.  Now let me say that this is the only time that I am not happy about the size of my ring.  So I flip it over and shake it vigorously trying to get the ring out.  Cling, cling, clank.  No ring.  Just a ton of crumbs.

I don't know why I start panicking.  But I do.  Sweating, anxious, that fear that I'll never get my ring back.  It's a toaster, Joy.  If it "eats" the ring, take it outside and put a hammer to it.  No biggie.  But I'm standing there shaking it in a hot sweat.  Still nothing.

Luckily, I had a screw driver (and the right kind, for once in my life) and began to dissemble the toaster.  Luckily, at the last second, I remembered to unplug the stupid thing.  I unscrewed it (those screws are ridiculously too long) and shook it some more with the bottom off of it....and out popped my ring.

And then I inspected it.  Just to make sure there weren't any teeth marks from the toaster monster.

There weren't.

It's just fine.

So last night, Richie and I took on the daunting task of taking Kinley's pictures with the O N E that I had painted earlier this week.  Oh. Em. Gee.  That was hard.  We took about 50 pictures and 47 of them are of her hind end as she was booking it out of the perfectly arranged picture area.  Richie and I were screaming at each other-- me: "hold her still" -- him:"take the picture faster"  Obviously both demands were not going to happen.  There were feathers EVERYWHERE (remember the boa?!).  It was a mess. 

But we got the three that we needed.  They aren't perfect but life with a one year old (almost!) is not perfect.  So there.  And then Richie asked me "why don't you just try and make the invites?"  And so I did.  And here is what I came up with.
I made this in MS Word.  Fun?  No.  My design program is on our desk top which was never unpacked.  So I did what I could with what I had.  And yes, I erased the address of the party.  And not because I think you're stalkers and would show up at her party....but that other guy might be.

My mom and step-dad come tonight!  I'm sooooo excited!  I need a Kinley break.  She's so busy these last few days.  So busy.  So so so busy.  In to everything.  You just don't even know.  And she can now move the baby jail.  So confinement isn't even an option.  :)   Richie and I are going to have such a blast at The Lion King.  I saw it several years ago (on a date, not with Richie, but that's not important) and still say that it was the best show ev-ah. 

But yeah, mom and Steve are coming tonight and I'm not even close to ready for house visitors.  Luckily I did get the guest linens washed (well, they are washing right now).  But I've been so absorbed into this invite that I've kind of neglected life today.  I didn't neglect Kinley.  She's fed and taken care of.  I promise. 

She did stand today!  All by herself.  Well, kind of.  I was right there.  We were on the floor together and she was hugging me and I stood her up and let go.  And she stayed.  Standing up.  By herself.  And then she just slowly sat down.  We did it like three times.  And now when I try to get her to do it again, she lifts her legs off the ground.  Little bugger.  I heart her.  (remember when people used to "heart" things instead of "loving" things?  That's old school now, no?)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beautiful Day

Our Kinley Grace is 11 months old today.  Let me take a minute to try and grasp this.  Eleven months.  How in the world did eleven months go by already?  I still feel like it was yesterday that we drove the scariest 20 miles home from the hospital!  Loading her up in the car and saying to each other "can you believe they are just trusting us with this little human!?"  We were so scared that we would screw something up.  And look, eleven months later, we've all survived.  I admit, I only cried a little this morning.  She was nursing and so peaceful.  I watched her little mouth and played with her growing hair.  Thinking that this *could* be my last month of moments like these.  Next month at this time, I'll probably be crying a whole lot.  But happy tears.  Because that is what she's brought us.  Happiness.  Pure.

Last night Richie got home earlier than normal (it was 6 instead  of 7).  I had dinner ready when he got home (baked BBQ chicken, stove top and some veggies--glamorous, huh.) and we were able to eat and get settled into the living room for our most favorite night of the week. Survivor night. 
I was most disappointed in Survivor.  I dislike Jane.  I'm tired of her Marty rants and I think she needs to put on her big girl britches and get over the fact that you won't be liked by everyone in this world.  Who cares if they didn't "click" with  you from the beginning.  Lord.  Quit 'yer' b!tchin.  Seriously.  And how in the world Nayonka is still there is beyond me.  She really needs to go.  Really, really.  And like I've said before, how is she a PE teacher?  If she's not terminated by now, she had better be as soon as she gets home.  We were sad to see Marty go, he was working towards being our favorite.  Now we just don't know.
Richie got word that he is going to work till Monday at an office closer to home.  Day too late to avoid an accident!  He was side swiped on his way home from work Tuesday.  Luckily the other guy was ticketed and has insurance.  And no one was hurt.  But we'll take this short relief of the commute.  He got to sleep in this morning till 6.  That was amazing.  Him and I both kept waking up looking at the clock.  After getting used to his 4 a.m. wake up call, it felt like we were sleeping till noon!  It was awesome.  So I got up with him, made his lunch and started my coffee.  Just like old times.  Hopefully he'll get home even earlier than 6 tonight.  That would be stellar.

My mom and step-dad come up tomorrow for the weekend.  It's my "birthday" weekend.  Not really but we're pretending it is since my birthday falls over deer season.  How nice of me to let him "switch" my birthday to the weekend before.  haha  Just kidding.  I really don't mind.  Birthdays just aren't what they used to be.  So on Saturday we have the Lion King to see in the city and we're going to do a super nice lunch.  Since we're seeing the 2:00 performance, we figured we'd eat lunch somewhere really nice and then go to the show so that we could get home right after to have dinner with our baby girl--and my parents.

Today is Veteran's Day and I want to thank all of my friends and family who serve/have served our country to protect our freedom.  Thank you. 

Believe it or not, I always wished that I would have gone military.  I mean, I don't know that I'd ever make it as a soldier.  This coming from the girl that has a panic attack when a bug comes close or a spider lowers itself from the ceiling any proximity close to me....but I like to think that I would have toughened up and made it.  I guess I'll never know.  But I hold the most respect for those that serve. 

On that note.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My ness...

It's pick up the dog poop day!  Or as most refer to it, Wednesday.  Since moving in to this townhome, my Wednesdays will never be the same.  Not only is it trash/recycle day but it's also landscaping day.  And out of courtesy for the landscapers, I pick up dog poop before 7:00 a.m. Wednesday mornings.  Yes, that dashes all of those glamorous thoughts you had of me.  Ahhhhhh, that's life. 

Kinley felt the need to get me up at 11:00 last night because for the life of her, she could not find that pacifier (we sooo need to wean her from that stupid thing) and then at 4:00 a.m. she just thought it seemed like a great time to be awake.  So we nursed, and rocked.  I got her back to bed right after Richie left for work at 4:30 (they have a contract in the city and they have to be there extra early, ugh.).  At 7:00 I was awakened rather abruptly by Kinley screaming.  She obviously had been at it for some time and I didn't hear it until that moment.  So through blurred eyes I found clothes to throw on and ran down the hall to rescue her.  Her little eyelashes were wet with tears and I totally felt the big FAIL on my forehead.  That is the second time that I have slept through her cries.  Bad mom!

Yesterday we went to Hobby Lobby and I scored.  For some reason I was so super creative and the juices were flowin' (that phrase totally grosses me out).  I was reminded (when reading "My Little Miracle") that not only am I trying to plan the cutest little party but that my original life goal was to save money.  So, like she blogs about, I need to try and be more frugal at the same time.  So while scouring the aisles of Hobby Lobby, I was thinking of all of the DIY that I could do for her party.

The result of that trip?  I bought super thick cardboard letters and green and pink paint to make the props for her invitation photos.  And this is how that turned out: 
I also got her a pink boa for her to pose with.  I tried to do a practice shot last night with my phone and she was so not cooperating.  This could be a bust. 
Super cute, huh?  Told you that I was being creative!  Geez....did you not believe me? Just kidding.

So then I saw on another blog where she made this banner thing for her son's first birthday, and I had to try it.  And here is that:
It will hang on the cake table.  And I'm in love with it.  It's probably my favorite thing that I've made.  So far.  I'm so not even close to being done with my creative-ness.  In my "former life" I did a ton of graphics work and even had a "business" (I use that term extremely loosely--as if that makes sense) where I made birth announcements, invitations and wedding programs and invites.  But that was then...I left that part of me when I left butthead.  It's great to see that even all of these years later, I've still got it.  Maybe I see a second chance with it?  Maybe. 

After our Hobby Lobby trip, we ran into the Dollar Tree to get some envelopes and Kinley spotted an Elmo book and went nuts for it.  So we bought it.  She has not put it down since we bought it.  I guess I have an Elmo fan.  She would probably prefer an Elmo party....but I didn't want to do a theme like that.  I've noticed that she'll love something and then not care for it at all two days later.  I sure would hate to plan a theme that she's "in" to one week and then forget about by the big day...you know?  And how could you not love polka dots.  Like Richie said, the first birthday is about the parents. Right?

And speaking of Richie, I love love love that he reads my blogs....but man did I get it last night!  He was reading the blog and I thought nothing of it.....until he said "how much was her birthday dress?"  Gulp.  What?  Huh?  It wasn't much.  He said how much is "entirely too much?"  Crap.  Then he laughed and just gave me that "Joy, you need to stop over spending on that baby" look.  He knows my weaknesses, and he accepts them.  Right, honey?  I love you.  :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Birthday planning, stage 1

Thank God that today is better than yesterday.  I seriously felt like I was hit by a truck.  Strangely, like the flip of a switch, I started feeling better around 7 last night.  Which was perfect because Richie got home with dinner!  :)  Today has been great, no illness at all.  And Kinley is finally without the green snot nose.  She's still dealing with random coughing attacks but mainly while she's sleeping.  Poor girl.

I really struggle with committment.  Not the committment of my marriage or anything like that...but ordering Kinley's birthday dress and invites has been such a struggle for me.  I have been eyeing one for several weeks now and I've just not been 100% on it until today.  I emailed the lady making it about six times and finally I felt comfortable with my decision.  She's going to change the colors for me and make it just how I want it.  Such relief.  It's ordered and paid for.  I spent entirely too much on it (so much for saving those pennies!) but she's so worth it.  I can't imagine how I'm going to be at prom/school dances.  Richie is going to have to hide the debit card!  haha
I wasn't going to show the dress so that it was a surprise but decided why not....this isn't "the" dress because hers will have a different cupcake and bows, but it's close.
She's going to look so amazingly cute in it!  We're I'm also having a tutu made that matches the party colors.  That will be for her one year portraits.  Oh, and a custom-made birthday hat to match her party.  Soooo excited. 

I'm sort of disappointed that not many are going to be there to share her day with us.  I'm having it at my mom's house.  My in-laws are going on a cruise and will be gone over her birthday.  No one wants to travel to our house for the party, so it only leaves my mom's house for the location.  Not that I'm upset about having it there at all....but I just wish we could have it somewhere where everyone would come.  I'd love, love, love to have it at our house....but it would be a party of three! 

We'll make the best of it regardless.  She's going to be showered with so much love and fun.  It's a first birthday, after all.  Not many people jump at the opportunity to go to those.  Like Richie says, it's all for the parents.  It's special to us.

Today it is a flash back to September weather.  So sunny and about 70 degrees.  When Kinley wakes up from her nap (she's still putting herself to sleep!) we're going to run errands.  It's a great day for it!  I want to go to Hobby Lobby to see about getting a few photo props for her invite pictures.  That shall remain a secret for now.  :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Calling in sick today

Ugh.  I'm sick.  I hate it.  For the last two days I had that ick feeling in the back of my throat and now today that is mostly gone but I'm left feeling like every ounce of my energy has been zapped out of me.  I'm miserable. 

While any chance of getting housework done is non-existant, I thought I could spend my day looking for Kinley's first birthday invitations and birthday dress.  And while I'm thinking I found them, I almost feel like my sick being is just settling on something to be done with it.  And that's not my goal.  So I'm putting the search on hold for today.  Thankfully, Kinley is taking a nap and I can melt onto the couch.

Wish that mommies got sick days.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


It's Saturday and I'm blogging.  I'm blogging because Richie is working.  I hate him being gone so much.  I admit it.  It is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but enough already.  This new job has him working so many hours....and for the first two weeks (one down, one to go) he's working out of an office north of here.  Not far, but Chicago traffic SUCKS.  He calculated that he's spent over 12 hours in the commute this week.  And this office is only about 35 miles from our house.  Too bad they don't pay for the commuting time as well!  One more week and he'll move to another office that isn't necessarily closer, but an easier commute.  We hope.  I guess this company works almost every Saturday too, so our weekends as we knew them are no longer.  I miss him.

I have felt so inspired this week.  With Richie gone so much during the day, I've been able to catch up on some of my DVR'd shows and I'm really impressed with TV this week!  (or the past few weeks, I'm pretty behind on some shows)  Normally, I would say that most TV is just time filler but the last few things I've caught up on have really made my heart warm. 

In the last week or so, we've noticed that Kinley is aware of our relationship.  Well, not our "relationship"...she doesn't understand marriage, obviously, but I think she notices our love for each other.  When we hug or kiss or just stand in the kitchen holding each other...she watches and smiles and claps and just shows pure joy.  When we noticed that she noticed, we realized that we need her to see that often.  I think that kids today don't see it enough.  Thinking back to my own childhood, I don't remember many times of seeing my parents showing signs of affection towards each other.  One time in particular, I remember walking in to Walmart and they held hands.  All three of us kids started fake gagging and begging them to stop because we were so embarrassed.  Makes me laugh now....but I guess it was such an odd gesture for us to see that we felt uncomfortable.  Maybe it's no surprise that their marriage sadly ended in divorce. 

So while catching up on some shows this week, I watched two interviews with Portia De Rossi (hope I spelled that right).  One with Oprah and the other with Ellen.  In both of them I witnessed such true love between Ellen and Portia.  Now I know that this creeps in on the issue of gay relationships and yadda, yadda, yadda but aside from all that....love is love.  This is my blog, my view, let me just go with it.  I don't care what orientation you are, love that is that evident is beautiful.  Did you see the interview?  Here is the link on youtube.com that you can see it (it's in like three different parts).  I just felt that their love for each other was so refreshing.  And then on the Robin Roberts special this week, LeAnn Rimes did an interview with her new beau (and again, I don't care about the drama attached to her and the guy).  They seem so purely in love.  It could all be a bunch of BS and they could be seperated by now for all I know, but the interview just seemed so beautiful.  You can see that here

Maybe I'm just a little senitmental this week but I've just really felt so inspired.  I think it's good to have days/weeks where life just seems a little brighter or a little softer.  I think it's those weeks that get us through the rough patches.  Lord knows I have enough of those.  So I embrace weeks like this where I hug my baby a little longer and cuddle with my husband a little closer.  Humans need that.  I'm sure it's proven somewhere.

While on my Oprah catch-up, I also watched the first of two episodes for her vacation to Yosemite with her friend Gayle (or is it Gail?).  I vow to take that vacation, soon.  I think that instead of that Mexico trip that we've had our hearts set on, we will do Yosemite first.  It looks so beautiful!  Maybe Oprah producers just made it look magical, but I would like to think that it just is that beautiful.  Richie (being a tree guy) has always wanted to see the ginormous trees and I want to be there the first time he does.  I think I'm going to rename our savings account our "Yosemite Fund" and it encourages me even more to tighten the belt around here.  I've not priced the trip but I can only imagine how expensive it would be. 

What has inspired you this week?

Oh, and you know the drill:  Vote for Kinley Grace!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bored so I write about a board...

What I've been praying for, and wishing would happen, did.  Kinley put herself to sleep for both naps and bed time.  Although bed time was a little more of a struggle.  For both naps, she cried for maybe 5 minutes and then went to sleep.  And she slept for almost two hours for the first one and about an hour and a half for the second.  HUGE jump from her normal half hour nap.  AND, she woke up quiet and played nicely in her crib until I came to get her.  That hasn't happened in months.  It was like a different baby. 

Last night we were watching Survivor when she started getting super fussy.  I asked her if she wanted to go to sleepy and nurse and she huffed and puffed and cruised over to where I was sitting on the couch.  So off we went to her room to rock and nurse.  She nursed both sides and was still restless so I had Richie come up and tell her good night with me.  We put her in her crib and left.  She cried for about 7 or 8 minutes and we went in to comfort her again.  We walked back out and she cried hard for about 5 minutes.  Richie and I went back again to comfort her and I had Richie hold her next to her crib until she calmed down.  I had to leave the room because she knows how she can manipulate me and get her way and she uses that to her best ability!  haha  So I walked out and she cried.  After she calmed down, Richie laid her back down and she fell asleep.  And she's STILL asleep!  That's from 9:00 last night!  Woohoo!  But to be honest, I feel like I'm neglecting her.  I hate that she falls asleep by herself.  :(

I woke up a little early this morning.  A bad dream was haunting me and every time I closed my eyes, it picked up right where it left off.  I hate when my dreams impose a behavior on Richie that he would never have in real life.  But that's what happened.  I know that it's my past experience with my ex-husband that does that to me.  Behaviors that he had and what they did to me emotionally are still buried deep in me and fortunately they only come to life in my dreams.  So I was up in time to see Richie off for work. 

This new job is really taking a toll on him.  They work *a lot* of hours.  A lot.  He's gone from 5:30 in the morning till about 6 at night and come to find out yesterday, they work full days on Saturday too.  The paychecks will be amazing....but it's wearing on him.  I hate it and am going to try my best to make his time at home easy and relaxing.

It's funny how my goal of emptying the pantry and refrigerator makes me feel accomplished but makes Richie panic.  Last night he said "we have no food!  go to the store!"  haha, yet he ate a hearty meal and had lunch for today!  I admit it's getting a bit bare around here (I almost took a picture for this blog, but then realized that you probably don't care how empty (accomplished) my pantry looks and probably wish I'd quit blogging about stupid food!).  I may go shopping today.  We're out of Gatorade and Richie needs that for work and like I said, making his time relaxed and easy....remember?

Last night we were discussing ways for me to be able to bring in a little income without leaving the house, cause let's face it.  With his work schedule, there are no hours in the day that I could work.  Aside from Sundays, but that's family time.  I'm thinking about doing tutoring.  In the evenings a night or two a week?  What "qualifies" you as a tutor?  I would think that being two semesters from graduating with my degree in eled makes me qualified?  Maybe not?  Anyone have experience with this?

And yes, we had to order a new power cord for the Dell last night.  Kinley's trauma to the adapter is not fixable even though I've wrapped it up in packing tape.  So we did what good little money savers do and searched it up on ebay.  Paid 9.99 with free shipping!  Score!  From the Dell store, it was 65.99.  No joke.

I'm in search of a bulletin board.  I want one for my kitchen.  We have SS appliances and I guess you aren't supposed to use magnets on them.  So where can I put all of my stuff?  I have my ongoing lists for the stores that I need to go to....menus....our "what we spent this week" list and ummmmmm, I don't know.  Other bulletin board stuff that I want to put on there.  So I'm searching for a cheap one that I can make cute.  What do you have in your kitchen to keep you organized?  Or do you not keep that stuff in your kitchen?

If you haven't today, remember to VOTE FOR KINLEY!  I know I'm annoying the crap outta you for this voting thing....but I have hope.  I know that she's not going to win the Fan Vote prize.  There are entries with like 100K votes and Kinley has like, 60.  But they are also choosing 20 faces in each category to win, regardless of votes.  So I'm just hoping to get a few votes to help get her noticed?  I don't know.  Just vote.
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