Monday, January 31, 2011

Goodwill Hunting

Despite being on a spending freeze (well, mostly), I am falling short in my wardrobe for school this semester.  We are required to dress professionally: dress slacks and dress shirts. 

Kind of makes me crazy, because the teachers in this school wear jeans and hoodies.  But our professors remind us that they *have* a job and we *want* a job.  Okay, okay.  Point taken.  Dress pants and heels it is.


My dress clothes are all from the larger Joy.  They range in sizes from 8-11 and I'm a 4-6 right now.  Sooooo, now what?

I hold on to clothing for much longer than the average girl.  I mean, I have some dress pants that are close to ten years old!  But then the size 4-6 that I used to have, I sold in yard sale.  Seems I got a little disappointed in myself when they didn't fit anymore and sold them off to not have the reminder. 

And then I got smart and created a "Clothes That Don't Fit" bin. 

I can now put my larger sizes in there, just in case. 

But I'm still without clothes in the right size.

So what's a reformed girl to do?


Let's face it, thrift store shopping is nothing new.  Those trendy people that can pull off a Hefty bag and fringed boots shop the thrifts all the time, and find some amazing stuff.

I'm so not one of those trendy shoppers.  Not even close.

I donate there often and now shop there often.

I feel so very fortunate to live in the area near some very affluent areas and let's face it....their "trash" is my "treasure." 

Point today:  I scored two pair of "just like new" slacks from The Limited.  Current style.  Perfect fit (the Drew fit, for all of my fellow Limited lovers).  And guess what?

I paid $10.68 for both slacks.  With tax.

Dang-o, dang-o.

Now, if only they had some shirts that I liked.

I've got it, do you?

Af-flu-en-za n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. 4. A television program that could change your life.

I'm sick.  Very, very sick. 

But so are you.

Okay, I guess I can't say that you are.  I don't know that you are.  But I can say that most of us are.

On Sunday at Church ABC, we were taught about Affluenza.  This new "illness" that is widespread and just keeps growing. 

Do you have it?

While we were sitting there like little sponges feeding off of every word, my husband looked at me and whispered in my ear, you've got it really bad.

I leaned back, appalled.

He pointed at my shirt.  Which (in rhinestones) read Bebe.

Ummmm, "it was a gift!" I whispered back to him.  And it was, my boss got it for me like five years ago.  And I'm still wearing it. 

Then he pointed at my Coach. 

My mouth gaped open, "it was a gift, too!"

Okay, let's face it.  I'm guilty.  I scored a 22 on the "test" that tells you if you have it.  And luckily, my case is only mild.  There is still hope.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Light up the sky

I mentioned a week or so ago that I was starting to listen to the Christian music station on the radio, and trying to make myself like it.  For what reason, I'm not sure.

But I felt the need to want to, so I did.

And now I can actually say that I know (some) of the music, and can actually sing along.

And you know what, the radio talk (like the DJ talk) is good.  It is positive and uplifting.  I am so happy that I made the switch.  I mean, I'll always love country music, and I do switch back and forth sometimes but overall, I prefer my new station.

So of course after hearing the music for a couple of weeks now, I have a new favorite song.  I can't hear it enough.  Well, ask me again in a couple of weeks and I'm sure it'll be played out and there will be another new favorite.  But tonight, this is what I'm singing around the house and in my car and in my shower.

Take a listen, I'll bet that you love it too.

Add it to the pot

Yesterday was such an awesome, super accomplished, day.  I was able to get Kinley bathed and myself showered before noon (and I even managed to feed her and brew my coffee)...I know.  I said it was a super accomplished day. 

I sold her jumperoo on Craigslist, so the family came to pick it up at 11:00.  Go me, that's $40 to add to the pot!

After the family left (they were so nice, I wanted to be their friend!), Kinley and I hightailed it over to the Comcast office to return our equipment.  And then had to mail off my old ipod.  Sold that this weekend as well.  Add another $80 to the pot.  We got home and Kinley went down for a nap.  While she slept, I was able to tackle almost all of my homework.  And would you believe that she took an almost 4 hour nap!?  I kid you not.  Talk about letting mommy get her work done.  I actually wanted to wake her up because I missed her so much.

Last night we took both of our vehicles to Carmax to discuss trading to something a little better on gas, since we're spending on average $150 a WEEK on gas.  Yes, that is almost $600 a MONTH on GAS.  Absolutely RIDICULOUS.  Well, they weren't offering much along the lines of a trade, and since both of our vehicles are paid off, we were not about to discuss trading up (which they wanted us to do) and walk out with car payments.  I'll take my gas guzzlers, thankyouverymuch.

We got home and decided to watch a movie, since there was nothing on TV.  We haven't watched a movie in forever, due to our DVR always having something we enjoyed watching ready to go.  Honestly though, we aren't missing it yet!  Twenty minutes into the movie, I fell asleep.  Okay, maybe forty minutes.  Gotta give myself some credit.

This morning, Kinley let us sleep till 7 and that was awesome.  She also has slept through the night the last two nights.  Even awesomer.

We made it to church and Kinley cried when we dropped her off at the nursery.  Which made me want to cry.  And then my husband started running his mouth (like he's so good at doing) and that made me want to stomp on his toe.  With my hooker boots heel.  Sometimes, he just needs to zip it.  I was standing outside of the nursery, down a ways so that she couldn't see me, and was waiting to hear her calm down.  She was crying. Hard.  I could not just walk into church and forget about it like he wanted me to do.

I told him to go on and I'd be in when she calmed down.  And then he starts his huffy and puffy hissy fit saying "that's it, I'm never coming to church again!  We can't even enjoy coming here because she always cries and you just want to stand in the hallway the whole time!"  Now, let me tell you, it was about five minutes before the singing started, which is about ten minutes before service starts.  It's a very casual church, so you can walk in on time, five minutes late, twenty minutes late.....THEY DON'T CARE.  So if I want to stand there for ten minutes (it only took her maybe four minutes to calm down, mind you) then I will.  He just continued with his huffing and puffing and ranting and raving.  I wanted to stomp on his toe even harder.  So when he says that he's never coming to church again, I said "then don't, I really don't care." And I mean that. 

This whole hallway spat, really upset me.  And started to ruin my mood and take away from my much awaited for Sunday worship.  I couldn't even get in the mood to sing, darn it.  And I like to sing!  But, I talked myself down from the anger and just let it go.  And it's a good thing too, cause today's message was AH-MAZING.  Blog worthy, really. 

Something that I'm learning through this whole process that I'm going that I can't make everyone else happy.  I can make me happy.  I can make my daughter happy.  I can do what I know is right.  Aside from that, whatever happens, happens.  He needs to do his part.

Just like with this purging thing....I have listed and sold several things in the past couple of days.  Him?  Nodda.  Nothing.  Zilch.  Zero.  Am I bitter?  You betcha.  I am parting with MY things.  Things that I've held on to for some time.  Years, actually.  I'm parting with them for the betterment (is that a word?) of our situation.  Him?  He's along for the ride.  He's along to nag and wine and complain...but not do a thing about it.


I fell into the "complaining about husband" mode.  Sorry.

Today, I sold two bar stools that were used in my first apartment.  My first solo apartment.  I loved those stools.  But, I added another $25 to the pot. 

I keep telling myself that the more that I sell, the less I'll have to move.  And the less I'll have to store.  And that motivates me to find something else. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My new addiction

One of my favorite blogs to read, Diving Into Love, recently linked to an article on Morman bloggers

I was intrigued.  I never heard of such a genre of blogging before.

Oh boy, I should have never clicked.

But I did.

And I'm hooked.  What *beautiful* blogging!  Don't click unless you have time to get lost in the beautiful words and stories written by these women.  Who am I kidding, click and bookmark it if you don't have the time to read.  It's worth the time and what a great escape when you find a few minutes to feed your brain with beauty.

Going back to the 4th grade

I haven't mentioned anything about school yet...but on Thursday we got our grade and classroom assignments.  And while I wish I could have gotten 2nd again, like I had previously in my Lab 1, I was assigned to 4th grade-gifted.  Oh boy. 



I must admit that I'm a tad intimidated.  Not because they are gifted, but because of the way that I'm going to have to teach.  Gifted students learn on a higher level of thinking.  They need that challenge.  What if I'm unable to challenge them?  What if I am unable to make them think?  What if I bore them?

Heck, what if they are smarter than me?!  There are game shows about this stuff, you know!

To make things worse, their classroom teacher is less than thrilled to have a student working with her.  So that makes it difficult.  But, I was given what I was given and I must forge ahead.

So this semester, I'm teaching science, social studies and math to a group of 20 fourth graders, who probably know more than me.  Ahhhhh, well. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Take a bite!

Eating humble pie is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  I've contemplated that phrase quite a bit the last couple of days.  And for a while I wasn't even sure that it was the correct phrase for my situation, but after much "research" I think that it's ultimately fitting.  I am admitting my error.

My error was that I had to fill my life with stuff to be happy.  I had to prove myself and our family with material things.  I fell into the mind set that money makes you happy.  I let money define part of me.

Since undergoing our "stuff purge" I have felt so relieved!  I'm going through things that I have been hanging on to forever (like those two Fossil watches that I haven't worn in years), for what reason I'm still not sure.  Some things are going up for sale on Craigslist (love that site!), some will be donated, and some will be put into storage. 

We just have so much "stuff" and no where to put it!  Especially when we move in just a few weeks.  A much smaller place, indeed.

Not only are we purging our lives of the material things that are unnecessary, but other things as well.  Like I mentioned before, I cut our cable down to bare minimum.  That was when we took our first bite of humble pie.  I called and reduced our services (saving a bunch of money!) and they said it would all be cut in about 24 hours.  So, we plopped down in front of the TV after Kinley went to bed and decided to enjoy the last night with our DVR and watch the Bachelor.  Well, twenty minutes into it and it went black.  Then we got a message saying we were unsubscribed to the service.

We both just sat there.

Deep breath........

We're still alive!  It didn't kill us, yet!

It was then that we got our first taste of what life will be like, living a more minimalist style.

And while at that moment, when we didn't get to find out who didn't get the rose and had to take a moment to say her good-byes, we were bummed.  Today, we're excited.

We realize that it's going to be okay.  And we're looking forward to a new way of living.  Living on what we need.  Not stressing over finances anymore.  Or stressing less.  I think that it will be about a year before we'll feel complete relief.  But in the big picture, what is a year? 

This year of cuts, of stress, of wondering what to do.....this too shall pass.

We were talking about this struggle that we're in over dinner, and my husband said that all he wants is for Kinley to have everything she needs and every opportunity she wants.  And I reminded him that we were working towards that exact goal.  We may struggle when she's one or two....but will be reaping the benefits when she's three and four and five.....  This is worth it.  She is worth it.

Anyone need a straw?  I seem to have pulled out a few too many.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Trimming the extras

Normally, putting Kinley down for a nap at 5:20 in the evening would be a no-go for me.  But today, it's a yes totally.

It's Thursday evening.  Time to kick back, relax, and enjoy my FOUR days off from school.  I guess they really aren't days off when they are bound to be filled with homework.  But at least I don't have to go anywhere.  Well, tha'ts a lie....errands are sometimes just as much of a pain as the commute to school.

So I'm going to enjoy my four days with my baby girl.  Now that she's in day care three days a week, I feel like I don't see her nearly enough.  I miss her.  She's changing so much and her attitude has been so sassy lately.  She's definately developed her diva personality.  And I'm not so sure that we are fans of it.  We've slowly been moving back into the groove of regaining control that we so willingly handed over to her just 13 months ago.  The terrible twos have hit our household.....several months too early.  She's getting very good at pushing our limits.  Not sleeping at night, throwing her food, laughing when we tell her no, eating the dog food, dumping the water bowl, not sleeping at night, fighting naps, not sleeping at night.

We're sleep deprived and cranky.  And that's no fun.

I feel like our life has done a major flip in the past two or so weeks.  Not only are we all working through the transition of me being back in school full time but we're dealing with a move.

Yes, we're moving.  Again.

You see, after having that "inspector" over last week that told me absolutley nothing about our mold problem, but instead decided to threaten our landlord over the CO2 detector and the "moisture problem", we decided to just bite the bullet and call our landlord.  Okay, so I'm a chicken and made my husband call.  Big shocker, huh.  (Dr. Laura even knows that my self confidence is zilch.)  Turns out, he agreed to just let us out of the lease at the end of February.  Which is exactly what we had hoped he would say.  He doesn't want a mold inspection done on the property.  Because if in fact there is mold found, then he would be stuck shelling out thousands of dollars to repair all of the affected areas.  No mold test, no mold "confirmed" and he can play ignorant about the whole situation when he sells the place.  So because of our concerns for Kinley's health, he said that we'll just cut our ties and move on.

Done and done.

The apartment that we fell in love with last Sunday ended up renting before we could get back there, but luckily, one just like it is open for a March 1 move in.  So..... we're going.

So now, we've got the life change of mom back in school, the move and then financial.

My husband's employer was bought out by a larger company (typical, isn't it?  no one keeps to themselves anymore) and since the "merge" they have gone from 50-60 hour work weeks to barely 40.  Good-bye OT.  So naturally, we've had to adjust our spending and living expenses.

This has brought on all sorts of life changes.  As if we didn't have enough already.  The Dave Ramsey classes have been a tremendous help in not only teaching us *how* to do things but also, how to talk about them without fighting.  And, the class leader has taken us under his wing and is helping us figure things out.   With his help, we're getting back on the right track, making the necessary cuts and re-learning how to spend and how to save. 

I guess that has been the biggest lesson of all. 

Today, I called and dropped our cable down to minimum, cancelled our DVR and home phone and *gulp* went with the slower internet service.  BUT, our bill went from $130 to $50.  Dang-o, dang-o.

That makes me feel good.  So on top of saving $300 on our monthly rent by moving, our utilities are going from about $300 to about $125 a month and we're cutting our cable, cell phone plan (my husband has a work phone, so we're cutting his personal cell) and we're just generally downsizing.

Instead of focusing our income on spending, we're now focusing on saving.  Getting our savings where it needs to be.  And while I think that missing all of my beloved shows on my DVR makes me want to cry, I would rather have that TV time as cuddling time with my family.  There is always streaming if I want to catch a show, but seriously, I have my DVR currently maxed at 99% capacity because we have zero time to watch what we record.  So why record?  I think we'll be happier without.  I hope we will.

I'm excited about the changes that we're making.  It feels like a fresh start....and that is exactly what we need right now.

Monday, January 24, 2011

She's got nothin' but time

It's probably pretty obvious that school has taken over about 99% of my free time.  Hence the lack of blog time.  While I am staying on top of things, mostly, I find that my confidence in my work has gone down so much.  When I was in school before, I would hammer out an assignment in no time and submit it without thinking twice. Now, I finish it and then spend the next several hours going over it a million times just discounting every word I had just typed.  Where is my confidence?!  I guess Dr. Laura was/is right. 

So I'm sitting here, with both of my math methods assignments done...yet I'm so full of doubt that I can't click that "Submit" button.  Ugh.

And to help matters, Kinley is now walking.  And getting into *everything*!

She thinks that she's helping me....scratch that, she really doesn't care if she's helping or not.  But is it the age?  Ugh!!!!!!!  She is in to *everything*.  And when I tell her no, she turns around, smiles and then goes about her business.  No concern in the world.  She runs the household.

Where did we fail?  Can we get the control back?

Our nights have been completely dreadful the past month.  She stays up until she feels like going to bed and then gets up two or three times during the night.  This causes us to be complete crabs to each other and anyone else that we come into contact with.  And really, we just don't need the crankiness in our lives right now.  We have enough drama.

Last night we decided to start a new routine.  Dr. Laura and I talked about establishing a schedule for Kinley to help me get back into control of myself and my time and my life, basically.  So we decided that 8:00 would be bath time.  From the bath, we would spend time in her room.  Reading (yeah right, the child will not sit for a story, anyone else have that problem?), playing with her stuffed animals or puzzles.  Then at 8:45 it's time to nurse and go to sleep.  Last night, she was asleep by 9 and got up at 4 and 5.  But she went back down both times and got up at 7:30. 

Problem being, on Tuesday and Thursday, we're up at 4:30 getting ready for school/work/daycare.  Her getting us up at 4 is not cool.

I'm kind of hoping to push bath to 7:00 and then bed by 8:00 but I'm not sure we can do that. 

It's all trial and error, I guess.

What routines work for you?

This is so helpful when I'm trying to study.  *So* helpful.

Bang Bang

Sometimes, I feel like I just shoot myself in the foot.  And lately, it seems that I'm doing it alot.  Ugh.

So the "mold inspector" came this morning.  Turns out, he's not a mold inspector at all.  He knew nothing about mold!  He looked at the windows and agreed that we have a "moisture problem" but couldn't tell me anything more than that.  I then took the opportunity to explain to him that our carbon monoxide detector kept going off as well.  But since it was hit and miss as to when it would blare, I figured it was a malfunctioning detector.  Thought that maybe he would have some advice as to what to do.  He does wear the "City Inspector" badge, after all.

Yeah, he had nothing.  He said that maybe I could call the gas company or call the fire department but he thought it would be sufficient to just issue a notice to our landlord. 

The landlord that we were trying to *not* tell until we had a mold report.

So yeah, he's calling him today to issue him a 3 day allowance to get the CO2 detector replaced and a 30 allowance to "FIX" the moisture problem. 

Now where does that leave us?  It leaves us with the possibility of Mr. Landlord coming in and bleaching the molded areas &/or painting over the molded areas (as it appears he's done before) and I'm willing to bet that all of this will be done in the place of an inspection. 

Thank you Mr. City Inspector.

And to make it all hurt that much more..... we fell in love with an apartment yesterday.  And, it's $300 less per month.

I feel like I just shot down any chance at all of us getting out of this place.  And getting it mold tested.

Just for the heck of it, I called a professional mold testing company and they charge $250 for a full air inspection and sample testing.  But in my opinion, that should be at the expense of the property owner, not the tenant.

What to do, what to do.....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Squeaky Feet

So, secretly, I love my new "office."  I can come up here, work on homework, write a blog, check my email, or peace.  I mean, I can still hear her and know what's going on downstairs (I'm in the loft, which over looks the living room) but I don't have her hanging on my legs and whining to help me type.  It's kind of nice. 

I made my cup of coffee and requested ten minutes of blog time....and off I went.  Ahhhh, bliss.  Haha.  It's the little things in life, right?

Yesterday we spent all day (most of the day) looking at new apartments and came up with nothing.  No joke.  The areas where we want to live, just don't offer much in the line of apartments.  So we're going to have to broaden our search.  We are looking at one property this morning and we're really hoping that it is nice....but at this point, I'm pretty negative Nancy about the whole thing.

I'm totally hung up on this mold thing.  I mean, if it comes back as mold, then that's one thing.  But it has to come back as a dangerous level of mold for us to break the lease.  Right?  So I'm not even sure that looking at/falling in love with a new place is the right thing to be doing.  And if it is a dangerous level, do we need an attorney to help us out of the lease or can we just say "hey, this place is no good, we're out of here."

There is no doubt that we want out of this current lease so that we can get a cheaper place that we actually like living in.  But I'm not so certain how possible it is to actually get out of it.  Am I making sense?  I am holding my breath until Monday at 11 when the inspector is actually here and tells me my options.  But I pray that it's "dangerous" enough to get us out, but not "dangerous" enough to have done long term harm.

I had my appointment with Dr. Laura yesterday and while we started out talking about my marriage, our finance stresses, etc., it all got turned into my breastfeeding relationship with Kinley and my complete overwhelming anxiety that comes with the thought of weaning.  I guess I didn't realize how uneasy I am with the idea.  I mean, I know that I'm going to wean her.  I know that I don't want to nurse her till she's 2, but at the same time, I am not sure that *I* can handle the wean.  I have some work to do there.  And thank God for Dr. Laura.  She gets me.  She knows how I think.  She knows what to say to help me solve the questions in my mind.  She knows how to get me to take the baby steps so that I accomplish but never step out of my comfort zone. 

Last night we enjoyed a Saturday night of nothing.  We caught up on some DVR'd shows, hung out with Kinley and just chilled out.  I can't remember the last time we did that (on a Saturday).  It was so nice.  Kinley's sleeping habits are absolutely terrible lately and we fought her to go to bed till 11.  It's been  tough.  Our baby that slept through the night, went to bed on her own, always happy and content, is no longer.  I don't know what to do or think anymore.  Every hour is something new that we're not used to. 

The pediatrician saw four teeth on top coming, so maybe this is all due to that.  But I just don't think that's it.  And a mother's instinct is usually right on.  Or it has been for us.

We're having to miss church today because of Kinley still not feeling her best.  She's still not got her voice back and her nose is stuffy.  If this is the mold doing this to her.....ohhhhhh, I'll be livid!  But maybe it's not.  Maybe she has a cold?  Just no other symptoms other than the raw throat and congestion.

And did I mention that she's walking?  It's not 100% of the time...but she takes 5-10 steps at a time and does it often.  So yeah, we say we have a walker on our hands.  And it's the cutest thing ever.  Ahhhhh, I love that girl.

Goofy face, but I wanted to show you her new "necklace."  And I
know that most parents wouldn't let their child walk around playing
with this, but she only does so when she's with us.  So it's safe(r).
It's a USB cord.  She LOVES it.  Carries it around and normally has
it around her neck like a scarf.  If she sees it on the floor, she grabs
it and whips it around her neck (only once, we're not talking strangulation
here) and will wear it like that for a long time.  Here, she's wearing it for
dinner.  I think it's the cutest thing ever.

We gave her Cheerios in her snack bowl and instead
of eating, she poured them all over the floor.  The flood
 of Cheerios surround her.  And you see my shoes there
(she's a shoe fanatic) and then there is daddy's cell phone
(because she always wants either his or mine) and then there
is her cord/scarf.  Lucy is sitting in the chair using all of the
strength of God to not jump down and devour the Cheerios--
but trying to look innocent as if to say "she did it!"
When we were out shopping with Richie's brother and his girlfriend last weekend, we saw a family (mom, dad, little girl about Kinley's age) shopping with either the mom or dad's parents.  So it was the family and then the grandparents.  The grandma was blind and had a seeing eye dog.  That wasn't so out of the ordinary...having a blind mother, I'm used to seeing that, but I'm always in awe of the seeing eye dogs.  My mother never/still doesn't want one but I so wish she would.  The independence that they bring are just amazing.  I know why she doesn't want one....or maybe I think I know why she doesn't want one and that's her whatever.  But I've been around several "working dogs" and they are just the most amazing animals ever.  If you've not read about them, do so.  It's pretty cool how they are trained, coupled up with their owners and how they live.  Ah-mazing (how many times can I say that?). 

But I got off on that whole seeing eye dog thing.  That wasn't the point of this story.  The point is this, the little girl that was about Kinley's age was walking with her grandma and she had on the squeaker shoes.  Every tiny step that she took was sounded out by "squeak, squeak" and grandma knew that she was right there. 

I stood there, Auntie Anne's pretzel in hand, and cried.

Something as simple as that squeak, made all of the difference in the world to that grandma.  It brought her the calm that her granddaughter was there with her step for step.  Just think of them being at home....grandma doesn't need to worry about where she's at...she'll hear her every step.  It's something that the sighted take for granted.  So, you think that Kinley will be getting her some squeaky feet?  You betcha.  She probably won't wear them all the time, but you can be certain that they will be her Nonie and Papa shoes!  And who needs ruby slippers when you have squeaky shoes and the power of Nonie and Papa?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hot legs?

Now, don't get me wrong.  I love Rod Stewart.  His music is pretty jammin'.  I mean, for a soft rock kind of day.  Let's face mom exposed me to "her music" very early on, and I admit, I'm a fan.  And I like Rod Stewart.

But I watched Ellen today (from the DVR, not current) and saw him perform and all I can say  he's aged.  And not well.  For some reason, his legs creep me out.  They just look so..... old.  Like if he were in a pair of PJ pants, he'd totally look like my grandpa!  But he's not in PJ pants, he's trying to look stylish and hot.  And I can't see him that way.

I mean, kudos to him for still kickin' it, but I rather just listen and not watch. 

And, to think he's going on tour with Stevie Nicks.  I'd love to hear that show!  Hear.  Not see.

What do you think?

Edited to add:  Seriously, Rod?  You are going to spank yourself?  On Ellen?  Really?

Moldy Blog

We've moved the old laptop up to the loft.  It now sits in a make-shift "office" (not even close to an office) for my school.

The laptop used to sit on the kitchen table, which is in the dining room, so I guess I should say it used to sit on the dining room table.  But we have no table in our does that make it a kitchen/dining table?  Or a dining/kitchen table?  Never mind.  The laptop used to sit on the kitchen dining table.  Now, it's in the "office."

You wouldn't believe how much more time I have to spend on everything else when I don't have the laptop within ear shot of it calling my name.  Cause it does.  It calls to me every three minutes, wanting me to check my email, check my google reader, check my facebook....well, not so much facebook really.  That has been kind of boring me lately.  But definitely the email and google reader.

School has been a handful.  The professors threw us straight in with no mercy.  The homework was knee deep (no joke!) on the first day.  I was up until two in the morning on Wednesday.  Ugh.  Thankfully, it's the four day weekend (for me, no school on Fridays or Mondays) and I can slow down and breathe.  I made myself clean the house before I would "allow" myself blogging time.  And I got it almost done, so I ran up here to my beloved blogger while Kinley is napping.

I had to take her to the pediatrician today.  She's been doing the screaming, ear tugging, head slapping, finger sticking in her ear thing.  So we assumed it was her first ear infection.  Ummmm, nope.  Ears are clear.  She does have throat irritation and stuffed up sinuses though, so she recommended a very small dose of Benedryl to help that out.  She mentioned a possibility of a mold allergy.  I quickly dismissed that.  We don't have mold in our house.  Right?  Who has mold in their house?

Ummm, we do.

It never really occurred to me before, about how dangerous mold can be, until I put two and two together.  Which sometimes takes me a while. 

We've seen the ick window sills in our living room several times and we're always like, "ewwww, gross" but that's about as far as it ever got.  I mean, it's a rental.  Not our problem. 

It quickly became my problem when I heard that my baby could be suffering from a mold allergy.  And over half of her symptoms that we've been dealing with for the past few weeks, are on the list for symptoms of mold exposure.  Nice, huh?

So I called the health department and scheduled  mold inspection.  They are coming Monday.

This is sort of a blessing in disguise. 

We have been contemplating looking for a cheaper place anyway, and what better reason than this place being a sick hole for our baby.  (And, it could explain why Richie and I always have headaches.)  I'm not saying that the level of mold (is that right?) in here is dangerous...but it looks like it very well could be.  I took some pictures of the icky-ness for you.

I was going to add more, but blogger won't let me.  Hmmm.
I fixed it.
Yes, that is ice on the INSIDE.  Is that normal?

Do I have any mold-experienced readers out there?  How much mold is considered a dangerous level?  The only visible mold (that I have noticed in this quantity) is around our two living room windows.  They hold major amounts of condensation (see the ice on the INSIDE?) so maybe it's normal to have mold like this?  Maybe I'm over-reacting?  What are your thoughts?

Moving is totally NOT something we want to do (side note: we have way too much stuff....moving is the least desirable option) but if this place is full of mold and is unsafe for our daughter (oh yeah, and us) then it's the sign that we've been praying for.

For a few weeks now, we've been praying about our situation and trying to decide if looking for a cheaper place is the right move for us.  And I guess there is a part of me that believes that this is the sign that it is the right move.

I guess we'll know for certain on Monday when we have the inspection done.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lesson Learned

So you know how some restaurants splurge on their customers and fill their little creamer bowls with all of the "fancy" know, Irish Cream, Vanilla, Hazelnut (that's really about as "fancy" as I've seen them get...the standard three).

A couple of weeks ago, we went out to eat after church and on our table was a bowl filled with this flavory goodness. 

And I stole three.  I didn't even order coffee while I was there.  But I took one creamer of each flavor.

Okay, that's a lie.  I took two of each flavor.  Ugh.  The shame.

I just couldn't sit here and lie to you.

I did the whole "quick grab and throw them in your purse" tactic.

Now, let me remind you that I carry my beloved Coach bag and those little flavory cups of goodness went into my side pocket inside the Coach.

Fast forward two weeks.

(You totally know where this is going.)
My husband and I (& Kinley, of course) were piling into the car to go and do a return at Kohl's.  The husband asked if I had extra pacis (pacifiers), because who would dare go into public without a fully supplied stash of those things!?  (not us)  I reached into my Coach and into my side pocket where I thought I remembered throwing a pink paci.

Ummmmm, can you say sticky?!

I was like, "What in the heck got in my purse?!"  I was all ticked off.  Ready to beat down whoever it was that spilled something into the Coach.

I pulled out my baggie with a dryer sheet folded into it.  (For static in my hair, smart, eh?) and it was all gooey and sticky and slimy.

And then I found the pacifier that I remembered throwing in there.  Gooey, slimy, sticky.  Ick.

And more and more I started smelling this strange smell, it kind of smelled like Irish Cream.  What the heck?

*this is a big side pocket*

I reached even further down, and oooooooooohhhhhhhh nnnnnooooooooo.

Little flavory cups of goodness.

I remembered my day of thieving.

The day that I thought, ooooohhhh, these would go perfect with my new Keurig coffee!  As I quickly stashed them into my side pocket.

Yeah, they were so worth STEALING!

Luckily, only one of the stupid flavored cups of goo popped open and oozed into my Coach.

But really?  How do you clean that?!  The leather is fine, it's the lining that looks all ick. 

I wiped it out, so it's no longer gooey or sticky. 

It's just not "perfect" like it was before my days of stealing.


That will teach me. 

So What!


So what...
  • if I'm a super crab because I'm overwhelmed.
  • my house is trashed and I don't want to clean it...see above. I'm overwhelmed.
  • I have been listening to the Christian radio station trying to make myself like the music.
  • if I miss being able to sing along with the radio (I miss my country.).
  • if I'm already praying for snow days this semester.
  • my brain is so fried that I'm staring up into nothing thinking "ummm, so what, huh?" 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back to school, back to school

Back To School
Back To School
To Prove To Dad That I'm Not A Fool
I've Got My, Lunch Packed Up
My Boots Tied Tight
I Hope I Don't Get In A Fight
Back To School
Back To School
Back To School
-Adam Sandler in Billy Madison-

I survived.  And Kinley survived.  We survived.

Tonight, I'm drained.  Exhausted at a new level that I vaguely remember from Kinley's first few weeks.  I'm tired.

We were up till eleven last night, getting my books ready, packing my school supplies (like a five-year-old, I tell ya) and then packing up all of Kinley's supplies. 

Kinley decided to have a 2 a.m. date for nursing and then I was up at 4:30 with that persistant alarm.  Ugh.  I was able to get ready and out the door only a few minutes late.  My husband took Kinley to daycare for me to save me some time.  We had to run out and buy a car seat for his truck last night since he'll be splitting the pick-up and drop-off duties with me.

Class was good.  Seems a bit more difficult than I remember, but then again, I'm very much out of practice.   But man, my passion was ALIVE with the talk of classroom rules and procedures and lesson plans and those little tricks that work so well at getting through to those little minds.  I'm so ready to be back and I'm so ready to get done!

I arrived on campus about a half hour early.  Which turned out to be good because the parking lot and walkway was a thin layer of ice.  Obviously, I arrived earlier than the salt scatter-outer did and therefore, the ice was still very slick.  So I slid my way through the parking lot and up to the doors, praying that my hooker boots wouldn't go flying up and over my head as I slipped and wiped it on my way in.  I didn't though, the hooker boots stayed firmly on the ground.  I made it safely.  I confidently walked through the main building on my way up to the third floor where the education wing is located.  I took the stairs because "I guess I should just work on getting myself some exercise while I'm at this whole school thing" and ummm, yeah, three flights of stairs kicked my butt.  I was huffing and puffing by the time that I made it up.  With my baby-blue back pack on my back and my green plaid lunch bag (told you, five-year old) in hand, I was on a mission.  I had to find room D2447.  I walked around and around and around and couldn't find the room!  Duh Joy, you were on D3, not D2.  So I guess the class isn't in the Education wing after all.  That's dumb.  So I took the elevator (see, I'm getting smarter already!) to the second floor and found my class.

Lucky me, I arrived to the classroom at the exact time as one of my professors did.  The professor that I had the last time that I was in this Lab.  Oh joy.  She didn't remember me.  Obviously.  Thank God. 

The next person to walk through the door was a very familiar face.  It was a girl that I was in Intro to Teaching with about four years ago.  We hugged and were so happy to see each other.  It was a breath of fresh air to see a familiar face.  And shock my socks, here comes *another* girl from my Intro group!  There were three of us that were "left behind" and getting back into the flow of things.  Looks like I'm not alone.

The day was long.  The assignments have already accumulated and it seems as though I'm already behind even though I know that I'm not.

It's going to be a great semester, I will keep telling myself that, anyway.  I'm not a fan of the commute, but it's do-able.

Kinley did fabulous at day-care, despite the short nap and the random outbursts of screaming.  (Teething maybe?)  Two more days this week and then I get a break.  It's hard getting back out there after being at home for 13 months!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pushing the "Do-Over" button

Photo Credit
It's not common in life that you are offered the chance for a "do-over" but tomorrow, I get my turn.

It's back to the grind, back to the books, back to class, back to student life. 

Tomorrow, I will step back onto the path that I strayed far away from four years ago.   I will plant my feet firmly on the ground and begin, again.

It's my turn to pick up and finish what I started.  The road has been the longest and the most difficult and I promise to never take it for granted and always work my hardest to be the best that I know how.

Such a turning point for our family tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited.  Kinley starts her day care experience (please God, let her feel safe and secure), I start back with the Chicago commuters (please God, keep me safe) and I walk back into that classroom ready to finish what I started (please God, give me the courage to continue on).

I'm scared, nervous, excited and happy all at the same time.  Wish me luck and say a prayer for me (and Kinley Grace).

I can't wait to update everyone of my first day back!  I'll be like a giddy little 5 year old coming home from Kindergarten.

The Good Wife

I am such a good wife. 

I'm a good wife because I allowed agreed to share our dining room with this monstrosity.

You see, it was given to us by a friend of mine. 

My husband LOVES Big Buck Hunter.  We have it for the Wii and we have the other game that Walmart sold at Christmas time.  And now we have the freakin' arcade game.  In our dining room.

There's no doubt that my husband is a redneck.  But this doesn't put me in the category too, does it?

I can just hear Jeff Foxworthy now, "You might be a redneck IF you have a Big Buck Hunter arcade game in your dining room!"


My reasoning is this:  we are RENTING this place (can't WAIT to get out of it).  No one ever comes over to visit.  The stupid thing won't fit down the basement steps (where it was supposed to live) and once he got it into the house, where else was it supposed to go?  He can't freeze to death in the garage while he plays it. 

But most importantly, he loves it.

And who am I to say that he can't have it inside.  You know?

So our dining room now has that bar look....complete with a video game.

Ugh, I'm so redneck.

Let me just say this, when we buy a house, this thing will be in the back of my mind and I will buy a house that will fit this thing into a basement or game room.  It will not be a permanent dining room piece.

He loved her.

He loved her.

I grew up in the "typical" American family.  Or what I considered to be typical.  My mom stayed home with us and dad worked a blue-collar job.  We lived in a really small town and our nearest McDonalds was a few towns away.  Simple.

Just like the "typical" American family, ours was divided by divorce.  I was 15 and mom left dad. 

I honestly think that their split still lives on in each of their three children (yes, I have two brothers).  Each of us handled it in our own ways... to the best of our ability, I guess.

Dad didn't handle it well at all and never really seemed happy again.

Mom became super successful (she worked so hard for everything she's earned) and is extremely happy now.  Remarried, great job, nice house, happy life. 

Dad passed away in 2005.  At the age of 50. 

I don't really revisit his final few months too often as they are so extremely painful and filled with those dreadful "what ifs" that will just drive you down.  But one thing that I remember most, is him asking for my mom to come and see him.  He was in an accident and had a head injury and his memory wasn't what it should be.  Eventually it came back, but while in ICU, there was a time when he thought that him and mom were still together.

And mom came.  She sat with him for a while and talked to him like nothing had happened.  And this was about 12 years post divorce.

He loved her.

It never fails that when I'm at church (whether it be Catholic or Church ABC) I feel close to my dad.  Not that dad was a church going man, because he wasn't.  His church was the lake.  Dad dropped us off at church and he went fishing.  That was just the way it was.

I think that being in church just opens my heart enough, to allow me to feel him with me. 

Because on a day to day basis, I almost have to keep myself hardened to it because I can't go around crying all the time.

So yesterday, I was at Church ABC and we were singing (I did sing this time) and I kept having to stop because the tears were just filling my eyes.  I was having a really hard time holding it together.

I kept thinking of the Bible that my mom gave me.  It was hers and she carried it to church with us every week when we were young. 

She has since lost her vision completely, and no longer can read it.  I am assuming that is why she gave it to me....but maybe it's because my dad gave it to her.

You see, this is where I cry.

Dad was not a church going man (I know, I already said that), but he knew that his wife was a church going woman. 

He had this made for her.

And while it's not necessarily what I would consider my "taste" or my "style" (do bible covers have style?), I treasure this.

But most importantly, I treasure it because of this.

He loved her.

I have no doubt.  And having this Bible in my possession is my every day reminder that he loved her with all of his heart, until the day he died.

I don't know where I'm going with this.

I guess it just feels good to know that your dad loved your mom.  Even though their marriage failed (and I know why it failed and I understand why she left, but that isn't something for this blog). I understand failing at marriage and sometimes how it can be the best option....but at the same time, it was MY mom and MY dad and I wish that it didn't have to end the way it did.

Because he loved her, and I know that she loved him.  Otherwise, she wouldn't have sat in that ICU room for hours talking to him like no time had passed at all.

I am so thankful that he gave this to her.  I don't know the occasion or the story about when he gave it to her...but someday I'll ask.  Someday when I can do so without sobbing. 

I'm sure he never dreamed that giving her this Bible would someday be the token to prove how much he loved his wife.  And he was proving it to his daughter...who at the time was only two.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weekend Recap

What a crazy weekend!  We were on the go the whole time, or it felt like it anyway.

My husband's brother and his girlfriend (the brother's girlfriend, not my husbands....cause that would be weird) came up early Saturday morning and are staying with us through tomorrow (Monday) afternoon (I'm writing this super late Sunday night {super late meaning 10:30 p.m.} and not sure when I'll get it finished and published).  Whew, that was a lot of explaining....and a lot of ( ). 

Moving onward.

Saturday morning we went to a local health fair where Mike Ventrella and his mother, Maria, from Biggest Loser season 9, were doing a meet and greet.  We also got to meet Jerry and Stella and I got to have a pretty lengthy conversation with Jerry.  It made my day.  That guy is amazing!  He told me some "secrets" about the Ranch and just talked to me like we were old friends.  Super cool guy.

After our "brush with celebrities," I had a hair appointment at the cucumber water salon, remember that place? 

On Friday evening, I decided to talk with one of their stylists while I was there for my eyebrow wax design.  She was shocked at the cut that Ulta (in Wheaton) left me was BAD.  She walked me through step by step of what she thought she could do to help me fix the I booked with her for Saturday afternoon.

My brother in law and his girlfriend came along and had massages done while my hair was fixed, or as fixed as it could get after the severe butcher job (from Ulta in Wheaton).

And yes, this time, I had the cucumber water.  And it was very.......cucumber-y.  Refreshing, yes.  But very cucumber-y.

So now, my hair is fixed to the best of her ability and I'm just going to have to keep my trims at every 8 weeks until we can get it to where it should have been.  So frustrating.

She really didn't have to take much length off...just fix the half inch difference.  And the layers....oh the layers....they were/are a wreck.

We spent the rest of our weekend doing touristy stuff since we had the out-of-towners with us.  You know, going to the food places that you just really don't visit unless you have friends/family Giordano's.  We love the pizza, but it's just not somewhere we go by ourselves.  Maybe we should start, cause it is great pizza.  There are just so many pizza places to choose from, I guess.

This is a picture of us from Giordano's and I swear it reminds me of a picture of The Farmer in the Dell.  If "Dell" meant wife or something. But it doesn't.  I just looked it up, it means "small wooded valley" and well, I'm not that.  But if I were....we could call  this picture "The Farmer in the Dell."  Whatever.  Don't you get that vibe from this picture?

On Sunday, we went to Church ABC and the brother-in-law and the girlfriend came with us.  She loved it, the brother-in-law had no opinion.  Typical.  I enjoyed it and my husband enjoyed it.  And Kinley did great in the nursery again.  The ladies that were watching her said "she's going to be walking at any second."  And I know this.  I'm in denial.  I'm not ready yet.  Ugh.  And her starting day care this week means that I could quite possibly miss the first walking day.  She's taken a few steps here and there but I don't want to miss that day that she decides that it's time to be a walker.  That's hard.

It has been exhausting but fun. 

So not ready to start this new week.  School starts in full swing and I have had to pick up another class (ugh!) so now I'm gone three days a week.  Not happy about that one bit.

I'm tired, so until tomorrow....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

And the winner of the Picture People Gift Certificate is...

And the winner is................

*are you drum rolling in your head?*

*if not, please do*

You ready?

Okay, here it is:

StarMommy said...
AND ... I linked it in my blog

January 14, 2011 9:56 AM

Congratulations, StarMommy!  Send me an email at to arrange the shipping!

Free stuff!

Not only do I love giving stuff away here at Living On Trees, but I also love winning free stuff.

I entered the give-away over at I See Through You and you should too!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snackin' on air

I normally don't make a habit of eating Kinley's snacks...but I must make an exception here.  Have you tried these things?  Ummm, they taste like French toast.  Like good French toast.
And, you can eat 20 of these things for only 35 calories. Yeah, you read that right.  Eat 20...gain 35. 

Okay, so it's not the most affordable snack.  And I don't think that I'd actually buy them for myself to munch on...cause quite honestly, I would eat the full can.  And although it claims that there are six servings (and that's still only 210 calories) I would so not feel very full.  Cause in general, the Gerber snacks taste like air.  But Kinley loves them.  She loves snackin' on air.

Never thought I'd say this...

Ummmm, dare I say?

I'll deny it later, I'm sure.  But for today....right now....

I like my hair.  Maybe not LOVE, but it's not killing me today.  And I feel a little bit pretty.

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