Saturday, November 16, 2013

19 Random Facts

There's a fun game going around on Facebook, where I got assigned to share 19 random facts about myself.  I figured I'd get back in the swing of blogging a little more frequently by sharing those here:
1. My favorite comfort food of all time was my mom's spaghetti with meat sauce, and one of my greatest accomplishments has been learning to replicate it.
2. I was president of my high school's Thespian Society - mostly because no one else wanted to be. I joined the theatre program at the suggestion of my basketball coach, when he realized that despite my Amazonian height, I wasn't very coordinated.
3. I tried to join the Army when I was 21, but couldn't because there was a warrant out for my arrest! (It was due to unpaid parking tickets...lots of them, apparently.)
4. I have an insatiable appetite for shows like Law & Order, NCIS, Rizzolli and Isles - pretty much anything that involves crime solving. I'll watch them when they come on, even if I've seen them before. I am watching one now.
5. I've run one half marathon so far - at Talladega Motor Speedway. I plan to run 2 next year, and finally run a full!
6. I love to travel and, so far, I've been to Greece, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos and 30 different states in the US.
7. I HATE scary movies after being made to watch "Nightmare on Elm Street" at a slumber party when I was 13. I had to sleep with nightlight for weeks, and avoid scary movies at all costs now.
8. I love to play matchmaker and have one marriage to my credit!
9. In my entire adult life, I've yet to live in any one house or apartment for more than 3 years, and it's not looking like I'll make it to 3 in my current home, either!
10. When I met Lionel Richie for the first time, the first thing I said was: "Oh my god, you are Lionel F*(&^ng Richie!" To which he responded, "I get that a lot". He recorded my voicemail for me on my cell phone, and I had it on there for years.
11. I have a horrible memory.
12. I am a really fast reader - but due to #11, I've actually read several books more than once. Each time, I thought I was a little bit psychic because I could kind of tell what would happen next.
13. When I was in high school, my family went to Disney World, and my parents let my brother and I go off on our own while they hung out with my much younger sister. To get to the front of the lines, we "borrowed" a wheelchair.
14. If I never had to wear shoes again, I would be a happy woman. I love shoes - on other people. I take them off whenever I possibly can.
15. Despite working in radio for 19 years, I've still never gotten used to my voice on a recording.
16. I am a wannabe extreme couponer. I do regularly use coupons, and have saved $2000+ this year by doing so.
17. I started going gray when I was 18. I died my hair until two years ago. Now, I just pluck the ones that show the most. It's a losing battle.
18. If I won the lottery, I would give most of it away - anonymously - to people or causes I know. I think it would be fantastic to change a lot of lives in such a positive way.
19. When I was younger, on a family trip to NYC, my sister Jessica sang and I sang as we walked down the streets, hoping to be discovered.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hump Day Gratitude

Despite wanting to be a gratitude guru, I have taken a serious leave of absence from practicing gratitude, and I can tell. When I get in the "everything sucks" or "everything is going to go wrong" mindset, it's time to pause, pray and put together my gratitude list.  

This weekend, we will be celebrating my daughter's first birthday - did you read that? We - meaning my husband, family and close friends - how lucky am I to have any, and especially ALL of those?  Celebrating - gathering in our home (glad to have that!!) and eating and spending time together (grateful so many people want to come!). My daughter - I am beyond blessed to get to be momma to this little one. I waited a long, long time to get to be a momma, and God knocked it out of the dang park with this cute, charismatic, sweet, loving and well behaved child. First birthday - we have made it through the year (knock on wood!) with no major mishaps and in good health. 

There is a lot to be grateful for in that one sentence, alone!

I am on my lunch break at my new job, sitting out in the sunshine, and I am grateful for all of that, as well. I love my new job - I feel challenged and welcomed and enjoy the work very much. The sunshine is much welcome after lots of gray and gloomy days lately. 

I would write more, but I need to get inside. Thanks for helping me to turn my attitude around. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Our girl is on the move

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote - I started a new job (which I love!), we almost sold the house (which didn't pan out, thank goodness!), we took a vacation with my husband's family down to Pensacola Beach (baby's first time at the beach...MUCH more work than we realized it was going to be!), and now, our little 11 month old wiggle worm is officially a walker!

Check out this adorable video of some of her first tentative steps.  She's getting more confident and daring each minute, so I am sure I will have more to post soon of her jogging around the house!

Monday, July 1, 2013

I've Been Waiting Ten Months For This

It was a good weekend with the family.  My handsome husband was in full on "get stuff done around the house" mode (which I highly encourage!), so I got to spend some quality time, one on one, with my little one. 

We've been trying out new "big girl" food - and like her momma and daddy, she's a big fan of breakfast! 

Messy Breakfast Baby - June 2013

We spent some time on one of Momma's favorite hobbies:  couponing.
Couponing with Momma - June 2013

S took a break from house stuff on Sunday morning, and we all got dressed up and went to church. 
Time for church - June 2013

The best part of the weekend, though, was her new favorite word!  I have been waiting for 10 months to hear this sweet sound!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Big News

I'll cut to the chase.  My last day in radio is Friday, July 5th, and on Monday, July 8th, I'll start my new job doing corporate communications for a company based out of Birmingham (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent!).

I've spent over half of my life on the radio - I started as a college freshman at the campus radio station and haven't looked back.  However, as you know if you read this blog, my life has changed quite a bit in the past couple of years: moved to Alabama, met the love of my life, got married, and had a beautiful baby girl.

I am beyond grateful for the gifts that my career has given me - especially for those I just listed.  If I hadn't taken this job in Birmingham, none of the above would have happened, and now, I can't imagine my life without my handsome husband and my beautiful daughter. 

My radio career has taken me all over the country - Maryland, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Connecticut and Alabama - and has introduced me to some of the biggest characters and personalities one could ever imagine.  I have always said that working in radio is "better than working for a living", because when you love what you do, it's not really "work". 

However, the time has come to take the skills that I have acquired along the way and apply them in the next phase of my career.  I am beyond excited for this new opportunity.  When I say that it is better than I could have imagined, I am not exaggerating. (And I am not just excited about getting to sleep in a little later each day....)  I really do think that God was looking out for me and guiding the entire long process for me to make this transition.

To those of you who have cheered me on while I was making this big decision, thank you.  Change is not always the easiest, but your encouragement and counsel made it a lot easier.  Thank you to all those I have worked with over the past almost 20 years, too - it's been a fantastic ride, and I'll be cheering all of you on from the other side of the radio.

Friday, May 31, 2013

We LOVE Home Depot!

Thursday night, our tub's faucet broke - and I asked S to fix it (or to call a plumber, if it was too big of a project).  It turns out that we needed a new part, and I decided it would be a good field trip for me and Diana.  She loved it - great people watching and all sorts of new things to observe! 

Diana - 9 months - At Home Depot

I am psyched because this bodes well for our future trips out and about! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Toilet Paper Love Note

I would assume that most women wouldn't be thrilled to find toilet paper on their bathroom sink.  Normally, I wouldn't either.  However, this morning, my husband used toilet paper to leave me an adorable love note, that I found when I got up at 4:30am to get ready for work.  What a sweet surprise!
Toilet paper as love note
It made my entire entire day, really...and it probably took him about 60 seconds, at most to write.  A simple gesture, a small investment in time, using the resources immediately available at his disposal, and bam! Instant love letter!

What a great lesson for me!

Recently, I have also had three random friends reach out to send me emails to say something nice.  All came on days when I was feeling kind of blah.  I don't see these two individuals very often, and they had no way of knowing that I was in need of some extra TLC.  Their emails weren't wordy or long; they were just a few quick sentences to say: that they were thinking of me, that they had a good memory that crossed their minds, that they loved seeing how my life as a new mother was developing, or that they noticed that I had done something I thought no one did. 

Bam!  Instant mood booster!

With our busy schedules, it's easy to let ourselves forget to follow through on the thoughts of "I should tell _____ that I was thinking about them today", or "I haven't seen _____ in a while, I wonder if she's okay", or "I thought of ______ today when I heard that song that reminded me of....."   I know that I am guilty of it, more than I care to admit.  I'll think of someone and then, let it pass. 

However, lately, I have been wondering if those sudden thoughts of random people might not be God's way of nudging me to reach out to that person.  Maybe they are having a blah day or going through a rough patch, and that quick email/call/text/card/smoke signal might be just the thing they need to hear.  Maybe not. The very worst thing that could happen would be that you have a positive interaction.  I don't know about you, but I can always use more of those. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Giggly Girl

Here's news that will surprise no one:  It's kind of exhausting to keep a baby entertained for hours at a time.  S was working last night - so, it was MY job to find ways to occupy Diana.  As it turns out - she thinks I am kind of funny:

How could I be in a bad mood when I hear THAT? 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Baby Giggles
- Beautiful weather that lets us go for walks every day
- Physical therapy that makes me capable of going for walks
- Pay day (Woo hoo!)
- Friends coming to dinner tonight

Dear God, thank You for a happy, healthy baby - I know it's cliche, but I swear I don't take it for granted.  I am also digging on this weather and having my knee on the mend - getting out and enjoying Your sunshine and handiwork.  Also, thank You for giving my family the resources to make ends meet and prepare for our next step to buy a new home in the next year.  Finally, I want to thank you for the support and encouragement from my friends - I remember a time where I didn't feel like I had any allies left in the whole world, and now, You've seen fit to surround me with love and kinship.  Thank You for these many blessings - and all of the others I didn't list specifically.  Please show me if I can be of service to You and Your kids today.  Amen. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Being A Motherless Mother

Snuggling with Diana - May 2013

With Mother's Day coming up, I am thinking a LOT about my dear sweet mother.  As I've said many times, she was the closest thing to an angel I'll ever know. Now that I am a mother, I have such a different understanding and appreciation for my mom - and it turns out that I am not the only one.  In the past two days, I read two awesome posts about Mother's Day/motherhood that I want to share:

In the first, Maggie Lamon Simone talks about how she fought becoming her mother for years - and now, it's all she wants to be.  I can completely relate to feeling like that.  As a teen, and in my early 20's, I was often dismissive, mean, and full of contempt to a woman that never showed me anything but love, patience and faith.  These days, I just hope to be half of the woman and mother she was.

Maggie was, too:  "My mom is patient and loving and trusting, even toward some who seemed undeserving, and as a result I thought her blind. She is devoted, even to a husband who had demons enough for both of them, and I thought her weak. She has an implicit faith and almost spiritual innocence usually reserved for children, even when faced with unimaginable loss, and I thought her na├»ve. 

And she has a commitment to her family and her life that, unbelievably, I found limiting. She is secure and beautiful and strong, and I misread it all.

What I mistook for blindness was the most profound patience and ability to forgive that I have ever witnessed. I thanked her by doing every possible wrong thing, taking every possible wrong turn, learning every possible lesson the hard way -- academically, romantically, alcoholically -- almost daring her to turn away from me. She never did.

What I mistook for naivete was, in fact, the kind of unquestioning faith in God, in herself and in others that I now envy. I thanked her by not believing in anything, not even myself."

In the second, Claire Bidwell Smith talks about being a motherless mother.  Now that she has children of her own, she feels reconnected to her own mother in ways she never anticipated - and that's my experience, as well.   I can actually feel my mother coming through me as I start to navigate the waters of parenthood with Diana.

Claire writes:  "And in this wildly unexpected way, I feel as though I have been given my mother back. Time and time again, I hear her voice in mine, I feel her hand in mine. She is there with me when I'm teaching Vera how to bake cookies, or when I'm up in the middle of another sleepless night, cradling my smallest. 

It's not even that I feel like she's been given back to me, but that my mother has been given to me anew. I understand her in a way I never did before. I see her in a way I never did. When I tuck my girls into bed at night, when I smooth Vera's hair away from her forehead when she has a fever, or scoop Juliette into my arms after a tumble, my heart spilling over for them, I often find myself breathless with the realization of just how much my mother loved me. 

They will never know her the way I did. They will never call her grandma or experience any of her mischievous adventures. They will never get care packages in the mail from her or cook with her in the kitchen as I did. But they will know her in the way that I love them, in the way that I see them and hear them and name them."

In small ways, every day, I am starting to like I know my mom more than I ever did, and it makes me sad and grateful at the same time.  It's complicated to be a motherless mother.  Honestly, I hate being part of this club, but it is comforting to know that I am not alone. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Grateful for Autocorrect Fails

Yesterday, I was with a group of friends, and one said it had been a while since she put pen to paper to do a gratitude list...and then, I remembered that *I* hadn't done one in a while.  It is certainly long overdue! 

One of my favorite things about taking time to stop and do a gratitude list is this:  the more I do it, the more things I find myself feeling grateful for.  It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy; thinking about the positive things in my life, brings more of them.  Even when events occur that may not seem like blessings, at first, if I am in the habit of practicing gratitude, I can usually find a silver lining in there, somewhere.

So, here goes!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Reliable day care/care givers - S and I both have busy jobs, and I can honestly say that I would be lost without the wonderful people that care for our daughter, Diana. 

- Friends that are willing to work at our friendship - everyone I know is busy, running in a million different directions.  I am blessed that I have friends that are willing to use their precious few minutes in the car alone to try to connect, or are willing to make the drive out to my house to hang out with me, or are willing to plan a lunch date two weeks from now because we want to make sure it definitely happens.

- Technology - it would be a mess trying to accomplish (or even remember!) every we do each day without technology like our smartphones, laptops, baby monitors, GPS's, etc. 

- Funny moments that break up the day - like when autocorrect ruins a romantic text I was trying to send my husband!  It's good to have a good belly laugh in the middle of a work day.  (I've especially loved the funny comments people have left on Facebook status about this happening)  He had just told me about an older couple he had observed helping each other maneuver through airport security. 

- A happy, healthy daughter - she is having so much fun these days, crawling and exploring.  I just love spending time with her, and she cracks herself up.  It is literally music to my ears to hear her giggle.  I melt EVERY time. 

And now, my prayer for the day:
Dear God, thank you for the reminder to take a minute to pause and practice gratitude.  I know well the benefits of this exercise, and can't wait to start feeling them!  Thank you for all of the many blessings You have given me, both those listed above and those known only in my heart.  I know that I am a truly blessed woman.  Help me today to look for ways to SHOW my gratitude, and if there's some way I can be of service to You and Your kids.  Amen 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Don't Buy Me A Mother's Day Present - Really!

My daughter is 7 months old, and I am basically obsessed with her. Anyone that knows me knows that I love being a mom - and I obviously write it about her adventures quite frequently here in this blog.

So, my husband was SHOCKED when I told him I didn't want a Mother's Day present.  I really, really, really don't.  This isn't a trick, this isn't a game.  I don't want one.  Actually, to be more accurate, I don't need one. 

I just had a birthday last weekend, and he went WAY over the top for it, which was fun...but now, as a mom, I am much more aware of what that money could be used to buy (i.e. diapers, clothes, day care...).  While it was super sweet that he got me an awesome Coach purse (kudos to him for picking out a good one!), and took me out to not one, but TWO birthday dinners, I was stressed out the whole time, calculating what he had spent so far.

Tuesday night, we were paying bills, and I made him look me in the eye, hear the words that I was saying and PROMISE that he wasn't going to buy me anything for Mother's Day.  Get me a card or something.  Write me a letter that tells me what a good mom I am (and hopefully, you won't have to lie!).  Or better yet, take care of the things that need to be done around the house for the entire day.  I definitely wouldn't mind having a day off!  (Not that he doesn't usually help...but to have a whole day off would be pretty awesome!)

My mother used to reply, when we asked her what she wanted for a particular holiday, with the same thing, every time:  "I just want you kids to get along."  As an adult, now, I know she actually meant that! 

Am I nuts?  Am I setting a dangerous precedent?  Will I live to regret announcing this to my husband and to you all? 

I don't care.  I don't need "stuff".  Don't get me wrong...I LIKE stuff.  I just know now that I don't need it to feel like I am appreciated or recognized.  These days, I would much rather a sweet compliment, a nice letter, or an act of kindness.  So, if my husband asks you - recommend one (or all) of those, please!  I really mean it! 

(*Note:  This doesn't mean that everyone else feels the same way.  Please consult the mothers on your list to find out if they would like presents or not.  You don't want to mess this one up.  Trust me.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

We are in trouble - she's officially crawling now!

Last night, Diana was playing on her play mat - and I had one of her favorite toys positioned a little distance away.  After weeks of doing the "Army Crawl", she decided to really go for it.  She tucked her legs up under her, and start crawling.

It's amazing to me that, one day, Diana can't do something, and then, the next day, it's like she's been doing it for months!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What I Know To Do When Tragedy Strikes

Yesterday, when the news broke about the explosions at the Boston Marathon, my heart sunk, and thought, "Here we go again...".  

As a member of the media, it is a fine line to walk when sharing the news about an event like this.  I want to share the facts, but they are often unclear and unsatisfying at the time when people are the hungriest for details.  I don't want to downplay any of what occurred or leave anything pertinent out, but also don't want to embellish or editorialize. 

I remember when 9/11 occurred, in the chaos that ensued afterwards, and the frantic scramble to get information out to those that needed it.  We did the best we could, and yet, still felt drastically inadequate. 

So, this morning, before I came to work.  I said a simple prayer, "God, please help me to share what needs to be shared.  Please help me to know what needs to be said." 

And the prayer was answered.

This morning, as I logged onto Facebook and Twitter, I saw a trend that warmed my heart:  a flat out insistence to focus on the positive.  When tragedies like these occur, it's easy to get mired down in the awfulness, the carnage, the fear, the damage done, or at least, it is for me.  However, today, I am encouraged by the fact that most people seem to be focusing on the positive. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have shared the message from comedian and actor Patton Oswalt (which you can read HERE, in it's entirety), where he sums up his post with:  "So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

Author Elizabeth Gilbert posted this today:  "What I've taken to doing in instances like this is to use my heartache as a motivation to reach out deeper into my own community, offering help to those who are suffering right in front of me. I do this quite consciously in the name of all those who are out of my reach — in the name of all those whom I cannot assist. With Boston's anguish in my heart, then, I will be making offerings in the coming week to my local cancer support center, to my local Habitat for Humanity, to my local food pantry. Does it make sense for me to do this? I don't know, but somehow doing this always eases my heart at least somewhat.

My friend, Mike, who lives in Boston posted this morning about the incredible bravery of the first responders and other people that wanted to help:  "As Boston gets back to it's feet this morning, I am once again thrilled to see the bravery and humanity of the people of this the first responders did during 9/11, as soon as these bombs tore through the crowds, the heroes ran to help those injured. Did you see former patriot Joe Andruzzi carrying a survivor from the scene, just as his brothers had done in the towers that day in New York? You can mess with us, but the good people outnumber the bad. Try to take us down? You failed. AGAIN."

Another friend, Kevin, made this point:  "To me yesterday was about hero's. Seeing all those people run towards the danger. To help other human beings. It's amazing. It will always overpower those who want to do harm. I wish the people who did this would see what I see - no matter what you do - love always wins. You may temporarily set it back for a moment - but it always triumphs." 

So, THAT is what I am going to focus my energy on today:  the POSITIVE. I think that Mr. Rogers said it best:  
I am going to look for the helpers - and BE one of them, too.  We can donate blood at the American Red Cross (they are always in need), visit the elderly, hug the sick, share a smile with the downtrodden. Kindness breeds kindness...and the world, and my own heart, need that. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

She can't crawl - but she's getting where she want to go!

Diana is now officially 7 months old - and she wants to crawl SO badly!  She is really close to making it happen, too.  She can get up on all fours and rock back and forth - but when it comes to actually moving, she gets a little frustrated and has found a more efficient way to get from point A to point B:  an army crawl.  She drops her back end, and drags herself across the floor to the toy she wants!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Do you think she gets her stubborness from me?

We've been trying to get Diana to try new foods:  sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, avocado, cereal...

So far, she's not a huge fan of anything off of a spoon.  After some assurances from my mommy friends, I know that she's not going to starve, and that this phase of eating is mostly about developing a palate and learning the skill of eating off of a spoon. 

She's found a good way to let us know her opinion about the food we are trying to serve her.  Do you think she gets her stubborness from me??  (God help me...if she's like this at 6 months, we are in for quite the ride!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Parking lot gratitude

Like most people, I have a jam-packed schedule, so today, when I found myself with a spare hour between appointments, it felt like a luxury. Truth be told, it is! I often schedule my days so tightly that I even have to remember to account for driving time between places because otherwise, I commit myself to being in two places at once.

With time to spare, I checked a few things off of my "to do" list: went to the baby store to get a refund for a coupon I had forgotten to use when I was there last, picked out Diana's first Easter basket, cleaned the trash out of my car....nothing major, but all things that have been nagging at me.

Before my next appointment starts, I am sitting in a parking lot listening to an interview with an incredible choir director on the radio, with the sun beaming through my windows and the windows down. I have an iced green tea in my cup holder, and just ate a scrumptious birthday cake pop.

In short, life is good.

Maybe I should start scheduling some time like these in my days going forward!

Usually, I compose gratitude lists to help turn a nasty mood around, but today, I just want to do it to take stock of this moment. Maybe that will encourage me to have more of these moments!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Sunshine. Lots of places don't have any today, and it's glorious here today in Alabama.
- Starbucks gift card - S gave it to me for Christmas, and it's the gift that keeps on giving. I was able to get a treat for myself, even though we are in hard core savings mode.
- Coupons - it's become a game to me to use coupons. I don't buy anything unless it is with a coupon or on sale. It makes me feel less guilty about spending money - and I've started to keep track of how much I have saved to see it stacking up. So far, I have saved $606 in the past 32 days! Incredible!
- Friends that remember to check in when they say they will - when someone asks for prayers or tells me of an issue they are dealing with, I worry. I appreciate them reporting back how things turned out.
- A great day care - I would never be able to do all that I do without knowing that Diana is in good hands every day.

Dear God, thank you for my many blessings - both those listed above and those You know are in my heart. Life is good. Please help me to continue to focus on the positive and outwardly show my gratitude. Amen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why I Take and Share So Many Pictures of My Daughter

It was a weekend of firsts for our little family:  first trip to see the Easter Bunny, first trip to Oak Mountain State Park, first time in a swing.  Of course, I had the camera going the whole time - I didn't want to miss a minute.   The professional photographer at the Walgreens where they had the Easter Bunny set up even had to remind me to let HIM take his photo first (the one we paid him to take!), before jumping in with my camera.

There's a couple of reasons that I want to take so many photos (and post them).  First, I do it because a lot of my family and friends live far away.  The only way for them to keep up with all of her "firsts" and fun moments is for me to take photos and videos and post them.  I wish they could all be with us all of the time, but the harsh reality is that we just don't get to see them that often.

The second, and more important, reason is because I know what it's like not to have them.  As most of you know, I lost my mom almost 13 years ago to breast cancer, at the age of 50.  It was long before I met and fell in love with husband, and long before I had the incredible opportunity to become a mom to Diana.

As we travel through the awesome journey of all of Diana's firsts, I would love to talk to my mom about them...but obviously, I can't.  The next best thing would to have photos of them, but most of those don't exist or got misplaced along the way.  

So, I've been taking photos of EVERYTHING so that Diana has a record of all of her firsts and fun moments along the way.  I certainly hope I am around for a very long time, and that I am here to have conversations with Diana when she has her first child...but just in case, I am playing paparazzi and historian.  If she ever wonders what her youth was like, you can just point her here.  (I've also started her an email account where I email her fun photos and videos, and share thoughts about her growth and life. It's kind of like a virtual baby book!)

I'm also trying to make an effort to be IN the photos (totally against my nature), so that she has her mom as part of her memories.  Too many times, I see moms behind the camera - and left OUT of the photos, and I want to make sure that doesn't happen to our family. 

So, if you'll indulge me - here are some memories we made this weekend. 

Dressed up for the Bunny!

"Hmmm...I am not sure about this guy..."

Bundled up and ready to roll at the park!

She's a happy girl hanging out with her mommy and daddy at the park!

First swing - Daddy's pushing!

Mommy's turn to push!

"Okay, now, I am starting to like this whole swinging thing!"

And now, for the video!   

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pretty Girl in her Party Dress

On Wednesday night, we took Diana to dinner for a friend's birthday - and I decided to get her all dressed up in one of the outfits that my awesome mother-in-law got for her for Easter.  I have never really been a girly girl, but it is so much fun to dress Diana in pretty girly clothes!   The good news is that she seems to be a willing model! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meditation Fail

A few weeks ago, I got a personal email from Oprah (we are totally BFF's) inviting me to be a part of her 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  It's a 3 week course with Deepak Chopra, where Oprah and I are going to better learn how to make meditation a part of our daily lives and how to deepen our ability to clear the mind.

I failed on Day 1.

On Monday, I noticed an opportune moment to go meditate - Diana was quietly playing on the floor with some blocks, she had been fed and changed and seemed content.  S was finished with his work day and was watching TV.   So, I told him that I was going into our room for about 15 minutes to meditate. 

He smirked, "Meditate? Really?"

My response:  "Shut up!  I need to get some serenity."  (Probably not the best way to begin...)

I carried my laptop into the bedroom, settled into a comfortable chair, and settled in to listen to my good friend Oprah teach me how to meditate.  After a brief introduction, Oprah turned things over to Deepak, who instructed me to close my eyes and focus on his words and a certain mantra.  He said to come back to that mantra whenever my mind wandered....

Which was basically the ENTIRE time I was attempting to meditate.  My little brain went into OVERDRIVE the minute he said to clear my mind and start focusing on my breath. 

"Do I need to get more granola bars at the grocery store?"
"Did I remember to start the dryer?"
"Is it time to book our summer vacation?"
"I wonder how K's doctor's appointment went."
"Do the dogs need a bath?"
"Remember that time in high school...."

Like a ping pong ball being batted around by Forrest Gump, my brain jumped from topic to topic, all the while Deepak was trying to get me to center my thoughts on the mantra. 

After several minutes of trying to focus and breath, my thoughts did eventually start to slow down, and I actually did start to feel more serene. By the end of the 15 minute segment, I actually felt pretty relaxed.

About 30 seconds later, my husband walked into the bedroom, with a smile on his face, "How did it go?"  I reported my progress, and asked him why he had come in.  He said, "Diana is taking a nap now, so I think I am going to 'meditate' too", and then, went to lay down to take a short nap.  (Silly husband, napping and meditating are NOT the same thing...)

He invited me to lay down with him for a minute and snuggle (so sweet, right??), but when I went to try to get under the covers with him, they were all tangled.  Immediately, I started wrestling with them, kicking wildly, muttering swear words, and S burst out laughing.  "How's that meditating working out for you?"

Apparently, not so well.

Maybe I should try it for more than one day in a row - what do you think?  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Progress Report on New Years Resolutions

I know you've just been hanging on the edge of your seat wanting to know how I am doing with my New Year's Resolutions - so, here's the update!  Yes, I am still plugging away on them...

1.  Get real estate license:  I have decided to get it through Realty South - but am putting off starting the course for two more months, because of working on a free lance voice project...more on that below.

2.  Clean out every closet/attic in the house:  I have cleaned out all of our linen closets (and as luck would have it, we had a neighbor that had a house burn down and needed linens the day after I did it!), and I have cleared out all of the maternity clothes from my closet.  I have also given all of the clothes that Diana has outgrown to other mommies that might be able to use them.  The bathroom and kitchen are next!!

3.  Run 3 different 5 k's:  I was GOING to run one last Saturday, but had to, that didn't happen.  I've been training, and think I might try to run in one called the Rumpshaker at the end of the month.

4.  Raise $5000 for Komen:  We are in FULL swing in trying to get sponsors and donations for this year's Chefs for the Cure (June 20th at The Club!).  So far, I have secured donations of auction items that should get Komen about $500...10% of the way there.  More to come!

5.  Rework my blog to make it profitable:  Haven't done this at all.  I need to get more consistent about posting before I try to do this.  This will be my second post this week, so that's progress....

6.  Create new profile for Voice 123/ACX and pursue voicework:  Done and done!  I won an audition to do an audiobook - and have started recording it!  I am really excited, and can't wait to share the finished project with you!!!!  It's very time consuming - which is why the real estate license/blogging has taken kind of a backseat. 

7.    Get back down to my wedding weight by my anniversary:  I am officially down 10 pounds since the beginning of the year!  I'll keep chipping away - and it will happen!!

8.  Beef up our savings account/emergency fund and save up for a down payment on a new house:  Emergency fund is FULLY funded and we are 10% of the way on our way to getting the amount we want for our down payment.  My wonderful husband is working a part time job to make more progress possible - and I am doing all the freelance/endorsement work I can find to make it happen sooner than later!

9.  Drink 64 ox. of water a day:  Most days, I hit this or get close, but I am glad that I am checking in on this because I need to be more diligent about it.  I can totally tell a difference when I do - and it's so simple to do!

So, there you have it!  Progress in most areas - and a recommitment to making progress in the other areas, too!  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Getting ready for Easter

My fantastic in-laws watched Diana on Saturday night so S and I could have a "date night".  We all stayed over at their house Saturday night, and on Sunday morning, Nana gave Diana some very cute Easter, of course, we had to try some of them on!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Her eyes are still haunting me....

I can't shake this bad feeling I have this morning.  Last night, S and I went to go see his cousin Meghan play in the Alabama State High School Basketball Tournament at the BJCC in Birmingham.  We had a great time watching her play and hanging out with his family.

But something happened in the bathroom that disturbed me so much that I could barely sleep last night.

When I took Diana to the bathroom to change her, I witnessed something that made my stomach turn.  I was just finishing up and packing everything back up in her diaper bag when I head three loud smacks and then, a small child beginning to wail.

I looked up just in time to see an older, heavy set woman dragging a little girl, who couldn't have been more than 2 years old, by her arm into the restroom.  The woman then forcefully guided the little girl into one of the stalls and said loudly, "You get in there and go!"  The poor little child was terrified and complied, crying all the while.

I hadn't realized I was staring until the woman turned and made eye contact with me.  We stared at each other for at least 15 seconds.  It was almost as if she were daring me to say something to her.

I am ashamed to say that I didn't.  I broke eye contact first and quickly packed up the rest of Diana's belongings and scurried out of the bathroom, all the while thinking, "I should say something.  I should say something.  That poor little girl.  I should say something." 

Instead, I scurried off to go back to our seats, clutching Diana to my chest, and silently praying for that small girl's well being.  Ultimately, I chose not to say anything for two reasons:  I didn't want her to come after me and my daughter, and I didn't want to make her more angry and make things worse for that small child once I wasn't around.

The little girl's face is still haunting me.  Last night, as I was trying to go to sleep, I couldn't stop hearing those smacks or seeing the anguish in those big brown eyes.  After laying there sleepless for an hour, I finally drifted off.

This morning, I am saying a prayer for that child, and all the children in similar circumstances:  "God, please look kindly on those children who have been denied the gift of a safe and happy childhood. Protect them from abuse and neglect and let them find comfort in Your love and protection. Help all of us to show sympathy and compassion to troubled children whose words and actions test patience and understanding. Let these children see the world as the beautiful place You created. Help them find the courage to overcome their fears so they may learn to trust and love. Grant those who have young lives entrusted in their care Your wisdom and kindness so they may provide the kind of love all children need to grow and mature. Amen.”  (From 

Will you send up a prayer today, as well?  I am sure she can use it. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Filling the silence with awkward statements

I have often made inappropriate comments when I feel socially awkward, just to fill the silence. It's ironic considering that I actually speak for a living and feel very comfortable speaking in front of lots of people, off the cuff.

It actually happens mostly in smaller social settings, and I don't even usually know I am doing it until after I am staring into the face of someone that I have just made really uncomfortable.  Usually, I am trying to be funny, hoping that humor will break the ice or make the other people in the room like me more.  (Pitiful, I know...but sometimes, it works for me...)

One of those moments happened when my husband and I had only been dating for a few months.  We went to a Christmas party of a coworker, and I wanted to be one of the "cool kids".  I made special cookies and brought them with me.  Apparently, in my haste to get out of the house, I hadn't noticed the glob of peanut butter that made its way into my hair.

To my horror, the errant glob of peanut butter lodged in my hair was one of the first things that the hostess noticed when I walked into the party.  It didn't help matters that I had carried in a plate of cookies that were in the shape of balls.  (I'll let you conjure your own inappropriate comment about that aspect of the evening.)   Instead of politely placing the cookies on the counter and excusing myself to the bathroom to address the glob situation, I loudly said to everyone in the room:

"It's not the worst thing I have ever had in my hair." 

I thought I was being funny!  Mission unaccomplished.  There was a big pause of awkward silence, until someone far more graceful than I am changed the subject, took the cookies from me and guided me into the kitchen to get a beverage.  S was horrified, and has repeatedly used that as an example of a how NOT to act when we are in a new social setting.

Today, I ended up in one of those awkward social situations again.

While I was in a ladies' locker room.

Mostly naked.

S bought me a fabulous spa day for Valentine's Day - massage, facial, and a mani/pedi! - and I was in the ladies' locker room changing into the spa's robe and putting my clothes and purse in a locker.  A woman approached a locker two doors down from mine.  We exchanged awkward smiles and then, she sighed.

Lady:  I have been here all day.

Me:  Lucky you.  I am just getting started with my day.  My husband got me this as a Valentine's Day present!

Lady:  Me too.

Me:  That's exciting!

Lady:  (rustling around in her locker, head buried looking for something) Yeah - I guess.  I think it's kind of weird.

Me:  What?  Why?  I have never had anything like this ever, and I am so excited.

Lady:  Well, we are in the middle of a divorce.

{giant awkward pause while she made extremely awkward eye contact}

Me:  At least it's a really nice parting gift? 

{She walked away.}

Anyone else guilty of doing this?  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Does this count as her first word?

Saturday night, I was changing Diana - and she was talking up a storm!  Just making noises, being, after I got her redressed, I decided to roll a little video so I could show S later that night.

Then, it sounded like she said her first word....

Does that count?  Did she say what I think she did??  S is pretty psyched.  Now, we haven't been able to replicate the moment...but he is claiming dibs on her first word! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A double standard rears its ugly head

Quite frequently, I feel like I am failing - because I can't find time for all the things I want to do.  I am a woman that wants to do it ALL - and sets a crazy amount of New Year's resolutions to challenge myself to make it happen. 

Often, I feel like I am playing one of those whack-a-mole games where I can never quite get all the moles back in their holes.  If I spend time working out, then, I am not spending time working on getting my real estate license.  If I spend time on my real estate license, then, I am not spending time working on fundraising for Komen.  If I spend time fundraising for Komen, then, I am not spending enough time with my husband.  If I am spending time with my husband, I am not getting the house clean. And the list goes on....

Recently, I had a conversation with my good friend Donna and got very honest about feeling so very overwhelmed and burnt out.  It was the end of a week of my daughter being sick, which had required me to stay home with her and derailed a lot of my best laid plans to check things off my list that week.  I was feeling like I had massively failed - when the reality was that I hadn't failed at all.  I had my most important job:  taking care of my daughter.  And, I'll go ahead and pat myself on the back a little:  I had done it well! Instead of focusing on that fact, I was only focusing on the things that hadn't gotten done - and on burning myself out trying to find time to get to them. 

Donna reminded me to slow down, and focus on the care I had given my daughter.  To stop and remember to take care of MYSELF and not try to do it all, all at once.  It felt like GRACE. 

If the conversation had been reversed, and it was her calling ME to share with me the same situation, I would have responded to her with kindness, caring and compassion (exactly like she responded to me!). 

Why is it so hard for us to extend ourselves the grace that we gladly give our friends?  Why do we impose impossible standards on ourselves?  Why do we berate ourselves for falling short of those standards - especially when we know that, in reality, there's really no way to have and do it "all"?  

I wish I had some great, wise answer to share - but for now, I will just share this: When I catch myself being hard on myself, I am going to try to back up and talk to myself like I would to a friend.  When I set my resolutions, they were supposed to be fun goals for the year - not something to make myself feel bad if I don't do it all, right NOW! 

In the wise words of one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Acuff, I am going to give myself some grace today.   In the wise words of Brene Brown, I am going to try to focus on the fact that I am enough

Do you have the same double standard when it comes to how you treat yourself vs. your friends? 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Now, I know where the name comes from...

I've done yoga for years - and have always done the pose "happy baby" without really thinking much about the name.  Now, I know where it comes from - Diana demonstrates:

She has also mastered the "upward dog" pose:

My 5 1/2 month old is a yoga master!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Advice from an old 40 year old....

I love this letter from Julianna W. Miner, a 40 year old mom, to her kids!  Great advice to pass along - or for me to remember TODAY (at age 36!).  

Hello my very beloved offspring,

Someday when you read this, I will be even more ancient than I am right now. Someday I hope very much to be a crotchety old lady who says wildly inappropriate things and embarrasses you by grabbing your father's keister in the retirement community where we live. But for now, I'm only 40.

Everyone says turning 40 is a really big deal but I have not found that to be so. But upon this occasion (and just in case I drop dead tomorrow), I thought I'd tell you what my perspective on life is at this particular moment. Then when you turn 40 and start wondering "Why don't I feel like a real grown-up yet?" you can read this and feel better. Because at least you will realize that your immaturity is in part hereditary. Sorry about that.

Relax, we're all faking it.
This is kind of a big deal, you guys. Because your whole life -- there will always be someone. Someone who you look at and think, did I miss something? How come that person gets to be like that and I have to be like this? Sometimes it's not just a person; sometimes it's a whole group of people. I wasted a lot of time thinking that at any moment, those folks would figure out that I was a big fraud and then they would shun me. It's actually a thing. It's called Impostor Syndrome and lots of people experience it at different points in their lives. So guess what? Turns out it's totally normal to feel like you're faking it. Just do it with good manners and you'll be fine.

Know what makes you happy.
Here's what makes me happy: the three of you. What the tops of your heads smell like. What it sounds like when you laugh so hard you might pee yourself. What you're like right now, what you were, and all the things you're going to be. Your father -- all parts. The rest of our family. Friends who are kind and who don't get mad at me if I forget to call them back right away. Having a big, silly dog. Also Korean barbeque, aged Gouda, and pretty much any kind of dumpling. I know what makes me happy and as a result, I know what's important to me. It's called having priorities and thanks to you, I finally have some.

Don't invite poison into your life.
Did you ever read something and you were like "holy crap -- THAT IS A MOTHERFUNKING TRUTH BOMB"? Terry Pratchett is my favorite writer and he wrote that: "poison goes where poison's welcome." You know that's right. And guess what else? Drama goes where drama's welcome. Pain goes where pain's welcome. Betrayal goes where betrayal's welcome. All these things are going to find you anyway, so for the love of GOD, don't make them welcome. But you know what else? This thought has a bossy older sister and that sister says "light and love go where they're welcome, too. SO MAKE THEM WELCOME." Even when you feel like you don't deserve them, you really do. And so does everyone else.

Simmer the hell down.
I know that you probably think I'm an unrepentant shrieker. But here's a little nugget for your bucket: I have never regretted a single time that I kept my mouth shut, got my crazy under control, and didn't lose my schmidt. But I regret every single time I ever yelled at someone (including you guys). I regret every time I ever unloaded on someone because "they need to hear how I REALLY feel." I regret saying things that made me feel better for about five seconds until I realized they could never be unsaid. I find myself at stop lights, cringing at things I said 20 years ago. The words that haunt me are not the angry ones people have said to me, you guys. Let's just leave it at that.

The universe doesn't give you something without taking something away.
There are a million different ways to say this. Isaac Newton said, "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." Bridget Jones said, "When one part of your life starts going OK, another falls spectacularly to pieces." And everyone's grandfather ever said, "Nothing comes for free." It's all true. You get married and have kids? You will get so much, but don't kid yourself -- you will have given stuff up along the way. You want a promotion more than anything and you get it. Then suddenly your whole life is about your job. You will do anything to be with that one person or get that one thing or achieve that next gold star... But getting what you want comes with a price (and you usually won't know what it is till long after the fact), so just be prepared for that.

Everything that sucks in your life is there to teach you a lesson.
Take your time, but make sure you try and figure out what that lesson is, because it's always good for you. So when you're lying prone on the floor, surrounded by dirty underpants and Pringles crumbs, maybe stop sobbing "Why is this happening to me?" long enough to ask yourself "Why is this happening to me?"

Value resiliency and not just brokenness.
There was a time when I was young where I felt damaged and I pretty much only identified with people I thought were as messed up as I was. Because they would understand and not judge me. But at some point, I decided to focus on people who are trying to deal with the junk in their trunk and are trying to make things better. Sometimes it takes a really long to time to do that, I think. And notice, I didn't say succeed -- I said try. That's the thing about going through shit in your life. You have to try and wade through it because the alternative is just to stand there, neck-deep in feces. There was a time when I could stand by the people who wouldn't even try to fight their way out, but I can't now. Because I don't want to get sucked in. Now I have priorities. Besides, it's really not your job to fix people. It's your job to love them while they fix themselves.

Understand the power of an honest apology.
Oh my sweet baby condor, I have screwed up so many times. But I try to admit when I'm wrong and I try to make amends for my mistakes. The thing is, though -- you have to really mean it. A disingenuous apology is a very bad thing. It's a lie, wrapped in bacon. But not the good bacon. The kind of bacon they serve in England, that never gets crispy. It's a lie wrapped in flaccid, probably contagious bacon. It's bad.

Gratitude is actually about respect.
I'm not just talking about saying thank you (though saying please and thank you is incredibly important). What I'm talking about is the more Oprah-esque kind of gratitude for the big picture stuff. If you have a family who loves you, if you're healthy, if you have food in the fridge, a job, health insurance, clean water to drink -- be genuinely grateful for that stuff. Be grateful because you are no more entitled to those things than any other human on the planet. And there are millions of good, hard-working people in this world who are desperate for all those things. And it's profoundly disrespectful TO THEM to take what you have for granted and throw it around like it doesn't mean anything.

When you're feeling your worst, when things seem hopeless, there is one thing that will make it better.
Here's the deal: there will always be people who really need help and there will always be something you can do. So pull your head out of your haunches, get your hands dirty and do some good for someone else. This will remind you of who you are and will help repair some of the worm-holes in your soul that come from seeing and feeling stuff.

You can always start over tomorrow.
You're going to make mistakes. You may find there are stretches of your life when you don't like who you've become. You may find yourself listening to the Talking Heads and wondering, "HOW DID I GET HERE?" You may forget to go the gym for about three years. But if you wake up tomorrow and try hard enough to wade through it, you will eventually come out on the other side.

And, God willing, I'll be there waiting for you on the veranda at the retirement community. With one hand holding a refreshing cocktail and with the other, squeezing your father.

Your mom

See the original at:

Monday, February 4, 2013

My cute little cupid!

Diana has been under the weather for the past 10 days (argh!), so I am having to get creative to keep us occupied and come up with fun things to do indoors, at the house.  One of my friends sent me a photo and said "You have to do this with Diana...", that featured several shots of a very cute baby in a onesie with a heart on it, next to the letters that spelled out "LOVE".

Challenge accepted!

We had fun doing our little photo shoot - and I loved the result!

What do you think?? 

It was actually a lot more simple than I thought it would be!  I used a tablecloth from Christmas time (yay for red being useful for multiple holidays!) - and taped regular 8 1/2" x 11" printer paper together to cut out the big letters to lay down next to Diana.  I stood on a chair and zoomed way in and took as many shots as I could with each letter next to her before she rolled over on to it.

I sent them to my iPhone, and used a free app called Fuzel to pull them together into the 4-shot.  I also chose a border and caption.  

We like the way it turned out so much that we ordered cards for Valentine's Day for the family and friends that live out of town! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Can you get a concussion from head butting a toilet?

It's a serious question - can you get a concussion from head butting a toilet?

See...what had had happened was....

I was in a rush to go use the bathroom and get back to the studio - so, I decided to multitask.  While I was um...taking care of business...I also decided to put my hair back in a pony tail.  So, I positioned the hair tie on my wrist, ready to be deployed onto my assembled hair.

Here's where I had a judgement of error.

I forgot that the toilets at work have a much taller flushing mechanism than the ones at home.  So, when I vigorously threw my head back to capture my hair in my hands - I literally reverse head butted the toilet.

Big thud.

Saw stars.

Yelped in pain.

And because of being seated for the um....other task at hand...I couldn't fall to the ground like I wanted to.  I just held on to the rails to steady myself and whimpered.

Now, my ears are ringing and my head hurts. 

Is that what a concussion feels like?  Or I am just hoping for something really bad so that people will be compassionate rather than make fun of me?  (Awww...who am I kidding?  People are going to make fun of me even if it IS a concussion!  I would - if it happened to someone else...but let's face it, stuff like this only happens to me!!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

One big difference between men and women

I am very excited - S and I are getting ready to take our first trip away from the baby.  Nana is going to watch her for the weekend, and we have another couple going with us up to the mountains to rent a cabin.

Today, I was texting with Kim about the trip - and she mentioned some of the food items she is going to bring:  coffee, filters, all the ingredients to make sausage quiche for our first morning there, other breakfast goodies for the other two mornings we are there. We agreed that we would, most likely, go out for the rest of our meals. She's also bringing her cookbook, so we have options if we choose to cook any of our other meals.

Then, I got home, and saw this on the kitchen counter.

When I asked my sweet husband why he had purchased them, he said "They are snacks for this weekend."

That was the full extent of his purchases.


For a three day weekend.

And that, my friends, is the difference between men and women.

(Alright, to be fair, S also made reservations for us to go out to eat on Sunday night, and has also mentioned that he just figured we would go out for all of our meals.  I am 1000% sure we won't starve!)

Do you have a story like this?  What makes you REALLY notice the difference between men and women?  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How I Ruined A Sexy Moment With My Husband

As new parents, my husband and I are trying to navigate this new world and find the balance between being parents and remembering that we are still husband and wife, as well. 

Because I haven't been feeling too secure about how I look, I have asked S to be a little more obvious about his feelings towards me to help bolster my self esteem. Yes, I know it's "self" esteem - but it doesn't hurt to have your husband throw you a compliment!

So, being the good husband that he is, S has been making great attempts for the past several days.  On Sunday night, I got roses (for no reason!), and he's been making sure to give me more hugs and kisses and say nice things.  Truth be told, I have been eating it up! 

Well, last night, without meaning to do so, I ruined one of his well-intentioned attempts to have a "sexy moment". 

I was on my way to the treadmill (gotta stick with those resolutions!), and he stopped me and said "Come here for a minute..." I walked over, and he grabbed a single out of his wallet and attempted to tuck it in to the waistband of my pants. 

That's where the moment got ruined.

I was wearing my maternity stretch pants (I was going to the treadmill - I didn't think I needed to be sexy!), and so when he reached for the waistband, he had to lift my shirt higher and higher and higher.  Finally, I just grabbed the dollar bill and say "Thanks for the try, babe", and we started laughing. 


Maybe next time. 

At least he tried? 

How have YOU ruined a sexy moment? 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why I am not mad at the government for my smaller paycheck

Adversity is a comma in our story, not a period.
It is not the end…often, it is the point at which the story really gets good.

After all, cloudless skies make for boring sunsets.

Safe adventures make for boring stories.
--Jon Acuff

Often times when I am in a rough spot, I feel "stuck" or like it's going to last forever.  I need to remember the quote above, and that adversity is an opportunity.  As cliche as it might sound, there IS always sunshine after the rain (even when it lasts for 18 days in a row like it has here in Alabama!).  

I have a choice to make:  am I going to stay stuck, or am I going to take some action to get out of my rut?   

For today, I am choosing action.  I am chipping away at my resolutions - a lot of which involve bettering my financial situation.  Each time I find myself with a few extra minutes, I am taking one small step towards furthering my progress on those goals. 

A lot of people were posting today about how frustrated they are about their paychecks getting cut due to the actions (or inaction!) of Congress.  Some people were blaming Obama.  I am frustrated, as well - but it's not like we didn't see this coming.  The fiscal cliff was years in the making - and the responsibility to come up with a coping strategy is up to US, not Congress or the President.  

Instead of posting about my frustrations or engaging in long conversations about why it's all their fault, I am taking a long, hard look at what I can do to better my own situation.  Does it suck?  Absolutely.  Does it help to complain about it?  NO!   

This payroll tax nonsense doesn't have to be as bad as a lot of people want to make it out to be.  This COULD be an awesome opportunity to pursue extra opportunities to make more money.  Who knows?  It might be just the motivation you need to try something you've been putting off for years.  I've always been interested in real estate - and now, I am in the process of getting my license!  

My story is just getting good....

Stay tuned. 

What have you been putting off trying?  Could this be the comma in your story??

Friday, January 11, 2013

A sure fire fix for the blues

I have been kind of bummin' this week - I think it's a combination of the rain and clouds for the past 10 days, over committing myself, still fighting a cold, and being tired.

However, I have a sure fire cure for the blues...anyone want to borrow her? I am so grateful for her. She makes everything feel ok again...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Progress report on New Years' Resolutions

It's January 10th - and I know it's become kind of a punch line for some people to joke about already "falling off the wagon" on resolutions they made for 2013, but I am trying to stick with all NINE that I made!

So, here goes:

1. Get real estate license - I have an appointment next week to talk to someone about how to pursue this! 

2. Clean out every closet in whole house and attic - and donate/sell everything we don't need!  One box down!  I cleared our DVD drawer - and started in on the bookshelf.  We also put the Christmas stuff up in the attic - and I threw out an entire box of stuff we will never use again! 

3. Run 3 different 5k's - I am in week 2 of Run University - and so far, so good!  Signed up for Dirty Girl Run in March - Race for the Cure in October - need to find one to do mid-year to stay motivated.  Even while being sick this week, I ran - I figured I would STILL be sick whether I ran or not, so I forced myself to get on the treadmill.  Here's to Week Three!

4. Raise $5000 for Komen - Arranged for some publicity for our Chefs for the Cure event, which will hopefully bring in some big bucks this year. 

5. Rework my blog to make it profitable - I wrote more often this week, which is a step in the right direction, and remembered to promote it by posting links on social media.  I have some reading I am going to do this week about what to do next. 

6. Create new profile for ACX and Voice 123 and pursue voice work - I sent an email to find out more about premium membership for Voice 123, but other than that, I couldn't do much because of being sick.  No one wants my voice when I sound like this.

7. Get back down to my wedding weight by my anniversary - I lost 2.8 pounds this week!  37.2 to go!  We had one night where we went a little crazy, fueled by exhaustion and a steroid shot that the doctor gave me to try to beat my cold, it seemed like a great idea to eat our way through the chocolate from S's stocking and the kettle corn that my brother and his wife sent us as part of our Christmas present.  Other than that, I've been pretty good - my friend Alison and I are reporting to each other about our tracking progress, and that helps keep me accountable too. 

8. Beef up our savings account and fully fund our "down payment" fund - We started Diana's college fund this week, and readjusted our retirement contributions.  Now that we have those both in place and our automatic contributions are set to go, we can focus on socking away any extra in savings.  (I also spent some time this week looking online at dream houses, which kept me motivated!)  We went to Costco to do a lot of grocery shopping - hubby's idea! - to start getting our food budget a little more under control.  

9. Drink 64 oz of water a day - done!  This one isn't as hard as I thought it was going to be - I just need to carry a water bottle with me most of the day. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Drama in my driveway on NYE

For those of you that don't know me too well yet, there were times in my past where I may have overdone it on New Year's Eve with the revelry and rambunctiousness.  However, for the past decade or so, I've settled down quite a bit, and especially since this was our first New Year's Eve with a little one, I kind of expected a quiet night.

No such luck.

Last year, our new neighbors had a full on party, complete with over an hour of setting off fireworks in their backyard and driveway.  This year, since I saw two blue balloons on their mailbox, indicating a recently born baby boy, I thought that they might curb their festivities or eliminate them all together.

No such luck.

We had gone to a friends' house for a short while earlier in the evening - ate some yummy food, got to be a little social, but then, we headed home around 9pm to settle in for the night.  We got the baby to bed around 10pm, and decided to call it a night. 

I ended up sleeping on the couch (my beloved snores a little loudly for me to sleep through), which ended up being fortuitous, considering what unfolded just after midnight.

At the stroke of midnight, much to my dismay, the fireworks began.  It was sporadic, at first, but quickly picked up momentum over the next fifteen minutes.  They were having a good time, and while I was annoyed at being woken up, I recognized that it was New Year's Eve, and I would be a scrooge if I went out and asked them to stop. I hoped it would fizzle out, without incident, pretty quickly. 

No such luck.

At 12:15, I heard one of the fireworks literally fly across our lawn, and smash something glass in our driveway.  I flew off the couch - and stormed out to the driveway to find out what had been damaged.  The first words out of my neighbor's mouth were "Wow, you got out here fast!", followed quickly by many apologies, and a blurry, slurry explanation of how the bottle rocket had "tumped over" and before they could get it set up straight again, it had fired off towards our house and directly into the light fixture, smashing it. 

Realizing the futility of getting mad or attempting to do anything about the situation in the dark, I asked if we could just be done with the fireworks for the night, and said we would talk in the morning.  They agreed, and I thought we were finished for the evening. 

No such luck.

About 5 minutes later, I heard voices in the driveway, and ran to get my husband (who had slept through the first part of the incident).  He decided to go out and survey the scene.  He exited through the garage, and raised the door with the opener.  The scene we found would have been hilarious, if it weren't on our own house:  three slightly intoxicated people, who had apparently removed one of the fixtures from their own house, and were attempting to replace our fixture with theirs...complete with rewiring it, in the dark, while drunk!  Thank goodness that my husband didn't hit the light switch when he opened the garage, or he would have electrocuted them all! 

After a few minutes of supervision/consultation, my husband determined that they had, in fact, wired everything properly, and sent them home.  

So much for starting the year off quietly - instead, we had drama in our very own driveway!