Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Of course today, we're discussing New Year's Resolutions. I'm of the belief that you shouldn't need a New Year to make a fresh start, but it's definitely easier for people to spend this week reflecting on what they did last year and what they would like to be different.
Mine is simple. I just want to be BETTER.
While I have surprised myself by discovering that I am a pretty dang good mama, I could always be more patient, more willing, more compassionate to my little guy. So I want to be a better mom.
I know I could be a much, much better wife this year.
I have mastered one part of my new job, but this year I'd like to master the other half as well so that by the time next year's resolutions roll around, I'm looking at the possibility of a promotion (again).
And of course, I want to be a better woman of faith. I feel that 2010 brought me a much better understanding of how much God has provided me with, and in the coming year I really need to honour that by being a living example for Him.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Two things: number one, I got a book reader for Christmas. How exciting is that? My mom just bought it for me without asking, and when I opened it she said "have you ever thought about getting one of those?" Well, not really, because they're so ungodly expensive that I just figured that was not something I would put on any list to ask someone to buy me. But now that I have it, I'm so excited for the possibilities.
It would have helped me avoid the debacle I currently find myself in. The one where I'm sitting at work, alone, for 2 hours because we got 8" of snow and apparently I'm the only person in my office that A) has a 5-speed Mazda that can handle anything, B) didn't make the boss' list of people to call to inform we were on delay, and C) didn't feel like digging around to find the emergency voicemail number to find out for myself.
Also, my secret plan was to escape for 2 hours by myself and read one of my new books (or a tabloid mag) at Barnes and Noble, Starbucks bought with a giftcard in hand. I really mean this was my plan, to show up at work, see if anyone was there, and then backtrack 2 miles to B and N and just enjoy my own company, ALONE, after the hubbub of the past 5 days.
Except that sitting in an iced over parking lot, phoning the bookstore to find out they didn't open until 10 threw a wrench into that plan, so that didn't happen either. Oops. So you get a long overdue blog post, totally on the fly, instead.
*Sidenote: to anyone who was actually reading my "12 Days of Christmas" posts, I do still intend to highlight a charity each week from now until I've run out of places to give my money to. I just assumed that no one was reading it due to lack of comments, and also my life exploded with work stress and Christmas prep all at the same time, so I kind of just lived blog-free for a while.*
But the second reason that proves I am bookworm? My son has my genes. Through and through. After receiving a myriad of presents, most of which light up and sing to him, including a mini 4-wheeler and a life-size tool bench, he cried at bedtime last night over one toy. A Book. My dear, sweet, 16-month old budding wordsmith cried because I would not let him take his new favorite book to bed with him.
It may have been the proudest I have ever been as a mother.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Thanks to the March of Dimes, nowadays we have stories like this one of Penny and Isaak, who were born around 25 weeks. I have followed their parents' wonderful blog since before they were born, but that will be a story for another day of Christmas. This is them a few days after birth:
Pennyand here is Isaak
And thanks to the miracles of medicine, funded by the March of Dimes among others, here are P&I now at nearly 7 months:
There's really not much I can add to that adorable picture other than, if you want to see more of these miracles, PLEASE go donate. Or consider signing up for a March for Babies near you. Even at my maximum current state of laziness, I can say I have done a March for Babies, and it was so worthwhile. (Plus I got a hot dog afterwards, but really, let's go back to the babies and ooh and aah some more!)
Simply this: if anyone you know is planning to adopt a pet for Christmas, please encourage them to adopt a shelter pet. I know you are just one person, and how much difference can that really make, but trust me, it does.
I have a college friend who works here: http://www.humanesociety.org/ and while I don't agree with some of their more far-fetched political lobbying, I do believe in the work they do to stop tethering, puppy mills, and other forms of animal abuse and cruelty. Feel free to donate to them, or google your local chapter of the SPCA and donate.
My local SPCA (check out this cutie who I daydream about bringing home to keep my high-maintenance, neurotic 4 year old mutt company) has a Black Dog and Black Cat club. Until I started donating to pet causes, I had no idea that black dogs and cats were the least likely to be adopted out. If I was a good, prepared Blogger, I would include a picture of my girl here, because one look (or cuddle) with her and you would be wanting your own black shelter dog today.
(Edit: I couldn't resist throwing her on here after I got home from work.)
I know some people are all about their AKC-certified yappy lapdogs or whatever, but I can honestly tell you that any pet you get from a pet "store" or flea-market stand is likely to come from owners who only care about whoring out their mature animals to make money. That is just not right to me. I have seen enough of what happens with pet overpopulation to ensure that any pet I ever adopt will be a rescue. Use caution when answering craigslist or newspaper ads for "puppies" as well. While a lot of those are legitimate, make sure you visit where the pets are actually housed to ensure this is not someone who consistently allows their dog to get pregnant so that they can sell the litter. If you have to pay anything for a dog or cat, it should only be the adoption fee from a certified rescue shelter to cover their vet bills and operating costs. NEVER pay money to someone selling a littler of puppies at a roadside stand.
And finally, as Bob Barker always said, once you bring that lovable lovely home, PLEASE spay and neuter your pets!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
But I'm back, and I have some exciting news: first, I applied and was selected to join the Clever Girls Clever 1000. I'm still not even totally sure what that all means, but basically 4 women who have a life living in Northern Cali that makes me slightly jealous, have banded together to create a social media marketing collective that uses blogging and social networking to reach women, the real consumers with power. And despite my lack of Twitter-ese, I am good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. So I'm in.
Here's my cool new badge:
Pretty exciting, huh? So, as my first official act with this group, I am linking to a GIVEAWAY for you guys from "Yummie Tummie". Now, I have never tried their product, but anything to mask this jiggly baby belly that my husband and I have affectionately nicknamed "What Lies Beneath" would be a nice bonus to my Christmas. And Yummie Tummie is not only giving one of us our very own beautiful Glamour Embellished Tank,
but they are even giving one away to you AND a friend. I've entered, now I encourage you all to. If I win, I will definitely have to consider making some New Year's plans!
Friday, November 26, 2010
So here goes: the other favorite American holiday in November.
1. Black Friday is Never going to go away. It will just get earlier and earlier each year. I actually am boycotting stores that chose to open on Thanksgiving Day. Some think that's dumb, but hey. I am activating my rights as a consumer.
2. Christmas shopping this year will include Lots of groceries, since most of the gifts for the adults in our life will be homemade this year.
3. Holiday shopping makes me Happy at first, but eventually the day turns grumpy as I try to maintain a lighthearted, Christian composure amid the stolen parking spaces, long lines, and people grabbing the last size 5 Robeez just as my hand reaches out.
4. This year my Christmas list will include Well, I have told our families that our budget is very tight and to not go overboard, but I always put "spa services" on mine b/c we really can't afford them, but I really enjoy a massage and if someone wants to provide that for me, I will never decline! Also, anything that lets my husband and I enjoy each other: restaurant and entertainment gift cards, offers to babysit, etc. are on there. And an insulated travel coffee mug. I need to break the Starbucks addiction for good.
5. Bargain hunter, or full price shopper? Definitely a bargain hunter. I literally refused to buy cold medicine when I was sick and working last week because I didn't have my coupons with me.
6. The best and worst things about shopping is I love shopping, but the worst is spending money on a credit card and knowing that means we probably shouldn't be buying something. This year, we are breaking that cycle and only shopping with money we already have.
7. Online shopper or in-person shopper? Both. I enjoy a trip to the mall now and then (and Target weekly) but I also love being able to browse and compare prices without having to drive around town. And if I get free shipping and often don't pay sales taxes, what is to stop me?
PS, if you have an extra minute today, could you please vote for me on Picket Fence blogs? I would so appreciate that!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It doesn't matter what "it" is...just any extra little blessing that falls my way, I feel that I almost don't deserve it, with my snarkiness, profanity, selfishness, and complaining. But I know that someone up there thinks I am deserving, and is rewarding me.
Joining up with Working Mommy Wednesday today, I am beyond thankful for the last year.
For the people I have reached out to that have reciprocated in developing these wonderful internet communities where I don't have to feel like "the only one".
For the new things my beautiful, witty, silly child learns every day. He can tell the dog "OK" now when it's time for her to eat. He freely gives hugs and kisses and cries when he leaves his grandparents and shares his lovie with his friends at daycare. I cannot even explain how many ways I am thankful for that little 15 month old wonder. He fills our lives with laughter. Every day.
For my family, mom, dad, sister, a various group of in-laws that have never been anything but loving and supportive and make me know I am a part of their families. For my aunts and uncles and cousins that are more than just "see you at the 3 major holidays each year" kind of family.
For being employed, having health insurance, a house to live in, and two cars that work. (knock on wood).
For living in NC, a beautiful state where I can wear cropped pants and keep my windows open even in November.
For Dave Ramsey and his program to help us live debt free and save money for what we want to do instead of "have fun now, pay later". Once that light clicked on for me, there was no question on the goals we want to accomplish.
For the teachers at daycare who tell us almost daily that we have the most loving little boy they've ever known, and who care for him the same way I would.
For God answering my prayers, even when I don't want to know the answer.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Of course, these awards always come with a catch...this one being that I'm supposed to tell you 7 random facts about myself. Being that a blog is all about telling you about myself every day, it may be hard to find things that are interesting, but I will let y'all be the judge of that! I'm also supposed to nominate 13 people to pass along to, but with it being Thanksgiving week, I think I will skip nominations this time and just tell y'all about myself!
1) I used to say that I could live without the baby stage, and would be fine just adopting a 3 year old and taking the parenting from there. What did I know?
2) When we were little, I tortured my sister by telling her things like if she dropped a battery it would explode, or if she dropped anything down the central air vent our house would explode. I was not a very good big sister.
3) I have trouble with brevity. I tend to give people and overwhelming amount of info when I could just say/write one sentence.
4) I have a tattoo, I would say medium sized, on my back and want another one (really tiny) on the inside of my forearm or wrist but my husband says that would look like white trash, so I haven't worked up the courage to get a second one yet.
5) I introduced the man who introduced me to my husband to his wife. He was my best guy friend for a long time (we're still friends, of course, but 'couple' friends now) and we will always be grateful to each other for helping find a mate.
6) Growing up, even though I was 4 years older, my little sister was the bossy one and I was sensitive. It took us a long time to work through that. The only thing that explkains it is that I'm a Cancer and she's a Leo. If you believe in that stuff.
7) My birthday is July 7th. In college, I had a friend whose birthday was 7/7/77. I was jealous.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
First is very easy for Thanksgiving. I for one LOVE cranberry sauce and could not eat my Thanksgiving meal without it. No question. However, the canned stuff? Nasty. Is that even real cranberry or some type of gelatinous mass that tastes pretty much like the inside of a tin can? Fear not, making your own is not that difficult and may even convert a few non-cranberry-sauce eaters this year. Here goes:
1 bag of cranberries (found in the fruit/veggie section of the grocery store)
1 naval orange
1/2 or so cup of sugar, to taste
This is IT: rinse the cranberries, pick out the one or two duds that may be floating around, and dump them into a saucepan. Put the heat on about low-medium (a 4 if you are electric). Add sugar, and the juice and zest of the orange. Stir well. Then move on to another task, coming back to stir every 5-10 minutes or so until you have, well, the consistency of cranberry sauce. The berries "pop" and the sugar helps them form the "jelly" consistency. This will be nothing like the canned crap. Put into a container, let come to room temp, and store in fridge. It's best to make it one day ahead so it gets cool and the flavors meld. Will last in fridge about 3-4 days, in freezer a few weeks.
If you feel confident you can always add extra spices like nutmeg or ginger, but I actually prefer the plain cranberry-orange combo. My husband got fancy this year and made candied orange peels to put on top. We're food nerds, but in all honesty the hardest thing about this recipe is cleaning the sticky pot afterwards.
Okay, so I had planned on giving y'all the crazy delicious pumpkin pancake recipe that my husband raved was one of my best recently, but I can't find it online and now I must shuffle through all my random recipe papers at home to find it. Since I promised two, here is a link to my absolute favorite dessert, and this would not be any easier if you had 3 extra hands. It literally take 15 minutes or less to mix, and if you use one of those refrigerated Pillsbury crusts, it's virtually mess free! If you get tired of the fruit pies and love chocolate, you will love Chocolate Chess Pie. A Southern favorite. I could eat it every day!
If you like these and want to know what the pumpkin pancakes are all about, PLEASE click my Picket Fence linky. I am currently number 80 and would love to get on one of the first 2 pages again. I'll make a deal, if I get 10 votes today, I will post the pancake recipe tonight. I should let you know that I am a really, really, really good cook.
And modest to boot...
Monday, November 15, 2010
I don't care what people say about nitrates and ass and feet and whatever else may be included in those neat little tubes of salty-tastiness. Really, I've read Upton Sinclair. I know what happens in hot dog factories. I'm sure even today it's probably closer to what he described in 1906 than any of us care to admit. However, I love hot dogs. Yum.
Down here in near-eastern NC, where we like our barbecue with vinegar and collards (also with vinegar...we just really like vinegar), we like our hot dogs one way: mustard, chili, and onions (slaw is accepted but optional). Most people in the area I live in also prefer the ubiquitous "red" hot dog, which I can tolerate at an occasional softball field church gathering, but generally think is kind of gross. There is one rule when it comes to hot dogs in NC: DO NOT PUT KETCHUP ON A HOT DOG. EVER. (There are more than a few local grills in Raleigh that will not serve ketchup. One has a tiny bottle on a shelf behind the cash register that you can purchase for $99. I'm not even kidding, and neither is the Roast Grill.)
Another place with this lovely rule? Chicago, home of my second favorite hot dog: the Chicago Dog. I love a good Chicago Dog. The more crap you can throw onto a juicy, sizzling case of meat, the better. I never knew the joy of a "sport pepper" or weird fake-green relish until I had my first Chicago Dog, and I was hooked. And thanks to KLZ at Taming Insanity and Liz at a belle, a bean & a chicago dog, I am now shouting HOT DAWG!!!
Because my post about my husband and his vocabularity limitations not only earned me Nerd Mafia Made Man status, but they liked my word "pedantic" so much that they are using it as the next Word Up, Yo! word of the week.
You know what I deserve for all of this recognition? MORE RECOGNITION! If you agree, please click that little white picket fence linky. Pretty please? Oh, and join Word Up, Yo! this week. It's fun, y'all.
Almost as fun as eating a hot dog!
Friday, November 12, 2010
2. The best gift I've ever received was... my son. No question. I'm sorry if it's a cliche, but he is truly a gift from God and I never imagined just how much life would hcange in the most wonderful ways once he arrived. For those of you that are pregnant and hearing everyone's horror stories about life in the future: don't listen! Every sacrifice made is worth it.
3. A time that I was truly and genuinely surprised was... I think I will have to come back to this one. I'm really having trouble thinking of something. I don't know if I am just unflappable or what, but I cannot think of an answer!
4. I can't leave the house without... my head. Even though half the time I feel like I do. I always leave a few extra diapers and wipes in the car, because I am that mom you see out at a restaurant without a bib or sippy cup for my son, because I just forgot to pack it in the diaper bag!
5. My favorite day of the week... Friday. This has changed over time. I used to work in retail and couldn't count on weekends off. Now, Friday is the night I come home without pressure to get the nighttime "routine" going, because we can all stay up a little late and sleep in a little in the morning. Friday is time to relax with my husband and son.
6. Something that can always make me laugh is... my silly, ridiculous hubby. Especially when he makes up new words to a song. He can get me laughing so hard it hurts!
7. My perfect day would include... a long lazy breakfast at our favorite place, some time at the park on a 70 degree day with the dog and baby, and somewhere in there a 90 minute hot stone massage.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
For me, I am willing to admit that I probably got an easy baby. Especially when it comes to sleeping. He began sleeping 5-6 hour stretches right around 6 weeks and it steadily went longer from there. I can count on one hand the nights I have been up more than 4 times a night, and this is from a child who got nothing but breastmilk his first 4 or 5 months. Sure, there are regressions when he's sick or teething, but they only last a night or two and he's right back to normal.
Now, while I lucked out with this kid who likes to sleep as much as a teenager, I am also willing to say that some of that "luck" is because my husband and I worked so hard the first few months of our sons life. The first year, really. I don't have any great secrets or think I have the key to parenting: trust me, I've had my shares of parental FAIL. But this post is about doing it right and giving myself credit for that.
We never had to Ferberize or use Cry it Out, although we did set a rule once he hit a few months old that we would let him fuss for a few minutes to see if he would settle himself back down. I knew if he got to full-blown crying I could go rescue him and stick him on the boob, but we found that most of the time he made a few peeps and whimpers and then fell back asleep. Trust me, as a mom, it took my dear husband putting a hand on my arm many nights and saying "just let him go a few minutes and see what happens". And sometimes, it was me and my mom instinct telling him "I know that's a hungry cry...let me go!"
We kept the bedtime routine consistent, and introduce changes gradually and with little fanfare (such as the very popular teeth-brushing part of the evening's festivities). Over time, following our son's cues has given us a bedtime routine that works for everyone. Where we use to rock and hold and love, we now turn on the fan together and turn off the light. It's bittersweet, those last moments where I can smell his lingering baby smell as he's struggling to get away, reaching and looking towards his crib the way I look at my bed after a long day.
But it's certainly a happy moment when I close the door and know he will be just fine.
Monday, November 8, 2010
When it comes to math.
We always joke that when our children need homework help, he will be responsible for making sure our kids can do algebra and chemistry (okay, anything past the multiplication tables, essentially) and I can do the English thing with them. I'm pretty sure he hasn't read a whole book since maybe the tenth grade. I've seen him start a few non-fiction books, and by start I mean he gets about a half a page in before he looks up at me and says "explain again how this is supposed to be enjoyable?" He likes to pull me out of my book at the beach...I'm the type that could spent an entire vacation reading despite the 45 minutes or so it takes to eat each day. Drives him nuts.
Now, despite this hate-affair with the English language, hubby is quite impressive with his grammar and sentence structure. We have a game where he sends me emails of "people he knows" that have written something along the lines of:
Do not forget Apprceiation day on friday. We will be having hamburgers and there is a sign up sheet. Posted on the wall of the breakroom.
Thanks you, _______"
And this is actually better written than most of the emails that we deem laugh-worthy.
However, hubs has a slight failing when it comes to large words. Specifically, what they mean and how to use them. In the middle of a disagreement about my level of reality-TV obsession, we have had this conversation:
"You're eclectic," he sneers.
"Um, what do you mean?"
"Well, you're just very firm in what you want to watch and you don't really waver."
"I don't think you know what that word means."
"Sure I do."
"Well, you aren't really using it correctly, there," I sigh.
"Sure. It means you're weird for wanting to watch this crap."
"Not really. You might mean eccentric instead"
"Well, whatever. You're...pedantic."
That one, he may have gotten right without meaning to.
This post brought to you by Word Up, Yo!
Friday, November 5, 2010
As you can see, I am also linking up to my new favorite Friday blog hop, Fill in the Blank Friday over at the little things we do. So, let me roll up my sleeves and get ready to roll the dice.
1) My last haircut was... not so long ago, actually. About 6 weeks. I'm usually an every 6-monther, so this is a good thing. I changed office locations in May and I am 2.5 miles from the local mall and a decent Mitchell's. Lunch time pampering? Jackpot, baby!
2) My most daring hair moment was... when I took a gamble in my early twenties and let a new stylist cut off about 6 inches and dye me red. I mean, deep maroon luscious red. It was chin-length, wavy, layered, and RED. But if you can't take a hair gamble in your early twenties, when can you?
3) A hairstyle I'd never be brave enough to try is... the exotic, trendy, Bettie Page/Katy Perry long black bob with fringe bangs. With my pale skin and freckles, I would probably look like a pit boss' weird, nerdy assistant. The one that had to clean up after...you know.
4) I've always dreamt of being a (blonde, brunette, redhead, etc.)... deep chestnut brunette. As someone who has ranged from towheaded kid to dishwater blonde to mousy light brown to trendy caramel, I would be willing to play roulette with a box of Nice 'N Easy in a sultry, rich brown shade.
5) My go-to hair is... a bun. Ugh, I know. I don't like hair in my face, I don't like wet hair hanging down, I don't like oily hair on Day 2 even though I know it's helping it be healthy. So, 5 days out of 7, the "bun" that my husband hates so much ends up being winner, winner, chicken dinner.
6) My biggest hair disaster was... in the third grade. "Hold On" was banking big ka-ching! for Wilson Phillips and my mom was convinced that I was a doll-size version of Chyna herself. She managed to talk me into what should have been a pixie cut. I did not rock that look. I looked like Peter Pan, and I don't mean like a girl playing Peter Pan in a musical.
7) A hairstyle I am dying to try is... hmmm. I really am not sure. I'm pretty open to trying most anything, but I'm old enough now to know what I can and can't work with this mop. I would love long layers like Blake Lively, but stylists have let me know in the past it probably won't work with my hair type. And I'm okay with that.
8) My best hair day was... my wedding day. I wish I could show pictures, but I can't while working. It was long, blonde, and glorious, slightly curled with the top half pulled back elegantly. It took longer to remove all the bobby pins than to um, consummate the marriage that evening.
10) My hair is... THICK. I mean, I probably have twice as much hair as most other women. I doubt I will ever have to worry about thinning hair, as I could lose half of it and still have a pretty decent head of locks. At my old salon, when an assistant got to blow dry me, she was like "Jackpot!" Because she knew she was going to get an arm workout and a pretty decent tip.
If you enjoyed my Vegas-themed hair ramblings today, you can thank the Nerd Mafia of Word Up, Yo as well as Laura at the little things we do. I owe all of my inspiration to them. You could also vote for me on Picket Fences, it's not asking much, just a little clicky on the linky. I would so love to move up from my current ranking of number 66. At least I'm the top 100, right? Have a great weekend, and check out the other posts...I LOVE reading both of these hops.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
As for my confessions about Motherhood, I only have one today, but it's a doozy. I get really stressed out by being the parent of a toddler. I snap at my husband, get frustrated at my son for, well, acting like a typical 14-month old who likes to bring me a new diaper when he knows he has pooped but then squirms away when I actually lie him down to change him. Dinnertime is never easy, and while some days, like Monday evening, I can remind myself to just take life as it is and enjoy every moment (instead of trying to rush into dinner when we got home, I spent a good 10 minutes on the kitchen floor with a nearly naked child who was laughing with nothing other than glee because he was putting a bowl on my head), most of the time I spend my whole weekday evening just tapping my foot impatiently at my husband while thinking of the next ten things I must do in an hour.
Halloween night was a fine example of how I get: dinner took longer than expected to cook, even though I was lucky enough to have my mom over to occupy Jacob while we got everything ready. The baby didn't eat well, I couldn't get everyone to sit down and start eating so we could get going, I barely ate my own food because I was anxious that there were already Trick or Treaters coming to our door and for some reason I had it in my head that we would be one of the first, I kept thinking about how we needed to hurry up and get Jacob re-dressed so we could go. The whole time, I swear my husband moved as swiftly as a moped on a superhighway, and before we even got out of the driveway I was yelling at him and rolling my eyes at my mom and saying ridiculous things like "How many times can I give him the same instructions?" or "How slow can HE MOVE?" I eventually calmed down, held my husband's hand, apologized for my frantic behavior, and enjoyed the event the way a family should.
I think the most pathetic part of this mom-freak-out mode is knowing that my grandmothers, mother-in-law, and mom had many, many more responsibilities and shouldered even more of the child-care burden than I ever will because the times have changed and my husband is expected to step in and parent right along with me. The guilt that hits me after one of my anxiety "episodes" is almost worse than the stress itself. I know this is a recurring theme in my blog, but I keep coming back to "how can I think this is so hard and let it get to me when I have it ten times easier than any of them did?"
That is my confession. I need a reminder that this is normal, that this phase passes just like clusterfeeding passed and just like 2AM wakings passed (well, for now, I know the molars are coming eventually), and that something that seems so stressful right now will seem small and insignificant in a few months. And I need a swift kick in the behind and someone telling me now and then "get it together girlfriend".
My mom did that last week. We were cleaning up after dinner at their house and I yelled at my dog to get out of the kitchen for the 14th time and muttered "I'm gonna blow a gasket."
Mom's reply? "I think you already did." Moms know just what to say at the right time, don't they?
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I have many friends and family on either extreme and everywhere in between, and I only ask that people vote their values. Eschew party lines and research your candidates and what they stand for, and vote appropriately. When you only follow party politics, you are allowing people to make decisions for you that are completely out of touch with your family's needs. Also, never overlook your local government, right down to school board and county commissioners. These are the people that make decisions that affect your daily life. I will never understand people who only vote every 4 years.
So, besides taxes and the economy, here is the *radical* idea that I support in regards to one of the biggest hot button issues out there:
The government should not recognize marriage.
(Collective gasp, now gather yourselves and listen.) Marriage was never designed to be a legal contract, it was designed to be an expression of commitment between people in love, and at times their God. Where our country went wrong was recognizing this as a legal union and assigning tax benefits and other benefits just because people made a commitment to one another.
If we all had to enter our own taxes as our own person, imagine the possibilities. People who are in support of marriage between one male and one female ONLY could make sure that their church only accepted and performed marriages in those types of unions. Likewise, our gay and lesbian citizens would be free to marry one another and make the exact same lifelong commitment in their own religious organizations, and if you are okay with that, then I'm sure you wouldn't have a problem attending services there. Imagine if we all the freedom and liberty to marry who we want, and the GOVERNMENT DIDN'T HAVE A SAY IN THE MATTER AT ALL**.
Why do we have to make it about getting special rights only allowed by the government to certain unions? Why should we even allow the government to decide who we can marry? Why do I get "special credit" for choosing to enter into a legal union with my husband? Before I met him, I always said that I didn't need a piece of paper to make a commitment to someone. What I meant then is on the opposite end of the scale of how I think now, but I still feel the same way: my marriage ceremony was a promise to my husband and my God that I would spend my life with one and only one person. Signing a marriage certificate didn't change that in any way. I don't even remember the marriage certificate now. I remember the service and making that commitment in front of all the people I love.
I know that this idea will never fly in our current government, because the Right wants to define marriage their way, and the Left wants to make sure everyone can get special insurance, but I encourage everyone to think about the possibility of a country with true liberty and what we can do when the government isn't busy protecting us from ourselves.
**Also, there would never be another child referred to as a Bastard.**
Monday, November 1, 2010
I suppose I've had some combination of writer's block and well, real life, pulling me away from the computer screen and focusing more on work and home. It used to be that something funny would happen or I would make a wry observation and immediately think "oh, I have to remember this for my blog later". Now, I think I'm just trying to live more presently and not think so much about what I should be sharing with "outsiders" but what I should be sharing with my family! Not that I don't love this blogging community, just that I still need to find that balance.
Without further adieu...some observations from Halloween weekend:
1) Our daycare expected us to follow a "theme" when we dressed our little tyke up on Friday. Um, no, we've been planning his costume for over a month, we're poor, and we give you nearly half of my salary, so he will be a Cowboy, and not anything related to Peter Pan, thankyouverymuch.
2) Surprisingly, more of my Dollar Tree candy was swiped last night instead of the pricey Snickers/KitKat/3 Musketeers. I guess the novelty of candy sticks (what we used to call Candy Cigarettes before America got a conscience) trumped chocolate for once.
3) I am way more high-strung than I ever thought. We were running 14 minutes behind my Trick or Treating "schedule" and I was literally about to explode. I yelled at my husband, along with serveral eye-rolling episodes, before I finally calmed down enough to enjoy the evening. Luckily, he forgave me.
4) My son makes the cutest Cowboy EVER. (Pictures later, I promise I'll update the post.)
5) In this politically correct society, it is impossible to find a toy gun anymore.
6) I love Fun Dip. Enough that I was internally disappointed when one of our kind neighbors took the pack my son swiped from her bowl and exchanged it for toddler-friendly pretzels.
7) Old people are great. We have one older couple in our neighborhood we've spoken with once or twice, and Jacob walked right into their house. The lady thought he was the sweetest thing and wanted to take pictures with him. She also didn't just have a bowl of treats, she made treat bags with lots of little items in them.
8) My kid, lying on the floor with his mouth stained by M&M drool, acting like a crazy guy, is a really fun sight.
9) Jacob can now identify his first Sesame Street character: El-bow.
10) The expression on a Target employee's face when your husband asks "don't you have any guns for kids?" is absolutely priceless!
Friday, October 22, 2010
However, I love the free association prompt at Fill In The Blank Friday!
So, here goes...if you are new to my blog, welcome! You will soon learn that I'm kind of nuts, hopefully more than a little funny, true to myself, and purposefully use lots of incorrectly placed commas.**
I am...unique. And very picky about food. It would be nearly impossible for even my husband to consistently pick what I will order. Just when you think Eggplant Parmesan is my favorite Italian dish BAM! There I go ordering Gnocchi and sausage in vodka sauce.
I wish...that losing weight was a snap. I am trying, but again, it's hard to deny my cravings. Baby steps will work eventually, right? Please don't tell me I have to start sprinting, literally and figuratively.
I like...family. I am so, so lucky to have the best parents, in-laws, sister, right down to my cousins. Most Saturdays I would much rather spend at a 5 year old's birthday party with my family than out at a trendy restaurant. I also like Indian food.
I can...drive a stick shift like a madwoman. Our next car will not be a 5-speed, so I'm trying to get all the Zoom Zoom love in while I can.
I hope...that November 2 will be a wake up call for America that no matter what side of the fence we're on, it is TIME to start working together. (I also hope that a Libertarian candidate in any major race in NC will get at least 12% of the vote so we can lock our party into the ballot, debates, etc. It is time that our philosophy starts being recognized.)
I think...that I should start reading more nonfiction and less US Weekly.
I was...planning to never get married or have children, true story. Then I met my husband. Ten years later, I cannot imagine life any other way.
That was FUN! Here's to hoping I will make this a regular feature.
**After re-reading my post, I should probably point out that I talk about food. A lot.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I swear to you we're not! I can make my hubby get on here and verify for y'all if you want me to that last night he pulled a scrap of paper with Angie's name on it out of a little pink bucket while we were watching Dennis Miller on Bill O'Reilly (I LOVE DENNIS MILLER...DENNIS MILLER FOR PRESIDENT!) I am old school like that. No random.org for me, mostly because with people getting 5 entries for joining the newsletter, I really didn't want to require everyone to have to post that many comments. I made a tally sheet of how many entries each person got (Angie had 10, by the way) and then filled out that many papers with their name. Simple as that.
But in the end, I love each and every one of my followers, and I'm so glad to have this community, but the truth is it's exciting that she won b/c she has been loyal from the beginning. I mean it when I say I wish we could be friends in real life! Thanks to everyone who entered, and if you are interested in any of the products, let me know. www.alidavis.scentsy.us
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
So, I always try to be true and honest in every post I make, especially when following the prompts of Working Mommy Wednesday, because I really appreciate those girls and everything they have to say. We are a community going through many of the same things.
However, all week I've been thinking about how to mold my Blog Giveaway (LAST DAY!) and trying to get some good Ebates referral money** into the working mommy wednesday topic. I know it's a total plug, and I know it's slightly tacky that I would promote my stuff for my own good on my blog, but hey, you know what stresses me out?
And you know where I turn when I get stressed out? Retail Therapy. It's a vicious cycle, for sure. I NEED new shoes, and I don't mean that in a Carrie Bradshaw way, I literally mean I need shoes because more than a year later, I cannot fit in my smart work shoes from pre-Jacob days. I need brown dress shoes, black dress shoes, and black comfortable but still office appropriate loafers. And because I have huge, super wide monster feet and I stand up and walk a lot at work, I have to buy pretty pricey shoes, and I have to buy them online.
So when Naturalizer or shoebuy.com is having a 20% off code, I tend to go hawg-wild, y'all. I have to order a lot of pairs of shoes until I eventually find one or two I can stand to wear for longer than 98 minutes. That ain't easy. Currently, I have 3 shiny shoe boxes in my office drawer, and a shopping cart loaded with 6 more pairs. It is almost worse than bathing suit or bra shopping.
Except that I only have to look at my feet.
And shoes are fun.
**So, if you haven't been introduced to ebates yet, allow me to make the introduction. I earned back about $75 off what I spent on Christmas gifts last year, and my shoe purchases alone net me about $40 a year. Seriously, all you do is sign up, shop through their link (often finding awesomely good coupon codes along the way) and every quarter you get a check in the mail. No scam, ladies.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I am a Christian, and although I accepted Christ once at a young age, I have the feeling that because of the damage I did in college and my young twenties denouncing Christ and his place in my life, I believe that my true "salvation moment" did not happen until just over a year ago, as I held my 5-day old miracle in my arms and prayed.
Since then, it hasn't always been rainbows and sunshine and ra-ra-rah...I still get stressed and I still yell and I still cuss and I'm still not perfect, but as my best friend told me way earlier this year, I seem settled and at peace, which I was not when she knew me 10 years ago. I was wild and free and ready to take on anything, but with that wild and free came an unhinged, out-of-control feeling.
I am slowly finding my way into being a true Christian, which means only praying and learning from God exactly what he holds for me in life. I can pray with the best of them, and I do it multiple times a day, but usually the best place to find God's answers to those prayers is in His Word. And I'm no good at reading the Bible on my own.
So D over at Unpolished Parenting is heading up a casual Bible Study for those of us that want to find some of those answers. So far, Julia with Work Wife Mom Life has joined us, and we're excited to get started. The devotional guide we are using is Linda Vujnov's Spilt Milk: A Devotion for Moms. It looks perfect, with it's cheeky cover of a bowl of Froot Loops (no, really, that's the way they are spelled...I just found out this year).
If anyone wants to join us, email D at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I mean, I am sitting here all day with my handy new clock radio listening to Katy Perry sing about her damn skintight jeans 14 times a day just so I can try (along with about 128,637 other Raleigh area residents) to win a damn Dolce and Gabbana purse from our local pop radio station.(I also just finished listening to Taylor Swift blabber again about being a careless man's careful daughter, whatever the hell that means.)
So I know ya'll can take the time out to just vote for me and get extra entries into my giveaway for totally free, totally awesome smelly-good house stuff from Scentsy!
So ENTER! Only 2 more days and 3 hours left...
Friday, October 15, 2010
Just before I conceived Jacob, I had what doctors believe was a Chemical Pregnancy. To recap, basically my body thought it was pregnant and exhibited all of the signs and hormones needed to house a fetus. When I started bleeding just before my scheduled OB appointment, I freaked out. And when I took a test at the doctor and got called in to sit down with my OB, I already knew the news she would give me. At the time, being childless and yearning for a baby, worried that this was the start of a long, drawn-out fertility battle, this felt almost harder to me than a real miscarriage.
There were no answers, and nothing even really to mourn. How could I explain to people when they asked me that I felt like I lost a child even though there was likely never a child there to lose?
Of course, I now know how much more difficult it is to have a miscarriage. I can console myself with the fact that I did not lose an actual baby, and that if that had been a child I would have never had Jacob roughly 10 1/2 months after sitting in that doctors office and mourning the loss of a pregnancy.
And I know that because I have had friends and family members that have suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, and other afflictions.
So today I do not remember my own loss, but I do remember the loss of my niece. It is not my story to tell, so the only detail I will share is that her gestational age was 21 weeks, and although I never got to meet her, I will always remember her. And tonight, I will light a candle in her memory, and the memory of so many others.
Ah, the bliss of parenthood before you reach certain "stages". I love how I should now be able to fit not only my foot, but my entire right leg in mouth with all the times I've said "when Jacob does ________, I will respond by doing _______". And then he does that thing that you weren't expecting to have to react to for at least another few months (biting, throwing food, hitting the dog, not listening the fifteenth time I've taken his hand out of the water bowl) and it just kind of takes you completely by surprise.
Last night, he had his first meltdown. And while my husband and I always said we were going to be Perfect McPerfectsons who handled the situation exactly as we should (ignore it until he was finished), instead we bursted into completely unexpected laughter. And then spent the next 120 seconds or so trying to hide our laughter from our poor son, who was just all out of sorts.
The reason? Because Da-da wanted to give him his medicine, instead of Ma-ma. Bad move, parents! I have never seen a more asinine request be met with a more ridiculous emotional response, but hey, we're dealing with a 13 month old here. Daddy and I were sitting side by side on the recliner (I, the rule breaker, was sitting on the arm of the recliner) and Jacob was standing beside us in the floor, being a crankypants and wanting me to pick him up. He loves medicine, so this should have been uncomplicated, but when I said "go sit in Daddy's lap" he threw his little fists in the air, turned in the opposite direction of us, and threw himself on the floor, complete with banging fists and crying.
Oh, we tried so hard to hold it in, but it was seriously the funniest thing I have ever seen. Imagine a tiny toddler (barely 18 pounds and all of 28 1/2 inches tall to put it in perspective) in his cutesy pajamas throwing a full blown temper tantrum, red faced, blonde hair standing up on end, runny nose. He did it three more times: get up, reach for me, I told him calmly to sit in daddy's lap, turn, fall, tantrum, rinse, repeat. HILARIOUSNESS! I thought I was going to feel upset, frustrated, anxious, angry, guilty, whatever: I felt NONE OF THAT! I just felt sheer joy at the fact that A) this was seriously funny and B) that I could recognize this is normal behaviour for his age and that the best thing to do was just remain calm and firm.
What's the point of this story? I don't know, I'll be honest. I just wanted to share that maybe things you are dreading won't be as bad as you are expecting. After 4 or 5 times of the tantrum cycle, it ended just as quickly as it began, and he walked right over to my husband, reached up, and happily sat in Daddy's lap as I gave him his antibiotics.
I'm not even going to say what I will do next time, but I can tell you that I do not yet know if I would have the same reaction if my kid was face-to-face with a dirty grocery store floor. I may just end up being one of those moms that do the kid-snatch and leave a half-full grocery cart right in the aisle. Just goes to show...the best made plans are often laid to waste!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I like when they come with nice, gentle, built-in prompts! We'll see how it goes this week.
Outside my window.. is a parking lot and gas station. Oh so thrilling...
The time is.. 4:07PM
Today I feel..hopeful for so many things.
I am thinking.. it's almost quittin' time!
At the moment, I am thankful.. for so, so many things. Mostly that I have a healthy child and a supportive family.
I am going..to pee when I'm done with this.
I wish.. that young children never had to die.
I am reading..lots and lots of blogs, with the Sunday newspaper and an occasional gossip mag thrown in.
I am working on..so many things I gave up for the rest of the day.
I am hoping..that my Scentsy party and Giveaway is a success!
I am hearing..the crappy easy listening station we have to keep on at work. Can't wait for my new mp3 clock radio to arrive.
I bet you didn't know..that this is the first year I haven't been to the State Fair in my whole life.
One of my favorite.. foods is Caprese (mozzarella, basil, tomato). Yum. I should have been Italian.
Weekend Plans.. Friday: some type of alcohol. Saturday: Dave Ramsey workshop. Sunday: the Scentsy party and hopefully some snuggle time.
And I'm really (literally) putting myself out there with this one. As in, if you click the link you will have my whole name, phone number, email address, etc. (Doesn't that get you all excited???) But it's because I am sharing my newest business venture with you girls.
If you know me in real life, you know that I've always kind of scoffed at the home party businesses out there. Tupperware? I love it (some of my favorite kitchen items were passed down from my grandma, mom, and mother-in-law...okay, maybe the ones from my mom weren't exactly passed down but more, um, permanently borrowed) but that crap is WAY expensive! Pampered Chef is nice, but I think I've been cooking long enough that I either already have the gadgets I need, or have found a quicker way without said gadgets. As far as the make-up companies go...meh...I prefer the tactile Sephora-Ulta-Target beauty section style browsing too much.
But then I won a blog giveaway from Mrs. Foreste. And I met a wonderful woman who sells Scentsy products. And after I received my warmer and Camu Camu scent, my office smelled so good that I had clients and co-workers constantly asking what made our branch smell so delicious. So I ordered some more smells, and I was like a kid two weeks before Christmas waiting for them to come in. I couldn't believe I was so excited over a warmer and some scented wax, but honestly, I AM A GIRL. We all get like that!
Eventually, I offered to do what we call a "basket" party, and my consultant sent me samples to let my friends, family, and co-workers smell all the different scents and place orders. And it was SO EASY, that I thought...maybe this is just the perfect fit. So now I am a consultant with Scentsy, and I couldn't be more excited to share with one of you the rewards of my hard work. Scentsy offers hostesses all kinds of free product and half-price product credits, and since I am having my own Open House this weekend, one of you lucky readers will earn something from my free product credits. Something worth $40!
I am gifting one of my lovely readers with their choice of a Full-Size Warmer and 3 Scentsy bars to grace their home, office, or anything else. As you can tell, I really believe in these products! Please feel free to visit my website: https://alidavis.scentsy.us/Home . Even if you do not win the giveaway, you can purchase directly from my website, or contact me to find out about hosting your own party, either in person or through the internet. If you have been thinking about joining as a consultant yourself, I'd love to take this journey with you. I have a terrific sponsor/director myself, and you would be joining our team. The requirements are easy to meet and the stuff practically sells itself!
On to the rules: to enter, you only must be a follower of my blog and tell me which warmer you would choose, along with at least one scent that sounds intriguing to you. (Don't worry, if you win I won't hold you to those, you can always change your mind).
For extra entries, I would love it if you would vote for me on Picket Fence blogs (1 entry per vote, per day) and/or blog about this giveaway (2 entries) and I will give you 5 entries if you click on the link to sign up for my Scentsy newsletter (it's only once per month, no spam!) Just leave me comments telling me what you've done! Good luck ladies...I will choose a winner next Wednesday, you have until 8PM (EST) on 10/20 to enter.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Now is one of the more overwhelming times, so when I saw the prompt for Working Mom Wednesday today, I thought "wow, life is coming full circle"! Because honestly, this is what I do when I need to take a break.
I am a planner and a delegator, so it's not that I have anything pressing that is just stressing me to my core, I don't have that kind of job. I have the kind where I am happily plodding along in my planned tasks for that day when BAM! a problem falls from the sky right onto my desk and the rest of my day is spent cleaning up the mess. That's part of the reason I love it, for the change and flexibility and excitement of it all. But until recently, I've never been a person who can sit in an office and look at reports and do paperwork and make cold calls all day, so even on the best of days I need a break to liven life up a bit and get out of my slump.
And that's where you ladies come in! Blogging to me is a stress reliever. It's my cigarette break, coffee break, get up and stretch and stroll around the office chatting with my co-workers break. Other people may go get a snack or talk about Dancing With the Stars when they need to "take 5". I come and check on my fellow mom-bloggers, enter giveaways, share a little piece of what happened in my life recently. I think the other reason I turn here is because I am selfish. I'm just going to be honest: I am not a friend you want in real life. I don't send letters, I don't like to talk on the phone, and I am way too busy to make a lot of time even for the people I care about most. I communicate by email and Facebook more than anything, and I have a very good friend who can probably tell you about the time she asked how I was doing and I actually responded with a link to a blog post. Now, that's sad.
But what's not sad is the last 10 minutes I've spent typing this, and the excitement I feel by knowing at my next breather I will be checking out all my fellow WMW poster's thoughts! I am returning to what I was working on feeling refreshed and ready to work again instead of burnt-out and ready to go home. And for that, ladies, I thank you for allowing me to share!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I open Julia's prompt today and see a post about PUSHUPS. Really? I'll have to admit, I was pissed. First of because I used to be able to do pushups, the strong-man kind, back when I could also do a split and call myself a dancer, but now I must resort to the wall-kind or the knee-kind, if I am even attempting them at all. Which makes me feel like a fat cow. Second, because even with my newfound discovery of SparkPeople, my commitment to eating better, taking in more water, and trying to be less sedentary, the last thing I want to do is turn my blog into diet central. Luckily, her reasons why and how to do push-ups provided me with a goal: 20 a day for the rest of the month. This is great because I can't commit to walking every day, but I can commit to 20 pushups and walking at least 3 days a week. And small, attainable goals are good.
And then I continued reading and noticed that today's prompt is actually just a Top 10 list. Man, I LOVE me a Top 10 list, from David Letterman all the way to my blog friend Kelley, Top 10 lists are AWESOME. And I wish that mine was going to be just that awesome, but I guess since I have free reign and I don't want this to be about being healthy, I will take this moment to return to the roots of this blog and make a list of my Top 10 Favorite Things About My Son.
10) He is a genius. I mean, I know every mom says that about their kid, but what 13-month old do you know that can say "go-gurt" to his daycare teacher every day at 4:30 because he knows it's snack time and he's about to get his favorite. thing. ever. Or how about how yesterday he was "reading" his Maisy's Favorite Toys book in the car and turned to the page with the Tractor and Train on it (vehicles with wheels) and shouted "CAR"? Can your baby do that?
9) He chooses edamame over grilled cheese. Now I KNOW he nees to fatten up, but you have to appreciate a child who learns early to love his veggies. (This will come back to bite me in about 3 months when he suddenly starts to refuse to eat anything green.)
8) He still is an open-mouth kisser. Even though we're starting to get just the teensy-weensiest bit self-conscious about this in public, there's nothing cuter than when you say "can I get a kiss?" and his little toddler mouth comes towards you wide open and raring to go and plants a big smacker on your lips.
7) Except maybe sitting on the floor next to each other while brushing your teeth. We got the grins and giggles toothbrush not long ago and his little fingers wrapped around that fat little toothbrush is so adorable I want to die.
6) He is totally fearless (and reckless). This guy loves to climb anything, and his favorite game is getting on the couch or bed and throwing himself against the pillows. Sometimes I swear he's going to fly right off.
5) He already knows to look up to older kids. He follows his nearly 3-year old niece around like she is the best thing in the world (I mean, I can't blame him) and has so much fun playing with older kids.
4) But he'd still rather play with Mama or Daddy any day. His new favorite thing is to bring us a book, yell "BUH", and let us read about 2 1/2 sentences before grabbing it, and closing it while saying "ALL Done."
3) The kid loves to be naked. After his bath, he will play "catch me if you can" as long as possible, and there is nothing I love more than chasing a naked toddler around the upstairs part of the house, especially if he leaves the hooded towel on like a superhero cape.
2) He makes me better. I want to be more patient, I want to cook more nutritious meals, I want to exercise more, and I want to spend more time with my family (immediate and extended) because of him. He led me back to God and Christ. What could be better?
1) His laugh can change whatever I'm feeling into pure joy. Seriously, when that little sweet blondie smiles at me with love, what do I have to be angry/stressed/upset about? Absolutely NOTHING!
Thanks to anyone who joined up from Working Mommy Wednesday, and feel free to join us today or any time!