Friday, July 31, 2009

Everything she ever wanted...

This past week my best friend called me up to tell me her good news. She got the teaching job she had been wanting, at the school she wanted, and she's guaranteed not to have any of the little monsters she had this past semester when she was thrust into a classroom full of troubled 2nd graders half way through January.

I am very happy for her.

We are the same age. Born approximately 3 months apart. She has been working on her degree off and on the entire time we have been good friends (we've known each other since age 15, but didn't really start liking each other until we graduated high school). She is married with 2 kids. And now she has was is essentially her dream job. She has (nearly) everything she has wanted for as long as I've known her. (at least goals-wise - married: check, kids: check, career: check)

Last weekend, as I mentioned, I went to the wedding of my oldest friend. Cherry has her master's degree and is working in her desired field and loves her job with a passion. She recently decided to return to FL from the Chicago area and easily found a job that she is fairly sure she will love. She just got married to a really nice man and they plan to wait a year or so before trying to have children. She had a dream wedding that probably cost more than the down payment we put on our house (which was pretty significant, thanks to a gift from my dad.) She seems sublimely happy. (education: check, career/dream-job: check, married: check).

I have the most wonderful husband in the world. (You may argue, claim that YOUR husband is the best, and I may nod and smile, but I secretly know that mine is the absolute best.) My daughter is beautiful, healthy, entertaining and while she sometimes drives me up a wall, I wouldn't trade her for the world.

But I don't have a job or career that I love. I don't even know what it would be if I were to be given the opportunity to have such a thing. I have an associates degree in graphic design, which I really enjoyed getting, but I haven't used my skills in so long, I'm not sure I'd know how to if you pointed me towards a well-stocked computer and told me to create something lovely.

I wonder sometimes if my life is missing something. The women's lib movement tells us we can have it all - career, family, etc. I don't. I have my family and I love them, but a career? Not even close.

When I was a kid, I imagined myself with a career. For a very long time, I wanted to be a teacher. I was very focused on that. Then I discovered writing (and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and I wanted to be a reporter (or more accurately, Lois Lane). When I discovered during my freshman year that being Lois Lane wasn't even remotely realistic (and why would I want to without Clark Kent, really?) I switched around to other majors and ultimately ended up with Graphic Design. I enjoyed my course work. I enjoyed learning to create pretty things, etc. I had a couple of short-term jobs in the field and then went to work for an advertising agency (which had been my goal in school), but as the Office Manager instead of a designer/ art director.

I always knew I'd end up married, with children. But it was sort of in that "I'm going to be a _________. And of course I'll get married and have kids, too" sort of way.

So sometimes I look at my life and wonder how did I end up here, as a SAH mom? It's not really a bad thing. I love being able to be home with her, not having to deal with my insane boss, etc. But I wonder, am I missing something? Will I look back in 50 years and wonder what became of my life? Or will I know that I was where I was supposed to be all this time.

I often feel as if I'm missing something, but I don't know what. Maybe it's another kid... Maybe it's a chance to socialize and DO something outside my home... Maybe it's the desire to leave a mark on the world somehow... Maybe it's a really fantastic shoe collection...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Clean streak

I went on a cleaning rampage today. I've declared Thursdays to be be LAUNDRY DAY lately. This means that by the end of Thursday evening, all laundry ( minus things used in the past 24-hours) is clean. Now, Daddy Fuss is supposed to help with the folding, which means not everything is folded and put away until the weekend sometimes when we both are a little more refreshed from the week's end. But today I was motivated to fold and put away the laundry I completed. I'm not completely done yet, but I'm close and so far, it's all put away.

I also cleaned the kitchen. I put away the clean dishes, I cleaned the dirty ones. I wiped down the counters, I cleaned the sink. I worked non-stop for a couple of hours and then sat down to check my email/blogs. I hadn't been sitting for more than 10 minutes when The Fuss decided to dump half a can of Coke all over her and her reasonably clean outfit (which happens to be one of my favorite outfits, natch.) And of course, HER laundry was already done. Of course.

I've been picking up her toys and all sorts of other junk all day. It seems like the moment I get 2 or 3 things off the floor, she pulls out 5 or 6 more. It's never ending.

My mom used to have a sign in our house "A clean house is a sign of a misspent life." I grew up with that philosophy on house cleaning. But now that I'm home more, I feel like I need to do more. (How many times have I posted this dilemma in the past 17 months?) So I'm really trying to keep the house picked up and in reasonable order.

I think I'm going to bake some brownies this afternoon. My husband loves brownies and milk, so it'll be a nice treat to have some dessert tonight. And if I make them tonight, he can take the leftovers to work tomorrow so I don't have them sitting around the house all weekend.

Wish me luck on finishing up the laundry. I really want him to be floored when he comes home tonight. Unfortunately, I'm guessing that I'm not going to get dinner out to preserve the spotless kitchen. But that's okay. I'll make it. My success is my own. I'm no Martha Stewart, but my house can look good and there can be fresh brownies waiting.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No worries.

The other day when we were at the wedding rehearsal/wedding, I was talking with the mom of the flower girl (who was also a bridesmaid) about motherhood, etc. (Her daughter is 20 months old and reminded me of The Fuss a lot). The little flower girl had remained at the hotel w/ her daddy after the rehearsal while we went on to the dinner. She asked if I had a hard time leaving my daughter to go do things.

"Well," I replied, "I'm a stay-at-home mom, so, no, not really. I kinda like the break." I know that she works full-time out of the house, so I'm sure it's a different situation for her.

The next night, she asked a similar question after her daughter was taken to bed, being watched by her uncle.

Am I a bad mom? Should I be heart-broken every time I have to leave her? 'Cause I'm not. I left her with a babysitter last Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday night for wedding and wedding-related events. I had planned to leave her w/ her daddy on Wednesday night to attend a "purse party" with my mom (it didn't end up happening. I was gone for all of 5 minutes. My mom was sick and canceled.) and I've been invited to a Mary Kay facial event this Sat AM with my best friend, K, and The Fuss will remain home with her daddy then, too.

Now, in all honesty, this is the most time I've spent away from her since she was born - typically we only get a babysitter ever 2-3 weeks for a couple of hours at a time. But I'm not really sad when I leave her. She's pretty content with my leaving, too. Sure, we're happy to see each other when we do reunite, but while I'm gone? When I'm leaving? I know she's safe and probably happy with her care-taker (thus far, only family members or very close friends) and while I do think about her and get a little soft when I see other little kids, I'm not distraught by any means.

I remember my best friend always struggling with the first outing without her baby after each of her boys were born. She'd cry through the evening/dinner/movie because she left her baby behind. Yeah. I didn't. At about 5 weeks post-partum my SIL came over to visit the baby (who was napping, of course) and when she offered to watch the baby for an hour while we went up the road to grab some quick dinner, I was totally okay with it. Granted, we weren't gone that long and we were only a mile away, but seriously? Shouldn't I have been more torn up or something? When I'd been no farther away from her than the next room for 10+ months (if you count gestation) or since she'd been born (if you don't)?

I think maybe I'm just practical. I recently had a friend tell me I was the most laid-back mom of one she'd ever seen. I simply reminded her that all my friends had kids first and so I learned how to deal with the jumpiness from them. Now, most of my friends have multiple children and I am more likemy friend who is a parent-of-3 than I am that jittery new mom that she was at the beginning.

My worries for my daughter are more future-related. When is she going to talk intelligible words? Will she like girly stuff like me, or will she be completely like her daddy's family and be much more tomboyish? Will we have anything in common? How will she adjust to having a new sibiling when the time comes? Will her hair ever grow in normally or is she always going to have really thin patches? Will she ever learn to leave the hairclips in? Why does she insist on hitting the dog with her monkey toy?

Monday, July 27, 2009

In pursuit of the perfect nap

The beginning of the nap transition is happening, I think. On Friday, we dropped The Fuss off with my SIL, LP for the afternoon/evening so we could go to Cherry's wedding rehearsal. She wouldn't nap, despite the fact that it was past nap time, she had been there (and successfully napped there) before, she had her things that were familiar to napping, etc.

On Saturday, I went out with my mom in the AM to get pedicures and make overs in prep for the wedding. The baby wouldn't nap for Daddy Fuss. She was quiet for maybe 20 minutes, and screamed and cried, etc. She was fussy and clingy all day until we dropped her off (again) and this time she took a nap, but it was only about an hour. Previously, her total nap time per day (divided between 2 naps) totaled between 3-4 hours, so an hour's worth of nap time is really not ideal.

Sunday had some troubles and today brought a great morning nap, a little later than usual, but still within the usual range but then when it came time for her afternoon nap... it was about 15 minutes long, despite the fact that in the car she had acted like she was very sleepy, she was cranky (a sure sign that she is tired) and that I had even pushed it back a bit.

I'm afraid that I can't handle only one nap per day, especially on the days when I work and that nap might fall during work hours, which means I have no down time at home, no time to do chores or time to relax at all. I'm sort of afraid of what that is going to mean for my mental state.

I guess I knew it would happen at some point, but I was hoping to delay it by keeping our schedule consistent, and simply continuing to put her down at regular intervals, as usual. I'm still hoping that the last few days are an anomaly, but I'm not holding my breath. I am going to continue to try, though. What else can I do? I have to try. And if it doesn't work, then I will work on adjusting my own process.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Where I randomly talk about friendships because I cannot get my thoughts together...

This weekend I was involved in the wedding of my oldest friend. (By that I mean longest-term that I still keep in touch with, etc.) Cherry I and I met in kindergarten, and though she moved several times, ended up back at school with me in high school and we graduated together. She had asked me to sing a solo for the ceremony and it was a beautiful wedding. It was at a fancy, famous hotel down here and it was really beautiful.

It's funny, because in the list of friends she had involved in her wedding, most of them were friends she made very young (of her 5 bridesmaids, 3 were friends she made before 5th grade, one was her college roommate and only one was from her "adult" life post-college). She is the type of friend who inspires loyalty through the years, and through many moves and life changes.

I've been friends w/ her for 24 years. And it made me think about then length of the friendships I currently have and the changes throughout the years to my friend-base, etc. Maggie wrote a thoughtful post this week about the changes in personality people have throughout the years, so it's been on my mind a lot for the last few days.

My husband is my bestest friend in the world. We called each other best friends through most of high school and college, long before we started to date. I'd be lost without him, in more ways than one.

My sister is my best girlfriend. We've had a very long relationship (for anyone who has missed the history, she is not a biological or legal sister - she is the sister of my heart) and therefore the title of best friend was replaced with something I consider even stronger, the word "sister." She is my "say anything" friend - the one who I can tell my deepest, darkest thoughts and secrets who will not judge and who will listen and advise as requested. She is my roll model, as she is the best example of a wife, mother and person I have ever seen.

My best friend, K is my second-closest girlfriend. She is my talk-for-hours friend, my favorite shopping partner, my former co-worker (and therefore knows what it's like to work for my dad for 14 years) and my "hey, I need to get out of the house, let's take the kids to the park in 30 minutes" friend. It is funny how different we are in our backgrounds, and yet how well we get a long. She introduced a more "worldly" knowledge into my life when we were in college, showed me how to love shoes and introduced me to alcohol.

The girl I was 11 years ago (approximately the time I graduated high school) is a very different. If I were to suddenly meet up with one of the girls I used to hang out with in high school who I lost touch with, I know they would recognize me physically, but would they recognize my personality? I used to be all about singing and music and writing and reading - I'm really not anymore. Singing for Cherry's wedding this weekend was the first time I sang in public in a very long time...

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I have always loved names. When I was a kid, I had a notebook (which eventually spread into 2 notebooks - one boy, one girl) where I "collected" names and used them in the stories I liked to write. I really was into unusual names, but they had to be "pretty" too.

I went through phases where I had favorites - and they were often a little "different." I was hyper in love with the name "Chandelay" when I was 14. It was "Angili" before that. And before that it was "Jessi." When I was very young (back when I thought I wanted 6 kids) I had a list a mile long of what I was going to name them.

When Daddy Fuss and I were married we got to talking about the eventual names of our hypothetical children. We were really into the TV show "House" and I loved Dr. Allison Cameron. We decided pretty early on to name our first daughter "Cameron." We were so incredibly happy with this choice. I pictured nicknaming her "Cam" and "Cammie", but mostly I loved the full name Cameron.

When we mentioned that possibility in passing to his family one day, they were less than thrilled. But seeing as we weren't pregnant or even trying at the time, we let it drop and decided we wouldn't discuss it any further. That is until my BFF, K, decided to name her second son Cameron. I was bummed, ("I didn't steal your name!" she cried when I told her we had been planning to use it for a girl the day she told me about her choice) but Daddy Fuss didn't want to make a change because of that, but I felt funny about it.

(as a side note: we had Cameron as a middle name for one of our top5 choices when we were naming The Fuss. I felt like if we wanted to use it, it was our right, but that I wanted to clear it casually with K. We had a lovely talk one morning and without asking her permission, I felt like she was okay with it at the end of our conversation and felt so relieved. We didn't end up using it, since the name we chose really just jumped out as the right choice, but at the time I was so happy that she was okay with the thought. I still love the name, but don't feel the need to have my child use it anymore. Who knows if that will change?)

- Weird, this is not at all where I thought this post was going... huh.... -

When we were trying to decide on a name for The Fuss I liked to play around with them on paper - I'd practice writing them, play with the initials, nicknames, etc. My SILs were over one day and ended up snooping just a touch (the notebook was on the couch, but not open) and saw some of the names we were considering. (I had a long list of 70 names when we got pregnant - my husband said he wouldn't look at it until it was MUCH shorter - I got it down to 25, then 20, then 5 and we messed with the list of 5 several times before settleing on the one that to this day is completely perfect for her). When I fifgured out that they had seen it, I decided to make a dummy page for the next time they were snooping. I picked some names that I thought were pretty, but were rather unusual and not really ideal for our last name, etc. I did the same with them that I'd done previously and the next time my SILs were over, I know they peeked again. I know they were freaked out when we eventually decided to announce the name we had chosen. The relief on J's face, especially, was very obvious. She actually said "oh! I really like that!" as if she was surprised by that fact.

My older SIL who has a kid the same age as The Fuss named her what I consider to be a very 80's name. She's expecting child #2 at the end of the summer, and I joked around about her potential choices for this new baby if it's a girl, too. (They aren't finding out ahead of time.) Apparently, I nailed one of the top choices with my knowledge of name trends. It's a top sibling name pairing to her first daughter's name. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I've had several opportunities in the past few weeks to fill out paperwork at various Dr.'s offices. (Can you tell our FSA fund expires at the end of August? I've been to the GYN, the eye doctor, and a family doctor in the past 3 weeks.) And usually, there is a place to put your employer and/or occupation.

At the eye doctor, I had to update my file, since the last time I was there, I had been pregnant and working full time at "Heaven", my pre-motherhood job at an ad agency. I crossed it out and had to decide what to put down. The answer? Stay At Home Mom.

I picked up a bug at the end of last week (I thought it was the bug The Fuss had at the beginning of the week, but it seems to be hanging on to me a lot longer) and had to visit it primary care doc (which I don't have) so I went to a place that takes walk-ins and immediate new patients. They asked me what my occupation was - I answered, "Stay At Home Mom."

I've had trouble, for the last 17 months defining my roll and my place as far as all that goes, but I think I've figured it out now. I have begun to embrace my Stay-At-Home-ness.

I'm still working 18-20 hours a week outside the house, but I bring The Fuss with me. I haven't quite figured out a schedule for my days off yet - still trying to figure out how to handle all that "free" time. But I am getting into a rhythm with the housework and all the Mom time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Fuss Skills

The Fuss has learned a few new things lately and I thought I'd share her new habits.

  • She dances. If you tell her to dance or ask if she is dancing she will begin to dance. Usually this entails sort of a "running in place" kind of thing (think the dance in Flashdance to "Maniac") but sometimes she'll do that, while twirling herself around and around. When she hears music she likes she just can't help herself - she MUST dance. She also MUST dance when she gets really excited. She has happy feet, what can I say? I cannot wait to enroll her in ballet classes.
  • She's learned to nod "yes." If you ask her a question she will usually answer, but most often she nods yes, whether she means it or not. It gets frustrating sometimes, but she is so cute when she does the little nod - she seems so sincere.
  • She's learned to say "no." She says it a lot, though she hasn't begun to use it for everything yet, though I know she will eventually. I hear her telling herself and the dogs "no no" when she's doing something, especially when it's something I've told her no about before. She echos me when I repeat it, and sometimes she says it so emphatically that I'm wondering if she really does in fact mean it.
  • Her hair is getting longer, especially in the back and she is beginning to let me put bows and clips in it for longer periods of time (longer than 30 seconds). I've learned to show her the bow before I put it in her hair and she'll leave it in longer. I figured that out when I'd put one in, she'd pull it out, look at it, and attempt to set it back on top of her head. The hair on the sides, though, is still not nearly as long as the back and I still can't do pigtails. I'm bummed about that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I just made you say "under where?"**

I have to tell you about my new bra. I love it. And I am in no way getting compensated for giving this positive review, they haven't asked me to do so, but I seriously love it so much that I have to tell you about it.

I got an ad in the mail the other day from Victoria's Secret. It was one of those cards for a free panty (no purchase required) and $10 off the price of a bra. I do this all the time - I go in, I get my 1 pair of free underpants and I leave. I purchase nothing. There was a time when I only wore VS underclothes, but those days (the days of lots of income and no responsibilities... sometimes I miss those days) are long gone. I didn't get the $10 discount since the bra was already of sale for a cheaper price, but regardless, I walked out of there a very happy girl.

I tried The Perfect One (tm), the new VS bra. It was awesome. It was so comfortable and it fit like a glove and the fabric is really nice. I don't usually go in for the VS ads - like most ads for that kind of thing, they promise you the world but end up not always delivering. But this one, it really is The Perfect One (tm).

Right now it's on a promotional price for under thirty bucks. So worth it. I think it's usually going to be about $45 and while that's a little high, I think it would be worth it. This bra is seriously terriffic.

I've had some trouble with my current stock of bras lately - I've had 5 of them tear out their underwires in the last 3 months. Don't know what that's about. Also, post-pregnancy/breastfeeding my shape is VERY different that it used to be (I know, everyone tells you this is going to happen - I'm not surprised, but it is annoying when I can't afford to replace them en masse). So I was in serious need of a bra pick me up (pardon the pun).

If you're in the market for a new bra that is pretty and comfortable, I'd suggest you check this one out. I really think it might be The Perfect One (tm).

** Anybody know what song the title of my post is from? :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Growing up (adult time)

Congrats to Maggie who has done so incredibly well on her "Hot By 30" goal. I'm impressed and I've begun my own quest.

There is something about the age of 30, isn't there? Sort of seems like that is the age of adulthood to me. :)

I've struggled with "feeling like an adult" over the last several years. Which is weird because I've done a lot of "adult" things in the past 9 years. I ran a business from the time I was 20 until I was 24. I graduated college, I bought a car, all on my own (including negotiating the price), I got married, bought a house, had a baby, left my job to become a SAH mom. I'm caring full-time for a toddler and I'm ready to have another baby. When we were engaged and in the early part of our marriage, we were Youth Leaders (the church was too small for a full or part-time Youth Pastor so we were minorly paid leaders of the Youth Group - the only ones) and I always struggled with referring to myself as one of the "adults". Being a mom has helped, but still, sometimes I wonder when I'm going to be an adult.

We've paid off a huge portion of our "college debt" (not the school loans, but the credit card and medical bills that we accrued during that time.) We're doing some planning on how to fix up our house, since we're planning to be in it for awhile yet. (we have a 2/1 and need to do something if we're going to continue having kids...)

I have days where I feel confidant in myself and my abilities and days where I wonder what the heck I've been doing with the last 28+ years of my life... days where I really feel like I've got it together and days when I wonder why my life is falling down around me...

I've got some goals for the next 13 months or so (when I hit my own 30th birthday)

  • I'd like to get pregnant and have a baby.(I'll be perfectly happy with being pregnant on my 30th birthday)
  • I'd like to take a class (or at least register for one) in Creative Writing or some such at one of the local colleges.
  • I'd like to make a plan and hopefully begin to implement it about our house - how to improve the space and make more.
  • I'd like to pay off more of our student loans.
  • I'd like to make an effort to change my working situation. Whether I find a new scenario or adjust to what I'm doing with a better attitude...
  • I'd like to lose 20-40 lbs. (I know - huge range. But 20lbs would be my pre-wedding weight and 40lbs would be my sexy, young-college weight and I know that it's not likely, but geez, wouldn't that be nice?)
I cleaned out my closet this weekend and purged it of all the clothes I haven't been skinny enough for in YEARS. I do this periodically, but have held onto several items because they are my favorites. There is a blue dress that is probably my mostest favoritest dress of MY ENTIRE LIFE in there. I looked FABULOUS in this dress and I even had shoes and a purse that matched it and boy, was I hot in that little number.

But I finally got it out of my closet. I packed it and several other items (2 more of my favorite dresses, several of my favorite tops, a couple of skirts, etc.) and told my skinny SIL that she could have them. Most of them are a little dressy for her everyday life, but she could wear them to church and there were several casual tops. I was so excited to share them with someone who would look nice in them and that I might get to see them, etc. (I really loved that blue dress).

She returned them to me today, having taken none of them. I was seriously bummed. I thought for sure she'd like some of them. I'm nearly possitive that I'm not going to have the nerve to give up the blue dress again - it's going back in my closet.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Book Reviews (June '09)

I got this idea from here and thought it was great. I'm an avid reader, so my list is long (usually). I don't have any definite goals to my reading as far as numbers go, but I thought I'd share some of the books I've read recently and tell you a little bit about them.

1. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult: Loved it. Could have done without the last 2 chapters (or at least should have had a tissue), but it was really great. This was my first Picoult and I admit that I read it because I want to go see the movie (my mother ingrained in me that you read the book, then watch the movie)but I will be picking up more of her books in the future.

2. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah: This was my other vacation book and I loved it. It's about 2 friends who meet when they're in 8th grade or something and stay friends for decades. Through thick and thin (and sick and sin - lots of points to anyone who can tell me where that quote is from). It reminded me a lot of my childhood best friend and I had a really long email conversation with her to sort of rekindle our friendship.

3. Happens Every Day by Isabel Gilies: My SIL lent me this book and it wasn't what I expected at all. She kept telling me it was by the woman who played Stabler's wife on SVU and I guess I was just not expecting what it was - an autobiographical tale of how her marriage unraveled. It was really interesting, and by the end, I was very happy with the fact that I had read it.

4. The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers: I've read this book several times over the last 7 years or so. It is sad and poignant and heartbreaking and emotional. It's not light reading, but it hits on a very tricky subject (the main character was raped and got pregnant from it and her life was turned upside down because of it).

5. Take One by Karen Kingsbury: This book made me a Kingsbury fan. It's Christian fiction. I like Christian fiction, but struggle with the lack of realism sometimes. I always feel like the characters are too pure or too perfect or come to knew realizations too easily. But this book was AWESOME. I loved how real the characters seemed. It's the first in a series and I am chomping at the bit to pick up the next one and I'm looking forward to reading her other series's as well. I actually discovered that I have another of her books in my shelf and have picked it up to read beginning this week. I don't know why I didn't take my Gramma's recommendation (she has yet to steer me wrong) and read this author long ago.

That was the month of June. I'm still reading a bunch of parenting books that I began in June, but I won't mention them in review until I'm done - or closer to done with them, but suffice it to say I'm picking up a lot of info from them.

Hope you have the chance to check out these books!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

4th memories

When I was a little kid, my first best friend's family (her name was Kelly - I use it only because there were a gazillion Kelly's in born in the 70's and 80's and no one, sans my parents, that I know now knows her) used to go to the beach every year for the beach fireworks which were always awesome and magical and fun.

When Kelly and her family moved away we stopped going to the beach. I don't remember what we did those first few years, but eventually my dad and I made a tradition of buying those big packs of amateur "fireworks" (they didn't shoot into the sky, but they had bright lights and pretty colors and funny noises) and we'd light them out in the street in front of our house. Sometimes my neighbor kids would come over and join us, sometimes my childhood best friend would come over, but usually it was just dad and me and my mom would pop in and out while she watched the fireworks show they did in D.C. on TV.

I don't have a lot of great memories of my dad when I was a kid. He didn't really know how to relate to me once I was passed the age of cuddling with him after bath time and throwing a ball as high as the roof was amazing. He really had little to do with me until I was 15 or 16, even though we lived in the same house and saw each other (at least in passing) daily. My dad was a workaholic. He owned his own business and he was really into it, so he was always there, even on Sundays when it wasn't open.

But these memories were really great. We'd pick out the package together, trying to find a balance between price and fun. We'd light them together and then talk about which ones were our favorites afterwards.

I do remember the year we stopped. I had a couple of friends over for the afternoon/evening. (Incidentally, one of them was the man who 10 years later became my husband) This was one of the first times I'd entertained boys at home and my current crush was there and we were sitting close on the couch and holding hands. I never got up to tell my dad that it was time. The next morning, I remember seeing a look of disappointment on my dad's face when he looked over at the unused fireworks kit.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Book (series) review

I've been meaning to write about one of my favorite series of adulthood, The O'Malley series by Dee Henderson. I love this series and have read it through several times over the last few years.

The characters are a lot of fun - they have depth and warmth and faults, etc. It's Christian fiction with a Christian message(and a little romance and a little mystery) without being too preachy or too goody-goody, which I find in a lot of Christian fiction.

Each book deals with a different member of the O'Malley family - a group of orphans who met in a foster-type house in Chicago and legally changed their names once they reached adulthood to become their own family. And each book deals with a doubt or question about the Lord or hurdle to coming to the Lord based on their own history.

In the first book, Kate, deals with the aspect of God as a loving father vs. her own history of her father not being loving at all (she was removed from her home at the age of 9 because of his abuse).

The second book, Marcus's story, deals with the belief in prayer from the perspective of a man who, as a child, prayed for his mother to be healed and lost her anyway.

In the third book, Lisa who is now a forensic scientist who deals with investigating deaths for the police, deals with the resurrection.

There are 6 books and a prequel in this series. Each member of the family is a public servant of sorts (a cop/hostage negotiator, a US Marshall, a firefighter, a paramedic, a crisis counselor for the Red Cross, a pediatrician) in each story the main character finds the Lord, peace with their own history and love.

If you are looking for a series to dig into, this is a really good choice.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Independance Day!

We had a lovely holiday weekend. Very busy, but both lots of fun and productive. My dad took his first vacation in like, 10 years this weekend (it lasted 46 hours. Yeah. My dad's a party animal) and I covered for him at work on Friday afternoon. We had some interesting adventures there, but made it through without too much trouble and enjoyed my afternoon with my husband and The Fuss.

Saturday we got up early, went to breakfast and the grocery store and then had 2 parties in between naps. We swam in the pool at M and A's house and then dropped The Fuss off at my mom's for the evening while we went to a party at my friend's parents' beach condo. Great views of multiple shows from there and despite the fact that we couldn't get the sparklers started because of the wind, it was a lot of fun.

At the last minute, my mom offered the keep The Fuss overnight and we agreed to let her. We had to do a little rushing in the morning to pick her up and get to church, but all in all it was a great day.

We rearranged our living room and cleaned up our dining room so that it is, once again, a dining room and not a room for business papers and baby toys. I'm really happy with how things are looking for now. I know there are some minor, medium, and major changes I'd love to make to our house, especially if we'll be here awhile, but for now, things are pretty good.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Check this out

Head on over to Amanda's site to check out her fabulous giveaway this week. She's been getting pretty good with the giveaways lately, so you'd probably like her blog anyway. This particular one is promo-ing Donya's new site, premiering next week.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vacation, Part 3

read part 1 here
read part 2 here

As the Philosopher Pink said, "Sometimes it be like that."

Friday afternoon a group of us decided to go get some Carolina BBQ for lunch and visit the Wright Brothers Memorial. LP (my SIL), my MIL, Daddy Fuss, The Fuss and I headed out for lunch. When we arrived at the restaurant, as we walked up to the door The Fuss threw up all over herself and Daddy Fuss. It was a complete surprise. When I had him set her down she vomited again. It was all over her shirt, a little on the skirt she was wearing, her socks and shoes and all over daddy Fuss's clothes. She seemed okay after it was over, but of course, she reaked and I hated to make her wear those yucky clothes. I stripped her shirt off and she sat there topless w/ a blanket around her shoulders for awhile. We were able to get my other SIL to bring The Fuss and daddy Fuss a change of clothes when we met at the memorial. She seemed to be feeling much better and even ate a little bit at lunch.

They gave a nice talk at the memorial about the earliest flights and why the Wright Brothers chose this location for their experiments. We walked up the hill to the memorial (it was very steep and very hot. I would have been happy to skip that part, though the view was great).

We wrapped up our week with a family dinner on Friday night and prep work for our departure the next morning. It was a nice night and we didn't have to do too much running around the next morning if you discount the adventure we had trying to distribute the leftover food in the kitchen.

We got on the road in a timely manner. We stopped around noon at a winery on the mainland and did a wine tasting. It was really fun (this was my first tasting that was more than 2 wines) and we bought a couple of bottles as souvenirs. I also got this pretty little candle holder made from a wine bottle that was hand painted with pretty blue green and yellow stripes.

The Fuss doesn't like to be confined in her seat for long periods of time, so we had to stop periodically to let her get out and move. I can't remember if it was on the way up or on the way home, but we came across the world's worst McDOnald's for travelers. Not playground, no diaper changing station in the bathroom and no room to even attempt such a thing. We had to change her at a booth in the main dining room and I apologize to anyone who felt that was uncouth.

We ended up stopping for the night outside Savannah with the other Florida relatives. By this time I we were all tired and the evening was really rough. I wanted a good dinner, a cocktail, a soak in the tub and a comfy bed. We ended up sharing pizza w/ his family, making our own cocktails from our pathetic stash (and hiding them since his mom is anti-alcohol) and I put the baby to bed and stayed with her reading while Daddy Fuss and his sister checked out the hotel hot tub. Daddy Fuss was in an incredibly bad mood and acted difficult in relating with pretty much everyone.

We got started early the next day and hit the road before the rest of the family was really moving (we said good-bye, but they take awhile to get moving in the morning.)

Another long day of driving ahead of us and more crankiness. But finally, we made it home. It wasn't the greatest night's sleep, as The Fuss was still adjusting to being home and all the random naps she'd taken during the day, but overall, we were all glad to be home. I think 9 days was really way too long to be gone.

I highly recommend The Outer Banks as a nice, relaxing vacation spot. There are a myriad of things to do, or you can do nearly nothing (like I did) and still have a good time.

The Climb

You've probably all heard it already. You can tell I don't listen to a lot of radio, and what I do listen to is the Oldies station (love those oldies), but I just heard the song "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus. I've heard a lot about Miley over the last couple of years - she's a cutie and she's rumored to have a lot of talent and her parents try and keep her grounded, etc. I'm not 12, so I haven't really paid attention. I don't watch the Disney channel much, so I've seen about 12 seconds of her show. I haven't really followed her very much.

But I love this song. Love it. It's so inspirational.
The chorus goes something like this
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
It's always gonna be an uphill battle
And sometimes I'm gonna have to lose.
It ain't about how fast I get there,
It ain't about what's on the other side
It's the climb

I think sometimes we forget that life is what you make of it. There's always planning, always looking forward. From the time you're old enough to talk people ask you "what do you want to be when you grow up?" People ask "what college are you going to?" when you're in high school, "what's your major?" and "what kind of job do you want?" when you're in college. They ask "what kind of man do you want to marry?" and "how many kids do you want?" etc. Sometimes I think we all need to be reminded that we're missing a lot by not enjoying the here and now - the climb, if you will.

I know that I sometimes get so frustrated by the actions of The Fuss - yesterday was a particularly bad day in that department. I just wanted the day to end and to move on. I daydream about when she's older and can talk to me and the adventures we will have. And that's all well and good, but sometimes I need the reminder that I need to enjoy TODAY. She is growing SO fast. I already feel like her babyhood is basically over. I need to enjoy what I have, while I've got it. I need to relish the cute little way she laughs and points and climbs into my lap.

So thanks, Miley Cyrus, for that reminder today.