Tuesday, March 27, 2012

(1) Portrait.


Me. 40 pounds ago.

Dear Me,
You thought you were beautiful and funny then, and you were. Very much so. But I like "me" better now. I am healthier and stronger, both mentally and physically. I thank you for all the hard work you put yourself through to get us to where I am today today. Without that hope and perseverance, we'd probably still be over 200 pounds and depressed about how we felt people saw us only for what jiggled and not for our humor or friendly smile.

We both know that size shouldn't be a factor in how you see others. We should see them for who they are on the inside, but you and I both know that's not true. That people saw that shell and immediately assumed you were a slob and/or lazy. Hell, maybe you were, but it wasn't because you wanted to be. I hope I can remember as I'm still losing my "soft" spots that who I am is still who I was 40 pounds ago. I'm just not nearly as leery to open up and show people who I really am.

Keep on, keepin on girlfriend.

P.S.
We'll all miss your pretty face when the new skinny you takes over this Blogger avatar.

Monday, March 26, 2012

(2) Songs.






Our Song.

Song that reminds me of my Grandparents and reduces me to goosebumps and sobs EVERY SINGLE TIME. They were very much in love, but my Grandfather had a way of being so stubborn with her that it held her back from a lot of her dreams. One of which was getting to fly in a helicopter. When they had to "life flight" her from our local hospital to a more specialized one in Atlanta right before she passed away, she spent the entire flight lucid and aware of getting that one wish. REGARDLESS of the reason why she was on that helicopter, she was so happy. Anyways, every time I hear this song now that she's passed and knowing what I know now through deep conversations with my Grandfather, I feel this song was meant for them, for their story. And it breaks my heart as much as it gives me joy to sing it (badly) every time I hear it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

(3) Films.



Short and sweet today. Three films that I can't live without.

Amelie.

First of all, I dragged my gay boyfriend (not really my boyfriend, but the only person I knew who would totally appreciate this film) to a small theater in downtown Atlanta because I heard nothing but rave reviews about this movie. When we arrived I wasn't feeling so hot, but pushed through thinking I could just sit and relax while watching the movie... and instead I became feverish. It was a VERY interesting movie with my own feverish hallucinations totally working in it's favor. I love the colors, the language, the entire mindset of this movie. It's simply a breathtaking work of art. My Mother? Hated it. After watching the trailer, I kind of want to watch it again for myself. I think I will! ((Inserting popcorn into microwave.))

Trainspotting.

I don't know how I first came upon watching this movie, I know I was young and impressionable, but I remember loving it from before I ever entered High School. After reviewing the trailer, I wonder how I got away with seeing it! My Mother must have never know, which of course means a friend had to introduce it to me, but even now I can't fathom any of my friends having seen this one before me. We were pretty square ifyouknowwhatImean. After watching this, I of course read Irvine Welsh's novel under the same title... AND every other book he'd written. Malibu Stork Nightmares is my favorite of his. It's completely effed up and just as colorful in language with it's butchered English, much like my love e. e. cummings. You have to read it in a Scottish accent or you'll never understand any of it. Trainspotting also turned me on to all things Danny Boyle. His works are amazing, or at least I think so. Shallow grave, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, The Beach, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Slumdog Millionaire... Pure genius. The Beach would have made the list, but alas, I could only write about three... and SO...

Moulin Rouge.

Are you sensing a theme yet? Amelie and Moulin Rouge (not only both based in France), but also both are very saturated with their colors and extremely surreal with their filming styles. Trainspotting and Moulin Rouge both involve Ewan McGregor as their Leading Male role. Coincidence? Absolutely not. Ewan McGregor in on "that list." This movie renewed my love in Baz Luhrmann's films. My first favorite of his being of course, Romeo + Juliet. When Romeo + Juliet came out I was barely out of Middle School and with all my hormones and love for all things Shakespeare (did I mention how square I was, TOTES SQUARE), it was the perfect movie for that time period of my life. Maybe I should have made this post about directors. Another day... I did, after all, work for Blockbuster Video most of my young adult life. There would be an entire post dedicated just to THAT as well!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

(4) Books.


Four books are hard to choose when you have well over 600 books in your personal library. ((This does not include the children's books.)) I just averaged them. I'm honest to God just as shocked as you probably are. I averaged about 50 books on each shelf (I counted two shelves of the 13). Holy Mother. That is a lot of books. A LOT. People, where did I ever find time to read even half of them??? I've been a self proclaimed book devourer for most my life. At Logan's age, I was that pasty white child hunkered down on the front porch with her nose in a book. In High School, I was the girl constantly reprimanded for reading anything (and everything) other than the reading material of that class period. When I was flying, you could find me in between galley duties crouched over the counter guzzling a pot of coffee soaring through chapters or doing a crossword. I love to read. I love the act of it, the smell of the inky paper, the sound of the spine breaking as all but make out with the words.

When the Husband moved in with me, he brought his own book collection with him. It was small at first, but we rebuilt it with books from his childhood picked up at secondhand bookstores and memberships to book clubs we could barely afford. Our love for serial authors like Koontz and Evanovich overflowed onto the floor outside of milk crates pilfered from my job as a Barista. Once we moved into our own place after I started flying again, we also were able to move my bookshelves that my Father had made for my sister and I into the apartment... and we realized we were in trouble once we had to start stacking them IN the bookshelf as well as on top... and beside... and on our side tables and every surface we could find. I began collecting first (or as close to first) editions of classics and children's books during this time as well. We struck gold when my Grandfather began redecorating his Den and he gifted his bookshelves to me. So now we have the two bookshelves my Father made and the two my Grandfather made. Now I need the Husband to make two more... and we'll probably end up needing a Study lined with shelves if we ever move out of here.

Before Lo was born, the Husband would read "The Hobbit" to my stomach in hopes the boy was listening. Seeing as the child is as "comic book nerd" stereotype as it gets, I dare say he succeeded. His love for reading isn't nearly as strong as ours, but there's still time (and hope, lots of hope.) Lillie on the other hand... Neither of us read to my stomach during her pregnancy, but with as sick as I was with the morning/noon/night sickness, I spent a lot of time lounging with a book in my face hoping to God I didn't barf before I could finish a paragraph. Halfway through the pregnancy I became absolutely terrified that I wouldn't be able to find the time to read once she arrived. I began to read faster and with a hunger I'd never felt before. That child was born for story time. As an infant, we would read to Lo AND her in our bed before putting him to bed in his room, afterwards she would get a separate story just for her... because she WANTED one. It didn't matter if it was "Hop On Pop" or "National Geographic," the girl loved her some words. We weren't the least bit surprised when she started talking at 5 months. Granted it was, "Wow" and "Whoa," but they were words all the same.

Like her parents, the young gazelle eyed her papery prey from a distance before lunging in and ripping it's guts out. She still has issues with getting too "passionate" with her little library. We both have a small communal cry together as I attempt (poorly) to tape the pages back together.

Little Me, attempting to read to my baby sister. She had no appreciation for the fine art of language. Thanks to my parents and Grandparents, I learned very early to enjoy words, even if I kept most of them to myself.
 
 Book 1.

So... um... what was this post about anyways? OH RIGHT, 4 books. Just 4? Really? I'm kind of insulted, but we can talk more about other books some other time. SIGH. One of my greatest memories is of my parents reading to me at night, and many of the books I read to my own children were from that same collection. The book that gets me the most excited though is "The Secret Garden." I can. not. wait. to read this to Lillie. Why? Because I know that she will love it just as much as I did. My God-Mother sent me this book as a gift. I'm not even sure if there was an occasion for it or not, I just remember closing my eyes and listening to the words wash over me and seeing the garden for all it's glory in the colors of my mind. And yes, I do still have this exact copy waiting in a safe place for the day I can share it with her, as I do the following 3 books as well.
 
 Book 2.

E. E. Cummings was my first "dead guy" crush. I discovered him in High School and fell in love with his butchered grammar and drove my Mother (an English Major) completely insane by refusing to use punctuation or case determiners for YEARS after. I still, cliche or not, covet this bracelet as it is one of the most romantic poems I've ever read... also... I'm not the biggest fan of poetry. Just his. Poetry in general, much like chorus concerts and amateurs attempting ANYTHING, makes my skin crawl with physical embarrassment. I don't have any particular reason why I feel that way, I just always have.

 Book 3.

Around the time that I began to lose my own innocence, I discovered this book. It was one of the "required readings" for my class and I read it in one night. I could not put it down. Unlike most of my fellow students, I thoroughly enjoyed every last one of the books on our "required reading" lists. I cried when Piggy died. I SOBBED.  Oh, FYI, that was a spoiler. OOPS! "Lord of the Flies" might also be one of the reasons I tend to be on the more "subservient" when it comes to Government. I know, I KNOW! But... I'd much rather not watch the news and not know what's really going on in the world right now. Knowing the latest political scandal or about the most recent war outbreak literally breaks me out into hives. Just tell me where to stand and serve when needed, thanks. I'd much rather enjoy my children and be ignorant to the world outside of our little bubble, than paranoid about the world and completely ignorant of those in my own home. Wow, this post just got weird. Next book!

Book 4.

I don't ready schmutzy romance novels. I just don't. I would rather drink a bottle of Elmer's glue than sit through a Fabio covered novel. So, when my Mom would bring a BAG of these books to the beach with us, I literally wanted to die in her presence. PLEASE DON'T BRING YOUR SMUT TO THE BEACH, IT IS A VERY PUBLIC AND VERY FAMILY SITUATION... OMG KILL ME NOW. There's no real literary meat to them, it's fluff. FLUFF I SAY! So when a coworker pushed and pushed and all but read "The Time Travelers Wife" to me, I may or may not have shrugged her off about it for the first few months that she begged me to read it. And then I did... and my life changed. Again. This was romance! This was romance that did not make me want to hide in my closet feeling ashamed for having read even a few pages! Miracle upon miracles! These are the types of romances I like reading about. Unconventional, surreal, slightly (if not completely) unbelievable... sometimes even science fictiony so long as there are no aliens or probing of butts, I'm there.

That's my list. My 4 book list. I'm still freaked that I only had to pick 4. There are so SO many more books I could have added, but again... another day.

Friday, March 23, 2012

(6) Places and (5) Foods and (1) Major Freak Out.

Let's start with the "Major Freak Out," shall we? Shortly after I posted about Logan's bicuspid aortic valve disease, a good friend of mine (I used to watch her little boy during the day) contacted me and told me that her cousin's son had just had the surgery and was up and running 4 weeks later like nothing had happened. Ok, easy peasy, no big deal... and then I went to her page to ask her if she thought it would be weird if I contacted her cousin so I could kind of talk to a parent who's been through it... and that's when I saw her status update about the cousin's boy having OPEN HEART SURGERY. Which of course, lead to a massive Google investigation on just what the surgery options are. Of COURSE the only logical and effective surgery for the long term is the replacement of the valve with either a grafted and formed replica of a tricuspid aortic valve. Which of course, involves OPEN HEART SURGERY. The kind of surgery where they're put on bypass and their core temp dropped to a hypothermic situation. Color me completely in panicked. I didn't really begin feeling the panic until I talked to my Mom about it. It was the first time I'd spoken aloud about, my child... having his chest cut wide open... putting him on bypass and OMGFREAKINGTHEFUCKOUTGETMEOUTOFTHISCARBEFOREIOPENFIREONEVERYONE. I just... shit. Needless to say I will be calling the pediatric cardiologist WHILE in therapy so I can lose it in a safe place. ((i.e. not in front of my son who still doesn't have any idea what's in store for him.))

Now that we have that out of the way... let's talk about more pleasant things.

 

Places I've been that I never left the airport, but the airport was enough to peak my interest to go back.
  1. Aruba. I did a turn around flight from Boston to Aruba and back to Boston all in less than 24 hours. I never got to see anything out the window upon landing/take off as it was night time... but Aruba sounds really lovely right now in comparison to "Pollen Storm 2012."
  2. Amsterdam. We refer to the Netherlands as "The Mother Country" around here. The Husband's family came off the boat not too long ago in the grand scheme of things from Utrecht. ((Well, that's where I traced them to.)) I try to incorporate little bits of Holland into the house, because I am completely enamored with the place. The 6 hours I spent stuck in the airport KILLED me, but we weren't allowed to even step out because we didn't have visas. BOO. It was from that short period in the Amsterdam airport that I found a sick love for Stroopwafels. SO much so that when I was 8 months pregnant with Lillie and found out my Father In Law was headed there for business, I all but held a gun to his head and threatened his first born (aka, my Husband) if he didn't bring me back as many as he could carry back on the plane with him. Luckily for all parties involved, he followed through.
  3. New Orleans. I KNOW. The most of I've seen of the place is the tarmac... and I'm pretty sure it's a short(ish) drive for us. What are we waiting for???
  4. France, never been. EVER. Never even landed there, but it needed to make the list because HELLO, France you guys!
  5. Tucson. I got a tasty burger in the airport, but that was as far as I ever got in Arizona. I've been to New Mexico and NEVERWANTTOGOBACK (another story, another day.) 
  6. Venice. Been there, but never got to leave the airport. Lucky for me I got to have authentic Italian pizza and gelato in the international concourse. We landed in Aviano and bussed over to Venice to fly back to Germany. I slept through the entire damn drive even though I forced myself to stay awake, which that only lasted all of 5 minutes. THANKS, PREGNANCY, YOU ROBBED ME OF ONE FOR THE MEMORY BANKS.
 As for foods, let's talk about my top 5 favorite foods that I would quit any diet for a bite of.
  1. Dark Chocolate anything. Oh, you have snails dipped in dark chocolate? Don't mind if I do!
  2. White Pesto Pizza. But it has to be made just right. I worked for a local pizza shop in High School, and lucky for me it was right next to the school. So I would go there before my shift after school let out and do homework and gorge on the best pizza in the planet. The owner was Italian and he had the recipes for his sauce and dough sent over from his Italian Grandmother. It was so good. SO GOOD. A simple hand tossed crust with a thin pesto spread, garlic, fresh ricotta and feta, piles of mozarella and then (my addition) spinach. Oh shit, I'm hungry now. Too bad the new owners don't use the old recipes. Actually, it's probably good for my waistline that they don't.
  3. Cherries. I invested in a pitter... worst part is, my son is almost/maybe worse than I am. I was pitting them for a pie and I looked over at the bowl of cherries I'd pitted, I found my son popping them all in his mouth. Obviously he thought I'd bought the pitter for HIS convenience.
  4. Cake. All kinds. Cupcakes, 5 layers, cakepops, Little Debbie zebra striped, cake donuts, I have a problem.
  5. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. BUT ONLY the ridiculous holiday limited edition ones. The peanut butter tastes fresher and it's like a damn party in your mouth.

And this concludes our lists for the day. Now I have to go and clean something, like I don't know, laundry perhaps! The kitchen! THE BEDROOMS! The possibilities are endless, so long as they involve staying inside out of the yellow fog.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(7) Wants.


I'm really not this needy in real life... but my birthday IS coming up... JUST SO YOU KNOW, FAMILY, IT'S IN A MONTH AND A HALF. PREPARE YO'SELVES. Here are some ideas! And this is pretty much a generalized list of what I would want as a gift on any normal holiday/birthday. Something sassy, something classy, something to get my booty shaking, something to satisfy ye old sweet tooth, something cozy, and something that puts cozy to shame. I like love cozy.

 
1.)  Vera Bradley's "Sittin In A Tree" Saddle Up Purse (or well, any tote.)

I love this pattern. LOVE it. Of course, my sister has this pattern and I'm not so subtly posting this because I also know she wants a new purse for HER birthday in a month. I'm not against her regifting her current bag to me. Just sayin.

2.) Willow Tree's Family Collection 

Pretty much any of the family related Willow Tree collection is on my wish list. I received one as a gift after Lo was born of a Mama angel holding her baby and even our wedding cake topper was simply the "Embrace" figurine. I like simple, and her work snags at my heartstrings every time.

3.) Zumba Fitness Exhilarate: The Ultimate DVD Experience Set

I love the idea of Zumba. I don't like the idea of looking like a disjointed Mama with no rhythm in front of dozens of other women. Who probably look the same as me... but I can't see past my own jiggle to notice. I'm a big fan of working out at home and as much as I love yoga, Zumba is way more fun.

4.) Kitchenaid Mixer in Ice Blue 

Mommy wants this. I don't necessarily need it, but I want it something fierce. First of all? It's my color. That is TOTALLY "Tiffany" blue. Which also happens to be one of my kitchen colors anyway. See how that works out? Fabulously.

5.) Sanuk's Yoga Glam Flip Flop in silver and/or bronze. 

I wear Sanuk sandles all year long. ALL. YEAR. LONG. They are hands down the most comfortable flippy floppies on the face of the planet. I love them so much, that I not only want a pair for myself, but also a pair for the peanut. The Husband wants some as well, he just doesn't know it yet. They are durable and comfortable to the point that you will find ways to get away with wearing them. They're like walking on a stack of yoga mats. A STACK. Would it be too much to ask for these in both silver AND bronze? That way I could have a pair to match all my outfits. Wink wink...

6.) A well deserved shopping spree to some of my favorite places. Gap... Old Navy... Athleta... 

Speaking of outfits. AHEM. I need this card specifically... with lots of monies on it. Have I reminded y'all lately of the time I lost almost 50 pounds and I'm still losing? I haven't. Well... I HAVE. Let's just say that my linen drawstring pants I wore to the grocery store tonight ended up around my ankles right around the time I walked through the door with both hands full of grocery bags. Mommy needs a shopping spree, and while I'd love to hit up American Eagle, I know that between Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, there's a chance I'll find something to cover every occasion.

7.) An hour (or longer, oh please longer) massage with some of my favorite massage therapists. I need some magic worked on me!

I'd also love a good massage... I've been going to Zen Massage now for years. Since I first got pregnant with the peanut. It's not uncommon for me to fall asleep half way through an hour session and wake up with a drool soaked towel under my head. My stress levels would thank you greatly. Or... they'll just be thankful period. It's been too long since I got a good rubdown.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

(8) Fears.



I've got fears. I has them. I am always battling some little fear or another. The ones that cripple me though are as follows.

  1. Where I used to be a total control freak when it comes to driving, I now have a major fear of something happening to me behind the wheel. What if I'm on my way to pick the kids up and my Husband is in bed sleeping. Will the teachers call him? How will the kids handle me being incapacitated, or worse off, dead.
  2. I constantly worry that while we have all our major debt paid off from our ridiculous pasts, that we will somehow manage to get back into the hole after all our hard work to get it paid off in the first place.
  3. That I will find that old man. That I will go upstairs and I'll be the one to find him when he goes. Or that I will do something wrong in an attempt to save him. After losing so many of his brothers and being the oldest of all of them, he worries a lot aloud that he might not make it another year. I know that if I'd had that many siblings, and felt as if I'd raised the majority of them, I'd probably feel as if my time were running out as well. I just don't want that to happen because of me or while we are here, the worst part is I feel that if something were to happen to him shortly after we move, it would be ALL OUR FAULT. I always feel guilty for everything... that guilt, however, would kill me.
  4. That I'm going to lose a child. To illness, accident, etc. With Logan now having 3 conditions to fuss myself sick over, I... well... fuss myself sick over it. I dutifully chop a baby aspirin in half every morning to give to him with his breakfast, I listen to his chest after he plays hard to get an idea as to whether or not he'll need a treatment later... I get all twitchy and flinchy when we're outside and the bees and wasps are happy to be alive all over our yard. I thought about getting him a medic alert bracelet to satisfy my worry, but then backed out because HOLY CRAP that's a lot to engrave on the back.
  5. Cancer. I know I have some pretty serious sun damage on my face from the years I spent going in and out of the desert. However, it's only just now started to scare me. There are spots on my face that look like blemishes that, well, aren't. The only time I had a facial was the LAST time I had a facial, because she tried to expel them, and um, no? I need some serious healthcare coverage because I'm pretty sure once I start seeing a dermatologist, I'm going to end up looking like a damn jack-o-lantern. The worst part of all of this, is that I always always ALWAYS wear some sort of sunscreen on my face. Especially when I was headed into the desert.
  6. Getting to the end of this life and finding out that everything I knew was wrong or a lie. Let's just leave it at that.
  7. I just got to thinking about the "hypothetical situation" of what you wouldn't be able to leave behind, what would strike fear in your heart if you couldn't save that "one thing" in a fire/flood. Outside of my family (this includes pets... yes... even Bubbles the 10 pound goldfish and Mustachio his pint sized side kick, obviously I grab the nearest box and swoop all my photos and family mementos into it. There are some things that are worth more than gold. If it were just ONE thing, I'd nab my iPhone. Because it is my other lover. A year ago I scoffed at the idea of being so attached to an electronic device... but here I am. Hello. My name is Tiffany and I would rather curl up in a ball and hyperventilate than lose mah preciousssss iPhone.
  8. That my 80 year contract to the love of my life, somehow falls through. That he dies before the contract is up. That something tragic happens and we go in separate directions. I mean, these things DO happen. I'm still wrecked over that whole Heather and Jon situation. I just read her book! They seemed so beneficial to one another! I'm so SO confused! How did this happen???? They just, split. It literally strikes fear down to my core to think that these things DO happen. My own parents fought to keep their marriage for over 15 years. FIFTEEN YEARS. Only to discover that divorce was, in their case, their best option. I just... no. There has to be a way to beat all the odds. I can't accept that 9 times out of 10, today's marriages rarely make it to old age and Geritol.

Monday, March 19, 2012

(9) Loves.

9 posts to 200. Today is Nine Loves.
 





1.) Diva Days. Mom took us out today for "Cawfee at Stahbucks wit da gurrs." Or, if you don't speak Lillie, "Coffee at Starbucks with the girls." We also went and got our nails did after grabbing our coffee (or fancy organic chocolate milk and a birthday cake pop for those who don't have to worry about their girlish figure yet.) It was baby's first pedicure. I now know what I was missing all my life. Little girls are the world's best secret. Don't tell anybody.

2.) Finding Brenda... that hussy... well, pretty much anywhere Lillie tosses her. Where Brenda is, the party has OBVIOUSLY started. Why am I humming Katy Perry's "Friday Night?"

3.) The pink camellia. Which unfortunately, like every other blooming bush/tree that I love, blooms and almost immediately sheds its petals and/or turns brown. If you'd like to get me something that lasts longer, I'm pretty partial to fuchsias.

  4.) Taking the kids to school and picking them up. Well... Most days. One or both of them are destined to whine and/or complain... but seriously... look at mah widdle scholars! This was obviously taken before the pollen blizzard of 2012 hit and we were allowed to enjoy a ride with the windows down. Don't let the hands holding her hair down fool you, she likes it.

 5.) A good mullet accompanied by a good jab at my Alabama AND West Virginia roots. Somebody has to.

 6.) This kid. THIS kid. This kid and all his questions, SO MANY QUESTIONS. I speak about him at every visit with my therapist (like y'all didn't know I needed one... HAH). And every visit she asks me how I'm going to handle him. She asks because he is me. He is so detail oriented but blinded by the big picture. He has huge dreams, but can't take the first step. He's got a big heart, but fumbles on all the awkward words falling out of his mouth. I want to squeeze him and sniff the warm cinnamon scent of him until he's too big to squeeze. I want to whisper into his ear all night that it's going to be ok, just keep breathing and loving like he does. I want to bubble wrap him and keep him safe from all the unknowns, because I'm scared too. A lot. Just like him. Just like me.

 7.) That man I married. He's handsome, funny, loving, passionate, and irritating as snot. I've watched as we've changed from a young couple, to newlyweds, to parents and now... here we are. I think marriages fail if you go in blindly assuming that the other person is always going to be the person you fell in love with. I know I'm not, and I'm grateful he stuck around when I had my moments... just like he's lucky I stuck to breaking plates and slamming pots around once the kids were in bed instead of walking away stating we had irreconcilable differences. Anyways, just look at those smiling eyes. Swoon.

 8.) Finding self portraits taken on my phone and not knowing when she could have taken them. The kids are so fascinated by the camera, and understandably so. I've only been shoving cameras in their faces since they day they were born. I spend more time deleting ceiling shots than I do editing. This one however, is all her. I can attest that instagram does in fact make you a photographer, you should see some of her final products.

 9.) Coffee ice cream or frozen yogurt... with lots of dark chocolate involved. My hands down, slap yo' mama favorite is a tie between our local Fro-Yo place's coffee yogurt with Ghirardelli's dark chocolate syrup on top (see above) or Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino Ice Cream straight from the container. If I could afford to be more frivolous in the budget, I would take the kids out for Fro-Yo more often. More for me than them, obviously.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

10.

It's only fitting that since I'm 10 posts from my 200th post, that today I do the "10 Day You Challenge."

Today is 10 secrets. Which is hard, because I'm not very secretive. I tend to wear everything on my face which makes it a.) very hard to play poker and b.) even harder to lie. I love when I can pull off a good surprise, because it means that I've done extremely well keeping something to myself for a change. Here goes nothing.

  1. We are in a very bad place financially. I can never be thankful enough to my family for not giving us a harder time. We have a roof over our heads and the kids don't know that they're missing anything because I try extra hard to make sure that their needs are met and that they still get to have fun outside of the house as often as possible. This past week, however, has been ridiculously hard for me to maintain face. I started the week off on a bad foot and it seems as if I haven't been able to regain my balance since. Which is funny (and definitely not funny at the same time) that I fell down the last few concrete steps leading into our "front door" in the middle of the night earlier this week.
  2. I'm a "picker." It's not that I hate my face, I just can't NOT pick at it. Also? I hate makeup with a passion like no other.
  3. I have no upper body strength whatsoever. During our little "Presidential Physical Education Testing" or whatever that shit was called back in Middle School, my PE teacher actually allowed someone to "assist" me during the pull ups on the bar. I effing hated that shit. My arms just give out on me.
  4. When I go to bed at night, I "windows" shop. I'll plug in a destination on my Zillow app and look for houses. I don't care if they're for rent or sale, I just want to be anywhere but here. I need windows, wide open yards full of possibilities and hours of hide and seek. I need clean walls primed and ready for paint. A master bedroom with windows large enough to let the sun kiss my face in the mornings. Muther Fluffing COUNTER SPACE in my kitchen. I think we as a family are deserving of this. I just want to get there somehow, without having to sign my soul over to the devil.
  5. I take things to heart and am very quickly bruised by things people say, even if they're not to me. I can't fathom how people can act the way they do without the explanation of maybe their Mama's didn't do their jobs right... or maybe they're just bad eggs. I still hold my tongue more often that I should because I'm afraid of hurting someone. Also, because I'm verbally awkward. Believe it or not, I have to carefully think out each blog post so I don't completely fall on my face word wise. Recently my Mother told me that my words can slice right through someone when I'm angry. I don't ever mean to, but when I have something important to say I plan my words as carefully as I can to make sure my point gets across and I don't sound completely uneducated and/or ignorant. Those are the same thing, aren't they? SIGH. Coming back full circle the the first part of my "5th secret," I don't ever, EVER intend to hurt someone with my words because I know how it feels to be burned by words.... but it seems like the only way I'm able to get my point across. Irony, much?
  6. I wish I knew how to lasso. I would sit on my front porch and lasso deer in the morning just because.
  7. I can bake a mean cupcake... BUT... my oven works just enough to get dinner cooked on the stove top. The oven is terribly off balance with it's heat and then there's the matter of the vent. It vents directly into the kitchen or the storage area behind it. Meaning that after a couple dozen cupcakes, it is highly likely that I'm wearing gym shorts and a tank top, sweating my cheeks off.
  8. My Husband thinks I'm ridiculous with the amount of fun runs and 5k's I want to sign up for. I have to agree only because the first one hasn't even come around yet. In my head I am blowing the actual running of the 5k off, because it's an event! That's meant to be fun! Let's not worry the actual act of getting from start to finish. It's what happens between. I mean, seriously, dammit. I paid the money to be a participant, I don't care about where I "place" so long as I'm not dead last. I want to ENJOY life for a minute. I deserve to have a few hours where I just enjoy life and those around me without having to incessantly worry like I've been doing for the past 6 months.
  9. 2012 is a time for change. I turn 30 this year. I'm, hellbent on having some kind of security/stability for myself and my family before the year is up. I'm also hellbent on having a different address. Change is good, except when your scared shitless of it. And... ahem... I happen to LOATHE significant changes. By golly, I'm going to learn to embrace change this year if it kills me. More on that somewhere around post #200. It's comin, y'all... are you ready?
  10. I really want to have more kids. REALLY REALLY WANT MORE. But then logic kicks in and, OMG I HAVE A 3 AND 4 YEAR OLD WHO ARE COMPLETELY RUINING THE WARM AND FUZZY THIRD KID THOUGHTS. Not that my children are nightmares by any means, it would take years of bad behavior for me to think that. It's just that they're 3.... AND 4. Have you ever been the proud parent of a child of either age? You haven't? KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO YOURSELF THEN. And on that note, tomorrow we'll talk about what I love.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I have clearly lost my mind.

Y'all... I have been busy today. You have no idea what I've got up my sleeve! Last weekend I got a wild hair up my heiney and decided that this is for real. No more waiting. No more watching others do what I've been wanting to do. The time is NOW, people! I had a Scentsy open house (Mama loves her some Scentsy) and made some fancy ass cupcakes. We're talking pink lemonade cupcakes and cotton candy frosted yellow cake cupcakes BAKED IN AN ICE CREAM CONE. That right there was fabulous. FABULOUS. See exhibit A:

Pink lemonade on the vintage cake stand I found in the storage area in the basement and the fancy melty looking "soft serve" cones are the cotton candy frosted yellow cake. That was a learning experience... I've learned, now let's move on, shall we?

Today I experimented with my famous brownies and added cookie dough to them. Y'all... you're gonna want to slap your Mama once I get these bad boys frosted with some chocolate marshmallow frosting. Exhibit B:

Seriously. I hope your Mama lives out of state.

Tonight I'll be finishing up my red velvets and sealing them all up (unfrosted) and tossing them in the freezer till Thursday. Why? Because I'm not only going to debut Scentsy's brand new scent of the month with samples on hand, but I will also have cupcakes... FOR SALE. $1.50 each or $2/2. Trust me, I cut you a fantastic deal. So if you live south of I-20, shoot me a message! I'll tell you where to bring your sweet tooth, just leave Mama at home, ok? I don't want to be charged with having a hand in any sort of domestic dispute over my tasty goods. ((We can chat about discounts on larger quantities. I'll have over 100 sweet and tasty products to wrap your sticky little fingers around... as well as to share if you learned ANYTHING from your parents!))

How's this for marketing the new Scentsy product on the side? I will have this out on the table next to the cupcakes, Exhibit C:

Used to be Lillie's but now it's mine all mine seeing as how she's smitten with the new Tiara warmer. I can't imagine why.

So this is pretty much what I've been up to all day. The Husband and I have been scheming up a website, and I'm finally taking my Dad's advice and selling my baked goods under the name "Pumped Up Cakes." Think last Summer/Fall's #1 musical hit. Don't know what I'm talking about? This is for "M."


Oh, and by the way... you should check out my goodz on this blog right here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Let's panic about genetics!

Yesterday I busted my ass (figuratively) between dropping off and picking up the kids yesterday. I had skipped one of my 5k trainings and thought I should just go ahead and do that while the house was quiet. So I turned on some tunes and my 5k app and started running. About halfway through my run I realized that I was breathing funny (one of my warning signs that panic is attempting to settle in.) I got angry at my body and kept running, forcing myself to breathe slowly and wiping my mind clean of all the clutter in hopes to shut it down. When I got off the elliptical, the panic was still there, coiling itself up through my stomach and my heart started to race. So I popped one of my "emergency" meds knowing that it would start kicking in sometime between picking up the kids and home. I've been on these meds long enough now that one pill doesn't completely shut me down, so I didn't worry about my motor skills becoming effected. Until I picked the kids up and realized the panic was still there, rearing it's ugly head. My hands started to tingle and clench. I muttered a silent "Fuck me" and buckled the kids up. I managed to get them 3/4 of the way home before I had to pull over and walk around to gather my bearings. I couldn't breathe, my hands/face/feet were numb, there was a buzzing in my ears. All I could think about was getting them home safely. I popped another pill.

I was able to get them home and into the house before the second one took effect and just making peanut butter and jelly became a serious chore. Lunch plates hit the table and I hit the bed. I wish I could say that I didn't know where this attack started, that I couldn't pinpoint one little thing that triggered this massive attack, but I can. My entire family is riddled with anxiety and I specifically have issues with taking too much on. My "responsibility plate" overfloweth. I've described it before (I think) on the blog as well as to my Mother and therapist. Imagine a fancy, yet fragile, serving platter. Now imagine placing your duties to yourself on that plate, you have kids and their needs go on top of yours, your Husband needs you to fulfill the responsibilities he can't perform, and then your Grandfather needs the same as your Husband, your Father gets sick and relies on you for support. And then you remember that your Son has a long awaited cardiologist appointment the next day and all your worry overwhelms you because your baby... your baby has a cardiologist appointment. Your beautiful, strong as an ox child has a murmur that continues to strengthen with each check up. It's not something you can ignore. It's something that as a parent you have to address, because you are responsible for them. The anxiety twists in you like a snake. Moments later after remembering the doctor appointment, your Mother contacts you begging for your help as she's in the midst of yet another fever. You shut down. All these scary unknowns have you seething with anger and frustration and fear. You shut down.

I wish I could be one of those people who are strong enough to just brush these anxieties off, that talk therapy and medicinal therapy are enough. I've only been on this new regimen since literally New Years. I just want to be "normal." I don't want to worry anymore. I have my family to thank for my anxieties. I also thank them for allowing me to share them with my son.

Today at the pediatric cardiologist I could see it in Logan's face. That fear of the unknown. Unable to sit still and all 4 feet and 40 pounds of him begging to crawl into my chest and lap because it's too much for him. "But I'm healthy! You said so! I don't need to go to the doctor again! I just went last week and she said I was healthy!" How do you explain to your child that their heart isn't like everyone else's. I walked in under the assumption that his murmur was simply louder than most. I walked out feeling like a failure as a parent. He has bicuspid aortic valve disease. Where the valve should look like a pie split in thirds to let blood pump into the aorta, his is shaped like a pie split in half. What we thought was a murmur is small amounts of blood regurgitating back into the heart. Physically, he shows no symptoms of having any issues. Were you to listen to his heart, however, you would know something was not right. The reason it's sounded stronger with each visit is because the valve is thickening as it tries harder and harder to pump. In time he will need to have it replaced. We won't know how soon till his next check up in 6 months to find out how quickly the disease is progressing. This disease doesn't happen overnight. More often than not it's a hereditary disease, and when it is "just a fluke" the 2nd and 3rd valves fuse together. Both happen during the first trimester as the heart forms. I made that heart from scratch and it's eating at me that there was absolutely nothing that I could have done or known to have altered the outcome. Do not get me wrong, I know that I didn't physically do this to him, but at the same time as a Mother I will always feel guilty that I built him this way unknowingly.

In the meantime, all I can do is monitor him now with the list of scary things to watch for and force halved baby aspirins down his throat every day in hopes it will slow the progress of the valve's thickening and make it easier to pump. These are not things I wanted to worry about as the parent of a 4 year old boy. I want to worry about skinned knees and bug bites or how much time he's spent in front of the t.v. and video games. I'd much rather worry about those than heart disease.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

That was then.

Before.

Last summer, I clocked in at 220 pounds. I stopped looking at the scale once I saw that number. I hadn't been that number since I was pregnant with Lillie. I weighed less when I found out I was pregnant with her. I showed the Husband this picture and he shook his head, he never saw me like this. I saw this. I was so disgusted with what I'd done to myself that I just stopped looking. I averted my eyes at the mirror. I slid away from the camera's eye. I still don't know how I happened upon the site that led me on the path to where I am now. I do know that it's been an eye opening journey.
I can't stop thinking about walking, running, yoga, dancing, running some more... My anxiety levels have changed somewhat, but I'm still taking that topic day to day. Today? Wasn't so good, but again, taking that one day at a time.
This is me now. I weighed myself a few days ago and I'm at 178. That's a 42 pound loss. Wait for it... WAIT FOR IT... I want to lose another 20. I try not to think about the fact that 150 is still considered overweight for my height, but I can't tell you the last time I was 150. Middle school? Elementary school? I have no idea. NONE. I can't wait for summer. I can't wait to show off the non-pouch, the sudden loss of my "librarian arms" and MY BUTT. You guys, I've waited way too long to have a butt. I HAVE A BUTT. It's not much, but it's something. Just a few more months of grocery store lunges and maybe I'll have my own "Buns of Steel" DVD (think late night grocery shopping and using the cart for balance as you lunge down the cereal aisle. OH YES I DO THIS.)

So this is me now, this is pretty much my wardrobe because have you had to buy yourself a new wardrobe every month or so? No thank you. You need $$$ for that, and I don't exactly have a sugar daddy. You guys let me know if you find one that's available. Yoga pants? Check. T-shirt or tank top? Check. Flippy floppies? Check. The end.

 After. The lighting does nothing for my now "non" pouch.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Scentsational!

 Oh, Hello there Wellington! I see you're enjoying all the rain and tornado warnings! You might not want to stand too close to that light post seeing as it's lighting outside!

So I'm just going to gush for a moment about how much I love Scentsy. No really, I truly deep down in my heart love this company. As of last month, I've been with them for a year. Did you just roll your eyes and stop reading? DON'T! Just stick with me for a moment. I've had my ups and downs with direct sales and have been direct selling for almost 3 years. Mostly with another company, but Scentsy stood by me and didn't threaten to leave when my sales got low. When I worked hard at my little business, it paid bills and put gas in the car. When ye olde basement started smelling like... well.. a basement, it saved me from insanity. Seriously, who DOES like the smell of a nice damp basement? Even with the dehumidifier running it doesn't completely take that old musty smell out of everything!

 
 My very first Scentsy obsession.

To think that it all started with a party I was working for my other company. The Hostess was thinking of becoming a Consultant herself and before her party whipped out a room spray from Scentsy. She said, "You know, you'd be really good at this kind of thing, have you ever been to a party?" I was hesitant to call the Consultant off the business card my friend had called me. I'd gotten into the habit of hosting parties for other Consultants and then working a party for them. I didn't want to pressure her into thinking she needed a "ladies night in." To be honest, after smelling just that one product and my Hostess's suggestion on looking into their business, the only thing on my mind was hosting a party for the freebies and learning more from the Consultant after the party. Let's just say that by the time my party came and went, I already knew I was going to sign up. It was always $99 to join in on the fun, no $199 this month and $249 the next. No different kits to purchase. No pressure to keep inventory (at one point I had over $2000 in inventory for my other company, and while I made some MAD money with them, it just wasn't worth the uncertainty anymore.) With Scentsy, if I shared my excitement and love for the products I had a great payday the next month. If I took a break, whatever! No biggie! So imagine my excitement when they announced earlier this year that we were adding new lines of scent related products as well as two new by-companies.

No matter how many times I tell myself I'm a grown woman, I still love a cute stuffed animal... I just have to practice restraint, because seriously... they're stuffed animals.
One of my favorite products is GREAT for kids. At my very first party held by my now Director, I earned two free "Buddies." I had my party shortly before Christmas so I picked a Mollie the Monkey for Lillie and Ribbert the Frog for Logan. I stuffed each with a Scent Pak and put them back in their boxes and stashed them away till Christmas. My closet smelled wonderful that month! I took them out on Christmas Eve and because I'd had them boxed away for so long, the smell of Newborn Nursery was powerful to say the least. I took the Scent Paks out and hung them in the kids closets and I kid you not, for THREE solid months at least the kids clothes smelled like fresh clean baby neck. If you're a Mom, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Powdery and clean, warm and enchanting. I could have sniffed the fool out of Lillie's little dresses for days, people! And so a love was born. Lillie LOVES "Soft Monkey" as she calls him, and when my starter kit arrived, I received "Penny the Pig." When she saw the box she immediately new I had a new Buddy. "YOU GOT ME DA PIG? THANK YOU MAMA!!!!" And then she ran off with her new Buddy into the sunset. When I go to parties I have to literally pry one of the Buddies out of white knuckled fist or sneak into her room the night before to steal one out of her baby doll crib. When they debuted the "Baby Buddy" line to the consultants I knew immediately that I had to have a "Baby Lenny the Lamb" all for my own. Y'all, you're NEVER too old for cute stuffed creatures. Especially when they smell good and you can stash them discreetly away so as not to be judged by judgy judgertons.

 
I wonder how disgusted the Husband would be if he found me snuggling Lenny at bedtime.
Another new product they recently debuted got me all up on the edge of my seat. We now have a bath and body line! I have the worlds most finicky skin. Hives? I has them. All I have to do is wear the wrong product and I'm one itchy woman. It's the best! I'm just super lucky to not be allergic to my beloved Downy. Everything else has to be "free and clear." Well, not only do we have a new bath and body line, we also brought out two new laundry additives. One is an additive to your laundry detergent and the other is kind of like a cross between the Bounce dryer bar and those "Mr. Steamy" dryer balls that look like insane dog toys. Because I have the worlds pickiest skin, I've chosen to try the Dryer Disk shaped like the Scentsy classic curved warmer to use with my next load of whites. That way I'm not covered head to toe should my skin decide it hates me. The reason I'm telling y'all this is because I want to be brutally honest about the products I sell. If I love something, I will gush on and on about it. If I hate it or it disagrees with me, I'll tell you exactly what I didn't love about it or whether or not it worked with mine or my family's sensitive skin. It was nearly 6 months after our solid perfume line debuted before I bought one to test out and use as a demo tester. I had to buy a second one because I adore this product. ADORE.

 Our new dryer disks. As much as the Husband hates Coconut Lemongrass (we all have our likes/dislikes... his just happens to be ridiculous), I'm totally going to be using this bad boy on our next load of towels. Maybe he'll have a change of heart.

In the upcoming months we will also "open the doors" to our new Fondue line called, "Velata" and our scented greeting card line entitled "Sincerely Scent." Velata uses the Scentsy warmer technology coupled with a washable and, best of all, reusable top dish that can be covered with a lid and put in the fridge for later use. There's no eye irritating fumes from sterno, no flame to deal with so there's no risk of fire, and only the finest Belgian chocolates were chosen to start the company product line off with. I, for one, am totally through the roof thrilled. My inner fat girl is clapping her hands and jumping up and down with delight. CHOCOLATE! YES PLEASE! And just in time for my Birthday of course! As for "Sincerely Scent," there are a wide variety of cards customers will be able to choose from and they are all scented with some of Scentsy's best selling scents. Know an expecting couple? Congratulate them with a card scented like Newborn Nursery. Have a friend who's stressed out and under the weather? Send them a get well card scented with French Lavender. I have always loved a good hand written note, and being able to add warm and homey scents to the sensory experience of holding a card from a loved one is going to be a hit. Did I mention how much I love my company? I do.

GENIUS.


If you're really nice and suck up to me, maybe I'll send you a card for your birthday. Maybe.
 
The other reason I'm doing a rare shameless plug on my own blog? Because I'm going to do a giveaway at the end of the month and I wanted YOU to have a chance to get in on it! I have several parties and events this month that I will be doing drawings at, so why not add another one to the list? I have so much Scentsy love to share, people, it just wouldn't be fair to leave you out! Here's how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on my blog describing your favorite scent. It could either be direct from Scentsy if you've already been introduced to them or just any scent that conjures up warm memories and makes you just all around feel good.
  2. Share this giveaway on your own blog and leave a comment WITH A LINK BACK so I can count that as TWO entries.
  3. Follow me on twitter AND share this giveaway there linking to my twitter name and this blog post.
Think y'all can handle that? Well... what are you waiting for! Go! Shoo! Spread the love and maybe you'll be walking away with your choice of any one of the Scentsy Baby Buddies or one of the new Layers products. YOU get to choose!

 
 Scratch, Ollie, Patch, Mollie, Penny, Ribbert, Lenny and Roarbert.


 They even have their own mini-movie... Lillie watched it multiple times today. "HEE HEE He said booty!"

*All pictures are linked to their coordinating categories on my personal Consultant website. Scentsy is not compensating me for my shameless plug. Should you feel compelled to buy anything I will as always with any customer, be completely grateful to have you as a customer as well. Even if you don't buy anything, I'm happy to have been able to share my passion with you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bring it on.

When Mama Kat asked, "Remember Summer? The warm air, blue skies, and endless days in the water? Me either. Share a photo from last Summer that brings you back." I immediately thought of Lillie's poolside wedgie. Is that bad? It also made me remember the joy of their first sandbox/tugboat. Of fresh figs straight off the tree and riding around at night with the windows down on the way home from the pool, soaking in the heavy humid scent of honeysuckle and asphalt.

I love living in the South, and I may complain about the ridiculous humidity and wtf IS the point of showering in the morning if you're just going to sweat like a mutha fluffer before you can even pull your panties on? WHAT IS THE EFFING POINT??? Aside from that and the disappointment that has been our Winter (can't I just get ONE snow day? ONE?), we've already had highs in the 70's this week and I'm already itching to go try on that fancy one piece Old Navy's got out that I'm smitten with. Seriously, it was made for me. See???


The ruffly ruched front would totally camouflage my "kangaroo pouch" or so says the bajillion reviews on this suit. That alone sold it... well... that and it's purple, my most favoritest color in the whole wide world.

My Birthday is in 2 months, which means... in less than 3 we'll be hitting the pool... that I need to start getting lesson plans ready for "Summer School with Mama..." and maybe look into "Summer School FOR Mama." More on that again at a later date. Remember, I'm not striving for a post a day this month like I was last month, but then again I made myself sit down and write without even thinking about the fact that I'm not obligated to do so.

 Their very first sandbox. They played so well together in it that day. If only every day could be "first sandbox day."

I love... LOVE... how her butt just gobbles up this suit. I can't wait to see her in the suit I got her for this summer. It's an eensy weensy teeny weenie yellow pinstriped ruffled one piece. I might have to get one similar for myself, because oh em gee at the precious.

I need warmer weather to get here ASAP. Having worn shorts and a t-shirt for most of the evening has spoiled me. Plus, I'm so ready for new summer clothes! It's all I want for my Birthday, well... that and a massage and maybe a mani/pedi. Is that too much to ask? I think not. I've worked hard for it this year!!! So, Mama Kat, work some magic, will ya! A sister's gotta look good for pool season this year! Wink wink, nudge nudge...


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