Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best parts of 2010

We're just days away from a new year, which is hard to believe because it feels like 2010 just flew by.  Of course, the ironic thing is during the majority of 2010, I was wishing for it to go by quickly so that our wedding day could get here, but still...the year did go by rather quickly.  This year was a particularly blessed year for us, and I hope 2011 brings us just as many blessings as 2010. 

This year, I was lucky enough to marry the best friend, the love of my life, and my soul mate all in one person.   He is everything I dreamed that I would find someday and more.  September 18th was hands down the happiest day of my life.  It was a day that went by way too quickly (as many people warned me it would), but it is also a day that I replay over and over again in my mind.  The look in T's eyes as I walked down the aisle towards him, the first time we got to see each other that day, is one that I will never forget. This day alone has made my year the best one ever.

2010 also brought me to the happiest place on earth....The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. 

See how happy I am?  I was like a kid in a candy shop.  But no, seriously, I always dreamt of going to Ireland on my honeymoon, and how lucky was I that the man I married shared the same vision?  Going to Dublin was a dream come true.  The whole trip was absolutely amazing.  The country is so beautiful, the history, the architecture, the people...all of it amazing.  It was a trip of a lifetime, and one that I was lucky enough to share with my best friend. 

While 2010 did bring T and me Mousegate 2010, Parts 1 and 2, ending with the assassination of Damion the mouse on November 24, 2010, it did bring us to another huge step we took this year....

We're building a house!  This is something we've talked about since we moved in together, and while it's always been something in the back of our minds...that last invasion of the squirrel in the bedroom and mouse in the kitchen was the push we needed towards home ownership.  And it's not just any house but one we get to custom build.  We've picked out our design options, and I've chosen my dream kitchen...we're just days away from having our first meeting with the builder, and then they will break ground.  We're looking at a move-in date of late April to early May.  We couldn't be more excited!

Lastly (and not least), in 2010, I have found my way back to the things I loved before but somehow lost touch with along the way.  Back in May, I started this blog as a way to get back to writing.  Soon, writing the blog lead to working on my very first manuscript.  Along the way, I met up with several awesome writers out there who are now a part of my critique group and who have given me some great advice and encouraged me along the way.  Back in June, I also signed up for viola lessons on a whim, after some encouragement from T, of course.  I have been playing since then, and I have every intention of keeping it up.  I am nowhere close to performing in an orchestra or anything, but that is my ultimate goal.  However, 2010 was quite a year in getting back to following my passion and doing the things I love. 

So, see what I mean when I say this has been a blessed year?  Sure, it has had its share of ups and downs, but overall, I couldn't feel happier or in a better place.  Here's to another year and more adventures along the way!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Are you ready for this?

So....we're coming upon a new year, and you know what that means!  New years resolutions!  Now personally, I'm not a big fan of calling these promises to change "resolutions."  I think hyping them up too much just sets you up for failure.  Because, really, how many of us have not followed through with our "new years resolutions?"  The problem with resolutions are that they normally are this huge goal to either stop doing something or start doing something, and then when you slip up, you feel like you've failed.  And then you don't try anymore until the next year when it's time to make another resolution. 

I say this year I will make goals.  And not just goals that "I absolutely have to do right away, and if I don't, well, then I suck as a human being" kind of goals, but just goals I'd like to cross off over the course of the year.  Almost like a 2011 "to do" list. 

I have quite a few things I would like to make some major progress on this year, and that will be the topic of my very first Motivation Monday post for the new year on Monday, January 3rd!

I'd like to get some hype up for next week's Motivation Monday for several reasons.  1) It's the first one of the year and 2) I haven't gotten a whole lot of participation in it just yet, and I'd like to see that change.  It's so easy to do - just write a post about something you need motivation on, something that's motivating you, or anything motivational in general.  Link it up to my original post for the week, using the linky tool that will be added each Monday and remains open until the end of the week, and if you should feel so inclined, pass along the word to your friends to participate, too!  I'd really love to see this be a trend that keeps going.  I know that I personally can use a great deal of motivation at the start of each week to get myself going, as I am sure others can, too! 

So be thinking motivation....I'll be ready with the first Motivation Monday post of 2011 next Monday!

Motivation Monday


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Small Treasure Tuesdays!

Being that it is a holiday week and most normal people (aside from my poor, pitiful self are off of work), I am not certain that Chantel is doing her weekly Small Treasure Tuesdays.  But....I am a creature of habit, and seeing as I have to work this week while most people are off, the only thing that is keeping me going is my blogging this week.  Will any of you read it?  Probably not.  But will it keep me from going completely insane?  Why yes, yes it will. 

So I have a couple of treasure this week....the first of them being a sense of accomplishment.  As you know, T and I made it a goal to dig through the hell that is known as my filing system and purge.  And purge we did.  It was slow, and it was painful.  I'm sure there were points where T wanted to look at me and go "what is wrong with you?  Why do you keep so much stuff?"  But, we made it through it.  And man, our den has never looked better.  I really am quite proud of us.  We kicked that den's ass and took names.  And now...T gets to handle the filing system with our bills so that it never ever gets that way ever again. 

My second treasure is the time I got to spend with all four of my nieces and nephews over Christmas.  I love them all so much (in case you didn't get that from my previous posts...), and it's always fun to just spend time with them individually.  My oldest nephew, who is now 14 going on 30 and is about a foot taller than me, is too much fun.  He has such a sarcastic sense of humor.  (I have no idea where he got that from.)  My second nephew, G, is such a sweetie.  So smart and so sensitive.   I just want to hug him every time I see him.  And his twin sister, E...oh dear lord, she is a hoot.  She's this tiny little thing with glasses that cover most of her face, and she's so curious.  Seriously, always asking so many questions about everything, and she's smart, too.  She sat next to me during church quietly reading her Christmas books.  I think the kid got through about 4 or 5 of them in the course of an hour.  It was pretty impressive.  And of course, Roo.  We got to spend lots of time with her on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  She was in heaven, playing with all of her new toys and goofing off with T (he's her best friend, you know...) and her Aunt Nainy. 


Isn't she just the cutest?  I thank God for my four little treasures that I have in all of my nieces and nephews.  Spending time with them always makes the holidays that much brighter.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday memories

Post-Christmas rundown...all in all, it was a pretty good holiday.  My poor father had to work all day (He started at 4 a.m. and went until basically 8 p.m.) so we all pitched in to help make the traditional soup dinner.  T and I managed to get our hamburger soup there without any issue until some jerk in front of us hit his breaks too hard and some of it ended up on T's car floor.  However, all was not lost.  We made it to my parent's house, soup in tow, along with the supplies for the Irish car bombs and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  Oh and presents, of course!  (I am a good aunt after all...I wouldn't show up empty handed!) 

It was great to spend time with family and watch the kids get excited for Santa.  As it got closer and closer to 5:00 p.m, it was time for our annual tradition:  pre-mass shot.  This year, T and I decided to do an Irish car bomb, since we had such a great time with them last weekend.  We had to bring plenty of pint glasses, shot glasses and, of course, Guinness.  Setting up was quite a task, but we managed to do just that and in plenty of time, too!

Aren't they a thing of beauty?  And they went down smoothly, too!  It didn't feel right going to church for Christmas mass without my Dad there, and I know he much rather would have been with us than at work.  Mass was crazy busy, as is always the case for your standard Christmas and/or Easter Catholic mass.  You know, you get the people who don't ever go to church but for those two days a year.  So you have to get there like 45 minutes early and somehow entertain the children with you so they don't go completely crazy before mass begins?  They were pretty well-behaved, though, all things considered.  

I particularly love Christmas mass, though, the readings and the music.  Also, it's the one time a year we all go to mass as a family, which is always nice.  After church, we headed back and had our dinner of soup, bread and lots of yummy treats.  (Pumpkin cookies?  A hit!)  Of course...we had some more Guinness...

I think I'm a bad influence on T....

It was so much fun watching the children enjoy their presents.  They get so's too cute.  T and I had our own Christmas celebration on the 23rd before we headed up to my parent's house.  Since we're building a house and all, T and I cut back on gifts, limiting ourselves to $20 each.  Me, I got T some new pens that he loves, pajama pants and a nice Beavis & Butthead t-shirt, since he loves that show so much.  T was so thoughtful with his gift.  He got me a frame from Things Remembered with our wedding date engraved on it and my favorite picture from our wedding.  It's going with me to work tomorrow so that, whenever I'm having a bad day at work, I can just look at that picture and remember the happiest day of my life.  I sure picked a good one, didn't I girls?

But really, I didn't need a present to open from T this Christmas...he was my present this year.  Our first Christmas as a married couple was a success and a wonderful day.  One of many, for the rest of our lives....

Hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas holiday with friends, family and loved ones!

I'll be back with a nice Motivation Monday post next Monday!  It's New Years Resolution time, so be thinking of yours!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Nain and T!

"Christmas-time is here....happiness and cheer...."

I won't be posting tomorrow morning since it'll be Christmas morning, and we'll be busy celebrating with family and what not, but I wanted to wish everyone out there in blogland a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. 

It truly has been a blessed year.  T and I have so much to be grateful for during this holiday season.  We get to spend the holidays with both of our families, we are healthy, happy, and looking forward to a promising new year.  This year has brought us the blessing of being united in marriage in September and getting the chance to share our love and happiness with everyone we hold dear and going on a dream vacation to Dublin for our honeymoon.  We look forward to 2011 and everything it will bring - a new home, hopefully some career changes for the both of us, and maybe a few surprises along the way (Hopefully all good ones!).  I hope everyone out there reading this shares the same happiness we do this holiday season and enjoys this time with family and friends (and lots of food, of course!) 

Our Christmas Eve tradition is to spend the evening at my parent's house, enjoy a late lunch, watch the kids open their presents from Grandma and Grandpa, head to Christmas Mass and then go over to my parent's neighbor's house for a Christmas Eve party.  This year, T and I will be spending the night with my sister and Roo so that we can wake up Christmas morning after waiting for Santa to arrive with all of Roo's presents.  It'll be fun.  I haven't done Christmas with a younger kid in a long time, and I know T never has, so we're looking forward to it.  My family also has a tradition on Christmas Eve that was started by my father a few years ago.  Our late lunch consists of a soup smorgasbord...normally my Dad picks the kinds of soup we have, but this year, he unfortunately has to work part of Christmas Eve so we're all pitching in to help.  T and I will be bringing Hamburger Soup, which is always tasty.  It's a fun tradition, and you get to try all sorts of soups that you normally wouldn't necessarily have.

After dinner, we let the kids unwrap their grandparent presents and then change for mass.  We do something that might seem odd to others,'s a family tradition.  Before we leave for mass, the adults (those not driving) do a pre-mass shot.  Last year, I think it was a shot of Bailey's, but this year, after our weekend downtown, we decided to supply Irish Car Bombs for everyone.  It's all in good fun, and well, we're Irish Catholic just seems natural.  Plus it makes dealing with the normal Christmas mass crowds (from all of those Easter/Christmas Catholics who suddenly come to church) that much more bearable.  (I'm totally not a crowd person by any means).

What sort of holiday traditions do you have with your family that you do on Christmas and Christmas Eve? 

Happy holidays everyone!  I'll be posting next week, since I do have to work (sad face...) but for those of you who will be away for the holidays, have safe travels and enjoy this time with loved ones!


Thursday, December 23, 2010's cookie time!

We take this brief break from a fun day of purging and cleaning to bake some delicious treats...pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, to be exact!

My cousin, Emily, gave me this delicious recipe, and I baked a batch of them for Thanksgiving at the in-law's, and they were a hit!  Moist, chocolatey, and just overall yumminess all around.  So of course, I have to make them for my family, too, for a little bit of Christmas cheer. 

I promised many of you that I would also post the recipe to share so that you, too, can share in the deliciousness, so here goes nothing!

Needed ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 cup of softened butter
15 oz can of pumpkin puree
2 tsp of vanilla
4 cups of flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

What you need to do:
Preheat oven to 375
Mix sugar, butter, pumpkin and vanilla together in large bowl
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and cinnamon together
Stir in the flour mixture into the creamed mixture
Stir in the chocolate chips
Drop by tsp onto an ungreased baking sheet
Bake 12-15 minutes
Enjoy!  (after they cool, of course, but they are pretty tasty when warm)

I don't have a finished product shot yet, but as soon as I do, I'll post it so you can see what they are supposed to look like.  They do end up making a lot, but trust me, they go quickly!


Time to face the music....

I know I have shared on here before how my filing system and organizational skills leave much to be desired.  In fact, this became a problem as we were beginning the application process for a loan for our house.  I hate filing bills and other necessary paperwork, and it shows in the current state of disaster that is known as my file cabinet. 

Since we've combined our household expenses and T has taken over the bill paying, my mess of a filing system has become more of an issue.  Shoving all utility bills into one folder labeled "Vectren" doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore.  Using my "Verizon" file for both cell phone and land line bills?  Not a good idea.  Having every single tax return since 1997?  Probably overkill.  And just sticking the envelopes with retirement statements in my file without opening them?  Umm...yeah....

So we made it a goal...on the 23rd, since we both have that day off of work, we will hunker down in that den of ours and clean out the desk.  My desk.  My messy work space that is also loaded down with boxes and boxes of "projects" I have yet to finish from before the wedding (might I sense a New Years Resolution here?)  I'm kind of worried, though...I mean, sure, T knew what he was getting into when he married me...but did he realize how much of a pack rat I truly am?  (Seriously, I'm on the downward spiral towards hoarder...TLC is just a phone call away...) 

I am not sure how long it is going to take, but I know it will take a great amount of alcohol, Christmas music, and a sense of humor to get through the day.  And once the cleaning is done, that's it...I am fully handing over my filing system to T because God knows I can't keep it up myself.  It'll be nice to be organized for once, though.  I just hope T doesn't judge me too harshly after all is said and done.  (Did I mention that adult beverages will be needed?  Oh, well, they will be)

In the midst of all of this, I will also be baking cookies for Christmas Eve at my parent's house - chocolate pumpkin cookies.  I know I promised several of you the recipe, and I will post it later today, promise! 

Until then, you will find me hidden under an avalanche of papers....wish me luck!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

House progress

This last Monday T and I got to pick out the design details of our new home before construction can begin.  It was so much fun but seriously overwhelming.  I thought about things I never thought I would ever have to consider - where do outlets go in the home, do we want an extra outlet in the garage and basement, do we want crown molding on top of our kitchen cabinets, should the edges of the counter be rounded or bevelled?  Seriously, half of the stuff we had to decide, I honestly had no opinion on, which of course, made T happy because he is a very detail-oriented person.  (I'm much more "big picture" person.  Details don't matter...)  

We made a trip to browse at the design center a couple weekends ago, and we got the majority of our decisions made.  I think if we hadn't done that we could have been there all night.  The appointment was set to only take three hours, and we managed to do it in 2 1/2 hours.  (It seemed like three to me, though...)  However, we left very satisfied with our decisions, and we can't wait for construction to begin on our new home.  This should begin somewhere after the holidays, weather permitting, of course.  

Now we begin the waiting part. It'll take a few weeks for everything to be ordered, permits to be approved, and all of that important pre-building stuff.  I am sooo not a waiting person.  Part of me wants to drive past the lot daily to see if any change has happened, but...we might scare our future neighbors.  I do promise lots of pictures of the progress as it is made, though!

The part I am super stoked kitchen.  I love to cook.  I never thought in a million years I'd be that girl, but I am.  My current kitchen (mouse infestation not being an issue at the moment) is not a dream kitchen by any means.  There is no counter space, the stove is older than I am, the pantry is just icky, and it's just not...what I'd want.  (It could be the fact that the previous tenant painted over the wallpaper and border with bright yellow paint that is clouding this fact, but...)  Since we are building this house from the ground up and have $9,000 in free upgrades to play with, T and I figured that since this would be it, the house we'd be in for a good long time to raise our family and enjoy all of life's big moments, we want it to be something we absolutely loved.  And to me, that starts with the kitchen.

The pantry is a walk-in pantry.  No gross looking contact paper for the shelves, no mouse turds (thankfully).  The stove we got is an upgraded one with two actual oven units and the surface of it is just sleek with a flat top.  The dishwasher is also an upgrade, as is the microwave, all stainless steel, baby.  And the refrigerator is a stainless steel Whirlpool, side-by-side.  Our current one is small because anything larger wouldn't fit in our kitchen, and this new one?  It will be huge by comparison.  I won't know what to do with myself.

We upgraded the cabinets and the counter top, as well.  On suggestion from T's mom, we chose the silestone counter top, with an under mount sink.  Seriously, this thing is a beauty.  I couldn't stop looking at the sample on Monday.  It was seriously painful to come back to our gross kitchen and use the normal, stained (and a few spots with cigarette burns) counter top.  But, patience grasshopper, it will be mine.  OH yes, it will be mine.  (Extra props to any of you who got the Wayne's World reference.)

Now I'm not just sitting here bragging for the sake of bragging.  I feel I have paid my dues and then some in terms of crappy kitchens, lest we forget Mousegate 2010, Parts 1 and 2.   I just absolutely cannot wait until I see the finished product.  It's our home.  Our home.  And it's only a few months away.

So in my opinion, that's my Christmas present...sure, it's a few months later, but this one is going to last me for years.  I can't wait until I get to unwrap it...


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Small Treasure Tuesday

Happy Small Treasure Tuesday, everyone!  Thank you to Chantel at My Thoughts and Treasures for hosting this awesome opportunity to share treasures in our lives.   My treasure this week is the time I got to spend with just T on Saturday in our annual night on the town. 

It is a tradition we started back in 2008 when we first started dating, and it's one we'd like to keep going.  With the rush and craziness that can come with the holidays, in trying to budget time to spend with each family, getting Christmas cards out on time, Christmas shopping done, and pretty much everything else leading up to the big day, we try to take one night out in December where we forget all of that and just spend time having fun, the two of us.  We didn't get to do this last year because of the wedding planning, unfortunately, but we were able to do it this year.  So we headed downtown, checked in at our room at the Omni, and went out in the cold to have a little fun. 

Our first stop was dinner at The Claddaugh, an Irish pub located across from our hotel.  I have to say, I think going to Dublin has made T and me Ireland snobs because we were commenting on how things just weren't the same...the food, the Guinness, the music...nothing can live up to what we experienced in Dublin.  But, alas, we made the best of it, and we did so with this:


If you are not familiar with this beverage, let me introduce you to the Irish Car Bomb.  We enjoyed several of these over the course of the evening.  It's about a third of a pint of Guinness and a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream.  You drop the shot glass in the pint glass of Guinness and chug it as fast as you can.  The reason?  The Bailey's mixes quickly with the Guinness and it will curdle if you take too long.  Going down it tastes like chocolate milk, and damn, the stuff is delicious.  And has a bit of a kick that hits you later.  But it was all in good fun.  I may or may not have beaten T in the first one we did.   I shouldn't be surprised...I did go to college at a Big Ten School.  I have been taught well.

I may have also gotten a little cocky over my victory.  But it was all in good fun....

T knows I love him, regardless of the fact that his 5'1" wife can keep up with him drink for drink throughout the course of the night.

He didn't take the loss so well at first, but....

He came around.  We hit another bar called Ike & Jonsey's, which is where these pictures were taken, but the place was kind of depressing.  Lots of older gentlemen (divorcee's I'm sure) hitting on shot girls who have no interest in them other than to just tell them about the nasty product they are promoting.  The shot girls stopped and chatted with us for a second about their new drink, but I think they must have noticed we were an old, boring married couple because rather than telling us what kinds of drinks you could have with their product, they said you could use it in your cooking.  "It goes great with chicken," this blonde shot girl said.  Um, we look that boring and settled?  Ouch.

We stayed there for maybe a drink and headed to another fun bar called Cadillac Ranch.  I went there for my bachelorette, and I knew it was a fun place (a little less depressing than the previous bar) so we walked there.  I scored us a nice booth, and we settled in, making fun of the douches around us and having a great time. 


Highlights of the evening?  When T went to the restroom at one point towards the end of the night, apparently (I don't remember this 100% clearly) some douchey guy tried to pick me up by asking "where are your friends?"  I responded "Oh, my husband is in the bathroom..."  I guess he felt bad and came back when I had to use the restroom and apologized to T.  He found it funny.  Apparently the guy thought he had a chance if I wasn't married.  Um...yeah...nope.  Pretty much no chance in hell.  Don't walk up to me with some lame pick up line, drinking a Bud Light in an aluminum bottle, wearing a tight Ed Hardy t-shirt with gel in your hair.  Not gonna happen. 

Also, as the night went on, they started playing "Single Ladies" by Beyonce.  T found this humorous and said that "Yes, I did like it.  And I put two Tiffany rings on it.  Is that good enough for you, Beyonce?"  I found that hilarious as can be, but I can neither confirm or deny that the 3rd Irish Car Bomb we had right before that may have contributed to the hilarity of the situation. 

It was fun to just let loose for a night and not worry about anything.  Of course, it hit me a little harder the next morning than nights out like that had in years past.  Let's just say I'm not 21 anymore....but it was fun...Can't wait until next year!

Stop by Chantel's blog to check out the other treasures people have to share!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ho, ho, ho! It's Motivation Monday...Holiday Edition

Motivation Monday

 Motivation Monday, folks!  It's time to get motivated!  Since this is a shorter week due to the Christmas holiday, and I'm only needing to work three days this week, getting motivated is much easier this week.  However, that being said, since it is a holiday week, and Christmas parties are the perfect time to go off the diet and slack a little...I think I could use some motivation in that area.  Motivation and lots and lots of will power. 

So how do I plan on remaining motivated?  One way is to watch my intake of calories during Christmas parties with the family and friends.  They always say to drink lots of water, and while I try to do that as much as possible, I will make an extra effort to do so in order to curb calories.  Also, portion control.  I know I have a hard time with it, as do many of us.  While I can taste some of the goodies at the Christmas table, if I limit my portions, enjoying a little bit won't kill me in terms of fat and calories.  Also, limit myself as to what I will eat.  Pick the things I really want to have, and don't just eat other items because they are there and available to consume.    Can I do it?  I sure hope so!

Now, in the event that I do slip, I plan to keep up my working out throughout the week up to Christmas.  I am working as usual Monday through Wednesday, so I plan on keeping my normal schedule up and will be meeting with my personal trainer on Wednesday.  Since family festivities don't begin until the afternoon on the 24th, I think I can even squeeze in a workout then, too.  Now don't worry, I won't do the exercise thing on the actual holiday (though I have been known to be crazy and do it then before....), I think working out every day until then should give me a little room to possibly splurge at Christmas. 

Next Motivation Monday?  Since it'll be the holidays next week and many people won't be in town, I will not be posting a Motivation Monday post for the 27th.  However, we will be back on January 3rd with a Motivation Monday...plan to expect some Nain New Year's Resolutions! 

To participate, write a post about what motivation you need this week and link up to my blog through the linky found at the bottom of this post.  Thanks everyone in advance for participating!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Should I be alarmed?

 So every year, my office does this Secret Santa exchange.  I had never done one at previous last employer did this white elephant thing, which I despise because I find the idea of competing for gifts to be too much stress, and then my previous employer, since I was one of three attorneys in the firm, I bought gifts for everyone.  (Yes, that was an expensive Christmas).  However, for the past three years at my current employer, I've enjoyed doing the Secret Santa thing. 

Of course, when it comes time for me to buy my person their presents, I always stress out about what I'm going to get them.  Will they like the little gifts I leave during the month?  It's usually chocolate, because you can't go wrong with that.  And the big gifts, I always feel like it's never enough.  But the person I get always seems to like it so I guess I'm not completely clueless. 

My present, on the other hand...for the past three years now I have gotten some sort of alcohol.  Either it's just a trend or pure coincidence, or I need to stop coming across so stressed at work.  First year it was a bottle of red wine (which was super awesome by the way) called "Mambo."  The next year it was a wine rack and a bottle of red wine.  This year it was a six pack of Guinness.  I mean, don't get me wrong...I love the stuff, my coworkers think I'm an alcoholic? 

Come to think of it, one of my wedding shower gifts was also a bottle of wine.  And a six pack of Guinness.  Hmmm...I'm seeing a pattern here....

Oh dear God, they do  think I'm an alcoholic!

Too bad the Guinness didn't come chilled, or I totally would have had to crack one open to get through the rest of my day. 

What do you guys do to celebrate Christmas at your office?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I want for Christmas

On Saturday, as we were standing in line with Roo to go see Santa, I asked her what she was going to tell Santa she wanted for Christmas.  She gave me a grin and said "pizza!"  (Ironic, considering pizza was exactly what we had for dinner and she didn't eat, but...I digress)  So I leaned down and said "can you ask a few things for Nainy?  Tell Santa that Nainy wants her student loans paid off.  Oh and a better paying, less stressful job, ok?"  She looked at me like I was crazy, and honestly, I was only trying to get a smile out of her, but...part of me was serious.  What would Santa say in response to that? 

Honestly, I don't have any big ticket items I want for Christmas.  To me, as I get older, it isn't so much about the presents but rather the experience.  I love to be around my family and loved ones.  I love going to Christmas Eve mass every year and celebrating the reason for the season.  I love the Christmas parties, the music, the food...all of it.  Opening presents on Christmas morning?  It's nice that my parents still buy us presents, for sure, but it's hardly necessary. 

Really, all I want for Christmas this year is to be surrounded by the ones I love, to have everyone be happy and healthy and just take a step back and enjoy the momentary break from all of the craziness of day-to-day life.  This past month has been crazy, and it'll be nice to have a few days to just relax and enjoy the holidays. 

I want to sit back and truly take in this first Christmas I have with my husband.  It is our first Christmas together as a married couple, after all, the first of many.  And we're so blessed to spend it with both of our families.  We'll be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas with my family and then the days after Christmas with T's family, as they'll be coming down to be with us at our house.  This weekend we'll even get to spend it with my Grandpa.  I am extremely blessed to still have him in my life and to spend a holiday with him.

Sure, I appreciate the gifts my parents give me, but even if there were no gifts under the tree, it wouldn't matter.  I already have my "gifts."

.....Though it would be super cool if Santa could somehow manage to pay off my Sallie Mae loan....


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My favorite present ever

Since we're getting so close to Christmas, it has me thinking about Christmases of yore.  You know, back in the day, when I was a wee little one and couldn't sleep the night before Christmas because I was so flipping excited about Santa coming that next day?  Those kinds of Christmases.  Nostalgia.  You have to love it.

I am not sure if I had one favorite present I received as a kid.  Honestly, I loved all of them.  I got excited with anything I got.  The Barbie and the Rockers stage?  Yes!  Babysitter Club books?  Holla!  My Jem doll?  Truly outrageous!

There was one particular present that really stands out as one of my favorites, though.  As a little girl, I was mesmerized with dollhouses.  I wanted one so badly I could taste it.  I loved the cute little furniture, the little details that went into each room in the house.  We'd see the really huge and ornate ones at the store, and I'd always point them out, hoping that some day I would get to pretend I had a family living in one of these houses. 

Then, my day came.  I didn't even put it on my Christmas list, but he must have been psychic.  I about lost it as soon as I opened  my present and saw what it was.  A yellow dollhouse of my very own.  An O'Jenny dollhouse, to be exact.

Image courtesy of Google images


I couldn't wait to play with it.  I could barely contain my excitement as my dad carefully opened each item and put on every decal.  How cool was this house?  I remember being in heaven all day that Christmas, as I arranged and rearranged the furniture in my house and played with my O'Jenny family.

I still have that house somewhere at my parent's house.  Of course, the house grew into other O'Jenny items I got for birthdays and with my allowance:  a barn, pool, tree house, mall, and camper.  I had an entire O'Jenny village.  It's funny because a couple years ago my sister got my O'Jenny items out to play with my nieces, and I found myself getting oddly protective of my past treasures.  "No, girls...this is how you set it, you don't put the couch there..."  Maybe Nainy needs to learn to share? 

So that was my favorite Christmas present of all time.  Of course, I love everything T gives me, but nothing can compare to that dollhouse and the excitement I felt that day.  It's funny  how pictures like this can take you back, isn't it? 

It's Wednesday, folks!  Halfway there until the weekend!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Small Treasure Tuesday

Happy Small Treasure Tuesdays with Chantel!  This last weekend, T and I helped my sister out so she could go out on a date, so we watched Roo for the evening.  We had our first small taste of was fun...challenging, but fun.  We baked a homemade pizza (Roo wasn't such a big fan of it after it was done, but making it was fun), watched Elf and then did some work. 

I snapped this picture of them while T was doing some budget work for our house.  Roo decided she needed to get her computer, too.  Sure, it's a pink Barbie computer, but it's probably much more fun than ours!  It was too cute to watch, so I just had to snap a picture of it. 

They truly are both treasures, aren't they?  Next time we spend some time with Roo will be Christmas Eve.  This is the first time in a long time T will be leaving cookies out for Santa and waiting to open presents Christmas morning.  I wonder if we should have Roo leave him a type-written note?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday

It's Monday...I have to admit, I'm totally not ready for it to be Monday, but, what can you do?  So seeing as it is Monday, it is now time for some motivation.  I know I can use it, and I'm sure so can all of you!

My motivation this week does not have to do with exercising, even though I am still keeping that up and going strong.  (Personal trainer is still readily kicking my butt, which is good...)

No, my motivation has to do with a subject I know we all hate...or at least I

See, we're building this nice house of ours, and it should be ready right in time for my birthday, late-April and early-May, and's not cheap.  It's a good move, and we're super excited,'s not expensive. 

I like to think of myself as a frugal enough of a person.  I cut coupons religiously, and my idea of clothes shopping is hitting the clearance racks at Target.  But building a house requires serious saving.  I mean hardcore saving.  Defcon 9 saving. 

So my motivation this week is to think of good ways to help save and earn a little extra dough to put towards the home.  I had an awesome Mary Kay party yesterday and made some good money so that's a start.  And I even got another party booked for January...whoo-hoo!

So saving money is motivating me this week...what's motivating YOU?  All you need to do to play along (and I really hope you do!) is write a post, linking up to Motivation Monday using the linky tool found at the bottom of the post.  It can be anything...exercise, money, work, motivation to finally get through all of your old Hills episodes on DVR...whatever :-)

Hope everyone had an awesome weekend!  And here's to another weekend just around the corner!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Guest post Friday - A little wicked sweet tea

I have a special Friday treat for all of my lovely readers out there!  One of my dearest blog friends, Brynn (a.k.a. Bink from Wicked Sweet Tea) is taking over the View From Down Here for a day.  I absolutely love Brynn...she's one of my favorite bloggers out there. I love her sense of humor, her dedication to her working and driving her boyfriend crazy, her love of the law AND her love of Guinness.  Plus, she's a southern girl, just like me (well, back when I grew up in Bama...)  So without further's Brynn!

I'm guest posting on her blog, too, so be sure to stop by and say hi!  Happy weekend everyone!
Hi, y'all! I'm Bink from Wicked Sweet Tea. I'm a sweet southern girl (hence the 'sweet tea', otherwise known as the house wine of Georgia) madly in love with a yankee from New England (hence the 'wicked')! Nain is one of the very first blogs I started following and I love.adore.worship her! How could I not? When she had the genius idea of swapping blogs for a day, I was thrilled! & then immediately terrified.

Nain is a fabulously talented writer. & me? Other than a few, RARE posts, my writing is very random and consists of me doing weird things to torture the love of my life.

For instance, a conversation last night:

MB: Oh, we should watch the hockey game. There's a commercial they will play that you need to see.

me: I don't think that's a good idea. I've got a headache and I think I have a fever.

::MB moves to place his hand on my forehead to check::

me: No! ::moves his hand to my stomach:: I have baby fever.

Oh, and my writing has tangents as you can see. Really, I'm doing Nain a huge disservice by guest blogging.

So, this is the first Christmas that MB and I will actually spend together. We will be in New England with his family and his two precious tween daughters. With this development, I've decided to change my approach with the holidays.

I'm wanting to simplify and not get wrapped up/roped into a million different side projects and obligations that will detract from the joy of the season. I'm wanting to focus on setting traditions in our relationship and with his family. I'm wanting to stay centered on my priorities of the season.

Which is not easily done because 1) my childhood fantasy was to be Mrs. Claus 2) I always overdo and 3) I can't say no.

& most importantly, because my workplace is apparently quite festive. (This is my first holiday season that I am working here.)

I've realized that everyone decorates their offices, and starting this year, there will be a holiday tour of decorated office spaces today. While I certainly appreciate the festivity and such, I'm realizing that this maybe isn't such a great thing.

You know how everyone in your office has different personalities? Yeah, take those personalities and add some tinsel and garland to it. It can turn into a hot mess pretty darn quickly. The majority of the decorations are great. I love the wreaths, trees and such. It warms my heart and fills me with joy.

But, there is one office that unfortunately has driven me to therapy and for my therapist to pray for me to have patience with it.

My office is conveniently located off the front lobby which is decked out with a huge tree (with colored lights) red poinsettias, wreaths, two smaller white-lighted trees and some decorations the receptionist put on her desk. So, there's a lot of stuff. The office right across from me is decked out with a whole bunch of even more stuff. (I should probably note that the person who decorated the front lobby resides in that office.)

There's a decal, gold wreath, bells, garland, two rosemary trees, red poinsettias, large ornament and two snowmen. Oh, and a random package of cookies in a tree shaped plastic thingy. Behold the glory:

But what is absolutely driving me to drink is the green and blue glitter poinsettias. I mean, really. I have to believe that sweet Baby Jesus would even cover his eyes with his swaddling to avoid looking at the horror of blue and green poinsettias. With glitter.

Y'all, I really love the thought behind wanting to decorate but when you combine this with all the stuff in the lobby, it's bordering gaudy. Actually, we've gone past gaudy straight to atrocious.

& to cap it off, I'm getting flack for not having decorated my office as of Wednesday. My decorating tastes run traditional and I like to think, casually elegant.

As someone so colorfully mentioned, putting up my decorations would be like building a mansion across from a trailer park.

I am doing some little decorations in my office. I figure I should do that as I'll be spending as much time in my office over the next week to avoid looking at the blue and green poinsettias.

In addition to those festivities, we also have two parties and a luncheon, a cookie festival competition, tacky sweater day and some other smaller activities.

The sad part of all this is that I'm actually on the Christmas Committee so I had an input in all of this. & being on the committee, I'm partaking in all of these activities.

My visions of a simple Christmas have been taken over, similar to Cousin Eddie and the Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Special thanks to Nain for letting me have the honor of guest posting! I ::big heart:: you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The perfect storm....

Yesterday, T and I needed a do-over for sure for our day.  It was just one of those days.   Nothing seemed to go quite right or as planned.  It started off with both of us rushing to get to work - me trying to run to the office quickly to pick up the file I forgot and completely needed for an 8:30 termination trial and T to get to work in time to do some needed testing at work.  I managed to get there on time, though I can't really speak for T.  He does have a longer drive, after all...

At the start of the week, I had made a nice little list of meals for the week, and I knew that Wednesday we would need a crock pot meal since I had my personal trainer after work and T had guitar lessons to get to in the evening.  So we decided to make hamburger soup (a recipe I will share when I'm not so jaded, of course).  T, being the sweetheart he is, got everything ready in the crock pot this morning, and when I got in the kitchen for breakfast, he told me that he would turn it on before he left.  Famous last words.

I rush out the door, computer, purse, lunchbox and coffee in hand, and I don't turn the thing on.  I don't even think about it.  T must have done the same.  I didn't even think twice about our dinner until after I had settled my trial and was on my way out of court when I sent him a text "did you turn on the crock pot?"  Nope, neither of us did.  So that meant a pound of raw hamburger, tomato soup and onion soup mix was just sitting all day in our house.  Lovely.

I get home to change for my appointment, and as soon as I open the door, I smell it.  The smell of death.  Seriously, if they made ass-scented Yankee candles it would smell like that crock pot.  So, I decided to put the contents of said crock pot into the garbage disposal.  It was raw meat, I should have known better but....

Everything went down the drain fine.  But when I met T at a Mexican restaurant after working out, the first words he says to me as I exit the gym are "did you put the meat down the disposal?"  Yep, the sink was clogged.  Again.  A week and a half after we had Roto Rooter out to our home and we had to call them.  Again.  More money to fix a part of a house that isn't even ours. 

Thinking back, I still don't know what I would have done differently.  I mean, it was trash day today so what was I supposed to do?  Put it in the trash?  Or flush it down the toilet?  I couldn't very well let it sit in our garage, lest we forget that we live in the freaking wild animal kingdom here. 

The Roto Rooter guy got there around 7:00 p.m. and stayed until well around 8:30 p.m.  T missed his guitar lesson.  Not the way we wanted to spend our evening, I will admit.

Lesson learned, folks.  Don't put a bunch of raw meat down your disposal.  Or, as we will be doing from now on, don't put a damn thing down the disposal.  Ever. 

At least it's Thursday....


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Show me, don't tell me

I'm a big advocate of action instead of words.  In past relationships I have often said "show me, don't tell me.  (Normally, it would be in response to an "I'm sorry" after said boyfriend did something  particularly shitty.)  So yes, actions do speak louder than words in my mind.  Always have.
The funny thing is...when I'm writing my manuscript I struggle with doing just that.  I'm all talk and no action, so to speak.  Sure, I'm good at describing what my character is feeling and doing the inner dialogue thing, but actually showing the action in the story?  Not so much. 
I am so appreciative of my critique group and the help they have given me.  Over the holiday, I was able to rework a great deal in my first few chapters and to also add a few more chapters to give a bit more background into my character.  I have to admit, though, it was tough.  I hardly ever edit things I write (bad, bad, I know), and looking at something I wrote in a different angle and readjusting  it?  Tough.  But well worth it, and I look forward to seeing what my favorite ladies have to say....
I do have to admit that a huge part of me is wondering if I'm doing enough to change it.  How will an agent or editor see it?  And, as I've stated before, a lot of my book is autobiographical, so getting criticism on your own story?  Tough, too. 
Perhaps I am being too tough on myself.  This is only first attempt at writing a novel, and this is only my first draft.  It wouldn't be the first time I was hard on myself (just ask pretty much anyone who knows me in real life...)  I just need to keep plugging away and follow my heart.  The important thing is that I love to write, and I just need to remember that when I get frustrated. 
Show me, don't tell me.  Or, in the epic words of Cuba Gooding, Jr., "Show me the story!"


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Small Treasure Tuesday - I love you guys!

Step back for a minute, folks, I'm about to open a can of sap up in this is Tuesday (you know....the day after Monday?)  So that means it's time for some Small Treasure Tuesdays with Chantel!
So I said I'm going to get sappy, right?  Well, because I am, and trust me, this isn't easy.  But my treasure this week guys! 

Seriously, back in May, when I told T I was going to start a blog and begin writing a book, I had no idea where this journey would take me.  Honestly, when I started writing, I thought "who would read this?  would I have content every day?  where is this going?" 

But I quickly came across some great bloggers out there, and I couldn't feel more blessed to get to know all of you.  I've made some awesome friendships that I'm excited to see grow, and lately I've found myself saying "T, if we go to this state, wouldn't it be awesome if we say so-and-so?"  I'd love to meet as many of you in real life as I can!

That and you all give me confidences to keep writing.  Writing a book isn't always an easy task, and sometimes it feels like I might be barking up the wrong tree, but the love I get from my readers, I truly appreciate. 

I want to give back by hosting a giveaway very soon for some Mary Kay products from yours truly and my own inventory.  It'll probably be next week so keep checking!

Thank you to all of you who take the time to read my ramblings and insanity on a daily basis.  I appreciate it more than you know!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Motivation Monday!

Motivation Monday
Monday, Monday, oh why must you come so quickly?  These weekends just fly by, and I absolutely detest Mondays, which is exactly why I created the Motivation Monday meme here at View From Down Here.  Let's get motivated for another productive week!

My motivation this week?  Preparing for the upcoming mini-marathon on May 7th.  13.1 miles.  Can I do it? 

T and I did a lot of 5ks and 10ks the summer we got engaged in 2009, but this last year?  Not so much.  Most of it was due to wedding planning and saving our money for Ireland, but now that we have more time on our hands, we've decided to get back into it.  And by setting such a huge goal of the mini in our future, we need to start soon.  So this last Saturday, we, along with other crazy people, ventured out in the cold and the snow to do the St. Nikolaus 5k run.  It was snowing pretty hard, and the streets were covered, which makes it a lot harder to run or walk.  You use muscles you don't normally use walking in the snow.  We finished, and we did pretty well, if I do say so myself.  T ran the entire thing in 26:06, and I walked it in 45:08.  And then won a pair of free running shoes.  Whoo! 

We don't have another 5k planned just yet, but the next feat I think we're planning on conquering is the Bop to the Top hosted by Riley Children's Hospital.  It's a race where you climb 37 flights of stairs in the One America building in downtown Indy.  Some people will do it three times in a row, but I'm just hoping to get to floor 37 without passing out :-) 

So...what's motivating all of YOU this week?  I can be anything - work, school, home, fitness...putting on makeup in the morning, whatever!  Just write a post about what is motivating you this week, and link it up to my blog, using the fun button to the right of your screen and the linky tool located at the bottom of your screen.  The link will be up until December 11th!

Here we are, cold and wet from the snow but happy to be done! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Additional Saturday Steal!


I don't normally do more than one post in any given day, but I just had T and I got up bright and early this morning and headed to downtown Indy to run (T) and walk (me) in the St. Nikolaus 5k Lauf (Run in German).  They were giving out awards to the fastest runners at the end (obviously not me), and they had 4 door prizes for gift certificates for free shoes at the Indy Running Company.  AND, what would you know?  My number was drawn!!!

I never ever win anything so I was excited.  I need new shoes, and this is good for $99 in running shoes.  Whoo!!!!  
So I have 2 steals to contribute to this week's Saturday Steals