Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Just keep swimming

I'm just two days away from a break.  Just keep swimming, Nain.  Just keep swimming....then it is a little bit of a breather until 2014.  I like to think that 2014 will bring about some new perspective at the very least.  I will make sure that actually happens rather than passively sit by and wait for it.  I know some changes need to be made, while not all of them are within my control.  But before than happens, I do just want a chance to rest.  Relax.  And just be.  

In the meantime, Merry Christmas from Nain, T and Aubrey!  I'll write more before then but how can this face not make you smile?

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I've been delaying writing a blog post for awhile now.  I know it's been since Wednesday (honestly Monday because I wrote Tuesday and Wednesday's posts ahead of time) since I've written, and I have absolutely no motivation to do so.  I am completely fine writing for my freelance work because I don't have to be honest and open about myself in those pieces.  But this is my blog.  I make a point to not be fake when I write anything here, and I have done a pretty damn good job at that thus far.  

I hate to say I can't bring myself to be 100 percent honest right now with my posts.  As you all are aware, I have made a series of bad decisions, causing a lot of financial distress for my family.  And the nonprofit industry isn't exactly booming or lucrative.  But things kind of hit the fan and I hit rock bottom last week.  I'm not even sure how to write this so I maintain some kind of vagueness and integrity, but I consider the metaphor being thrown under the bus a good one for how I feel.  Within just two days my family's financial livelihood was torn apart.  Just days before Christmas and just days before the end of my office's official "work year."  Salary.  Cut.  Me?  Crushed.  And extremely worried.  

It isn't that T and I are poor by any means, but we are tight.  And I'm a huge part of it.  And I hate that.  I've made no secret of the fact that I struggle with depression either.  Well, after Tuesday and the blow I took and the aftershock it had on my family, crushed can be the only word to describe how I feel.  Well, no defeated.  And failure.  

I'm kind of in a dark place inside my mind.

I think I used the phrase "I'm a failure" or "worthless" more than I should in these past few days.  I am so very fortunate that I have T by my side and wonderful friends who know me better than I know myself and have grabbed my hand as I'm sinking even though I didn't want to be saved.  

I don't like this dark place, and I certainly don't want to stay here.   I know I'm blessed.  I know I'm fortunate to have so many things in my life - T and Aubrey.  I'm totally aware of that.  It'll get better.  I know God has a plan through all of this.  I found the above picture on Facebook and keep trying to remind myself that, among other quotes.  "When you're going through hell, keep going."  "God doesn't give you anything you cannot handle."  "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  I repeat those over and over in my head.  

But I think the first thing is to acknowledge it.  Having been thrown for a loop, the rug pulled from underneath me, I'm in a dark place, a hole if you will, but there is only way to go.  And that is up, and it's a good thing I have loving hands reaching out to help pull me up.  

(FYI - I love you, T.  Thank you for everything you are and do.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I came across an article the other day regarding a woman who had bravely bared her post-baby body in a way to show what is beautiful.  So many people, she said, only view thin, washboard abs, etc., as beauty.  However, like so many women out there, she said her stomach "smiled" at her.  You'd have to look at the picture to get what she said, but the extra skin and fat from her pregnancy makes a "smile" in a way.  I knew what she was talking about if you can't picture it but only because she's describing my body as well.  
The sad thing are the comments she received from her post.  Here are the ones she included:
“A lot of fat women use having given birth to children as an excuse…. that’s the reality.”
“How attractive, fat and stretch marks, cover that up, I just ate.”
“Sorry, I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s attractive or appropriate.”
“There is clearly a fat epidemic that there never used to be. It’s from lack of exercise except when lifting hand to mouth. Stop being PC and just say it how it is… no excuses.”
“Sorry but if your (sic) overweight you don’t have curves. That’s just excess fat hanging of your body.”
“Embracing Big Macs more like it.”
It is so easy for people to be so hateful when they are hidden behind the computer screen, isn't it?  Looking at the pictures of her, she is FAR from obese.  Seriously.  Something she posted in her response was a picture of her and her children hiking and another one of her in a sports bra showing her post-baby stomach.  They were both taken on the same day.  Same person, same day.  In the one of her hiking everyone commented how fit she looked.  But once they got a look at her stomach?  Obese!  Lazy!  Fat!
There are some women out there who are super lucky.  They are the ones who leave the hospital in the jeans they wore before pregnancy and many are able to get their abs back with exercise and diet.  However, one size does not fit all.  I am one of those women.  After Aubrey was born, I was what I considered overweight.  I know I was.  I was overweight before I had her.  It showed in my blood pressure.  I needed help in dealing with it so I did seek medical assistance with a doctor and dietitian and managed to lose 30 pounds.  My blood pressure is the lowest it has ever been, ever.  I run 5ks and mini-marathons.  At my last appointment with my doctor, she congratulated me on reaching my ideal weight and healthy BMI.  I wear a size I haven't worn since high school.  BUT....I have that stomach.  I have those stretch marks.  I have that scar and the sagging skin and fat around it.  I complained the doctor about that, she smiled at me and said you can do ab work for that, but it doesn't make you unhealthy.  You had a child.  You're a mom.
So when I see that picture that this woman took in the mirror, I see myself.  I hate looking at that part of my body.  I know that's wrong, but I am one of those women who thinks "ugh, I'm fat."  And these people, these hateful comments are the reason why women like me feel like that.  Because we hear it out there, we see it.  
For God's sake, she had a child.  The things that women's bodies go through during and after a pregnancy - your body does not always just bounce back if ever.  My hips will never go back to where they were before I carried Aubrey and honestly, it's not likely my stomach will.  It just isn't.  But that doesn't make my body any less beautiful.  And I feel weird even just typing those words because I don't think my body is beautiful.  

But isn't that the problem?  And these people aren't making it better.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bucket list

I recently made a fellow writer friend who has gone through a bit of difficulty with her health this past year.  She has come out of it a survivor, which is totally awesome, but something she shared with me really stuck with me.  We were both going to be running in the Drumstick Dash on Thanksgiving, and she mentioned that doing a marathon was on her "bucket list."  While she was sick, she made a bucket list of everything she wanted to do before leaving this earth.  The scary thing is that was an actual possibility for her, so I could only imagine how she felt when creating it.  However, now that she is well, she is sticking to this list and seeing it through.  Life is too short, and she intends to live it to the fullest and not live in regret in "oh I should have done that."   How inspirational is that?  She shared some of her experiences, including a hot air balloon ride over the desert and trip to Europe.  

That left me thinking....if I were to create a bucket list, what would be on it?  Would I actually stick to it and see it through?  I brought that up with T on our date this past weekend and was surprised some of the things he had on his bucket list.  Some of them were things I never would have pegged him for, but I want to see him accomplish them because like what happened to this lady, life is too short, right?  

So I'm going to sit down and put it together and put it somewhere like our safe box.  And I'm going to do it.  It might take awhile, but like I said in my post yesterday with needing to create and treasure memories, I don't want to live my life in regret and hesitation.  Life is too short to not do those things you've always wanted to do.  

One of the things that at the top of this list?  Writing a book.  Stay tuned for more on that....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Making memories

Sorry for lack of content last Friday...that is what happens when I do the writing thing.  It's hard to keep up.  Plus, I managed to pull off a big work "open house" at our office.  So...busy, busy.  Actually I probably  have no excuse as Friday was a "snow day" for me and the Aubster, but seriously...doing any kind of "work" around Aubrey or even getting on the computer is a pipe dream.  I swear I'm going to hear the words "MOMMY!  BE BACK!!!" in my sleep.  Apparently anytime I leave her line of sight, this is her response.  And I was followed every time I went to the bathroom.  I swear, I just want to pee alone.  Serenity now!!!
It was a pretty chill weekend, minus the demands of a screaming two-year-old, but we did get some relief with a date night.  We finally got to use the Olive Garden gift card we won at the last marriage ministry event, so we went to church sans kid, dinner and then Target to finish up Santa presents.  It's not the most glamorous of dates, but it was fun.  We got a bottle of wine and of course, my favorite, tiramisu, for dessert.  The Santa thing was just a necessity, as there is no way we could pull that off with eagle eyes wanting to get everything we put in the cart.  
We were out for creating memories.  At the last marriage ministry event, we got an envelope of "mystery dates," where you had to take a sealed envelope and anything directed on the envelope with you.  This one was about memories - those from our childhood, dating, and now.  It was fun discussing times in the past and reliving those wonderful memories.  Something that we both noted was all of these memories were pre-Aubrey or even pre-marriage, which left us both asking whether we had become dull or "old married couple" too soon.  What happened to us?
I don't think that's the case, though, because I started bringing up fun times we had this past year just the two of us and those since we were married.  I think more than anything we seem to forget the ones post-Aubrey because we're both on autopilot as parents but also we focus so much on  being parents that we don't step back and take mental pictures of the memories we are also creating for us.  Those memories include Aubrey but they also include those times where we're alone, maybe out having fun or even just being home.  We both agreed we need to refocus and really take a step back and recognize those moments and memories.  
We have only been married for 3 years so I'm no expert but I can imagine this is something that is easy to fall into.  Some people don't ever recognize it until it's too late or never ever recognize it.  I don't want that to happen.  Some of my best memories ever have been with my best friend, T, by my side.  I look forward to those memories we have yet to create and I treasure all of the ones we have already created.
Speaking of creating memories....night on the town - 2 weeks away!  No kid for an entire night - yay!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

At a loss


Toddlers.  Oh, toddlers.  We're having a new "stage" with Miss Aubrey, and I'm at a loss.

Little Miss Thang seems to not want to nap at daycare, or at least she hasn't the past three days this week.  Not only does she not want to sleep at daycare, but she throws an all-out exorcism for the teachers in order to not sleep.  It got so bad on Tuesday that I went and took her home early, thinking she was getting sick or something.  But she's not.  And the not sleeping thing is only at daycare.  Any normal night, we put her down for bed, she's wide awake, kisses us good night and does not shed a tear as we close the door.  We stayed at my parent's house at Thanksgiving, and she readily took a nap and went to bed at night with absolutely no problems.  So what gives?

There could be a number of factors, really.  It's not teething because giving her Tylenol and a teething ring do nothing.  It's not that she doesn't have her comfort item as she has both her Butterfly and blanket with her.  And she loves her teachers.  The one thing that could be causing a problem is Aubrey emulating the behavior of another little girl in her class who is not adjusting at all to daycare.  This kid cries the entire time she's there, and they believe possibly Aubrey is mimicking her behavior because the other child gets attention.  Regardless of what the reason is, my kid is coming home exhausted.  

She falls asleep as soon as we leave the daycare, and then after our commute, we inevitably have to wake her.  She wakes up, disoriented and cranky, just miserable all around.  She's that way until we put her to bed, as she sobs through her bath out of exhaustion.  It's just so sad.  And I worry about the fact she is not getting this much needed rest.  

The thing that hurts even more is when the daycare calls to tell me she is upset, and I hear her in the background.  I went and got her on Tuesday, but I can't keep that up.  All that will do is teach her that if she cries, Mommy will come get her, right?  

Otherwise, the kid is as sweet as pie during the day, according to her teachers.  It is not until nap time that she throws these inconsolable fits.  I'm at a loss.  I don't know what to do.  It's not something that's a general behavior because she doesn't do it anywhere except daycare.  So it's not like T and I could do something at home to fix it.  But it makes me physically anxious thinking of her miserable at school.  I find myself praying all day that she gets at least 30 minutes of sleep or at least lays there calmly during nap.

But I'm at a loss.  I hate this whole "not knowing what's really going on because she can't talk" thing.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sweet little words

My kid is growing up too quickly!  It's not a bad thing per se, but sometimes it's just like "wow, I cannot believe she's doing all of this now!"  Her new thing is using words to form full sentences.  It is so amazing how something that is effortless to us is so new and exciting for a little one.  And to me, it's the sweetest thing I have ever heard.  

Yesterday as T and I were putting her to bed, after reading one of her favorites, Snuggle Puppy, T picked her up to take her to the crib.  She always takes books with her to bed and quietly looks at them until she falls asleep.  (What can I say?  She is honestly a book worm already and she can't even read.)  Well, the book fell from her hands so I bent down to pick it up for her, and I hear the words "Thank you, Mommy" and she leaned in to kiss me.  Heart.  Melt.  Seriously, those three words absolutely made my day.  

This morning I kept sneezing when I was changing her diaper and each time I did that, she said "God bless you, Mommy."  At first I thought it was just me hearing things but every time she kept saying it.  

She's so silly in that she'll point out body parts while we're dressing her, too.  "Nose," pointing to my nose.  "Eyes" basically poking out my eyes.   And I suppose we should stop calling her toes little piggies because she refers to her toes as piggies, but it is too darn cute.  

Every time we leave the living room and head up to go to bed, she turns to the Christmas tree and says "Bye-bye tree!"  

I'm going to eat these moments up while I can, as well as those moments like last night when she kept hugging and kissing on me.  I know she will not always want to do that, so I'll take these mental pictures so that I can remember them later in life when she's a teenager and too embarrassed to even be seen around me.  Until then, it's amazing, those sweet little words.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Taco Tuesday

Random Tuesday, folks...I sit here Monday night trying to figure out what to type, and all I have is this first one, and's not enough to justify a full post.

Dear Silk, Let me be the first lactose intolerant person to say you suck for not bringing back the seasonal chocolate mint silk.  Seriously.  I love that stuff, and for 11 months I have dreamed of this chocolate, minty goodness.  Only to be disappointed that you are not making it this year.  No warning at all?  

And what's up, Target, with offering chocolate mint milk?  So you can let my husband enjoy this delicious concoction in all its glory, rubbing it in my face that I will become violently ill if I were to drink it?  What the hell?

That's it, I'm buying some mint syrup.  

Houston, we have a problem.  T and I are signed up to run a race Saturday morning, and not only is it going to be cold but also snowing.  Pushing a 35 lb toddler in a running stroller in the snow?  I'm not sure my body can do that.  Must figure out alternate plan ASAP.

So Aubrey loves our tree, especially the Sesame Street ornaments on the bottom.  These promptly come off the tree as soon as we get home.  It's kind of sweet.

She's also obsessed with lights.  If I turn on one of our living room lights, I must immediately turn on the one across the room or she will literally pull me there to turn it on.  Come on, Mom....get with it.  

Kids shows are kind of disturbing.  I love Sesame Street but some of the stuff on there just blows my mind.  Aubrey loves Lazy Town,'s from Iceland if that tells you anything, and no way in hell will I ever let her watch Cailou.  The other day the Wiggles were on, and when did they bring on a female Wiggle?  Mind. blown.

I think we have a makeup date night this weekend.  I don't want to jinx it because our sitter has had to reschedule twice on us, but keep your fingers crossed.  We need it.  I love me some Aubrey, but holy cow, I could use a time-out just every now and then.  Single way do I understand how you do it.  Mad props, you get mad props.  

In addition to a date night, I'm in desperate need of a girls evening.  L to the YN, you down?  

Speaking of girls' nights, back in the day at IU there was this amazingly delicious but cheap Mexican place that had a weekly "Taco Tuesday" where you could get the most amazing tacos for $1 each.  Hence my title.  I could so go for one of their potato tacos.  Sounds gross?  No, more like amazing.

I realize that I sound like some kind of douchey teenager with half of what I'm writing here.  I swear, I haven't lost my mind.  It's watching Finding Bigfoot.  I think Bobo is rubbing off on me.  

We had a monumentally crapptasitc Monday so keep your fingers crossed that today goes well.  Hope you all have a good day, too!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Gobble gobble!

I'm totally not okay with the fact that the long weekend is over.  Just in case you were wondering, I feel I should tell you all this.  But at least Christmas is like three weeks away so I guess I'll take solace in that.  Anyway, we had a pretty decent Thanksgiving. In good Nain and T style, we started it off like a bunch of crazy people at the ass-crack of dawn running in 20 degree weather.  We spent the night at my parent's house the night before so we could leave Aubrey with them and not subject her to our insanity.  The race was through Broadripple, and it was a 4.65 mile run (I am sure there's some significance to that number...), and I'm pretty proud.  I did 4.65 miles in 54:54:6.  That is an 11:48 pace which is an all-time best for me.  I was exhausted but still on my runner's high.....

And then my jam Ol' Dirty Bastard "Got your money" came on....and that made me even more excited, or perhaps I was just experiencing lack of oxygen at this point.

But I felt like I could relate to Ol' Dirty Bastard.  I mean, every time I get paid for writing I sing this song to T.  I'm such a G....

We headed back to my parent's house for merriment and cheer.  And like any good family holiday, that involves beverages.  Port in one hand, Merlot in the other.

Tired but relaxing and having a good time.  I joked that we never get pictures taken together anymore.  That's what happens when you stop dating, right?

Aubrey had a ton of fun with my family, especially her cousins...

Trying to walk in Papaw's shoes...

Mommy's little turkey....

The next day T and I decorated after Aubrey went to bed.  I must say decorating when you have a 2-year-old is tough with the "will she break this?" or "will she be able to reach this?" with everything.  She was so excited to see the tree the next morning.  Mommy took the opportunity to take a few pictures for Christmas cards.  Here are some sneak peaks....

Well, this one isn't a Christmas card one...but I wanted to take a picture with my girl.

Isn't she the cutest little Santa ever?

Alabama v. Auburn game tragedy aside, it was a pretty good holiday.  I look forward to another one, because did I mention how not happy I am to have to get back to the norm?  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful for the future

Today is the very last day of 30 Days of Thanks.  I'm pretty impressed with myself that I actually wrote every single day this month.  Now, don't expect this to be a normal thing....writing on the weekends is a bit tough :-)  Anyway, so I was thinking and thinking that whatever I had to be thankful for today better be significant because it is Day 30 after all.  

So I thought and thought....and then I watched this Huffington Post video of a man whose girlfriend found out that he was going to propose so he went through this elaborate date where he kept faking her out that he was going to ask the big question until he finally did.  And it brought me back to that rainy July 4th over 4 years ago.  And the feelings flooded back of how much we had ahead of us, our future, counting down the days until we could be "us," man and wife.  The future.  And that was it.

Today I am thankful for our future.  

We aren't quite to the end of the year yet, and you always picture people looking to the future year at the end of the December, but that's not really the future I'm thinking about. Honestly, 2014 probably won't  be that "life-changing" of a year.  I don't anticipate that being the case, but you never know.  Stranger things have happened.  

I'm talking about the future, future.  What will it bring for our family?  For T?  Myself?  For Aubrey?  We are where we are right now in life, but really, we have just started our adventure together.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, let alone the next few years.  It's fun to think of the possibilities - where can we go?  Will we always live here?  Will I always do the same thing?  What will Aubrey be like as she grows up? What adventures will we embark on as a family?

I know it sounds cheesy, but honestly I'm not the kind of person who thinks of the future in that way.  I'm a worrier, so when I think of the future, it usually involves me fretting over something minute and insignificant thing.  But for just once I want to think of the future of something wondrous and unknown.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  I, for one, can't wait to find out.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful for traditions

I am still in a food coma, writing this on Thursday night as T and I barely stay awake watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special.  So bear with me if none of this makes sense.  I'm guessing there will be a lot of rambling...anyway, despite it being Thanksgiving already, I'm going to finish out this 30 days of thanks. I start something, and dammit, I will finish it!  

Today I am thankful for traditions.  After the Aubster goes to bed on Friday, T and I will decorate.  Normally we would start earlier, but I'm not sure Aubrey would let us put up a thing without her touching every single item.  She'll be surprised when she wakes up, and we're going to have to be really creative with how we decorate this year.  I'm guessing the Belleek china nativity set will not be going out this year.  And all ornaments within her reach will be nonbreakable.  But she'll love it, I have no doubt.

It's our tradition for decorating, ever since we had our first Christmas together in the rental home back in 2009.  We make a crock pot of mulled wine and enjoy Christmas music while we set the house up.  It's not a huge tradition, but it's something we do every year.  I do love me some mulled wine.  And I always love putting up the tree.  It's so pretty, and I'm so excited to see it through her eyes and celebrate with her.

And we're only just three weeks away from another Nain and T tradition where we ditch the kid (babysitting with the Aunt), and go hit the town for a night.  I'm soooo looking forward to that tradition.  

I have to admit I love all of my holiday traditions.  I promise to have pictures! (From Thanksgiving and of course of our decorations!)

Oh and thankful I'm not crazy enough to go out into the Black Friday madness.  Um, yeah, no thanks!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Forever thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Today I'll be spending the day with my family, enjoying lots of food and of course, football.  I'm excited for Aubrey to spend some time with her cousins and to just relax for a change.  For that, I am VERY thankful.
This past year has been a trying year for both T and me, but it has also been a blessed year.  We started the year celebrating Aubrey's one-year birthday in February, celebrating with family and friends.  We've watched her grow into such a big girl these past few months, and it has been so much fun despite the periodic days of "terrible twos."  She has changed so much and learned so much.  I love spending time with her singing and playing, and hearing the words "mommy" and "daddy" never grow old.  I am excited to see what year two will bring us.
T and I have begun taking more time for "us" this past year, recognizing that we had quickly become only parents and forgetting where the "we" came from before Aubrey.  We have been fortunate to have family and babysitters to help us so that we could go out and be together.  I look forward to our yearly "night on the town," thanks to my sister for watching Aubrey over night.  We've been able to join our church's marriage ministry and make a lot of friends along the way.
I am thankful for the friends, old and new, that I have.  I am thankful for certain friendships which have started and grown this year.  I am forever grateful for the support, laughter and love I receive through these people.
While this past year has been rough as I have gone through ups and downs in terms of money and career, I am grateful for where I am now, the decision I have made and the changes I have made in my attitude and motivation with this choice.  I am also thankful for the numerous opportunities I have been given in terms of writing, which, in turn has brought me back to my passion of writing as well as the ability to contribute more financially to my family.  
I am thankful for my husband, his love, his friendship and his continued support in everything I do.  I appreciate his encouragement and for being my biggest supporting and being by my side during those rough times.  I am thankful for his joy and happiness in the "up" times.  I am thankful he is such a wonderful father to our daughter.  And I am thankful that no matter what, he loves me unconditionally and with his whole heart.  
So I do have a great deal to be thankful for this year.  And it's not just the minor things I mentioned yesterday in my random post.  No, all of those small things come together into one thing - my life.  I am blessed, and forever and always I will be thankful.
This post has been linked up to the weekly Spin Cycle brought to you by Gretchen at Second Blooming and Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie.  Click on the picture and see what others have to share!  And Happy Thanksgiving!
Second Blooming

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Random thankfulness

Last work day of the week!  What, what?  I'm super glad we have a long weekend coming up.  I think we can all use it for sure.  We're starting it off with a bang, too, with T and I doing a race in the morning...running 4.6 miles in the Drumstick Dash.  Then we can eat guilt free for the rest of the day, right?  

I thought today, in honor of the fact that it's Wednesday and tomorrow starts a holiday weekend, I do the thankful thing random.  Because, really, it sometimes are the little things in life that make you most thankful, right?  The big things matter, too, don't get me wrong, but that's what tomorrow's post is for!

  1. I am thankful for coffee.  For without it, there is no way in hell I could get through my morning.
  2. I am thankful for wine because of its delicious goodness, and you know, it's pretty darn nice at the end of a rough day.
  3. I am thankful for the little giggles I get from my daughter when I pretend to "nibble her piggies."
  4. I am thankful for little encouraging text messages I get from T throughout the day, just to let me know he's thinking about me.
  5. I'm thankful for the opportunities I have to write, especially in mediums like ModVive where I get to not only talk about current events but give insights with my thoughts on the subject.  I don't get to do that often in the legal world.  
  6. I am thankful for Alabama football.  Roll. Tide.
  7. I am thankful for my Keurig.  Because some mornings I am just too damn lazy to brew coffee myself.  (I'm spoiled, I know.)
  8. I am thankful for my favorite show (still on the air) Dancing with the Stars.
  9. I'm thankful for my husband for putting up with the 12 weeks of me watching it every Monday.
  10. I'm thankful for my church and the friends I have met there.
  11. I am thankful for all of my friends - old and new.  Each of them teach me something every single day.  I am so blessed.
  12. I'm thankful for the wonderful friends we have who help us out when we need it and who watch our little girl for us when we need a time out.
  13. I'm thankful for my job and for all of the opportunities it has brought and for the ability to help others.
  14. I am thankful for family.  I'm thankful we are both blessed to have loving and welcoming families to share the holidays with.
  15. Thankful, of course, for the delicious food that will be shared on Thanksgiving.  Oh gluttony.
  16. I am thankful I figured out how to do my daughter's hair because she looks too cute with the little pigtails.  Love them.
  17. I am thankful for T's cooking - he made us chicken parmesan this last weekend and of course, I love his honey chicken stir fry.  I love that he gets excited to cook a fun meal for me.
  18. I am thankful for those friends I can vent to no matter what time of the day and no matter how stupid my venting may be.  (I'm looking at you L to the YN!)
  19. I am thankful for the fact that no matter what we may have gone through, especially this year with the whole Mary Kay thing, T sticks by me no matter what and says "let's figure this out, we can do this."  Even when I might not think that we can.
  20. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to travel to Ireland for our honeymoon.  It was my dream, and just being there, was absolutely amazing. 
  21. I am thankful for the upcoming Christmas season.  I love everything about it, and I'm so excited to share it with T and my daughter.
  22. I am thankful for all of my nieces and nephews - I get to spend time with four of the five of them soon, and I cannot wait to snuggle with my baby niece after Christmas.
  23. I am thankful to have my husband back on the weekends now that it is chilly and he does not have to mow the yard anymore.  Yay!
  24. I am thankful for laughter.  No matter how stressful things may seem, I can turn on something funny on TV and just for a moment, break free from the stress.
  25. I'm thankful for so much more..things I cannot remember or write down.  And did I mention I was thankful for the the upcoming long weekend?  Oh yeah, because I am.  Just saying.
There is a lot, I know, and by no means is that list exhaustive or in any order.  I am blessed.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Throughout the generations

Two more days, Nain, two more days!

Today I am thankful for something Aubrey has that I never got to experience or live.  Sure she may not remember it, but I am thankful for the great-grandparents that Miss Aubrey has.

I'm thankful for the ones she never got to meet here on earth.  I stand firm in my belief that she somehow crossed spirits with my Grandpa George while he was in heaven and her soul was coming down here.  I don't know....something just makes both T and myself believe it.  She looks at his picture now, rather than just saying "bye-bye!" which she has always said....this weekend, she looked at it and went "Papa!" and T said (I didn't witness this) she just babbled on and on like she was talking to the picture, like they were old friends.  She pointed out Papa to me again, too, and I told her that yes, that is Papa and he is looking down on her from heaven.  I'm thankful for the others she has watching over her in heaven, my Grandma Doris, Grandma Peggy and T's Grandpa Lou.  We will always tell her stories about how wonderful they are.

However, right now on our mantel sit two thank you notes, one from T's Nana and the other from T's Grandpa and Grandma.  We sent them pictures from our church directory photo shoot, and it touched them so much they both sent thank yous.  They just go on and on about the smile that Aubrey has that lights up a room.  I remember the look T's Nana had the first time she met Aubrey.  It was immediate love.  Aubrey shares a name with her.  When T's Grandpa and Grandma found out they were going to be Great-Grandparents, T's Grandpa came in the room where his aunt was hearing the same news and exclaimed "I'm going to be a Great-Grandpa!"  If you knew the man, you would know how unusual this kind of excitement and outburst is.  She is just surrounded with love, and I love that she gets to feel it from this generation.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thankful for short work weeks!

So....yeah....that whole date night thing?  Didn't happen.  Unfortunately our babysitter had to cancel with a case of the stomach flu, which I was 100% okay with...don't need any of that around here yet!  And while we have rescheduled for next Saturday, we were still kind of bummed.  We ended up taking the little one to church, which is always an adventure, cooking dinner at home and chatting over wine and a fire.  It wasn't an out on the town date, but minus the stress at church, we seemed to have made the best out of a crap situation.  Plus, T cooked, so I'm all about that!

It was freezing around here this weekend.  We tried to put up our Christmas lights outside, but T made the decision to not climb the huge ladder to the roof and just do the porch this year.  I think the 20 degree windchill and 30 mph winds played a factor in that.  And we were totally crazy and got up Sunday morning to go out and run a 5k in 20 degree temps again.  We bundled Aubrey up to the point that she looked like the little brother on The Christmas Story, and we managed to pull it off with a 35:10 time in 3 miles.  Not too shabby!  She did well for the most part.  She loves the new hat we got her, and she did okay once we started moving.  I think she takes after her Mommy way too much and can't stand being around too many people.

All in all, it was a pretty decent weekend, and hey, it's a short work week!  And that's my that's my saving grace this morning as we head off to work.  Sure, it's Monday but it's a 3 day work week, and likely a 2.5 day work week if I decide to close the office early on Wednesday.  (That's going to be a tough decision, after all.)  I am thankful for a four day weekend coming up, lots of time to rest, eat, be with family and of course, on Friday, decorate!  So cheers to a short work week!

What are you thankful for today?  Keep your fingers crossed that this week flies by with no bumps along the way!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Running running running

Today T and I are going to be out of our damn minds and brave 30 degree temperatures and run in a 5k.  At least it's a fun 5k - it's called the "Ugly Christmas Sweater Run," and while I do not have an ugly Christmas sweater, I do have an ugly Christmas t-shirt I got from Wal-Mart.  I know I should have hit up the local Goodwill but just didn't have the time.  I thought, surely Wal-Mart will have ugly sweaters, right?  Well, they do.  But for $19 or so.  I'm assuming not everyone thinks these sweaters are "ugly."  But they had ugly t-shirts (ugly in my opinion, I preface), so I got one of those instead.  We're going to run this race together, pushing Aubrey in the stroller as practice for me in pushing a 35 lb toddler while running.  The practice is for a 4.6 mile race on Thanksgiving morning.  I'm hoping my arm strength from carrying and picking her up will be enough to sustain it.  We shall see!  

It's been a little over a year since I started running.  I don't "kill" a run as T puts it when he runs with a really good time, but I'm out there doing it.  Someone who has a heart defect and asthma, it makes me pretty proud that I'm able to run 2 miles straight.  Am I running them fast?  Not so much, but I'm doing it.  And for that, I am thankful.  I am thankful the hard work is paying off.  And that I share this interest with T and get to do these types of fun events with him.  I'll try to post a picture of me in my "ugly" Christmas t-shirt.  And I'll let you know just how cold it was...and how well Aubrey did no matter how much we bundle her up.  (I'm hoping she'll do just fine - fingers crossed!)

Until  then, I'll just be running, running, and running!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thankful for "alone time"

T and I are breaking out of the house this weekend with a well-deserved date night.  If you recall, a month ago we went to this marriage event at our church and won a $50 gift card to Olive Garden.  Well, we're cashing in that weekend....sure, Olive Garden isn't glamorous, but it'll be nice to just get out, just the two of us.   So for that reason, I am thankful for some alone time with my husband.

We're still learning this balancing act of being relatively new parents and still relatively newly-weds.  I mean, we've only been married for three years.  Compared to a lot of couples, that really isn't a long time.  I hate to say that being new parents has taken a toll on our coupledom.  Life has become a routine of work, long commute home, dinner for Aubrey, her bath and bedtime, dinner for us and then maybe two hours of watching TV while both of us are working on our computers.  It's sad, really.  I mean, what happened?  Well, no, I know what happened.  This little cute thing happened:

And while our lack of romance or excitement isn't her fault by any means, I do have to admit that taking care of her does take a great deal of our attention and energy. I was telling T the other day that being a parent is the most rewarding but most difficult job I have ever had.  It really is.  However....before Aubrey came us.  And we try our best to not lose sight of that.

I am totally jealous of some couples who seem to have it so together.  Seriously.  The couple who runs the marriage retreat is absolutely perfect or at least on the surface.  I think "why can't we be like that?"  But then again, that doesn't mean we can be exactly like them because we're us.  We're not them.  But still, there's always room for improvement.  And that times some time and work on both of our parts.  

So we're doing just that this weekend.  It'll be nice to have a meal where we don't hear Aubrey talking in her crib in the background or where we're not eating with her listening to Elmo's world.  We're blessed to have this opportunity.  I couldn't think of a better person to spend my time with.  

Hope everyone has a lovely Saturday!  Enjoy that weekend!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I dream of chocolate

Second Blooming
This week on the Spin Cycle, brought to you by Gretchen at Second Blooming and Ginny Marie and Lemon Drop Pie is on temptation.  Oh, sweet temptation, how I hate you.  And by sweet temptation I mean sweets.  Candy, chocolate, you name it.  They are my vices.  Seriously, I have a hardcore chocolate addiction.  Just right now, as I am working on attorney thank you gifts which are chocolates, I have eaten like 7 Hershey's Hugs.  Dammit.  (The gifts are super cheesy by the way...they are thank you gifts that say "Just a few HUGS and MOUNDS of thanks for supporting our agency!" and include Hershey Hugs and Mounds candy bars.  Cheesy, right?)  Maybe I'm assuming everyone else likes chocolate as much as I do.  But I probably shouldn't be eating the attorneys' candy.  

Oh chocolate, why are you so delicious?  

I keep telling myself that I need to scale back on the sweets, but I can't help it.  And I'm a strong believer in one principal.  I am anti-low fat chocolates or candy.  If you look, the caloric intake really isn't as different normal stuff, and I am a firm believer of if you are going to break your diet, you make it count.  If you are going to have chocolate and take in those calories, don't half-ass it.  Skip the Skinny Cow candy and get yourself a piece of Godiva.  It's so much more worth it and tastes ten times better!  

What are your vices?  I guess you should add red wine into that.  Because you can't enjoy a truly good piece of chocolate without a glass of Cabernet or Merlot.  That doesn't make me an alcoholic.  It just makes me a smart woman.  Anyway, so I'm covering two posts with one here.  My temptation is chocolate, and dammit, I am thankful for that sweet goodness.  My dream vacation would be to go back to Ireland and go back to the Guinness Storehouse but somehow also have the Hershey's factory right next door.  Or connected to it.  Ah, I can dream....

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful for motivation

I have to say, these posts are getting tough.  Not because I don't have a lot of blessings in my life, but coming up with something decent to write?  I'm stretching it some days.  But darn it, it is November 21st, so I'm going to finish what I started!

Today I am thankful for motivation.  Because, for some reason lately, I've had a lot more of that lately.  Seriously, for the longest time I could not find it in me to focus or even get through a "to do" list.  However, I'm pretty proud to say these past two weeks, Mama's been gettin' stuff done!  I'm not sure if it is because the end of the year is coming up or what, but I'm finding myself able to stay focused just a little bit more.  

It's tough, I'm finding, juggling the work, writing, personal life.  Doing any writing at home while the Aubs is awake is well....not possible.  She likes to pound on my computer, and if it's in her line of sight, then it is hers, not mine.  So I don't get to do it then.  If she naps, yes.  At night, yes, but that comes at the sake of spending time with T.  So I've been having to juggle things a bit more.

Now if I could find motivation to keep up with the running?  I'd be golden, baby.  Golden.  I am not as bad as I have been in weeks past, but we do have a race coming up this weekend and next.  So let's get in the zen mode, Nain.  Wax on, wax off.  

Maybe if I acknowledge the motivation and accomplishments that will keep it going?  Is that how it works?  

Regardless of where it came from, I am thankful.  So now, I'm motivated to ending this post :-)  Nain, out!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Helping others in need

It is not every day that I get to actually reach out and help clients on a personal basis.  While I am an attorney for a legal services agency, I also do a great deal of administrative work, which leads to me being in the office often.  However, I do try my best to go out into the community with local clinics to give brief legal advice and help those who need it the most.  

I was fortunate enough to do this Tuesday.  I went to a local courthouse to take applications for legal assistance.  When doing this, I'm often able to ask questions and give brief answers to questions that can solve their problems easily.  Oftentimes, people just want to tell their story.  They are going through a great deal of stress obviously with a legal situation, and they need to vent.  We attorneys often double as therapists.  My problem is when I listen to an applicant's story I get so wrapped into it that I want to take the case on as my own and help the person.  Unfortunately, my time does not always allow for it.  

When I started my job, there weren't a lot of these clinics set up in our counties, but I have worked very hard to create them so that we can go to the community and not have them come to us.  Local libraries, courthouses, community centers are perfect places.  I wish my time allowed for more, but for the times when I can go out there and help, it reminds me exactly of why I chose to practice law.  And it makes me thankful for the blessings I do have in my life and how fortunate I am but also makes me even that much more passionate about providing equal access to justice for those who need it most.  

So I am thankful that I am able to help.  I love what I do, and I'm lucky to do my job.  

On a side note, I have started a blog for my agency so check it out!  (Personal plug!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

For those small moments

Sometimes you get so focused on the big things, the big stressors in life that you miss those little moments.  Those little moments in your day that just make you smile.  That's what I'm thankful for today.

I'm thankful for the random text from T that tells me that I'm his best buddy in the whole wide world.

I'm thankful when I watch T and Aubrey playing on the floor.

I'm thankful for the smile I get when we share an inside joke.

I'm thankful for the huge smile I get when Aubrey sees me at the door if T drives separately and I work from home.  She gets so excited.  I just love it.  And as soon as he opens the door, she has to immediately jump into my arms.  

Whenever Aubrey walks to and from somewhere she sings the song they sing in daycare to the tune of frere shaka that goes "We are walking, we are walking, to the car, to the car..." (Or insert your destination here.)  Well, she comes up to me the other day going "We are walking, we are walking, to the Mommy, to the Mommy!" and gave me a huge hug.  It warmed my heart.

We split up going to the church this weekend, and T went Saturday night.  So I had to start putting Aubrey to bed, giving her a bath and drawing things out as long as humanly possible for T to come home.  Just as we were starting our first book, the garage door opened, and she jumped off the rocking chair to wait at the gate at the staircase flipping out with excitement.  It was hilarious.  Again, heart warmed.  

Every kiss.  Every smile.  Every laugh.  I stop and take a mental picture and thank God for my blessings.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thankful to have become an aunt

Yesterday, my oldest nephew turned 17-years-old.  So technically yesterday should have been my thankful post for him, and I think that probably makes me a bad aunt.  Better late than never, eh?  

Okay, so here's the thing.  There is no way this kid should be 17.  It isn't possible.  I've practically grown up with C since he was born when I was just the wee young age of 15.  My brother was in college at the time so both he and C's mom worked full-time as well as went to school full-time.  They both graduated with honors and really busted their buts to do so, but on weekends, my family would help out by taking C for the weekend.  I loved it.  I loved playing with that kid.  We would have him Friday night through Sunday so he was pretty close with everyone in my family.  Thus why I have a ton of pictures of him and not as many of my other nieces and nephew.  I even put a picture of him up in my locker I was that proud.  He was such a cutie, too.  If I was not conscious of the fact that he's in high school and whether he is aware of this blog or not - I will defer to his privacy and not post any embarrassing pictures.  But he's grown up to be quite the guy.  He's inherited the Byers sense of humor (dark, sarcastic, often mistaken for not really being humor but being serious), he's like 6 ft tall which is unusual for my family, and he's an avid coffee drinker.  He's on his way to being an Eagle Scout and on his way to hopefully going to IU in two years.

I have hard time believing the kid has his driver's license.  I still remember driving him around in my Dodge Shadow and him going "whoa!" when I took a turn or "we're driving fast today, Aunt Nain?"

He'd always be my cheer up after a rough break-up.  (C hugs were the best), and I never tired of watching Blue's Clues with him no matter how many times we saw the same episode.  I used to take him out to the movies and on little dates but...yeah, that doesn't happen anymore.  He's got his own serious girlfriend to take on dates.  But I still take solace in the fact that I am the cool aunt, though he has stopped calling me "Aunt Nain."  

If I'm having a hard time picturing him being 17, I can only imagine how his parents feel.  Hell, I'm having a hard time with Aubrey turning 2 soon.  And come May 2015 when we watch him graduate high school?  That is going to be just plain surreal.  

So today (and every day) I am thankful for the very first nephew I had, the one who made me an aunt.  And a very proud aunt at that.  I love him more than he'll know, and it's been just so much fun watching him turn into the almost man he is today.  Happy birthday to you, C!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fall brew

My favorite seasonal beer has arrived - Pumpkin Ale, specifically BJ's Brewhouse Pumpkin Ale.

I do love me some fall beer, and with the season coming to a close, I must take advantage of it as much as I can.  We did just that last weekend where I got to take a drink from this sweet nectar of the Gods.  No wait, that's Guinness.  But this stuff is very good.  So it's Sunday, and I'm not really big on words but today I am thankful for the fall brews.  Let us not forget.....

I am thankful for my fall brews.  They only come once a year, and pair that with a chilly day and football on the television, and you have one happy Nain.  So cheers to the weekend and delicious brews!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thankful for good in the world

Yesterday, I was so happy to see Facebook posts detailing the story of 5-year-old Miles, a San Francisco boy, who is living with leukemia.  His "Make a Wish" is to be Batman for the day, and the city went all out.  He was able to save the city from The Penguin and The Riddler, rescuing a damsel in distress and the San Francisco Giant's mascot from the grips of evil.  It was so incredible to scroll through the pictures of the day, to see how many people turned out to make this kid's dream come true.  The smile on his face was just priceless.  Honestly, after the day I had Friday, this story put all of that in perspective.  

So today I am thankful for the good that is still out there even though so many times we can't see it.  Look at how many people went to extreme lengths to make this kid's wish come true.  Looking through the pictures, you have to smile because you can just tell how happy he is.  He's five.  And he has leukemia.  The poor kid has gone through so much worse than any of us will ever know, and he is living his dream because so many people came together to make it happen.  

The funniest thing, hands down, for me was the charges that were officially filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office against the two villains.  Say what you will about politics, but even the President sent out a message via Twitter thanking Miles for saving Gotham City.  It was just too cute.  

So if you feel like the world is just a dark place and no good is out there, click on that link up there.  Because there are good people out there, and there is good in the world.  I do not know what Miles' diagnosis is, and I pray to God that it will be good.  But he will treasure this memory.  He deserves this memory.  And it's just so amazing how it came to fruition.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Two years

Two years ago, a wonderful man left this earth to join the love of his life in heaven.  Two years ago, my family lost the patriarch of our family, my Grandpa George.  I cannot believe it has been two years.  It hardly seems possible.  It seems just yesterday he was still here.  Hell, sometimes I find myself wanting to say "oh, what should we get Grandpa for Christmas? or something along those lines.)  Is he really gone?

The other day, T and I were talking about his grandparents, three of them still on this earth, and he does not get to see them too often as they live in Massachusetts.  And none of them are in great health.  T has been my support through watching my Grandpa deteriorate and pass away, and it makes my heart immensely sad that I know T will someday have to go through that, too.  His Nana visited us last June, and she just went home after meeting her 2nd great-grandchild up in Michigan.  That could have been the last time she would see her since she will no longer be able to fly out, it's just too hard on her physically and mentally.  We want to go out to Boston next summer because I feel very strongly that his other set of grandparents should meet their great-grandchild at least once.  But something else came to my mind.  T's going to have to go through that feeling.  That feeling of this is it - this is the last hug, this is the last time I'll see them.  We don't have the money to go out there more than that, and they are not in good health.  And it brought me back to that day on July 30th at my family's reunion where I hugged my Grandpa one last time.  And I knew it would be the last time because of his health.  I knew that was the last time I would say I love you to him, the last time he would hug me back, the last time.  All of those feelings just washed back.

It is supposed to get easier, I thought, but I'm learning it doesn't.  I still tear up thinking about my aunt we lost 20 years ago.  It never gets easier.  I miss him terribly.  I wish I could go back to that day and could hug him just a little longer.  I wish he could have met my daughter.

We have a picture of my Grandpa up in our den, and sometimes Aubrey escapes us and runs into there, and whenever she sees that picture she points and says "Bye-bye!"  Every. time.  Forever.  I don't understand it.  Did she meet him in heaven?  Does she know him somehow?  Maybe it's just some kind of coincidence? It all seems impossible, but maybe I need to tell myself this to believe it. 

We went to church the other day where there was a 50th wedding anniversary blessing.  Father said to the couple that when they were engaged, that was the happiest day of their lives.  When they were married, that was the happiest they would ever be.  When they welcomed children into the world, they only became happier.  He said on that night, as he blessed their marriage, that would be the happiest day of their lives.  And when they join each other in heaven, that would be the happiest moment of their lives.  He said 50 years?  That's nothing.  You have eternity in paradise to be together.  This tears me up.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that when my Grandpa passed away, at that moment, as my uncle said he took his last breath and turned his head, looking directly in the corner of the room, that my Grandma was there saying "Welcome home, George" welcoming him back with so much happiness.  They are together again, and that was the happiest moment of his life.  He was reunited with his Peggy.  

I'm tearing up writing this so I'll end.  I think it goes without saying but today I am thankful for my Grandpa.  Yes, I can't bring myself to come to his grave site to visit him, but I know he knows I think of him often and love him more than he'll know.  I miss him every day.  God bless you, Grandpa.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful for Bigfoot

I'm dedicating this post to T.  He is, and as an extension I suppose I am, thankful for Bigfoot.
Let me explain, T's favorite show on television right now is Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet.  And they had a marathon on Sunday and season premiere Sunday night.  All weekend, T asked "guess what's on Sunday?"  "guess what's on tomorrow?"  It was like Christmas morning for him.  I haven't seen him this gleeful since Beavis and Butthead came back on briefly on MTV.
So we watched Bigfoot...but fell asleep so we watched it again Tuesday night.  For those of you who have not seen the show...seriously, you're missing out.  Four grown adults going out into the woods "squatchin' which means they are looking for Bigfoot.  They dedicate their life to this.  I'm not kidding.  One of them?  Is an attorney.  He passed the freaking bar in California, which is impossible, and he gave it all up to live in his car and hunt Sasquatches.  

The thing is that man probably makes like triple what I make.  I always joke that I'm going to quit my job to move to Oregon and hunt squatches.  (Can I crash at your house, Sarah?)  

One of them is named Bobo, and the dude is something out of a Cheech and Chong movie.  "Duuude I just heard a squatch..."  I mean the guy was a roadie with Phish if that tells you anything.  The whole thing cracks me up but T loves it.

Something to think about - is it any coincidence that a lot of the states (Washington, Colorado...) where they do their hunts have recently legalized marijuana?  I'm just saying....

They go do "town hall" meetings where the local yokels come to tell their story.  They ask people to raise their hand if you've seen Bigfoot, and they all raise their hand.  I mean it's hilarious.  

So if they are hunting more than one - is the plural Bigfeet?

Can you imagine that there are so many questions and things you can think about over Bigfoot?  And the show is called "Finding Bigfoot."  It's been on for like 3 seasons and they still haven't found him.  What happens if they do?  Will they just stop and be all like "peace, we're done?"  

I don't mention Sasquatch and this immediately comes to mind:
But it makes T happy like a little child, and for that....I am thankful.