Thursday, December 29, 2011

Strippers and Runaways.

Let's talk about weird stuff that I think about during the day:

1. If I were a stripper? This would be my jam.

I am a huge Black Keys fan and I got their newest album "El Camino" for Christmas and I'm pretty much addicted to it.

2. My kids informed me that they were running away the other day. The destination? Massachussetts. I was informed that Olivia was going to be a rock star singer and Jackson was selling purses.
 At least they look happy?

3. We are getting a shit ton of telemarketer calls as of late. Usually I like to answer with them and start being completely inappropriate to make them hate their jobs even more, but with being sick I haven't really felt up to it. But the best part? Is how some of them are coming up on my caller ID:
 You know what? Props to you for being up front legit that you are a phone scam. You can't knock that hustle and it almost makes you want to answer it.
 And then somehow I've gotten on this call list? Really?

4. I've also been trying to conserve my utility bill again even though it's not even winter yet since it's still well above zero and no snow on the ground which is WEIRD. But this means I don't use the gas heat and plug my little electric heater in the evenings.
Except my cat Stumpy wants to be selfish and hog the warmth? Except he's too stupid to realize he's on the wrong side of the heater. I can't help it- I have a soft spot for mentally challenged animals.
**

In other news, I feel like the plague of death is turning into something worse? Like, it's probably heading towards bronchitis as usual. But according to WebMD I also could be in the late stages of emphysema, heartburn, plague or tuberculosis and am probably dying. No where on my list of possible things wrong with me was common cold so.. maybe this is farewell folks? Maybe my lungs really will flop out?

Being sick has also made me realize that there is a point in which I am no longer a perky, patient, and helpful person. All day today I was faced with challenges brought forth by people with minimal intelligence. Usually I go above and beyond to spell things out for them, to give them the easy route, and to just generally do a kind deed and make them not feel dumb. Today? None of that was happening. I hope I can kick whatever crud I have over the weekend so I'm raring to go next week.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Hangover: Otherwise known as why I've been M.I.A.

Folks? This bitch is sick. Like, legit sick with the plague of death. Both kids had horrendous head colds for the last two weeks which, when passed down, turns into the plague of death. Me, Matt, my mom, my brother and I'm sure half of Superior are dying from the plague of death.

This means that my house? Is a fucking DISASTER. My fridge? Full of left overs Matt and I can't eat because the thought of food makes us want to vomit. But the down side is knowing one of us has to vag up and throw them out and handle the smell. Oh, the smell. (To be clear- there is no smell now, but you know that smell when you open a container that had no business being sealed for 4 days? Yeah, that smell.) I have to be honest- being sick and battling migraines all weekend put a major damper into my Christmas. But let's do a really quick run down:

First up, on Thursday Olivia had her "sing along" at school since they aren't allowed to have a Christmas concert. Kind of bull shit really because they sing Christmas songs, so this is just another example of how stupid people ruin tradition. ANYWAYS. She was kind of freaking adorable.
 I literally had *no* money to get her a dress or anything but when she came home to tell me all of the other girls were dressing up? I took out the last $20 in my savings to get her a dress and tights. And then I had to get some second hand shoes from my friend's daughter, which were a little too big but overall she looked cute. And I even put curlers in her hair because she wanted to have "fancy hair". Adorable.

The best part? Is that my girl even SANG in the concert. Can you pick her out? She looked at me the entire time and was so excited to see that me and Jackson were there along with my parents. Matt went to the afternoon performance so she had someone there watching her both times. Those kids were so stinking cute.
 And then at the end they had an all school series of songs and she made damn sure I could see her!
 Friday was kind of low key except for last minute running around nightmare crap as usual. Saturday we went to Matt's parent's house because they celebrate on Christmas Eve, which works out for me because my family has always celebrated Christmas Day. On the way there, we saw two of these signs:
 And you know I made Matt drive completely out of our way so I can see what the hell a live nativity is all about in the middle of nowhere. As it turns out, it's about nothing:
 A little known fact: baby Jesus is in a union apparently and neither him, his slutty mom or the rest of the crew work on the weekends. Sad.

The festivities were... OK. I have a lot I could say but I won't because deep down I'm a decent person and I refuse to put fuel on the fire. But it's basically as it always is so there is something to be said for consistency.

After getting home much later than I had hoped since I had a migraine and was already feeling shitty, we put the kids to bed so I could play Santa. Thankfully this year I was prepared and not having to wrap everything that night as well.
 Christmas morning was a whirlwind as it always is with two kids. But they were SO excited to see that Santa ate our cookies, the reindeer ate all of their carrots (even leaving a huge mess on the sidewalk), and that their stockings were filled and toys were left for them. I pretty much live for their faces when they open up surprises because it makes me realize all of the hard work over the year, all of the sacrifices we make is worth something. And I hope that in those moments they remember these times.
I will also say that I am over the moon to have such grateful kids. When I asked them the night before what they wanted from Santa both of them named one gift (Olivia wanted a karaoke machine and Jackson wanted a rocket ship- they got both) and both said, "But we'll be happy with anything!" with sincere enthusiasm. Matt and I feel like we must have done something really right somewhere along the way to have such great kids.

Matt got his ski pass along with some base layer clothing, gloves, face mask and boot socks among all of the other odds and ends. I got three CD's, the new book Clockwork Prince, an iPod hooker upper thingie for the car (I hope this one really works), a cool makeup set, a flat iron for my hair (that works!) and the Hunger Games trilogy. Basically we made out like bandits again.

I ended up making dinner as best as I could despite being sick. I think it turned out OK, but I know it could have been better. Maybe next year. But I did cook my first turkey! Admittedly, Matt got the gizzards or whatever out because I feel like I'm violating the poor thing by shoving my hand in it's vagina or head- I'm not sure what that hole used to be. But I don't feel comfortable sticking my hand in it. I did rinse it out and gagged the entire time. Matt says I'm a baby, I say I'm kind of like an animal activist.

Hands down the second best part of Christmas, right after my kids being so damn adorable and happy? Was my mom hugging me thanking me for their gift (a Wii with Super Mario- my parents were hardcore addicted back in the Super Nintendo days and I knew that I absolutely HAD to get them the Mario Wii bundle) and telling me she was proud that I actually did the turkey. (And I totally told her that I had Matt do the gross parts because even though Baby Jesus is in a union and Christmas is a Federal Holiday? I don't need that kind of bad karma around me going into 2012 what with the impending world doom coming.)

So that was it. That was Christmas. I've been sicker than shit since so I apologize for being a slacker whore around here lately. I'll step up my game.

Probably.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

That time when I was a really great wife. And the time I was a really great mom. All in the same day.

So for Christmas I had this really great idea that I was going to get Matt a season ski pass for a local ski hill. Matt loves to ski, but we've been broke for.. oh forever. The last time he actually went skiing was when we were just dating (ten years ago) and he went out west to Nevada and skied there and in California with his cousin John. Obviously, that's more than I can afford so I thought going the local route would be awesome. But again, it's expensive and he'd need rentals so I thought it'd be nice to go in with his parents for hit. That is a whole other story I won't get into on here, but let's just say a certain someone kind of ruined the surprise element of it and I'm really mad about it?

Anyways. After much thought I decided I was still going to do it because I know he would like it (and after a certain person ruined it, Matt flat out asked me if that was what he was getting for Christmas and I said yes and I told him I was pissed that the surprise was basically ruined, but he said it was a GREAT idea). I think he's working too much and needs something fun to do away from me and the kids just for mental health sake.

So today... with my paycheck in my bank account, I take both kids with me for what I think is going to be a maybe 30 minute trip, including drive time, to the ski hill. I was very wrong. Keep in mind- Olivia is getting over a cold, Jackson has the cold now and has felt crummy all day so I thought that if I go right when they open I can get in and out. Wrong.

I get to the ski place and I'm literally the only car there- so I am silently thanking baby Jeebus that I am first in line. When I go into the place I find the ticket counter and say I need a season pass. The woman gives me a short one page form to fill out. I sit with the kids, fill it out. By this time, three guys come in and a woman. Everybody needs passes, but they don't have to fill out a form and I don't know why. Eventually when I realize that this woman was slow (possibly mentally? Jury is out on that one still.), I went up to the counter to give her my form and my debit card. Then she asks me why I filled out the form. Not even kidding.

Enter in the next employee who starts trying to ring me up. They have two registers, but both women only know how to work the one register, but don't know how to ring a credit/debit card through the machine. So I start walking them through it. (Meanwhile, an hour has gone by at this point, both kids are coughing up their lungs, but sitting patiently.) Credit card machine goes down (of course) and then they start calling their credit card machine place. Then one woman breaks the one working register half way through my season pass processing. Then they fix it, but forget they were helping me, and start helping the other woman that came in who's asking 1000 questions about season passes when it's all spelled out on their counter. Each package tells you what you get and the price.

It was at this point that I realized that the price I found online is about $40 different than reality. So I start doing my little panic dance knowing they've already processed my card yet I find no total on my form? At this point I have no idea how much I have just paid so I feel like throwing up.

In our second hour of hanging out in a ski lodge, the printer breaks. It starts making this horrible noises in which it sounds like it is actually eating the plastic cards. I am not even kidding. Jackson starts crying because of course by this time his ibuprofen has worn off, Olivia starts complaining that she is tired of sitting in the hard chair and I'm dealing with two incompetent employees who can't run anything. Once we hit the three hour mark I declare that I am so fucking fed up with this entire ski shack and Dumb and Dumber who seem to be running the show that I just want a piece of paper saying I paid so Matt can just come deal with this himself. And *voila* the damn gift certificate card thing SHOOTS out of the printer. Along with my receipt declaring that $194.07 just got charged to my checking account.

*holy fucking christ*

I was thinking this was going to be $130 or so TOTAL and no. We're looking at basically a $200 gift. If I wasn't so angry and confused on how to get home I would have thrown up on myself.

But that's not all. Oh no, it's not all.

Because right after I get these things I start helping my kids put their winter gear back on (because of course they've stripped themselves after overheating) and that's when Jackson gave me his own special surprise.

In the form of phlegm coughed up into my hair, mouth, and ear. It was kind of horrible. He, of course, felt bad and says to me, "I sorry mama. I pooked" (which is his way of saying "puke") and rubbed it in. Which only got it more into my hair. I'm sure I looked awesome walking out of there.

I'll tel you what- if Matt gets me a fucking desk calendar this year (when I don't have a desk), I may be seeing the inside of the Douglas County jail. I'm just sayin.

Merry fucking Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Than Words Can Say

No, this isn't some schmoopy post about how my life is horrible and I've made friends with the side of a bridge. Nope. This is actually a book review for a really great book you only wish were available in December... but you'll have to hold firm on your panties because it isn't released until January.

More Than Words Can Say - Robert Barclay
 
Chelsea Enright never expected to inherit her grandmother’s lakeside cottage deep in the Adirondacks—a serene getaway that had been mysteriously closed up decades ago. This is no simple bequest, however, because when Chelsea finds her grandmother’s WWII diaries, she’s stunned to discover that they hold secrets she never suspected . . . and they have the power to turn her own life upside down.


Even more surprising is the compelling presence of local doctor Brandon Yale, and Chelsea soon finds her “short stay” has stretched into the entire summer. She cannot put this cottage and her family’s past behind her easily—and the more she learns about the woman her grandmother truly was, the more Chelsea’s own life begins to change . . . and nothing will ever be the same again.

I will tell you right away I liked this book. I really love a book that will suck you into it within the first ten pages. The hook in this book is that right from the beginning- you are intrigued by the letter Chelsea's grandmother leaves her and you just have to know what is going to happen. I don't want to give anything away so I'm going to be annoyingly vague about it.

Some great things about this book are that it's about a woman's self discovery in a not cheesy way, there aren't sweeping romances or things that realistically probably wouldn't happen. I also really love books about multi generational connections and learning about your family history and secrets- which this book definitely has. The only thing that I find annoying, and this is just a life annoyance I have, is that people are too easy to say that a revealed secret can change everything in their world or who they are. No it can't, don't be stupid. I'm starting to think I really am one of a kind in that I don't let history or weird family things or whatever to hinder what I do now. Basically- I don't let any of that stuff be an excuse for how I am today. Does that make sense? So when I felt like this is where that book was going, I'll be honest- I felt stabby. But in the end it didn't matter because I loved it just the same.

It is a very fast read because you want to dig up the secrets with Chelsea and you almost feel like you're her summer camp buddy on a mystery hunt. I am the first stop on this tour, but check back here to see what other people are saying!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hot Bitch Monday and Rant About Love & Hip Hop

Guess what lambwhores? I am down to 156! It's kind of an awesome and I've done nothing. Seriously. I wish I could tell you I was doing something to help this weightloss out... but I'm not. I will tell you that I have been eating a lot of truffles and home made peanut butter cups? And I've discovered that Wendy's has AMAZING hamburgers? Like they are way better than they used to be. Seriously.
****
But let's talk about the VH1 show Love & Hip Hop because it's a hot fucking mess. You know I love me some hot mess and this show delivers. I think the best way to handle this is to run down each character:

Yandy: What the fuck s up with her facial expressions? She always looks like she's constipated with the scrunched up eyebrows? You know what I'm talking about. I can't even focus on anything she does because her hair is always swinging around with her constipation face. It's distracting.

Chrissy: What a bitch. She is so out of line angry wth life and everyone she encounters it's a wonder anyone invites her out. I'll talk about Kimbella next, but Chrissy can't just go around punching people when they do something you don't like. Get some fucking class ho bag. But here's a tip- if so many people are demanding an apology from you--- maybe it's you.

Kimbella: She needs to stop talking like she's a solo actress in a daytime soap opera. She needs to stop. And I kind of peed myself when her hair caught on fire. And how could she really think it would ever be OK to say that she dated the ex of someone else? Especially if you don't know her. I mean, come on. COME ON. Sure, you can pull her aside when it's just you two and have a conversation about it. Alternately...

Emily: ....needs to get over it. If she knew her ex cheated on her repeatedly? Maybe it isn't always the other woman's fault? Maybe your ex should learn to keep it in his pants? I also want her to stop wearing leggings. And anything that emphasizes the hugeness of her from the waist down. God damn. And she also is so damn angry and whiny. It drives me nuts and I feel like giving her a vibrator.

Olivia: I love Olivia. I do. I remember when she came out with her first CD like forever ago (which I own) like forever ago. I like how gangsta she is and I feel bad that she gets knocked around in the music business because she's talented.

Somaya: What the fuck is going on with her? Seriously? Is she hispanic? Is she not? She isn't talented at all and god help us if she gets a record deal.

****
Side note: So VH1 Divas just came on and can I say how much I can't stand Jennifer Hudson? I liked chunky Jennifer Hudson on American Idol. Give her some fame, money and a fucking diet and she thinks she's hot shit. You aren't.

And I don't understand these soul singers- most it sounds like random screaming to me? Or when you pull the Mary J. Blige "yeah, yeah, yeah" in random spots in song. I need to stop watching this show- I'll only get stabby.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Domestic Bitch Weekend- Kitchen Madness.

It was a banner week and weekend in my kitchen full of firsts.. and some wins? I will tell you that I have washed my hands enough in the last two days from multiple loads of dishes to conclude two things:

1. I need to not wear my wedding ring while washing dishes- it only irritates my allergy to metals, including gold.

2. I need a mother fucking dishwasher.

Anyways. Let's talk about the things I made:

First up, let's talk meatloaf. I am a complete meatloaf failure. In the ten years I've been with Matt, I have NEVER been able to successfully make an edible meatloaf. I have tried every recipe, I have tried using different pans, broiler pan thingies, different oven temperatures, once in a crockpot, I have used multiple methods of making it. It has never worked. Once time on a cookie sheet it flattened out and was rock hard. One time the entire outside was burned but the inside was raw. One time we had an unfortunate incident of grease over flow. I knew when Matt told me to stop trying because no cow should have to die for that, I had to give up.

Until last week I saw a recipe for a cheeseburger meatloaf and I got to feeling like, GOD DAMMIT, I want some fucking meatloaf. So I gathered my ingredients and some moral support:

Got it together in what looked like a loaf shape:
 And baked it. I failed to take an after picture but I will tell you I didn't like it. It was edible- Matt said it was really good even though he had his coat and shoes on ready to go get us a pizza in case I failed yet again. But I realized I kind of hate bread or stuffing in it? I'm not a fan of stuffing anyways and moist bread feels like poo in my mouth. Truly. So blech. The other problem? It wasn't slice-able. Meaning, when we tried to slice it, it kind of just fell apart, so basically we ate ground beef with flavor? I don't know. I feel like meatloaf isn't meant for me. The best part of this though? Was a comment made on my Facebook wall about my attempt:

"I find it hilarious (in a cruel, ironic way) that meatloaf is your kriptonite. You are the biggest over achiever, good at everything to do with keeping a home and you can't nail a meatloaf. The world is a strange place."

And that is the story of my life. *sigh* Meatloaf- 1, Sara-0.

In other more uplifting news.... I played with yeast yesterday. You know, the kind you don't need a prescription for? I made dinner rolls from scratch, involving yeast and careful instructions. I had to actually knead and punch dough, folks. They were supposed to be a knock off version of the rolls you get at Texas Roadhouse (and seriously, Amy? I just remembered that you haven't been there and I'm telling you now that's where we go next time!). The rolls didn't taste like the amazing buttered awesomeness that is the Texas Roadhouse rolls, but they were really good anyways. Did I mention I used yeast for the first time ever? It was kind of awesome. Even though I grossly underestimated how much yeast will grow and obviously used the smallest bowl possible like the idiot I am.
 After that, I had to take a bit of a break from cooking because I was kind of stressed out about it. So I decided I was going to make a box. Because it's quick and easy. I will also tell you that you should evaluate the usefulness of fast food containers. Dairy Queen and Wendy's have these AWESOME boxes that make super templates for things. But of course you can always use fry boxes, too. OR Pringles cans. But more on those another day. Back to my cheese curd box.
 Open up your container and trace it onto a piece of cardstock. (Notice how my ring finger is all red and gross. YAY for gold allergies. *sigh*) Use a piece of cardstock that is going to be heavy enough to hold what you are going to put into it.

Once you do that, cut it out and fold your pieces:
 MAKE SURE to put adhesive on the right sides of your folds. I always fuck up one before I think about it.
 I also put a piece of packing tape (clear) over where my sides are because I don't want it to fall apart.

Then just make it pretty. These ended up working really well with some treats I made.
You probably want to know what treats I made?  I ended up making my chocolate truffles and then some home made peanut butter cups. I might share that recipe later this week if people want me to? LET ME KNOW.

I also tried making sugar cookies from scratch because again, I have this thing where I kind of suck at making things from scratch? Especially sugar cookies and cakes. No matter what I do, you can still taste flour? I don't know. I do know that nothing is worth the swears my kids heard, so I will vag up and tell you that the from scratch cookies tasted like dry ass. Gross. So I bought two tubes of cookies and called it good.

But I wasn't going down like a total failure- I conquered royal icing. AND I even made color flow cookie icing. I watched a few tutorials online on how to decorate cookies like a pro. I didn't pick up much because this is what mine looked like:  
My trees don't really look tree shape? How do you get your cutout cookies to retain their shape? I used really cold and firm dough, I even put them into the fridge for five minutes to get cold again before I put them into the oven. What the fuck am I doing wrong?? Nonetheless, I used my sprinkles Amy gave me which seemed easier than messing with any more icing- I figured my green batch maybe was a fluke but we were counting it as a win.

Oh, and I made caramel corn and some chocolate cupcakes. Which are still in progress and those will definitely make an appearance this week.

So what did YOU do this weekend?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Motorized Scooters/Hover-Round Users.

I love me some handicap people. I do. I think every building in America should be accessible to handicap people, even bars. Just because your legs don't work, doesn't mean you should have to drink alone at home. I also am a big supporter of older people and their independence. I worked for years with seniors and I know how first hand how important it is for senior citizens to be out and about and socializing with society.

With that said, I believe that the makers of Hover Round and vehicles such as theirs should be shot. And I say that with feeling. They have been deceiving people for years on how mobile you can really be with these vehicles. They have portrayed these things as substitute cars and god dammit- it needs to stop.

Just the other day I see this:
You cannot see very well in this picture, but this "road" is very steep uphill and the cars going up it are going much too fast. I had to follow this person down a service road that even in the best conditions is tight for two vehicles when people are going faster than they should. We were doing maybe 3 mph behind this person while simultaneously leaving enough room so this person didn't feel like I was grinding down behind them. I think I was the only person in our caravan of vehicles trying to get to the stop sign that was not honking and shouting things nobody's mother should here.

Which was surprising since I have notorious road rage. Perhaps it's all of the Christmas cheer and shit. Anyhoodles.

But it's not just this guy who think he's a car. Travis has told me and my friends about the one legged woman who broke down in her scooter in the middle of the night on a busy road in our town. Travis had to push her (who was not light) and her scooter for several blocks only after trying to "reset" the scooter. The reset button was obviously placed right below her nether regions, while she conveniently smelled of urine. My brother is a damn good Samaritan and he should be commended because obviously nobody else stopped to help her. After telling her that he could not physically push her any more, he decided to call the police to get some help. Who upon their arrival, made it very clear that they not only knew who she was and where she lived but that this happened all of the time because she thinks she's driving a car.

Folks- the batteries in these things are not made for that kind of usage. Period. End of story. You cannot gallivant all over town thinking you are rolling on dubs without a care in the world. I support independence but knowing our area has very inexpensive transportation options for those who are handicapped and/or senior, it drives me nuts. If my mom had a scooter and was telling me she was using it to run to Target or something, I would completely say no way. No. I would pay for her to get onto a decent van with the appropriate heat and/or air conditioning that you need in specific weather situations. And don't even get me started on the people who aren't really disabled but merely lazy. Or the ones who sit in parking lots with a battery operated boom box attached to a basket on wheels to the back of their scooters who blast polka music.

Basically- I think these commercials need to stop telling people they can ride around the Grand fucking Canyon when really it's meant to help you get around small areas like your apartment complex.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The First Annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party.

I have always wanted to do an ugly sweater party but every year something else has come up and it just didn't happen. This year when Amy told me she wanted to do one too, I decided that dammit- we are doing this. It started out as a moderately sized group was all invited and pretty much all at the last minute, some people had to work, some were sick (which totally OK- I do not want nor need your sick germs, folks), some had last minute things that came up, etc. We ended up having a total group size of six for dinner that dwindled to five for the bar stop.

The original plan was to go to dinner, go over to an ice bar that was just built in Canal Park, head over to Bentleyville which is this huge tour of lights that used to be in this guy's yard but has now moved to Bayfront Festival Park, and then head out to a few bars.

Dinner was at Old Chicago, which I love but don't get to go to very often. Hands down the best was when we realized that Chad and Matt were wearing the same ugly ass Christmas shirt. Unintentionally. I wish I would have had enough sense to take a picture of it, because it was kind of awesome.

After dinner, we headed over to Bentleyville because it was kind of cold and we had a feeling we'd be in line for a LONG time for Santa. Oh, you heard me right- we were going to visit Santa.
 After almost two hours of standing in really fucking cold weather, we saw Santa. We got some dirty looks at the restaurant, but Santa laughed at us. Flat out laughed at us. Whatevs. But we got a great picture. Some special things you should note- is that my sister in law has a festive green for her hair color but the best part of her outfit? The fact that she shrunk her sweater so it was cropped. Matt and Chad with their matching shirts, me with my fugly sweater with giant white balls dangling from the zipper, Amy with her festive vest and snappy denim shirt and her amazing knee high socks, and Tammy's gigantic jingle bell earrings kept falling off. Which was kind of hilarious.
 So after leaving Santa we basically hustled our asses through the rest of Bentleyville because Amy's legs were numb and Tammy couldn't feel her feet. My thighs were pretty much numb as well but seeing how Matt and I had done Bentleyville with our kids the weekend prior, I was OK. It wasn't as cold during party night as it was with the kids.
 After Bentleyville we headed to the standby dive bar in my town. Usually? That place is hopping with weirdos and terrible karaoke singers- but that night it was DEAD. The guy who runs the karaoke sang two completely depressing songs- something about growing up in the ghetto (mind you, this is coming from a middle aged, overweight and balding white man) and something about being sad in Texas. I have no idea. If we didn't have the guys with us and it was just a regular girls weekend- I would have completely suggested we go to the gay bar down the road because that is truly a place to see. Maybe next time!
All in all, it was fun... but it could have been more fun. I had a lot on my mind and as excited as I am for Christmas, I'm not quite loving it yet. I'm just a little stressed out so I wasn't feeling like partying so much. But next year? I'm excited. I think next year we'll do it again because honestly? Half the fun was just trying to find such ugly shit to wear.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sometimes you just need some perspective.

I will post about the Ugly Sweater Party tomorrow, but I feel like I have to explain what kind of dampened my mood and help me put all of the things I worry about every day into perspective.

I have a friend named Jessica whom I have known since I was nine years old. She was the first friend I made when I moved to Cloquet in third grade. In fourth grade we became best friends and I wanted to do everything with her. I convinced my parents I absolutely HAD to join baton because all of the cool kids were doing it, when really I wanted to do it so Jessica would think I was cooler. She was always better than I was but I didn't care- I loved having something in common with her. From there we spent every day at school together, every weekend and every day in the summer we were together. I would ride my bike across town to hang out with her. She lived across the street from the convenience store my mom worked at so every day we would go there and buy a mixture of these things: one liters of Pepsi, Cool Ranch Doritos, and ice cream loaded with every single topping they had to pretty much make us sick. All while we twirled baton in her driveway to our homemade mix tapes from the radio hoping that her crush (who's grandparents were her neighbors) would notice how badass we were.

Basically? She was the bestest friend I have ever had.

And then I moved to a town 30 minutes away and we lost touch. I was pretty much devastated because by then I was in 8th grade and we know how shitty it is to make friends are such a crap age. Eventually, I made new friends but I always wondered how she was and what she was doing. Fast forward to right after graduation- I ran into her at the grocery store and we said we have to get together. We never did, but another year or two later? I see her at the mall, and again- we say we are going to meet up, but never do.

So in early 2010 I see her on Facebook and we friend each other, all is good. Then I see there was a spaghetti benefit for her and I'm like, what the hell? It turns out, my dear friend Jess has a rare and incurable heart condition that has lead to years of moderate to severe heart failure. The benefit was to raise funds for her transportation, lodging, and unpaid leave from work for a surgery to repair one of the valves of her heart which would possibly solve the problem and not require a heart transplant. The benefit went well and I obviously went because I was STUNNED to learn that someone my age would be so ill and on a heart transplant list.

The bonus to her benefit was that we really did connect after her surgery. She was able to come to my birthday the following year and we have hung out quite a bit and it just reminds me how much I love her even still. No matter how much time goes by, it feels like we were never apart and she just amazes me. She is hands down the most optimistic person I know. Admittedly, she doesn't feel well most of the time, there are lots of things in life she can't do simply because her heart is a piece of junk and she makes me feel like every bad thing I've got on my plate? Is peanuts compared to her load.

She recently was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a week long evaluation to see how she's basically doing. Unfortunately, it didn't go well. A really long story short, my friend is now living at the Mayo Clinic indefinitely, or at least until she can get a new heart and a new liver for sure, and possibly a kidney. I knew when I saw a few missed calls from her this past week something was up and I was right. I finally connected with her before the party and I'm not going to lie- I cried when I hung up. I know she needs people around her to be optimistic and strong for her, but god. I can't imagine my life without her. At all.

I can't imagine living all alone in an ICU hoping for a drunk driver to take out someone with a good heart and kidney so you can live. I can't imagine having to put your entire life on hold and you don't know when or if you'll be going back to it. The kicker is that she'll turn 30 in February and that makes my heart hurt even more.

I want her to get her new organs and come back home. She's my movie buddy. She's my friend who makes me remember how great my childhood was. All of my favorite memories as a kid all have her in them. She makes me feel so grateful and lucky for everything I have. I have a great time just being with her and her positivity is contagious. She is such a great person and I wish you could all know her because it would make you appreciate your life so much more.

So if you have a spot on your prayer list or feel compelled in any way- please pray or think positive things for her. I want to keep my friend because she means the world to me. I will keep you updated, but I need some ideas- what would you think would be awesome to put in a care package? Remember, she is basically stuck in this bed indefinitely all hooked up to stuff, she can't eat most stuff because she's on a hella strict diet, but I want to send stuff periodically to cheer her up. Any ideas would be greatly welcome!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why you should research kid activities BEFORE you get there.

So a few Fridays ago my kids and I joined my grandparents to see a show that was only called "Disney Live!" when I had first heard about it a few months previous. Having been to Disney World a few times myself and my kids going once, I knew how awesome their shows are and that they are really worth their ticket price. Now, when I first heard about it I really think I remember it being a holiday themed thing since it's in December.

I was very wrong.

Turns out, it's a Disney Princess theme thing which I didn't figure out until the day of. Having already bought a ticket for Jackson, I knew he was coming either way and would just have to have fun. Consequently, there were maybe five other boys there? Maybe? Poor Jackson was grossly out of place but he's young enough not to really realize it. Olivia was more pissed off that I failed to tell her it was a princess thing and let her wear a princess dress up dress like every other girl in the audience.

Mom fail.

I also thought I was being super slick and clever when I brought my own popcorn knowing I didn't have money to buy drinks, popcorn, etc. Olivia's school has Popcorn Fridays for classes to raise money, and they sell them for .25 a bag. Now that I am the PTO President, I see that classes are popping like 600+ bags of popcorn and making a ton of cash. Anyways. So I send Olivia with .50 to get some popcorn for her and Jackson for the show.

Mom win.

I also brought a couple of juice boxes thinking I'm again, ridiculously smart and better than every other mom there. Unfortunately, there were no cup holders and I knew that if I had these kids holding a juice box the entire 90 minutes that most of it would squirt all over them. So I decided to buck up and purchase two juices from concessions. I also walked away spending $35 on two juices... only to be told that the cups "were totally worth it" by the lovely man taking my money. True, they are really great cups with flip top lids and just super fun... but $35? Robbery.

Mom fail.

So then the show starts and they did Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs first which I love. And Jackson totally squealed when the dwarfs came out and he kept telling me Dopey was his favorite.
 So then after that, Cinderella was the next story we saw- which is Olivia's favorite. She has loved Cinderella since she was just a tiny little thing. It was absolutely HANDS DOWN the most adorable thing to watch her sing the songs from that movie.
 After Cinderella I had asked Jackson which princess he thought was going to be next. Guess what his response was? In his tiny and cute little boy voice he squeals, "Lightning McQueen!!!" For all you non parents out there? That's the little red race car from the movie Cars and Cars 2. Um, freaking adorable. Sadly, he was wrong and the last story to be told was Beauty and the Beast and I am not ashamed that I squealed out loud and sang along to the song "Be Our Guest". Um, it's great.
 So all in all? Totally worth the money, but as other parents who went said, remember to bring your camera and your credit card.
OR, smuggle it all (or most) in your purse like a boss.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life Update. Because I can.

I have a lot going on right now, so this post is just going to update you really quickly on what's happening in my life, what I'm up to, and maybe a hint of preview posts for this week.

BUT FIRST!

Let's draw a winner for the CHICK-tionary book giveaway! According to Random.org.. who chose #15, that winner is...

RUTH!

I will send you an email.. I'm certain I have your email here on my desk somewhere.. and get you the deets on this. But for those of you who didn't win but want a copy of the book, they have great prices for them at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.. so start shopping.
**

So let's talk about life a bit, shall we? I've been busy. Like, really legit busy. I haven't been out to your blogs as much and I do apologize and I will get better. I just don't know when, but I will make a real effort to get out there and see what you all are up to.

1. Olivia is doing amazing in school. She is so stinking smart and such a social butterfly it's awesome. I volunteered in her class last Friday to help make gingerbread houses and it was a blast. I got to use my cake decorating class skills to make a super kick ass house frosting so I kind of rocked it.

2. She also joined Girl Scouts which just started two weeks ago. I'm nervous and I feel like I might end up doing more than I have time for? The troop leader has never been a troop leader before and seems kind of overwhelmed so my first instinct is to swoop in and help and try not to take over. I really can't even help it- my sense of "do it myself because I'm more organized/efficient/crafty/faster/etc" is pretty strong. It annoys me to no end.

3. I am also involved in the PTO of her school which I am really excited about. Although it isn't technically official yet, as of tomorrow I am 99.9% sure I am the new PTO President. It's a big commitment but I'm really organized and I think I can do this. Not going to lie, I feel apprehensive about it, but I'm going in with a positive attitude and I hope good things happen.

4. Jackson is still in toddler class which makes Tuesdays hellacious. I usually work 8:30-12:30 on Tuesdays which means getting both kids to my mom's by 8 so I can get to work by 8:30, literally speed to my mom's after work to pick up Jackson so that I can get him to toddler class on the other end of town by 1, that goes until 2:30, then I race back to the other end of town to get to Olivia's school so we can pick her up. Then I get home, start dinner, start her on homework, grab my notes/binder/etc so I can get to a PTO meeting, or Girl Scouts, or whatever we're doing since it ALWAYS falls on a Tuesday. Then I get home to clean up, blog, work on Etsy stuff, check my email, check my mail, etc. It's horrible. Tuesdays are a really horrible day and to be honest? I can't wait for Jackson to start 4K next fall so at least it's one less thing on Tuesday. I would pull him from the toddler class all together but he loves it. He loves it a lot. If the class was on Fridays like it used to be, it'd be a thousand times less stressful.

5. Matt is working a lot. And when I say a lot, I really mean a lot. We have so many bills coming in, not just for Christmas, but because our property tax bill should be coming any day now and I am kind of dreading it. And now that it's colder our utilities are through the roof, we have no more savings, and I just feel uneasy about the finances. So Matt has been working, no joke, 70 hour weeks. It's awful but it means we can pay our bills. BUT, I also know that it means it's all me when it comes to kids and housework for awhile and that's kind of shitty.

6. But to look forward to things coming up- Matt and I think we might do a weekend mini-vacation with the kids at the end of January. Only to St.Paul or something, but we haven't done that for awhile with them and it would be fun. Stay tuned.

7. My friend Jessica is in need of prayers. I'll fill you in later on this week but if you have a spot for an extra name on your prayer list, please add her to it.

8. I had an ugly sweater party this past weekend which wasn't as awesome as I had hoped? It was still fun and I am going to try keeping it as an annual tradition, but with not as many people there as originally planned (because of illness, lack of funds, etc) it wasn't as hilarious as it could have been. I'll post pictures soon.

9. I took the kids to see Disney Live. Jackson cracks me up and I'll share about that probably tomorrow? We'll see. I do have pictures so that'll be fun to see how they turned out even.

10. I have my Christmas list almost finalized. Don't worry- Matt always waits until the last minute so I'm still OK. But I'll share that with you this week.

11. I attempted meatloaf tonight. I am a meatloaf failure but I'll share with you how it turned out. Obviously pictures are included.

12. Batman and Stumpy have unbelievable cat gas. Seriously. I had to leave the living room this evening. Pigs.

Um, there's more, but I have to stop typing because...

13. My shoulder still hurts. I had to cancel my chiro appointment because I have no more money until December 21. That's um... a long time from now in poor people land, and even then I won't have money to spend on it. So then we're looking at January 7, but that check is always low, so then we're back at January 21. Which yeah. Is more than a month away and I could be dead by then. So Advil + heating pad until then. *sigh*

But here's my question for you---- how do I turn things down without feeling like an asshole?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

KY Intimacy Experiment Week Eight: In Good Taste

For those of you newbies playing catch up with us, enter at these back links for more chances to win your VERY own KY Intimacy Experiment set.


Week One- Love Nest
Week Two- It's Not Just About Sex
Week Three- Everything Old is New Again
Week Four- Outside The Comfort Zone
Week Five: Fun and Games
Week Six: Getting Back In Touch
Week Seven: Sometimes A Fantasy

According to my booklet, 58% of couples who often cook together are satisfied with their sex lives. Everyone knows that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.Which was lucky for Matt because by the time he met me I already had a few dinners I knew I could rely on should I be in charge of feeding us on a date night. And as I've gotten older I've experimented a bit and while I will never say I'm a great cook, I can hold my own. I can feed people and none of them will get sick or die and quite frankly- that's a pretty huge accomplishment.

Our challenge this week was to cook together without the promise of sex. Unfortunately, pretty much anyone who knows me knows I am a notoriously picky eater so while I often cook really terrific looking meals for my family... I'm not always eating it. I'll cook veggies and seriously good for you food... and then eat a bowl of cereal. The challenge of finding a dish that could maybe be love inducing or just edible for both of us was fairly difficult so we resorted to our standby of pasta. We both love pasta and you can make that with very little fighting.

Which is code for- Matt basically watched me cook but stayed in the kitchen the entire time talking to me. Which is HUGE. Why? Um, because Matt hates talking. If he could be a successful mute person I think he absolutely would do it.

The night time activity, or part two, was to have dessert "on you", and maybe bring "some flavors from the kitchen into the bedroom". Guess what, fans? I really dislike the whole food + sex aspect. First off, dirty. Dirty, dirty, dirty. Because you know you're going to make a mess on the sheets and I'm sorry- I can't go to sleep for fear I've got Cool Whip doing it's yucky warm-dairy-product smell thing in my sheets. And I don't feel like changing sheets after a good romp through them. So the food was not going to happen. (Also? I was out of whipped cream AND chocolate syrup. Which is a tragedy for other reasons.) But we did go to our cool box of goodies and use the K-Y Yours+Mine Kissable Sensations which was kind of awesome. And thank you K-Y for making a product that doesn't leave a waxy taste in your mouth, I completely appreciate that.

But a word to the wise- do NOT ever think you can get eat pasta and then feel sexy afterwards. Because you can't. You might look like this:


via

but you will feel more like this:

via

And that is just a fact. I know I probably looked good in my Black Friday Victoria Secret purchase (that I only got because I was stuck in line for 20 minutes and I stared it down and thought "Oh fuck it- I've got my VS card!"), but I felt like a beached whale. So if you are going to try this experiment or are going on a date where you think you might be having sex? Steer clear of pasta, peeps.
****
OK- so every week I will post about the KY Intimacy Experiment (next week's challenge is Dangerous Liaisons and offer you chances to win your own kit. At the end of the experiment I will put all of your entries from every single post into a bucket to win. So you are going to have a lot of chances to win... I highly encourage you to enter and spread the word. Here are your chances (and you MUST be a follower through GFC, and you MUST leave me your email address so if you win I can contact you!):
1. Comment on this post- do you cook with your spouse? Do you feel satisfied with your sex life?
2. Share this on Twitter (leave separate comment)
3. Share this on Facebook (leave separate comment)
4. "Like" CouplesPlace on Facebook (leave separate comment)
5. Blog about this! Mention my blog series (and link back to this post)! (leave separate comment)

Good luck!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

CHICK-tionary (GIVEAWAY)

OH man. Oh man, oh man, oh man. If you need a book that is perfect to give to your girlfriend (Christmas, Birthday, Kwanzaa, National Popsicle Day, etc) then this is it. If you unfortunately do not have a vagina but instead have a penis and are confused by women lingo? You need this book.

CHICK-tionary by Anna Lefler
The Chicktionary: From A-line to Z-snap, the words every woman should know
Your bestie, biffle, and GMF rolled into one! You’re all over the definitions of “low lights,” “ruching,” and a “tankini.” But can you spot a “Mrs. Potato Head” when you see one? That’s where The CHICKtionary comes in. The CHICKtionary is a humorous dictionary of the words and phrases women use—and what they really mean when they use them. The book corrals more than 450 terms, including some you know (uterus) and some you might not (flexting), and defines each from the perspective of a typical contemporary woman—a woman who avoids accidental pageant hair, is frenemies with her robotic vacuum and only occasionally relies on her high-waisted jeans to hold up her strapless bra.

I will tell you I normally don't love books meant to be funny. I also don't really like jokes or when people are intentionally trying to make me laugh. It's never funny and I think it's dumb.

But I LOVED this book. I loved it because I can relate to it, because I say all of these things, and it's like I'm chatting with my biffle about these things. Yeah, that's right- I use the word "biffle" and if you don't know what that is you are A) a loser without a biffle and B) probably not a woman. In case you don't know what a biffle is, let's educate you:

Biffle, noun: Variation of BFFL, or best friend for life. Your biffle is your homegirl, your wingwoman, the top of the female friendship hierarchy- and you are the same for her. Your biffle knows where you hide your spare key, the home address of the guy who landed you in the women's clinic with those nasty red bumps, and the real story behind that thing that happened that time at the cabin. Not even your kryptonite guy (see also: kryptonite guy) can destabilize the bond you share with your biffle.

GENIUS.

I love how it's put together just like a dictionary, it's all alphabetical. I learned some new words that made me spit out my Pepsi and strain my already busted up shoulder, but I'm OK with that.
Another definition that made me literally worry that I maybe leaked some pee in bed? (Because I've had two kids- this could happen.)

Childbirth, noun: Part miracle of nature, part slasher film, childbirth is one of those things that has to be experienced to be believed, particularly the first time around. Like skydiving, you can listen to the instructor talk all day long, but until someone pushes your ass out of an airplane, it's all academic. Luckily, every woman's body is slightly different, so no matter how experienced your doctor/midwife/cabdriver is, there will be a moment when he or she looks truly perplexed by something happening between your legs. It's comforting at that time to remember that women have been giving birth for centuries and the body knows what to do. After all, it's as simple as slipping a cannonball through a keyhole.

The only definition I would add for a part two that I feel should never be left out is when someone says "Have a nice day". That right there? That's code for "Eat shit and die" when it's from someone who you know doesn't like you such as a frenemy. So Anna- please add that to a sequel, because it's important.

So overall? I loved this book. LOVED IT. I cannot emphasize how much I loved this book because it's beyond words. Beyond, people. Buy it for all of your friends. It's that good. (See what other tour stops are saying about it HERE)

But one of you lucky lambwhores are going to win a copy, so follow the rules and we'll draw a winner on Monday!

MANDATORY
*Be a follower of this blog and leave a comment telling me who you'd give this book to (after you read it)

EXTRA ENTRIES (leave separate comments)
*Share this giveaway on FB
*Share this giveaway on Twitter
*Blog about this giveaway

Good luck babes!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's times like this where I wish I was friendly with the drug dealers in my hood.

For the past few weeks I've battled migraines. I have apparently conquered them this week (knock on wood) but I have a really shitty new problem. At first I thought I threw my shoulder out while putting a very sick little Jackson to bed last night. As the day has progressed I think I have a seriously pinched nerve right under my right shoulder blade, which sends shooting pain up into my neck and down my right arm.

Basically- I can't turn my head and using my right arm at all causes a ton of pain. Which is fun because you know, I'm right handed. I've mentioned before that my left arm is basically only decoration because it has no strength or ability to do anything I need it to. It literally just acts as an accessory to make me not look like a weirdo kids point and stare at. So all day I've struggled just doing things.. simple things like peeing... and everything that goes with it, without turning my head in any direction or using my right arm.

It's been a treat.

So I called my doctor who tells me she can't see me until next week and won't even give me a muscle relaxer so I can function. I really don't want to spend $200 on Urgent Care mainly because I don't have that. I have an appointment for a chiropractor on Thursday but not until the end of the day. I've alternated between heating pads and cold packs. I've soaked in the tub twice today and my skin is now so dry and burning I can barely stand it. I've taken all the over the counter crap I can take without over dosing. The kicker is that I know, I JUST KNOW, the drug dealer down the street probably has something I could use but because he knows I've called the cops on him when he has his drug drive thru service going in the summer, I doubt he'd be willing to help me.

So yay me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Ornament Tradition

I know it's Monday and you expect Hot Bitch Monday, but to be honest? I've done nothing over the last week. Between battling migraines, kid sickness and just life in general I have hardly eaten and I certainly haven't exercised.

Some of you were wondering if I ran in the Gobble Gallop and the answer is no. I also didn't run in the Jingle Bell run this past Saturday even though I really wanted to. There were a couple of reasons why I didn't do either but the major deciding factor was that I just didn't have the money to register. Both of them were relatively inexpensive, but we're living very frugally right now because we have had some extra bills the last couple of months and now Christmas is upon us. I could spend the money to go run or I could buy a couple of gifts. I chose to buy gifts over my fitness. How's that for selfless? But that's OK. I am thinking about really signing up for a kickboxing class beginning in January because it was under $50 a month and I could even throw in another class with it for the same price, so stay tuned.
**
But let's talk about my ornament tradition. I think I have mentioned it before but I know I have enough new people here that it's a worthwhile post.

So every year since Matt and I started dating (10 years ago as of January 13) we have gotten at least one ornament that reminded us of that year. Some are silly (like the rooster- everywhere we went that year we ran into rooster inspired things and it was hilarious at the time. Or the pickle that Matt says looks like a deformed penis.), to the meaningful ones (a wedding ornament, baby's first Christmas ornaments), to the fun memory ones (vacations, etc). But every year we get at least one, take a picture of it, and I have a mini scrapbook I put it in and write down why we chose the ornament(s). Over the years our tree is more and more full with these funky ornaments and this is the first year our entire tree is decorated with them instead of store bought bulbs.

This year we have added a few more on. I took pictures of everything except the ornaments the kids chose themselves- Olivia chose a Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Jackson chose Thomas the Train.
 I got this one on our trip to Chicago in August- it was our first time at Navy Pier so I had to get a Navy Pier one.
 Obviously from our Vegas trip!
 You can't see it well but it's from our Michigan trip in June.

Then I participated in an ornament exchange which I LOVE. To make it even better- I found a reality TV loving, anything sparkly/glittery, sassy chick named Carrie was my exchange buddy. Folks? I feel like I maybe met my match in awesomeness. I got her a traditional ornament but then got all bonus-y and sent her a six pack of green glitter ornaments because I think I'm in love with her? Like we could be besties. We should be. Because every time I watch trash shows such as "Basketball Wives: LA" (or my hotly anticipated new fav.. "Baseball Wives") I can't wait to email her because she always gets it.

So when my package from her came last week I almost peed myself with happiness. (Which is true because I hadn't peed recently and after two kids the ol' bladder ain't what it used to be.) So behold... the greatness that is my new ornaments:

With a card that declares her my Texas Drinking Buddy. I don't drink but I absolutely would break my own rule to clink her glass! I was so excited and Matt was all, "What the hell? Why is there a wine bottle on the tree?!" to which I ask, WHY NOT? Why have I not had this all along? WHY? I don't know why, but I'm glad Carrie fixed that. And hello- a Texas ornament with a midget riding a donkey that is taller than a cactus? The only thing better would have been something related to a goat because you know my love of goats, folks. I also love that the wine bottle is sitting next to the "Baby's First Christmas" ornament because it all seems like it was maybe related. HA! So thank you Carrie- you made my tree much more awesome and I absolutely adore my new ornaments, AND my new buddy.

So that's our ornament tradition. What tradition do you do with your family for Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate?)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The day Christmas threw up on our house.

All over the blogosphere I am seeing posts about people putting their trees up and you know this bitch put hers up on Black Friday. I have always done it on Black Friday for a few reasons. One, I love Christmas and if it were socially acceptable to have the tree up all year I would. Two, I always go shopping on Black Friday and while I have never been physically assaulted or witnessed it, I do see the worst of the worst- people who clearly hate Christmas but yet are out shopping at midnight. Putting up my stuff makes me happy after dealing with these people for 10+ hours.

And as an aside? If you hate Christmas so much? Stop buying gifts. Seriously. If you really hate going out and having to be selfless and think of other people? Just don't go. And if you are one of those people who never know what to get anyone? That may be an indication that you are a selfish person. Just sayin.

*end rant*

This year we cheated and since it was like 40 degrees on Thanksgiving I made Matt go out and put outdoor illumination on the house. I love lights. I love, love, love the tackiness of it all and if my lights prohibits someone else from relaxing in their living room? I love it. I want to be as offensive as I can because I have that much cheer. Sadly, Matt informed me that some of my lights just didn't make it from last year. I am convinced it was sabotage since he hates the outdoor lights and hates Christmas, but you better believe that when shit goes on clearance? I'm stocking up on more. Lighted pigs, flamingos, and the bouncing penguins will be mine. Oh yes, they will be mine.

But there's Matt- trying to fix the icicle lights that go around the peak of our house and stuff.
 And my kids were telling him where stuff needed to go.
 But on Black Friday we put up our tree and it basically looks like Christmas has thrown up in my house. It's everywhere. Except the bathroom and bedrooms- Matt says absolutely not. (But no promises if a Santa toilet seat goes on clearance).

I also have to give props to Matt for sneakily taking pictures of my ass while decorating the tree- because afterwards his response was, "Well I figured you wanted to blog it." That? That right there is how I know he's a keeper.
 So we put up the tree. Our lighted tree from last year died, though it gave us five good years. So I bought this tree for $30 at Target and honestly? I wish it were bigger. I do. Look at all of that space I could have a bigger tree! Maybe they'll go on clearance after Christmas..
 I will do a post about our ornament tradition later, but this is the first year where I have no junky glass bulbs on the tree. Every single ornament on our tree has some meaning behind it and that's my favorite part (so far) of Christmas this year. It's kind of awesome to see almost ten years of memories of Matt and I on this tree. It's also weird to say we've been together ten years in January.
 So after we put the tree up and while I put the rest of the decorations up, the tradition is that we always watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and stay up late. The kids were loving it and they are incredibly excited for Christmas this year. And this year Olivia had a TON of questions about Christmas, the Grinch, etc after the movie so that was kind of bittersweet. I feel like I only have another year or two of Santa in her and that makes me kind of sad because I remember the Christmas when she was like 15 months old? She squealed when she saw her fuzzy Elmo chair under the tree and I wish she could be that cute little kid forever.
 But you want to see the outside of the house, right? Here it is... missing 3/4 of it's stuff that mysteriously "broke" in the garage.
I have nothing that blinks. I have a Santa and Snowman tied by their necks to my front porch. It seems completely wrong. We obviously need more in our yard. A lot more.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Conversations and Cosmopolitans- GIVEAWAY

Easily one of my favorite books this year.

Conversations and Cosmopolitans by Robert Rave and Jane Rave
Conversations and Cosmopolitans: Awkward Moments, Mixed Drinks, and How a Mother and Son Finally Shared Who They Really Are
After moving from the Midwest to New York City at the age of twenty-one, Robert Rave finally found the resolve to mail a letter to his parents informing them that he was gay. Once Robert was “out,” both he and his mother Jane felt a new found freedom to be more honest with each other. From the discrimination Jane experienced as a pregnant teenager in a small town, to Robert’s “manscaping,” almost no topic. was off-limits in their conversations. Soon, Robert was creating a “gay glossary” so that Jane could understand the lexicon and Jane was giving Robert the same dating advice that she used to give Robert’s older sister (“men are jerks”). Conversations and Cosmopolitans is a frank, funny, and heartfelt look at coming out from both a mother’s and son’s perspective, and an inspiring memoir about building family relationships based on honesty, openness, and acceptance.

First off, anyone who knows that I am a huge supporter of LGBT rights and advocacy. It's a damn shame that even in 2011 a person has to live in fear because of who they love yet we as a society praise young men and women to be absolute whores (hello, Jersey Shore) and that's totally fine. It's kind of ass backwards if you ask me.

What also is a shame is that there are thousands of people out there who face shame and disapproval from their families because of who they are. As a parent myself my hopes for my children is that they lead the life they want and are happy. I think there are two ways to really tell how great a parent you are: 1. Does your child still worry about your approval well into their adulthood and 2. Are they able to talk to you?

Both of these are answered by the mother and son duo of Robert and Jane Rave. Robert starts this memoir by talking about the letter he wrote to his parents explaining that he is a gay man, he's OK with it, and he hopes they are OK with it. Not going to lie, it breaks my heart as a mom to think that a child would ever feel like they would be less loved by their parents but it's a reality.

This book was absolutely fantastic because Jane sounds like a really supportive and loving mom. I also really appreciated Robert's openness of his life and how he was feeling at such a turning point in his life. And to be honest, I don't think I would ever feel comfortable having the experiences and conversations he has with his mom with my own. But maybe that's why I loved the book- you can read the chapter and feel just as awkward as Robert did. I also loved how Robert would tell a story and the following chapter is Jane's point of view or add commentary that just makes the whole thing even better.

Bottom line? You need to read this book. If you are a parent then you will love this and end up hoping you end up as cool of a mom as Jane.

But one of you will get to win your own copy (US/Canada only)! 

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I will close this giveaway on Monday, loves!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You know that feeling...

... where you look at objects on your desk and wonder how effective they would be to carve out a chunk of your brain? Or when you really look at the wall and think maybe if you hit your head hard enough on it that maybe it'll relieve some of the pain from a migraine?

No?

Lucky bitches.

Because I suffer from migraines and have since I was around 12 or so, and it really sucks. If you have never had a true migraine you can't ever know how incredibly horrible it is. I am also one of the lucky few who don't even know what a regular headache feels like because I never get them... it's all or nothing up in here and it's really kind of disgusting.

Currently I feel like I am possibly high on Maxalt, the only pain relieving drug I have found, so at least I can see (partially) out of my left eye again but I feel fuzzy from the inside. Feeling fuzzy on the inside isn't as bad as it sounds- I feel like a human pillow pet at this point and that's not so bad.

I have tried vitamins, and they haven't worked. I have tried a few daily preventative medications that haven't worked and the only one left is one that can cause organ failure and/or schizophrenia and quite honestly, when I'm on a multiple day migraine bender like now schizophrenia doesn't seem so bad. I've had all kinds of scans on my head because I am convinced my brain is growing a secret tumor and it'll just show up one day. I have regulated my diet, I monitor my caffeine intake, I have a specific amount of water I know I need to have in a day otherwise I get an instant migraine. And I have to be precise because too much water will give me an instant migraine. I can't even take any kind of Advil or Tylenol regular stuff for anything anymore because I'm somehow resistant to it. I also can't take most pain medication because since having Jackson... I'm resistant to those as well. Which also makes for fun times should I need a medical procedure or even a filling on a tooth because guess what doesn't work? That would be Novocaine, peeps. I'm kind of hard core at this point and I don't like it at all. So I'm sitting here with my horribly expensive Maxalt knowing I can't take another one (technically) for 17.75 hours because you aren't supposed to take more than one in a 24 hour period.... but my head is pounding again and now I feel like I'm going to puke.

Looks like another restless night in the Strand household.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Watershed Year

In time for the holidays... a book review!

A Watershed Year by Susan Schoenberger
A Watershed Year: A Novel
Months after the funeral of her best friend Harlan, Lucy McVie continues to be haunted by what was left unsaid between them when she receives the first of Harlan’s emails, arranged to be sent after his death. So begins Lucy’s watershed year — a year in which she travels to Russia to adopt a young boy and starts a new relationship that takes her by surprise, all the while learning about how Harlan truly felt when he was alive.


Before I get into my review I will tell you that I liked the book. Is this a book I would grab off my shelf and re-read? Probably not, but mostly because I feel like I understood all aspects of the book enough that re-reading it wouldn't help me understand anything any better.

I kind of loved Harlan's character and wished he had more time in the book. I realized he dies almost right away and that is what kicks off the rest of the novel, but I felt like he could have been used more, if that makes sense. I also really respected his outlook on life and impending death. Sure, he could have continued with treatment but only to gain what, another couple of years? Are you really going to accomplish everything in those couple of years? Is it fair to just prolong the process of death for those around you and even yourself? I don't know and perhaps I would feel differently if it were me in those shoes. But his outlook on life and death was refreshing and real to me.

Lucy kind of annoyed me though. I'm kind of a hard ass when it comes to things and I have very little time for the people who feel like their world is over when someone dies. I get she was in love with Harlan but come ON. Get a grip on life you Debbie Downer. That's pretty much what I would say to Lucy if she were a real person. But then she goes through the process of adopting a little boy from Russia for what I feel to be wholly selfish reasons and that irked me too. Yay for adopting a little boy but is it fair to the boy if he's going to a home with someone who decided on a whim to adopt him? Kind of seems terrible to me.

But one line in the book I absolutely loved because it really is true: "It was more like resolve, a determination to go through the motions of parenthood until, on day, she would stop remembering what it was like to be a nonparent and embrace what parenting seemed to be: experimental treatment that might or might not work, the results too far in the future to know." How perfect is that? That is probably the best description of parenting I have ever heard. You just do what you think is right and hope that it works and your kid doesn't grow up to be a serial killer. I figure if you can keep your child out of jail you've done something right at least.

So overall, it was a good book. You can tell some logical thought was put into the process because the plot moved along at just the right speed, all of the necessary road bumps you expect are there, and yet you are left satisfied at the end. It would make a really great gift for the reader on your list.

You know I don't ask you just to rely on what I say, so please check out the other tour stops for this novel!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hot Bitch Monday Weigh In and the State of My Girl Parts

Today I had my super fun annual appointment at the OB/GYN. But the great thing about that is that I got to be weighed in and the magic number is....

163.3

The medical assistant wouldn't let me take a picture of it so that was lame. But I was pretty damn happy with that. Because my scale at home keep saying 164 pounds, but I always assume it's kind of off, and in this case it is but in a good way. :)

My issue is snacking. Like I am a for real snack-a-holic and I need to get myself in check. I also don't snack on things that I should like fruits and veggies so my challenge is to find things that aren't fruits and veggies that are still good for me, or at least not horrible. Any ideas?
**

But let's talk about my appointment. I think I mentioned how last year they were obviously trying to conserve and you didn't even get the paper sheet to cover up with. So you were basically naked from the waist down just letting it all hang out. This year? They must have gotten a ton of complaints because I got the paper sheet. Except it was micro size so it only covered my vagina, but left my ass out. Honestly- I don't know what it matters, they see your vagina anyways.

It also made me realize how absurd it all really is. Nowhere else are you half naked talking about the state of your vagina and answering questions about your natural lubrication, your birth control and if you have any vaginal discomfort. It's all kind of weird and I pretty much started laughing. I am sure the nurse practitioner thought I was nuts or something.

So hopefully everything checks out with mini Sara. I am kind of nervous though because I have to call and schedule an ultrasound on mah boobies. They hurt... a LOT, but they are also more lumpy than they were. On the plus side, the NP assures me that breast cancer doesn't hurt but still. It's weird. Because they hurt enough to be the equivalent to when your milk dries up. Which, if you've never experienced that, it's kind of fucking horrible. So think happy things.

So I need you to give me snack ideas. You don't want a fat lambwhore leader, bitches.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winners and Crazy.

I have to announce the winners of two book giveaways before I forget about you all completely. Sorry I'm running behind... but more on that in a bit.

Hometown Girl book winner is.... #1 Margaret!

People Tell Me Things winner is.... #2 MomTaxiJulie!

Congrats, ladies! I will contact you to get your info.
**

In other news... life is kind of crazy. First up was Black Friday. Bitches- I did AWESOME on Black Friday and I waited until 2am to go out. Which worked our perfectly because I hit up Kohl's, JCPenney, Younkers, Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, Old Navy, and Barnes and Noble all by 7 am. I came home, took a three hour nap, got up to get my kids ready for a movie date with my grandparents, and then I went to Target and out to lunch with Matt. After dropping him off so there would be someone here when the kids came home, I went to Walmart. I kind of rocked it. Especially when I have added up all of my receipts for Black Friday and the week leading up to it? I've only spent $271 and some change. Um, I'm pretty much done homies. DONE.

Then I am like 99% sure I am going to be the new PTO president for my daughter's school. Which is totally fine and I'm so freakishly organized that I think it'll be OK. But for the last week I have a constant to-do list running in my head of questions I need to ask, things to get done, people to contact, etc that it's kind of overwhelming. I also need to start writing it all down in the same place not on post it notes. I kind of hate post it notes for this reason... even if they do make a pretty rainbow around my desk.

I started on my Christmas cards and yikes. I just have more and more every year and I think next year? Some people are getting CUT. Can I just say that I feel like you are kind of obligated to send a card to family? I mean, if you are the person who never sends any out, ever.... then OK. You get a pass. But for me I feel like I'm guilted into sending a card to Matt's cousins and stuff every year. We never talk to them, they never talk to us, we (and I mean all of the family that lives this far north) are always kind of out casted and for the last few years? We don't get a card back. So I feel like saving myself the stamp and skipping them. Is that wrong? Would I be breaking a social etiquette rule? What do you all do for cards?

OK- so I will be back with my regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. I had something better planned for today but not going to lie- the Basketball Wives reruns have held me captive. Again. I can't get enough of crazy rich people. I just can't.