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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black Friday, psh....

Look at Grandma. She's doomed!!
I don't get into it. I never have. I used to tag along with my mom, aunts, and grandma back in the day, but only because I didn't drive (seriously, no license until I was 23 -- both for stupid and personal reasons, including a fear of driving) and today, I STILL wouldn't drive in that mess. I wouldn't even know where to park and would fear being stuck somewhere or having people honk at me because I can't find a spot fast enough, or getting mowed down by some crazy lady with a shopping cart and three Samsung flat screen TVs in it.

Some things about humanity bother me more than others. I am not going to say I take any issue with those who go out and get deals because my mom, whom I adore, is one of those people who gets up at the butt crack of dawn and goes shopping before work (and then goes out again after work).

However, it's when I hear stories of people bursting through the doors, pushing and shoving to get their kids the greatest and latest "stuff". Why do we let commercialism rule our lives? Is there any reason why THIS [insert 2012's hot toy item] will suddenly be what your kids want?

I'll tell you something. My kids only know public television. This is because we don't have cable. One of the major reasons why we don't have cable is because I don't want commercialism brainwashing my children. They don't know who a lot of the characters are (Spongebob) and they don't ask for toys they see in the commercials because they don't see the commercials. I am okay with my kids watching public television (no, not all day, just a few shows they like the most) because it's innocent programming which is actually educational. My oldest learned all of his letters by sight by 25 months by watching SuperWhy. My daughter has now learned a lot of hers from that show, too. The kids love Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and it's a cute show, I must admit!

We have one t.v. in our house. We will remain that way. My children will not have televisions in their rooms because they don't need them. And when they get to the age where they would like a cell phone because "Mo-om, all my friends have one... no fair", I will tell them that if they would like to get a job or baby-sit and pay for one themselves, they are welcome to. We are not in a world where it is impossible to live without a cell phone. Yet, people have become so reliant on them that they truly believe they can't function without one. Speaking of, I don't even have a smartphone. I don't even know if my phone is good enough to be called an "un-smart" phone. It's a regular ole' Tracfone which I can make/receive calls on (once a week, if that?) and text with. But I barely even use either feature. So I'm saving a lot of money by not having a contract and it costs me $100 a year total to own that phone.

My kids love books. At night when I'm home, they bring books to me and we read them. I have taped many of them and have become quite the master book repairer, but the books are well loved. I'm not saying some of those new toys aren't educational, but how many does a child really need? Play-doh time is also a favorite activity for us. It's a good, cheap, fun activity that allows them to be creative and use their imaginations.

Anyway, back to Black Friday. This weekend, DH did venture over to Menard's (surprise, surprise... for those who know him, he goes there multiple times a week and often leaves empty-handed -- just likes to browse). He brought home a painting kit (which we'll probably use -- we do have one wall in the living room we'd like to paint a deep plum), a set of glass bowls/containers (not Pyrex, but with snappable lids -- kind-of different, but practical), and two giant packages of toilet paper. Know what I'm excited about? The fact that I don't have to think about buying toilet paper for the next 4-5 months. Pretty darn awesome. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Geographical/directional Dyslexia

I have it!! HA! I finally have a name for this annoying thing I have. The inability to find my way around. Some people have a bad sense of direction. Mine is really bad!!

I am 32 years old, from a small enough area, yet I cannot figure out how to get someplace I've been hundreds of times if I try and drive there myself. I get all panicky. This is not a big city, but I cannot visualize how to get somewhere. I know in my head what the building looks like but have no idea which roads to go down to get there. I will spend 10-15 extra minutes navigating streets (some of them one way streets so I have to be careful), frantically searching for my destination. Many times, I will have driven past a place and then I always have to backtrack. Maps don't help, nor do directions. I have spent many sweaty minutes in my car, panicking over getting from point A to point B.

I can also be in the basement of my house I've lived in 7 years now and I don't know which rooms are above me. Whenever I leave the office at a clinic appointment, I stop outside the room and don't know how to get to the waiting area. I have constant dreams of being lost. In fact, I got lost during the first week of school in 7th grade, searching for my math classroom for 15 minutes before having to go to the office, and the secretary had to take me to class. I was 20 minutes late. It was a small school and only had one floor! My dreams, which are recurring, have the common topic of getting lost in school and not being able to find my locker, going on a trip and not being able to find the hotel room, or being lost on a cruise ship and unable to locate my family or our cabin. I wish I knew when someone said "go North", which direction that actually was. I do not "get" this concept and it doesn't come naturally to me. I have an amazing memory otherwise and can memorize things by sight and associate birthdays and dates with peoples' faces, and I'm an awesome speller and consider myself to have an above average reading level/intelligence, but directions = terrible. My mom is the same way but probably a little better at me at navigating.

P.S., don't mind me if I stop you and ask for directions. I honestly cannot help the way I am!! I have tried to get myself to "know" my way and it just doesn't work. Bah!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Not much going on . ..

My bathroom is mostly done being remodeled. The hubby put new wood flooring in and new ceramic tile by the tub/toilet (the area where if it gets wet, will be better to have tile vs. wood). Sunday into Monday, we painted the walls (he did more of it than I did. I hate painting but once we got going, it really wasn't bad and I actually like getting the fine detail areas).

Andrew has his first parent-teacher conference of the year tonight. Woohoo! :) I always enjoy going to these things and talking about his strengths/weaknesses. Plus since he has the same teacher as last year, we have already built a rapport. I love her and will seriously cry when he is done with this school year. But yet, he's blessed to have two years with her.

I am eating way too many cookies and that's kind-of counterproductive to working out. They're these Cafe Bistro Spekulatius cookies from Aldi. They're from Germany so no HFCS or GMO crap in them. Just good cookies. But I needed something to snack on at work since I literally only had water the other day and was like, this is not working to satiate my hunger.

I am going to pull the flute out in the next few days and play some Manheim Steamroller, as I do every year in November/December. I used to play much more. Much much more, in fact (in high school, I would practice up to 3/4 hours a day outside of school hours). I have this fear that I'll lose the skill or something but thankfully, playing only once a year has so far proven that I still have it. LOL.

Speaking of working out, I haven't been able to go since the day before Halloween! I had influenza a bad cold something that had me feeling like crap (fever, chills, body aches; headache) for 3.5 days. I even missed two days of work and that RARELY happens. I've been there 8 years and can count the days I've been gone. It's not allowed to work with a fever because of the clientele (elderly) we work with, but as it was, the day after Halloween I got up and took my shower and I was unable to stay standing as my whole body was numb. I took my temp and had a fever, so I spent the next few days trying to get some rest while three children literally climbed all over me. LOL. Fun times.

Not much else new! I'm so boring . . .

Oh, one thing to add. Andrew's school picture. Pre-k year 2, age 5. Isn't he adorbs?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Andrew's diagnosis

Well, long time no blog. It's because I've been busy, both with photo shoots and with appointments for my children. Anyway, the biggest news right now is that after our 2 day assessment at the clinic last week, it has been determined that Andrew has motor dyspraxia. Motor dyspraxia affects particularly the fine motor skills, and Andrew, while testing high on all other IQ assessments, tested in the first percentile for writing. He is at the level of a 15-30 month old for fine motor skills. Andrew turned five on August 25th. So what the plan of action is is to move forward with weekly Occupational Therapy appointments. They will work on things that Andrew has trouble with (writing in particular, but also buttons, zippers; cutting with scissors).

Dyspraxia affects boys more than girls. Four out of five diagnoses are boys.

They also stated that he has SID (Sensory Integration Disorder) and that there are some issues there, but nothing too serious (we notice that he loves long sleeves and that may just be an "Andrew" thing and certainly nothing that will negatively impact his day-to-day functioning). He fights us when he gets his hair washed, nails clipped, or teeth brush -- so that could be a sensory thing. He has issues with noise -- I.E., when I went to his classroom last year on Dr. Seuss' birthday and we all read books out in the halls of the school -- Andrew covered his ears and said, "it's too noisy, Mom" even though it was really just the noise of a lot of people reading at once. He could not focus.

He is being monitored for ADHD -- but not diagnosed with it at the time. He is also being monitored for dysgraphia, which is the inability to write or the inability to write clearly. OT and time will tell how well he does there. As of right now, he can trace letters, but cannot replicate or write out any letters.

The staff were so helpful and great and I'm very hopeful that Andrew will "fit in" just fine. He already is having a better school year this year than last (I am hereby recommending ANYONE with doubts on whether to send their young child to kindergarten early -- please hold back your summer birthday boys for a year because it will help them so much in the long run) and has many friends he plays age appropriately with. Last year, for comparison, he would only play at the sand/corn table (sensory) and didn't want to do anything else. He also had more outbursts/tantrums last year and this year he's holding it together.

So there you have it. Andrew will not be treated any differently by us as his parents and we hope that he succeeds and finds that one thing that interests him and goes for it. He may not be in sports, but maybe he will be a good writer someday. He's very social and makes everyone around him smile with his charming personality and questions he asks.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Business & busy-ness!

Yep, business and busy-ness. :)  I've been busy with photoshoots lately. I just finished up another great one yesterday with a fun family and three older kids (not older older, but not toddlers either).

This weekend was a lot of fun. We went to the parade on Saturday, or I should say, I gave my hubby a nice break from the kids from 10:30 am - 3:00 pm (big parade) and the kids had a lot of fun. Elise was a little scared of the noise at first and I don't think she remembered the parade from last year because the first thing she said when we got to our spot (by my mom; family) was, "Mom, time to go home." The two minutes later it was, "I want to take a nap" so I put her in the back of the double stroller and reclined it and she looked like she was going to fall asleep but kept peeking through sleepy eyes with an unsure look on her face. A little bit later, I looked over and she had peed her pants, and she always tells me when she has to go so I think the noise was scaring her. Good thing I brought extra clothes, but of course, then the stroller was all wet back there. It was hot!! For the end of September, this is what us Northerners would call "an Indian summer". We all had jeans on and had them rolled up to our knees because the sun was beating directly on us. Jameson seemed to fare well at the parade and didn't mind the noise. Andrew very much enjoyed dancing in the street and running to get candy. He had several meltdowns when he either didn't get any and other kids did, or if they handed candy out to his cousin and not him. I tried to re-direct him and tell him the parade wasn't over yet and that seemed to do the trick.

We went down to the fest Saturday night after settling the kids for bed at my mom's. So we were only out about 2.5 hours. I had 3 Mike's Hard Lemonades within a half hour so I was feeling good and dancing (I don't like to dance unless I'm buzzed because I'm a dork). I then cut myself off (3 is and has always been my limit). DH had fun as well and we partied with my aunts and uncles. There was a good band playing: all 80s and 90s hits.

Yesterday was nice. We went to the grandparents' house and Grandpa made brats and hamburgers -- very good. I like a good juicy brat with kraut.Yum! Then I had that photoshoot at 4:15 and it went swimmingly well. I stopped on the way home to take some pictures of the area bluffs because the fall colors are at their peak. We went with the kids to Subway because we didn't feel like making anything and that outing went relatively well. LOL, I always feel like my kids are so NOISY compared to other kids but I think I just don't like drawing attention to ourselves, nor does DH. They do say some funny things that sometimes turn heads for a chuckle.

Last night I was so pooped after a long weekend! I edited some photos and went to bed early for me (11:30).

And now here we are on another Monday morning, the first day of October. It's so hard to believe!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Joining the Y!

I had an enlightened discussion with the husband last night about my inability to get physical activity in. Every time I do want to go anywhere, my five-year-old begins to sob if he cannot go with. This is the case whether I'm going off on a shoot, to the store, or yes, to workout. I end up taking him with because I can't bear to see him sad -- except I CANNOT bring him to shoots, as those clients are paying for my quality, undivided time.

I brought up the idea of joining "The Y" (YMCA, apparently they just go by "The Y" in this time and age), because I had heard that they have an income-based membership, where you will pay less based on your income for household size. Now, as you all know, we have one person working (me) and 3 kids, so that makes us a party of five. For a party of five and with our income, we would be looking at 70 or 80% off the monthly membership of $65. That is a darn good deal!

The center we would be going to is really new -- it opened up just a few years ago. It has an indoor track (this is HUGE!! I used to walk in college at the indoor track located at the University and have lamented in the past how in the winter, I'm basically stuck. I have to either go out in the ice and snow and freeze my buns off with 3 kids in tow -- not an easy feat -- or go to the lame ass mall and it's tiny and smells like greasy food. Neither of those are appealing). They have a nice pool and the kids LOVE to swim so we will have a place to take them to burn off some energy and have fun. I also am wanting to get back into swimming, as I grew up as a "summer swim team" girl, and seriously -- swimming laps is the best exercise out there. DH also likes to swim. The center also has a [free] childcare center so that we can have the option of dropping them off there should we both want to workout at the same time. Another thought my bestie at work brought up is that if DH so desires, he could actually go to The Y while I'm at work and workout, if he needs a break from the kids (some days, he really does).

I am so happy! First I have to get my appliaction in to financial assistance there, but it's all filled out and ready to go.

Now, I have to find a swimsuit that is suitable for lap swimming as my bikinis will not really cut it (swimming laps will cause the bottoms to fall off -- also something I really don't want to do. I had a really neat Nike 2 piece made for competitive swimming when I was younger so I'm going to look for something sporty like that). I'll get DH a Speedo (kidding!). :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Andrew's first day at pre-school (year 2)

Wow!! I am so happy right now. Yesterday, I called his teacher, "Mrs. W.", to get an update on his first day. She said, "I was just about to email you. He was amazing! He got to be the leader because he had been through it all before, and he did very well. Last year, he didn't want to do things in front of people, and today, despite the fact that there were all new faces in the classroom, he did everything! I had him go get his backpack out of his locker at the end of the day, then set it down, then I asked him to go get his mail out of his box, and he did that too. He was a different kid! He asked for a sticker at the end of the day [last year, we had this whole system where if he complied with all of the areas, he would get a sticker or a stamp on each of the tasks], and I told him that I didn't think we needed to do that this year."


I am so glad I held him and had him do a second year of pre-k, because he will hopefully be ready for kindergarten next year. I hope I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched (to use the old cliche), but I am really hopeful.

The only thing we need to figure out is the bus schedule. The original time they gave me for him to be picked up is 10:53. Class for him doesn't start until noon. As soon as I told Mrs. W, she said, "oh, that's not going to work. No kid should have to sit on the bus for an hour, and Andrew's day will be over before it even begins." I agree. Plus, we live a mere hop, skip, and a jump away from school (but are on the bus route because of the busy road that leads to the school). If we had a second vehicle for Daddy, that wouldn't be a huge deal and he technically could bike him to school for now, but that would involve either shoving 3 kids in a bike trailer meant for two, or connecting the tagalong to the trailer so he has a Daddy choo-choo ride. I don't know. Mrs. W. said not to panic and just to give it a few weeks and hopefully they will figure out a different time. She said there's always the insanity of the buses at the beginning of a school year.

I will keep you all posted on his school progress. He still has his evaluation scheduled for 10/24 (this is the sensory assessment).

My big boy!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Mr. Jameson's 1 year well check

This is for my own records in case I need to go back and check, so feel free to ignore this post if baby stats bore you. ;)

Weight: 20 lbs, 14 oz (20th percentile)
Length: 28.5" long (9th percentile) -- compared to Andrew at a year, and holy shiznit, Andrew was 2 inches longer
Head is in the 50th percentile at  46.6 cm (WTF, what is a cm anyway? LOL).

Basically, a top heavy baby (like Baby Tumbles Surprise, remember that thing? LOL, I used to baby-sit for a girl who had one) who smiles all the time, who is very calm, and who growls on command (I "taught" him this while nursing. I would growl and he eventually growled back).

He has a few words: "Mama", "Dada", and "Nom" (that's for food, which he started around 10 months. He didn't want the purees at all so we started with raspberries and he now eats all kinds of food: chicken, broccoli, fruit, etc. -- he sees food and he gos, "Nom!" and wants to try everything.

Still nursing (no surprise with me for those of you who have been following me long enough), along with his sister, who is 2.5.

His nickname is "James", which is not pronounced as it reads but more like "Jaymis" or "Jamus". :) I love him. ♥

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Word verification . . . bye-bye!

Those things are impossible, even for me, so yeah... I turned it off. I only had word verification on for commenting because a few years back, I was getting all this spam in Chinese. LOL.

So feel free to comment on posts once again!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Oh Lordy...

I am STRESSED. I have so much shit to get ready for the party tomorrow (both boys) and I really don't have much experience in this since we don't tend to have big galas for much of anything. At least it's not at my house, because that is a royal disaster. Holy wow, I'm so behind on my housekeeping it's not even funny. Or maybe it is. IDK, it just seems to get the best of me when I have no freaking time, or the time I do have, I'm so exhausted that I plant my ass on the couch and go online. Seriously, my house is a fucking disaster. Shit cluttered all over the counter in the kitchen because everytime DH goes to look for something in one of the drawers, he just takes everything out (we have 7 junk drawers -- SEVEN! I kid you not -- filled with computer stuff he'll never use again but hasn't taken the time to dispose of, various chargers [why so many?! What are they all for?], pencils, coins, rubber bands, papers, maps, old phones, screws, paperclips, installation CDs, binocculars, etc. etc.  It's very frustrating. Our bathroom sits unfinished, after he ripped the tile out of there maybe 7 months ago, intending to put down new tile + some hardwood (tile by the tub/toilet in case of water), paint that needs to go on the walls in there. Clothes freaking everywhere because my oldest changes his outfit 4 times a day and my middle is always stripping down to bare naked. The diapers I had hanging on the line yesterday got rained on last night because stupid me didn't check the forecast. Thundertorms came through at 5 am and at the time I was nursing Jameson and by the time he was done, it had already started raining. So those get an extra day outside today but I also have to wash another load and get that out there. I have four loads of regular clothing to fold and put away. I have paperwork to complete for Andrew's assessment and paperwork to complete for his school.

No time!!! Kids, love them, but hard to complete any task, so we put everything off.

Anyway, I have all this stuff to buy for the party (styrofoam plates, plastic 'silverware', chips, dips, vegetables, beans; balloons) and then tomorrow I have to go pick up the buns (we're having BBQs/Sloppy Joes; whatever you want to call them. Meat already purchased). I'd like to decorate the park shelter a bit beforehand; party starts at 4:00 but I guess there are people there at the shelter before us until 2:00. Nobody freaking RSVPs so we'll just plan on having enough for more than we think.

I have had appointments for the kids and myself lately, left and right, and so I feel like I'm always running.

My self-esteem has been down in the dumps lately for whatever reason -- I tend to just get in these moods where the stress overwhelms and I just feel moody. I haven't exercised in a month or more.

So time to focus on things. We'll get through the party, I'll get some great pictures, and life will move on. In a few weeks, Andrew starts back up with school (pre-k again for those who missed the memo), then it will be several relaxing months before the holiday season.

Breathe in, breathe out . . .

Don't get me wrong. I love my life. But I also get stressed sometimes feeling stretched too thin.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Random acts of kindness

The husband spent several hours yesterday looking at wide angle lenses for my camera (I have a full frame, the Canon 5D Mark II, and right now, the only lenses I have are the "nifty fifty" 50 mm f/1.8 -- does the trick, a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 which I've been using a lot lately, and an old Tamron 75-300 that I never use). I don't know whether I really need a wide angle, as I primarily shoot portrait, but it would be great for landscapes and large groups of people. I envision taking my kids up on the bluff and getting a really awesome wide angle shot. Not that they'd sit for it, but maybe I could get pics of them all running in different directions with the contrast of a menacing sky or a sunset.

Anyway, I thought it was sweet that the hubby was reading reviews of different lenses (he loves to research before he buys). He informed me last night that he learned a lot about the difference between full frame cameras and crop sensors and how certain lenses would not work for my camera, etc. He has always supported my hobby turned 2nd job: photography, but I think he will be more open minded the more he actually knows about it. He may grumble a little when a shoot takes longer than my allotted hour time slot, but he's also with three kids all day long, cooking for then, cleaning up after them, and listening to the shrill scream of our middle child. I totally get why it'd be hard to spend most of a day without venturing out.

He does enjoy looking at my pictures as I'm editing them and will tell me which ones he likes best and why. He will say, "wow!" often and he is educated enough on photography to know when stuff is amateur or if it's really good. I like to bounce ideas off him during the editing process and see which one speaks to him, as sometimes it's different than my favorite one.

As for the lens, I'm in no rush right now. A really nice one would also be really expensive, and I don't know enough yet about the off brands (Tamron really doesn't have a wide angle, Sigma; Tokina) to make a purchase.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On this day . . .

On this day, one year ago, my Jameson was born in the water (you can read that birth story here). It was my 2nd waterbirth, but third time going through labor. I still remember most of the highlights of the day and I hope to continue to remember it, but for now, I will just share some pictures. (Don't mind the fact that these were taken with a point-and-shoot and/or my cell phone.)

Grandma (my mom)
 Happy birthday, Jameson Goat! We love you so much.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It is so annoying . . .

being around miserable people. My goodness. STFU and count your blessings!

Friday, August 10, 2012


I am not perfect, and I won't strive to be either.

But what I am is . . .

I am a hard worker.
I am a good mother.
I am a good wife.
I am a good friend.
I am a good listener.
I have a beautiful soul.
I have good morals.
I am worthy of others' respect and friendship.
I am proud of my struggles I have overcome.
I am strong, and strong-willed.

I will try harder to be myself, always, and be happy with myself.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Little Lady... a post about Elise

Elise is growing up so much! She's been speaking in full sentences for quite some time now and her speech is pretty clear. Last night I had the opportunity to go shopping with her, just the two of us (Andrew had a sleepover at Grandma's house, my mom's that is). We first went to Target to return something (a dress I bought which I liked in the dressing room but got home and tried on and it wasn't form fitting enough in the top part so it almost looked like I was wearing a sports bra or had no boobs -- and I just didn't like it). Elise got complimented when she was in the shopping cart: "She's so beautiful!" the cashier said. "Why thank you!", I replied. Of course, I know she's beautiful but I am a little biased as her mama.

Then we went to the car and I asked if she wanted to go to TJ (Maxx) and she said, "yeah!" so off we went. Elise talks in a VERY LOUD VOICE and as I was looking at the clothing on the racks, she declared, "I want boobie!" I was able to distract her enough but it was cute because she was just saying random silly stuff and laughing. I love that I can joke with her and be silly and she's almost 2.5 now so she knows "oh, Mom's being silly" or "oh, it's serious time", etc. I ended up finding a basic black knee-length skirt (I've been looking forever but couldn't find the right style for what I wanted -- either they were too short and not work approps or they came up too high and were just old lady ugly). $16.99 and it fit like a dream (I danced in the dressing room because it was as HUGE one that I could fit the shopping cart in. I had to make sure the skirt would be able to handle me and my wild moves, after all.) We laughed and then checked out.

Finally we went grocery shopping and just grabbed a few items and made our way home.

She went to bed REALLY good last night and only gave out one little cry before deciding it was in her best interest to go to sleep. She slept all night again, as she has the past several nights. I am happy that she is continuing to nurse and that I met her night needs for as long as she wanted. I could not deny her when I knew that it was a comfort for her; I also knew eventually she wouldn't feel the need to nurse at night anymore. There always comes a time when a child discovers that sleep feels good and maybe she wakes up and thinks about boobie and falls back asleep; maybe she sleeps all night long. But I am only a door away in case she should need me, if she would ever be sick.

I love my little doll!

My beautiful girl in the park Saturday night

Elise is a Daddy's girl too

 © 2012  All images are property of the author and may NOT be used, copied, or edited under any circumstances.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sensory Evaluation.

Andrew had his appointment on Tuesday with the Pediatric Behavioral Specialist he has seen in the past. She sees enough behaviors that would fall into either ADHD (most likely) and something on the spectrum (probably mild Asperger's). She stated that he does a lot of movement that is without purpose (I believe this is fidgeting she is referring to). His need for his cars to always be in his hand -- always lining them up and not really driving them around. You all remember his intricate patterns he used to make with them (I had posted pics on Facebook in the past). Everything revolves around his cars and he will cry if we take them away (for instance, if he pushes his sister or brother away from him). He has frequent angry outburts he is unable to control and a lack of impulse control (his teacher noted this as well). For instance, we have told him not to do certain things (like turning over all the pavers in the yard looking for bugs/grubs) and it doesn't seem to get through at all -- he only has one goal in mind and that is to get the bugs. He brings bugs in all the time and has an obsession with them (some of this is normal little boy stuff; some of it could be sensory).

She said one thing she noticed that would maybe rule out a spectrum disorder would be that he is social, but she noticed that there seemed to be a routine to the questions. Andrew goes up to nearly everyone in public and will say, "what's your name? Where does your work live? What kind of car do you have? What color is it? What time do you get home from work" or if they mention a spouse, he will say, "what color hair does he have?" These are odd questions for someone his age (I think) and very typical of Aspies.

His tantrums are uncontrollable and definitely not very normal for his age.

He was late to walk and has trouble with fine motor skills (writing with a pencil -- he can trace some letters now but not write words like some of his classmates could -- his teacher didn't think this was a concern just yet), freaks out when a shirt is inside out and cannot figure out how to fix it. I remember when he was 16 months old, he seemed to have a hard time getting up if he was on his back -- like getting to a sitting position.

He's very intelligent, very expansive vocabulary, but is definitely socially awkward. This may be endearing at the age he is now, but I would imagine in a few years, it wouldn't be so endearing.

When we go to a store, any store, he immediately bolts and goes full speed ahead, ignores me when I tell him to stop, and doesn't care if he about knocks people over. His only goal is to get to the cars and line them up.

I asked him if there is a reason he runs at the grocery store. I ask him if there is something that bothers him when we walk in. I asked him what he hears. He said, "I hear people talking." It seems to be a strange response because I really don't notice that when I go in. Maybe he hears all the conversations and it drives him nuts.

He will ramble on and on to people about stuff and isn't aware of the awkwardness or if they are bored, etc. He feels compelled to tell strangers that he went to a birthday party back in June. I am not sure if he is imitating adult conversation or if this is normal.

He prefers adults to kids. He sneaks to the neighbors to talk to them whenever they are outside. One day he went over there probably 10 times.

He seems to have a poor understanding of safety (looking for cars, etc.) and biked straight across the road the other day without looking for cars.

He enjoys wearing long sleeves and sobs sometimes like at the change of season, in spring, when I make him wear short sleeves. He sees no issue with wearing his red train sweater outside when it's 95 degrees.

When I went to his classroom, it happened to be Dr. Seuss' birthday so all the kids went in the hall and simultaneously read books. Andrew could not focus and held his hands over his ears and said, "Mom, it's TOO LOUD!" [it was more like a dull roar] He will turn off fans if they are going because he doesn't like the noise and today when I was blow drying my hair, he covered his ears and told me it was too loud.

He did not play with toys until age 3.5 when he got his first cars. That is all he will play with. He lines them up on the couch all day long. He brings them to the dinner table and the bathroom and in the car and EVERYWHERE. His first "toy" he took to was at about 20 months and that was my hairdryer. He wanted to carry it everywhere.

All of these things have always stood out to me and now we are finally going to get a sensory assessment done to see if, indeed, he is on the spectrum. If not, he probably does at least have ADHD. I don't want to go straight to meds, but there is some occupational therapy we can try. If he absolutely cannot function in school or his behavior worsens, we have opened up to trying meds.

I just want to get him the help he needs. My other two are developing differently than he did (playing with toys) and I can see now that Andrew has been different from the start. Amazing, beautiful, boy, but definitely marches to the beat of his own drum.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

You know your mom is awesome when . . .

. . . you come home and she's snuggled up with your 11 month old, co-sleeping. ♥ ♥ She used to do that with us. She said right before I got there to pick the kids up, he had woken up and said, "Mama mama" but went right back to sleep in her arms. I can trust my mom with my heart and soul that she will always give my kids the very best of care. She and I are kindled souls when it comes to parenting. Thank goodness!
I bet at 52 and after having five kids of her own, now all grown adults, she very much enjoys a good co-sleep with a baby. It brings back memories, I'm sure. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting . . .

I'm at work but I leave in a half hour (I know, already? But, pshhh, gotta keep my routine at home and I can get a few things done at work before I go) for my counseling appointment. This is my 7th? or 8th visit. I never went after my turmultuous childhood (remember, I've mentioned, abusive [verbally and physically only], insane father who has been out of the picture 10 years now since my mom filed for divorce/restraining order; I was 21 at the time). Anyhoo, in the earlier part of this year I started just feeling down about myself, "worthless", etc. Not even depressed but just like I was so stressed I couldn't focus and I just was kind-of fake, forced happy. Not ever around my children because they truly give me all I need and make my heart swell and overflow with happiness, but just in general. I felt like nobody liked me, people were annoyed by me, etc. I don't want to air my laundry out on here, but ... ugh, I'll just leave it at that. There was one contributing person in my life now and I figured if I started counseling, I could at least make heads/tails of my feelings because I can only control that part of it all.

Anyway, it's going well, the counseling. The guy insists I'm not crazy and he also tells me I'm "going places" and that I'm very motivated, and that I can really do anything I set my mind to. That was kind-of surprising to hear because I really don't possess that kind-of confidence.

I am waiting for the "all right, we're done with counseling; you're good to go" but so far have not gotten that green light ("We go green light, Go Weezy go" -- lol, sorry, rap reference for those who understand).

It feels good to open up about everything and not feel judged and have an unbiased perspective from a professional. I am a 100% honest kind-of girl, so I tend to just keep talking . . . as some of you may know.

Anyway, wish me luck. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm so addicted.

I am so addicted to sparkling water. It's the best! I had realized recently that I was drinking and relying too much on Dr. Pepper. I was only having one a day but I started to crave it so bad that I was thinking about it as much as the average guy thinks about sex. So... a lot.

I traded out my Dr. P for Klarbrunn and it 1) makes me drink lots of water, and 2) gives me that fizz that I crave. I was never addicted to pop for the caffeine; it was always the carbonation.

Is there some kind-of group for carbonation addicts? Because I am sooooo there.

Sneaky me sneaking a pic for blog while trying not to look like a dumbass to possible passers-by

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Coming back to Blogland . . .

I was shocked to learn the other day that this past Monday, we lost one of our own in the "Bloggie World", as we call it. Nancy, who will always be remembered for her unique self-proclaimed "shnarkiness", witty sarcasm, adventurous personality (she enjoyed snowboarding, roller derby, and various alternative rock bands) leaves behind a husband and three children. I "met" her in 2006 on the WebMD message boards and while many of us were no longer active on the boards in recent years, I did follow her blogs.

I even got to talk to her on the phone once, to thank her for the socks she sent me (not just socks, these were knee high socks that roller derby girls wore and she sent them out to some of her online friends).

Another thing I will always remember about Nancy were her random lists of things that annoyed her. I always laughed to read these things because I could relate to her disdain for grammatical errors (especially easy ones, like the difference between "your" and "you're"), people on the road who don't know how to drive, and Christmas sweaters. Oh, I laughed so hard when she would talk about those sweaters from time-to-time.
I found her last comment to me and it makes me smile to read it, but I feel this sense of loss: wishing I had talked to her more, emailed her more, etc. It really freaking sucks that she passed away so young (if memory serves me correct, she would have been 40 this coming August, August 15th to be exact). Anyway, this was her last blog comment to me on one of my posts this past fall:

nancy said...
I love these lists of random things.

Funny you should talk about being under the covers. Until about the time I had kids, I could NEVER sleep with my feet uncovered, even if it was 120 degrees. I felt, for some reason, I was safe from the unknown with them covered. Like the chick from the ring would come out of my tv, plod towards me in her attempt to kill me and then have to give up and go back to the tv when she saw my feet were covered.
In the past year or so, Nancy didn't blog as much. So I think, in her honor, I am going to do my best to blog at least once a week. After all, I started my blog because I was inspired by her to do so. RIP, Nancy! You will forever have touched countless lives, and will be remembered by all as a fun and amazing (kick-ass!) woman and mother.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes!

Andrew (almost 5) to me the other day: "Mom, when my penis grows up, it will have a mustache like Dad's."

I can't make this stuff up!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Yes, I'm a mammal.

I am nursing two babies. The older one might be 27 months old, but she's still a baby, relatively speaking. The other one is nine months and his only source of nourishment is my milk.

Yes, I realize it's not the societal norm to nurse even one baby past a year, but I don't care what society thinks.

My babies are receiving human milk from their mother, the way nature intended. They are being allowed to nurse as long as they desire to do so, per the World Health Organization's recommendation of two years or longer, as long as mutually desired.

Any other mammal nurses and nurtures her offspring. She also keeps her young close. I co-sleep with my babies, and learned quickly on night one with my oldest that he didn't want to be away from me. Every time I would put him in the little bassinet in the hospital (with heated blankets even), he would begin to whimper/cry within minutes. I finally decided to just bring him into the [gasp!] hospital bed with me and I snuggled up with him and he slept very well. I did the same with #2 and #3, right from the first night in the hospital. The staff never said anything. And if they did, I would have told them it was my choice to safely co-sleep with my baby.

I have let loose of society's pressures to separate and create an independent child from the beginning. I don't believe that society follows Mother Nature's intentions. I follow my mama instincts and so far they've been spot-on. What I have created are children who are so secure and safe that they are not afraid to step away from me when we do go out because they know I am right there for them with open arms should they need me. I will always be their mama.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Tandem nursing has me down to 124. LOL. I have recently decided to start drinking more water for health reasons (1.5 liters + a day is my goal) but it has also caused me to drop some weight. I am not actively trying to lose weight because I was at a healthy weight for my frame size (I'm 5'7") but I won't lie; I'm happy when I jump on the scale in the morning before I get in the shower.

I am also taking advantage of the Employee Assistance Program at my work, which offers free and confidential counseling through an area clinic. I never did get counseling after my rough upbringing (abusive father) and I have recently been feeling very stressed; stretched thin. I have been to two sessions so far and have another scheduled for next week. It feels good to talk it out with someone. Honestly, I always think I'm crazy or over-thinking things and at the same time I feel like everyone around me is annoyed by me and I've just basically had some self-worth issues. Counseling is helping that.

The kids are doing well. Andrew is now immune to chickenpox (it honestly, for anyone out there fearing it, wasn't bad at ALL! Like a case of the mosquito bites with a half day of fever, if I had to sum it up). He is finishing up his first year of pre-k and will be done Tuesday. We had his end of year celebration yesterday and he was dancing on the stage during the songs (when noone else was, LOL; kind-of free-stylin'). Elise is fully day potty trained but still hides and poops in diapers -- working on that with her. She has been speaking in full sentences for awhile and is doing very well for her age (27 months now!). Jameson is 9 months, has four teeth (and another one coming soon), crawls everywhere, and has a very laid-back personality (like his daddy; I am definitely pretty intense like Andrew).

That's about it for now! I am looking forward to the fact that it's JUNE -- the meteorological start to summer. Yay!

Monday, May 14, 2012

About a Jameson . . .

I need to update on my little!! Jameson will be 9 months on May 22nd. Wow! Where does time go, really? I know it's cliche to say that, but I can't believe it's been almost 9 months since he's been born, and hell, 18 months since he's been a part of me!

He is able, and has been doing this for a few weeks now, to get himself from stomach to sitting all by himself.

Saturday I clapped my hands and got him to try it too. And now the mere mention of, "clap your hands!" causes his face to erupt in a huge smile as he claps his little (or big man hands) together. He's a quick learner!

As of right now, he has three teeth: two on the bottom and one on top. Not quite the overacheiever his big brother was (16 teeth at a year was a little creepy on such a wittle fella).

He has not started solids yet and is happily healthy and an excellent size on Mama milk alone. He scoots towards me and squeals when I come in the door to do his feeds during my work day.

He is starting to have issues (normal) with object permanence and cries if I don't come back into the room right away. Other than that, he is HAPPY and SMILING all the time. We were around a lot of family over the weekend and everyone remarked on his good temperament. He really is never fussy!

Speaking of family, Jameson survived (and enjoyed!) his first camping trip. We stayed in a nice cabin for the weekend and it was nice to not have to worry about housework. I even managed to stay on top of the cloth diapers, rinsing each one before tossing it in the wet bag (better than I do at home, where I rinse them all at night before tossing them into the pail -- hard water issues, dontcha' know?).

I just am very much enjoying my last baby. I look into his big, blue eyes all the time and kiss and smell his bald little head. I just love my little guy so much. He's such a happy and innocent little thing!

Such a boy!

Andrew loves bugs, worms, and caterpillars. This is normal, I am assuming. Sometimes his conversations with us are real head-turners, such as this recent interaction while on a camping trip: we had decided after a full day of outside fun to make a run to Walmart. There was one about 25 minutes away, which would allow for some quiet, contained car time. We were also hoping for Andrew to fall asleep because he was beyond exhausted, but fighting the urge to go down. He decided to take a black, somewhat sparsely haired caterpillar with on this excursion.

On the way back to the cabin, he said, "Mom, I gave the caterpillar a shower".
Me, "uh, what? What do you mean, Andrew?"
[he didn't have any water back there]
Andrew: "I gave him a shower in my mouth."


So then we had the conversation on why we don't put bugs and caterpillars in our mouths. Good Lord . . .

He never did take a nap.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

That sums up my life!! I have been pretty much swamped at work. It's not necessarily out of the norm for HR, but we have been very busy interviewing and hiring and there's all the rigamaroll that goes along with that. I also took a day and a half off last week, which put off some things so now I'm catching up.

I got a new camera (Canon 5D Mark II) and set up a website for my photography business.

I did some organizing around the house (there was a bunch of clutter: paperwork and whatnot in the kitchen). I finally organized pics I printed 6 months ago (4 x 6s that I put in the kids' baby books and photo albums).

It's May!! This is the official kick-off to summer, pretty much, and I intend to enjoy it. Not this weekend but the next, my family is going camping (my mom has a cabin and a yurt rented) so we are very much looking forward to that. We've never gone camping since having kids yet. Weird! That seems crazy.

Other than that, not much else new!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

True Confessions

In the throes of newborn days after having my daughter, I was just so happy. One of my favorite things to do was to snuggle up on the couch and nurse her while watching The Office because I had only seen a few episodes here and there, so I took it upon myself to borrow the entire series of DVDs from my sister.

When I got to the wedding one, I was so "in touch" with the characters that that particular episode where Jim and Pam tie the knot just made me cry, almost uncontrollably.

True confession comes in here: while pregnant with Jameson, when I was almost full-term last summer, I was driving to work on a beautiful summer day. I heard "Forever" (the song that plays when Jim and Pam get married and it shows them on the boat together), I started crying in my car. Yep. Fucking Chris Brown. Cue the tears. WTF.

So yeah. There's my random story for you today! I'd be so embarrassed to share that with people in real life. But I love Jim and Pam so much.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I marvel at their observations.

Elise has just turned two and sometimes, well, most of the time, she is a very typical two-year-old. Other times, I am so amazed at what she does. I was home on my 10:00 boobie break and the hubby told me that he was in the bathroom (on the toilet) when Elise walked in with a book in hand and her bowl of cereal. She handed him the book (he just bought it, the first Hunger Games book so this is why I marvel at the fact that she recognized it as his, as he had just started reading it last night) and plopped down on the floor with her cereal and started eating it. Whenever I think she isn't aware of certain things, it's moments like this that I am reminded just how observant she really is. She's taking notes and keeping score, oh yes. :)

Have a great weekend. Enjoy this historical weather (that is, if you live in the central part of the United States, particularly the Midwest, where we are enjoying our warmest March well, EVER. This is a 1 in 5000 chance that this would ever happen, according to one of the hubby's weather geek friends who did the statistics of it all. Kinda creepy.).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yep, that's me!

I'm the 31 (almost 32) year old lady with 3 [empty] carseats in the backseat of the Focus, jamming on the way to work with the windows down and the bass booming.

LOL, backstory: I got my license at 23 so I guess I missed out on the "cruising" days that most teens get to do those first few years of driving. I mean, I did with friends, but as a passenger only.

Did you know I've got "rubberband banks in my pocket"? LOL.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Updates on me

I sit here in my office, Dr. Pepper nearby, some color on my arms, timecards finished, and I reflect back on what a beautiful weekend I had with my family. On Saturday, after I got all the major house chores out of the way, the hubby and I took all three kids to the park and enjoyed some beautiful weather. We then went to my mother's house to grill out, our first of the season! She has a new patio set out on her deck she wanted to show off. Mom, with her glass of wine, was enjoying the evening after a day's work, and we all watched a movie after supper. [Mr. Popper's Penguins, a cute family flick that is not too cheesy, somewhat enduring, and has some comedy to it.]

Sunday, we went over to the grandparents' house and the kids played in the yard while the adults marveled at the weather and basked in the sun, something we have never done as early in the year as March 18th! Later on in the evening, the hubby took the oldest in the bike trailer down to the co-op to get a few groceries. I took the younger two outside while I put away our lawn chairs and toys, looking up at the sky in time to see a fighter jet fly over (we're close to the airport). I am an airplane freak, if you didn't know it.

This week is still supposed to be nice. I'm taking a half-day on Wednesday, pending my boss's approval, and we're probably going to take a family bike ride (we have single and double bike trailers). We can have more of this weather and I will be okay! Yep, folks, I have a watch tan and am proud that I earned it in March and in Wisconsin to boot! My aunt and uncle leave today for Punta Cana. Haha, who needs to fly to enjoy the weather?!

Ah, and in case you're bored, you may check out my accent video. I am part of a close-knit group of girls who all had babies at the end of 2009 into early 2010 -- we've been friends since we were all pregnant and we became closer yet and I'm glad we all still talk daily -- anyway, we got to posting videos of our accents so I found a list of words for the "accent challenge".

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Halfway recent pics

Jameson turned 6 months on February 22nd. It's hard to believe in another week he'll already be 7 months!



And . . . Miss Elise turned 2 on February 27th:

And . . . Andrew is still very adorable and sweet and cute but has been photo un-cooperative. I will try and get a pic of him to share soon. He has changed so much even since the Christmas pics I took. He's growing up crazily fast! I just freaked out about his height the other day because I had a moment where I realized suddenly that he's super tall!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I've been "blessed" with a personality that is very outgoing. I smile a lot. I enjoy talking and will talk to just about anyone. I make friends easily. This really helps me in my career of choice (Human Resources) because interviewing people and orientating people comes very natural to me and I feel I am able to make people feel at ease. I can talk to people on the phone and help them out, and then if they stop in to ask about a position, they see that it's a great and friendly place to work. I really love my job.

The other part of my personality which I have decided is more of a curse than a blessing is the fact that I am sensitive. I feel like I'm crazy sometimes. I never know how to read sarcasm. I don't do well in situations where I have to assess if people are liking me or not liking me. I have this issue where I want to be liked by everyone but deep down I know that's not possible. Someone is not going to like me for whatever reason. Yet, I take it all personal. I am constantly questioning whether friends like me or if they really just like me to my face and talk about me behind my back. It drives me nuts. I wish I could just not care and move on but I have a tender heart so of course I worry about it. I don't approach anyone about it because I don't want to make an issue out of nothing, if there is no issue.

Ah! Why can't people just be open and not snarky? I'd rather have the truth.

Also, I think Facebook has really fucked up my self-worth. I feel like me and being me is not good enough for anyone but my family.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Almost TWO!

My little Elise Maya is almost two. The change from a year ago to now is just amazing. I love how she can express herself so much better now. She makes us laugh on a daily basis. One of the things she is doing is talking in sentences and a couple words may not be super clear, but I know what she is saying. I am tandem nursing her along with her baby brother (he's 5.5 months now) and sometimes when I'm home on weekends she wants to eat just as often as he does. Right now, well, that's a lot since he's getting teeth and growing through a growth spurt. Yesterday, I said "no" to her and tried to ask her if she wanted anything else. Here's how it went down.

Elise: "Mama, mama... boo-bye?" [her word for the boob]
Me: "No, how about some cheese?"
Elise: "Mama, no, no teeze".
Me: "Would you like an apple?"
Elise: "No!!! No appo."
Me: "Want some avocado?"
Elise: "No! No wan cado."
Me: "Oranges?"
Elise: "No! No oge."
Me: "George?" [at this point I'm laughing, and so is Andrew, because it's so funny]
Elise: "No! No Jo-dge".

She is saying "peeze" now when she asks for the boobie, so it's good that she is practicing her manners.

She is funny. She will carry around odd comfort items, such as an apple, or an orance slice, or a bar of soap. DH thinks she has some odd attachment disorder, but the more I talk to other parents, the more I see this is quite common! I just laugh about it. Whatever makes her happy as long as she does no harm, right?

I just look at her sometimes and picture the baby she was and it's just mind-boggling, at times, how fast these past two years have gone by. I love her gorgeous smile. I love her happy-go-lucky personality. I love that mischievous look she gets in her eye before she laughs and runs down the hallway. I love that she mimics her brother. I love how sweet she can be and how much concern she shows for her family members. I love her sweet, random kisses. I love when she holds out her arms and says, "hug" as she runs to me. I love her silly personality. She is pure joy.

Elise, never stop being you. Always dance as if nobody is watching. The world needs more people like you.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I totally forgot to tell this funny story!!

This happened at the end of September too, but I will just base the fact that I haven't told it yet on the fact that I was in the throes of my maternity leave and transition to Mommy of 3.

So, every year in my town, there is this HUGE Oktoberfest parade. Oktoberfest, otherwise known around here as "Notsoberfest" is a big drunken party where everyone is happy and friendly with everyone else, mostly thanks to the alcohol but also thanks to the fact that drinking and Wisconsin go hand in hand. After all, our unofficial tagline is, "Wisconsin: outdrinking your state since 1848." Oktoberfest spans 2 weekends so it's a pretty big deal.

Anyway, this year I decided to brave it and take all THREE kids to the parade by myself. The parade itself lasts about 3 hours. I met my mom down there (had the hubby drop us off because there's really nowhere to park in this sort of event).

We thoroughly enjoyed the parade, but when we got towards the end, Andrew (the 4-year-old) started saying, "Mom! I have to go poop!" Thank goodness my mom was with so she could watch the baby and the toddler (in the double stroller) so I took Andrew's hand and off we went to find a bathroom. There were some at the festgrounds which was a little bit of a hike, but not too bad. I get him in there and he sits on the throne and can't get anything out. I told him to keep trying but he said, "it's not coming out". So we go back to sit down. Ten minutes later, he says again, "Mom! Mom! I have to go poop!" This time my mom decided to take him and ten minutes later, she came back and shook her head, indicating he didn't go.

The parade was ending and I asked him one more time and he said he didn't have to go. I called the hubby and we arrange for a place for him to pick us up that isn't crowded. We decided on the post office. It was about a 10 minute walk but we high-tailed it and along the way, you guessed it, Andrew stated that he had to poop again. I told him to just wait because we were almost there.

We arrived at the post office and there are some big trees out front. I pulled over with the stroller and told Andrew that since there were no bathrooms, that we'd have to make do (literally and figuratively) under the tree. Here I was with Andrew and his pants around his ankles, squatting under the tree. When it was done, it really looked like a dog had taken a dump. Thankfully I had napkins in my diaper bag and I wiped him and tossed them in the direction of the pile. Five minutes later he had to go again so now there were 2 piles. At one point, a family walked by and I just kind-of waved it off, telling them nature was calling. They seemed to understand and even acted as though they had been there, done that.

So there you have it. My kid shit in front of the post office and if you don't think it could happen to you, just know that sometimes you are faced with a situation and have to make do. ;)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Coming up for some air!

Help!! I am swamped, both at work and at home. Well, to be fair, I will say that it's more work than home. I have so many different things that were added on to my position within the last year that I just don't have much free time. Then I go home and do all that I can with my kids while I clean up the day's worth of mess (so that it doesn't get so bad for me for the weekends). My family has also been sick (all of us) with some nasty virus, but thankfully we're all on the mend.

I will say, that there are some good things to focus on. As an idealist with realist tendencies, I tend to focus on the good. Here we go.

  1. I am healthy and happy, as are my children.

  2. It's 2012, and it's a new year with new things to look forward to (uh, spring?).

  3. I love my job and am happy to be happily employed. I've been here 7 years and it's TRULY a great place to work. My boss even came to "rescue" me yesterday after my son locked both sets of keys in my car on lunch yesterday.

  4. I have lost all of my postpartum weight and then some (new goal: focus on toning up some AND working out more often so I have more energy). Breastfeeding rawks, especially when you are tandem nursing and burning twice the calories.

  5. My W-2 is in my hands as of yesterday, so that means tax time (which means GOOD things for poor folks like me who support a family of 5 on a not-so-high income).

  6. I have been on a cleaning spurt, so my housework at home doesn't seem so bad. I cleaned my oldest's room yesterday and it no longer looks like tornado alley. THEN, I put together his train table and had fun putting on all the stickers as Andrew watched in anticipation. Thank you, Mom, for the coolest gift ever!

  7. Winter is finally upon us, and while it means that the above-average temps we've had the past few weeks are probably gone for good, the snow is pretty and this is what Wisconsin is supposed to be like, so I can just suck it up and deal with it. And I have mad winter driving skills so am prepared to take on Mother Nature like a ninja. Fucking A! ;)

I hope 2012 finds you healthy. Keep things in perspective. If you feel down, always take a moment to redirect yourself because the sun is shining somewhere and it won't be long before it's shining on you.