Sunday, November 30, 2008

Greatest Gift

For any new readers or those who don't know, my hubby and I got married 4 months before he left for Iraq. We were actually planning a beautiful wedding for that May but plans changed and he ended up having to deploy 9 months earlier than we anticipated. 

When he left, he mentioned something about writing in a journal to me while he was gone. I never got letters, but I held on to the fact that I would have something tangible from him with his thoughts and stories when he returned. 

Well, since the first "traditional" anniversary gift is paper, how perfect was it that I received this gift on our anniversary this year... (He was in Iraq for the first anniversary.)

The gift was wrapped in a hand woven scarf.

Inside the scarf was a beautiful hand-carved camel leather journal.

The detail of each individually carved design is enough to take my breath away.

The photos don't do it justice.

This is the inside flap.

......And if a hand-woven scarf filled with a hand-crafted/carved camel leather journal wasn't enough,... There's more...

Each page is hand pressed with flowers. You can see every detail of the press on each page. 

And of course, the pages are filled with love letters, stories, and memories that my husband wrote for me. I will forever hold a precious, beautiful gift that encapsulates the 15 months we spent apart. 


I have been missing in action this week, obviously. Between food poisoning, driving to Ohio, Thanksgiving, and then being a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding things have been crazy! I will be back to post about one of the best gifts I have ever received later today!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Please don't stare

I woke up unable to move without feeling like my stomach may explode. The feeling did not go away. In fact, it got worse. I will spare you the details but eventually I decided that I NEEDED some Gingerale and Pepto-Bismol or I would not get better. I muscled up enough energy to get in the car and drive up the road to Walgreens. I felt like my body was turning green. I grabbed the extra extra extra strong Pepto-Bismol and some Canada Dry Gingerale

Now obviously I look like crap, feel like crap, and I'm holding two items that are meant to help your stomach. I stand get in line and the cashier just stares at me. She was helping other customers but for whatever reason she JUST STARED. And stared and stared. Did I have a big blob of something on my face? Did I look so incredibly awful that it was necessary for someone to stare? 

People get sick. And they go to the store to get remedies. When she finished ringing me up, she proceeded to stare and tell me that I should come back to buy batteries. It was the most awkward moment I had experienced with a cashier. Okay I take that back. There was one that was probably equally awkward that is too embarrassing to share here; for her of course. ;) 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh yes, a MEME

Thanks to Pamela over at The Dayton Time for giving me something to write about! It seems many people are struggling with that these days. With holidays approaching, weather getting crazy, friends having babies or getting married,... life is getting crazy for all! 

Check out the Rules and such on the left.

Seven Random/Weird Facts about me.

1. I don't smile with my teeth, never have. (But I hope to once the braces come off in January!!! Can I get smilingwithteeth lessons?)

2. I like really cheesy, unintelligent movies, like the ones they play on the Family Channel. I can't help it. My brain works really hard all the time and when I sit in front of the television, I do not want my brain to have to work.

3. I LOVE horseback riding and used to show in fairs when I was younger. Pretty sure I started when I was 3. Most people don't know that about me. 

4. I wish I could live in the middle of nowhere on a mountain far away. Did you get the part where I want to be away from everything? I love the woods and open land and nature. Suburbia is getting old. 

5. Details, details, details. I love details. A lot of people think that's weird, but its just me.

6. If I don't wash my hair, I'm likely to have a bad day. I just start feeling really gross and it puts me in a bad mood. 

7. I can drink 5 or 6 shots of espresso (one shot equals one cup of coffee) and fall fast asleep. I need at least 7 or 8 to keep me up. Oh the things you learn while working at Starbucks!

Now on to the tagees, tag-ees, taggees??? I like making up words, okay?

1. Mrs. SSgt over at Married to the Military
2. Stephanie at Hot From the Furnace
3. Michelle from Anna Engaged
4. Allyssa with Dynamics of Chaos
5. Laurel at Laurel Plum Online

And I'm totally being a rebel and only tagging 5 people.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2 years

My husband and I have been married 2 years as of today! It's been 2 incredible years of growth and learning, good times and bad. Just like anything really... In that 2 years I have spent about 9 months total with him. Between 15 months of separation with the deployment, we have missed out on the "first year of marriage" and all that comes with that. Most people say the first year is the hardest. For us that was true but for different reasons. 15 months of being apart can really do some damage and also strengthen relationships. We learned early on to be open and honest and not take each other for granted. Sure we're not perfect but I wouldn't change what we went through and where we are now. God has truly blessed us. 

My husband is one of the most, if not the most, thoughtful people I know. He cooked me a fabulous dinner tonight, a man that did not know how to fry an egg until a few months ago. Bourbon Marinaded Pork, Glazed Carrots, and Slow Cooked Garlic Mashed Potatoes! Mmmmm!

He also presented me with the most incredible gift I have ever received. I will tell you about it later! 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Myspace - A little over the top?

Myspace ads are starting to get a little too personal for me and it makes me uncomfortable. I understand that they are probably getting paid big bucks for those advertisements but do they need to sell their user's soul?

I was clicking through Myspace earlier when I noticed a VERY LARGE advertisement that said "Overweight at (insert age here) ? Click here." Yes because since you already know my age and probably way more info about me than you should, I should tell you whether or not I'm overweight? And you're really going to help me if I am?

(Steps off high horse)

Needless to say as much as Facebook annoys me sometimes, I'm quickly switching my loyalties. Myspace will soon be the social network of the past... in my humble opinion. 

* Note: My Myspace is set to private... so much for privacy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Circle of Life and the Bubba Keg

Wake up. Shower. Throw on some clothes. Take out the dogs. Work. Go home. Take out the Dogs. Clean. Spend 2.5 minutes with my husband. Sleep. Wake up... and it begins again.

That seems to be the cycle lately and it is quickly getting old. Not to mention the drama that has magically popped up around every corner. Thank God for the Bubba Keg.

You better believe that thing is filled with coffee, a little milk, and a tbsp of brown sugar (which really is way better than white sugar by the way). 6 cups of warm goodness that gets me through my morning. 

This is actually my husband's. He "needed" the big one and I totally made fun of him for it. I don't even think he knows that I've taken it hostage this week. Let's just keep that between you and me, k? ;)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Writer's Block

errr... Bloggers block?

I'm suffering from a bad case of writer's block. I have a lot of ideas but they just will not come out the way I want them to. I even ended a sentence with a preposition... See? It's bad. Real bad. (Okay so maybe I ended that sentence that way to prove a point.) 

In other news...
I have an award that I'm working on so keep checking back to find out what it is and see if you are the winner. It's taking some time to work out the graphic and figure out Mister Linky, but the wait will be worth it! 

Hopefully a good nights rest will solve my writer's block, and I will have something amazing for you tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wordless Friday

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Big D word - Divorce

My best friend called me on the phone when we were just 4 years old. I heard something in her voice that I had never heard before. I knew something was seriously wrong. I remember it like it was yesterday. She came over to my house, stood in my driveway and I embraced her. (We lived within walking distance.) "My parents... are getting... their getting a divorce." I didn't know what to do or say. I think I cried with her; if not out loud I definitely cried inside. This was my best friend. How could this happen?

This is a subject that no one wants to talk about. No one wants to think about it. Unfortunately, some don't have a choice. 50 out of 100 couples who get married end up getting divorced. That is an alarming statistic. One that makes my stomach curdle.

I've witnessed some people who think divorce is of the devil... (Bear with me for a minute.)

I was in a church where a lady had gotten divorced a few years back. The pastor made her get in front of the entire church and repent of her sin, repent from being divorced. TO THE CONGREGATION. We obviously left the church after that. Why is that anyone else's business? The poor lady was struggling enough as it was and no one knew the details.

I've seen people, friends and family go through some really harsh times...

My cousin is a beautiful, intelligent, loving and kind lady who had been married for a long time, probably 25 years. She put up with a lot of crap and it pushed her off the deep end. Her husband was an alcoholic who verbally abused her. She tried to make it work and tried to put up with it, but eventually she just couldn't.

Probably the most shocking end to a marriage that I have witnessed was this lovely couple from church. They had been married at least 20 years and were really happy. I was friends with one of their children and spent many nights in their house. The wife/mom brought us a really nice meal, the best stuff shells I've ever had, when my dad was seriously injured at work. They were very involved in church and were always there for anyone who needed anything. She left him for someone else.

One divorce split another church we attended. The wife cheated on the husband, who happened to be the pastor, and it was a mess. 3 beautiful children.

Throughout my life I've seen it and felt some of the pain of those around me, but I could never empathize. My parents are still together. I can not even begin to imagine what it's like to be a spouse or a child going through it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nanny 911 - For real?

I'm not going to lie. I find myself watching "Nanny 911" just waiting to see if the family can pull it together. Really, who would not want to watch a lady from Wales take on an American family?

I do, however, have a difficult time finding most of the episodes credible. A family of 5 with parents who have not had it together for years miraculously changing the entire dynamic of their relationship and household in one week? Sound a bit like finding the love of your life through a reality TV show that lasts a couple months, only to find out that person was not who you thought they were and make tons of fans upset because your life and your decisions are not what they want? (ahem.. The Bachelor / The Bachelorette) 

I nanny from time to time and after 10+ years of experience and a CPR certification, I consider myself pretty qualified. I have observed some pretty interesting children and have many stories. The most horrifying was a little three year old girl named Belle.* This wasn't one of those jobs I could get away from after 4 hours. No, I was with this little "angel" 3 days a week, 8+ hours a day for a year. 

Belle was beautiful. Blonde hair, blue eyes, very sweet disposition. She had a lot of people fooled. I quickly learned that Belle was starving for attention. Pooping and peeing in her panties when she was fully capable of using the toilet. Screaming at the top of her lungs when she didn't get what she wanted. Throwing her food across the room when she didn't feel like eating. Scratching and hitting. She was crazy! I have never seen a three year old girl with SO much personality. 

One day, I took her to target to pick out a coloring book. She really liked Dora so I found a really cool Dora one that I showed her. Meanwhile she had been looking at the books and found a 200 something paged hard cover coloring book that she just HAD to have. (Please bear in mind this is a $30 coloring book.)

Me: No Belle we can't get that one today. Check out this one. It's really...
Belle: NO I WANT THAT ONE. (she rips it off the shelf)
Me: I'm sorry Belle but that one is a lot of money and....
Me: Belle, I guess maybe we shouldn't...
Belle: I WANT THAT ONE! GIVE IT TO ME! GIVE IT TO ME! IT'S MINE! (I didn't even take it from her.)
(Screams at the top of her lungs)
Me: Okay Belle. We need to go home now. (While she is screaming)

I promise, this girl had one of those bloody murder screams that everyone in the store could hear and everyone stared at me like I'd abused this poor child. I eventually got her to calm down but she did not get the coloring book. 

At some point during my time with Belle and her parents, I realized that they felt bad for not being in her life and thus gave her everything she wanted and did not discipline her. 

I hid the crayons from her one day because while I was in the bathroom for 1 minute, she drew a mural across 2 walls, 2 doors, and a stairwell. That was fun to clean up. Her dad asked me where her crayons were later that day because Belle asked him for them as soon as he got home. I told him what had happened and they were everywhere when I came in the following day.

After several months with Belle, she grew on me. She learned that I wouldn't put up with her crap and that she needed to listen if we were going to have fun. Her parents told me that I was the only babysitter she ever said she really missed/loved. (I think she wanted someone who would be honest with her and show her right from wrong.) This took several months to accomplish and the new babysitter had to go through the same thing. (She's a friend of mine so I heard more stories.)

I think children are much smarter than we often give them credit for and they pick up a TON from their parents. I also believe that the ones who do have behavioral issues can improve with time. And although I do believe in miracles, saving 100s of families and fixing behavioral issues in one week is just not feasible. 

* Not her real name

Organizing Chaos

I am diving into a new project at work. I've been doing A LOT with the website stuff which is fun to an extent but I am SUPER excited about this one. 

Okay this may be teetering on nerd territory but I am proposing a plan for a book tour to my boss. I get to pick the locations and companies and work with the publisher to make sure the books are in store. I have to prove why we should go to a certain location/area and why it will be beneficial. It's complete chaos... and I love it. 

I thrive off of organizing chaos... seriously. When my apartment is a disaster suddenly struck by a massive tornado, I love spending a day reorganizing it all and seeing it come together bit by bit. When I'm thrown a million different tasks at work, my initial reaction is to stress. Once I get past the stress part, I thrive. Details, details, details. I love them. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Only in the middle of nowhere...

...would you find something like this...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cable Trail O' Doom

Yeah... Did you notice the run on sentence with that one? "It is a rough climb if your health is impaired do not attempt it." Oh well....

So it doesn't look so steep in this photo but it was SO steep I couldn't get a picture of it... For real.

The falls... well one of them. We're in a drought, give us a break... Supposedly these are normally MUCH bigger. But no rain = no water

The climb up! My legs shook like crazy and it took a couple days to recover...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A sort of contest

I am giving you the opportunity to be the winner of "THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE FINDER." Doesn't that sound marvelous? Just kidding... well sort of. I'm trying to find another great chocolate cake recipe that sends me into chocolate comatose. You can check out the details over at my other blog

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


When I turned 18, I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to vote. It is our right (one of the few we have left) and duty as responsible citizens to press a few buttons or pull a few levers and select who we would like to oversee our country. When I voted around 11:30 today, the Judge informed me that over half of the registered voters had already cast their ballots. There was no line and no hassle. This seems to be the trend across most of the country.

So if you are registered to vote, please exercise your right and GO!!! Don't let your fears of hassle or lines get in the way. Use your freedom so it doesn't get taken away!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Beauty where you don't expect it

I was flying over NYC last week looking at the beauty of the city when I saw the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen. The sky was this bright, ocean blue and underneath was a beam of an orangish red color. As we got closer to the ground and city, the sunset began filling the sky. The juxtaposition of this beautiful sunset and a very busy city was fantastic. It was then that I learned to verbalize what I've been learning and experiencing lately. 

Typically, I think of NYC as a slightly dirty yet booming place. I love visiting every once in a while, but I don't know that I could live there. Although the airport was slightly dreadful and certain places in the city are not so nice, my brief moment in the sky really transformed my outlook. There really is beauty in everything. When you are close, you see the busyness, the dirt, the crime. Yes there are gorgeous buildings and such but in the back of your mind you know the dirty, scary places exist. When you step outside of the city, say on an airplane, you can see it in all its glory. You only see good, not bad. 

Now why on earth would something so miniscule matter so much to me and in my life? Well, I'm learning to stop looking at good and bad in every situation, step outside of my little bubble, and see beauty in situations and people; beauty that I never knew existed. 

All this to say, this is the new theme for this blog. If you have anything you want to share or a question or comment for me, don't hesitate to email,, or leave a comment!