Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ugh...

...this kid is costing us a fortune!! Because the "new" car is used, we were only given one key last night. No big deal, we thought, we'll just go get a copy made. We were pretty psyched that the key didn't have one of those chip-thingies on it, so we figured it wouldn't be more than a few bucks. Yeah, well, we were wrong.

We went to the local Ace Hardware this afternoon, and it turns out that there is, indeed, a chip. It's in the plastic "head" of the key. So, in the windup, the spare cost us another $89! So help me God, if this kid loses a key, I'm gonna take a limb!

From Ace, we went to the store and got seat covers, air fresheners, and looked at mats and scrapers. I decided to get the mats and scraper at Sam's Club, since I like what they had better. Last month I had bought Stud a really nice emergency car kit at Sam's, in anticipation of the new car arriving by Christmas. It even has an emergency shovel, which my fellow Chicagoans know is a vital part of a ChiTown winter.

While we were at the store, I picked up a couple of containers of cotton candy for Brian, since he loves it. When Stud saw it, he had the unmitigated gall to ask, "You didn't buy ME anything?" I had to remind myself that he sometimes has a dry, twisted sense of humor, so I wouldn't punch him right in his mouth!!

CSJ surprised me this afternoon by leaving work early, planning out the errands we had to run, and fitting a nice dinner and some alone time into the plan. I guess there are some advantages to him still having an apartment. ;-) It's kinda hard to have meaningful alone time when there are always teenagers in the house. It was a really nice evening. But, now I'm completely exhausted, and I need to hit the sack. I'm not sure how many more of these long days I can handle. By now, most of you know what happens when a certain little penguin doesn't get her 8 hours of beauty rest for a few nights. For those of you who don't, let's just say - it ain't pretty!

It's over...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
What did you learn from doing NaBloPoMo?

That I'm a pretty boring person, who tends to bore her readers with the boring details of her boring life. However, I also learned that my Bloggy Buddies are totally awesome, and they keep coming back anyway. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Newest Member of Our Family

I just drove this little puppy home from the dealer. It's technically MY car, although we bought it for Stud. This kid has no idea how lucky he is. At least I don't think he does. But, he needs a car to get back and forth to school, and hopefully a job soon! Actually, he's been working at the bar, cleaning, for a couple of months now. My brother is hoping he'll be able to start coming 3 days a week now. That should be just enough pay to cover car insurance and gas.

This car is so freakin' cute!! I'm seriously thinking about keeping it for myself, and giving Stud my truck. Yeah, he's thrilled...

Monday, November 28, 2011

One more...

Sorry, I'm sure you're all sick of looking at pictures of my gorgeous niece. However, today's prompt from NaBloPoMo is, once again, a dud (what is up with the sucky Monday prompts?!) so I'm going to post a picture!

My brother actually had a handful of pictures of his baby in the dress she wore to the party last Sunday. This is the photo I used to make the Thank You cards. She's such a doll!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why, oh why, did I have to check my email?

One of my besties just sent me a link to this article. VERY interesting, yet infuriating, reading.

Why so much disrespect toward teachers?

Smiley Sunday

Monkey's First Thanksgiving!

How cute is she?!

Monkey giving Stud a little tickle under his chin.
The oldest and the youngest of my nieces.
Monkey and her handsome daddy.
It's really too bad her mother insists on dressing her like a boy! When my sister showed a picture of Monkey from Thanksgiving to her friend, the friend said, "Oh, my NEPHEW has that same outfit." WTF?!? For over 4 months now, her mother has been dressing her like a boy, and it drives us nuts!

Monkey and Grandpa
Monkey and Grandma
Monkey and Auntie
I swear I wasn't drunk here!
We tried to get a family picture, but it didn't go so well. I have two really crappy ones, and I wasn't even going to post them, but they kinda make me laugh, so I figured, what the hell! My niece should have a few on her camera, so when she sends them to me, I'll see if they're better. If they are, I'll post them later.

Stud's making a silly face here, I'm letting all 15 of my chins show, and Monkey started to cry.
Take 2 was just as bad. Monkey was screaming at this point, so my dad's looking at her instead of the camera, and my mom was saying something, probably "wait, don't take it yet!" Poor Brian was trying to take the pictures, with everyone's camera, of course. Like I said, looking at these makes me laugh because it takes me right back to that absurd moment!My sister brought this silly headband with her because she thought we might be able to get a cute picture of Monkey so my brother could make his Christmas cards. Too bad she had a (boys!!!) Thanksgiving outfit on, huh?

Like I said last night, I got to spend most of the day with my baby yesterday. Once again, she was dressed completely in BOY'S clothes. Literally. The jeans she was wearing were the EXACT jeans I saw the day before at Target, that had a tag that said "boys." I'm sure the striped shirt with the big frog on the front was also a boys shirt. The ONLY thing that saved her was that her mother FINALLY put a headband on her. How freakin' adorable is this baby?!

(some of these were taken with my iPod, which is why they're such poor quality. Sorry. However, her cuteness still comes shining through, don't you think? tee hee)



Ok, that's all you get today. I wouldn't want you to get spoiled or anything. I've got 3 minutes before I have to take the chocolate pound cake out of the oven that I'm making to bring to my girlfriend's in a while. Today is her baby's baptism. I'm just going to have to suffer through another day snuggled up to a cute baby. Ahhh....someone's gotta do it....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Soggy Saturday

It's been raining/drizzling/pouring here all day today. It really didn't matter too much, though, because I spent most of my day with my little monkey. Ugh, she's so damn cute!!! I will share a few pictures tomorrow.

After her mommy picked her up, I had an awesome dinner with my brother and CSJ* at this great little Mexican place my brother likes. Then, CSJ and I spent some time walking around in the rain at a car lot looking at cars for Stud. We actually just spent about 2 hours looking online at various sites. We have a list of cars we want to check out this week.

Now, I'm completely exhausted, and we're gonna hit the hay. I hope your Saturday was as enjoyable as mine. :)

*Karen suggested, in a comment she made the other day, that I may need to change these initials. I was trying to think of something else that would fit those initials (Cute Silly Jerk?) but I'm not having any real luck. Anyone else have any suggestions?

Friday, November 25, 2011

11/25/11

Friday, November 25, 2011
Do you like to buy presents ahead of time or right when you need to give them?

I prefer to buy gifts ahead of time. I used to be one of those people who would be finished Christmas shopping, with all gifts wrapped and stashed, before Halloween. I would shop all year long, grabbing things when I found them, usually on sale. Now that the kids are older, there's almost no point in even shopping. All 3 of the teens prefer to receive cash these days.

Thankfully, this Christmas will be a little different, now that the baby is here. Actually, I spent several hours today shopping for her. Well, I guess maybe it was more for my brother. I picked up a really cool bouncy seat that vibrates and has a toy bar across it. It's a jungle-themed seat, and has a cute little monkey hanging from the bar. I don't remember if I mentioned it, but pretty much everything the baby has is monkey-themed. It's what her daddy wanted, and we are having tons-o-fun with it.

I also got her a Johnny Jump Up. I can NOT wait for her to try it out. She has been trying to stand up since the day she was born. I'm not even kidding. She stands up now every chance she gets since, apparently, she doesn't know she's only 4 months old! This thing is gonna be right up her alley.

Naturally, I had to get her a bunch of cute outfits, including one with the most adorable little penguin shirt (it says "I love dancing with Daddy"),and these cute jeans, with the ruffles at the cuffs and pockets.
I couldn't pass up this adorable little dress (It says "Santa Baby" in the middle),
or this cute Christmas-y outfit.

There was NO way I was leaving without this ornament. I mean, seriously?! A monkey ballerina?!


This one is for my oldest niece, The Diva. I tried 10 times to post a picture of the ornament I got for her sister, but Blogger is being a bitch. It's just a sterling silver initial, studded with crystals.

There are a few other goodies that I picked up today, but since I'm not sure who may or may not read this, I'm going to keep those under wraps for now. ;-)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks

My sweet Bloggy Buddy, Debbie, sent me a lovely little Thanksgiving note today, along with this adorable video. She said it made her think of me. I can't imagine why. ;-)


Happy, happy Thanksgiving to all of you. My friends, both bloggy and IRL, are high on my list of things I will be giving thanks for today. I hope your day is spent surrounded by loved ones. Oh, and food. Lots and lots of food.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh, that's nice...

Ahhhh....is there anything better than a 4-day weekend? Well, ok, yeah...a 5-day weekend, which is what the kids have, but hell, I'll take my 4-day weekend! I still feel like I'm trying to catch up from this past weekend. I'm actually STILL washing dishes and yes, crock pots, from the party.

We had left everything at the bar on Sunday, since it was so late, and we were all so incredibly tired. The plan was for Stud to go to the bar on Monday to clean, and then bring my stuff home. But, he ended up getting sick at the end of the night Sunday, and basically threw up all over the bathroom at the bar. (God bless him, he actually cleaned it all up himself!) Monday, he still wasn't feeling well, so he didn't go clean. I had a meeting to go to yesterday, so I didn't have to really work, so I drove him out to the bar to clean, then went back to get him. He and the other kid who cleans the bar loaded my truck full of all the nasty, dirty dishes and crock pots so I could take them home.

Hoooey! Talk about nasty! I had to drive with the windows down in the backseat because the smell was so overwhelming. I told Stud that as soon as we got home, I wanted him and Brian to unload the car so I could start washing the dishes. Well, when we got home, it was pouring rain, so he said they would get the stuff out before they went to bed.

Yeah, well, I bet you can guess how that went. They completely forgot. Truthfully, I completely forgot, too, until I got in the car this morning to go to work. Holy crap, my car was ripe!! Naturally, I was running late, so I didn't have time to unload anything. THEN, my car sat outside all day, with the sun beating in the windows. I can't even tell you what my car smelled like when I got in it after school.

I used my triple crock (spinach artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip, BBQ cocktail weenies), my big 6 qt. crock (some incredibly awesome cocktail meatball recipe from a friend of my sister), and my 1 1/2 qt. crock (chocolate fondue to go with dessert) at the party. Needless to say, I'm still washing things. Thankfully, I'm not cooking anything for tomorrow, so I can finish in the morning. The really smelly stuff has been washed, thank goodness!

On a related note, I was at my favorite store last night, and saw what I want Santa to bring me. I seriously almost melted in the aisle. Right up until I saw the $69 price tag. (And Walmart's price was way less than the $99.99 on the Crock Pot website!) Poop. Guess I'll just have to wait until after the holidays, when everything goes on sale.

I hope all my Bloggy Buddies have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. We are planning a very low-key day. I'll probably tell you a little about it tomorrow, just to be sure I fulfill my NaBloPoMo commitment. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lather, rinse, repeat...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
What is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you, and why?

Again, I feel like I've answered this before. Several times, even. Let's recap - the luckiest thing that ever happened to me was working on Thanksgiving morning, 1985. That's the day CSJ walked into my life at 7:30 am. The reason I say it's lucky is because without that event, Stud Muffin wouldn't be here.

Let me take a moment to wish CSJ an early 26th "anniversary." Here's to our 27th Thanksgiving, babe. Glad we'll be spending it together. Again.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Enough already...

Ok, I'm done with these stupid Monday prompts from NaBloPoMo. For some reason, they're always tied to Ricki Lake. I'm not even posting today's.

Instead, I'd like to show you a bunch of pictures from the bash yesterday. There's only one problem. I didn't take any.

I know, I can't believe it either. But, I was just so busy running around, playing happy hostess for/with my brother, I never even took my camera out of my purse. I'm kinda pissed at myself. I'm hoping my brother took some good pictures. If he emails me some, you KNOW I'm going to share.

This was the ONLY picture my sister sent me of the baby from yesterday.
Not the best picture of either of my nieces, but both of them are pretty cute anyway, don't you think?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Can you hear that?

It's the sigh of relief coming from me now that this day is finally over. I'm just spent. I can't remember the last time my back hurt this much. But, I'm finished complaining because every bit of my blood, sweat and tears was worth it. Today was a wonderful day, and we were able to celebrate my beautiful niece. It was so nice having the family all together. I'd love to tell you more, but I have to be up in a few hours. I just hope the spasms in my back stop by then. :(

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Is it still only Saturday?

Today was a LONG day of running, running, running and then running, followed by a little more running. My brother and I spent the day trying to get ready for the party we're having tomorrow for my beautiful niece's baptism. It's been a long time since I've been this plumb tuckered out. I just got home, and I was shocked to see SNL on the TV. Sadly, I still have a few things to do before I can hit the sack. Then, it's up bright and early to start making all the dishes I'm bringing. I'm afraid tomorrow is going to be an even longer day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

11/18/11

Friday, November 18, 2011 What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?

Seriously?!?! How many times has this prompt been used?!

I don't think I'm even going to bother with it. Tell ya what. YOU answer this one for me. What do YOU think is my answer? I have a shiny new dime for you if you get it right. While you're typing, tell me - what's YOUR answer?

On a completely different topic, guess who went to the groomer today. G'head, guess. Nope, it wasn't Stud Muffin. It was this cutie patootie!He got a bandana from the groomer because he was such a good boy. Hard to believe he's going to be 15, huh? Sheesh, that's 105 in dog years!! He doesn't look a day over 70.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why is this going to be a great day?

Because when I turned my computer on, my weather widget said 28. Yep, 28. I believe the weather guy just said our wind chill factor is actually at 18. Can you see my smile from there?

**8:00pm update**
This is going to have to serve at today's NaBloPoMo post, cuz today's prompt is too stupid! BTW, it was snowing on my way home from work. JOY!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

11/16/11

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood?

At first, I thought the answer was "the moment you get married," since at the time, I thought it made me a grown up. I was moving out of my parents' home and into a home with my husband. But, the more I thought about this, the more I realized the real answer is "the moment your first child is born." That moment was joyous and terrifying at the same time. I mean, who the HELL decided I was capable of taking care of another human being?! I was still trying to figure out how to take of myself half the time! Now, I was responsible for the well-being and happiness of child. MY child. Talk about having to grow up quick!

Add to that the fact that the moment my son was born, I took a back seat to him when it came to my family. The minute anyone would walk in the door, or I walked in their door, the first thing they wanted was the baby. I was merely the one who brought him. My aunts and uncles wanted to fawn over the new baby now, not their niece. Huh?!

Yep, that pretty much makes you a grown up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

11/15/11

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Describe a favorite place. Focus on how that place affects your sense of taste, touch, sight, sound, or smell.

OK, I thought I could do this now, but I'm so freakin' tired, I can hardly keep my eyes open. I just got home from a hair appt., (which most of you know means a LATE night for me) after a really long day. I'll try and give you an answer tomorrow. I just couldn't bear to miss posting something, and blow NaBloPoMo for a second month in a row!! I don't like screwing up, you know.

Happy Birthday to my Bestest Friend, and my favorite uncle today!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

11/14/11

Monday, November 14, 2011
I was terrified to go on DWTS, but facing my fear and overcoming it has been an incredible experience. Have you faced fears and overcome them?(Guest Prompt by Ricki Lake, who can be found on Facebook or Twitter @RickiLakeShow)

I think this has been answered by me before. Truthfully, I think it may have even been a NaBloPoMo prompt before. I'll spare you all the trouble of having to read it all again, and just give you the short answer.

The biggest fear I've faced, and then overcome, came right after I made the decision to throw out my husband. I had a 1 1/2 year old baby, a big mortgage on a house that we hadn't even been in a year, and NO JOB, since I quit working about 6 weeks before this to stay home with my baby. What is it they say? We make plans, and God laughs? Boy, that must have been a real knee-slapper for Him, huh? Obviously, my fear was about how the hell was I going to take care of this baby. Well, here we are, more than 16 years later, and in the big picture, my life is pretty darn good.

I think that's all I need to say about this one. Again, most of you have already read the long answer. If you missed it, I'm sorry. Feel free to dig through the archives to find it. Frankly, I wouldn't waste my time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sweet Sunday

Today was just one of those lovely, relaxing, enjoyable Sundays. One of Stud's besties spent the night last night. Who knows how long they were up playing a new video game Stud received for his birthday last week. When I got up this morning, I made cinnamon rolls for the boys, but waited until I thought they were stirring before popping them into the oven. Right before I did, my eldest niece called me to see what I was doing. I asked her if she wanted to come and hang out. When I told her Stud's friend was here, she gave a resounding "Yes!" I hung up with her, and about a minute later my phone rang again. This time it was her little sister. They crack me up. It's like they don't even live in the same house!! I asked her if she was going to come over with her sister, and of course she didn't know what I was talking about. But, she said she was going to get dressed and come over.

The girls ended up spending the whole day here. Niece #1 spent some time downstairs hanging out with the boys (they're all the same age) while Niece #2 sat upstairs doing homework. Then they both watched some classic tv with me (Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Bussom Buddies, Dick VanDyke, I Love Lucy) Ok, we didn't actually veg out in front of the tv that whole time. We were watching in the kitchen, while the girls did homework, and I prepared dinner. Niece #2 and I also played a few rounds of Words with Friends.

At some point, Niece #1 went in the other room to call my brother. (I had been bugging him all morning about how only 2 out of my 3 nieces were over, and why wasn't he bringing #3 over, etc.) and she never came back. I kept calling her, but no answer. I finally went into the living room to get something and found her passed out on the couch. She was at a sleepover last night at a friend's house for her 18th birthday, so I imagine there wasn't a lot of sleeping going on. Anyway, we let her sleep, thinking we'd just wake her at dinner time. Well, yeah...that didn't happen. This kid sleeps like the dead. Try as we might, she would NOT wake up! We just let her sleep while we ate the kick-ass chili I made for dinner.

Around 6ish, my father called to see if we all wanted to take a ride over to their house. Actually, I forgot to mention that Niece #1 had already called my mother several times earlier in the afternoon, begging her to come over for dinner. They didn't come, obviously. So, then my dad called, to see if we wanted to come over there instead. My aunt was there visiting, and she had birthday gifts for Stud and Niece #2. In the windup, just the two birthday kids went to my parents', since Niece #1 was still sleeping, CSJ was very involved in watching the Bears game, and I was busy cleaning up from dinner. Have I mentioned yet how great it is to have a kid who drives?

A couple hours later, my sister called and wanted me to wake up Niece #1, and send her home. By this point, Stud had come back home, but left Niece #2 at my parents. We figured Niece #1 would just pick her up on her way home. It took a while, but I finally got Sleeping Beauty off the couch. I heated up her dinner (spinach and 3 cheese ravioli - she's a vegetarian so chili was out) and we visited for a little while more while she ate. Then, oops, my sister called again. As soon as we saw the caller id, my niece ran out the door. It was pretty funny.

Now, all is quiet around here. Stud is downstairs playing his game, Brian is in the shower, CSJ is in the kitchen doing paperwork, and I'm snuggled up in my bed, boring you with the mundane details of my life. I've been suffering with a chronic stiff neck for about a month now, so I have this awesome heatable neck wrap on, which feels great. (It's one of those wraps you heat in the microwave. I think it's filled with rice, and a bunch of essential oils and stuff, for aromatherapy. It smells pretty great.) After rereading this, I'm having a hard time keeping myself awake. You should be sure to bookmark this page to use the next time you have insomnia.

I hope your day was as uneventful and relaxing as mine was. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I survived

Well, I gotta tell ya, that stress test was a bit more difficult than I had expected. I ended up having to go alone to the hospital, as my brother ended up having a bit of an emergency. A few minutes after I hit publish for the post below, he called to tell me that he wasn't going to be able to pick my up after all because his girlfriend just called, and she thinks she lost her wallet at the bar last night. Actually, she thinks she may have thrown it out by mistake. She was making some table tent inserts last night, and was trimming the papers on a table. My brother told her he remembered seeing her wallet on the stack of paper trimmings, to which she replied, "Well then I must have thrown it out with the garbage!"

My brother rushed over to the bar to check the garbage. As he was driving, he realized he was going to have to check the dumpster because the garbage cans get emptied every night by the staff. As he pulled to the back of building, he remember is was garbage pick up day. Sure enough, the truck was in the strip mall next door, and headed his way. He quickly grabbed a bunch of black trash bags out of the dumpster just as the truck pulled up. Thankfully, after he explained to the garbage guy what was going on, he waiting while my brother started ripping bags open. Unbelievably, he found the wallet!!

He called me just as I was parking in the tower at the hospital. I told him not to worry about coming, but he told me he would be there in 15 minutes. I went in and got registered at the out-patient desk, then headed over to cardiology. I was there about 5 minutes when my brother walked into the waiting room. About a minute after that, though, they called me back and had me change into an oh-so-stylish gown. It turns out there was some delay with the person they were testing ahead of me, so my brother was able to come back where I was and sit with me for about 20 minutes before they took me back. We actually got a lot of things accomplished for the baby's baptism party next Sunday, so that was good.

The test itself took about an hour from start to finish. There was a lot of preliminary stuff, like checking my vitals and getting all the electrodes attached. That was a bit weird, to tell the truth. First the nurse had to swab most of my upper body with alcohol to make sure there were no body oils that would interfere with the electrodes sticking to my skin. Then, she had to use these little pads that felt a bit like sandpaper to "rough up" my skin in all the contact spots. It wasn't the most comfortable experience, I must say. Then, finally, she attached the electrodes. She then also taped over most of them to make sure they didn't come off. Did I mention that in order to do that she had to keep lifting my big, floppy breasts out of her way? Oh, I didn't? Yeah, that was probably the best part. I had to completely undress from the waist up for the test. That meant (gasp!) no bra!! It wasn't pretty, let me tell ya.

The next thing that happened was that Fred, the tech, came in and did a resting echocardiogram. They needed to establish a baseline. Finally, we were ready for the hard part - the treadmill. Sweet Mary, my nurse, explained to me that they were going to have me start slow, on a slight incline, and then they would increase the speed every 3 minutes until I hit my target heart rate. She told me that my target would be 180 bpm. That sounded pretty darn high, especially since my heart rate while I was sitting there was about 70.

Well, as it turned out, I only had to walk for about 6 minutes before I hit the target. Actually, I hit 187, which she said was 105% of the target. She kept telling me how great I was doing. All I kept thinking was, "Where the hell is the oxygen tank!?" When I hit the goal, they had me very quickly jump off the treadmill and lie back down on the bed so they could do another echo.

After that, they just told me to lie back and relax while my heart rate returned to normal. Apparently, it was taking a little longer than normal to get that rate down. I was there for quite a while. At one point, another nurse poked her head in to make sure everything was ok, since I was there for so long. Mary assured her that she was just waiting for my rate to go back to normal, but that I did so well, and I hit 105%, blah, blah, blah. I gotta tell ya, I was getting nervous. I kept watching the monitor, which I'm sure made things worse.

Eventually, Mary said I was done, and sent me to get dressed. She said the doctor was going to check out the results while I was changing, and to wait for her in the waiting room. A couple minutes after I sat down, she came in and gave me two thumbs up. Yay! I survived!

Of course, my darling brother insisted on taking me out to breakfast when we left. We ended up spending the rest of the day together, hitting Sam's Club, and doing some work at the bar. It's about 7pm, and I actually just got home. Perfect timing, as CSJ arrived about 15 minutes before me, after 2 days in Wisconsin for work. I missed him. Yeah, so sue me.

Dinner is ready and on the table (don't get too excited, it's just reheated leftovers from last night, but last night's dinner was awesome!!) so I'm going to go enjoy it with my honey. I hope you're all enjoying your Saturday night, too.

Reason #647 why I love my brother

He is insisting on coming with me this morning to my stress test. He even switched his visitation day with his Baby Mama so he could come, despite my very loud protests. I would so much rather have him spending the day with my gorgeous little niece than sitting in a waiting room, by himself, being bored. But, there was no talking him out of it. CSJ had to go out of town for work, and I drove Stud, Brian and another friend downtown this morning so they could attend an open house for Columbia. I was fully prepared to go by myself, but me brother wouldn't let me.

He can be a persistent little pain in the ass. But, I guess that's why I heart him.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11

Friday, November 11, 2011
It's 11/11/11, make three wishes.

Hmmm...only three, huh?

1. I wish for my family and friends to always be healthy and never have to suffer from any kind of medical issues.

2. I wish for my family and friends to always be happy and their lives to be problem free.

3. I wish for my family and friends to always have enough.

Is it selfish to include myself in those? Is it technically a fourth wish?

Thank You, Veterans, for all you've done and continue to do to protect this country's freedom.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Holy Snowly!

My throat is hurting right now because I just spent the last 5 minutes SCREAMING. Screaming because, as Stud and I were cuddled up in my bed, playing Chess with Friends, I happen to glance out my bedroom window and saw --- SNOW!!! I took video for you on my iPod, but for some reason stupid Blogger isn't letting me upload it. Damn Blogger. I'm so geeked up right now, I can't control myself. I feel like doing cartwheels, but I don't feel like spending the night in the emergency room, seeing as tomorrow is a holiday, and want to enjoy this long weekend sans broken bones.

--ok, I'm trying it again. Now, I know it's only a few flakes, but they're big, fat, fluffy flakes. Those are my favorite. Actually, in the time it's taken me to put this stupid post together, the snow has already ceased, and the sun is brightly shining. But, that's ok. I'm still happy cuz, hey! It snowed today!!



--Oh for Pete's sake. I just watched this through the published blog, and it's really crap. I promise, it was snowing more than what I managed to catch with my iPod. Whatever. I'm still smiling. :)

11/10/11

Thursday, November 10, 2011
What is your secret (or not-so-secret) passion?

I know most of you won't be surprised by this one. My passion, on a personal level, would be my son. On a professional level, it would be working with the babies. The younger the better. I am getting closer all the time to my dream of working with preschoolers. It's really very exciting. I just hope it happens before I retire! ;-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11/9/11

This makes me wish I lived 5 minutes from O'Hare, instead of Midway. Amusingly enough, right around this time, Stud said he thought it was snowing outside, but I told him I thought it was just drizzle. Things that make you go hmmm...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
When was the first time that you realized that your home was not like other people’s homes?

I was pretty young when I realized this one. It was mainly because every single one of my friends always LOVED to come to my house. Anyone who's ever spent any time around real Italians understands this one. Our house was always the one where everyone was welcome. You could barely get in the door before someone was hugging you and shoving something delicious in your face, yelling "Mangia! Mangia!". There was usually music playing, and people singing and/or dancing. There was always laughter, LOTS of laughter.

I'm not at ALL saying that my friends didn't come from loving homes of their own. They were just different, that's all. You often hear kids who say, "I wish I could live at so-and-so's house." Well, we were always the "so-and-so" in that sentence. None of us ever said that, that's for sure.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

11/8/11

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event

Wow, I'm not sure where to start with this one. There have been many, many traumatic things that have happened to me in my life. Maybe I could bullet-point a few of the most traumatic? (I realize that what might be traumatic to me might not seem traumatic to others, but this is MY blog, so just deal.)
  • My grandpa passed away when I was 16 after suffering for several years after a massive stroke. I miss him just as much today as I did when he died 27 years ago.
  • I suffered through two miscarriages before Stud was born. There was another after he was born.
  • I lost one of my favorite uncles (one of my dad's brother) to cancer about 6 months after I was married. My wedding was one of the last "good days" he had. He ended up in the hospital the day after, and suffered through many agonizing, painful, horrible months before he died.
  • In February 1994, my daddy has his first massive heart attack. This was probably the single most terrifying day of my life. He had another 2 years later which is when he had his quadruple bi-pass surgery. He later had another, a few years after that, which lead to his 3rd angioplasty.
  • On New Year's Eve 1995 my brother-in-law (CSJ's brother) killed himself, after shooting his girlfriend and killing her. This was about 3 months after CSJ and I first separated, and played a big part, I think, in our inability to fix our marriage at the time.
  • In 2000, at the tender age of 30, my cousin was diagnosed with cancer. That same year my sister's marriage ended, as did my uncle's (my mom's brother). That was also the year my brother called off his wedding about 2 weeks before it was to take place. He and his then-fiance had been together for 5 years. The year 2000 was not a good one for my family.
  • In 2003, that cousin lost his battle with cancer at 32. A month after that, my grandma lost a leg due to complications from her diabetes. Six months later, my grandmother passed away.
  • As you know, my brother had a baby this summer. However, the baby's mother is NOT his beautiful girlfriend of the past 12 years. Yeah, that's probably more traumatic for her, but trust me, this has been a source of untold angst and trauma for me, and my family. This is definitely one of the topics in The Post I've been promising for the past 3 months. (As traumatic as this situation may be, of course I love my gorgeous little niece to pieces, and I absolutely know what a blessing from God she is.)
  • There has been a very traumatic event here recently involving Stud. (Some of you may have picked up on that when reading the Love Letter.) I'm not ready to share just yet, but the heartache and sorrow I've been feeling these past few weeks have been unlike anything I've ever experienced. I can't remember the last time I've cried this much, or been this utterly sad. I've been trying with all my might to focus on the future, and tell myself it'll all work out, but it's not really working.
That last bullet point started the water works again. Time to go cry for a while. I'm starting to hate NaBloPoMo.

Monday, November 7, 2011

11/7/11

Monday, November 7, 2011
Making family time is important to me. How do you balance your children, relationship, and work life?

Well, all of us know - it's not easy! Most of you know I've been doing it on my own for the past 16 years, which adds another layer of "tough" to the works. I know how much I've had to do, and sacrifice, to do it for ONE child. I'm completely in awe of those single mothers who have more than one. They are my heroes.

All I can really say is that my child and my family have always come first. Always. I have, at some point, told every one of my bosses, "I am a mother first, and a teacher second, and I will never apologize for that."

Most of us, I think, somehow just figure it out as we go along. I think we just "do" it, and don't really stop to think about it. At least in my case, I know that if I had stopped to think about how crazy my life was, I probably would have just froze with fear, and then nothing would have gotten done. Some of you will remember that not too long ago, I was working 2 jobs and going to graduate school, while raising my son. Once I graduated, I took on a 3rd job, mostly because I then had tuition to pay for my son's private school.

Thankfully, since then, things have slowed down a bit for me. More than you guys even know. (I know, I know, I still owe you a post. I'm an assbag.) That being said, I have a whole host of new things causing me stress in my life right now. Truthfully, I feel more stressed now then when I was working 3 jobs. I just take it one day at a time these days, and try to go with the flow. What else can I do really?

Little side note - I will be going for a stress test on Saturday. I probably should have done it years ago. Whatever, I'm doing it now. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous. Part of that nervousness stems from the fact that my aunt had her first stress done when she was just 2 years older than I am now, and less than a minute into it, she coded and dropped dead right on the treadmill. Thankfully, they were able to shock her back to life. And, thank God, she was having the test done at the hospital, as opposed to at her doctor's office, so she was able to get immediate treatment. However, it turned out that treatment was a quadruple bi-pass surgery. Yeah...not how I'm hoping MY test goes. Feel free to put out some positive vibes, good thoughts, prayers, whatever you have to give, for me this Saturday.

I don't want to end on a negative note, so let me just say, there are also lots of great things that are happening around here, too, that are making me very happy. Let me just say this - Good or bad, there's never a dull moment around here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A little taste of cuteness...

I was able to find just a few photos of Stud as a baby. There were only a few envelopes of photos in the first drawer I checked, and they’re all from his first year. I spent too much time looking at them that I’ve now put myself hours behind schedule. I can't look for any more because I have a house full of family coming for dinner in a few hours, and I still need to go to the store before I can start cooking. Eesh!

I came across this photo of my brother and Stud on his first Christmas. Stud was 7 weeks old, and my brother was the same age Stud is now! He looks like such a baby. Stud is wearing an official Chicago Bulls Starter warm-up suit that my dad’s boss gave him for his 1st Christmas. He also received a pair of Air Jordan’s from his godfather, but I don’t think he’s wearing them in this photo.crop 4

These are a few of my favorite pictures of Stud. He’s about 9 weeks old here. These were taken in the bathroom (obviously!) of our old apartment.

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crop 2crop 3I LOVE this picture of Stud and his grandpa. He’s 12 weeks old here.crop 5

These are from Stud’s 9 month photo session. He was just SUCH a happy baby! I also took some of him in a Sox outfit for his daddy, but since Mommy is a Cub’s fan, I’m only posting these!

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These are a couple of shots from his 1 year photos. I could just eat him up!

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OK, time to get OFF this computer and get moving. How does oven-roasted chicken and potatoes, caprese salad and a tossed salad sound? Grandma’s making pasta salad, and Dad ordered an atomic cake from his favorite bakery. If you’re in the area, stop by!

Love Letter

My Beautiful Baby Boy,

Oh my good Lord. How is it even possible that you are 18 today?! How did the last 18 years just fly by in the blink of an eye?

You, my sweet boy, are the single greatest thing that has EVER happened to me. I never knew what true love was until you came along. I didn’t know my heart could hold that much love.

Raising you has been the most important job I’ve ever had. Most of the time, I feel like I’m doing a piss-poor job. But then, I remind myself that you are your own person, with your own thoughts and opinions, and your own very strong will. That’s what makes you the awesome person you are. And, I love that person.

I know these past few weeks have a been a rollercoaster of emotion for you. They have been for Daddy and me, too. But, we’ll get through this, as a family, and we’ll all come out stronger for it. I can only imagine how you’ve been feeling about yourself, but there are some things I want you to remember. YOU are a good person. You are funny, kind, generous, compassionate, witty, helpful, and so many other wonderful things. Don’t even get me started on how smart you are. You have no idea how strange it is raising a child who is smarter than you. And, I mean light years smarter!

Everyone makes mistakes. We all make poor choices from time to time. The key is to learn from those mistakes. It’s these life lessons that form us into the people we become. Please hold on to these lessons and learn from them. Do NOT let your mistakes define you. Learn from them and move on.

I see so much greatness in your future, my love. So much. I know right now you must feel scared, lost, confused, sad, angry, etc. But, believe me, you will come through this. Your future is yours to decide. I’m confident that you will make better and better choices as time goes on, and you’ll continue to learn from those “not so great” choices, too.

It breaks my heart that you had to learn such a harsh life lesson at such a young age. However, I know you’ll learn from it. Just, please, don’t forget what you’ve learned. Keep it in the forefront of your mind. Let it help guide your future choices.

I want you to know how very, very much I love you and adore you. Yeah, yeah, I know I tell you all the time, but I can’t help it. Sometimes I think my heart is going to burst from the love I feel for you.

Happy Birthday, my sweet darling. You are my joy, and I love you more than you’ll ever know.

Love,

Mommy

November 6, 2011

Ok, I've been trying to stop crying long enough to post today, but I'm just overwhelmed with emotion. My long-time bloggy buddies probably aren't surprised by that, since I'm always an emotional wreck. It's just who I am, I guess. Excuse me while I go blow my nose...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday, Nov. 4, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011
When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

I hate to sound wishy-washy, but I like them both. I can definitely type faster than I can write. That comes in handy when I'm writing papers for school, or blog posts. ;-) However, sometimes, I just need to put my favorite pen to paper. I find that I'm much more emotional when I'm actually writing. Or is it that I pick up a pen when I feel emotional? Chicken or egg? I always write a novel in birthday/wedding/anniversary cards. I've written some pretty freakin' awesome love letters in my time.

So, I guess that's the answer. If I'm writing with emotion, it's a pen. If it's for "function" it's the computer.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

11/3/11

Thursday, November 3, 2011
Can you listen to music and write? What song did you hear today?

Absolutely! Truthfully, I work better when there's music playing, or at least some background "noise." Right now it's the TV, because Grey's Anatomy is on, and I'm the Queen of Multitasking.

I'm not sure why the second part of this prompt is here. I heard more songs today than I can list. Silly question, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

11/2/11

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?

Well, I'm not sure if I can think of an exact meal, per se, but I know what key ingredients would have to be there. There would definitely have to be some kind of cheese involved. Goat cheese, bleu cheese, buffalo mozzarella, fresh ricotta, brie, Havarti, super sharp cheddar, oh good Lord, I could just go on and on!

If there was also some great rustic, crusty bread to go with that cheese, all the better! Oh, and fresh tomatoes are a must. And, an olive or two (or 20!) wouldn't hurt, either. I wouldn't be completely opposed to a few slices of prosciutto or soppressata or capicola.

Well, no matter what the main meal is, I KNOW it has to end with something chocolate. A Nutella-filled croisant, perhaps, or just a few squares of fine dark chocolate would be perfect. Molten Chocolate Lava Cake, anyone? Chocolate Espresso Pots de Creme? Hell, I'd be happy with a couple of Hershey kisses!

All this talk about chocolate has my mouth watering. I think I'm going to go smear some Nutella on a crusty slice of Italian bread for breakfast. Or, I'll just eat it out of the jar with a spoon. Whatever.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day One NaBloPoMo

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
What is your favourite part about writing?

Expressing my thoughts and feelings, but getting to edit it until it's exactly the way I want it to be. Unless, of course, I'm too tired to keep editing, or even think straight, which happens pretty frequently. Like right now, for example. Just sayin'...