Monday, May 28, 2012

Home Project: Lainie's Room

Now that we've been in our new house for a couple months, I want to start working on putting it together.
{read: it's time to grow up and buy real furniture, and decorate a house}
My first project I think is going to be Lainie's bedroom.
She's such a sweet girl, but she can be so serious sometimes.
I try all the time to remind her to just be a kid, please stop frowning, go play and have fun-stop worrying!
When she came to me and told me she wanted a "fairy forest bedroom", my heart kind of lept a little.
What a precious, and childlike thing to want.
An enchanted, magic filled forest, right in her own bedroom.
I told her yes, most definitely you can have that.
So, one lazy Saturday afternoon, we headed out to Michael's to see what we could find that would start us on our way.
What did we find?
There was so much-too much, and I got completely overwhelmed.
I could've easily spent my entire month's salary in that store on fairy/forest shit, and we would've ended up with a room full of crap, not magic and enchantment.
So, I took to Pinterest.
Faithful, wonderful Pinterest.
I narrowed down my thoughts and best I could, and started pinning.
Here's what I came out with:

I wanted a good color for her walls.
Something that will grow with her a bit, so that if in a couple years we're still in this house and she's done with the enchanted forest stuff, she could pick a new theme but likely not have to repaint her room.
So that ruled out pink, purple or any other "little girl" color.
This being an enchanted forest, I thought a nice, earthy but still mostly neutral shade of green would be best.
I like this wall color for the fairy forest bedroom

Please, don't pay attention to any of the shit on the walls. 
I'm not using any of it, just the color of the walls.

Next came the floors.
We have beautiful dark wood floors in the bedrooms, so those don't need to be changed at all. 
Just an area rug.
Laying in bed one night, unable to sleep, I started thinking about her room, and it came to me: a lovely little area rug that looked like a patch of grass.
A soft little patch of grass on the dark brown wood would be perfect!
Behold: IKEA.
I know, it's hard to grasp that being right. Here's a picture of how someone used the same rug in their nursery, to mimic grass:
Rug that looks like grass for L's "fairy forest bedroom"
See? Perfect.

I thought then about the ceiling.
Lainie has been talking about a bed canopy that has flowers and fairies on it.
I wasn't sure where we'd find something like that.
i should've known: Etsy.
Lainie would just die
This is beautiful, and perfect for over her bed.
However, it's 75 bucks. I think not.
I'm fairly certain I can recreate this little gem for a lot less.
Sorry to the original creator, but it's just too pricey, and I think I can make it myself, plus add some fabric and LED lights and make it exactly what Lainie wants.

Speaking of LED lights, I don't love this headboard exactly, but I love the idea of this headboard, if you get what I'm saying:
Firefly headboard. Not this exactly, but something like it
Soft, white LED lights around the head of her bed, or maybe on her headboard, or maybe on the ceiling above her?
I just love the idea of them looking like soft fireflies, dancing around her room as she falls asleep.

This weekend, we'll be making this as a decoration for her room:
Pinned Image
Fairies in a jar.

All in all, I'm super excited to get started on this, and I really think it's going to turn out absolutely beautiful.
Hopefully she loves it for a long time.
Hopefully it helps keep that innocent little kid awake in her for a while longer.
Hopefully, above all else, it makes her smile.

Our Memorial Day Weekend: What We Ate

This Memorial Day weekend could've just as easily been called "This weekend when I ate everything terrible for me in a span of three days"
I literally feel like a beached whale sitting on my couch right now. 
I hate running, but if I could muster the strength to get off the couch, I'd run like 5 miles as fast as possible, to try to burn some of this off.
Unfortunately my huge ankles are weighing me down. 

The last two pictures are of Bill and his map-I mean and me, in Wickenburg on Sunday.
We drove up planning to do some offroading, but never really did much because we didn't have GPS and are still getting the hang of off roading. It's kind of scary if you've never done it before!
Fun though.
We also had some awesomely fried and fattening Mexican food for lunch that day, and a huge dinner of gumbo and jambalaya the night before. I don't have pictures of that though.
So see?
It's even worse than what you see here!

Hope you all had a great, and slightly less fattening Memorial day weekend.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Read This: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I just finished The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera.
This is one of the better books I've read recently.
So good in fact, that I read it in two days, which is rare for me because I'm always reading more than one book at a time, putting one down in favor for the other, then getting bored and switching back. 
It can take weeks sometimes for me to finish a book.
But this one was read, cover to cover in no time flat.
I loved it.
I loved the womanizing but somehow equally sensitive and endearing doctor, Thomas. I loved the dedicated and enduring Tereza. I didn't care much for Sabina, the slutty artist, because I saw her as not only a ginormous slut, but also bordering on psychotic, not in the fun way, and she reminded me too much of this girl I was very best friends with, all through high school and for some years afterward, who did a lot of the same callous and uncaring things that Sabina did to men, just because she could, just because it satiated something in her at the time, just because she didn't care enough not to.
The chapters about her made me angry.
There were lines and phrases, sometimes entire paragraphs in this book that absolutely took my breath away.
Sometimes I'd be in the middle of a chapter that seems to be redundant and unnecessary, about to lose hope in the book, when all of a sudden it would finish off in one perfect, elegant and heartbreakingly beautiful line, and I'd be sucked right back in.
If you're a feminist, or have some serious anger toward men I wouldn't read this book, because you really have to work to see past Thomas' womanizing and bad behavior. You have to try really hard to see him objectively, and exactly how he is presented in the book without your idea of right and wrong getting in the way.
If you can do that, this one will break your heart, and then keep it forever.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Age Difference, Part Deux


When I wrote about the age difference between Bill and I before, I mainly told you about the questions I get asked all. the damn. time. whenever someone finds out how far apart we are in age.
It was a fun, mostly lighthearted post about how curious other people are.
What I didn't tell you about were the challenges that come with dating someone older than you.
I didn't tell you about the moments where the age difference feels very real, and very obvious.
The moments where your heart just aches because you know you can't always live in a perfect world where you're in love and nothing else matters.
Because this is the real world, and sometimes other things matter.
Things like other people's biases. 
The idea that some people have that your relationship being different than theirs makes it wrong, or inappropriate, or inconceivable. 
The way that when some people react poorly to finding out you're dating someone older, makes you feel like you got slapped in the face for something you didn't do.
Most of the time, most people don't even care, so when you run into that 1 out of 100 people that do care, and are not so nice in their way of telling you they care, it shocks you. It almost stuns you speechless, and maybe it's just me, but I almost feel like I'm at a complete loss for words when all I want to do is scream "FUCK YOU" in their face, because they don't know me, or us, and it's none of their damn business.
I didn't tell you about things like trying to find couple friends.
A lot of people my age are not in the same place or at the same maturity level that I am {not that I'm any better of a person, or there is anything wrong with them, we're just different} and while that's usually fine for us just being friends, it makes it hard to feel comfortable bringing them around Bill, because I know someone is going to have a difficult time relating, and things could get awkward.
On the flip side, some of the people Bill's age are so set in their preconceived notions of how I am going to be, given my age, that they probably wouldn't jump at the chance to hang out with us either, thinking I will be an obnoxious 20 something who wants to go clubbing and act a fool.
There aren't many couples I know with similar age differences between them, but if there were that would probably be ideal.
I didn't tell you about things like family pressure. 
Have you ever been in love with someone that your family tried to tell you was "just a phase"?
Have they ever said "That's nice, and I'm sure you're having fun now. But sooner or later you'll need to get serious and find someone your own age"?
That shit hurts.
The fact of the matter is, no one is in our relationship, so it's hard for them sometimes to understand what we see in each other.
There are a lot of preconceived notions about both of us, from both age groups. 
People my age assume I'm dating some boring old man who wants to have dinner at 4:30 and fall asleep watching the news at 6p.m.
People his age assume he's just trying to score some sweet young tail, and when he gets tired of following me around in the club scene, he'll find a woman his age.
People on my side think I have daddy issues.
People on his side don't take our relationship seriously.
It's fucking hard.
And it's hard to get passed the desire to try and change everyone's mind.
To try to make them see how good we are to each other, how much we love each other, how compatible we are.
There's no way to change anyone's mind.
You can let them get to know you as a person, and the two of you as a couple, and hope they see what a great thing this is, but at the end of the day you can't win 'em all.

What I always come back to in my head, though, is that I could be with someone my own age if I wanted to, and so could Bill.
It would be easier in a lot of ways, as it would eliminate all of those judgments and biases and awkward situations.
But I choose this. Even though It's harder, even though it's misunderstood and unconventional, I choose it because it's so completely right for me.
What I wish more people would ask themselves, is why would I choose a relationship that inherently comes with more challenges, if this wasn't what made me truly happy?
If I didn't believe this is where I belong?
If I wasn't completely serious about this?
Why would I purposely take the hard road, if I didn't know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was the only road that lead to home?

I believe that home is not a place. 
It's who you find when you get there.
And when I look into my heart, and I try to imagine home, Bill is always waiting with open arms at the end of that road.

Maybe keep that in mind, the next time you meet a less than ordinary couple.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Bit of History

This is my grandpa Donald, my dad's dad, outside the first gas station he owned in Buckeye, or Gila Bend. I want to say it was Gila Bend, Arizona.
That's a super old Harley motorcycle he's sitting on. A lot of people think it's a tractor.
You can't see it in this picture, because it's behind the person taking the picture {my nana, most likely} but the service station where my grandpa worked on cars, sold candy bars and pumped gas after he retired from the Air force with 22 years of service, was where my dad, my two aunts and my uncle Mark lived when they were all just little kids.
There was a small house attached to the back of the shop, and the walls were as thin as plywood or particle board.
My dad told me they all four slept in one bedroom, the two boys in one twin bed and the two girls in another.
It was hard times for the family back then, my dad would say. They were poor, having spent most of my grandpas money when he got out of the service to move to Arizona and buy the gas station. And my grandmother was in the beginning of her terrible, violent, and life long battle with bipolar disorder, becoming more and more abusive to the kids every day.
I didn't know my grandfather very well. I only really remember him when he was dying, because I was 9 and old enough to remember things, and it was the first time I'd seen someone in real life who was dying.
He looked small, and wrinkly, and all he did was lay in bed and watch old western movies.
Before that, I don't remember much, and what I do remember I'm not sure if I'm actually remembering it or if I just think I am because I heard the stories so many times.
What I do know though is that he never really laid a hand on the kids, my dad or his four siblings {Stephen was born a couple years after this picture was taken}, but he also never intervened when my Nana went after them.
Somehow though, in my father's memory he is blameless.
In the retellings of all the horror stories my dad has collected from his 11 years in his mother's house, his dad always sounds to me like just as much of a victim as the kids were.
Maybe he wasn't being beaten or starved or locked in closets the way they were, but he was a victim to Mary Teresa's disease as much as anyone.
She was his sweetheart, the mother of his children, and she was becoming more and more of a stranger all the time.
Whenever I look at this picture, I feel a weird sort of sympathy for my grandpa.
Sitting there on this Harley that rolled through the shop. driven by someone with a better life than he had, who was nice enough to take his picture on it and let him drive it around a bit, while my Aunts played dolls in the back of the store, and my dad and Mark toddled around in the dirt, bewildered and small.
His whole life consisted of watching people stop by on there way to somewhere, something better, while he watched the woman he loved take everything from the children he gave her.
The little boys who looked exactly like him.
The little girls who all had his smile.
I'm not saying he was innocent.
I just think it must've been hard.
For all of them.
One story that my dad told me, only one time, when we were in Ajo Arizona 7 years ago, always comes back to mind when I see pictures of his dad:
My grandpa used to haul gas from Gila Bend to Ajo in a big fuel tanker, because it was still pretty rural out there at the time, and there wasn't a real service that would bring gas out that far, so they'd bring a bunch to my grandpa's station, and he'd haul it the rest of the way.
Every once in a while, he'd bring my dad a long.
They always went at night, when the desert would cool down, and there were more stars than you can imagine.
Ajo was a mining town, and aside from the big dump on the East side of the town, and the big mine on the West side, there wasn't much else out there. But the main road from Gila Bend divided the two, and at night my dad could look out his father's window on the truck and watch these little mine wagons rolling along the top of tall mountains of rock and soot, dumping their loads of hot coal, which glowed like tiny balls of sun against the black night sky.
He'd watch the red glowing embers tumble down the side of the dump hills, looking like little rolling rivers of sunshine in the middle of an empty ocean of sky and stars and nothing else.
And his dad would look over smile at him.
For the hour and a half ride to deliver gas, my dad was happy. He was a little kid with nothing to worry about, and no one to hurt him, and he was alone with his father.
It was a simple, and brief bit of levity.
The kind that can make a person come out blameless, in the end.

Grandpa and Nana. They met while he was in the service. He was a mechanic in the motor pool, and one of his buddies asked him to sign a car out for him to use on a date. 
My grandpa hesitated, until his friend told him he could come along, his date had a sister. 
That sister was my grandmother.

Great-grandpa Horne

I'm not sure, but I think this is my dad, his brother Mark and his two sisters, or my grandpa and his siblings. I think it's my dad.

Grandpa in the Air force. 

Grandpa as a little boy. He was blonde!

This is my grandpa and my Aunt Debi {on lap} and Aunt Donna {standing} 

My grandpa and Great-grandma

Spicy Black Bean Salad

I found the original recipe for this salad on Pinterest, where I basically find everything good in my life {except my kids and Bill}.
The original recipe looked good, but it called for a few things I didn't have on hand and when I made this I was hot and tired and had only had a can of plain tuna and an apple for lunch, which had been roughly 7 hours prior-a smooth move which I don't recommend. 
Needless to say, I wasn't going to the store to get shit like lime, cilantro and sugar, so I made do with what I had.
It turned out amazing none the less, and I ate almost the entire bowl of it by myself, completely negating the calorie deprivation I put myself through all day long.
This is why I'm fat. 

Modified Spicy Black Bean Salad

What you need:
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 vine ripened tomato
1 ripe but still somewhat firm avocado
1 red bell pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
a few shakes of Tobasco
a big ole tablespoon of your favorite salsa or pico de gallo

The making of this is pretty easy: 
Rinse and drain the beans, chop the veggies and combine everything except the avocado at first.
Add a dash of salt and pepper if you like it, and let the mix set for a bit so the flavors all come out and the beans soften just a bit.
Add the avocado when you're ready to eat it, and enjoy!

If you're going to refrigerate the leftovers, sprinkle a little lemon juice on it and smoosh some plastic wrap right down on top of it, and all around the inner sides of the bowl it's in so the avocado won't go brown.

Also, be careful. This shit is addicting and delicious but sneakily filling.
You will be happily pigging out, and all of a sudden BAM, you are super full, because those beans hit you like a ton of bricks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012



I saw you once, 
In a coffee shop
But you didn't see me.
It was when your heart was heavy and hurting, and I could see it in your eyes.
In the way you kept both hands wrapped around your mug for warmth, even though it wasn't the slightest bit cold out,
And in the way you stared so distantly out the window, but clearly weren't seeing anything that passed by the glass.
I wanted to say something to you, but thought better of it.
I didn't want you to wear yourself out making pleasantries, when it was so obviously taking all you had just to sit upright.
I didn't want to see the way your eyes would only light up halfway, 
I couldn't bear to see you force yourself to smile when you were so close to tears.
So I left you alone.
I  drank my coffee and watched you watch nothing outside the window.
Before I left I stood behind you for a while-too long, wondering if I should hug you without saying a word, then leave quickly before you could see how red my face would turn.
But your back looked too formidable, crouched over with grief, and I couldn't make my arms move to wrap around it.
Plus, you never turned around, you never acknowledged me there, even though I know you must have felt me.
So I wished the glass pieces of your breaking heart the best, and walked away.
Hoping that you'd find the strength to make them into a beautiful mosaic.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Momisms: Feeding Your Minions

One of the things I get asked about the most by people who don't have kids, or are new parents, or generally feel like they can't get out of the grocery store without spending 200 bucks on food, is 
"How much do you spend on groceries for you and the kids?"
Before I answer that question I will say that being the only breadwinner in the house, and not getting child support, my budget is super important to me.
From years of having low paying jobs, and at times no job at all, but still having two kids who were just as hungry as they were when I made good money, I've learned to feed us all pretty well, on very very little.
I spend about $100 a week on food for the three of us, and that includes dinner every single night, breakfast, lunches and snacks on weekends, and lunches during the week for me.
Lainie and Jack eat breakfast and lunch at school during the week because of how early they get dropped off.
This budget comes out to about $4.76 to feed each person, each day of the week.

One thing I've learned about not blowing hundreds of dollars on food {which I could easily do if I wasn't paying attention-I love food} is that you have to make a list, and fucking stick to it.
Once you get the hang of shopping on a budget and maintaining a list, you can vary here and there, getting a couple extra little goodies that weren't on the list, or picking stuff up that is insanely discounted, but until you're a seasoned pro, stick to the Goddamn list.
I know you've all heard that before, and I had too, but for a long time it didn't make a difference. 
Then I realized I didn't know how to make a list.
I know, that sounds ridiculous, but it's true.
I genuinely didn't know how to make a shopping list for a weeks worth of meals-not food, MEALS.
That's an important distinction.
You need to know that what you're getting will make as many whole meals as you need it to this week, not just fill your pantry or your fridge.
How do you do that?
Plan a menu.
The morning I get paid {which is the day I usually do my budgeting and grocery shopping} I sit down and plan out dinners, work lunches and weekend meals for me and the kids for each day between then and my next grocery trip. 
I get paid twice a month, so I pull out two weeks of grocery money, and make 1 weeks menu, then a week later make another one and use the last of our grocery money. By the next payday, it's time to plan and shop again. The cycle continues.
Anyhow, I write it down like this:

Say I get paid on a Monday.
Monday: homemade chicken fingers, salad and noodles
Tuesday: Spaghetti with sausage and garlic bread
Wednesday: chicken burritos
Thursday: Black bean salad and grilled chicken
Friday: homemade white pizza
Saturday: Salmon patties, mashed potatoes and broccoli
Sunday: Grilled chicken breast, cold veggies and hummus
Cereal and fruit for breakfast Saturday and Sunday
Saturday lunch: tuna salad sandwiches, carrots and applesauce
Sunday lunch: fish sticks, tater tots and fruit

With the way I cook, I usually have just enough leftovers from each dinner to take to work with me the next day.

Now that I know what we're eating, I know what we need.
I make a list of all the shit we need for our dinners.
Notice that chicken is in 4 of the 7 meals. 
That means I can buy a big pack of chicken breast, separate them and freeze them for each meal, and it's much cheaper than buying small packs of all different meats. 
Now add the miscellaneous shit you need, like milk, juice or tea for drinking, things your kids snack on like bread and peanut butter, jelly, string cheese, yogurt or whatever your family eats between meals.
And now you're ready.

Another thing I've learned is to walk the perimeter of the store as much as possible, staying out of the boxed or frozen "convenience food" sections, and staying away from the isles with cookies and chips, which are way more expensive than they seem, and add a lot to your grocery bill in very little time.
I do buy bags of frozen veggies sometimes though, especially things like broccoli or mixed veggies because they're cheap and always good to have on hand for a night that you need to haphazardly throw a somewhat healthy meal together.

After you've gotten the shit on your list, get the fuck out of the store. 
Run to the check out counter, don't walk. 
You will inevitably see more and more shit that looks good or is on sale, and the next thing you know you blew your whole budget.

Once you're home, put your weeks menu on the fridge for you to see.
This keeps you focused on your planned meals, reminds you of what you were going to make, and keeps you from eating out as much.
Plus it reminds me as I'm leaving for work "Oh we're having chicken tonight, I need to take some out of the freezer to thaw".

Anyway, that's how I do it, and that's a small example of how we eat.
Good luck feeding your minions.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Our Weekend: A Birthday and a Recipe

Well, here we are on Sunday night and the weekend is coming to a close. 
It's been, for the most part, a very good one.
Jackie's birthday went smoothly, and no one even cried. I didn't get super stressed out and cry or lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle of wine, so I would consider it a success.
Friday night we had a small, just for the family birthday dinner, with me, the kids and my dad.
There were homemade chicken fingers, a homemade chocolate cake, and a very excited birthday boy.
On Saturday, we all went to the park for a bigger birthday party.
Everyone important to Jackson was there, and that meant a lot to me.
Saturday night Bill and I had an appetizer dinner at Z Tejas, complete with Chambord margaritas, then went and looked at his new house.
It was a very nice, fun night, which was exactly what I needed {as always}.
Sunday the kids and I hung around the house, playing in their fort and watching Netflix movies, and generally running around trashing the place.
After a delicious dinner of Salmon patties and salad, it was time for baths, stories, and bed.

It's kind of strange to me sometimes how things have changed in my life over the years. 
There was a time {a long time} where a good weekend in my book consisted of fast food, parties, reckless adventures with dangerous people, and boys who weren't that nice to me.
And it's absolute crazy to me that none of that seems in the least bit appealing to me now.
I mean, crazy in a good way.
I feel like I've come more and more into my own, and made more and more progress in the area of figuring out who I really am, and I just don't feel the need to do those things anymore.
I think that "wilder" time in my life was more or less the working off of restless energy, that had no place to go because I had no idea where to put it, because I had no idea what I really wanted, or who I really was, or what I needed.
So I more or less flailed about, doing whatever struck my fancy or satisfied my boredom for the moment, and then quickly moved on to something else.
I feel so much more grounded now, and I have such a clearer picture of where I'm going and what I'm doing, and as cheesy as it sounds, at the end of the day all these normal, every day family things leave me feeling so much more sated than all the other loud noise and bright lights that filled up the empty spaces in my "old life".
I'm not trying to brag, or say that I'm sooooo grown up now, or have it all figured out, or have mastered the perfect life, because I haven't.
I'm just saying it feels good to know where you want to go, and who you want to go there with.

I hope your weekend was amazing too.
And I hope we all have lots more amazing weekends in our future.
Because life is just too Goddamn short no to.

For those of you who want the Salmon burgers recipe, here you go:

What You Need:

2 cans of pink Salmon {you can use fresh stuff but it's crazy expensive and you'd need a lot of it} de-boned and flaked
1/3 cup of Italian style bread crumbs {I use Italian style to add more flavor}
2 eggs
2 stalks celery, washed and chopped
1 hearty tablespoon of minced garlic
Salt, pepper and onion powder to taste

Once you've deboned and flaked your salmon, add all of the above ingredients and mix with your hands until the mixture is thick enough to stick together in a patty shape without falling apart. You may need to do a test patty, and add more breadcrumbs if it breaks. 
Cover the bottom of a big skillet with vegetable oil, and fry the patties for 1.5-2 minutes on each side, or until they're golden brown on the outside and hot in the inside {I like mine a little crispier, so I fry them to a darker brown, or until the edges or almost black}
Drain on a layer of paper towels, and serve with salad and a side of cold applesauce. 


Friday, May 18, 2012

Jackson's Happy Birthday: Turning 4

Today Jackson the Jedi turns 4.
This is a very big day for such a little boy.
I've been thinking about this birthday coming for a couple months now.
Four is a very big deal.
1 is pretty huge, but it always seemed to me like that birthday was more about the parents celebrating having survived 1 whole year in the same house as a small baby.
2 is wonderful, and it's simple and sweet and fun to look back at 1 and see how much has changed, which between 1 and 2 is almost everything.
3 is a very fun birthday, and probably the first birthday where they have any idea it's their  birthday. A special day just for them, and even know they're not sure what to expect, they know that lots of people are there, and everyone is so happy to see them, and they are getting cake and cookies and shiny wrapped presents at every turn.
But 4.
Four is special because they are four now.
This is for most children the last year of their life before they start going to "real school".
Jack is in preschool, but it's really just daycare if we're being honest with ourselves, and once he's four he only has 1 year left before he starts Kindergarten. This is also the year he moves into the "4's class" which is the last class before the "schoolers class" which is where they put the Kindergarten and 1st graders together.
This is their last year as what some people might still classify a "toddler" even though they're far past toddling.
This is the last year you can get away with calling Jack "the baby". 
Sure he'll always be the baby of the family, but you won't be able to say "Hey where's the baby? Is he in his room or out back?" and not get funny looks. When he's five you certainly can't call him the baby.
It just sounds weird.
And four is special because he knows enough now to be excited about his birthday, and even look forward to it.
Almost every day he asks me when he's going to be four, and four will be like.
He's clearly very excited.

Jackson is such a special, sweet boy, and I remember the day he was born so so clearly.
I remember how warm he was when they laid him on my belly.
I remember how soft his then-red hair was.
And I remember how he loved sleeping next to me, even then.
He loved his vibrating bouncy seat, but hated the baby sling.
He loved touching my hair but was scared of his mobile.
He loved water from the time he was born, and bathtime was always his favorite.

I hope he always loves his sister as much as he does right now.
I hope his imagination is always as vivid as it is now.
I hope his wit and sense of humor is always sharp and surprising.
I hope he always has a charming smile and beautiful eyes and a tender place in his heart that makes him look out for girls and smaller kids.
And I hope he always loves airplanes, and is always looking up at the sky.

I love you Jackson Cassidy.
Right up to the moon, and back again.
One hundred million times.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Things I'm Afraid to Tell You


I'm jumping on the Blogger bandwagon big time with Things I'm Scared to Tell You.
Here goes. 


I have a shit ton of weird ass phobias. 
I'm not sure I would call them all phobias, most of them just fears. But if you saw the way I behave about them you'd probably call them phobias.
Ventriloquist dummies, obscure diseases, sitting with my back to an open room {especially a dark open room} virtually any sound that I hear at night when I'm home alone, aneurysms, scorpions and taking medicines I've never had before.
I think that's the short list.
But I'm not afraid of heights, clowns, or Ryan Seacrest. Go figure.


The smell of meatloaf cooking makes me sad.


I don't shower every day unless there's some reason to, like a bird shit on me, or I feel especially gross. I'm more of an every other day....or even every couple days kind of person.
I know. That's truly disgusting.


I have an ex-boyfriend's initials tattooed on my stomach.
I plan on getting them removed!
But still, they're there.


I have a tendency to be kind of judgmental. 
I usually call it something bullshitty like "being good at reading people" or whatever, but really it is what it is, and if I'm being honest it's judging. I don't like this about myself, at all really, and I've been working on it, I promise.


I have a history of getting fired a lot.
I have a history of getting bored/hating the jobs I take, so I end up slacking off and developing a shit attitude and missing work and blah blah blah until I get fired, because I'm too much of a pussy to just quit.
I plan on being at my current job for quite a while, and that's honestly the first time I've ever said that.
Well, at least the first time I've ever said that and meant it.


I'm scared that Bill will die before me.
I'm even more afraid that Bill will die before me, before I'm a wrinkly old lady.
I'm scared I'll lose him when I have too many years left to sit around and miss him.
I've never had that fear about anyone I dated before.
I mean, I know we'll all die, and if I thought about them dying it made me sad, but when I think about Bill dying before me I can't stand the thought of being so permanently without him.
I pretty much have to die first, or at least keep him alive until I'm so old that I don't remember who he is when he dies anyway, and I only have a couple more years left to sit around and be confused about it.
I know it's morbid, but I think loving someone a lot kind of brings out those morbid fears more than other things do.
Like how we never think about what would happen if we died until we have kids, and have to think about what would happen to them.
That sort of thing.


What are you afraid to tell me?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bill's Happy Birthday

Today is Bill's Happy Birthday.
I figured every guy gets a card on his birthday from his girlfriend, but only guys who are cursed lucky enough to date a blogger  get a WHOLE blog post written just for them {for the entire world to see} on their birthday. 
That's way better, right?.....Right?

Anyway Bill, today is your birthday and I hope it's truly wonderful. And in case you were wondering, here are a few reasons why I love you.

1. Your blue, blue eyes. To be honest, I never considered myself a sucker for blue eyes. I always was more partial to green, and blue just seemed so stereotypical. I mean how many love songs are there that go on and on about "baby blue eyes" or "deep blue eyes" or "bright blue eyes"?  Maybe I just didn't want to be another one of those girls. 
But your eyes are such a pretty shade of blue, and with your dark hair and big smile, well they just light up the room like nothing else. 

2. You clean the kitchen after I make breakfast. Which is quite sexy.

3. You get the little things, and you pay attention to the details.

4. You can bring me out of a grumpy mood faster than anyone with your kiss stealing and how easily you make me laugh.

5. You're an amazing father.

6. You are incredibly graceful under pressure. You can be juggling about 40 million things {which you usually are} and it never shows. You don't {often} take your stress out on other people, and you can let almost anything roll off your back. I am so envious of your amazing strength.

7. You clean when you're angry, which is very productive. All I do when I'm angry is pout and cry and eat chocolate until I pass out. 

8. You're the giver I wish I was. 

9.  You almost always text me good morning first.

10. You're easily the smartest man I know.

11. You always make me feel like I am the only girl in the room when we go out. I never catch you eye balling other girls, or checking out our waitress. Even if you do those things, you have the decency to do them discreetly, and make me feel like I'm the only person there that interests you.

12. You're quite romantic, and in such a sweet and unexpected way.

13. You send me pictures of you randomly, and they always make me smile.

14. You're old fashioned and chivalrous, and I very much adore that.

15. There's just absolutely nothing in the world that melts my heart like your kiss, or the feel of your hand on my face, or my head on your shoulder. When I can hear your heartbeat, and feel your warmth, and smell the cologne that you wear just because I like it. Those moments with you mean more to me than anything.
Thank you for giving me the best love of my entire life.

I'm so glad you were born.

P.S. Thank you for also putting up with me, even though our relationship is basically like this:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 Photo Challenge: Made

I made these two sleeping babies.
I made a daughter who is just like me in all the best-and most infuriating ways, but with a gentler soul and a sharper mind.
I made a son who's funnier than I could ever hope to be, and also my equal in the world of stubborn. He's a take-no-bullshit kind of kid, which is awesome, and frustrating at the same time.
I made a brother and sister who seem to get closer every day, and even though they still fight, they love on each other a whole lot more often than they used to.
I made a dynamic little duo, and two adorable partners in crime.
And I'll never make, do or become anything that will top them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our Weekend: Mother's Day and a Sort-of Birthday

This was a nice weekend.
It started with me having Friday off, which really kind of guarantees a good weekend ahead, and ended with a nice Mother's Day with the kids.

Friday I spent my day off taking my dad to the DMV to get his license, for the first time in about 30 years. 
{It's a long story}
After he passed all his tests, and got his first license in three decades, he was the most excited I've seen him since Jackson was born.

Look at that happy face.

After DMV we celebrated with some delicious pizza and celebratory beers at De Falco's. What else do you do after finally getting legal permission to drive other than go ingest alcohol?
{don't worry, we each only had one and then ate an entire pizza and hung around for a good two hours before we drove again}

Friday night we hung out at Bill's with him and his son, swimming and pigging out on pizza and frozen yogurt. 
Unfortunately I didn't get a single decent picture of the kids all together, clearly:

Saturday Bill and I celebrated his birthday together, which is actually on Wednesday, but we did it early.
Here he is trying to be super serious in his new Ray Ban Aviators:

But don't worry, he couldn't keep it up for long...

Sunday was a very nice mothers day, probably for the first time ever.
I woke up in Bill's arms, I picked up my dad and the kids who were all actually in good moods, we had a delicious breakfast (THAT I DIDN'T PAY FOR-which is honestly a first) and then spent the day at the Scottsdale Library. That might sound lame, but the kids played in the water, and I picked up three really good looking books for $3.00

All in all, it was a pretty damn good Mother's day, and a very very good weekend.

Last but not least, Happy Mother's Day to all of you mommies out there.
And even though it sounds weird, thank you too, to the single daddies who pull double duty for their kids who don't have mothers. Like my dad did, and like so many dads do.
You're a shining example of what fathers should be.