Friday, December 24, 2010

My Christmas wish....

My Christmas wish tonight is that next year Ethan and I will be able to celebrate Christmas like "normal" people. As in, go to a Christmas Eve service together, and spend Christmas Day with our families. Being a police officer tends to get in the way of that. That's okay, because we're just in the season of our lives where it hasn't been possible. Working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is just a part of our lives at this point, but I'd be a liar if I didn't say I couldn't wait for the day when that isn't part of our equation anymore.

However, all is not lost!

Even though Ethan is sleeping right now since he has to work overnight and then his regular shift, I have finished wrapping all of my presents, and am sitting in my living room looking at our gorgeous tree and exterior lights on the balcony and am just reflecting on the past year. It's been quite the year. A lot has happened...more than I even thought was possible in the last year. I'll do a yearly recap on New Year's Eve as is my custom, so I won't go into detail here.

So, my plan for Christmas weekend .... tomorrow morning I'll wake up whenever I feel like it. Ethan won't be here since he'll be at work. I'll make myself some breakfast and then head over to see "my" kids and give them their Christmas gifts. Then I'll come back home and watch Christmas movies until Ethan gets home... and then the fun begins...we head to Greenville, SC to meet my parents and sister! This will be literally the first Christmas Day that Ethan and I have seen my parents and sister the entire time we've been married. They're driving from Charlotte, we're driving from Atlanta...we'll probably be eating Chinese a la "A Christmas Story" but we'll all be together for a couple of hours at least. :) After that, Ethan and I will come home and open our presents under our tree and then go out to see some friends. I also plan to see "The Black Swan" at some point as well. I will probably also inhale the rest of the Christmas cookies sitting around our house even though I've eaten WAY too many of them at this point.... I really should go make myself run but I somehow don't think that this will actually happen.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The end of the beginning



This week has been quite busy! On Wednesday, Ethan graduated cum laude from Georgia State University with his bachelor's of business administration with a major in accounting degree. His parents, my parents & grandparents, and our sister-in-law traveled from North Carolina for commencement, and then we had a big party later that night at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta to thank our family and friends that have been such a huge support and encouragement along the way. I really don't like the above photo by the way...but it was one of the coldest days in Atlanta on record, it was raining, and the person operating the camera didn't really know what they were doing. So that's the only proof I've got. :) I bought him a Halliburton silver 4" attache briefcase which he absolutely loved. He had mentioned to me years ago that someday he'd have one of them when he wasn't working as a police officer anymore...so I thought it was the perfect graduation gift.

It's been a long 4 years since he started at GSU...but his hard work has paid off, and he's DONE! With his bachelor's degree, that is.

Now we move on to the CPA exam. He begins prep class January 11th and will take one section at a time. He'll take his last section of the exam in July, and then we'll move on to applying and interviewing for public accounting positions so that he can put in the required one year of time working as an accountant to earn his CPA certification. Then....back to school for his Masters of Tax. Now you see why it's the end of the beginning. The end of the first of many steps...

But I digress. I am just so incredibly proud to be married to an amazing man who provides for us and works his tail off no matter what. He worked a full time job as a police officer and held down two part time jobs while attending school full-time and still made time for his wife and other family members and friends. He graduated with honors despite all his responsibilities which barely left him time to breathe. My husband is an amazing, amazing, AMAZING man, and I'm so blessed that he comes home to ME every day.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas...and my husband's gift to me.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


I love the Christmas season.

I love celebrating the birth of my Lord and reflecting on the awesome and completely amazing love of God for us that He would come to earth in human form and live among us in squalor (compared to Heaven!) to demonstrate His love for us. If I ever have children, they will know that the greatest present one could ever receive has been given to them by a Heavenly Father who loves them more than Ethan or I ever could.

In the more superficial realm: I love the Christmas lights, the Christmas music, the decorations on people's lawns, the family togetherness, the hot chocolate...just everything about Christmas. My husband is not as "into" Christmas as I am, but when he married me he made a big effort to be excited about Christmas with me. The past two years we have been together on Christmas Day... before that, I was usually in Colorado working.

My dad was never big on decorating the outside of our house with lights, no matter how much my sister and I would beg. We had grand plans for what we could do with the lights... the grandest of which was "SANTA STOP HERE" spelled out on the roof. He never went for it, and we were always disappointed because the front of our house had such great bushes, and there was just so much potential to transform it into a Winter Wonderland of lights! I had mentioned to Ethan that I was disappointed that I never had a house with a light display to admire as a child... and he remembered. We don't have a traditional house in the sense that we have a yard, etc...but we do have a rather large balcony in a loft building here in Atlanta.

This is what I came home to yesterday.


He has a plastic handcuff in his mouth....that's what he used to secure the lights to the balcony. I guess that's par for the course when you're married to a police officer...




We live on the 3rd floor....and it's quite high. I couldn't even watch Ethan on the ladder since he was in quite the precarious position... I had no fear he would fall because he's much too sure of himself for that, but I'm a girl. I worry about the people I love. I just kept thinking about how guilty I'd feel if he fell off the ladder while putting up an amazing light display for me!

After he finished the light display, we put our Christmas tree up and decorated it with Manheim Steamroller's 1984 Christmas album playing softly in the background. He also bought me a salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks to sip on. For a guy who isn't that "in" to Christmas, he sure went the whole nine yards for me! I'm one blessed girl!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Las Vegas, here we come...

So, Ethan and I were spending the evening together last night, and he mentioned that he really wanted to get away together after the craziness of the holidays (since getting off work is next to impossible between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve) and before he started Becker CPA Prep. I asked what he thought of Las Vegas, and he was excited about the idea...not because of gambling, but because of the classic car museum that is housed in one of the hotels there.

It's turning out to be a really inexpensive getaway due to cashing in our frequent flyer miles for both of us to fly there, and due to a promotion that the Mandalay Bay Resort was running for suites. We have this huge spa suite at the Mandalay and I'm so excited about it... I'm a girl who definitely loves lavish hotel rooms...so to have a suite is just too cool. Everything in Vegas is over the top. So, while we're there we will do the whole walking around and gawking at the huge hotels and casinos, visit the Bellagio for the fountain show, dinner buffet, and see "O", and visit the car museum that Ethan wants to see. Everything else will be as we decide to see it whenever/whatever we feel like! :) After my birthday trip to New York, I realized how much fun it is to just BE with Ethan and randomly explore where we happen to me. It's so much more fun than a planneddowntotheverylastsecond itinerary.

I'm soooooo looking forward to it...we're flying in on a Tuesday evening after work and returning on Thursday night - this way Ethan doesn't have to take any vacation days, and I have so many vacation days it's ridiculous, so I might as well start using them! :) (I had quite a few from last year that rolled over) We're hoping to be able to take a ski vacation in March as well but it really depends on Ethan's Becker schedule more than anything else. We'll see what happens! We might end up just going to West Virginia to ski Snowshoe, we'll take what we can get. We had a trip totally planned last year but cancelled it because of what happened with Symmes since I just couldn't bring myself to go out of town during such a rough time.

Hm. I will have flown practically every month for the rest of 2010.... October I flew to New York, November I fly to West Virginia, December I fly to New York again.... and January we fly to Vegas. Good thing I absolutely love to fly! :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New phone, new life....

I'm pleased to report that after months of telling myself (and everyone else) that I would slow down at work and take more time for me...it has finally happened. I was fortunate enough to find an excellent part time nanny (yes, that makes three part-time nannies that I now have) so I am now getting off of work at 5:30 PM Monday through Thursday. Friday nights I work late, as usual... and by choice. Since Ethan goes to sleep for his overnight patrol, there is simply no point in going home. I also will continue to have my weekends off. I'm SO excited.... I have big plans for this new schedule... the major thing being that I am going to be going to the gym right after work each day and get back into my routine that I slipped out of because of always working late and then going home so I could see my husband for a little bit.

In other news, I also finally got a new phone... my T-Mobile G1 was well loved but dying on me... and when it started refusing to charge this week I knew it was time. However, I didn't want to get roped into extending my contract, nor did I want to shell out tons of money for a phone at retail price, so I turned to Craig's List. Lucky me - I just happened to be the first one to respond to an ad that had literally been posted two minutes prior and snapped up a brand new G2 phone. I love gadgets, but let me say that I LOVE this phone. I had seen the commercials for it and been a bit skeptical about the features - namely the Swype feature, but let me say that it REALLY WORKS. It also supports flash so I can catch up on my shows on abc.com wherever I am, and the speed of it is insane. It even has QuickOffice if I need to create a Word document or PDF. Yes, I love this phone.

So, daylight savings time is tonight.... my favorite, fall back...an extra hour of sleep! So happy about this, but a little bit sad that it will be dark outside so much sooner. I am definitely loving the cold weather though... even though it's supposed to jump back up to the 70's next week. I guess that's just Atlanta for you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My birthday weekend recap....



Cheers! I'm 30 at last....



My husband loves me so well. It wouldn't matter if he hadn't taken me somewhere - he makes me feel special and loved, without fail. The thought that he puts into everything that he does for me is always evident. Last year he surprised me with a Dairy Queen birthday cake and a jacket from my favorite store, and we had a low key evening at home. I just want to be sure that everyone knows that I don't expect or require a lavish and extravagant birthday in order to be happy. That's not what I'm about.

Anyway, I got home SUPER late on Thursday night from work, and was so tired... I collapsed into bed at 12:30 and just prayed I'd have the strength to make it through Friday. I had been informed that we were leaving on Saturday.

Wrong.

Ethan started poking me and I opened an eye and saw that my clock read "6:00".... I don't have to be awake until 7:15, so I was not pleased at this somewhat rude awakening when I'd only gone to bed 5.5 hours earlier. Those of you who know me well know that I like my sleep. I grumbled something along the lines of "Why are you doing this to me? Go to work, leave me alone....I can't believe you would do this to me...." and then Ethan flipped on the light. I sat up in bed and glared at him about to ask (and not politely) why he was robbing me of 75 minutes of sweet, precious sleep.... and he announced, "We're going to New York City, you have thirty minutes to pack." Boy, was I ever awake then. He handed me a Nike backpack and informed me that was all the space I was allowed for packing purposes. I was slightly flabbergasted but managed to pull it off, and we were off to the airport....

We landed, took the M60 bus to the subway in Queens, and then took the subway down to the Financial District, where he had booked us our room for two nights at the absolutely amazing Gild Hall. It was SO cool... and perfectly located - right down the street from Century 21, which is my favorite store, and right in the area of Manhattan that is nice and quiet on the weekends. We had such fun exploring and walking everywhere just for the fun of it with no agenda. He surprised me that night by taking me to Mercat, where Phillip & Irene were waiting for me for a birthday dinner with tapas and LOTS of sangria... oh, it was so much fun. After dinner, we headed to Max Brenner's in Union Square for some decadent chocolate desserts and then bid each other goodbye.

Saturday we spent more time exploring and then Ethan surprised me with tickets to the off-Broadway show, Stomp. He remembered that I wanted to see it and had never managed to find the time... I always ran out of time whenever I was there or forgot to buy tickets before going, and so it just never happened ... the last ten years! It was so special that he remembered how much I wanted to see it and that he bought the best tickets in the house.... it was such a wonderful show and I highly recommend it. The percussion was so awesome, and the cast was absolutely hilarious, which I was not expecting. The show is 2 hours long with no intermission, and I would definitely go back and see it again! After the show we headed to Chinatown since Ethan wanted to see it, and we ended up eating some food there which I actually ended up liking. Then we walked around more... we walked for over 8 hours straight and were totally exhausted when we made it back to our hotel after a late night dinner at Havana Central which is one of our favorite places in Union Square...their empanadas and sangria are soooo good.

Sunday morning we went to the Brooklyn Bridge and then headed to the West Village to check out John's Pizza.... so delicious, and worth it... then we topped it off with gelato from Grom, and made our way back up to Queens to get the bus back to the airport. It was such an awesome weekend, and I will never forget how much planning and time Ethan put into the trip. We made such wonderful memories there...I can't wait to take another getaway weekend!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October at last....



Ahh, October at last.

3 more days until Baby S is one. 11 more days until E is 2. 17 more days until I'm 30.

This weekend will be full of cake baking and icing... Baby S gets a little mini-cake with the #1 on it, E gets an Elmo face cake, and F is getting a little soccer field cake so he doesn't feel left out. I'm excited to work on the cakes, and I will definitely post photos!

PS - the photo I included in my blog post today was one that was taken at our photo shoot that I mentioned previously. I absolutely LOVE the photos that we've gotten to see so far. I'll probably post my favorites once we get all of them back in another week or so!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New York, New York!

SO excited right now!

I'm heading to New York the second weekend of December to see two of my dearest friends, Phillip & Irene. We have been talking about it for what seems like forever but it just never seemed to be a good time, etc. Finally I took the plunge, texted her and asked her to pick a date, and then immediately booked my ticket for said date!

A little background history: Irene and I met nearly 10 years ago when I was dating her younger brother. That relationship ended after less than a year, but Irene and I had hit it off so well that I wasn't willing to let that relationship go even though her brother and I were no longer together. Good thing, too, because if I had said goodbye to her, Phillip wouldn't have her as his wife! Phillip and I met when we were in high school, I was 15, and he was 16. So we've known each other quite a long time. He drove me utterly crazy at times, was obstinate and stubborn, and would purposely say things just to rankle me. Despite those qualities, he was always brutally honest, and we managed to not kill each other and be best friends in a triangle with our other friend, Erica. I'm pleased to say we've grown up since then. ;) Phillip also taught me to ski at the tender age of 22 in Boone, NC, and it was on one of these ski weekends that I introduced him to the lovely Irene. She had come to Charlotte to visit me and I thought it would be fun to take her skiing. I had no idea I was going to be introducing my two best friends to their future spouse. Phillip was instantly smitten, but they didn't start dating for a while afterwards. And when they did, they were afraid I was going to be mad at them and hid it from me for a while. Anyway, fast forward to now...the lovely couple has been married for three years, and they are so, so, so much fun. I absolutely love spending time with them, and unfortunately, that hasn't been a common occurrence in the past few years with our busy lives and living a 2.5 hour plane ride away from each other.


Irene and I at my bachelorette party before all the craziness ensued....

New York is awesome. New York at Christmastime? Even MORE awesome. New York at Christmastime with Phillip and Irene? Yes, please. I just can't wait to be in the same room with them and stay up until 5 AM drinking wine and laughing until our stomachs hurt, and then laughing some more. There are so many things Irene and I have been through together, and there is nothing that I wouldn't do for her. She is truly the big sister I never had!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fun weekend, catching up...

This weekend was a lot of fun for me. I ended up spending the night at work Friday night, and all three kids actually slept through the night...Baby S was up at 6:45 AM and the other two at 7, but I got a decent amount of sleep. I still wake up constantly to check on the kids though, I'm just paranoid in that way I guess. Anyway, my part-time nanny arrived at 9 AM so I headed home with the intention of taking a nap for the events of later in the day.....didn't happen. Instead, I went to the bank, paid our mortgage payment, ran some errands, watched my DVR'ed Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, cleaned up my house, and finally took a shower and waited for our stylist, Karen Jo, to arrive.

Karen Jo is absolutely amazing and so, so, so fun to work with. She understands exactly who I am as a person and what I look for as far as style, and is just a lovely person. She came to do my hair and makeup for Ethan and I's photo shoot and she did an AMAZING job. I wanted a little bit of glam, but nothing that was so over the top that people wouldn't think it was me. So, she decided to do waves and a little poof, which resulted in hair that I absolutely loved. There is no way I'd do my hair like this in real life (because I don't have 2 hours of prep time to devote each day!) but I totally loved it, and so did Ethan. Her makeup artistry was also perfect because she understood that my goal was to look like I was NOT wearing makeup. I am not a snob who isn't capable of dressing myself or doing my own hair and makeup...but the fact is: I wear makeup very rarely, and my hair is usually in one of two styles. Plus, getting our photos done is really special, and I wanted to make sure I looked great for them! So here's a goofy self-taken photo of the final results....and for those who care, I'm wearing a black pocket tee by Vince, and the metallic Dickens blazer by Smythe. (I am also wearing pants and shoes, but they're not visible in the photo)



After Karen Jo left, Ethan and I headed to Atlantic Station to meet up with our photographer, Mary Beth Thomas of Mango Street Photography. We instantly liked her easygoing manner, and she was really sweet. We're so excited to see the final results which should be back in two weeks, and of course I will be posting those photos (we bought the digital negatives so we can use the images however we want) on here and on Facebook. The shoot lasted about 45 minutes and then Ethan and I headed home - Ethan needed to go to bed for his overnight job, and I needed to head to my regular Saturday night babysitting gig. I got home around 11:30 and was absolutely EXHAUSTED....crashed...and slept until 12:48 PM. Wow. That 13 hours of sleep was soooo nice though, I do have to say. I definitely enjoyed every minute.

Other than that, life has been great. My 30th birthday is approaching in a few weeks, and I'm excited about it. I am one of those girls who couldn't WAIT to be 30...probably because I believed that was the "magic age" at which people would begin to take me seriously and not assume I was a college student anymore. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!) that is not the case...I am still constantly mistaken for being 21 and in college. Ah well, what can you do? Ethan is taking me somewhere for my 30th birthday and I have absolutely NO idea where, what, etc. I adore surprises, so I will not be trying to figure it out in the meantime and just go with whatever he has planned. I do know that he loves me more than anything, and being with him is my favorite thing in the world.... so whatever it is, it will be amazing just for those reasons alone!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

2 more sleeps....

I knew a little girl named Addison (who is not so little anymore), and she used to count the days to whatever she was waiting for by "sleeps". "Three more sleeps!" "Two more sleeps!"..... well, we are now at two more sleeps until we leave for Mexico. Although, it may very well end up being one more sleep...since I don't know if I'll be able to sleep one wink on Friday night just out of sheer excitement!!!

I have been living at work since Tuesday, because my employers went to New York again. It has been an interesting week since F started kindergarten and has not really been around since he is in school from 8-2:45 every day. I've had a lot of fun with S&E though. Today we had a playdate, and then went to my house so that Ethan and I could pack for our trip. Ethan has been staying here overnight as well, which is always appreciated...I don't think I'd sleep nearly as well without him here. There's just something reassuring about an armed person sleeping next to you, even when the alarm is on. It's a pretty gigantic house (6,000 square feet) and the two older kids are further away than I'd like, but I don't want to be too far away from S, so I just rely on baby monitors and the alarm system.

Anyway, we are mostly packed and I will finish up the rest of the packing tomorrow afternoon when my part-time nanny comes to relieve me for a few hours... I will be completing the packing and getting a pedicure.

Ethan and I always get generous checks from family members at our anniversary, which is really unnecessary...but also appreciated at the same time! Usually we stash it in savings for a later date, but this time we decided to use it for something fun.... snorkeling gear! Ethan loves to snorkel, and we will be off the second largest barrier reef in the world. Last year in Jamaica we did go snorkeling, but it was not very much fun because the masks did not fit correctly and water leaked, etc. So today we were fitted for masks and bought dry snorkels (they automatically close and seal off the tube if water gets in). We're so excited to use them in Mexico! We'll be sending a photo of us in Mexico with our snorkel gear on, goofy smiles, and a cheesy thumbs up pose with our thank you notes. I'm sure I'll also post said picture on here at some point as well.

I seriously cannot wait for this vacation to start on Saturday....this time with my husband is something that I look forward to with great anticipation every year. It is so important to me. It really doesn't matter WHERE we go... I would be happy staying home with him for a week, but I love going out of the country because it cuts off all the other outside distractions that would still be around if we were in the U.S. (internet, email, cell phones, etc.) I'm also so excited about gym time. Sure, I love to read and lounge around, but I also LOVE being on vacation with Ethan because we can work out every day together! The resort we are staying at this year has a state of the art gym, so we'll be hitting the gym every morning before we hit the beach. I won't lose a pound....with all the food and sugary drinks that we will be indulging in, but I bet I can maintain it, and hopefully get myself into the habit of working out daily again since I definitely slacked off on that this summer. Lastly, this vacation kicks off the last semester of Ethan's undergraduate degree...which is the starting point for an entirely different life for us both in some ways.... so it's just exciting to finally be here!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

No, you may NOT try to kill my husband, thank you very much.

This afternoon, Ethan came home from work and informed me that at 5 AM this morning he had to apprehend a suspect who was walking down the street with a wine bottle in his hand. The perp took off running, and Ethan was lightly jogging behind him ordering him to stop while thinking it was absolutely ridiculous that the guy was full out running. He was hoping he could just jog behind him until the perp wore himself out but then the guy decided he was going to fight. He wheeled around and tried to grab Ethan's weapon, which is EXTREMELY rare, and has never actually happened to Ethan before. The angle that the weapon is holstered makes it pretty impossible to grab, but it's frightening to think that this guy even wanted to take the weapon to begin with. There's no question about what he would have done with it. Ethan was able to keep him far away enough (my husband is nearly 6'5", so his long arms came in quite handily this morning) but then the guy whacked him in the side of the head with the bottle he was holding. I'm just so glad that Ethan withstood that blow, and that the wine bottle came out of the guy's hand and shattered on the ground. Ethan sprayed the perp in the face with the OC (pepper spray) since he was able to free a hand. He had been concerned about the wine bottle and both of his hands had been busy holding the perp away from his weapon up to the point the wine bottle shattered. Needless to say, it ended well and fortunately other than a few scabs on his knee and a tender temple from the bottle being whacked into his head, Ethan is just fine. It makes me so angry to think about the fact that this guy wanted to knock my husband out and shoot him and then leave him for dead. Of course, in typical Ethan fashion, he just shrugged it off as "no big deal" and said he felt sorry for the suspect because he cut himself on bits of glass from the shattered wine bottle when Ethan forced him to the ground to put cuffs on him. My reaction? "Good, he deserved to bleed for what he tried to do to you." Ethan's response, "He only hates what I stand for, he doesn't hate me." Only my husband would have sympathy and forgiveness for someone who just tried to find a means to kill him. Really. I need to pray for this guy and his injuries, not get mad at him...I'm working on it. This is why Ethan is the police officer and I am not.

This is not the first, and will not be the last, of the many incidents that occur in world of policing that we live in. I don't live my life in fear at all, but I'm still struggling a little bit with the aspect of the perp trying to get his firearm this morning.The thought of my husband being taken from me by violence makes me feel sick inside. This is where I just have to let go and accept that I'm not in control of my life, but God is, and He will help me get through whatever comes my way. I don't have to love what comes my way....I just have to trust. Easier said than done, as we all know for some reason or another.

One more week until Mexico.....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Updates on my life....

It's been a while since I've posted, but I have been pretty busy! After I returned home from the beach I was home for 2 nights and then headed to Bremo Farms in Virginia for a week (for work). Most of the people who read this will have already seen our beach trip photos on Facebook, so I'm not going to bother posting any on here.

Work continues to go well! I was given a raise, bonus, and the Amazon Kindle (which I absolutely LOVE!) as a gift from my employers for my 1 year service date. I also now have weekends off, which is a welcome change. One of my part-time nannies was only able to work on weekends this semester due to her school schedule, so I just scheduled her to cover weekends only. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this because it's weird to not work on weekends after doing so for SO long...however, it didn't take me very long to get used to it! I think I'll keep her on the weekend schedule forever. Right now I'm still working about 55-60 hours per week, and I am hoping to eventually bring that down to 45-50 hours per week by January 2011. We'll see what happens. It really depends on my part-time nannies and their availability. I'm just at the point in my life where I need to slow down a little bit and do things for myself...I know I've been saying that for the last five years but at least I'm actually doing something about it now! :) I can honestly say that I don't see myself returning to work on weekends on a regular basis, especially given that if Ethan changes jobs he will have weekends off too...and we're going to want to spend our weekends together, to say the least! I just have to decide by September if I will continue to babysit for the family I have been sitting for every Saturday night for the past year. Haven't really determined this yet...I've got time.

My weekends.....

This past weekend I went to Dawn's bachelorette party. It was...interesting, and on the crazy side. I survived without a hangover, so I'm going to chalk that one up as a win!

I am headed to Dawn & Kevin's wedding here in Atlanta this weekend. They're getting married at 3 PM so we're not sure if Ethan will make it to the ceremony. The reception is at Maggiano's and Ethan will definitely make it to that. I'm excited for them both as they make this big leap into married life.

The weekend after, I am headed up to Ohio to see my parents at Lakeside and to celebrate my dad's birthday! VERY excited about this, since (A) I love Lakeside and (B) I LOVE my parents. It will be a lot of fun to spend the weekend with them. Ethan is busy with school and work so he isn't able to go up there with me...next year though, hopefully!

Three weeks and three days until Mexico....I don't think I can adequately express how excited I am for this. I CANNOT WAIT. I am so happy to have an entire week with Ethan where neither of us have any distractions with work, etc. It's going to be heavenly. I keep reading the new reviews for our resort on TripAdvisor.com and the excitement just keeps escalating! Ethan is starting to get psyched too, but I'm not sure if it's because of our trip or because he's done with his summer semester the day before we leave...hmmm...I'm thinking it's probably a combination of both! Haha.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My best friend...


A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down. ~Arnold Glasow


I'm sitting here at my kitchen island writing this post as I wait until the clock hits 7. I'm leaving here at 7 PM and going to the airport to pick up my best friend, Erica. I'm pretty sure she gets emails on her iPhone informing her that I've posted a new blog, so I won't reveal our destination just yet. I started plotting this in March, and with the help of her husband was able to keep it hush-hush until last week. She doesn't know where we are going yet. We're heading away for a much needed girl's weekend. The last time we were able to take a trip together was when we had a very spur of the moment trip to NYC to be with our friends Irene and Phillip. Before we were married, we used to go on trips together, and then Erica married her husband Doug...but the trips didn't stop. We still went to the beach together. In fact, on one of our beach trips was the trip that I met MY husband on.

We have been through so much together in the time that we've known each other (since age 6). We've survived nasty fights with each other (when we were younger), broken hearts, complicated relationships, etc. Erica has been, and will always be, there for me - no matter what. I can call her at 3 AM. I can trust her to tell me what she really thinks. She is also one of the strongest Christians I know, but she is amazing in that she does not judge others. I'm very black and white and sometimes jump to judgement. I have done things in my life that were stupid and completely against how Jesus wants us to live. Erica loved me anyway. She always told me she disapproved and pointed me in the right direction at every opportunity she had, but with a gentle and loving spirit: not one of nagging and condemnation. Even to this day, she is the first one to suggest praying over situations, or sharing Scripture with me that relates to whatever I am going through at the moment. This girl hits her knees the second anyone she loves begins to struggle. She has been an incredible example to me (and I'm sure to the many others she comes into contact with) through her own walk with Christ and constantly challenges me in that area. I'm a better person because of her in my life.

I can go weeks without talking to her, and we just pick up right where we left off. We're better about not letting weeks go by thanks to all the modern technology of iChat and text messaging. I have no doubt that when I am ninety years old I will look over to the rocking chair next to me and she'll be sitting right there next to me. That's just the kind of friendship we have. She knows that the same goes for me. We really love each other, and I am so thankful that the Lord gave me such a wonderful friend in Erica. I can't wait to spend the next four days with her just catching up and being girls.

And I'll end this post with a song by Amy Grant that we adopted as "our" song back when we were teenagers. The lyrics pretty much sum up how we feel about each other. And no...it's not "Friends".


I Will Be Your Friend

When every moment gets too hard
The end of the road can feel so far
No matter how much time we're apart
I'm always near you
I'll be the shelter in your rain
Help you to find your smile again
I'll make you laugh at a broken heart
Wherever you are

[Chorus:]
'Cause I'm never gonna walk away
If the walls come down someday
All alone and you feel afraid
I'll be there when you call my name
You can always depend on me
I believe until forever ends
I will be your friend

So many people come and go
But nothing can change and you I know
You'll never be just a face in the crowd
And time will show
Through the seasons and the years
I will always hold you dear
Never you fear

[Chorus]

I'll be around when every candle burns down low
And I want you and I want you to know



Saturday, June 19, 2010

Seriously, I could not make this stuff up.....

So, we all know that my job is definitely not the typical governess/household management position. It seems my job description has now been expanded further...to include posting bail when necessary.

Last night my employers went out for dinner and when I heard the door open, only the mom came in. She explained that she had left her wallet by accident and that dad was heading back to the place to retrieve it because it had a lot of cash in it (my paycheck). We talked for a little bit and then I headed out to go home... I was tired, it was 11:45 PM and I needed to get to bed because I had to be back the next morning at 10 to work until 5.

I literally pull into my parking spot when my phone starts buzzing with text messages. Frantic text messages. The first one: "OMG OMG, B has been arrested, OMG, help me Lauren!"

I sighed and thought to myself, "Seriously?" All I wanted was my bed at this point and to snuggle with my husband. I went into the house and roused Ethan and we drove to the location where B was. We were hoping to get the Range Rover before it was impounded, but no dice. The officer informed Ethan that B had rolled through a stop sign, and when he checked his license (as is routine) it came up as suspended. Apparently someone forgot to pay a traffic ticket. In all fairness, B should not have been arrested for this and the officer was probably being a bit overzealous. However, the law is the law, and each officer is free to interpret it however he/she sees fit as long as they can give a credible explanation for their actions in the incident report. We got there as the Rover was being jacked up onto the tow truck and were informed we could have the car...if we ponied up $125 in cash right there on the spot. Unfortunately, B was pulled over on his way to get the wallet so nobody had cash. We watched the tow truck tow away the Rover and the squad car pull away with my boss in the back.

Okay. Plan B. Mom obviously isn't in any state to go and post bail, and Ethan and I were worried she would be overly emotional and get herself locked up at the jail. (He's seen it happen!) Since I am a calm and rational person no matter what, I found myself making the arrangements to spring the jailbird free. A neighbor went to get the wallet and I met him at his house and headed for the jail with hundreds of dollars in cash, praying that this wasn't an FTA (failure to appear) charge. If it had been, my boss would have been taken to a different jail and we wouldn't have been able to get him out until Monday sometime. When I arrived at the jail it was almost 1 AM, and they hadn't even processed him yet. The kind lady there did inform me how much his bail would be though, which is an interesting (and somewhat ridiculous) tale. There were two fees. One for the actual bond, which was $1097, and then a $13 administrative fee. Each fee had to be paid separately.

With exact change.

Alrighty then. I had stacks of twenties, a ten, a five, and a couple of one dollar bills.

"Can you just keep the change?" "Absolutely not, ma'am."

Where am I going to find a place to get change at 1:30 in the morning?

::deep breath::

Fortunately, I was able to dig around and find enough quarters and pennies and a person willing to make some change right there in the room and scraped together the exact amounts for each of the two fees. They still didn't have his folder ready since he was still in the middle of being processed. So I went into the waiting room to sit and wait. I am informed that it can take as long as three hours.

2:30 AM.

Finally get called back in to fill out the release paperwork and post the bond and then get sent back out to the waiting area which is...shall we just say... filled with very interesting looking people from all walks of life. All of us were there for the same reason.

3:15 AM.

I get bored and go out to my car to text Ethan (who was working an extra job) and my boss to let him know that I had finished all of the paperwork and it was just a matter of time before he was let go. Would you believe that people that are arrested are allowed to keep their cell phones with them and actually use them? However, people going inside to post bond aren't allowed to take cell phones in and must leave them in their vehicles? Yeah, I thought that was quite strange too...but whatever. I'm a rule follower.

3:30 AM

I go back inside and sit and wait, and am starting to feel seriously fatigued at this point. I am also starting to feel quite disgusting because the place is hot and not exactly the picture of cleanliness. I also decide that if B is not released by the time the clock hits 4 AM I am going home because I cannot possibly stay awake much longer and am starting to feel sick.

3:45 AM

A sheepish looking B comes out, we get in the car, I take him home, after informing him I would not be coming to work at all that day, and then drive home myself. After a super long and hot shower with lots of scrubbing, I fall asleep at 5 AM. In the morning. Yeah. The last time I stayed awake that long had to have been in my New York City boyfriend days. I finally awakened around 2:30 PM. Whew. Always an adventure in this job!

Friday, June 11, 2010

40 years....

Ethan and I are headed to Charlotte this afternoon for the weekend. The main reason for the visit is because we're hosting a small party for his parents, Mike & Toni. (I don't refer to them as mom and dad... just Mike & Toni). Anyway, several months ago they called and said they wanted to have the whole family together for dinner to commemorate their 40th anniversary. I was aghast and immediately hijacked the conversation and asked if they would please let us plan and host the event. They agreed, so everything was planned and is now being set into motion this weekend. I won't post a lot here about this because I don't want to ruin any of the surprises we have for them... but you can bet I will be posting after this weekend with a recap!

Ethan finished his Maymester class with an A+....highest grade in the class. The class? "Negotiation". He's tackling Federal Income Tax this summer... and then in the fall, just two classes until he graduates in December! It's been a long ride, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Work continues to go well.... here are a couple of pictures of my sweet babies. I did not take the first photo, my part-time nanny, Emily, did. She is a student at The Portfolio Studio here in Atlanta and used the kids as models for one of her projects. Super talented and so sweet.





Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just another fun day at work....



Today marks one year that I've been at my job full-time. I worked for them part-time for a couple of years beforehand. Anyway, this is a typical day with them...full of fun activities and juggling. It's not "easy" but the rewards of being a part of their lives cannot even begin to be measured. I'm so blessed. Seriously.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The promised little rant.....

If I had a dollar for every time some well-meaning mother said to me "I know you think raising kids is easy, but when you have your own it's totally different than what you do in your job"... I would be a millionaire. I love how some (notice I said some, not ALL) mothers try to make themselves feel better by saying this instead of just admitting they're struggling and need to do things differently (ie: put their child on a schedule, manage their time better, let the house be a little messy on some days, stop obsessing over their child's outfit matching perfectly, etc.).

If I were a high school babysitter who showed up at 6:45 PM each evening and colored two pictures with one child that had already been fed and bathed and in their PJ's, and then put them in bed and proceeded to watch TV for the rest of the evening, moms would have the right make that statement to me.

However, I am most certainly NOT a babysitter. I am a governess/household manager. In layman's terms.. I am a stay at home mom who is paid a salary and believe me, I earn every cent.

Here's a typical day....

I walk into the house between 7:40-7:45 AM if I haven't spent the night (which I do quite frequently). I get F up, direct him to get himself dressed and make his own bed, and start preparing breakfast for him while packing his lunch and snack for school. Somewhere in there, I'm also making E's breakfast and Baby S's breakfast. If the dishwasher is clean, I'm emptying that and putting it away where it belongs. After the food is ready, I grab S, give him his bottle with meds, and then head to get E up and out of bed and dressed for the day. Then it's breakfast time for her and Baby S, and I'm running around the kitchen making sure F's lunch gets put into his backpack along with any notes/forms/checks, etc that need to be sent to school with him. F finishes breakfast, we wash his hands and face, I give him his inhaler treatment, and we go through brushing teeth and hair. F leaves for school courtesy of carpool most mornings, but some mornings I pack all three kids up in the car and take him myself, breakfast is over, and the kitchen is tidied up and countertops/kids' eating areas wiped down.

I'll start the laundry if it needs to be done at some point and rotate it throughout the day, fold it, put it away, etc. Depending on nap schedules for the younger two, we may head to the grocery store or to run errands for household supplies (Target, dry cleaning, CVS, Blockbuster, you name it). I keep a running list during the week of what we need or are getting low on. Naps commence - and I busy myself with projects that need to be done - sometimes the kids outgrow clothes and the clothes need to be put into the age appropriate storage boxes in one of the two attics in the house. Or the playroom needs to be reorganized. There is always something that needs to be done. Oh, and my employers never tell me what needs to be done. I basically run the house my way and everything is always kept neat and organized. I am never told what needs to be done...because it's done before they can even give it a thought.

The mail comes and I go out and get it and sort it. I pull any of the kids' health insurance or medical bills and make sure the bills match up with our insurance statements. If they do, I write the checks from my joint account with the parents, sign them, and mail them. If they don't, it requires a phone call to the billing department to fix the error. (Tell me what "babysitter" does this, I dare you...) The rest of the mail waits for another free moment during the day and is all opened and filed away appropriately...any of the bills that aren't paid automatically have checks written for them and are mailed out. Lunchtime for kids.... Baby S gets homemade baby food (yes, I make this for him also in large batches every two weeks - which was also completely my idea, I had to convince his mom that it was best for him), and E gets a typical toddler lunch. Kitchen is straightened up again, playtime, and either F is dropped off by carpool or we all go get him from school. Afternoon activities vary...we might head to the Zoo, Aquarium, park, Children's Museum, playdate, etc. Just depends on the day. Home for naps, and F and I do a special project of some sort. Baking, art, or outside to play a game of baseball or soccer.

Afternoon naps end, and dinner starts cooking for the kids.... menu changes nightly - I plan it, so whatever I want to make for them. I do everything from macaroni and cheese (from scratch, not from the box!) to chicken and vegetables. I'm not a fan of nuggets and fish sticks with french fries and make an effort to actually cook a healthy meal for F. After dinner, kitchen is cleaned again (the kitchen is ALWAYS clean in any house that I am present in... it's kind of my "thing") and bathtime starts. Baths, teeth/hair brushed, PJ's on, and then playtime... then clean up.... more often than not, I put the children to bed as well. Baby S gets his nighttime dose of medication. At the end of the day I do a house walk through to make sure everything is in its place and ready for the next day if I'm going home that night. If I'm not going home that night, I still do the walk through but try to get to bed early since I might be up during the night with one or more of the kids, and definitely will be up at 6 AM or so to start the day over again when Baby S wakes up.

What's that you say? Oh, yes I DO take the children to the pediatrician and dentist. I schedule all of their vaccinations and well visits. I also write the checks for any visits we make. I fill the prescriptions and make sure they're refilled before we run out. I've dealt with seizures, stitches for head injuries and other areas, broken bones, CPR, the Heimlich, croup, and the flu. I discipline F as necessary and appropriate, and yes... that includes spanking. I also take them to get their hair cut if I notice it's getting a little long, and I buy them clothing and shoes in the appropriate size as needed. I research all the summer camp options and select the camps, fill out the paperwork, and register for them and make sure the balances are paid by their due dates so we don't get dropped from the roster. I sign F up for all of his extracurricular activities that I also research and select by myself and will do the same for E when she's a little older. I also have two part-time nannies who work for me so that I can get F to his sports practices or run more intensive errands without the children. I also travel with the family frequently, and move in for a couple of weeks at a time if their parents have to be out of town. I work, on average 100 hours per week, so no, I don't "get weekends off". I can't remember the last time I slept in on a weekend, because I'm usually at work. I do all of the above in addition to managing my own life and having a husband who needs my attention too, so even when I do have "free" time it is spent managing my own life (laundry, grocery shopping, errands), not sitting poolside sipping a frozen pina colada.

So, no, sorry to all those "justifying" moms... what I do on a daily basis is NOT any different than what you do, no matter how much you want to believe it is. Here's the difference: I get paid to do my job, and you don't. I take care of children that aren't mine and that I didn't carry for nine months and love more than I love myself. (although I do love my kids and put them first, it is NOT the same as the love you have for YOUR children). You have one of the BEST jobs in the world... you take care of children who are YOURS. I don't do that yet... I don't know when or if I ever will have that privilege but you can bet that I will do things the exact same way that I do now if that day ever comes! And you know what? It'll be a heck of a lot EASIER than what I do now... sorry if that offends some of you moms, but it's the truth. I know that I'll be doing everything that I do now, but I'll be doing it out of love for my precious children, and I'll be able to do things exactly the way I would do them....without having to think about anyone else but my own family.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cupcakes, birthday parties, etc



F's 5th birthday is today, and Baby S is 7 months old today! This morning I made F chocolate chip pancakes and gave him a Darth Vader light saber that lights up and makes the electronic humming noises when you slice it through the air. He absolutely loves it. The above photo is of the cupcakes that we finished yesterday. I baked them all on Sunday, and when F and I came home from school, I set to work frosting the cupcakes with a 1M tip. F took care of sprinkling on the sprinkles and placing the Darth Vader and Stormtrooper rings in the middle of each one. His parents took them to school this morning and the kids went nutso over them. Apparently, so did the teachers and other adults in the classroom. I knew they would, because the cupcakes are amazingly good. Meringue powder will help with that! I had forgotten how much I loved to work with icing until yesterday.... can't wait to make the cake for F's party this weekend!

F's mom decided at the last minute she wanted to have a birthday party for him, and since it seems to fall to me to make things happen....even the "impossible" I pulled everything together and we're set for his party at a local rock climbing gym this weekend. I am actually going to make the cake for his party as well... if they thought the cupcakes were good, WAIT until they taste the cake. I tort the layers, fill it with chocolate pudding and liberally cover it with buttercream. We'll have red candles on it and a Darth Vader mask. F has sensitivities to dye, so the mask is the best solution... he can wash it off and keep it for dress up play with his new light saber. Must get the goody bags done this week too... the theme, of course, is Star Wars.

I am very much looking forward to Memorial Day weekend... I am desperately in need of a vacation and no agenda! I have a little "rant" post coming up.... so be prepared for that!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Things that go bump in the night....

Even though I knew that the alarm went off yesterday due to E throwing her pail into the empty bathtub, causing a loud clatter which results in the "shatter sensor" setting off I will still a little bit on edge when I went to sleep.

Maybe I have watched too many Lifetime movies over the course of my life....or maybe I just have a vivid imagination. I know I definitely watch WAY too many "Cold Case Files" and "Law and Order: SVU" episodes...

I ended up not going to sleep right away last night because I found that I wasn't THAT tired. So I used the time to catch up on Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice (abc.com is great). After I finished those, I did another welfare check on all the kids and went to sleep. Around 2 AM there was an extremely LOUD crash. Has your heart ever started pounding so hard that it literally hurt your chest? Almost like it was trying to claw its way out of your chest and flee from the perceived danger? Yeah, that was my heart when that crash happened. I froze in the bed thinking to myself, "Breathe, Wilkie, BREATHE!" When I worked up the nerve, I sat up in bed (while fervently hoping I wasn't going to find an intruder standing above me and formulating a plan to fight back while protecting the kids if there was) and realized that one of the curtains had fallen down. Whew. Heart was still hammering to the point that it was ridiculous.

It still took me about an hour to fall asleep again.

On the more positive side, Baby S slept through the night from 7:45 PM to 4:30 AM. I gave him a bottle at 4:30 and he went right back to sleep, so I was able to sleep until almost 8 AM. Pretty nice, especially considering that I am usually awake at 7:25, so it was almost like sleeping in a little bit.

........

It's now 3:45 and I am sitting down for a moment. I'd love to take a nap but the kids will be up soon so there's no point. I'll just go to bed early (for real this time!) tonight. I spent their naptime making baby food for Baby S. We now have sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and pea baby food freezing in ice cube containers. Tomorrow I'll pop them out of the containers and put them into labeled ziploc bags. 2 cubes are equivalent to 1/4 of a cup of baby food, and we're up to about 4 cubes per day now. F and I also made some buttercream icing for his cupcakes that he's taking to school on Tuesday for his 5th birthday. He wanted Star Wars cupcakes, so I ordered some molded plastic rings with Darth Vader and stormtroopers. After I pipe on the icing, F will sprinkle them liberally with chocolate sprinkles and then stick a ring into the center of each one. I'm sure they'll be a hit. It's been a while since I've whipped up a batch of buttercream. I remember making it all the time a few years ago after I earned my Wilton Cake decorating certificate. Haven't done a full-on cake in a while, but the cupcakes will be fun. Unfortunately, the buttercream we made won't nearly be enough, so I'll have to make some more tomorrow to add to what we made today. We'll definitely bake the cupcakes tomorrow during naptime as a special project.

Ethan is coming over after he finishes studying (finals are next week) and spending the night. I'll feel a lot better having a man with a gun sleeping next to me after all the excitement of yesterday and last night! We're ordering Mellow Mushroom and it'll be fun to just chill with my husband.

Friday, April 30, 2010

One of those craaaazy days....

Today was.... crazy from the get go.

First things first - Baby S slept through the night from 8 PM to 6:30 AM. He awakened at around midnight crying but the crying wasn't enough for me to go in, and 30 minutes later he was back to sleep. Here's hoping for another repeat of that!

Anyway, this morning Ethan headed off to work and I was able to sleep until 8 AM - Baby S took a bottle at 6:30 and went back to sleep shortly after. F knows to get dressed and play quietly in his room until I come and get him, and E loves to play in her crib first thing in the morning. Anyway, I got up, emptied the dishwasher, packed F's lunch for his field trip that day, and gave Baby S his anti-seizure meds. Then I went and got the other two our of their rooms and we all had breakfast together. Baby S chose that moment to need a diaper change, and when I was back in his room changing it, F's carpool person came and picked him up. This is normal...he waits by the door with his backpack and then goes with them regardless of whether I'm there to say goodbye or not. Our carpool moms understand I have three kids under the age of 5 so sometimes things happen right before they come to pick him up and I can't be right there to chat for a little bit.

So all this is fine, right? Wrong. You see, F didn't have class today because his class was meeting at a nature center about 40 miles north of here for a special field trip. We had arranged with another mother of a classmate for her to pick him up and take him. Sooo.... F is gone, and the right mom shows up to get him... and he's not there. She said "Well, I can't be late, so I'm sorry" and then left. I'm wondering just exactly where F is at this point due to the fact that neither of his teachers are actually AT the school. So... in typical supernanny fashion, I jumped into my clothes, googled the directions to the nature center, grabbed my at-the-ready diaper bag (seriously, it's always ready to go with everything - I check it and replenish it at the end of every day) and got my two younger ones in the car. Drove to F's school and ran in to find that he had been sent to the two year old class for the day. One of the teachers went to fetch him for me and once he was locked and loaded in the car I set out driving on the interstate to get to the nature center. We made it right on the dot as the group was about to leave with their tour guide. The mother that had was supposed to take him apologized for not going to the school to get him since she and her daughter ended up being 20 minutes early and would have had the time to get him . I sweetly told her not to worry about it, and she offered to bring him home afterwards, which I accepted gratefully. It would not have been the most fun to walk around for three hours with the two younger ones during their naptimes. So we drove back home and my friend Dawn came over with her three month old and 3 year old charges. We had fun playing with the kids, and had lunch together as well. When F came home, he played with Hayden in the backyard and Dawn and I were able to just chat and catch up while keeping a watchful eye on the kids. As you moms know, being alone with children day in and day out with little to no adult interaction can be taxing. Nannies and governesses have the same issues, so I have a circle of friends that I get together with for the purpose of our kids playing together and for us to have some adult conversation. It's also nice to be able to go to places like the Zoo and have another person there to watch the kids for a couple of minutes if you need to use the restroom, etc. We support each other much like moms do.

Anyway, Dawn and her kids left aorund 5 and I set about making breakfast-at-dinner. F and I had been to the Farmer's Market on Wednesday and had bought a loaf of French brioche just for tonight. I whipped up the French toast batter and had a plateful of french toast slices and bacon. F&E went to TOWN and polished most of it off. Tonight was the first time E has used a fork for its purpose...she was extremely proud of herself as she stabbed each piece and fed it to herself. Next mission: spoon and yogurt...with a towel on the floor and nothing but a diaper. Maybe we'll try that tomorrow....

After dinner, I set the alarm for the house (it's quite a large house and I like to have the alarm on at the end of the day just in case) and we played for a while before heading to the bathtub. E gets super excited about bathtime and grabs her empty water pail and tosses it into the empty tub. I reach to turn on the water...and the alarm goes off.

Now, I'm not a "panicker". This means that while I may feel inwardly frightened and want to scream like a little girl and run, I do not. I remain calm and composed. "Oh my! The alarm is going off guys! I think we need to go outside for a little bit." So we get outside and wait for thirty minutes before the police show up to do a sweep of the house. All was clear, and it was determined that E throwing her pail into the tub set off the "glass shatter" function of the alarm in their jack and jill bathroom. Whew. I was definitely relieved to have a definite REASON why the alarm went off. After the police left, we headed back inside and I gave them their baths and got them to bed... late...but oh well.

So, now I'm sitting here on a Friday night at 8:30 with not much to do! The house is literally in perfect condition with not a toy askew, the dishes are already done as I ran the dishwasher right after dinner, the trash is taken out, and the laundry is finished. So....I guess I'll go to bed! Tomorrow is another day, and I'm sure it will be a busy one!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Single parenthood and stylin'

So, I'm playing single momma to the kids today through Sunday. It's not a big deal... I actually find it much easier to deal with the three munchkins when mom and dad aren't underfoot. We'll just say that I have a way of doing things, and it's pretty efficient. Plus, the kids are on my schedule and everyone stays happy for the most part. Their parents are in Florida for business... this is the third time they have gone away since January, and I'm hoping it's a stress-free weekend for them as I know they're nervous. I'm sure everything will be fine...and even if it's not, I'll handle whatever gets thrown my way.

Not sure what I will do with the kids this weekend... I'm thinking the Zoo, Aquarium, Children's Museum...and definitely a few park visits. Our pool is opening this weekend, but there is no way the water will be warm enough yet for them. Probably by the end of May we can add swimming into our repertoire.

Ethan and I went shopping the other day with our stylist at Nordstrom... she came to work with us to put together looks for our photo shoot...which was cancelled due to thunderstorms all day on Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. No worries though, we rescheduled for August. Why August? Well...our photographer is due in a week, and is on maternity leave through the end of July. I didn't want to work with anyone else, and since August is the month of our 5th anniversary, it still works well.

Anyway, Karen's visit (our stylist) was not a total loss as she was able to see Ethan's sad excuse for a wardrobe. The guy can't help it.... 70% of his wardrobe is his uniforms. Anyway, she threw out quite a few of his clothes. I have been working together with her for over a year now, and she is wonderful. Shopping with Karen at Nordstrom is really awesome. When we show up, we have huge dressing rooms with entire outfits grouped together. Shoes, accessories, etc. The works. No browsing around to find things as she (a) knows what we have in our closets at home already and (b) knows our sizes. I don't really have that many pieces that I "need" to add to my wardrobe but I left with a really cool black Elizabeth & James satin jacket and white Joe's Jeans, and Ethan left with a pair of COH jeans and two new long-sleeved collared shirts that I love on him. So exciting. We'll keep visiting her at Nordstrom as she finds things she thinks will work well for us, and buy what we like, etc. No, we're not rich and famous... Karen's services at Nordstrom are completely free. You too can have a personal stylist...just call your local Nordstrom and request an appointment with a personal shopper. We do pay her a small fee to come to our house and do styling/wardrobe editing but hey! It's worth it to me to have outfits that I wouldn't think to put together by someone whose job is to stay current with fashion.

Alrighty....it's 9 PM and time for me to hit the hay. Here's hoping the kiddos all sleep through the night.... but I'm fully aware that Baby S probably won't!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Busy as usual....

I find myself with a free moment to post....at last. Hope all of you have been doing well. I've been a busy girl (as usual) working my tail off. 91 hours at the end of this week.

I haven't been up to much, really...just enjoying the gorgeous weather and getting the kids out and about. Now that baby S is bigger, it's a lot easier to go places since I have a better idea of his nap schedule. I'm looking forward to taking the kids swimming once the pools open next month. I know E is going to love it, and I'm pretty sure S will too. All three of them have been total water babies... maybe because they were born into water? Who knows? I'm excited for the summer... it always goes by so quickly, and will REALLY fly by this summer because F starts school August SECOND. They sure start the school year super early... but it works for me. More time with the little ones, and they're the ones who need the outings and experiences that F is too old for at this point. Speaking of Baby S... at only 6 months old, he is crawling, pulling himself to a stand, and starting to cruise from one piece of furniture to another. It's amazing... he's such an awesome little man. Always has a smile on his face unless he's hungry or sleepy... and then he's sure to let you know with some high pitched whimpers.

Ethan is working 12 hour shifts all weekend. The poor man won't get much sleep. He gets home at 7 PM tonight and gets to sleep for a few hours before going back to his extra side job from 2:30-6:30 and then straight to the precinct for his next 12 hour shift... home to eat and maybe sleep an hour or two before his side job at the bar from 10-3... couple more hours and then 7-7 shift again. At least he's racking up the comp time which we'll need for Mexico in August. I won't see him at all this weekend since I'm working overnight tonight until 9 AM tomorrow morning and then tomorrow night from 7-11.... and Sunday from 9-3. Good thing I'm working. I might go crazy all alone at home for that long. Before anyone asks....yes, I have friends. They just happen to live in other states which makes weekend plans problematic. ;)

NEXT weekend we'll have some fun... we're having our photos done by Mango Street Photography which I am super excited about. After the shoot, Ethan and I will head to dinner for a relaxing evening with just the two of us. I'm not sure what we'll do other than dinner somewhere! I love time with my husband... he's just so much fun to be with. Not a day goes by that I am not amazed that God decided to let me have him as my husband.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Who am I that He would love me like this?

Down the Vía Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day
The soldiers tried to clear the narrow street
But the crowd pressed in to see
The Man condemned to die on Calvary
He was bleeding from a beating, there were stripes upon His back
And He wore a crown of thorns upon His head
And He bore with every step
The scorn of those who cried out for His death
Down the Vía Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King,
But He chose to walk that road out of
His love for you and me
Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary
  Por la Vía Dolorosa, triste día en Jerusalém
Los soldados le abrían paso a Jesús
Más la gente se acercaba,
Para ver al que llevaba aquella cruz
Por la Vía Dolorosa, que es la via del dolor
Como oveja vino Cristo, Rey y Señor,
Y fue Él quien quiso ir por su amor por ti y por mí
Por la Vía Dolorosa al Calvario y a morir
The blood that would cleanse the souls of all men
Made its way through the heart of Jerusalem
Down the Vía Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King
But He chose to walk that road out of His love for you and me
Down the Vía Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My left ring finger feels naked....

Last night I did my C25K (I switched my days this week to T/Th/Sat) and my fingers were really hot and swelling a little bit, so I took off my wedding rings and forgot to put them back on after my shower.... and left for work this morning with no rings. It feels very strange as I can't ever remember not wearing my rings. I always have them on unless I'm about to dip my hands in sticky lotion or getting a manicure or something. I also have no ring tan lines on my finger, which I find odd. I guess I don't get that much sun!

Good news about Baby S! He is no longer going to occupational therapy! The OT is thrilled (and completely amazed) by his development and since he is at the 9 month level as far as development, she won't see him again until our checkup at the end of June. He is crawling, and has just started pulling himself up. He'll be 6 months old on Easter Sunday. He is truly an amazing little boy, and I am just so darned proud of the little cutie. He endured all my therapy workouts for the first couple of months and it has paid off big time. We have an appointment with the neurologist next month to determine if we can start decreasing his anti-seizure medications. I really hope that two years from now, everything we went through is just a blip on the radar and it causes no further issues down the road. Above all else though, I'm just hugely grateful he's alive! God must have big plans for you on this earth, little fella. He sure has taught me a lot because of you.

I am expecting a bunch of packages today.... so exciting. I just love getting mail. I remember going to check the mailbox as a little girl and hoping one of my grandparents or my best friend had sent me a letter. When they did, I would read and re-read it and save it in my letter box and then carefully craft a reply. Now, most of the mail I get is bills (welcome to adulthood, right?) and junk mail... but sometimes a letter does come... and I enjoy it every bit as much as I did when I was a child. Anyway, the packages are from Old Navy, Polka Dot Designs, and Zappos. Old Navy is just a few more of the long-length shirts that I decided to stock up on since they were on sale and I needed them for summer. Polka Dot Designs are my invitations for a party I am throwing in June (it's a secret, so I won't be posting about it here until after said event). Zappos is not shoes this time around... it's a few pairs of jeans. I love Zappos because of their free overnight shipping AND free return shipping. Zero sales tax doesn't hurt either... and the privacy of my home as a dressing room cannot be beat.

My parents arrive tomorrow night.... I can't wait. Still trying to finalize the menu for when they're here but I think I may wait for mom and then come up with something. She is always fun in the kitchen, and so is dad. It's an excuse to take them to the international farmer's market too! I'm thinking mussels in white wine sauce, pork loin, rack of lamb, and steak will be on the menu (not all at once, on different nights of course!)... just have to make sure they like all that stuff!

And I'm out!


Monday, March 29, 2010

The end is in sight...

This morning I registered Ethan for his fall semester at GSU.... his last semester there before he graduates in December! Words cannot describe how happy I am that this is finally coming to an end. I am so incredibly proud of my husband for how hard he works. I don't know many people who could handle 6 classes, a full time job as a police officer, two extra side jobs, and being a devoted and loving husband all at the same time. It has required a lot of sacrifice from him since he hasn't had the time to do the things he loves. His fall semester only requires him to be in class on Monday evenings, and the rest of the time is his... I am so happy for him because he definitely deserves to have some time to himself after the hectic pace of the last three years! I am also happy that we'll be able to have a more "normal" existence in the fall (ie: have dinner together every night). Once he graduates... wow, there are just so many options and so much freedom I don't even know where to begin! Let's just say all the hard work will be worth it.

This week is a short 4 day week for me due to Friday being a paid holiday. My parents are coming to visit and arrive late Thursday night. I am so excited to have them here for a few days and to not have any other obligations whatsoever this weekend. It's a nice change in pace. Even if it will be short-lived. Things will return to their normal craziness until Memorial Day weekend. Such is my life!




Friday, March 26, 2010

One of the many reasons I love my job....


Baby S is ALWAYS laughing and smiling.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Party in my cabana....

I went to get a pedicure after getting off of work today and decided to pick a color that was a little brighter than I usually go for...hence the title of my post, which is the name of the OPI polish color I chose. Since I wouldn't want to see a photo of someone else's toes (unless said toes were in a pair of fabulous shoes they wanted me to see) I will not post a photo of mine. Rest assured that I think they're fabulous. I love my pedicure place... $16 for a great pedicure that lasts 3-4 weeks! The polish and topcoat they use is practically bulletproof. If you're ever visiting me in Atlanta and you want one....just say the word. :)

This weekend I don't have much going on. I'm working all day tomorrow as usual and spending the night, but my Saturday is pretty much free other than working 7:30-11:30 on Saturday night. So I am going to go to Old Navy to return the one dress that didn't work and catch "Alice in Wonderland". I've wanted to see it for a while, and while I think Tim Burton's films are rather weird, I really loved his "Big Fish". So I'm willing to give it a chance. I've really gotten into the going to movies by myself thing. I used to NEVER see movies alone. I would only go with Ethan or a friend, and as a result, I sometimes didn't get to see the movies I really wanted to see due to lack of interest of the other party. I can't remember when I finally sucked it up and went to go see a movie by myself, or which movie it was... but I do remember thinking "Hey, this wasn't so bad!" So, now I actually enjoy it. It's an escape for a couple of hours with my popcorn sprinkled with m&m's and some Coke to drink (yes, dad... I know it's highway robbery...) and nowhere else to be.

I know this was a short post, but I'm going to relax and enjoy this rainy and gray afternoon by snuggling up with a book, which has also been something I haven't been able to do in a while!






Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Clothes for tall people and other stuff....

So, I am enjoying a rare quiet moment with my hot cup of Earl Grey Twinings tea. I know I have never been a tea person, but I have a cough and the tea helps. So maybe I'm converting...we'll see if I still want to drink it once the cold/cough passes.

F is in school, and both little ones are napping...this hardly ever happens. I usually have at least one child that is awake the entire time I am here until around 7:30 PM if I stay later than that. This week I'm going home at 5:30 every day because our second nanny isn't in school so she has a more flexible schedule. It's definitely been a nice thing!

Anyway, the temperatures are getting warmer and I decided I "needed" some new summer and spring clothes. When you're a governess or a mom, you want clothes that (a) are comfortable, (b) don't ride up when you're chasing your munchkins, and (c) don't cost an arm and a leg because by the time summer is over they will most likely be worn out from the multiple washings due to baby spit-up, spilled juice, you fill in the blank. Oh, and (d) they must be cute. My biggest issue with clothing is finding clothes that are long enough for me! Jeans aren't such a problem anymore because even though I'm six feet tall without shoes, my inseam is just under 33 inches and they tend to make the leg length of jeans super long these days. My length is from my extremely long torso...which makes finding shirts quite the challenge! Well... no more! I was looking on Old Navy's website and noticed that they had tall sizes! I never knew this before because they don't carry the tall sizes in the stores. I immediately ordered a bunch of stuff and waited patiently for it to arrive.... and it came last night at 6:45 PM. I tried everything on and much to my delight, everything worked except one dress that literally looked like I had put on a paper bag. Can't win them all.... I will be stylin' this summer.... and I have declared this summer "the summer of the skirt". See sample outfit below and just imagine me in it with a pair of flip flops, dangly earrings, and some sort of bracelet. (the skirt is right above the knee, and I have it in three different colors: the color shown, black, and dark brown)

So voila, my summer wardrobe is finito! Oh, and here's a tip... if you want 20% off your online order, be sure to sign up on the mailing list and they'll email you a coupon code for 20% off. Can't really beat that, especially if they have a sale going on!

Couch to 5 K is still going well... I completed day one of week 4 yesterday. My legs and feet felt like lead by the end... but I gritted my teeth and refused to slow down to a walk and made it through. It probably didn't help that I'm not feeling so great with the cough/cold thing but it's not making me feel bad enough to cop out of exercising. I can't believe that after tomorrow I'll be past the halfway point to finishing the 9 weeks! I still have no idea how I am going to run for thirty minutes without stopping but I think I need to stop worrying about it and just trust the process.

And there's my update for now....

Friday, March 19, 2010

The one where the lock gets stuck...

This morning I left work at 10:30 AM when our babysitter arrived and headed straight to the YMCA for my workout. I went to the locker room and put my stuff in a locker, and for some reason I could not get my lock through the latch. I was puzzled because last night I had no problems at all with the lock going in through the latch. I decided to see if the lock would fit into the locker next to mine and it slipped right in. "Okay, I'll just move my stuff to this locker and my problems are solved."

Think again, Wilkie.

The lock would NOT come off of the latch. I was doing everything I could do to get the lock to unhook from the latch and nothing I was doing worked. To make matters worse, there was a locker room rush from all these ladies that had finished their workouts ... and every single one of them happened to have lockers in the same section as mine. Oh, and all of them were naked. Some of them were not exactly covered with a towel, and being 12 inches away from a naked stranger is a just a tiny bit disconcerting to me. Maybe other people are cool with that, but I am not. After THIRTY minutes of trying to get the lock out and coming close to kicking the locker and sobbing like an emotionally disturbed two year old, I snatched my stuff out of the other locker and just took it with me to the workout room. It could have been worse.... I could have put my things into that locker initially and been unable to get into it to get my keys, wallet, etc and been stuck there at the YMCA all day! I was annoyed and frustrated, but I just channeled it into my workout and finished week 3 of Couch to 5K.

I ran errands after the YMCA, and am now pretty tired... it's 9:51 PM and I don't get off of work until tomorrow at 11 PM, and I work Sunday from 9-3. One day at a time... I can make it through the weekend....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The answer is yes.

Yes, I woke up at 6:20 AM and worked out again.

No, I won't be doing that tomorrow because I'm spending the night here at work. I have a babysitter coming from 9-12 so I will be going and completing day 2 of week 3 during that timeframe.

The sitter came today from 3-5:30 and I ran some errands and then went home to do another workout (I am working out twice per day for the rest of the month). I decided to see how long I could run without stopping while catching up on Desperate Housewives. I am proud to report that I made it... ELEVEN MINUTES. I then walked for two minutes... and then ran for EIGHT.... walked for three minutes....and then ran for SEVEN... it was an awesome feeling to be able to run for more than sixty seconds without feeling like I was going to die.

Running for twenty-five minutes straight no longer seems like the impossible dream! I can't wait to get to that point and be able to be one of those girls I've always admired who hop on the treadmill and runs for forty-five minutes with ease.

I ordered new Mizunos since my current ones are getting worn out... can't wait for them to arrive sometime at the end of this week or early next!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yes, I really did wake up this morning...

I ended up making a tweak and setting my alarm for 6:20 so that I could be on the treadmill at 6:30. Since I knew I only needed 45 minutes total, I didn't want to be twiddling my thumbs waiting to leave for work when I was finished. Oh, and yes... I wanted that extra 20 minutes. I admit it.

So, the alarm went off at 6:20 and my husband decided to "help" by flipping all the lights on. He had been up since before 6 getting ready to head to work since his day begins at 6:30. I groaned with my arm flung over my eyes but then remembered that people would want to know if I did what I said I would... so I wearily got out of the bed, got dressed, laced up the Mizunos, and got started. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I decided to use the time to catch up on "The Office", since I hadn't watched the baby episode yet. I actually managed to run for three minutes! I'm sure watching "The Office" helped distract me from feeling like I was dying...whatever works! After I finished 45 minutes (I ended up walking after finishing the 25 minutes that C25K took) I jumped in the shower, dressed, and then headed to work.

The burst of energy I was hoping for? Yep, definitely got it. I have been unbelievably productive at work today. I am always super productive, but I usually don't get this much done before 10 AM!

So, will I be doing this again tomorrow morning? You betcha. I'm going to try it for a full week and decide if I benefit enough to make it a habit!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Another week begins....

So here we are, it's Sunday night, and I'm sitting here at my computer thinking about the week ahead. This past week was a 97 hour week... and this coming week is something like 106 when all is said and done...but who's counting? Moms work 168 hours per week with no pay, and I get overtime. So I don't have much to complain about.

Anyway, in light of the week I have ahead of me and the fact that we've just "sprung forward" an hour, you may think what I'm about to say is crazy.

I..... have..... set.... my alarm.... for.....six o'clock. In the morning. Which will feel like five o'clock.

::crickets::

Yes, really.

::crickets::

I'm serious! Okay, anyone who knows me well knows that I loooooove to sleep. However, in order to keep my commitment to Couch to 5K, it's necessary for me to get the workout in before I head to work. Otherwise it may not get done, because F is not feeling well and may not be in school or going to swim lessons. I don't want to count on him going to swim lessons for my workout because if he doesn't, I will have a hard time getting myself on the treadmill when I get home from work. When I do the session when he's in swim lessons, I am re-energized so I am hoping that it will have the same effect at six AM. We'll find out. It may be a big mistake. I may fall asleep feeding S his bottle. Who knows? If the contestants on Biggest Loser can get up at 5:30 in the morning to work out for 2 hours before heading to a full day of work and then work out another 2 hours, I can certainly wake up early and work out for thirty minutes. That's how I'm rationalizing it to myself in order to motivate myself to just DO it.

So, this week is going to be busy...and challenging. The C25K week three consists of: running for 90 seconds, walking for 90 seconds, running for THREE MINUTES, walking for three minutes, and then repeating for a total of 20 minutes. Yesterday when I finished week 2 I decided to see how long I could run during the last running interval and I made it for 2 minutes and 15 seconds. I will not give up. Even if my running looks like I'm doing it in slow motion, I will at least be doing the motion of running. I may go back at the end of the 9 weeks and do the c25K again but increase my running speed each week to get it up to higher than the current 4.8-5 mph. I'm getting ahead of myself... for now, I'm going to go to bed and wake up in 8ish hours to get my workout in for the day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I am the kitchen dervish...

So today I came into work and after sending F off to school and putting S&E down for their naps, I set to work mixing up three boxes of brownie mix. Finn's school is having a fundraising event, and I volunteered for us to send in baked goods. I didn't realize how hard it would be to stir three boxes of brownie mix... at least my right arm got a little workout! Once I had those baked and cooled, I cut them into pieces and put them each into an individual Ziploc bag (as per instructions from the event organizers). I "artfully" arranged them on a platter.... it's not easy to arrange brownies in Ziploc bags. I did the best I could. Hopefully people will be so blown away by their fudgy goodness that they won't notice....

F came home from school and had a friend over, so I shifted to short order cook mode and made F a quesadilla, his friend a grilled cheese sandwich, and a PBJ for E. They gave me rave reviews on my cooking.

After cleaning up from lunch, F asked to make "Granbetsy's Mac 'n Cheese" to have for dinner tonight. His grandmother made it for her kids, and continues to make it today. F loves it, and it's way better than the standard Kraft stuff... if you wanted to make it "organic" you could use all organic ingredients, and voila! It's seriously the easiest recipe ever for macaroni and cheese and it is some of the most delicious I've ever tried. If anyone wants to try it for themselves...here is the recipe!

In advance preparation, boil 2 cups of pasta - F likes small shells (he calls them "clams"), but rotini (if you like each noodle to have tons of the cheese sauce in it!) or elbow macaroni works great for this too! Steer clear of penne or farfalle pasta because they don't work so well.

Grate 2ish cups of mild to sharp cheddar cheese based on your preferences and set aside in a bowl.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 4 TBS butter in a square or round casserole dish. Use a whisk and stir in 1 tsp salt and 6 TBS flour. Pour in 2 cups of milk (you can use whole milk or skim milk, whatever you like), and stir with whisk. Place in microwave for 6 minutes, stopping to stir cream sauce every 2 minutes with whisk. After the sauce is completed, mix in the cheese with whisk - it will melt and you will have a very thick and creamy cheese sauce. After all the cheese is folded in and melted, mix in your drained pasta and then pop it in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Let stand for a little while and then serve! It also reheats VERY well, so don't be afraid to pre-bake it like I did today for serving later.

Just be careful. It's addictive. Ethan has polished off entire dishes of it many times.

F has swim lessons at the YMCA today so I'm ready to hit the treadmill for day 2 of this week of C25K! I think that knowing I only "have" to do it three times a week makes it easier for me... if I knew I had to do it every day I don't think I'd be able to stick with it! Hopefully when the 12 weeks are up, I'll want to run every day. We'll see....