Thursday, November 20, 2008

Birthdays and Holidays Galore

I've been battling an unfriendly stomach bug and therefore haven't had time to catch up on everyone's blogs yet. I'm trying desperately to get better because I have such a big week ahead of me. On Saturday is Amber's 8th birthday! I've completed the shopping for gifts but still have to pick up a few key items like, oh, wrapping paper. Usually we wrap up the gifts about a week before and set them out for display. It's so much fun to see them agonize for a week over what's in the boxes. So with only 2 days until her birthday, we're a bit behind schedule.

Thanksgiving is one week from today! This is arguably my most favorite holiday of the year. This year I will be cooking for 11 people. And I love to cook so I do it ALL myself. I spend two full days cooking. But, again, I'm behind! I haven't finalized the menu, or the shopping list! And I'm sending the hubby shopping for everything tommorrow. I guess I better get on that, eh? Shame on me!

The good news is I have this entire week for VACATION. I'm so excited, it's my only complete week away from work this year (no, 6 weeks on disability hardly able to move around didn't count, because it felt nothing like a vacation!). And it will be busy -- busy with cleaning, cooking and shopping. But I think I kind of like that, actually. I've been slacking off too much on the weekends. At least this way I'll feel like I actually did something with my vacation instead of being lazy, since I can't actually go anywhere.

And finally, we're getting a new addition to the family! No, not the bun in my oven :P But a Holland Lop rabbit. Actually, we're planning on two, but in case erm.. "accidents" occur, we're making sure to grab them from different bloodlines. They're a bit hard to find around the St. Louis area, but we've got our first, and it's coming home with us on the 29th .. just over a week away! In case you haven't heard of the breed, the Holland Lop is the smallest of the Lop family, and maxes out at about 4 lbs if you have a true Holland Lop dwarf. This one we're getting has been hand raised, is about 6 weeks old, and will be ours shortly. Isn't he/she adorable?!





Well that's it for now. I will work on finishing catching up on everyone's blogs, and you'll certainly get a b-day/Thanksgiving update with pics!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Guess Who's Back ...

Do you ever have the problem where the longer you stay away from something, the harder it is to return? I feel that way now. I guess I expected that I should wow you all with some grand revelation that I learned while I was away and anything less would be unspectacular and boring. Well, sorry, I have no such revelations! I simply needed a break from the blogging world. But now I am lonely and want to come back! How else can I waste such quality time at work? I must admit that I have an unproductive hour first thing in the morning, while I drink my caffiene and get used to the idea of spending (yet another) day at the office. But boy is it hard to find an hour's worth of time wasting sites (most of the good ones are blocked by my work) without blogging and catching up on other people's lives. So alas, I will write at my previous rate of a blog or two a week, even if I have nothing interesting to talk about it.

I am into my fourth month of pregnancy, which is also my second trimester. It was a HUGE relief to pass that first trimester at the beginning of the last week. In fact, I'm starting to feel pretty good. I still have to go to bed early -- I've been pulling into bed slightly after I get the kids down, at approx. 8:30 each weeknight. But at least for the rest of the day I seem to have more energy. I still get into slumps, but nearly as much as before (come home, nap, then sleep at 8:00). At least now I'm cooking dinner a few nights a week instead of leaving it to my hubby or take out.

I am in full maternity garb now. I have zero pairs of non-maternity pants that I can wear, and just a handful of non-maternity shirts. I have had people who didn't know I was pregnant (but who did know me & what I looked like previously) ask me if I was pregnant. So I'm happy that I'm now looking more pregnant than fat, although I still feel like it's too soon! The good news is my weight gain has been much more controlled this time. It helps tremendously that my pregnancy craving is NOT McDonalds this time around! Actually, the craving thing is kinda driving me nuts. The problem is that I have no set craving. For my first pregnancy, I ate Taco Bell almost every single day I was pregnant -- it started a couple weeks before I found out I was pregnant! With my second, it was McDonalds, and boy was it a doozy! Quarter Pounder w/Cheese meal, supersized, with a chocolate shake! Now I didn't eat that every day, but at least 3 or 4 times a week. This time my cravings are off just everywhere, which really sucks for my budget because I can't prepare for what I'll want to eat! A single, constant craving is much easier to manage.

Okay, so I'm going to leave you with that right now. I have many topics on my mind, but I'll save those so that I actually have things to talk about later. I will catch up on your posts, but please bear with me because it will be a while, I have a LOT of catching up to do!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Confessions of a Bad Blogger

Yes, I said it. For the past month now I've been an exceptionally bad blogger and for that I apologize. This pregnancy has had me dog tired so far. So tired that I often come home from work, take a nap, eat dinner, then go to bed at 8:00. On the weekends I might stay up till 10:00, but then turn around and sleep from anywhere between 10:00 and noon on both Saturday and Sunday. And no matter how much sleep I get, it's never enough. I'm so tired that I don't want to do anything, and blogging and keeping up with blogs has been the last thing on my mind.

But I vow that will change, starting this week. Even if I'm tired, I will find the energy to post about something once or twice a week. And yes, everyone -- I'm so sorry for falling way behind on reading your blogs. I'll catch up, every last drop, I promise. And I'll leave lots of comments to prove I was there!

So what's new with me? Well, I am now 9 weeks pregnant and thus officially into my third month, which is the last month of the first trimester. Everything is going well. Last week I had another ultrasound, this time we got to see the actual baby and its heart beat, so we know everything is working as it should. I'm only 9 weeks and have only gained 2 pounds, yet my stomach is significantly bigger. I can still (barely) fit into my regular jeans, but I'm about to outgrow those. Good thing my work clothes are all slacks so there's some growing room there. People who know me can tell I'm pregnant, but I've been assured not to worry, other people will just think I'm a little "bloated". Geez, thanks!

I spent this past weekend playing with my new toy: an Apple iPhone! Whoot! I'm psyched about this thing. I had my previous, primitive cell phone for 2.5 years, and I was well ready for a change. But I would not have gotten this phone if I didn't work for AT&T, and thus get an awesome 50% discount off the voice, text & data plans you have to purchase to have the iPhone. Anyways, this thing is awesome! I was apprehensive and feeling guilty about making this purchase, but not anymore. I have everything I want at my fingertips -- email, chats, weather, games, facebook, Pandora radio (oh yeah!), and much much more! Did I mention I love it?! (Oh, by the way, if this post makes you go out and purchase an iPhone, please contact me so that I can get a referral for your service :P )

Well that's about all for now. I will be spending this week catching up on everyone's blogs. I may not get to you right away, but I promise I will soon!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Maroon 5 Concert

Tomorrow night is the Maroon 5 and Counting Crows concert at the Verizon Amplitheater in Maryland Heights, MO. I've had my tickets for over three months now, and I'm more than ready to finally cash them in for the show!

I've had so little energy this past month that I've done very little with my weekends (in case you haven't noticed, the fun weekend posts have dropped off). As I've mentioned before, I'm so dead tired lately that I can do little to nothing but sleep. Anyways, the point is, I will do whatever takes to have energy for tomorrow night. I even have plans to go dancing with the sister-in-law afterwords.

As many of you have read in my previous blogs, any outing with my sister-in-law is quite an adventure. I didn't even mention how I wound up ending the night at a strip club (for men) last time I was out with her. So I'm going to need all the energy I can get!

I say this now, yet all I can think about this moment is if I could find a space under my desk for a quick nap. Wish me luck ...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

9 Month Smoke Free Anniversary

I just realized that today is my 9 month quit anniversary!

I don't have anymore time to write right now, but I just thought I'd let everyone know what today is!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Magic House

Yes, I know I've been absent for a while. I just haven't had much to talk about and I didn't want to bore everyone to death with mundane details of my everyday life. Don't get me wrong, many people can make even the most mundane thing into a fun, interesting and humourous blog. But that's not me, for sure!

There's not much of anything going on here. I'm more exhausted than anything else. I've been lying down at 8:00 in an attempt to fall asleep by 8:30 and thus get closer to 9 hours of sleep a night. On top of that, I often come home after work and nap for an hour or so. It seems all I can do of late is sleep. I've tried to work out, but it doesn't really help -- all it does is make me even more wiped out. I assume all of this will pass in a few more weeks, and I'll start to feel like myself again. Until then I'm just trying to get as much sleep as possible. Also, it can be hard to get a good night's sleep when I'm getting up (literally) three times a night to pee. Fun times. Oh well, it could be much worse -- I could be suffering from morning sickness. Yeah, I'll take being tired and having to pee all the time over "morning" sickness anyday!

Tomorrow night is the monthly free family night at the Magic House. Some of you might have heard about it, it's a famous children's museum. It's called the Magic House because it shows how "magical" things are done with science. It's a huge house chalked full with non-stop fun (well, for the kids). Before I moved into this house I bought, I used to live just blocks from this massive house. Now I live about 7 miles away. It's worth the small drive, though, because the kids have a blast each time they go, even if it is very overcrowded on the free night. So, that's what I'll be doing tomorrow night.

I really don't have much else to talk about. Even now, after getting 8.5 hours of sleep and a nap after work yesterday, I'm just ... tired. Lots of tired, and thus not much brainpower going on. These past few weekends I've done nada. I need to try and think of something to do this weekend with the kids, so I can at least have something else to blog about.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Promised Update

Just a quick note: I had my ultrasound this morning. Everything looks great! We found the baby very quickly, nuzzled safely in my uterus where it belongs. We could see the gestational sac and the yolk sac, but nothing else. It's too early to find the actual embryo. I go back in 2.5 weeks -- by then I'll be almost 8 weeks, and we'll be able to see the fetus and heartbeat and such.

All I can say is I'm much relieved! I had faith that this pregnancy was good, but still, after my experience last time I couldn't help the nagging feelings. I had trouble sleeping all night last night, and was anxious this morning for the appointment. After I got home I was super relieved, but overwhelmingly tired. It was like the moment I quit worrying sleep tried to take over.

Due date is May 11th! I guess we should start a little ticker (update, found better ticker!)

Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What Happened To Trim Up Tuesday?

Sorry for going AWOL last week. It was quite a hectic week (the last post shows how it started). But I'm going to get back on track, and catch up on everyone's blogs real quick like.

I have stayed the same weight since my last Trim Up Tuesday blog. It seems I will have to stop 3.5 pounds short of my final in exchange for a new goal: managing and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. That's right, folks -- I'm pregnant again! I'm so thrilled. It's been four months since my scary ectopic pregnancy with complications experience (read: Part One & Part Two for details). I think I've had a pretty good turn around time, considering 2 of those months was complete recovery, and I only have 1 tube left.

I went in for blood work twice last week. My HCG levels look good and are properly rising. Tomorrow morning I'll have an early ultrasound just to confirm the embryo is actually in the uterus where it belongs. I'll post an update afterwards.

I have confidence this pregnancy is going to turn out well. If I hadn't had such a scary experience last time I don't think I'd have any reservations about it at all. Unlike last time, I certainly "feel" pregnant! The week before I found out I was pregnant, I was so tired that I went to bed at 8:30 each night. After 7 days of that, I took a test, and sure enough it was positive. On top of being really tired I'm freaking starving all the time and I have to pee all the time. Plus, my abdomen is tender and slightly extended -- I assume this is because the baby is in the correct place this time around!

So wish me luck, and I'll post a quick update tomorrow after my ultrasound ...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Vomit Diaries

No Trim Up Tuesday today! Instead I'm on the vomit patrol for both kids. Duty started roughly 1:50 am last night. Since then there have been:


  • 20 cases of vomit in the toliet
  • 1 case of vomit on the kitchen floor
  • 2 cases of vomit in bed
  • 1 case of vomit on the bathroom floor
  • 1 case of vomit on the hallway floor
  • 1 case of vomit in the bathtub
  • 5 cases of vomit all over the toilet & bathroom fixtures
  • 3 rolls of paper towels used
  • 3 loads of laundry run
  • 4 showers
  • 20 minutes of sleep
  • 2 pathetic children
  • 1 overworked mom!


Actually, all considering, I'm not too bad off. Oddly enough, I'm not stressed at all. But regardless I can't wait for the hubby to get home so he can take over the vomit patrol!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Anheuser Busch Weekend (Pics!)

Whew! I've been so busy at work lately that I can hardly catch my breath. But here it is, the promised post about last weekend. On Saturday we took a tour of the Anheuser Busch brewery. It's pretty neat, because in St. Louis we have the original Budweiser factory. The tour itself was okay. Apparently their production line is so efficient that factory workers don't have to work weekends! Good for them, but bad for me, who wanted to see the production going on. Oh well, we still got two big cups of beer (our choice Anheuser brand) for free after the tour.

On Sunday we went to Grant's Farm, which is associated with both Ulysses Grant and Anheuser Busch because members from the families married up and took residence on the farm. The farm was later opened up to the public. Because it's run by Anheuser Busch, we got more free beer! I'm loving this free beer stuff! I didn't post any pictures, but the stables at Grant's farm are home to many of the very same horses that you see in the Budweiser commercials. They have one of the largest herds of Clydesdales in the world. These horses are gorgeous! Learn more about Budweiser Clydesdales.

The future of Grant's Farm and other Anheuser Busch philanthropic endeavors in and around St. Louis is unknown, due to the InBev take over. It hits us hard in St. Louis, because Budweiser was founded here, and Anheuser Busch has been incorported into many aspects of our city. So far we haven't seen any changes, and we're all crossing fingers that it stays that way!

I'm so thrilled that I have a long weekend coming up. I have no plans so far, but I'm hoping to get out and see at least one thing. I'm thinking about either the Purina Farms or the Meremec Caverns. Either way, you'll here it about it here next week!

Before we get into this weekend's pics, I decided to let you guys see a pic of the cartilage piercings, even though I don't like the jewelry. So there they are, in the upper part of my left ear:



On Saturday we arrived at Grant's Farm just to wait for Alex's sister to arrive. In the meantime, the kids expelled some energy. I swear they ran around that pot for no less than 20 minutes. (Amber):


Alexia:

Quick photo op on the tram ride through the park (Me & Alexia):





We didn't see much on the tram ride this time. Last time we went we got a closer look at many animals, but they are allowed to roam free, so you can't guarantee how much you'll see on any given day. We did see the bison, though:




After the tram ride, we disembarked at the main part of the park. Here is where you walk around and see the various animals and shows. One of the first things we came across were the Capybara. These things looked like huge, 150 pound rats. Apparently they are the largest rodent in the world. I'm just going to refer to them as R.O.U.S. (or, Rodents Of Unusual Size -- yes, they do exist):


There were a few large tortoises. I have many pics of this one on it's journey to the water because it took roughly 5 minutes to make its way over and in:


These bald eagles look fake, don't they? But they aren't. They sat there, near still as could be the entire time. I don't think they moved once. I feel so badly for them -- they sustained injuries that don't allow them to fly, so they're held there. They look so tall and proud regardless:

This little elephant gave us quite a show. She even played the harmonica for us! And okay -- is it just me, or is that guy on the right totally posing for my picture? It seems that way at least:


Ah, the goat pen. Parents be warned! If you allow your child to walk in there with one of the bottles of milk (sold at the farm), they will be trampled. And don't wear loose clothing, because it will get eaten. The goat pen is crazy time. It's like walking into a pen full of a hundred hungry, tired toddlers, only they are much heavier and have horns on their heads. And for some odd freaking reason, I was being chased by a goat that kept head butting me with its horns! I didn't see any other goats head butting people. That's my luck, I guess. This, by the way, is my nephew Wyatt:



They had many beautiful birds. These are only two of many they had outside. Funny thing is, they weren't teathered down. I'm assuming they have their wings clipped, because I don't know how else they have confidence enough to let such splendid (and expensive) birds out:




The last thing we did before we left was head on over to the bird show. It was really cute. Here are two of the birds pulling another bird in a carriage:


And they have their own version of the Anheuser Busch logo (if you need refreshing as to what the actual logo looks like, it's on the podium the bird is standing on). I must say they did an excellent job:



They also had a rat race. They took 4 volunteers, paired them up and then made each pair link arms. Amber got picked -- that's her second from the left:





After they linked arms, the put a rat on each side to run along the kids and see who would win. Amber had such a mess of hair that they had to help the rat through it!



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Trim Up Tuesday (Week 8)





Hello everyone, and welcome to Trim Up Tuesday! I would like to give a special shout out today to Ms Diva over at Diva in da Chantix House for taking fitness to the extreme by participating in a hard-core fitness camp! I'm so proud of her, so if you get a chance stop by and leave an encouraging word for her to read whenever she gets a much needed break.

I had a really nice weekend. It was full to the max, but it was good family time. I promise you a post either Wednesday or Thursday (no, really! I even have the pics uploaded to Blogger already).

Thanks for stopping by! Oh yes, one plug for Trim Up Tuesday -- please join! It's not just about losing weight. The blog creator tool at Trim Up Tuesday can record many different facets of health -- from weight (of course) to length and types of exercise and even tracking of your unhealthy meals and drinks. And I'm always up for suggestions if you'd like to see something else added to it. It's important to note that you never have to record information you don't want to -- the tool will simply ignore anything you leave blank, AND it will never display your weight. It simply asks those questions to perform calculations. And I don't see ANY of what you enter -- the tool does not keep your information. Once you're done, it's as gone!

Weight

  • I have lost 7.5 pound(s) since I started!
  • I lost 1 pound(s) this week!
  • I am 3.5 pound(s) away from my ideal weight.

BMI

  • My BMI is: 21.2. This is considered normal.

Exercise

  • I worked out 5 time(s) this week.
  • I did 3 hour(s) and 51 minutes of cardio this week
  • I did 1 hour(s) and 46 minutes of brisk activity this week

Goals

  • I did meet my last goal
  • My Last Goal Was: Continue to lose weight.
  • My new goal is: Get OUTSIDE and run/walk at least two times.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First Days of School, More Piercing and Lots of Dancing

Sorry all for being slightly absent. The work people blocked blogspot for a while, and as good as my intentions are, I just don't have time to mess with it anywhere else than at work. I know, I know ... terrible of me. But they can't complain much, I work my ass off for them and overperform on everything, so I don't feel too badly about managing my blog on company time.

Wednesday was the first day of school. Amber entered 2nd grade, and Alexia entered Kindergarten. And, as some of you recall, Alexia turning 5 left me a bit upset. But she was super excited about it, and I'm happy for her and proud of her. I know she'll thrive, it was just hard seeing her step onto that bus the first day.

On Friday night I went home for a quiet evening -- then my sister-in-law called. I knew then that I was in for a rough night. So I got up, got ready, and went out dancing with her. I danced so hard and so long -- I danced for 5 hours. It felt great, I LOVE to dance (and I'm good at it). Of course I didn't get home till 4:30 in the morning. I really hate the late nights, I feel like because I'm a mother I shouldn't have those anymore. But the next few days I always feel glad I did it because it's so much fun, and then I think about how much I love to dance, and need to do it more often.

On Saturday I decided to get another piercing (2 actually), but they really are nothing. They're cartilage piercings in the top of my left ear. I have one in the helix of my ear, and the other slightly above that. I've just always liked the way they looked and I saw some really cute jewelry in ads, so I decided to go for it.

Problem, though. I went to my piercer to get the job done, and he's not there. So I wind up going to the mall to get it pierced with a gun (yes, I know, I know ... I tried to get it done the right way, but I wasn't going to wait another day for it because I'm impatient and spontatneous like that). I am very disappointed with the studs I got pierced with. They are much too large for the piercings and placements. Unfortuantly I'm stuck with them for 6 weeks or so until I can give my earrings a quick change. So I'm just going to have to suck it up and let them heal enough for me to change them out.

Surprisingly there was no pain at all to the piercings. I always thought the cartlidge would be very painful to pierce through, instead it was literally no pain. My second lobe piercing hurt more -- that one at least stung a little bit. But ... nothing. I was very pleasantly surprised. If I had known it would be that easy I would have gotten it done a long time ago.

Healing it is nothing at all. A little soreness, careful when brushing and washing the hair, and sleep on the opposite side. No big deal at all (or maybe I'm just used to healing the more difficult piercings, such as the tongue and belly button). Again, I'm surprised, because I always heard people whine about how much this piercing hurts to heal. So far my biggest problem has been figuring out how to wrap a towel around my head to dry my hair, but I imagine in a couple days that won't bother me either. I really like the piercing, I just want the jewelry changed, and it's going to drive me nuts until I can change it. But I shall try to be patient. I haven't taken any pics yet, though, because I'm not fond of the jewelry. We'll see... I might take some pics and post them, but no promises.

So there's the update on last week and the past weekend. We're going to Grant's Farm on Sunday, I'll sure try to take pics and post them, but you know me and pics. I still owe everyone house pics from months ago :-) Until next time ...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trim Up Tuesday (Week 7)





Here I am, back on track, despite another (unplanned) busy, bad for me weekend (tune in tomorrow or Wednesday for details on that). I'm keeping myself happy, losing a pound at a time, and going strong. I'm not concerned about the little weight loss -- after all, I only have 4.5 more pounds to go to meet my goal. I'm getting happier with myself every day. I'm also seeing my body trim and shape up right before my eyes. I even entered into a new decade on the scale, and that is such a huge relief to see the tenth spot lower down to where I'm used to seeing it.

Now, where are those participants who keep promising to jump back in and join me? I want to hear from you! :P

Weight

  • I have lost 6.5 pound(s) since I started!
  • I lost 1 pound(s) this week!
  • I am 4.5 pound(s) away from my ideal weight.

BMI

  • My BMI is: 21.3. This is considered normal.

Exercise

  • I worked out 3 time(s) this week.
  • I did 2 hour(s) and 15 minutes of cardio this week
  • I did 2 hour(s) and 30 minutes of brisk activity this week

Goals

  • I did meet my last goal
  • My Last Goal Was: (unoffical) Get back on the fitness train
  • My new goal is: Focus on losing a little bit of weight (instead of staying level or gaining)

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Weekend In Pictures

Look at this, folks! I'm actually posting promised pics! Yes, you that know me know well that I always promise to post pics but rarely deliver. But this time I have come through!

This weekend a couple friends of mine came down from my old hometown of Kirksville, MO, for a road trip that included a Fergie concert at the Illinois State Fair and some sightseeing in Springfield, IL (a.k.a. Abe Lincoln hometown). Anyways, here come the pics!

From Left To Right: Me, Eva, Sabrina
Standing in front of the stage, waiting for the Fergie concert to begin.



The Fergie concert was AWESOME. I was so afraid that it would not be worth the road trip to Springfield, but it totally was worth it. It surpassed all my expectations. The show had awesome dancers, and Fergie was sure doing her part too. At one point she was doing cartwheels in skin-tight leather pants while singing. Not only did she sing her songs, she sang many of the Black Eyed Peas songs (yes, she sang the full version of My Humps and it rocked!!!) For her song "Voodoo" she had masked dancers come out. For "London Bridge" she brought out the guards, danced all over them (not a one broke a smile) then shoved them down. During each costume change (she went through 3 costumes) they had a dance and music session, where the dancers totally blew me away with their awesome skills. The best part of the whole show was the end, when they did Fergalicious and rocked it hard -- it was an incrediable version of the song, I absolutely loved it. Oh, and did I mention that I had excellent seats? I got to stand right by the stage, and even made eye contact with Fergie 4 or 5 times, not to mention snagged some great pics.

Fergie singing "Big Girls Don't Cry"


Fergie being "Glamourous"


The next day we decided to see what we could do for free in Springfield. We made our way to the home of President Abraham Lincoln. This is the home where him, his wife and their sons lived until Abe became president.


Okay, so we had a few blond moments while we were there. See the sign below? Read it before you continue the story. ("This view of the Lincoln home has been the most frequently photographed throughout the years. We invite you to step into history and take a photo from this location.")


Sabrina: Oh look, we should take a picture here!

Me: Okay!

Sabrina: That didn't turn out too well...

Me: Yeah, that's really odd...


Sabrina: Ohh! I know ... I have that button on my camera!

Me: That's it! The zoom! Let's try again ...


Me: That still didn't work.

Sabrina: Yeah, that really sucks.

Me: Why would they tell us to take a picture through that if it doesn't work?

Sabrina: I don't know.

Me: Oh crap! Umm... I don't think we were supposed to take a picture through the hole... I think we were just supposed to take a picture from this spot!

So alas, we stood back, took some pics while laughing our asses off, and realized that we completely lost all our brain cells just a minute before.


After we were done making fools of ourselves in the middle of the street, we made our way inside the house. I took many pictures, but only posted a few. This is Abe's desk in his bedroom, apparently well-worn and used. It amazes me because it's so small! Abe was supposed to be a really tall man, and I know I'd be cramped in that. But then I decided to look up how tall he really was, and found out he was 6'4". So yes, that's tall, but my ex-husband was 6'5" I guess the image of Abe in my mind is more like a 7 foot tall individual -- but perhaps it was just his famous hat that made him look so darned tall.


This is his bed. It was oddly sloped in the middle, I guess from the mattress. As a side note, this was HIS bed ... his wife had her own bed & portion of the room.


Presidental potty! 3 stalls, even! I can't imagine sitting on a pot with even one person plopped down next to me, let alone two. Hey look, there are even leaves on the floor, how convienent ...


After visiting his house, we made our way over to his tomb. Apparently it took a long time to get him in there. They said he waited in a receiving vault for over 7 months before being placed into a temporary tomb for 5 more years. Then he was moved into this tomb, which was only partially completed at the time. Then much later, they decided to move him within the tomb. Poor Abe, let him rest, people!


Here is his tomb stone. Abe is buried below the floor, 30 inches behind the tombstone and 10 feet below that. His family, except for one son, are also in the same burial chamber.


So that concludes my weekend in pictures! My long weekend is over (I took Fri & Mon off work) and I'm predicting a quiet, relaxing weekend coming up! Oh, in case you're keeping track, I am not posting Trim Up Tuesday today. I have done well because I managed to keep my weight exactly the same, and I will be back into weight loss mode starting today! Thanx for stopping by ...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Black River Float Trip

Okay, so when I checked in on Monday I was a tired, sore mess. I am fairly certain I had sun poisoning. Never heard of it? Neither had I, but apparently I had all the symptoms: really deep burn, chills and cold as hell and nausea. I really was feeling badly on Monday. Good news is my thighs are returning to a less intense shade of red and the pain is minimal (considering).

I still don't have the float trip pics but they'll get here eventually. But let's not let that stop me from telling you guys how the float went. First of all, until I moved to the St. Louis area, I had never heard of a "float trip" before. So in case you're wondering what that is, you basically drive out to a campground where you camp overnight (and drink lots of alcohol). The next morning, you float down the river all day in your choice of vessel (usually a raft or a canoe) while consuming much more alcohol. This makes you prone to doing things like scaling cliffs and climbing algae-covered trees in heavily-currented water so that you can fall (some people manage to jump, but let's not be picky) off.

So that's how it *should* go. I arrived at the campground at about dusk on Friday night, and hurridly help set up our tent before darkness sat in. I then proceeded to catch up on the alcohol intake, since everyone else had been there for hours. It was fun, drinking and partying in the middle of nowhere, but it was fairly unremarkable. After going to bed around 4:00 am, I woke up at 7:00 because it's really hard to ignore nature and the sun when you're right smack in the middle of it! We got up, had breakfast and got ready for the float trip.

Around 11:00 we get deposited into the Black River (in Missouri). This was my first time on a float trip and in a canoe, just so you know. We get about ... oh, 20 yards down the river before we start to lose control, and before you know it, we're facing backwards while the rest of the people behind us are cheering. Way to go, us! I was having many issues remembering that if I wanted to go left, I needed to paddle right, and vice-versa. Needless to say I introduced many navigational difficulties into our float. Unfortunantly, the river was really hard to navigate. It was shallow in most places and there were trees and debris everywhere. I never even got buzzed on our "float" trip because I was too busy steering and paddling to drink much. That's okay, though, because it made it lots of fun, and we had the rest of the night to drink. In fact, whenever we'd get to a temporary floating state, I'd start to get bored because I was so used to the action.

We stopped in various places to drink, swim and bullshit. There was one spot where I battled the current to get to a tree trunk that was downed just over the surface of the water. It was actually pretty dangerous, because the current was trying to sweep me under the tree, and I knew if I went under there'd be a good chance that I'd be swept up in the tangle of branches and roots under the water. Once I reached the tree, however, there was no going back -- it was over or under, so I chose over. The tree was so slick from algae that I couldn't stand up; in fact it took all my effort to pull my body up top it. Once I got on, I scooted myself to the top. I tried my best to stand up, and finally gave up and just "jumped" off the side by letting go.

A little while later we're going down the river, and I look up and see this almost vertical climb off the bank, with an occasional rock and tree limb scattered on the surface. I nudged the hubby and said, "Woah! How'd you like to climb that?" I then looked up and noticed people on top of it -- there was a cave up there! At that same time, 2 guys in our group also noticed the cave, and I could tell they were thinking about it, so I put it out there: "You wanna climb it?" They reply hesitantly, "I don't know, do you?" And at that point, even though I wasn't drunk, I'd had enough to not care: "Sure! Let's do it!" So we pull over and head on over. Looking up the dirt wall, I realize that this might be a stupid idea. After all, I am in a bikini and flip-flops. But what the hell ... why should I let a little thing like that stop me? So I went to work. I was on all four's most of the way up. I grabbed rocks and tree roots, and when there was nothing else, I dug my nails into the dirt. I got up there! We were slightly disappointed when we did get up there, because there was nothing to the cave except a small cold spring. As we look out at the river from the top of the cave, however, we realize the hardest part was yet to come -- we still had to get back down! I did not manage climbing down as gracefully as I managed climbing up (and in case you're keeping track, It wasn't that graceful of a trip up). I sent everyone ahead of me so that I could knock them over instead of vice versa, should we all go a-tumbling. That said, I had three guys ready to *attempt* to catch me should I spiral out of control. But somehow I managed to slip and slide my way down in a somewhat-but-not-really controlled manner. There should be an interesting pic of that one too, if it came out.

After our climb we all get back in our canoes, and desperately paddle to try to catch up to the rest of the group. Eventually we find everyone parked in a gorgeous section of the river. We then learn that our destination is only a half mile away, so we're gonna chill out there for the remainder of the time. That was the most perfect part of the float. The water was perfect -- deep in the middle, shallow on the ends and nice and cold. We stayed, swam, drank and played for a couple hours there, and it really was great.

But then it was time to go back to the campground. Our bus was waiting at our destination stop. We jam-packed the bus with our group (about 30 people) and headed out for a terrifying bus ride. I guess I was the only one who felt a sense of mortality as the bus sped heavily down little dirt roads with tired little bridges, because everyone else was paying no attention. It's like a firecracker -- if you let it explode on the palm of your hand, you get burnt, but if you try to close your hand it will blow it up. That's what I felt like contained in the bus with 30 extremely drunk people. There was beer flying everywhere, a decible level as high as a freaking concert, people jumping over seats, play fighting and one person throwing up. I was ecstatic to be out of the bus when we finally got back!

When I got back to the campsite I noticed that I was in serious pain from the sunburn. Yes, I put on my sunscreen -- 50 spf, and reapplied -- but I'm a red-head, and I just burn. I come in two shades, red or white, and on Sat I was red. I tried to get dressed and couldn't, so I lounged in my bikini for hours until I could take the bugs no more and forced pants on myself. The hubby was exhausted and went to bed, and I decided I could either mope about the burn and have no fun and go to bed, or I could try to wake up, drink away the pain, and have a blast. So I chose the latter option.

Those who hadn't passed out (about 10 of us) were all playing cards, where we had been playing for quite a while. Everyone was tired, and someone asked what time it was. It was then we were informed it was only 10:15! I could have sworn it was 1 am -- 20 people passed out, everyone else tired and up anyways, but it was only 10:15! We then decided we needed more fun, so we went tip-tipping. In case you've never heard of this, it's where you remove the anchors from a person's tent while they're sleeping in it, and it collapses on top of them. We tipped 4 tents -- the occupants of 2 of those tents came out yelling, and we helped them set back up. The occupants of another of the tents slept for more than an hour without waking, even though their tent was literally laying on top of them. The last set of occupants did absolutely nothing, and woke up in a fit of laughter in the a.m. when they woke up and realized what had happened. We probably climbed into bed, exhuasted, around 2am. In the morning we packed up, exhausted, and went home.

So as you can see I had a very eventfull weekend! I have another one coming up. I'll be taking Friday and Monday off work for a long weekend. Two of my girlfriends are making the 3.5 hour trip to my house. From there we will head to Illinois to go to the state fair and Fergie concert. We have a hotel booked for Friday night, so we'll go wherever the wind blows us after the concert, and then we'll return on Saturday to have a leisurly weekend. More on that, coming up!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Trim Up Tuesday (Week 4)





Okay, so I didn't lose any weight this week, but that's okay because I'm completely on track for my overall goal. Besides, even if the scale didn't budge, I know I feel thinner and am more trim. It's called muscle, baby! But seriously, after a weekend jam-packed with drinking and junk food, I am super happy not to come out on the worse end of it. This weekend is another jam-packed out of the ordinary, ruin my diet type weekend, so my goal is and will be to stay level.

Weight

  • I have lost 5.5 pound(s) since I started!
  • I am the same weight as last week. (Hey, that's better than gaining!)
  • I am 5.5 pound(s) away from my ideal weight.

BMI

  • My BMI is: 21.5. This is considered normal.

Exercise

  • I worked out 4 time(s) this week.
  • I did 2 hour(s) and 50 minutes of cardio this week
  • I did 1 hour(s) and 20 minutes of brisk activity this week

Goals

  • I did meet my last goal
  • My Last Goal Was: Work it hard Mon, Tues, Weds and Thurs in preparation for this weekend.
  • My new goal is: Stay level through (yet another) weekend of junk & fun!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Weekend Recovery

Ugh! Okay, so no, I haven't disappeared, but I did go on a float trip over this weekend. Today I am red -- my thighs are so burnt they're almost purple. And so many muscles in my body hurt -- the shoulders and back hurt from paddling the canoe for 8 hours, and my legs hurt fiercly for some unknown reason -- perhaps it was the almost vertical cliff I scaled in a bikini and flip-flops, or perhaps that tree in the middle of the fierce current, or maybe running against and with the current. Anyways, it's anybody's guess, but I grunt every time I stand up/sit down/take a stair/get in or out of bed, because my thigh and leg muscles hurt so bad. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have gotten such a good workout, but it's a bit defeating too, because I probably won't be able to work out now for a few more days.

I have lots to tell, but I am so tired that I'm just trying to get through the work day right now. The float pics are on a disposable camera, so we have to get those developed before I can post them. But I will certainly post them ... sometime. Probably when it's winter time, long after you've forgotten that I ever took the trip ;-) Okay... more updates coming up shortly, and another fun weekend ahead!

One final note, I just happened to take this quiz, and I am 38% evil:




You Are 38% Evil



A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.

In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Getting My Tongue Pierced



That picture was taken directly after I returned from having my tongue pierced. At that moment I was happy that I had gone and done it, yet at the same time my tongue was throbbing a little bit and I was worried what would be in store for me during the healing process. Because I didn't give you a real account of what happened in my previous post, I'll lay it out here.

The process happened so quickly, much more quickly than I imagined. So quickly that I had hardly any time to process emotion at all. I walked in to the shop, intending to find out tongue piercings, ask some questions, then *perhaps* get my tongue pierced. Instead I wound up sitting in the chair, prepping for the piercing within 10 minutes. I didn't really have time to think or be very afraid of the piercing process. I just kind of took it step by step. First, the Listerine. Next, the clamps. That part was hard, because I'd stick my tongue out, then everytime he'd go after it with the clamps, my tongue would back away automatically. I really had to concentrate to actually let him grasp my tongue with the clamp.

I found the tongue-clamping thing to be pretty uncomfortable. He pulled my tongue out, and at that point my eyes closed until the process was finished. I didn't want to know when he was going to do it -- I'm one of those people that ask not to be told when I'll be stuck with the needle; just do it and I'll be fine (and I promise I won't jump!). So I was there with my tongue clamped and pulled out, eyes closed, and nervous. Oddly enough I wasn't scared, only nervous. I waited, and felt something poke my tongue for a few moments. I wondered if that was it. My question was quickly answered when I felt him start to shove the needle through my tongue. It felt so weird that I can't even explain it. It *almost* hurt, it hinged on pain, but it never quite got there. At the same time, it was very uncomfortable and odd, enough so that I made a "uuuuhhhhhhhhhhhh" sound the whole way through the piercing. It also took longer than I antipicated -- my belly button piercing was done in a fraction of a second, this one took what felt like a couple seconds to get the needle through.

"Okay, okay ... it's pierced! But you have to keep your tongue out so I can get the jewelry in!" I hear the guy say. At that point I was fine. Yes, I was drooling everywhere (and bleeding, although I didn't know that because I had my eyes closed) but the hard and scary part was finished. But it didn't sound like the piercer was fine. I heard him panting very harshly, and I could tell by his breathing he was a bit nervous. Why? Was I bleeding too much? Was it the noise I made while I got a needle shoved through my tongue? Does he just get nervous while he does it in general? I guess I shall never know, but it was very odd to hear him pant like that.

I kept my eyes closed while he threaded the jewelry through. The only thing on my mind at that moment was why he sounded so scared. "Okay, it's done! You can roll your tongue back in now!" I looked down at the kleenex he gave me and noticed how it had blood splats all over it. I knew the tongue was a bloody piercing, but I still wasn't prepared for it (my belly button hadn't bled at all). I got the Listerine again, only this time it was black when I spit it back out. I got up, looked in the mirror and noticed how it was still bleeding. I asked the piercer, who said it would bleed for a while.

Even though the piercing itself hadn't really hurt, my tongue was throbbing afterwords. It felt like I had just stuck something through my tongue and injured it (I know, imagine that, eh?). The piercer made some small talk while I paid for the piercing, but I found it hard and painful to talk already. I knew that would happen, but somehow I expected it to be a delayed reaction and thus wasn't prepared for the immediate change. 20 minutes after walking in, I was headed out the door to go home!

As I walked out, the guy hands me his card. "My name's Biscuit, by the way. Call if you have questions." Wow. First, I let myself get pierced without even asking the piercer's name, and second, I just let myself get pierced by a guy named Biscuit! I struggled with regrets as I drove home -- I was supposed to be a mature mother of two yet I was acting like a stupid teenager, my tongue was injured and letting me know it, I wouldn't be able to talk or eat for a week, and I had to go home and fess all this to the hubby. And the hardest part was yet to come: healing and recovery!

UPDATE (03/26/2011)
--------------------------
Wow!  I didn't realize that this blog entry of mine had become so popular.  Because this post gets daily views now, I thought I'd give a bit of an update.  It's been close to 3 years since I got my tongue pierced and yes, it is still pierced.  I love my tongue piercing and have no plans to get rid of it anytime in the near future.  I noticed some people had left questions, so here are some answers:

Q.  How long was it before you could eat?
A.  I was on a liquid diet for a good 4 days before slowly transitioning to more solid foods.  Within a week I could eat any texture food I wanted to but I had to be careful of spices.  Anything with too much garlic or other strong spice really burned my piercing for about two weeks.

Q.  Is it easy to hide?
A.  Yes.  As long as you're aware that you need to hide it you shouldn't have a problem doing so.  Practice talking in front of a mirror and you will see how liberally you have to talk to show your tongue piercing.  While you will be able to visibily hide it, your speech will most definitely be affected.  You will have a serious speech impediment while your tongue is still swelling.  I recall being in the elevator one unfortunate day with my boss's boss, 3 days after getting my tongue pierced.  I was praying he wouldn't talk to me but he did.  It took every bit of effort to try to talk with as little slur as possible but I didn't fully succeed.  If you have a job where you have to talk (telemarketing, sales rep, etc) then you'd better plan on 5-7 days to be able to control how you speak.  If you wait 4 days or so, you'll be able to speak, but your customers will probably assume you have a speech impediment.

Now that I know this page is very active I will keep an eye on it.  Please ask any questions you have and I'll try to address them.

Trim Up Tuesday (Week 3)

This week has been super hard, because I couldn't eat solid food until Saturday night. So many people said to me, "Oh, just have a milkshake ..." or ice cream, etc etc. The problem is when I get hungry, sweet things are just not appealing -- I want REAL food. My "real" food this week consisted of chicken broth. The thing I liked about this week is I could drink all the soda + energy drinks I wanted without feeling guilty about the liquid calories. And I did! I only worked out a couple of times because I knew my body was stressed (my hair started falling out by Thursday) and I didn't want to make it worse. So, in the end I didn't gain and I still wound up losing a pound.

As a side note, I had a goal to lose 4 pounds by August 8th (I Will). As you can see, I have already surpassed that goal by 1.5 pounds, and I still have this week and next to go.

I'm shaping up this week for a float trip this weekend. I'll have details about that trip up in a day or two, along with details of my first Mystic Tan experience and updates on my tongue piercing.

Weight

  • I have lost 5.5 pound(s) since I started!
  • I lost 1 pound(s) this week!
  • I am 5.5 pound(s) away from my ideal weight.

BMI

  • My BMI is: 21.5. This is considered normal.

Exercise

  • I worked out 2 time(s) this week.
  • I did 1 hour(s) and 25 minutes of cardio this week
  • I did 1 hour(s) and 20 minutes of brisk activity this week

Goals

  • I did meet my last goal
  • My Last Goal Was: Stay healthy, since my diet is mainly liquids. Focus on nutrition and not weight this week.
  • My new goal is: Work it hard Mon, Tues, Weds and Thurs in preparation for this weekend.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Trim Up Tuesday (Week 2)





I lost another 1.5 pounds this week! That's not as good as last week, but I gave in ... a lot! I had McDonalds and Dairy Queen. One night I went to Steak and Shake and had fries + a hot fudge brownie sunday as my dinner! So if I can induldge in all of that and still lose one and a half pounds then I think I'm doing damn spiffy. I have to be careful this coming week. I want to keep working out for my own good, but I'm on a liquid diet because of my tongue piercing. So this week I'm focusing on maximizing nutrition, and not making myself pass out from too much exercise and too few calories!

Weight

  • I have lost 4.5 pound(s) since I started!
  • I lost 1.5 pound(s) this week!
  • I am 6.5 pound(s) away from my ideal weight.

BMI

  • My BMI is: 21.7. This is considered normal.

Diet

  • I ate out 4 time(s) this week

Exercise

  • I worked out 6 time(s) this week.
  • I did 2 hour(s) and 20 minutes of cardio this week
  • I did 0 hour(s) and 15 minutes of strength training this week
  • I did 2 hour(s) and 25 minutes of brisk activity this week

Goals

  • I did meet my last goal
  • My Last Goal Was: Continue my exercise regimine.
  • My new goal is: Stay healthy, since my diet is mainly liquids. Focus on nutrition and not weight this week.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Skewered, Starving, Swollen and Sore

Saturday we forced Alexia to get her other ear pierced. She had both of them pierced, but then she wouldn’t let us put an earring in one of the ears and it closed up. One and a half year later and she still has a single earring. On Friday I let her get her hair cut short – I watched, trying not to cry, as her mid-down-the-back length hair fell to the floor in a new shoulder-length bob. It’s cute, yes, but it also makes her look a lot older, which is sad in it’s own way. Anyways, I was going somewhere with this, and that somewhere is that the one earring thing was suddenly way noticeable. So we said enough was enough, and took her to the mall, and literally held her down while she screamed and got her remaining ear pierced. I had to fend off a few comments from parents who “wouldn’t do this to *their* child” as well as those who agreed that 1.5 years was long enough, and it was time to get it done. When it was finished, Alexia was as good as new, and smiling and happy, and “my ear doesn’t feel funny at all, mom.” Well thanks, dear … now if only you had been so compliant during the piercing, I wouldn’t see visions of DFS calls coming soon in my future.

They had such gorgeous body jewelry there. I have my belly button pierced, and I love it. But as Alexia is getting pierced, and I see all these barbells, I think again on how I’ve always kind of wanted my tongue pierced. We get home at about 7:30 pm I jump online to do some research. I notice that there’s a body piercing shop 1.5 miles away that’s open till 10 pm. So I decide what the heck, I’ll drive up there and talk to someone about the whole thing. I walk in and tell them “I’m thinking about getting my tongue pierced.” The guy replies, “What do you mean you’re *thinking* about it?” Before I can blink, he’s setting up the paperwork and is leading me into the chair to get it done. Getting pierced is always scary for me, but the piercing really wasn’t that bad. Uncomfortable, yes. It hinged on pain, but never really got there. Before I knew it my tongue had been skewered and I was out the door, 15 short minutes after I walked in the place.

Now I’m sitting here with a tongue swollen to over 2 times it’s normal size. I’ve hardly eaten anything since dinner on Saturday (before the piercing). I can barely talk, and people are having much fun at my expense. The boss lady asked me what the “appeal” is for a piercing such as this one. I kinda shrugged, thinking, if she doesn’t get it without me telling her, she’ll probably never get it … even if I told her. So I kept my mouth shut, cause I didn’t want to explain *that* to my boss!

For the most part the soreness and pain is gone. That was the first 24 hours. Now I’m left with hunger and a serious speech impediment. 3 days more and I should be able to talk normally. In 4 or 5 days I should be able to eat something that requires chewing. I’m laughing at my own stupidity right now. I realize I did this to myself so I’m taking it with good humor and biding my time. I think it’s going to be totally worth it, I know I’m going to love this piercing!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

If I Never Made It Home





Yesterday afternoon there was a horrible accident just a few minutes away from where I live. There was a line of cars sitting in the exit lane to get onto another highway, a situation that is never uncommon for this particular highway. As these cars sat, a semi slammed into the line – literally running over the cars. 11 cars were involved in this accident. 2 people are dead, 3 are in critical condition, and another 11 people have sustained serious to moderate injuries. The semi driver was uninjured and sent home for the evening. This accident caused the highway (a major highway) to be shut down for 6 hours. Why or how this happened has not yet been released to the public. And the semi driver has not yet been indicted for any charges. (Please note, I was not in this accident, I'm just writing about it)

This accident is really bothering me. I worry about this type of thing a lot, and a situation like this only cause my thoughts to worsen. I drive 60 miles every day to get to work and back down these interstates. Almost everyday I sidestep accidents, left and right. I like to think of myself as a good driver, who plays both the defensive and the offensive, always on alert. You HAVE to be on the constant alert … I don’t see how people who aren’t manage to drive around all day without getting into accidents. I guess it’s us folks who watch out for them that saves those people. Regardless, I could be the most alert driver in the world, but there wouldn’t have been a damn thing I could have done to prevent myself from being a part of that accident. Not. One. Single. Thing.

It pains me to think of those people who didn’t come home. Those people were probably just coming home from work, like any other day. But they never made it home. I think about what would happen if, one day, I never made it home. I think about this as I kiss my girls each morning before I leave for work. Each morning as I leave, I think to myself, “I hope they know how much I love them. I hope they FEEL how much I love them. I hope, that if something happened, they would at least have this to carry on.” And then I pray that I make it home safely, and that they are always there to greet me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Trim Up Tuesday, Week One





Trim Up Tuesday has started with a bang! As you recall, last week I gave my prelude to Trim Up Tuesday, in a rant where I told everyone how I couldn't stand to look at myself in the mirror anymore, and wrote out my fitness goals. Well, I worked hard and lost 3 pounds already! I don't expect results like these each week, but I am heartened by the fact I was able to make such a big difference in only a week's time. Of course, I've been (literally) working my ass off at it! I don't have the stamina to keep up that pace, but I should be able to tackle at least a pound each of the future weeks. And, FYI, I already feel worlds better in my bikini. Let me finish by saying that I won't point fingers, but I know a couple people who need to think about getting back on the Trim Up Tuesday train with me. Comon, you know it's for your own good!

Weight

  • I have lost 3 pound(s) since I started!
  • I lost 3 pound(s) this week!
  • I am 8 pound(s) away from my ideal weight.

BMI

  • My BMI is: 21.9. This is considered normal.

Exercise

  • I worked out 6 time(s) this week.
  • I did 2 hour(s) and 40 minutes of cardio this week
  • I did 0 hour(s) and 30 minutes of strength training this week
  • I did 1 hour(s) and 0 minutes of brisk activity this week

Goals

  • I did meet my last goal
  • My Last Goal Was: Create an exercise plan and stick to it.
  • My new goal is: Continue to meet my exercise goals for the week.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Not As Young As I Used To Be

It seems I lived up to my last post. Particularly #11, where "Aint Going Down Till The Sun Comes Up" found itself right in the spot for the "What's your life story" question.

On Saturday night, the hubby's sister (Laura) calls, begging for someone to go out with her. So, eventually, I oblige. After all, I hadn't been out since a few weeks before my surgeries -- i.e., about three months. So Laura comes over and we head out to a bar/club where we dance and listen to a band (coincidently, she's crushing hard on one of the members) for a few hours. Closing time rolls around, and I get begged to go onto another bar, this one right across the river (i.e., in Illinois instead of Missouri, where the liquor laws are different). Needless to say, she won, and we went over to the east side of St. Louis.

We got there and we were having a really good time, dancing a ton and enjoying ourselves. Then, at some point, we realized it was 4 am! At that point I tell Laura we need to be getting ourselves home. It took me an hour and a half to get her out of the door. The sun was actually up by the time we left at 5:30 am! I didn't get home till 6:00 am! 6:00 IN THE FREAKING MORNING! I couldn't believe it.

I don't even know when the last time was that I partied all freaking night long, but I sure as hell can't party like I used to. I forced myself out of bed at 10:00 am Sunday morning, lest I mess myself up for the entire work week. I was like the walking dead yesterday, but somehow I managed to get a lot of crap done. Pretty impressive, I think. Then I crawled into bed for the night at 8:15 and crashed right away. When I woke up at 5:30 this morning, I couldn't help but think how I wasn't even home yet a mere 24 hours before. But, so far, so good. Except for my stiff neck from a bit of headbanging (oops, I told myself not to do that! I know it hurts for the next 4 days, but I just can't help myself sometimes).

So, it seems I'm not as young as I used to be, but apparently I'm still not as old as I feel, which is a relief!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wake Up Call

I picked this one up from Lynda. First you shuffle the songs on your Ipod, and then you fill in the blank questions, one by one (in order -- no skipping or cheating!) as they come up. Play along, if you like!

Okay, I swear I own more than just Will Smith and Christina Aguilera! Just the way the mix is, I guess ...

1. What would describe your personality? Summer Love (Justin Timberlake)

2. What do you like in a guy/girl? Nice & Slow (Usher)

3. How do you feel, today? Can't Get You Out Of My Head (Kylie Monogue)

4. What’s your life’s purpose? Fantasy (Timbaland)

5. What is your motto? Gettin' Jiggy Wit It (Will Smith)
That sounds about right!

6. What do your friends think of you? Angry (Matchbox Twenty)
Goodness, I hope not ...

7. What do you think of your parents? Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)

8. What do you think about very often? The Way I am (Eminem)
Nice coincidence there

9. What do you think of your best friend? Too Bad (Nickelback)

10. What do you think of the person you like? Won't Go Home Without You (Maroon 5)

11. What is your life story? Ain't Goin Down Till The Sun Comes Up (Garth Brooks)
Aint that right! Whoot!

12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Fighter (Christina Aguilera)

13. What do you think when you see the person you like? Men In Black (Will Smith)

14. What do your parents think of you? Out From Under (Incubus)

15. What will be played at your funeral? Freakin' It (Will Smith)
Haha ... nice, very nice.

16.What is your hobby/interest? Infatuation (Christina Aguilera)

17. What is your biggest secret? Sorry (Buckcherry)

18. What do you think of your friends? Same in the End (Sublime)

19. What should you post this as? Wake Up Call (Maroon 5)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

(Not) So Patiently Waiting

We've been under a re-org at work -- basically, they're shifting people, projects, reporting structures, etc, around because our organization got a new VP. There have been rumors rumors everywhere about what will happen to the project I work on. I've sat back, relaxed, and waited for the announcement to come out. No point in worrying and useless speculation. Then the announcement came out.

They are picking up my project and moving it to a new leadership sector, who has their own plans (whatever they are) for the project. They are also moving everyone who works on the project. That is, everyone BUT me. My name was disturbingly absent. On top of that, no one knows what they're going to do with me. You see, I was fine with all this sitting back and waiting crap, as long as everyone else was waiting too. Now I'm losing my patience!

No one thinks my job is in jeopardy. My feats and skills are well known to those decision makers. Besides, even if they didn't want me in their org, there would be plenty of places I could relocate to within the company. I've heard some speculation (funny how I'm interested in that now, huh) that my boss's former boss plans to keep me for himself to work on new, individual contributor projects. Which I'm hoping means that a team somewhere would like to see a process automated and I'll get called in to design and implement a brand new system and show off my mad skills. What will actually happen, I have no idea. But hey, I can dream.

I've been playing the waiting game since Monday. I wonder how much longer it will last?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Will

I am sick and tired of looking myself in the mirror. These surgeries kept me down for more than 2 months, and it is time to bounce back. That time is now, and I am determined to work it as hard as I can. If I work hard this month, I can still enjoy myself in the warm August and September months. I just have to remember this summer isn’t yet a total loss. Normally I spend late April and all of May working into shape for the summer. Unfortunately the unforeseen circumstances made it impossible for me to exercise during my long, slow and painful recovery. I am almost recovered, and I will force the last of it away as I work back into my routine. This is my Trim Up Tuesday prelude. Stop back in one week to see how I did as I start using the Trim Up Tuesday tool again.

1. I will incorporate exercise back into my life by creating a daily exercise plan and sticking to it

2. I will see my tummy tightened, my dimples decreased and my thighs trimmed

3. I will lose no less than 4 pounds by this time next month

4. I will see my confidence increase and my self doubts decrease.

5. I will get my caffeine from calorie-free tea, instead of energy drinks and sodas

6. I will cook healthier meals, and stop relying so much on fatty fillers, such as heavy whipping cream (a personal favorite, unfortunately)

7. I will eat healthier lunches at work – whether going out or bring my food in

8. I will focus on portion control

9. I will re-examine these goals in 1 month, crossing off completed goals and making new ones

10. I will not succumb to laziness, tiredness, or excuses.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Branson

We arrived home around 4:00 pm yesterday from our Branson vacation. It was very nice to just to get away for a weekend and do something different and together as a family. It's made me realize that I need to shift some of my priorities. This was our first family vaction -- and Alexia is 5 now!!! It's pretty bad when you call two nights away a vacation. We're just so focused on our immediate lives that whenever we come into money -- be it tax time, bonus, etc; we always spend it on what *needs* done, what *needs* fixed, or what we *should* do with it. It's not that we don't have time or money for a vacation, it's that we don't ever spend the money on it. Well this obviously needs to change! My husband and I both agreed that a yearly family vacation is in order, and from here on out we will make it one of our priorities.

We had a good time in Branson. I didn't get the pictures loaded yet, but when I get those I'll post some and write some more about the trip. I can say that 3 days didn't even put a dent in all Branson has to offer. I feel like we touched the tip of the iceberg. Branson is for sure an on-the-go destination! If you want a trip packed with things to do to keep everyone busy and happy then this is the place for you. If you'd rather quiet time spent together as a family, then camp out at the Ozarks instead.

My only complaint about Branson was the traffic. It was HORRIBLE. Bad, long, terrible, no excuse. The main strip was one lane each way, and that strip, along with any connecting points to it, were consistently backed up. We literally spent hours in the car fighting traffic in Branson itself. There was more than one occassion where it took as an hour to travel a single mile. So my advice is come prepared with a detailed map -- the ones they give you only show the main routes. You'll want to find the back way around the place. Also, make sure you fill up as soon as you get there, because you don't want to be stuck in that traffic on a low gas tank. The gas stations aren't as close as they should be, that's for sure. My gas was getting low, then finally the gas light came on, before I could ever get to the gas station. Finally I found one and got in (thankfully) on time. I was afraid I'd be pushing my car to the nearest gas station. But hey, at least if you have to push it in, you won't be holding up traffic!

The scenery around Branson is pretty. It wasn't *that* impressive to me, but I've lived over a lot of Missouri anyway, so I'm used to this endangered thing they call scenery. Guess I'm spoiled when it comes to that! The prices for things weren't too horrible, considering it's a tourist town. The buffets were about $12, which is about $3 more than the average buffet in these parts, but $8 - $18 less than the buffets you'll find in other tourist spots, such as Vegas.

Once I get the pictures loaded I'll do my reviews and suggestions for the (very little) part of Branson I got to visit!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Spontaneous Vacation Time!

I called a friend while driving home from work last night. She was talking about her 4th of July plans, and I was feeling a bit "blah" about my plans. Then I thought, I'd like to go back to Kirksville to visit my friends. I went home and suggested to Alex that we go to there for the weekend. He disagreed, saying he had no desire to go hang out in Kirksville.

I then thought, well we should go somewhere at least. The last time we were out of town at all was on July 28th last year, when we took off to Vegas together to get married. The 4th is on a Friday, so that's a long weekend for free (i.e., no vacation time spent). But where could we go within a 4 hour radius?

The answer is Branson Missouri. I've actually had little desire to visit Branson, even though I live fairly close (3.5 hours by car). But I was trying to find something to do, and checked it anyway. That was when I saw something I had forgotten about: Noah The Musical! I recalled seeing commercials for that and really wanting to see it, but I put it off out of the way, because, frankly, we've never taken a vacation of our chosing. Anywhere we've gone is to fulfil obligations, or for our wedding (but that wasn't a family trip). But here it was, my interest in it renewed.

Unless you get ads to visit Branson on your local televsion, you might not have heard about Noah the Musical. The awesome thing about this show is that it's in the brand new Sights and Sounds theater. The ark is 4 stories tall, and the wraps around the audience in a 300 ft wrap around stage. They have over 80 live animals and over 50 animatronic animals, as well as a cast of 50. The show has got to be spectacular!

So I called the center and luckily snagged one of the last 2 rooms available for the holiday weekend just a couple days in advance. We're spending Friday and Saturday night in Branson, and our package includes 3 tickets to the Noah show as well as 3 tickets to the scenic railway. The railway is a 2 hour, scenic train ride through the Ozarks and missouri & arkansas. The passenger cabins have a glass roof and sides so you can take in all the scenery as you go along. I chose that as our other ticket set because, well, Alex would shoot me if I chose "Hits of the 50's" or anything Elvis, and because I know experiencing the enjoyment Alexia gets out of it will be enough for me to enjoy it. And I've never actually been on a train before!

So, to wrap all this up, about 2 hours from first thought of leaving town I had our vacation booked, from hotel and shows to food everything in between. Now that's what I call a spontaneous vacation!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Return To Trim Up Tuesday?

Hey folks, I need to know if you still have an interest in Trim Up Tuesday. The tool and page is still there, and I'd hate to scrap all that work. Thoughts/opinions?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Temptation

Must ... avoid .... temptation ... to play .... Monopoly ... at work.

Okay, so I broke down and bought Monopoly for my Ipod Nano. It's a game that I love but never get to play, because it's not much fun with only 1 other person. And it takes forever. I rarely buy songs for my Nano (gotta love Limewire pro) -- usually the only songs I "buy" are those I get for free. After all, I already spent $135 to buy the darned thing (that was the price including tax, because I caught it on the after Thanksgiving sale last November), and I couldn't really justify a need for it. Then I went and bought a $15 hard case for it. That brought the price tag on my Nano up to $150. Yikes! So when I bought the Monopoly game I was already feeling guilty for spending the measly $5 (aka, 1.29 gallons of gas) more on my Ipod.

I wound up spending about 4 hours playing that game over the course of the weekend. For me, 2 hours a day playing games is quite a bit. I have a few games I like to play, but I rarely play more than 45 minutes at a time, about one day a week. So now I'm sitting here at work, and my Ipod is next to me, staring me down. "Come on.." it says, "Just a few minutes of game play ..." it chides. I brought it out to play music and have unleashed the monster! As if blogging at work isn't bad enough, now there's the temptation to play Monopoly! But no! I must resist! Well, maybe over my lunch break ...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Six Months Smoke Free

Looks like my six month non-smoking anniversary slipped right by me and I didn't even notice. It seems Tuesday the 24th was the lucky day. I'm not gonna go crazy calculating days and whatnot -- I'm just going simply by the fact that I quit on Christmas Eve of last year.

The odd thing is, I don't have much to say about the whole thing. I'm very very very pleased with myself. Yes, I've (consciously) cheated a few times, because I felt like it and know my limits and capabilities. And no, that doesn't make me any less of a non-smoker. I am no longer "quitting" smoking. I have quit smoking, plain and simple, and I am a NON-SMOKER. It feels great. It feels like *freedom*. I have been released from the chains that bound me to this overly addictive drug.

I am not going back now without a conscious decision to go back. Last time I quit it was for 2 years. Things happened. Alex and I were at a standstill. We had one child, had been together for 3 years, and I wanted a ring. He didn't want the ring, and I refused to waste anymore of my time waiting for him. Thus we were at a standstill, on the verge of ending all. Instead, we tried couples counciling. We both hated it, but stuck in there regardless. After our first exhuasting session, we picked up smokes on the way home and sat on our front porch, smoking and drinking. We did this the next time we had the session, and the next and the next.

We knew what we were getting into. There was no point where we didn't know, but somehow I felt like it had to be. Like there was no way I was getting through this without the cigarettes. As we smoked more on that porch, we bonded more, and reconnected our lives and values. We dropped the counciling, and 3 months later he proposed. Could we have gotten through then without smoking? I'd like to say, well yeah, of course we would have ... but I honestly don't know if we would have had the same result.

That's only speculation and no longer matters. What matters is once again we are smoke free together, 6 months at that. The only way I'm going back now is a conscious decision, and I really hope that I never let myself go back to that. Right now, all is strong and clear and good to go. I'm a non-smoker, and I love it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Who's In Your Fave 5?

I saw "The Mom" over at Cheaper Than Therapy post a blog on this subject, and I just had to play along. You've heard of The List , right? You know, the one where if you could put 5 people on your list, and your significant other had to let you, uh ... play cards with them, you'd be given a free pass?

Please play along! I'd personally go tag your blogs, but I know that some people might not be able participate because certain peoples they know read their blogs. So if you read this and can post your own list, please do so! If not, you can leave a comment with your list, I promise I won't tell :-)

#5: Richard Gere
He's at the bottom of my list because he's getting old and not aging well, so I don't think I'd actually ... umm ... play cards with him anymore. But if he still looked like he did in his "Pretty Woman" days, I'd be all over his ... hand.



#4: George Clooney
George Clooney is just classic handsome, and keeps getting better with age.



#3: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (a.k.a. "Mr. Eko" from LOST)

Mr. Eko can whisk me away any day ...



#2: Will Smith

I don't know what it is about him, but I've had a thing for Will Smith ever since the debut of The Fresh Prince of Belair. I think he's very handsome in a goofy way. And yes, in case you're wondering, last time I checked I was white, but come on! Mr. Eko and Will Smith are hot!



#1 Simon Cowell

Okay, I'm prepared for your reaction. "Eww", you say? "How can you like such a jerk", you proclaim? Honestly, I don't know, but Simon is #1 on my list. I have dreams about this man, seriously! I'd like him to tell me just how he likes his hand to play out ...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Confessions of Past and Present

Okay, so I didn't write yesterday, or the day before, but gimme a break, I'm trying here. I just didn't have anything interesting to talk about. There is a lot I could have talked about, but I didn't want to bore people with more musing from my whole ectopic pregnancy/surgery/disability experience. Perhaps if I DID talk about it, and talk about my feelings and all that good crap, more people would read and care. People really seem to like the blogs from people who really let out their feelings (like Maggie does really well). I just have this thing where I tend to be a private person and have a hard time expressing my feelings and all that good crap. But I guess I could give it a try.

So anyways, what am I thinking about now? The Tuesday before last my youngest, Alexia, turned 5 freaking years old. 5 years! She's going to kindergarten this fall. I know, I'm having that my-baby-is-growing-up freak out. Problem is, I didn't freak out when my older daughter turned 5, but Alexia was still young at the time so I knew I had one in reserves. Pretty bad attitude, eh?

I never thought Alexia would be my last. The decision to have her was rather hasty, and in the back of my mind I always thought there would be another opportunity. An opportunity to be pregnant and enjoy it, to have a small baby, more first words and first steps, and all that good stuff that comes and goes way too quickly. I just didn't realize that my hubby didn't have the same thoughts. I left it alone for a couple years before having the first serious discussion. Then I left it alone another year before asking again. Then, last December we were at a football game, and there was this man there with his infant daughter. Alex and I had both had jumbo beers and were in a good mood, and I jokingly asked him (again) about the third kid thing. That was when I noticed a shift in how he felt. Even though he didn't tell me yes right then, I could tell that I had, essentially, "won" the battle, 4.5 years after Alexia!

We started trying right away and I got pregnant mid-February. I wound up losing the baby less than a week after I found out I was pregnant. I made a reference in a post I wrote to a "personal issue" I wasn't going to talk about right then, but might eventually. Well, eventually is now. I was disappointed but tried not to worry about it too much. After all there was nothing I could do, and I know my body doesn't have a problem, so the miscarriage was probably for a very good reason, like genetic disability. I would rather have a healthy baby.

Fast forward another two months to April. I find out I'm pregnant again. This time I felt so much better about it (the last time I had warning signs from when I first found out I was pregnant, this time all were gone). We told approx. half the family, waiting for the right opportunity to tell the other half. Unfortunantly, that "opportunity" came when I found out the pregnancy was ectopic and had to have emergency surgery. It's hard to explain, but if I was going to have a miscarriage, I felt this was the way to do it. Instead of suffering alone where no one even knew I was pregnant, this time I went out with flair! Somehow it made the pregnancy feel more real. I guess what it really feels like is *not my fault*. I know the first miscarriage was not my fault, but it still made me question my inadequacies. At least this time I knew I had a real growing baby inside of me, even if did happen to be in the wrong place.

So Alexia turned 5, and I'm surprised at how upset I feel. I was *supposed* to feel happy. I was *supposed* to be pregnant. Alexia is not *supposed* to be my last. I have to wonder though, had I known she would be my last, would I have done anything differently?

I hope I get another chance to find out.


I'll leave you with some pictures of Alexia, from newborn to present: