Friday, December 30, 2011
In no particular order:
1.) The Harvey Updyke Scandal, aka The Toothless Redneck Bammer Fan Who Will Live in Infamy-This crazy dude is in my mind, the typical stereotype of a Bammer (Bama fan in case I have any out-of-state readers). Now I know that there are plenty of decent Alabama football fans out there. I may or may not even be married to one depending on what fall Saturday you ask me, but Updyke is just too ridiculous for this Auburn fan to pass up. First of all, what kind of moron names their kids Crimson Tide and Bear Bryan Updyke!?!?! That's like me naming my daughter Pinot Grigio or Chicken Fried Steak Carrigan. Secondly, how immature do you have to be to destroy not only someone else's property, but property of state historical significance that means SO much to SO many? Couldn't he just have keyed the team Greyhound and gotten the same satisfaction?
2.) The Kardashian Divorce-Let's face it, no one was surprised to see this one coming. Kim is a vapid, fame-hungry celebutante who is only famous because she made a dirty movie with Ray-J. Wait...who? Who the heck is Ray-J and why do we even care? It's sad that with all of her fame and fortune, the only thing she manages to raise awareness about is the downfalls of letting your significant other take dirty pictures or videos of you. Or maybe the benefits of an iron-clad prenup. Either way, I've seen enough of Kim Kardashian and her open-mouth-breathing ex-husband to last me until 3011.
3.) The Royal Wedding-Now this is something that totally makes me smile! (Although the fact that Will is officially off the market is more than a little heartbreaking because he would have made a fabulous second husband) I LOVE Kate Middleton and everything she is-philanthropic, down-to-earth, unassuming, beautiful, classy....all of the good things a future queen should be. Kate-are you sure you aren't a Southerner? Your demeanor (and teeth) would suggest you might have some redneck roots somewhere in that lineage.
4.) Boeing Blows-My little corner of the state was prepped to receive a pretty large government contract to build Air Force refueling jets. We all thought Northrop Grumman was going to be the big winner. Our city council had already put on their party clothes and hired the caterer (literally) when we all got the news that some little manufacturer called Boeing had won The Big One. Apparently some Yankees didn't believe Alabamians were competent enought to built planes, despite the fact we are currently building cars, ships, and spaceships in our dumb, backwards state. Next time I go to to Washington--oh wait. Who the heck wants to go to Washington where it's cold and rainy and those homely-looking folks only eat granola and drink Starbucks 24/7?!?! On second thought, keep your government contract Boeing! We will just stay here and enjoy the 70 degree New Year's Day and eat some cornbread in our trailer parks-our government won't have the money to pay you anyway!
5.) Oprah Moves On-I can't believe The Oprah Winfrey Show is no more. Where else can we find heartwarming stories about war vets returning to their families? Or see celebrities lose their marbles and profess their undying love a little too excitedly? And let's not forget the "Everybody's getting a new ca-ar!" episode! I never really thought I would win a free car or trip from Oprah, but it was nice knowing the possibility was there. Now I will just have to settle for a free cookie with my next Lenny's sandwich purchase.
6.) Elizabeth Taylor Dies-The lady with the violet eyes passed away in March of 2011. As an equestrian myself, I have always loved National Velvet. I was later introduced to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (and subsequently Paul Newman, swoon) and fell even more in love with Mrs. Taylor. She was beautiful, funny, and knew what she wanted out of life. Her love life might have been a bit troubled, but she taught me there is nothing a sparkly diamond can't fix. Kim Kardashian-TAKE NOTE! This is a true star in every sense of the word.
Monday, December 26, 2011
I never got a chance to post my Christmas decor during Kelly's Korner Show Us Your Life: Christmas Decorations, so I thought better late than never! I love decorating for Christmas, it makes the house so festive and cheery. And since we were hosting Christmas this year I figured it needed to be extra special!
Plus my parents did my serious cleaning so it was the perfect opportunity to show all of you our house! Rest assured it well never be this clean again! Ha!
This is the view as if you walked out of the kitchen and were looking into the living/dining room. I'm proud to admit that I don't spend much on my Christmas decor. I'm a BIG fan of stores like T.J Maxx, Marshall's, Old Time Pottery, and even the Dollar General. If you mix and match things it can look really nice without breaking the bank. For instance, I use a red tablecloth for my tree skirt. Easy, pretty and I can use it other times if needed! I also like to buy vases from OTP and pile them full of red ball ornaments from the Dollar General-it looks festive and is very inexpensive! I made my dining room centerpiece with vases (from OTP), green and red peppermints (Dollar General) and thick red candles from the Dollar Tree (everything's a $1-what, what!)
This is the view when you walk through the front door. Santa had already been by our house that morning, so it's a little bear under the tree at this point!
One of the designers on HGTV once said that if you use the same design elements in repetition, it can look very high-end and expensive. I try to do that as much as possible when it comes to my Christmas decorations. I stick with traditional colors-red, green, silver and white. There are a lot of candy cane stripes throughout all the decor. I personally love it and it's even relatively easy to set up and take down. Winning!
And since I didn't get a chance to actually print my Christmas cards, here is a little nugget of adorableness to hold you over 'til next year!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
1.) We DVR'd National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I've watched it about five times already and quoted it about a million. Nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit like Cousin Eddie and a beautifully wrapped cat from Aunt Bethany.
2.) I am officially the worst mom in the world. I've been begging H to take a Christmas card photo with us two and our dogs for the past four years. His response has always been, "When we have kids, we'll do a Christmas card. Until then, it's just stupid." Now we have an adorable little girl to complete our family of five (because the two dogs are family, too)--and I totally dropped the ball on the Christmas card. I officially suck.
3.) The Elf on the Shelf stuff kind of ticks me off. Charlotte is still too young to understand about Santa and the importance of being nice rather than naughty, but I can just tell that the dang Elf is going to be just another way for this working mom to fall short of her uber-creative mommy peers. Why do I want the Elf to make a mess that I'm gonna have to clean up anyway? With this being said, I'm sure we will have the Elf on the Shelf one day. And then I can write about it on my blog and disclose how Charlotte's Elf stayed in the same place for three weeks and then miraculously jumped into the plastic bin where we store our Christmas decor.
4.) Pottery Barn Kids escaped my wrath by sending the correct stocking on the second try. Yay PBK! I would have hated to burn those magazines full of adorable stuff in protest because I've already got my eye on a wooden rocking horse and a lounge chair for next year!
5.)There are numerous presents under my tree and none of them are for me. :(
6.) Christmas parties are AWESOME-I'm two down with two to go and excitement is abound!
7.) I'm hosting 13 at Christmas this year! Scary and exciting all at once! On the menu is steaks, shrimp, asparagus, twice-baked potatoes, salad and bread as well as a plethora of desserts leftover from our Christmas Eve festivities. Time to put the 'ol leaf in the dining room table.
8.) My little dog Lois was hit by a car last Saturday-RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. I almost had a heart attack. Thankfully she seems to be pulling through the ordeal pretty well. It's no divine conception, but let's just call it my Christmas Miracle.
9.) We watched Saturday Night Live's Christmas Special last night and it reminded me of how darn funny SNL used to be. "I wish it was Christmas to-day-ay!" and "The Hanukkah Song" are still stuck in my head. My dream job is to be a writer for SNL. I consider myself a blonde Tina Fey, in case you were wondering.
10.) I love Christmas. It's the most wonderful time of year. It's so easy to get caught up in the material aspect of this holiday though. I keep trying to remind myself that it's not about what we get or what we give, it's about the birth of Lord. What a great reason to celebrate!
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your days are merry and bright! Hug your loved ones, give a gift to your favorite charity, and don't forget the real reason for the season.
Oh....and remind me next August that I need to get started on my Christmas cards.
Monday, December 12, 2011
In case you aren't familiar, a Progressive Dinner is where each house will host a different course of the meal. Usually there will be 3 or 4 women who pitch in to help at each house so it's not so much money and hassle on one host. (Who am I kidding here with my political correctness/gender neutrality--we all know I mean hostess because honestly...what dude is gonna go through this kind of hassle to impress the neighbors?)
But anyway-our little party started with cocktails at the first home while we waited for everyone to get off work and get into "party mode". After about an hour of cocktails, all of the neighbors had arrived so we all strolled over to the next house for appetizers.
For the appetizer course we had delicious mini crawfish pies, brie cheese and crackers, a vegetable tray, and some bite-size sandwiches. Let me tell you-the crawfish pies were divine. As in, the Heavens opened and angels sang "Hallelujah!" in perfect unison.
We moved on to the Bullard home for our entree and of course, we were not disappointed there either. Shrimp and grits, salad, and french bread made the perfect meal on a cold December night. I love Shrimp. And grits. So when you put them together it is nothing but spectacular.
Side Note: This is also true for Champagne and Orange Juice.
After our entree, we stumbled (because by this point in the evening "stroll" doesn't seem to be the appropriate descriptive word to use) on down to the McCain residence for desserts.
This is where yours truly comes in! I contributed to the party by making Magic Bars. Normally I am not a baker. I love to cook, but my expertise is more in tune with the appetizer course. I have made enough dips and apps in my life to qualify as an expert, trust me! This year I was put on the dessert course, which is totally fine except that it took me until the day before the event to actually commit to what dessert I would make. Since I don't own a mixer and the other baking necessities, I was limited to what I could create.
I know, it's a travesty that a self-proclaimed Southern belle like myself doesn't own a mixer. But keep in mind that I am married to the man who once asked the Dauphin Island ice cream truck driver if he had any biscuits and gravy. There isn't much of a need for sweets in our household. Now I could just learn to make my own bacon...
Thankfully, the only real baking skill that Magic Bars require is the ability to crush a sleeve of graham crackers-and that I can do! And although my Magic Bars weren't the favorite, I did hear quite a few compliments on them. The winner of the dessert menu was Amy's delish Oreo Truffles. I did help her make them, though, so maybe I can claim a small victory in that.
If you live in a neighborhood, let me encourage you to start a Progressive Dinner each year around the holidays. It's such a wonderful way to bond with your neighbors! Being the Nosy Nelly that I am, I always enjoy getting a glimpse at the way other people decorate their historical homes. And of course, who doesn't like to see everyone's Christmas decor!?!?
The only problem is that it makes me realize how much work we still need to do on our little slice of historical relevance.
But oh well! In the words of Scarlet O'Hara, "I can't think about that today, I'll think about that tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!"
Because even if I can't make a Red Velvet Cake from scratch, I can always quote Gone With the Wind.
Monday, November 28, 2011
First of all, I am so thankful for my little family. H and I have turned our little college fling into quite the successful marriage. (At least most of the time!). Along the way we picked up Lois and Charlie, and they added just the right amount of fun-and more than the right amount of dog hair-to the mix. Then, in June, we welcomed Little Miss Charlotte and she became the little blessing we never knew we had been missing. There are so many couples who struggle with infertility and families that deal with incredible trials every day due to illnesses, disabilities, etc...trust me when I say my blessings are not lost on me.
I'm also eternally grateful for my parents. I don't know where I would be without them. Probably broke and uneducated, whereas now I only have to settle for broke. Even though I'm creeping up on 30, my daddy still wonders if I've had my oil changed and my tires rotated. My mom still worries when we haven't spoken in a few days, and she doesn't mind traveling 2.5 hours to help me clean my house. Above all else, they are shining examples for how I want my life, my marriage, and my legacy to be when I am their age. I pray that we are as good of parents as they are. I totally realize we probably won't be, but by George we're gonna try our best!
My life would be a pretty desolate place without my friends. Throughout my life I have truly been given some of the best friends a gal could ever ask for. We are all so different, yet somehow we have managed to mesh together into an odd assortment of "Ladies Who Brunch". I love them so. They keep me sane when #1 and #2 from this list drive me insane. They let me cry. They make me laugh. They make me things like tie-dyed onesies for Charlotte and mimosas on game day. They take ridiculous pictures to document our lives. They make vacation plans and drinking plans and basically any plans that will serve as an excuse to get together-with NO BOYS ALLOWED.
Cause boys are wonderful, but sometimes a gal wants to talk about her period or complain about her husband. Without judgement, thankyouverymuch.
There are so many things I am truly thankful for that I've left off the list. I'm thankful for my aunts and uncles, my in-laws, and my cousins and their beautiful children. I'm thankful for my job with a bunch of pretty darn cool people, Granny's chicken n'dumplings, Hook's BBQ, and the fact that dresses with pockets are cool. I'm thankful we can all enjoy a spirited football rivalry on the last weekend in November.
I'm thankful for a God that has so richly blessed me. I certainly don't deserve it. But as long as I have things to be thankful for, or even if one day I don't have them, I will continue to see the wonderful things in the everyday and thank Him nonetheless.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Are you surprised that the same gal who is obsessed with The Real Housewives of (Insert City of Your Choice Here) and really all other Bravo reality TV shows would also be such a big fan of the Duggars? Probably so. But in my defense, I am also a big fan of National Geographic, too, so I'm not a total flake.
I'm just a Gemini so I'm allowed to have multiple personalities.
Anywhooo....if you are living under a rock and haven't heard the news, Michelle Duggar is preggers with her 20th child. No, I did not accidentally put a zero behind a two. I meant to say 20th. It seems that a lot of people have gotten their panties in a wad about the Duggars and their obsession with reproducing. I, however, am probably in the vast minority when I say that I could give two hoots and a damn if they are adding another member to their family.
First of all--have you watched the show? I am amazed at how well-behaved, well-mannered, and just overall great the existing 19 kids are. They don't think twice about pitching in to help no matter what the task is. The older siblings serve as role models to the younger ones, and it's totally evident how much they all love each other.
The Duggars seem to have it all figured out. Yes, they may only wear knee-length skirts and refuse to cut their hair (I don't understand it either, I just know it's part of their religion), but I think Jim Bob and Michelle have gotten parenting and life in general down to a science. Obviously their religion plays a huge role in their lives, but the way they truly live their faith is outstanding. You never hear the parents or any of the children talk down to others, judge other people or cultures, or even lose their temper from time to time. This household is full of love, acceptance, understanding, and what I believe is the true meaning of Christianity. This is a family that serves others and has a heart of joy while doing it.
I wish I could be more like that.
On top of the overall behavior of the kids, the Duggars have absolutely zero debt. They aren't looking for handouts or help from other people or the government. They live frugally but are still able to provide their children with anything they could possibly need. I'm sure their TV show, books, and speaking engagements have helped make this possible. But I know I don't need to point out that there have been plenty of super-rich folks who've overextended their pocketbooks.
Not a single one of their 19 children is lacking for love, attention, food, etc. They volunteer selflessly to countless local, national, and international charities. Although home schooled, they are well-spoken and seem to be well-educated. All of the kids seem to be independent and very much ready for the real world. And above all else, it seems they are ready to make the real world a little bit of a better place.
While the skirt and hair thing might not be my taste, that is something I can really get behind.
Having 20 children is not something I would say is my cup of tea. As of right now, two kids seems unfathomable. Michelle and Jim Bob are raising 19 (and about to be 20) kids better than we will probably be able to raise one. That and the fact that imagining going through childbirth 18 more times kind of makes me want to rip out my own uterus via my belly button, like...yesterday.
All I know is that I really like the Duggars, and I think what they do is their business. If the Duggars want to make sweet love until they have 30 kids, it's their right. I just pray Jim Bob never gets too caught up in the glare of the camera lights and has some sort of scandal involving showering with little boys or getting caught with a bag of cocaine and a hooker in the bathroom of a Holiday Inn Express in NW Arkansas.
I get enough of that type of reality television already.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The story must begin with a bit of background information on our geographical location and my mother. First of all, if you've never been to the small town of my youth, the booming metropolis of Kinston, AL, I will need to paint a picture.
There is no stop light. There is no grocery store. There is no hospital. There is a school, and it's AWE.SOME. (Plus there's a Big/Little that has Tater Logs which are just as awesome)
Because of our secluded lifestyle, we didn't have typical neighborhoods. Our nearest neighbors were my grandparents, and they were about a 1/2 mile up the dirt road.
My mom, who is fabulous in so many ways, is NOT exactly what you would call crafty. She isn't the type of woman who says, "We don't need to buy that-I can make it myself!" She says, "Why would I want to make that when it would take me 12 hours and I can buy it right now!?!" She also went with this mindset when it came to cooking, too.
Sorry Mom, you know it's true.
God love her. She passed that trait down to me, too. We just aren't the type of gals who scrapbook or have a craft room. We aren't sentimental. I like to think we "live in the moment" rather than spend our moments trying to preserve them in a book with adhesive covers.
I like to joke with herabout my Halloweens growing up because, well...they were kind of pitiful. It started out pretty good actually. My first Halloween on record I was a bunny. I should mention that this was around the age of 4 because apparently my parents didn't believe I could appreciate the real meaning of Halloween before that age.
Sometime after that it started going downhill. It was like she could never remember that Halloween fell on October 31st every year. It's not like Easter-the date does not fluctuate! Although I was really too young to remember exactly what went down in the weeks leading up to Halloween, this is how it goes in my mind...
Mom: "La-la-la-la-la-la....Oh crap! Is Halloween tonight!?!?! Where did the month go? Nothing is open at this point, so I guess I will just have to put some sort of costume together for my beautiful child to wear tonight! I know! She can be a black kitty cat."
Sigh. The Black Kitty Cat that will live in infamy in my mind. And I'm sure many therapy sessions when I hit my mid-life crisis.
You see, I took dance lessons and therefore we were never lacking in pink tights, black leotards, and black ballet flats. Somewhere along the road my mother acquired some black cat ears and a tail (I don't even want to know where they came from now that I think about it). Simply add a nose and some whiskers drawn on with black eyeliner...and voila! Black Kitty Cat!
The first time it was cute. The next year I just chalked it up to my mom being a busy working mom with too many irons in the fire. The third year I was starting to question her creativity a bit. The fourth year I was starting to wonder why all my friends had new costumes each year and I got stuck with the dang homemade cat costume. AGAIN. By the fifth year, I was thinking of calling DHR on my parents for lack of Halloween spirit and total negligence of holiday fun.
Needless to say I have not recovered from this childhood trauma.
Halloween in the country just isn't as big of a deal. If you think the kitty cat costume is sad, one year she put me in that 'ol black leotard outfit and made my dad and me walk to my grandparents house to trick-or-treat. I'm sure I was the only trick-or-treater they had that night so I probably got the entire bag of cheap candy.
I can't give my mom too much hell about my early years as a cat. As I got older, Halloween got WAY better. My parents used to do hayrides for my friends and me, complete with family and friends along the route to scare the beejeezus out of us on dark country roads. They would also take us to haunted houses and the less-organized (but even scarier) local cemetery haunts. My dad could tell a mean ghost story, too. Even though we heard the same ones day in and day out--they never got old or less frightening.
So maybe the problem lies not in the fact that my mom had no creativity or foresight to plan a costume....it was just that she was harnessing all of her Halloween spirit to scare the crap out of me as a preteen.
Which I'm sure was way more fun for her anyway!
Friday, November 4, 2011
For the second year, we barricaded the street off to traffic to make sure all of the little ghouls and goblins were as safe as could be. Thankfully this year, yours truly was NOT in charge of paying the security officers or getting the needed permits. Let's just say last year's debacle was not something I want to relive--even for one paragraph on my blog!
The evening started off with a little pre-party for residents. Now is the time to add that it is AWESOME when the manager of the local Baumhower's Wings and the owner of Mellow Mushroom are my neighbors. Need I explain why?
The local news channel was also there to cover our Halloween happenings so it was nice for our favorite midtown street to get a little love from the press. Helps with resale, let me assure you. If you happened to see a few hip mom and one incredibly adorable Mark Ingram (the Saints version, I must add!), that was in our 'hood!
We were totall prepped and ready for the festivities!
Growing up in the country, I never really experienced the trick-or-treating aspect of Halloween much. (More on this later, I promise) But in our neighborhood...IT. IS. INSANE.
And that is putting it midly.
We spent about $50 on candy and starting passing it out right after 5 pm. My 7 pm, we were completely out. I kid you not there were probably at least 500 people on our street at some points during the evening. I gave most kids one piece each (except for my favorite neighborhood hoodlums) and even gave a few kids some old fortune cookies, but we were still wiped clean by 7 pm. Thankfully, I still had plenty of Pinot Grigio for the occasion. We might run out of Halloween candy, paper towels, and even toilet paper from time to time...but never the necessities for cocktail hour.
Priorities folks, priorities.
As usual, the trick-or-treaters were mostly adorable--some scary, some disturbing, and some incredibly rude and in desperate need of a good slap. Yeah, I said it. But what other form of punishment would be fitting for a 15-year-old kid with no costume that's begging for candy? Seriously, dude?! You could have at least gone through the effort to put on a sheet and called yourself a ghost, then you might have gotten more than an old fortune cookie and a dirty look.
I don't really have a problem with older kids going trick-or-treating on Halloween. But only if they also go through the hassle and embarrassment of the costume. That's the least someone can do when they expect me to spend my hard-earned dough on candy just to give away-at least give me some pleasure of making fun of you in a dorky costume!
The absolute best costumes of the night were not even kids at all. My neighbor knows where I live and would inflict bodily harm if I posted the pics, but let's just say some characters from The Real Housewives of New Jersey made a drunken appearance. And it was awesome.
But let me tell you what WASN'T dorky at all....
She wasn't thrilled with the attitudes either!
Stay tuned for my next post...another installment of my "Memoirs" portion, the Childhood Halloween Chronicles of a Country Girl. I had to get permission from my mom to tell the story, and trust me-it's hilarious!
Friday, October 28, 2011
But catch me later and we can talk about Sweet Charlotte any other time you want!
You see...yours truly is an only child. That means I have some wonderful insight into the positives and negatives of being the sole heir to a dynasty. And I use the term dynasty VERY loosely here, folks. When my parents got hitched my mom was only 22 or 23 and my dad was 32 or 33. He was obviously much older, but my mom was awfully good looking, and he just couldn't resist her charms! Fast forward two years later and they welcomed a sweet little bundle of joy named Tiffany...and life (nor their bank account) would ever be the same!
Mom and I
My mom had two older sisters and one older brother, so I assumed she probably always intended on having a bigger family or at least one other child. It's funny how life just gets in the way of your good intentions. She probably would have gotten pregnant again when I was 3 or 4, but she wanted to make something more of herself and went back to school to get her degree in Early Childhood Education. She graduated, got a great job doing what she loved, I got older....and time just kind of slipped away from her. Damn that time--it has a tendency to do that.
Daddy and I
This is my Daddy. He is sweet, funny, and all of the best things a daddy should be. He originally thought he was too old to have kids when they got married, but once again he fell subject to my mom's charms. (He tends to do that a lot, in case you haven't noticed) He saw a blue-eyed little girl with curly blonde hair at the Seafood Festival right after they got married and said "If we have kids...I want one just like that!"
Good call, Daddio! I'm glad she changed his mind because although he is good at everything he has ever tried to do (except for maybe his handwriting), his true calling in life was to be a daddy. Cause he's awesome at it.
I have never had a sibling so I don't have a clue what that's like, but I can confirm for all you parents out there on the fence about whether or not to add to your family of 3....being an only child kind of rocked. Here is my list of reasons why:
1.)I believe that with good parents, an only child can thrive academically. My mom jokes that I never really had a first word, I just had many words. From the beginning...and they never stopped once they started. They always talked to me like an adult and they encouraged me to communicate with them like an adult. They had ample time to spend reading to me and cultivating my mind because they weren't distracted and pulled in ten thousand different directions.
2.) Financially speaking, one child is significantly less expensive than even having two kids. My parents were able to give me so many wonderful things throughout my childhood and young adult years. Granted, I know material things aren't the most important things in the world, but my parents used some of those things (horses, cars, etc) as bonding tools and lessons in responsibility. I always knew that these things were blessings and I was a lucky gal to be so fortunate....but they could be taken away as quickly as they were given.
3.) Some of my best memories during childhood were family vacations. Even today we will talk bout how my slow-as-molasses-in-December PawPaw ran from a bear and beat everyone to the car that time we went to Gatlinburg. Though we weren't rich by any means, I have gotten to see parts of the country and world I probably wouldn't have been to see if our family was much bigger.
4.) Being an only child can also be good for your self-esteem. I never had a brother or sister to compare myself to. I've always thought it would have been just horrendous to be "the ugly one" or "the short one" or God forbid, "the fat one". Shudder. My parents thought I hung the moon, and they frequently told me how proud they were of my accomplishments. Likewise, I took that pride very seriously and even today I try my best to never disappoint them or make them embarrassed to be my parents.
Mom and Dad....cute, huh?
Yeah, there were some drawbacks to being an only child. It was lonely at times, but that in turn helped me develop a great imagination and a love for reading and writing. And I will admit that sometimes all of that attention and pressure to be the perfect child got to me. My mom was especially strict and worried way too much about me-probably because I was her one and only. (I've heard moms are always less strict on the second, third, etc kids in line) Eventually I know there will come a time when my parents won't be here and I'll be left as the sole person to handle all of their affairs. I can only imagine how hard that is to go through even with siblings to lean on, much less alone.
But in the end, I'm glad I was an only child. I'm independent, outgoing, creative, imaginative, and driven which no doubt came from my experiences growing up with no siblings.
H and I haven't really decided if we want more children or not. Since we don't need more field hands and none of our offspring would be tall enough to form some sort of family basketball team league, we are still on the fence about reproducing again. The experience of this first one (from pregnancy to childbirth to now) has been so easy, I'm afraid I would have some sort of Rosemary's Baby situation next go round!
And I mean honestly...when you get it perfect the first time there is really no need to try again, right? :)
Disclaimer: However, if anyone at TLC is reading this blog post right now: My uterus can be seduced with promises of any sort of reality show involving us, our dogs, and a shit-ton of kids. Although we may not make the best produce pickers or basketball stars, we are incredibly entertaining!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I've never heard a man ask if that other guy's jeans look better than his. And I've certainly never heard a man ask if he was a better father than his neighbor. Or friend. Or even a random dude at the grocery store.
Before I actually was a mom, it was so easy for me to judge other moms out there. I would venture to say I'm probably not the only one who has watched another mom's disciplinary tactics or listened to them voice their struggles and though to myself, "Ha! I will NEVER have that problem because my ways are so much better!" All I know is that I want to make the absolute best decisions for Charlotte, and I want to be the absolute best mom I can possibly be. I'm sure I will make mistakes because mistakes are inevitable in life. Thank the good Lord, we all make them.
I'm trying very hard not to compare myself to other moms these days. In the beginning, it really broke my heart that I wasn't able to breastfeed. If other moms were able to do it, I should have been able to as well. I was literally pissed off that for some reason so many other women had managed to conquer this feat, some even quite successfully. While my baby was just starving to death, there were other moms who bore their leaky boob pads proudly. It killed me! And I saw the look of disdain in some eyes when I shamefully admitted I was using formula to nourish my child. It was hard to overcome that feeling of inadequacy, especially in the beginning when I felt inadequate at everything!
As I strolled my Target onesie-clad baby and adorable little neighborhood girls wearing their adorable smocked bishop dresses just to play in the yard...I must admit I was originally more than a little intimidated. I would compare sweet Charlotte to their children and myself to the moms....and just feel like I fell totally short of the mom I expected myself to be. I threw my own little pity party on more than one occasion.
Facebook and blogs can also be a warzone for women, even if it is unintended sometimes. Some of the responses or comments I read are just so hateful and harsh it blows my mind! It almost makes you afraid to be honest about the things you want to discuss. It's rough looking at other peoples' photos and seeing extravagant birthday parties or crafty home decor. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge those people at all. I'm happy that they can manage to do all of those things, but there is some jealousy there, too, if I'm being totally honest. It's hard not to fall short every once in a while when you are trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Sometimes I find myself on the good side of my comparisons. I would think to myself "I'm never going to pawn my kid off on a babysitter every single weekend like so-and-so" or "I will spend much more time reading to my child rather than plopping them in front of the TV every evening." No, I'm not proud of it. Pride and insecurity are scary things to face, especially in the midst of the biggest unknown (new parenthood, duh) of my life thus far.
I've compared mine and H's relationship to other marriages. And let me tell you-that is pretty much always a recipe for disaster. There is always going to be someone else's situation that looks better from the outside looking in. It might look easier or more effortless, more loving or more romantic. But then again, you never get to see the stains on the carpet when you're on the outside looking in.
I really feel like this is a terrible habit of the female gender. I hate that so many of us feel like we have to tear other women down to build ourselves up. And I hate that we compare ourselves and our lifestyles to each other on so many different occasions when the simple truth is this: We are all different. Gloriously different. We have different kids, different parenting styles, different marriage relationships, different friendships. We like different foods and kinds of underwear; we even watch different televisions shows and like different kinds of music. It doesn't make me wrong and you right, it just makes us interesting and unique.
Now that I am in charge of the growth, develop, and general outcome of another human being, I'm trying really hard not to judge others so harshly. I've learned that maybe a more laid-back, less judgemental mom is the best kind of mom to be. And I've learned that sometimes the best intentions don't work out the way we planned or expected, and I would hate to know that someone is basing their opinion of me as a mother (or woman) on one simple mistake or bad decision. In the end, it doesn't really matter if Charlotte is wearing a smocked dress on a random Tuesday (although she did yesterday, yay for me!) or even if she doesn't have socks on when the baby next door is dressed like an eskimo when it's still 80 degrees outside. My baby might be smarter than yours, or she might not be potty trained before yours. But I'm going to try my best to reserve judgement and remember that all kids will reach their own milestones in their own time. To quote "Jersey Shore"... "I'm gonna do me. You do you"
I'm fairly certain it will make for a better life in the end.
However, let me worn you in advance....if you have stuffed animals in the back windshield of your car---then yes, I will probably still judge you.
But just a little.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Let me begin with Lois, as she is our first born. H did not want a dog because we were just renters at the time and he didn't want to be responsible for whatever damage a puppy will inevitably cause. Well...you see, there was this pet store around the corner from us and every Thursday was Adopt-A-Mutt night. I would casually stop by every once in a while just to "look around" (or at least that's what I told H). People would bring boxes of puppies and kittens they didn't want and some poor fool like myself would be suckered into taking one home. Puppies are my kryptonite, what can I say? One random Thursday, this little gal stared up at me from a cardboard box and the rest was history. She was SO cute and SO little and SO adorable that my heart melted into a puddle of mush. For $5 I got the best little furbaby in the world AND a ten-pund bag of Puppy Chow. Winning!
When I brought her home, I surprised H with my new find. He was ticked off to begin with, then she be-bopped over to him on her 1/2 inch-long legs, licked him in the face, and he was a goner, too! He still jokes about me, Lois, and the "5 o'clock Free Pet Giveaway"!
Lots of people giggle when I tell them her name, and we have my hubby to thank for that. He said since I picked out the dog against his wishes the least I could do was let him name her. And now we have a dog named Lois. True story.
Lois is the best dog in the world. She is probably too smart for her own good, really. She doesn't do tricks, although trust me-she knows what you are asking her to do. She just thinks she is above entertaining humans at their will. She REFUSES to wear a collar and only tolerates one for walks around the neighborhood. She immediately needs it to be taken off or she will go into a coma-like state for hours. It's hilarious. She doesn't really think she is a dog, because the common dog rules do not apply to her. But, if she was a dog, she would think she is a lab because the only other dogs she has ever been around are Labs. She plays fetch, swims like a fish, and loves to ride the boat. She likes long walks on the beach, eggs with cheese, and bossing the other dogs around. Trust me when I tell you that Lois rules the roost; this is her world and we are all just living in it. Her favorite place is Dauphin Island, and I swear you can see her smile when she is basking in the sunshine on a sandy stretch of beach.
Charlie is our Chocolate Lab. We call him Charlie, Chuck, and Brown Dog. He will answer to all three. Or none, depending on his mood. Everyone I know who owns a Chocolate Lab says they are weird, and Chuck is no exception. He is very shy until he gets to know you, and then he loves you forever. We got him from some friends whose dog got knocked up, so we know he has never been abused, but you would think we beat this dog within an inch of his life the way he acts sometimes. (And that couldn't be further from the truth-I don't think either of our dogs has ever been hit!) Chuck LOVES to swim. He would have been a fantastic bird dog if either of us cared about hunting at all. H grew up on the water, not in the woods, so it is only fitting his dog should follow suit. Charlie's passion in life is to swim, play fetch, chase birds, and torment Lois-preferably all at the same time.
I am a big animal rights supporter. I'm not a crazy PETA person, but I think even the animals we eat or wear deserve to be treated humanely and with respect. We should try to limit their suffering as much as possible. I fully believe that God gave us animals to teach us so many lessons in life. I heard a quote once that said something along the lines of "The true character of a person is evident in the way they treat their animals" and I totally agree. Please, please, please...if you are in the market for a new dog (or cat for that matter!), check out your local shelter or humane society. I promise you a mutt will love you just as much if not more than a pedigreed dog, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you saved a life. Plus, mutts have fewer health problems because they do not carry breed-specific hereditary traits like full-blooded dogs.
And I am now going to step off that soapbox and put it away.
I hope you enjoyed meeting my sweet pupper dogs! We think they are pretty darn great, and I hope they have inspired you to adopt a pet if you're in the market for one.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Yep, that's me!
So, just in case you happen to be as bored as I am and are looking to hear/read a reasonably intelligent person's opinion about our current state of affairs, let me offer these little jewels of wisdom...
Alabama vs. the Illegal Immigrants
I am all for immigration if done legally. Most of us are descended from an immigrant (or two) somewhere along our geneology, and we should be thankful for all of the wonderful things our country has gained from others. Chicken Parmesan and Spicy Tuna Roll, I'm talking about you. We are blessed to live in a country that welcomes others despite their appearance, their religion or even their sexual orientation. There aren't many other countries in the world that will welcome you with open arms, all the while knowing that you will more than likely disrespect her flag, her troops, and her God. All we ask is that you pay taxes and contribute to the pot from which you are so contentedly sucking dry. I do feel sad for the little Hispanic children who are afraid their mommy or daddy won't be home when they get off the school bus. But, as cruel as it is to say...that ain't my problem, honey. Blame your mommy and daddy for not taking the time and energy to gain citizenship for the past 10 years while you and your 4 siblings attend a public school. It sucks for you, but that's what happens when you try to do something the easy way.
I know a lot of folks are up-in-arms because now we have a labor shortage and there is no one around who wants to pick peas, wash dishes, or work construction. And that leads me to my next point...
Welfare and Food Stamps
I believe our government has taken over the role that churches, families, and charity organizations used to fill. Yes, sometimes people fall on hard times and might need welfare and food stamps. For those times, we DO need some sort of agency in place to help us through those rough times. But welfare has become a life-long form of sustenance for too many in our population. We've created a society where women are rewarded for having children they can't afford and men are encouraged me be lazy because an actual J-O-B pays less than sitting on your ass watching Jerry Springer reruns. Let's put a time limit on welfare and food stamp assistance except for in cases of mental and physical handicaps and seniors over the age of 65. We need to encourage that spirit of "pulling yourself up by the bootstraps!" and taking pride in a hard day's work. If I have to work, by George, everyone else should have to as well!
Nobody can say anything these days without getting somebody else's panties in a wad. As much as I would love to get into politics one day, I would probably be crucified after Day 1 on my campaign trail because I would say something inappropriate (probably trying to be funny) and someone, somewhere would be calling for my head. Apparently nobody ever taught the ACLU the phrase "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!" Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and just because it's different than mine doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to express it freely. (Again, see paragraph one about the freedoms we enjoy as Americans) In my honest opinion, we need to stop worrying so much about hurting someone's feelings or offending someone and do what is right for our country. Honestly, I could care less if Muslims are upset that Americans don't want a mosque at Ground Zero. Even enlightened folks (like myself)that realize not all Muslims are extremists don't really think that is the best way to pay homage to the people that died in that spot on that day. It's my opinion and I am allowed to have one. And thankfully, so are you.
Let me say that I don't classify myself as a Republican or a Democrat. I think we have way too many Republicans who are too caught up in themselves and their own agenda to make any real progress for the average citizen. Most of the Tea Baggers say they want less government, fewer taxes, and more freedoms, yet at the same time they want to limit the freedoms of expression and differences. And we have too many Democrats who are trying too hard to save the world to realize that too much going out and not enough coming in = DISASTER. If I were running for office, I would run under the Common Sense Party. (Not necessarily that Common Sense, Thomas Paine) I would stop spending countless tax dollars on grants to study the effects of the gravitational pull of underwear on llamas in the western states. Congressmen and Representatives would stay in Holiday Inns rather than Hiltons and The W Hotel, and committee meetings held "over drinks" would be on Senator X's back porch rather than after an $800 meal at Ruth's Chris.
We just need to get back to basics. Tighten the belt, reign in the beast, and get back to what made our country really great in the first place.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
That night was rough. And oddly enough, it had nothing to do with having a new baby at home. She was completely innocent and blessedly immune to the trials and tribulations at our house on Monday, September 19th, 2011. The day that will live in infamy.
It all started when I walked in the door after a long day at work...
As I walked in the door, H said "Don't freak out! I know he smells like shit and I'm about to bathe him right now. He rolled in doodoo on his roam and now he smells terrible!"
The "he" H was referring to was our Chocolate Lab, Charlie. Aka Chuck. He likes to go for an afternoon roam around our neighborhood, but he usually comes back unscathed. And he had indeed rolled in some serious doodoo pile somewhere along our street. The whole house smelled like a bucket of crap. It smelled SO terrible it made my eyes water. And I'm used to smelling some pretty stinky stuff!
So H grabbed Chuck's leash and some shampoo and hauled his dirty butt outside for a bath. The poor dog was COVERED in dried, caked-on doodoo. It was all over him, including his previously red collar. Charlotte, Lois (the little dog) and I walked outside with them to watch the rather amusing spectacle. Then we took a nice leisurely stroll around the 'hood so Chuck would dry off somewhat. Ahhh...peace and sanity still ruled at this point in the evening.
When we walked back inside after our walk, the ENTIRE house smelled like poo. I thought "What is the deal?!?! He just had a bath, he doesn't stink now, why does the house smell like the toilet at a fraternity house!?!?!?" We searched and searched and eventually found the culprit.
It was underneath the bed.
Apparently not only had he rolled in some other dog's "surprise", he'd also eaten it. Yep. I said eaten it. And then he threw it up in a nice, neat little pile underneath our bed. And it smelled about the way you would expect it to smell.
Now is the time to mention H has a very weak stomach. That means Super Mom here was left to clean up that pile of disgustingness. He lifted the bed while I cleaned.
And all was right with the world again.
Until Chuck got on the couch and puked up the rest of his afternoon snack. At this point, I'm wondering exactly what kind of boots I want to make with dog hide, but I grab some paper towels and start cleaning. H grabs a garbage bag and attempts to help me dispose of the mess.
And then H vomits on the floor, too!
Heaven help me! I'm about to have a purse to go with those boots now!
So I cleaned up THREE piles of vomit last night. Count 'em: THREE! Like I said, it was a rough night in the Hysterical District. Thankfully sweet little innocent Charlotte slept right on through this debacle or I would have had to have been committed. But it's nothing a BIG glass of wine on my doodoo-free porch couldn't wash away!
Thank you Lord for dogs and husbands. My life would be awfully boring without them! But I'm warning you, think long and hard before you complain about another shitty Monday. It could always be worse!
First of all, let it be known I was a little nervous about the drive to Kinston with just Charlotte and me. She's made the trip before, but we had a carload of fun with her and the two dogs (in addition to Harris and me, of course). This time it was just us two. And granted she is not much company on the ride, I was beyond elated that she made nary a peep on the way there and on the way back. She's just like her parents in that aspect-put either of us in a car and it's good night, Eileen. :)
Friday night was my high school's Homecoming game. I've only been to a couple (as in literally two) of games since I graduated in 2001. Pardon me while I wax nostalgia for a minute, but it's really hard for me to sit there and watch those cheerleaders hold the run-through for the players, salute the flag as the National Anthem plays, and then perform some of the exact same cheers I used to chant on those sidelines. Although there is no way in hell I could fit into my uniforms from back in the day, I would give anything to be back out there with my high-school besties-shaking my pompoms and my booty as we performed the Touchdown Dance. We didn't get to do it much, by it sure was fun when we did!
The main thing I noticed at the game was the incredible amount of REALLY young mothers. Apparently they don't have "Teen Mom" or "16 and Pregnant" in Kinston because some of these girls missed the memo that teen pregnanyc is NOT cool. Babies/Kids are super difficult, even when there are two parents with two jobs and at least a tad bit of responsibility. I can't fathom how hard it would be to be a single parent, or worse, to be a single parent and under the age of 20. My biggest worry at 20 was whether or not Crowe's Chicken would accept an out-of-town check. And I wouldn't want it any other way.
After the game we went to the Mexican restaurant in Opp and had a blast. The mariachi band played "Sweet Home Alabama" and my heart was content. Then we went to a party at someone's house and talked about the good 'ol days. It's nice to know that even though we might get older, apparently we aren't getting more mature. And we all still like beer.
Saturday morning I went to a baby shower for my cousin Hayley and her upcoming bundle of joy, Arden. My mother and I took Charlotte, because God forbid my mom miss an opportunity to show random strangers her new grandbaby!
Saturday night was the BIG event-my (gulp) 10-year high school reunion. Yikes. Despite MONTHS of planning and correspondence, we had a whopping total of 4 graduates show up. Actually, it kind of pissed me off. If I can manage to haul my newborn baby 2.5 hours BY MYSELF, then you would think some of the locals would have put forth the miniscule bit of effort it would have taken to attend. But whatever. I was able to see some of my best friends from high school and catch up on their lives. And that's what counts.
Sunday morning was church with my grandparents, and Miss Charlotte was once again the best baby! I'm so blessed to have any easy child. I'm almost afraid to have another one because she/he would probably be a terror since this one is so easy!
We had another easy trip back to the Mobeezy, and life once again settled into the normal routine. I like normal. I thrive on my normal schedule. Even after only two days, I was thrilled to see H and the pupper dogs. And they were thrilled to see us. (At least the dogs were! Haha!)
All in all, it was a pretty fabulous weekend. It makes me miss Kinston so much, even though I've grown to love the comforts of a Walmart being only 5 minutes from me at all times. And I certainly couldn't live without "Teen Mom" and "16 and Pregnant"!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
I had what I thought was going to be a great opportunity kind of fall into my lap this week. It was unexpected and made me realize maybe I had been missing things in my professional career that I didn't even realize I was missing. I tried not to "put the cart before the horse" or "put all my eggs in one basket" or whatever other cliche's that are just witty ways to say "don't get your hopes up and plan on something happening before it happens because then it probably won't happen and you'll be screwed AND disappointed all at once."
And of course, I did just that.
But here's the funny part...
As excited as I was about this new opportunity, I was afraid all at the same time. Along with a nice paycheck and a new iPad, it also came with lots of stress. And a lot of stress + a new baby might not be wise. Plus, I really do love the company I work for now, and I love the people even more.
So I prayed. I prayed that God would somehow show me what would be the best option for me and that HIS plan would prevail. And that He would show me what that plan would be.
Everything fell apart this morning and nothing panned out the way I thought it would. I was sad and disappointed and once again felt screwed out of what I thought should have been mine. They don't know what they're missing! They don't know how awesome I am! They don't know how badly I want a new iPad!
Of course about half-way through my pity party I realized that maybe this was the way it was supposed to be. That maybe God had answered my prayer and told me to "Be patient. Be content. I have other plans, bigger and better plans for you than this."
And it made me feel a lot better once I listened.
Disclaimer: I fully realize that I somehow managed to write a blog containing references to God and Viagra. Thankfully I've watched a lot of American Idol auditions so I know God has a sense of humor, too.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The first day of school , whether it was kindergarten, seventh grade, or senior year, was such a fresh start. The entire year was up ahead and there were endless possibilities for fun--field trips, dances, football games, spend-the-night parties, etc. I was an only child so by the time August rolled around I was usually O-V-E-R summer. It was too hot and too lonely for my taste, and I actually enjoyed school.
First of all, there was nothing better than getting a whole new wardrobe for the fall. My mom always took me for a big, long day of "Back to School Shopping". Granted, I hated that day of shopping, but I sure loved having new clothes and shoes to sport! I literally would have rather gone to the dentist than gone school shopping, just ask my mom.
For me, the ABSOLUTE best of the best was going to shop for supplies. Even now, there is nothing that blows my dress up quite like a fresh notebook and a new pack of pens. I remember I would sit down in the living room the night I got my supplies (because honestly, who could wait until the night before schoo!?!?) and organize all of my notebooks with paper, dividers and other accessories.
And Heaven help us all if there was a planner involved! Planners were (and still are) some of my favorite things in the world.
I just re-read that sentence to myself. Yes, I do realize I sound like a nerd. And I'm perfectly okay with that.
With each new year came a new teacher. And thankfully most of my teachers were completely awesome. I remember one that really wasn't, but the rest were great. I was a good student. I liked to learn and I picked things up easily. However, even though my report card was always straight A's, I would always get the same comment "Tiffany is a great student, but she talks too much and can be disruptive to others."
To which I would say...ummmm, duh? There is WAY too much going on in my head to sit quietly and listen for any long period of time. I'm not good at "quiet" or "still".
Now that I am getting on up there in age and my (many) years of school are more than likely over, it makes me a little nostalgic for those first-day jitters. For the excitement of opening up my new notebook and writing my name and the date in the top right-hand corner. For walking into the auditorium during that first assembly. For learning the ins and outs of that new teacher's personality.
Maybe it was just that my elementary and high school was just that awesome that they have each left such a lasting impression on my life. Or maybe it was that my teachers were so amazing that they managed to somehow make school not just a place to learn, but a place to experience new and exciting things every day. Learning was fun, just as it should be.
And if any of my old teachers ever read my blog, I would like to formally apologize for talking too much. If it makes it any better, I have somehow managed to get a B.S. and make a career out of Talking and Shooting the S#&t.
Okay, okay, it's really called Marketing and PR, but it's basically the same thing if you've ever met anyone in sales.
Happy First Day of School, lil chickens! Enjoy that new Lisa Frank notebook!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
She's been here for a little over a month, which will probably explain the lapse in time since I last wrote a blog post. I've been on maternity leave (thank the good Lord) for six weeks and since I do most of my writing while I'm "working" (aka trying to look busy at my desk) I just figured my adoring fans could wait. I kid, I kid.
Things are blissfully wonderful on the home front. Charlotte sleeps about 10 hours a night, never cries, and her poop smells like sunshine and unicorns.
Again... I kid, I kid.
BUT things are pretty darn wonderful. Don't get me wrong, we have some good days and some bad days, but overall things are better than I could have ever imagined. First of all Charlotte is healthy and that was of course the biggest blessing of all. I made it through labor and delivery pretty much in one piece and without too much trauma (although I might not be able to say the same for H). And despite my two uterus (uteri?) and the fact that Charlotte was coming out malpresented (sunny-side up, only happens 5% of the time or something crazy) I managed to squeeze her out the old-fashioned way without a C-section. And plenty of drugs, like God intended.
People warned me I would never sleep again, but even sleep has been more frequent than I anticipated. I averaged a couple of naps a day because I am a firm believer in sleeping when the baby sleeps. Dishes, laundry, and sweeping be damned! She gets a bath at 9, then a bottle, then it's off to sleep until 2 or 2:30. She wakes up, takes another bottle and goes back to sleep until about 5:30. Overall, it's a pretty good schedule for a newborn and we are SO thrilled. My biggest disappointment is that I couldn't breastfeed her. I'm convinced that I did something wrong and I still feel guilty about it, but I figured even the lowly formula was better than letting the kid starve to death.
My 6 weeks of maternity leave flew by and as much as I loved getting to bond with her--I'm incredibly happy to be back at work. First of all, I'm thankful to have a job in this miserable economy, and I missed my coworkers (who are a pretty funny bunch). I also missed getting to leave the house and converse with adults about intelligent things like the upcoming football season, reality television, and stupid email forwards. I guess it makes me a bad mother, but I need the break that work provides. I need stimulation outside of poopy diapers-even if they do smell like unicorns and sunshine. It makes me a better, more patient wife and mother when I return at the end of the work day. And since people and dogs around my house like to eat and enjoy things like air conditioning and cable it is something I can justify. Don't get me wrong-I have the utmost respect for stay-at-home moms because it is seriously hard work. It's just not my cup of tea.
Overall, we are completely smitten with the new addition. She is lovely and perfect and sweet and cute and looks absolutely NOTHING like me! She does have my lips and one dipple like me, but that is the only mark I left on the child after almost 10 months in my belly. Sad, but true. Thankfully H ended up making an adorable little girl!
So...it's back to the grind as we learn to adjust to real life with a baby. So far the transition has been relatively smooth, but my head isn't that far in the sand to know that there will inevitably be rough times ahead. I'm just so happy to have H, Charlotte, Chuck and Lois along for the ride! Now that I'm back at work I will be posting more frequently with insight into our new way of life in the Hysterical District.
PS-Even with an epidural, the stork concept is WAY better than the actual thing!
Friday, June 10, 2011
I have always been afraid of pregnancy, but it really has been a breeze for the most part. I know I am incredibly lucky because I never really even had any morning sickness. The only time I remember getting sick was when one of my coworkers ate a shrimp fettucine Lean Cuisine one day for lunch, and the smell made me nauseous. Which in turn prompted me to take a pregnancy test...and you all know how that ended up! This was three days after Halloween weekend and a Widespread Panic concert in New Orleans, so I thought it could have been the remnants of the New Orleans funk but instead we were pleased to discover it was a little bambino instead!
The first trimester was great. I only gained a couple of pounds, no sickness, and only a mild tiredness. I didn't even feel pregnant, which can be good or bad. I must admit I felt a little left out as my friends drank and partied during football games, but I knew the sacrifice would be well worth it. As the baby started moving and growing, and I started to actually feel pregnant, the constant reminder of impending parenthood made missing out on things much easier!
We weren't going to find out the sex of the baby, and part of me still wishes we hadn't. We told the ultrasound tech not to tell us, so she wrote it on the pics, put it in an envelope, and sent it home with us. Of course after about two days we just couldn't stand it any longer! And then we found out we were going to be broke forever as parents of a little girl. :)
People always ask what cravings I've had. The only thing I can think of is ice cream and fruit (especially citrus fruits). And even then I wouldn't exactly call it a craving. The only real way to explain it is that foods just taste better--better than they have EVER tasted before! It's like my taste buds are on steroids and it makes everything more delicious.
Picking a name was SO hard! Once we finally realized that you can't please everybody all of the time, we settled on a beautiful family name that we love-Charlotte Day Carrigan. Or at least I love it, and isn't that really all that matters? :)
The nursery has been done for about a month, and sometimes I just go sit in there and imagine what it will be like when Charlotte is here. H does it, too. I've had four baby showers (Dauphin Island, Kinston, Orange Beach, and work) and we have been so blessed to receive the wonderful gifts our friends and family have bestowed upon us. I'm not sure we deserve it all, but we certainly appreciate it. I wish every pregnant woman could have this because it has definitely taken a lot of stress off of us! My bags are packed for the hospital, our co-pay is paid, we took the birthing class, and we are as ready as we are gonna get. I think.
At 37 1/2 weeks pregnant, my feelings are mixed. I am excited, scared, nervous, ready, anxious, amazed, hot, uncomfortable....the list goes on. I am nervous because a)she has to get OUT somehow b) what are we supposed to do when she gets here? c) what if my "instincts" that people keep referring to don't kick in? d) what if she's allergic to the dogs? e) what if my water breaks in public? f.) how do I know if she's too hot or too cold? It's 100 degrees outside so I'm always hot, but what about a baby? g) how will our family dynamics change? Seriously I could list about a million thoughts/worries that run through my head a million times a day-but I won't bore you with those.
All I know is that our lives are about to change dramatically in a matter of days. My brain can't even fathom the thought of how much is about to change. With no brothers or sisters, I have nothing whatsoever to compare this to other than my dogs. People laugh when I say that, but I love my dogs more than the average person so that is the only point of reference I have. All I know is that H and I are beyond excited to meet Miss Charlotte. That's all we can talk about. H says she's going to be the best female golfer ever, and he can't wait until she's big enough to fish in the Little Anglers Fishing Rodeo with him. Hearing the man I love talk about what he wants to do with our daughter makes me turn to a puddle of mush, I must admit. I just want her to be smart and independent and full of life. And happy-God I hope she is happy with the life we give her.
37.5 weeks pregnant and wishing the whole stork story was really how babies got here,
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Well...duh! If you are a parent or about to be a parent in less than 4 weeks and you DON'T think those things, I would be worried.
And of course, it must be said that the main reason why Sweet Charlotte will be so smart, funny, witty, adorable, and cool is because she will have the most intelligent, well-read, well-intentioned, and maternally blessed mom in the world. Oh yeah and dad, too, but this is my blog not his so let's focus on what's really important here.
Well...duh, again! If I didn't think I was going to be a fantabulous mom I wouldn't have been actively doing the deed that causes such things.
So in all my wisdom I have compiled a list of things that I/we will NOT be doing once Charlotte arrives. Now, if you find yourself somehow on the following list--please do not be offended. I fully realize that all children are different and all parents have different parenting styles. And I also realize that I am writing this pre-baby, before I've had to deal with the not-so-glamorous side of mommyhood. So take it all with a hefty portion of of salt.
I am talking about belly-baring photos here folks. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the "before" belly shots so I can be damn certain there will be NO photos of my belly while I am with child.
Delivery Room Photos
Call me vain, I don't care. But there will also be NO photos of any kind in the delivery room. Write it down because this might as well be written on the 10 Commandments that Moses brought down from the Mount. "Thou shalt not have pictures of your vagina on record-no matter the circumstances". I am more than happy to pose for pictures with my beautiful baby AFTER we are appropriately groomed and ready to make our debut, thankyouverymuch.
H and I have a queen-sized bed that we already share with our 13 lb furbaby, Lois. And occasionally a 70 lb lab that likes to sneak in while I'm sleeping alone. Besides the fact that there is just literally no room at the inn, I'm a firm believer in the fact that babies and children need their own space just like adults do. Beds are for naughty, adult things like eating ice cream and watching reality television, NOT for "family togetherness" and such. Now I realize that if my child is scared or sick, this rule is bendable. But the exceptions will be few and far between, trust me.
Charlotte will have a bedtime until she is no longer living under our roof. We will not be those parents who let our child stay up until all hours of the night. Children and babies need structure and schedules. It helps them learn and pay attention, aids in digestion, makes them happier and more emotionally well-balanced....the list goes on. I had a bedtime until I left for college and look how great I turned out! Once she enters the real world and has a job, she will realize that even adults do better with a bedtime and schedule.
I think parents who homeschool their kids are weird. I also think most kids who are homeschooled are weird. Sorry! But seriously...kids learn more from school than just what they get from books. It's all about the experience as a whole-just like college. And as much as we might want to shield are children from the weirdos and freaks of the world, I don't know of any adults who have figured out how to hide from the weirdos and freaks once it comes time to do adult things like pay a mortgage. Embrace the freaks at an early age, that's my philosophy. If you can successfully dodge them on the playground, the office water cooler will be a breeze in 20 years.
Yes, I am going to breastfeed. And I will do so successfully because I refuse to accept the alternate option of failing. I'm a winner and I will win at breastfeeding! (I repeat this quite often so don't laugh at me!) But, with that being said, I will not be one of those moms who is breastfeeding in public. Eewww. I know, I know...it's natural and blah, blah, blah. That's why they made bathrooms. And dressing rooms. And cars. There is no need to whip these things out in public and make other people watch my child at the trough. I don't want to watch YOU do it, so you know--the golden rule and all that stuff.
Also under this heading, but Point B: I will not be breastfeeding my toddler. Once the kid is old enough to say "Yo mom, whip that boob out! What's a kid gotta do to get some lunch around here!?!" I think it's time to move on to other options.
Again, feel free to laugh at my haughty list of things I think I won't be doing as a parent. In five years, if I'm still writing and imparting wisdom to the masses, feel free to laugh at me if you catch me breastfeeding my baby from the shopping cart while I peruse the isles at my local Winn Dixie. I promise I won't blame you one bit.
36 weeks and counting,
Friday, May 6, 2011
To begin with the most obvious, I wanted to blog about my lovely mother and my feelings about my first-ever Mother's Day. H says it doesn't count but I totally disagree. I've been making wise, responsible, parental-y decisions based on Baby Charlotte for almost 9 months now so I definitely feel like a mom. And mostly a good one at that! But in the end I've decided to wait because I want to collect my thoughts and put together a perfectly eloquent tribute to the best mom around. As long as "best" doesn't involve a lot of cooking and scrapbooking. See...I come by it honestly.
My next thought was "I will talk about the death of bin Laden and why I'm proud of our President and staff for not making a mockery of a human's death, even if that human probably didn't deserve a decent burial." Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely glad he is dead. He was a terrible, vile, cruel, and heartless excuse for a man who truly didn't deserve to breathe air on this Earth. But to me, as an American, I am proud that our humanity and respect (even for those who don't deserve it) to man and animal alike is what sets us apart as a Christian nation. Let's make sure justice is served, but let's not forget the simple fact that if we do the same things we condemned our enemy for doing we are no better than them. But...I figured that was WAY to heavy for my lil 'ol blog. Especially for a Friday when my brain stops working and producing coherent thoughts around 10:30 am. (Which coincidentally is 2 1/2 hours into our weekly sales meeting)
Or I could tell you that we had the first baby shower last Saturday and it reminded me that originally my blog was going to be about Southern rules of etiquette in addition to home renovation stories and tips. Since then I have realized we lack some VERY vital ingredients to offer tips on home renovations--the money to actually DO them and the knowledge and wisdom to impart on someone else. Despite the fact that we are frequently naked and one of us might have been known to dance inappropriately from time to time in public places, I actually do know a bit about Emily Post's rules. I promise I'm going to revisit that topic very soon. (The rules part, not dancing inappropriately in public) I think we can all learn a thing or two about how to be a good host and a good guest!
I also debated on whether or not to write about The Wedding. I was a royal in my previous life, you know. I thought Kate was beautiful--the perfect Duchess if ever there was one. They looked happy and in love, and her dress was TO DIE FOR. I'm not a fan of sleeves but I think she converted me into a believer. My only wish is that I could go back in time and demand that guests wore hats to my wedding. I'm a firm believer that there just aren't enough opportunities in life to wear a fabulous hat.
Happy Mother's Day to all -whether you're a Mother, a mother-to-be, or just a mutha,
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
So yesterday I/we had my/our monthly OB/GYN appointment, and this one was pretty special because we had our last (tear, sniffle) ultrasound done before our lil gal arrives. Insurance only covers two ultrasounds throughout the entire 40 week ordeal which I find to be very aggravating and cheap, but the wonderful ultrasound tech, Mrs. Paula, gives new parents a "freebie" with their first child so we cashed in at yesterday's appointment.
And yes, I know that we could pay and have a 4D ultrasound done, but we are also cheap. I know, I know...people in glass houses, blah blah blah...
Anywhooo...back to the story. I am officially 30 Weeks pregnant as of today (yippee!) so we got to see Baby Girl Who Is Still Nameless in all her glory. And man was she cute! The first thing Mrs. Paula said was, "Look at how plump her lips are!" To which sweet H almost fell out of his chair laughing. You see, I have been known for many years on Dauphin Island as "Catfish" because of my rather plump lips. This nickname, which is still better than the one I originally had in high school regarding my lips, has been the butt of many a bar-room joke and more than a few impersonations. It has even given me a phobia of lipstick because it makes me feel like my lips are HUGE.
So then H proceeded to tell lovely Mrs. Paula about my nickname. And I cringed as I lay there on the table with my belly exposed to the elements.
Of course H and Mrs. Paula had a good laugh, and then we got back to the task at hand--looking at the adorable bundle of cuteness growing in my belly.
Seriously...cutest baby ever! (And I'm totally not biased at all!)
Mrs. Paula went on and on about how beautiful the baby was and what a perfect profile she had....all the while I just basked in the glory of my baby-cooking skills while I watched the monitor.
After the magic was over H and I joined a few other moms in the waiting room as we waited to see the doctor. I looked at him and said something along the lines of "She was SO freaking cute! You heard Mrs. Paula-she said she was beautiful and had a perfect profile!"
And then my husband, who will hereto be known as the Killer of Dreams and Ultimate Party Pooper of the Century says, "Well geez Tiffany, what did you think she was gonna say-that we had a troll coming in a few weeks? She tells everybody their baby is beautiful and perfect!"
And just to add insult to injury...the other moms in the room laughed at him! Trust me ladies, this man needs NO encouragement and the laughter just adds fuel to his fire.
And then I told him his presence was no longer needed and he could go on to the golf course.
But I STILL know our baby is absolutely adorable and she does have perfect profile and big 'ol Catfish Jr. lips. And I love her already-even if she doesn't have a name.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
My parents came down for the weekend and we set out to conquer quite a list of chores. H was working, so he foolishly thought he would be let off the hook. Little did he know....our kitchen sink and my dad had other plans.
Friday night we rode down to The Wharf in Orange Beach for the Zac Brown Band concert. I only go to few concerts every year, and most of them are Widespread Panic shows so this was a treat for me. Plus it's really nice to do something fun with the parentals every now and then. I realized my mom obviously hasn't been to a concert or sporting event in about 15 years because she was shocked and appalled by the $6 beers. Note to mom: Don't ever go to the Super Dome where Bloody Mary's are $12 and domestics are $8! The bleachers are much more uncomfortable when you are 6 1/2 months pregnant, but other than that it was a blast. And it was cute to see mom and dad snuggling and dancing to the slow jams.
Saturday morning, my parents where up with the chickens AS USUAL. Apparently no one ever told them that weekends are for sleeping in because they were up at the crack of dawn. Seriously--we had walked the dogs, gone out for breakfast, and taken showers before 8. Sigh. Unfortunately I will never break them of this habit. Trust me--I've tried.
Mom and I set out to register for baby items. It is just as much fun as it sounds! I'm not really much of shopper, it's just never been my cup of tea. I'm good for an hour or so and usually one or maybe two stores. But all day trips are just not for me. I think it stems from an incident in my childhood that I refer to as "The Living Room Curtain Debacle of '94". It was a terrible, horrific day of my life that involved my mom dragging me to multiple department stores in and around the Wiregrass area in search of living room curtains. We spent 9 hours looking at-you guessed it-curtains. And we went back to the same stores more than once to "get a second look" at things. I eventually passed out from exhaustion in the floor of Dillards and got a good 2-hour nap.
It took me an hour to pick out my wedding dress, if that tells you how hard that whole experience was for me.
Anyway....back to my point. She really helped me with the registeries because if it would have just been H and I, we would be lost. As a matter of fact, our first trip to Babies R Us should have been filmed we were so clueless! So now we will have a ton of stuff, even if we don't know how to use half of it! Who am I kidding--I don't even know the purpose for half of it! And mom had me registering for everything under the sun. I bet the CEOs of Graco and Walmart are sitting in their plush offices having a good 'ol laugh at the suckers who find it necessary to buy some of this stuff. And then they go out on their yachts and toast to my mom--the lady who thinks it's necessary to buy a mesh sack to wash baby clothes in. Because obviously you can't just put clothes in the washing machine!
Meanwhile back at the ranch...dad was busy fixing a leak in our kitchen sink, which I thought meant replacing the washer in the faucet. I came home to discover my husband and dog under the house and half of the backside of it laying in the yard. Apparently our drain pipe was half rusted through and the contents of our garbage disposal have been piling neating under our house for the past few years. Yum.
After MANY enjoyable hours of my dad (the perfectionist) and his son-in-law (still tired from his night shift the previous night) working on the pipes AND 7 trips to the local hardware store, everything was patched up and ready to go. I bought pizza for my labor crew and they settled in to watch a bootleg copy of True Grit while I hit the hay at the exciting hour of 9 pm.
Woo hoo for Saturday nights!
Good thing I went to bed early because I was up early AGAIN the next morning. But sadly not early enough to catch the sunrise trip to Krispy Kreme donuts that our two houseguests took. So mom and I walked the pooches while daddy did a final inspection on his handywork from the day before.
And lo and behold...the dang pipe was leaking again! Arghhh. It's enough to make a saint cuss--and he did, actually! But after one trip to Lowe's and about 3 more hours worth of work--the pipe was repaired and the giant gaping hole in the back of my house was patched. Patched with plywood, but it was patched nonetheless.
Then mom and dad got the heck out of dodge before he found another task to tackle.
And I promptly took a 2 hour nap to recover from my hard job of supervising the repairs.
Overall, it was really a great weekend. Dayleigh's room is painted, furniture is en route as I type, and the registries are DONE. I kid and joke and give them a hard time, but it's always great when I get to see my parents. I love them dearly and they provide some nice perspective into the Hysterical District. Plus my mom likes to clean, which is an added bonus!
And she can always find some dog hair to sweep up!