Friday, September 2, 2011

I Still Kind of Hate Money and Budgets

In a previous post I discussed my hatred for all things money and budget related. Even though I hate it, I still did it. I made a budget. All of a sudden I have multiple spreadsheets with names like "Cash Flow Analysis" and "Savings Balance" etc.

I now have our bills and expenses calculated out for the rest of 2011 and put myself on a strict budget of $25 per week spending money. That might not seem like a lot. That's because it's NOT. Luckily, I work from home so it's not convenient for me to pop out to get lunch, or drop by Starbucks for a Frappucino. That helps. But still, if I want to indulge in my mani/pedis, I have to like, save my spending money for more than a week to have enough to cover it. So weird. (Mr. Chick's spending money is a whole other topic for another day - trust me, it's complicated.)

Interestingly enough, I started talking about this topic because of a Twitter comment made my Miss Britt and the system I've adopted is really similar to the spreadsheet budgeting method she talked about at one point on her blog. I've actually tried for years to come up with a budgeting system that would work for us and I think I've finally done it. I couldn't figure out exactly what I found so difficult about the other budgets I tried, but I had a huge 'Aha' moment not too long ago.

I realized that a lot of the pre-existing budget spreadsheets and programs are built based on a monthly schedule, but for me, it's easier to budget based on pay period. Mr. Chick and I are both paid bi-weekly on similar schedules, so it's much simpler to budget our money for bills during a pay period, than to look at a month from the first to the last day, when that doesn't usually fit in with our pay cycle. Because of that, I never really had a clear picture of how much money we had, or didn't have.

I now know at any given time, exactly how much money is in our checking and savings accounts. I can tell you how much we'll be able to put in savings by the end of December. I can tell you what the balance on my checking account will be in November. Again, so weird. But, liberating at the same time.

I still haven't made any progress with establishing what our ultimate financial goals are, but hey, the fact that I have a spreadsheet that I look at on a regular basis called 'Cash Flow Analysis' is good enough for me. At least for now.
Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lucky Number 13

Violet turned 13 last weekend. I am now the mother of a teenager. How is that even possible?

We celebrated on Saturday with a 40 person cookout with family and friends and I made this cake, which was pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Alas, the only pictures we got of said cake are below and they don't fully convey the awesomeness that is the Super Special Rainbow Cake:

On Sunday, which was Violet's actual birthday, we marked her 13th year with a round of mini golf and ice cream and Violet's favorite dinner, lasagna. Oh, and more cake. A fun time was had by all.

Did I mention that I'm the mother of a teenager? Crazy.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup!

For my first edition of What's Cookin' Wednesday, I'm using my chicken tortilla soup recipe because 1) it's awesome and 2) it's what I'm actually making for dinner today. That would be why I'm posting it so late because I actually had to finish it in order to get a picture of the finished product. Such a planner I am.

This is the best chicken tortilla soup and it's so easy because all you do is open a bunch of cans, throw in some chicken breast (which can be frozen) and in 6-8 hours you have yummy deliciousness. This is so good that I've never had anyone eat it and NOT ask for the recipe.

You need all the ingredients shown here, plus chicken breast and a bay leaf. (In a perfect world, I would have remembered to take the picture before I started, instead of remembering after everything was in the crockpot and digging around in the garbage for the empty cans and also realizing I had zero bay leaves left in my spice cabinet. Oops. Oh, and you need some minced garlic too - about two cloves, one small chopped onion and two cups of water. I also add some ground red pepper because we like a little more spice but this soup also has a slight kick without it.)

Once you put all of your ingredients in the crockpot and stir, it will look like this:

Set the crockpot to low if you want to cook 6-8 hours, or high if you want to cook for 3-4 hours.

Just before serving, remove the chicken breasts and shred with a fork.

Return the chicken to the crockpot and stir.

Serve topped with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc.


- 1 lb chicken breast
- 1 small to medium chopped onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups water
- 1 32 oz carton chicken broth
- 1 can enchilada sauce
- 1 small can diced green chiles
- 1 can of whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 t ground cumin
- 1 t chili powder
- 1 t salt
- 1 t black pepper
- 1 bay leaf

Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Just before serving, remove chicken breast and shred. Return to crock pot and stir.

Serve topped with tortilla chips and shredded cheese.


I'm linking up this post with:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In My House, Money is a Four Letter Word...And So Is Budget.

First, apologies for the unscheduled break in posting. Turns out, writing this post was really difficult and made a break from all things Mother Chick necessary. Strange, considering the incident which was the topic of said post happened 8 years ago, but I reserve the right to feel crappy about the fact that my daughter almost died. So anyway, sorry for the break and love and kisses and all that jazz.

A while back, there was a rather interesting discussion on Twitter on what qualities and traits everyone felt were necessary in order to finally consider yourself a grown up. Someone, I think it may have been Miss Britt, said that it was necessary to be able to make and also stick to a household budget. If that's the case, I'm totally not a grown up, at all. (Disclaimer - this post has nothing to do with Miss Britt's opinion, but is really about how I'm a slacker when it comes to all things finance related).

The thing is, I hate thinking about money, paying bills, savings accounts, 401k, IRA, CDs, the stock market...blah blah blah. Seriously...HATE. Online bill paying has been one of the best things to ever happen to me because I can just set everything up to be paid automatically and I am required to put zero thought into the process. We are fortunate enough to be in a situation where we always have the money to pay our bills, with plenty of discretionary income left over. And, we have a savings account that sometimes has a lot of money in it and sometimes has a little. We save for retirement through various options with our employers, although we could both be doing more in that area, I'm sure.

I just hate dealing with it all and I also hate feeling deprived of the things I want. When I think about putting together an actual household budget, I get all antsy because what if I budget a certain amount for say, going out to eat, and then I want to go out to eat and it's not in the budget? That would piss me off. I know, spoiled bitch, right? Whatever, I own being a spoiled bitch. Even so, the truth of the matter is, I like doing things and doing things costs money. I don't foresee myself ever being the type of person who is like 'Oooh, sitting here at home and playing a game together was SOOO much better than taking the kids to Busch Gardens.' Yes, I know that playing a game together can be fun and economical but is it better than Busch Gardens? No, I don't think it is.

Lately though, Mr. Chick and I have been discussing the fact that we really do need to budget and come up with some financial goals. I've done some research though and the whole thing just seems so damn complicated and like a lot of hard work. While reviewing the advice of some personal finance gurus it seems that everyone recommends that you have a million separate accounts for things like an emergency fund, and a savings fund, and a vacation fund, and a car fund, and this fund and that fund. Thinking about the work involved with actually setting all that up and then separating money into those accounts makes me want to open a 'Just Kill Me Now' fund.

So the other day, I was perusing some personal finance blogs and one PF blogger with a fairly significant following wrote an entire post that was probably 500+ words, complete with charts and cost breakdown analysis on the virtues of using dried beans as opposed to canned beans to save what amounted to like, a dollar. To each his own and all that, and bless that blogger's little heart for having the strength to write 500+ words about beans. That said, if I ever find myself in a position where I'm writing a long meandering post about beans just...kill me now. Seriously.

I really need to get started on that fund.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Things I Thought While Getting a Deep Tissue Massage

1) Am I supposed to get like naked naked?

2) Oooh, this massage table has an electric warmer. Toasty.

3) You know, I popped a breath mint before we started, why didn't she?

4) Is that muscle supposed to crunch like that?

5) Why does every massage therapist play the same music they play in Chinese restaurants? How is that relaxing?

6) I'm really glad she finds the music and dim lights relaxing but if she yawns in my face on more time, I might involuntarily punch her.

7) I really don't think that muscle is supposed to crunch like that.

8) She really should get a pedicure. She works in a salon/spa, how hard could it be to keep your toes polished?

9) If she runs into the corner to cough into her arm one more time, I'm leaving.

10) This hurts like hell. I'm paying this woman a hundred bucks to beat the shit out of me. Clearly, I'm an idiot.
Saturday, July 2, 2011

8 Years Later

You always remember the day your child almost died. Even now, eight years later, it makes me physically ill to type those words. To even think those words. It doesn't change the fact that they are true. On the evening of July 2, 2003, our Lily almost died after nearly drowning in a swimming pool. She was two years old.

The day began like any other, work for my husband and I, 4th of July crafts at daycare for the girls. When I picked Violet and Lily up, her daycare provider handed me the red, white and blue t-shirts and windcatchers they made that day, along with a picture of all the kids wearing their new shirts, proudly holding up their craft projects. I quickly glanced at the picture, smiled, and went about getting the girls buckled in their car seats.

My phone rang on the drive home and it was my aunt. Would I watch my cousin the next night while she and my uncle went on a date night? Sure, no problem. And hey, why didn't we bring the girls to her to watch tonight so Mr. Chick and I could go furniture shopping without kids in tow. They were having a cookout at their house that night, so the girls could swim with their cousins. Sounded like a plan to me.

When we dropped the girls off, I put Lily's water wings on her little arms and watched her toddle off with my uncle in her little green Elmo bathing suit. "Bye Mommy!" Lily said, as she grabbed my uncle's hand. "You really have to watch her around the pool. She will jump right in because she's not afraid." I said to my aunt. My aunt had raised four kids so I knew that the reminder was more to make me feel better, than me being worried that something would actually happen. I kissed Violet and off we went to furniture shop without kids in tow, which felt like a luxury. When Mr. Chick asked if I wanted to go out to eat after finishing at the furniture store, I thought for a second and decided we would go back and get something to eat at the cookout and watch the girls swim. I had no idea at the time what the implications of that decision would end up being. It would end up saving our child's life.

As we pulled up to the house and got out of the car, I noticed my dad running out the front door with the phone in his hand. "That's weird," I remember thinking. As I got out of the car, I heard him yelling. "If you know CPR, get in there!" We still didn't know what had happened or who was in trouble, but with Mr. Chick's first responder training as a deputy sheriff, we knew we had to hurry. We ran through the house and my world stopped. It was my baby that needed help. I saw Lily's little legs hanging over the edge of the pool while my husband performed CPR, trying to get her to breathe. I remember squeezing my grandmother's arm, screaming for my baby, trying to get anyone to tell me what had happened to her. There were no less than 15 adults around that pool and not one person could tell me how long she had been under the water.

After what seemed like an hour, but was really only minutes, my husband picked up Lily and held her to his chest. She was breathing, but was clearly dazed and having trouble. By that time, paramedics had arrived and they grabbed my little girl and loaded her into an ambulance. For some reason, they would not let me in with her, so we were going to have to follow in our car. I remember that after the ambulance tore off, I saw my aunt in the driveway, watching the scene unfold. I let out a scream unlike anything I've ever heard before which I can only describe as unadulterated RAGE. I was beyond furious. As I ran toward my aunt, I screamed "I'm going to FUCKING kill you!" and at the time, I meant it. My husband grabbed me around the waist and threw me in our car, so my anger was going to have to wait.

In the car, I rocked back and forth, unable to sit still. The best way that I can describe it is that my fear and anger physically hurt. When we got to the hospital, I walked up to the triage desk in the emergency room and I remember the nurse behind the counter ignoring me as she took someone's blood pressure. I stood there for crying for a minute or two, before interrupting to say that my baby had just been brought in by ambulance so that person's blood pressure was just going to have to wait. Another nurse popped out from behind a curtain, grabbed me by the arm and whisked me behind the double doors.

A trauma nurse met me me behind the doors and I was hysterical, asking everyone who would listen if my baby was going to be okay. I have no idea where my husband was during all of this. The trauma nurse was a total bitch, telling me that I was not helping my daughter any by being hysterical and I should just calm down. I was too out of it to respond how I would under normal circumstances, which would be a solid 'Fuck off, bitch.' She steered me to the registration area and said the best thing I could do would be to get Lily's registration completed. Right, because heaven forbid the fucking registration doesn't get done. I still get pissed thinking about that nurse.

Around this time, my mom finally got to the hospital. (Editors note for clarification: My parenst are divorced, so my mom was not there when the accident happened). They brought her to meet me in the registration area and I just collapsed in to her, saying 'Mommy, mommy, baby, my baby, my baby' over and over again. I still couldn't sit still so I paced back and forth in the hallway, waiting for the doctor to come out and give me something, anything, any piece of information that I could hold on to.

As I waited, a detective walked up to take my statement about what had happened. They were confused on how this could have happened, with so many adults right there. Understatement of the fucking century. The one thing he said at that time that sticks with me to this day is "Nobody watches your kids as closely as you do." That one statement would end up meaning that nobody would be trusted to babysit our kids for years and years after that.

As I spoke with the detective, I stuck my hand in my back pocket and felt a piece of paper. I pulled out the picture that Lily's babysitter had given me earlier. There in the picture, wearing her homemade red, white and blue flag T-shirt and a beaming smile was my perfect little girl. Getting that picture earlier in the day already seemed like a lifetime away. I prayed for the opportunity to take more pictures like that.

Finally, the doctor came out to speak with my husband and I and his beside manner was about as good as the bitch nurse from earlier. In a matter of fact tone, he said "Well, he's stable for now but she does have water in her lungs and if a kid her age is going to die, it's going to be from a lung injury, so I really can't tell you what's going to happen." I collapsed all over again. My baby. My beautiful perfect baby. We had broken her.

When I finally calmed down, the doctor explained that they were transferring Lily to the children's hospital across town as she would need to be on oxygen in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and doctors there should be able to tell us more. The bitch nurse handed me a bag and I looked inside, finding Lily's swim diaper and her little green Elmo bathing suit. I remembered her happily saying "Bye Mommy!" earlier that day and I held her wet bathing suit to my face and cried all over again.

The detective from earlier came over and I figured he wanted to ask more questions. He led my away from the doctors and nurses and said "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but they told me she'll probably be fine." I remember clinging to those words like a life raft in the stormy sea that my life had become. I definitely understand that doctors and nurses have to maintain a professional distance, but I felt like the doctors and nurses in the ER took it to the extreme. I didn't need sympathy, but a little empathy would have been nice. I was actually glad to transfer to another hospital.

When we arrived at the children's hospital, we followed the paramedics in and waited while they got her set up in the PICU. Once she was settled in a room, we were finally able to see her. I approached her bed, which was one of those big metal cribs and I rubbed her arm through the bars. She had tubes and wires connected everywhere and she seemed to be dazed, staring into space. Finally, the pediatrician arrived and evaluated Lily's chest X-ray and examined her vitals. As he finished his assessment, he let us know that the next 24 hours were important in determining Lily's prognosis. Things could go either way because she had a lot of water in her lungs, which can cause infection, complicating the situation.

For the next 24 hours, I refused to leave the hospital. Luckily, the doctors and nurses at the children's hospital were amazing. After about 12 hours, they let me pick her up and hold her in a reclining chair. I held her close to my skin, so that she would know that I was there for her. During this time, Lily was subdued and quiet and we had no idea what damage her accident may have caused. After another 12 hours had passed, they took her from my arms to update her chest X-ray and assess her progress.

While we waited, Mr. Chick held my hand and I cried, praying that the test results would show that she was improving. After a short while, they brought her back and placed her back in my arms, saying that the doctor would be in soon. Their faces gave nothing away, even as I searched for clues. When the doctor finally arrived, the first thing he did was give us a thumbs up. Her condition was improving with no signs of infection in her lungs. She still needed the oxygen that was being pumped up her nose as her lungs cleared, but all indications were that we would be headed home in a day or two. With that, I breathed for the first time in 24 hours.

Given her prognosis, we were given the okay to transfer out of the PICU to the 'regular' hospital floor, where the nurses were just as amazing as the PICU team. Lily would still need to be assessed for brain damage the next day, but just then, the fact that she was going to live was good enough for me. As it turned out, we would have our answer on the brain damage later that day when a nurse rolled a TV/VCR with some Barney videos into the room. As Lily watched, she spoke for the first time since before her accident. "I love you, you love me...." She remembered the Barney song. My baby remembered and could sing along! I had never been so happy to hear that horribly annoying tune. To no one's surprise, she passed her tests the following day with flying colors.

Three days after Lily's near drowning accident, we prepared to take her home from the hospital. We packed up the flowers, balloons and toys that had poured in from family and friends and said goodbye to the doctors and nurses who had cared for our daughter, just like she was their own. As I carried her through the hospital lobby, she looked over and saw the bubbling stream that runs through the center atrium of the hospital and looked back at me. "I go fimming?" she asked. Yes baby, you go swimming.

My precious baby girl was going to be just fine.

At the time of Lily's accident, I did not know how to perform CPR. Lucky for me, my husband was able to use his training to save our daughter's life. As a result of our experience, I quickly got CPR and First Aid certified through my local Red Cross chapter. Parents - please please please get this life saving training...your child's life could depend on it. Visit to find a class near you.
Friday, July 1, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts

1) Do you think we've become an inconsiderate society? I do. Example: Today I went to Subway to pick up a quick sandwich for lunch. How much time do you expect to spend in Subway when you're getting a 'To Go' order? Five, maybe ten minutes if they are busy, right? Right. Today I was in Subway for TWENTY FIVE minutes and there was exactly ONE person in front of me in line. This man was the epitome of inconsiderate. First, he ordered three sandwiches with ridiculously complicated instructions for each. Cut that one in half, keep this one whole, toast this one and not that one, put everything on this one and nothing on that one...ridiculous. While he was giving his ridiculous instructions, he then got on his cell phone so he had two conversations going at once, one with the sandwich artist (WHY did they stop calling themselves that?) and one with the cell phone caller. Obviously, this slowed down the entire process even more. As the people behind the counter were trying to make their way through the sandwich order, and he's talking on his cell, issuing orders, etc. he realizes that he knows one of the owners of the Subway and proceeds to start a THIRD conversation with that person, complete with an introduction to the other guy that was standing with him, the whole nine. After this whole exchange, they finally finished making his sandwiches and he proceeded to the register. One would think that this ridiculous transaction was almost over, right? One would think wrong. He made the cashier ring up the three sandwiches as three SEPARATE transactions, then proceeded to argue when they wouldn't give him the $5 footlong price on the sandwich he made them cut in half, which was prepared two different ways. After they relented and gave him the price he wanted, he finally took his damn sandwiches and left. Sometimes people make me want to beat them about the head with blunt objects. That is 25 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

2) Lily amazes me on a daily basis. She is such a free spirited individual who doesn't give a care as to what others think of her. If the crowd goes right, you can bet your ass that Lily is going to go left to see what happens on the road less traveled. She always keeps me guessing and you just never know what she's going to come up with next. I love that about her. I also think that these traits are going to give me gray hair when she's a teenager. Even so, I hope as she gets older she continues to embrace her individuality.

3) This weekend, the girls are going out of town with my mom and won't be home until Monday. This all happened rather unexpectedly as she only called me last night to say she wanted to take them with her on her trip. I packed them up and they shipped out this morning. So, this kid free weekend stretches out in front of us and I have no idea what we're going to do with it. It's kind of nice to not have a plan and see how the weekend unfolds. I'm thinking some nice dinners out, maybe hit the beach for some relaxation...and I'm not sure what else. What would you do with an unexpected kid free weekend?

4) Mr. Chick (who's a detective) was on call last night and got called out for a burglary at 2:00 AM. This is how it usually goes when he's on call...90% of the time the call out comes in the middle of the night. You know, I just can't think of anything worth stealing that's worth being awake at 2:00 in the morning. I get the whole 'cover of darkness' thing but one would think more houses would be burglarized during the day when most people are at work. Actually, now that I think about it, our house was burglarized during the day several years ago and the thieves were caught when a deputy sheriff saw said burglars walking down the street with garbage bags full of our stuff. Also, the burglars knew that a cop lived at our house and still broke in. Criminals really aren't that smart sometimes.

5) On Monday, our nation turns 235 years old. We have no big plans for the 4th because Mr. Chick will be working from 8 AM to 2 AM (yes, that's 18 hours straight), so our holiday will be low key. Actually, it will be closer to no key because the girls won't be back until Monday night so I'll be partying like it's 1776 with me, myself and I. It's a good thing I like me.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!
Thursday, June 30, 2011

Couching the Subject

Once I decided that the idea of another baby was not just going to go away quietly on it's own, I knew I had no choice but to tell Mr. Chick what I was thinking. Nothing like pondering having another child all in your own head, without letting your husband in on the secret, right?

When I dropped the 'baby' bomb, his initial reaction was about what I expected and included much stammering, stuttering and staring. Then he repeated the words 'no way in hell' and 'you've got to be kidding me' over and over again, which was also expected. I expected this reaction not because I think he's dead set against the idea, but because I've been dead set against the idea for as long as we both can remember. Saying I might want another baby is pretty much the equivalent of me saying I might want to shave my head and move to Zimbabwe to raise goats. When he started randomly giving me the stink eye and shaking his head though, I knew that I had him thinking about the possibility of another baby, too.

The thing is, Mr. Chick likes to pretend like he has absolutely no say in the matter because I make all the decisions around here anyway. Now that might be true, if we were say, buying a couch. I'm on to his tricks, though. He acts that way about decisions so that way when the couch gets here and it's uncomfortable to sit on and doesn't match the curtains he can say 'You were the one that wanted that couch.' A baby, however, doesn't come with a warranty and Scotchguard isn't going to help a damn thing, so there's no way I'm taking all the credit for this one. Not gonna happen.

As of now, we're like a Republican and a Democrat, vacillating between a dead even 50/50 split both for and against, to 60/40 against, 70/30 for, back to an even 50/'s never ending. We really need a bi-partisan vote, so in Mr. Chick's pragmatic view, we need to create a list of pros and cons to having another baby. Since I have exactly zero brilliant ideas of my own to move the discussion forward, I've agreed with this plan.

So, next on the list: Make a list. I'm going to suggest we do it while sitting on the couch, which I did pick out all on my own and is awesome thank you very much.
Monday, June 27, 2011

If All Else Fails, Tell the Internet

I've had this niggling thought in the back of my mind recently. It's like an annoying ear worm of a song that won't go away (Livin' La Vida Loca, anyone? You are welcome, internet) and I've been ignoring it. It's still sitting over there in the corner, staring at me and I think it's getting comfortable. I figured I had to take some sort of action, before it starts leaving wet towels in my bathroom and drinking the last Diet Coke, which is just wrong on so many levels.

So what is this thought, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. You should feel special that I'm going to tell you because I have not told anyone this thought, except for my husband. It would just be wrong to tell the internet this thought before I told him. Not as wrong as drinking the last Diet Coke, but still. Anyway, all of a sudden I'm pondering what it would be like to have another baby. I KNOW. Huge, right?

Clearly, I've been feeling nostalgic recently, as evidenced by this post. That said, I've been absolutely sure for YEARS that we were not having any more babies, ever ever ever. My girls are 12 and 10 and for the most part (the most IMPORTANT parts) self sufficient. Everyone in my house wipes their own ass. Everybody sleeps through the night and feeds and dresses themselves. There are no tantrums, unless Mr. Chick wants to take over the TV to watch something dumb, like UFC fights, when I want to catch up my DVR'd Food Network shows. Which happens pretty regularly almost never. And it's been that way for a very long time.

So, why would I want to change that? Why would I want to go back to a crying baby, sleepless nights, diaper changes, tantrums, watching Playhouse Disney shows constantly, potty training and everything else? I have no idea. But I still kind of want to.

I'll be examining this issue over the course of several posts. Follow along to see what happens...this should be interesting, or educational, or mildly entertaining, or ridiculously frustrating, or possibly all of the above.
Friday, June 24, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts

1) Earlier this week, I was driving down the road when I noticed a Chrysler Town & Country with a huge sticker covering the entire back window. Now, being a minivan, you could totally expect said sticker to be for something like a daycare or maybe those stickers for each member of the family, all the way down to the dog, cat and hamster. But, no. This huge sticker was for the band Papa Roach, complete with a freaky picture of some guy wearing eyeliner and a studded choker. Papa Roach is a band that sings about bleeding and not giving a f*ck and probably also roaches, or something. Apparently while wearing eyeliner. And chokers. I just had to drive up beside this minivan to see who was driving and it was totally somebody's mom, for sure. I'm all for trying to hang on to the last shreds of my youth, but not so much that I would sticker my minivan with NKOTB stickers or whatever. If I had a minivan, that is. Which I don't.

2) The other day I was walking through Target when I saw this girl at the checkout counter totally rocking a sweater dress, studded ankle boots and also, feathered hair. I really don't understand why we're revisiting 80s fashion. It was not a good look the first time around. I mean, I get nostalgic once in a while too but it doesn't mean I want to throw on some parachute pants (seriously, WTF on those things, anyway) and start carrying around my Cabbage Patch Kids again. Not that I ever wore pink parachute pants or anything. Nope, I didnt.

3) You know what bugs me? When actresses and models talk about how they eat whatever they want and stay skinny. I call BS on the whole 'I just eat what I crave and I manage to stay thin.' Yeah right chick, you must get some wicked cravings for celery sticks and ice water. Oh, and cigarettes.

4) This week, I decided to teach myself to knit because why not just throw one more thing on my To Do list, right? So far, I've knitted and unraveled yards and yards of yarn. I have two problems with my knitting. a) both sides of my knitting look like purl stitches and from what I gather, one side should look like knit stitches and the other side should look like purl stitches and b) I may very well be way to uptight to knit because my stitches are so tight that they're hard to get off the needles. I should have known this actually, because one other time I tried to learn to knit using hard plastic needles and I snapped the needle in half during a particularly aggressive knit stitch. None of this will make any sense if you don't knit but it's irritating me, hence this random knitting thought.

5) Attempted knitting aside, I'm not really very crafty. I suck at taking pictures, which I told you about in last week's Random Friday Thoughts. I also mentioned my non-start at scrapbooking. I can't draw my way out of a paper bag, either. The blogosphere though, is full of a bunch of crafty chicks. You should check out the Etsy shop of Twinkie Tot Mom, or the website of Ninotchka whose artwork is AMAZING or the baking creations of Three Pugs & a Baby. Oh! Also the jewelry of Christina Lee. So awesome. I am in awe of these ladies, and so many others with their crafting and artistic abilities. Maybe I'll get really good at knitting, so I can be crafty too. Perhaps I'll start with these. Stylish, no?

Happy Friday to all!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting to Know Me - First Edition

Because I hate the term 'meme', I'm going to call this a 'Getting to Know Me' post because I refuse to call it a 'meme'. I came across this one at 'Life of a Doctor's Wife' and because I liked the questions, I figured I'd give it a go. So, without further ado, I give you my 'Firsts'.

1) Who was your first prom date?

My first and only prom date was actually my husband (although he wasn't my husband at the time, obviously). It was my junior year and it was his senior prom; we went to different high schools. I remember I couldn't get his boutonniere to stay pinned on so my mom had to do it for me and I thought my dress was the greatest thing ever (it totally was NOT). I think the theme of the prom was "Almost Paradise," maybe? Clearly, I was underwhelmed by the experience because I didn't bother to go to my own senior prom the next year.

2) Who was your first roommate?

I've never had a roommate, unless you count my husband. Have you seen Single White Female? No thanks.

3) What was your first alcoholic beverage?

I distinctly remember my dad giving me sips of his beer on hot summer days. In high school, we'd all throw in a few bucks for a case of disgusting Natural Light and then chug it while playing quarters. Natty Light isn't exactly a sipping beer, if you know what I mean.

4) What was your first job?

In high school, my first job was as a cashier at a pharmacy, which is where I actually met my future husband. We had our first kiss in that store, in aisle 11, next to the greeting cards and under the mylar balloons.

5) What was your first car?

Technically, my first car was a silver Ford Escort, which I got on my 16th birthday. That car, however, was stolen before I even got my driver's license so the closest I ever got to driving it was sitting behind the wheel. It was eventually recovered but the thief had taken it on a joy ride then put it in park with a brick on the gas pedal so the engine was blown. After that, I got a maroon Ford Tempo that had a cracked manifold. It sounded like the engine was falling out whenever you stepped on the gas. It did have automatic seat belts though, so that was pretty sweet. Not really, but whatever.

6) When did you go to your first funeral?

I think I was five when my great grandpa died. I vividly remember the smell of all the flowers and that everyone was taking them home after the wake. I seem to remember getting yelled at by someone when I picked up some pink carnations. Carnations are totally not worth getting yelled at over, by the way.

7) How old were you when you first moved away from your hometown?

I was twenty and I would never live there again.

8) Who was your first grade teacher?

Her name was Mrs. Smith. I remember her as very tall but that could very well be because I was short. The Challenger explosion was when I was in first grade and I remember that Mrs. Smith was a finalist in whatever program it was that eventually chose Christa McAuliffe to be the first teacher in space. Because of that, we were watching the launch in our classroom and when the shuttle exploded Mrs. Smith cried and went home early. My other memory is of this girl Andrea, who was one of a set of identical twins that were both in our class, puking on Mrs. Smith's feet while she read us a story. The only thing she said when puked upon was 'Oh, dear.' I bet she wanted to say "What the f*ck?" That's what I would say.

9) Where did you go on your first airplane ride?

I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to bet that it was Florida. My parents moved from Ohio to Florida when I was four months old. When I was two, they got divorced and my dad stayed in Florida and my mom moved back to Ohio with my brother and I. This one time, when I was four, my mom had to put me on a plane to Florida all by myself. I remember that I wore my favorite dress that was white with yellow flowers and I accidentally locked myself in the airplane bathroom and couldn't get out. Having parents in two different states sucks and to this day, I still hate goodbyes.

10) When you sneaked out of your house for the first time, who was it with?

Hmm, I don't think I ever actually sneaked out of the house. I was more of a skipper of school, once I started driving. There was this one time that I told my mom that I was spending the night at a friend's house and then we drove three hours a way to go to a keg party with some guys we had met while we were on Spring Break in Florida a few weeks earlier. That situation could have turned out really bad as there were some pretty unsavory individuals at that party. I'm still convinced that we were almost assaulted in an alley that we had to pee in because the bathroom in the house where the keg party was held was out of order. We were dumb girls. But also, who throws a keg party with a broken bathroom? People who pee standing up, that's who.

11) Who was your best friend and are you still friends with them?

In first grade, I was best friends with a girl named Sonya that lived right next door. Sonya's family was Lebanese and they were always inviting me to stay for dinner, which I hated. To my six year old self, hummus was pretty much like vomit on a plate. Sonya eventually fell out of my favor when she stole my Lifesavers pencil case, because obviously, RUDE. Her mom made her bring it back and apologize in front of my mom, but alas, our friendship did not survive the incident.

12) Where did you live the first time you moved out of parent's house?

My husband and I (who was still just my boyfriend at the time) moved into an apartment together two weeks before Violet was born. It was the easiest move I ever made because I actually had to work on moving day and since I was hugely pregnant anyway, there wasn't much I could help with. By the time I got home from work that day, everything was in and unpacked and I'm just now realizing that I have no idea who did all of that work. I do remember sitting on my bed and crying because I was nineteen, about to have a baby and I wanted to go home to my mom.

13) Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

It's a toss up between my mom and my depends on the situation.

14) Whose wedding were you in the first time you were a bridesmaid?

It was my cousin's wedding and I was in the 8th grade. We wore these horrible pink satin dresses with puffy sleeves and ruching on the bodice. We also rocked the dyed to match shoes and the piece de resistance was the fact that we each carried ONE fake rose as our 'bouquet'. I remember I walked with a groomsman who had played football with my cousin's husband in college and said groomsman was hoping to get picked up by a team in the upcoming NFL draft. He didn't. Also, my cousin is now divorced. I blame the horrible bridesmaid dresses. That's no way to start a marriage.

15) What is the first thing you do in the morning?

Open my eyes and think "Damn! Morning already?" I have insomnia, what can I say?

16) What was the first concert you attended?

My first concert was Bush, on the Sixteen Stone tour when No Doubt opened for them. I had a huge thing for Gavin Rossdale back then, who is now better known as Mr. Gwen Stefani. It was a good concert though.

17) First tattoo or piercing?

My first piercing was my ears when I was five. I did pierce my tongue when I was 18, but that didn't last long because my mom threatened to kick me out of the house when she saw it. I told her that I was taking it out not because she was kicking me out, but because I didn't like it that much anyway. It was totally because she was kicking me out. I also have two tattoos, a flower on my hip and a tiny ladybug on my foot. The flower I got the day I turned 18 just because I could. I'd like to get them both removed but haven't gotten around to it.

18) First celebrity crush?

I thought Ralph Macchio was the hottest thing going in Karate Kid. I never did write to any of my celebrity crushes. One time, I did write to Whitney Houston and remember that I was offended that she never answered me. Little did I know that she was too busy smoking crack to worry about writing some kid from Ohio.

19) First crush?

In second grade, I had a huge crush on a kid named Chad Becker. I'm not sure why, he was actually pretty funny looking, come to think of it. My first 'boyfriend' was a kid named Nick Dumas, in the fourth grade. We would hold hands under a table during silent reading time.

20) First real love?

My husband. That tends to be the case when you marry your high school sweetheart.

There you have it, internet. I hope you enjoyed this trip down Mother Chick's memory lane.
Monday, June 20, 2011

A Mom Is Always A Mommy

I've reached the juncture as a parent where I can clearly see the young women my girls are going to become. Really, I should say the young women they are becoming. At almost 13, Violet is as tall as me, wears a women's size 10 shoe and looks about 16. Couple that with the fact that I'm often told that I look younger than I actually am and everyone always thinks we're sisters when we're out together. I'm sure I will appreciate this at some point but now, not so much. At 10, Lily is going through a definite awkward stage but even so, she's starting to care about things like clothes, hair and make up so I know she's not far behind her sister.

It sounds so cliche, but I really do feel like yesterday they were babies and I blinked and now we're here, teetering dangerously close to their teen years. My lap sits empty because my girls, who no matter what are still my babies, have outgrown it. There are no more bedtime stories, no more kissing boo boos to make them all better, no more picking them up in my arms and cuddling them close. I can see that there's a time, in the not too distant future, that they won't need me anymore. At least not in the way that they used to.

Sometimes though, when I least expect it, I catch a glimpse of my babies in my not quite yet young women. Someone hurts themselves and needs me to hold their hand until it feels better, someone says 'I'm scared and I miss you and I don't want to spend the night here, please come pick me up' or someone still wants me to tuck them in and kiss them goodnight. It's at these times that I remember.

A Mom is always a Mommy.
Friday, June 17, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts

1) It's the first week of summer break here. So far, I've refereed more fights than I can count, picked Lily up from a friend's house at 11:30 PM from an aborted sleepover attempt, washed 237 loads of soggy beach towels and wet bathing suits and tried unsuccessfully to make our dog throw up when he ate a bouncy ball. A homemade bouncy ball, at that. There are 7 more weeks of summer vacation and I'm not sure we're going to make it. I'm going to count my blessings that my kids don't go to school with Phineas and Ferb, who get 104 days of summer vacation. I bet their moms drink, a lot.

2) So, the dog ate a bouncy ball, right? Then, he refused to throw up even though I followed the vet's instructions exactly (10 cc's of hydrogen peroxide down the gullet). I figured that when a foreign object is ingested, eventually it has to come out, one way or another right? Right. For the next couple of days, Violet was on poo watch and would report her findings every time he went out to do his business. The bouncy ball pieces never re-appeared but we did find some ribbon, some tape, a bandaid and pieces of a popsicle stick. Apparently, I have a Shih Tzu that moonlights as a carp. Well that, or he was trying to wrap a present, cut himself and decided to make it better with a bandaid and a popsicle.

3) This week, I was talking to a friend who said that they thought it was weird for people to eat at a restaurant or go see a movie by themselves. As someone who has done both of these things many times, I don't get it. What's wrong with some quality time by yourself? I know I tend to lean a little more on the 'loner' side of things, but I really don't see anything wrong with it. As a matter of fact, I'm probably going to go to the movies with me, myself and I this weekend. I want to see a movie thats in theaters right now that's a confirmed 'chick flick'. I know there's a snowball's chance in hell that Mr. Chick will go with me and all of my friends are busy. So, I'll just go by myself. Is that weird?

4) I'm not a very good photographer. I forget to bring our camera everywhere and if it wasn't for my husband, we'd probably have about 12 total pictures of our children. I just always seem to have better things to do than worry about taking pictures. Not to mention that when I do attempt to take pictures, they're blurry, or too dark, or too far away or too this or too that. Photography = Not My Thing. Given that, it makes total sense that I asked for a really nice and expensive camera for Mother's Day, right? Mr. Chick totally came through and purchased said camera and I think I've taken four or five pictures with it. This reminds me of the time I asked him to get me a scrapbooking kit for my birthday, which then sat on a shelf in a closet for the next five years before I finally decided that maybe I'm not so into the scrapbooking and sent it off to the Goodwill store. Yeah, it's just like that...but a lot more expensive this time. I better figure out how to use that thing.

5) I've mentioned it a few times on Twitter this week, but seriously, I think Jillian Michaels is trying to kill me. And she's doing it slowly, one 30 minute workout at a time. Seriously, people the 30 Day Shred workout is hard and I'm in fairly decent shape as a runner. It is, however, the best 30 minute workout I've ever done and I've done quite a few. If you are looking for a workout program that gives quick results in a short amount of time, RUN to get this DVD. The fact that it only takes about 30 minutes out of your day is a bonus, also. Here's the thing: You're supposed to do the workout every day. I've only done it every other day so far because I swear, my arms would fall off and beat me about the head if I tried to make them do that amount of push ups every single day. I'm going to attempt to do it every day next week and I'll update with my findings. If my arms fall off though, typing is going to be hard.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When I Grow Up...

When I was in the sixth grade, our teacher made us write a list of the things we wanted to accomplish in life. One of the things we had to list was the job that we thought we would have when we grew up. I wrote "I'm going to be a high school model, and then a marine biologist." First, I have no idea what I meant by a 'high school model'. I assume that I thought that I was going to have a successful modeling career from grades 9-12. Right, because those aren't awkward years at all. Apparently, I was kind of dumb in the 6th grade. I did go to high school with a girl that modeled in Japan and then did a short lived stint as eye candy on an MTV game show, all before we graduated. That's about as close to modeling as I got in high school, or ever, now that I think about it. So, 'high school model' never made it to the old resumé. Bummer.

As for the ‘marine biologist’ part of the equation, I totally copied that off of a friend of mine who didn't turn out to be a marine biologist, but did in fact become an archaeologist and now spends her days digging up old stuff in Ecuador. My marine biologist aspirations were over before they even began, as evidenced by the fact that I refused to dissect dead animals (like a fetal pig, ew!) in10th grade Honors Biology and failed that class voluntarily. It’s a good thing I had my modeling career to fall back on, right?

When my high school guidance counselor asked me what I wanted to major in when I went to college, I think I gave her a blank stare and said something along the lines of “Um, beer pong?” So, she made me take one of those aptitude tests that's supposed to match your personality with a career. According to my personality, I should be a flight attendant. Right, because herding people and luggage into a narrow metal tube with wings and serving drinks at 30,000 feets sounds like an awesome career choice. I decided to stick with the beer pong.

When I got to college, I realized that they don’t actually let you major in beer pong. I know, right? I was surprised too. I went ahead and picked the next most reasonable option. Fashion Merchandising. Because LOTS of community college students in Ohio major in fashion, right?Turns out, not so much. In quick succession, I changed said major to Secondary Education (because who wouldn’t want to shape the youth of today? Apparently, me – which is why this major didn’t last long either) and then Nursing (see my Honors Biology story to learn why this didn’t work out - obviously I had not learned much since the 6th grade and was still pretty dumb).

Now, if you do the math on my age versus the age of our oldest daughter, you’ll notice that I actually ended up majoring in ‘Mommy’ in college. Let me tell you, this really put a damper on the beer pong, which was still my unofficial major at the time. It was the one that I managed to stick with the longest. You’ve got to have goals people, am I right?

These days, I’m an executive at a marketing company, so it all worked out in the end. Clearly, I narrowly avoided my fate as a marine biologist/flight attendant/fashion merchandiser/teacher/nurse/beer pong coach. That would have been hard to fit on the diploma, anyway.
Friday, June 10, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts - Annoying Edition

1) Earlier this week, I was in the checkout line at the grocery store when the cashier scanned my bag of chips and threw the bag toward the bagging section. The thing had a hang time of at least three seconds and there was the definite sound of chip breakage on impact. Now, I could see if the bag of chips was a small part of a large grocery order and she was in a zone scanning multiple items, but nope. The chips were the only thing that I bought. For a minute, I contemplated telling her that she needed to get me a new bag and then decided that was more hassle than I felt like dealing with at the time. Once in the parking lot, I pulled out of my parking spot only to be prevented from leaving by a store associate gathering carts and blocking the entire exit for at least five minutes. WTF? The motto of this grocery store is "Where shopping is a pleasure." I'm contemplating writing to them to suggest they change it to "Where shopping is a pleasure, unless you're in the checkout line or parking lot. Then it kind of sucks." Annoying.

2) If you ever get a craving for key lime pie, get some Fiber One Key Lime Pie Yogurt and some sliced almonds. Mix together and enjoy the deliciousness. If you want to go all out, I suppose you could throw in some graham cracker crumbs and top with whipped cream but that obviously negates some of the 'low calorie' deliciousness. This will kick a key lime pie craving square in the crotch. You are welcome.

3) I recently had to 'unfriend' my oldest friend in the world. This was my best friend from the time we were 8 years old, my partner in crime all the way through elementary, middle and high school, the maid of honor in my wedding. Trust me when I say that cutting her off was justified and while I am absolutely sure that I did the right thing. That said, I keep having dreams where she calls me to apologize for what happened between us. Does that mean that it bothers me to not be her friend anymore or that I still think she owes me an apology? I hadn't even talked to her in over a year before the incident that caused the unfriending, other than random Facebook posts, so I'm voting for the latter. Annoying.

4) I was a champion speller when I was in school. I'm not even kidding. I won the school spelling bee two or three years in a row and went on to the county spelling bee from 4th through 8th grade. All of a sudden, I'm forgetting how to spell words. What is up with that? I blame texting. As I was titling this post the 'Annoying Edition' I started to type 'Annoying Addition' before I caught myself. Also, I'm constantly guilty of run on sentences, until I catch myself and edit. WTF? I blame texting. Also annoying.

5) You know those copy/paste Facebook status posts? "Put this as your status for one hour if you know someone who has died of cancer," etc. I secretly hate those. Yes, I know people who have died of cancer, I have an awesome mom, a fabulous sister, I love my kids, I support our troops, etc etc etc. I just prefer to think my own original thoughts, thanks. Annoying.

What do you find annoying today?
Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Non-Shrinking Violet

Violet has always been my 'shrinking violet'. She is shy, easily intimidated and sensitive beyond belief. Early on in her school days, she was dubbed the 'crybaby' because she cries at the drop of a hat (seriously, she even cries at weddings...what kid do you know that does that? Violet, that's who). I knew that we would have bullying problems because kids can be evil and they will spot your faults and use them against you for shits and giggles, because they are assholes like that.

Not surprisingly, Violet had a few problems at school with some 'mean girls.' Sixth grade is BRUTAL people, and sixth grade girls, lo, they are bitches. At the time, I tried my very best to turn each incident into a learning experience for Violet, when I really wanted to march into that school and smack those girls in their bitch faces give those girls a piece of my mind. Alas, trying to explain to a pre-teen girl that it's not the end of the world to have people make fun of you at school was like trying to get Lily, my younger daughter, to let me brush her hair so she didn't look like she styled it with a fork every day. That is to say, my attempts were futile and I knew we were in for a long haul with middle school.

Nonetheless, I stayed the course every single time and encouraged Violet to stay above the fray. My instructions were simple: try to be friends with everyone and if somebody says something about you, starts a rumor, or just acts like an asshat in general, IGNORE IT because they are looking for a reaction from you. If you don't react, they will get bored and go away. And, if you hear someone talking about someone else behind their back, you should be a friend and stick up for the person getting trashed because you know how that feels.

I could never be sure if my message was getting across until several months later when Violet mentioned that some kids were laughing at one of her friends in the cafeteria that day because she has cancer and has no hair, and it was making her friend cry (I told you, bitches, right??). When I asked Violet what happened after her friend started crying she said "I remembered what you said, Mom. So I went over to those girls and told them that she can't help that she has no hair and that she is way prettier than they are because they're making themselves look ugly by making fun of someone who is sick."

When I recovered from the shock of my Violet asserting herself, she went on. "Then I told them that if they want to make fun of someone, make fun of me instead, because I don't care what they say about me and I can take it. And other than that they should keep their mouths shut and quit being rude to everybody because they just look stupid."

When I asked how the mean girls responded, she said "They didn't say anything else after that, I think they knew I was serious. And my friend felt better after someone stuck up for her, so you were right, Mom. I'm glad I stood up for my friend."

That, my friends, was a proud parenting moment. She's not such a shrinking violet after all.
Monday, June 6, 2011

As A Matter of Fact, I Won't Be Your Neighbor

In a previous post, I mentioned the fact that we moved in the fairly recent past. What I failed to mention is that we moved from a regular neighborhood to a gated community. For the last few years, I coveted this community. In my head, I had pretty much likened it to a suburban utopia. Look! Big two story houses! Pretty lampposts! Award winning landscaping! A dog park called "Barkley Park," how clever! And look at the resort style community pool complete with a winding waterslide and kids splash zone! Surely this community had to be heaven right here on earth, right? Right.

Shortly after moving in, however, I discovered something about myself. An important something. I am not really a 'gated community' type of person. Apparently, there are a few key rules to follow in order to flourish here in Utopia and I lack these skills because I just don't give enough of a crap about other people's business. Read on though, to discover how you too can become a maven of Gated Community Society. I'm told it's a very prestigious post.

1) You must be nosy and care who's having an affair with who, who got drunk at the Valentine's Day 'Sweetheart Social' (and you should actually want to attend crap called the 'Sweetheart Social') and who hasn't paid their association dues in two years. I don't care about any of that and I also don't care who keeps their garbage cans out at the street for more than 24 hours after trash pick up (scandalous!) or who saw police cars on their street two nights ago (there goes the neighborhood!). Mind your own business, people. Nobody cares. Or maybe that's just me. Whatever.

2) Another responsibility of any good gated community citizen is to guard the front gate with your life. If someone tries to tailgate you in the gate, you should automatically brake check said individual, roll down your car window and accuse them of trying to get in the gate without a code. Even if the person behind you clearly has a resident sticker that opens the damn gate, just like YOU do. This might have happened to me and I might have jumped out of my car in the middle of the street and told the jackass in the Prius to mind his own damn business (although I might have replaced the 'damn' with another word that might begin with the letter F) because as a matter of fact, I do live here, asshole. But, I digress. Never mind the fact that the back gate is open ALL DAY and anyone can get in that gate WHENEVER they should guard the front gate like Fort Knox. The security of the community depends on you!

3) If you're over the age of 65 or so, it's important to operate under the notion that you live in a retirement community when actually, you do not. As such, you should scowl, snipe and yell at all the kids in the community whenever possible because clearly, they are up to no good. Selfish kids, for wanting to use the bike paths, sports courts and parks! Isn't it obvious that their mere existence in these areas encroaches on your enjoyment of the community? Apparently the sign out front that calls this a 'family' community wasn't prominent enough when you were looking for a place to live out your golden years, Mr. and Mrs. Retiree. Too bad for you.

As you can see, being a good Gated Community Citizen is a big responsibility. But, if you follow the few simple rules above, you too can be part of this exclusive club. We have big two story houses! Award winning landscaping! Pretty lampposts! And don't forget the cleverly named dog park and resort style pool with waterslide and splash zone! Move right in! You know you want to.
Friday, June 3, 2011

Let's Try This Again...

In my defense, in one of my last posts I did say that I was going to be a lazy blogger. Yep, that's me. Recently however, I've found myself thinking more and more about writing again. And, you know that when you're equating your day to day happenings with blog posts, it's time to get off your arse and do something about it.

So, here we go again. Mother Chick Part II.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Life As I Know It

You know how some people love change? They thrive on not knowing what's going to happen next and roll with the punches. Me? I am not one of these people. In the last 8 months, however, I have:

- Quit my job to become business partners with my mother.

- Decided that although I really love my mom, I don't like being her business partner.

- Got a new job, which involved working from home, in our house that we were already busting out of thanks to the fact that it was our 'starter home' that we bought before the real estate market sank, much like the Titanic. So we...

- Listed our house for sale and moved for the first time in seven years. Two weeks before Christmas. Yes, I am that breathtakingly stupid.

- Then I decided that I really hated the new job. It involved way more travel than I initially agreed to and you can only take so much of people that work for you crying at work EVERY. SINGLE. DAY before you want to poke your eye out with a stick. Fundamentally disagreeing with how the company is run by the owners also presents quite a problem. So I...

- Got a new job and quit the sucky one.

That's a very brief synopsis of 8 months that have been one shitstorm after another, gritty details of which I don't care to revisit. Some of it was indeed self-inflicted, but all of it was painful. Things are most definitely looking up and I believe that everything happened exactly how it was supposed to.

We're all settling in to this new version of normal and the scars of the last 8 months have started to turn from fresh bright pink to pearlescent white. Our house? Still for sale. The new(est) job? Pretty awesome, actually. Change is good. I'm going to keep saying that until I believe it. Change is good! Nope, not there yet...