Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Cabinet Overfloweth

Last weekend I was emptying the dishwasher and putting things back in their homes when I admitted to myself that the cabinet for our drinking items needed to be cleaned out.  Like, for real.

Joey likes to use the big plastic cups you see in the middle left, which we accumulate from everywhere.  The bottom left are the kids cups and sippy cups, which was starting to be taken over by Joey's cups.  I buy coffee cups almost everywhere I go which you can see about to spill off the top left and overflowing to the top right.  And not to mention the ones hidden on the bottom by the middle bar thing (that's where I can reach them on a regular basis). 

And did I mention the these shelves go farther back to the right into the corner, where you can't reach anything?  Yup, more crap back there.  It was time for an overhaul.

First, I took everything out and wiped down all the shelves.  Then I looked at what I had and automatically picked some things that had to go.  Next, I put away the things that I knew where I wanted them to go (for instance, the kids cups stayed in the bottom left so the kids can reach them).  Finally, I evaluated what I had left waiting to go back in and neatly placed those things back in the spaces that were now free.  I ended up with this:

Ahhh, I/the cabinet can breathe.  Everything went back with lots of leftover space for the future.  And check out the cups that didn't make the cut:

Plastic cups belonging to Joey, the kids, and random ones we get from hockey games and such.  Extra coffee mugs.  Jars that used to contain my mommas yummy green beans.  Martini glasses that I'm pretty sure have never been used.  Wine glasses that are just beyond necessary (considering the four that remain don't get used very often anyway).  You get the idea.  They are now in a box in the garage until their uselessness has been proven and I can feel comfortable sending them on their way.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quote of the Week

I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

Christopher Reeve

Friday, August 27, 2010


L - loving - anytime my sweet boy wakes up, sees me after school, gets picked up, etc. he runs to me and gives me a big hug.  He wraps both his thin arms around my waist and squeezes.  I love this.
O - outstanding - he is such a great kid.  As he's grown up, he continues to be a better listener, helper, learner, reader. 
G - gentle - he is so compassionate when one of us is hurt/hurting, and if Grace is in trouble and crying, he'll go to her and say, "Hey baby, it's okay.  Your big brother is here."  It's the sweetest thing.
A - all boy - since he was able to grasp one is his little hand, the boy loves cars.  Little Matchbox cars, Nascar cars, construction trucks, rescue trucks, you name it, if it has wheels he loves it. 
N - neat - I don't really mean neat as in appearance (thought I do try to make sure he looks presentable).  I mean neat, like you should see this kid play.  One of his favorite things to do is have a race with his Nascar cars.  He moves them all in a straight line around the "track" and can't stand it if Grace comes along and messes the line up.

~ ~ ~
G - girlie - this little lady loves lip gloss, lotion, jewelry, princesses, baby dolls, etc.  If it's associated with being a girl, she's into it.  It's hilarious to watch her put lip gloss on - she doesn't confine it to her lips - it goes all the way around them too.  It's also amusing to watch her with her baby dolls - when she's really playing she'll carry them around on her hip and give them a "talk" when they fight.
R - rambuctious - for all her girlie ways, she can get right in there with the boys too.  She loves Logans legos and race cars, especially when he's playing with them.  She also got into trouble at school the other day for wrestling.  Wow.
A - active - this child doesn't slow down.  On occasion, she'll sit still to watch a cartoon, but it doesn't usually last longer than 30 minutes.  She's constanly wanting to do something.  Even after I put her to bed at night she can be heard singing or reading to herself.
C - cheerful - she has the sweetest smile, especially when she's trying not to smile.  And her laugh is so joyful.  It's fun to tickle her just to hear it.
E - exhausting - my little girl can completely wear me out.  Whether it's constantly wanting to be on the go, or whining until I want to pull my hair out, she always goes full throttle.

~ ~ ~
So these are my monkeys in a nutshell.  For all the ups and downs, I love them and who they are with every inch of my heart.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Come Fly With Me

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of flying to Tallahassee, Florida to see my beautiful niece for the first time (in person).

(Molly's supermodel pose)

Let me tell you - she is one gorgeous hunk of baby girl. 

I have been trying to get to Florida since the end of tax season, since that's our busiest time at our office, being accountants and all.  However, life just kept getting in the way.  Over and over and over....you get the idea.  So finally after 7 months of waiting, everything fell into place perfectly.  My mother in law was making her first visit since her cancer diagnosis last fall (which was the longest she's gone without visiting NC) which meant she could keep an eye on my family while I took my mini trip.  A friend got me a buddy pass for a flight to Florida so I would arrive there in about an hour and a half, instead of after an 8 or 9 hour drive.  (And yes, I am eternally grateful because without it there is no way I could have afforded the flight, or made that drive there and back over two and a half days.)  And I was beyond ready.

Catherine picked me up at the airport, then we did some quick grocery shopping, and picked Molly up at her daycare.  I was terrified that she would take one look at me and cling to her momma like she thought I'd try to eat her arm.  However, she held out her hands to me without hesitation and with a big grin.  Bless her heart.

We spent a few hours on Saturday wandering around Florida State's campus (where Catherine teaches). 

(me and Molly standing in front of a fountain on campus)

I was promised cupcakes from this wonderful cupcake bakery called Lucy & Leos, but Molly was ready for her nap when we left there, so no dice.

Saturday we went to dinner at a restaurant called Harry's which was delicious.  Dave & I had the fried shrimp, while Catherine had the crab cakes.  After dinner, I was again promised some delicious cupcakes, but they were already closed so I had to settle for ice cream instead.

(Me, Catherine, and Molly outside the restaurant)

Sunday morning was spent in a very lazy way, but again, I had been promised cupcakes before I left, so I had that to look forward to.  Unfortunately, Catherine checked the internet and found out they're closed on Sundays.  I'm still looking for them in the mail, though.

Overall, I had a great time meeting my lovely niece and spending time with Catherine.  We don't see each other that often, and I usually have a couple of kids to corral when we do, so it was nice to just be able to spend time with her (and Molly and Dave) and not worry what the kids were getting in to.


(Molly trying on the outfit I brought her - it's a little big)

(Molly wanted to drive me to the airport)

(enjoying a rainy Saturday morning on the porch with her awesome momma)

So I'm sending Molly kisses and looking forward to our next visit together (which my kids have already told me they'll be joining me on).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Are You There Motivation? It's Me, Michelle.

As I mentioned previously, when my mom got engaged in July I got inspired to lost some weight.  And I really worked hard.....the first 3 weeks.  I exercised every day, either doing strength exercises or cardio.  I tracked every morsel that went in my mouth and avoided most of the bad food stuff.  I was really proud of myself and lost 11 pounds and 2.5 inches during those weeks.

Then, on August 7, my mother in law came to visit.  I was, of course, happy to have her and appreciated all she did while she was here.  However, I don't like to exercise in front of other people (even Joey).  So I allowed myself to not do it "until she left."  Of course, I could have gone walking still, but it was easy to put walking into the category of "I'll do it when she leaves."

Here's where the real trouble starts, though.

Mom-in-law has been gone since last Thursday, August 19.  And I still haven't gone walking or done any exercising.  I've been telling myself that I've just been too busy/tired and I'll do it "tomorrow."   Last night I had very good intentions of putting on my tennis shoes after the kids went to bed and doing all my exercises.  Except I really wanted to finish looking through the ABC Distributors catalogue I'd received that day.  So I sat down on the couch to quickly finish it, only to be distracted by The Next Food Network Star, which Joey was watching on the DVR.  Then I finished up stuff in the kitchen and before I knew it, it was time for bed.  Sure, I could have stayed up late.  I just don't want/like to.

So another night down.  I'm still recording everything I eat and doing good in that area, so that's a plus.  I just have to track down my motivation again and get back to exercising my booty off (literally).  I think once I get started again I'll have no trouble getting back into that routine.  I just have to cross that first hurdle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Five Breakfast Foods

Breakfast is such a flexible meal.  You can have it in the morning, or at night.  It doesn't work both ways though - you wouldn't want lasanga for breakfast would you?  And while some places serve breakfast any time, the same isn't true of dinner.  A lot of breakfast foods also serve well as snack foods.  Very flexible.  So the following are my top five favorite breakfast foods:
  1. Bagels - I love plain bagels with plain cream cheese and jelly, especially strawberry rhubarb jelly.  I also don't have a problem eating a flavored bagel, but I tend to like these with plain cream cheese.  I mean, the idea of a cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese just seems weird to me.  I do like plain bagels with flavored cream cheese, though.  Especially honey nut. 
  2. Breakfast casserole - I make a breakfast casserole with eggs, bread, sausage, cheese, and mushrooms that I just love.  It's everything all in one and sooo good.
  3. Cereal - With all the varieties to choose from, who doesn't love cereal?  Some of my favorites are Fruity Pebbles, Cap'n Crunch Berries, and Frosted Mini Wheats.
  4. Coffee cake - specifically, the one I make.  It has lots of brown sugar and cinnamon and works great as a snack or for breakfast.  Logan especially loves it.
  5. Stuffed french toast - french toast in general is quite yummy (especially the kind fixed at Catherine's house by David) but IHOP has some very yummy stuffed french toast.  It's cinnamon raisin toast with a cream cheese filling.  Now who can't get behind that?  Add a side of bacon, and you're set.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quote of the Week

Love is not blind - it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.

Rabbi Julius Gordon

Friday, August 20, 2010

Picture of the Week

This picture is evidence of life getting back to "normal."  Logan getting ready to head to daycare this morning following Joey's moms departure yesterday.  School starts back next Wednesday and Cub Scouts is back to it.  Ahh, the life of a mom during the school year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Anniversary Dinner

So a few days ago I mentioned that Joey and I were celebrating our 8 year wedding anniversary.  We hadn't made any plans, and I kept casually asking if we were going to do anything (since we have a babysitter in the house, which we usually don't).  He kept telling me "No, we can't afford to do anything."  And I kept saying, "I don't believe you...just for the record."

Well, when I got home from work I was surprised with this:

The table set with our wedding china for a dinner prepared by Joey (with his assistant chefs, Barb & Logan).  Of course we were doing something. 

He had his mom get out wine glasses and water goblets (which we received as a wedding gift but have never used).  He made tuna steaks and asparagus, followed by strawberry shortcake for dessert.  After we were settled his mom took the kids to Cici's Pizza for dinner, followed by a bit of meandering through Target.

It was a lovely dinner and a lovely surprise.  And I expected no less.

P.S. I'd show you the picture of us sitting at the table, but I look like a bit of an idiot doing something really weird with my eyebrows.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Traffic's Not the Problem

Yesterday in Charlotte a truck carrying gasoline got in an accident and went up in flames, closing the main interstate from Charlotte into South Carolina.This meant that everyone heading south had to find an alternate route to get there.  Therefore, the road I take home from uptown Charlotte got backed up very quickly during rush hour (and all the smaller roads I end up on).

Earlier in the day I got an e-mail reminder that I had a Cub Scout leader meeting that night at 6:30.  So I called the house and let Barb know that I would still pick up Grace, but would probably just be running in and out of the house to make it to the meeting on time.  Then I spoke to Joey and told him I'd picked up some prescriptions for him and that I would fill them on the way.  He said they would pick up Grace to save me some time.

I left work yesterday at 4:50.  Ordinarily, even with stopping to fill prescriptions, I would be home by 5:45, at the latest.  However, the gas truck had exploded and traffic had backed up causing me to run in the door at 6:15 (and I considered myself lucky it didn't take longer) to change clothes and run back out.  Logan greeted me, but no Grace.  I walked into the kitchen where Barb was making dinner and said, "Where's Grace?"  I was met with a blank look that said, "duh, you picked her up."  So I said, "Please tell me you picked up Grace?"

No dice.  In talking about whether they should pick Grace up after a doctor appointment, Joey said they should, but Barb said I'd told her I would.  Joey assumed she had talked to me after he did, and she assumed what I'd told her before I spoke to Joey was correct.  So, in conclusion, daycare closes at 6:00, and Grace was still there at 6:15.

Barb ran out the door to pick her up and I called them to let them know what happened.  I said, "I'd love to tell you that I'm late picking Grace up because of the traffic, but really, we just got confused about who was supposed to get her."  The daycare director laughed and said, "I appreciate your honesty, but if there was ever a day to mess up - this is it.  We still have a house full."

So Grace made it home in the end and I made it to my meeting on time, even though everyone else was late because of the traffic.  Just another day in the life...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

8 Years

Today Joey and I celebrate 8 years of marriage. 
Love you honey.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Quote of the Week

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.

Helen Keller

Friday, August 13, 2010

Picture of the Week

This is my lovely sister Catherine and her husband David getting ready to attend one of their Senior Prom's (I'm guessing Catherine's, but they were seniors at the same time so it could go either way).  Don't they look gorgeous?  I'm flying to Florida today to visit them and my sweet neice Molly.  I'm so excited!

Losing It

Back in July my mom got engaged (check out the post here).  They quickly set the date for next June, and I quickly realized I needed to make some changes.  In 2004 my sister Catherine got married and I served as a bridesmaid.  She picked out lovely dresses for us - white halters and dark pink skirts (not the best description, but trust me when I say they were pretty).  But I felt awkward in it.  Or maybe, I just felt awkward.  I had tried a new shampoo that made my hair ridiculously greasy, the dress wasn't altered well, and I was still carrying extra weight (extra at the time, later I realized it was permanent weight) from Logan's arrival about a year prior.  I realized that when mom gets married I don't want to feel that way - specifically the extra large part (I have gotten a grip on the hair situation).  But not only do I want to lose weight for the wedding, but for me also.  The past few times I've mowed the grass I thought I was going to die (not literally, but you know).  I feel horrible in a bathing suit.  Walking to work in the ridiculous summer eat is unpleasant...you get the idea.  So I decided I needed to lose weight. 

That first weekend when I went grocery shopping I picked things out carefully and felt pretty good about my choices.  But on Tuesday at work, a girl told me about a website called SparkPeople.  I checked it out and immediately joined.  It's a free site where you track your weight and your goals, and it tells you the ranges you should shoot for daily for calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein.  You can enter all the food you eat during a day and it calculates all that stuff for you.  You can use it to track your exercise and get suggestions for new ones.  You can create a Spark page which is basically a low tech version of Facebook that allows you to connect with other Spark people.  You can also keep a blog and comment on member forums, like "How much water did you dink today" or "What to do about people who sabotage you".  They also offer lots of articles to read to help you with your weight, nutrition, exercise, self-image, etc. 

So, I joined and immediately began tracking what I ate.  And you wouldn't believe what a difference it makes.  It forced me to really pay attention to what I take in, rather than just thinking, "Well, this is okay, I'll just eat one."  It also helped me realize how important protein is and that I really didn't get enough of it.

I also began exercising.  I started with walking Molly, then added a longer walk that I do on my own.  I also started doing some strength exercises.  I was amazed at how quickly things changed for me.  I began feeling better about myself and even though I'm not close to where I want to be, I'm working on it and that feels great.  In three weeks I've lost 11 pounds and 2.5 inches off my waist.  I'm so proud of myself, and so excited to keep on going.  I have complete confidence that I can reach my goal by mom's wedding and I'm going to feel great in whatever dress I wear.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mr. Fix It

Long ago in the year 2002 Joey and I moved from our little two bedroom apartment into a three bedroom trailer.  Our apartment came with a washer and dryer, so the move meant we needed to acquire our own.  My mom helped us out and bought a washer and dryer for us.  They survived further moves to our house in Morehead and all the way to Charlotte, NC.  However, our dryer could not survive Joey's attempt to "fix" it.

For the past 8 or 9 months, the dryer hasn't been working quite right.  It stills dries the clothes, it just takes about a cycle and a half instead of only one.  Well, while I was driving to pick up his mom and Logan on Saturday, Joey decided to be helpful and do some laundry.  When the first load was finished with it's cycle in the dryer, it still needed some additional drying time.  Joey felt that this was probably due to an accumulation of lint, so he removed the lint trap and the piece that holds the lint trap in place.  He pulled some lint out, closed the door, and started it back up.

Did you spot the step he missed?

That's right - he didn't put the lint trap back.  So...soon he noticed that the dryer seemed to be getting very hot.  He realized that something was wrong so he opened the door and immediately saw the problem.  He realized something must have gotten sucked through the opening so he poked around and came up with a pair of my underwear.  He put the lint trap pieces back in and started it up again.  Still no go.  It still got very overheated. 

This is when he decided he needed to take it apart and try to find the problem, believing something else must be trapped in there.  And this was the beginning of the end.  Over the next three days he took apart what he could, vacuumed up all the lint he could, and still couldn't find...and therefore fix...the problem.  Finally he agreed to call someone to come look at it.  It was going to cost $75 for someone to look at it, and then $125 an hour to fix it.  For a dryer that's been in service for 8 years, he decided this was a no go and we should just get a new one.

So last night she was finally put to towrk.  And thank goodness, because I've already had to buy Gracie new underwear to get her through; I was getting ready to have to buy her new clothes as well.  So as you can imagine, the laundry is now piled up and ready to go.  And now, it will take a lot less time to get it dry.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Saturday morning Grace and I got up, ate breakfast, and got ready to head out.  Our first stop was the Farmers Market in Charlotte.  I've never been, but I can promise I'll be going back.  It was awesome, with great prices and a great selection.  They even have a crafts portion which had lots of neat things.  We left with tomatoes, plums, bananas, apples, squash, zucchini, eggplant, onions, blueberries, a mango, an avocado, a cucumber, and a little homemade strawberry rhubarb pie.  Yummy.

We then drove halfway to Kentucky (Princeton, West Virginia) to meet Joey's sister, Becky, and her husband Eric, who brought Logan and Barb to meet us.  Logan has been gone for 8 weeks, and I was more than ready for him to come home.  He tried his shy game on me when I first saw him, but as soon as I got close enough, he gave me a big hug.  After my hug, Logan jumped right into the van and settled in.  It was nice to have butts in both the backseats again.

Due to late departure times on Saturday and a whole lot of traffic, we didn't get home until 8:30 that night.  The kids played for a bit and then it was off to bed.  Logan and I read books and then I tucked him in.  Since Mawmaw's arrival, Grace isn't very interested in me, so that's who put her to bed last night.

I had noticed that Logan was talking "funny" since I picked him up, but it was very pronounced when he read to me Saturday night.  I expected to hear a southern twang, but instead found out he left his "r"s in Kentucky.  I don't mean like "wobot" instead of robot, more like an English accent where he just doesn't say them.  I was totally annoyed by it and am constantly saying "talk right, Logan!"  It almost sounds like baby talk, which drives me crazy.

Logan woke me up with a hug Sunday morning.  I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, expecting to fix pancakes, his favorite.  He surprised me, however, by requesting scrambled eggs with ham.  And he ate every bite.

We sat around for a little bit and then took off to Sam's Club.  Joey's mom has a membership so anytime she visits we go.  However, this time she decided to get Joey and I an anniversary gift (it's coming up on the 17th) and bought us a membership.  I am super excited.

We then headed to Wal-Mart for school supplies since this weekend was our tax free weekend.  Even at 4:00 on Sunday afternoon that place was a madhouse.  I couldn't find everything Logan needs, but I couldn't take the madness anymore either, so we got a few other things we needed and headed out.

Joey woke me around 12:45 am last night saying "Logan's in the bathroom and he threw up."  Let me tell you, not a good way to be woken up.  I went upstairs to find Logan all teary eyed in a bathroom covered in yuck.  I'll just say - he ate a lot of blueberries that day.  He didn't seem to have a fever, so I sent him to lay down while I cleaned up the mess.  By the time I was done, he had fallen back asleep, so I went back to bed, too.

Sometime later in the night he came to my bedroom and woke me up wanting to get in my bed.  I let him, then asked how he was feeling.  He said, "I thought I had to throw up again so I was in the bathroom and laid down on the rug.  I guess I fell asleep cause then I woke up and was cold."  Poor baby.  He survived the rest of the night though, and seems to be okay today, so I'm thinking he just ate something (blue in color) that just didn't agree with him.

So that was our weekend.  I'm glad to have him home, but if I had known it would come with a bathroom covered in puke, I might have let him stay a little bit longer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Quote of the Week

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Friday, August 6, 2010

Picture of the Week

This is me and my little boy during his first Christmas.  He was sick, therefore difficult to get to sleep, so this is how I did it.  Tomorrow, after 8 weeks in Salyersville with my family-in-law, he's coming home.  I'm so excited to see him.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quote of the Week

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau