Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Unsolved Mysteries

When I was about 14, I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for the first time with my skating coaches and about 12 other ice skaters/my best friends. That trip changed the course of my life and after just 14 days, I knew I'd one day pack up and head south. And I did for 16 years.

On that first trip, I had the pleasure of meeting two special people. They were a mother and daughter duo, Lee and Savanna, who were living in Charleston and were family friends of my skating coach and her family. Upon our arrival to Charleston, our very first stop was to a home where we'd meet the sweet and southern duo. We all took turns holding baby Savanna and she was as precious as she could be. Her mother, Lee, was so welcoming and excited to see all of us, which was a lovely feeling after 2 days of being crammed in the car as we traveled from Illinois to SC. On that first trip to Charleston, we were unaware of any issues brewing in the lives of Lee and Savanna, although behind the scenes, a storm was brewing. That knowledge came later. What I did know though was that Lee appeared to be a wonderful mother who loved her beautiful daughter oh so much. I still stand by that statement over 20 years later.

Fast forward a bit and we're now all back in Rockford. The Charleston tans have faded from our sun kissed cheeks and we're all back on the ice. I can still remember the afternoon skating session when my coach was paged for having a phone call. She left the ice briefly to take the call only to return with the knowledge that Lee had left. She had vanished and had taken Savanna with her. After a nasty custody case, which I will not go into as I'm no expert and have only about 1% of the details, Lee's ex had been granted full custody, so she did what she felt was her only option to protect her baby. She vanished without a trace. And she stayed gone for a LONG time. Twenty years long.

It's pretty surreal to sit on your couch and watch an episode of Unsolved Mysteries and actually know the person on the screen. There's two sides to every story and with Lee being the "abductor", the side of the episode was that of her ex-husband. The light in which Lee was portrayed left out many key elements that would make anyone watching want her to take that sweet girl away as well. Now as a mother myself, I know that I would do anything in the world to protect my son, even if it meant fleeing with him. I also know that for me to abandon EVERYTHING in my life, all of my family and friends, all of my accomplishments and hopes and dreams, I would have to feel as though I had ZERO other options available. Knowing that is how Lee felt kept me praying over the last two decades that she would remain hidden and unfound. Sadly, that changed in November of 2013. I can still remember the pit in my stomach when my skating shared the news with us in 2013 that they had been found. It felt about the same as when she had said they had vanished.

If you'd like to see a bit more into one of the longest, family man hunts out there, you can watch a few clips of the TV special on the case and their story here. "Sam" or Savanna as we met her, is an incredibly mature and well adjusted 20' something woman. It's abundantly clear to me that her mom, Lee, raised her well and gave Sam the life she had always dreamed her baby would have. Even if meant leaving behind all she knew to keep her little girl safe from a desperate situation. Lee is now serving jail time in Charleston, but I know quite a few people who will be anxiously awaiting her release. Especially Sam. The one whom she loved enough to potentially face jail time for.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday High Fives

It's Friday, my peeps. Tomorrow we embark on a little road trip to Bloomington, IL to see my my cousin, her husband and daughter, and my aunt all of whom we only see maybe two times a year if we're lucky. I'm excited for Nash to meet his cousins and great aunt, for a little space away from our norm, and for the Munch's first swimming experience at the hotel. All in all, it should be a great weekend!

Other highlights during this last full week of March are:

  • Last Sunday's lunch at Moe's in Algonquin. Yes, I drive 45 minutes to eat two tacos and chips and salsa and I make no apologies for this. It was delicious and all that I hoped it would be.

  • This video. Click here. It made me smile and even go back to watch it a second time so I thought it was worth sharing. I miss "Just Jack" in my life.
  • Making homemade milkshakes for our church group on Wednesday night. We host group every week in our home and it was our turn to make the snacks. I wasn't jazzed about anything in my recipe arsenal until I remembered how my grandma used to make us thebomb.com milkshakes when we were little. Running with that memory, I offered the following flavors and guests placed their order as they arrived: vanilla, chocolate, cookies'N cream, and Butterfinger. Yumm-o and so easy.
  • Not contracting the Hubs stomach bug this week. Seriously, friends, if there has been a cold, bug, virus, etc...we've pretty much had them all in our home this winter (outside of Measles and SARS). Needless to say, my surgical face mask from the doctor's office visit last month has come in way more handy than I had anticipated.
  • Getting to parent this beautiful face. Our Munchie is seriously one of the happiest babies I know. We are so lucky to call him ours.

  • Not getting stuck in the hot frigid mess that was the first Monday of spring in IL. It was cold, snowy and apparently icy because it took me almost an hour to get to work on my 15 minute route:/ Thankfully, the road that I take every single day had already been closed due to about 12 cars being stuck on the incline thanks to ice buried under the snow. Who knows how long they were stuck there. Isn't this a lovely sight for the first Monday of spring? Barf.

  • Finding this kiddie plate for Munchie's Easter basket! My favorite book growing up was The Pokey Little Puppy, so finding this Pokey little plate made my day. I've already saved an original copy of the 1970's book to read to my little man as well. Another other Pokey Little Puppy fans out there?


  • Having a babysitter tonight so we can celebrate a friend's Bday. I've already lined up some of her favorite snacks in the hopes that she'll feel appreciated and want to come back again. This momma wants some summer nights out, ya hear me?
  • The opportunity to celebrate RVC's Women's Basketball team for securing their 3rd NJCCA National Championship! These ladies are amazing athletes and deserve so much more recognition than they receive. I'm so proud of them and proud that I get to play a small role in such a strong college.


Happy Friday, Y'all!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

PSA

Consider this my good deed of the day, y'all. What I'm about to tell you will spare you from future snacking incidents that may involve gagging, dry heaving, or gnashing of teeth. You're welcome.

With the Hubs and I taking a road trip into the suburbs to hit up one of my favorite grocery stores, Trader Joe's (which we do not have in our city, sadly), I mapped out my grocery list "must haves" in advance thanks to Pinterest and foodie blogger recommendations. Well. Let me tell you. One of those bloggers is a dang liar. A bold-faced liar of maximum proportions.

Some of the items on my beloved, well thought out and researched list were:
Goddess Salad dressing
Authentica Salsa
Various wines
Creamy Toscana Cheese w/ Syrah
White Bean & Basil Hummus
Chocolate Croissants
Seaweed Snacks
Gorgonzola Crackers
Chicken Dumplings
Coconut Oil
Mushroom Ravioli
Etc...

Can you guess which item led me completely astray????

I'll give you a clue, which should've been a clue for me...it's a dehydrated snack from the sea.

Yep, I'm convinced that Trader Joe's Seaweed Snacks are straight from the devil. O.M.Goodness, they are nasTy, with a capital T! I should've known when I pulled them out of the package and they resembled green, paper thin squares of fishiness. It looked like straight up fish food, but in sheet form. Gag.

Being the food optimist that I am, I took a bite. I mean, the blogger said they were delicious and healthy. Nowhere in her review of the "Best 10 Items at Trader Joe's" did she say "oh yeah, and avoid the seaweed snacks. They'll make you spit them out in your office trash can in a moment of sheer panic." Liar. The only thing you must try in terms of these green snacks is avoidance. Stay far, far away. And don't be fooled by the $.99 price tag. I'd play $99.00 not to ever let one of those sheets of gnarl touch my tongue again.

And in the wise words of the great theologian, Forest Gump "And that's all I have to say about that."


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Life



Life is meant to be lived …
not managed,
not controlled,
not screamed,
not stressed,
not hurried,
not guilt-ridden,
not regretted,
not scripted,
not consumed by distractions, big or small, obvious or subtle.
Life is meant to be lived … and sometimes we lose our way.

Those words, that I read over at Hands Free Mama, resonate so incredibly much with me in my current realm. And if I'm really honest, which I always try to be on here, the words that jump off the page and smack me in the kisser are "screamed, stressed, hurried and guilt-ridden." Why? Because there's always, ALWAYS more to do in these lives of ours. I say "ours" because I'm pretty confident that I'm not the only one who teeters between wishing we had more hours in the day and being thankful that the good Lord limits us to 24 hours a day to fill with the important, the beautiful, the ugly, the mandatory, the frivolous and the lazy. There's just so much "stuff" to do that one person cannot fit into one day, and even though I know this as a rational being, I still stumble into the hurried, stressed, yelling, frantic maniac that I can become if I don't keep one eye focused inward.

Just recently on a ride to a funeral home for a visitation with the Hubs and the Munch, I shared an inner struggle of mine as a new mom. And not realizing how fitting my timing was, I said "I've been struggling lately with weekends. Part of me just wants to rest and stay home and get everything done around the house that we need too, while the other part of me wants to be out as a family, exploring and making memories." We chatted a bit more about it on the 40 minute drive and by the end of the conversation, I asked if he'd want to take a quick road trip the following Sunday to get away for a bit. Just the three of us. And so we did.

You see, there's a million and one projects on our plate at home. We have things to fix, things to paint, ALWAYS things to clean, etc... I clean our house, whether surface or deep, all the time and it never seems to allow me to catch up. There's always new dust. New clutter. Shoes by the front door. Salt ALL over the counter because the Hubs views salt dispersion as a full-contact sport, apparently (love you;). Bathrooms to clean. Baby toys to pick up. And so on. BUT I don't want that to be my existence on our coveted weekends. I want to load the baby up and explore. Even if it means something as simple as hitting up Trader Joe's.

Thanks to the Hubs giving up a Sunday during March Madness (which I didn't even realize until we ate a place with TVs for lunch, sorry!), the 3 amigos piled into the car and headed into the suburbs to shop. Yep, the Hubs gave up a basketball watching marathon to hit up Trader Joe's, World Market, etc... He took one for the team big time and I'm grateful. Was it the best memories we've ever made? Not by a long shot. What it WAS though was a chance to shut the door at home on the commitments, the dust bunnies, the laundry and the schedules. We got away and we made ourselves a priority over the home and the stress and hurriedness and it was everything I hoped it be.

You see, when it's all said and done and someone's driving to a funeral home for my visitation, the last thing I want them to chat about is that I was always on the go, a dust and clutter free mom who got so much stuff done. Sure, those moms are nice, but that's not what I want to be about. I want to be about road trips and adventures and memories and car dancing. And if I can find a good balance, hopefully the clutter of happy memories will outnumber the number of cluttered shoes at our front door. And if not? I'm okay with that too.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Big Feelings

I cannot be creative today. I'm tapped out. I'm done.

It's been one of those days when you have so much to do and yet you don't know where to start so you "start" a million things and finish zero of them. If it's any indicator on how my day has gone, my left eye will not stop twitching thanks to stress. Good times.

What does that mean for you? You get to "listen" to someone else for a change, which is most likely a treat for you;) And because I love this woman/author/blogger/speaker directly into my soul, I think her words are golden and say so many things that are too good and too profound not to share.

If you're a mom or you love or are married to a mom or have ever had a mom, take 3 minutes to read her thoughts. They are true and necessary and speak validation. Even on down to the tiny detail of how Subaru commercials slay me and make me irrationally happy or an ooey, gooey mess. Side note, who are those brilliant writers at Subaru and why are they not eligible for an Oscar?!

Thanks for your words, Jen Hatmaker, and for uniting us around the BIG FEELINGS in the small moments that make up our lives now. You're simply the best.

http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/i-wish-someone-wouldve-warned-me-about-these-big-feelings



Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday High Fives

It's Friday. It's the first day of spring. Need I say more?

Three cheers for:
  • These melt in your mouth, not in your hand little gems that I am currently popping like Pez.

  • Open windows in my car and especially my office. Hearing the wind and cars whirling by just makes you feel a bit more free.
  • This audio book. It is sooooo good. I'm doing the whole sitting in my car in the driveway thing. Anyone have an errands I can run for you? I'm all about more car time right now.  

  • March Madness. I'm never any good at it, but I love filing out my bracket every year. My selection process is super scientific:
    • Schools I have cheered at in college
    • Schools where I would've liked to have cheered
    • Uniform colors that look better on cheerleading uniforms
      • My Final Four picks: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke, UVA
  • Partaking in a little corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. Oh, and my 2nd and final Shamrock Shake of 2015. Sigh.

    • PS...We actually ate roast beef and proclaimed it to be corned beef. Don't tell Irish peeps that I faked it, but what two people can finish off a 4lb corned beef by their lonesome? Yuck.
  • The beauty and awkwardness of Dancing With The Stars return.
    • I'm a huge supporter of Noah Galloway! I stumbled across his story about a year ago thanks to his connection with a local pre-teen here who is an amputee with aspirations of being Olympian. Noah has been so supportive of this kid, which in turn, made me a huge supporter of Noah. He's a class act, I promise.
    • Soapbox tangent- I was really disappointed in the judge's scores for Michael Sam. I thought he nailed it. What do those judges know anyway?
  • Dinner plans with friends tomorrow night. Yippie.
  • Taking a walk with this cutie booty. He is the bee's knees and I shall walk with him anywhere.

  • Waking up to the sun shining and a calm river view. I love when the water is so still and glassy in the morning. It's like having a constant reminder to stop and be still every morning before the chaos begins.


Happy first day of spring AND happiest of weekends, Y'all!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mommy Lie Detector Test

As I drove home from work yesterday, A few thoughts popped into my head into in regards to things I swore pre-baby that I'd never do post-baby. It's funny how you can be SO justified in your thinking on all the things "mom" related as someone with ZERO experience in child rearing and what life really looks like when you add a 7lb miracle into the mix. Hello, reality check. Hey there, culture shock. Adios, super confidant thirty something with no littles thinking.

And as I had an internal conversation with myself on said car ride, I had to laugh as the thought of a parental lie detector test came to mind. In which I whole heartedly blame my long standing love affair with Law & Order: SVU, by the way. Can I get a what-what from my fellow Benson lovers out there? Anywho...

Should I be given a mommy lie detector test, here are a few questions that I MAY or MAY NOT fail:

  • I have never stopped in Target to consider purchasing the dreaded Elf on the Shelf that I've made fun of for the last four years. Like, seriously made fun of.
  • I have never picked up my favorite blanket from the laundry pile after the Munch spit up all over one side of it (which would just be gross not to wash it right away), so that I could take a much needed nap with it while the cute, little puker slept. What? It has ANOTHER side, ya know. And again, I may or may not be lying. You'll never know, will you?
  • I've never carefully and strategically removed the world's biggest booger from my little's nose with my favorite eyebrow tweezers so he could breathe.
  • I've never implemented the 5 second rule in regards to pacifier droppage. On my first child.
  • I've never rewarded myself with chocolate when I have to pump.
  • I've never taken a "shower" with baby wipes and called it clean enough.  
  • I've never gone without washing my hair for days until the roots of my head actually hurt within the first few weeks of bringing home this little miracle.
  • I've never peed a little when I sneezed post baby. Seriously, what is that??!!
  • I've never put breastmilk in the Hub's coffee when I've been too lazy to run to the store. Not really. I just wanted to make the Hubs silently panic for a second!
  • I've never left the house with the diaper sitting by the front door leaving us with zero diapers at the restaurant. I've never also questioned if I could boy-scout style rig up a diaper out of the restaurant's cloth napkins should we have a blow out.
Thank the Lord I've never done any of those parenting faux pauxs. OR at least been asked to test my honesty on their occurrence and frequency. Lying moms unite!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Show and Tell- My Most Embarrassing Moment

 
 
It's that time again...time for a little show and tell link-up with www.momfessionals.com. To read more embarrassing stories, because who doesn't enjoy laughing at other's expense (JK), click on over to her page and cringe as we share in our humiliations!
 
It's probably safe to say that I could write a few pages on my most embarrassing moments over my 36 years, but for your sake, I'll try and keep it to two. You're welcome.
 
My first moment came when I was a junior in college at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Although I went to CofC, I was fortunate to cheer on The Citadel's co-ed cheerleading squad due to the lack of females that had an interest in cheering at a military college. I absolutely loved my time at The Citadel and had the best time with my teammates. We worked hard, trained countless hours, played together, partied together, traveled together, laughed and cried together, and apparently humiliated each other. Case in point...
 
When cheering during a college basketball game, timeouts can happen at any given moment. Knowing this, we were always hyper-sensitive to the fact that we must be prepared and ready to hit center court when that buzzer sounds. With a timeout looming in the air, the captain let us know that our next timeout would be a dance at center court. With me being the person in the very front row and center position of that particular dance, I knew I had to hustle to get to my spot before the music started to avoid the embarrassment of starting late. Little did I know, that embarrassment would pale in comparison to what was about to unfold.
 
The buzzer sounds, I haul tail to center court, front row, lower my head and wait for the music to start. Only it does not start. Ummm....still not starting. As I slowly raised my head to peek over my shoulder to see what the hold up is, I notice all of our guy teammates are belly laughing hysterically. If I recall correctly, one of them was actually laying on the sideline holding his stomach with laughter. I quickly whip around to see that I am the. Only. One. On. The. Court.
Seriosuly. The only daggum fool on the basketball court, y'all. And I'm about 6 feet away from the front row of the crowd and CENTER stinkin' court, so there is no mistaking that I was 100% not supposed to be out there.
 
At that moment, I prayed that the court would open up and swallow me whole. But alas, it did not. So I did what any good cheerleader would do. I screamed "Go Bulldogs!!!" did some massive clapping, a few high kicks and sprinted back to the sideline to avoid a penalty for being on the court when it wasn't an official timeout. Apparently the whole squad knew what was about to unfold, but little ole me. I think I died a little that day. But the crowd seemed to enjoy it with a booming round of applause after the look of confusion faded from their faces, and I KNOW my teammates loved it to pieces at my expense. I do what I can, folks.
 

 
My second moment came at The Citadel again, but took place when I ran a cadet fundraising team as the Director of Annual Giving. *My story is almost identical to Andrea's over at Momfessionals, so I'll keep this one super brief.
 
During one of my evening shifts, I was rocking some tall heels and these really cute dress pants with a very large cuff (p.s. I haven't touched those pants since). I had just concluded my nightly announcements, so all eyes were on me in the front of the room. As I turned to walk back to my desk, my heel snagged my pant leg and in what felt like the slowest slow motion move you've ever seen, down I went in a full body face plant. The worst part, aside from eating it in front of 12 college guys, was that in a moment of sheer panic, I tried to grab the kid seated the closest to me to catch my fall. Needless to say, I missed. I can still remember rolling over onto my back, because said heel was still stuck in my pant cuff and I couldn't free myself, only to look up into his horrified eyes leaning over my sprawled out body. "Are you okay, ma'am?" he asked, as I contemplated faking being knocked unconscious to avoid humiliation.
 
After regaining my breath, I laid there and laughed through my pain. Once they all knew I wasn't hurt aside from my pained pride, they burst out laughing too. It was not my shining moment as a boss, but it was learning tool for us all. No one is above humiliation on the job, not even the boss-man (or woman). We're all human and we all fall down. Our job is to ensure that we're all "okay" before we belly laugh.
 
What's your most embarrassing moment? I know you've got em. Don't leave me out here all by my lonesome with my skirt tucked into my tights!
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

7 Months

It's been seven months since my world was turned upside down and inside out for the better. Sure, I'm more tired than I've ever been most of the time, but my heart is also more full than it's ever been. Yesterday, he and I had the best time taking a walk, napping, playing and eating.

Our little Munchie is such a joy. He makes me laugh, smile, make up silly songs with his name in them, dance to Mickey Mouse Club, lose sleep, get frustrated, and then fall back in love with him again so I can never stay too frustrated. He constantly has strangers coming over to compliment him, his eyes, his skin tone, etc... He's our little show stopper, that Munch.

Milestones:
  • Sitting up
  • Rolling over (a few months ago)
  • Eating cereal and veggies
  • Speaking jibberish
  • Saying "Dada", one time clear as day, but we're now working on consistency
  • Belly laughing and being a little ham
    • He'll do something that he knows is funny and will crack up when I laugh at him
  • Battling RSV without a hospital stay (praise the Lord)
  • Going to "Launch" yesterday at church (the nursery at church)
    • I think this was harder on me. They checked him and swept him away before I could really say goodbye. I walked a few steps ahead of the Hubs into the service to avoid showing him the tears in my eyes. Lord help me on the first day of preschool!

Likes:
  • Cereal
  • Carrots aren't too bad either
  • Mickey Mouse Club
  • Riding in the car
  • Walks in this warmer weather
  • Playing with his tiny basketball
  • Diaper changes
  • Bath time
  • Having his socks off
  • Playing on the couch with his toys
  • His OBall activity station
  • Watching his puppy walk around
  • Spending time with Miss Alyssa and Lovie
  • Napping on the weekends with momma
Dislikes:
  • Medicine
  • Green beans
  • When you take away his basketball for .5 seconds while you change his clothes
  • Being over tired
How is it that this boy is closer to ONE than he is to the day he was born??? I'm not ready! Although, I have started planning his 1st bday party. What? I live for parties and he deserves a special day!

Munchie, you make every day brighter and I'm so thankful for you!




video
video


Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday High Fives

This week was another touch and go week, thanks to the little Munchie showing the start of Pneumonia due to his RSV, followed by him sharing his nasty virus with me this week. Good times, y'all. Praise the Lord for warmer weather that allows us some fresh, less contaminated air. Hallelujah!

Further praises are in order for:

  • The glorious weather! One reference is not quite enough to capture just how much this springtime weather means to me. After a brutally cold winter, seeing 60 degrees on my dashboard seems like a gift from the Lord above. I mean, it's practically bathing suit weather. Thank God it's not though. Yuck. I'm nowhere near ready for that hot mess.
  • My crockpot. Who wants to cook a meal when you feel like chewed up gum on the bottom of someone's shoe. Not this girl. Homemade bean and ham soup and cornbread was the perfect comfort meal.
  • St. Patrick's Day makes me so happy for this one reason: Shamrock Shake time, people. Oh my goodness, they are so creamy and minty and amaze-balls. And if you're one of those people who are already thinking "eww, do you know what's in those?" just keep it to your dang self, okay? Don't send me a link to some online article about the GMO mumbo jumbo in regards to this green, frothy cup of goodness. I. Don't. Care. They are delicious and I only consume like two a year, so I'm down with whatever crap like need to pack into them to make them taste like smiles through a straw. Please send all concerns to Noonecares@you'reapunk.com.

  • Having one of the local news/meteorologists in your church group. During group we gave him a code to weave into his nightly report on TV and he nailed it. It's like having an inside joke come through your TV that only 12 of you know out of the 100,000+ viewers. I think he may regret telling us this can be done.
  • Watching birds use icebergs as ferries on the river. The river is almost completed melted, with the exception of some ice bergs, and brilliant birds are taking a break from flying from point A to point B this week. It's totally cute, y'all. I wish this picture did it just. They were just a cruzin'.

  • This little girl who is wise beyond her years, not too mention completely adorable. Watch her via this link (it's only 30 seconds): You go girl!
    • If you skipped over that video link, trust me, it's worth your time.
  • This face.

  • And these eyes.


  • The fact that we still have a few hours of light left when we get home at night thanks to daylight savings. I hate losing the hour, but love gaining the light!
Happy weekend, Y'all!
 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bachelor Finale Fail

Do you remember that one time I was hosting a Bachelor Finale viewing party and came home from work to find ZERO cable in my home? Yeah. I remember it like it was just two days ago. Because it was.

If you ever want to make me lose my mind, cut my cable when I'm about to have people over for a party that involves a functioning television. Let's just say that I was not a happy camper and the customer service woman on the other end of my phone knew it. The best they could do? Fix my cable by 4pm the next day. Umm, yeah. That's not going to cut it. I asked the cable rep if she was going to call all of my friends and tell them there's no party. AND were they going to reimburse me for the food, cocktails and pizzas that I paid for? Apparently, much to my dismay, that does not fall under the fine print of their responsibilities on my contract.

Thankfully the Hubs could tell on I was on the verge of going postal and offered to call one of our friends for me and explain the situation and see if we could pack up our party and move it elsewhere. I was in no shape to speak with anyone, so his offer to call was a huge and welcomed gesture. And thanks to a friend who opened her home and welcomed our party with less than an hour to prepare for a crowd, the night was saved. And although it was a major disappointment to have laid out my "farm" themed table and prepped the house for a get together, all was not lost as we still spent the evening with friends, food, and wine. Oh, and The Bachelor, of course.

And because I love a themed gathering, here is a sampling of some of the farm inspired items we had (plus pizza and a build your own salad bar):

 
Because what is a Bachelor party without a framed photo of the man himself?



Pop "The Question" Corn
 
 
Soules Farm Corn Salsa and Chips
 
 
 
Cow Pies
 
 
 
Everyone got a personal-sized pie as a favor.
They come in those tiny boxes and were too cute to pass up!
 
 
We all declared our final picks as we entered the party. Sadly, I think only two of us chose Becca. Myself and....
 
 
 
The Munch. Team Becca all the way. I still stand by our pick too.
We'll see how it plays out after a few months.
 
 
Who were you pulling for? Team Whitney or Team Becca?
 
And more importantly, did you ever-lovin TV work??
 
 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cyber Bullies Suck

If we're Facebook friends, chances are that you already saw my stance this morning on cyber bullying. To sum it up, I dislike it greatly. In my family, we will not post photos of people we do not know unless we're giving them mad props for a phenomenal outfit, record breaking hair days, or exhibiting crazy mad skillz. Otherwise, it is of no business of mine to post someone's pic for the world of FB and twitter to weigh in on.

If we're not friends on the ole Facebook, here's a snapshot to bring you up to speed:

 
I'm not really sure why people feel the need to publicly shame someone they do not know. Would you ever stand in line at the grocery store and shout "hey everyone, check out this dude's jorts!!" No, absolutely you would not. And if you answered "yes" to that question, well then I'm not sure we can be blog friends any longer. Sorry. It's not me, it's you.
 
I experienced cyber bullying for the first time about 4.5 years ago as a college cheerleading coach. One of my beloved cheerleaders, who has a heart of gold, fell victim to someone's mean spirit on Facebook. To this day, I'm not sure if he ever saw the post or not, but I pray that he did not. Sadly, a LOT of people did see it and it broke my heart. As he walked to practice on the campus of the military college where I worked/he cheered, an upperclassmen took a photo of him from behind and added a nasty comment making fun of him and an even nastier comment about how the boy's father must be so proud. Needless to say, the comment elicited many ugly comments before it was brought to my attention by another one of my cheerleaders. Luckily for our guy, there's an honor code in place at this college and we jumped into action to have the post removed. The picture was removed, but the anger and hurt it evoked did not fade as quickly as the photo did.
 
As the coach, I was asked if I'd like to address those who had posted and commented on the photo, and you can bet your bottom dollar I accepted the offer. It just so happened that I was on sick leave that week for a slipped disc in my back, but I pulled myself out of bed and limped my way into the Commandant's office and into a room full of 8 college men, many of who had already contracted into the military. To say that it was intimidating would be an understatement, but I held my ground and tried to keep my emotions in check as I spoke.
 
My whole point in meeting with them wasn't to reprimand them, as I knew based on their comments on the posts, they could probably care less about what this 5'5, 30 something woman had to say about social media and their ignorance. Instead, I wanted them to know a little about the person they chose to publicly shame. If they were going to cast judgment and mockery, they should at least know who they had mocked. I shared some of his background and how much he LOVED that college. I shared how PROUD he was to be their classmate and how WELCOMING he was to everyone around him. More importantly, I shared with them that he DID NOT have a father. His father had LEFT years before and how I'm certain that event in his life left him with enough uncertainty about the level of his father's pride in him. He did NOT need any reminders of the fact that he may never know if his father is proud of him or not. Lastly, I shared how disappointed I was in them. Ninety percent of those in the room staring at me were athletes. This guy that they were shaming stood on THEIR sidelines and cheered them on every single weekend. Win or lose, he was their fan. He would never even consider shaming them for a fumbled play or an air ball. Never. He was top-notch and he was classy. He did not embody what they labeled him and he never would.
 
I walked out of that room knowing that about 75% of the faces that I just spoke to felt remorse. They apologized and felt ashamed knowing more of his story. The remaining 25% made me sick to my stomach as I spoke to their smug faces. They felt nothing. One gentlemen guy even told me he was not sorry and that it's a public forum and "you can say whatever you want". I told him that although that is true, I hope no one ever invokes that right when it comes to his mother, sister, girlfriend or father.
 
I know bullying has been around since the creation of time, but my hope is that the positive voices out there start to become the louder ones. See someone post a picture of an unsuspecting person online? Don't comment back. Or if you do, build that person up. This world is tough and life is hard enough without people you don't even know tearing you down. Especially in such a public way. It's just not right.
 
Be kind. Be affirming. And be louder than those who are not. It's really that simple.
 
 



Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday High Fives

It's been a rough one, folks. There was a sick chicken little, boatloads of coughs and more snot than I like to see in a given year, and a LOT of scrambling to make schedules work with having to keep the Munch home for 4 days, BUT we made it!

We made it, thanks to the following:
  • A surprise baby shower for a couple in our church group. They're parents to twin, 2 year old boys and a soon to be princess in a few weeks. They've graciously opened their home to host our group for almost two years, so it was only right that we turn the tables and "host" a little shower for their precious girl. The husband helped us surprise his wife with a shower after our church service and it was so fun to bless them with unexpected gifts. Selfishly, I had the best time shopping in the pink sections. This boy-momma could've gone nuts amongst the frills, fluff and bows, but I showed retrain somehow.

  • Coffee. I'm not sure why, but lately as my head hits my pillow at night, I get a little surge of happiness knowing there is coffee awaiting me the next morning. Simple pleasures.
  • Trying a new "clean" eating meal on Wednesday night. It was delicious and will now go into the rotation. Think a wintry meal of chicken breasts, red potatoes, peppers, asparagus, onions and multi-color carrots all baked together. Yum!
  • The Bachelor, Women Tell All- The Hubs hates this episode and all the complaining, but me? I love it. Bring on the finale in just 3 days!

  • Munchie snuggles. Our little man is always quite snuggly, but he was super cuddly this week. I melted every time he tried to burrow into my chest as I held him. I'm trying to really relish these moments as I know I'll blink and he'll struggle to fit in my lap. Until that day comes, I'll hug that boy tight as long as he lets me.
  • My sister-in-law who kept Nash two afternoons so that the Hubs and I could each work one full day. We had been splitting the day and working from home for a few hours, so having Sonia care for him so we could focus on our jobs was such a blessing. It meant more than she knows, I'm certain.

  • Mini powdered sugar donuts. Why are they so good? And why are they so small that you eat like 5 before you realize what's happened?! It's so not fair. If loving them is wrong, I don't want to be right.
  • The new show "Secrets and Lies". I needed a new show in my life like I needed more mini donuts on my boo-tay, but dang it, it was good! I love a good murder who-dun-it story, so this is right up my alley. Check it out if you haven't already.

  • Finally a country song that does NOT include drinking beer or someone's small town. I've been so sick of the country stuff lately, that was until this new song by Sam Hunt. Thank you, Sam, for actually having a story line and some swag in your lyrics. Take that, Florida Georgia Line.

  • My new custom, wooden canvas that I had the very talented Chic Country Chick make for me. I just love it and always love her work. If you're local check her out!
 
Happy Friday, Y'all!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

RSV...Good Times

It appears that one of the things I dreaded the most as a new mom has come true. Our little Munchie tested positive for RSV this week. After watching friends and co-workers struggle through bouts of RSV with their kiddos, I prayed that the Munch would escape infancy unscathed. I was wrong.

Although RSV has landed many of our friends' babies in the hospital, or worse yet, having had them completely stop breathing and need to be resuscitated, the Munch is holding strong thus far. It is, however, a sad thing to watch your kiddo struggle through since there really is no treatment for them outside of hospitalization should he take a turn for the worse. I'm praying that is not the case.

Upon receiving the test results, I asked the doc what that meant in terms of daycare since the Hubs and I both work full-time. The doc told me with a chuckle "sure, you can send him to daycare. Just let me grab a stack of my business cards for you before you go." Needless to say, the Hubs and have I have done our best to take shifts both in our offices and as nurse mate at home.

In the grand scheme of childhood illnesses, I know that this is most likely not life threatening, but as a parent, it still hurts your heart to watch your son struggle to breathe through massive amounts of congestion and the nastiest cough I've ever heard. It's painful to watch when someone you love is miserable and there's not a single thing you can do to help outside of hold them.

The Munch is strong and we'll get through this dreadful virus after a week or so (fingers crossed), but until then, I'll probably be a little hit or miss on here over the next 2-3 days. All eyes on the Munch for now.

Let's get this sweet boy healthy!

 
Look at those sad eyes:(
*Please excuse the double chin. It was a bad angle.