Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 In Review...but first, about my signs from God.

To say that 2011 has been the craziest, most challenging, and happiest year of my life would be a gross understatement.  The truth is, I already knew 2011 would be different somehow, before the year even started.  I'm not a psychic by any means, but I had been getting clues since September 2010 that 2011 was going to be a big year.

Disclaimer: I'm not crazy or devoutly religious.  I believe in God and the principles of Christianity but this was my first experience with something like this and so the explanation of "signs from God" is the best thing I can come up with to explain it.  So don't call me crazy.

I don't know when I really started noticing the repeat appearance of "11:11" but I would say it was around September of 2010, probably right after my birthday.  I just started seeing that number everywhere - mostly on a clock, but a couple of times it was my total at a restaurant or something like that.  It just seemed like every time I looked at the clock, there it was  - 11:11.  It happened in the morning and in the afternoon when I would randomly think what time is it? and there it was.  Coworkers would stop by my desk to chat for a minute and then ask me what time it was - and you guessed it, many times it was 11:11.  I would receive texts and emails timestamped at 11:11.

I think most people have heard that when you look at the clock and it's 11:11, you are supposed to make a wish.  So I did that - and it didn't come true.  I wished for something else - again, no luck.  Finally I decided the third time was the charm and changed my wish again - nothing happened.  That's when I decided that something else had to be going on here.  This clearly wasn't about wishes or at least one of mine would have come true.  That's when I started thinking that maybe it was some kind of sign from God about something.  Maybe something was going to happen on November 11?  I waited the whole day with baited breath for something - anything - to happen and to my disappointment (and I have to admit, relief) nothing happened.  I gave up trying to figure out what 11:11 was supposed to mean, but I kept seeing it over and over.  It got to be pretty frustrating.

Then, a year ago yesterday, I was in the shower getting ready to go out for New Year's Eve when it hit me out of the blue.  11:11 was not a month and a day, a time, a Bible verse, or anything like that - it was a year.  2011, that was getting ready to start in a few short hours, was going to be an important year for me.  And boy, was it ever.

Monday, December 19, 2011

In Terms of Gains & Losses...

Yes, I realize I have not written in my blog in 4 months.  I've been busy, y'all...gettin' hitched (best day of my life/I'm so glad everyone's stopped acting crazy), figuring out where to store all of my beautiful, newly acquired housewife items, and trying to make a decent grade in my very first graduate class.  It's been crazy.

If there is one thing I have learned in my first two months of marriage, it is this: if there's a football game on TV, you're probably watching it.  I'd call it false advertising - of course dear, you can watch Grey's Anatomy on the big TV, I don't want to watch Thursday Night Football - then suddenly, he puts another ring on it and you're watching Every.  Single.  Game.  Sometimes I even think in football language now, which is why I decided to present my 4-month life update in terms of gains & losses.

Over the past 4 months...

I gained: a new last name, which was really exciting until I realized...the only things I know how to write in cursive are my first name and my maiden name.  Uh oh.  Several kindergarten-scratch looking trial and errors later, I think I've improved quite a bit.  Improved as in, you can almost read the first three letters.

I lost: my mind when I thought it would be a great idea to begin working on my master's degree the same semester I planned a wedding.  I probably should have given that a little more thought but it turned out just fine in the end.  I'm pleased with my grade and more importantly, prepared myself a little more for taking two graduate classes next semester.  And yes, I did do homework on our honeymoon.  By the way, I'm getting my Master of Arts in Teaching, Middle Grades 5-9.  I'm going to get my initial certification in Social Studies and if I really get wild, I may also get certified in Language Arts.

I gained: this beautiful, unique white dress...that I have no idea what to do with.  Fellow wives, what did you do with your dress after the big day?  I am almost certain it will end up at my mother's house for the next 30 years but I won't lie, I entertained the idea of selling it.  Why not?  I will never wear it again, and if fashion repeats itself every 20 years, that's great, but I don't (and won't) have a daughter getting married 20 years from now.  Mark that down.

I lost: probably about 5 pounds when I got sick on our honeymoon.  Fun, right?  Well, at least I got sick on the last day, because you know, who wants to enjoy one last day in paradise?  I spent the last day of our honeymoon curled up in our hotel bed with wracking stomach pains.  No, before you ask, I didn't drink the water...but we did venture off the resort one evening for an authentic Mexican dinner that turned out to be a little too authentic for me.  I did make it home in one piece though, which was a major accomplishment.

I gained: a wonderful, loving husband that I am so happy to be married to.  Engaged life was fun, but married life is where it's at.  It helps that he just bought me a Nook Color for Christmas and fixes my coffee pot to auto-brew in the morning.

I lost: the freedom of only having to do laundry about every two weeks.  Men and their clothes - I don't get it!  That's another post for another time.  But let me say this - Husband amasses about three loads of dirty laundry to my one.  I've never seen anything like it.

That about sums it up.  I know it doesn't sound like I have done a whole lot in the past 4 months but trust me, planning a wedding is no joke.  Life is back to normal though, and I have a lot to say to make up for lost time!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mullet of the Week

Judo Mullet

This stunning specimen, spotted at the Owen County Judo Tournament in April, immediately caught my eye and I just could not resist.  Would you look at the shape and rattiness of that Kentucky waterfall?  As an added bonus, he was wearing a windsuit.  A silk windsuit.  Complete with sport stripe down the side.  And I thought judo tournaments would not entertain me!  This cat is ready to jump on the mat and "hadaka jime" someone (yeah, that's a judo term.  Impressed?)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Is Kyle slow?" - Teen Mom Recap, Week 1

Normally on Wednesday I would be doing a "What I'm Loving" post, and that's kind of what this is....except for I am only discussing one topic that I sure am loving this week!

The return of....

Yes, yes, I know.  Please do not lecture me about my tendency to watch trash TV, as I am well aware it rots my brain.  I justify watching Teen Mom by telling myself it's a true, honest portrayal for young girls of how your life can change if you have an unexpected pregnancy....but really, I just like the drama.  This was a big week as it was the season premiere, and we are back with the original cast - Maci, Amber, Farrah, and Catelyn.  It's great that MTV brought them back because we've been watching these girls long enough to have a vested interest in their life stories.

Maci is still living in Nashville with Kyle and commuting to take little Bentley to see his dad Ryan.  Can anyone explain to me why she does all the driving back and forth?  If that jealous rat Ryan was my baby daddy, he would be putting some miles on that BMW you see parked in his garage.  Anyway, Maci finds out this week that Ryan's child support is not going into her bank account and she wastes no time getting legal on him.  Thankfully it ends up being a banking glitch and the child support shows up.  Now Maci is wanting Kyle to meet Ryan and Kyle is refusing.  Red flag, Maci, red flag!

Amber's back and she's just as much of a hot mess as ever.  She's dating this new guy, Chris (an equally hot mess), and good ol Gary shows up and wants to get back together.  Amber makes one of the smarter decisions she's made in her life and decides to go back to Gary to have their family back together again.  Well, we know how well that works out (ominous foreshadowing!)

Farrah has now decided that her boobs aren't big enough to support her fledgling modeling career and of course the obvious next step is to call around to different banks until she finds one who will give her a loan for breast implants.  Yes, I'm serious.  The rest of her segments in the episode depict her pain and suffering post-surgery.  I don't even want to waste any more of my life talking about her.

Tyler and Catelyn are sitting at Catelyn's house when she realizes, oh, someone has tried to pry my bedroom window open.  And look, someone has actually pried my younger brother's window open, and what's that, Mom?  You say that a door was open when you got back home earlier today?  GEEZ.  Let's call the police and report a break-in.  So Tyler & Catelyn decide to make lemonade out of those lemons and get an apartment together.  Of course, Tyler's mom is not overly pleased but let's be honest here....they've had a baby.  I think the jig is up.

Most Awesome Moment: Ryan, Maci's baby daddy, sending her a text while sitting right across from her: "Is Kyle slow?"  Later, Ryan claims, "I've had hundreds of people ask me."

Dumbest Moment: It's a tie between Farrah and Maci.  You see one clip of Farrah tossing pizzas at her job and complaining about making ends meet as a single mom......but then she decides it's a great idea to get a loan for breast implants.  Do you think she will be able to write this off as a business expense?  Then after Ryan calls Maci's current boyfriend Kyle "slow," Maci tells Kyle about this and then complains when Kyle gets mad at Ryan.  Sheesh, haven't you kids learned anything by now?

Best Performance: I have to go with Tyler & Catelyn for this week.  I would have hoped they had noticed earlier that the house had been broken into, but I suppose that's just as much Catelyn's mom's fault, bless that woman's heart.  She needs help.  Anyway, Tyler & Catelyn didn't make any stupid decisions this week, and Catelyn's younger brother has a child mullet, so I'll give them the award.  Also, has anyone else noticed how much Tyler looks like Justin Bieber?

Cliffhanger: Will Amber get sheets for her bed?!!?  I can't tell you how much seeing Gary sitting on a mattress without sheets disgusts me, and not because of Gary!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


"Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine." - Robert Gallagher

It's probably the understatement of the year to say that it's been awhile.  Of course, I didn't expect to just start writing again and not explain to my 23 followers (and the hundreds of you that anonymously read - I know you're there - I see the numbers) where I have been.  So we'll start at the beginning.

I wouldn't say that I'm a person who invites change.  I don't go out of my way to avoid it, but at the same time, I don't actively seek out opportunities to change things up.  I'm a fairly habitual person and so most of the time, when I experience an event that results in a moderate-to-serious life change, it puts me "out of sorts" for awhile.  So you can imagine, when over the course of two months (late February - late April) I: got engaged, resigned from my old job, moved out of my apartment into Daniel's house in a new city, and then started a new job (in that order), it was a little, you might say, unsettling.  One major life change at a time is enough but to experience four in such a short time is....interesting.

In retrospect, it was probably better for me that everything happened all at once because I had less time to process each individual event and overanalyze everything.  I had already planned on moving and that was a blessing in disguise when I left my old job.  Being unemployed was a humbling experience and I can honestly say that I will never consider being a stay at home mom now - I have realized that I really need to have a professional outlet in order to feel good about myself and feel like I am helping to contribute to the family.  I have a wonderful new job now and I honestly love my coworkers and my new environment.  I won't say too much, but leaving behind massive amounts of stress and a toxic working environment, all while doing a job that doesn't make you feel fulfilled and proud of your work, can really make someone's quality of life increase drastically.

So here I am.  It's been a crazy past few months, but thanks to the love and support of my fiance, family, and friends, I made it through the hard times and have been able to rejoice in all the good that these changes have brought to my life.  I am finally settled in my new life and routine and if this is what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life, I'm one lucky girl.  There is so much to be said about faith and I am so glad that somewhere in my life I realized how important it was to have faith in yourself and that in the end, everything will work out - maybe not the way you want it to, but the way it's supposed to.

Don't worry - while I've been taking some time to recharge and get settled, I've come up with some really great blog posts to write.  You didn't think I would come back without quality material, did you?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

It's Wednesday, and that means I'm linking up with Jamie at This Kind Of Love to tell the world what I'm loving this week!  Strangely enough, I realized that everything I have loved this week has to do with either food or we'll call this the WILW Food & Beverage Edition.

Starbucks.  Yes yes, I know we have always loved Starbucks, but since going back to work last week I have rediscovered my love for this tasty (and expensive) coffee concoction.  At my old job, it used to be really easy for me to avoid going to Starbucks - there wasn't one close to my office, and unless I left my house early enough, I didn't have time to make it there.  However.....there just so happens to be a Starbucks on the way to my new office and it's been very hard to resist.  So hard, in fact, I've been 5 times since last Monday.....yeah, I have to get this under control.  My drink of choice is a grande non-fat raspberry latte, closely followed by a skinny vanilla latte (remember this in case you need to bribe me to do something for you.)

Lemon wafers.  Technically this picture is of vanilla wafers, but lemon wafers look the same.  I discovered these little gems in the cookie aisle at Kroger while trying to find stuff to put in my lunch.  I thought, I like lemon, I'll try these....and with the first bite, my life was changed.  They aren't overly lemon-y, but have just enough of a bite to make it a refreshing experience.  I went through a box in about, oh, three days.  So much for my "white dress diet."

Raspberry citrus-flavored Diet Mountain Dew.  First let me say, I hate even admitting that I even tried this drink.  I think it's widely accepted in the world that Mountain Dew is like water for rednecks.  I mean, some people (mostly in the eastern part of Kentucky, but let's not judge) drink Mountain Dew from the time they can hold a bottle....and then of course, all their teeth rot out, but that's beside the point.  I am ready to publicly admit that my beloved fiance is a DMD addict (he drinks Diet, so I'll give him a little credit) and while restocking his supply, I was attracted to this pretty blue beverage.  After reading on the bottle that it was a raspberry citrus version of DMD, I had to try it.....and I love it.  I am so embarrassed to type this right now.....but it tastes just like a carbonated version of this blue lemonade Kool-Aid that I loved as a little girl.  Want to hear the worst part?  I bought a 12-pack.  You don't have to tell me, I know I'm headed down a slippery slope.

Convection oven.  Not really food or drink, but in certain cases (such as this evening) it allows you access to food.  I mean let's be honest - sometimes, the oven (for whatever reason) doesn't get your chicken cooked all the way, and you have a hungry man to feed.  What's a girl to do?  I considered turning the oven back on and letting it heat back up, which would take forever....and then I thought, why not put them in the convection oven?  Until tonight, I have never been able to say I found this contraption particularly useful, but it cooked the chicken more in 20 minutes than the regular oven did in 45.  Which leads me to wonder....can I just bake everything in the convection oven?  And, do they come in bigger sizes?  I don't think all my pans will fit in there.  Listen guys, I'm a WIT (wife in training) right now, and if I can find a shortcut...please don't rain on  my parade.  Unless you know I am going to set the house on fire by trying this method...then please, by all means, speak up.

What are you loving this week???

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

It's Wednesday, and that means I'm linking up with Jamie at This Kind of Love to tell the world what I'm loving this week!

Frozen onions.  Strange, yes, but such a big help when cooking.  I just re-discovered my love for frozen onions tonight while cooking enchiladas.  You don't have to do any manual labor; they don't make you cry; and your hands won't smell like onions for hours afterwards.  Perfect for the Suzie Homemaker who would rather expend her energy chopping up something for dessert.  To me, everything about frozen onions is a win-win situation, and that's my favorite kind of situation to be in.

Zyrtec-D.  I don't think I would be able to leave the house right now without it.  I grew up in Ashland, smog/dirty air capital of the world, and never had a problem with allergies.  I move to central Kentucky, and whoa, twice a year (spring and early fall) I lose the ability to breathe.  Can anyone explain this to me?  Clearly I am now having seasonal allergies, but what am I allergic to?  Clean air?

My Vera Bradley desk calendar.  Oh, Vera, you never let me down.  Your beautiful patterns and bright color combinations always make me so happy.  I bought this desk calendar (same pattern as in the picture) at the beginning of this year at a great clearance price.  Seriously, I think I paid $5 for it.  At my old job, I already had a desk calendar so I didn't have a use for it, but I think God was sending me a sign when he told me to buy it.  When I walk into my new job on Monday, I'll be taking my lovely VB desk calendar with me :)  More on my new gig very soon.

Coupons.  I've been at it again, and I have to tell you, couponing gives me a rush.  I know that's sad, but it's a thrill to figure out ways to cleverly coupon and save more money.  I think they call it "stacking" coupons in the business.  Here's what I pulled off this week:
1. Kroger had 12-packs of Pepsi products on sale 4 for $10 with a Kroger card.  I had a manufacturer's coupon for an additional $2 off, so I got 4 12-packs for $8.  Okay, that's not that clever, but considering that 12-packs are about $4 each, 4 of them would have cost me $16 and I got them for $8, about a 50% savings.
2.  This one is my pride & joy.  I had two manufacturer's coupons for Old Spice - one was $1 off two Old Spice products, and the other was a buy one get one free Old Spice bodywash.  I purchased two bodywashes (at $3.50 apiece) and first scanned the $1 off coupon, so the machine still thought I was purchasing two products.  Then I scanned the B1G1 coupon to get the second bodywash free.  So, I got both bodywashes for $2.50 when it normally would have cost me $7.  I was so proud of myself!!!
3. Then at Wal-Mart, I saved about $13 from manufacturer's coupons I had cut out of the newspaper.  I would have saved more but Wal-mart wouldn't let me "stack" the coupons - has anyone else had this problem?  Anyway, this week we saved about $30 on things we would have had to buy anyway.  That's my rule - I won't buy it unless it's something we need now or would need eventually.

What are you loving this week???