Friday, August 31, 2012

Saying Goodbye before Saying Hello

The last few weeks have been hard for me. I doubt you've noticed - I'm pretty good at hiding when things are hard. I've always been one of those types that push everything to the side - which isn't really a good thing, trust me. It usually ends up with a huge break-down over the smallest nothing because I've pushed all the somethings to the side. I'm working on it, it's a long process.

There's a lot going on right now, a lot of changes that I feel like I'm making within myself and a whole boat load of emotions that I could likely do without. I guess I've finally decided that enough is enough in my life and I'm going to face some really hard emotions and situations head on. Sometimes you have to say goodbye  before you've even really had the chance to say hello.

I will warn you. This post may become quite lengthy and if you don't want to read it, that's okay. But I have a lot to say and I don't want to not say it - because I need to say it. It needs to be said.

Let me start from the beginning:

I come from a pretty broken childhood, full of abandonment, drugs, violence, three divorces and a whole lot of messed up crap (to say the least). My mother left while I was young, reentered my life for a short period of time and had been in and out until I decided to leave her mostly out a few years ago. My father is an alcoholic, and had very possibly a more messed up childhood than I did. I have 5 younger siblings, 4 of them half siblings, one present step-mother and another deceased. My father as of today is divorced with no drivers license, living in a motel and spending most of his free time alone - but he often tried really hard, and I have to give him credit for that.

I will say that overcoming the things I experienced in my life as a child took a long while to face and accept. But I've learned that where we come from, our influences and our experiences severely shape a person and a choice must be made to accept this shaping as a positive one or a negative one. I am proud to say that I chose to take a positive shaping, molding my life into something better than what I had known.

Occasionally these things affect me, they cause me hurt and longings that I know will never be fulfilled and that's mostly what this post is about. It's about why I've been hurting so much lately, why I want to be happy because of where I'm at, but why it's sometimes really, really tough.

When Henry was born last July, I may have been one of the most confident mothers you could ever meet. I didn't ask any questions when I left the hospital, I didn't read any parenting books or scour the internet hours upon hours looking for what was the 'right' or 'wrong' way of doing things. I just faced this new blessing of a challenge head on, confident that my motherly instincts would take over and things would be just fine. And they were - until I went back to work and my precious little son screamed the entire time I was gone. I don't mean cried on and off, I don't mean screamed and then ate, slept and pooped and then screamed some more - I mean full-fledged, didn't eat, didn't sleep, screamed for eight hours straight, sometimes nine. I would come home to a blue-faced baby who was shaking from screaming so much. I did nothing but hold him on the weekends, hold him close and cry myself because I didn't want to put him through what he was going through at that time.

I knew what was wrong. I knew that he was attached and that when I left, he felt abandoned and alone in this huge, scary world. I knew and I told my husband this, my mother-in-law and anyone else who just had to comment on our situation. Upon being told that I was crazy, I succumbed to my husband and mother-in-law's insistence and took him to the doctor to prove that there was nothing wrong with my son. It took two minutes in the office and two nurses holding my baby (who immediately started screaming) to tell me what I already knew - my son was experiencing separation anxiety at the wee age of 12 weeks.

Every weekend it was the hardest thing that I ever had to do to walk out the front door and leave my screaming baby behind me. It got to the point that I was speeding home on my lunch just to hold him and feed him for ten minutes, just to rush back again. I started to get angry - angry that someone else wasn't there all week to help me, someone else he could feel comfortable around, someone else who should have been in my life as well. I was bitter and resented my mother for walking in and out on me so many times. I felt like every daughter deserves someone there when she becomes a mother - someone to help her and support her. But I was without. I got through it, I made the decision to leave my mother completely out of my son's life and I've stood true to that. Not because I was bitter, or angry but because I couldn't bare the thought of my son feeling abandoned by a grandmother who barely knew her own daughter as well.

Since his birth, I've had a lot of feelings like this. Feelings like my son deserves more from life, more than what I alone can give him. I've found myself in tears many nights wishing that things were different for me so that they were different for him. A lot of times I even wonder if having children was the right choice - because he will undoubtedly grow up with a different childhood than most of his peers. And how was I to know how to be a mother when I never had a mother? But I am confident that my husband and I can love him enough to make up for the love he won't receive from the others - and I feel like I'm a pretty damn good mother, even without one to turn to.

This post has gone a completely different direction than what I intended. I intended to write about my brother and how he is leaving tomorrow to head back to Texas, how his leave was not long enough and how I feel like he's been too busy for his older, married sister. It was suppose to be about how I felt like we hadn't even the time to whisper hello to one another and now we've already said goodbye. It's funny how things like that work - apparently I had something entirely different on my mind.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jenn's Jams - Calling Glory - Don't Give Up

There are days that we all feel like giving up. Don't tell me that you don't have those days because I know you'll be lying to me - and that's not very nice. There are days where for one reason or another, we feel as if we've been pushed to the very brink of our existence and the tiniest tap is going to push us right over the edge. For various reasons, I felt that way last weekend. I was tired, I was grumpy, my husband had done something to tick me off and I had just had enough. On my way home from work, this song came on the radio and I lost it - the whole ugly cry thing, tears and snot and all went down in the driver's seat. I know it wasn't' pretty.

Wanna know the good news? Hope is on the way! We can't give up, won't give up because - God has promised in all His goodness that he would never, ever, ever give us more than what we can handle.


No matter how hard it may seem, no matter the weight of what we feel like we've got piled onto our backs, the load will be lifted soon enough and if we allow Him, peace and comfort will enter our lives like a wave. And as the tide goes out, all that's been dragging us down will go with it.

The thought alone is enough to make my dark and stormy days feel a little brighter. I want to extend my friendship, my prayers, my support and all my love to any of you out there that need it right now. Seriously. I love people, I love talking to people and getting to know people. If you ever just want to talk, rant, share blessings with one another - email me. I will answer you fairly quickly and while I may not be much, I will try my darnedest to at least be a friend.

My email:

Now listen, reflect and love this song as much as I do.


This time your heart said it's had enough 
Sick and tired of everything that's so messed up 
You don't wanna move on just playing games 
Praying hard somehow that your life will change 
When you feel like you don't know what to do 
Stuck inside this maze you can't go through 

Don't give up 
Help is surely on its way 
And don't give up 
And the dark is breaking in today 
And just keep on moving through these storms 
And soon enough you'll find the door 
Just don't give up 
Oh, and don't give up 

These walls around you are caving in 
And your life seems like it is wearing thin
And your hope is drowning in despair 
It looks like you're not going anywhere 
Step inside this heart and then you'll see 
Such a love that is so amazing 

Chorus X2

Bargain Buys - Porch Poolin'

I'm just going to come out and say it. I'm cheap. Like, you-gotta-be-kidding-me-someone-please-tell-me-that's-not-the-price-heck-no-we-don't-need-it-it-can-wait cheap. This can often result in deep self-conflict, constantly questioning myself on whether or not a purchase is necessary, whether it's worth the price that I'm paying, whether I think I can get it cheaper now or later or even somewhere else, and always, always whether or not I can make it (or something similar) myself.

Henry loves the water - like flippin' loves it. Honestly, I don't know many kids that don't. We've spent a huge part of this summer in the backyard with a tub of water, bath toys and a heck of a lot of sunscreen. Notice I say 'tub of water' and not 'kiddie pool'. I refused to spend $12 on a kiddie pool. I mean really - there's nothing to it, it holds a whole 2 gallons of water and my son prefers just to play around the water than in it so why waste my money?

That was until yesterday. I found him a kiddie pool on clearance for $5 and if you want to know the honest truth, I had a hard time paying that for it. It was totally worth it though. He loves it!

Soak in some quick photos - that silly face and total heart-warming smile.

Wanna know just how cheap I am?

His swimming trunks were thrifted. I found them (with tags still attached) for $.50. Yeah, I said 50 cents. Cute aren't they?
The bath toys were a combination of baby shower gifts and birthday gifts. I've never bought a one and he has an entire basket full.
The pool was $5.00, as you already know.
The sunscreen I bought at Target while it was on sale and I had a coupon for $2.00 off. I think I paid like $1.50 and it had a bonus roll-on stick that I usually use for his face. I've had the same sunscreen all summer and we've yet to run out.

Total price? $7.00

Like I said, cheap.

Have one more photo. Henry modeling the hat that I made for him LAST year. may have been a bit too big.

What kind of bargain buys have you guys found this summer? Would you consider yourself cheap, thrifty or something else completely?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Six Reasons Neil Armstrong was a Badass

+It saddened me when I heard that Neil Armstrong had died. I didn't know the man and I'd never met him, but clearly he left a large enough impact on our world that I knew his name, knew of some of the things he'd accomplished and felt genuinely sad to hear about his death. The fact that he was born and still resided here in the buckeye state made me feel even more fond of the man.

I follow a youtube channel called Vlogbrothers; it's totally nerdy, totally random and totally awesome. Seriously. I loved the video they put out soon after Armstrong's death, 'Six Reasons Neil Armstrong was a Badass' - because the man really was a badass. He deserves some credit because truth is, he did a whole lot more than just land on the moon. Not to mention, the man was humble - and considering all things, that would be tough to be in his situation. I totally admire him for that.

So I have the video here for your enjoyment. Because it's a flippin' awesome video and I think you should all watch it and reflect on this amazing man's life. RIP Neil, I feel like Ohio (and the USA) lost one of their best.

Jenn's Jams - Matt Hammitt - All Of Me

You are staring at one of the most important screens that you'll ever see in your life and you're anxiously waiting for the doctor to tell you if you'll be welcoming a baby boy or a baby girl into the world in a few short months. Suddenly your doctor's face turns more serious, and you know that something is wrong, something is seriously wrong. You wait but he doesn't say anything.

They tell you it's a boy and your heart melts - his two sisters are going to be thrilled, finally a brother! 

But then there's those faces. The doctor excuses himself for a moment and brings in another doctor, points to the beating heart on the screen and you watch as that doctor's face becomes serious as well. You want to know what's wrong, you want to know why everyone keeps pointing and frowning and looking so very serious.

They tell you that it's a heart defect. They tell you that the odds aren't good. They tell you that you will likely deliver a live baby, and then lose him. You name him Bowen.

In Matt's words: "I was reserving some of my excitement and love for this boy because I was afraid of what would happen and I was afraid to get hurt. I was building walls around my heart to protect myself in case things didn’t go well...I knew I needed to fully trust God in what He was going to do in our son’s life and our lives. To be able to walk through that situation and give God all that I have--allow God to do His will and to learn to love and to trust in Him completely."


Talk about heart-wrenching. I love this song. I love the lyrics. I love the story behind it. Baby Bowen was born with a heart defect that left him with basically half of a heart, he underwent an open-heart surgery within days of being born and then the next night, he went into cardiac arrest. They spent an hour doing CPR on his still open chest and, to God's glory, Bowen pulled through. He has underwent many heart surgeries but Bowen will turn two in just over a week and he is a happy, healthy boy.

I think that Matt's message can apply to so much in life. God calls for us to trust in him with our whole selves, leaving nothing for Him to want and when we choose to do so, He promises to keep us from harm and to deliver us into comfort and love. 

I cannot listen to this song without tearing up a bit. I think of how it must have felt for Matt and for Sarah to know that their baby would suffer and to know that their baby may never see more than a few moments of life. I can understand the want to hold back, to keep from becoming so attached to this little life because it could be torn away so quickly. But to make the choice to trust God and to give their whole selves - that is courageous and it is what we are called to do. Listen. Enjoy. I dare you not to cry.

Afraid to love
Something that could break
Could I move on
If you were torn away?
And I'm so close to what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart
And pray He makes you whole

You're gonna have all of me 
You're gonna have all of me
'Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I'll start

I won't let sadness steal you from my arms
I won't let pain keep you from my heart
I'll trade the fear of all that I could lose
For every moment I share with you


Heaven brought you to this moment, it's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me

Chorus (X2)

It's where I'll start 


You can learn more about little Bowen, follow the Hammitt family's blog, and join in to help family's like the Hammitt's here.

So What!

It's Wednesday and you know what that means! This week I'm saying So What! if...

-I'm flippin' sick of my body being out of whack from my pregnancy with Henry. Enough is enough! I'd like to be able to look at a calendar again and know when things are going to be happening.

-Not being able to predict things that are going on with my body is probably a huge reason why I'm not yet prego with numero 2.

-I may be absolutely determined to change that this month. My husband is going to either be the happiest man alive or ask me to sleep upstairs by the time I'm done with him.

-I quit counting a future pregnancy as 9 months. Mine will be 8, I know this for a fact. (Baby fever anyone? Sheesh, I'm annoying myself.)

-I brought home an entire bag of fall decorations yesterday from The Flower Factory and I fully intend on using them as soon as possible. I don't care if the temperature has been in the 90's again. Maybe if we all just go ahead and decorate for fall, it will come and stay until we decide to decorate for Christmas. (Wouldn't that be nice?)

-I've become slightly obsessed with owls over the past couple of years. Well, owls and birds and decorative bird cages. I bought two bird cages yesterday, an owl and two crow's for decorations and had to say no to a slew of others. Hi I'm Jenn, and I may have a problem.

-I've stuck to my to-do list all week fervently but that's going to change today. I need to go to the grocery and of course, Little Bit and I will need to eat through out the day. But that's about the extent of what I plan to do. I have shows to watch and a nap to take.

-I haven't really picked up my camera and taken any photos of Henry in like a month. I haven't even thought about my mini-sessions and I just don't feel it right now.

-I sat down at my computer and thought, "Man, I don't think I have anything to say 'So What!' to this week."

HA! Ha ha ha ha HA!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dairy Farm Days

I had to be at work at 6 a.m. on Sunday - something that I was totally not used to doing anymore. I went to bed at 10:30 p.m. the night before, telling myself that it was crucial to get some sleep. I had told Jeremy that I wanted to do something special with him and my Little Bit since I would be off at 3 instead of my normal 6 so he planned us a little trip to Young's Jersey Dairy - a place that we frequent at least two or three times a year.

We won't get into the fact that I didn't get to sleep until around 2:00 a.m. and that I was so tired I could have come home and just crashed for the rest of the day. I was slap-happy to say the least, but it's cool... that's just how I roll.

Silly faces - he's definitely my son.

No make-up and a serious lack of sleep and I still look good. Yeahhhh.  =)

The two guys that have managed to completely steal my heart.

I took this photo with the very last of the day's light. Lucky me, eh?

I won't tell you that I fed my child graham crackers and ice cream for dinner. Don't hate - Young's has AMAZING ice cream and we left before dinner time and when we got home, Henry was already asleep.

My only regret was telling myself that we'd stop at this amazing field of sunflowers on our way back instead of on our way in because by the time we left, the sun had already went down. I was a little sad but oh well - we had a great time anyway!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Costume Hunt

Call me crazy but I've been scouring the internet on and off all day trying to decide what sort of costume I should make for Henry this year. I know it's early yet - but I want to decide now so I can start getting it put together. 

At first I thought I'd make him a lion. It doesn't really get much cuter than that and I'm fairly certain if I bought a pattern, the mane and such wouldn't be as hard to make as it first looks.

Super cute, right?

Then I thought that I really, really wanted to make him Dwight from The Office. But I'm afraid with this adorable photo floating around so much, there's bound to be a TON of Dwights this year. Plus, every time that I bring it up my husband looks at me a little crazy.

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica

The only other idea that I kind of liked was this weird green hair, bugs and dirt idea. I'm not even sure what it's suppose to be. The ground? The backyard? Just dirt and grass in general? I find it cute in a weird way though. I don't see me getting Henry to sit still long enough for me to even begin to do this though.

I guess if you follow links you'll come to find  that it's suppose to be 'earth'. I'm just too lazy sometimes.

Other than these three, I'm kind of stumped. I've searched and searched and nothing really sticks out to me. I want something unique, something different and something that I can also make myself. What have you dressed your kids up as in the past? Give me some ideas, I'm dying here!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bargain Buys - Kohler Toilet and Sink

If you know me, you know that I LOVE a good bargain. Seriously. I could live out of the clearance racks. My ultimate goal in life is to spend less and get more.

Well, one of them anyway.

So today I literally felt like I hit the lottery.

I walked into Lowe's (where I work 20 hours on the weekend), and there it was - the toilet and sink display that I fell in love with months ago but knew I would never, ever in this lifetime pay full-price for. (Let alone half-price, or even a fourth of the price.) They were marked down to $50 a piece and I wanted them. I wanted them bad.

For those of you who are new to my blog. You may not know that my husband and I bought a house from sheriff's auction earlier this year. We paid $10,000. Like I said - less for more. The entire house was finished and in great shape except for ONE room - the bathroom off of the master bedroom. It's completely unfinished and we have a TON to do! So I've been eyeing that toilet and sink combo ever since we moved in, wishing silently that ONE day, I'd be able to afford something that nice.

Here is the toilet:

It doesn't look like anything special I know. But it has this cool curve to it and it's one-piece with this sleek design that looks SOO easy to clean. Retail price? $819.45

Here is the sink:

I. Just. Adore. This. It is so cute and perfect. I am thinking of taking the vanity out of our main bathroom and putting it in instead because I just can't stand the thought of leaving it in a box until we get the rest of the bathroom done. Retail price? $706.63

WOW! I was so amazed at those $50 price tags! I grabbed them and called them mine right away. 

But the story doesn't end there!

Let me tell you something. Never, ever, ever look at a price and think that that is THE price that you have to pay for something. I don't get my discount on clearance items so I knew I was out my 10% so I tracked down the plumbing manager and put on a sweet smile, reminded him just how often I help him out and asked him if he could do any better on the two...

My total bill?  $53.42! For both!

Go ahead, do a little happy dance with me 'cause I'll tell you what - I've been doing a little happy jig all day!

( P.S. - We have an all-store employee meeting at 6 a.m. tomorrow, so if my slap-happy butt posts something weird and random tomorrow, I'm putting total blame on Lowe's for making me be at work so early. Just sayin' )

Chicken Mush: Disgusting Name, Delicious Dish

So for dinner last night I made what I am officially calling 'chicken mush'. It's really probably more like a chicken pot pie without the pie part, but I like to be different so 'chicken mush' it is! 

It. Was. Delicious

It looked something like this:

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole: Mixed

I know it doesn't really look appetizing, but I swear it is. Because I just threw everything into a pan and called it mush, I don't really have an exact recipe, but I thought I'd share what I do know in case you want to venture down the road of chicken mush yourself.
(It's be worth it. Promise.)

I made mine in the crock-pot because I love crock-pot meals. They are so simple, they take less time, and they're usually super yummy in my tummy. Plus you usually only have one pan left to clean when you're done. Winning!

What you need:
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 bag of frozen veggies
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 small bag of shredded cheese

How to make this lovely mush:
Throw it all in the crock-pot + add a can of water with your mushroom soup. Stir occasionally. Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic.

Ta-da! Chicken mush! Doesn't it smell delish!

I served mine on top of rice, but you could eat it straight up, serve it with biscuits or even some sort of pasta noodles. My husband was pleasantly surprised with this meal. He always looks at me a little funny when I tell him that I just 'threw' dinner into the crock-pot. (I don't know why, it's never been bad. Except for that one time, dang it.) I actually cooked the rice in the crock-pot with the rest, but I wouldn't recommend doing it this way if you're just going to throw it in and leave it for a long period of time. I had to add more water and stir it quite often to keep the rice from sticking.

Anywho. If you decide to try out my mush, come back here and let me know what you think. I like to rub it in tell my husband when other people think my haphazard food is actually delicious too.

Happy Saturday peeps!

Friday, August 24, 2012

If it's dirty - clean it!

I've spent most of my day cleaning, mostly because I've spent most of the week not cleaning. Bad Mama, I know. I figured I had to do something about this. I had to stop waiting until Friday - when I have until 5:30 p.m. to get my crap together and clean because I work out of the house all weekend long.

I've been wanting to create a Cleaning Schedule for myself for quite awhile now. I would give you a whole list of reasons why I hadn't, but the truth is - I knew if I put up a cleaning schedule somewhere visible in my house, not only would I have to keep myself liable to do it, but my husband would be MORE than happy to too.

So I bit the bullet. I sat down for about 20 minutes and created me a cute little cleaning schedule. I'm going to laminate it and put it on the refrigerator so I can write what I plan on doing each day every week. I would go ahead and bring it up in paint or word now and just create a weekly schedule, but my schedule changes so much week to week that I figured this would be better for me.

Do you like? If you do - you can totally steal it. Go ahead, I don't mind. Right click and save the sucker, print it out and use it!

Jenn's Jams - Brandon Heath - Love Never Fails

I have to thank Stephanie over at And Baby Makes 10 for thinking up this fabulous name for my 'Jams'. When I first read it, I immediately thought of an old woman canning jam and I knew it just had to be the name. (Because let's face it, I'm pretty much an old woman in a 24 year old body and it just FIT.)

I took me listening to about 20 songs to pick which should be my first here. I don't know why I didn't think of this one before because it's absolutely perfect to start with. So listen to it, read the lyrics, do whatever and I'll meet you at the bottom of the post to tell you WHY I LOVE this song.


Brandon Heath - Love Never Fails

Love is not proud 
Love does not boast
Love after all 
Matters the most 

Love does not run
Love does not hide
Love does not keep
Locked inside 

Love is the river that flows through
Love never fails you

Love will sustain
Love will provide
Love will not cease
At the end of time 

Love will protect
Love always hopes
Love still believes
When you don't 

Love is the arms that are holding you
Love never fails you

When my heart won't make a sound
When I can't turn back around
When the sky is falling down
Nothing is greater than this 
Greater than this

Love is right here
Love is alive
Love is the way
The truth the life

Love is the river than flows through
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love is the place you will fly to
Love never fails you


Did you hear me sigh? That's the sound my heart makes when it's happy. I cannot tell you how much I love this song. For one, it's the song that I walked down the aisle to - my husband to be by my side - at my wedding. I had envisioned this grand entrance where my wedding party would walk down the aisle and just as the temp speeds up there towards the end, the doors would open and down I would walk as a gorgeous bride, dressed in white and ready to leave one life behind and begin a journey as husband and wife. But it didn't work out that way - and that's okay.

In case you didn't know, this entire song is pretty much just 1 Corinthians: 4-8 put to very pretty music and one of my favorite voices. I just love the meaning behind every word, the power and the respect and the meaning of TRUE love spoken so gently and perfectly. 

We won't get into how flippin' gorgeous Brandon Heath is and how awful my obsession with him has been since I first heard his voice in 2007. Luckily I've roped my husband into my obsession enough to the point that we never miss a concert if he's within 100 miles of our house (not kidding). I'm sneaky, I know.

 I am a sucker for a good love song - and this one just happens to be my favorite. I'd be thrilled if you guys wanted to share some of your favorite songs, why you liked them and then link up with me now and again. If you're interested, let me know and I'll make a grab badge for our cyber concerts!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wear a Dress

Please tell me that there's someone else out there that goes to check their yahoo mail and is immediately sucked in by the pointless and anything-but-informative yahoo news ticker. Cause that's me - every single flippin' time. Sometimes I'll read like half of them just because they're there. Maybe it's my way of making up for the fact that I don't watch the news like ever anymore. There's something about the Disney Channel entertaining my one year old on and off that just appeals to me more than all the negativity that the news can bring.

Anyway. I was going through all the pointless little stories on there the other day and came across this one:  Date Night Outfits Guys Will Love and it caught my attention because:

1) I like to look cute from time to time.
2) I could totally use a date night right about now and
3) Looking good for the guy in your life usually leads to other things. Get it? I'm sure you do.

So I read it and I wept because either:

1) I'm totally lost when it comes to being 'in style' for a simple date night or
2) Fashion has went so flippin' haywire, that it's really just for the rich and famous anyway.

There were a few outfits on the list that I got. Things like wearing your favorite piece, mini-skirts and a romantic top. I mean, what guy doesn't like a mini-skirt and a romantic top has the entire point in it's name anyway.

But printed pants or a cropped top? I'm pretty sure my husband would look at me like I was an alien, not a totally do-able, fashionista. Just sayin'

And what's up with all the dresses? I love a cute dress but did we have to separate them all into their own type? In this one article we have the little black dress, the little white dress, a sweet dress, a bright dress, an easy dress, a v-neck dress and a bold print dress.

So what in the heck did I learn from all of this?

Easy, Peeeeezy. If you're going out on a date night - wear a dress. Duh.
(And maybe quit reading so many yahoo news stories. Maybe.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Music, teaching and your opinion.

Has anyone noticed that this is my 3rd blog today? Probably not. If so...let's just not tell anyone that I may be a bit blog obsessed at the moment. Okay?

I've always had this thought in the back of my mind that I should teach. Some would probably call it a calling but I'm not sure I want to go that far with it at the moment. The thing is, teaching requires a lot of effort and while I clearly have allll the time in the world (haha), this is not something I want to take on right now.

However, this little blog of mine - this is my space to do whatever I want, ya know? So I have this idea, this plan. I just can't figure out what to name it and I'm not completely sure how to go about starting it, but I think I'm going to try anyway. Back when MySpace was cool (yeah, I wasn't really THAT long ago) I had attempted to start a 'song of the day' or something of the sort. Thing was, nobody really cares what you're music choices are and I truly doubt that too many people took the time to listen to my lovely choice of song for the day - therefore completely defeating the purpose.

The thing about music is that it's personal to each of us and for those of us that it means more to, we are super passionate about it to the point of threatening someone's life if they even dare to speak when you're favorite song is on the radio. (Not me. Swear...)

So my idea so far is to post songs with deep meaning to ME and instead of just saying "HEY! Go listen to this super-fantastic-I-swear-you'll-love-it song" I'd inform you all WHY it's important to me and how it can also benefit you. (I say benefit because 90% of the music I listen to has a Christian basis so therefore the songs usually have some underlying meaning that is obvious to some and less so to others. Get it?)

So what do you think? I have an sort-of example here and believe it or not, I had a TON of hits on that blog. I'd say it was people just lookin' for the lyrics to the song - but maybe not. Hey- you never know. I may even create badge once we name this madness and you guys could post songs that mean something to you and link up! So what do you think? Anyone in or am I just plain crazy?

(Almost Clean) Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

In case you missed it, I posted this blog last week about how if you're using hamburger for anything other than straight up hamburgers, you're out of your flippin' mind! So to encourage you guys to get out there, try ground turkey instead of ground beef, I thought I'd share with you one of my absolute favorite recipes.

Now, don't be a hater - I know this recipe isn't the greatest for you because it uses a ton of cheese. But it's GOOD and sometimes good is all you're looking for. Anywho, here goes: the all time favorite in my household:

Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf

2lbs of ground turkey (I buy the frozen stuff that's like $1.50 a lb. You can't beat it.)
1 cup of milk
1 cup of bread-crumbs 
2 eggs
8 oz shredded colby cheese
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4-6 baby carrots - grated (They're totally worth grating and adding to this recipe, it keeps the meatloaf super moist. Swear.)
splash of worcestershire sauce (You think it's hard to say? Try spelling it!)

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2) Mix your bread crumbs into the milk and let them soak for a minute or so.
3) Mix your turkey, eggs, milk and bread crumbs, seasonings, carrots and worcestershire sauce together by hand. Season with the salt and pepper and then fold the cheese into the mixture.
4) Shape your mixture and put it into a loaf pan.
6) Bake for 1 hour in a preheated oven to an internal temp of 180 degrees.

7) Cut, serve and enjoy because it's delicious! (And I never liked meatloaf before this.

If you guys decide to try it, come back here and let me know what you think! I suggest serving seasoned red-potatoes and fresh green beans with your loaf and all and all - it really isn't THAT bad for you. It sure beats pizza for dinner!

So What!

I'm linking up with Shannon over at Life After I 'Dew' for this week's SWW! This week I'm saying So What if:
-I acted like an immature middle school kid this week and got in a fight with my best friend over something that was really stupid when it came down to it. Don't worry, we made up - as best friends always do.

-I let Henry tear every last item out of my purse/diaper bag about 10 minutes ago. I needed to clean it out anyway and it entertained him for five minutes and that five minutes of peace was almost worth it.

-Jeremy went to work today with a dirty shirt on. I did all the laundry on Saturday. It's not my fault that his laundry wasn't in the laundry basket instead of being all over the house and therefore didn't get washed.

-I've had to reschedule two photo-shoots in the past two weeks. Everything is fighting against me right now but it can bring it cause - I got this.

-I can't wait to decorate for fall. I may like decorating for fall more than decorating for Christmas (for shame, I know) and this weather has just been sooo fall-like. I'm having a hard time convincing myself that it's August and not October.

-I may or may not plan on spending my entire morning watching my shows and then throwing clothes on at the last minute to run to town to have lunch with Jeremy like I promised. Shh...don't tell.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Outbox

If you're anything like me, you get so flippin' overwhelmed by life sometimes that you just want to find a nice corner and pout about it. Or maybe it's just me; I don't really know. I just know that lately I've been in a rut and struggle as I may, I can't seem to climb myself out of it.

I listen to K-LOVE like every single day because well, that's my jam and on my way to work (or was I on my way home?) on Friday (I think?) I was just kinda tuned in (Yup, on my way home...on Friday. I remember this now) and I caught this simple sentence: 'My inbox is overflowing but my outbox is empty.'

Yup! That's it! That's me right now! I have a bazillion requests, to-do's, hopes, wishes and other random goodness that I can't seem to get my mind to settle down long enough to focus on one thing. Well, maybe other than blogging. I've been doing pretty good with the blogging lately - but it is an outlet for me, so maybe that's why? Hmm...

Still, there's this list and it just keeps getting longer. I can't seem to get anything from my inbox to my outbox and even if I do, the response returns quicker than what I can move on to the next. It leaves me stuck in a routine where I just get the minimum finished and I become depressed, lonely and feeling sorry for myself. Feeling sorry for yourself sucks! And so does being depressed and lonely. Trust me. You don't want to go there.

So how do I get out of this rut? How do I learn to focus on just one thing? Got any tips for this crazy, ambitious girl that WANTS to do so much that she's fallen into the trap of doing nothing? I'm thanking you in advance (and so is my outbox!).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Way Things Are

The Way Things Are:

I am hurt. Like really hurt. I feel betrayed and replaced and my security in what I thought we had has been completely deflated.

I guess mostly I keep reminding myself that my life is anything but normal. I'm always Jeremy's wife, Henry's mother, Veda's granddaughter, Steve's daughter, the kids' sister. I really just want to be ME for once.

I guess you were the biggest part of me that I'd found in a really long time.

I just wonder if I'll ever have an ounce of long-time security, if I'll ever look around and think 'this feels safe' because every time I do I'm reminded otherwise.

Really I just want to be important to someone other than myself.

Why It's Okay:

It's okay. It's okay because everything is survivable - everything but that very last thing. And I'm fairly certain that this isn't going to kill me, not this time anyway. It's okay because I can still reason with myself. I can still remind myself that yesterday was wonderful and that tomorrow could be the same, even if today has hurt so very much. It's okay because I've been hurt worse - way worse.

It's okay because I did find you and if I found you then there must be others out there, others who will fit me -because they love me and not because they have to accept the role I play in the person they love's life. It's okay because I will always have Jeremy and Henry to fall into and even if occasionally they fail to catch me - bruises do tend to heal.

It's okay because I hate normalcy and I have to learn to accept that 'not being normal' can be both a good and bad thing sometimes. I just have to find the unbalance where good outweighs bad.

It's okay because it mattered and if it mattered, if it hurt, then I'm risking enough of myself to say that I never faked it, I never just said the words and didn't mean them. I loved and I lived. What more can we ask of life?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Good Times

I'm looking forward to a wonderful night.

Pizza with my brother, husband and son.
A bonfire in the backyard.
Stories about war, babies and life.
Laughter - lots of laughter.
Songs played on the guitar.
And that perfect feeling that only being with family can bring.

I think I will wrap my mind around every sound, every word and every feeling that tonight will bring and when I lay down in bed tonight, I'll pray that I'll remember the good times like this forever.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Be nice to me, darn it!

Have you ever been walking through a store, been frustrated as all get out and taken it out immediately on the next employee that you see just because well - it's obviously their fault since they were ignorant enough to   cross your path?

For those of you who do not know, I work at Lowe's 20 hours on the weekends. I am not particularly fond of the job, but it isn't awful either and it provides my little family with insurance where as my husband's full-time job does not. We do what we can and gotta in these parts.

Anyway. Nothing, NOTHING, bugs me more than when I end up with a super pissy, totally unappreciative customer who most of the time is angry for reasons outside of anything I could possibly help them with find me, yell at me and make me feel like I'm the sole cause for every misfortune in the entire world. (Yes - it really feels like that, I'm kind of sensitive, okay?)

I just wish sometimes that they would just stop and think about what they're doing. Usually if there's something wrong in the store

-It's not my fault.
-I can't fix it.
-And yelling at me is just going to make it much harder for me to WANT to do what I can to help.

Just sayin'

Now, I'm not sticking up for those people who go to work and seriously deserve to be yelled at. I've yelled. I've yelled and I've been very angry at people who seriously amaze me that they're in a retail environment, treating customers (who are their job security...hello!) like total dog crap. Just this past week I put a lady into her place at Wendy's when she told me that they couldn't add or remove anything from my sandwich. Are you serious? Push the extra button and quit acting like you're doing me a huge favor!!

Anyway, off subject a bit there.

All I'm asking is that the next time you go into the store, if they're out of milk (this happened to me this week too) don't yell at the poor boy stocking paper-towels in the next isle (I didn't yell at anyone though, promise). I'm sure it's not his fault that the truck didn't get there or the cow's got loose and ran off, jumping moons along their way. Just try to be a little nicer, please. I know it would make my life a little-lot easier.

I am thanking you personally, from every retail employee in advance!

P.S. - I won't even go into you men out there who look at me like an idiot when I tell you what I KNOW is true but because I don't have two balls between my legs, you immediately take me as an ignorant throw-in who obviously is working in this department because I don't know a single thing about it. That's another post - but it's coming and you should fear me right about now.

The Way Things Are & Why It's Okay

I'm following Johnna's suit over at not the muse and starting 'The Way Things Are & Why It's Okay' here hopefully weekly. It's all about taking those negative things and finding the blessings in them, a former blogger used to do these and I used to love reading them. She's going to make a badge so we can link up together, I can't wait.

Anywho...yesterday was just one of those days, so I thought today would be a good day to start.

The Way Things Are:
I spent all morning shampooing my rugs, scrubbing the fabric on my couches, sweeping and mopping and cleaning because while we were on vacation, our dog-sitter obviously forgot that going out with his friends every night wasn't quite as important as doing his job and letting our dogs out. So my once potty-trained pup is now going out on an hourly basis, walking back into the house and peeing on the floor. It took us awhile to catch on and the smell was so atrocious that I kept cleaning and cleaning and couldn't figure out what it was. Needless to say, I figured it out and my brand-new rug went bye-bye yesterday. Mr. Cohen will now be spending his nights in his cage until I can get him fully potty trained again and we will have a new sitter the next time we leave town. 'nough said.

Why It's Okay:
The horrible smell is now gone, THANK GOD. Jeremy has a horrible sense of smell and no matter how many times that I told him that something smelled just terrible, I don't think he thought it was as bad as what it was. My couches look brand new again! Between Henry spilling his sippy cups and the dogs jumping all over them and all of us snacking on them, they had already begun to look well worn. Oh...and I get to go shopping for a new rug. I love decor-shopping, it's by-far my favorite type of shopping and I've already started planning and brain-storming ideas for an awesome new rug. Perhaps something with a lot of color this time?

The Way Things Are:
I spent my entire afternoon gathering props, writing down my posing ideas and making phone calls to confirm my locations for an engagement session just in time for the couple to call to reschedule because of fear of rain. I was so annoyed because I had put so much time and effort into preparing this session because I wanted it to be great - and I need the images for my portfolio.

Why It's Okay:
When 7 p.m. rolled around (the time of their session) it was dark as could be outside, the wind was blowing like crazy and it was raining so it was a good thing we rescheduled or they would of drove an hour and a half for nothing. With my free time, Jeremy and I drove to a few parks here in Miami County that I've been curious about for locations and I am now super excited about one. Then we had dinner and rented a movie to watch together - there is nothing better than cuddling on the couch on a rainy evening with one another and a good movie.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The 2012 Miami County Fair

While usually we hold out our fair-going until the Darke County Fair, Jeremy had free fair passes from work so we decided to go roam around the Miami County fairgrounds for a couple of hours last night.

There really wasn't much to see. Most of the animals were already put up for the night and the lack of craft booths and games is one of the many reasons that we had decided to quit going in the past. However, Henry liked seeing all the rides lit up and we watched the marching band perform which was nice.

The only really cool thing we saw was the light show put on with hot-air balloons. A guy would blow a fog-horn and all the balloons would light up at once, it was pretty neat. I was glad that I decided to take my camera at last minute!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Happy Meal for a Happy Boy

I really do not like eating out and I really do not do it often, but after skipping breakfast this morning and then spending several hours between the grocery and errands, I was starving. Plus Henry was being SO good. He didn't cry once through the entire grocery store (which is odd for him, he usually wants out of the cart about half-way through). I even found several clearance items for him to wear this time next year. I just LOVE clearance clothes!

So, I figured I'd go get myself a baked potato and some chili from Wendy's and after I went through the drive-through and then stopped to see Jeremy for a few minutes, I realized that my sleeping boy in the backseat probably deserved a treat himself. So I stopped by McDonalds on the way home, waited in line for  10 minutes, bought myself a sweet tea and got Henry his very first Happy Meal.

He loved it. Of course he did, what kid doesn't? He wasn't really thrilled about the apple slices - but I usually cook apples before I give them to him so they were pretty much completely foreign to him, but he LOVED the chocolate milk and chicken nuggets. He fed the fries to the dogs. I don't blame him, they looked disgusting. I am just not a fry person most of the time. I think the toy was his favorite part, he carried it around for a good hour, putting it in the back of his truck and pushing it around. He's just so darn cute - and I can not imagine loving anyone any more.

So What!

After watching Stephanie over at And Baby Makes 10 join Shannon over at Life After I 'Dew' every Wednesday to say So What to lists upon lists of things, I began to think that this may actually be a great stress-relieving activity. I mean, how often do we just want to say So What to those things that we usually beat ourselves up about? So I've finally decided to join them! So here goes, my first SWW post!

So What! if this week:

-I've yet to do the dishes. Seriously there's a sink full and I swore that I wasn't going to just throw them in the dishwasher this week because it needs cleaned and everything comes out with a nasty white film on it and wouldn't you believe that I went to the grocery today and forgot to buy cleaner for it. They'll get done... eventually.

-I was a complete jerk to a girl yesterday who was persistently trying to convince me (knowing that I'm a photog) to bring my son into the studio she works at to get a 'free 5x7'. I've worked in a studio, I know how free stuff works and I straight told her - I can take his pictures myself without getting pestered for an hour to buy crappy, uncreative photos for WAY too much money.

-I'm totally jealous of my husband right now. My brother is buying his truck and he's researching new vehicles and although I think I've convinced him to go with an SUV type vehicle of some sort instead of a new truck, I want a new vehicle. Yeah, I could sell mine but I wouldn't get a whole lot out of it and it really is a good car so it just doesn't make sense. I'll just suck it up, or pretend to anyway.

-I just put in three more requests for days off at work. Yeah, I only work a total of 20 hours a week and I did just get back from a two week vacation, but I swear everything happens when I'm suppose to be at work and I just refuse to miss everything anymore. I really just work so we can have insurance and I'm pretty much the lowest guy on the totem pole so they can learn to survive without me!

-I just noticed that like a bazillion people linked up over at 'Life After I 'Dew'' for SWW is names 'Jenn'. Okay, maybe only like 3 or 4 but seriously? That's my name!

What are you guys saying So What! to this week? Link up with all of us girls over at Life After I 'Dew' and come back next week for another week of So Whats!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fly, fly away...

Sometimes I wish I were a bird.

I know that that statement it completely ridiculous - but it's true. Can you imagine what it must be like to be a bird? Can you imagine how free you must be to spread your wings and soar through the sky, landing and living and being where ever your heart desires. It sounds glorious to me, absolutely and irrevocably glorious.

Not that I'm not happy right here, exactly where I am. Just sometimes being where you're meant to be, in the place that you feel most comfortable, can feel too...right. I have too much of a drifter's soul and I think I'd be happiest never settling in one place for long, no matter how impossibly ridiculous that is. I mean, what kind of mother and wife would I be if I constantly uprooted my family just to satisfy my lust to surround myself with change?

There is always exploration. There is always the possibility of finding something new and wonderful as close as my back yard and over the years, I've learned that although my heart often yearns to be elsewhere, elsewhere is usually closer if I'd just open my eyes and look for it.

Life is like that - right there in front of you, waiting for your eyes to come back into focus, showing you that you were looking too far ahead instead of seeing what was obvious. I like it that way sometimes though, it leaves a sort of air of mystery that leaves me wanting more. Sweet, addicting nectar that I will never sip enough of.

Henry's Bedroom To-Do's

Since moving into our home, we really don't venture upstairs much. Our bedroom is plenty big enough (and then some) to share with Henry right now and the thought of trying to get him out of our bed and into his own while going up and down the stairs a million times a night just doesn't appeal to me. However, I promised myself that I was going to work on his bedroom this winter while I'm stuck indoors - even if it's just mostly a playroom for now. Not to mention, if I have enough stuff to put any room completely together it's his.

I was brain-storming ideas tonight and I'm afraid I'm going to forget them so I thought I'd write some of them down.

Things to do in Henry's room!

1) Paint - Brown, Orange and Green.
2) Buy or make rods for his curtains.
3) Create a car-shaped chalkboard on one wall.
4) Buy magnetic strips for his Hot Wheels.
5) Make pillows from his receiving blankets.
6) Make a bean-bag chair from one of his car sheets.
7) Find/research a book-case, lantern/hanging light, and rug for his reading nook.
8) Create felt patterns to attach to his lampshade.
9) Make a magnet tray to attach to the wall.
10) Make some wall art and a bunting flag banner to hang.
11) Paint his Little Tykes table.

I plan on coming back and adding more ideas and to-do's as I think of them. I'm actually pretty excited to get his bedroom together as I have almost everything I need to do what I envision. It's just getting everything together that's so hard!

Ground Turkey vs Ground Beef

I will never for the life of me understand why people buy ground beef/chuck. I know that there's a lot of recipes out there that call for ground beef but let me tell you something, with the price of groceries going sky-high and the never-ending concern for our health - you can not go wrong with substituting ground turkey for ground beef. Why's that you ask? Well...

1) Ground turkey is cheaper. Like WAYYY cheaper. I can usually get a pound of ground turkey for around $1.25. I don't buy ground beef (like ever) but the last time I glanced at the price of a pound, I know it was over $3.00. THREE DOLLARS, double the price! I'm sorry, but in my world, that is just too much to spend on something that you're usually going to make into something else.

2) It tastes super similar. Now unless you're making straight-up hamburgers (although there are some awesome turkey burger recipes out there) I really don't think you can taste THAT much of a difference in the two. Most recipes that call for ground beef is usually saturated in other flavors that doesn't really revolve around the beef itself. When I make my meat sauce for spaghetti, I mix a pound of ground turkey with a jar of spaghetti sauce and let it simmer together and it's delicious. The same also goes for things like chili, hamburger helper, tacos, and even meatloaf (my family's favorite).

3) It's usually healthier. This is where reading labels always comes in handy! Turkey is normally lower in calories and fat than what ground beef is. BUT, it can be true that it can be higher, especially if you are buying something as lean as 90/10 or 95/5 ground beef. The thing is, you've really got to check the labels!! What I buy comes frozen in 1 lb increments and is about equal to buying 90/10 ground beef. However, I have seen some ground turkey out there that is actually WAY worse for you than buying a lean ground beef. It's really a difference of whether or not the company who makes it uses more of the breast or more of the darker meats in their ground products.

I cannot tell you the last time that I bought ground beef. To me, it's obvious that the way to go is with turkey, especially when you're on a budget like my family is. I am often confronted with people telling me that it makes them absolutely cringe to think about eating ground turkey instead of beef but I have to tell you - don't  knock it until you try it. The next time you go to make your family dinner, try substituting and then come back and let me know what you thought. Do you use any substitutions for health and cost reasons when you cook?

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I really don't get people.

Here's the thing; there are few things, very, very few things in life that are easy. I was always taught that if anything is worth something it's going to take work! I think if everyone could grasp this concept, we'd all be in better shape. But alas, my opinion doesn't count for a whole lot in the entire scheme of the world.

Still, to grunt around, wishing and dreaming that things will just up and magically change is just plain ignorant. Here are a few things based around that theory that have just drove me absolutely nuts as of late.

-'When I win the lottery'.
Let's face it. You are probably not going to win the lottery. If you really want that patio set, save up the money and buy the damn thing. Quit throwing that money into lottery tickets every day and start saving it instead. It'll add up. Promise.

-Welfare, Job and Family Services and 'Cheating' the System.
When there are people out there who really do need help feeding, housing and clothing their children then I have no problem with them being on assistance. What drives me absolutely fricken bonkers is going through the grocery line behind someone chatting on their IPhone, throwing junk food onto the conveyor belt and talking about how they have all this 'extra' money to spend this week on beer, cigarettes, clothes, concert tickets, etc, etc, etc. It makes my blood boil when my husband and I bust our butts to provide for ourselves and our son and go without when they're floating around blowing OUR money like it grows on trees. We are paying for this nonsense you know and we'll continue to pay until our nation undergoes some radical change.

-Beating 'The Man'
I got news for ya. Unless you are 'The Man' you are never going to beat him. He has you by the balls and the truth is, in our economy, you can't really afford to snide behind his back at every chance. If you hate your job so much, find another. You are not making anyone's job easier, including your own, by complaining every two minutes about how horrible it is to show up every day. Ya know what else I've noticed? It's usually the ones that do all the complaining that don't do a lick of work. Maybe 'The Man' needs to be on top of you all the time - just sayin'.

-Mindless Spending
Can you borrow $3 for lunch? No, no you can't. I'd hate to see you starve but I watched you last night buy a whole cart full of things that you didn't need, I'm pretty sure that your new phone didn't pay for itself and I noticed that you've had your nails done again in the past week. So no. Return something, go beg someone else but you will get no sympathy from me. Oh yeah - quit complaining about how poor and how horrible that you have it too. It's really not true, you just don't think before you buy.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood because I have to put up with the same people every weekend tell me about how poor they are, how horrible our jobs are, how terrible their lives are and how much we should all feel sorry for them. I don't buy into it and it really just peeves me off. They think I'm a bitch because I refuse to sympathize but I really don't care. People are seriously ridiculous sometimes and I. Just. Don't. Get. It!