Ch-ch-changes…

Yes, I changed my blog layout.  I am feeling like taking risks.  LOL

I am still sticking to my so-called vow of silence, which isn’t truly a vow of complete silence.  I am just zipping my lips and only talking when I absolutely need to, in order to hear what people are saying.  I fell off the wagon a bit earlier today when I was talking to Hubby about some of the different options we currently have for our future.  We discussed the option of staying in Michigan for the time being and trying to build our snow plowing business up further by adding another snow plow, thereby making us an official “fleet”.  If we have any more winter seasons like this one has been, we could afford to travel to warmer climes a few times in the winter and, to be honest, Michigan is quite nice in the summer and fall so I don’t mind being here.

To be even more honest, I don’t mind being here in the winter, not anymore.  I’m used to it.  Since I don’t have to go out in the crap every day other than to transport Lola to and from school, it’s not so bad.  But even driving in the snow is no biggie anymore, I’m used to that too.  I could easily see myself just putting the moving away idea on the shelf, and concentrating on building our business some more and continuing to do the transcription work, and continuing to slowly make improvements to this house and pay down the balance on the mortgage.

I don’t know.  I know Hubby really wants to go somewhere warmer, but I am getting to a more accepting attitude about the whole thing.  If we had a bit better economic situation here, we wouldn’t mind just making the trip to Tennessee or Cincinnati to visit family every other month or so like we used to be able to do. 

What got me thinking about the snow plow business is that we had some snow last night and so our contractor was out running our plow last night.  It was a shorter shift because it wasn’t much snow.  Hubby and I slept in our bed last night and we made about $350.00 after paying our driver contractor.  That is some easy money.  I started thinking if we had two trucks and two drivers, we could be making double that and using that to get ahead. 

I don’t know.  It’s just where my thoughts have been lately and I’m just tired of being on tenterhooks not knowing if we are coming or going.  I just like the steady calm of knowing where you are and what you are working towards.  I like to have a one-year, five-year and ten-year plan in place.  I don’t like having three of each depending on what option we end up taking.  And I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket on a path we aren’t sure we’re going to get to take.  It’s driving me crazy.

As far as other things, I am still processing the things my therapist said yesterday.  Part of me is mad because it was kind of harsh.  But part of me knows it is the truth and I really just don’t know how to address it and make the changes I need to make.  I felt chastened and basically called on the carpet and everyone knows I can’t stand that feeling.  However, I know I focus too much on what I perceive to be Lola’s problems when they are really my own.  My therapist pointed that out to me quite clearly enough yesterday.  The parallels were stunningly obvious if I had just taken the time to look at it reasonably.  But as my therapist points out, I *think* I am using reason, and I’m totally not.  So I feel even worse about me, although my therapist tells me my biggest challenge is working on my self-esteem.  But she just gave me a big knock down on that.  Kind of one step forward, two steps back.

On the positive side, she countered the “five challenging” things about myself with “five positives” and apparently, I have an amazing sense of humor and a strong drive to improve myself.  Plus, I’m very bright.  When she said that, I wanted to snap, “No, lady, I’m a fucking genius.”  I felt indignant about just being considered bright.  But then, I thought of all the stupid things I’ve done over the years, despite my high I.Q., and I remained silent and did not interrupt her.  Which I am sure she appreciated.  Because apparently, someone like me is “exhausting.”

Is it considered progress when you’re mad at your therapist?

Right now, I feel mad at a lot of people and honestly, I’m sure the feelings are misplaced.  In some cases, I feel let down because individuals have turned out to be not as perfect as I imagined they were.  Others, because I feel they may never change for the better.  Others, because they judge.  I just decided I will take a break from everyone as far as verbal communication goes, and give myself time to get over my feelings of jadedness, and then I can enjoy contact with all those beloved people again.  I just wish everyone could remember we are family and nothing can change that.  I just wish everyone could find happiness in their situation. 

What else is going on?  Hm…let’s see.  Princess is doing great.  I am in the process of hiring a geometry tutor for her, but other than that her studies are going pretty well.  Her personal life is good.  She is not dating anybody yet which is good, and her conversations with “that boy” she was talking to at school have waned, because I think she sees that he may be a bit of a player.  A nice enough acquaintance, but not boyfriend material (at least, I hope that’s what she’s concluded).  She and I are starting a 6-month fitness plan.  By July we hope to meet our goals (just healthy weight, not anything horrible or out of control), and we are going to treat ourselves in grand fashion when we do.  Princess mainly entertains herself by voracious reading, listening to her iPod, or messing around on the computer, or hanging with me.  I am glad I seem to be in the top 4 these days.  I would say she has become one of my best friends because she is just an amazing person and one of the funniest girls I know. 

Lola is an enigma.  She is certainly “bright” as they come.  It becomes more obvious every day that she has been blessed with a surplus of brains.  However, she also has more than her fair share of temper, stubbornness, and O.C.D.  She gets so obsessive-compulsive about some things that literally all hell breaks loose if something happens out of sequence (at least HER sequence).  We are struggling with some of those things but generally she is getting easier and easier to reason with, and I gotta say, she is precious and funny and has such a soft heart underneath all that MOUTH!  Which, I have to admit, is all from her mommy.  That’s my opinion anyway.  I love that kid so much!  I am so proud of her beauty, her brains, her spark.  I just cringe when she spouts off to people in a rude manner.  We are working on it, though.  And we are working on chores, and listening skills (how coincidental?), and eating all foods she is asked to eat.  Last night, for instance, without some small sacrifice of time and standing in the corner for her, she did eat cubed steak, corn, and mashed potatoes for dinner.  The night before she finally succumbed and ate her spaghetti.  Eventually she will realize we intend to call her bluff on this dinner thing.  She needs to eat more than hot dogs and peanut butter sandwiches.

Hubby and I are doing well.  We need to spend more one-on-one time together, as usual, but otherwise we are very much partners and I just love him so much it hurts.  April will mark 10 years we have been “together”.  We have known each other almost 20 years.  Can you believe that?  He bought me an iPod for Christmas, which I am loving so much!  8 gigs and I am using most of them! 🙂

Well, I guess I will go and play Guitar Hero until Princess gets home.  Then, I’ll quickly turn it off and get up and pretend I’ve been working on grown-up, responsible things all day. 😉 ha ha!

A New Job!!!

Current mood: accomplished

Ok, as some of you know, I went back to work about 5 weeks ago.  Through a temp agency I was placed at the local county courthouse in the Probate Court.  I have really enjoyed working there and although it took me a few weeks to get over putting Lola in daycare, I have recovered.  Lola loves it so much that I wouldn’t even think of taking her out now.  It really has been to her benefit — she is happier now that she has playmates and plenty of interaction outside our little nuclear family; she is learning even more, her facile little mind is just soaking things in; her potty-training has actually leapt forward and she is almost there; she has much more structure in her day and is willingly eating all 3 meals a day (this was something she resisted at home).  She is going without the beloved binkies from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. every day so that’s an improvement. 

I have enjoyed getting out of the house, doing something productive, and making a bit of money.  My moods have really improved and I am beginning to realize how helpful it is to be out of the house with regard to my emotional/mental wellbeing. 

Anyway — let’s get down to the news…last week, I interviewed for the position in Probate Court that I have been doing.  My interview went great and I was told by my supervisor that they had submitted their opinion and that it was that I was the one they wanted to hire.  Unfortunately, on Tuesday she came to me and told me that they were not able to offer me the position.  She was not able to tell me why, because she could lose her job, but that it had nothing to do with me.  I know why now, but I can’t really say because I wouldn’t want to get in one of those “public blog” scandally things.  But I do know it’s not about me.  My supervisor and the head of the department were very upset and disappointed.  They wanted me to know about another position in a different department, and they were going to help me any way they could to keep me in the courthouse.

So anyway — my supervisor took me down to meet the supervisor of that department.  I already knew him and he let me know that he was interested in me applying for the position.  It is in the trial court, and what I would be doing is working with 2 or 3 specific judges, doing all their courtroom scheduling (hearings, trials, etc.).  There’s more to it but that’s the main function. 

Yesterday I interviewed for the position, and an hour later…I was given the job!

So as of next Wednesday I will be the Trial Court Assignment Coordinator!  And what is really funny about the whole thing is that this job pays MUCH better than the Probate position I tried to get; and it’s a union position which means much more job security.  And I’ve got all those delicious county government benefits.  They even pay most of the cost of your parking (I only have to pay $20 a month). 

So, anyway — I got a great Christmas present.  I am making a bit more than I ever have in any previous position–and that’s just the starting pay!  My hubby is happy happy happy.  And life is going to get a bit better, and it will be a bit easier to breathe (and pay our bills).  And I guess I’m still viable in the work force!  I was beginning to worry when I was looking for a job.  But since I have 2 department heads arguing over keeping me in their departments, I must still have SOMETHING to offer. (*end of brag*)

Tonight we’re going to a 15-year reunion for my hubby’s high school.  I need to go and get a few things in preparation for that.  So, I am going to get off here.  Just wanted to share the good news.

Friendship That Catches Fire

Lola woke up at 4 this morning, apparently a bad dream.  I tried everything to get her to go back to sleep either in her bed or mine, but the only thing that worked was to go out to the living room with her, turn on a show with the volume down low, and lay on the couch with her on top of me, and she went to sleep that way.  I, however, could not go to sleep.  I laid there until the alarm clock went off.  I yawned my way through the day. 

Tonight I am trying to get some things done around here — and I am trying to come up with a plan to get things done the night before work so we don’t have to rush around to get out of the door on time, and maybe even be able to sleep a bit more.

Lola seems to be enjoying daycare.  She gets upset when we first leave but she seems really enthusiastic about it otherwise.  Again, I just need to come to terms with myself, because she’s apparently all for it.  I just miss her, and I struggle to get through every day interacting with others, when I would just as soon not.  I also hate getting up in the mornings, I’m always so damned tired.

Work is going ok.  I am getting along good with everyone, and taking on more tasks.  I am hoping that they will start giving me enough to keep busy all day without walking around asking people “Do you have anything for me to do?”  I hate doing that because it makes me feel like I have no worth.  I need to start packing lunch because it’s too cold to go out on the streets to buy lunch so I’ve been buying it in the cafe on the ground floor and it is EXPENSIVE!!!  Delicious, but expensive. 

Oh, another bummer is that I don’t get to see Hubby very much now.  He doesn’t get home from work until after 8, and that is if he doesn’t have overtime.  Last night he didn’t get home until midnight, and I don’t even think I woke up when he came in.  I leave way before he needs to be up.

A good thing though is that as long as traffic moves smoothly, I leave work at 4:30 and can be walking into the daycare to get Lola by 4:50.  This makes me happy.  It’s just a few minutes but I’ll take all the minutes I can grab with my little one!

Princess is doing great – homework galore – but doing well.  She is participating in Drama Club again this year and they are putting on a play in a week or so — she is in Little Women.  She has all of a sudden gotten really interested in sketching and designing fashion.  She’s done a few drawings that are actually very impressive.

Well that’s the update.  Nothing earth shattering.  I’m looking forward to getting my first paycheck.  It will come in handy-as I have done no Christmas shopping as of yet for the kids.  Wish me luck shopping this weekend.

Lastly I shared with my Hubby a wonderful quote, that we both feel describes our relationship perfectly…

“Love is Friendship That Catches Fire.”

Isn’t that beautiful?

CG

Week Update

Hi.

I am sitting around on Saturday, just enjoying being home and being with my daughter.

This week went OK.  My first 3 days of work went OK too; it was pretty much just “peon” work — busy work — filing, copy jobs, etc.  I am sure that they will be wanting me to do other things as I get acclimated, but for now it is just low-end clerical.  I am not sure I would be happy in this kind of position, as my skills would be highly underutilized.  However, it could be a nice foot in the door for getting a job at the Prosecutor’s Office or moving up in the Probate Department. 

Then again, there is something to be said for brainless work that is not too taxing.  If the job just ended up being stuff like this, I could really enjoy not having to work too hard and make a decent wage, along with the excellent governmental benefits. 

I have been enjoying getting out of the house and being around other adults.  I am enjoying feeling useful and productive.  I do enjoy eating lunch by myself outside of the house and being alone with my thoughts like I used to when I was working.  I am less than a block away from the New Age bookstore, so I will probably trek out there next week and spend some time.  I love bookstores like this one; they always inspire me to live my life more consciously and deliberately.  Starbucks is several blocks away, to my chagrin, because getting a hot chocolate every morning would add to my enjoyment even more.

I do like most of my coworkers.  There is this one that seems a bit bitchy at times but she is friendly enough when I approach her to talk.  Apparently this is not her normal behavior (the bitchiness) but she is angry with the supervisor and she is very good at holding a grudge.  And oh wow — I came in yesterday and they were in their Friday staff meeting; and it became VERY heated.  It was this employee and the supervisor, I think.  Raised voices, cussing, etc.  If this is how it is in those meetings I’m not sure if I like that.  I will continue to observe the dynamics between people.  I would sure hate to be thinking this job is something it will not be if I stay permanently.

The hardest part of it all has been missing and worrying about Lola.  I have been calling every day at lunch and I get the report — she is doing great.  She seems to really enjoy it and she wants to go every morning.  When I wake her up and say, “Let’s get ready for school,” she says “OK!” and cheerfully gets up and lets me clean her up.  Once we are gathering things to head out the door she’ll have a moment of unwillingness because she wants to watch TV, but once I get her to the back door to put on her coat she is fine, and eager to go, again.  Once she gets there she takes off her coat and runs off to play with the other kids.  She does cry if she sees me heading out the door but I assume that she gets over it quickly, just like she does when anyone else is babysitting her.

When I call they tell me that she has been eating her snack, eating her lunch, and taking a nap with the rest of the kids.  Yesterday I got a packet of work and art she did during the week and I was really impressed.  I didn’t know she could use scissors and cut things out!!!  They have weekly themes and this week the color was brown, the number was 5 and the letter was S.  I am thinking this is actually working out well for her.  I will continue to watch her and see if she is happy.  OH, they are working with her on the potty training, so that is another good thing.  The fact that they know our family because Princess used to go there for before/after school daycare really helps.  I have a good rapport with them.  This daycare is a family run entity–the mom is the owner, and her son and daughter both work there.  They both have children in the daycare as well.  As a matter of fact, Dan (not his real name), the son’s — daughter seems to be Lola’s special friend.  Her name is Lila.  So it’s Lila and Lola (LOL).

She is happy when I pick her up.  “I am so happy to see you, Mommy!”  She can’t wait to get home and see her sissy and her daddy.  She cries, “I’m Home! I’m Home!” when we pull in the driveway.  And when I ask her if she had fun at school, she says, “Yes.”  So I guess daycare is agreeing with her.  I love her so much.  Being away from her all day is making me appreciate her more.  And there is something to be said about her not being in front of the TV all day long like she has been doing all this time. 

Mornings have been a challenge for us.  I am going to have to get into some sort of routine to make this all go more smoothly.  Four people getting ready at the same time, leaving at the same time, etc.  One bathroom…well needless to say that is amusing to watch.

I have been taking Zoloft for a week now, along with my Lamictal and so far that seems to be helping.  I am feeling much more hopeful and happy with things.  I don’t know how I am going to be able to squeeze in exercise now that I only get 4 hours in the evening with my little one and I don’t want to waste a minute of it.  Getting up earlier is not an option right now because I can barely drag my ass out of bed in the morning as it is.

I think if I can get my house cleaned up today, we can set up the Christmas tree tomorrow when Hubby is off work.

Take care, everyone.

I’m Ok

I had to rant a little bit last night, just blowing off some of the head of steam I worked up last night doing the bills.  I went and took a long, hot bath and went back downstairs and just accepted the situation for what it is.  I cannot create a miracle.  So, instead of planning future bill paying by calculating in overtime that I can’t even be sure he’ll get, or snow I’m not sure we’ll see, or predicting how much I can expect from the TDR gig, I just said, “I’m going to figure this out with Hubby’s base pay and, it is what it is.”  I’ll make partial payments where I can, and first and foremost, I have to prioritize what gets paid.  House payment, groceries, gasoline, utilities.  The rest will get paid as I can pay it.

With that in mind, I started figuring out how I can slowly catch us up on things we’re behind on.  I made payment arrangements with the gas company, I will make 4 increment payments on the past due balance, and keep up with current balances.  That’s achievable.  I’m going to just pay the budgeted amounts for everything else, with some extra to pay down the balances that are past due.  By April or May, things should be pretty well caught up.  Not that I put it into the equation, but I know we’ll probably be getting a refund this year, especially since my business took a dive, and we didn’t do very much snowplowing in early 2006 or ANY snowplowing in late 2006.  😦  But anyway, we will pay some of the immediate important debts when that comes in.  We usually file early.  As soon as all the paperwork has been received.

And Hubby and I decided that we are not going anywhere major for vacation this year.  We’re going to go ahead and invest a couple hundred dollars of our tax refund in Paramount Parks season passes, which will get us into Kings Island, Cedar Point, Michigan Adventure and various other parks that are close enough to make day or camping trips to.  Honestly, that’s the most fun we have as a family, going to amusement parks and riding roller coasters.  It’s something we all enjoy.  We all love to camp, yet haven’t been camping since Lola was born.  Last year, when we went to Disney for the day, Lola enjoyed some things but was a little alarmed on her first ride.  I think things will be different this year, going to the kiddie lands at the amusement parks.  And the rest of us will greatly enjoy riding the “big kid” rides.  Plus that whole parents’ pass thing rocks…if you haven’t been to an amusement park with little kids lately, what you do is one person goes through the line and rides, and they get a “parents pass”, and after they get off the ride, they take the little ones, hand the “parents pass” to the other parent, and they get to go to the front of the line and take their turn riding.  It’s pretty cool.

But finances being what they are, I am still looking to make some money.  Optimally, I’d like to bring home at LEAST $500 a month, maybe $1000, working part time.  It’s achievable, if I can find the right scenario.  But I’m not going to assume anything or plan on it — just make my plan on Hubby’s base pay, and once I actually get a regular paycheck of some sort, then I can plan what to do with it as I go along.

I figured out how much we spent for Christmas this year.  I just went out and spent, and didn’t really think about it.  I thought we’d stayed in a pretty decent budget, but we didnt.  The number shocked us both.  I told Hubby that we should just tell our friends we are converting to Judaism and will not be celebrating Christmas in the future.  Just go on a long weekend vacation during Christmas and avoid the whole thing, if we’re going to blow that much money, we should be spending it on the betterment of our family.  LOL. 

It used to be that I kept such a watch on our incoming and outcoming money flow, that I would KNOW as we went along how much had been spent for Christmas, or anything else, for that matter.  But my emotional stuff had drained me to the point where I just didn’t really have the energy to do that.  I’ve been on this medication for almost 2 weeks now, and I’m telling you I’m looking back at myself and I can’t believe I was operating under the immense weight of all that mental shit.  Now, it’s like I have that old fire back in my heart.  I want to have a clean house and don’t mind doing something about it.  I want to look nice every day and am actually doing that.  I want to get my finances in order and feel willing to do what I need to do to make that happen.  I want to teach my baby everything, and now I’m doing that more and more.  I have energy to PLAY.  My hubby seems happier, Princess seems to enjoy her home being clean and pleasant to be in.  And Lola, I swear just in the last 2 weeks, I’ve taught her so many new words, and we’ve been cleaning up her toys, getting into a morning and evening routine, and her physical development has really sped up.  She can now put all the pieces in her wood puzzles without any difficulty at all.  She’s learning some of her letters. 

Even though I know that we are going to have to continue being frugal for a while, I know how much pleasure can be derived from simple things.  We used to have board game nights every week.  I think we’re going to start doing that again, and movie nights, etc.  And this summer, we have everything we need here to have a great time at home — a new patio and grill, nice comfy patio furniture, some play things for Lola in the yard, Princess has her pimped out clubhouse, our huge yard, our old but speedy jetskis, our firepit, etc.  We have a camp resort in our own backyard if we just use it.

And we have been toning down on eating out.  Of course, we have had no choice, we’ve had NO money to eat out with.  We have one credit card, and it’s maxed out, and our bank account was negative there for a while.  I was raiding Hubby’s new quarter collection to get milk.  It’s payday now, and I’m going to be much smarter this time around.  I have my budget.  I’ve made my menus for a month.  I’m alloting myself a certain amount per week for groceries.  I will make a grocery list each week with my menu in front of me, and get the things I need to feed us all for a week.  If money is left over, I’m setting it aside to save for a trip to the bulk store to get some of our most popular food items in bulk.  I’m planning meals that are cheaper to make, and Hubby’s lunches are packed each day.  Each week, I’m setting aside a “pizza” day where we can order pizza.  A local pizza place has this thing they call the school special – a large pizza with one topping, and an order of their special breadsticks – and the total with tax is $8.47.  And a dollar of that order goes to the school district.  As our finances improve, I will allot more $ per week for eating out, and we will have a choice, if we choose not to use our weekly eating out or pizza allowance, I’m putting it in what I have dubbed the “Benihana” jar…to save up until we have enough money to go to Benihana’s.  We all love Benihana soo much, and it will be a special occasion to go, and we’ll enjoy it that much more knowing we saved so we could really do it without guilt.

And, if I do end up making extra money, I can pay the debts down and make sure everyone has a little bit of spending money for themselves.  I figured it out — if I was making $1000 a month, after I get everything else paid off, and started applying all the money we’re paying towards the other debts to our 2nd mortgage, we could have it paid off in less than 2 years.  Then, we’d only have our regular mortgage.  Plus, before I even started making huge extra payments on the 2nd mortgage, I would be paying everything else off, including the loans we took from our life insurance and Hubby’s 401(k).  Hubby’s 401(k) loan payments are deducted from his check before we even see it.  After paying that off, Hubby’s paychecks will be much larger.  So things would ease up very much if we could get that handled.

I’m just thinking aloud, I hope you don’t mind!

One thing that has been helping me to cook at home and not order out or go out for fast food is the fact that I’ve been doing FlyLady again, and my kitchen is spotless at all times, so I have counterspace to do what I need to do.  My dishes and pots have stayed clean, and I clean as I go when I’m cooking.  Getting meat or other ingredients out to thaw is part of my bedtime routine now, so the food is ready to cook. 

I already have a full time job — running my family.  I’m running it like a business from now on.  I’m going to address things head on, just like I would do in an office job, and get things done the way I do in that scenario.  I’m going to put in a certain number of hours each day to administer the “family business”.  My efforts will pay off, and hopefully I can remedy what I’ve managed to cause over the last couple of years.

Enough.  I have stuff to do!  Thanks for listening to me babble.

CG

Just under the wire

Current mood: nerdy

Well, it’s 2:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, and we are to be at my mother-in-law’s house at 6 p.m.  I just finished the photo collages for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  They actually look pretty cute.  I hope they like them and like my choice of pictures.  If not, they are free to redo it however they like.  Knowing them, they may just redo it.  What eva!!!

I have been slow cooking 3 boneless turkey breasts in my lemon peppery goodness concoction.  I was impressed, this particular specialty of mine was specifically requested to be part of the Christmas dinner menu by a couple of different people. 

Princess is over at her mom’s.  Her mom requested that she be there “to open presents on Christmas morning”.  That was the reason she wanted her to be there.  Guess when they opened presents?  Yesterday afternoon.  She had no need of her being there this morning.  So our girl woke up on Christmas day and actually had no presents to open.  She just did it to mess things up for us.  She will not be getting another Christmas morning from us, not for a very long time.  And our girl is sick, so she is ready to go home.  We will be picking her up around 5 p.m.  The Ex-Wife will not be seeing her the rest of the break.  I’m going to keep that girl so busy and having fun that it won’t even be an issue. 

Lola has had a good Christmas.  She definitely figured out the ripping paper of the box part of the presents.  She has played and played with her toys and her interactive games.  We gave her the Little Leaps system today, and I was amazed, she followed the directions from the very beginning of the first game.  She’s a smarty!

I have been listening to my Weird Al CD, and there are some really funny things on it.  I love him!!! 

Lola is cranky right now.  She definitely needs a nice nap before we go to Grandma’s house.  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if I could squeeze one in myself.  But I need to shower and make an attempt to look pretty because Hubby will be snapping photos.  And like I have said previously, I don’t often take good photos, but if I don’t wear makeup or fix my hair, I know I won’t.  No one wants to see my acne scars and red spots blazing brighter than the Christmas lights.  Nor would they want to see my cowlicks in all their glory.

I must go.  Everyone have a nice evening.

CG

Currently listening :
Straight Outta Lynwood
By Weird Al Yankovic
Release date: By 26 September, 2006

Pre-Christmas Christmas

This morning, we had our family Christmas morning.  This year, Princess had to go to the Ex-Wife’s house for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning.  It was really fun!  This is the first year ever that I have really been excited about something I got to the point of feeling like a kid again.  I got Trivial Pursuit – 80’s Edition and Name That Tune – 80’s Edition.  I also got Valmont (starring the yummy Colin Firth), Bridget Jones’ Diary, and Godfather I to go with II and III that I already have.  I’m glad because Godfather I is truly the best one anyway.  I got Straight Outta Lynwood, Weird Al’s newest CD.  I also got a lot of good smelly stuff and some really cute decorative hair ornaments (hair stix).  I also got one of those plug N play joysticks with ms. pac man, galaga, pole position, xevious, and mappy games!  YAY!

The kids of course, made out like wee banditos.  Lola got a laptop!  It’s a VTech laptop, really meant for 5 years of age or older, but it looks JUST like our laptops and she is fascinated with our computers.  I am hoping this will deflect her attention to our expensive and sensitive machines.  I’d rather her abuse a $50 kids’ laptop than our $800+ models, wouldn’t you?  Plus, worst case scenario, she LEARNS stuff!  If she breaks it, we have a 1 year warranty.  She got some Elmo stuff, some Wiggles stuff, a bunch of Baby Einstein books and stuff as well.  She still has a couple of gifts to open tomorrow morning.  Puzzles, dress up stuff, and the biggest gift is a Little Leaps learning system, which is made especially for little ones her age.  Hooks up to the TV.  Lola opened her present from Tiffany, which was 5 pairs of the softest PJ’s ever, and a Little Leaps game!  🙂 thanks Tiffany!

Princess got her iPod Nano and accessories (that was $200 right there), $25 iTunes gift card, $15 Bath & Body Works card, $30 Visa Gift Card, $25 Build-A-Bear Bucks, Pirates of the Caribbean II game for Nintendo DS, jewelry, hair stix, temporary hair color, good smelly bath stuff, Pirateology and Fairyopolis books, a $20 gift card to borders, a certificate for $50 off her laptop loan.  She also opened her present from Tiffany, which was $15 iTunes, $25 gift card to Hot Topic, and Pirates of the Caribbean II DVD.  Thanks Tiffany!

Also, Tiffany sent me and Hubby a package, which had a decorative tree with photo frame ornaments (I LOVE IT!), and a rose-scented Yankee Candle.  Someone knows their Aunt CG really well!!!

Hubby did ok too – he got an angle die grinder (i bought it but i don’t know what it does), a fancy kind of razor knife, a waist holster for his DeWalt drills (call him quick-draw mcgraw LOL), cologne and matching shower gel, a new wallet, and some other things I can’t remember! 

We all got tons of candy, and the above doesn’t count all the little gifts I did for my family for the 12 days of Christmas tradition I am starting.  They all got a special ornament from Mommy also. 

We decided our Memory Box tradition is going to be on New Years Day, because it is about what we liked about the year just passed, and we are going to use it as a springboard to discuss our plans for the next year. 

We didn’t start our “love notes” tradition I had intended on doing, simply because I ran out of time.  I am going to set it up so it is ready for next year.  What I’m going to do is make little cards that have a prearranged question on it.  So maybe next year it will be “What was the nicest thing (family member’s name) did for you this year?” or “What is your favorite thing about (family member’s name)?” and then we’ll fill them out for each other, and put them in the tree to look at and read.  Then, they can go in the memory box. I think that will be special.

This coming week, I am planning on taking Princess to work for a food bank or homeless shelter.  I think it will be good for us both to help others. 

Princess’s hair looked awesome this morning when she got up.  I cut it and styled it yesterday and today it still looks gorgeous.  Hubby said that when he got to Ex-Wife’s house she said, “Princess your hair looks great!  I was going to do that for you!” and Princess said, “That’s ok, you don’t need to because CG already did it for me.”  Ha!  There’s a reason for that — earlier today she called and was really rude, apparently they are going to take some photos of the family today and she said, “Could you make sure that Princess actually wears something nice today?”  Like Princess is Cinderella in rags or something.  What she meant was “dressy” not “casual” but she’s always acting like Princess looks bad and she does not.  It’s just something she can act like she would do better than us.  Well, not only does Princess always look adorable, she’s smart and good and responsible, and I am sure that Ex-Wife couldn’t pull that off.  Her oldest son is going to jail for the third time, and this time will probably be the long haul.  He stole Ex-Wife’s mom’s credit card and bought $1800 worth of stuff off of eBay, and he stole $300 in cash out of grandma’s purse as well.  So Grandma reported him.  He was on probation so he will probably have to serve the full thing this time.  This son was LIVING with them and her guiding hand really helped there, didn’t it?  Her oldest daughter is a high school dropout who had a kid at 16, she really was watching that one too.  The younger son lives with his dad and stays away from his mom pretty much, so there’s hope for him like there is for Princess.  But of course she’s going to focus on the outside appearance, her clothes, her hair, like that’s what matters.  Stupid cow. 

Anyway when she said that today, “Don’t send her over in a T-Shirt with writing on it” Princess said, “I should get a ‘Step-Mom’s Are the Best’ T-Shirt and wear that over there for pictures.”  LOL.

Ok, I need to go and play with my baby.  Have a great holiday if I don’t get on here again.

🙂

Well…We survived it

We survived Picture Day, and actually it went really good.  The pictures are going to be great.  We did a portrait of all 14 of us, and then each individual nuclear family – all 3 siblings’ families are 4 people – So me, Hubby, Princess & Lola; Hubby’s twin brother, Sis-in-law, and her two boys; and Hubby’s sister and her husband and two boys.  Then, Hubby’s mom and dad took a photo.  After that, all the kids together.  That was interesting!!!

But the picture of the 4 of us was really nice so I’m looking forward to getting it.  I actually didn’t look too bad.  It is too much to ask to look beautiful for a formal portrait, so I just don’t expect it.  I pretty much expect to look like shit, and if I look slightly better than shit, I am content.  I’m not saying I am UGLY or anything, just that I don’t look good in most pictures, especially formal ones.

It was a very long process and I felt sorry for the photographer lady.  The place was bulging to the seams.  She would die if she did MY family’s photos!  I mean, there are 6 of us siblings, and 4 of us have spouses, and the total number of children at this time is 10 so that’s 20 people right there.  We won’t include mom and dad because it’s weird, because Dad’s remarried, and it’s weird but we would not include my step-mom.  They got married 5 years ago and we were all grown adults.  We would never put her in a picture with my mom, and we would never take a family photo with my dad and not my mom. 

After the photos, which were taken at the Walmart studio, I went and got the groceries I will need the next few days, and that was an experience!  But we got home ok.

Earlier today, Hubby and I spent a few hours poring through all our photographs culling out a few for me to do my photo collages I’m doing as gifts for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  I bought these collage frames last year but didn’t get a chance, I’d really like to do them and have them ready for Christmas dinner.  The one for my mother-in-law says “GRANDKIDS” and all the letters are cutout so you can place photos behind it.  It should be just frustrating enough for me to give up quickly. LOL.

I cut Princess’s hair today by myself and I must say it turned out REALLY well.  I’m impressed with myself.  I styled it for the photo shoot and she looked absolutely lovely.  All her aunts and uncles were saying how grown up and beautiful she looked.  My hubby’s sister who usually has no patience for me, was really cheerful and nice to me today.  So everything went relatively well.  If they would act this way to me every day, I’d actually like them more and want to go around them more.  But you just never know what you’re going to get.

I am wasting time, I need to get off here and wrap presents!  Much love to everyone!  Everyone who has been invited to this blog is someone very special to me and your friendship has made me what I am today.  Thank you for being you, and for loving me not only in spite of my imperfections, but because of them!

CG

Family Picture Day

Please, send me strength.  Prolonged exposure to my inlaws might be hazardous to their health.

Some things I want to say today:

1) Girlfriend, I love you with all my heart.  You are #1 to me too, and always will be.  Kids, men, jobs, whatever…you have always been one of the few things absolutely necessary to my happiness since the day I met you 18 years ago.  Of course we know each other better than anyone else after that long.  You are doing the right thing at home right now and I stand behind you 100%.  If you need anyone to plant a boot in someone’s ass, let me know and I’ll come down.  Tell them, “Don’t make me call down the wrath of CG on your ass.”  You can call me anytime about anything.  The knowledge that I can do the same with you has sustained me all these years as a refugee in Michigan.

2) My husband said something to me for the first time in our 8 years together.  Without being prompted to do so.  So I really needed to document that on Friday, December 22, 2006, my husband told me that he needed me.  He tells me all the time that I make him happy, that he loves me, that he adores me, that I am the most wonderful woman in the world, but for some reason he has never said the above.  I have asked him a couple of times and he said yes to the question, but never just came out and said it to me.  So that was probably one of the most wonderful things that has happened in a long time.  It was just during a normal conversation, kind of sparked by some of the things going on in his family with his uncle that is dying.  Whatever the reason, he said it of his own accord and with so much love that I will remember the location and everything till the day I die — Toys R U$ parking lot, in our van, driving towards the western exit, stuck in holiday traffic jam.

Well, I have a ton to do today and not enough time to complete everything.

I don’t know how much will be put on here between now and Christmas Day, so I will take this opportunity to wish all my special friends a WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS or CHANUKAH.  (“Name your poison” — at least that’s what our holidays have become with commercialism)

I am grateful for your friendship and support.

CG

Ugh, here it comes

I am dreading this coming 7-days like no one has ever dreaded anything in their life.  Prolonged exposure to in-laws could be harmful to THEIR health. LOL.

First of all, I have a LOT of craft gifts I need to make, and HOW and WHEN I can do them with a toddler I never get a break from is trying to get into everything?  I also need to help Princess get her gifts together, and we have to make sure we go Friday afternoon to the elementary school to deliver her gifts to her favorite teachers.  This is a tradition every year.  We remember all her teachers from Grade 2 on because she has bonded with them all so much.

Speaking of her bonding with people, when I was still working, she went to before and after school daycare.  This has been over 2 years ago.  Even longer ago, there was a lady who worked at the daycare named Mrs. B.  It was just during one summer that she worked there.  She and Princess really bonded, and at the end of the summer, she gave Princess a goodbye gift.  That school year started, and she was working as a lunch lady at the school, so Princess was thrilled, she saw her every day.  At Christmas that year, Mrs. B gave her another gift.  And so every year since then, they exchange gifts.  Last year I am not sure that she was at the middle school so Princess didn’t see her last year.  But this  year apparently she made it a point to get a day scheduled at the middle school JUST SO SHE COULD SEE PRINCESS and give her an adorable gift.  What do you think of that?  Isn’t that precious?  We made her a gift together–she lives locally and we have her address so we are going to deliver it to her over the holiday.

Here’s another bonding story.  When I had Lola, I had her via C-Section.  My incision got infected badly, so for over a month, I had daily in-home nurse care.  This nurse came every day to *ugh* pack the wound, etc.  She really clicked with the whole family including my mom.  I have always remembered her name, and saved her phone number.  So this year I wanted to put her on my christmas list, and I called the number, it was her direct voice mail.  I left a voice mail telling her “You probably won’t remember me, but…” and I told her who I was and that we still thought of her, and was wondering if she would like an xmas card with a recent picture of the kids.  She called me back in 5 minutes flat, and was just gushing about everybody.  “How’s your mom?  Is she still living in Kentucky or did she move to one of your sisters’ houses?”  “How is Lola?  Is her hair still thick and curly?”  “How big is Princess now?”  “Does your hubby still work for ___**___?”  She remembered all of us.  I was really flattered, I mean, she probably takes care of 2 to 4 people every day, week in and week out. 

She told me that this past summer she was in my town and she actually stopped at the house, but that we weren’t there. (!!!)  So anyway I have her contact information and she has been told profusely that she is to stop anytime.  I just love her.  She’s older than me, younger than my mom.  She’s probably in her late 40’s early 50’s.  I adore her.  I always seem to make friends that are older than me.  I just love the wisdom and humor they offer.  And nobody else gets me as much.  Not knocking my friends my age–I’m just saying different kinds of friends offer different kinds of comfort.  My younger friends know *just* what I’m talking about…am I right?

I have tons to do today, so I guess I will get off here and get it done.  Have a great day!

CG

Annoyed

Mood: Annoyed
Listening To: Elmo talking about dogs
Reading: The Want Ads

So I am annoyed with Word Press. It is not as “easy” as they tell you it is going to be. Oh, yes, if you don’t want to mess with *anything*, just type a blog and be done with it, it’s fine. But let’s say you want to add extra fields i.e., “Mood” or “Reading”. Not so easy. I don’t know how to get to the html code for the individual pages. I have been trying to read the “how to” information but it reads like a really, really, really boring technical manual and lots of things go unexplained to the new user.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how this blog looks and everything. I could just write in the mood, etc., at the top of the page and I probably will. Another thing that I wish I could do is import journal entries from my other journals. I may make a project of that. I may just go through my entries and find my favorites and bring them over.

Well, I am hoping to get some presents wrapped today since the hubby is home and can keep the baby out of my hair (I can hope, right?). I am also hoping to do my last 3 loads of laundry, do a little straightening up of the house. If that goes well, I am going to spend some time trying to figure out how to generate some cash, because I’m not just broke, I’m in the negative. My bank account is in the red, because of my recent money blunders. Like I have said on other blog venues, I feel like such a failure right now financially. I am trying so hard to get some money in here, but nothing is working.

I decided that my Pure Romance business is not working out, so I have been trying to liquidate my stock (at MY cost, I might add). It is crazy to try to sell it for less than I bought it for, but I will if I have to. I sent out an email and list of the huge savings, and only got 2 responses with orders, out of about 50 people I sent it to. I guess no one is having sex, and that is sad.

I sent out an email yesterday trying to drum up some side work, i.e., cleaning house, organizing home or office, office work, watching kids, doing laundry. Have gotten no responses to that either.

I am going to try to set up an Amazon or E-Bay account to sell all my extra books, videos and CDs. I am also going to apply for some more jobs.

Another thing that sincerely needs done is some major frugal cutbacks around here. Hubby makes enough for us to get all our basic bills and needs met if we can stick to the budget. And the budget gets blown out of the water by no one but me, the one who makes up the damn thing. Everyone else could probably stick to it just fine. I’m the one who goes and buys stuff that is not on the budget, sometimes it’s needed, but most times it is not. I’m the one who talks everyone into eating out every other day because I don’t want to cook. I don’t like to cook. Well, I need to learn to like it or just deal with it.

So anyway, that is what is on my mind this morning. I am going to keep working on generating income. We really need it right now. It’s still one week till our next payday and no money means no money for gas to get to and from work. I have a couple of things i can do to generate enough money to get gasoline, etc., but if any real expenses come up, we’re screwed.

CG

Some More Cute Pictures for You!

Current mood: creative

Here are some (actually, lots of) pictures I just uploaded from the camera and phone to the computer. 

Here’s Sister-in-law looking gorgeous!!!

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Here are some of Princess:

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Princess and her best friend Em

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Princess’s other best friend (and my part-time daughter) Tay

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On the way to Tennessee

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Princess & Tay, after National Honor Society Induction (last night, by the way!!!)

Here are some of Lola:

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We just let sleeping beans lie.

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Exploring new Minnie Mouse shirt

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It gets her approval.

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Caught doing evil.

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I’m a livin’ in a box…

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I’m a livin’ in a cardboard box…

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Bathtime #1

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Bathtime cuteness

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Bathtime fun

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Can anyone tell me how to get her to let me brush her teeth (besides holding her down?)

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She did this to her shirt, herself.

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She got a new job.

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She’s got some crazy curls.  I DO brush it, you know.

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Sleeping in mommy’s arms

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Mommy’s holding her sick baby

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Sleeping in her play tent.

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She falls asleep wherever she lands.

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Just messing around!

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Charming everybody

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Style Diva

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What a smile! And no, her hair hasn’t been combed yet.  I think her true personality really shines through in this picture.

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Trying to grab the camera

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Happy girl

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Should I be bad?

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Who, me?

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Extreme close up!

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She COULD be a REAL baby Einstein with that hair!

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You’re Always questioning me!

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My new pants are cute!

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If I stand here looking innocent, will you let me play with the camera?

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Cuteness

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My new haircut and color (it was kind of dark though)

And there you have it.