Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Excuses, Excuses....

If Heather just hadn't mentioned her diaper bag shopping experience. If someone just hadn't commented about Fleur-ville bags. If I just hadn't looked on the site out of curiosity since I'd never heard of it before. If I just hadn't fallen head over heels in love with this bag. If I just hadn't thought "Hmmmm... Heather mentioned a 10% off coupon on E*bay. I wonder if this bag is for sale over there?"
It was .....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Questions Answered: Part 4

From this post..... Ozimum asked "How did you come about naming your daughter MIA? (which I adore, by the way!)"

Right after I mailed my dossier off to my agency, my family and a few close friends told me that I should name my daughter. They thought she'd seem more "real" to all of us while we waited for her. I agreed.

I had a list of my favorite baby names. You know, the one that every girl has hidden inside her head that she's carried since she was like 14 or so. You know... about what your imaginary kids would be named someday. (C'mon, admit it. We all had one.) So I started trying them out. But none seemed to work.

For one, I have a difficult last name. It's hard to find something that flows with it. But more importantly, as crazy as this sounds, those names just didn't fit her. Now I say crazy because I don't know who she is, what she'll look like and I'm pretty sure that even now ... over 2 years later... she's probably still not even born yet. So how could I say these names don't fit, right? I don't know. They just didn't. When it was time to assign one of my favorite imaginary kid names to what will be my very real daughter, they just weren't her name.

So I started over from scratch. I started going thru baby name books and making lists. I narrowed it down to my favorites. They were "Chloe", "Addison" and "Mia". Her middle name had always been "Renee" to share with my sister, Carla Renee. My nephew, Teagan Christopher, has that middle name after me. And her other son, Travis Ryan, shares his name with our brothers. It's a sibling thing, I guess. Anyway...back to the story.

I eliminated Chloe pretty quickly. There was a very bratty little kid I was dealing with at my second job that ruined the name for me. Plus years ago I named a dog that name and was having trouble getting past that. For awhile the other two names were neck and neck. I liked them both equally. I couldn't decide. But then I looked up their meanings.

Addison means "son of Adam". Hmmm.... that didn't seem to work. Then I found out that Mia means "mine" in Italian and Latin. That sealed it for me. I thought it was especially meaningful since I'd be solo parenting her. In essence, she'd be all mine.

So in May of 2006 she became Mia Renee. I'll also include a second middle name to somehow incorporate part of her Chinese name. But lately, I've started to wonder if I should change her name.

For two reasons. I didn't want a name that every other kid also had. So back when I was deciding which to choose, I asked everybody I knew if they knew anyone named Mia. Or if their children went to school with anyone named Mia. Nobody did. So I assumed it wasn't that common in my area, in spite of what the "popular baby names lists" said.

But then I became immersed in the Chinese adoption community and realized that it's an extremely popular name for adopted Chinese girls. Just wonderful.... but I'd already committed to the name at that point. I decided it didn't really affect my "real life" because most of these other Mia's I've become aware of are on the internet and are spread out all over the country. Not actually people I'll interact with every day. Or so I thought....

Herein lies the other reason I'm recently doubting my name choice. Shortly after my log in date, I met another single adoptive mom who I've since become very good friends with. Christine lives about 5 minutes from me. Her daughter calls me "Tia" (aunt in Spanish... cute, eh? LOL!). I see us being friends for a very long time. Well, her daughter is from Guatemala and also named... you guessed it... Mia.

My best friend's daughter is named Peyton. Obviously, I'd never even consider naming my daughter the same thing. Or if another friend had picked out a name for their unborn or not yet home adopted child. I wouldn't steal the name. Just couldn't do it. You see my dilemma?

Christine isn't concerned by it. She says that it shouldn't matter. If my daughter were home before we'd met, I certainly wouldn't consider changing her name at that point. She's right... in a sense. But the fact is that she's not here yet. So I still have the option. And I've been contemplating it.

I've been really conflicted though. Because her name has been Mia for over 2 years. I have so many things associated with that name. Gifts from people, clothing, an expensive custom made Chinese calligraphy with both our names, art work for her nursery, Christmas ornaments and a stocking, a Build-a-Bear her cousin's made for her, donations to Half the Sky made in her name, MY BLOG for cripes sakes!!!

But I realized I didn't want to keep that name out of obligation to these mostly material things. I could let all of that go if I needed to. Or somehow change the name on some of those things. I wasn't sure how I'd handle the scrapbook for her "100 Good Wishes Quilt" though since so many of the wishes are addressed to Mia. But I knew I would figure it out if I had to.

For the past couple weeks, I've been toying with the idea of changing it. I've been giving this a lot of thought. I've been laying awake at night thinking about it. A few days ago, I said out loud to the universe "tell me if my daughter's name is supposed to be Mia." Since then I've had little whispers. Wanna hear some?

A little pop up ad at the top of my e-mail account for days advertising custom printed M&M candies. Guess what it said? Yes I took a picture because it was just that profound to me. It says "Mia's made a splash!"

A circular that came in the mail. Look at the name on the shoes. Took a picture of that, too. All coincidence? Or my answers from the universe?
Most importantly, every other name I've tried on just doesn't give me the same feeling. I've been saying them out loud and having conversations with them. For example... "Chloe, go pick up your shoes" or "Addison, do you want a bedtime story?" just doesn't give me the same flutter in my heart as "Mia, it's time for dinner." Seriously. Sometimes you just have to practice. That's part of the luxury of living alone. You don't look like a crazy person when you talk to yourself. LOL!

It's also a little curious that Ozimum asked this question and then a few days later she and I exchanged e-mails about my confusion on whether to keep the name or not. Hmmm... weird timing?

When I started typing this post out to answer her question, I was 99% sure I was sticking with the name Mia. But something in me decided to save the post before it was finished and go look up the meaning of my favorite names again. Not sure why. Just felt a desire to do so in that particular moment. When I googled "baby name sites" I found a different one. One I hadn't stumbled across before. It had a meaning for the name Mia I also hadn't ever seen before. It stopped me in my tracks. Because it couldn't be any more perfect. This is what it reads.

Mia : It's source is Miryam, a Hebrew name meaning "wished for child".

Now suddenly, without a doubt, I'm 100% sure. My daughter's name is Mia. You can't ignore the universe, right? LOL!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

3 Word Sunday

I'm very, very allergic to this stuff. I've already had it twice this summer. Trust me. It sucks! You have no idea how much I hate poison ivy.

Unfortunately, I've got some of this crap growing in my flowerbed and a bush. So today I put on a long sleeve shirt, long pants, socks and shoes. I looked like a doofus. I'm sure the neighbors were loving it. Especially since it was 80 degrees outside. I wore rubber latex gloves with my shirt sleeves tucked into them. And those were underneath a pair of gardening gloves. I wanted to be sure no skin was exposed. If I owned a welder's helmet I would've worn that, too.

I had to use a paintbrush to paint the weed killer on the stems so as to try to avoid killing the good plants. So that means I had to touch this crap. Yikes!! I carefully stripped naked in front of the washer and threw everything in. Including the shoes. Then I ran upstairs and jumped in the shower and nearly scrubbed my skin off.

I'm feeling a little itchy right now. I'm really hoping that it's just pyschological. What you wanna bet I still get it?

* Click here for an explanation of the 3 word project.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Questions Answered: Part 3

There were several questions asked about my job. So since I'm on a roll here I'll get all of those out of the way before I move on to another subject.

Wendy asked "How long have you been a cop?"

A little more than 13 yrs. I started the police academy in Dec '94 and graduated in June '95. I worked in uniform patrol for a little more than 8 yrs. I rode around in a squad car, got dispatched to all kinds of different calls, made traffic stops, etc. It was a roller coaster ride. You never knew what your day would bring. One second you're doing something completely boring and mundane and the next you're in a highly charged, dangerous crazy situation. I loved it. But I'm kind of an adrenaline junky like that.

I became a detective assigned to the Burglary Squad almost 5 years ago. Now I wear business type clothes to work instead of the uniform, have my own desk and phone line, drive an unmarked car, and investigate when someones house or business is broken into. I also work normal work day hours which is great. Because I worked almost the entire time in uniform on the night shifts.

As a detective, I work with a partner who I call my "work husband." Off topic but funny nonetheless...his wife and I have somehow synced our menstrual cycles by some weird fluke. So now the poor guy's life sucks for 1 week every month when he gets to deal with raging PMS both at work and at home. LOL! Sorry, I digress. Moving on....

Ozimum asked "At work, do you drive, or does the bloke drive?"

We both have a car so it just depends on our mood. Sometimes we get in his car, sometimes we get in mine. Sometimes we split up and work on things separately. It was the same when I worked in uniform. The times I doubled up and worked with a partner, we took turns driving on different days. It all kind of depended on who'd had more sleep, too. :P

Ozimum also asked "Have you seen a dead person "on the job"?

The city I work in was lucky enough to earn 19th place last year on "the list of America's most dangerous cities". Woo Hoo! We even beat Newark. I'm so proud. Oh wait... that's not a good thing, is it?

Anyway, the answer is yes. I've seen a lot of death. Death by shooting, stabbing, car accident, drowning, fire, drug overdose, blunt force trauma, decapitation, hanging, jumping from a very tall building, ran over by a train, dismemberment, strangulation, electrocution and natural causes. Hmmm... I may have missed a few but I think that about covers it. LOL!

I've seen freshly dead people and very badly decomposed dead people. The smell of which stays in your pores ...or maybe just your subconscious..... for awhile. I hate those kind. I've seen people die right in front of me. Those last few breaths we call the "death rattle" because of the way it sounds as the air leaves the lungs. It's an eerie feeling to witness life leave a body. I've got images in my head that I'll carry always. But it's just part of the job I chose. In spite of my love for that job, the dead people part is what I probably like the least. It all just creeps me out. But you get used to it.

Julie asked "Have you ever had to wrestle a suspect to the ground? How did it feel?"

I'll point you to our 19th position above and say that the answer is "hundreds of times". It pretty much always feels like "Thank God I survived that one." And then you're high on the adrenaline dump. Until your hands start to shake and your knees feel a little weak because your body doesn't know what to do with that overload of adrenaline now that you don't need it anymore. It's a purely physical response. It goes away after a few minutes.

Julie also asked "What was the arrest you made that made you feel the most proud?"

Hmmmm.... I had to think about that. I guess it'd have to be an investigation my partner and I did a few years ago. He and I noticed a crime trend in a particular neighborhood. They'd been hit with several burglaries. We pulled all the files and saw some similarities. We spent a lot of time researching it all and putting graphs together of stuff like the time of day they were occurring, points of entry, items stolen, etc. Until we realized we had about 30 different burglaries that probably were committed by the same person/people.

Then we looked at some other things and came up with a possible suspect. Someone we'd dealt with in the past. The explanation for how we pulled this person's name out of thin air is a lot more complicated than that. Just trust me on that one. It'd take too long to explain.

I ended up closing the case on my own because it was the week before Christmas and my partner had gone on vacation. Anyway, I tracked down the "person of interest" and after some painstaking interrogation got him to admit to some of the burglaries and implicate two other people. I also got confessions from those 2. We were able to clear up 13 of these burglaries and charged all 3 individuals.

I can't tell you the amount of work we did on this. Tons. And how rare it is to come up with a suspect on your own when you have no witnesses and no fingerprints or nothing else to point you in the right direction. And then to actually get him to confess to the crime with no other evidence to implicate him. I was very, very proud of myself. Those were some of the most difficult and exhausting interrogations I've ever done. Especially because that part, I did alone. So I'd say this was one of the cases I was most proud of. Because we absolutely figured this one out all by ourselves.

Tonguu Momma asked "What is the absolute weirdest "I can't believe people are actually like this" cop moment you ever lived through?"

Oh boy. There's no way to answer this one. Because I've seen a lot of weird stuff. That's part of what makes my job so interesting and so hysterical some days. And there are so many stories.

From the white guy who had a huge tattoo that read "Crackers crumble - Honkeys rumble". To the guy who used to call police to his house because he thought aliens were trying to hijack his thoughts. We told him to put aluminum foil on his ceiling to block their mind controlling rays... and he did. It'd work for about a month then he'd call us again. To the conditions in which some people live (you really have no idea what goes on behind closed doors). To the lady suffering from post partum depression who led us on a 45 min high speed chase with her gospel music blaring the whole time. To the crack whore who admitted to having sex for $1.25 and a bag of potato chips. These are just a few.

Seriously. I could go on and on. I used to tell friends these stories and they'd say I should keep a journal and write a book some day. I wish I had. But I think any cop who works in an active, big city police department could, too. We see some crazy stuff, some tragic stuff and some really funny stuff.

Diana asked "Have you ever yelled "bookem Dan-O" when you were arresting someone?"

Uhhh.... no. LOL!
That's all of the work related answers. Next time I'll move on to some other stuff. You guys had some very interesting questions. They'll keep me busy for awhile. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Questions Answered: Part 2

Johnny's two parter question also asked "And do 99.9% of cop shows make you giggle?" The answer is an absolute resounding YES! Not just giggle either. I'm talking full on laughing out loud hysterically at the ridiculousness of it all. Most are not true to life in the slightest. And they just end up getting on my last nerve.

But I do watch some reality type cop shows. I really like The First 48. Watch that a lot. Still occasionally will catch an episode of COPS when I want to relive the memories of working in uniform patrol. And I found a new one recently called The Academy. It's making me reminisce about my days trying to survive the police academy. (Ahhh... it was the best of times. It was the worst of times.) Although the LA Sheriff's Academy is much more hardcore than ours was. But still a lot... A LOT.... of similarities. This is the kind of stuff I watch.

But cop dramas. Not so much. One that I really hate is CSI. Now don't get me wrong. This is an interesting show. And if I could turn the cop part of my brain off, I could probably actually enjoy it. But when Horatio Crane walked up to a house that had been bombed ...and I mean completely flattened, burned up, pile of rubble.... and just happened to look down and find the one tiny little itty bitty piece of evidence that could solve the case I about threw my TV out the window. Ridiculous.

And don't even get me started on how this stupid show has effected actual real life police work. I can't tell you how many times I've said the following phrases:
"We can't fingerprint a rock."
"We can't zoom in the surveillance footage any further because the picture gets all grainy."
"No. DNA evidence takes weeks, months even to analyze. Not an hour."
And have then heard the response "But I saw them do it on CSI."
It's a freakin' TV show, people. Fiction.

There's a new one called Flashpoint. I gave it a chance and watched the first episode. Dumb, dumb, dumb. It's about a Hostage Negotiation/SWAT team. They had innocent bystanders and the media within about 100 ft of an armed man who was holding a woman hostage while standing right out in the open courtyard of an office building. I guess the yellow crime scene tape was gonna act like an invisible force field that was gonna stop that guy's bullet from hitting one of them. Seriously... who writes this stuff?

The only props I can give them is for how they handled the aftermath when the sniper actually killed the hostage taker. He was genuinely shook up about it. Which is a normal real life response to taking a life. Even a bad guy's in which it was totally justified. Not high-fiving his fellow SWAT dudes like in most fictional shows.

Then a superior officer immediately confiscated his weapon and escorted him away, not allowing him to speak to anyone. They took him back to the office and made him strip to his underwear and took all of his clothing as evidence. Then the cop's lawyer showed up and sat with him in his interview as he went over his statement with Internal Affairs. That's real life. That's what actually happens when a police officer is involved in a shooting. Not the "holster your gun, leave the dead guy laying there and go get a beer" which is what most shows portray.

Now not all cop dramas suck. I like Law and Order, too. It's fairly true to life as far as what my job is. Detectives catching a case and investigating it. Following up on leads. Hunting down bad guys and trying not to violate the criminal's rights but still get a confession. Arguing with the prosecutors who say you still don't have enough evidence. That's true stuff. Except they solve their cases in an hour and Mariska Hargitay's lipstick always looks fresh. But that's TV, right? LOL!

But my favorite cop drama ever is The Wire on HBO. It lasted 5 seasons and I watched every episode. Sometimes more than once. Johnny, you'd like this one (if you haven't already seen it.)

This is the most realistic look at police work I've ever seen on TV. I can't recommend it enough. But I'll warn you, it's not for the faint of heart. It's hardcore. It's down and dirty, gritty, foul, violent, vulgar and not so pretty. But it's real. This show portrayed how it really is to be a cop in an urban city.

Scared, people? You should be. There are things you probably would feel better just not knowing. The corruption behind the scenes throughout city government, the politics, the bullshit, the drug epidemic, the violence, the dysfunctional cops, the drama, the camaraderie. All very realistic. This show has a huge cop fan base. Because it's true.

So that's just a few of my opinions on TV cop shows. There have been other good ones in the past and there probably will be again. But if I tried to dissect every single show out there....we'd be here all night. And I'm tired and ready for bed. :P

Questions Answered: Part 1

Wow! You guys have given me enough blog topics to last a month. Okay, at least a week. LOL!I reserve the right to answer in any order I feel like. Since so many of you asked job related questions I'll start there.

Johnny asked "What led you to your current profession? Happenstance or childhood desire?" The second half of your question may require a whole other post. Seriously.

Here's the answer. I’d just started taking classes at our local community college with the intention of eventually transferring to a 4 yr school to pursue a degree in psychology. One day my mom asked if I wanted to go with her to take a couple of civil service examinations.

In order to get a job with our “city” you first fill out an application (if you meet the job requirements) and take a civil service test. You’re placed on an eligibility list based on how you score. They start at the top and work their way down through the list of candidates until they hire someone. Every city employee has to do this whether you’re a garbage man, the person who fills in potholes, a police officer or firefighter, a groundskeeper at the city golf course, an accountant, whatever.....

I don’t know why she asked me to go. Whether it was for moral support, or to keep her company, or because she really wanted me to have a shot at one of these jobs. Whatever the case, I decided since I wasn’t doing anything else that day, I’d go. I took the tests for "Parking Enforcement Aide" (which is a glorified name for a Meter Maid) and "Water Meter Reader".

Long story short, I got offered the meter maid job. At the time, it sounded like a good deal. I was fresh out of high school and making $3 bucks an hour working in a restaurant. This job was a lot more pay, great benefits and it was full time. So I took it.

Because it was a day job and my college classes were during the day, I dropped out for that quarter. My intention was to continue working towards a degree taking a smaller class load at night. Well, as those of you who know me are aware, I’m a procrastinator. Big time. So one semester led to another and a couple years later I decided to become a police officer. I never went back to college.

As a meter maid, I was working within the police department with police officers. I got a lot of exposure as to what they did. In my job, I towed cars, wrote parking tickets and directed traffic. We were some of the most hated people in the city. Seriously. I mean, who doesn’t get pissed off when they get a parking ticket?

I was a civilian employee with no gun, no pepper spray, no taser and no arrest powers. Which was really good experience for later on after I’d been bitten by the bug. The bug to go into law enforcement, I mean. Those years of being screamed at, cussed out and threatened taught me how to talk my way out of precarious situations. It taught me how to control my temper and be patient. Because I didn’t have the option of just arresting somebody if they pissed me off….err I mean.... if they did something illegal. LOL!

Once I’d decided to become a police officer, I had to wait until I was old enough to take the test. So when I was finally 21 yrs old I took it and scored #17 out of about 2500 applicants. After a grueling background process of psychological evaluations, polygraph tests, interviews, physicals and the like, I got accepted into the police academy. Six months later, I graduated at the top of my class. And I have a plaque to prove it. LOL!

So that’s the story of how I became a police officer. It wasn’t a childhood dream or a lifelong ambition. Just completely a fluke. I wonder what my life would be like if I’d gotten the water meter reader job instead? Or if I’d not gone that day to take the tests at all? Maybe I’d be a psychologist. Interesting, eh?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Any Questions?

I'm bored and I have nothing spec-TAC-ular to talk about this week. So I'm opening myself up for some questions. I've seen other bloggers do it and thought it might be fun. So now's your chance. Curious about something? Just dying to know? Ask... and maybe I'll answer. I reserve the right not to if it's too nosey. LOL! Just leave a question in the comments section below. And if you're shy you can do so anonymously. But behave yourselves!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

3 Word Sunday

Griffey's been a little clingy this weekend since I've been gone so much lately what with my busy social schedule and all. LOL! So I stayed home this weekend and hung out with my favorite guy.

* Click here if you need an explanation of the 3 word project.

Friday, July 18, 2008

GA Bloggy Bash '08

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

This video pretty much sums up how much fun this past weekend was. I had a blast as I always do. We all do. I miss my homegirls and can't wait til next time.

Thanks for all the hard work on the video, Tracy. You rock, girlfriend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Things I Learned In Georgia

  • It's hell hot down there in July. The only way to comfortably be outside is if you're in the pool.
  • I can kill a blender with one batch of frozen margaritas. Dead. Rest in peace.
  • Just because 2 girls sleep in the same bed with one wearing only a pair of panties doesn't mean they're gay. Unless they spoon.... then it could be questionable.
  • Maryellen has muscles and likes to flex like a bodybuilder. There's a picture to prove it.
  • Big Daddy only has eyes for one woman and her name is Pug Mama. Even in a house full of crazy, sometimes half naked women who may or may not be giving him the look of love.
  • And Big Daddy loves that woman (or all the rest of us maybe) so much that he's willing to go to 8 different grocery stores and then drive 35 miles just to get the mix to make his now famous Gumbo at the request of those crazy women.
  • PIPO-in-a-bag makes for a really great surprise. But thank goodness Thor was in the house or it'd of been her getting the surprise of her life. LOL!
  • Every-single-person I've ever introduced to chocolate covered potato chips at first wrinkled their nose up at them. Until they tasted one. Then the choco-tater chips became an addiction that can't be controlled.
  • Cracktastic is a fabulous word! All credit goes to Heather.
  • Mali gave us a sex education talk using the pugs as her reference material. I've added the word "vadge" to my favorite vagina slang terms right along with hoo-hoo, vajajay, petunia, etc.
  • Robin is an excellent driver. The GPS sometimes takes us on very strange routes but we always get to the destination in the end.
  • Hibachi rocks! Except when you can't understand the chef.
  • Doris can keep up with the party girls. And could probably still pass a sobriety test. That takes skillz.
  • I'm a blog ho apparently. I was appointed after proving that I "held all the knowledge" about far too many bloggers.
  • Stacy-Tracy makes the most awesome guacamole. And Tracy-Stacy will bite your fingers off if you get too close to the bowl. We may need a guac intervention.
  • All little girls love to swim. All big girls love to be in the pool, too. But I don't think you can call it "swimming" when you just sit around in the water talking and drinking. :P
  • Robin, Tracy and I brought cornhole to the south.
  • We also introduced it to the Canadians. I predict it'll sweep that northern nation. And's not a "bean bag toss". It's called "Cornhole" dammit.
  • The TBG gang may have to soon purchase their own set as well. Hannah was so disappointed when the tourney got rained out.
  • Lisa S and PIPO are big cheaters. But in their defense, it was hell hot as previously stated and they just wanted to get back in the pool.
  • Many times over the weekend there was so much talking I think my ears started to bleed.
  • Kris was missed. So were Colleen and Hannah. But nobody had the energy for blow up dolls this year. Sorry... :P
  • It's not really a slumber party until somebody starts braiding hair.
  • Maddy loves her some Big Daddy and got so excited about it she peed on him.
  • The look on Heather's face when she walked in and saw the cake and gifts was so worth it.
  • Hannah will always have my back. I love that kid. Sorry... I mean "tween".
  • Speaking of tweens, Mali knows the entire cast of High School Musical by name and some of the songs. Whatever happened to like... Sesame Street and Dora when you're almost 4? LOL!
  • Kristen fits in our group so well that she kept getting overlooked during introductions cuz everyone just assumed she was there last year, too.
  • It's really ridiculous when two people sitting right next to each other text instead of talk. I'm not mentioning any names or anything, Alison. Oh wait. That was me too, wasn't it?
  • Stacy was introduced to Bud-Light with Lime. And even though she said not to buy any more (which was ignored) I swear I saw her drinking some later.
  • Catherine has decided that twinadoes are more worthy than the bloggy girls since she double timed it to California. What's up with that? Aren't we just as cute? :P
  • Angela doesn't follow the rules. And made us all look like suckas with an awesome hostess gift.
  • Some people have a very inappropriate, possibly even offensive sense of humor. Helmet... that's all I'm gonna say. Yeah I thought it was hysterical!
  • Kathy has fabulous taste when buying for a gift exchange. Love it.
  • Briana is even cuter in real life as the pics on Lisa F's blog.
  • Kim is way too quiet. But she probably has lots of ammunition to use against all the other guests now since she observed the crazy first hand.
  • Our host and hostess are some of the best people I know. They open their home and make us all feel so welcome. Thank you just doesn't seem to be enough...
  • Nothing can compare to a weekend spent with some of the most amazing, fabulous, smart, funny, beautiful women I've ever met. I'm so grateful for their friendships. I wouldn't be able to survive this wait without them.
  • I always start to miss my bloggy homegirls as soon as I shut the car door to drive away. And it sucks. I love you guys!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Need to recover first.....

Then an explanation for my beautiful headgear.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another Road Trip

My bags are packed.
The jello shots have been made.
The beer is on ice.
The tequila's boxed and ready for travel.
I've been waiting for this weekend since last July.
See ya on Tuesday.
Peace out.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Quilt Progress

My grandmother is making Mia's 100 Good Wishes Quilt. By the way, go ahead and click on the link there. Check out how my quilt blog now complements the main blog. Similar header but slightly different. See? See? Pretty sweet, eh? That's thanks to the wonderful Danielle.

Okay, let's get back to the topic at hand....

While we were visiting my grandma in Wisconsin we had a chance to check out what she's done so far. It's absolutely beautiful. And it's huge! We actually had to move furniture out of the way to try to get it spread out completely.

My grandmother is a prize winning quilter. No exaggeration. She's won awards, people. Even had her picture in the newspaper before. :)

She brought me all kinds of very elaborate quilt ideas when we were still in the planning stages of this project. I think she might've even been a little disappointed when I explained how simple I wanted to keep the design.

For me, the whole focus of the quilt was supposed to be each very special square of fabric. Not a fancy design. And certainly not a bunch of distracting border fabric. But to each their own. These quilts are going to be so incredibly important to our daughters someday. And each person's vision of what it should look like is different. It's a very personal decision. And there's no wrong way to design your quilt as far as I'm concerned. As long as you're happy with the end result.

I told my grandma I just wanted a simple block square quilt with no color on the front other than the squares. I chose a white chenille as the outer border. In between each square is white fabric with this dainty little print. It made me think of cherry blossoms when I first saw it. I love that it's not plain white but yet the print isn't very noticeable. Just subtle, ya know.

Now if you sent fabric but don't see it in these pics, don't panic (like I did. LOL!). My grandma accidentally left out a few squares. But she's adding another row onto the bottom with those. Plus the four corners of the quilt are my niece and nephews hand prints. And now that there's another little T on the way I wanted to include her as well. So we have to make another square for her.

Especially since she may be a toddler before Mia even comes home. Okay, that was supposed to be a joke. I guess it really wasn't that funny. But seriously... look at the ages on this quilt. Travis is almost 8 1/2 now!
Grandma is putting the quilt away until the newest little T provides her hand print. Then she'll start work on it again. I'm hoping that we can actually get the print done on the day she's born. Just because I think that'll make her square all the more special if it's dated with her birthday. But it'll take some planning ahead to get that done. I really, really hope we can do it though. Really, really do. It'd be soooo special. Just an amazing little reminder of the day she was born. Immortalized forever on her cousin's quilt.

(Hint hint Carla! Since you're due next month.... maybe you should gather the fabric square and the paint NOW and pack it in your "going to the hospital" bag. That is, if we make it to the hospital this time. LOL!)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

What Will Her Name Be?

On Thursday my sis let me tag along for her 3D ultrasound appointment. Let me just was pretty freakin cool.My sis has had a couple other ultrasounds but here's my first look at Baby T's little face. Isn't she cute? Okay... I know she looks kind of like an alien. But she's a cute alien. She's looking at you sideways here. And that's her little arm underneath her head.While we were looking at this image we watched her turn sideways and give us a profile shot. I didn't react fast enough to photograph it. I was too enraptured by seeing her sweet little button nose. Then she started opening and closing her little lips. The tech said she was probably drinking. It was amazing to watch. We also have absolute total and complete confirmation that Baby T is definitely a girl. No doubts now.
At 33 weeks, she was really too far along to get clear pics with the 3D. Carla's appointment was scheduled awhile back and the office had canceled it twice already. Bummer. But you can still see a face on that screen.
The tech said that ideally it's better to have the 3D between week 28 and 31. That way the baby is just floating around in there and you can see it more clearly. Unfortunately, Baby T is bigger now so she's really squooshed in. Which is why she has this "face pressed against the glass" look.
Then we saw her scoot her little hand up and start sucking her fingers. Can you believe that? Is that not just the most fantastic thing ever? I mean, that you can see this little person actually inside there moving around.
My sister has started a poll on her blog to help her choose a name for the newest little T. Click here and vote for your favorite. I'm interested to see what you all think. I bet I can guess which one Sandra will pick. LOL! And of course, Julie would pick the name "Tess". How did I forget that? Here's my 3 word pic since Kim called me out. LOL! Maryellen recently posted on her blog about this photo editing site. I took her advice. I absolutely love it. So easy to use and it's free! I highly recommend it. Thanks for the suggestion, Mar.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

About 500 Times

I think that's how many times we heard "Are we there yet?" last weekend. Seriously. Map-quest said the trip could be done in 8 hrs 39 mins. I've done it in 8 hrs flat when traveling alone. Of course, I drive a little faster than Map-quest probably suggests. Shhhhh....our little secret. But it took us about 11 hrs. And it was a very long 11 hrs.

And speaking of the kids, I finally asked them why they kept repeating "How much longer?" when they're all too young to have any concept of time. My sis agreed and said "We could tell you it'd be 10 more minutes or 10 more hours and you still wouldn't know how much longer that is." They didn't seem to get it. And they kept asking....

Part of the long travel time can be blamed on my new GPS unit. We plugged the hotel address in and just trusted it would get us there. See... it's supposed to choose the fastest route. But it doesn't use common sense. So when my sister and I noticed the Chicago skyline looming in the distance we started to get nervous. Because neither one of us have ever taken this route to Wisconsin before. And there's a reason for that.

We were in bumper to bumper traffic for over an hour just trying to get thru the windy city. We won't do that again. Our only saving grace was that no one screamed out "I have to pee" from the backseat in that hour. Otherwise we woulda been in big trouble. Cuz there was nowhere to stop unless we got off downtown. Uhhh thank you.

Whoever invented the portable DVD player with multiple screens was a genius. Or a mom. Probably both. It saved our lives. Over and over again. There were several funny moments along the way (and several not so funny ones but we won't go there).

One was when we were inching along in Chicago traffic. The kids are watching Gold-member in the back seat. Yeah... the Aust*in Power*s movie. From the dialogue we're hearing it becomes apparent that this is a totally inappropriate movie. Sis asks Tanner if he picked the movie. He said, "No. Dad did." Yeah figures.

There's a part where Fat Bast-ard (yep that's really the characters name) is describing the fart he just let loose. OMG! I can only say that the scene is absolutely hilarious. My sister and I were crying we were laughing so hard. All I can say is if you like raunchy humor, rent the movie. It's funny. Or maybe we were just really slap happy by then.

So we finally make it to our destination. Now when I tell you the town my grandparents live in is small... I'm not joking. There are no fast food restaurants. At all. And anywhere you want to go seems to be at least a half hour drive. There's nothing there. We stayed in the only hotel around. It was even in the next town over. But it had a pool so the kids were in heaven.

The first day with the grandparents was spent going to lunch (about a half hour away), then several hours at the Children's Museum (uhmmm... about an hour there), and finally dinner (back an hour). It seems that Friday night is fish fry night in Wisconsin. And every one goes out for fish. So that's what we did.

After the grandparents had reached their daily limit of kid fun, we left and took the kids to the movies. Only the theater was about guessed it.... a half hour away. We saw Kung-Fu-Panda. Very cute movie. I recommend it. The kids loved it.

The next day we went to a small town festival called the Chicken Chew. Why that name, you ask? Well, no one knows. We saw no chickens. In fact, I think the one concession serving food didn't even have chicken to eat. When we asked my grandma what type of things were at this festival she said she'd never been. But she'd read they had a tractor pull. We thought the kids might like that.

We didn't expect what we got. The tractor pull was actually a contest where the little kids pulled weight by pedaling a toy tractor. Uhhh.... yeah. Not kidding. Travis and Tatum both entered. And surprise... Tatum got 2nd place in her weight class and Travis got 1st!! We didn't have the heart to tell these folks that some Ohio kids won their tractor pull. LOL! Both kids got a nifty little trophy with a picture of a tractor on top. Ahhh the memories they'll have....

Sunday was spent hanging out with the grandparents at their place. My Uncle Mike joined us with his wife, Deb, and son, Jesse. The kids all played. The grown ups talked.

Another funny story. My grandparents have several clocks. One is a cuckoo clock that Teagan was fascinated with. He quickly learned that as soon as the clock in the living room chimed then about a minute later the cuckoo clock would go. No matter what he was doing, he'd jump up as soon as he heard that chime, run to the cuckoo clock and stare at it waiting for the little birdy to come out. It was hysterical. Guess you had to be there....

Anyway... all too soon it was time to say our good-byes. We spent the last evening in the hotel pool and then packed for home. Monday was the long drive. On the way over, we gained an hour cuz they're an hour behind us. On the way back that lost hour caught up with us. It sucked.

Not sure when my next road trip with the T's will happen. It was a long and exhausting one. This girl is used to peace and quiet. Yes... I know that'll all end with the arrival of Miss Mia. But for now, I'm not used to 24/7 with constant chatter, constant movement, sometimes unrelenting whining, and the sibling smackdowns. I was happy to come home. But I must admit, after a couple of hours of quiet..... I started to miss those little buggers.

Somehow, I didn't take nearly as many pics as I thought I did. Maybe it was all the time spent chasing small children and making sure they weren't breaking all the knicks knacks in my grandparents not child proofed house. But here are a few.....

** Hey did you see the big rock the kids were on? Those are in my grandparents front yard. My brother, sis and I had our pics taken on them when we were their age, too. But there were no trees back then. Just a big open field. Things sure have changed over the years. What a cool keepsake all of those pics are gonna be someday.