Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Check it out

I still feel like crap. I did finally manage to go back to work today. Although I don't think my squad appreciated it since I was hacking and coughing all over the place. But more importantly I wanted to point y'all over to my sister's blog to check out some heart stopping baby cuteness. It's worth it. Trust me. Here's a preview.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Blah Blah Blah

That's how I feel. And that's about the only interesting thing I have to say. I haven't been in a blogging mood this week. Which explains the 6 days since I last posted thing. I took a few days off work mid-week because I pinched something in my back. By mid-afternoon on Monday I couldn't stand up straight. So I spent the next few days laying on the couch.

But it gave me a chance to get through the last couple seasons of Law and Order: SVU. So it wasn't all bad. I can finally say that I've seen all nine seasons of the show. It was a little silly to do. But hey... it was a challenge. I didn't make my planned cut off of Sept 23rd. My goal was to get through them all before season ten premiered. But oh well.

I also spent a lot of time watching the DVD's while I was cooped up in that motel room in Kentucky. Remember, I was the nanny while my sis was at school? And when I say she was in school all day I literally mean ALL DAY. She'd leave before 8am and not return until 8pm or later every day. It was cool to have that special time to hang out with my newest little niece though. But here's how she spent most of her day. Asleep in her swing. Which is why I watched TV. The internet connection was spotty so thank goodness I had the DVD's to keep me entertained.
Lovely accommodations, eh? Well, what do you expect from a Super 8? It wasn't so bad. We knew we weren't staying in the lap of luxury when we made the reservations. It was cheap... which was necessary. But we had a little mini-fridge and microwave so that was nice. And Griffey got to join us since the motel was pet friendly. I was happy about that. I hate leaving him when I go out of town. Doesn't he look thrilled to be taking a road trip?
We didn't leave the motel room much. My sis brought the stroller and I had good intentions of going out for walks everyday. But when we got there we realized we were situated on the main highway. There really was nowhere to walk. Not even sidewalks. I wish I 'd thought to take a few pics to illustrate just how out in the middle of nowhere we really were. There was a big open field next to the hotel though. So we'd go sit out there for awhile every day so Griffey could run around and we could get some sunshine and fresh air.

We were right in the middle of coal mining country. There were these giant coal trucks driving around everywhere. The motel was filled with these guys. They must come down for the week to work the mines. I'd see them come back at the end of the day covered from head to toe in black soot. Funny story... I spent the day walking around the room barefoot. When my sis came back that 1st day we both noticed the bottom of my feet were completely black. It was pretty nasty. It took us until the 2nd day to realize the carpets must be so filthy because of the coal miners tracking that crap inside.Thank goodness Tess is still at an age where she's immobile. Her crawling around in that mess wouldn't have been cool. The pic above shows her furrowed brow look. She does that a lot. But I got to see my first smile that week. I almost caught it on camera. Cute stuff, eh?
This is how Griffey spent most of his time. Sleeping on his quilt. By the 3rd day, I noticed he wasn't eating. Normally, I put food down first thing in the morning and it's immediately gone. That day it took him until mid-afternoon to even touch it. I thought maybe he was sick. But then I realized he was just depressed and moping around. See, he's used to getting all my attention. He's not used to sharing the spotlight. He was so jealous of the baby! I got a glimpse into the future of the trouble ahead when Mia comes home. I'll have to make sure he gets plenty of quality time, too. But he'll get used to her eventually. It may rock his world for awhile though. LOL!
I'm really missing this little face. But I've been quarantined at home this weekend. Because now that my back is better, I've come down with what I think is probably strep throat with a nice little chest cold thrown in for good measure. It hurts to swallow and my lungs are on fire. I've coughed so much my throat is raw. And I'm wheezing so bad I woke myself up like ten times last night cuz it was so loud.
Apparently, it's my week for bad karma because as if that wasn't enough I also started my period Friday. TMI? Yeah... sorry about that. But it just goes to explain why I spent most of the day yesterday on the couch suffering from some serious cramping. I hate this time of the month. Today will be spent much of the same way. I'm starting to get stir crazy. But I need to get well. I can't take off sick from work two weeks in a row. Back to the couch for me..... damn I wish I had a laptop.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Hurricane? In Ohio?!

Tornadoes? Sure. Snow storms? Absolutely! But a hurricane? Here? In the midwest? I wouldn't have believed it had I not experienced it first hand. Somehow Hurricane Ike managed to blow right up from Texas and pummel us with winds at 70 mph in some spots. We're not used to that. Eight days later my home phone, internet and cable TV are finally back in service. I'm certainly grateful because there are neighbors here who are STILL without power. I was lucky because my electricity never went out.
I've never seen anything like this. The wind was ferocious. Scary. It caught my grill cover and used it as a sail to catapult my gas grill from the deck into the driveway. Where it landed upside down. It's pretty demolished. But still.... I was lucky. Other than some big limbs down in the yard, a couple ripped screens, and a few lost roof shingles I fared pretty well.
Can't say the same for my neighbor. They live 2 doors down. This huge tree landed right on their pick-up truck. It's totaled. And see the big chunk missing from their house. Yeah... that sucks.
Right around the corner a tree fell blocking the road. Can you see the car underneath? It's there. Not sure why some of these pics will let you blow them up but others won't. I haven't figured out that secret yet. Anyone know? I swiped these bottom two (that won't enlarge) off my sister's blog. Maybe that's why?
Anyway back to the subject at hand..... clean up is still underway. They hope to have power restored completely by Wednesday if not sooner. Off to catch up on blogs....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

I got home from Kentucky this afternoon to find that my phone, cable and internet are still down. I'm posting this from work. I suppose I shouldn't complain though. Folks even just a few streets over from me have been without power since Sunday when the leftovers from Hurricane Ike blew through. At least I never lost power. So I'll be back online when things are restored here. If anyone needs to get a hold of me try texting or call my cell since my landline is down. I won't be able to check my e-mail until Monday when I go back to work. I'm having internet withdrawals already. :(

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cuz I'm the nanny....that's why

I thought that caption was appropriate. Because why, indeed? There's really nothing here. Now I know what the term "down in the holler" means. Let me explain my current situation.

My sister has decided her life is not nearly full enough what with her five kids and a full time job as a labor and delivery nurse and all. So she's decided to go back to school to become a midwife. Most of her coursework will be done at home online until she gets to the clinical part. But she had to come down here to the school for a week of orientation.

How do I fit in to that equation? She's breastfeeding the almost 6 week old. So she asked me to come with her to stay with Tess during the day while she's at school. Since she's promised to go to China with me when the time comes, I agreed. Now I can hold this over her head if she tries to back out, right?

Especially since I'm holed up in a Super 8 motel with spotty internet connection and barely any cell service. But at least I'm able to work on my plan to watch all 9 seasons of Law and Order: SVU before the season premiere of season 10. Not sure if I'll make it. I'm only up to season 4. Oh and there's a Taco Bell right next door. So it's not all bad. LOL!

But I'll be out of commission for the rest of the week here on planet Hazard. Just in case anybody missed me. Gotta go. The baby is refusing to nap today.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Story Of The Tattoo

The new tattoo is on my left arm. My inner wrist/forearm area to be exact. And this is actually how it should be viewed. I tricked ya a little by putting it sideways down below. I just wanted to see what some of your guesses would be. :P This guy is absolutely amazing. I explained my concept and he drew it out. Straight onto my arm. Freehand. With a black ink pen. Seriously. Can you believe that? He's uber-talented. His name is Josh. And you'll be shocked to know that he's a Republican who listens to talk radio! Well, I was shocked by that. I guess you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, eh? He's a very interesting person. Very cool to talk to. Not at all what I'd expected. Some of you were correct in your guesses. The tattoo represents my nieces and nephews. The "T" in the middle is because all their names start with the letter T. But of course, y'all knew that, right? Then there's a flower for each one descending down in their birth order from oldest to youngest. Each flower is colored for the birthstone that represents the month they were born. This is the black outline before color. (Sorry. If you look close it's a little bloody.) The third born is Tatum. Her birthstone is blue topaz which represents December.
Fourth born is Teagan. He's an aquamarine for the month of March.
Think John Mc_Cain would want Josh campaigning for him? LOL! Yes those are tattoos on his face, too.
Our baby girl, Tess, was born on August 10th. Her birthstone is a lime green peridot. Looks a little yellow in the pic mixed with my blood and all. :)
It didn't hurt too bad. Was just more annoying than anything. But I also have a high tolerance for pain. So maybe I'm not a good judge of that. A friend from work went with me for moral support. Or in case I became a quivering bundle of nerves. LOL! She took all the pics. Thanks Debbie. Here's the second born's flower. Travis is an amethyst. He was born in February like his aunt.And we finish up with the oldest child's flower. Another purple one. Tanner was also born in February. Pretty cool, eh? I absolutely love it!!! It turned out even better than I expected. It's exactly what I envisioned and then some. I'm still amazed that Josh just listened to my explanation, grabbed my arm and drew it on with a ballpoint pen. No practice on paper first. Just went for it. And it turned out perfectly! By the way, Carla, now that this is permanently etched into my arm...... you're done having children, right? LOL!I love that it's so dainty and feminine. The swirls and scroll work are gorgeous. And just to give you an idea of the scale here's another pic. With little Mr Griffey demanding his ears be scratched.I don't have any tattoos on my back yet. I'm saving it for a piece to represent my daughter. I'm hoping that her Chinese name will have some type of meaning that can be interpreted into a drawing. I'll include her western name in a beautiful script. And her Chinese name in traditional Chinese characters. If the meaning behind her name can't be drawn out, I'll do something else with an Asian theme like cherry blossoms, a koi fish, a dragon or something like that. We'll see. I have lots of time to ponder it, don't I?

My New Ink

I got another tattoo last night. Number three. It's still a little red in this pic. I'll give you the details later tonight. But in the meantime, anyone care to venture a guess as to where I put it and what it means? And no guessing if I've already told you about it.......

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Later

I'll never forget where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001. And every year on the anniversary of that day I pause to remember all those lost and the horrible tragedy that forever changed our country.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Questions Answered: Part 7

I haven't forgotten that I still have a few more of your questions to answer. Today I'll talk about my wedding day. And a little about the marriage, too. LOL!

Because C asked "Do you wish you never got married or are you glad that you did? Will you ever get married again?"

I don't regret getting married. I learned a lot of lessons from the whole thing. My wedding day was May 30, 1999. My divorce was final on May 2, 2001. Quick, wasn't it? Technically we got a "Decree of Dissolution of Marriage" instead of a divorce. Because we were in agreement about how to split our assets and there were no children involved. I think disillusioned is a better way to put it... cuz boy was I ever. But let's talk about the hard stuff later.

One of the biggest reasons I don't regret getting married is because I got to have a wedding. Now that may sound superficial... and in a way I guess it is. But to this day I still have wonderful memories of "The Day" itself. The days after.... maybe not so much.

First, let's talk about my dress. I loved my dress. It was so incredibly beautiful. The dress I'd always dreamed about. And it was comfortable. Surprised? I was. Even with the train bussled up I could move freely. It was light as a feather. Gawd.... I loved that dress! I really felt beautiful that day.It had gorgeous beading on the bodice and a full tulle skirt. My headpiece was custom made to match the beading on the dress. The veil was removable from the headpiece. I had it made that way so at the reception it could come off. I was prepared to get my groove on and didn't want to worry about someone accidentally yanking it off. LOL! Can you tell I loved my dress? Okay enough about it already... Look at my beautiful girls. They wore silver dresses. The wedding colors were pink and silver. Carla, I just realized you had a little farmer's tan going on. LOL! I never noticed that before. Look how skinny we were then. Damn... what happened? LOL! I love those little "kissing balls" my flower girls carried. Everyone looked so gorgeous that day.The church was impressive on it's own with that amazing pipe organ. But all decorated and lit with candles it was simply breathtaking. The pipe organ played while our wedding party went down the aisle.My (ex) mother-in-law is Scottish. So as a special surprise to her and her own mother who flew all the way from Scotland for the wedding, we chose a bagpiper to play me down the aisle. It was awesome! The pipe organ stopped playing as soon as all the wedding party were in their places. And then there was a pause... for dramatic effect. Just a silence long enough for everyone to fidget in their seats and wonder what was going on. Where was the bride?

Suddenly, the bag piper stepped into the doorway and started playing. His mother and grandmother cried their eyes out. It was a total surprise. They had no idea. It was no easy feat to find a place for him to warm up while keeping the ladies away and occupied so they couldn't hear those bagpipes. But it was so worth it.He walked down the aisle before me and stepped over to the side down by the altar. Then I made my grand entrance into the doorway. It was perfect! I loved every second of it. I took the advice of BTDT brides who'd told me their biggest regret was rushing down the aisle, looking straight ahead and not paying attention. So I paused in the doorway and just soaked it all in. Then I started my walk. Slow and deliberate. I looked all around at the guests. I even waved at a few. I was all smiles... and so happy. I was like Miss America on her victory march. It was actually quite sickening. LOL!The funny behind the scenes part is that as the bagpiper was going down the aisle... I was behind that doorway completely freaking out! I felt like I was going to keel over. I told the assistant to the photographer (who was my right hand woman getting me through every bit of that day .....thank gawd for her!) I couldn't do it. I'm telling you I got the worst case of stage fright ever. I kept repeating "I can't do this! I can't do this!". It was the most horrible case of nerves. I got really hot and thought I was going to pass out. She took that giant dress and started fanning it out.... you know like how you flip your sheets on the bed.... to cool me off. It was hysterical. I wish I had some photos of that moment! But as soon as I stepped into the doorway, I regained my composure and no one had any clue as to what had just happened. LOL!

The cake was spectacular and absolutely delicious. Every tier was a different flavor. You probably can't see (since I took a digital picture of the photos out of my wedding album) but the flowers on the cake were made to match the beading and flowers on my dress. I'm telling you I planned out every little detail of this wedding. And no we didn't smash the cake in each other's face.
The reception was everything I'd always wanted. Beautiful centerpieces and decorations, delicious food, lots of friends, and an off the hook par-tay!! It still ranks right up there as the most amazing day I've ever had. I have wonderful memories of it all. I'm glad I got married for none other than to be able to experience that perfect moment in my life.But the truth is, I had an uneasy feeling when we danced our first dance. Like I'd just made the biggest mistake. But I shoved it away, blamed it on nerves, the exhaustion of wedding planning, whatever. Now looking back, I realize that I knew in that moment this thing wouldn't last and I wasn't truly happy with him. I thought I was. But now that I'm a little older and wiser, I see the mistakes I made.

He popped the question completely out of the blue. Just under a year of us being together. We were living together but had never even discussed marriage. Or our future. We were just living day to day. I got star struck with the bling and I said yes.

For the next year and a half, it was all about planning my magical wedding day. I made the same mistake that so many other women make. I got caught up in the fairy tale and didn't think about what it'd mean to actually be "married". All I could focus on was the wedding.

Now that I have some perspective, I know that I settled. And I shouldn't have. I loved him and he loved me. But we weren't madly, passionately "in love" with each other. Oh.. we thought we were and we said we were. But now that I know better, I can see that we weren't. We both looked good on paper so to speak. We had all the right qualifications for what each one would want in a spouse. And we did what we thought the next step should be. But we weren't really madly in love.

Which is where all the problems started. Because if you don't have that as a solid foundation, you can't fall back on it when you start getting on each other's nerves. Which all couples do at some point. We were just really different people. Too different. Looking back, I think we would've ended up divorced eventually anyway.

Unfortunately.... or maybe I should say fortunately, my ex helped speed up that process by being unfaithful. Six months into our marriage. That was one of the most difficult things for me to get through. I felt like my whole world got turned upside down. To be betrayed by the one person who should always be in your corner, the person who promised to love you and take care of you, the person you thought you could trust... was devastating.

We separated for a few months but then tried to work it out. Cuz we were "married" and figured we needed to try at least. I think I just didn't want to face it at that point. I wanted to believe all the crap he was feeding me. And I didn't want to have to admit to everyone that I'd made a mistake. I mean we'd just had this huge wedding. Some of the damn gifts hadn't even been opened yet. I felt ashamed, embarrassed. I didn't want to be seen as a failure. Which, in hindsight, was all so stupid. I just wasn't strong enough to stand up for myself yet.

We were together for another 6 months after he moved back in before I asked for a divorce. I finally woke up and decided I couldn't get past it. I didn't trust him anymore. And I wasn't truly happy. Not just because of the affair, but because I'd finally admitted to myself that he just wasn't the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I know now that I would've come to that conclusion at some point even if he'd always been faithful. But it took me awhile after the affair to get strong enough again and to realize I deserved more. So we ended it.

To finally answer the question... no I don't regret getting married. Because I got to live out the fantasy wedding day that every little girl dreams of and I have wonderful memories of that day which will stay with me forever. But more importantly, I learned so many lessons about myself. Now I know what I want and deserve from a relationship. It was certainly rough during the bad times. There were moments when I felt weak, shattered, devastated and could only curl up in a ball on the floor because my heart hurt so bad. But I wouldn't change it. Because it made me stronger and it opened my eyes to a lot of things.

But will I ever get married again? I know you should never say never.... but I doubt it. I'm happy being on my own. I like making my own decisions without compromising. I'm pretty set in my ways. I like that my life is simple. No drama. I know what to expect and there's no other person who could shake my foundation, like before.

Quite frankly, between the hurt and betrayal I've had, not just in my marriage but a few other relationships as well, I don't think I could ever really trust enough to let somebody get that close again. Kind of sucks, but it is what it is and I accept it. And my expectations are way too high. I'm not willing to settle for less than what I want and deserve. Unfortunately, what I want is a tall order to fill. But I still love men and enjoy their company. I just keep them at arm's length. And you can't have a healthy long term relationship that way.

Plus I'm so looking forward to adding a daughter into my life. And the complications, doubts and fears that brings to the table when you're talking about trying to date would have to be a whole other post!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'll Be Standing Up

Tune in tomorrow night for a monumental television event. All three major networks will simultaneously air this special show. And it's commercial free. I don't believe this has ever happened before .... unless it involved politics, of course.

But this time it's for a much more important cause.There are 1.5 million new cases of cancer diagnosed every year. 559,000 people are expected to die of cancer this year. More than 1500 each and every day. It's the second leading cause of death in the US right behind heart disease. The National Institute of Health states that in 2006 the overall cost of cancer reached over 200 billion dollars.

Anyone whose ever had this horrible disease touch their lives in some way needs to pay attention tomorrow night and Stand Up.
I think that includes all of us. Don't you?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Slumber Party Survival

Tess was the only one that didn't spend the night on Sunday. She's breastfeeding and can't be too far from her momma. Plus I think I would've gone completely over the edge if I'd added a newborn into the mix. The other four T's just had me teetering on the brink instead.
These photos were taken when Tess was 16 days old. I'm just throwing them in this post cuz she's so stinkin' cute! And I thought you guys might want a baby fix. :)
After mom and dad dropped the kids off, we went for ice cream. See, I've learned a thing or two in my experiences with them. I hyped them up on sugar BEFORE we went to the park. Not at the end of the excursion only to load them up in the car. It's not a good idea to trap four kids on sugar in a tight confined space. Especially when they can touch each other. That was a huge rookie mistake made in the past. But I've learned from it. I didn't get many pics of the oldest, Tanner. He's at that age of starting to get obnoxious. He doesn't like to have his pic taken anymore. Hence the look on his face when I snapped this one.I let them run off as much energy as possible before we headed back to my house. Here's Travis and Tatum in a rare moment of peace. These two don't mix well. Like oil and water. They have a typical love-hate relationship. Well, mostly hate. Normal sibling interaction, I guess.This is Tatum showing me all her scars, bruises, cuts, scrapes and bug bites. This girl plays just as rough as the boys.Teagan loves trucks. All the cool stuff to play with at the new playground and instead he found a truck to push around. He's a simple man.I have no idea what the meaning of the thing between his teeth is all about.For dinner we ordered pizza. It's a sure fire winner every time. And the only food that all of them will agree on. Then they picked a movie to watch. To my surprise they chose Mulan 2. And the oldest actually chose it. I was shocked. Especially since there were way cooler selections to be had. I made a little bed on the living room floor for the two youngest. The other two took the couches. The little ones were asleep before the movie was over. I should've taken some more pics cuz it was pretty adorable. But at that point, I was just as exhausted and counting the seconds until I could go to bed, too.

Everyone slept well. No problems at all. I was a little worried if Teagan would get through the night because he's never slept at my house before. But not a peep from any of them until almost 9am. Hallelujah! After they woke up and had cereal, they played a little and watched another movie. This time it was Toy Story 2. Again picked by the oldest. I guess he's not as grown up as he tries to lead us to believe.

I took a quick shower while I thought they were all occupied. "Thought" being the key word here. In only 5 minutes of no adult supervision, Teagan managed to come upstairs, find a piece of gum and sneak downstairs without me even knowing it. I only found out because Little Miss Tattletale caught him chewing it. How does a kid sniff out a piece of gum that quick? These are trained professionals here. Then they suckered me into taking them back to the park. Since they were bouncing off the walls, I agreed. It was about 90 degrees outside. They begged to go into the sprinklers. I finally relented even though nobody had a swimsuit. So yes... if you were at the park on Labor Day those were my white trash kids running around shirtless in their jean shorts. LOL! Uh-huh... even the girl. Their momma met us at the park to gather them up. I was glad to see her. I think 24 hours with all four is my limit. That's a lot of work. Kudos to any single moms out there who are managing a household with more than 2 kids. Cuz it's really hard when you're outnumbered. All in all, we survived the sleepover. And even had some fun. But it might be awhile before I do all four at once again. I need to recuperate first.