Saturday, December 11, 2010

13 weeks....

Sunday will mark the 13 week mark of my pregnancy and the end of the first trimester--I can breathe a sigh of relief!


The dizziness is gone, the food aversions are pretty much over and I am in a comfortable state of feeling somewhat normal, other than the fact that I have a parasite feeding off me :)

Deacon is super excited for the arrival for "his" baby and I am in love with the way he already being an amazing big brother. He'll pat my belly and whisper "hi baby" or he'll bless my belly before bed--it melts my heart--God sure did know he was ready to be a big brother! He keeps telling me that he is going to have a baby sister...wish it worked that way! When Doug was taking my baby bump picture, Deacon ran up and insisted on his picture being taken with his baby....


I told him that we'd have to wait and find out--but he clearly didn't understand what "that" meant, so he is calling the baby Charlotte. I honestly think that if we have a boy like I suspect, Deacon is going to be heartbroken. Eventually he'll be excited to have a little bro running around causing trouble with him, but for now he is set on wanting a sister. I have my theory. Louis is his cousin (3 months younger than D) So they are practically brothers--they sure do fight like brothers so that part of his craving has been fulfilled! He saw his cousin Louis become a big brother to baby Darleen and I believe that he wants the same as what Louis has. He also sees how Louis cares for his baby sister and again, wants the same thing...

However, I am still set on the fact that we are having a boy--I just have a gut feeling (pardon the pun!) Also we already have a girl's name picked so that would just be to easy right! We'll have a no-named boy---and that is perfectly find with me. All I want at this point is a healthy baby!

Life will soon change--I will be a mother of two, Deacon will be a fantastic brother and we will somehow have to transition our life make it all work--we are certainly up for the challenge.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


A very long time ago I was in the sixth grade. My twin, of course, is very much apart of this lets assume she is sitting right beside me in homeroom. We do the normal attendance, lunch count and girlie gossip before we are released into the wild halls of St. Agnes. It was a typical day. I believe it was English class, however, that changed my life on what would have been such an ordinary, boring school day. (Karla, if our first introduction wasn't in Mrs. Romendino's class, I apologize...but I am pretty sure I am correct!)

I was all ready. I studied my vocab words, I had my () gesture ready (Mrs. Romendino wanted was to make the () signal with our hands if she or anyone in the class used that weeks vocab work. Pretty genious on her part if I do say so myself), I actually read our assignment and did the homework--I was prepared. I shuffled my feet into the class, plopped down opened my books and waited for class roll call. Instead, in walked an awkward girl, tall with incredbily long, dark brown hair. He was shy, timid and if I had to guess, scared. Mrs. Romendino announced that there was a new student, Karla. Karla introduced herself and said she was from St. Joe's school. For that reason, I immediately didn't like her. St. Joe's and St. Agnes had a big rivelary in soccer--and since I was a soccer freak--I vowed not to like anyone from St. Joe's.

Fast forward to lunch--my group of friends quickly adopted her to our table and even though I was hesitant, I decided that I would be nice to her.

That got me in a heap of trouble becuase the next thing I know I was invited for an overnight at her house...the new girl. At a strange house, in a city I wasn't familiar with. I specifically remember telling my mom that I didn't want to go and she told me to, just to see how she is, and that I might be surprised at how much fun we'd have. So I went. That day is etched in my memory forever. We combed the aisles of Kroger picking out snacks and cookies and at the same time we both grabbed the Milano's--I knew we would be friends forever!

I won't get into the details of my first over night with Karla, but I'll say it was hysterical. From her mom screaming at her for watching a show with Ellen to dipping our delcious Milano cookies in coffee to eating the most amazing chocolate muffins for breakfast--that was the day I knew I had a friend for life.

Karla and I have been great friends--even with our ups and downs. There was a wierd moment in highschool where we didn't speak to eachother, but we weathered that storm too. College came quickly and it seems as I left for college, I left behind the frequent phone calls, hang outs and night outs. However, as true friendships always rekindle, Karla, Theresa and I are still as close as ever. Sure we don't talk all the time. Sure I don't call her like I should. We don't go out on the weekends but there is a certain bond, an understanding that we have for one another. When we do get together It is like only a day has past. No awkward moments, so silent lapses, and no shortage on laughter. I love Karla beyone words. She has grown out of timid, shy and awkward self into a strong, beautiful and infectious woman. I am blessed to have her as a friend--just as any person would likely say about her.

So why am I going on and on about this girl? Well, we had one of our girl nights in last night and it was wonderful. Since I am pregnant we didn't break out the wine or the beer, rather Karla broke out hot chocolate, marshmellows, fluff and chocolate syrup. The three of us huddled around the table, laughed, recalled silly memories and just soaked in the new memories being made. It was also a night that had a somber edge to it. It was the eve of her brother's death. Today is the 1 year anniversary that she lost her brother to a car accident. I couldn't help but thank God for putting me next to her last night--to lift her up in prayer, laughter and love to help her over a big hurdle and milestone in her life. It meant alot to me to be there for her. Instead of crying, she brought out a beautiful calendar that her family was featured in. You see, her brother was an organ donor, and because of that selfless gift, he was able to save many lives. Ever since her family has been speaking on Kyles behalf, urging people to become organ donors. Their picture was somber, yet hopeful and I once again saw Karla's beautiful, genuine smile. It was so good to see that.

Karla is a friend for life. She always is and always will be there for me and my "wombmate" and we the same for her. Karla--thanks for being you. Thanks for going to St. Agnes and thanks for being so persistent in wanting me to be your friend back in the 6th grade--I'll never forget you, ever.

Monday, November 29, 2010

poppy seed, lentil, kidney bean, grape.....

All the above have one thing in common. I have carried them. Currently I am carrying a fig. Is this confusing? I'll just tell you then--I am pregnant. Deacon is going to be a big brother. Pretty soon, our family will be four.

11 weeks and counting. I am still in shock to know that I am actually pregnant again and that God is has given us such an amazing gift.

This pregnancy is slightly different than the last. I am getting nauseous, I feel dizzy, I have food aversions...never did I experience any of those symptoms with Deacon. Know that I know what "morning sickness" is, I don't think it should be coined morning sickness--because it is a big fat lie. It can happen at any time--Morning, Noon, Night. It gets me on my way to work, on my way to get Deacon, at my desk, in a meeting, while out to lunch. "Morning" sickness is a ninja who just karate chops its way into your life with out notice. Because of this I have become a convenience store. My desk is stocked with crackers, peanut butter, lemon packets, cereal bars and oatmeal. I have learned to "deal" and pray that every day gets a little better. I also tell myself that my sickness isn't nearly as bad as I just need to get over :)

We waited a really really really long time to tell Deacon. I just felt like I needed to have a few more weeks with him as my "only" before we told him he was being promoted to Big Brother. I knew when we told him, the real planning would begin and I just wasn't ready to give up my only child yet. We also waited to be on the safe side. By 11 weeks, chances of anything devastating happening decreased and we felt comfortable telling him.

So on Thanksgiving morning, Deacon crawled into our bed and the three of us snuggled as we always do every morning. My throat tightened and my eyes began to water. Deacon looked at me and said, "What's wrong Mommy" to which I replied, "Oh Deacon I am just so happy, Daddy and I have something very important to tell you." I eased out of bed and grabbed the ultrasound pictures, gave one to him and said, "Do you know what that is Deacon?" He said, "Yes, Mommy. A Rock." Doug and I laughed and redirected our sweet 3-year-old back on track. I told him that the picture was looking at was a baby. I took his hand and put it on my belly and I said, "God blessed our family, Deacon and you are going to be a big brother!" He looked at me, then my belly, then me again and said, "A baby is in your belly?" I nodded my head and he said in that cute toddler voice, "OH Okay!" He reacted the way I expected, and quite honestly I don't know if he really understands, he just knows that his cousin is a big brother and we is now one too. I am sure the bigger I get, the more he will understand.

It was the most perfect way to start a day, and it was even more perfect because it was on Thanksgiving. My family has a lot to be grateful for.

So I am officially 11 weeks pregnant, and 29 weeks go--it seems so far away but I know it will be here before I know it! I am trying to not think about EVERYTHING we have to do, and rather focusing on Deacon. Speaking of Deacon, he just built an incredible space ship out of lego and my name is being called into the living room. My mommy hat gets straightened and I am off to play make believe with a future big brother!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

long overdue!!!!

October has been quite a month. There isn't a word to describe its awkwardness, other than the fact that it has been awkward. I've also, unfortunately, put my camera down unless it is for professional events (weddings/portraits/etc.) Deacon's life is at its busiest, yet I don't have pictures to prove it. His baby book is at a standstill and I just feel crummy about it.

To sum up the good things in October I'll write in my favorite form...lists.

1) Family Reunion. Every year the Wolking family reunites in October in Tipp City, Ohio. The day is quite simple. Its an hour-ish drive up there, you sit, eat, talk, walk, and play. It is always so nice to catch up with all the Wolkings, especially the ones I don't get to see that often. One the way up, Doug's mother quizzed me on the family members, their children and other important details. Being an "in-law" is tough work! Tipp City is striking. It reminds me a lot of Falmouth, Kentucky. Small, quaint and charming. There are tiny storefronts with unique gifts, furniture and other nick-knacks. The park in Tipp City is nestled in between some of the most beautiful mature trees I've seen. The trunks of the trees twisted up high meeting their branches to the beautiful amber colored leaves that would wrap us in their sun-kissed glory, bringing some warmth to an otherwise chilly day. The younger kids played, the older kids gossiped and the adults teased, drank, laughed and remembered the "good ole' days". It was a peaceful day and a good reminder of how lucky I am to be married into such a wonderful family.

2) Cancun. Doug and I were fortunate enough to go to Cancun for 3 days/4 nights with my co-workers Jason and Vicki Crawford. This meant we had to leave Deacon. He was perfectly safe and sound with his Grandmas Wolking, but that still didn't make it any easier for me to get on a plane, fly out of the country and not see my little guy for what seemed to be an eternity. The first 2 days were fine, almost as if Deacon didn't even miss us, but by Saturday and especially Sunday, Deacon (accounted to us by Doug's mom) would cry and ask where we were. It was heartbreaking to hear that over the phone knowing there wasn't a whole lot we could do about it. The sad part is that I planned this trip to be easy for him. We had a letter for him every day we were gone with a picture to color and an activity that he could do with his grandma, but it just wasn't "us". By the time we landed in Atlanta airport on Sunday (while trying to kill 4 1/2 hrs before our flight home) Deacon refused to talk to us. tragic. I sat there in Fridays eating my overpriced burger in tears when I heard Doug sigh and say, "he is so upset that we aren't home he doesn't even want to talk to us." That 4 1/2 hour layover suddenly became 24 hours. Its endless--I never thought I would make it home, plus with a thunderstorm in the forecast I was also frightened that our flight could very well be canceled. Luckily it wasn't. We were home by midnight and it was heaven when I crawled into his room after I heard the little pitter-patter of his feet. I opened his gate only to see his huge smile--that moment is etched in my brain forever. Doug and I loved the opportunity to go to Cancun, but when it was all said and done, we were SO SO SO happy to be home.

I guess I should back track so you can hear about the trip, huh?! After a smooth 2-flight jaunt, we landed safetly in Cancun, hopped on a bus and rode 20 minutes to the RIU Palace Las Americas. It was stunning. You walk into the lobby, look out the sliding doors to see an infinity pool practically bumped up next to the ocean. Our rooms were nice, the shower was amazing (I have a thing for hotels and good showers, most of them are crappy!) and the fridge was stocked. This was an all-inclusive resort: food/drinks/non-motorized sports were all included. I looked at Doug on Friday and said, "I haven't been this bored in years...and I like it!" I read a book in three days (unheard of for me) and sat in the pool the other times I wasn't reading. The food was decent---not incredible or memorable, but definitely better than Ok. That should surprise anyone, especially if you have been to an all inclusive before. They are cooking for for THOUSANDS of people--can't expect it to be gourmet. There were certain food groups I stayed away from: Dairy being the biggest. The milk was made from powder, the cheese was different and the eggs had a really weird sheen to them! My diet consisted of Bread and fruit and pasta (aka assortment of carbs). There was a swim-up bar, lots of great music, amazing sea breeze and just enough wind to keep the heat off your skin. It was such a nice time, but again---glad to be home! We didn't bother with the excursions because of the cost, and well it is just smart to stay on the resort. We did manage to walk across the street to go to the mall (aka indoor market) which reminded me of the Gatlinburg strip! Walking out of the beautiful hotel and onto the real streets of Cancun made me realize how much they rely on tourism. Here we were in this palace, but right outside of those walls were shanties with tin roofs, locals begging for our business and a mall that is a joke (in American terms). It is a little depressing part of my trip. It must be such a hard life to stand on the streets begging to get innocent travelers to buy into time shares do fake excursions or try and sell random crap we'll never use. It's their way of life and if they don't ask or sell, they don't get to feed their family. Their just doing what they have to in order to survive--I just felt terrible, again--it did serve a reminder for me to be grateful for what I do have.

3) Mass. I've been trying to get back in the habit of going to daily Mass. I forgot how peaceful it was and how it fueled me for the day. I hope to carry my October "good habits" into November, because I like the way Mass makes me feel, and I want to continue to feel that way!

4) Deacon. He is a character. He is holding "real" conversations. He uses hand gestures and hysterical facial expressions. He is using bigger words and best of all, he is singing---all.the.time! My little boy has a sweet little voice on him and it is our favorite thing to sing on the way home from school. Sometimes he even tells me to turn off the music so we can see it by ourselves--precious. Having my own personal concert from my little rock star makes my heart so happy.

5) Work. It challenging, scary, questionable and rewarding all at once. I am not going to get into much here, but professionally I am being challenged more than I ever thought could be possible. I am happy that I am growing professionally (new department, new job role) but also have to admit to myself that it is an uncomfortable transition as well. I went from knowing what to do, to praying that I don't skrew something up! Not really that extreme but to say that my confidence has been stirred is an understatement. I am so lucky, however to have a boss that understands my situation, supports me immensely and motivates me to continue to do what I am doing. She is the difference and I'll be forever grateful!

So there you have it. That's the good that came from October. More good than bad, but plenty of awkward moments in between. But, I've come to the conclusion that if I didn't have any awkward moments, I'd not have any good moments--You have to have some awkward phases in you life in order to get great outcomes.

Hopefully I'll be a better blogger for November--I can already tell you I'll have lots to blog about!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

special day!

My sister went to Gatlinburg, TN today with some of her friends for a quick over night. Tre was working today, so I jumped on the chance to watch the kids! My other sister Kathy stole Darleen from me so I was only left with Louis. As much as I love Darleen, part of me is so happy that I was only responsible for Lou-bear. Darleen was in good hands with Kath, Bryn and little mother (Tegan) which allowed me to really have an interactive day with the grown boys!

First we got some pumpkins...and paint...and brushes. We took a pit stop at The doctors for Deacon's flu shot.

Tangent--As we walked in there was a swarm of parents and anxious little kiddos waiting for their shots. Parents filling out forms and being ushered back with their kids for "the shot". Deacon and I were in line with Louis of course and we were witness to kids slithering down the hallway in tears, grabbing their arms and parents walking in distress behind them. I got nervous--they called us back. Deacon asked, "Mom, why those kids crying" I said, "I don't know honey." UGH...I my distress came early, knowing that I just completely lied to him. Not a lie--it was a form of protection for my sanity. Anyway We hop up on the stool, the nurse rubs his arm, instructs me to hold his elbow to his side and viola---in goes the shot. Deacon turns and looks at me with utter disgust, then to the nurse with a puzzled look. THEN tiny tears of, "ok, ok, my arms feels funny". Those who have had the flu shot, know the medicine tingles a bit going in. I told him, "DEACON, YOU did it, you got your muscle shot--look at your big, strong muscles!" And with that the tears stopped. Nurse nodded her head in a congratulatory fashion and said, "good job, mom!" Deacon got a sticker as did Lou and he practically skipped down the hallway and out the door! I was so proud of my little man!

So after that almost-crisis...we headed back to the house and donned our fake artist aprons that Deacon and Louis were so proud to wear! We set up the colors, the pumpkins the brushes and the water. The pictures speak for themselves:












I was proud of myself. I am such a control freak---no mixing of colors, no smearing, no fun (I mean because when you are three, those things ARE FUN!)

I all of a sudden didn't care. Their smiles, their laughter and the amount of pride they had with painting their very own pumpkins, their very own way made me not worry about the way I would be painting pumpkins. (does that make sense?) Deacon kept looking at me like he knew I was wanting to give instructions or tell him how to do something...but I wouldn't and he would just smile and on the inside I know he was saying, "Thanks, mom, I told you I knew what I was doing!)

It seems so small and insignificant---but it this pumpkin painting madness was a big step for me. Doug and I had a conversation a couple days ago---he wasn't pointing fingers or blaming me, he was just observing and I appreciate the feedback. He told me that I try to control too much...and that I need to let go, I need to see what others do, their way, not mine. He also said that I need to involve Deacon more. I didn't believe what I was hearing. But as I replayed our conversation in my head today, I realized how much work I actually needed to do.

I need to let Deacon be his own person, his own way, and I need to involve him in the process. He is 3 now...capable of making decisions, choices (not like huge ones to you and me, but big ones to a 3-year-old!) I patted myself on the back today...I took a big step in motherhood and I know Deacon grew as a person today too!

After painting, I plunked the two in the bath, we ate lunch (not in the bath!) and then took a nap. Yes, I successfully got two kids down for a nap--I'd rather not talk about it because I'd rather not jinx it for the next time!

We did a nature walk. We were on the hunt for all sorts of things that were "Fall". As we were taking our walk and finding acorns, leavings and twigs we were stomping our way through leave piles and the crunch of each step we took was the Earth laying out a welcome mat and greeting us with such hospitality that we didn't want to go inside. We did end up going inside and took our beautiful crimson colored leaves and made leaf rubbings. Again the amazement Louis and Deacon had as they were rolling their crayons across the paper and seeing the result was breathtaking for me to watch. I just saw their brains flutter with excitement and their eyes lit up with joy and wonder. We proudly hung them on the fridge and each time we'd walk into the kitchen they'd say, "LOOK, we made dat!"

To cap of perfect day, I made one of my favorite fall/winter meals: Sauerkraut and Kielbasa, New potatoes (with parsley and butter!) and fresh steamed carrots. The kids loved the kraut (thumbs up!!) and ate the 'basa only because I called them hotdogs! It is true comfort food. The tang of the kraut with the juicy flavor of the Kielbasa--YUM. Heaven I'd say!

Tre came by picked up the kiddos (by this time I had Darleen, for Tre's ease of only going to one home to pick up). Although I am exhausted, I wouldn't trade the day in for the world. I survived the day, with two preschoolers--who were so incredibly well behaved it was semi-ridiculous! A simple day of babysitting turned into life lessons, happy kids and beautiful art. Thank you, God for giving me this opportunity to grow as a person, a mother, an aunt and a wife. Thank you for the smell, the crunch and the beauty of fall--it delivers joy in my life on so many levels!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Precious Life

Life is not that complicated. I tend to forget the simplicities of life. I over analyze and pick apart each of life's details to create a solution or scenario perfect for me...or what I think perfect is.

I forget to just let life take me by the hand and spin me around like merry-go-round. I forget to realize that life, is a gift, given to me by God. I forget that life isn't about the plans I make, rather, living out the plan that God created for me.

Lately, I've been busy trying to discover "life" and what I want to make of it, that I've completely ignored the "take up your cross and follow me" aspect of life. centered on myself I have turned away from why I am really here. Wait. I'll rephrase. I am so centered on myself and "my way" that I have lost the ability to see where God wants me to go. I am so lost that I don't exactly remember why God put me on this earth.

Tangent--this isn't meant to be a depressing post, nor do I intend it to be, just trying to be honest with where my head is at currently.

I am sure that right before I was born God said, "my precious child, here is your purpose..." I seem to have misplaced my instructions. I've been questioning many aspects of my life. Why AM I here? what am I called to do? What treasure and talents is God wanting me to give? How can I spread love, peace, hope and salvation to others. Am I REALLY as good of a Christian as I think I am? Do I even know why we do half the things we do during Mass? Am I a good parent? Am I being a Figure of Christ to my child? Am I helping with Doug's journey to Heaven with my actions? Do I know how to pray? Do I have faith? Do I cultivate my faith.

The answers are more complicated than a simple yes or no, but to save time and explanation, I'd say that there is definitely both in there.

This started entering my brain a few weeks ago. I read an article in the paper about the dwindling attendance at Catholic Masses. That Sunday the Priest of my Parish mentioned the article and the importance of Mass and the difference between a Catholic Mass vs. a larger, non-denominational church service. He talked about ritual, concentrated prayer and the most important aspect of my faith, receiving the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. This is still such a hard concept for me to grasp onto---hence where my faith comes in.

After the homily, I decided to pay special attention to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This was difficult with a 3-year-old, but I savored on each prayer like it was the last time I'd ever hear it again. Guess what? I cried. I didn't let my tears show on the outside, but my heart was melting on the inside. What was I missing all these years. Mass became a chore, prayers became monotonous and I was a talking head. Now, with a child--it was even more difficult--trying to listen to the priest AND control your child is tough. That day in particular, Deacon sat still, remained quiet and for the first time in a while I wasn't just listening to pretty words and a nice homily; I was listening to God. God was talking to me. I know he was because I had no distractions. He paused the world, slapped me in the face and said, LISTEN.

I hear him now, "Anne, I love you. I made you in my image and likeness. You did not lose your instructions for your life. They are here. They are spoken to you each week. Reminders are sent by way of complete strangers, a song on the radio, you husband and son, your family--your purpose is laid out before you--take out the speck in your eye and LOOK."

I've been looking ever since. This past Sunday I made a point to look and listen during the Mass. Again, Fr Sterling gave an amazing homily centered around faith. It was a children Mass so he gathered the children to the Alter and asked them to stand on one foot, and sitting down once they lost balance. While trying to complete the task, they were answering questions Fr. Sterling was asking. These were tough even for me to answer. What is faith? I don't know Father! That's why I am here. I can't see it, smell it, taste it---what the heck is it?! Father said that a person who doesn't have faith is like that person is standing on one leg---they wobble, shake and fall...there is nothing to support them.

He mentioned the Gospel, that all we needed was faith the size of a mustard seed. tiny. Sometimes I feel like that is all the faith I have--it is doesn't seem enough. As soon as I sarcastically said that in my head, God slapped me again. He slapped me through Father's words. Fr. Sterling said that we need to grow our faith. It can't remain small--it needs to be cultivated. Faith needs to be watered, sowed and spread. All this time I was holding onto my mustard seed of faith and hoping that a miracle happens. The fact is that the miracle happens when I choose to let it happen. I need to work at my faith. I need to pray, attend Mass, be kind to others, display patience to my family. Then, and only then will my faith grow. So my action plan-or the next chapter in my life's purpose? I need to grow my faith. This week I am going to read over the parts of Mass and really understand why the Mass is the way it is. I am going to focus on prayer. I am going to shut out the world and talk to God. All this time I feel like I have been, but I am pretty sure I was speaking to his reflection and not him! I am going to practice patience and humility and I am going to bite my tongue.

I am going to remind myself that God is all around me. He is in my son. I don't need to rush bedtime or get impatient. I need to enjoy the moment, and realize that God is teaching me something, giving me a life lesson through Deacon. God is in my husband. If I actually remembered this I'd certainly not loose my temper or treat him the way I do sometimes. I'd show my gratefulness for the selfless love he gives Deacon and me, and what he sacrifices in order to provide for his family. God is in my co-workers, my friends, complete strangers. God is in every experience in my life--serving little reminders--page by page of my purpose driven life.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dar Baby!

I can't seem to get enough of babies! My sweet little niece is already 3 months old! I've not taken any pictures of her in a long time, it I thought at the very least I could get a quick informal snapshot session with her.

Feast your eyes upon the cutest little girl on the planet:


That little smirk is going to get her out of a lot of trouble someday!



one of my favs...

She is a big fan of tummy time!


that smile is delicious!

The return of the BBL

I went grocery Shopping this weekend. I HATE grocery shopping. Maybe I just loathe buying required things: gas, groceries, bills, etc. It's more fun to blow your money frivolously on clothes, shoes, housewares and other fun items.  I get to choose frivolous items; do I want the brown jacket, the blue jacket or both?  With required payments, you don't have the luxury of choice.  I take that back.  I do have a choice--I can choose not to pay my bills, by groceries or put gas in my car---but you see that would get me anywhere now would it.

So I hate buying the so-called required items because it limits the money I have left over for the more frivolous items--oh the drama-filled life I lead, huh?

So now that I've heard the tiny violins play to my woes, its time to embrace my grocery shopping adventure.  Having an assortment of fresh groceries in my home allows me to, in the long run, save money.  Today was the first day in almost 2 weeks that I've packed my lunch.  Work to say the least has been hectic.  2 weeks ago was filled with co-worker birthday lunches, lunch meetings, etc--so no packing healthier items for me.  Last week I just didn't take the time to pack (and the lack of groceries prevented me from doing so).  SO I bought lunch (not good for my wallet).  I told myself I was going to eat healthy--but no.  French fries and hamburgers all week...I felt like I have 5 pounds of lead in my body.  I was moving sluggish, I was tired and I just felt BLAH!

Today is different.  Even though I was getting a late start this morning, I still packed--I forced myself.  I had to give myself a pep talk, "Anne this is good for you and your budget..."  repeating that mantra over and over allowed me to get through the intense desire to just buy my lunch again.  Thank goodness I stayed strong---I do have a willpower!

SO without any further adieu here is what my breakfast/lunch consisted of:

breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal (old fashioned oats) with 1 small banana mixed in
                coffee with sugar free hazelnut cream

Lunch: 1 cup strawberries
           1 turkey wrap (60 cal/low carb wheat wrap with lettuce, tomato and peppered turkey breast
           light and fit yogurt

Snack: edamane
           celery with a tiny taste of peanut butter

Dinner: skyline.  before you judge:  Deacon and I go EVERY Monday.  Why? Doug pulls doubles on Monday, so this gives Deacon the opportunity to see his daddy!  I stayed healthy and got a classic chicken salad, no cheese with light italian dressing.

I just have to tell myself, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

He called me carrots!

What's a girl to do when trying to save money for a hypothetical second child but really wants to change her image?! Can I buy clothes. No. Two reasons: it's expensive (well, I choose for it to be!) and also--if I do get pregnant, I won't be wearing those clothes very long!

Can I get a hair cut? No. A $35.00 haircut just isn't practical, especially when deciding if that is more important than groceries. Do you know what I can buy for $35.00?! A LOT of freaking groceries.

Can I buy new accessories for the house. No. Doug and I pride ourselves on our minimalist ways. We are cheap or overly-frugal, we just don't want a lot of "stuff". Plus, that stuff is expensive. $20.00 for a throw pillow?! Get real.

I was out of options for adding spice to my image, and was dehydrating from all the BLAH! that I was feeling. A girl goes through this crisis every once in a while--moms especially. We are tired of wearing stained clothing from the food, milk, boogers and other unmentionables that go hand in hand with parenting. We are tired of looking like a "hot mess" with baggy shirts, frayed hair and jeans that might be a tad too tight. We get tired of looking in the mirror and saying, "for real, this is as good as it gets?!"

Doug sensed that I was in my rutt again. He can always tell when I start fishing for compliments on an incredibly way-to-frequent basis. He even offered to give me the money he was secretly saving up for Christmas (not a secret anymore) so I could have some retail therapy. As sweet as that was, I knew I couldn't possibly do that, so I reluctantly declined--but man that wad of cash would have been awesome to spend at Banana Republic and the LOFT!

So I was stuck. I felt yucky and couldn't much do anything about it. Ladies, I know you understand the predicament I was in. It's never good--not only does it affect us, but our family too! If I was preforming positive self talk, then how am I able to positively talk with my husband, remain patient with my child and hold back the urge to throw Remi out the window for once again chewing on the woodwork on our stairs.

PLEASE NOTE--I wouldn't actually throw Remi out the window!

SO I was at the grocery store spending the $35.00 shoulda-been-my-haircut-money on a cart full of groceries. I'll set the stage. flip flops with chipped toenail polish, baggy pajama pants and an oversized t-shirt. Folks--it was a site and I'm pretty sure if I was in Walmart someone would have snapped a picture of me and I would have been the covergirl for "". It was that bad.

As I'm driving my cart down the aisles, I feel myself going down the beauty aisle--almost like my body took control and said, "mind, get over yourself, it's time for a makeover." SO I bought new shampoo/conditioner and hair color.

what better way to change up your look than with a box of hair dye! You want to know what I chose?! Typically when the mop gets dipped in color I go for a rich brown or an auburn. But apparently I was channeling my inner "Anne Shirley" and went red. Not a "is she a red head?" but a "Holy carrots, red!"

Okay, okay, I wouldn't say it is carrot color, but it is definitely red. And I LOVE it. Red heads have a heck of a lot more fun! It's amazing what a box of color did for my self esteem--seriously! I came home from my twin's house (she does my coloring) and just pranced around like I just won the lottery. Doug immediately saw how happy I was. My sarcasm and wit and zest was back. I AM BACK! so with this new found love of red hair and confidence, I went into my closet and began to look for pieces of clothing I could reinvent into a different outfit. Who needs new clothes when it's all right there in the closest---you just need to be creative.

It was the spirit booster I needed. I LOVE being a red head!

As for the other efforts of saving money--not exactly getting a good grade. the past week, I've not packed my lunch. Monday I start again! I'm sure I'll be reporting on that later in the week. Until then, have a wonderful weekend. Do something fun, change up your look and be fearless!

Monday, September 20, 2010

OH Baby!

You may remember an earlier post of my dear friend Witni and her husband. I had the joy and honor of documenting her pregnancy and just recently was overjoyed when they wanted me to come back and photograph their little one!

Emil is almost two weeks old and wasn't actually due until 9/17. Apparently Witni had a stern talking to her little man and told him it was time for him to come and greet the world!

She went into labor on 9/7 and didn't deliver the baby for another 33 hours. And for those keeping score, this chick labored drugs. I can't decide if she is crazy or superwoman.

I had such a fun time photographing little Emil (named after Eric's grandfather!) and had an even more joy watching how my sweet, little friend just knew exactly what to do--she is for sure a mom and a life long member of mom hood---welcome to the club Wit--we are so glad to have you as one of us!

So without further adieu, here is Emil Regan (pronounced EM-UL REE-gan):

Love how is one eye is he doesn't want to miss a second of this new world he just woke up to!

sweet little man!

There is something to be said for a mom and her son. I am so lucky to have Deacon in my life and I can only wish for Witni that she feels the same way about her little guy


A favorite!


baby in basket=super cute!

Emil is one lucky kid. Not only to have such wonderful parents, but because those parents own their very own baby blanket company. The swaddler you see here is an Aden + Anais muslin swaddler and boy did it work wonders for Emil!


Every baby needs a ridiculous hat--not ridiculous in a bad way--in an "oh my Gosh, that's so adorable" way!

My favorite picture from the sesh!
I told Witni she wasn't going to be in that picture until I looked up and saw that sweet new mother gaze and I had to have her in the frame. Witni--this defines love and you define what a mother is through that peaceful, blessed grin that you have on your face. I love you so much and am so excited for your journey with your new family!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A baseball game, fall and grad school

Thursday, September 23rd will be a day I cherish. It marks the first day of autumn, my favorite season. I have yet to step outside and "smell" fall, but my nose is searching it out!

I know its close--the wind lingers and combs through the trees a little longer. Crisp mornings require wind breakers and the autumn sun is coaxing each leaf to change from green to yellow and finally to bright hues of orange and deep reds. There isn't a season, I think, that compares to autumn. The amount of change that happens in such a small window of time is miraculous--every morning is a freshly painted canvas of the world and what is holds for the day. Pretty soon we'll be pumpkin pickin, apple cider sippin, and fritter eatin' our ways through the short days and long, cozy nights. Fall for me is about creating memories and just living in the moment!

The last hurrah of summer and first welcome to fall was a trip to the Red's game. The Executive Director of the company I work for sursprised me as I was walking out to my car. He was given some tickets from one of our consultants and was unable to attend the game--so since I was the first person he saw, I was the proud owner of some pretty amazing seats! Doug wasn't able to go unfortunately, however, his cousins Betsy and Jill were able to attend with Deacon and me. Those two are fanatics when it comes to the Reds, so it was only fitting that they came with us! It was so much fun to introduce Deacon to the exciting game of baseball and the memories that were sewn tight like the red stitching of a baseball! From the National Anthem and first pitch to eating peanuts and guiltlessly dropping the shells to the floor--it was wonderful. Deacon kept saying, "Mommy, I'm just so happy!" Well, that just makes me happy! Baseball games are important to me. Not for the game itself but more for the time spent with my son. It rehashed some awesome memories of my dad and me heading to ball park. It was our special time, a date perhaps. It would start on Riverside Drive in Covington with a picnic lunch/dinner. We'd walk across the "singing bridge" and we'd always and I mean ALWAYS stop smack dab in the middle of the bride to take a look at the mechanics of it. He'd always point out the expansion joints and quiz me each time asking, "do you know why they are there, Annie?" We would also get across the bridge and buy peanuts from outside of the park instead of paying full price in the ballpark. He'd always take me down early so I could try to get autographs from the ball players---and 9 times out of 10 I'd be successful--I attribute this to my once tiny, limber body and the fierce determination I had to make my dad proud. Although, he'd be proud even if I got a bat boys autograph, it just didn't matter! We always got seats in the club section--the padded, comfy seats situated high up in the ballpark with an amazing view of the entire field. When we got bored sitting, we'd just walk around the park, talk, stop, watch the game and walk and talk some more. We'd love to hear the artisic calls from the park workers yelling out, "Ice Cold BUD--WISE-ER" and "Get your cotton candy, Here, cotton candy". He taught me about courtesy and manners at the park too. Always, I mean ALWAYS tip the usher---its just the right thing to do. I'd replay those flashbacks of the fond memories I have with my dad at the park and then immediately look down at my son and smile. I am so excited to give him the same memories I had.

With the ever changing fall, comes a time of change in my life. Autumn gives me time to think about where I am in life, where I want to be and how to get there. Doug and I continue to discuss growing our family and have left it up to God and what he has planned for us. Another source of change I am considering is Graduate School. I loved college. NKU was the institution that taught me more about myself that I thought a college could. The professors, the students and atmosphere made me fall in love with the program I recieve my undergrad from. Since my graduation 4 years ago, I've longed to go back. Last night I found a paper that had my professor's handing writing exclaiming "APPLY TO GRAD SCHOOL". I know, I know--thanks for the reminder! I want to go--but there are several factors holding me back:

family--I know I could do it, I have such a supportive husband, but I just think raising a young family and putting myself through grad school could possibly be a recipe for disaster. The class load wouldn't bother me, however it would be the hours of studying that would get me. How does one choose between building forts with Deacon and studying for a midterm?!

Money--Its been said that you shouldn't wait to do something because of money--or else you'd be waiting forever. I understand that, but don't agree with it. Doug and I are in some debt (who isn't) and the last thing I want are student loans. Once I get a few plastic devils paid off, the dream of going to school may become a reality.

Time--What's time?!

Maybe these reasons are trivial, but I just can't rush into something without thinking it through completely. I will go through grad school--when, is the question. Hopefully within 5 years...I'll be back on NKU's campus educating myself for furture potential and self satisfaction!

As fall makes its way onto our earth and tugs on my heart strings, I'll continue to enjoy each moment, each day and give thanks for what I do have and the blessings my family has.

Friday, September 10, 2010

battered and torn

I feel old. Not in an apocolypic, "oh my gosh I am so old I'm almost dead" old. My age indicates that I am young. A 26 year old should never feel old. period. But I do. I am not saying that my age is making me feel old, rather, my body.

I played 3 hours of soccer last night and I have another game this evening. I'm tired just thinking about it. This morning my body told me how unhappy it was that I destroyed it while playing soccer. My hip hurts, my IT band hurts. My shoulders feel non-existent and my back, I am almost for certain, is crafting a death note written specifically for me. Folks, I fell more times last night than I could count. I went head to head with big, tall, strong boys and hung with them to try and beat them to the ball. I was fouled and got slammed into a goalie who was sliding to save the ball and she swept my legs out from underneath me. By the end of my second game I was out of fuel. My speed dial went from rabbit to turtle.

On my drive home last night I just giggled. I can remember every instance that I have been injured because of sports in my life. The doctors and chiropractors always said, "take it easy. ice, heat, advil. stay off that ankle for a week. You're sesamoid bone is fractured (uhm, what the heck is that bone anyway?!) blah blah blah." Do you think I listened?! Absolutely not. I've always been fast paced--what can I do to get moving again type of attitude. I have beat my body up for quite some time, all because I couldn't bear the thought of not running in a race or playing a soccer game...I just kept going. The doctors would laugh when I'd visit again and say, "wow, anne you're a workhorse, you just don't stop do you?!" but they never once said, "you really need to listen to us and do as your told." I can't really expect them too either---They don't know how inured I really am if I am not giving them all the information.

After I had my laugh, I began to realize that for 26 years I have been wearing this invisible cape. Life can't touch me--I am unstoppable. As the years fly by, my cape has been getting caught, pulled and torn and now some of my invisibility is gone. my vulnerability is showing--my injuries are lasting longer, I'm not as fast as I was, my endurance is crap, and my foot can't kick the ball like it used to. Kids, I'm normal and human---I apparently just got that memo last night.

Maybe it was cockiness or self serving to think that I would just be untouchable forever. Heck maybe if I actually took care of my body and gave it time to heal after all those injuries I would feel like a 26 year old trapped in a 70 year olds body. But that isn't a fair comparision either--there are some 70 year olds that could run circles around me.

I don't like these realizations. Ok, I lied. Its apart of my life, it's apart my the growing process I suppose. I just don't like the fact that I indeed was wrong. If you know me, or met you, you know that I think I am right at all times.

Growing up is awesome--I have a great husband and amazing kid because of my ability to mature and age. However, the growing pains (literally, in this sense) sucks. So, what is a girl to do? Do I quit sports all together? Probably wouldn't be the wisest thing to do now would it? I guess I need to realize that my cape is shredding away from my body and my invisibility is no more. I need to actually listen to my body and rest when I need to rest. After all I plan on running and playing soccer until my feet fall off--I'd just rather they fall off 50 years from now instead of 15 years from now!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Peggy!

I feel it is only appropriate to end my night thinking about how blessed I am to have such an amazing family. With 7 brothers and sisters, my life is full of wonderful memories and stories that seriously can't be made up even if we tried.

Theresa (my twin) and I were number 7 and 8 in the line up. My mom and dad were shocked with the pregnancy. Why do you ask, well she was 43. The other shock? The doctor told her she was having a 10 pound baby boy. Instead? a tiny 4lb 14ounce girl (me) and then 8 minutes later? a 5lb 6ounce little girl (Theresa). My three brothers and three sisters were about to get the surprise of their lives! I'll always say that God blessed me with my twin so would not have to be an "only child" (Our other siblings were older---ranging from 22 to 10 years older than me and Theresa) But not only did God bless me with my twin, but with Peggy, the oldest/wisest/most amazing big sister anyone could ever have. Today on her birthday, I reflect on who she is, and why she is so very important to not only me but to my family.

It takes a special person to be the oldest, especially of 8. No one in my family is more perfect for taking the "oldest" sibling role than Peggy. God, I think, created Peggy, specifically for that responsibility. So what makes her the perfect big sister? It just so happens that I am in a list making kind of mood, so that is how I'll be organizing my thoughts.

1. She is a protector. Not in a "i'll beat you up" sort of way (unless there is another side to her I don't know about!) but a mother hen type of way.

2. Empathy. She is the most understanding individual I know. She may not always agree with you or doesn't exactly know what a person is feeling, and she never tries to fake that she does. That's what I love about her. Even though she may not fully understand what I might be facing, she is fully capable of giving me empathy and support.

3. Sleep overs. The memories I have (and I guess I'll speak for Theresa too) sleeping over at Peggy's houses (first in Latonia, then Falmouth and finally Covington) are unforgettable. These are the days that I felt the most love. The simple gesture of her giving up her weekend to host her baby sisters is the most kind thing she could have done for us. Peggy, you have no idea how much happiness those sleepovers gave me.

4. Vacations. Canada to florida, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York...the list goes on and on. Sure she had a camera shoved in our faces at every second (funny how the tables have turned) but she did that so we could remember our vacations through pictures. Thank you Peggy for allowing me and Theresa to always tag-along on your adventures with your family!

5. Selflessness. This is the most important roll of a big sister and Peggy's pciture, I think should be next to the definition in Merriam-Webster. She has always and will always put others before herself---period. I could call her up this very moment and tell her that the only way I could go to sleep is if she didn't and she would totally stay awake just to give me the opportunity to sleep.

6. Devotion to family. Everything my sister does encircles her family. Every movement, action, thought is all decided upon this one question, "How will this affect my family?" She is the one always coming up with great opportunities for our family to get together, to be together.

7. Compassion.

8. Hard working. My sister works her butt off. she always has and always will. As a little sib, being able to look up to a person with such a strong work ethic, without a doubt helped shape me into the person I am today.

9. Quirky. Ever oldest sibling needs to be quirkey. My sister has the "sexy walk" the "Peggy laugh" and many other quirks to her that just make her, her. I love that fact that she can take any situation and make it a memorable one. Like the time we were scrounging for pennies JUST to buy a roast beef sandwich while Dale was buying a car at the dealership--hysterical.

10. Ability to bond with each younger sibling. We smith kids are all crazy and we all love each other very much (that goes without saying). I think that is the case because we had such a beautiful foundation to build that on. Peggy has developed a special relationship with each sibling and appreciates each one of us for our differences--that means there is never a dull conversation with her and each time you see her, and interact with her is always genuine.

There are so many more things I could say about my amazing sister, but my tears are getting in the way of being able to see what I am typing. I'll end by saying this:

Peggy, I hope you had a wonderful birthday. My day was perfect just knowing that on this day you were brought into this world. We are so blessed--God designed you just for us, to be the anchor of our family. The phone calls, the "it'll be fun" outings, among many other precious memories I hold dear to my heart are all reminders of how amazing you are. I wish you nothing but a year full of love, happiness and most importantly family. I love you so much!

The Brown Bag Lunch Project

In our quest to have another baby, Doug and I realized that if we thought we were broke now, adding another kid into the mix certainly will cause even less money to remain in our wallets.

Time and time again we've heard, "you'll never be financially stable to have kids...if you wait, you'll never have any more." I agree to an extent. I agree that having children just isn't kind on the wallet. However, one shouldn't just use that as an excuse. Doug and I are very much ready to have another baby, but he tends to over analyze our money, and our ability to provide for our family. It makes a perfect balance because I do at times use that excuse of, "we'll find a way."

One evening as I used that cliche phrase, Doug retorted, "and what ways are those?" Well I wasn't prepared to answer that. I soon began to realize that he was absolutely correct. Two tuitions for 1 year and then Deacon will be ready for school, so that doesn't seem so scary. But then there is the age old question: public school or private school? I was a private school kid who banked on religion class everyday. Doug was a public school kid who attended CCD instead of a catholic school religion class. Even though Kindergarten seems so far off in the distance, it really is only 2 years away....yikes.

other cost spikes that I fail to see are clothing/groceries/toys/etc. These are all things that Doug is rightfully concerned about and as I really sat and thought about it, I began to realize the potential of me working JUST to send our kids to school or buy what we need as a family.

The anxiety mounted, yet two good things came out from that discussion 1. We are still wanting to get pregnant by the end of this year and 2. It opened my eyes to see what I can do NOW to prepare for this hypothetical baby that God has not yet blessed us with.

This leads me into the Brown Bag Lunch Product. There isn't really a huge equation or statistics or proof that this will save money, but I am thinking that it will! I bought lunch almost EVERY DAY for work. Sometimes lunches were $5.00 while some were as high as $15.00. So in a given week I'd spend between $25.00 and $75.00 on lunch. WHOA! which then adds up between $100.00 and $300.00 a month. I'd bet that in a typical month I'd spend $150.00 in food, not even groceries. Here is the other kicker, we'd budget for groceries, but many of it would go to waste because I didn't pack. This I see as a waste. Also, all that junk food certainly wasn't doing me any favors by way of my waistline.

Last Monday, I decide enough was enough. I packed my lunch. Then the entire week I followed the same thing. mid-way through the week I realized why I bought my lunch so often...convenience. It is such a chore to pack a lunch...a healthy one at that. BUT I persevered and got through the entire week with out buying a single lunch.

I did decide that Friday would be my out to lunch day. Let's face it, besides the convenience factor, going out to eat is fun. You get to be out of the office, around your friends--it's more about the food at that point, its about the quality time friends get to spend with one another. So Friday is my day. Most of my colleagues even know that Friday will be the standing lunch day and to not even bother asking me any other day of the week. Last week was such a success that I began this week packing my lunch and so far so great! I've even been cooking more dinners knowing that leftovers can be transformed into lunches for me during the week. So yes, I am actually spending more money at the grocery but am getting a greater ROI because I am not only fueling my body with better foods, but also I get more bang for my buck.

Doug and I are in the midst of deciding what else we can do to still enjoy a comfortable life, yet in a way that helps us save money our our next baby, whenever that happens. Cable/phone/internet--what can we do to save money? I haven't figured it out all the way yet, but when I do, believe me, I will definitely share the secrets!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The day before a Manic Monday

I am holding onto this day so tight and refuse to let it go until midnight creeps upon our alarm clocks. Even when I wake up tomorrow to start the week, I may still pretend that it is Sunday.

Monday has always had a bad rap. Poor weekday. But honestly, when Sundays are so good, the last thing that you want is a Monday to roll around. Mondays = deadlines, meetings, reminders of projects that just seem impossible. Sunday was a day to actually forget about work for once and so it just seems a little unfair (and slightly ironic) that Sunday was a true day of relaxation just one day prior to the start of the work week. Now, I'll manage. I'll wake up, shower, get dressed, throw on my face and lift my heavy, tired legs into my car and make myself drive into work. I'll survive. Once I get there it won't be so bad, but the thought of it just seems so depressing.

So what makes today so special? Nothing really. Today wasn't particularly spectacular, but it sure was one of those days that just will stick with me for a long time.

It started off with Deacon calling into our room "Moooooooooommy, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaddy The sun woke my eyes up". Hearing his sweet little voice almost makes the early morning routine tolerable.

The best part about Sunday's is that Deacon will crawl into our bed and snuggle up while he watches his morning shows. Then he'll get so uncomfortably close and say, "I think you want to read books with me mommy." The kid is so persuasive.

So after our somewhat normal routine, we pulled ourselves out of bed and got ready for Mass. Deacon always says, "is it time to go to Jesus' house?" SO cute. So away we went to Mass and even though Deacon had a hard time sitting still, there wasn't a significant outburst that required us to visit the baby room.

Insert tangent: Every Sunday, right before Mass, the Lectern states: "it is sometimes difficult for small children to remain seated and quiet throughout the Mass, for your convenience, there is a cry room, blah blah blah blah. I totally agree with the concept. But there has become a sort of expectation that if you have a small child that you MUST be in that cry room. This is where I disagree. First it looks like a zoo. Meaning, you are in a tiny room with windows that peer out into the congregation. So the "normal" church goers can just take a peek at the animals behind the glass. Frustrating. Here's the other beef I have with the cry room: for one reason over the other, kids just know it ain't the "real deal" and there fore they get more antsy in that room than they do at church. Also, parents seem to think that because they are in said cry room that their children can run around like cheetahs at the cat exhibit. So, what does that teach the children. Absolutely nothing. When will they ever sit still if they never have the opportunity to learn? end tangent.

SO Doug and I are the rebels of the church and we don't really care. Okay, we care, but we refuse to let Deacon think that church time is play time. SO we decided that since Deacon is three, he can totally hang with the normal church goers and begin to learn the concept behind our Mass, our faith, etc. The cry room has been renamed in our family to the "Baby" room and it is for babies, and if he acts like a baby then he has to go to that room. Maybe that's a little harsh, but it works. Sure the kid is three. He will say funny things during Mass and move around more than the average adult, but if he isn't screaming, crying or kicking, then we will sit as a family with the rest of our church family. It just makes more sense to us. Deacon is learning the expectations set forth for Mass, plus Doug and I actually get to listen to the Mass. It paid off today because the homily was, I think, written specifically for Doug and me. It was words that resonated deep within us and served as a wake up call. The priest brought us back to elementary school with the simple end line he used:

Who is God, God is love. If we have the ability to love, then we have the ability to have God in our hearts. simple, yet so often overlooked.

After my faith recharge, we set out to get some doughnuts. Deacon got chocolate with sprinkles, here is the aftermath:





Deacon ate only the icing, but really, that's that best part so you can't really blame him!

The funny thing is that I have been on a diet (meh) this past week, but for some reason I seem to believe that calories don't count on the weekends. This means that all my hard work during the week went down the tubes this weekend. This is something I definitely need to work on! Tomorrow will start a new week (yes, yes, I already stated that, so no you'll not have to read my soapbox again) and I'll pack each day, workout and lunch and try again. The main reason I am dieting is not to loose weight (although 10 pounds would be AWESOME) but just to eat better foods. I don't need all that fast food crap. I need real food, with real texture and taste. I couldn't tell you the last time I crunched down on celery--it.was.amazing. I am also calling it a diet because I am putting my spending on just that, a diet. I need to spend my money more wisely--and eating out everyday at work is not wise. This week I saved $60.00 on lunch by packing. multiply that by 4, then 12. You get the idea.

So after our doughnut/eggs/sausage fest came to a close we just played trains, puzzles and let the day ease on through our household. There was laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, grass to be mowed and floors to be mopped, but for once we didn't do ANY OF IT. Doug and I were so content just being parents today that we didn't even bother multitasking and it was AMAZING!

After our morning of play, we laid Deacon down for a nap (oh yay, you better believe the couch had my name written all over it!) and prepped ourselves for the zoo. It's been too hot to do much of anything in the Greater Cincinnati area this summer so our zoo passes were put to a hault by mid-June. Thankfully the weather today was tolerable because Deacon had a huge desire to see the "amiminals". Just as we were slinking into the park the other guests were leaving, so it was absolutely perfect. no lines. no crowds. just trickles of patrons here and there. We were able to go see all the exhibits that we wanted to and we didn't feel the need to rush. Deacon's favorite animal currently is the Lions, so that was a must see. We also went to see the Manatees, but they weren't out. I was bummed--they are by far, my favorite animal.

As the the clock struck 6, we headed for home, had dinner and then indulged in Hawaiian Ice. That's right, shaved ice covered in sugar. delicious. You can't go through a summer without visiting this shanty of a stand. Its a right of passage. I think Deacon was addicted to them since he was in the womb. I craved them uncontrollably and when I was on bed rest I had plenty of people stop by with the icy treat for me. Deacon ALWAYS gets orange, just like his daddy. The two of them were being absolutely adorable...luckily I brought my camera to share some of the cuteness:

capturing our shadows

getting some drawing in before dessert





My leading men...

They put so much joy in my heart





As the sun set, so did the festivities in our home. We washed away the day with soap and water, got bundled up in our PJs and ended the day just as we began it, in our bed all snuggled up reading books before bed. It has truly been a wonderful day.

Good night!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Found Treasure

I mentioned a week or so ago about the sheer happiness I get when I find money in my pocket. Today, I didn't find money. Rather, I found something much more valuable. I was photographing one of the members of executive team for our company website and as I was downloading the pictures, I stumbled across some pictures of my little guy that I had completely forgotten that I had taken them! He is getting really good saying "cheese" everytime I get the camera out! I'd thought I'd share some utter cuteness with you:

no day is complete without a signature monster roar from Deacon:

When I see this picture I can't help but tear up. When did he get so big?
sadly enough, most of the time I have been so busy with "life" that it is just passing me by without any warning. It isn't until I "capture" the wild life that I actually "see" what is whirling around me. This picture is just that. I look at that precious face and feel so blessed Deacon picked me to be his mother--that for the past 3 years I have been responsible for this life, this one wild, beautiful life. It also is sobering too, because for a quick minute I felt like I didn't recognize him--that's how big and grown up he looks to me. I paused and thought, surely this isn't my son, what happened to the infant? My kid is a pre-schooler, what?! One look at this picture serves a perfect reminder that I need to stop what I am doing every once in a while and pay attention. Cleaning can wait, work can wait, little trivial things that I make a high priority can wait. Tonight I think I'll spend the evening building trains and piecing puzzles together with my little man.

OH and get a load of these precious little eyes:
are you kidding me?! Most girls I know ENVY for those long lashes. Myself included.

the final picture I would like to show you is my puppy:
Her name is Remi, and she thinks she is a cat. I have a love-hate relationship with that dog. she is the reason we can't keep nice furniture in the house. She is the reason I feel the need to clean EVERY DAY. She is the reason why I don't get a good night sleep (oh yes, she sleeps in my bed--dog owners---DO NOT allow that to happen in your home!) As much as I say "I can't stand that dog" I do love her so very much. Sure she chews on anything and everything and yes she still stinks after I give her a bath, but I can't help but love her. she really is a good girl, I just won't admit it to my husband!

This weekend is going to be filled with nothing spectacular--just the way I like it! I will be attending my sister's-in-law open house at her spankin' new photography studio on Saturday from 10-2pm and then Deacon and I might just find our way to the zoo. Sunday will be set aside for church and possibly a bike ride, or a nap, or a picnic lunch with the family...we shall see but it will be nice to live a weekend not following an itinerary. Maybe I'll find even more "treasure" hidden in the corners of my life--just what I need after a long week!