Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm all thumbs.

I don't know what my problem is lately but I think it's probably a good idea for me to avoid anything fragile or flammable or valuable in any way.

Last night I had two near disastrous accidents while making dinner. First, I set a pot of potatoes on the stove to boil not realizing there was a plastic lid on the burner. It took Bill coming home and smelling burning plastic for me to investigate the crackling sound coming from the smoky stove. After that I tried to melt butter in a glass measuring cup by placing it directly on the stove. The entire thing exploded and sent butter-covered glass flying all over the kitchen. Bill and I were both in the kitchen at the time but fortunately neither of us got impaled. All that and it wasn't even a fancy dinner.

Tonight in the bath, I somehow managed to knock a lit candle into the tub. Now me and the bathtub are both covered in bits of wax. Relaxing!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Driven.

I crossed something off my list yesterday. Something big.

Thanks to my sweet and lovely husband, I got my first grown up car!

2002 Hyundai Santa Fe with only 45,000 miles on it!

Isn't it perfect? It has four doors and power locks and a sunroof and all kinds of fancy upgrades I've never had before. Plus the interior perfectly matches my car seat and I don't have to whack Liam's head trying to throw him in the back seat! I actually feel more grown up now. Like a real mom or something!

Billy and I have been looking for a while and decided that the Santa Fe would give me everything I wanted without making us stress about money. He had been searching online for weeks and finally found this little beauty in Atlanta. Unfortunately, after I left for Reno, he told me that it sold. What he didn't tell me was that he was the one who bought it.

I was pretty bummed that we didn't get it. Every time I'd see a Santa Fe drive by, I'd wave at it like how bus drivers wave to each other and then I'd get sad because I was just a Tercel driver, not a Santa Fe driver. And every time I saw one, I liked it even more than I thought I did. It was like I had the opposite of buyer's remorse - I had almost buyer's remorse.

By the time he picked us up at the airport, I had pretty much forgotten about it. I was lugging Liam through the parking garage down row after row of SUVs, following Bill as he mumbled about not remembering where he parked. All I could think about was finally putting Liam down and diving into the sandwich he picked up for me on the way to the airport.

Then he turned around and said, "I know you're probably pretty tired, but do you want to drive?"

"No, I just want to eat my sandwich."

Duh.

When I looked up, I realized we were standing in front of my dream car and he was grinning and offering me the keys. My keys! I was shocked. Totally overwhelmed. I kept hitting him and saying, "Oh my gosh! Are you serious? You're a really good liar." I couldn't believe it. I actually rode home in the passengers seat so I could take it all in (and eat my sandwich).

I've been driving a 1995 Toyota Tercel since I bought it in 1995. My aunt and uncle gave me a thousand dollars for my high school graduation and I used it for a down payment on my first (and only) car. We've had lots of good times together and it's been really good to me over the years. I'll be sad to see it go.

My car and my dog in front of my parents house.

Right after I bought it, my sister, Molly, and I drove from Reno to Portland to see my cousin and her family. I was 17 and she was 14. My parents knew we were going but for some reason we still left at 3 am. At the time, I only had a radio in the car so we brought along a boom box with batteries so we could listen to cds while we drove. We would bring it to the front seat when we couldn't get reception, and throw it in the back when we could. This was no easy task considering it took up most of the back seat. The first time Molly tried to pull it up front with her wee 14 year old arms, she accidentally knocked me upside the head. After that, we'd fight over who got to put it away so we could "accidentally" do it again. Somewhere along the way, the top of cd player warped in the sun and the only way to get it to play cds was to push down on the top really, really hard. Despite our road trip diet of sugar and caffeine (cinnamon bears, orange slices, pop tarts and free coffee from almost every rest stop!), we were tired right from the get go. So for most of the 10 hour trip, I forced Moose (a nickname from early childhood - no one knows why) to hold it on her lap and push down to keep the music playing (not just a little pressure, a double armed push!). I made her sing along, too. I can still see her panting along to the Clueless soundtrack while her little arms shook from sheer exhaustion. What a trooper!

I'm not exactly sure where this story was going. I guess it's just the first thing that popped into my head when I thought about my car. I can't wait to see what memories I make with my new car. More doors, more room, more stories!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane.

Liam and I just met a friend for lunch and I almost didn't survive. Not only was he being difficult, he also managed to catch a cold on the 5 minute drive to the restaurant. He was fine last night and this morning but it seems the moment we settled in amongst the busy lunch crowd, his nose started to run and he developed a loud, hacking cough. Nice. Today I was the person with a sick kid in the restaurant; tomorrow I'll be the one with a sick kid on the airplane.

I hate being that person.

Then again, this could be a good thing. Maybe he'll be so tired from having a cold and being dragged out of bed to catch a plane hours before he usually wakes up that he'll sleep soundly in my arms the entire flight like a little angel. That could happen, right?

Please, please, PLEASE let there be an empty seat next to me! And in-flight entertainment that plays Blue's Clues over and over again (but only the episodes with Steve, not Joe), and all-you-can-eat chocolate bunny graham crackers and sippy straw cups of organic whole milk, and massage chairs with lots of leg room, and funny pilots who only talk during take off and landing and never in the middle of a flight because they know that the speaker is very loud and almost always wakes people up, especially cranky toddlers who fight going to sleep when they're on a plane because they're afraid they might miss something exciting.

Could somebody please move Reno closer to Nashville?


Flying in style, August 2006

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Birthday wishes.

I'm 30!!! As promised, I have come up with a list of 30 things I want to do this year. It was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Then again, it was just making a list. Checking it off will probably be a little more challenging. In a good way.

  1. Start and maintain a blog. (Check! Well, half check.)
  2. Learn Spanish with Liam.
  3. Create and maintain a yoga and meditation practice.
  4. Get so strong and flexible that my back doesn't hurt when I drive.
  5. Get my first grown up car!
  6. Learn to use Photoshop and/or other design software.
  7. Design cards and stationary.
  8. Learn to build websites. Build a website for the Hawaiian condo.
  9. Do something new each week (not like reinvent the wheel or anything, just something out of my normal routine).
  10. Have people over for dinner at least twice a month. Don’t be afraid to mix it up!
  11. Create an even deeper connection with Billy. Dates! Passion! Fun!
  12. Read one book a week.
  13. Spend time outside every day.
  14. Carve out a little alone time (and don’t waste it watching Sex and the City reruns).
  15. Experiment with pattern and texture in my home.
  16. Tackle a few home improvement projects (like adding a back deck!).
  17. Explore the possibility of teaching.
  18. Pursue freelance writing.
  19. Watch less TV.
  20. Get informed (like world events and politics, not E! News Daily).
  21. Continue to learn about finance and investing and apply my knowledge.
  22. Find a way to consistently help others.
  23. Travel (Albuquerque, California, Rosemary Beach, Bald Head Island, Reno…).
  24. Be a more consistent and thoughtful gift-giver.
  25. Shop at the Farmers’ Market. Buy local food and products whenever possible.
  26. Take my new birthday camera everywhere I go. Be bold and actually take pictures.
  27. Make Erin teach me everything she knows about photography so we can start shooting weddings and build a business together.
  28. Work on my retreat idea. Learn, plan and ask for help (Leslie can help!).
  29. Get pregnant with our 2nd child (not until next fall – I’m shooting for a June/July 2009 baby because I think that would be a good fit for our family. Ha!).
  30. Use the law of attraction to create exactly the life I want.

I'll have to remember one important rule: no back talking the creator of the list! I know myself well enough to know that this may very well change completely over the next 12 months and that's OK. I can't go getting mad at myself every time I decide I'd rather pursue this than that. That said, I think this list is totally do-able and I'm super excited for this year!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

College boy.

I am so proud of my husband.

He has been going to school off and on for the last 12 years and is finally going to graduate. He passed an American Literature CLEP test last week for 6 credits and a Business test today for 3 credits. He started his last class tonight and in 5 weeks will FINALLY BE FINISHED. Hallelujah!!!

I want to stress that he is not just going to school but also working full time and is in front of advertising clients every day so he has to really work not just show up and put in his hours. He is the sole provider for our family and I know that responsibility weighs heavily on him. He rarely ever complains and is always happy to see us when he comes home. He's truly an amazing husband and father. He's loving and supportive and doesn't ever make Liam feel like he has to tiptoe around just because dad's home. He gives Liam tons of love and attention even when he doesn't want it and never gets upset when Liam runs to the door saying, "Dada's home!" and then turns and runs away crying, "Mama!" once Bill tries to pick him up. (Ouch.) He is appreciative of all I do and makes me feel like my contribution to this family is as important as his.

With him at the wheel I never worry what the future will hold for our family. There is something so magical about him and he always attracts success. I think he sometimes forgets that but I never do. Hopefully this diploma will remind him.

He has a million great ideas. I mean, literally millions of ideas. It's not even a little bit fair. Now that he won't have to devote so much time and energy to school, he'll finally be able to work on something he's really passionate about. I'm just dying to see what he tackles first. Whatever it is, it's going to be great.


Galena High School Graduation 1995

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Feliz Cumpleanos!

Last night was my 30th birthday party or fiesta de cumpleaƱos treinta (I think). Billy came up with the idea for a Mexican fiesta theme and we totally ran with it. Well, he ran with it, I just got inspired at the last minute and decided to wear festive party attire.

I really wanted to wear a quinceƱeara dress (copyright Billy) but had a heck of a time finding one that didn't cost a fortune or look like something left over from a 1980s wedding. I didn't want people to show up and wonder why I chose my birthday party to get a little more mileage out of an old bridesmaid's dress so, I decided on this little number. There's nothing Mexican or fiesta about it but it has poofy sleeves and looked great with a sombrero. Everyone got a kick out of it except Jerome who thought I was serious for the first half an hour or so. Like I just pulled it out of my closet and thought, "Finally! A celebration special enough for this dress!"

How could something so lovely only cost $7?

We decorated the house with Mexican flags, flimsy cut-out sombreros and Jesus candles. Heather found our house because it was the only one on the block that had a big "Fiesta!" sign taped up next to the front door. We had a taco and burrito bar (with homemade refried beans!), lots of margaritas & cervezas, and my favorite chocolate cake from Costco.

Chiclets anyone?

After everyone had enough to eat and, more importantly, drink, we all went out to the back yard for the pinata and bon fire. I wish I had taken a before photo of the pinata because it was a funny/disturbing 3 legged bunny with big black eyelashes (or "donkey" as Bill called it). I was blindfolded and spun in circles but still managed to smash the pinata in half and bend the metal broom handle I used to smack it!

Yum! Candy, condoms, Vaseline & jalapenos!

Shortly after my victory over the pinata, Liam woke up. The sweet boy had gone to bed after the first few people arrived and slept soundly for the first 3 or 4 hours of the party. I honestly don't know how he did it. Our house is all one level and his room is right next to the front door. People were up and down the hall all night and we played loud ranchero music non stop. Instead of getting him back to sleep, I decided to get him up so he could join the party (it's never a good idea to make parenting decisions after a few margaritas...). After he sat with me for a little bit and drank his milk, he started passing his football around and giving out high fives. He even sat outside by the fire. Eventually, I put him back to bed and he slept soundly the rest of the night (until 10 the next morning...).

Swapping the sombrero for a wig was a great idea.

We ended the night toasting marshmallows on the fire and making s'mores with pinata chocolate and some of Liam's baby grahams. It was like camping without having to pack or pee outside. And, we all got to sleep in our own beds and not wake up hungover in a tent. That's about a thousand times better than camping if you ask me.

All in all it was a fabulous night and left me feeling really grateful (and only slightly hungover!). I wasn't really sure what to expect because I knew several of our really close friends were out of town and Billy had handled all of the invitations. We ended up with such a perfect mix of people and our house was so full of love and friendship it was almost overwhelming. I sometimes can't believe how lucky we are to have found this place in the world. Viva Nash Vegas!!!

The belle of the ball...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

End of an era.

I am turning 30 next week. Inspired by my friend Heather, I am compiling a list of 30 things I want to do when I'm 30. Or in my 30s. I haven't decided yet. In the meantime, I would like to commemorate my 20s with a list of 20 things I accomplished in that decade of my life.

  1. Moved out of my parents’ house.
  2. Traveled to another country for the first time (well, not counting Mexico).
  3. Lived in another country.
  4. Ended a 5 year struggle with bulimia and anorexia.
  5. Married my BFF.
  6. Learned to SCUBA dive.
  7. Bought our first house.
  8. Figured out how to be a good wife and have a successful marriage.
  9. Graduated from college (after only 8 short years!).
  10. Convinced my boss that I should be the copywriter for my company. My first real job.
  11. Got into and out of debt. Twice.
  12. Quit smoking. Twice.
  13. Ran a ½ marathon.
  14. Sold our first house.
  15. Moved accross the country.
  16. Learned how to make and keep friends.
  17. Survived the death of my dog.
  18. Made it through pregnancy and childbirth. Became a mom.
  19. Quit working to stay home with my son.
  20. Started to figure out who I am and what I want.

Seeing all those milestones and accomplishments makes me really, really excited. I hardly even knew who I was and yet, I did all that? My 20s were a big decade for me. It’s kind of like I rushed through laying the foundation for my dream house and now I get to spend the rest of my life figuring out what to put in it.

You have to start somewhere.

I know it isn't that big of a deal to start a blog. I mean, everyone and their mother has one (especially the mothers!). But yet, here I am, almost 30, starting my blog and feeling giddier than a school girl at her first boy-girl dance. I actually have butterflies!

I only recently discovered blogs at all. My friend Emery has a blog called moms are for everyone! and I am completely addicted to it. She is poinient and thoughtful and incredibly inspiring. Not to mention adorable and multi-talented. And, she has one of the only children in the world who is actually as cute as my son. Needless to say, if I didn't like her so much, I would totally hate her. But what makes me most jealous is that she has a regular writing practice. She writes almost every single day. And when she doesn't have anything to write about, she writes until she does. At first I was completely blown away by this. But then, slowly, my jealousy turned into an idea. If I wanted to write so badly, why didn't I just do it?

As it turns out, there were plenty of reasons. None of them were very good but they were reasons all the same. For one, writing takes effort. Sometimes a lot of effort. It forces you to really pay attention to your life so you don't accidentally miss the interesting bits. And, you have to be disciplined. The only way your writing will ever get better is if you do it all the time.

In addition to those very practical reasons, there were also the really big scary reasons that I almost don't want to admit, even now. Like, who am I to write a blog? Why would anyone want to waste their time reading my
thoughts? Do I even have any thoughts worth writing about? Also, and here's the really big one, what if I suck? Thinking you're good at something is easy if you've never really allowed yourself to try and fail.

Obviously, I decided to throw all that aside and do it anyway. Because what kind of a mother would I be if I never showed my child that it's OK to be scared and vulnerable. How else do we ever grow?