Reason # 387

I’ve kept forgetting to remember to write about this…

A few weeks ago, before the big birthday party at our house, I was working on the pond with Jon’s Mom and Dad.

I hadn’t eaten anything all day long and it was a sunny, warm day and I was getting light headed, so I asked Jon (who was NOT pond-dirty) if he would make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Suffice it to say, Jon does NOT do food – making it or as a conisseur of consumption. He’s a picky kind of eater and he likes what he likes – that’s it. Grilled cheese (with bacon, if he’s in the mood), peanut butter (the Creamy Jif) and jelly (grape ONLY), pasta with alfredo sauce (no marinara) and WHY would you ever mess it up by adding CHICKEN?! Yes, my Jon is a picky eater.

Which is why I was thrown for a loop when the PB&J he’d made me did not contain grape jelly (it did contain an abundance of peanut butter).

I realized after my first bite that it was not strawberry jelly (my particular favorite) but was Red Raspberry Preserves, which I had in the fridge because I needed it to make Monte Cristo Breakfast Casserole awhile back.

But here’s the thing – Jon KNEW that I didn’t like grape. He remembered it and everything. He knew I liked something different from him, and he made me a PB&RRP sandwich.

And now, it’s my new favorite.

And reason #387 (again, I don’t actually have a list) why I love that man. He surprises me in the most mundane – and special – ways.

Inspired: I Wish I’d Wrote This

It’s been ages since I caught up on my Google Reader – but I opened it while on a conference call this a.m. and this post popped up first.

Please read it – I love the Big Piece of Cake blog and I aspire to be just like the woman she writes about and identify with her COMPLETELY.

Please read here.

Dear Elle: You’re Eight Months Old!

Dear Elle,

Happy Eight Month Birthday! I made it home as you were drifting off to sleep after three days on the road, so I got to snuggle you for a split second before depositing you in your crib. At least I got that – it’s better than other ‘birthdays’ we’ve had so far!!

Well, where to begin with all the changes going on in your world?

Three weeks ago, you figured out how to be mobile – clasping your hands together and pulling the entire rest of your body along with you. And then a week after that, you started figuring out that up on your hands and knees was a much more productive use of your energy, so you moved around using both for about two days before you were fully committed to crawling around on all fours! And in the last two weeks, you’ve gotten faster and smarter about how to get around – as quick as possible! You’re losing interest in the walker, the jumper and focusing your energies on the things you can do By. Your. Self.

Absolutely still in love with each other!

You started here. So far away. I have the whole series of pictures as you crawled closer. These are just a selection!

And you ended here! Notice I had to entice you with treats (Puffs!) on the floor in front of the camera to make it work.


I like that about you.

I’m pretty sure I’ll deplore it when you’re a teenager, but for now – LOVE your independence.

You are getting a bit more whiny when I walk out of a room, away from you. Anyone for that matter. A bit of separation anxiety? That’s to be expected, of course, but I hope it’s a short phase for you. You’re just such a happy girl, I wouldn’t want anyone to think otherwise (though that sounds like a lot of pressure – so just be you and don’t worry about anything else, kay?).

Turns out you’re a sucker for water — you go in search of the bath tub ALL THE TIME and we even gave you multiple baths in the same day because you’re just so interested in the tub. I attribute it to the great song I made up. But you love the water – you stared at the pool at our neighbors, Michael and Cheryl’s, until I dropped your feet in. You love the pool at your Grandma and Grandpa’s house and you’re definitely entertained by spending time in and around the water. I’m trying to stay very cautious in some ways about your experiences in the water. One bad experience could potentially ruin it, so I’m so, so glad that you love the water! You even love water in your “party cup” (what I have begun calling your sippy cup) because you like the ones with the straw. You love water and I think it actually refreshes you – though I could totally be making that up in my head.

You’re sleeping through the night again — well, you have. It’s not regular at ALL, but you’ve done it again lately. But then there are also nights you’re up four times – so I’m not really chalking up your good or bad habits to any one thing. It’s all completely arbitrary.

We went for your first boat ride at Great Grandma Rosemary’s house and you loved that too!

Your dear Mom has been too busy. I am planning on cutting out some of the things I’ve got going. In addition to my full time job, I have “Candy Tree Productions” – my small side business for, well, anything but up to this point, photography for friends and acquaintances. The Rotary Club. The Vision 2020 Economic Development Chairperson for Marketing. The Under 40s involvement group. And, trying to be good to the people who are good to me – family, friends, etc. There’s too much going on and I’m going to slow it down. Over-extending myself means I feel I don’t do any one thing well — and that drives me a little batty.

We had a big party for your Dad and Auntie Jen’s birthdays and – surprise to her! – Uncle Rick asked Aunt Jen to marry him! Which means that…YOU’RE GOING TO BE A FLOWER GIRL super soon! Haha, isn’t that great?! Regardless of when you tire of crawling and decide to walk, it’ll be before next summer when it looks as though they’ll be getting hitched. Super exciting, isn’t it?!

You and me, though, we’re awesome. I felt like I hadn’t gotten a chance to spend time with you, so last weekend I packed you up in the morning and we headed to the Farmer’s Market in Flint where we had coffee and donuts (ok, I did) listened to some music (and danced — that was you doing the dancing in your stroller) and bought some flowers. Then we went to the Flint Art Fair and did some early, early Christmas shopping and spent time together. Every person there commented on how cute you are and those big blue eyes of yours. They’re pretty captivating, even to people who AREN’T already your biggest fans (that’d be me and your Dad!).

You continue to get to spend lots of time with your grandparents, which makes me so happy, and I feel like we’re just better and better as a family each day, the three of us. Sometimes I hear other Mom’s mention to me “Oh – just wait…” like you walking is going to be ‘worse’ than now. But, now is awesome.

You’re honestly such a good baby, such a good girl, so fun and so neat and so smart, that I’m just more and more excited all the time to see who you’re going to be tomorrow, the girl you’re becoming on a minute-by-minute basis. I’m just so optimistic about all the things you’ll do in your life – our lives – that I can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner. People have begun asking if we’ll give you a brother or a sister and while I think that having a sibling is perhaps one of life’s greatest gifts, I selfishly just want to spend time with YOU because you are such a cool girlie.

As ever, you fill me up.

No, you actually overflow me.



I’m Thinking About Becoming a Recluse

Ok, hear me out.

I’m seriously considering becoming a recluse of some sort. Perhaps a hermit. I’m not really certain of the proper definition. But, I’m considering taking myself out of rotation, at least on the friendship front.

For some reason lately I’ve been – more than normal – struggling with some of the friendships that exist in my life and how they reconcile to who I am/where I’m going/what I want. At least at this moment in time.

I feel like I have lots of shortcomings and lots of reasons why a person would NOT want to choose me as their friend.

At the same time, I feel the opposite is true. I’m loyal and honest – to a failing fault – and enthusiastic about the little things.

But for whatever reason, as a 30-something mother-of-one, I’m finding my friendships very hard to negotiate and understand. I’m finding that I may need to edit my real friends list (not my facebook friends list) in order to maintain a healthy, long-term friends list. (For those of you who are my real-life friends and not just blog-o-sphere readers, I don’t mean YOU).

Is it worth it to just STOP – to devote myself wholly to motherhood, partnership, civic and volunteer activities and fulfilling myself that way? I feel defeated many nights lately at my approach to friendship, at the way friends approach me, at the words and the actions used to maintain the friendships that exist in my life.

Of course, this post was brought on by a late night, over-cocktails conversation with a friend. Err, at least a once-friend. Not sure where it stands exactly now.

It was the most intelligent argument/confrontation that I’ve ever been a part of. But it was disheartening and I sit here this evening feeling confused.

As I grow older, as new challenges enter into my world, I feel that these inherent parts of me change, and I struggle with how everything and everyone else fits into those changes.

What makes me good?

What makes me vibrant as a person, as a friend?

Why would YOU want to be my friend – stay my friend? Because I’m really feeling like perhaps I don’t have a ton that I bring to the table to recommend myself as the friend I fancy myself to be.

I don’t know, I’m just not sure. To re-iterate, I’m just totally feeling as though I am not the friend that I want to be to others, but I don’t know how to transform myself into that [rtdpmwithout leaving behind the woman, the individual, that I work hard to be, too. Which is why I’m seriously considering abandoning all friendships – at least in the way I know them now – to pursue other avenues of fulfillment.

Will it work?

Will I be miserable when it comes to my personal life – or less so.

I’m not a good secret-keeper sometimes – which doesn’t recommend itself well in friendship.

I’m quick with a sharp tongue and sharp wit.

I’m brutally honest, even when I’m trying to temper my opinions.

I’m bitchy and opinionated.

I feel like I know myself – I guess I expect that others do too, that the people I call friends do at least.

And then, on nights like tonight, I begin questioning why someone – ANYONE – would choose me as their friend. True blue, stuck like glue, friend.

Because I’m all of those things above that I listed.

I guess if I were writing a resume for friendship, though, here’s how I’d sell myself:


  • Determined to bring joy, happiness and fulfillment to those individuals who qualify as friends.
  • Seeks innovative and resourceful approaches to creating feelings of value and relation in variety of audiences.
  • Views friendship as an extension of self and thereby a statement on one’s own accomplishments.
  • Will get down in the shit with you.
  • Will be as drunk as you when the going gets tough and when the goings are good.
  • Creates memories and experiences for friends, friends of friends, family of friends, family and more.
  • Continually sources new individuals to forge both historical and contemporary friendships.


I don’t know folks.

I just don’t know.

I didn’t know that as I got older – grew up, ugh – that I would struggle in such a large way with friendships and how I exist within their construct. I feel as though I am failing at being a friend and I just don’t know…I think maybe I just need to take a step back and into myself and be more self-absorbed than I have been in my life, and maybe that will create an environment in which I understand better what friendship means. Or – am I SO self-absorbed even at this moment that I can’t get beyond myself to understand how I relate to my friends in the moment?

I value friendship above most other things in this world – and it may be even the most valuable thing in love, too.

But, am I any good at friendship? And if I am, how? Because I’m just not sure that I am…and if I’m not (shit!) what does that mean, and how do I get back to being better?

Perhaps, taking a hiatus and becoming a recluse?

Ideas – Welcome.


Reason Number 4

There are a multitude of reasons why I love Jon. And I don’t know, if I were to make a list, what all would go on it specifically. But I know that somewhere near the top would go this…

Jon, this evening: “So, did you see? You’re going to continue to get paid less money than me for doing the same work?”

Me: “Yeah, can you believe it?”

Jon: “Hell no. It’s total bullshit — and some women’ll still vote for the people supporting it. It’s crazy.”


I love that about him.


The BackYard Again

So, I started this morning with a pond that looked like this:

Tonight, it looked like this:

If you can’t tell the difference…it’s ok. I won’t take it personally. I wish I had taken pictures close up of how awful it was in the ponds. Imagine a foot of mud, filled with the roots of cattails, wrapped around all of the rock you now see. It. Was. Awful.

And I have now touched EVERY rock in this picture at least two times – once to take it out (using a trowel to un-wedge it from the roots and other rocks) and once placing it carefully back into this pond.

Well, not every rock. My Dad and Karen both helped today in the pond. My Dad came down and worked on a fix to the deck that we had needed done since the inspection over a year ago and Jon’s Dad got all the pond electrical fixed up for us and added in a few outdoor electrical outlet areas for us too. So, now we’ve got all our pond lighting, all our outdoor outlet needs DONE. Crazy to think we had NONE of that this morning!

Anyway, here’s the damn pond in review, the only photos I can muster…

June 2011.

June 2011.

June 2011.

Ignore the preggo belly and look beyond, through the window. These are the best I could find, September 2011.

September 2011.

Keep in mind, I had a baby about 2 weeks after this photo – so the epiphany I had today while weeding my azalea bed “WOW, how did this not get touched last fall?” I answered with “Oh yeah, had a baby”. Crazy how time flies!

April 2012.

The creeping juniper (the green stuff) I was determined to cut out. Those dead, brown things in back are rotted cattails. That’s the third level of the pond that you can now see.

April 2012.

April 2012.

That pile at left is the creeping juniper I had cut out.

April 2012.

Ahh, the creeping juniper is gone but the upper two ponds need to be cleaned out completely, still.

June 2, 2012. Morning.

June 2, 2012. Morning

June 2, 2012. In Process.

June 2, 2012. In Process.

June 2, 2011. Evening.

June 3, 2012. Evening.

June 3, 2012. Evening.

It’s not done by any stretch. But it’s SO much closer than it ever was before. I’m always grateful for the family that Jon and I have, but today as we worked with our parents in the yard of our home, I was more grateful than ever for the families that we’ve been lucky enough to call ours!

$100 in Binkies

Of course when you have a child who loves their binkie, you’re going to keep them around in every available location (most pockets of my jackets and sweatshirts, included).

These days, I’m insisting upon keeping 2-3 in Elle’s bed at night…she loves to play with the flapper-do on the front (I’m sure it has an official name, but…). She ultimately will pull her binkie out of her mouth, wake herself up, and freak out. It’s not a favorite blankie or toy that we’re up against – it’s just a second binkie that we need.

Here’s proof:

I Hate Coupons (subtitled, I Love You JCPenney)

I hate coupons.

Hate them.

I feel like I get ripped off if I DON’T use them at stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s or Babies R Us. But I HATE them. Having them organized, finding a spot for them in my wallet, figuring out if the damn thing’s expired (seriously, expiration date? I have enough things to keep track of (my sanity, my daughter, the balance in my checking account) that I really, REALLY don’t want to keep track of coupons.

My favorite (most hated) is when I have a coupon with me, forget to use it, and then feel the urge to go buy MORE because I went to a particular store specifically to use the coupon.

I’m the sucker that the stores WANT to get sucked into coupons.

And it’s worked.

Until now.

This is my love letter to JCPenney and my notice to the rest of the stores out there.

I’m done with your silly little coupon games.

Hate them.

Penney’s is willing to put their best price out there and not screw around anymore. No more coupons, no more discounts up the wazoo. Just the right price from the beginning (the example is they may have had a pair of sandals for $49.99 before, but after discounts, coupons, etc., you got them for $29.99. Now they’re just priced at $30 to begin with. They’re bringing in better designers all the time and – gasp – the clothes there ACTUALLY FIT ME. Like, not just saying that, they actually fit in a way that makes me feel halfway decent in my own body.

Read more here.

With all the noise out there – and the lack of return on this risky venture – Penney’s may go back to the discounts and the have-to-have-a-coupon shopper. But that’s when I’ll stop shopping. I’m willing to shop if you give me your best price, if you give it to me straight. But if I HAVE to have a coupon to get the right price…not a fan.

Qdoba’s another one that I love – instead of coupons, I have my rewards card and I just swipe it when I’m there and every once in awhile, I don’t have to pay for my quesadilla or burrito because I have earned enough points! It’s what keeps me coming back.

I know there are tv shows out there devoted to couponing (and we’ve hit another low, America) but I’m done with coupons. This may mean I’m limited to Penney’s, Qdoba and Target — or simply paying full price for items – but I LOVE what Penney’s is doing.

So I wanted to write them a little love letter and say so.

The #$!@# Backyard: An Update

Yesterday, Jon’s Mom, Karen, said that this weekend was the weekend to work on the pond. We’re hosting a big birthday party at our house next weekend and it’s time to get the thing finished. So, I took her up on her offer. She had a plan, and I was willing to make her plan work.

(NOTE: I know, I know – I haven’t written much lately. That’s not because I don’t have TONS of things to share and thoughts racing through my mind…it has more to do with the complexity of motherhood, womanhood, friendships, volunteer and civic involvement and the melding of all those things…I promise to write more).


So, this is the photo of where things stood at 1 p.m. this afternoon. Notice again that the pond, the bottom level is relatively cleaned up (though at this point growing algae since I last touched it so long ago). Also notice the nice border and color around the patio. That’s my handy work!

Karen even recruited Big John (Jon’s Dad) and her sister Selena to help in the pond, too. And then Selena recruited their other sister Carla to help. I can’t even TELL you how great of a help it was. Work that would have taken me the whole day, Selena and I got done in about 12 minutes together. I was absolutely amazed at how Karen and Selena were willing to literally get dirty to help get this pond in shape (we were all a muddy mess).

Here’s another picture as I headed out to get ready to clean up the pond. I just want to really point out the top level of the pond at this point — filled with cattails where are both rotten (those are the ones that look dead/brown) and sprouting new and growing MORE roots (the green stuff). From this angle you can’t even see how beautiful the yellow iris are. Seriously, incredible.


Here’s from the other angle, Selena hard at work in the pond, Karen taking a very quick (and deserved water break). The three of us spent HOURS in that upper level of the pond today.

Another shot of Selena – and the iris – around the pond. Big John took away three loads of CRAP out of this pond, with his tractor, for us.


And here is the closer-to-finished product.

Again, let me remind you:



In summary – THANK YOU to Karen, John, Selena and Carla for all their help today. Would not have this thing NEARLY DONE if it weren’t for you! We have the best families, I swear!