Disney Trip Ahead

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re headed to Disney!

I knew several weeks ago that we would be heading to Orlando for work and Jon and I discussed the possibility of making it a family trip and he and Elle flying down on the Wednesday when work meetings were done and spending the balance of the week there. But, he was working on a big project that was going to be going through a shutdown and the work and hours would be too good to pass up, so we agreed that the money/hours were worth skipping the Orlando opportunity.

But, then Jon got laid off earlier than anticipated from this particular job, so I thought I’d see if I could still extend in Orlando, etc.

I started looking at rates at Disney through their website. Holy, freaking, moly. I was not anticipating costs of $500 per night. I mean, I wasn’t expecting it to be cheap but to stay in Disney I guess I just never knew what it cost. So, I asked if it was still possible to extend at the hotel where we’re going for work, the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort. And it was. And the rate is so good I’m not sure I can even brag about it. Suffice to say that I would pay more than that if I’d booked in Frankenmuth for the weekend!

Anyway, now I’m reading all sorts of blogs about toddler-friendly Disney and Orlando. The good news is that kids under 3 get into the parks for free, so it will just be $100 tickets each for Jon and I (yes, that’s how much it actually costs…who knew?!).

So, the plan is that I’ll fly out on Monday, then Jon and Elle will fly down Wednesday morning and rent a car and drive to the hotel (did you know that the shuttle service from the airport to the hotel is $100 every time you take it. Orrrrr…we can rent a car at $50 per day and have a car at our disposal for the same cost. So yeah, Jon will be renting a car. I’m planning on packing all the warmer weather stuff with me to take down there, that way Jon will have less to cart around with him. That way he’ll bring a carry on and Elle’s car seat and should be good to go. I’m honestly very, very nervous about Jon flying with Elle on his own. Not so much him with her, because he’s awesome with her. But more about the logistics of all the things he’ll need to be able to manage all at once…making sure he remembers all the stuff (I’ve made lists to remember to remind him of…) and that he doesn’t lose track of her in the airport while trying to keep track of whatever else he might have…her freaking out on the plane…not even sure all the things I’m anxious about. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I just want it to be a great vacation and want his trip down with just her to be seamless. Wish that her first time on an airplane wasn’t going to be without both parents, but…it is what it is. It’s a way for us – who rarely take trips – to actually take a trip. So, I’m going to look forward to it.

The challenge is that I’m out of town this weekend for work for the entire weekend and will likely end up having to work next Saturday so that I can be gone for vacation for the few days and not have to work that weekend…so, I have a very, very limited window of time within which to find summer clothes for Elle, for pregnant me, to make sure Jon’s stuff is ok. I’m sure it is…he’s going to be the easiest one in this whole thing.

So, anyway, we’re working on it. I think we’ll go to Magic Kingdom one day, hang out around the hotel one day, maybe drive to Legoland if we’re feeling up for it, or maybe we’ll go to Universal. I’ve read some interesting things about Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the only thing with that is that the only super toddler-oriented thing that I know Elle would love is the Disney Junior stuff. Not sure. I’m going to get a better plan together in the coming days, but what a thing, to have something fun to look forward to!

The New Car Search

Jon and I have been talking for awhile about the need for me to get a new car.

Well, wait.

I’ve been talking about how I want to drive a bigger car, because with two kiddos and a life to lead, I can’t handle my Saturn Vue as my mode of transportation anymore.

I talked about buying a used SUV. Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon. Our friends Frank and Andrea have a Yukon Denali XL and that’s what I wanted. I was going to look for a new-to-me one (aka used). That’s been the plan in my head.

Then, today I went to test drive a Dodge Durango on my lunch hour. My Mom got a Dodge Dart awhile back and it’s awesome. So, it occurred to me that since I REALLY wanted a third row in my new vehicle, I could look at the Durango.

And I liked the Durango.

Except, the second row is a standard bench seat. And when you get in and out of it, the back of your pants brushes on the side of the car, so you always have that annoying dirt spot on the back of your work pants.

I liked the Durango.

But with those two things, the fact that they wouldn’t give me more than what I owed on my Vue and that I don’t get any discounts on the vehicle, we looked at leasing. That, and they didn’t have the color I wanted (black). So – I made a call to our neighbor who works at the Chevrolet dealership owned by some people who are also members at the golf course.

I told Dick that I wanted to drive something with third row seating, like a Tahoe or something. He says “But a Traverse is a MUCH better deal – that’s what you want to drive”. And, I would have believed him to be just selling me crap. Except that Jon had pretty much said the same thing to me.

The Durango really only had six-person seating. I really wanted seven. The Traverse comes with everything I want and I can BUY it outright – which was the whole point that Jon and I wanted to get away from having two car payments at the same time (we each bought our cars within a few months of each other and we’re staring down our final nine payments right now).

BUT – my mother-in-law drives a Traverse.

We’re going to have twin cars…I suppose since it’s a GOOD CAR with EVERYTHING I WANT (dual sunroofs, heated seats, heated steering wheel, 7 passenger seating, navigation system, the mirror alert system, in black with black leather interior) I can’t care.


We located a car, for the right price, with all the amenities I wanted. Only thing, it was at a different dealership. So, anyway, I got the call tonight that we’re getting the car.

So, tomorrow I’ll have a new ride. 2014 I’ll be bumming around town in my new ride. It will not be the Tahoe/Yukon of my dreams. It will, however, be incredibly warm in the winter and COOL in the summer…oh yeah, did I mention it has cooled seats, too?!



Mom Crawls

So, this just happened…

Elle is napping (like a champ since we got her on the mend now…). And while she naps, I’m cleaning the house, showering and getting ready to attend Holden’s first birthday party later this afternoon (Elle’s going too).

I go to dry my hair and have decided that the last time I got compliments on my hair, I dried it with the round brush (which makes my arms hurt and I’m no good at it and it takes For.Ev.Er. BUT – I want my hair to look its finest. For whatever reason.

So, I go to the bathroom drawer and pull out…four hairbrushes that I put back into the drawer about five times per day (Elle’s on a hair brush kick and an emptying-everything-from-a-drawer kick too). But, no round brush.

Think, brain. Where is the round brush?

Ah, yes.

In my mind, I see it.

Laying in the middle of the floor of Elle’s bedroom.

(Told you she’s on a hair brush kick).

The bedroom where that girlie girl is napping.


I do what any mother would do…

Put on my softest slippers (damning our hard wood floors the entire time) and head toward her barely-open-a-crack door.

It sticks, and knowing this I try to do a shimmy/jimmy lift thing.

It fails.

The door makes a loud creak.

I stop, fearful.

Will she wake up and pop her head over the edge of the crib?

No! I need more time.

So, I quickly close the door back again and drop onto all fours outside the door, waiting anxiously.

I hear the sound of her sucking on her pacifier, hope that she doesn’t wake further.

But I NEED beautiful, lustrous hair. And the only way to get it is with the brush that is JUST beyond my grasp inside that room.

So, I decide to try once more. Evidently the risk being worth it…

I open the door, and I gingerly continue on all fours (less of a chance I’m spotted that way). I reach for the brush. I’m not close enough. I will my arm to grow a half inch – and somehow, it does (or I pulled a muscle in my side while I stretched for it).

I’ve got it!

So, I won that mild battle and headed for the hair dryer…only to realize that it really does hurt my arms to use that stupid round brush and it’s taking forever and I don’t have that kind of time, dammit, so I give up and go to the hairdryer-roundbrush all-in-one that was safely in the cupboard the whole time.

And, in the end, I’m having a moderately good hair day.

But I had to pull a muscle to get there…


Ahh, motherhood!


Dear Mom: Come Home Soon

Alright, this is pathetic, frankly.

My mother has been out of the country at my cousin’s wedding in the Dominican Republic since Sunday morning. And today, about 3 p.m., was when I reached my ‘ok, you can come home now’ limit.

Don’t think that my Dad’s not with her – he totally is. But I don’t talk to my Dad EVERY day. I talk to my Mom EVERY day. At least once. If not eight times — because some days call for that many phone calls.

Some days, I regress and call her eight times until she picks up the phone because I frankly can’t believe there’s anything ELSE she would rather be doing than talking to me.

Spoiled, I know.

But – and I’ve been thinking about this for some time now – I sincerely hope that I am the kind of Mom my Mom is — that Elle and I grow into the same kind of relationship that she and I have. It would be a shame not to, really.

So, there’s my big woe-is-me today.

Come on – at least I’ve got my Mom to call still, to talk to. At least I know I’ll see her again on Saturday morning. Lots of people don’t have that. So I know that I’m lucky.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I want my Mom to come home soon.

I’ve come to know this as a mother myself — but sometimes a girl just needs her Mom.

Uh Oh, It’s Almost Christmas

Where does the time go, seriously?

I don’t think I’ve posted a photo on here in AGES, so in reverse order…here is how trying to get Christmas photos for our Christmas card went:


Jon looks like he’s skeptical at best, Elle has completely melted down and I’m trying to hold my chin up (to look my skinniest) without appearing to completely look down my nose. How’d I do?


At this point, we were hoping one of THESE would turn out. These photos were taken AFTER we’d gone to the orchard and had family photos taken in October. That didn’t go how we’d planned.


And then of course, just like the camera battery in the middle of the photo shoot, Elle needed a recharge. This was probably somewhere in the midst of Elle pulling the stockings off the mantel and the beautiful stocking holder onto her head, miraculously only skimming the edge of her noggin.


We also attempted family photos with a local photographer. I will say that the final edited photos came out better than I would have thought they could, but they weren’t what I had hoped. It really is hard to find great photographers, because so many people (hello, self) stumble into the photography market thinking they can be photographers. There’s way more to it than a digital SLR is all I can say…


We also hosted Elle’s first birthday party back on October 13. Here’s what it looked like…


Damn Pinterest – it always looks better in the pro shots, but this was definitely the over-the-top monstrosity I was going for. Minnie themed without being TOO Minnie Mouse-y.


My Aunt-in-Law, Laura, did all the fabulous desserts, including Elle’s cake. She is a master in the kitchen and this all was just as easy as paying her — which is how I like to do parties these days!


The Minnie cupcakes are amazing. Here’s an uber-close up.



Elle may in fact have an Oleg Cassini cake server in her hands, happily stabbing her cake. She wasn’t THAT into the cake, I have to admit. I think us adults did more damage on her behalf than she actually did. Which is amazing, because I feel like she tears everything ELSE apart.


We worked for weeks and weeks leading into her birthday for her to hold up one finger when you asked how old she was. And here she is, holding up one finger on both hands. She’s advanced and ready for ‘two’ I guess.


The only picture of the three of us that day. Well, the only one where at least 2/3 of us are looking in the same direction. There was a lot to be distracted by.


Elle’s Uncle Trevor got her her very first Tiffany’s, carrying on a family tradition that my Grandpa began. It was overwhelming to me – but Elle thought it was fantastic (so did I, but it made me tear up, I’ll admit).


Did I fail to mention that I got Elle and I matching outfits? Except I didn’t wear red pants? Yup, totally matched. Sort of dweeby, but there’s only so long you can actually pull that off…so…I did it. It kind of made me want to puke, but I kind of secretly liked it, too.


Did I mention the distractions…err…how I may have invited 80 people…


…and then…

ForBlog-10-…all 80 showed up. At once?


This was Elle’s actual birth-day. What you can’t see by my selective posting of photos is that the outfit she’s in in this photo is the SAME ONE we put her to bed wearing the day before. You can obviously see the tired-ness in my face and general appearance here. It was a big night the night before.


My Mom and Dad got Elle a baby jogging stroller and a baby, Abby. Elle can be seen here sitting on the box it all came in 🙂


I took these the day before the big party and had them printed at Meijer as 5×7’s and used self-adhesive magnets that Jon’s Mom, Karen, gave me. It was PERFECT. I just stuck them around the house on different magnetic surfaces or on fridges and people could take any that they wanted. It was kind of a favor, but whatever…and the magnet was thin enough that you could still put the whole thing in a frame without ruining the picture itself.

Here are a few others I printed for that day:



A few days later, we took engagement photos in the park here in town with Jon’s brother and his fiance, Jen. I thought I did an alright job!





Not too shabby, right?

Anyway, that’s pretty much where we stand at the moment. Or at least the goings on in October.

And to think that I began this post to complain about how I have no Christmas shopping done. And then got distracted…which is why I have no Christmas shopping done.

Well, if you were planning on having a present from me and this blog is any indication, you can expect your gift sometime in February.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the pics and tonight’s catch up post.


The First Purchase of…

…our wedding!


I have been sort of wishy-washy on the wedding thing. Every wedding I go to I sit and mentally criticize the things that the bride/groom choose to spend SO MUCH FREAKING MONEY ON and vow that I’ll never do it. Never spend THAT MUCH money on one day.


Well, I lied.


Jon said he wanted the party, but being a bit of an introvert, making a big to-do of a ceremony wasn’t high on his list. Neither of us being religious, it’s not like we’d have a church rolling out the red carpet (sorry) for us. To me, I wanted to publicly promise, in front of those I loved, to love Jon for the rest of my life as my husband (wow, that’s weird to write) and ensure that those people there would hold both of us up through our ‘good times and bad’.


And that was about as far as I got.


I thought that perhaps we could just take a nice trip/vacation some place and celebrate, just the two of us. And then we’d come home and be married.


I thought at one point that we could have something relatively small at the golf course where we live and are members. That sounded like what I wanted to do, really. Except, even to simply FEED guests in a way I’d be proud of, I was staring at a huge bill.


I was conflicted. I wanted to be married in front of my family and friends, but I wasn’t sure I could commit (ironic, right?). As we discussed it more and more, Jon said he didn’t care, really, that he just assumed that I’d always dreamed of a party. So, essentially, the ball was in my court.


I told Jon “I’m going wedding dress shopping with my Mom on Friday. Maybe I’ll know after that what I want to do.”


And I did.


Even if Jon and I went to some place tropical and got married, I’d still want to celebrate with the people I love. I can’t imagine not having photos of the event, not building memories for my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends with us. I feel like memories are the foundation of, well, everything. That, and photographic proof.


I tried on wedding dresses. I went in completely open-minded, not actually being sure I WANTED a wedding dress. I honestly thought I wanted something off the rack, slightly altered to fit me, from some place like Nordstrom’s or Saks. I felt like I wanted an evening gown style dress. So, I looked at them. I tried them on. I didn’t love them.


We had our appointment at Becker’s Bridal, which is located in this podunk town of Fowler, Michigan. The entire town seems to revolve around Becker’s Bridal – there’s a bridal store, a bridesmaid/mother of the bride dress store and a guys wedding attire store. The local economy hinges on wedding season, it appears.


I tried on several dresses and Danyel (our wedding-dress-guru) was amazing. She just kept plugging away, asking questions about what I liked, what I didn’t like. It was an amazing experience.


I’d actually put my own clothes back on and we were looking for round two of dresses to try on, when Danyel brought out a dress and asked if I’d be interested in trying it on.


‘Sure’ I said.


And that was it.


The last dress I tried on was the dress I bought (well, my Mom and Dad bought! THANK YOU).


I feel like a kid in a candy store and yet like an adult – sort of silly and yet incredibly excited. This dress – my dress – honestly makes me feel the most beautiful I’ve felt in a singular piece of clothing…it’s gorgeous. Err…I mean…it has a ribbon and a bow. My Mom is adamant that no one know what the dress look like until THE BIG DAY so the line is ‘it has a ribbon and a bow’. That’s what I’m allowed to say. And since she was the one who encouraged me to try it on – well – she gets to set the rules. That, and did I mention she paid for it? Yup, her rules go.


Like my Mom said, I kind of had talked everyone into acting as though getting married isn’t a big deal, but it IS. Regardless of how big or small the wedding or the reception may be.


So, when push came to shove, I knew what I wanted. I was decisive and all that good stuff…and Jon just rolled his eyes and breathed deep.


I swear – I swear – that I’m going to remain normal throughout the planning process. I’m going to act natural, of course.


But in the meantime, I think I’ve got a photographer picked out too…


I’m so looking forward to publicly promising to be Jon’s wife (again, weird to write), to have my family and friends watch and celebrate with us. I’m looking forward to making memories on that day, on the days leading up to it, and all the days after.


I’m a sucker for a great party – so here’s to our wedding!

Day One – The New Job

Today counts as the first day on the job of the New Job.


That’s right, one whole day under my belt.


I feel like it was probably an unusually hectic day in terms of items on the schedule, and it was unusual in that there were corporate visitors on-site for walk-through’s and trainings with me…it was an exhausting, sometimes exhilirating day where I felt at times that I actually did soak in the fact that I’m in a position where I’m doing something I’m very, very excited to be doing.


But, then we did walk-throughs.


And my day is scheduled to end at 5:30 p.m. and while I didn’t expect it to totally be over at exactly 5:30, I didn’t figure that day one would go uber-long. So, I didn’t plan for that. I should have, in hind sight.


But – the visitors from corporate began the walk-through later than intended and as the time neared 5:20, then 5:30, then 5:35, then 5:40 I was uber-anxious that I wouldn’t get to daycare on time for pick up, that I’d end up getting ‘fined’ for not being on-time or before 6 p.m. and I was flustered as a result of not getting out of the office before 5:40.


When I walked in to get Elle, she was the last baby in the room, which made me sad because I’ve never been there when she’s the last girl in the room (or boy for that matter) and I just didn’t anticipate that, and I certainly didn’t anticipate the feeling of inadequacy/lateness and overall overwhelmed-ness (I just made that a word in case you were curious) that I’d feel in trying to get Elle picked up on time.


Why do I feel now like I need to do it more myself (without our parents helping with pick-up, etc.?) than I did before? I guess the knowledge that I’m simply 5.5 miles down the road makes it seem as though I need to be there to drop her off, pick her up and for her general well-being more than when I was 100s of miles away.


Add insult to injury and I got one of the first calls every from daycare today asking if it would be okay if they gave Elle some tylenol as she was running a low fever – which they attributed to teething, but still. So, all day I was waiting for another phone call from daycare, waiting on having to frantically make plans for her to be picked up by a grandparent, wondering if I should just call and have her picked up anyway, if I should be more cautious about taking her temperature. I feel like that pre-occupied my mind today in ways I probably can’t fully appreciate right now, too.


Anyway – my morning routine went well and I felt good about it. My evening routine, well, let’s just say that I’m tired, Elle’s tired, Jon’s tired and we probably need me to not be sitting in front of the computer writing this. BUTTTT. I needed to catalog my day.


So now I have – off to begin the evening routine.


Ah the life of a non-traveling, working mother!

The Downstairs: A Project

Well, I mentioned it yesterday, but I wanted to show you what I’ve been working on at our house.

See, now that I’m going to be home more regularly and be here at the end of each day from what will be a demanding role, I want it to be HOW I want to come home to, you know?

So, this is what our bi-level walkout basement looked like when we toured the house before we bought it:

There are more photos, but you get the gist…dark paneling, sports themed, etc. Great party room that walks right out onto the patio area (which you’ve read about here and here and here) but in need of some TLC. Notice the obvious burn marks on the fireplace. The University of Michigan (Go Blue!) everywhere and the ode to golf. We do live on a golf course. For the dark paneling, there is actually quite a bit of light supplied from the dual-slider that walks out onto the patio.

So, this is what it looked like in October 2011, when Elle came home from the hospital with us!

It was over-run with baby-stuff, and we ended up re-arranging the furniture over the course of the year, but for the most part, we had a sectional leather black couch and glass-topped tables. We had dark paneling. And few pictures. Because I’ve thought the space was horrible and ugly.

We discussed drywalling, but that didn’t happen and I wasn’t prepared to devote that kind of money to that project (lots of others we need to devote resources toward).

So, I undertook painting after doing some reading on pinterest here. I had to paint the paneling, and I had to make it look nice. So, I did my homework. I followed her advice.

When I began, it looked like this (forgive the awful settings on my iPhone):

Then, I primed. Twice. And it looked like this:

And then, I painted it a very light gray with two coats (see the tape on the trim?)…and it looked like this:

And, to show you what the nearing-complete downstairs looks like, here are some up to the moment photos:

I simply switched the furniture from upstairs and downstairs. I have taken a stab at cleaning the fireplaces (more to come on that front) and I still need to paint the mantel.

I love the cottage-y feel there now. I love that it feels like a room I want to spend time in, where I can fall asleep on the couch (haven’t done that in months and months, I swear).

It’s not done yet. I want to hang my photo shelves, look for a bit more decor, hang the coat hanger/cubbie I ordered, finish a built in bookcase/cupboard to the right of the fireplace, mount the tv above the fireplace. Change out the electrical sockets and switches to all white with white switchplates.

We’re well on our way – not there yet, but well on our way. I’m so happy with the way that my investment of $180 in paint/supplies transformed this whole room!

Found Musings: On Death and Dying

I’m in the process of cleaning out notes and wrapping up loose ends for my current job and stumbled across this from sometime in 2008 or 2009 – need to slap a datemark on things I jot down… (I’ve included the original text in addition to the scan):

“The day her skirt fell around her ankles in the baking aisle of Arnie’s craft shop in Houghton Lake, she chose not to cry. She would not cry to me for three more years, on the Sunday afternoon she told me she was dying. My sobbing drowned out only by hers. And five weeks later, I could only howl when the news came that she’d died 20 minutes earlier.
She laughed – a lot. With her whole body, her head thrown back in sheer enjoyment of who and where she was.”

Thought I’d share it – wish I could get the inspiration to write like that again from time to time. Just haven’t had the time to get inspired lately.

Anyway, thought I’d share.


I’ve Been Remiss

I’ve been gone for a looonnng time, too long, from my blog.

I miss it.

I miss seeing the stats that tell me that people (even if it is just my Mom and Andrea) are reading my blog.

But – I’ve been busy.

With what? you ask…

Well, landing a new job, for one!

I’ve got just four days left of the gig with my current employer and a full week of vacation off before I begin this new journey!

I’m not going to get into nitty gritty details here – but my title went from District Marketing Manager to Assistant General Manager. I went from traveling out of state each week to commuting 4.3 miles from my driveway to my office (which is further than those days when I’ve stumbled across the hall into my office chair). I changed industries, so I’m diversifying my resume while still putting my already-honed talents to good use.

Suffice it to say, I’m absolutely THRILLED about what this means for my life – our lives.

I already signed up for a Monday/Wednesday Bootcamp at the gym to get un-fat. Because I now know that I will be IN TOWN each day. I don’t have to plan my schedule around wanting to take a Zumba class or swim lessons or…anything, other than my traditional working hours. Can you believe it?

I can’t!

So, how did this all come about…

Heck, I think that I first heard about the new opportunity back before Memorial Day. And I had an interview face-to-face. And then some time went by. And some more time, and some over the phone interviews. And…well…they offered me the position that I SWEAR was made for me.

I did, however, make myself a list to remember why I wanted to not travel anymore…so that when the new job becomes a bear a few weeks in and I want to wonder ‘why’ I did this (this is my Mom’s advice…which is normally pretty spot-on) I’ll have a reminder of why I went on a selective search for a job that allowed a bit more stability to my work/life balance.

Only good is going to come of this – I just know it.

So, I’ve been remiss. I’ve been busy finding a new job, scoring a new job, wrapping up loose ends at my current job, and painting the basement (that’s a different post though).

I will promise that I’ll write more. I’m excited to write more. I miss this outlet – it’s therapeutic for me in many ways. So, I’m back. I’m sorry I left. It wasn’t on purpose and I won’t do it again.