Hard Exterior

I am a cheerleader by nature. I am perky, silly and friendly. At least that's what I thought. Over the years, I've been described as a person with a hard exterior. I wasn't sure how to take it so I looked it up. Here's what I got:

"A food metaphor would be prickly pear, which is tough and thorny on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside.

Related would be this variation of a well known metaphor: a sheep in wolf's clothing, obviously meaning looks frightening, but is a lamb inside.

Another related would be all bark and no bite, which can be used in a positive way, as in, for example, "Don't be afraid of your grandpa, he's all bark and no bite.

He might be hard to get along with at first, but once you get to know him more, you'll find he's really a kind and sensitive/empatic person."


"The phrase "hard exterior" when used to describe a person's personality means the person is not generally approachable.... may not outwardly seem to value others........ may not outwardly show emotions..... That is not to say that is actually the way the person feels on the inside but rather the way that person appears to others..... Shy people sometimes appear to have a "hard exterior" because...well...because they're shy..... The person using the label needs to really get to know that person"

I guess, at most, I could see myself as tough, independent, confident (in most things), a wee bit stubborn and feisty. I also thought I was approachable, compassionate and dependable. After looking this term up after being described this way by many, now I'm wondering if I'm coming across the way I want to be seen.

I've always wanted rainbows and puppy dogs in life. No stress. No bad stuff. Nothing to make someone upset. Just laughter and good times. I know it's unrealistic, but since I was a small child, it's what I wanted. I was the one to act silly or throw in a joke if times seemed tense. I wanted to be the hug that made all things better and good again. In elementary school, my mom would ask my why I was always being silly or telling jokes and I always said "Because I want people to be happy. It's my job." It's who I am. Maybe this is why my worrying is so extensive. I can't right the world, so I worry how we will all survive in such misery. I don't know.

I pray a lot. I look for a way to rid of the worry thorn in my side, but so far, it's still my greatest demon. God has big plans for me and if that is a battle I'm meant to have, then I will fight it. But I digress.

I know that over the course of the years, I've been hurt by people I cared about so I have put on my armor to protect myself. But don't we all? No one wants to be walked all over. HOWEVER, I don't like being the person people see as "hard to get along with at first" or that does "not outwardly seem to value others" because that's not me at all. Because I don't think I come across this way, it's going to be tough to know what to change, but I'm willing to try. I'm not up for a soft exterior but I'll go for pliable. Ha!


From 1 to 3

In just 2 short years, my child has gone from a silly little 1 year old that doesn't walk all that well to a little girl that tells me about her favorite part of her day and sings songs all the way home from school. Where in the world does time go? She is such a blessing!



Comfortable that is word that makes me feel good. I picture roomy sweat pants, a cozy blanket, a cold Diet Coke, maybe a good movie.... comfortable is great way to feel. I was thinking about this this weekend. The problem is, I feel like sometimes I get a little too "comfortable" in my relationship with Christ. There are days I get up, hustle to get ready for work and get Ella ready, say goodbye to the hubby and race to work. I work all day just to hustle home, eat dinner and end my day with fluff on TV. Where was my time with God? Did I just once look around me and take in what God has created for His children? I'm constantly struggling with myself for not being the Christian I'm supposed to be. "Today is a new day. I will do what I'm supposed to do. I'll spend quiet time in His Word, enjoy what He has created and love my neighbor, no matter what they say, do or believe." One rude driver on the way to work and I'm already in a bad mood. I've already forgotten my quiet time. By dinner, I realize not once did I appreciate my blessings. It's all back to my Earthly routine. Ahhhh! So frustrating! The saying is "life got in the way." I always thought that was so stupid, because life is what you make it, right? Well, I think I get it now. My Earthly life got in the way and honestly, no one can change that, but me. I made life comfortable and boring and without Him in all I do. Sad. I'm tired of being comfortable. I'm tired of telling myself TODAY IS THE DAY! I am a sinner. I am not the person I want to be. I am not the mother and wife I want to be... yet. I know I'll always be a sinner. I know that I can't change that, but I CAN bury myself in Him, through His Word and in all His blessings. I know I can. I'm tired of the sweat pants.


Social Media

I've been a one busy woman these days. Having an almost 2 1/2 year old keeps me on my toes. Work is busy and it is get sick season. Every little second I get to rest, I usually do it in my comfy pants on the couch next to my hubby (usually about 10 minutes before we fall asleep). On nights when Adam isn't home, I play on my iPhone or the iPad to see what the rest of the world is up to. Social Media. It has brought an entire world together under one little internet button on my computer. Good crap.

When I was growing up (you know, the days before cell phones and when bag phones were considered fancy?) we were always with friends; hanging out with friends, on the phone with our friends, writing letters to our friends. Our friends were usually someone from our math class, our church group, a neighbor... point being, it was usually someone you could relate to. Friends would move away in middle school and after a couple of months of letter writing, they seemed to vanish into thin air. Those friends become a passing thought many years later. "I wonder whatever happened to ______." That's about as far as that went. Occasionally your mom would call you and say she ran into that old friend's aunt in the grocery store and found out she's now married with 2 kids. Whatever. But I digress.

My REAL point is, before all this freakin' technology butted in, we hung out with people we could relate to; people we shared our values and morals with; people who liked the same things you did. Our actual (not virtual) FRIENDS. It was awesome. Now, with all this social media flying around, we have access to people who not only haven't been around in years, but are also not really a person you would normally find yourself around if they WERE around. What I mean is, status updates force you to see what all these people are doing and posting, even if it doesn't jive with your values. It's hard to see these things sometimes without scratching and clawing at a few nerves.

I have friends that I follow on Facebook, Twitter... whatever else site there is.... that I remember from school well over 20 years ago. Were we friends then? No. We were friendLY, but never actually hung out. It's cool how these sites can connect people like that. The down side for me, is that there was usually a reason I didn't hang with some of these people. They didn't share my beliefs or morals or heck, even my love for diet coke. Whatever it was, we didn't jive as well as others. That's normal. Now, I see there rants about their spouses, the hatred for God, the foul language just to describe a sandwich, pictures of inappropriate crap.... I see it. We all do. Sure, these posts usually have 42 "Likes" by them and that's great. But I have been shocked a few times and there's not much that offend me these days.

I am not saying I judge anyone. I am FAR from perfect. I have done some questionable things in my lifetime that I'm not proud of. I have no authority to judge anyone. I could be judged just as easy as any one person in this world. I'm not saying YOU SHOULD BE GODLY PEOPLE AND CHANGE YOUR WAYS! Well, it would be nice if we would all do that, but we are humans that do wrong junk all the time. I just didn't think that people I thought I knew from a long time ago felt so differently about things than I did. I didn't know that as people grew up and began making their own decisions, that they'd choose something so different from the way they grew up. I guess I just didn't realize that what seemed important to everyone when we were youngens living with our parents wouldn't still be important as we grew up and raised our own families.

Social media is good in that we get to reconnect to old friends that once moved somewhere else or went off to school and never moved back. I love that. I love looking at what these friends are doing now. I'm grateful to technology in that aspect. Truly. I just don't think I'll get used to seeing some of the crap people post. We are a free nation. We have freedom of speech, but come on people... where have our social skills gone? Remember when we wouldn't say we didn't like something when a friend had that said thing just to spare their feelings? Where did that go? Why is drama and controversy so loved now? Let's be edgy and say we hate something everyone else loves just to be different. WHY OH WHY?!

I think I have vented enough. I haven't been on here in a while and I'm sorry my first post back is a negative one. I will step off my soap box now, find some funny stuff to laugh at and move on.

Chive on people.



Just a quick note to let you all know that Heather was induced this morning and baby Eli is on his way! This is a critical time so your prayers are needed ASAP! If you would, set aside some quiet time and ask God to watch over them and protect them. This family has been an incredible journey and really wants to hold this little boy in their arms as a living, thriving little man. PRAY PRAY PRAY as hard as you can! Feel free to keep up with their blog as well. I will also keep you updated. Here is Greg and Heather a few weeks ago on the anniversary of their daughter Maelee's day of birth.


Facebook Can Drive Me Nuts

Almost a full 40 days completed without posting on facebook. It has felt good. It was a distraction before Lent and I really think I can keep my facebook time to a minimum now. Only being able to read facebook and not post has brought a few things to light for me about this social media.

1. Reading what people ate for dinner every night is super annoying. That is information I'm not sure why people share. I understand being excited about a special night out or something, but what you cooked or ate EVERY night?? We really share waaaay too much information with people on our status updates. Pictures of your food does not make it more awesome.

2. I do not want to know what color you saw when you blew your nose this morning even if this is the worst cold you have ever had. Gross.

3. I do not want to buy your crap over facebook. Stop posting your junk on facebook for me to buy. I'll go to the store or find it cheaper on Amazon.

4. Do we really need to know how often you drink alcohol? Let's be honest, it makes you look like you are a 20 year old desperate to be 21 so you can be "cool". It's not impressive and makes you seem very irresponsible. I get it. Most of us enjoy a good beer or glass a wine to unwind from time to time, but going through 4 bottles of wine or putting a way a keg of beer over a weekend is not cool. At all. Either stop lying about how important booze is to you or join AA.

5. It's awkward to know you are mad at your spouse or significant other.

6. I can't imagine many people care that you just checked in at McAllister's for lunch. Foursquare needs to stop.

7. Do people even look at the pictures they post these days? That drunk night out should be kept to yourself. Not attractive and there's always someone from your place of employment looking at it.

8. I'm excited for your good mood, but saying "Good Morning" or "Good Night Facebook" every day.... 

9. Updating your status every 30 minutes is really not necessary. Seriously.

10. Working out is great. It's healthy. Congrats on being healthy. Stop posting your workout plan on facebook every time you hit the gym.


11. Stop using profanity on facebook. You are not cooler for it. You look like a D-bag.

That is all.


Fun Apps On My Phone

I used my silent movie app on my iPhone to create this video from an older video I took of Ella. This is hilarious! I love this girl!

On the 10th day

That's right people... I have been without my favorite beverage for 36 days. I haven't been off diet coke for more than 3 days in a row in over 20 years and I'll tell you it's been hard. Water isn't so bad, but let's face it, it doesn't do the job first thing in the morning (or at lunch, or at dinner, or while I work, or on a sunny day after yard work, or while I'm doing freelance, or when I'm watching a movie.... you get what I'm saying, right?) 9 more days of no diet coke. I can do it. If Jesus can do all He's done for me, I should be able to do this small thing for Him. 10 more days from now, I will be celebrating the resurrection of my Lord and sippin' on a cold diet coke. Mmmm mmmm mmmmm!

Not posting on Facebook hasn't been quite the challenge I thought it'd be. Just lately have I wanted to upload cool pictures or videos of Ella now that I have an iPhone that makes it so easy, but I will wait. I do read, on occasion, the news feed on facebook just to see what folks are up to and pray for those who need it. I'm thinking I need to make facebook not so much a part of my life after Easter anyway. It's really been nice.

Lent, so far, has really been worth experiencing. I've never given anything up before and after this year, I think I'll participate again next year. God has been so good to us. I've spent more time with my family and my bible which has made me a new person. I thank God that He challenged me this year. Maybe next year I'll give up french fries or chocolate. I'm glad that's a whole year away. *whew*



Do not doubt my Lord. He is amazing. God gives us miracles to see, be a part of, hear about and pray for every day and what He can do can bring you to your knees.

This past Sunday, church started out with a baptism (as it does often in such a big church). The first to be baptized was a man that had come to the church just 5 short weeks prior to ask for prayer. His teenage son had been in a horrible motor cross accident and was in really bad shape. He was in ICU and the doctors weren't sure he'd even make it. This man, the dad, came to the church and prayed and read scripture for hours with some of the others at the church. He continued to do this for 5 weeks. His story was moving and we all clapped after he was baptized. It's hard to understand why, but sometimes, when life is good, we don't turn to Christ. It can take a tragedy or pain to pull us in and bring us to God. It's a shame, really, but it's so nice to have Him there for us whenever we need Him. He never turns us away.

The second person to be baptized was the mother of this teenager. She, too, had been brought to her knees during this horrible time and turned to God. It was amazing to watch this family turn to Christ and not to anger and hopelessness. This family had found a blessing in this horrible time. We all clapped when she was baptized.

The dad has stayed behind after his baptism to watch his wife start her new life in front of hundreds of people, but it seemed odd to me because most people "get dunked" and walk off. He stayed even after she was baptized. What was he doing?

The minister at this point stated that the doctors also told the family that if Tyler, their son, made it, he'd been in ICU for AT LEAST 6 months and they weren't sure he'd make it at all. At that point, the dad helped Tyler down into the baptism water. Tyler was discharged from the hospital FIVE WEEKS after his accident after such grim predictions by the doctors and was now ready to give his life to God. WOW!!! There was not a single dry eye in the entire sanctuary. Tyler received a standing ovation as it was so evident God had created a miracle.

So don't doubt my Lord. He can do things we can't even imagine or understand. Turn to Him. He will never turn away from you, even as we sin against Him. Let Him create a story through you to share with the world and be on the look out.... miracles are happening all around us.


Happy Birthday

Here is my cupcake (after it fell over in the box) in honor of Maelee today. You are truly missed. I hope your 1 year birthday celebration with Jesus is better than I imagine.

1 Year Ago

One short year ago, my friends gave birth to their daughter, Maelee Linn, at 38 weeks gestation.... still born. April 6, 2010. What a horrible time that was. I remember the pain, the sorrow, that deep, deep anguish we felt for Greg and Heather when we heard Maelee didn't make it. Days were filled with sobs and prayers. Over the past year, there have been tears, long and hard prayers and some healing... at least for me. I remember asking God "Why?" over and over again trying to understand why He would take Maelee away. I know it's not for me to understand. I know that God has a purpose for everyone, even Maelee. I know now that Maelee is healthy, happy and thriving with Jesus by her side and that we will all see her one day. This is where the healing, for me, comes from.

I feel like today should be a special day for Maelee, Greg and Heather. Meetings at work should stop. The hustle and bustle of every day business should stop. I have a friend being induced today and I secretly hope her baby doesn't come until tomorrow so that Maelee can have this day. I don't know why, but I do. It just seems like everyone should be sad today. Remembering what last year on this day was like is so hard. I can't even try to imagine what Greg and Heather must be feeling right now. The first and last time they held their little girl was a year ago. This makes my heart hurt.

I've watched Greg and Heather over this past year grieve and carry on through their days because they have to. I have seen them not give up hope and continue to praise Him through the storm. I have watched them put smiles back on their faces and talk about Maelee with pride. They have truly been an inspiration during this and I feel like my faith is even stronger watching them in their journey. Maelee has made Heaven shine brighter for me and I hope Greg and Heather know how proud they should be of Maelee for showing us God is good, even in tragedy.

Today, I will have that day on my mind more than ever. I will worry about Greg and Heather and how they are coping. I'll listen to music that reminds me of them and that time. I will pray. I will also praise Him for His grace and mercy and thank Him for little baby boy Kasowski on the way this month. If you find some time, pray from Greg, Heather and the new baby on the way. This is a hard time.


26 more days

I miss diet coke. 26 more days of water as my go to drink. I dont miss facebook.


Heaven is For Real

This is the book I'm reading now. I have so much I want to say about this, but for now, please watch this interview. Just click the link below.

Heaven is For Real

God is good.


9 Out of 47

So today is day 9 of 47 days of Lent. As I said before, I gave up diet coke (I've had a 20+ year addiction to it) and posting on facebook (due to the fact I spent too much time posting previously).

The first couple of days I spent more time reminding myself to not reach for the diet coke or not to "like" a friend's post just because it had been habit to do so before. Giving up diet coke wasn't actually that hard. I replaced it with water and it was fine. Drinking diet coke at work was more about the motion of putting a drink to my mouth every 5 minutes, so switching it up to water hasn't made that much difference. It was usually by the time I got home that all I wanted to do was relax on the couch for about 30 minutes once Ella went to bed with a cold, fresh diet coke. This is where I was finding the biggest challenge. The at-home-diet-coke had apparently become a part of my routine and I'm not much for breaking routines these days.

So far I am still diet coke free. It's actually getting a little harder than when I was all "gung-ho" just 9 days ago for this challenge. I've found that I was turning to diet coke during a frustration job at work or when Ella got wild or even when I just needed a moment to deal with what life was handing me. Diet coke was my "dealing with it" mechanism. I had no idea. Needless to say, I'm having to actually cope and learn to figure things out without my go-to drink. It's hard, but not impossible. Well, not when I'm doing it for Christ. Let's be honest, if I was doing this for me, I would have handed myself 1000 different reasons as to why it was ok to have a diet coke and caved many days ago. This is just another example that we can't do anything without Christ. We should walk WITH Him in all we do.

Giving up facebook hasn't been bad at all. I hate that I'm not saying "happy birthday" to friends or telling them "I'm praying for you" when someone posts a struggle or tragedy. That part is hard and I almost convinced myself that telling someone I was praying was worth breaking my commitment, but decided that I could pray without posting. So I have been. It's actually been nice to just observe a few comments here and there, but not involve myself. Life before facebook, email and texting was so much more simple and really it was BETTER. I'm not sure I want to dive right back into facebook once Easter comes along.

So here we are, wrapping up day 9 of 47 and I am, without a doubt, counting down the days until Easter to drink my diet coke again. My family life is stronger than it's ever been and my relationship with Christ is better than I can ever remember. So until Easter, I will be drinking water, staying of the computer as much, reading lots more scripture and praying. It's not a bad life. Maybe it should just stay this way. God is good.


Quick Note On Family

I have to say, having a loving, compassionate, passionate, funny, good looking and incredible husband makes me the happiest woman on the planet. Having a little girl that loves her mommy so much, laughs with her entire belly, wants to see and wave at her daddy first thing in the morning no matter how tired she is, says "I wub you" often, hugs tight like a grown man and gives lots of kisses makes me the happiest mommy in the world. Having true friends that love me, respect me and go to bat for me all the time, makes me the happiest friend in the world. Having Christ as my Savior, means I'm saved. Being saved means I know the true meaning of happy. Without Him, I would be a lost soul trying to figure out how to make it through a day. I am a blessed woman. I pray for those in my life to feel as happy and blessed as I am in their own lives. I pray for those who are not true, who are trying to figure out who they are and who's they are, those who are hurtful and who don't know Christ like I do at this very moment. I want them to know the true meaning of happiness, too. I love my family. My family loves me. I do not deserve such fantastic support, encouragement, faithfulness and love, but I'm so grateful to have it. God is good.


Through Him

Struggles suck. Let's be honest. Just as we figure out how to solve one and start to feel really good about things, another one slaps you square in the face and puts frustration back on you.

There will always be some thing or someone that tests your faith. It's easy to hate that person or thing. It's easy to be mad and angry and walk around like a victim all time. There's very little effort to do these things. It's not Godly.

Praying. Scripture. These two things help make us the faithful christians God wants us to be. We aren't perfect. We are sinful and somehow still expect Christ to swoop in and save the day. We are undeserving of what Christ has done for us and what He continues to do for us.

I've found a new way to listen to Christ these days instead of doing all the talking myself. I feel His love and His comfort when I need it most (and when it's small). It's a challenge sometimes when my emotions tell me to hate someone or to be angry at an event in my life. Those emotions are Satan and it scares me to know how loud he can be. I've learned that forgiveness is hard. It's necessary, but hard and even feels impossible at times.

I've recently been dealing with an extra amount of stress and anxiety. Worrying about other people, how unthoughtful and disrespectful they may be. Worrying about my family and if they are healthy and safe. You name it, I'm worrying about it. I want to hate the things that make me worry. I want to lash out and never forgive any hurt put on me or those I care about, but I know, as a christian woman, I can not. Forgiving is hard. However, I've been praying and actually LISTENING these days and God does indeed hear me. This large, heavy burden sitting on my chest is lifting. Not by me. Not by medication. By God. By only God. I am grateful. Forgiving is still hard, but I'm working on it. Forgetting is even harder. Some people are careless and maybe don't realize how stupid decisions or words effect those around them. Accepting there are times my child just won't eat and will forever be petite is hard. Knowing that worrying is a part of my life and it doesn't show my faith is hard. Knowing Ella sees it and I don't want her to. Accepting that life is not easy, never was promised to be and will always have ups and downs is not easy. With Christ, I will survive it and I will with love in my heart. I will with forgiveness and patience. I'm working on it.

God does work miracles. God does listen. God will help in His time. God is good.


47 days

Lent. I've never celebrated it before. Truth is, Baptists have never really made a big deal about it. This year I've been reaching out to Christ like never before. I want to know Him better than I do. I want to live for Him better than I have. I want people to see Christ through me. That being said, it occurred to me that all my blessings and all my strife are in the glory of God. I wouldn't be so blessed without Christ and let's face it, there is NO way I'd survive some of these struggles without Him either. Medication isn't THAT good. So, I'm participating in Lent this year. I will give something up. I will spend more time each day reading His word, praying and praising His name and I will do my best to help my neighbor.

Sacrifice #1
I don't like calling these things sacrifices because what Christ did for us was a sacrifice. What I'm doing is lame in comparison. First things first, I'm giving up diet coke for Lent. 47 days without the one thing I'm totally addicted to. No, I do not drink the caffeine diet cokes so I shouldn't go into convulsions over the lack of stimulus. The addiction is mental. It's been "my thang" for as long as I can remember and for over a month, I will look past the stock of cold, crisp diet cokes in my fridge or the fridge at home. This is big for me. Huge even. The last time I tried this, I lasted a solid 3 days. I've discovered doing things for myself doesn't work. I will do this for God. I will.

Sacrifice #2
Posting of facebook takes waaaay too much of my time. I "like" things that make me giggle, I post videos that I love to watch and I update my status almost on a daily basis for no other reason that to feel connected to the outside world. For 47 days, I'm saying goodbye to writing on facebook and spending more time with my family and Christ. Technology is a distraction from living. It can be evil and I don't like the fact that Ella knows the word "email" so I bid it adieu.

May we all reflect on this time to think about what Jesus did for us. What He's doing for us and what we need to do THROUGH Him. I do have to say, I look forward to that cold, crisp diet coke after Easter.



I'm convinced there are people brought into our lives to test our faith. Satan knows when you have struggles and knows when you are leaning on Christ to see you through them through Him. Satan knows it and that's when he wants to step in and mess it all up. I think there are people that breeze into your life to shake you up, to help Satan with his big plan (even if they don't know it).

I know we are told of this when we read the scripture and when we hear the sermons, but when these people come into your life, it hits you hard. You'd think being fully aware this could happen, we'd have our dukes up ready to fight at the first sign of their face. These people can be sneaky. They can be your friend. They can be a relative or coworker. They can be a fellow Christian. They can have your trust and without you realizing it, they can send you down a path you never intended on taking. These people are leading you away from Christ and sometimes you don't even realize it until you have a second to look back and not recognize the path you're on. Satan. It happens to so many people.

In the midst of a struggle, you pray. You listen and trust in Him. You start to see the light. You start to hear God's word and feel like your pain is lifting and His love is brighter than you ever remember it. This person can swoop in and say or do one thing to set you backwards and put you back in dimmer light in seconds. Maybe this is why our world is in the condition it's in now. It's easier to be angry, mad and bitter than it is to fight.

God has given me hope, love and courage. I'm not perfect and can't always tell when one of these people comes into my life until I'm back in dimmer light, but there's always a way to fight. We are never alone in this fight. We can't fight alone. Call on Jesus. Pray with all your might. Put your dukes up. Remove this person from your life (if you can) and see the bright light again. It's a lot easier to trust in Him than it is to worry about worldly ways and people who are not Christ-like. There are too many people that want to bring you down, hurt you and your family. Surround yourself with people who praise Him, respect His word, respect you, respect your family and want to encourage you. We are an army. Satan will never give up. He will never wave a white flag. We will continue to fight until we meet our Lord.

If you see someone struggling or being effected by one of "these" people, pray for them, pray with them, lend them encouragement and love. Times can be hard, but through Christ, it can be beautiful.



It has been brought to my attention that maybe I'd let go of some of my resentment to volleyball if I had little something I enjoy doing to do on days Adam can watch Ella. A hobby if you will. Yes! Sounds great! I like where this is going. Something that I can do that is just for my enjoyment. No silly songs about speckled frogs on logs, no 8 piece puzzles, no vacuuming, no laundry, no scooping poop. Something I actually enjoy for ME. I grabbed a piece of paper and pencil to start figuring out what I could do. Here's what I had:

1. Funny stuff
2. Laughing
3. Diet Coke
4. Funky nail polish colors
5. Different color streaks in my hair
6. Being tan
7. Really good music of all genres
8. Being skinny
9. chocolate
10. naps

1. Watch funny movies (wait, is that a hobby?)
2. see above
3. Make my own diet coke (right. Lemme get started on that. Anyone know where to get the best natural flavors, citric acid and potassium benzoate? Yea. Didn't think so.)
4. Ummmmmm?
5. see above
6. Lay out? (still not seeing that as a hobby)
7. Rock out (this isn't going well)
8. Run all the time (wait...er...a hobby is something you LIKE to do, right?!)
9. This one doesn't go with #8
10. sigh

So, out of the 10 things I really like, I've go no hobby to make from them. I looked up hobbies online in hopes of an "Oh yea! I forgot about that! That's totally my hobby now!" moment, but what I got was:

Collecting stamps or other random crap no one uses anymore (one of the "collecting" categories including collecting business cards. BUSINESS CARDS! Really?! Just go around and ask people for their poorly designed/poorly printed business card just so I can clutter up a drawer in my house? This site is clearly a moron.) Another was bird watching. Ok, so I get some people actually care about those birds flying around and dropping poo on my porch from time to time, but let's focus for a minute. I'm just supposed to take binoculars outside and stare up in the sky waiting for something to flutter by and then get excited about it? Next. Glass blowing. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Next. Crochet. How old do they think I am? No one needs 100 scarves that bad. We live in South Carolina! Next. Skydiving. No. Next. Photography. I've taken almost 11,000 pictures of my child with my Kodak Easy Share. I've mastered that one. Next. Map making. MAP making? Map what?! Here's my yard. If you take a left at the tree we cut down a couple of years ago.... you'll still be in my yard. Seriously? Next. Storytelling. There once was a girl looking for a hobby and all she got was crap. The End. Next.

Needless to say, I have no hobby. I'm going to get a diet coke.


What I know about myself today

I don't deal with it well. My knee-jerk reaction is to just throw my hands up and give in, throw a rockin' pity party and stew in my defeat. The party's length depends on how big the disappointment is. Once the party is over, I'm ashamed and embarrassed and promise myself and those around me to not let it happen again. I pray about it, ask Him to help and at some point make a dumb decision to not listen to Him and start the process over again. I'm working on it and promise to never let it happen again. Ok, so I'm praying about it. Pray I listen this time!

I am an only child. I have never liked being an only child. I still to this day wish I had a sibling. Even during all of my childhood years when I had to entertain myself, I, as an adult, hate being alone. Maybe it's has something to do with the fact that there were times growing up I HAD to be alone. Maybe not. I have no idea why, but when Adam's gone for the weekend or even just the evening to volleyball practice, I get sad and disappointed (see above). I know as a Christian, I'm never truly alone, but like "Disappointment," I am not a good listener when I need to be the most. In my mind, being alone is horrible.

This is what I promised to my growing belly when I was pregnant. I was going to be the cool mom. The coolest, actually. But something funny happens when the child comes out and it's time to raise them... you are not the coolest parent. Discipline, lessons, censorship and mostly just parenthood steps in the way and you become the parent you thought you'd never be. This is meant to be. This is the way it is supposed to work. Let's face it, the coolest parents are never the best parents. It's great to be cool once in a while, but not all the time. If you haven't learned that yet, learn it.

While slapping down some bright neon 80's fingernail polish and streaking my hair with temporary hot pink, it occurred to me that I may just be too old for this. That doesn't mean I'm not going to do it, but the thought of someone else looking at me in disgust due to my age... well that just makes me sad. I never wanted to grow up and here I am. Old. Wow. Where the heck does the time go?! I want to rebel against getting old. There are times when being responsible is lame.

I love Him so much and I'm am so undeserving of His love. I'm not a great Christian because as you know already, I'm not a great listener. Therefore, I'm not a great doer. Although I know I will never be the perfect Christian, I am working on being a BETTER Christian. I want others to see Him through me. The scariest part of that is I'm not sure others see that in me now.

She kinda looks like me. There are times when I see her facial expression and think Whoa! She really is my child. I don't want her to see me and not see Christ.

It runs my life a good portion of the time. Because of this, there are times that my anxieties make me a not fun person to those around me. I know what's happening and can't stop it. I worry and become frustrated at rate of speed so that no one can see it coming. I've decided to wave the white flag. I'm giving in on trying to deal with it on my own and am seeking help from the doctor on Monday. I've been on medication before and REGRET ever taking the medication because of what it did to my body. I don't know that I've ever fully recovered from it. I'm not happy about getting on medication again, but I fear I have no choice. This is a sad time for me because I feel defeated. I like to win. I've been praying about it for a long time and I'm thinking this is the choice that is best for me now. If this is my head telling me this and not the guidance of the Lord, I will find out very soon.

I like it a lot and haven't had quite the love affair with it that I used to in over 2 years. I miss it.

For some reason, no matter what is going on, I always feel like a good cold diet coke makes any situation (good or bad) even better. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't. I think about diet coke a lot in a single day. That is not good. At all.

I'm going to be a better person, a better wife, a better mother and most importantly a better Christian immediately. I can't be any of those with out being a better Christian. I need Christ in my life for when I'm disappointed, lonely, being a strict, slack or semi-cool mother, feeling old, adoring or being frustrated with Ella, worrying, sleep deprived and day dreaming about a soda. All these things in my life can change in a great way with more effort on my part. So, if you see me being a jerky human, call me on it. I want to change. PRAY FOR ME. I will return the favor. I want to be better and I can't do it on my own.


No clue

I have no clue what I'm doing. Not one single, tiny little clue. Every day I fly by the seat of my pants. Being a parent, for me, is a giant rollercoaster ride. The weird part is the trip UP the hill tends to be more fun than the 90mph trip down — when you are living with a toddler. Ella has discovered her expressions and boy is it fun.

When Ella was an infant, she opened her mouth to no matter what I put on that spoon and ate it like a champion. Peas? Yes! Carrots? E'ry day. Mystery meat and veggie combo? Absolutley! There wasn't much she wouldn't eat when it was mushy and came out of a jar. Now that she eats with us, she says "NO!" when she's not hungry or is tired of the greenbean/spaghetti o's combo I've slapped on her plate. She now has decided that there are nights she's just flat out not hungry. WHA?! What child of mine wouldn't be hungry 24-7?

When Ella was an infant, she could lie on that play mat and stare up at those monkeys and mirrors for what seemed like hours just checking it out. Now, 2 seconds into a puzzle and she's conquered it and is over it. NEXT! Every book we've read 200 times and she is tired of the same ol' Moose and the muffin story. Coloring was a new adventure not that long ago and now, it's just "aight". The Monkey and Alligator song was my saving grace when she'd get upset. Two notes into it and she was dancing and singing along. Now, she'll leave the room mid song.

Ella, now that she has words to use, has become demanding. "Eat Mommy!" "Sit Mommy." "Read it Mommy!" "No Mommy!" "Back Mommy!" (that one if for me to scratch her back) At this age, if you try to ignore her, she will repeat until you react. 100 times I'll hear the same thing. Did she forget that not only a mila-second ago she asked me to read that same book? And it wasn't 3 minutes ago we DID read that very same book... twice. We even pointed out all the puppies, flowers, butterflies, trees, clouds and little girls in the story when she got restless. And still she demands, "Read it Mommy!"

Don't get me wrong. This age is great. The crying, pooping, eating lump that graced us just 21 months ago is gone and she can now interact with us. She can cheer us on, dance with us to club music, she can tell me she had a good time at school and ate a sandwich, she says "I wub youuuu," she gives the best tight-squeezed hugs ever and loves to give kisses. These are good times. These times are the trip up the hill. This is when I look at her, tear up at how fast she's growing and try my best to hang on to every second we're together. It's that fast ride down that starts with "No Mommy!" and usually ends up with mac and cheese noodles on the other side of the room that makes me think Ella will be an only child. Help me Rhonda on that trip down. Whew!

I don't know what to think about motherhood. It's very cool. It can be very rewarding. It's hilarious. It keeps me on my toes. It's scary. IT'S HARD. It's stressful and frustrating. It's exhausting. It's like nothing I've ever done before. I wouldn't change it... well, I would change her EATING HABITS! I still don't get that.

Thank you Lord for all my many blessings. It's hard to get so wrapped up in the bad and frustrating parts to remember to be grateful for the 1000 times more awesome parts there are. I'm not the best Mommy in the world, but I'm Ella's. She'd tell you I'm the best Mommy she's ever had. I'm good with that.



I love going to church. I love going to church when I leave feeling refreshed, humbled, uplifted and excited for I can do through Christ. I've been to churches that made me feel so guilty that I can't even hold my head up or feel confident I'm going to heaven when the Lord sees fit. I don't like church like that, but to each their own. I love to worship and praise and learn and rejoice and be humbled by His grace and love. So Adam and I are getting ready to join a church in Columbia after years of going to worship in Camden. We've been searching in Columbia for a long time and never found what we had in Camden. I don't fully believe we have, but we are tired of not belonging somewhere.

So anyway, what I don't feel good about is letting my everyday, sinful life clog up my mind while I'm in church. My mind starts furiously going over my to do lists right in the middle of a great message and it messes things up. I've been taking notes and listening and learning when I notice a smudge on my dress and I end up spending the next 5 minutes trying to figure out what it is and why it's not coming off with the ol' spit and rub trick. Why can't I FOCUS sometimes?! The devil? Is that mean ol' snake making my mind wonder so that I can be fulfilled by His word? EERRRRRRR he makes me so mad sometimes. This very thing happened to me in church this past Sunday. Adam was in class so it was just Ella and me. Ella was wisked off to the nursery so I sat alone ready to learn. As the pastor really started to get into the meat of his sermon, I spotted the little buzzer thing next to me buried under my pocketbook. My mind started in on "What if it had gone off under there and I would have never known?" and "What kind of thing would have to happen before they would buzz me?" My mind went on some stupid path of worry from there and before I knew, the pastor was concluding. What?! What did he say? My notes didn't make sense. Instead of feeling great about the service, I was left with confusion and frustration with myself. Why did I do that?!

I love church. I love going to church when I leave feeling refreshed, humbled, uplifted and excited for I can do through Christ. So, I'm planning on focusing at church and leaving the devil out in the cold... along with my to do lists and what ifs. Pray for me. My mind is stubborn.



It's official that Adam and I have passed our sense of humor down to our little girl. I'm so proud! We did pray very hard when she was still "cooking" that she would have a sense of humor. One of the first things the drew me to Adam (other than how good looking he was) was his sense of humor. He made me laugh and I was sold. Previous to Adam, I had been in what I'd call a really bad relationship full of anger, fighting and sadness. Adam made things bright and happy again. I was actually laughing again and I never wanted that to end.

So here we are, over 11 years later, and we have this beautiful little toddler that laughs at everything. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! When my day has been stressful and all I want to do is make the day end, Ella will laugh at a carrot flying off her tray or a cat meowing or something and belly laugh which makes me laugh so hard that I have a stitch in my side. I can not tell you how proud I am of Ella. She is smart, polite (mostly), energetic, creative and loves to laugh. Today, we are home from school and work because Ella has walking pneumonia. I've been a mess trying to figure out what I can do to make her feel better. It's scary for me because all I want to do is make sure she's breathing. We had a rough night with Ella coughing, crying and fighting fever and today she's smiling. While I was changing her diaper this afternoon, she started to wheeze. I stopped what I was doing to listen to it because I was worried. Ella heard it and started to laugh. She'd get quiet, wheeze again and start cracking up! I got tickled, too. My worrying didn't go away completely, but it made it so much better listening to her cast her wheezing off as comedic. I should look at things in life more like she does.

So yes, being a parent is stressful. It's hard and it's a challenge. Being a parent is also a blessing that teaches us lessons. If it weren't for Ella, I'd have a lot less laughter in my life. God is good. He knows what He's doing up there and I'm certainly not deserving of it.... but I'll take it.


Happy Birthday

Ah, birthdays. For some reason, we all celebrate the day we were brought into the world, even though we didn't do any of the work. The mothers really should be the one getting all the praise and gifts. They are the ones that had to get all fat and work hard to bring us into the world in the first place. Anyway, I just had my 33rd birthday. Not an exciting number. No milestone, no new privileges, no one saying "You're legal!" or "Now you are an adult!" or "Mid-life crisis yet?" There is nothing to write home about 33.

What I find interesting is how I feel about birthdays in general now. When you are kid, you couldn't wait to be "this many" and use both hands. We were in such a hurry to grow up. Each birthday was about the long list of toys we wanted and hoped we got. There was cake and ice cream and friends to celebrate the years you've accomplished and the one you were heading into. Birthdays meant parties, telling your friends and/or teachers your birthday was that day over and over and over again, sleepovers, gifts, sugar until your eyeballs hurt, gifts, skating rinks, games, gifts, counting on another finger because you were older, gifts...... birthdays were something you counted down to out of excitement. Birthdays were just that though. Fun. The day came, you partied your face off and then the next day came and you moved forward with new toys, fantastic memories, possibly a belly-ache and cavity, and a new list of things you wanted for next year. Not when you hit your late 20's. That changes everything.

I'll be honest, my birthday crisis didn't really start until I turned 30. I was on the brink of a meltdown at 29, but put it off one more year. Thirty. What a bad word. Things begin to sag, droop, darken, wrinkle, ache and dull. That's not what bothers me the most though. For some reason, when you become "of career age," birthdays become a way of looking at your life, judging it based on some stupid "What I need to accomplish by (insert age here)" list and becoming depressed when you realize you couldn't be further from your goal. Your unrealistic goals. Why do we use birthdays as the day to step back and observe our accomplishments (or lack of)? As if there is some golden rule that by the time your are 30, you must have the perfect well-paying career, an established 401K, a spouse, a house with a picket fence and 2 1/2 kids. Seriously? I'm STILL not sure I'm in my correct field of work. I do have a husband, a house with a privacy fence in the back yard, I think my job has a 401k that I put money into and we have a 1 year old. Just one 1 year old. I was certain by this age I'd have a much higher paying – much more important job, a bigger house, and I was supposed to be done having all the children we were going to have.... 2. My list of accomplishments by 30 was incredibly long. I felt that everything must be checked off in permanent marker by now. The check boxes on my list are barely filled in. We fall for this "I must be depressed about my birthday" mentality and set ourselves up to fail. There should be a class in college about the real world and how to set easily attainable goals once you graduate. Ok, maybe not "easily" but REALISTICALLY attainable goals. Do humans LIKE being depressed?!

This year, I'm going to try my darndest to count my blessings, consider what I have achieved to be impressive and forget my age. Ok, the last part is for my sanity. Like I said earlier, 33 isn't exciting. I'll take my droops and wrinkles and aches one step at a time and thank God He blessed me with family and friends to surround me, the knowledge of Him to save me and know that I'll have to do all this again next year. Help me Rhonda, I'll have to do this again next year.



It's the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc without fear. Considering my life is full of fear (which I hate), I lack a sense of courage that I'd like to have. There are times where I've just had a knee-jerk reaction out of "courage" without thinking at all, so the fear didn't have time to stop me. I like to think that being courageous means facing difficulty, danger, pain, etc while working THROUGH the fear. Having this kind of bravery usually comes with the visual of a superhero in a red cape saving children from a burning building. You think Superman never had fear right before fighting off bad guys?

So anyway, my friends that lost their baby girl, Maelee, just 7 months ago have a new adventure ahead of them. While fighting through this seemingly never-ending grief of losing their daughter, they are celebrating a new baby. Heather is 3 months pregnant!! They are elated, scared, nervous and cautious. They are courageous as they fight THROUGH the fear. They are an inspiration. They give me hope. They give others hope. Just thinking of their loss brings me to my knees in sadness, so trying to even understand their emotions is impossible. I can't wait to hold that sweet little red-headed baby! I can't wait to tell him or her about how courageous and awesome his or her parents are. I can't wait to tell that sweet baby how Maelee made Heaven shine so much brighter to so many people. God is so good. God blesses us every single day.

I'll admit, watching Greg and Heather grieve and struggle to find a new "normal" made me very reluctant to even think about having another child. What if that happened to us? Would I be able to be strong and keep my faith and hope? Would I be angry at God? Could I still be a good mother to Ella? Stupid "what ifs." Stupid fear. I find myself fearing what might happen every time we say "if we have another one" and in the meantime, Heather and Greg find the courage to try again. WOW! I learn so much from them all the time. I truly believe God placed these people in my life for a very specific reason.

Maelee, you are missed more than you could ever fully realize. You have been a witness to so many people in your short life on earth and even more so as you have found heaven. Heather and Greg, I owe you so much. You give me strength, courage and stronger faith. Without this Kasowski crew, I just don't know what I'd do.
I love you FOUR! Thank you.


The Situation

After a long talk with my best friend in the whole world, I've come to realize there's a lot about myself that I knew, but was never ok with saying them out loud. I shared a few things with her that day, so here it goes:

I say I don't care what people think of me. If it's someone I don't particularly know, then that's true. If it's someone that drives me past frustration, it's also true. People that I know, have no problem with, but just don't know well, it's not true. I care. A lot. There is one person at work that I'm sure doesn't like me. There is no reason for it. Maybe she feels our personalities don't match or I'm too loud. Either way, she is nice to me and works well with me, but I can just tell that most of it is "professional" and not out of true feelings. I don't know why that bothers me so much. Why do I want some person I deal with every so often at work to like me? I like it when people like me. I just do.

I get my adrenaline rush when people think I'm funny. I want to make people laugh. I always have. I like it when people are having fun and laughing means fun. I want people to be happy and if they are laughing, then at that moment, they can't be sad or stressed. I want to be the funniest person you know.

I like them a lot more than I admit. I can down a whole box of Fudge Rounds in one sitting and not feel gross. I rarely turn down sweets. I make jokes out of it when something sweet is offered to me, but I usually can't get to it fast enough. I want more than one serving, too. It's my weakness. GOT. TO HAVE. IT.

No secret here. My greatest addiction for years. I feel weird without it. There are times when I feel sick of it, but I still drink it. It's become habit. When I'm cranky, I usually use not having one as an excuse. People buy it and I sound less like Bad Mood Jones.

I hate being short. I feel left out.

I hate being called cute. A woman likes to be beautiful. My 15 month old gets called beautiful all the time. I'm always "cute." I feel like a puppy. Boo.

I don't want anyone to be sad. I will usually do anything I can to make people not sad in some way. I sometimes become obsessed with making the other person feel better. See "FUNNY."

I feel like I don't have enough, but the ones I have are irreplaceable. I sometimes feel like I'm not good enough to my friends.

There are times that I feel like being a mom keeps me from being able to be as good of a friend since I can't go many places these days. I didn't want having a baby to change my relationship with my friends. They keep me sane. I need them. I feel left out of their lives sometimes and it's my fault.

I used to love it. Now, I'd rather not. I don't have much to say other than what Ella has been up to and not everyone wants to know that.

I have my moments when I get jealous of other people's homes. I know that is wrong, but we don't have a lot of money and our house is old. I love it, but it's not "expensive-looking" and all my friend's houses do.

I don't want to be jealous of anyone. I am often. See "HOUSE."

I can't dance enough. I love to do it. I wish I could Hip Hop dance. I would feel so freakin' cool if I could.

I want to take lessons. I want to own a piano and play for hours everyday. I used to play by ear, but have lost it.

Same with the guitar. It would make me feel a little cooler, too.

I love food. I don't like to hear I should eat healthy because all I can think of is salad. I HATE SALAD. I want meat and potatoes!

I try to do everything myself because I don't want to be a burden. I'm running myself into the ground and I won't ask for help. I don't know why.

My body grosses me out and I don't have energy to work out. I always say "tomorrow." We are set to go to Jamaica next year and I'm dreading it.

I feel like Ella should be just as important if not more to most people. Because of this, she is spoiled.

I check the news 10 times a day. I fear that another major event like 9/11 will happen. I think about that a lot.

Most of the time I feel like a redneck around other people. I hate dressing up, I am loud and don't like to do "girly" things. I feel like the nasty redneck girl that doesn't mesh well with other girls. There are lots of girls I avoid because I feel so stupid around them. I don't cook, don't have a clean house, don't dress well, have bad skin and currently don't work out. The thought of being a well-dressed domesticated woman who likes a good glass of wine makes me gag. I don't want to be that woman because I'm bored by that woman, but I feel stupid around women who are that. I don't know why.

I feel like I let him down often. I hate volleyball because it takes him away from me all the time. He wants me to come to games and practices and get to know the girls and their parents. I never do and really don't want to. He would come see me if the roles were reversed. I feel bad about it, but still can't bring myself to be around annoying parents. I struggle between being supportive and being angry at all things volleyball.


Day whatever: start over?

Schedules haven't lined up. Food has been fast and the most working out I've gotten in these days is dancing with Ella in the living room. I need to start over from scratch on all this.

Spiritually, I feel better than before. We went back to First Baptist for the first time in probably a year this past Sunday. We'd been frequenting other churches in hopes to find the perfect one for us. Turns out FB might be the one. I fought back tears the entire service. It was moving, touching and spoke loud. Gratitude. In all the worry, fear and frustrations I let run my moods, I forget to be grateful for all I have.

This week, Greg, Heather and Maelee have been weighing on my mind a great deal. It catches up with me when I least expect it. Sometimes it's a song that brings all the emotion back. Sometimes it's seeing Greg at work doing his best to work through his suffering. I look at Ella and am grateful. I am also sad for what they don't have. The kisses, the hugs, the belly laughs and the game of peek-a-boo Ella starts up in the middle of dinner. My heart aches for them so much more than I could begin to describe. I don't know that time heals you. How could it? They held their child's lifeless body. You don't get over that. You live your new life the only way you know how. Greg doesn't seem to talk as much about it at work these days. Maybe it's because he's trying to live as normal of a life as he can without stirring up so much emotion at work. Maybe he's tired of ME asking about him, his day, his weekend or whatever may be going on just to make sure he's still not without hope. Heather is traveling a lot. It's good. She's with family and gets to have some distraction from looking at the nursery. I worry about them a lot. I text, email and chat with them probably too much. I make up reasons to ask how their weekend has gone when all I want to do is hug them, pray with them and tell them I'm still sad, too. When you have a child that makes you glow, you ache for those who don't.

I made a slideshow of some of the images from their blog. The 4 hours I worked on it, I sobbed (yes, it took me that long because I couldn't figure out the new software). These images. The music. These are good christian people who want to be parents to Maelee with all their being, but that dream was ripped away. As much as I love our Lord and as much as I trust Him, I still don't understand it.

So, my physical growth (or should I say trimming) has come to a pause, but my spiritual growth is just that... growth. I'm learning and feeling and praying.


Day 4: Schedules and M&Ms

Day 4 was a disappointment. I had a less than filling sub sandwich for lunch, but accepted the fact that this new plan would probably be filled with unsatisfying food. Adam says food is fuel for your body, not a way to please your face. I'd like to hope there was a way to fuel your body AND have a happy face. Let's be honest, an unhappy face usually ends up at Zaxby's. Also, because I was so tired from all the "fuel" I was putting in my body, I caved in and ate peanut m&ms for a snack, but not without my friend Laurie calling me out for it. I justified it in about 5 different excuses and wolfed them down in a record time of 30 seconds. So far, my plan is really panning out. I feel better already (insert sarcasm here).

Adam had to train some folks for volleyball and didn't get home until around 10pm. That meant no running for me. It was too hot for Ella to do anything outside so I spent the time indoors with a living room full of toys that make noise, roll, jump or all of the above, hoping for this sleepy child to except it was bedtime. That way I could at least gear up the Wii Fit. No chance. Stupid schedule. Adam has recently taken a new job which will mean volleyball practices and games are year-round and full of late nights. I'll probably need to find another way to get a run in. Shoot! TWO DAYS?! Really?! That was all I got? But I'm not bitter.

I think I'm on the verge of giving up. Day 3 was a bust. Day 4 was a drag. On to day 5.


Day 3: This....

and pajamas.

Day 2: Willpower

Day 2 was a test of my willpower. I failed. Sitting down at my desk this morning I realized I brought nothing for breakfast. My stomach was acting like a jerk by yelling at me every 3 seconds. I grabbed a few dollars and headed downstairs with the intentions of grabbing a banana or yogurt from the cafeteria. As I ate my powdered donuts back at my desk, I wrote on my notepad "Vending machine 1, Me 0" This was not starting out strong. I was yelled at again later that morning, but this time it was 2 different people at work having bad days. I wasn't "able" to restrain my negative attitude in retort to their words. I later jotted down "Mean people 2, Me 0" So far, I was not on a winning team yet. I was beginning to feel like it was football season all over again. Sorry Gamecocks. My blood still runneth garnet and black. I was in a bad mood and this was not working well in my new plan.

For lunch I ate healthy so that made up for the donuts (in my book) and I was starting to feel better about the day. I avoided cranky women — which meant avoiding emails and phone calls sometimes, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. At this point, I happily looked at my list "Vending machine, 1; Mean people, 2" and added a 2 over my once mocking "0." I'd avoided being nasty to mean people after a bad morning AND ate like a healthy adult for lunch. That meant a fat 2 for me. Don't try to debate me on this one. Trust me. I deserved my 2. I was now even with the mean people on the score board and schooled the vending machine overall. So far, my willpower had sucked it up, but I was in the last quarter of the game and had tied it up with a field goal. However, all this effort to beat the vending maching meant I was losing my motivation to workout as I grew more and more tired throughout the work day. I was wondering if I'd actually pull a win in the end.

I got home and Adam went for a run. I was hoping that would get my psyched for my turn, but all it did was make me want to play with Ella and relax. I procrastinated for 2 hours after Adam's return before I changed out of my work clothes. It was hot and I was tired. Maybe I would just do a workout on the Wii. Unfortunately, there were good tv shows on and turning them off to workout seemed impossible. The remote seemed to be repelled by hand like polar magnets. I strapped on my iPod and went outside with no motivation. Not one ounce joined me as I stepped off my porch. This was going to suck.

I turned on my tunes and started out to the street knowing that if I went by yesterday's efforts, I was about 7% of an athlete. Walking was boring me already. I hadn't built up enough energy to start the jog yet and I was procrastinating even trying. Up and then down a hill and I knew I needed to at least try. I spent most of my time during the jog thinking about 2 things: 1. Why in the world I put some of those stupid songs on my Workout playlist because I now had to spend so much time hitting the "next" button and 2. Why did Akon rhyme "money" with "money?" That just seemed lazy.The heat had died down a good bit and to my surprise, my jog was coming to a close and I actually enjoyed it. I ran most of the way and without the need to ralph. Total running success. Who knew?!

To celebrate my success, I ate well for dinner. Maybe I was gaining willpower after all. Tomorrow may bring good things, too. Before I climbed into bed, I realized I was already getting sore. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm too old for this crap. On to day 3.


Getting Back in Shape- Day 1: You can't walk off puke

Today is the first day of getting in shape. I had no intention of starting a plan like this today. I had visions of a fat, juicy hamburger with fries and giant fountain diet coke for lunch today while keeping myself cool indoors. It wasn't until Adam curled his lip at the idea of a fatty lunch and said "I'm going for a run." that made me want to rethink my day. So, I'm working on eating right, getting exercise, staying positive and keeping my spiritual body fed.

There are a few reasons I've decided to try for my old "before Ella" body.
1. Looking at photos from our recent trip to the beach made me cringe. The tankini that I wore the 2nd day of our trip (because it would be a little more forgiving on my aging body) was anything but forgiving. Wet material does nothing more than cling to my muffin top and fanny pack of fat left over from having a baby. That stupid thing won't go away even though I've lost my baby weight.

2. Losing the baby weight does not mean I have my old body. Flappy thighs, jiggly belly and a saggy rear are new accessories to my frame. I don't even like to accessorize. I noticed these awesome additions in my reflection at the beach while in walking around in my bikini. Not a good look.

3. I need to find a way to feel more like the old me. Having a baby has certainly made me different and that's not a bad thing, but I do miss being my old athletic self. I've been athletic in some form or fashion all my life. Now, I get a cramp walking to the mailbox.

Adam returned from his run, sweaty and tired, but feeling good about what he'd accomplished and proceeded to make a tomato sandwich for lunch. This was far from my original plans for the day. Trying to get inspired and motivated, I put on my running "gear" and came down to the kitchen where Adam and Ella were having lunch. I had my iPod on and was blasting music for about 30 minutes trying to get pumped up and have the courage to face the heat. I was much more interested in dancing in the kitchen and making Ella laugh than heading outside, but I did it anyway. With a belly full of strawberry torte and half a diet coke, I went outside.

With an ear full of music you'd hear at any club on a Saturday night in Myrtle Beach, I started my fast, warm-up walk. It was hot, but not unbearable. Yet. I walked a lot further than I planned. It was like my feet knew the second they picked up speed, I'd want to hurl. Feeling confident, finally, I started my jog. My feet found the beat to the song and I was off. I felt better than I anticipated. This was good. I was in better shape than I thought I was. This was cake. 500 feet into my victorious jog, I hit the holicrap wall. I mustered the strength to jog past a few more mailboxes and then started back to walking. Did it just get hotter out here? If I had to guess, I'd say it was easily 100˚F out. I should have brought water. What seemed to be 10 miles (more like .5) later, I started my jog down hill again.

At this point, I was pretty sure it was now 350˚F out. I know because I've put my hand in the oven to retrieve baked spaghetti and it was about this hot. My skin was sizzling. My shoulders were now turning a shade of pink. Normally I would be excited about this. I was getting a little "workout" tan, but the shades of pale green on my face was distracting from my new sun-kissed glow. I needed to puke. I didn't make it down the hill. I had to return to a walk. I needed to stop, but if I did, I'd be out here longer. Why did I do this? Jogging is overrated. I'm too old. I'll be happy in my flab, right? This was taking forever. I decided that walking slow in the shady parts of the road and then sprint walking to the next shaded area would be my intervals. I needed to puke. I thought I could just walk it off, but you can't walk off puke. I'd say I jogged a solid 7% of the time, walked with a purpose 45% of the time and spent the last 48% searching for shade and trying to keep the hurl from greeting my esophagus. These aren't good numbers, people.

When I finally got home, it was all I could do to make it to the fridge for my water bottle. I didn't puke so it was a victory. When I caught my breath and regained focus in my eyes, I made a cucumber sandwich with a little side of chicken. I was feeling good about what I just accomplished. I was doing what was best for my body.

For dinner, I had a fat, juicy hamburger, fries and a fountain diet coke.


The First Beach Trip

Ella's first beach trip was a quick 4 days to Myrtle Beach. It was fantastic. Getting packed for the beach was a challenge though. I was not only trying to pack for days on the sand, but for any issue we could run into with a 14 month old. A bag full of indoor toys, a wagon full of sand toys, a suitcase with bath toys, 10 outfits for 4 days just in case of a spill, vomit or blown out diaper. Wipes,regular diapers, swim diapers and bags for dirty diapers filled up the entire bottom of my giant suitcase. I'm glad I have an SUV because there was no way we would have made it there. Adam, who had to come later in the day, had to pack up what we couldn't carry. I don't think I realized how much you have to pack for such a small child, especially mine who bores easily.

Ella does not travel well. The 3 hour trip seemed to take 5 hours. We had to stop a few times for food or fetch a paci to calm the screaming in the back seat. I was convinced Ella would have been asleep 5 seconds into the trip, but I was so wrong. She hated the whole trip... well, up until we hit Myrtle Beach traffic and she then fell asleep. Nice. I'm not a huge fan of traveling as it is and having a child who hates it, too doesn't make it any better. Needless to say, when we pulled into the parking lot of our hotel, I was relieved.

I could smell the ocean with my windows up the minute I got to Ocean Blvd. There is a sense of excitement, happiness and joy that only the beach can bring. I couldn't wait for Ella to see it. My parents helped unpack the 400 items from my car and bring them up to our room. Ella was standing at the sliding door looking out. I could tell she was curious as to what all the excitement was outside next to that moving water. After an interesting (I say interesting because Ella was a "delight") dinner, we ran out to the sand and beach water. I didn't even change Ella into a bathing suit. It was getting late and I wanted her to see the ocean before the sun set. I think I sprinted out there with her. It was at that point I wished she could skip so we could skip out there together. I was giddy for her. I was giddy for me.

Mom and I held Ella's hand and walked her to the ocean so she could get her feet wet. She began to shake in fear. She was not a fan. I was worried this would set the tone of the whole trip. We retreated back to the sand where someone had dug a hole earlier that day. Victory! She was so excited about that hole that she jumped in and began pulling dirt in over top of her legs. She was squealing in delight over the sticky sand stuck to every part of her body. I sighed in relief and continued my paparazzi-like flashing of the camera. I didn't want to miss a single second of this trip.

Adam arrived shortly after we returned to the room. After a short encounter with the world's largest dragonfly visiting us in our room and not wanting to leave, we were able to relax in our room and enjoy just knowing we were at beach for the first time in years. It felt good.

Ella loves to dig. She carried her bucket and shovel from the room, to the beach, to the pool, back down to the beach and even to the tub for her bath. We spent the next full day between where the ocean met the sand, the damp sand for building mud piles, the tent for shade and swimming in the pool. We took a break for sandwiches and fruit before starting the process all over again. Ella did great (except for dinners) which made the trip totally worth the agonizing 3+ hour drive with a very unhappy traveler. Dinners were a challenge for a child who no longer wants to be confined even to eat. Eating in shifts while the other walked Ella around the restaurant wasn't ideal, but we survived. Note to self: Avoid dinners out with the 1 year old until she's ready to sit still. I have no idea when that will be.

Our last full day started with a nasty storm that worried us a little. I kept thinking Ella didn't get to spend enough time on the beach. WE didn't get to spend enough time on the beach. However, the sun found it's way back to us and the clouds thinned out and we marched ourselves right back out there. It was "the beach lite" as we didn't bring all the toys and tents out in case the rain found us again. More holes were made and more time was spent in the pool. We loved every minute of it.

We were sad to say goodbye to Myrtle Beach. Even with all the people trying to squeeze in one more trip before school started, it was perfect. I can't wait until Ella can play putt putt at those huge places along Ocean Blvd. I love the beach. I loved watching Ella at the beach. Myrtle Beach.... we will be back.



Waiting and the unknown are two things that drive me into an anxiety attack. These are also two things we deal with every single day, so I'm a bit tense from time to time.

I know a lot of you guys have been keeping up with us and our process of trying to help fix Ella's torticollis.

As some of you know, we've been going to physical therapy since the end of December in hopes to correct the torticollis before the age of 1. Doctors often say that torticollis can not be fixed with physical therapy once the child has reached the age of 1. After 12 months, surgery is usually recommended.

Ella has also been in a helmet since the beginning of February in hopes to correct damage already caused by the torticollis (such as asymmetry of the face and head and ear shifting). We've made great progress with the helmet and are, at this point, waiting for Ella's ears to shift back to a normal position. The tubes in her ears are at weird angles which can cause ear infections and long-term hearing problems. The kicker is ear shift can't be fixed until the torticollis is fixed first.

We took Ella to get x-rays to see how her bones are growing. The pulling of muscles can cause Scoliosis as wells as other problems. The x-ray images weren’t great so Ella is now going to have an MRI with sedation in less than a week. There is a 10% chance Ella doesn’t have torticollis and in fact has neck bones fused together which would mean much worse problems. The doctor wouldn’t even discuss what that would entail because her percentage is low and it’s not a great situation to be in. No need to worry just yet.

As of right now, the Dr. is predicting that we will find Ella does indeed have have torticollis, she will go through physical therapy through January (because he believes it could help for the most part to continue) and that point, if the torticollis has not been corrected, she will have surgery. He’s already recommended a surgeon and asked us to visit with him after we receive the MRI results if it is torticollis. He seems pretty confident she will need surgery. Our physical therapist believes that her problem in the next, for the most part, is improving a lot and may not be the cause of her issues anymore. She believes the problem now lies in her back muscles since she keeps her shoulders shrugged all the time. Surgery can't fix that, but a collar and botox treatments might.

As you can imagine, watching my child be sedated and becoming a limp, helpless baby will probably send me into an uncontrollable sob. Just thinking of her one day getting to participate in singing Vacation Bible School songs in front of the church makes me teary-eyed. Wednesday will be hard. I will pray for strength, but will probably find myself struggling to find it. Ella has made me quite the sap these days. I'm also a worry-wort and tend to fret about the "what ifs."

Being a parent is hard. There are responsibilities that make each day a challenge. You have to find energy from down in your gut just to keep up. Sleep becomes a luxury and eating becomes an after thought. These are all things I am happy to do. The hardest part of being a parent is the worry. You love this child so much that it hurts and to have your child suffer is almost unbearable. I pray Ella's condition is fixable. I pray it will be with as little pain as possible and that she won't remember any of this. We are tired, worried, but most of all we are hopeful. Pray for Ella.


Still learning

The past year has been an interesting one. I've had to learn a lot about myself and I'm not sure I always love what I see. I always thought of myself as an independent person. I am confident and eager to learn. I'm, for the most part, humble and ready to take on whatever comes my way.... at least I thought.

Being a mother has tested my patience and my character. I've struggled getting to know the "new me" as a mother while trying to keep some small part of me as I was before Ella. I rarely do things for myself now that I'm a mom. I'm fine with that, mostly. I do have times where I long to use the bathroom without an audience or just run to Target for a "look around" at the cute clothes without buying diapers. I haven't spent one single night away from her yet, although we are planning for the first night away this weekend. We'll see how that goes. I've found that all I talk about these days is either work or Ella or being Ella's mom. (Sorry Adam. I'm sure I'll get back to telling Adam stories again one day.) I told my friends a thousand times what kind of mother I wouldn't be and now I'm neck deep into that very person. I show off pictures of Ella all the time as well as make her my desktop picture and post videos of her on youtube for all to enjoy. I'm "that mom" and to be honest, I'm proud.

What being a mother has also done is show me how I am in a tense situation. There are times, most times now, that I can remain calm and either walk away from a temperamental child or handle with with hugs and reassuring words. There are times, however, that I'm pushed to the edge and feel like I'm going to lose my mind. There are times that I've raised my voice at Ella with frustration and I always feel so guilty afterwards. I do mean to discipline, but not so harshly. I usually end up in some marathon-winning hugging session with her once I've calmed down. I don't like that part of me. I am trying to remain aware of my emotions and actions around her so that I can act the best way for both of us. That isn't easy. I've dealt with that nasty little part of me for as long as I can remember. Harsh confrontation. It's something I'm comfortable with and I don't like that at all.

I've also had to learn how to be a mom. From someone who still needs hers all the time, that is kind of hard. I've never been that girl who loved to babysit or to hold babies. In fact, I never even really liked kids (other than my cousins) until I had Ella. I knew I wanted to have my own, but I was never drawn to children before. I have had to remember what it was like to be the child and how I wanted my mom to be for me so that I can be that for Ella. When she's sick and pitching a fit, I have to remember that all she wants right now is her mommy. Instead of trying to reason with a 1 year old and get frustrated with the fussing, I have learned to just hold on to her tight and let her feel comforted even if it means hearing her whine for hours. Oh the whining for hours is a sound that goes right up my spine. It's a challenge to tune it out sometimes, but I do it. I do it because I'm her mom. My mom did it and so did her mom. Luckily for me, as a friend reminded me, I'm the only mommy Ella has ever had. As far as she's concerned, I'm the best mommy in the world.... well, until she can compare notes with her friends later in life. Every day is a challenge and every day is a learning session.

So today at the pediatrician's office, when Ella was running 103.1˚ fever and was miserable, I didn't panic. I held her little body close to mine, rubbed her head and waited patiently for the Dr. to tell us what was going on. I was what made her feel comforted. I was her protector. I was there, even when I was sweating because of her super hot little body stuck to mine and all I wanted to do was put her down for a minute to air out. I was calm when they pricked her heel and swiped her nose and throat to run tests. I wanted to seem confident to her that everything would be ok even though I was a little scared myself.

Being a parent is terrifying. I've feared it since the day I got pregnant. I worry constantly about Ella. I often think she deserves better than me. There are times I think how lucky we both are to have each other. It's awesome and scary. I'm learning. I'm doing things wrong and figuring out the right things, too. Everyday I'm still learning.


I feel stupid

I don't understand Christ like I want to. I know the basics. He loves me. He sacrificed His only son to die for my very own sins so that I may go to Heaven and be with Him. He loves me no matter how crappy a person and christian I am. I don't deserve His love, but am so glad he's decided to anyway. He has given my strength when I couldn't find any earthly support. He is always there, anytime of day or night, when I need to talk. I don't listen enough. I talk A LOT, but don't spend the time to sit and listen. I know the basic stories throughout the bible. Most I didn't fully understand when I learned them 20+ years ago so I need to spend some time going back over them. I want to know Christ better. He knows me better than I do and I need to know Him. There are days that I have a pity party for myself and think how stressful life is and how bad I have it. I forget to pray to get out of my funk and to have Christ show me the light and help me count my blessings sometimes. I get over it. Hindsight is always 20/20 and I usually thank God for things He did a long time ago because I was slack thanking Him when He blessed me. I'm a crummy christian in that I don't think I show that I'm a christian all the time. In my mind, I feel like I think about Him a lot, but my actions are lazy. I know I'm going to heaven. I believe. I have a relationship with God, all be it not impressive. Sorry God. I'm working on that. I thank God a lot. I pray for people's safety A LOT. I ask God to help me to be less negative and to show me my blessings some. Working on that part, too. There are songs about Christ, that when I sing them, I get choked up and am filled with His Glory. I like that feeling. I LOVE that feeling. I wonder why I don't feel that all the time. Why do I let Earthly things get in the way. That's not why we're here. I forget that. I'm glad God isn't human. If He were, He would have given up on me a long time ago and I'd be alone. I want to be better. I want to know Him better. I want Ella to know Him better than I do.



I miss my husband. He's off to Reno for 6 days and I feel lost without him. I'm one of those girls that wears his t-shirts to bed just to feel closer to him. I stare at pictures and wait by the phone. You still make my heart skip a beat, Adam! Hurry home, huh-ney! *sniff*


It doesn't exist, right?

So, I'm on of those people who hangs on to every word and detail when someone tells me of a tragedy. I listen and my mind wanders as I try to picture it happening and how I would handle it. I wish I didn't do that. For the most part, I try to avoid hearing about bad things. If I don't hear about it, it must not be happening, right? Yes, I do the same with calories. If I don't know what the calories are, there must not be any. It seems that in the past few months I've heard a lot of horrible stories. Most were about people I didn't know, but they still hit you pretty hard. When Greg and Heather lost their baby girl, I felt like I was walking in thick mud everyday. My legs were 200 lbs a piece and I just couldn't find a way to move. My mind played their story over and over and I began to put myself in their shoes (or at least try) and I couldn't sleep. I couldn't stop crying. Since their little girl left her Earthly body, I've heard more tragic stories of parent's losing their children. I hate these stories. I wish they didn't exist. I feel like if people would stop telling them, then these horrible things would stop happening. I know it doesn't work that way. There was a time when I never thought parents could lose their children.... babies especially.

I don't have much else to say today. Greg and Heather seem to be on my mind all the time and it hurts to see them hurt. Heather had a birthday this weekend and Sunday was Father's Day. Hard, hard, hard. These are supposed to be happy times. Pain sucks.


A year

May 28, 2009 my little Ella was born. I was scared because it was an emergency c-section due to preeclampsia symptoms and she was breech. Weeks prior to this day, I had cried to Adam that I was scared to be a mother. I didn't know how to take care of a baby and what would happen if I didn't do it right? I feared motherhood that night like you wouldn't believe. So the moment they wheeled me into the surgical room, I was scared. I bawled my eyes out the second she was lifted over the blue curtain to show her off. She was covered in guck and was screaming. It was a great scream though. It brought relief.

So here we are... one year later. We have managed to keep Ella fed, dry and happy. I like to think we're pretty great parents. I can't believe we have a child. It still seems surreal. She is amazing and moody and smart and talkative and fast.... she's perfect.

I can't believe it's been a year. It's been a challenge for sure. Sometime it's been overwhelming and incredibly hard. There were times I wondered if I was even meant to be a mother and Ella deserved better. But most of the time, I know we were meant to be together. She brings joy to our hearts. God gave us a little miracle and I'm so grateful to Him that He did. We don't deserve her, but I'm so glad He thought differently. Happy Birthday to my little girl. We are the luckiest parents on Earth.


Maelee's Day

May 29. This is the day my friends bury their little girl. I'm sad. I'm very sad. I know that God has plans for Greg and Heather and that He is comforting them. Knowing that doesn't seem to take away the pain of knowing that Greg will be digging the hole his daughter will be buried in. He will take a shovel to the earth so that Maelee can be buried. It may help the healing. It may help give some relief knowing that Maelee's earthly body has a final resting place. Maybe a new stage of grief will begin for them. I don't know if there are stages or if it just hurts differently as days carry on. Some days will hurt a lot worse than others. I still think it's unfair for Maelee to go. I still think it sucks and that parents shouldn't have to bury their children. Knowing that my friends have to do this rips my heart out. It's a pain that tears can't solve. The tears that fall from my face as I type this are for them. They are for Greg and Heather in hopes that there will be less tears for them to cry. I want them to be ok. I want them to not hurt so much. I will be praying for and thinking of them in these next few days harder than I have before. April was hard. May is hard. I pray June will bring comfort.


More to remember

Do you fee as bubbly inside as I do? Man, These pictures take me back to such a happy place. I'm thinking I'm never throwing any toys of Ella's away ever. I wish I'd kept all mine! These are DOPE!