December 16, 2013

Miracle week.

We've made it so very far and I can't believe we are here. I'm not sure which event could top the other more -- my baby brother coming home today from Afghanistan, or that I'm having a baby this week.

Since my baby boy meets the world on Thursday, I will say that for today my brother coming home will come first. For all the faces that have cried and loved him from over the past 11 months, that he has come home safe and sound cannot be beaten.

And, last week I met my new beautiful niece Hailey. My family is abundantly growing and it couldn't be more beautiful to see and be a part of. I'm feeling so incredibly blessed and loved. Christmas really is an amazing time of year.

For all of my family and best friends that have endured so much heartache this year, God really does give back what he takes in one way or another.

But, try getting two words out of me without the tears these days. The lump in my throat is a powerball of happiness and there isn't much time to breathe through the whipping whirlwind. I guess that's good because I get little time to think about being scared shitless.

December 6, 2013

Always bumpin'.

I'm really worried about having to remove the subwoofer from the trunk of my car in order to fit strollers, pack 'n plays and diaper bags.

Ever since I read that the baby could hear my voice, my singing, or any music that I play, I've been making sure he can sing along to every Carrie, Jason, Luke, James Morrison, Nelly and old school rap song (I've toned down Three 6 Mafia & Twista) on my iPod.

Honestly, I would rather slap a hitch on the back of my G6 and pull a little storage caddy than get rid of my bumps.

So, what are we doing before the baby arrives in 2 weeks?

Of course - shopping for a more family-friendly SUV with a superb sound system, chrome wheels and sunroof. I love my husband.

Here's a pic of the little man that we can't wait to meet:

November 8, 2013

Fulfilling sigh.

I keep waiting for a day to come that I won't have a moment of panic that I am about to have a baby very soon.

I'm not sure if I ever have moments of clarity or calm, or sighs of relief knowing that I can do this. Though I sigh heavily, all the time, so that must be those moments, right?

Either that, or I just can't breathe with this little guy expertly expanding every centimeter of my body in places that make me waddle, grimace, cringe and limp.

Sighing helps.

Leaving work last week, I stepped into the elevator and joined another woman. I took a place off to the side and leaned against the wall.

And sighed. 

The woman said to me, "Are you very uncomfortable? How long do you have?"

I laughed and replied, "I'm so sorry, did I sigh? I really have a problem with that. I'm doing pretty well, it's the countdown, thank you."

She said, "Well you can sigh all you want my dear and best wishes to you."

And when she walked away tears sprung to my eyes (of course) but I couldn't stop smiling and laughing about it. That is not the first time my sighing has been noticed, but it was nice to hear the fondness in her voice.

I'm not going to lie, I've had moments of breakdown bawling and hyperventilating...which at least end in laughter at some point because it really is hilarious to see "The Belly" jump up and down all at once like a jolly 'ol Santa Claus. I've cried about it all, just as much as we've laughed about it all. 

I honestly didn't think that being pregnant would hurt this much, but I'm sure that I will forget all about that when I finally get to hold my little man.  I know that it's only the beginning of what a Mother will do for her child.

September 26, 2013

Movie reel.

A few weeks ago I saw a little girl sprint off the school bus and run down the sidewalk to her beaming father. He was taking pictures of her as she ran to him, and I really can't find the words to describe the smiles on their faces. He grabbed her and swung her around, kissed her cheek while she talked at full-speed and he carried her home.

I captured their moment in my head and it spins like a movie reel on repeat.

Two weeks ago, on one of my regular Target visits, I listened to a little boy, who was sitting in the cart, carry on a conversation with his mother. And she spoke to him like an adult, not in baby talk, and he completely understood her. They talked about what kind of pillow to buy, which color of pillowcases he wanted, and what color his daddy would like him to pick.

I absentmindedly seemed to have added this to my movie reel. 

Last week, I rushed to my best friend and sister as it seemed she might be having their baby a little early, and there was no way that I was going to miss it -- I was on her delivery team!  Arriving just after midnight everything had calmed down and we were going to be able to wait. But it was a bit of a scare with her tiny breeched baby.

Because it was such a drive, and I was so afraid to miss anything, I stayed with her for a few days and we waited together. While she was too stubborn to stay on bed rest, we grabbed groceries and movies and tried any which way to get her baby to flip. We laughed our asses off at the things that only happen to pregnant ladies -- like the grunts that escape our lips when we try to get off the couch -- and, we cried about the miracles coming to us. I will forever cherish those days that we spent together.
My nephew, Grady = tiny perfection.

Baby Grady still had to be delivered through c-section but he came out ready to explore the new world. He was so bright-eyed and beautiful. The love I felt for him in that moment was instantly overwhelming. I have never felt so proud of my sister. Their perfect little family is just beginning their adventure.

I could go on and on as the reel keeps spinning as I keep attaching the scenes -- and chokes me up every single time.

August 30, 2013

Peeing your pants.

When you are pregnant no one tells you to be careful of peeing a little bit every time you cough or sneeze. No, you have to figure it out yourself when you start putting back-up underwear and pads in your purse and then weekly throw a pair or two away because you aren't home to throw them in the washer. And now...I swear for Jesus that I pulled my groin muscles sneezing and squeezing my legs shut to stop it from happening, over and over again. I do kegels all day with this in mind and it doesn't always matter, but it also doesn't help that I have awful allergies to keep this cycling.

Last week I was in my car, that was still parked in the driveway and running late for work as usual. I sneezed 13 times in a row. Imagine what that did to me, or you might not want to.  I swore like a madwoman and went back in the house to change with watery eyes and wet pants.

Not only did my storming into the house and banging drawers awaken my husband, but he knew exactly what happened by which drawer I pulled from. He laughed at me with one eye open and half asleep and when he asked me to calm down and be quiet, I almost punched him.

Are you effing kidding me? He doesn't pee his pants sneezing AND he gets to stay in bed another two hours every day! Seriously, do not say a word.

But fine, it was funny later.

TMI? I don't care. The mommas know what I am talking about and the rest of you have no idea what we really go through. When I feel my baby boy kicking me and moving around, I know that I would pee my pants a million times over to keep this little man growing, and I can't wait to meet him.

August 13, 2013

Care package.

Candy, Gardettos, a frisbee, The Plain Dealer, mints, Chapstick,'s the box that I packed up and shipped off to my brother in Afghanistan yesterday.

He wanted lunch-y things because they are away from base. But I'm sure that anything from home tastes good when you don't get too many hot meals and crave pizza every day (he is a pizza whore). It's fun to pick things out that might make him smile and help him get through the day, even if it is a cold can of ravioli.

So, I gather my items and box them up in the USPS military flat rate box (it's $2.00 cheaper) and sit down to write him a note.

I'm always torn at this part. Do I tell him how much we miss him and all the things to catch up on? Is he mentally blocked off from us so that he can get through his duties with a clear head and emotional detachment? What is the right thing to do? What does he need to hear or know from us? We are getting through this too so we also block the emotions to ward off tears and heart-heavy reminders.

But, I started to tell him how thankful I am for Facebook and the internet because it has really made this time pass with being able to communicate. Just to hear from him, to see a picture of his Army unit together, or see his activity checking in on everyone, makes me smile. So, I tell him how we are all taking care of one another and can't wait for him to be home to see all the new babies that will just be arriving to meet their uncle. Maybe my lil man will even wait to say hello after he returns, it will be close.

I end with prayers of so much love, sealed in an envelope with trails of tears, hugs and kisses.

He is halfway home.

July 26, 2013

Not quite invincible.

I really, truly, thought that I would be invincible as a pregnant chick. There was no way that I could get sick with the amount of vitamins we moms-to-be take.

That is a big fat joke.

In actuality, pregnant women have a suppressed immune system, so they become quite the easy target.

Not only have I been congested with a truck through my chest, I have a cough and more snot coming out of my nose than I have ever had in my life (could be a slight exaggeration but I'm not sure). After double checking with my doc, I could take Tylenol for my aches and pains and hot steamy showers. I was in trouble, and not very happy since I barely slept for three days.

So, I don't think I could be any happier than when I woke up at 4:45am today and I had been breathing through my nose and not my mouth! One, I actually slept AND no more disgusting mouth film and cracking lips. Woohoo! Total celebration.

The best part of this week's trial though, as I seem to have had many pregnancy trials thus far, is my conversation with Ryan yesterday as we stood in the kitchen:

Ry: So are you enjoying your pregnancy so far?
Me: Um, not really.
Ry: Do you want to do it again?
Me: Probably a few times.

All we can do is hug and laugh.

July 25, 2013

Banana or no banana?

So, what better way to reveal our baby's gender than at the Banana Party!

The results were placed in a sealed envelope by my doc and that envelope was given to the stuffer of the monkey pinata, and Ryan would be the only one swinging!

Our closest group of family and friends were with us... and we wouldn't have it any other way. This is how we live our lives. The turnout was amazing, reiterating why these people mean more to us than anything, and everyone was just as excited as we were. I even had a raffle going for everyone to guess the gender.

My mom came up to the party and we got my sister and brother-in-law on Skype. I blindfolded Ry with my monkey banana bandanna, and away we went! Three swings and blue candies went flying and we all started screaming! It was so exciting...and I didn't even cry! We cheered and hugged everyone, reveling in the love.

So, winners were pulled out of the correct pitcher and prizes were shared from water balloons, to mustaches and money.

It truly was an amazing party.

July 19, 2013

Holy baby.

Big news, I've been overtaken by a precious little life-sucker, so its been really hard to write without sharing!

We found out in May that we were pregnant while on our Florida vacation! After a few too many nights involving wine, vodka, beer and shots of Jameson, I just knew that we had to make sure I was in the clear.
We grabbed a pizza and a 3-pack of pee sticks. I poured a glass a wine and drank it slowly before hiding in the bathroom with the tell-all box.

Each pee stick revealed the same result. Positively pregnant.

I freaked...and Ryan laughed hysterically.

I was so confused by my reaction, but incredibly happy about his. After all, I had my 30th birthday party and a girls trip to Nashville when we got home from Florida, and things were going to go a bit differently than planned.

And then I saw our little baby's heart beating. The overwhelming sense of protection and love that washes over you, easily overtakes you. The shock lasts for quite awhile -- I still look in the mirror after four months and say, "I can't believe I have a little baby growing in there."

Literally until week 12, I was so sick to my stomach, lethargic beyond comprehension and an emotional basket case. I was scared about our future and the drastic changes coming into my life, our lives. I couldn't imagine giving up my competitive hobbies or our quiet time in the evenings.  Not to mention, the weight battle that I've struggled with my whole life that was finally getting somewhere... but all that was put on hold as incubation took over.

I am now the lifeline for a little miracle and my life is no longer my own.

I don't have control over the sleepy-ness -- it's almost like narcolepsy -- and it feels so very good to climb into bed. Which is already my favorite place to be, other than the football fields on a Saturday.

I went through some extreme guilt over dealing, or rather not being able to deal, with my wifely and household duties. I mean, I've cooked dinner maybe five times since May and if you know me, I plan dinners daily. I like to take care of my husband who works his butt off and always takes on extra work, he deserves to have a good meal at the end of the day. That's just one example.

But, I also just had a hard time coping with the loneliness of pregnancy. I say "loneliness" because while there are plenty of friends that have had babies, the roller coaster is all your own. Every time I didn't feel good, I felt like I couldn't tell anyone because no one can really sympathize or understand. I have too many obligations to my sports teams, or work, or my husband that the guilt weighed heavily. Ryan felt like every time he finally came home he had always missed his moment with me...and he did. And I felt the guilt every time he would walk in the door and I was on my way to bed.

Through these things and more, I was still in awe that I had this little tiny human, created with so much passion and love, growing inside me every day. It really is such a beautiful thing.

My doc said it best at the time, "it's really all about survival in the beginning." And how true that was and it really made me feel better.

And, how much that guilt has lifted into excitement.

Our BABY BOY is already bigger than average and I seem to be doing a good job at protecting him so far. It does wonders to hear that I'm doing a good job, and to talk to my sister every day who is so much closer to delivery day than I! Thankful, is an understatement.

Ry and I have turned into this next chapter with googly eyes and smiles, and it feels amazing.

June 27, 2013

We wanted variety.

Every Memorial weekend Ryan and I work on beautifying our yard.  I get all the flowers planted and colorful pots settled around the patio and front porch awaiting sunshine and water.

However, I spent a few weeks secretly fuming at myself, and mostly Ryan for misplacing my red elephant ear bulbs at the end of season last year. We couldn't find the bag of wrapped bulbs anywhere. I found the regular ol' green leaf plant bulbs, but not the bulbs that spring huge, beautiful, burgundy and tropical leaves.  Alas, one of my very large and special pots was left empty of bulbage.

Low and behold, look what I found:

But WTF, where are the rest of them?

May 30, 2013

Remembering - a tribute to a dear friend.

My heart breaks for one of my most favorite families and oldest friends. The events that have unfolded this week have left me stunned and helpless.

I wrote this to them, though I know they may not be ready yet for peace and understanding -- because understanding the whys and hows of this is something only God knows.  All that is left are the trails of tears and confusion as everyone stumbles to pick themselves back up and find a way to cope.

Here's to you, Garcias, with so much love.

Things I love about Jerry and the Garcias.
Number 1…has to be Ann’s chicken tacos …and I was there for dinner every time they were on the stove, and especially when Grandma Garcia came over with rice.

I pretty much lived with the Garcias every Friday and Saturday night growing up, “baby-sitting” the boys with Tiffany, or just hanging out every day after school before volleyball or softball practice, so I became privy to the dynamics and hysterics.

Jerry always fell asleep with his mouth open and the snoring began instantly.  I know you can picture him….And even though Ann always tried to get him upstairs he would snore away until the middle of the night before going up to bed.
The way Jerry cheered during an OSU game, with a beer in hand, a big cheese on his face and lots of high-fives.

Jerry…the master corn-hole partner. You wanted on his team.
No one could help but laugh at all his corny jokes (it’s a Dad staple)… and with the Garcias, we are always laughing.

Ann would yell at us for encouraging him when we couldn’t stop laughing, and in the end she couldn’t help herself either.
I remember our trips to volleyball or softball practice in his super-fly, little red hoopty of a truck, and he always tried to have us shift the gears for kicks.

Jerry, I love the way you were always so genuinely happy to see Tiff’s friends when we get together, usually at your house -- since that’s how it’s been since Jr. high. 
And you are just genuinely happy, period. 

Recently, I messaged Tiff as Journey’s “Lights” was playing on our radio and I was reminiscing on my love for this family when Grandpa passed away a few weeks ago.  And whenever this song came on, Ann and Jerry would find their way together for their song.  Their love for their family and each other is evident in their embraces, their scolding, their support and their laughter together.
Jerry, I love how you loved your family more than anything -- it was so easy to see that in your face and feel that in your hugs.  I’ll never forget the look on your face every time Ann, Jeremy, Jordan, Tiff and Tajjj were all by your side, with your closest friends sitting on your patio and playing cornhole or quarters.  So many good times, so many memories, so many love and laughter-filled events.

Ann, Tiff, Jeremy and Jordy – I can only imagine how scary the world looks without your husband, your father, and Brayson’s grandpa. The anguish that has been brought to you to carry seems too much to bear, and the losses have been so great.  I hope you find some comfort knowing that you are his whole heart, pride and joy.  Grandpa Garcia has another best friend and angel with him, and you are their legacy of SO much that is happy, loving and good.
Jerry, I still can’t believe this is happening, but on your way to the happiest place that you can imagine, I wanted to make sure you heard one more time how much we all love you and know you will always be near.  Our thoughts will always be with you, your place no one can fill.

May 16, 2013


Slicing through our pacing shadows,
the thickness of unspent rain
clings to my breath --
refreshingly innocent
as a child gathers dandelions
for her mother.
Sweetly reflecting the forbidden
heavens of fascination --
indulging in the essence of purity.

Memory foam.

NEWS ALERT: Ryan let me get a new pillow...a memory foam with a cooling gel kind-of-pillow. A super fancy find at Costco.

I really fought to keep all my pillows in addition to my new pillow, but I was forced to give one up...and I'm learning how to pick my battles, if you remember this one.

His caveat was that on Monday morning I would have to jump out of bed and promise to say, "I feel fantastic! This is the best day ever! I feel great!" (He would.)  But, at 4:45am that is a VERY hard thing to say (try it sometime) and even after another fantastic sleep with my new pillow, I couldn't muster the ambition, or give him the satisfaction.

However, since I no longer have to flip the pillow over for the cooler side, I would say that I am still winning the bed/pillow battle.

May 10, 2013


Recently Ry and I have been asked to be godparents to two newborns, and let me just tell you what a humbling experience that is.

It chokes you up and you swallow around the lump and say, "Oh my goodness, absolutely, that is so sweet."

Instantly sprouting a split second of tears as you realize that these people really do love you so much in order to trust their children with you because of who you are as a person.

I know it's different now and mostly it's about sponsoring Christianity for the child's Baptism, but to us, it is confirmation that we have an interest in their life and who they grow to be. And the best part of it all -- it's only brought us closer together with our oldest friends, our best friends and family.

It makes you want to smother everyone with kisses as your heart pounds, so full of love and cheesiness. (We know I am pretty sappy.)

So, to Annie, Justin and precious little Natalie, to Ali, Andy and perfect little Mason - we promise to love you and teach you so many fun things that your parents won't (wink wink). We promise to be there to help find your paths on life's many journeys. We promise to take you to mass if you want to go and help teach you all the ways to pray and work for what you want. 

And to my sister...the humbling, overwhelming pride can only be stronger -- so don't ever think that the honor could ever be less than our first experiences.

April 18, 2013

1,411 and Happy Birthday Jake!

Holy shiz balls, I've hit a staggering 1,415 views here.  

(I also don't really know how many of those views are adweek spider-ing out my page.)

Don't judge. I haven't been doing this for that long and while there aren't that many views, it still brings out a mixture of embarrassment and curiosity in me.

Embarrassment for the things that I write and probably shouldn't share -- and for those who may be mentioned actually hating my sharing but haven't said anything.  I warned you though, I'm a sharer, lover of shits 'n giggles and all those dark things that go unsaid. 

But, the curiosity is for who is really reading this? Am I reaching your hearts or making you smile? Should I keep trying?

Really, after I saw that my brother could read this in Afghanistan, I felt vindicated because having any way to reach him means the world, and I know he looks for my messages because he's said 'thank you.' If anything, that keeps me writing -- I'll keep on keeping on, just so that he can have another little taste of home and normal-ness from so far away.

Today is his birthday by the way. Happy freaking birthday you 27-year-old! We miss you and love you! Funny that it's also the anniversary that we met Suzie, had too much to drink and fell in love with her over the homemade birthday card she made for my brother a few years ago --and her bathroom photobooths. We all hoped she would marry Jake -- it turned out to be a fairytale for all of us.

April 12, 2013

Finding the power.

You can only recommend one book in your lifetime, what would it be? 

My friend posted this question to Facebook with the goal of generating ideas for her own book collection and it really made me think. If I borrowed a book from someone and loved it, I will go buy it. The reward of keeping something in my personal library and sharing something great with someone else, is what I love to do.  

Anyway, when she posed this question I instantly thought of The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. It's a story of a young boy and his journey to find power within himself through adversity, torment, knowledge and racism (cliche subjects but so far from a cliche read). If you haven't read it, you should. It was loaned to me a few years ago and it crosses my mind pretty often. However, what was most ironic was that shortly after this Facebook post, I read a friend's blog that referenced this novel in his journey to figure out what matters most to him. He is wiser than I, and my trivial writing equates to sugar-coated Peeps in comparison to his, (you should check it out) but we look at life similarly and just relate to the world differently, stylistically.

Or maybe he just has more courage than I to dive in and do the work it takes to understand his meaning in life.

But, what are the chances that this thought-provoking and soul-searching 1980s novel would touch me twice in one day?  Is the universe telling me something? I'm trying to find meaning, maybe this was a hint that I really need to dive deeper and that I am nowhere close to my own center.

April 8, 2013

Sunday dinner.

Most weeks we do family dinner on Sunday. I make a side dish, salad or desert to go to my in-laws for wine, gourmet meals and great conversation. The standard affair always runs 3-4 hours long -- which can be cumbersome, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Yesterday was an extra special Sunday dinner.  We had grilled catfish and scallops, salad, green beans, toasted french bread and two bottles of wine. We share the week's stories, talk controversy and they get updates on my family. 

And this week, we watched home videos.

My brother-in-law took the home movies from childhood and had them converted to CD chapters and it was probably the best gift that I think anyone could receive.

For an hour I watched my husband as a seven-year-old encouraging his little brother, taking baths, eating cake and looking absolutely adorable. I could see everything that I love about this family in those movies made so long ago. I didn't mean to get emotional, but when Grandpa (that I was never privileged to meet) picked up the boys and gave them a squeeze and a kiss, my heart melted, and that's where it stayed through the rest of the videos.

Days like this one really make me miss my family, just for this simple time together. 

P.S. My brother called from Afghanistan. It made my week.

P.P.S I was presented the opportunity to dress like a bear on Saturday night. It was awesome.

March 26, 2013

Snuggle buddies.

Me: I've been wanting to tell you what a bed hog you are.

R: I just like to put something between my knees, you are the bed hog. And last night you actually left me some room.

I need at least two regular pillows and one body pillow to really sleep good.

I'm a side sleeper and I curl up to my body pillow with one arm under my head between the two regular pillows and when I switch sides the whole body pillow comes with me and shmushes between Ryan and I.

Oh wait, technically I also need two more pillows for the flip because my arm has to go behind Ryan's head and between his two pillows. So I really need 4 regular pillows, one body pillow and one Ry-guy.

He gets a kick out of telling people my bed rituals. He always tucks me in just to make fun of me, but I love it.

Anyway, guess who tries to take over my body pillow now? Yeah.

I yank it right back and turn over as soon as I see it coming. I swear I have a sixth sense when it comes to pillow takeover because I wake up in the nick of time. I stay so close to my side of the bed now just to avoid feeling guilty when I yank them right out from under him. Though, I always say sorry. Anyway, since I've noticed how I stay on my side, he has crept way over, which is great for five minutes of snuggling before we fall asleep, but yesterday, I almost fell out of bed.

Ahhhh. Smile.

March 25, 2013

Carry and keep it with you.

It's a night of deep thought and random, but entwining strands of reflection. Sorry.

Both of my brothers lead these insanely tough lives through these careers that only the strongest can endure.  I admire their strength in this just as much as I fear it.  I can't think about the horrible things they see or the gulps of evil they swallow, instead I think of them as our angels. They are protecting every one of us from carrying the things they choose to carry so that we don't have to. I love them to pieces and wish I could lessen their burdens when they get too heavy, but they are always shielding, always protecting, it's their nature.

In these burdens I am thankful that my sister-in-law and my brother were blessed to be allowed time together before he left his training post for Afghanistan.  She hopped on a plane to travel across the country to be with her man for any time that she could. I can only imagine how she felt leaving him again and I sent them both this quote by Marcel Proust, "Love is space and time measured by the heart" so that they can only grow stronger. On an ordinary day this is really cheesy, but sometimes you need that sort of thing...and I think this is one of those times.

Then, "You can't be like that when you talk to him. You have to be strong. He needs all the strength that we can push through to him."

That's what I told my sister when we skyped tonight.  We were waiting our turns to see our brother's handsome face for another chat... until we can see him again on a computer screen or not. We have no idea how long that will be. I did not want this to be a somber chat.

But, the snorts fell through as the sobs escaped.  How quickly my words of strength were contradicted by a reaction that I couldn't keep from her. 

It's a funny thing, wanting to hide the emotion behind stoicism. Why do I equate tears with weakness? I don't always, but I do for this. I don't need him to leave with a picture of his sister sobbing imprinted in his head. He needs to believe and feel our courage, love, loyalty and strength for all that he is about to endure.

I pray to breathe and funnel every ounce of whatever I'm made of into his heart and soul. I pray that things really are better where he is going, that he will be safe and protected. That he knows how proud of him we really are.  Somewhere in my heart, or head, I know that he chose this and in some crazy way this is an opportunity for him. He is smart, well-trained and ready to see what is out there.  He is ready.  And, what he is doing is more than most of us could ever imagine doing for another human being in our lifetime. I wrote a tribute to him awhile back that you should read here if you haven't.

So when it was my turn to say goodbye tonight, I had few words to share with him except to say "I love you" one more time and leave him with a smile.

March 22, 2013

Solace between the blows. Literaly.

There is something magical that happens in the wee hours of the morning. The silver lighting on the fresh lain snow reflects icicles on the backyard's evergreens.  Deer perk up at the tap of my finger tip on the window pane and cock their heads to listen before arching back down to dig for any food left at the end of winter. The quiet is beautiful. Magic really happens while we sleep, so if we can catch it before the world wakes up, we can keep a piece of it for ourselves.

That's how I spent my early morning, sick on the couch, staring out the patio door and thinking about how great life is, even between Kleenex breaks.

March 14, 2013


I know that this is true: I care too strongly for things that I should have let go a very long time ago.

Weeks can go by and these crazy emotions will become dormant. But, one tiny thing can set me off and they will consume me all over again. It's a vicious, heart-stopping cycle that twists me around the invisible and blurry-coded lines.

What to do is always obvious, no matter the prick starting it. But how to do it is a whole different matter.

It's like I can feel that I have become two different people. I stretch and run, and push myself to fall back in line, back into myself. I throw myself through the days with little sleep and athletics. I don't stray from routine and do everything to make sure my husband doesn't get the short end of the stick.  It's exhausting, physically and mentally.

This sounds insane, I know. I should probably give up on trying to explain my craziness.

Tomorrow, I will be me again. Celebrating birthdays and babies with a glass of wine, hugs and kisses (from the best hugger ever) and relishing in the weekend reprieve.

March 12, 2013

Birthday wish.

Birthday wish:

Show up in a banana suit. You have two months to get one.


(Last year's banana party.)

March 7, 2013

They still hold hands.

I wish that I would have gotten a picture of this.

For all the "he makes me the bad guy" or "nothing makes her happy" kind of embellishments that I hear my parents say, there is nothing sweeter than what I witnessed between them a few weeks ago.

My parents were visiting because I was hosting a baby shower for a friend, and towards the end of the afternoon they disappeared.  The rest of us went on with cleaning up, making evening plans and chatting about how perfectly well the day had gone. When I realized that my parents hadn't been around for awhile, I went searching.

And there they were -- sitting on the couch in the den, side-by-side, holding hands in the dark and watching Message in a Bottle or Tin Cup (or something like that).

The sense of serenity almost brought me to tears as it settled over the room. I will never forget their image that day, nor what it's brought me since.

March 5, 2013

Kid-friendly, uterus not approved, yet.

Babies-R-Everywhere -- except in my uterus.

My entire Facebook feed has developed compulsive-baby-pic-fever, posted by my baby-obsessed friends. It is most definitely kid-friendly.

Heck, every other day I tell my husband that I want a baby, or I jokingly say, "Maybe I'm pregnant today." 

And on the other days, I tell him that I'm too scared and he should maintain control.

The best of babies have been holding me over.

I've been obsessed with my niece Hannah, now almost eight months old. I miss her all the time (its been 3 weeks) and post my own crazy Auntie pics.

And, we have just been asked to be godparents to our best friends' baby girl, Natalie, and are dying to meet her. I can't wait to be enamored with her, hook her little fingers over mine and smother her with smooches.

Furthermore, I have received the most wonderfully exciting baby news that I can't wait to share...(ominous, I know.) 

See - babies ARE everywhere.

It's a wonderful, magical thing -- babies in the uterus (it's actually a great example of cause and effect).  

I'll get there. We'll create our own little cause and effect soon enough.

March 1, 2013

Mexican fantasies.

I fantasize about vacation, and really only Mexico.

I've sort of become a snob about vacationing in Mexico, at least the paradise resorts that we've been to. I love talking about the places we've stayed and convincing people to plan a trip there.  How many times can I say "Mexico" with the murmur of a dreamlike sigh?

I have nothing against expanding our vacationing reach or transitioning my daydreams. I do know that there are so many amazing places that I need to see. But the best emotions have come out of me during these trips and I'm just so very attached.

What's better than dos tequilas, or slammers and Tecate? Water aerobics and volleyball? Pristine and perfectly decorated rooms? A waiter who makes special trips to your room to fill up your fridge? A Mexican Michael Jackson? Getting my man to dance at the discoteca while the fog machine and bass get our blood pumpin' and bodies sweatin'?

You don't do those things in real life.

But, you sure as hell do in Mexico.

This is why I work. To dream about the vacations that I get to take with the people who make my heart melt and let my soul breathe.

February 20, 2013


Today, I ate five candy-cane Hershey Kisses -- I'm kind of obsessed with them and I'm on the last of my three bags that I bought before Christmas (don't you dare judge, I share them).

The problem is that I write down what I eat every single day (except Saturdays or Sundays because I'd rather not). 

Five of these tiny candy-cane Kisses equals 161 calories. That is a whole lotta something for nothing.

It's bullshit. I'm just not going to count them today.

February 18, 2013

Strive Tough.

Not working hard enough, not pushing or believing enough, a flailing heart, a possible fail...the negatives that can restrain you are incredibly exhausting to carry. There is such a heaviness in allowing these pieces of yourself in the forefront.

Nothing that you have means anything without the pride in the paths you took to get there. The work that it takes to build, grow and strengthen all that you deserve and earn. So why make excuses when the reward is courage and strength? You can't become great if you don't put in the effort. Shortcuts won't push you to change. 

I remember so many renditions of this practiced inspiration.  Our high school varsity volleyball shirts even read, "You don't get what you pay for, you get what you work for." The volleyball had a bad-ass face flying at you, to show you just how we were going to stomp you to the ground because we worked harder than you did.

And you know what? We probably did most of the time.

Those words seem to have imprinted their forever stamp on my brain and in my soul.

When people ask me if I think it's time to slow down, to take a break, to take a season off from softball, volleyball, football...I tell them that someday I will have to, so right now it is necessary to cram in as much as I can.

Some days I do feel exhausted, and wouldn't mind a breather. But most days, nothing feels more exhilarating than using the long developed fundamentals of hard work, confidence, discipline and teamwork.

February 17, 2013


There is something to be said for laughter -- it just feels so good.

We went to dinner last night with eight other people. We had a private room, family style menu and I had a bottle of wine to myself. We joked from one end of the table to the other, talking too loud and laughing even louder. 

I'm not sure that our server knew what to do with our borderline immature jabs and inappropriate stories ...though I think there must have been some sort of adult conversation.

Between bites of spaghetti with meatballs and chicken parmesan, we savored every bite of our belt-busting belly-aches. Full on happiness and contentment.

Perfect therapy.

February 16, 2013

It's sickening how cute we are.

Every day I am thankful that I met the man of my dreams over a beer bong and spilled trash.

He didn't know that I was smitten when he walked into our bumpin' (always) apartment just below his and I demanded that he help me pick up the party trash that we so carelessly left on the stoop.

He didn't know that I was fresh out of broken hearts and ready to fly solo.

I knew that he just wanted to pick up some hot chicks.

Ha, but he didn't know that I had decided that I was going to be her.

And neither of us knew how we would change each other's lives forever.

It was a courting game. So many trials, denials and errors after we'd start a night out with six slugs on the beer bong.  I didn't always win, and many times he would win everyone over, except me. But it went both ways and we had one helluva ride soaring through BGSU's Falcon territory together.

We made it out alive and struggled through the after-years finding our way together. Every time that it seemed hopeless we just couldn't let go.

2012 marked our 10 years together (now married for two) and every day that I wake up to him I feel us growing stronger and stronger. There is nothing better than knowing you have a true partner, teammate and buddy 100 percent of the time.

(Mostly because he vaccums, does laundry, changes my oil and clears the driveway...just working on the dusting and cleaning the toilets.)

February 14, 2013

Less than three you!

 <3 I less than 3 you <3

Is that irony? I mean, in my world if I'm showing love to three people at one time, I'm in some deep shit. If you are loving on two people, still less than three, you are still in deep shit. So, I'm going to say that "I less than three you" really only means one plus one is two, that is less than three, and I'll be saved from shit.

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 8, 2013


I tend to look at the darker side of things. I'm sure you've noticed.

Why are there so many more words to use when writing about sadness, torment, falseness?  Those words alone are prime examples of my recent vocabulary.

Is happiness just much easier to visually express that I don't find as deep of a need to express it in writing? Is it too gag-y to express true love or joy and tall tales of frolicking in fields?  It might be. Just know that I do feel those things too, despite what I write, there is a lighter side.

I think happiness is so much easier to relate to, for everyone, that you just don't need the words to understand it.

You probably know what it feels like to love someone so much that you just need to reach out and touch them, hug them, kiss a shoulder or feel your heart flutter.

You know what it feels like to feel a breeze around you as you tilt your face towards the sunshine and breathe the fresh air.

You know what it feels like to be genuinely touched by someone's thoughtfulness in a gift, in a card, in a phone call.

You've had that moment when sitting with friends through a whole evening of laughter and secret stories.

And then there is sadness, empty pits of despair that you can't climb out of when you want to. You tumble, you cry, and you hide and your support system may not know what to do with you.  You have to find your own expression... and mine comes from finding the words that piece together the fragments of my life that I've momentarily forgotten in the blackness.

February 7, 2013

Dude. WTF.

You know how the gym is crazy busy right at the beginning of every new year? Everyone wants to pretend they love it, that they live for it.  Well, not me. I avoid it like the plague.

Sometimes I get stuck going during the busy times and if I can't find an easy parking spot I turn around and park it on my couch (or say I'll bust out some Jillian Michaels but really just do some crunches and leg lifts on the floor). But I have no desire whatsoever to be at the gym right now...and not just because it's busy.

The middle of January usually marks the beginning weeks of actually having legit time to spend at home reading, and I lazily soak it up with all that I can get away with...or for as long as I can tell my guilty conscience to shut the hell up.  I hold off on going to the grocery store (even Target), bathe in the lethargy of the winter afternoons and make awesome after-school snacks (mostly nachos). It's totally awesome.

I actually did make it to the gym twice this week and yesterday just did some cardio. I usually try to get in 5-6 miles at a time, but at mile 2 I began to hit a major wall. All of my energy was instantly zapped and my focus was on what to make for dinner, vacations, my current book, things that I can't say aloud...really anything except another half hour of the day's torture. But, somehow I made it to 3.5 miles for the day and I hopped off feeling sluggish but slapped my ass for a job well-done-good-enough. I did more than most people right? Hellz yes. Word. Ya heard?

But there is one person who makes me feel guilty. Every. Single. Time.

During dinner last night I made the mistake of saying that I only did 3.5 miles and that it was about 35 minutes of cardio.  He says, "Isn't that bad? I mean good that you did it, but sort of a bad time?"

Really? Seriously?

Yeah, it's bad... if you are in high school, not fat, running every day at practice and don't spend your free time drinking red wine and vodka, or making sure to have dinner on the table every night.


January 31, 2013


Holy moly, shits been heavy.

With my beloved Aunt's passing and my baby brother leaving for more training and Afghanistan, I have spent the last few weeks letting everyones emotions pack into mine as I've struggled through the tears and stoic smiles. It's been a burdensome trial that has actually left me feeling more blessed than ever to have such a close, amazing family to stand beside.

To outsiders, it is so hard to explain how or why I feel so obligated and attached to my family. It seems that most people can only handle their families in small doses while my family is always figuring out when we can get together again.  To know that, is a very nice feeling.

Tragedy brings people together and makes a person stronger.  In it's wake we watch the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, or Chris Farley's best of Saturday Night Live.  We laugh, we tell stories, play games, crack cases of beer and pop bottles.  In tragedy, we celebrate our family, our love, our memories.

Today, I finally feel lighter and what can be better than that?

January 18, 2013

Jacob Ross.

The most awful kid to babysit.
A wirey and scrappy little punk. 
Smart mouthed.
A white Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. SERIOUS.
Always trying to prove that he is not in anyone's shadow.
Quietly thoughtful.
Sweetly emotional.

That's my little-brother, Jacob, and there is one more week until he leaves for Texas, and from there to Afghanistan. It's a time when everyone keeps saying, "I thought we were bringing them home." So did we.

When he told us a year ago that he would be going, we grappled with anger first. Anger at him for joining the Army Reserves, for volunteering his life, for believing that he didn't think of all the hearts that would break because of the hold he has over us. It was a selfish hurt that I think we were entitled to carry for a few moments.

When we were little, our brother and sister would team up against us for every game or vicious fight, but Jacob and I were naturally close and just as tough together. We always had people to play with, there were four of us and we did almost everything together (our parents really did give us the best childhood).

Jacob (who hates when I don't call him Jake) has always understood what I was trying to be about. When I fought, when I cried or screamed at my family, was tormented by shitty boyfriends, struggling with the competition that happens with a twin in high school, or when I made stupid mistakes, this little brother of mine always made me laugh and asked for advice. As we've grown up, I still feel protective over him and I still love that he tells me his secrets and fears. 

But, I've also seen what a wonderful man he has become; a wise, disciplined and intuitive husband and Sergeant.

And while my fear hasn't faded and the tears sprout a few times a day, I think that I would add to the list; admirable, proud, strong -- alongside my overwhelming sense of love and protectiveness.

So, we are having a party to showcase all the people that will miss him while he's over in that thousand degree shithole. Food, booze, barn-style cornhole, laughter, and all the necessary means to make sure he knows how loved he is. Something to take with him, and protect him.

Thank you Troops, for all that you have done and continue to do for us.

January 17, 2013


I used to feel obligated to keep up with 15 people, all truly my best friends. They are split into groups of friendships that have been built at different stages of my life. I've carried these friendships on for years, making myself sick if I missed anything that was important to anyone of these 15 people. I made it to almost every birthday or bachelorette party, bridal and/or baby showers, theme/keg parties, good ol' wine times, and just traveling anywhere to be in the company of my best friends.
I have the most insane, balls-to-the-wall memories with these people, which Facebook has documented very well. But over time, people have fallen off the face of the earth and through the cracks, and they just don't reach out anymore. I admit that I also quit reaching out when I became to overwhelmed with filling my schedule with my own events, and even developed a bit of the "if you don't care, why do I" mentality. But really, all these people just became too much to keep track of as we've grown, started our own families or careers, and have began reaching out to other circles that seem more relevant to my life at the time.

But isn't that what builds a friendship? Each relationship should hold a charming slice of quality in them, something that you need or love, and it links you together.
It seems so cheesy to use that term, "my best friends." But many of them have been my best friends at one time or another, and for one reason or another we were bonded by something extraordinary, or even tragic.
The tears and swearing that have come with fading friendships weighs heavily in the pit of my stomach. But I've realized that you can't truly value those that are truly closest to you while keeping up with so many distractions.  Everyone can't be everything in every moment that you need it. The best thing to do is to honor those memories, and know that true friendship always picks up where it left off, if and when, the paths meet again.

January 16, 2013

Way too effing early.

Ding ding ding. I finally figured out how to get into bed for the night at a blissfully early time.

First, a little background.

I get up at 4:40am to be at work by 6:06am every day. It is a torture that I encourage you to try for my sympathy. The best part of this is that I sit in front of a computer for 9 hours a day and have to read press releases with red, watering and burning eyes. I'm only half complaining -- I know the lack of sleep if my fault.

But it is also my husband's.

Going to bed is a process that I get anxiety about every night at 7:30 when I realize that I should be going to bed in an hour. Every evening I say, "Son of B, it's already 7:30." And every time, Ryan says, "Can you stop it already?" But I can't. I daydream about sprawling under the covers, sliding my legs back and forth, snuggling with my body pillow (and various other pillows), relishing in the sweetness my bed. Such a good daydream. I think that I actually spend most of my daydreaming on getting into bed. No joke.

So the guy gets home from work late, I  play sports, I make dinner. Then, because we should probably have a little conversation/snuggling/down time at the end of the day, we hang out.  And then it's 10 o'clock and I freak out because I'm not in bed. I don't know where I ever got the idea that being married meant going to bed together. (Note: I really don't mind going to bed by myself, it is my time.) But, I also have to read my book for a half hour before the lights go out and I fall into a coma that can't even be disturbed when he finally crawls in too. It is wonderful. Until my annoying-ass alarm goes off -- and I swiftly hit snooze, probably 3 times.

Then I whimper, moan, groan, stretch like I know yoga and sit on the bed hating life.

An no Ryan, there is nothing you can do to help me while you get to stay in bed and I never see the sunlight on my way to work.  

But, I've got it figured out now.

I've learned to tease and please at 8:30 and it puts a smile on his face and double smiles on mine when I think how amazing I will sleep now and how rested I'll be tomorrow. He even folds the covers down and tucks me in. If that's all I had to do to get some sleep... holy shiz, I'm in.

January 12, 2013

Riding the wave.

You know that solid ache in your throat that you can't swallow around, that blocks your breath, makes your heart beat deep in your eardrums and through the depth of your soul, that piece of yourself that you didn't even know existed?

A freaking ocean that pounds you against it's rocks and you don't know how to stop it.

 And it always catches you off guard.

When I get like this blood rushes through my chest, up my neck and through my face. I get bright red and choke. I choke on the pain I feel for everyone around me, fear for myself, fear for the silent drops of love and craziness floating down my cheeks.

Have you ever loved someone so much that to accidentally envision them gone gave you hiccups because you stopped breathing? Have you ever thrown yourself at a wall and fallen down looking for support in your hysterics? It's the soul-control battle and you can't always come out on top.

It's the sort of beating that I have endured a few times in my 29.5 years and I still don't know how to manage it. Though I know that it does not compare to so many other stories, the torment should not be diminished. We all have those up and down waves, the direction-altering and humbling stories, but we so often bury them far far away.

I tend to bring them up and blow those feelings out of the water before I drown and sometimes it gets me into trouble.  But, usually it saves me, and it saves others.  I've always been one to share too much, as I've said before, but I know that this has been my saving grace. I believe in driving compassion and finding the calmness in the symmetry of soul-control and hysteria.

I just spent a week with my family on vacation in Florida.  My parents (married for 36 years), my twin sister and brother-in-law, my two brothers and sisters-in-law, and my 6-month old niece... and it was blissful mayhem and madness. Nothing feels better than getting along and feeling so good about being who you are with the people who have helped build you. I know how blessed I am to be able to laugh and love as much as I do. In light of the deaths, and near-deaths, my family has faced we have pushed ourselves closer and closer together. Sure, we get pissed or annoyed with one another, but we wouldn't have it any other way, and I am amazed at how much we have grown.

So mostly, it is these experiences that move me and catch me off guard these days. I get that solid ache in my throat and have to swallow so hard it hurts, to endure the love and thankfulness that crashes me into the rocks and allows me to keep my head up through the low blows.

Is there someone you can reach for that steadies your trembling fingertips?  Where do you look for comfort? I guarantee that steadiness will find you easier than you think.

January 11, 2013

Taking one for the team.

Time and time again I become frustrated with people's lack of "taking one for the team." It makes me crazy that the same people with the able-personalities are always giving, giving, giving, while others take, take and take and have no regard for the willingness of others. 

Being the planner means that I always take the back seat and try to graciously offer up prime positions on the limo bus, sleep on an air mattress, spend the night drunk-sitting, meet people halfway when doing favors for them, stoically mediate drama, receive unhelpful feedback in details... you get the picture. 

Now, I promise that I really do enjoy taking care of the details and creating something fun for my peoples to take part in. It gets me all warm and fuzzy to make people giddy with thoughtfulness. I get a kick out of getting everyone together...and really it's also selfish because I love laughing my ass off (who doesn't), and these events create love and laughter, and these things benefit my soul. 

But, I wonder if my craziness over others lacking in this personality trait means that I am really not as generous with my time as I lead myself to believe. Maybe I am really just a selfish biotch begging for recognition from event attendees. In my heart, I don't think that is true, but maybe there is something about to it.

Maybe those that lack the personality trait really just choose not to have it.  So if they choose to go about life that way, what does that say about someone like me? I'm not sure why I'm afraid to find out.

Either way, you should check out this hilarious blog about being a planner.

January 2, 2013

2013: Saying "no" but with love.

In an attempt to slow down, I am refusing to fill up my 2013 calendar and bracing myself to decline a few events here and there and cut down on traveling and obligations.  My 2011-2012 planner was so laden in color-coded pen scribbles, white-out and post-it notes, that I would begin the anxiety-stricken weeks with a deep sigh and work on excuses to try and get out of things that I would never actually get out of.

Many things I plan myself -- road trips to see friends, weekend get-aways, concerts, football tournaments, and everything fun under the sun (though you may or may not see a bikini wax scheduled, which is not fun).  I'm a planner, and everyone expects this of me. But no more.

2013 means that I'm giving us some room for impromptu plans and letting go of the reigns. I'm going to learn how to say "no" to people and let go of making everyone happy. I'm going to let others do the inviting and hold off on the planning.

I'm going to do it, rather I'm not going to do it, but I still love you.