Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hello Again

I didn't write last week because, you see, they don't have Internet service in Hell.
Nope. I couldn't even steal a wireless connection from Purgatory. Meh. Oh well. Here I am.

Last week was not a good week for me. Everything went wrong (except for Noelle...she was awesome...and decided to sprout a full-on tooth)...but after a few pep talks and cry-it-out sessions in my car, I decided that this week would be better, and it already has been.

Enough about that.

Luke and I have had some great weekends lately. From enjoying this Fall weather to spending time with friends around a fire pit to watching Colts play good football to getting our family pictures taken finally...we have really enjoyed the time together. Fourth year of med school is turning out to be great, and Luke is afforded a lot of free time that we didn't think he would have. He has successfully submitted his residency application, and he has already been called for an interview. It's pretty nutty that this is all going to go down here in a couple months. He will interview, and then in March we will know where he will be for residency. We have a lot of prayerful decisions to make in the next few months about where to go and what to do, so let's hope that the can of tomatoes I accidentally stole from Target a few weeks ago doesn't come back to bite us in the ass...earning us a residency in Utah or something.

I have gotten back into running. And by "back into," I mean I have done it twice now. And by "running," I mean rhythmically swinging my arms faster than my legs are moving to make it appear like I am running faster than I really am. But...I am doing it. With each step, I have this schizophrenic battle between my "This SUCKS" voice and my "You can do it " voice. Regardless, I did about 2 miles on Sunday and 1 mile tonight.

Little Noelle is so wonderful. Her little bottom tooth is poked through, and she has the best little personality. We are anxiously awaiting her first Halloween, and we just love looking forward to each day with her. Her smile pulled me through my funk last week, and I know that no matter how chaotic and crazy and frustrating and Hellacious my life can be...her smile will always make me happy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Epic Fail

You know you need a weekend if...

you forget your daughter's bottles at home on the counter and have nothing for the little girl to eat at daycare.


You know you need a weekend if...

the day after you forget her bottles at home, you send her to daycare without her pacifier.

Yes. That lady needing the weekend? It's me (just visualize me jumping up and down, waving my hands frantically, shouting, "me! me! me!")

I don't know where my mind has been lately. I have been so forgetful. Yes, I left Noelle's bottles at home on Thursday. Thankfully, River of Life had extra bottles and I had extra formula there. Today, I left home without her pacifier, but they went to Wal-Mart to get her a new one. Isn't that great of them? I'm telling you...this is a WONDERFUL daycare center. They love Noelle like she is their own. What a relief.

It's good to know someone else will pick up the mother baton when you drop it...
in a puddle of mud...
as it breaks into 1000 pieces.

In life, I feel you can either do 100 different jobs and none of them very well, or you can do a few jobs and do them with 100% of your being. I think I have been trying to do the whole have a 100 jobs and just give a little of myself to each of them, rather than actually focus on the most important roles I have (wife, mother, teacher, friend) and give all I have. Oh well. Isn't that part of life? Learning each day and figuring out how tomorrow is gonna be better?

So...even though I failed at the bottle thing and the pacifier thing...
...and even though Luke and I had PB&J for dinner this week...
...and even though the laundry is piling up and the cats don't have food...
...I have succeeded in one thing, and one thing only.
...Opening a bottle of wine and pouring me a glass.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Deep breaths

I have had a rough start to the school year. My kids are trying and testing me the way they did when I was a first year teacher. I am stressed, strung out, and not enjoying really any aspect of my life right now...that is except for Noelle, of course! The highlight of my day is picking her up and taking her home. Of course I could do without the hour drive in between, but I have learned to tell myself, "Suck it up and do it" over and over again until I go numb.

I am praying that I get my life together soon. I am disorganized, discombobulated, disconnected...I just want to do my job and do it well, and then come home and be with my family. Is that too much to ask?

In other news, I am taking pictures of babies/kids/families every weekend (Saturday, Sunday, or sometimes both) in September and October (aside from our Nashville mini-vacation). I am excited about this, but this makes me even busier! Oh well...it's good stuff.

Here's Noelle's latest teddy bear picture to cheer you up. Oh, you didn't need cheering up? Oops. I meant....cheer me up. Sigh.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A sippy cup? Really?

Noelle went for her 6 month appointment today. Where has half a year gone? I don't understand!

She is doing great...weighing in at 17.5 lbs (80th %) and 26.5 inches long (78th %). The doctor encouraged us to do more baby food and introduce a sippy cup! I of course used that as a great excuse to go to Target and buy her one with handles. We gave her some formula in it tonight, and she did great with it. She is growing up so quickly!

We get our family pictures taken on Saturday, and I am so excited! I am always behind the camera. I never get to have a good picture taken of us! We will have the photographer take her teddy bear picture this time!

Here are some of my favorite pictures as of late. Enjoy!
At her first Notre Dame game!

Shopping with mama!

Crinkle nose!

So sweet!

So I'm not a total domestic failure...

I cooked this week.

Here's the proof (aside from the scale that isn't budging and the pile of dirty dishes in the sink).

Frank's Buffalo Chicken Dip
(I had a hankering for some buffalo chicken dip...sooooo something the former Ashley would never touch...so I made some last weekend rather than pay $8 for an appetizer at Scotty's Lakehouse or O'Charley's. It was real good.)

8 oz of cream cheese (I used 1/3 reduced fat)
1/2 cup of Frank's Hot Sauce
1/2 cup of reduced fat ranch dressing
1/2 cup of reduced fat shredded mozzarella
2 cans of white chunk chicken (from a can...and it does in fact smell like tuna, so I can see how Jessica Simpson was confused)

Soften the cream cheese and stir it in the bottom of a pretty deep baking dish (give yourself at least 4 inches deep).
Add the hot sauce, ranch, cheese, and chicken, and mix it all around all smooth-like.
Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake about 20 minutes...until there's a golden brown crustyness to the top.

Eat with multigrain tortilla chips. YUM.

Simple Shrimp & Pasta
(I like to just throw things together and make things up myself. For example...this recipe.)

1/2 a box of whole wheat thin spaghetti
10-12 cooked shrimp (get the kind without the poop veins and take the tails off, weirdos)
1 tablespoon of red pepper (or more if you're feeling crazy)
1 medium Vidalia onion (I am really into Vidalia's these days), cut into thin rings
Spoonful of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of butter

Cook the pasta like normal, then drain. Melt the butter on medium heat. Add the garlic. Let it get a little toasty. Add the onion and saute for a few.
Add the red pepper and the shrimp. Only cook the shrimp enough to get it warm.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce/shrimp and let it soak up all the goodness. Serve & eat. Drink water because it has a kick to it!

Pizza Rolls
(not Totinos...though those are good, too)

1 can of Pillsbury crescent dough in garlic butter flavor
1 small can of tomato sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese
turkey pepperoni

Unroll the dough on the baking sheet. Separate all the triangles. Add a thin layer of sauce to each triangle. Then add about 3 pepperoni to each. Lastly cover with cheese (not too much!). Roll up the crescent and bake according dough directions. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese when you're done.

Red Chicken Chili
(I have made this a  lot over the past year or so. It's really good this time of year.)

Recipe too long. Google it.

I also made Fruity Nut Muffins from the Flat Belly Diet book. You can look that one up, too.

Look at me, I'm Rachael Ray!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Days gone by...

Well, another Rubbermaid tub full of Noelle's clothes that no longer fit has been filled up and stowed away in the attic. I took her newborn bottles out of the cabinet and put away her newborn toys like her tummy time mat and her bouncy seat. The Boppy is gone away, too.

I find myself choked up and sad. My little girl is growing so quickly, and there's nothing I can do to stop it. I remember buying all of the stuff or getting it at showers and just visualizing what my baby would look like with it. Now she has outgrown all of the things that used to soothe her, entertain her, and meet her needs.

We used to turn the bouncy seat on and let it vibrate as the little one slept in complete comfort. Now it is in a trash bag and the batteries are completely dead. I know (hope, pray) that another little baby will enjoy that bouncy seat someday, but it will always be Noelle's...and now she has moved on to bigger and better things.

She went to bed so early tonight. I hardly had any time with her. I have peeked in on her a number of times tonight, in between sorting through her clothes and pulling out the things that she can no longer wear. I stopped at each item, remembering the time when she wore it...and realizing that she will never wear it again. Of course, she has a new bag of Carter's clothes in larger sizes, but that's beside the point...

Noelle is more joy than I ever thought possible. She is the bright spot in a world full of darkness. Her smile just melts my heart, and her tears rip me into pieces. I can't believe we go for her 6 month check up tomorrow. I'm so proud yet so sad all at the same time.

Each new day brings a new development...a new milestone...a new memory, but my living room now seems much emptier without that bouncy seat.

signs of fall

cafe mochas.

pumpkin delight cakes.

fall scented candles.

cool breezes.

hot apple cider.

spiked apple cider.

sweaters and scarves.

dark denim and boots.

cozy blankets.

fleece & sweatshirts.

little pink noses & cheeks.

sipping wine.

golden leaves.

bare trees.

halloween candy in stores.


all the signs of fall are here...and i am not enjoying any of them because i am too stressed about school, life, money, etc.

something has to change....because everything else is changing and i am missing all of it. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Friday

Because I am a teacher striving for excellence and trying to avoid doing the same ol' thing over and over again...I decided to do an Egg Drop Experiment with my kids. Two weeks ago, they were given an assignment to go home and design a contraption that will protect an egg from breaking when it is dropped on concrete. This was to practice the scientific method and all that good stuff.

Today was drop day, so I needed eggs. Last night was Open House, and I wasn't home until 9:30. I didn't want to go to the store at that time, so I decided to get them this morning. I dropped Miss Noelle off at daycare at around 7:05, so I had plenty of time to get the eggs.

In case you were wondering if gas stations (namely, the VP at Morrison and McGalliard in Muncie) sold eggs...that would be a big, fat NO! I saw Totino's pizzas and milk and of course every kind of chip and candy every produced, but no eggs. I then said to myself..."What the hell...get a donut." So I did.

I then went to Marsh or Lo Bill or whatever it is called these days. Indy ones are open 24 hours. This was was open at 8. It was 7:15. So...the decision was made. I had to brave...the Wal-Mart.

I hauled ass to the bag where the eggs were, grabbed 2 dozen, and then I hoofed it back up to the front. OF COURSE only one lane would be open with 10 people standing in line. After frantically looking for another cashier to open, I saw a light on at the other end of the store. I booked it over there and found it to be a 10 Items or Less lane. YES!

Well...it was there that I found a lady with her cart FULL of items...like...100 items...complete with potatoes and coke on the bottom of her cart. She was taking her sweet time and apparently not reading the sign on the aisle she was standing in. "10 ITEMS OR LESS!" NOT "OH, YOU HAVE MORE THAN 10? GO AHEAD. 100 IS CLOSE TO 10 ANYWAY!"

I  then started thinking all kinds of mean, inappropriate thoughts to myself...such as..."I have a JOB to go to, what about you?" and "Can you not READ?" and "Take your sweet time, Princess." Oh, I was so mad. If I had had cash, I would have thrown it at the register and taken my eggs shouting, "Keep the change!"

Finally, she finished...and her total was $192 if that tells you anything about how full her cart was. She even had to buy a box of ever-so-classy Wally World perfume that was locked in a plastic box that had to have a special little tool to open. Gah. The horror!

When she finished, a young man ahead of me put his stuff up on the counter. Two packages of Hanes boxer briefs in...wait for it...camo print. Mmmmmm. Remind me to get some for Luke soon.

I finally paid for my eggs and ran for the door. I made it to school right at 7:40, which is the time I have to be there. The egg drop was successful and fun. The kids had a great time checking their contraptions to see if they passed each level of challenges. We dropped them first from shoulder height, then chair height, then 6 foot ladder height, then top of the bleachers height. I had a kid bring in a Rubbermaid container of OATMEAL and put his egg in it. The egg didn't break, so I guess the idea was a success. I also had a girl bring a baggie of water and put her egg in it. She wasn't so lucky. She ended up with a wet mess and a broken egg. Oh well...good times!