Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Honey badger don't care. Okay... maybe a little.

Sometimes, it seems like the Universe is talking to me. Before you call the dudes in the white coats to come get me, hear me out. There are certain lessons in life that are tough to learn. REALLY tough. And they come up over and over and over again. One of my lessons just seems to crop up on a regular basis: giving other people too much power over me... caring much too much about what others think of lil' ol' me.

I'm sure in all my nerdiliciousness, it comes as a huge shock that I was bullied a lot in school. I was teased about my glasses. I was teased because I was too smart. You name it, I was teased for it. In middle school, even my math teacher got into the act by calling me "Six" on a regular basis. In Roman numerals, six is VI. And, according to Mr. Herring, VI stands for "village idiot". Maybe he thought I didn't care about his little nickname for me. But, he would be wrong.

High school was the worst. Walk down the hall... hear girls whisper "bitch" as I passed by. Dirty looks. And little things like having a song with the repeating lyrics "I hate everything about you" dedicated to me at my senior prom. (No, I'm not kidding. Video is below if you have no idea who Ugly Kid Joe is or why he's so angry.)



College was easier because almost everyone there was pretty darn smart. EVERYONE was a little different. And it was okay. But, man... I still cared entirely too much what others thought of me. Truth be told, I did a heck of a lot of stupid things, all in the name of trying to fit in, trying to be cool/loved/accepted.

Fast forward to becoming a parent. Geesh. When Macey was born, I was so worried about what everyone thought of me. For some reason, when you have a baby, people feel the need to share their opinions freely, and I took almost every unsolicited comment to heart.

"You're not breastfeeding?! You might as well be feeding your baby rat poison!"

"She was a preemie? Poor thing. Did you _________?" (fill in the blank with some reason that it was my fault my water broke at 34 weeks.)

"You had an epidural?! Weren't you worried about the effects on the baby?!" (insert look of disgust here)

The bottom line is that I've always cared entirely too much about what others thought of me. I've based my whole self image on other people's views. And you know what? That is really screwed up.*

As I'm getting older, though, I'm gaining perspective. I'm starting to care less and less. More often, I'm adopting the attitude of "Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one, and yours stinks." Obviously, a serial people pleaser like myself can't just turn it around in one fell swoop. But, I'm working on it. The Universe keeps delivering LOTS of opportunities to just say "NO" to what others think of me. And maybe one of these days, when my hair is old and gray and my boobs are reaching my knees, I won't give other people's opinions of me a second thought. But, until then, I better get off the computer and take a shower. I'm expecting a package delivery from the UPS man, and what would he think if I answered the door in my snowflake pajama pants? *shutter at the thought*

*For the record, instead of writing, "That is really screwed up." I replaced the word "screwed" with the F-bomb. But, ironically, I decided to change it for fear of offending anyone. See? I still have a long way to go. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

I had a dream...

A few nights ago, I had a dream. I haven't had a dream this good in a long, long time.

I was baking. In a commercial kitchen. In a STORE, y'all. It was my store. And it was glorious.

It was sleek-ish with a few industrial antiques here and there. The walls were a beautiful rich pumpkin color. One entire wall was worn brick full of character and stories to be told. There were beautiful little spotlights everywhere. It had a strong smell of coffee and cakes. There were little tables in which folks could sit down with a salted caramel mocha and a chocolate chai spice cupcake. It felt warm and cozy. It felt like mine.

On one side, there was a case filled with cupcakes and breads and other bakery-type offerings. So pretty. So chic. On the other side, there was a little room used as an office that Rhett and I shared. He worked on graphics and web design. In my spare time, I worked on graphics and code.

In this dream, I got a chance to combine the two things that I love most: baking and design.

Of course, I woke up and thought, "Aaaaahh... isn't that nice!" And then I thought about it some more. Of course, the realist in me surmised that it would be nearly impossible to accomplish. Where in the heck would I get the many tens of THOUSANDS of dollars that it would cost to start such an operation? And could I keep such a place afloat? And would I be working myself to death?

Obviously, this dream is a long shot... as most good dreams are. But, it all starts with dreaming it and thinking that there's a small chance that it really could be possible. So, I'm putting my dream out there in the Universe, writing it out so that whomever's in charge can know what I want deep down in my heart.

Hello, God/Universe/etc. It's me, Jenny. Are you listening?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas makes me want to throw up a little.

A few weeks ago, I started really thinking about Christmas. Instead of feeling excited, full of anticipation, I felt sick to my stomach. My thoughts on the issue?

- We don't have the money this year. Well, actually, we DO have money, but it really needs to go to things like new tires for the Suburban, paying off some debt, and saving for future "oh shit" moments.

- It's SO MUCH PRESSURE. Pressure to get the right gifts. Pressure to live up to the expectations. Pressure to have the best Christmas EVER. *barf*

- How do we give the kids a fantastic Christmas without the normal festival of greed? As the kids get older, they want EXPENSIVE things. Their friends are all receiving things like iPods and phones and pricey video games. We can't compete with that. And honestly, we shouldn't even try.

When I thought about my FAVORITE holiday, Thanksgiving, I tried to figure out why I love it soooo much more than Christmas. Why? Because there's no pressure. We get together with our families. We play board games and work puzzles. We eat yummy food that we look forward to all year. We cuddle and talk and laugh. There is SO MUCH LOVE when we get together for Thanksgiving. I couldn't help but wonder... how can I make Christmas more like Thanksgiving?

So, I called up my mom. Then, I called up my sister. Then, I called my mom again. We talked about making the season special without the pressure. More love. Fewer gifts. More time together, doing what makes our hearts feel good.

So, for my side of the family this year... no presents for the adults. Seriously. Instead, donations to people who really need it. Whether it's a clean water fund, adopting a family for Christmas, or something else that our hearts feel close to, we're donating instead. Because when it's all said and done, I don't need THINGS to tell me that my family loves me.

Even on Rhett's side of the family, we're cutting back. This year, we drew names for a gift exchange. Considering how big our family is, it's still a lot of money, but it's a heck of a lot better than buying every single person in the family a gift.

I still struggle with what to do for the kids, though. Big kids? Probably money, as there is no better gift than letting THEM choose what is important to them, budgeting their money, etc. Ella is more complicated, as there must be toys. But, she's just as happy with a bouncy ball from a vending machine as she is with an expensive "this year's must have" toy. So, we'll be focusing on fun stuff that will last instead of trendy toys that end up discarded in a day or two. Finger paints. A bright pink ball. New crayons. Toys that keep on giving and never get old.

So, this year for Christmas, less pressure. More love. More memories. More FUN.

Who's with me?


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's been a while, huh?

Well, I just pulled 301 photos off my camera. Yes. Really. Can you believe it's been over 3 months since I downloaded pictures? What kind of mother am I anyway?! Geesh.

So, what have we been doing for the last 3 months?

Ella turned four. Can you believe it? FOUR!


Ella insisted on a Blue Mermaid theme. Never heard of the Blue Mermaid? That's because it was a character in exactly ONE episode of  Team Umizoomi on Nick Jr. 

Jeebus, Ella. Really?


This is the evil Squidy... who was also only in that one single episode and was the archnemesis of the Blue Mermaid. 


The poor Blue Mermaid apparently has no bones in her arms. *saggy mcsaggerson* Oh well. I guess that's what happens to mermaids that venture out of the sea onto dry land*?

*I realize that's a lame excuse, but Ella totally bought it.

Then, we started school. And all those pictures were LAME (the few that I remembered to take.) So, we'll skip over that.

After that, Macey came home. For good. I'm so glad to have my girl home. There are just no words. *sniff, sniff* So thankful. She's HOME.

Then... HALLOWEEN! Complete with eyeball mini cupcakes. 


(below, left to right) 

Macey decided to be an 80's valley girl. She has the vocabulary and "accent" DOWN. She's almost as good as her momma at being totally awesome, dudes. *wink*

Ella was very reluctantly a cave girl who chatted up every single adult she came into contact with. "Your deck is CREEEEEEPY!" "Dude, you have a lot of stairs!" "You have numbers on your house, kinda like a car." "Two pieces? You are AMAAAAAAZING!"

Cole was Harry Potter for the second time. He ADORES Harry Potter. He's read all the books multiple times. If memory serves, he's had three Harry Potter birthdays. And since the last movie was released, the book series is over, and this is his last year trick or treating, he decided to pay homage to his favorite character of all time... Harry James Potter. 


We have a rule at our house that 6th grade is the last year for trick or treating. After a kid gets to be as big as or bigger than the adults passing out the treats, it's just time to stop. So, this year, Carter watched from the sidelines. Can you believe how grown up he is? I mean... he's started SHAVING. His FACE. Yes. Really.


So, we've been busy. Life has been chaos... sweet, beautiful, gorgeous insanity. But, truly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Totally MIA... well... almost totally.

It's been entirely too long since I posted. I need to get on that. Like... NOW. Updates to come. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy. Yes. Really.

Anyone who has read this blog before knows that I've been struggling with depression and anxiety for DECADES. I've been to countless head shrinkers. I've tried just about every medication in the book. I've had ridiculous amounts of therapy. And fairly recently, I tried working with an herbalist to see if I could find something... ANYTHING... to make me feel normal. But, that didn't work either. *insert four letter word of your choice HERE*

Truth be told, I'd pretty much given up. Over 20 years of trying to feel better will do that to a girl. There just comes a point when you have to accept that this is the way your life is going to be and learn to live with it.

Or do you?

I went to my family doctor a couple of months ago about my asthma and migraines. Both had been really bad all spring, and I needed to come up with some solutions.

The asthma was easy enough to take care of. A prescription for some Singulair. Done and done.

My migraines? Not so easy to figure out. They hit me hard once a month. When I explained this to my doctor, telling her that I was pretty certain that they were due to hormone issues, she wanted to dig deeper. She asked more about my mental health history. I told her everything. I explained that I thought I was not, in fact, depressed or had biopolar, but instead had PMDD... premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It's basically like PMS to the extreme. And holy shit... she agreed completely.

So, how to you treat PMDD? You take about a half dose of an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). In this case, she gave me Celexa.

I tried it. The side effects were tough for me to take... even with just a half dose. Constant headaches, nausea, dizziness. YUCK. Put that in with some massive PMS/PMDD symtoms, and I was one miserable girl. Dammit, Janet.

But, I've taken these kinds of meds before, and I know that the side effects almost always go away eventually. Despite a completely terrible 2 weeks, I kept taking it. Something told me that I just needed to hang in there just a little bit longer. So, I did.

Fast forward two full months later. I feel better than I can ever remember. Yes. Really. I have good days and bad days, just like everyone else. I'm far from numb. But, I'm happy most of the time. My reactions to things are... dare I say... appropriate. Nothing seems like the end of the world anymore.

Even better: in the last month, I've had mild headaches here and there, but I haven't had any migraines. Yes. That's right. NO MIGRAINES.

Holy crap. I'm afraid I'm going to jinx myself, but is this what "normal" feels like? If so, SIGN ME UP.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An explanation

I've been so quiet lately. If you know me well, you know that is weird. I'm NEVER quiet. But, lately, I haven't felt like writing much. I've been feeling strangely quiet and private and guarded. But, I feel like I need to explain some things. Here we go.

Here's the deal with Macey. Back in May (or was it April?), when her bio dad and I decided that she could try living with him, we made a deal. My big stipulation to this living situation was that he moves out of his parent's home and live on his own by the end of the summer. Period. It was not negotiable.

Why is living with his parents a big deal? Well... I'm sorry to say that it's for a LOT of reasons. His dad is nuts. Like, untreated massive OCD nuts. He's also a recovered alcoholic and drug addict. His mom is not in good health. She had a brain tumor removed a year ago, and it's becoming clear that she's dying. Slowly, mind you... but she's dying. On top of all this, their famiy is dysfunctional in a way that makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I mean... almost all families are a little dysfunctional, right? But their brand of dysfunctional is pretty severe. It's not a dangerous situation, but it's not emotionally healthy to be there either. I'll just leave it at that.

Macey's bio dad has been living with his parents for the last 2+ years. He's been telling me that he can't wait to get out of there for ages. And since I know that he'd had time to save his money for deposits and such, I figured that he might actually DO IT. He might actually move out and start a life with Macey... and make her happy.

Thing is, it's been months, and Macey and bio dad are STILL living with his parents. About a week ago, I talked with bio dad about this, and we both agreed that maybe this "living in Illinois for a year" thing might not work out. I gave him another week and told him that we just need to focus on what's best for Macey... even if that means coming back to Kansas. He actually agreed with me.

It's still summer technically summer, so why is this such a big deal NOW? Well, school enrollment is in 2 weeks. I have to plan (and pay for it.) There are school supplies, moving her back home, and all the other stuff that goes along with a change of this sort. So, it's kinda now or never, ya know?

Well, I gave him the week that we agreed to. And then I called Sunday. He thought he *might* have a place lined up, and was trying to put off the decision even further. I had to put my foot down. No concrete plans? No place to live? No Macey. It's simple. This is the very last thing in the whole world that I want to have to do, but he HAS to be responsible. He can't put this off anymore. He agreed to this. Time is up.

And, of course, because I had to put my foot down, the conversation led to him telling me what a terrible parent I am. I'm a fat, stupid bitch. I'm controlling. He's convinced that he's paid more attention to Macey in the last 3 months than I have in her entire life. I don't deserve her. And best of all, I should just come get her so that he doesn't have to deal with the likes of ME anymore. *wiping away the tears* And the really bad part? Macey agrees with him,except for the coming to get her part. She refuses to come home no matter what their living situation is. She hates me. She won't even speak to me. At all.

Well, just hours after this gut wrenching conversation, he has a confirmed place to live, furniture to sit/sleep on, and every one of my demands met. They are moving in less than 2 weeks. One minute, he tells me to come get her, and then, it's all worked out and she's staying. Ugh. Really?

So, that leaves me in a place in which I have to figure out exactly what to do from here. I gave my word that I would let her live there as long as bio dad has his own place. And, at the 11th hour, he does. Do I go get her and MAKE her come home anyway? Just because he's a name calling jerk that insulted me in a way that no one deserves? Or do I let her stay there? I promised, after all. And then there is the fallout of my decision. Will Macey have the right not to speak to me if I haul her home? Will she just make everyone here in Kansas absolutely miserable if I go get her? It's a no-win situation for me, really.

The best compromise I could come up with is a contract of sorts. It's not a legal document, of course, but it puts in place some very concrete demands on her parenting and living situation. For instance, she has to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average. (She's never had less than a 3.5, so this should be cake for her.) I must have a copy of her grade cards within a week of them being sent home. She must continue to live in a safe, clean, comfortable house and NOT with his parents. She must not be left alone on an everyday basis for more than 2 hours at a time (I don't have a problem with a latchkey situation, but refuse to let her spend the majority of her time at home completely alone.) That sort of thing. The rules are broken? I'm coming to get her no matter what day of the year it is. The expectations are clearly laid out and are not at all negotiable. Basically, if he screws up, I don't have to be the bad guy anymore. HE will be the bad guy. HE will be the one who broke the rules and it will be HIS fault. (I'm not delusional enough to think that Macey won't still blame me on some level. But, you can't have everything.)

So, there it is. It's hard. It sucks. And I'm sad. But, I'm powering through it. It's all I can do, really.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My life is a whole lotta awesome.

There are days, when I feel sorry for myself. I'm bummed because I don't have more money. Or I get stressed out because my "to do" list is too darn long. Or I'm frustrated because I feel taken for granted.

Thing is, my life is a whole lotta awesome when I really think about it.

Have I been hurt in the past? Hell yes.

Have I been stepped on and cast aside? Yep.

Have unfair things happened to me, changing the fabric of who I am forever? Absolutely.

But, am I still breathing? Moving? Living? YES.

Do I always find a way to have food and shelter? Warmth? Clean water? YES.

Even in the midst of hurt and pain and anger, have I been loved anyway? Has at least one person let me know that they care and are there for me, no matter what? YES.

I have been given so many gifts. I'm lucky enough to be smart and creative. I've been educated enough to love learning new things, and embrace the chance to think outside the box. Worlds have opened up for me because I've been taught to think critically and logically. I've been loved in spades, so I've never felt completely worthless (at least not for long.) I've been hugged when I've needed it. I've been supported when I just couldn't stand any longer. And my needs, at times, have been put first instead of dead last. I have so many tools... so many advantages to make my life awesome in a way that some people on this planet only dream of and may never realize.

No, my life is not perfect. Sometimes, someone leaves a ding in my car or steals my mail or hurts my feelings. But, overall, my life is a whole lotta awesome. And I am incredibly grateful for it.

This rose colored glasses moment is brought to you by the letters L, O, V and E.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Are you SURE?

Tonight, as Rhett and I were lying in bed, in that space between sleep and awake, we were contemplating my "problem".

It went a little something like this:

Rhett: "You know what your problem is?"

Me: "Do tell."

Rhett: "You're always trying to improve yourself. Like... all the time. You're always trying to be a little bit better than you were the day before. And I think it's driving you crazy. You just need to be yourself and be done with it."

Me: "Doesn't everyone try to improve themselves?"

Rhett: "Hell no."

Me: "Are you SURE?"

Rhett: "Absolutely."

Huh. I think he's got a point. Maybe just being who I am at exactly this moment wouldn't be such a bad thing. Maybe I'm already good enough. Maybe I don't need to learn (another) new hobby. Or figure out how to make the perfect from scratch vanilla cupcake. Or aspire to be an "after" from a very poignant episode of "What Not to Wear." Maybe I'm okay... messy closet, imperfect pedicure, tragically fitting capri pants and all.

Just the thought of that is very freeing.

Fly away impractical self-expectations! See ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Woobie? Hair? Same, same.

I got a haircut. After it was all said and done, there were at least 8 inches of length on the salon floor. Probably more, actually. But, it was hard to tell because she cut it off in stages. I kept telling her, "Cut off another inch, please. Yes, another, please." Truthfully, I wouldn't be at all surprised if my locks were a full 10 inches shorter in the end. (And in case you're wondering, yes, I tipped my lovely hairdresser handsomely for being so incredibly patient with me.)

If you know me in real life, all this hair cutting business is a BIG deal. I've had really long hair for quite some time. When you're a girl who is firmly planted in a size category of double digits, hair can sometimes become a security blanket. It was absolutely, positively like my woobie. Soft and comfortable and safe. And dirty and disgusting and worse for the wear.

So, I cut it off. A reverse graduated bob. Layered within an inch of it's life.


Wow. I'm amazing with that camera, huh? I cut off the entire top of my head in this picture. AWESOME. Oh well. Either way, you definitely get the idea. (I think it looks better in person. Just so ya know.)

After I got home from "The Great Cut of 2011", I felt in love with it. LOVE, folks. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I kept looking in the mirror. I played with my hair incessantly. Two peas in a pod... me and my purdy hair.

Then, I went to bed. And I cried a little. Okay. A lot. What in the hell was I thinking?!

Oh yeah. I was thinking that I desperately needed a change. I needed to be different. I needed to break free from the security blanket and do something a tiny bit daring. So I did.

This morning, there were no more tears. Instead, there was just, "Good morning, purdy, crazy, curly hair. I love you."

Monday, June 13, 2011

I must be stopped.

First of all, I have a killer headache. So, please excuse any possible ridiculous ramblings/mispellings/general not-making-much-sense-edness that might occur. Thank you. :)

My sister got engaged over the weekend. I'm SO. EXCITED. for her and her fiance. And you know what? I'm also excited for me. Why in the world would HER engagement be an exciting thing for ME? Because I love a wedding. I love to decorate. I love to dream and plan and... and... and... You get the picture. The idea of helping with her with a wedding is making me downright GIDDY. A wedding, you guys! A WEDDING!!! *ahem*

This is the embarassing part of this blog entry. I already started a Pinterest board just for wedding ideas. Even though I completely realize that I'm not the one getting married. Yes, it's sick. Yes, I must be stopped. Sister o'mine, I apologize. I cannot help myself. Perhaps pinning like a mad lady will contain the crazy and result in fewer calls to you that start, "Oh, Sister... I just saw this truly FANTABULOUSLY AWESOME idea!"

I hope she leans on me for help and advice and such. If not, I won't be offended. (Yes, I promise.) But, I want her to have a wedding that may be small (per her & fiance's wishes, of course), but lovely and meaningful and the kind of day that leaves her smiling long after she says, "I do."

Congrats, Carey and Aaron! You two rock the casbah.

And... *squeal* a WEDDING!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

In case you're wondering...

Someone anonymously asked how they can get their hands on a pair of Converse cupcake sneakers. As much as I would love to think that Converse only made them available to ME, in reality, anyone can order a pair!

Go to Converse.com . There are two buttons at the top: "Shop" and "Create". Choose "Create". On the right side of the page (near the middle), you'll see "View all customizable shoes". Click that and choose whatever style of Converse you want. Mine are the "Chuck Taylor All Stars", but you could get high tops or anything else your heart desires. From there, you'll be taken to a design tool that lets you pick out the color or pattern that you want on each and every part of the shoe! You can customize almost EVERYTHING about the shoes... clear down to the lining and the color of the stitching!

And by the way, if you order a pair, I would suggest ordering at least half a size smaller than what you usually wear. Maybe even a whole size. Their shoes run pretty big, and customized shoes absolutely cannot be returned/exchanged for any reason at all. It pays to go to the mall and try on a pair to make sure that the size is right. Also note that the shoes on the website go by a unisex sizing system. So, if you're a size 7 womens, it translates to a size 5 in unisex.

I hope all that info helps! If y'all have any questions about it, let me know in the comments. But this time, leave me an email address or something so I can shout back at ya. :)

*For the record, I do not work for Converse. I didn't get paid for posting any of this on my blog. And I absolutely did NOT get these shoes for free. But, if the Converse marketing fairy ever wanted to give me a free pair, I certainly would not turn them down. ;)

Cupcakes + Shoes = AWESOME

Remember my Mother's Day gift from Rhett and the kids? That adorable rendering of custom Converse sneakers with cupcakes on them? I was so excited, I even posted the rendering on my blog. Some people didn't believe they existed. Cupcakes sneakers? Surely those are meerly mystical dreams that live in a fantasy land of unicorns and leprechauns and fairies! Well, my friends, they DO exist.

BEHOLD THE POWER OF THE CUPCAKE SNEAKERS!




Ummm... are these not the cutest things you've ever seen? They're a tad big, but nothing a thicker pair of socks can't cure. I love them so much, I'm just plain giddy about the thought of wearing them. Giddy, people!

Rhett, if you're reading this... THANK YOU, BABY. *enormous, silly grin*




And look at the little custom touch on the back! I could put whatever I wanted on the heel stripe, and I couldn't think of anything that would make me happier than looking back there and seeing "Cake Love". *swoooooooon*

Now, I'm not a particularly whimsical girl. I don't adorn myself with fun, bright jewelry or embrace the use of many accessories. I don't own a pink purse or hair bows or anything that really resembles something from childhood. Hell, I can go a week or more without even wearing makeup for Uncle Pete's sake! But these shoes... they threaten to turn me into a bubble gum pink wearin', glitter rockin', side ponytail sportin' chick-a-dee.

Goodbye, sophistication.

HELLO, CUPCAKE SHOES!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A random thought... or five.

I'm a little tired of being socially acceptable at the expense of being myself.

We only had one child all weekend. Everyone else was with their "other" parents. One child at a time seemed like an absolute BREEZE.

I am terrible about doubting myself. My abilities... my talents. But, tonight, I made a meal that made me love myself just a little more than I did yesterday.

I did so little this weekend, it's almost embarrassing.

I bought Rhett's Father's Day gift this weekend. I CANNOT WAIT to give it to him. I will get lots of kick ass wifey points. :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Empty

As most folks know, my daughter, Macey, left to go live with her biological dad. She left Sunday morning. I am so sad.

There is an empty in this house that is hard to explain. It sounds insane to say that a house that went from six people to five people feels empty, but it does. There is no one belting out Adele at the top of her lungs. There is less eye rolling. There are no side ponytails. There is one fewer smile, one fewer set of sparklelicious eyes, and one fewer plates at the dinner table. Ugh.

I won't bore y'all with my sad, but I wanted to at least address it. I wanted to tell people why I might not blog for a little while. Or who knows? I might find that the blogging is what helps me get through it all. It's hard to tell. Either way, I just had to say it out loud. She's gone. I'm sad. There ya go.

And by the way, if you're reading this, thank you. Whether you left a comment or emailed or sent a little bit of cosmic love in my direction, it's helped me feel not quite so empty... not quite so alone. I love y'all. Just so you know.

Edited to add:

I know that some of you can't see my comments box. Apparently, there's some sort of Blogger snafu. I'll try to get it up and running soon, though!

Edited to add again:

I *think* I've got the comments box up and running. *crossing my fingers*

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"What kind of mother ARE you?!"

Apparently, letting my daughter go live with her biological father is very, very controversial. At first, I thought I was just imagining things. I thought maybe I was reading too much into people's reactions. But, it seemed that when I would explain to folks that Macey has her mind made up and that I'm letting her give living with him a try, people would look HORRIFIED. Surely that was all in my head. Right? And then, it became clear to me last night (after a particularly unhelpful comment) that people actually ARE judging me for letting her go. It's not just in my head. It's real.

Okay, people. Here's the dealio:

Macey is just like me in many ways. Our hair is very similar (minus the tween side pony tail.) We're both bossy. She has my technicolor hazel eyes. We're both very sensitive. But most of all, we are both incredibly head strong. And when we make a decision, that's it. Decision made. And for better or worse, we live with the consequences.

Several months ago, Macey decided that she wanted to live with her biological dad. Truth be told, I think she is under the impression that it will be heaven there. Marshmallows and unicorns and glitter and no chores. HOORAY!!! Of course, I know that's not true, but she's still insistent that she will be happier there. And in those several months, I have tried EVERYTHING to change her mind (short of tying her down to the bed and administering Chinese water torture until she submits.) She's not havin' it. She's going to Illinois. And if I don't let her go, she will proceed to make the lives of everyone around her completely miserable until I comply. And she'll never forgive me as long as she lives. No. Really. She will forever hold it against me that I didn't trust her judgment and let her at least give this a shot.

As I see it, my job is to teach her to be a person. I give her tons of every day lessons on how to avoid all the bad stuff and find more good in her life. We've talked about the super slippery slope drugs can be. We've talked about how to prevent her wavy hair from going crazy frizzy. We've talked about how a boy should and should NOT treat a girl. We've talked about makeup, the best way to get a chocolate stain out of your shirt, and why it's important to follow her heart.

With all this teaching that is going on, I have to force myself to let her make mistakes. Some big, some small. I let her leave the house even though I totally hate her hairstyle and worry she's going to be made fun of for it. I let her get a C on a test because she didn't study as much as she should have (but then had a long discussion about our expectations for her grades.) And I'm letting her go to Illinois even though I think it's a huge mistake. It's a mistake that she has to learn for herself. And as long as this mistake isn't dangerous and won't completely ruin her life forever, I'm going to have to let her make it no matter how hard it is for me to stand by and watch. I have to have faith that she will figure it out and be better for it in the end. And God willing, she'll come back to us... to me.

I'm getting a lot of, "Well, sometimes you have to give a kid tough love because you know better than they do." And, "Who cares if she wants to be in Illinois? You're the parent here. PARENT HER no matter how tough it is."

And my response?

Screw you and your judgmental ways. I'm not a monster. I'm not a lax parent who doesn't really care about her daughter. I'm letting her go BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT HER. While she's in Illinois, she will be safe. She will be loved. She will absolutely be okay. There is no reason on the planet earth for me to stop her from going, except for my own selfish wishes to have her here with me instead. And what am I teaching her if I put her happiness last on the list and put my own at the very top?

So. She's going. And I can't stop crying. And my heart is breaking. And in almost 72 hours, she will get in that car and leave me. So, for now, I want all those naysayers to leave me the heck alone and remember that I'm losing my daughter here. Be kind to me because this is one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I didn't take this lightly. Far from it. So if you can't be supportive, go jump in a lake.

"What kind of mother ARE you?!"

The good kind.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Me? No way, Jose!

Here are some things that I should NOT be admitting on the internets. But, I'm terribly sleep deprived at the moment, and apparently my common sense is missing in action. My defenses are down, y'all! And, if you mention these things to me in the future, I will completely deny any/all knowledge of them. Got it? Good.

- Ella belted out Jar of Hearts while we were riding in the car last night. She knew most of the words. OH GOD. My preschooler knows the words to the most angst-y romance song I've heard in a while. What's next? Alanis Morissette's You Outta Know? Well, at least it's not Cee Lo Green's F*** You. *sigh*

PS. If you click on Cee Lo Green's song, please be prepared for VERY naughty, not safe for work words. But, I'm pretty sure you knew that already.

PSS. By the way, this angsty music thing is Macey's fault. It's totally on her "must sing at the top of my lungs while I'm getting ready for school" playlist. Hmph.

- I just chugged a cup of full fat chocolate milk. And then, I poured myself some coffee and put some in there, too. And then, I ate two chocolate fudge Pop Tarts. What?

- I've watched Barbie and a Mermaid Tale twice so far this morning. And it's only 9:30 am.

- I don't remember exactly when I washed my hair last. In my defense, curly hair = dry hair, so it's not quite as bad as you'd think. But still.

- I think I might play hooky from work today and go shopping. *sssshhhhhhhh* Don't tell the boss! And don't tell my husband, either! He may not appreciate the damage to our bank account.

Off I go to remedy the hair situation I have going on. Have a good Tuesday, y'all!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Brief thoughts

My brain seems to constantly hum with thought. I can't help it. I can't turn it off. So, today, I will record it without judgment.

Here are my thoughts in the last 20 minutes:

- I wonder what it would be like to be thin. I haven't been that way since about 1993.

- Are thin people happier? Or are they really just grouchy because they deny themselves brownies?

- My kids fill me with wonder. I should make their lives more magical somehow. How?

- We should hang more fairy lights.

- We should take more walks in the woods and explore the unknown instead of walking from store to store in the mall and exploring the Gap.

- When did life stop being magical and start becoming ordinary?

- Would my life really be all that different if my parents had been absolutely perfect, no one ever made fun of me as a child, and I actually got my degree from college? Or would I still be pretty much the same person?

- Am I headed in the right direction?

- Will I ever learn that not EVERYONE is going to like me no matter how awesome I am?

- Should I be more girly?

- Will I ever be able to classify myself as an optimist?

- Does God really exist, or am I just an idiot?

- People often say you should never judge another person. But what if that person's just plain mean?

- I need to stop judging myself so much.

- One of these days, I will love myself as fiercely as I love my family and friends. Until then, maybe I should just fake it.

The end.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday randomliciousness

This is the part where I ramble on about the little random details of what's up instead of doing a well composed post. I <3 random.

- Macey sang Adele's Rolling in the Deep no less than 6 times this morning. At the top of her lungs. With enthusiasm. And soul. She is GOOD. I know that it annoys the ever-livin' crap out of everyone else in the house, but I LOVE it. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I only have 10 more days of listening to her sing until she leaves for her bio dad's house. I won't see her until Christmas. I can do this. Right?

- In case you have no idea who Adele is, here's the video. I adore Adele. I adore her music. I think that girl is probably one of the most talented singers on the radio today. <3



- Ella and I are attending a "getting to know you" type affair at her preschool this morning. I'm NERVOUS. I'm praying for good behavior, less bossy than usual and a teacher that thinks Ella is delightful instead of frustrating. *crossing my fingers*

- We were supposed to have a contractor come by the house yesterday afternoon to give us a quote on finishing our basement. He flaked out on us and was not at all apologetic. He seemed shocked that we didn't want to reschedule. If he's not inclined to make it to our very first meeting for no good reason at all, I seriously doubt that he would be inclined to finish our basement in a decent amount of time. NEXT!

- Carter went to Worlds of Fun yesterday with his school. It's a trip to reward students who have good grades, good behavior, and good citizenship. Thing is, he's normally an extremely cautious sort of kid, so I was worried he wouldn't/couldn't check his fear at the door and ride all the rides. We talked about it before he left, and I gave him three very important pieces of wisdom.

1. None of these rides will cause you harm as long as you follow the rules. It's safer than riding in a car. He will not die no matter how scary the rides look.
2. If he doesn't at least TRY the rides, he will forever regret it. He'll always wonder if that day would have been more fun if he'd just had the guts to get on a roller coaster with his friends. This particular trip is a one time deal. Grab life by the balls, my son.
3. Chicks dig guys who ride roller coasters.

HE DID IT. He rode the rides. He proudly announced that he LOVED the Patriot (apparently the coolest roller coaster in the park.) Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that kid to be a roller coaster lover, but he is. And I'm tickled pink about it.

Thank you God/Universe/Whoever for giving Carter the guts to give himself the gift of a good day, full of taking chances and pushing himself beyond his normal limits. THANK YOU.

Happy Friday, friends! *smooches and love*

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Darn it, Proctor & Gamble!

This morning, Ella and I were watching Bubble Guppies. Truly, it's the coolest kids' show around. Anywho. A commercial came on. I'm usually pretty much immune to commericals, but this one made me sit up, take notice and then promptly cry like a baby.


See what I'm talking about? Oh. My. *cue the ugly cry* Darn you, Proctor & Gamble!

Why did that commerical make me sob into my morning coffee? A hundred millions years ago, I worked at HeartSpring in Wichita, KS. HeartSpring serves children with developmental delays/issues. I worked in the residental home with kids that were away from their parents. It was the hardest job I've ever had. These were children that a lot of people had absolutely given up on. Most of them had big issues to overcome and were desperately trying to reach their full potential. It was my job to help them learn to do things like brush their own teeth, get dressed by themselves, and communicate their thoughts/needs/desires. It was my job to push them further than anyone ever thought they could go. And in the end, it was incredible to have a parent visit and see their children do something that the "experts" never thought possible. For some, it was washing their own hands or signing "drink" when they were thirsty. For others, it was learning to make their own bed or setting the table for dinner. No matter what the learned task was, there was nothing better in the whole wide world than watching a parent stare in disbelief when their baby climbed a preverbial mountain. It may have taken months or even years to get there, but the victories were sweet, indeed.

On a regular basis, I wonder what ever happened to the handful of students that I worked with. And then I feel a little guilty for not making it my life's work. I was only there about a year because I quickly became BURNT. OUT. It's the kind of work that is better for saints... or people with endless patience and a thick skin (neither of which I have.) But, I miss my students. And I wonder about them. And I hope that they are still pushing themselves to the limit, defying the collective "they", and making their lives the best they can be. Best of all, children who redefine and challenge the notions of "normal kids" are a good reminder to keep living, keep growing, and keep striving for more than you think you can realistically achieve.

Run on, Molly Hincka. Run on.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Where I live... volume #1

I think a home says a lot about the people who live there. I know that when I'm stressed or upset, my house is usually an absolute TRAINWRECK. When I'm feeling good and positive and happy, my home reflects it. Lucky for me, I've been in the latter category as of late. YAY for that! I figured that taking a few picture might be nice... like an introduction to lil' ol' me.

*Disclaimer: I'm not a professional interior designer (obviously.) The pictures that you're going to see will be REAL pictures with REAL stuff like it REALLY is. I picked up a little, but I didn't do anything over the top like hide every cord in sight or stash my alarm clock. Real rooms, people. With crap under the bed. And my iPod plugged in. This is my real house, not some super styled room from HGTV. *ahem*

My first room? Our master bedroom. *swoon* It's my favorite room in the house. Truly. It is ridiculously me. I love it with every single molecule of my being. Take a look, pretty please. :)


Above, the photo is taken from the doorway. Can you tell that I adore high contrast? I think the curtains are my very favorite part. I <3 damask in a big, bad way. Those curtains aren't for everyone, but they make my heart beat a little bit faster. *Swoony McSwoonerson*


Here's a more direct photo of the curtains. Yes. I love them that much.


Above is a view from the other corner of the room. That doorway goes to our master bathroom. (It makes me feel fancy to have a bathroom separate from the kids. LOVE.)


As I pointed out, our loose change jar is AWESOME. I can actually reach in and get the dang change out of it! And please excuse the "Simplify" sign and didgeridoo leaning up against the dresser. I have no idea where to put them yet. Real, remember?


Even above the fabu curtains, this is my favorite thing in the room: a photo of Rhett when he was a wee little man. Enormous glasses and toothy gapped grins and  bowl haircuts. It's love, I tell you.


This is probably Rhett's favorite thing in the room... his Star Wars Storm Trooper mug.  I  Santa bought it for him for Christmas last year. It gave him huge, huge grins. Unfortunately, though, it's not really suitable for coffee consumption. So, it cuddles up his iPod and other miscellaneous cord crap.

And please don't give me any poo about the fake hydrangeas. I like 'em. A lot. And in my defense, I keep them very well dusted and clean. So be nice.

I bet that all left you ooooh-ing and aaaaaah-ing and thinking, "But Jenny, WHEN OH WHEN will you be posting more pictures of your spectacular house?!?!?!?!"

I say: soon-ish. I have to do some more cleaning first, though. I'm all for keepin' it real, but I'm not sure I can keep it THAT real. :)

Happy Tuesday, folks!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Swimmingly?

I guess I better tell y'all how the whole "herbs for depression and overall craziness" is going. I would love to tell you that it's going swimmingly. But, it would be a lie. And no one likes a liar, liar pants on fire.

Thing is, I'm a full 5 days in, and I've still got a headache. And this morning, the headache turned into a migraine. I finally broke down and took some Excedrin headache stuff (which I'm supposed to avoid because of the liver thing, but I was DESPERATE.) I'm feeling a little better since, but still have the migraine halo of yuck. Not as bad as a migraine, but a halo of headache that lingers. Oh well. Better than a skull crushing.

And because I am in complete denial about the neverending headache, I decided that this weekend would be a PERFECT time to get away with my husband for some adult time. The boys will be with bio mom. The girls and Sir Charles Baconpants will be with my mom and dad. Rhett and I will be free to do crazy things like go to the art museum (without quietly screaming, "DO NOT TOUCH THAT!!!!") And I think we'll be headed to a movie (without quietly screaming, "BE QUIET AND WATCH THE SCREEN!!!!") And we might even have a fancy dinner (without quietly screaming, "NO FARTING AND/OR BURPING AT THE FANCY DINNER TABLE!!!!") I have a feeling that it will be lovely. As long as I remember my Excedrin*. And Rhett remembers not to fart at the dinner table. If those things are in place, we'll be just fine. :)

* This post was NOT sponsored by Excedrin. However, if the Excedrin people would like to work something out, please feel free to convo me. I promise to leave out the part about possible liver damage. Mkay?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Funny girl

Hmmm... how do you follow up crying gynecologists? I have no idea. So, I'm posting a few funnies, complements of Ella Bella Cinderella. There is so much funny lately, I could write an entire blog dedicated to her musings. Kinda like Sh*t My Dad Says , but with a preschooler and a lot less cursing.

Heard just moments ago:

Ella: "Hey, howdy hey, Lego Lady! I found your hairbrush. It was in my toooooooe."

She's talking about this lovely Lego lady:



Apparently, "girl" Lego sets now come with cool pink car parts and hair brushes. Awesome.

And, no, Ella's not wearing clothes. It's not even noon yet, for cripes sake. Have you read this blog before?

*************************

This morning, I came out of the bathroom, looking ROUGH. My hair is insane and my clothes don't match. And what does Ella say to lil' ol' me?

Ella: "Hello, gorgeous!"

I'm totally keeping her. If nothing else, for my self esteem.

*************************

Earlier today, I had to give Charlie, our LOUD and lovable-ish Dorkie, a little kennel time out for being incredibly naughty. Ella's take on it?

Ella: "That Charlie! He's got some serious issues. I think you need to take away his Playstation time."

Y'all, she's only 3. And the things that come out of her mouth. Oh. My. She needs a tv show. Or a blog. Or a book (Think No, David! )

Crap. Better go. Lego Lady just lost her head and it's "an EMERGENCY!"

Smooches and love,
Jenny

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sometimes, there are no words.

Today, I held my gynecologist's hand while she cried.

Thirty minutes before that, I sat in the waiting room with three other women. They were all visibly pregnant. I thought to myself, "Ugh. I hated being pregnant. Good outcomes, but no fun at all." I felt a little sorry for them. They all looked so bored. I remember that boredom... when you feel like you end up spending half of your pregnancy in the doctor's office looking at the same magazines over and over again.

Fast forward ten minutes. We were all separately ushered into our own exam rooms. Before I knew it, I was on the exam table, waiting for the doctor, thinking about how much I hate being at the gynecologist's office. I hate the gowns. I hate feeling so exposed. It's just not a fun visit, ya know? Yuck.

A few minutes after that thought, I heard a woman sobbing, pleading over and over, "NO!" I heard, "It can't be!" I obviously couldn't see her face, but you could tell exactly what was going on. She wasn't going to have a good outcome. Chances are, she wasn't going to have a healthy baby placed in her arms in a few months. My heart broke for her. It was all I could do to just sit there and listen. I wanted to get dressed and go to her. Hold her hand. Somehow comfort her. But, I couldn't. So, I sat there half naked, waiting.

Eventually, my doctor entered the room. She was trying to put on a brave face. And she did... for a few moments. Tears began to stream down her face. She apologized profusely as she dabbed at her eyes. I told her there was no need for apologizes. And then, without thinking, I grabbed her hand and held it for a minute. There was silence. She squeezed my hand back, giving me a knowing glance. It was probably inappropriate, but I couldn't help myself. Can you imagine what it would be like to give people some of the happiest and the saddest news of their entire lives? I can't. And for just a minute, I got to see the grief that comes to a doctor who cares about her patients. It was gut-wrenching. But, at the same time, it was a privilege.

So, if you're of the praying sort, I ask that you say a quick prayer for my doctor and especially for the woman who will probably never meet her baby. May God, or whoever's in charge, help them both heal a little.

*ouch!* and *barf*

Okay, I'm going to be blunt. So far, the herbs suck much butt. They give me a terrible headache (which she warned me about, but should hopefully go away... eventually). Worse, one of the preparations is so nasty and vile tasting that I spent a good long while in the bathroom, with an absolutely terrible case of the barfs. Awesome. But, the super vile stuff is for energy, so I can absolutely kick that crap to the curb. Would I like to have more energy? Of course! Am I willing to swallow something so disgusting that I can't stop throwing up? And do this every darn day? Hells to the NO!

Here's the basic rundown of what I'm taking, minus the super vile:

- Magic, custom made potion (tincture) for hormonal balance and liver support. Apparently, the theory is that my depression is largely due to hormone issues. And my liver is not playing nice AT ALL. And that supposedly makes you feel like poo, too. So, I'm taking that, headache or not. The headache WILL eventually go away. Because I'm going to WILL it to go away. (But it would be nice if the headache made like a tree and leave RIGHT NOW.)

- Magic anxiety stuff (also a tincture.) I took it before bed last night, but the jury is out. I didn't sleep well at all, but I'm pretty sure it was because the bedroom was crazy hot, and my fitful sleep had nothing to do with the herbs.

- Flower essence spritz stuff. Think aromatherapy. It smells nice. I'm not sure it's going to change my life or anything, but I promised to try every recommendation she gave me, no matter how much it made me cock my head to the side and say, "HUH?!"

So, yeah. I'm taking the herbs. Does all this mean that I have to stop shaving my airpits? And start eating granola? And only wear organic cotton tie-dyed clothes? If I thought it would make a big difference, I'd do it. In a heartbeat.

Oh, and TMI warning. Proceed with caution....

Did I mention that today is the day that I'm getting my Mirena IUD ripped out? No? Well, I am. I've had it over a year now, and I'm still having enormous problems with it. So, ripped out it will be. I welcome the idea of not having a period that lasts a FULL THREE WEEKS out of four. So, wish me luck. And those happier periods that the Always maxi pad people are incessantly talking about.

*still crossing my fingers and toes*

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jumping in head first.

A while back, I came out of the anxiety and depression closet. I wrote about it here. I've tried SO. MANY. different kinds of meds. None of them have worked very well. And the side effects. UGH. After a while, I was starting to think that I'd never feel "normal" (whatever the heck that means.)

Shortly after that post, a good friend of mine introduced me to a certified herbalist that she trusts implicitly. Western medicine has largely failed me, so I was willing to try just about anything. Well, one 8-page form, a 2 hour phone call, and a couple of weeks later, I have herbs to take. They arrived today. Oh. My.

I have to admit that I'm really nervous about taking them. Will they make me sick? Will I see any difference? Could they actually... you know... work? I have absolutely no earthly idea. But, today, I'm jumping in head first. For better or worse, I'm trying something that I never thought I would. I'm giving it the good ol' college try. And I'm praying like crazy that this is the thing that makes me feel a little less broken and a heck of lot more whole.

*crossing my fingers and toes*

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Best. Weekend. EVER. And I am loved.

Cole's Most Excellent Birthday:

Cole's birthday was Friday. The big 1-1! I can hardly believe how grown up his is these days. Truly. The mind boggles.

He really wanted a Call of Duty birthday cake with Nazi zombies. I was having a hard time with the zombies... and the idea of NAZI zombies. Cripes. So, I went my own way. Call of Duty with bullet holes and blood, dog tags, and a grenade. Luckily, Cole LOVED it. (Thank goodness. Otherwise, I'd be screwed.)

Here's my boy with his cake:



Isn't he a cute kid?! And I'm really pleased with the cake, too. ;) After we cut the cake, he discovered that it was camouflaged inside! *squee* He was stunned. And he told me about a million times that I'm the coolest mom ever. (I gotta drink this up because he probably won't feel that way about me forever. lol)

See the camo-ish inside? (Shhhhh... it's not at all perfect, but Cole didn't notice.)



He was so excited with his presents (a gift card that he can spend anywhere and another for the Playstation Network on downloadable games. AWESOME!) Cole was smiles all around. So happy. And grown up. I'm so proud of the person he's becoming. Truly.

Mother's Day:

I've had good Mother's Days. I've had really bad Mother's Days. But today? Today was probably the best in memory. Truly. I am loved. Loved like crazy.

The day started with sleeping in. So lovely! Then came my favorite kind of donut and super yummy coffee... IN BED. I get up and am greeted by smiles and love and hugs. It doesn't get better than that, my friends. There was a card from my kids. Somehow, some way, they found one to make fun of my cursing. I bet you didn't know that I curse like a sailor.... or maybe a sailor's mother, I guess. *snort*  Each of the kids signed it and WROTE SOMETHING SWEET on the inside. *turning to mush* And to top it off, there was a certificate for CUSTOM CHUCK TAYLOR CONVERSE TENNIS SHOES. Holla! Rhett put these little beauties together for me:


These are so cute they ought to be illegal. Don't ya think? *swoon*

I also got the prettiest plant with gorgeous orange follage. I'll have to take a picture of it tomorrow. Really unique! So cool!

For lunch, we headed to Qdoba because it's my FAVORITE. (Plus, who wants to wait forever and a day to get into a regular sit-down restaurant?!) When we stepped out the front door to leave, I saw this:



In case you can't read it, it says:

"Happy Mother's Day! (with stars) We all love you SO much we can't even imagine how to describe it. We all appreciate all the stuff you do for us. We know that all of us can be stressful sometimes. But, we all LOVE you and never forget it. We LOVE YOU! - Cole (the other's would agree)

*cue the ugly cry* Dear sweet baby Jesus. I could barely hold it together at that point. So. Sweet. I'm not sure that I've ever had a day in which I felt so loved.

I would wish that everyone on the planet get to have just ONE day in their lifetime that was as good as this one was for me.

I am loved. Loved like crazy. And I'll take it.

Smooches and love,
Jenny


Friday, May 6, 2011

I heart a good quote.

I'm knee deep in line code and camouflage 2-tiered cake. But, I had to take a moment to post this:

"Life isn't about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself."
- George Bernard Shaw

True that, big George. True that.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Busy is a GOOD thing!

I'm not entirely sure I can write a well composed post. So, I'm going to get all bullet-pointy on y'all and fly by the seat of my virtual pants!

- The paint your own pottery mini-convention was great in so many ways! I got a chance to speak to some studio owners who were really needing some advice on their business websites. Even better, some were downright JAZZED about some of my Facebook/blogging/general social media suggestions. And on top of it, I got to spend time painting pottery, making fused glass and listening to presentations about how to make a business more successful. Granted, the businesses they were referring to were pottery studios; but honestly, business is business. Almost everything still applies no matter what you're selling. Awesome!


I made this owl fused glass project while I was at the mini convention. Isn't it cute?! They were nice enough to fire it in the kiln before I left. So stinkin' cool! I'll probably go back to Salina to visit my cousins at their pottery store (On the Pot) in a week or two to pick up my pottery projects. SO EXCITED to see the finished products! And see my cousins, aunt and uncle. :) They are insanely nice people! I totally lucked out in that department, yo. *big waves because I know they're probably reading this*

- I have to talk more about the glass fusing thing. This project was INTIMIDATING. Here. Take these square sheets of glass and make an owl. Score the glass, break it along the score line, and stack it all up. Glass is breakable, y'all. And it can CUT you! But, with a few pointers, I was actually able to do it! I hate to compare my project to other folks, especially considering that those other folks have made tons and tons and TONS of glass projects before. My project wasn't the prettiest or most elaborate, but it still turned out pretty darn well! And Ella loves the owl so much that she's insisting that I hang it up in her room. :)

- Tomorrow is Cole's birthday. He's turning the big 1-1. He wants a Call of Duty zombie cake. Ummmm.... crap. Call of Duty? REALLY?! I hate the theme, but it's what he wants. And when it's your birthday, if it's at all humanly possible, you get what you want. So, I'm going to try. And all the while, I'm going to remember that I love that little man fiercely. You know... while I'm making blood and guts and zombies. Who knows? It might turn out to be super cool. We shall see.

- I've got a metric poop ton of work to do. I am soooo grateful for it. Truly. Just when I see business starting to slow down a little, a super cool client gives me a BIG honkin' project. God bless the Pratt Chamber of Commerce. I'm just sayin'.

- This is the part of my entry that makes me sad. Really sad. Crying sad. Macey has been talking about living with her dad in Illinois for many months now. She is absolutely convinced that it's what she wants to do. And even though it is insanely hard for me, this is just one of those times in which I feel that I need to let her start making her own decisions. Well, as long as they don't put her in danger or basically ruin her life. So, it's final.  She's decided to leave me Kansas. I'm trying not to take it personally. I'm trying not to worry about how she'll do all the way up in Illinois. I'm trying not to think AT ALL about the fact that when she leaves on May 30th, I won't see her until Christmas. I'm trying not to cry in front of her. But, this is hard, folks. Really, really stinkin' hard. Honestly, I'm just plain heartbroken. She'll be okay there. She'll probably even be happy. But will *I* be okay? I guess so. I hope so. We shall see.

Well, I'd better get back to work. And try to convince Ella that wearing clothes today is a good idea. Have a good day y'all!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Update #5

OHMYGOODNESSIAMTIRED.

Apparently, I'm so tired that for a moment, I could only seem to type with my capslock on, and couldn't be bothered with those pesky details like spaces between my words.

After a designing/coding/etc-ing marathon, I am pleased to present:

www.joyhousecreative.com

Oh, and you might have noticed that I finally got around to sprucing things up around here, too. It was embarrassing for a web designer to be blogging on a completely uncustomized template. I HAD to do something about it.

Now, I'm off to make 4 different kinds of frosting and then slap it all on about a hundred cupcakes. Oh, and I need to work a little more. And pack all my schtuff. And then I'm going to a weekend of spectacular creativity and business-like kinda stuff! Yeah, baby!

I won't be back in the office until late Monday afternoon. And when I DO get home, I'll try not to brag about all the delicious fun that I had this weekend. :)

And by the way, I promise to be a better blogger in the coming weeks. The last month has just been pure insanity. But, alas, I MISS my blogging... especially the picture part. So, I'll do it to it sooner than later.

Smooches and love,
Jenny

Monday, April 25, 2011

Update #4 with more random-liciousness!

Business first:

- Project "Take over the web world" is well under way! I did my new company logo. *insert smooshy heart here*

- My new business cards should be here tomorrow. *squee* I'm in love with them... as much as you can be in love with a 2 x 3 1/2 inch piece of printed cardstock. Wanna see?

Front:


Back:


Yes... I'm really putting my info on the internets for all the world to see. The point IS to take over the whole web world, remember?

- I'm still working on the website. Websites take a long time. I'm praying that I get this up in time. *big ol' sigh*

- I have a lot of client work to do, too. I'm grateful for it. But, it turns up the pressure to get it all done.

Everything else:

- Easter was practically a non-holiday for us. The boys were with their bio-mom. Things were really low key. Our noon Easter dinner consisted of Burger King.

- Ella and Macey did the egg hunt thing... with plastic eggs. No dyed eggs this year.

- In my defense, I was still battling the sick this weekend. According to the doctor, I have/had a really, REALLY nasty sinus infection. Apparently, she was surprised my entire face didn't fall off.

- I feel better. Kinda. Mostly. Sorta.

- I have now seen Tangled 7 times.

- I think I put some Kleenex executive's kid through college with my tissue consumption. And killed half a forest of trees.

- There goes Earth Day.

- We're having Italian sandwiches for dinner. THANK GOODNESS for easy meals on Mondays!

- Today, I put makeup on for the first time in over a week. Good thing I'm at peace with my makeup-less self, huh?

- I need a cough drop.

Love and smooches,
Me


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update #3

I am incredibly happy to report that I survived had a great time at Mom and Dad's 40th wedding anniversary party over the weekend. Friends + relatives you actually like + beer + cupcakes? What's not to love about that?! Truly, I think everyone had a really good time. The kids were soooooo good. Ella was charming. Rhett did a great job of helping me keep it together. I love that man.

Most importantly, I think the guests of honor were practically blissful. They shot me huge smiles and knowing glances all afternoon. And while it took me a good 24 to 48 hours to recuperate, seeing my parents THAT happy was worth every single millisecond of work.

And in case you're reading, Mom and Dad...

I love you, guys.

So..... at this point, I'm going to have to go a bit quiet on the blogfront. I have a new company to create. I have business cards to design/order. I have website(s) to put together. And, I have a limited time in which to get a lot done. But, I know my peeps understand.

I love you, guys.

Smoooooches & love,
Me

Friday, April 15, 2011

Update #2 - Random-licious

I'm sure you're incredibly surprised to hear that my mind is scattered all over the place, much like my neighbor's knocked over trash can. *Spill* Pfffft. *sigh*

- I will NOT be making burlap kid-capture bags to contain other people's children until I have my very own set of 4 finished up. For reals. Why in the world would I plan burlap capture bags for other people's children when mine are clearly running around all willy-nilly? (see the comment from yesterday's post in case you wondering if I've gone mental with this statement.) But, as soon as I'm done making my very own burlap kid-capture bags, I will be happy to take orders. Well, except for Laura, who will get a FREE SET because it was her idea... and she's awesome sauce and stuff. YAY for kid capture! Because all that running around is just annoying.

*side note: Laura, please send me your children's measurements for their custom burlap kid-capture bags. I want to make sure they have enough room for stuff like breathing. Thankyouverymuch.

- Can you tell that I haven't slept well? I bet you could.

- Ella has watched more television in the last 48 hours than should be allowed by law. I'm pretty sure that an anti-childhood tv advocate is going to come knocking on my door sometime today. And then she'll berate me and call me a terrible mother. And then, I think she'll see that SpongeBob SquarePants is on in our house, watch 30 seconds of it, and get hooked to the point of zombie tv watching. Truly, people. SpongeBob is like crack. Who can say "NO!" to a bright yellow, perpetually happy kitchen sponge? I mean... REALLY?

- Can you tell that I haven't slept well? I bet you could.

- I have a long list of more 40th wedding anniversary-ish stuff to do today. Is it a bad sign that the easiest thing on my list is making 100 cupcakes?

- Are my priorities out of whack considering that my biggest priority before the party tomorrow is coloring my hair? I got roots, folks. It's not pretty. And I refuse to let people who haven't see me in a decade or more see my roots. Mostly because they might figure out that I've gone a little...you know... grey. *gasp*

- Can you tell that I haven't slept well? I bet you could.

- I want to be a ninja when I grow up.

The end.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Update #1

I'm making progress with my mile-long list of stuff, people. PROGRESS!!!

TAXES ARE DONE. We got a huge-ish return. Can I tell you how happy I am to be finished with all that?

From here on out, it's mostly FUN stuff!!!

Today, there will be over 100 tiny gum paste daisies. I've never made the really little ones, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it goes without a hitch.

There will also be surprise project workings. (I promise to talk about it after the gift had been given. SOMEONE I know actually reads this blog now and again, and I don't want to spoil the surprise!)

There's also a tiny bit more shopping involved. Burlap and a couple of little things for the surprise project.

I'm really excited to detail all this stuff later. I promise there will be pictures. :)

Happy Thursday!
Kisses.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

MIA

I'm going to be MIA for a little while. Here's the dealio:

- My parents' wedding anniversary party is this weekend. There is still sooooooo much to do. One hundred cupcakes. Gumpaste daisies. Some sewing. Miscellaneous crafting. Oh, and a surprise that I'm trying SO. HARD. to pull off.

- Taxes. Do I really have to say more than that? (Of course I do.) When you own your own small business and do the taxes yourself, it's a lot more work that just plugging in a couple of W2's and calling it good. But, the good news is that I'm almost done. HOORAY!!! And I have to say that our return is gonna be SWEEEEET.

- I'll be speaking at a paint your own pottery business convention in a few weeks. Websites... how to get one for your small business... what to consider... what you need... what to expect. Can I tell you that it's a little daunting to be considered the "expert" in the room? Even if it IS just for 30 to 45 minutes. I'm jazzed though! It's an opportunity. And who doesn't like incredible opportunities?!

- Before I go speak at that convention, I'm planning on completely reinventing my business. Yes. Really. The name will change. The logo and website will change. The approach will change as well. Different. And in this case, different will not just be good. It will be SPARKLE FANTASTIC CRAZY AWESOME.

There is one change that I've been needing to make in my web development business for the longest time. I need it to be more me. Truly. I was so worried about a fancy business name (that no one can seem to pronounce, incidentally,) making a stellar impression, etc. that I took myself out of the entire equation. That's no good. I'm a down to earth girl. I'm not fancy, but I have a little flourish in me. I need to embrace that... and show it.

So, wish me luck getting all this done in a VERY limited amount of time. I might have a post here or there, but for the most part, I will be busy making my life a little different. A little better. A little more me.

Kisses.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rolled Paper Rose Tutorial

Again, as promised... a tutorial! Purdy (but cheap!) paper flowers! YAY!!!

I made a bunch of these as a sample for event centerpieces. They are super quick to put together, and there is little to no learning curve involved. Thank. Goodness.

Thing is, this is NOT just my idea (although I did put my own twist to it.) Here's the original tutorial that I worked off of, compliments of Dozi. It's a lovely, basic tutorial. She glued hers to thin branches. So pretty! But, I was terrified that my flowers would pop off the branches in the middle of the event. So, I had to improvise and include the use of some floral stems. Earlier this year, LollyChops did a similar version but with more options (and TONS of explanation). She's a pretty hard core scrapbooker who has a LOT of extra embellishments to make them extra fancy. Hers really are like art. But, alas, I'm a simple girl. Mine are more modern and minimalist (is that code for "plain"?)
 .
First things first: SUPPLIES!


- cardstock (I like to use solid colors since both sides of the paper show in the end result.)
- 18 gauge cloth covered floral wire (They look much more substantial than just plain wire.)
- needle nose pliers
- scissors
- X-acto knife (Not pictured because I forgot. Oops.)
- glue gun (I forgot that, too. Cripes!)


Step 1. Cut out a 4 inch by 4 inch square of cardstock. You can go a little bigger (too big feels floppy in the end) or a little smaller (too small starts to feel like brain surgery or rocket science or something.) But, I find 4 x4 to be juuuuuust right. You can draw yourself a spiral as I did above. But, if you're feeling SUPER adventurous, cut it out without the lines. Perfection is NOT necessary here. In the photo, the lines are dark so you can see them. However, it's best to use a light touch so you can easily erase the marks. Otherwise, you'll probably notice them in the end result. Also make sure to draw a little "x" in the middle of the spiral.

After you cut it out, you'll get this:


Step 2. Now for that little "x". Use your X-acto knife to cut two slits in the shape of an "x". This is where you'll insert your stem.

Quick side note: I am absolutely in LOVE with my hot pink egonomic X-acto knife. *swoon* If I have tons of detailed stuff to cut out, it absolutely saves my sanity... and my hands. But, for the purpose of this project, any little blade will do. (And no, the X-acto knife people didn't pay me to say that. It's just THAT awesome.)
  

Step 3: Let's tackle that stem! Grab your needle nose pliers and one piece of your cloth-covered floral wire. Spiral the wire around your pliers like this: 


Then, bend the little spiral you just made to be at a 90 degree angle to the rest of the stem. Like this: 


Step 4: Wind up that rose! Start from the outside, tightly rolling your paper up...


...until you get to the end.


Hold it there for a minute or so. Then let go and admire the sweet little rose in your hand.


Step 5: Attach the stem. Slide the floral wire through that little "x" slit that you made in the center of the rose...


...so that it looks like this:


Step 6: Put a big ol' dab of hot glue were the stem meets the paper. While the glue is still hot, put the paper rose back in place so that the curled paper sets up in the glue. (Did that make ANY sense?) You might need to add a little more hot glue to make sure that everything is secure. WARNING: Because of the hot glue, you will probably burn yourself a little. I know I do every. stinkin'. time. Please just be careful and keep a little bowl of ice water nearby, just in case. </end motherly rant>


The finished product:


Pretty!

Here are the flowers that I did originally. They were looking for a more autumnal color scheme, so I did the flowers in white, cream, yellow and burnt orange. Throw 'em in a carafe with some thin branches, a little ribbon, and you're all set!


I adore this color scheme.


Happy Friday, my friends!