Sunday, November 30, 2008

Are you a "Happy Hooker"?

Quite a name there huh? I learned this term...well...I'm not sure where, but I think maybe in a very interesting Social Issues class that I took. What is a Happy Hooker you ask? It's that person that without fail, every single time you or anyone else is telling a story, they jump in and "hook" your story, and turn it into something about them. It doesn't matter if your speaking about illness, or giving birth, or an embarrassing moment, or even a triumphant moment, they have an even better story to share. And it's all about me me me!!! If your not one-even though you are probably one once in a while with your nearest and dearest friends, you definitely know one. Right? Think about it. Observe the next time you're in a large group. You would be surprised to see how many Happy Hookers there are out there. The lesson? Let people speak. Being a good listener is so much better than being a good talker. When you talk too much, especially about yourself, it begins to fall on deaf ears. Let people tell their stories, have their moment of fame, give them your undivided attention instead of thinking of something about yourself that you can say before their second sentence even leaves their mouth. You will have your turn. And when you do, people will actually listen with wide eyes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Through The Years

I started this blog in 2007. Anyone that did not know me prior, is watching my son grow up, but missed out on one of the most beautiful little girls this world has ever seen. So I decided that I was going to put just a few-I said just a few because there are several, several more portraits that I have of my daughter (first child sicko syndrome) up here so you can see Amber grow up too. She was once a little frilly, tight wearing, dress loving little girl until she evolved in to this big girl that I can look in the eye when she is standing next to me. How did that happen? Anyway, get ready to oooohhh and aaaahhhh...and Stephanie, check out some of these outfits! I also changed my playlist to songs that she enjoyed when she was little. Please post a comment if you think she's just awesome!

Her first Christmas. I took some slack for that headband, but I loved it. Look at my baby with no teefies....
Two years old here. Look at that head of hair! I loved dressing my baby girl. Isn't she precious.

Easter, 2001. Another Disney favorite. She was a happy toddler. That made up for what a miserable baby she was.
Easter 2002. She asked me today where her bracelet is, like it would still fit her!

Spring 2002. This was a whole yellow suit trimmed in sequence, with the yellow shoes to match. I love her face.

Christmas 2003. Look at that hair on a five year old. These were the beautiful days when I can dress her however I wanted, she would actually wear tights without going into convulsions. That outfit is too cute.
There's my sassy girl getting big. This is kindergarten. We lived in New York at the time. Shortly after this, we cut her hair up to her shoulders. I was sad, but she was still gorgeous.

Can you see my tomboy starting to emerge here? I think I forced her to wear this outfit, and it's probably the last time she wore pink. By this time, her hair already grew back! I wish my hair grew like hers.
Christmas 2006. Alex had just turned one. You can't see, but this was a cream shirt with black velvet pants. I lost my Christmas dresses for good.
Super tomboy, but again, still love that face.
Dance photo. She used to take ballet, tap and jazz. Now? HIP-HOP. She's been asking for years, and I was reluctant. I finally gave in this year. I hope I don't regret it when I see the dance.
Last year. I did her hair, and made her wear the outfit-which she wasn't thrilled about, but once she had it on I know she felt pretty. She accessorized (with my earrings obviously). One of my all time favorites.
This year. Now we are sort of a beach girl/t-shirt and jeans kinda girl. I'll take it. She's so beautiful, through all of her stages of life.

AND JUST FOR SOME GIGGLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vera Bradley Craziness

Vera Bradley has taken over the South. I don't think they are nearly as popular up North, but they are everywhere down here. I don't particularly care for them. Too, too much color to possible match with your ensemble unless you are wearing solid colors. I have this diaper bag. I had a moment of being sucked in to the fad. Has that ever happened to you? And then your like....really? Did I really need that cut and sewn quilt for $92.00? Did I use it? Yeah-Not so much. I prefer a nap sack, it's out of my way, and not falling off my shoulder every time I lean over. Now Amber uses it when she sleeps out. Here's where the craze comes in. The little girls are obsessed with this stuff. Amber had like 3 things on her Christmas list, one being "Vera Bradley Stuff". She already has a lunch box, and 2 small purses that she got as gifts from her favorite Aunt. She also wants Uggs, and you can click here to see how I feel about those. My mother has a nice Vera set, but most of the patterns make me want to puke. They hurt my eyes. How about you? Love 'em or hate 'em?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just when you thought you've seen it all

I saw this for the first time yesterday, and I have to tell you it tickled me to death. I could barely keep a straight face. Here's this woman at my table at work, gabbing away on this contraption. It took all of me not to crack up laughing right then and there. I mean, I know when your at work for long periods of time, things may start to amuse you that may not ordinarily find funny, but this is funny. I don't care who you are.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Compliments Of Character

Nothing beats a compliment of character. Surface compliments are just that, surface compliments. Most people can accomplish them after a shower, a good razor, some cologne/perfume, hair product, make-up, styling utensils, some time at the gym, and a nice looking wardrobe. And a great pair of shoes-of course. But to receive a compliment of character is far more rewarding. It's about who you are, on the inside. It's about how you represent yourself, and how others perceive you. It looks beyond your pretty face or six pack, to the person you will still be on the inside when your face gets old, and your skin gets loose, and your pants are hiked up under your bosom, and you lost your curves about 10 years prior, and your 6 pack turned in to a keg, and your teeth sit in a cup beside your bed at night. It's about your virtue. It's about your inner beauty. It's about your character.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Did you know?

Did you know that Elevation Church is the 2nd fastest growing church in America?

Did you know that Elevation Church has an amazing children's ministry, where children can learn about the Lord on an age appropriate level?

Did you know that I am a volunteer leader in the toddler 1 room for over a year now?

Did you know that the success of Elevation Church is based on an amazing volunteer base?

Did you know that the children's Ministry is in need of volunteers due to the amazing growth of this amazing move of God?

Did you know that the best way that you can serve your God is to get plugged in to a volunteer role?

Did you know that I changed 18 diapers this past Sunday in record timing, but I could really use some extra hands?

Did you know that there is a great sense of gratification to be a hands on part of what God is doing here in Charlotte?

Do you attend Elevation Church? Is it healing you? Touching you? Changing you? Isn't it time to get plugged in? Stop at the table in the atrium. Email me. Stop in the church office. You won't regret it. Trust me. Just stumbled on this blog, and think Elevation Church sounds like something you would love to be a part of, but don't want to show up alone? I'll meet you in the atrium. email me or leave a comment. Don't miss out on this unbelievable opportunity.

EKIDZ Children's Ministry.

Engaging Children, and Empowering Families.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Peace Out Nextel

I FINALLY got a new phone. Robert got it for me. I am so excited. It's nothing fancy, I'm just not in to all that. The only bummer is that I have a new number. I have had my other number for what seems like forever. I am so happy to be rid of Nextel. The service STINKS! Robert put me on his plan, and now I have one of my very favorite colors-a cranberry colored cell phone. It also came with a blue tooth-but I have no clue where to even begin with a contraption like that. It seems like it's probably good for the car, but I don't know if I am going to mess with it. As it is, I have to transfer my whole phone book because I don't know any one's number by heart. As a matter of fact, I don't even know my own number as of now. Now I'll have to make Amber write it down 25 times in a row like I did my last number and our address when she was little. What I don't do to these first! Anyway-don't call my old number anymore-because it's a done deal. I will get you my new number...somehow...someway....someday....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keep Them Close....

Today was a fairly ordinary day. There was no school due to Veterans Day. We stayed home, Amber got a hair cut, we went to pick up some fresh fruit....that's about it. I had my niece for the day too. For some reason on what was a seemingly normal day, I was reflecting on a few things...

Keep your kids close. Always know where they are, what they're doing, and who they are with. The best thing you can do as a parent is ask, ask, ask. Get all up in it. Get to know their friends, AND their friends parents. Don't be afraid to ask questions like..."Do you let your child play freely outside with no adult supervision? Do you leave them home alone? Do you have guns in your house?". I say these things today because I felt such a great sense of security while I was doing dishes, and making lunch and watching my 10 year old fifth grader who is just months away from middle school, sit at my kitchen table and make a volcano out of play dough, and play school with her cousin, and giggle over nonsense all day. I was so satisfied that I keep a tight rein on my daughter, in a world where I KNOW that girls her age are roaming the neighborhood with who knows who, doing God knows what. It is real. It is out there. It happens every day. More than we care to admit. It is our job as parents to protect our children's innocence. It's our job to protect them from harm, and keep them safe. Amber asked me recently..."Mom, are you ever going to let me have a life?". My firm response? "Not any time soon baby." Keep Them Close...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

And the Winner Is.....

I never win anything! I never really try to win anything, because I'm too cheap to put money in to wasteful stuff like raffles, or pools, but today our apartment complex was having a tailgate party at the pool area for the Panthers game. There was a huge projector, and we had wings, and hot dogs and hamburgers, drinks and little footballs for the kids, it was great! A fire pit, and lots of balloons and just a bunch of neighbors gathering together. It got cold, but it was fun! So anyway, I put my name in a few boxes at no cost to me, and I won 3rd and fourth quarter!!! I couldn't believe it! I won a really nice Panthers tailgate chair, AND a Panthers hooded sweatshirt! I was so excited! Here's a few pics from today. You can't tell, but we were all geared up in our Panthers clothes-except for Amber. She only has Jets attire, but we will get her something to show her Panthers spirit!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Way 2 Save

What a busy week. Sorry for the long break in posts.

We are talking at church about budget, and thinking inside your box, working with what you have, rather than hoping for that raise, or wating for that income tax return, etc. I honestly did not know this series was coming, and a little over a month ago I decided to see if I just changed a few habits, how much money could I save? Here are a few things I did:

Stop grabbing lunch with the kids while I'm running errands-be sure to eat before we leave the house.

Stop eating at work-even though I get 50% off, if I eat there every shift I work, it adds up.

No more Mcflurry's for Amber 2x a week after school-we have frozen yogurt in the freezer, and it's better for her anyway.

Clip coupons and check weekly circulars for sales-I am not very good at this. But I am trying to do better.

Accepting that we don't have to eat steak, poultry or shrimp every night of the week. It's okay to make a grilled cheese or eggs for dinner here and there and we will all survive just fine.

STAY OUT OF THE STORES. Unless I need something-no browsing. Make a list-and only get what is on it.

I vowed to live off of the restaurant money only. All other income (unemployment and child support) is untouchable. When the restaurant money is gone, that's it. I know this is not a 'budget' per say, but now that I have the resources I need to make a budget thanks to my church, that will be my next goal. To fine tune what I started.

Things I just can't cheap out on:

Laundry detergent. I used to buy Purex, and when I complained that my clothes never smelled fresh, my sister would say........."Well why don't you buy detergent that doesn't cost $3.00 if you want your clothes to smell fresh?" So even though it hurts my feelings, I pay $11 or so dollars for laundry detergent. Sniff...sniff...

Paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, and tissues. I can not sub one out for the other, I can not use 1-ply toilet paper, I can not sub out paper towels for a dish towel, I can not sub toilet paper out for tissues(of course I have, but not as a conscious decision.)

Lysol-can't do no frills. It just doesn't smell the same. I know it's almost $5.00, but it brings me an unexplainable joy. Ask my kids-they choke on it.

Meat/Poultry-no mystery meat in this house just because it's on sale. Sorry.

Bottled water-I haven't had a drink of water from the faucet in ages.

Perfume-GUCCI RUSH only. Hence, right now I have no perfume.

Things I CAN cheap out on:

Make-Up-I don't wear face make-up of any kind. Maybe some blush when I am pale, but that's it. Thank you Lord for great skin. So I only dress my eyes up with some mascara, and eyeliner-maybe some eye shadow-but I can't do too much because it looks funny with my glasses. Therefore-I buy whatever is on sale-in Walmart. No MAC, No Sephoria, a splurge would be Almay!

Windex=store brand.

All groceries that are boxed-Walmart.

I am not afraid of hair color in the box.

Since living here in Charlotte, I do my own nails/toes. If I go to the salon 2x a year, it's a splurge. It's waaaayyyy to expensive. Do you know you can get a mani/pedi in New York for $16.00?

I now tweeze my eyebrows, rather than waxing. It lasts longer too.

Things I HATE to buy-stamps and gas. hate hate hate it........

Clothing advice-Buy quality clothes, and take care of them. Most of my clothes are from 2004 when I refurbished my wardrobe. Go for timeless looks. Buy what you like, and have them tailored. Dry clean them. The majority of my clothes are from Express, Guess, NY & Co., and The Loft. A few pieces from BEBE. They still look brand new, and yes, I may have paid $80.00 for a pair of pinstriped black dress pants, but they still look great and if you do the math, that's no different than buying a $20.00 pair of pants once a year that fall apart in the wash. Shoes too. Quality shoes only. I have the same pair of boots in black and brown since 2004. They were $150.00 each. I have them polished I would say 3 times a season, and have new pads put on them. They still look awesome. The math there-$37.50 a year if I had gone to payless and bought a pair that would last one season, it would work out the same. I just have to work on buying things that are on sale, not the beautifully put together outfit on the mannequin that's screaming my name.

I'm thinking that some readers are saying-is this girl serious? But everyone has their own budget and all families are different.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I know your wondering....

Where I've been. All three of you that read this blog. I have a post planned for today, and I have a lot of exciting things to share with you in the near future, but right now I have a little person tugging on me and his hands smell like poopie. I knew it was too quiet around here. I must go investigate.....I will be back.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Grass is Always Greener.....

I would love to have all of these great adventures to tell you that I took while my kids are away, but the fact is....I've done absolutely nothing. Thursday night I was home, worked Friday all day and night, worked Saturday during the day, went to bed at about 9:30pm last night (woo-hoo! What a Saturday night!), went to church this morning, came straight home, watched 'Titanic' and cried for the 50th time at that movie, and thanked God that I was not born in a time where they put the poor people on the bottom of the boat and left the woman and children to die because they were 'sewer rats' I believe the phrase was. I just did some laundry, and some dishes, and I'm back to doing nothing once again.

Which brings me to my title, The Grass is Always Greener. When your with your kids, there are times, and don't lie to yourself-you know there are these times, that you wish you could walk in to the house without 3 back packs and sippy cups and garbage. Times when you wish you could go shoe shopping by yourself in peace. Times when you wish that on the spur of the moment you could call a girlfriend, and go for a bite to eat or a glass of wine, and not be on a time schedule. You may look at the women you know that don't have kids, and feel a little envious of their freedom. None of this has anything to do with not loving your kids, it just has to do with desiring what you don't have, or what you think you want, even if it's only temporary.

So here I was, with several prime time days and nights to do whatever I wanted, with no limitations, no restrictions, and no obligations. The fact of the matter is, you don't become this crazy rock star over night just because your kids are out of town. I didn't "POOF" into this rich woman that could go on an 8 hour shopping free or spend the day at the spa, and I didn't "POOF" into this party animal wild woman who came home with the sunrise-I'm still me. A Mommy. Who loves and misses her kids. Who has a pretty basic routine. Who can sometimes look a whole lot fancier than she really is. Here's the pleasures I relished in while my kids are away:

I got to wake up naturally.
I talked a little on the phone with no interruptions.
I showered, and got dressed in peace and quiet.
I watched a movie or 2 without missing half of it because I was needed elsewhere.
I haven't had to cook.

There you have it. That's it. I'm sorry I can't "WOW" you with something better, but sometimes the simple things in life are very rewarding.