Thursday, October 1, 2009

You Are Loved

I adore Josh Groban. He's definitely on The List. While driving home from bowling with several nerdy (read: awesome) people, I heard this song on the radio:

Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy
I will lift it for you

Don't give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you
I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved

Don't give up
It's just the hurt that you hide
When you're lost inside
I will be there to find you

Don't give up
Because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you
I will shine to guide you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved

You are loved
Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
Don't give up
Every one is to be heard
You are loved

I totally choked up while driving. I know. Sappy. But you know, my husband has really embodied the spirit of this song on several occasions.

Throughout our conversion to the Catholic Church, our wedding plans, my multiple solo trips, our school plans, the surprise pregnancy, my hormones and the crazy depression that ensued.

Through our move, my seven months at home with Samuel, my transition to working mom, and even now during my transition to balanced working adult with child, Jeremy has held me while I cried, volunteered to watch Samuel while I go do things (like bowl and go to fraternity reunions) on my own, and made me talk (with frankness and honesty) about things that are bothering me.

When I tell him that I just don't know how to solve my unhappiness, he tells me that it is okay, and that I am never alone.

He encourages me to better myself and to do things that make me a stronger, healthier individual-- emotionally, mentally, and physically.

I know there are a lot of people who believe that I must be a total doormat, that I was one of those silly girls who wasn't "complete" without a husband, and that I have lost all of my identity.

I've been a lot of different people in the past. I have done a lot of pretending. I have worn several masks. Oh sure, on occasion there was a person I could trust-- my sister, Mary. My best friend, Sarah. But they have been rare.

In reality, Jeremy has helped me find my inner strength and has helped bring out who I really am. Granted, I was on that road when we met, but I realized that he was somebody with whom I could truly be free.

I could go on for hours (and maybe you feel like I have!), talking about the man that Jeremy is. But really, I would say that all anybody has to do is compare who I was ten years ago to who I am now... and they will see.

I am so thankful to know, even on the worst of days, even when we're unhappy about a situation or an action, that I am loved as ME.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

On the Precipice

It's been about a month since the last time I wrote anything. A long month.

In half an hour, I turn 26. "Old as dirt," as my father would say. But I don't feel all that old. I guess it's a good thing :)

In 7.5 hours, I will drop Samuel off at daycare for the first time ever. All the stuff is packed up-- diapers, wipes, food, bibs. Bottles are in the fridge, waiting to be zipped into a insulated bag with a Medela ice pack. We've finally got Samuel going back and forth, from breast to bottle and back. That's something we should have taken care of a long time ago... but I wanted to postpone the inevitable. I loved being selfish and keeping him to myself. I loved that sense of being important and needed.

In 9.5 hours, I return to the work world. At Starbucks! To be honest, I've wanted to work for Starbucks for AGES. That part of me is thrilled. I love hands-on, high energy, fast-paced work. And people! I love people. And then... there's the free and discounted coffee. Definitely looking forward to that part.

I've decided that I need to be the one to drop Samuel off tomorrow for a few reasons:
  • That's how it's going to be when Jeremy goes back to work next month. Why make things more difficult with MORE transitions?
  • I want to make sure I get everything straight-- you know, the annoying details. Did I pack the right stuff? Does more of it need to be labeled? etc.
  • And finally. If I drop him off at 7:00, it gives me plenty of time to come home, sob all over Jeremy, and get composed before I go to work.
I'm trying to have a positive outlook on the situation. I will probably cherish every.single.second of time that I have with Samuel, rather than looking for moments to sneak away. Jeremy will be able to get stuff done around the house, which he couldn't do with Samuel underfoot-- kitchen work, yard work, research paper stuff, etc. Somebody else will have to handle the naps. I can talk to adults other than Jeremy. I will come home smelling like coffee. My boss seems to be an excellent combination of friendly and businessy. Starbucks plays excellent music.

And so, I quote the Lady Galadriel in my moment of emotional melodrama.
My "quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true."
It's going to be a bumpy (and probably weepy) few weeks. If I get all bogged down in the negatives and let my emotions run all over me, I know I will come completely unhinged. But. As long as I have friends to lean on, and my wonderful supportive husband, I know that good will come of all of this. My Company is true!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wantiness, Stuff, and Sensibility

Today, I found the greatest find in my history as a mom.

A Chicco Cortina Stroller. For free.

That brings us to a total of 4 strollers (don't ask): a Bell Jogger, a Graco Passage, a Graco Glider, and the Chicco Cortina. Also, 2 Graco SnugRides

My brilliant plan was to sell off all things Graco.


Then Jeremy got all reasonable and logic-y with me. We should sell one SnugRide, one Graco stroller and... the Chicco. Because in order to use the Chicco conveniently with the future children, we would have to buy a Chicco car seat.

I was not opposed to buying a different car seat for the next child... after all, the Gracos will be expired by the time he shows up. Then, I went to the Chicco website and looked. Car seat= $180.

Even in my continuous state of "cute stuff" wantiness... I cannot justify that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

7 (yarn-related) Quick Takes Friday (#12)

1. Jeremy and I have been talking a great deal about the big fuss everybody seems to be making these days over soy and bamboo yarns and fabrics. The manufacturers like to call them "natural fibers." We were suspicious and investigated. The conclusion is no. There is very little about these yarns that is natural, save their origin. The plants are ground up and mixed with some chemicals, and then spun, etc. boring chemistry stuff, and then... you have very pretty, very soft threads. So really... soy and bamboo fabric is a subset of the rayon (made from trees) family, which also includes things like "viscose" and modal (made specifically from the beech tree).

On a positive note, soy threads are made from the waste product of soy processing plants, rather than brand new plants... unlike bamboo. Yes, I know... bamboo takes care of itself. Also, the quantity of chemical products used is kept to a minimum because they can use the same batch of chemicals repeatedly.

2. It has been raining for days. Okay, maybe not. But it feels like it. So much so that I had to put away my regular crochet project (which will be cream, brown, and blue) and start some advance work on Christmas presents... which will be made with this lovely Moonlight Mohair from Lion Brand Yarn. It has bright colors and some sparkle, making it perfect for rainy days and gift-giving.

3. I would like to know why so many yarns are mostly acrylic.

4. And why doesn't anybody produce a nice soft cotton yarn in a large skein. Why does my yarn only come in 3.5 oz. skeins? My favorite yarn of late is "I Love this Cotton" from Hobby Lobby, by the way.

5. I have a terrible habit of picking up yarns "just in case." Especially at my local Big Lots-- don't judge! But come on... if I can pick up several skeins of $6-$8 yarn for $1.50, I'm not going to say no. Even if they are small.

6. Once a long time ago, I tried to use some boucle/very textured yarn. It was a disaster. I had to pull out stitches repeatedly, and it wasn't long before it was all tangled up. I told myself I would never ever ever use that stuff again. And then... I found this stuff. I thought, "No.Way.No.No.No." And then I thought, "Oh... it's so bright and happy looking. I could make a really cute blanket for Samuel. It would be perfect for him. Oh look... the name of the color is Jellybean. How can I say no?" So... those three skeins followed me home. Today, I remembered why my first instinct was to run.away. Because that stuff is a tangly mess. It's impossible to see your stitches!

7. This is not yarn-related, but I'll include it for my sister Mary, who doesn't really care about yarn, and reads my blog no matter how terrible my posts are... and lets me know when I've misspelled things. Especially in posts that criticize other people. Who probably read the title of this and said, "Sheila. Really?"

Today was the last day of school for Jeremy. And so, I am letting Samuel cry tonight. I actually had to stop in the middle of #4 to calm him down a little bit. I know that probably negates the purpose of letting him cry... but when he gets to screaming, I just don't think it's very productive. They say that you usually see the best results after three nights. By God, I hope so. I am ready for a full night of sleep.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


So... I'm trying to use coupons.

Tonight, I retail therapied at CVS and the grocery store. Here's where it went, and the regular retail price:

  • Neti pot 11.99
  • Bacon 2.89
  • Chicken Drumsticks 4.39
  • Chicken Thighs 5.24
  • Dozen Eggs 1.09
  • Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream 5.19
  • French Bread 1.89
  • Pedicure set 9.99
  • 2 Nail polishes 7.98
  • French manicure stickers 2.49
  • 2 pairs of Rubber Gloves 4.16 (these are to protect my French manicures... it was retail therapy, remember?)
Grand Total: $60.16

After coupons, Extra Bucks, and bonus cards, I paid...


In which Samuel comes totally unhinged.

We got my Samuel the cutest ducky tub ever. It is inflatable and quacks when you press the beak. I thought it was a great idea-- Samuel would love it, and it wouldn't make a mess in the kitchen anymore. I mean, the kid is 20 pounds and 27.5 inches... he's getting a little big for that kitchen sink tub.

For 3 days in a row, Samuel screamed hysterically when we put him in it! Even when I got in the big tub, he was NOT.HAPPY. On the second day, we put the ducky in the living room and let him sit in it there. It was fine. Bath time comes around. Screaming ensues.

Yeah. Not sure what else to do about that.

Also, Samuel has slept all night three times. THREE. Ever. That's it. One of those was last week. Once school is over though, Jeremy is going to participate in the late-nightness. And it's going to be awesome.

I hope.

Friday, May 29, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#11)

1. Remember that time that I was so excited about Jeremy's new job? Well, guess what Jeremy's current school system has done? After first telling Jeremy that his job was going to the department "coordinator, " they offered him a job in middle school science because that was "all they had left". Seriously? I mean, the man has a Masters degree. In Physics. From Virginia Tech. A governor's school offered him a job teaching Physics. Jeremy says yes and tells the current school goodbye. Thennnnn... the current school system says, "Oh wait! We have a Chemistry/Physics position available at the hoity-toity magnet school." Drama.

Now we have to investigate a bunch of crap and make another decision. That's the part that bothers me most.

2. On a happy note, we took dinner to Charlottle and Rob Melton tonight and met little Bobby. What a joyful little family!

3. After hounding us to death, Verizon finally offered us a deal that was too sweet to pass up and we renewed our contract. That means... I got a new phone. Yay!

4. Until about 2 months ago, Samuel slept great! Usually slept 9-3 and then 3-7. I didn't mind getting up and doing that middle of the night feeding AT ALL. Fast forward to... last night. When he was up 15 times. 7-8 of those were with in 10 (ten! TEN!) minutes of each other. I gave him some Tylenol tonight, hoping that it was teeth. Oh God, I hope this fixes it.

5. One of the things that I look forward to now is September! One of my favorite bloggers is helping to host a mommy-blogger get together in Sacramento, and I have every intention of attending. I also want to visit Mary in San Diego that week, since I'll be on the West Coast already. I just need to figure out what to do with my 10 month old that week...

6. Oh my God... I'm too tired to do anymore.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh No!

For Christmas, I was crafty and frugal. I made microwaveable heat bags out of corn-- you know, the kind you heat and put around your neck/shoulders, midsection, etc.

I have enough stuff to make about 50 more of them. Including a big 50 pound bag of feed corn sitting in my office.

I was on the floor playing with Samuel when I heard this strange noise. I thought it was the plastic bags rustling.

I kept hearing it. So... I moved the plastic bags.

Then, I put some of the corn in a clear Ziploc bag for Samuel to play with.

To my shock and horror, I saw BUGS crawling around in the bag a few minutes after sealing.

My gross conclusion?

Enough time has passed that BUGS have infested my bag of feed corn... and I can HEAR them CHEWING!

Time to throw away the corn.


Friday, May 22, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#10)

1. I wish I could have stolen this shopping cart from PetSmart... and that it was collapsible like my current stroller. I just popped Samuel's car seat onto that upper ledge (which is difficult to see in the sunlight) and loaded the bottom and the basket up with stuff. SO EASY. Seriously, it was the best shopping cart/car seat I have ever experienced.

I guess it would be almost just as good if my current stroller had a grocery basket attachment. It does have a basket underneath... but people tend to think that you're stealing if you start putting things down there before you have paid for them.

2. When I was a senior in high school... we got a new band director, whom most of us judged (probably wrongfully) and disrespected a lot. The one good thing that came of this-- several of us started to crochet. In rehearsal. To date, I have finished 2 (TWO!) blankets. One of them was a 16th birthday gift for my sister... 8 YEARS ago. The other one, I finished last night.

After browsing my friend Meghan's Etsy shop, ThreadedGoodness, I was inspired to start a really nice project. I do pretty decent casual work (read: EASY and FAST), but Meg's work is beautiful. I like to think that I'll commission her to do a piece for each of my children... someday.

Did I mention that Meg was in band with me?

3. That said... I wish people would learn to PUNCTUATE. Seriously. When the directions the really nice project that I'm starting look like this:

"Rnd 4: Ch1, sc in same st as joining, sc in each sc, dc and ch 1 sp around working (sc, ch2, sc) in corner ch3 sps, join to first sc (44 sc, 4 ch 2 sps)"

I am bound to have issues. I started my FIRST SQUARE about 6 (SIX!) times! Every time I got to the part I emphasized in my sample above, I got so confused. And then... I read the directions out loud. And I got it. In fact, I made 2 very nice squares last night.

4. I feel like this is turning into 7 Quick Takes, the Arts and Crafts edition. Oh well. Yesterday, I was researching appropriate toys for 6 month olds... because Samuel will be 6 months on Thursday. And he seems to be totally disinterested in several of his toys. The first thing I saw on the list was these soft blocks, made of organic wool felt. For $30. Six blocks for thirty dollars. $5 each... for blocks.

So, I took myself over to Hobby Lobby (the name of which, always makes me giggle) and purchased some plain, manmade, not-organic felt. Then, I had an intensive session with the hot glue gun. This picture is the end result. These are filled with whole feed corn... which I also use to fill microwaveable heat pads... which means I have a 50 POUND bag sitting behind me here in the office.

5. Speaking of Samuel... he's getting SO big! And sturdy. And I think I hear him rolling around in the crib, even though he's supposed to be napping and I put him down almost 30 minutes ago. Anyway. I put him in the shopping cart seat for the first time this week. SO!CUTE! I'm excited because now I can use the shopping cart cover that I bought. I don't really care about the germ-protection aspect... it just looks like it will be comfortable and entertaining.

6. Baby Bobby Melton was discharged from the hospital and sent home on Wednesday! YAY!! I'm sure that prayers are still wanted and welcome.

7. At some point in her college life, I gave my sister a moka pot. I found it, still in the box, in her things last week, while I was sorting through some boxes she left with us when she went to live in Spain. Since I know she has another one in her apartment in San Diego, I knew she wouldn't mind donating to the cause of my sanity. I've never been so glad to take back a gift in all my life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Hi. My name is Sheila.

I went to Culinary school.
I spent a lot of time writing menus with fancy descriptions of entrees,
Prepping for huge banquets,
Making ice carvings,
Serving opera stars,
Learning about garnishes and folded napkins,
Designing concept kitchens for fabulous imaginary restaurants,

Tonight, we are having...

Baked potatoes with canned chili and steamed broccoli--
the kind that comes in a bag from the freezer section.

What is the world coming to?

And yes, I did end that sentence with a preposition.

There is nothing IRONIC about SHOW CHOIR!

Since the season finale of Battlestar Galactica a few months ago, I was convinced that I would never fall in love again. All my other shows have declined drastically in importance. American Idol? Eh. Stargate? Eh. Doctor Who? Hmmm... there is a new Doctor, but until I see him in action I can't really make a call on that one.

But wait!

Last night, I watched the "preview" episode of Glee on Fox. I was really afraid that it would turn into High School Musical Infinity. No offense to those who love HSM. I digress. Glee was...

FABULOUS! The music is awesome. The satire is satisfying. It reminds me of all the reasons that I'm glad to be done with high school, without making me grouchy or bitter. Did I mention the music? Seriously. As they change scenes, personal views, etc. they play... vocal percussion and warm-up sounds. Last night's soundtrack included: Respect, I Kissed a Girl, On My Own, Can't Fight this Feeling, You're the One that I Want, Rehab, and Don't Stop Believing. If nothing else, I will watch this show every week just to listen to the music. Like a weekly musical pick me up.

Huzzah for a new show... doesn't doesn't start until FALL.

Friday, May 15, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#9)

1. Even though I am a Mary Kay consultant, I just ordered from the Neutrogena skinID website. It came in the mail today, and although I've only used it once... I am impressed! No burning. No itching. No medicine-y smell. Hallelujah, somebody got it right at last!

2. Jeremy has been offered another job... a true answer to prayer. This job is better and pays more. The benefits are better. Now our only concern is trying to figure out whether we should try to move this summer... or if Jeremy should commute 1.5 hours EACH WAY all year and try to move NEXT summer.

3. Sometimes, I meet new people and I think of them as my friends... but I wonder if
they consider me their friend. You know? I've been wondering this about my daily Mass/Lunch/stroller walking friend Katie. We missed each other the past 3-4 Masses. Today though, while we were eating lunch, her statements were peppered with, "Oh, I thought about you because/when/etc." and "I saw/heard this and thought of you" and etc. And to me, this was a wonderful confirmation. Maybe it's silly. That's okay.

4. Where ever we wind up, I'm going to do my dead level best to start a dinner prep group. Everybody pitches in a percentage to pay for food purchased in bulk, then we work together to prep it all-- brown meats, peel/chop vegetables, mix marinades. Then, we sort and pack everything so that it can be stored in freezers and pulled out on an as needed basis. What a great way to save money and encourage community! AAAaaaaaannnddd... since it's summer we could buy massive amounts of the produce locally at the Farmer's Market, and enjoy them all year!!

5. I would like to take an NFP class.

6. Baby Bobby was finally able to move to a regular room with his mother and father! SO EXCITED!!

7. My sister is in town for a wedding reception this weekend, and I get to see her. This thrills my soul beyond belief!!

Okay... I just have some additional things on my mind, so we're going to have extra quick takes.

8. Has anybody noticed that ALL of Old Navy's swimwear is either a standard bikini or a halter? I know halters are supposed to be flattering on most people but... the girls need support. Seriously.

9. I saw multi-destinational tickets-- here to San Diego to Sacramento back home for $377! However, such purchases will have to wait.

10. Jeremy took the day off (whee!). I want to know why HE is the one taking a shower during Samuel's nap!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Container Herb Garden

I feel accomplished!

I have always wanted to plant herbs, and now I have. Granted they're in planter boxes. But that's for two excellent reasons, which follow here:

Jeremy's job, and thus our location, is still up in the air. I mean, I would hate to go through all the trouble of planting (and buying!) the herbs, only to move and leave them behind. Possibly to somebody that will not love them :(

I have seen many herbs grow totally out of control and figure it will be easier to maintain them if they are in boxes. I want an herb garden. Not an herb forest. Though I expect a heady herby smell to permeate my yard, either way.

Hopefully my little herbs will grow big and strong, and yield many a fragrant dish... which I will of course tell you about!

Here's a list of what's growing:

*Note the order here... I have left a blank spot for sage. I thought about getting all four of them and putting them in a specially designated Simon and Garfunkel planter. But I'm just not that big a fan of sage.

If you get it, you get it. If not... it's really not that important. It's just me being a bizarre music-type.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Day of Great Things


I had breakfast with some old friends (yay Meghan and Shawn!) and met their beautiful children.
I made a lasagna that didn't fall apart when I cut into it... for the first time ever.
Samuel rolled over for the first time (but I missed it because I was building the lasagna).
My father offered us his riding lawn mower.
Jeremy's father offered us a five-burner gas grill.
Samuel took a two hour nap.
Mary finished her first year of law school.

Maybe more to come...

Friday, April 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday # 8

Weekly Seven Quick Takes are hosted by Jenn at

1. Our good friend Charlotte finally had her first baby. She and her husband were so anxious to meet their little Bobby! However, there have been great difficulties with his heart. He was born on Monday morning... and Charlotte wasn't able to hold him until TODAY! Charlotte and Rob are staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Duke. Bobby's scheduled for surgery on April 27 at 10:00. Please join us in prayer for this precious, sweet family.

2. Jeremy is going to Lynchburg EARLY tomorrow morning so that he can take the Praxis II for Physics. I am going along... mostly as moral support AND to meet up with my friend Meghan's family for breakfast. I look forward to it very much!

3. Samuel is growing by leaps and bounds! Every couple of days he takes a longer nap (hallelujah!). He babbles and coos constantly. Several times today, I saw aaaaaalllllmosssst turn over while playing in the floor. We also attempted rice cereal today, for the second time. Every time I filled the spoon, Samuel grabbed it, shoved it into his mouth, and sluuuuurped it clean!

4. I'm attempting some pulled pork barbeque in the crockpot tonight-- with my very own homemade peach barbeque sauce. We'll see.

5. We're going to Blacksburg next weekend because... Jeremy has a job interview with the Governor's School. Hooray! I'm actually having a difficult time praying about this. I know that it would be best for our finances, etc. if Jeremy gets a good job and we stay in this area. Buuuuuttttttt.... my best friends are still in the Blacksburg area. And I loved my parish there. I feel so selfish and silly praying to move back. Ugh.

6. We just watched a movie called Without A Clue starring Michael Caine (whom I adore). SO entertaining! It's a retelling of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, but the twist is fabulous and hilarious.

7. My weeks have started to have an actual rhythm, which is nice. Monday and Wednesday are mostly stay home and take care of things days. Tuesday and Thursday are go to daily Mass, eat lunch, and push strollers around with Katie days. Fridays are wild cards. Tuesday is also go to choir practice day... hopefully.


Monday, April 20, 2009


I went and checked out the daycare center that people have recommended to us most highly.

The director was very nice. I waited in her office while she got her list that indicated the next availability in their nursery. While I sat and waited, I listened. Every time I heard crying, I choked. Finally managed to get myself under control before the director came in. We start talking logistics.

The next opening is in July. It's $120 a week. No, we don't offer part-time care for infants. There's a $120 non-refundable registration fee to hold your spot. It's okay, don't worry-- lots of first-time mothers cry in my office. Here, have a tissue.

Yes. I broke down and bawled in the office.

We toured the place. It seemed nice enough. Each baby has his own designated crib. They can't use cloth diapers. They keep written track of naps, meals, and play. They have a mini-mini-van stroller thingy that they use to take the kids outside and walk around. The diaper changing station looked clean and organized, and there plenty of anti-bacterial wipes nearby. It was clean looking. There were toys, swings, Exer-Saucers, and rocking chairs.

One baby was napping in a swing. One was being fed a bottle. One was playing in her crib. Three were sitting at the table having a snack. One was playing with an empty rocking chair. Two were playing in the floor. And one sweet curly-haired boy kept going to the window and calling for his mommy. I just wanted to scoop him up and hug him... and cry, of course. But I didn't.

None of the babies looked as though they had been left to wail for long periods of time unattended, which was comforting. I know. I probably sound like a nut case. I keep thinking about walking down the hall at the hospital and looking in the nursery window... seeing babies crying their heads off, while they lay under the bili-lamps.

All in all, it was a productive trip. We're going to get Samuel on the list, and wait, and pray. Mostly praying that the non-refundable money goes to waste because Jeremy ends up with a job that honestly pays enough that we don't need the spot. But also praying that I will accept with grace what God bestows upon us.

Pray with me?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

self pity and whining

Warning: as the title indicates, this post is full of whining.

There was a line I heard in a movie once. "Everybody's peeing on my head and telling me it's rain."

This is how I've been feeling for a while now. Things were going great. I was in a job I loved with bosses that I respected and co-workers that I adored. I met the man of my dreams and we got married. Then, we decided that we should both finish our college degrees. Granted, that would mean spending some time apart... but we thought that would be easier to do while we didn't have children. Once I got over the initial worries, I got very excited about this plan. It was going to be my last hurrah. Once we were both graduated, Jeremy would get a great job someplace and we would be D.I.N.K.s for a few years. THEN... we could have all the babies we ever wanted!

What a great plan!

Then I was pregnant. Wait... what?

So, I changed jobs and took a few classes online. Then Jeremy decides he wants to halt the PhD and get a job. So, we move. We buy a wonderful little house. He becomes a high school teacher. I transferred within the company. All the while, I'm totally depressed.

I have Samuel. I quit my job to stay home with him. Depression is over. I love life! Maybe when Samuel's old enough for school, I can find a job I really like or OPEN MY BAKERY and fulfill some dreams.

What a great plan!

Then the economy plummets. Wait... what?

The school tells Jeremy that they have to give his job to a more senior faculty member. He starts looking for new jobs. We start talking about putting Samuel in DAYCARE while I work full-time. Where can I work? Well... the bank that I worked for previously isn't hiring right now. Jeremy keeps mentioning nursing home and hospital "chef" jobs. I don't want to go back to a foodservice job, with it's physical exhaustion, crazy hours, ridiculous drama, and stress.

Every time Jeremy and I talk about it, I start crying. All I can do is imagine the worst. I think about somebody else being there when Samuel does really cute things that I would take a picture of. Of somebody else hearing his first words. Somebody else playing with him all day. Somebody else helping him take his first steps. I know I'm painting the bleakest picture possible... but I don't know what else to imagine. I know people do it all the time. I know. But seriously, now that I'm used to being with Samuel 24/7... I don't know if I can handle giving him over to somebody else!

I'm also scared to death that I'll be "too tired" to give him enough attention when I get home.
I think this might really be the biggest part of my worries. I mean, come on! If Samuel gets up at 7, I have to work 8-6, and he goes to bed at 9... oh my God! 3.5 hours with my son. That's it?!?!!?!?!?

I know that it's hard and frustrating for Jeremy, and that he's stressed out trying to "hedge our bets" by looking for new jobs and finishing licensure stuff. It's stressful for both of us, being in limbo right now.

I'm also frustrated by the fact that everytime I'm happy, something happens. And then, I start feeling like, "Everybody's peeing on my head and telling me it's rain."

End whininess.

Friday, April 17, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#7)

1. We have an elderly neighbor who likes to come over randomly and talk to Jeremy about, well, random things. About our grass and how tall it's getting. About Jeremy's old cars. About our son. About the history of the Bible. I wouldn't mind all this, but for a single factor. He pushes the bell 3-4 times. I mean, come on! My baby could be taking one of his precious 30-45 minute naps.

I almost said something to him about all of this... but he offered to weed-eat our yard.

2. This is Spring Break week for Jeremy. The original plan was to replace the kitchen countertops this week. Instead, Jeremy is filling out applications and sending out resumes. One's going to a Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC. That sounds nice to me... but it's going to have to pay an awful lot for us to take it. We shall see.

3. Samuel is very nearly sleeping through the night. It's usually 9-5 and then 5:30-7ish. Not complaining AT ALL, since for several weeks he was up 3-4 times a night.

That said... I feel that Samuel has suddenly gotten very "needy" in the past few days. Maybe because Daddy's on vacation and available to hold him too? All I know is... this cannot continue. Crying and general unhappiness I can handle. That awful squealy screeching sound he makes every time I lay him down to play in the floor? Not so much!

4. The parents are auditioning for a new pastoral position in Alabama. I hope they get it.

5. The Mary Kay sales are doing okay. I've decided that I don't want to attend the "success" meeting (aka Hey-- you should recruit everybody you know!) or participate in the conference calls (aka Hey-- you should order thousands of dollars of inventory, even though you don't know anybody in this town yet!). I like the product, and I like the Skincare Class set-up. Pretty sure I can make it without that "support."

6. My goal for Lent was to get things rolling for a mothers' group at church. I didn't get quite that far. However, the pastor's assistant's wife and I have decided that we are going to attend Daily Mass, eat lunch after, and take the babies on a walk as frequently as possible. I feel like that's a decent start.

7. This was my third Catholic Easter-- the first in our new parish. Is it really immature of me to say that I really missed our old parish and wish we could celebrate Easter there? I think the reason is two-fold. That's the parish that we did all our confirmation stuff with and where we were married. We have people there. The old parish also did things a little differently. I know that each parish varies some, and it's something I need to accept.

Either way. I love Easter.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Drinking the Kool Aid...

So... I tell my husband a lot of funny stories about my years at Bob Jones University. He usually makes some snarky comment about Kool Aid.

I'll admit, I had a hard time following all the rules. Especially ones about dusting my dresser top or having my bed made up by 7:15 every morning. I didn't like getting up at the bell at 6:55 or having a "lights out" bell at 11:00 every night. I couldn't wear pants in public (there were a few exceptions), and we couldn't go off campus in "mixed" groups. I hated pantyhose. After my time there, I still feel like any skirt that doesn't totally cover my knees (walking, sitting, or standing) is too short, and I spend all my time trying to pull it down.

Today, I got the BJU Review (the quarterly "look how awesome we are" magazine) in the mail. I usually smirk at the perfect smiling faces on the cover as I toss it into the garbage. Today, I stopped and flipped through it. Here are some things I found:

A trumpet player who started attending BJU just before I graduated will be performing with the International Honors Wind Symphony at Avery Fisher Hall in May.

BJU has received a patent for the networked cashless vending machine system developed by 3 teachers. I always thought that this was pretty nifty-- you can just swipe your student ID at the vending machine!

The Debate program is still kicking a lot of butt.

The Culinary Arts program has a new faculty member that I wish I could have studied under. He and his partner opened this bakery in New Jersey.

The science and computer science departments are sending teams across the country to help smaller Christian schools develop their ciriculum and to teach students robotics, etc.

There was a lot of other stuff, but these were the things that stuck out the most to me. It was one of those times that I was proud to claim that I've drunk from the same Kool Aid.

Just in case, I would like to apologize to any that are offended by my references to the Jonestown tragedies.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Best Weekend in Ages

On Friday, my good friend Paul came to visit with me all afternoon. We went to the bagel shoppe (the greatest saving grace of this town), drove around, and went to the local Goodwill (where I made the bargain purchase of the century, but had to leave it behind for the afternoon because Paul's brand new Mazda was too small). We sat around and chatted and laughed before he had to go to Greensboro to pick his sister up from the airport.

I can't express how thankful I am that he was willing to take the time out of his busy vacation to come see me. He just finished up AF Tech School, and is driving to Las Vegas as I write this. I probably won't see him again for years.

My darling Sigma Alpha Iota sister, "Captain" Anna Morgan showed up around 5:30. She followed me to the Goodwill where I picked up my purchase from earlier in the day-- a 3 piece dinette with an L-shaped bench, table, and additional bench all for $60. I was so thrilled about this purchase!! With the help of the excellent employees, we loaded the almost-too-large set into the back of my pick-up truck. I did a little fancy roping to secure things and we were on our way! Upon arriving home, we discovered something. The L-bench was TOO BIG for my kitchen. In all my excitement, it had not crossed my mind that this item might not fit! We twisted it and turned it, trying everything imaginable. Alas, at some point it's going to have to go somewhere else. Maybe I can save it for 20 years from now, when we might be able to convert our garage into a real dining room... or something. In the 5ish years that I've known Anna, she's been with me through thick and thin. When stupid things were done, we had one another's backs. We were car trip buddies, band buddies, and secret sisters :)

Around 7:30, my old friend Graci and her husband showed up. As far as my Army Brat upbringing is concerned... Graci and I go waaaaaaay back. Like, all the way to junior high. Seeing as how I was 13 then, and I'll be 26 in July, that's half my life! A long time for me to know somebody. We were roommates during the 2001-2002 schoolyear at good ol' Bob Jones University... the year of the blue jeans! We saw each other through good, bad, and hysterical times. 4 years later, we went to an old friend's wedding together in Elko, Nevada-- I made the wedding cake. I'll tell that story in another post. We talked and planned our own weddings on the drive to Salt Lake City... a three hour drive with wide flat lanes, 80mph speed limits, and a million exits with NO SERVICES. I don't think we were ever so thankful for a McDonald's in all our lives! A year later, I was in Georgia making Graci's wedding cake. 2 years later, Graci drove from Georgia to attend my wedding. Now, 13 years from the beginnnig of our journey together, Graci and her husband are preparing to join the US Army. Again, who knows when we will be able to see one another after this? I feel blessed that she stopped here on her way to Pennsylvania!

It was also the night of the big Battlestar Galactica finale. I don't care what anybody else has to say about it. It's one of the best shows I've ever watched in my life. And I've never loved a female actress the way I love Katee Sackhoff. The finale was 2 hours long, which provided time for all my speculating-- one of my favorite activities :) It managed to tie up some loose ends, but not too many. There were a few "happily every afters." There were some really sad scenes. And most importantly, there were mysteries left.

The ladies and I stayed up entirely too late, just catching up, sharing some gossip, and laughing a lot. It was a great night.

After everybody left on Saturday, I took a nap. God knows I needed one! Then, Samuel and I loaded up the stroller and went for a nice walk, followed by a great Mass. That night... Samuel screamed his head off and refused to sleep until 10:30. This doens't sound late to most people, but since we like to be in bed between 9 and 9:30, it was cramping our style. We have come to the conclusion that Samuel must truly be starting the teething process.


After waking me so many times that Jeremy offered to take a turn, I wound up sleeping on the recliner in the living room with Samuel at about 4:30. When Samuel decided that he was officially ready to be up and about at 9:00 (too early for me, all things considered!), Jeremy was gracious and took Samuel till 12:30 and let me get some much-needed sleep. While I slept, Jeremy entertained Samuel, went to the store, cleaned out the fridge, and started a pizza in the oven. Now he's at the school, trying to get some work done so that we can actually see each other this week.

I'm in a better mood than I have been on a Sunday in weeks. I feel quite blessed :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#6)

1. I'm a little sad that 6 of my 11 posts are Quick Takes... but I guess that's better than nothing.

2. Samwise and I are still having a time of it with naps. People keep trying to encourage me and tell me it will get better... but I think it may just be some great mirage in the desert of my life :) He's also been a little off with his night sleep-- he woke up three times last night! What is that all about?!?!?!

3. My mother bought us a dozen Fuzzi Bunz for Samwise's 100th Day birthday. I love them! Granted, these are the first cloth diapers I've ever used... but the convenience and cost efficiency is not lost on me. His butt looks huge in them-- and it's adorable!

4. Yesterday, I went on a walk with my priest's assistant's wife. We're about the same age, and she just had twins a month ago. Let me tell you... hanging out with her makes me feel like my life is a total cake walk. Seriously. Getting the twins ready for a walk was way more complicated than getting Samuel ready for anything. More importantly, I just feel blessed to have another woman that's in the same age range and life-cycle stage as me. I never thought I would long for female company so badly!

5. Also, yesterday I signed up to be a Mary Kay consultant. I'm really excited! My hope is that I'll be able to bring home enough to avoid having to get an additional part-time (or full time), out of home job. I know that's going to take a lot of discipline on my part. It's also going to require me to step out of my comfort zone and start going up to people. One of the great things (I hope!) will be the weekly success meetings.

6. The school where Jeremy works is having a spring plant sale, and he's going to grab some calla lilies for me. I'm so excited because they're my favorite, and it was all his idea! My intention is to pot them in pretty pots and put them outside, and then bring them in when it gets cold... no point in wasting money and plants!

7. I keep finding half-empty cups of coffee around the house (left over from interruptions by Samwise).... I just wish I could find them before I run the dishwasher. Oh well.

Happy Friday!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#5)

1. We had snow this week and it was awesome! We got 4-6 inches on Sunday night, and my husband's school was closed Monday and Tuesday, and had a 2 hour delay on Wednesday. It was a very nice week :)

2. Samuel loves standing. As long as we keep him from toppling over, he bears his own weight... I think that's saying something for a 18 pound 3 month old!

3. I picked up the best free sofa ever! A young couple around the corner from us was getting rid of it because they had too much furniture. It's in perfect condition :) Of course, once I got it in the house I had to rearrange all the living room furniture about 3 times. We've been in our house since August, and I was not happy with the living room until yesterday. Finally!

4. I made a loaf of Challah bread for the first time... I'm pleased to say that it turned out beautifully, as did my peanut butter biscotti :)

5. I visited with our pastor's assistant's wife this week. It was nice to be around another young mother.

6. It's been difficult for me to find friends here... work was my social outlet for a while, then I started to stay home with Samwise. It feels like everybody that lives here is from here, and they're not interested in being friends with anybody new. It's as if they look at you and think "Well, she's nice, but my friend quiver is full." I'm trying.

7. I'm intending to talk to Father Charles about starting a "young mothers" coffee group at the church some time soon. We'll see.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Armed Forces

I'm an Army brat.

My father retired from the Army (after 20 years and 17 days) at the ripe old age of 38. He was good at it, and he loved it.

When I was young, I thought about joining the military all the time. I thought about the traveling, the camaraderie, the uniforms, and of course the benefits. The idea of serving the nation AND getting paid was heady.

My sister and I took one of those "what would you be good at?" tests during a College for a Weekend trip. Highest scores? She scored as a military officer, and I scored as noncommissioned. It made total sense-- Mary's very academic, and I'd rather get dirty. The seed that had been planted years ago was starting to germinate. Maybe I really could join the Army! We told our father, who put his foot down. No daughters of his were joining the military! He even kept my sister home from school on the day the recruiters came by to administer the ASVAB to the entire sophomore class.

Needless to say, neither of us joined the Army.

Now I'm married to an amazing man. I have the most adorable baby on the face of the planet. My domestic world is wonderful and I love it.

For various reasons, several of my friends are now enlisted or preparing to enlist, and I have to admit... I'm intensely jealous.

Friday, February 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#4)

1. Oh man... it's Friday already? I'm starting to feel all the days blurring past me, like pollen on the spring wind. It's a good thing that I've decided to participate in the Quick Takes... otherwise, my blog would never have anything new!

2. I'm spending all day today trying to get Samwise to take a bottle. He'll be 3 months old next week, and I've decided that he really needs to be able to take a bottle on occasion. I've given half-hearted attempts in the past. Today and tomorrow, the bottle is all he'll be offered. One good thing is this gives me plenty of opportunity to pump.

3. One of my best friends is coming to see me tomorrow. I can't begin to express how excited I am! We have so much in common, it's hilarious. I think that people wouldn't think it to look at us, but we respond similarly to almost every situation.

4. I have come to the conclusion that parking should be a more intensive part of driver's license testing. And if you buy a large vehicle, you should have to take a second more intensive test upon purchase. I'm so tired of people that don't need large vehicles getting them. Especially men with large trucks. Stop trying to compensate.

5. I'm really looking forward to the arrival of spring this year. I'm hoping to add some great herbs to the already pleasant landscaping in front of my home. My top picks at the moment are: thyme, rosemary, sage, and lavendar.

6. My sister is doing really well in law school, and I'm very proud of her. She's definitely one of my favorite people, and an excellent writer. She has very strong opinions, and we have differing views on lots of things, but I still think she's as witty as they come.

7. I've decided to paint the master bedroom. I'll let you know how it turns out :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

I found this card at CVS earlier in the week and could not pass it up. It was technically a birthday card... but that never stops me. I simply inserted an "un" so it became an UNbirthday card. In honor of Valentine's Day, I have decided to share the message on the front with you.


So, like there was This Guy in line at the Coffee Shop
And he's all like hitting on the Barista
and saying how some
Dumb BAND he saw at some Dumb BAR was like,
"The BEST live performance," he had ever seen,
and the Barista, she's all giggling a FAKE Giggle,
and all I could think was
"THANK GOD I don't have to FAKE Giggle anymore,
and THANK GOD I don't have to
talk to Dumb GUYS about
Dumb BANDS anymore,
and THANK GOD my weekends
aren't about Dumb BARS anymore,
and just THANK GOD my life
is about YOU and about US
and about STUFF
that's a whole lot different
and a lot less DUMB."

Friday, February 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#3)

1. I usually don't get sick... if I get sick more than once a year, I'm doing pretty badly. And when I do get sick, I try to ignore it and push through until I just can't take it anymore. Samwise has been down with a cold for the better (or worse) part of the week. On Wednesday, I took him to the doctor because I'm scared to death that he'll get sick and I'll ignore it until it's too late-- the way I treat myself. Thankfully, the doctor didn't treat me like an idiot for bringing him in.

2. Speaking of doctors... lately, I've been having some really bizarre dreams. Last night, I dreamed about Doctor Who. There were a bunch of people, we were all in a gallery, and we were running. Of course we were running... there's always lots running with the Doctor. Then the Doctor shot his companion (Deanna Troi from Star Trek The Next Generation), and suddenly we were hugging and crying together. This is very odd because... the Doctor does not believe in guns.

3. My husband sent me a link to this story, which I found beautiful and touching. It's always so encouraging to know that there are modern heroes. I'm mostly impressed by the young woman who made so much effort.

4. I've been doing a lot more "serious" baking in the past few weeks-- breads, cinnamon rolls, etc. The smell of yeasted doughs rising and baking stir very strong emotions in me. Opening a bakery is really a long term dream of mine. Sure, the wedding/birthday cakes are nice... but for me it's all about the artisan breads and great pastries. I want it to be a place where people stop in for a coffee and pastry-- on their way to work, on the weekends, for first dates, etc. I feel such a connection to people when I feed them-- I want to be a part of the everyday life of others.

5. There's a former Sonic Drive-in location that's up for sale about 5 minutes from my home. Every time I drive past it, I think "Man, if I had money... that would be the perfect spot for a little pastry shop/cafe with a drive-up window."

6. My husband made a card for me for Valentine's Day. It was beautiful and sweet, and he made sure to put pictures of calla lilies on it because they're my favorite. I think it's the best Valentine I've ever recieved.

7. I like to surprise people-- with food, gifts, packages, etc. It's fun and uplifting for both parties :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#2)

1. I have come to the conclusion that I am one of the most obscenely prideful and self-centered people I know... trying to work on that.

2. Staying home with Samwise gives me a lot more opportunity/time/energy to love my husband. I enjoy being able to prepare dinner, take care of the home, do laundry, etc. I've always been very domestic, and no, it doesn't make me feel like a slave. I always feel very whole and happy when I've had a very successful day at home.

3. I am contemplating cloth diapers. The progress they've made on those things is ridiculous! It would be a very expensive initial investment... but since some of these companies promise a 3 year life, it would pay off in the long run. Especially since they could be used for more than one child.

4. Jeremy and I watched Smokey and the Bandit last night, and I decided that a former co-worker was just like Jackie Gleason. It made me spitefully happy... until I realized that it goes hand-in-hand with #1.

5. I love early mornings, but I don't like getting up early. Does that sound nuts? Once I'm up (especially if I can get a shower asap), I'm good. It's just the getting up that's hard. My son wakes up at 7:30, and it is my dream to start getting myself up at 6:00. I figure that means I could have up to 1.5 hours for myself before the days starts... shower, coffee, a little reading and prayer. I think I would be a much happier, calmer, and more effective person. So... maybe tomorrow.

6. Samwise was doing soooo well at sleeping for several weeks. 9:30pm-7:30am with one feeding around 3 or 4. All of a sudden, he's up multiple times a night again. This too shall pass.

7. My (very Baptist) mother freaked out, at Samwise's baptism a few weekends ago, about the painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was hanging in the sanctuary. She urged me to ask the priest about the symbolisms in the painting-- something about horns and a man underneath. I looked at the painting more carefully and did some research online, then sent her an email explaining that it was a cresent moon and an angel, and told her about the symbolism. She was not satisfied with my research and insisted again that I ask the priest. ::sigh::

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Some discoveries

Early in our relationship, Jeremy and I found that sick days were some of the best times we had together. He would lay on the futon with his head in my lap. I would cook and spoil him. We would be ridiculously and utterly lazy, spending the days and evenings in conversation or watching our favorite movies and shows.

This weekend, my husband was sick. He took a sick day on Monday. It was the first time that he was this sick since our Samwise was born in November. We noticed the striking differences between the sick days of old and this weekend. When Jeremy coughed or blew his nose, I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed that Samwise wouldn't wake from his nap. I would have spent time fixing fun meals for us, but instead I was spending my time entertaining our son, and trying to keep him from wailing and waking Jeremy. We quickly discovered that sick days are not fun anymore.

Something I realized this morning: Samwise is 10 weeks old on Friday... and it's still like I'm feeling around in the dark. We keep trying this whole "routine" thing (which my husband thinks is wierd and unnatural)... and I'm struggling. Sure, there are some good days. And yes, Samwise usually sleeps most of the way through the night. But my son almost never naps the way I want him to. He doesn't eat the way I think he should. I'm still trying to find the balance between playing with him without smothering him with attention and getting things done around the house without being totally negligent. Let's also throw in some meals and alone time for me while we're at it. How does that work?!?!

I'm learning.

Friday, January 30, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (#1)

1. I love Dr. Seuss! Some of his views were a little screwy, and he didn't really even like kids, but the man was a genius. One of my most prized possessions is a book of all his political cartoons from WWII, which I received for Christmas during high school. I once had a very isolationist view of foreign policy, and his book changed my life.

2. I'm planning to make over our 2 (pretty ugly) bathrooms, and spent an hour pricing things at the local hardware store pricing things so that I can convince my husband. Things I priced included paint, paneling for the walls, groutable vinyl tiles for the floors and walls, and trim. Unfortunately, it did not include new lights or recessed medicine cabinets. Pretty sure I can do it for under $100/bathroom.

3. I feel accomplished today because baby Samwise and I have managed to stay on schedule. I've never been very organized, so this is quite the adventure for us!

4. I tend to feel like I'm being a horrendously selfish person when Samwise cries before a nap. I know that the nap is good for him, but I know I look forward to it waaaaay more than he does.

5. My little sister and I have lived far away (okay, so 1.5 hours isn't that far, but it felt really far) from each other since I graduated from high school 8 years ago, and it still makes me sad. The good thing is, it gives me an excuse to go places like Spain and California!

6. I simultaneously love and hate weekends. I love having my husband around all day, going to Mass, and feeling like it's okay to just lounge around... but something about the weekend just feels so disruptive. Goodness, I sound like a crazy person!

7. My favorite part of cooking a meal is the small menial tasks-- peeling the vegetables and chopping them up, weighing ingredients, and general prep work. It reminds me of being in culinary school and makes me feel warm and fuzzy. There were times that 4-5 of us would stand around a 75 gallon container, peeling potatoes for a luncheon in our catering class. Those were the best days because we would laugh hysterically for hours at nothing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

About Coffee

I love coffee. In fact, I obsess over it. I try to grind my own beans as frequently as possible. I also weigh my coffee (in grams, so it's more accurate), and only make 2-4 cups at a time so that I don't waste it. It's the one thing I splurge on (there are two pounds of Starbucks Casi Cielo in the freezer downstairs). I enhance my home-coffeeshop experience by keeping cream and flavored syrups available (this encourages me to stay away from Starbucks). On Facebook this morning, my status claimed that I was enjoying my first cup of coffee in days. The truth is, two and a half hours later... I'm still enjoying that same cup. My sister was aghast.

I have filled out applications for Starbucks on multiple occasions. My favorite part of the application asks for your feelings/opinions etc. about coffee. My least favorite part of the application is the scant two lines that follow that question. Even writing in tiny letters so I could write four lines, I did not have enough room.

I have this thing about drinking my coffee. It doesn't have to be fresh or piping hot. It can even be the remnants of yesterday's pot that I never finished. But when I drink it, I have to be alone and settled so that I can really enjoy it. That means my beautiful newborn son needs to be taking a nap, and my husband needs to be at work. The television is off. I might be reading, journaling, or in this moment, blogging. It's a very ME-centric moment. Only God knows how long it will last.

Coffee is not my "get up and get going in the morning" drink. That would be my hot shower. I don't need the caffeine to get me through the day. What I need is that golden moment of sanity. For me, coffee evokes memories of bookstores and meeting with friends. It reminds me of quiet moments I had before I became so busy. When I drink coffee, I have a chance to take a deep breath and re-center.

Monday, January 26, 2009

25 Things About Me

1. I love Congressman Ron Paul. I know he's a little crazy. I know he's full of conspiracy theories. He's also an expert in economics. At the end of every fiscal year, the man manages to RETURN some of his budgeted money. He also refuses the Congressional pension plan. He's an OB in Texas, and has delivered thousands of babies. He takes a very strict stand on the duties of the Legislative branch of government-- he's known as Dr. NO.

2. I was brought up a very strict, very conservative Baptist Republican. I'm now a fairly moderate Catholic Libertarian. I generally don't like to argue politics or religion. However, if you ask for my input (and aren't trying to pick a fight), I will give it.

3. I believe that we are all spiritual beings and people of faith, whether our faith lies in the same place or not. It is my duty as a fellow human being to love and respect you.

4. For some reason, younger girls ask me for advice about relationships... I guess it's because I'm in love and married. But the truth is, I have had pretty limited experience. I usually tell them, "I've had a 50% rate of success. You should probably ask somebody else." Also, "Keep your clothes on."

5. I am a new mother, and I can't believe how much I love it! I struggled a lot with depression during a great deal of my pregnancy. Now I am thrilled to be able to stay home with my beautiful little Samwise. Although... sometimes I'm not sure of what to do with him between naps and feedings...

6. I am OBSESSED with Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. I make it a goal to read them both at least once every year. I copy down passages that I really like in a little notebook that I have... almost like some people do with the Bible. In fact, my roommates at Bob Jones University used to call Lord of the Rings my "other Bible."

7. And speaking of Bob Jones University... yes. I went there and managed to not get expelled, although I was socialled once. I think it's a wonderful school. The education and arts programs (oh, the operas they put on!!) were fantastic. The facilities were great. The faculty was kind and caring. The students were Stepford-esquely polite and polished. The grounds were gorgeous. I'm not ashamed to call it my alma mater, and I'm proud of the work they are doing to catch up with the times. My three years there were golden. But I'm glad to be done.

8. My alcohol experiences have been fairly tame. I had my first alcoholic beverage when I turned 21. It was a Mudslide milkshake at Applebee's. The first time I got drunk, I was 24. It was a bottle of Alice White Lexia wine. I had very kind friends who laughed at me. There was no vomiting.

9. My tuba's name is Sophocles.

10. I'm sure this will feel like TMI for some. My husband and I were virgins when we married.

11. HGTV and I are soul mates. Seriously. I love all things crafty, and I enjoy decorating my home.

12. I'm a pretty quick reader. I can read the average paperback fiction book in about 3 hours.

13. I have a culinary degree, and I'm not afraid to use it... to bribe people.

14. I love trying new recipes-- entrees, baking, drinks, you name it!

15. Battlestar Galactica.

16. I'm half Korean. Surprise!

17. Sigourney Weaver and I were separated at birth.

18. I love music. I think it is one of the greatest gifts of life. If music did not exsist, life would not be worth living. I like something from pretty much every genre.

19. My friends are my family. If I love you, I will bend over backwards to help you. If you hurt somebody I love... watch your back. And your front. And your car...

20. I usually totally ignore these things. And if you do, I won't blame you in the least bit. I also usually ignore the emails that end with "If you're really a Christian, you will forward this to everybody you know," etc.

21. My sister is in law school in San Diego, and I am super proud of her. She's pretty much my best friend and knows things about me that I would never ever tell anybody else. I always know that she will never judge me for my choices, thoughts, or actions.

22. I fell in love with my husband almost as soon as I met him. We got engaged after 3 months of dating, and got married 8 months after that. A LOT of my friends were really concerned that it moved so quickly, but they stood by me anyway.

23. I have one female Hollywood crush-- Katee Sackhoff aka Kara Thrace aka Starbuck.

24. Bargain shopping is my favorite. I love to buy something on clearance, used, or at places like TJMaxx, and then compare the price I paid to the original MSRP. Example: I bought Samuel a BRAND NEW Fisher Price swing at Goodwill last week. I paid $50 for it. It retailed at $140.

25. I spend waaaaay too much time on Facebook.