Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 18: Your beliefs

I believe in God.  I always have.  I've seen too many things and had too many experiences with Him to be able to deny His existence.  I believe there is a Heaven and I believe I will be reunited with my loved ones when I get there.  I believe people have used God and the Bible to justify war and hate and all sorts of other awful things for hundreds of years and that God is probably really unhappy about that.  I believe Jesus was on to something with that whole "Love one another" thing.  I believe if we did more of that "love one another" thing and less of the "judge/harass/bully/hurt one another" thing, the world would be a better place.

That's the Cliffs Notes version of what I believe.  The later it gets, the less I remember.

Day 19: Disrespecting your parents

Ummm...don't do it?

Seriously, this one is easy for me, because I've always been (sickeningly) close to my parents.  And now that my dad is gone, I realize how lucky I was/am to have them and their influence in my life.  I know not everybody is as lucky as me, and there are some truly heinous parents out there.  But for me, there was never a question of whether or not I would respect my parents.  They were easy to respect!

Day 17: Ebb and flow

What are your highs and lows of this past year?

Oh boy.  This year...no, the past two and a half years, actually...have been a real roller coaster ride.  It started in June 2009 when my dad was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer.  He battled it for a year before succumbing to the disease on June 21, 2010.  Two and a half months later, in September 2010, my mom was diagnosed with a recurrence of the cancer she'd battled in 2003.  She fought long and hard, and in March 2011 was given a clean bill of health.  Yay!  Things were looking up!  Then, on Memorial Day, Jake came home from youth camp with a really red, irritated right eye.  4 days later, we found out that the eye disorder he'd had in his left eye 2 years previous had now developed in his right.  We also found out that the retina and optic nerve in his left eye were still swollen, and had sustained permanent damage.  It turns out he has a condition called pan-uveitis, which is swelling in all the layers of the eye.  They believe he has an autoimmune disorder, but have been unable to narrow it down to any particular one as of yet.  It has taken 7 months, a million appointments with a plethora of doctors, and massive doses of prednisone, but he's finally getting his vision back.  Having a child with a chronic condition, and the always-imminent threat of blindness is terrifying.  That has definitely been a low for me.

But there have also been highs.  The biggest one was obviously the fact that my mom conquered cancer again.  I don't know what I would ever do without her, and I am just not ready to let her go, especially so soon after saying goodbye to my father.  Todd started a new job last May, and in just a year and a half, has gotten a promotion and a substantial raise.  He's finally out of the roofing trade, and we are both so happy and relieved that he's working a job that is not dependent on the weather.  This is the second winter we haven't had to worry about his not being able to work if it's raining or snowing or too cold.  The frustration of worrying about money and dealing with unemployment and mounting bills definitely took a toll on our marriage.  It's been so nice to enjoy the holidays without worrying about how we were going to pay our utilities in the winter months.  The kids are now all in school, and it's been nice to enjoy the weekdays without having to play chauffeur to anybody.

So here we are, on the cusp of a new year.  My mom and I have decided that 2012 is going to be "Our Year of Good Things".  We have some exciting things coming up!  Mom is retired now and we can spend more time together.  I am determined that I WILL be enrolled in college by next fall.  I just need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  I'm hopeful that the finances will work out to make it possible for me to go to school.  I have the feeling that 2012 is going to have many more ups than downs.  We're definitely due for an UP year!

Day 16: Gettin' mah groove on

What are your views on mainstream music?

For the most part, I don't listen to much "mainstream" music.  I used to listen to country music pretty much exclusively, then one day, I heard my 3-year old singing "tequila makes her clothes fall off" and it hit me like a slap in the face.  I've always liked contemporary Christian music, and we started making shift to that genre.  It really helps that we now have a CCM radio station in our area, and with the iPod and streaming from KLOVE, we're covered pretty much 100% of the time.  We do listen to Top 40 stuff on occasion, and we're all big fans of Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, and a few others.  I do still love 80s music, and the Beatles are always welcome in our house.  But other than that, I'm really not into much "mainstream" music.  I don't care for a lot of the themes of the popular music, and the slightly prudish part of me cringes at the thought of my kids singing the lyrics of some of the popular music.  I think that the music we listen to can and does affect our mood, and I want to help my kids have a positive outlook.  For us as a family, listening to contemporary Christian is a way to keep the "church feeling" going all through the week.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 15: Your favorite Tumblr

Yeeeaaaaaahhhhh.  I have no clue what Tumblr is.  And if I go Googling now, it's almost like cheating.  So I'm just going to pick some of my favorite LOLcats and demotivational posters instead.

Day 14: Your earliest memory

Ohhh noes!  I missed a day!  See?  I can't even remember to post to my blog.  How am I going to remember my earliest memory?



Seriously.  I am drawing a total blank.

*wracks brain*

*scratches head*

Holy cow.  Has turning 40 fried my brain so completely that I now have no memories???

Okay.  I remember some stuff.  One thing that I always loved was when I got to stay at my grandmother's house.  I always felt so grown up when I went there, because I got to stay up late and watch Love Boat and Fantasy Island on Saturday night.  I remember how exciting it was when Grandma finally got a color TV.  It's weird that even now, 35 years later, I can still mentally "smell" her house.  We played a LOT of Yahtzee, did a lot of crocheting, and ate a lot of toast.  (Grandma always froze her bread in plastic baggies, and we had to toast it to eat it.)  Geez...I miss her so much!

I also remember being at my other grandparents' house a lot.  The one thing that comes to mind is The Beatles.  My grandmother was a HUGE Beatles fan, and we'd stack all of the LPs on the record player and listen to every single song while we were there.  My brothers and I were probably the only kids in the 70s who knew every word to every song they ever released.  The adults would hang out, drinking their beers, while the kids sneaked to the basement and drank as much Faygo pop as we could without exploding.  I can still hear the voices of my dad and the rest of the family harmonizing.  Hearing the song "Michelle" always evokes really powerful memories for me.  I still love every song The Beatles ever recorded!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 13: Stamps in my passport

Talk about somewhere you'd like to move or visit.

This is a blog post I can get behind!  I've always had a great desire to travel, but unfortunately, travelling is expensive so I've been unable to do very much.  But I've always had two places I said I wanted to see before I died:  Ireland and Australia.  I was lucky enough to get to go to Ireland in 2002.  It.  Was.  AMAZING.  It wasn't just that the country was beautiful (it's actually gorgeous), it was the fact that we met so many wonderful people on our tour.  Todd and I were such neophytes when it came to foreign travel--we were terrified about everything!  Once we got over feeling like strangers in a strange land, we had a fantastic time.  It's been almost 10 years since that trip and I still want to go back.  As far as Australia is concerned...I WILL get there some day.  There's just something about the Land Down Under that calls to me.  I don't know quite what it is, though I am pretty sure it's not Vegemite.  I want to see the outback and visit Ayers Rock and Sydney and Melbourne and Darwin and the list goes on and on.  I'd like to stay for at least two weeks, though I don't think even a month would be long enough to explore everything Australia has to offer.  I need to start saving my pennies!

I don't think I'd ever be able to move any further from Pittsburgh than I already have.  Twenty miles was bad enough--any further and I would have a meltdown!  I'm too much of a momma's girl to leave my mom behind.  If she came with us, I might consider moving.  But it would have to be a pretty fabulous place for me to leave my favorite city in the world!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 12: A day in the life

Bullet your whole day.

Oh, I'd like to put a bullet through my whole day, all right.  That's not what they meant?  Shooooot.  (Ha!  Pun intended.)  Fine.  But let me state for the record that I don't like this at all.  It's too much like work.

7:00am:  Alarm goes off for the first time.  Wake Jake, make sure he gets up, then plop back in bed for another 27 minutes of sleep.

7:30am:  Alarm goes off for Round Two.  Make sure Jake is at the bus stop, then wake Sam and Norah.  Pick out clothes, search for shoes, gloves, eyeglasses, books, folders, etc.  Gently nudge them toward the bottom of the driveway with kisses, hugs, wishes for a good day, and threats that if they miss the school bus because they're dawdling I will make them walk the 7+ miles to school.

8:03am:  Back to bed for a snuggle with the hubby, who is working 12hr midnight shifts and whom I saw for a grand total of 9 minutes yesterday.  See you in about two hours...

10:01am:  Phone rings, waking me.  It's Mom.  Roll out of bed, come to the kitchen, fire up the ol' Keurig.  Chat with Mom for about 15 minutes, while simultaneously making coffee, writing out a grocery list (toilet paper and toothpaste, toilet paper and toothpaste, toilet paper and toothpaste...), and working on the quilted table runner I'm making Mom that needs to be done in time for delivery tomorrow.

10:20am:  Hang up with Mom, sit down at sewing table to drink coffee and ponder what items I need to buy this week.  (Toilet paper and toothpaste.)  Finish quilting table runner, trim off the loose threads and extra fabric, and get ready to bind it.  (It'll be done by tomorrow--woot!)  Shoo various kittehs off of sewing project for the umpteenth time.  (Why are they so fascinated with being on the table???)

11:30am:  Finally get into shower, do my thang, get dressed, get prettified, and head to Washington to shop.

1:30pm:  Sam's Club for gas.  There goes half my money!  Stupid ginormous 24-gallon gas tank.

1:40pm:  Enter Hellmart.  Breathe huge sigh of exasperation at the sight of eleventy bajillion people milling around the aisles.  Try to rush through the store, only to get stuck at the cash register.  I felt bad for the cashier--she was a floor associate pulled from her department to ring register and she had no clue what she was doing.  Every customer in front of me had some sort of weird issue with their method of payment.  Argh. Those it was all made better by the major score I hit on pants.  3 pairs of really cute cargo pants (in black, brown and olive green) for $9 each.  Schweet!

2:45pm:  Finally at Aldi.  Rush through the list, get through the checkout line, only to realize I didn't buy sausage for tonight's dinner.  (Sausage, egg and cheese muffins just aren't the same without the sausage.).  Go back through the line, thank the lady in front of me for letting me go ahead of her, tell another lady how much we love the sausage, pack my bags and head home.

3:20pm:  Answer phone call from elementary school counselor telling me my darling daughter poked one of her classmates in the eye with a pencil.  *facepalm*  *headdesk*  *massive sigh*  Make multiple assurances to the counselor that I would address the issue with her upon her arrival home from school.  Call the husband and tell him what happened, and tell him to begin the removal of anything and everything that gives her joy from her bedroom.

3:45pm:  Arrive home, supervise the unloading and putting away of groceries, the packing and hiding of all of the girl child's personal belongings, and begin cooking dinner.  (Eating early this week because of the husband's work schedule.)

4:30pm:  Arrival of two younger children from school.  Question the girl about the day's events, and get blank stares and stonewalling as an answer.  Lecture the girl, upon her discovery of the empty state of her room, about the importance of appropriate behavior at school, the disappointment of her parents at the reception of another phone call from school administration, and the placement of said girl onto Santa's "naughty list".  Sit through 15 minutes of tears, weeping, wailing and general misery about the fact that girl child has to face consequences of her own actions.  Leave her in her room, with the lights off, to think about what she's done.

4:45pm:  Discover sleeping girl child, and make resolution to institute earlier bedtimes for her and her 8-year old brother.

5:00pm:  Wake sleeping girl child and haul her out of her room, lest she fall back to sleep.

5:10pm:  Scarf down a sausage, egg and cheese muffin while trying to keep up with the demands of three hungry males.

5:30pm:  Kiss hubby goodbye.  Have spent approximately 26 minutes with him in the last 3 days.  (Poor guy is working 80 hours in 7 days.)

5:50pm:  Realize Christmas is only 13 days away and panic over the following things:  not having sent out Christmas cards yet, not having started making teacher gifts, not having finished shopping for anybody but the girl child, and not having paid bills yet this week.

6:04pm:  Declare it to be "pajamas o'clock" and decide to stop caring about anything else this evening.

6:14pm:  Nenna OUT.  Hasta manana, y'all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 11: Finally--a no brainer!

Put your iPod on shuffle and write the 10 songs that pop up.

1.   "Lucky", Glee cast
2.   "Christmastime", Barenaked Ladies
3.   "Sing a Song", Third Day
4.   "Beauty Divine", Brandon Heath
5.   "Lifesong", Casting Crowns
6.   "Sing, Sing, Sing", Chris Tomlin
7.   "Love This Pain", Lady Antebellum
8.   "Nothing From Nothing", Billy Preston, "Elf" Soundtrack
9.   "Sing", Glee Cast
10.  "I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day", Steven Curtis Chapman

Going through my iTunes library really makes me want to go to the iTunes store and buy about $500 worth of music.  I really need to expand my music collection!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 10: And they call it puppy love

 Discuss your first love and first kiss.

We're really going into the vault for this one, aren't we?  Interestingly, my first love and my first kiss did not involve the same guy.  Not by a long shot.

My first kiss...

Picture it:  1985.  8th grade.  Big hair, Converse kicks and pegged jeans.  Grandview Park overlook.  Me, Rob P., and my annoying brother.  The kind of drama and tension only eighth graders can create.  Will he or won't he?  Significant glances, the touch of fingertips, the smell of way too much Polo cologne.  Annoying Brother interrupting over and over and over again.  Missed opportunity after missed opportunity.  The pressure of knowing curfew was arriving.  Annoying Brother finally saying, "Oh my gosh, are you just gonna kiss her or what???"  The release of tension that comes from laughing at Annoying Brother.  Two faces, drifting closer and closer together, lips finally touching...

My lip.  Getting caught on his braces.  Ow ow ow ow!  Blood everywhere.  So romantic.  NOT.  It will come as no surprise that we broke up a few days later.  The magic just wasn't there.

My first love...

My first love (true, total and absolute love) was Scott C.  He was my second high-school boyfriend.  The first was Jim.  He was a junior and I was a freshman, and he was so popular and cute and I never felt worthy of him.  I liked him a LOT, and probably would have fallen in love with him had he not broken my poor little 15-year old heart.  Scott came along when I was a junior, and he was a senior.  We'd had a flirtation that involved a lot of teasing, poking, and ridiculing over the previous two years, and when I was a junior, it finally escalated to something more.  I remember the day it *happened*.  It was the afternoon of open house, and I had to stay after school to prepare for a rhythmic gymnastics demonstration that evening.  We got done with our rehearsal, and Scott was hanging around, so we started goofing off.  Somehow, we ended up in the basement of the school, chasing each other (sooo mature, I know).  He cornered me in a doorway, and I looked at him, and in my best seductive temptress voice (*schnort*) I said, "Kiss me, you fool!"

And he did.  It was magical.  (No braces, no blood, no pain!)

We dated for about 5 months.  It was great.  My mom and his mom had gone to school together (or maybe worked together...I can't remember all these years later.) so our families had a connection, too.  It felt right, I fell madly in love with him, and thought he was madly in love with me back.  Right up until the moment when he announced, right before prom, that he was dumping me for my friend (a FRESHMAN, no less!  *clutches pearls*) and that he'd be taking her to prom.  I.  was.  so.  MAD.

Lucky for Todd, I didn't let the bad taste left behind by Scott, or any of the other guys who broke my heart, turn me off men forever.  And lucky for me, I ended up with the best guy of them all, happily ever after (and all that other romantic, gooey, heart-shaped junk).  I definitely picked a winner!

Day 9: Let me look deep into my crystal ball...

What do you hope your future will be like?

I hope it'll be good.

That doesn't really make for an interesting blog entry, does it?  Fine.  I'll elaborate.  I want to watch my kids grow up and be happy, healthy, productive members of society.  I want to grow old with my husband.  I hope to have gone to school and gotten an education that helps me find a career that fulfills me.  I want to spend as much time surrounded by the people I love, making wonderful memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  I'd love to have gotten to meet some of the amazing women I've met online by then.  (Hoochie meetup, y'all!  It's gonna happen.)  Is it sad and pathetic if I say I just want to be happy?  Because that's all I really want.

That, and uh, world peace.  Yeah.  World peace.  Definitely.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 8: I can't get no satisfaction

Discuss a moment you felt the most satisfied with your life.

Oh geez.  This is a tough one.  Seriously, the wording is really tripping me up.  "Satisfied" feels so generic, and for the most part, I'm "satisfied" with my whole life.  Let's see...some synonyms of satisfied are:  content, fulfilled, happy, pleased, pacified.  Hmmm...not really making it any easier.

Okay.  I'm gonna go total Momzilla here.  There are three moments that come to mind immediately when I think of times I felt "satisfied", and they are when my children were born.  I take no small amount of pleasure from the fact that for 9+ months, I nurtured and supported an entirely new life inside my own body.  With Jake and Sam, I labored for hours and hours.  I was in labor with Jake for 44.5 hours and pushed for nearly 3 hours.  The fact that he FINALLY came out and lived, despite the complications he had (my mother still talks about his pointed head and black eyes and strong resemblance to an alien at birth), was no small miracle to me.  10 hours of labor with Sam, only to need an emergency c-section, was disappointing.  But that disappointment gave way to satisfaction the moment I laid eyes on my beautiful son.  You know...the one I made.  With Norah, I decided to forego the danger of another labor and, though it made me feel like a bit of a failure, I had a scheduled c-section.  Which was horrible.  From the fact that I believe I was over-medicated, to the nausea that caused me to vomit the entire time, to the massive panic attack I had mid-delivery, to the failure of my uterus to clamp down post-surgery--it was all a nightmare.  But again, one look at that perfect little face (and that beautifully round head, ha ha) and the feeling of satisfaction I had far outweighed the horror of my surgery.  I made a PERSON.  Inside of me.  And after 3 devastating miscarriages, the victory of finally giving birth was utterly and completely satisfying.

There have been plenty of other times I've felt satisfied, but nothing has, or ever will, match the satisfaction I felt after each of my children were born.  Nothing at all.  Though winning the Power Ball lottery would certainly come in at a verrrrrrry close second.  ;)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 7: This is the dawning of the age of... Sagittarius.

What is your Zodiac sign and do you think it fits your personality?

(This is a brief synopsis)

Positive traits:
Optimistic and freedom-loving
Jovial and good-humored
Honest and straightforward
Intellectual and philosophical

Negative traits:
Blindly optimistic and careless
Irresponsible and superficial
Tactless and restless

Okay, I think the positive traits apply to me.  The negative ones...well, not so much.  While I am optimistic, I don't think it's blindly so.  I don't consider myself a careless person; I think for the most part I am very cautious.  Irresponsible?  Ha!  I've definitely made my share of mistakes and acted irresponsibly on occasion, but on a whole, I think I'm a very responsible person.  Superficial?  Not one bit!  Tactless...nope.  I always weigh my words very carefully and am the ultimate self-editor.  Restless?  Yeah, I'll cop to that one.  I've been battling the restlessness for quite a while now.  But I don't necessarily consider that a negative trait as I think that restlessness can often lead us places we never thought we'd go.

The complete article I read also mentioned that Sagittarians often suffer from rheumatism and sciatica, and I definitely suffer from sciatica.  (Just ask my chiropractor!)  The article was pretty much spot-on, with the exception of some stuff about how Sagittarians can often turn into zealots who tend to worship a religion more so than God Himself, which is absolutely NOT true about me.  I am definitely no respecter of religion and dogma.  One of the negative traits that it listed was a tendency to be impatient and to get frustrated easily with people who don't work at the same frenetic pace.  I am sooo guilty of that!  I also thought it was interesting that it said Sags and Tauruses couldn't maintain a happy relationship.  Todd is a Taurus and we've been happily together for almost 18 years now, so I guess these things aren't always 100% accurate!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 6: The Pursuit of the Trivial

List 30 interesting facts about yourself.

Mother of pearl.  Really?  Kill me now.  I am so tempted to copy one of the eleventy-two of these I've done in the past.  But I won't.  Because I'm stupidly honest like that.

1.  I hate mushrooms.  I will not eat even a little teeny tiny itty bitty piece of a mushroom willingly.

2.  I'm very crafty.  I have dabbled in scrapbooking, needlepoint, jewelry making, rubber stamping, knitting, crocheting, quilting, and making clothes, among other things.  I've got projects from pretty much every department of Michael's and Joann Fabric scattered around my house.

3.  I love photography.  Nearly all of the pictures on my walls are my own photography.  I covet a new camera, preferably a Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR with a Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens.  (Here is a link, just in case you want to buy me one and make all of my photography dreams come true.)  I love nature/landscape photography the most.

4.  I am left-handed.  2/3 of my kids (both boys) are left-handed.  My mom and one of my three brothers are left-handed.  Think it runs in the family or something?

5.  My eyes are very light aqua and are incredibly light-sensitive.  I have to wear sunglasses pretty much 365 days a year.

6.  I prefer cats over dogs.  Don't get me wrong--I love dogs.  Just as long as they belong to someone else.

7.  I love sappy, romantic movies.  And movies based on Jane Austen novels and movies about people in Victorian-type eras.  (I love period dress.  All those beautiful ball gowns!)  I despise horror movies and will not watch them.

8.  Speaking of movies, I have never seen Twilight or any of its sequels.  Don't want to either.  I'm Team Nobody.

9.  If you want to make me really happy, give me a task, along with a notebook and a pen.  I will make list after list until your project is as organized as can be.  I'm a listaholic.

10.  I love school supplies, especially notebooks and pens.  What can I say--I need someplace to write down all of my lists!

11.  I love meat and don't think I could ever become a vegetarian.  I'm trying to lower my consumption of meat, but a life without bacon is a life I don't wanna live, so I will unabashedly eat meat forever.

12.  I love to shop and am an avid bargain-hunter.  I don't remember the last time I paid full price for an article of clothing.  The clearance rack is my best friend, and I love coupons.  There's nothing I like more than getting an item of clothing that started out at $25 for the bargain-basement price of $4.

13.  I hate coming up with 30 interesting facts about myself.  (Yes, I know that's cheating.  Call the Blog Police and turn me in.)

14.  I want to use some of my in-laws' land to start a small Christmas tree farm.

15.  My hubby and I went to Ireland for a (very) belated honeymoon in 2002.  It was an amazing trip and I reallyreallyreally want to go back someday very soon.

16.  My dream vacation would be an extended trip to Australia.

17.  I've never been to Disneyworld.

18.  I'm trying to figure out a way to go to nursing school.

19.  A million years ago, I went to Duquesne University and had a double major of elementary and special education.  Now that I have kids, I can't imagine being a teacher for a living.  I think I'd go insane.

20.  I was raised Catholic and spent 22 years in the Catholic church before getting saved and becoming a born-again Christian.

21.  I was 24 when I got my driver's license.  In the almost 16 years I've been driving,  I've never had an accident, a speeding ticket or even a parking ticket.

22.  Speaking of driving, I can't drive a stick-shift.  I fear that I wouldn't be coordinated enough to figure it out.

23.  My mom and I are very close.  In fact, I consider her my best friend.  My other best friend is Kim, with whom I've been friends for almost 28 years.  She's pretty much the sister I never had.

24.  Todd and I knew each other less than 8 months when he proposed.  My first engagement ring was a marquis-shaped sapphire surrounded by tiny little diamonds.  It's since been replaced with a diamond.

25.  I've never smoked a cigarette.  Not even a single puff.  I've also never tried any kind of illegal drugs.  I was always kind of scared to do it, and it never really appealed to me anyway.

26.  On a good day, I can type almost 100 words/minute.

27.  I love animated movies.  I can watch them over and over.  And I've been known to cry during sappy or sweet scenes.

28.  One of these days, I'm going to follow through on my plan to "go off the grid" as much as possible.  I want to plant a raised bed garden, get chickens and goats, and install a rainwater catching system and solar panels, along with starting a compost heap.

29.  I love trivia games.  Having a head filled with useless knowledge is a distinct advantage over your opponents!

30.  I made it through this blog post!  Hopefully some of these facts are at least semi-interesting!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 5: This is the end, my friend

Has there ever been time when you thought about ending your own life?

Honestly, there hasn't.  I think it's partly because I'm too scared to do it, and partly because above everything else, I am an eternal optimist.  I am convinced things will always get better (and they always have).  Now that I have kids, the thought of dying at all makes me sad, and to die by my own hand and leave them behind to deal with the aftermath of that makes my heart hurt.  There have definitely been times when I wanted to crawl under my blankets and hide from the world forever, but to end it all...nope.  I just couldn't bring myself to even think about it.

Day 4: Losing my religion

Note:  the views expressed here are strictly my opinion, and are based on my own personal experiences.  This isn't a debate, so please don't tell me how wrong you think I am if you disagree.

My views on religion:

I'm a big fan of God.  I'm not a big fan of "organized" religion.  As a child, growing up in the Catholic church, something always felt off to me.  I thought it was because I wasn't doing enough to immerse myself in the church, so I threw myself into every activity I could to fill that void inside me.  It wasn't until I was older that I realized it had nothing to do with the fact that I wasn't doing enough for the church, it was that the church wasn't doing enough for ME.  It felt like our parish had become about little more than money and politics, and God was nowhere near the top of the list.   It wasn't until I met Todd and started going to his non-denominational church that I understood what it meant to feel at home at church.  Too often, with organized religion comes the desire for more bodies in the seats, and the quest for warm bodies frequently leads to greed and corruption and the pursuit of power.  I prefer a congregation where God is the primary focus, and everything else is secondary.  I'm not dissing *all* organized religion; the fact that I attend a church at all is proof of that.  But my own experience with a specific religion left me feeling empty and unfulfilled.

As for my actual beliefs...well, that's a post for a different day.  Day 18, to be exact.  I guess you'll just have to come back to find out what I believe in, won't you?  ;)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 3: Snortin' and drinkin'

Your views on drugs and alcohol:

I'm guessing my views aren't really innovative or controversial.  Alcohol is fine in moderation.  Don't ever drink and drive.  I'm not really a drinker; I can probably count on one hand the number of drinks I have in a year, but I'd never tell anybody else not to do it as long as they're responsible.  As for drugs...well, drugs are bad, mmmmkay?  Seriously, I'm on the fence about marijuana and legalizing it.  Having never tried it (really, never!) I have no idea how it affects the body, and the arguments for and against legalizing it contain such conflicting facts it's really hard to say.  As far as everything else goes, it's illegal for a reason, right?  I can't really see how anybody could say meth or heroin or cocaine or whatever should be legalized.

So yeah.  Drink in moderation and don't do drugs.  There's your PSA for the day, courtesy of little ol' me.

*cue "The more you know" music and the shooting star*

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blog Challenge: Day 2

Where you'd like to be in 10 years...

Oooh, this one is a toughie.  I'm hoping that by that point I will no longer be a stay-at-home-mom, since my kids will be nearly sixteen, eighteen and twenty-three by that point.  (They won't need me here after school by then, will they?  Pleasesaynopleasesaynopleasesayno!)  If my primary dream of winning the lottery and becoming a lady of luxury hasn't come true by then (and since I don't actually play the lottery I'm guessing it won't), I'd like to have a career going.  I'm hoping to go to school in the next year or two--for what exactly, I still don't know.  I'd like to get into either the medical field or maybe go to beauty school.  (Two very different career paths, I know.)  My cousin and I have talked about going to the local community college together and taking some non-credit courses in floral arrangement and party planning.  (Another dream of mine is to open a floral boutique/party planning business.)  With Sam and Norah being so young still, it's going to be hard to do nursing school because you have to be available pretty much 24/7.  I've been thinking of taking a phlebotomy certification course as a way to get myself into the field and then adding to it with a laboratory assistant certification and then maybe become a medical assistant.  After caring for my mom while she was sick and giving Jake his weekly injections, I know that I'm less squeamish than I ever thought I was.  On the other hand, I also have a real interest in becoming a stylist and doing hair.  That would definitely be the more playful and fun job!  No blood or guts and the only crying is over a bad haircut.

Sometimes thinking about the future makes my head spin.  I have a LOT of planning to do.  Maybe tomorrow I'll buy a lottery ticket...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And the challenge begins!

*deep breath*

Okay, I'm ready.  30 Day Blog Challenge begins...NOW!

Day 1:  Your current relationship, if single, discuss how single life is.

My current relationship status is married.  I haven't been single in for what feels like 150 years.  In reality, it's nearly 18 together, 16 married.  Holy cow.  That's a looooong time to be with just one person and still both be alive.

Todd and I have been together since just after my 22nd birthday, and I'll be 40 in two weeks.  We met on December 31, 1993 at Rodeo, a country-western line dance saloon.  (Stop laughing!)  The next morning, when my mom asked me if I'd met anybody the night before, I told her I met the man I was going to marry.

  On August 27, 1994, Todd proposed during a dinner cruise aboard the Liberty Belle Clipper.  He was so nervous he dropped the ring and it almost went through the boards of the deck.  It was so cute!  I knew something was up, and everybody in my family was acting squirrelly and giving me sappy smiles and "awwww"ing a lot.  He even asked my dad for my hand in marriage.  Such a traditionalist, my guy is!  On September 9, 1995, we said "I do".

The past 16 years have been full of ups and downs.  Some of the ups have been amazing (the births of our 3 kids), and some of the downs have been devastating (the deaths of my grandmother, my niece and my father).    We've overcome the tough stuff and we're still together.  There are times where we want to absolutely KILL each other, but we work through it and get over it and move on.  He drives me nuts at times, and there have been moments where I haven't been sure we'd make it.  But despite those bad days, there isn't anyone else I can imagine growing old with.  Like he always tells me (in his best Forrest Gump voice) "We go together like peas and carrots, Jenny."

Todd and I have always said we wanted to follow in our respective parents' footsteps:  we both come from families where the parents have 40+ year marriages.  We're nearly halfway there...I think we might must make it!