Oct 30, 2015

This is Halloween

I have just about crammed in as much spooky stuff in the last month as I can fathom as an adult without kids.
We visited a haunted house.
We watched the Poltergeist, Hocus Pocus, The Great Pumpkin, Corpse Bride, and Nightmare Before Christmas.
We stopped by my parents for dinner so my mom could show off her massive amount of Halloween decorations (it made me realize why I'M so into the holiday!)

As for Halloween itself, we are headed over to my SIL's with their kids to eat some good food and trick-or-treat. I am planning to make some spooky treats to take along!

And with that, I leave with my own festive Halloween decor around my home.
Enjoy!! Happy Halloween!!

Oct 28, 2015

Good for you, not for me

For the smallest second I jumped back into the deep end with blogging.
You know, the one where you join a bunch of other bloggers in a "social" group and virtually get to know each other and become besties?

Ha....does that even sound like me?
I mean, re-reading that sentence made my voice jump six octaves and overuse the word "like."
Side eye.

I picked the wrong group. I just sorta jumped in and didn't realize what I was doing.

Not a big deal, by any means, but it's kind of like looking at the gaggle of cheerleaders when you're in the band and not knowing how to break the ice.

Uhhhh.....wanna spin my flag? It's pretty neat! No? Oh...ok. 

The toughest part of blogging is deciding what group you want to speak to.
Who is your audience?
A lot of people pick a niche and run with it, be it fashion, cooking, weight loss, whatever.

But me? I'm sort of undefined.

At times it was heavy on the baby stuff (and will probably ramp up with that again next year).
At times it was more fitness involved.
But really, this little space of mine is just a product of how my mind works in my own little world.
And the way that it works is I tend to get super focused on things from time to time, and then at other times, I just kind of float...just above the surface.

Once I realized I was in the wrong group I kindly got the hell out of there as fast as I could.
Good for them, not for me.
Because all of a sudden I was getting invites to "events" where we would all get online together and chat about our blogs....but the event was ON A SCHOOL NIGHT.....AT DINNER.
No thanks.
Good for them, not for me.

I'm sure they will all be super friends but if there is ONE thing I have never been good at, it's having a large group of friends (of the girl persuasion). I have never had a tribe. I don't have a gaggle of ladies in and around my beckon call.

I have drifted.
Different between social scenes, things that inspired me here and there.
I've gained a few solid friends that will be around forever.
And lost a few too.

And that's okay for me.
I am rather independent and choose to do things on a whim.
And although sometimes I bauble and lose my way, and sometimes DO need the support of others, for the most part?
I'm cool.
I got this.

If I could sum up how I like to do things in one instance, it would be shopping.
I cannot stand having to choose outfits or chotchkes in the company of other women, or men for that matter.
Gabbing about life and looking at those objects, at the same time, overwhelms me.
I can't think straight.
I need time to weigh the pros and cons, see if I can find a better value, and then swoop in and out as quickly as possible and get it over with and get on with life.
I guess that's weird, right?

Not exactly I girly girl, I suppose. But then again, I find comfort working with all dudes.
Junk jokes mixed with a little tough-girl fashion and "get your hands dirty" is my game.

Alas, I have drifted off course and started including random snippets of my whole life in a post that rambles on about mostly nothing.
I guess what I'm trying to say is....do you, boo.

Whatever that is. With whoever it's with.

Embrace whatever it is you are good at and finally freakin' acknowledge what you aren't good at.
That counts too!

For me, I don't know if I'll ever find the right blogging clique. Hell, I don't even know if I WANT a blogging clique. Too much pressure, in a world that doesn't even really exist....right?

What I do know is I am grateful for the few readers I have.
It makes my ramblings about daily life and deep thoughts a little more meaningful, especially if one or two of you have gone through something similar.

And with that, I leave you with a photo of my dog who is sad because I cleaned out his ears.

Happy hump day, loves!
Oct 26, 2015

Unconventional Therapy: A Haunted House

I have been told I have a bit of a temper.
Trust me, I know, and I'm working on it.
I'm not perfect.
If I smell bullshit, I typically call it out, right then and there, figure out if I'm correct, and move on.
Well, apparently that can come off as mean.
So I kind of graze over the details, even though they still bother me.
Until they boil over and something stupid sets me off.
Then all the issues of the past day/week/month spew out at once.
It's no bueno.

Mark and I have been frantically working around the house and at our jobs, constantly.
So constantly that the only time we are together is to collapse on the couch and proclaim exactly HOW tired we both are.
We don't put each other first, we just assume the other will be there.
Until we're not.
There has been a serious lack of romance and caring and overall good attitude between us.

So here we are, on our ten year anniversary of meeting, bickering.
Bickering about schedules and love, or lack thereof, of selfish ways, of general sour attitudes.

And not but a couple hours later, we are scheduled to head off to a haunted house (that we LOVE, by the way) because I purchased a Groupon and we HAD to go that night.
Side note: I had no idea the place didn't open until 7pm. On a school night. And it's an hour away.
Lesson learned.

Anyways, Halloween is my jam and although still kid-less, I like to partake in as many spooky events as possible. I was going to that damn house with or without him.

It's always weird....fighting...and then having to suck it up and be in the same room together.
When you'd rather just kind of stay at a distance and sulk.
I showered and came back and apologized. Because as much as I can blame him for our employee-ish relationship with each other, we're a team, it's not just him.
Even though sometimes I feel I can do no wrong in this relationship, that isn't reality.
The reality is you get what you put in.
And if no one is putting in anything, no one is getting any. ;)

And as far as my mama was always concerned, I was required to make my own life, without NEEDING a man.
Sure, it's nice to have them around, but it's a WANT...not a NEED.
A luxury, if you will.

But as of last night, Mark and I have been a part of each other's life for TEN. YEARS.
And that's a mighty long time to just casually have a WANT in your life, right?

But what if it's not?
You know the best way to find out if it's a need or a want?
Go to a haunted house.
And have one of the reaper guys pick the two of you to head into the tunnel last, well after the others.
And then have him tell you that you have to go separate ways.

I panicked. Sure, I love all the effects and the actors don't really scare me, but can I really do this alone?
I gulped and looked at the pitch black tunnel I was about to head into.
I can do this, I said to myself, and started to enter.

And then stopped dead in my tracks.
I looked back at Mark and we both said we wouldn't go any further without each other.
I needed him in that moment as much as I need him in my life.
We are a team.
A team that let's the other one lead for a period of time through that spooky place, and then falls back to be dragged along as needed.
A team, that, when forced to lie down in an empty room, only to be buried alive by a psychotic amount of Playplace balls (talk about claustrophobia!) scrambles to reach for each others hands because it's getting hard to breathe and you don't know how much longer you can stay in this position.
A team that realizes you caught up to the original group, but still want to be scared, so you hold back and steal a kiss next to a bloody butcher shop.

And by the time we were out, we were dizzy, and a little disoriented, but we made it.
And were smiling from ear to ear at each other as we slurped up Frosty's and fries on the way home.

Can I take on this world without him?
But I don't want to. I need him in my life. He makes me whole.
And I just have to remind myself more often.
It's you and me, babe.

Thanks for reading!
Oct 21, 2015

For a split second...

...I didn't have fertility problems.
...we were going to chance it and let nature take its course.
...we were in the moment and we didn't want to shatter the connection.
...everything would be okay, there was nothing to worry about.
...I was giddy thinking it could happen naturally.

Ever since we found out we were a genetic match, we have been more than cautious.
There were two options, I go back on birth control, or we use protection.
We went with the latter...because...you know...hormones.

And I'm not going to lie that it hasn't zapped away a little of the moment every time.
It's kind of like being back in our early 20's...young, foolish, but not trying to be TOO foolish, if you catch my drift.

This weekend we kind of got caught up....in the moment...in our sheets.
Just blissfully unaware of the possible repercussions of simply fooling around.
I smiled thinking that there could be a shot...a 75% shot that we would be in the clear.
October would be a beautiful month to make a beautiful July baby, exactly what we wanted.
It could all be so easy...

But then I heard that rip.
And the wrapper fell to the floor.
And I was sucked back into reality.

Because our reality is a future that involves a lot of needles, and pain, and waiting.
Our reality is a complete loss of romance during the process.
It's regulated.
It's scheduled.

Sometimes I get down thinking about everything we have to go through next year.
I'm not good with needles, but it's something I will be forced to use, a lot, to ensure our baby's future is at its fullest potential.
I'm not exactly okay with weight gain (if not pregnant) and yet, it's part of the process.
I'm not looking forward to the night sweats and unbalanced hormones and the feeling I am losing control....even before I am pregnant.

For a split second this weekend, I was free from all of it.
In the second, we weren't the ones dealing with infertility.
We didn't have this looming IVF protocol hanging over our heads.
We didn't have to leave it to science to make our baby.

It would just....happen. Like intended.

Sigh.....I know it will be alright. Luck seems to be on our side during trying times.
And we are inching closer to our start date.
Just a bump over two months and we meet again with our RE.

Thanks for reading.
Oct 19, 2015

The weekend I needed

Welcome back folks.

I did it.
I'm happy to report back that I did minimal activities this weekend.

We met up with my family for my brother's and dad's birthday Friday night.
A couple of drinks and a good patty melt in our favorite over-decorated restaurant.

And we only had one snafu in the plan that kind of put a damper on my Saturday morning.

See this fabulous mug?

It ceases to exist.
And I'm totally sad about it because it was HUGE (twss)..and scary, obviously.

Saturday morning, I'm chilling on the porch swing, sipping coffee, all bundled up.
Watching the fall foliage, breathing deeply, and taking in how awesome life is.

And then my god damn dogs started fighting.

Cool, man.

Just as I was saying they have been so good with each other, I jinxed myself.
Their fights are terrible, but luckily I had a blanket and a huge mug of coffee because neither of them had collars on.

Burn was in rare form just before that.
I should have seen it coming. He kept sniffing and hovering over Crash...too much.
And Crash had had enough.

Mark was not home, so I literally jumped in the middle. Crash grabbed a hold of my hand, thinking it was Burn, and bit one of my fingers pretty good. Thank god I had that blanket as a bit of protection, I swear he probably would have bit it off it was so hard.

I was lucky that they just stopped. It was over.
I'm sweating and trying to breathe through the pain.
My precious mug was smashed all over the porch.
Coffee. Everywhere.

Some Saturday, huh?

So while I patched up my hand, I tried to brush off the situation and move on.
If there is one thing I have learned with these two, is they almost immediately forget they fought.

I finished my pumpkin bread, cleaned up the porch, and about that time, Mark came home.
The weather was just so beautiful I decided to shake off that morning and go for a run.
Post run, I spent over an hour in the tub with my wee ole' bottle of prosecco.

We made crock pot chicken burrito bowls for dinner and called it a night.

Sunday was much of the same.
Coffee in the hot tub, followed by some quick errand running, meal prep and window washing.

I turned down another jaunt with the family and instead took another bath and watched a movie with Mark.
The animals took advantage of the lazy day as well.

It was exactly what I needed to get back into the swing of things.
I must say, I do love other seasons outside of summer, now that I'm not commuting to the city.
There is so much effort and prep involved with schlepping all your stuff 90 minutes one way, plus wardrobe and footwear changes, plus trying to beat traffic, that just zaps all the fun out of it.

It's fun now.
It's fun to be a little more fashiony....even if it is just basic white girl style.
It's fun to see an outfit in full before I leave for work.
It's fun to have drapey oversized scarves and things that I don't have to worry will fly off in the Chicago wind.
I love hopping into a warm car with my warm coffee and jetting off to work.
I might be singing a different tune in a few months, but right now, I'm digging it.

Thanks for reading.
Oct 16, 2015

For better or for worse

I can't shake October.
I feel like I'm racing towards a finish line of an event I don't even want to be a part of.
And it's bringing out my shitty side. The side I try so very hard to shove way down into the depths of me, never to return.

I'm racing to catch up with all of the things in life.
And I'm tired.
I'm tired of doing, being, moving, putting in the normal effort.
I feel like I'm forcing myself to be sane right now.
Forcing myself to wake up before sunrise to work out.
Forcing myself to prep meals and take actions to avoid weight gain.
Forcing myself to be polite, and patient, and forgiving.
Forcing myself to keep my damn eyes open.
Forcing myself to be nice.

When I really just want to stay in baggy sweatpants, sleep 12 hours a day, and be snarky.
Real mature, I know.

When you have a goal to work towards...like prepping your home for summer, it's fun!
It's fun to put all the work in so that you can chill all summer and have a blast poolside.
But when your goal is just to stay on top of things so you can....stare at each inside to keep from the cold...it sucks.

I realize I am a total pity party of 1 right now.
Is it just me?
With all this negativity and anxiety?

The bags under my eyes actually feel heavy...like they are dragging my face down.
I need to get a grip.
It's only October. We still have six more months of this shit and it only gets worse.

This is my "for worse" side I guess.
Especially when I already feel like the world is stacked against me and then I call Mark in the middle of one of his meetings and flip out that he didn't feed the dogs.
Like it matters! Like it's even hard and something I can't handle.

Get a grip, you're probably saying.

The knife in my side about all this is Mark starts laughing and questioning how we'll be able to handle the upkeep with kids.
And I just looked at him at a loss.
I don't know.
I haven't the slightest idea.
I feel like we're already at our breaking point, and handling more just seems unfathomable.

So you know what? I think I am going to hang in my pj's A LOT this weekend.
Cook some comfort food and zen out.
Be lazy on the couch with the dogs.
Maybe do some yoga....ha...j/k... I may stretch though.
Take things slow.
Avoid getting sick.

Tomorrow is another day.
This gray cloud of emotions can't last forever.
I'm trying to embrace the good, see the beauty in Fall...stop and take a breathe.

I'll get through this rough patch. I always do.
Thanks for reading.
Oct 14, 2015

Seasons of life

This photo above is my view every morning as I am getting ready for work.
Just your typical lazy bulldogs, taking their morning nap, before their late morning nap.
But it wasn't always like this.

My two bulldogs have been together for the past four years, and man oh man, there have been tough times.
I had Crash (the tiny older Frenchie) for nearly six years before I thought it was a good idea to add another dog to the mix.
Burn bulldozed his way into our lives four years ago.
And like most dog owners, I honestly didn't think anything of it. I was rather naive, you know, thinking that two alpha males would just magically get along, with no real introduction.

The first two years with them being together were the toughest.
Crash didn't take too kindly to having to share his space with another dog that was literally in his face day in and day out.
Burn is rather curious. And still is to this day.

And they fought.
A lot.
And Mark and I had to break up a lot of fights. Together, and solo.
And the dogs got hurt.
And so did we.

And about six months into owning two dogs, Burn about the same weight as Crash, I was sitting in our old kitchen, in the corner...sobbing.
I had just broken up yet another dog fight, over the fact that they were both in the same room as me as I was eating.
There is this whole territorial food debacle that I didn't fully understand yet.

Mark was out with the guys. I was alone, pulling two 30 pound dogs apart with razor teeth.
Sweating, I crumpled to the ground and the tears were relentless.

Marked walked in about that time and saw me in the corner, visibly shaken up.

I can't live like this! I sobbed. I don't know what to do! It's never ending. I made a mistake. 

And I was even more upset knowing how much I loved Burn already...and here I was contemplating removing him from our home.

Mark suggested we give him to his brother. I half-heartedly agreed and tried to sleep on it.

But as Type A personalities go.... I needed to win.
The next morning I woke up with a feverish determination.

I won't give up. We aren't giving up. You don't give up on kids and remove them from your home and I won't give up on these two. We are all they have.

We knew if either of them were to ever to go another home they would end up in a shelter, and probably put down.
And come Hell or high water, it wasn't for lack of trying. Or training. Or classes or obedience or patience.
Training bulldogs is a life long process. And we sure as hell made some mistakes along the way.

But these two....man.....these two really grabbed a hold of our heart strings and held on as tightly as possible.

And with every passing season, I can honestly say things have gotten so much better.

We, as their parents, have learned and adapted to the ever so slight changes in behavior that could trigger a fight. I can hone in on something brewing out of the corner of my eye, half a mile away.
There hasn't been a dog fight in over a year.

Two years ago I couldn't leave them unsupervised to take a shower without a fight breaking out.
These days they sleep together.
Before they couldn't sniff each other without a fight.
These days they are tolerant.

They run with each other. They have a mutual respect for each other.

The days of Mark and I constantly holding our breath for fear of the next battle are long gone.
We feel like veteran parents. We have a "been there, done that" attitude that doesn't faulter when shit starts to hit the fan.

Crash will be ten in January.
And all the googling in the world will tell you that ten is the maximum life span for most frenchies.
I have a feeling he will be around much longer, though.
After everything we've been through, he is my little fighter.
He fought for his life during facial paralysis and neck spasms as a puppy, and getting hit by a car as an adult.
And if you ever met him you'd think he just turned 2, with his playful antics and quickness on his feet.

I do see his age sometimes.
When his legs give out trying to jump a step.
When he can't hear you calling his name and you're right behind him.
When he can't see you standing to his side.

But he's my little man. And his big (little) brother will be by his side for years to come.
Because there are many scents to sniff, and squirrels to chase, and tennis balls to destroy.
And he can't take them on solo.

Thanks for reading.
Oct 12, 2015

Getting caught up

Have I ever mentioned that October is exhausting?
Well it is. When I was out of work in the Spring, all the daunting tasks to get our home "summer ready" were met with enthusiasm because I had all the time in the world to get everything done.
Sure, it was still tiring, but it was all I had to do.
But now? I totally forget how unorganized our home gets over the summer.
Everything needs to be winterized, shut-down, cleaned out, updated....and with less daylight, staying up with all the "normal" everyday tasks on top of all the new tasks just gets overwhelming.

I started getting a bit of anxiety late last week because it seemed with every item I checked off my list, three more were added. It was all in my head and I couldn't think straight.
Panicked, I rushed to Homegoods and bought myself a little notebook and a portable calendar to stuff in the front.
And I wrote everything down.
All my work items, organized into checklists for Super important, Needs to be done, and Backburner.
And as ridiculous as it sounds, I made a home checklist too.
One that even included luxury tasks like dying my hair.

Because what happens is I'll have a task to rearrange some wine glasses from our old storage unit to the new. But then I realize that before I can just move that, I need new space for other items and a home for the old storage unit. So then that means I need to organize another room before I do the original task.
And that is how my to-do list grows.

Saturday morning I woke up and got to work.
And by 4pm I was we were out the door to a friends housewarming party.
I knocked nearly everything off my list and although proud, was spent.

We were supposed to go out on the boat for one final hurrah Sunday.
I still needed to grocery shop and meal prep, and generally get ready for the next week.
My body was just exhausted. The bags under my eyes spoke volumes.
Yes, I needed to do things, but I also need to do them slowly and take it easy.
It is Sunday, after all.

So I shoved Mark out the door to have an overnight on the boat without me.
While I was able to sneak in a vacation this summer, he hasn't spent a night without me, so I thought it was the perfect solution.
The boat is his dream. Not mine.
And I'm sure I would have had a great time, but still annoyed that my task list was never finished and here I am, hurdling into the next week on empty.

Off he went. In my new found free time, I rearranged our Halloween decorations again, meal prepped, and took Burn on a golf cart ride around the town, stopping at the river to watch the boats cruise by.

I ended the night on the couch and watched a few movies, tucking in earlier than usual.
And it was perfect.

I'm back to blogging now, and normal recaps. The house should be on auto-pilot through the winter, which is a much welcomed change. (Although, I'm sure I'll be cursing those words come February.)

The house is spookified.

The living room is totally updated.

Cabinetry before and after
The rooms that aren't visited often are completely organized and cleaned.
And of course, I have a lovely looking bar cart with all my favorites!

All is good with my world again.
How about you? Please tell me your task list isn't as overwhelming as mine! Or is it?

Thanks for reading!!
Oct 2, 2015

Weekend prep

I have QUITE the to-do list for this weekend.
I have already started panicking that October 1 has come and gone and I don't have a single Halloween decoration up!

But first, I MUST finish the living room. Like I said before, everything is waiting in the wings, I just need to get 'er done.

My checklist is as follows:

- Paint the living room walls
- Hem the new curtains and install
- De-clutter and remove existing entertainment system and wine cabinet
- Drill out a hole in the back of new wine console for cord management
- Style living and decorate for Halloween
- Help Mark winterize the pool :(
- Run the Color Fest race
- Don't get sick from running outside in 40 degree temps
- Don't get a hangover to finish the above list

And here is a revised decor board for the room, I can't wait to see the finished product!

Lighting // Paint // accessories from Homegoods // Bar Cart // Drapery (color Stone) // Wine Console

What are you working on/doing this weekend?
Happy Friday!!