Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Sun Is Shining!!

I must say I am absolutely loving the beautiful weather we have enjoyed the past two weekends.  The temperatures have been miserable throughout the week, but somehow the clouds have parted and the sun begins to shine on the weekend.  Can't be mad about that!

My babies puppies have especially enjoyed this wonderful weather.  They LOVE going for a ride when the sun is shining.  Last Sunday I suggested to hubby that we take the dogs for a ride and let them run in a nearby field.  Steven was not so thrilled with the idea so I kind of sucker punched him.  He claimed the dogs were perfectly fine and didn't want to go for a ride.  Without warning him, I looked at Dixie and Bauer and said, "Wanna get in the TRUCK??"  That was it - off to the door they ran.  Steven shot me the "I cannot believe you just did that" look and off we went.

 Dixie thought she should drive

Let's Go Please!!!

Bauer loves to watch the cars go by

One happy pup

It feels so good to stretch our legs!

And again this Saturday the sun is shining and it feels great outside.  Unfortunately since we leave for Vegas tomorrow there isn't much time to take the dogs for another ride.  So we threw them out back and are letting them run wild.  Hubby caught a few shots of them when they weren't looking.  Yes - those are stick and branches on the back deck.  Bauer thinks it's so sweet that he brings us "presents" from the yard up onto the deck. "Look what I brought you mommy!!"  I'm just waiting for the day I open the back door and find a dead squirrel or something worse!

Dixie loves to sun bathe

Bauer wants to know what's going at the neighbor's house

Caught you Daddy!  Photo shoot over....

Hope you're having an equally beautiful and enjoyable Saturday wherever you may be!! 

Remember we'll be gone over the next three days visiting the Fabulous Las Vegas.  I'll be back Wednesday!!!  Have a great weekend!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Guest Post Friday - D.A.R.

FINALLY Guest Post Friday is BACK!  I just love asking some of my favorite bloggers to post for me on Friday (hey - it's a free post a week and my readers get to experience other bloggers!)  This week I have asked the incredibly talented D.A.R. to share with us.  She has an incredibly large following of devoted readers who share in her life and comment often.  And she has agreed to share some of her best kept secrets with us.  ENJOY!
Hello all! The lovely Amber asked me to fill in this Friday! I have to admit that I am a little nervous. This is my first time guest blogging! So, please don't throw tomatoes or email Amber and tell her that I am awful and ugly and smell. Kay? Thanks!

When Amber asked me to do this last weekend, I squealed with excitement and then immediately began panicking. What on earth was I going to write about? I mean, I can't live up to her fabulous posts! Thankfully she gave me a few ideas. One of them being a kind of "blogger how-to" post. Since I could think of nothing more exciting than talking about blogging, I thought I would share some of the things I have learned the hard way about the blog world.

Plus, I like rules.

And lists.

So, here you go.

d.a.r.'s list of bloggy tips and secrets:

1. Have fun with it and be yourself. Seriously, unless you are teaching rocket science on your blog, you should have fun. Well, unless you find rocket science fun, and in that case, rock on!Write about things that you love. I love running, my dogs, reading, cooking, and shopping. So that's what I blog about. People will love you for this because it is genuine and authentic. I don't post tons of artsy pictures because, quite frankly, I suck at photography. I am lucky if I can get a picture that is centered and not blurry. I don't blog about arts and crafts and DIY stuff because I am the antithesis of Martha Stewart.

2. Find your own voice. We are all unique, we shouldn't try to conform. I am snarky, sarcastic and just plain spazzy, and that is what you get on my blog. Not everyone is the same way. But, again, it is genuine and authentically me. Whatcha see is whatcha get. I have my own voice and I think that is part of the charm of my blog. Or any blog.

3. Expand your horizons. I kid you not, I actually read a post by a girl who said she just had too many followers and not enough time to read their blogs or comment back. Seriously? Now, I am not superwoman and I certainly do not comment on each and every blog I read every day. But, I do comment, and I reply to emails, and if you have your email enabled on comments, I oftentimes email your back. I think it is a courtesy thing, actually. You get what you give, right? And the "perk" to this is that a lot of my followers have become followers because they saw my comment on someone else's blog, clicked on my link, and started reading. What better way to advertise your blog and find new and different readers?

4. Know your limits. While I feel that honesty is the best policy and my bloggy friends who know me in real life can attest that what you see on my blog is pretty much how I am in real life, I have limits. My husband is military and doesn't want his rank, unit, military post, our real names on my blog.He has also informed me that he would feel very uncomfortable with me talking about our sex life {which is unfortunate because I have some hil-ar-ious stories..let's just say that we have very curious dogs who don't like being left out or ignored...}. A lot of people stay totally anonymous and don't even put pictures up--which is fine! Just know your own limits.

5. Write what you want to read. I know that a lot of bloggers use their blog as an outlet. Which it should be! But, I tend to shy away from negative crap on my blog. Sure, my life isn't always rainbows and sunshine. But those days aren't exactly something I want preserved on the Internet for ever and ever. As it turns out, I've found out the hard way that most people don't want to read about how my husband and I got into a fight over the dishes...again. I occasionally blog about the bad stuff, like when my husband drove over and detonated several IEDs {bombs, basically} while in Iraq this summer, or when my grandfather died, but for the most part, I keep things fairly upbeat.

6. You are not perfect and neither are they. As you are blogging about your fabulous new house, your gorgeous baby, your fantastic wedding, and your perfect marriage, keep in mind that not everyone is going to agree. It's what makes the world go 'round--we are all different! So, bear that in mind when you open your life up to the inter-webs and the anonymous crazies who have nothing better to do than leave rude comments. Just don't take it personally, kay?

This blog world is crazy, weird, fabulous and amazing. It is crazy to me--there is a niche for everyone! Girls trying to conceive, mommies, military wives, law students, attorneys, wives of medical students, newlyweds, amateur decorators, crafty ladies, cooks and bakers, photographers, girls planning weddings, runners...if you haven't found a blog you completely click with, you aren't looking hard enough!

Thanks for listening to my rambling today, I know I cannot live up to the lovely Amber, but I hope I at least didn't put you to sleep!

love, d.a.r.
Some pretty good stuff, huh?  Thank you so much for sharing D.A.R.  I super puffy heart your blog and I'm so happy you were willing to stop by my place and share with my amazing readers.  HAPPY FRIDAY YA'LL!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If I Were...

I’ve seen so many people do this and thought, wow what a great idea. This will be a cute, quick post to do mid-week. Wow – was a I wrong!! As always, I overthought my answers and it has taken me forever to determine what I would be and why. Agh…the complexities of my inner workings!!! Hope you enjoy!!!

If I were a month, I’d be June. I’m a summer girl – I was a June bride.

If I were a day of the week, I’d be Sunday. Church with the family in the morning, because faith and family are pivotal to who I am.

If I were a time of day, I’d be happy hour. Not necessarily for the boozing – but because of the excitement in knowing your off the clock and time is yours to enjoy as you please.

I were a planet, I’d be Earth. It's the only place that's livable!

If I were a sea animal, I’d be a sea turtle. Steady, wise and long lasting.

If I were a direction, I’d be south. No matter where I may go, I’m always drawn back to the South, my home.

If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be a dining room table. Gather friends and family around me, share your secrets, tell your sad stories, I’m here to listen.

If I were a liquid, I’d be water. Nourishing, accessible to anyone, fresh.

If I were a tree, I’d be the Dogwood. A perfect tribute to the Southern way of life.

If I were a tool, I’d be a level. I enjoy helping others determine if their lives are straight.

If I were a kind of weather, I’d be the respite just before a storm. Often beautiful, ever changing, and hard to predict.

If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a piano. If played correctly, beautiful and inspirational. But hit a wrong key and I can be ear piercing and harsh.

If I were a color, I’d be hot pink. Bright, confident and sometimes out of place.

If I were an emotion, I’d be awe. Consistently struck with gratitude and inspired by the people who surround me.

If I were a fruit, I’d be a strawberries. Great in any situation. Spruce me up and cover me in Godiva chocolate. Keep it simple as strawberry shortcake – I’m comfortable in many situations.

If I were a flower, I’d be a pink gerber daisy. Simple, tasteful and cheerful.

If I were a sound, I’d be a sigh. Sometime a sign of contentment, others a sign of frustration. Many meanings – difficult to interpret.

If I were an element, I’d be gold. Valuable, moldable, rare.

If I were a car, I’d be my American made Chevy Malibu, LTZ. Classy and stylish like a foreign model, but a little more practical and affordable – sticking to where I come from.

If I were a food, I’d be potatoes. Inexpensive with multiple uses – always yummy!

If I were a gemstone, I’d be a blue sapphire. The stone of loyalty and fidelity - two traits I hold in high regard.
If I were a material, I’d be cotton. Dependable, comfortable, inexpensive.

If I were a taste, I’d be savory. Complex, satisfying, bold.

If I were a place, I’d be the beach. Inviting and enjoyable.

If I were a scent, I’d be the smell of dust from a peanut field after it has rained – exotic in it’s own way and something very few people truly appreciate.

If I were a body part, I’d be the eyes. Take it all in, constantly looking and inquiring, never settled.
If I were an object, I’d be an old school planner. Organized, well planned and constantly filled with way too many appointments!

If I were a facial expression, I’d be a smirk. Sarcastic, challenging, sometimes irritating.

If I were a song, I’d be She’s Everything by Brad Paisley.

If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be a pair open toed three inch wedges. A little more practical than stilettos, but still trendy and fun.

What would you be, if you were????

The Best Part of Waking Up....

What better way to start your Wednesday than by receiving an award? Not only receive an award – but by being on the of the first recipients for a maiden award!! Kate over at Imagine All The People, Living For Today has created the “The Best Part of Waking Up” award!

According to Kate:
"The best part of waking up..." award is awarded to the 5 bloggers that you're most excited to see have posted when you log into your dashboard/google reader/ whatever. Yes, only 5! If you're always checking someone's blog to see if they've posted, they deserve this award!"
Oye – only five people? I check at least 15 blogs habitually almost every day! So in order to narrow the field, I have decided to only pass this award along to my favorite bloggers who pass awards along themselves. I know some people appreciate receiving awards, but don’t display them or pass them along to others, which is absolutely fine, but  this is Kate’s first award and I want to it spread like wildfire.  :)

With that being said, my top five blogs that I love waking up to would have to be:

KatieF at The Life Of An Army Wife
Kelly at Keeping Up With Kelly & Co
Brittany at XoXo, Brittany
Allissa at Newlywedded; Life, Love & Me
Julie at Brown Eyed Belle

So please share the love with some of your favorite bloggers – and don’t be afraid to give the award to someone who may have already received it. If you absolutely love reading their blog, then let them know.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Look at me – two posts in one day! I just can’t help jumping on Taylor’s “Top Two Tuesday” – this week it’s time to share your top two TV shows.
This is incredibly difficult for me. I honestly love TV way too much and our TiVo is constantly recording something. Lately hubby and I have resorted to renting entire seasons of shows such as The Office or Parks and Rec. It provides hours of entertainment for an otherwise boring weekend or makes a great “stay at home” date night.

If I had to pick, my current top two shows would be:

I mean – we named our dog after Jack Bauer. He is the man! And somehow he always manages to stay alive and save the day. I can feel my adrenaline pumping every Monday night as we watch to see what Jack gets into next.

And next would have to be Modern Family
I love ABC Comedy Wednesday – but Modern Family is by far the funniest! Sadly, I’m pretty sure Steven and I are destined to be Claire and Phil with (hopefully) three wild kids and constant mishaps and craziness in our home.

Some other noteworthy favorites would be Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory & Criminal Minds.

What are your Top Two??

Housework Tuesday - Shark Steam Mop

So as many of you already know from various complaints and comments over the past months – I HATE cleaning my hardwood floors. We have hardwoods throughout our entire house, and while they are beautiful, they are a pain to keep clean. Sweeping and moping the entire house can take anywhere from 2-3 hours depending on how dirty the floors are.

When we first moved into our house I completed the entire process the old fashioned way: sweeping with a broom and shining the floors wood cleaner & a mop. It was exhausting. Less than half an hour in, my back would begin to ache. By the time I was finished, my entire body was covered in sweat, my head was pounding & my every muscle in my back twitched with throbbing pain.
I will never forget the day I was introduced to the Shark Steam Mop. I was on the treadmill banging out a quick run when an infomercial flashed across my personal TV. Billy Mays promised that the Shark Steam Mop would change the way I felt about cleaning my floors – it would save me time and pain. I’m a thrifty spender so the price tag sent up a red flag - $100 for a mop!?!? I wrote off the infomercial and decided I would rather spend the $100 on something better and I would just deal with the hassle of cleaning my hardwood floors.

Midway through my next weekly (okay – back then I hated it so much it was sometimes more like biweekly) flooring cleaning ritual, I broke down. I was beyond my breaking point – I couldn’t do it anymore! Covered in dust and dog hair from sweeping, with my hair all a mess and reeking of floor cleaner I grabbed my nearest 20% off coupon to Bed, Bath & Beyond and sprinted out the door. As I walked through the doors of BB&B I was approached by a salesman, “Can I help you ma’am?” “No – I know exactly what I’m here for.” Fifteen minutes later I walked out the door with my $80 steam mop in hand (gotta love those coupons!)

My husband was more than shocked when he came home that evening. “I spent $80 on a mop today. If you get to spend money on tools and equipment for the yard then I can spend money to make my chores in the house a little easier.” The blank stare on Steven’s face was answer enough…whatever you say sweetie…whatever you say…..

The first time I used the steam mop I was beyond amazed. It really does clean anything – Billy Mays did not tell a lie! I love how easily the mop glides across my floors. It makes cleaning so much easier and less tiresome. Recently I picked up Pledge Hard Wood Floor cleaner. I spray a gentle mist over the floors before I mop with the steam cleaner and it adds an extra shine that I love – plus it makes the house smell great!

I’m not going to lie – I still hate cleaning my floors. I especially hate how quickly they become dirty again (dogs will do that I guess!) But I will say that the Shark Steam Mop has saved my back and quite possibly my marriage. You see, if I had to spend one more grueling minute cleaning my floors while my husband sat on the couch asking me “Why are you pushing so hard?? Just calm down” someone was going to get hurt – and considering that I was the worked up one with a long, metal object in my hand, chances are it would have been Steven.

For anyone who has hard wood or tile floors, I would strongly recommend the Shark Steam Mop. In my opinion it is well worth the money – and I truly do not say that often! What about you? Have you made any “splurges” on an appliance that has saved your cleaning life? Have you ever wasted a lot of money on something that was supposed to be the best but turned out to be a dud?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Getting To Know Me

Happy Monday to my lovely readers! I have seen many people participate in the “Getting To Know You” survey provided by Mannland5! and I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Feel free to do the same!

1. How often do you wash/change your sheets? I generally wash or change them on a weekly basis. At the very most it would be about 9-10 days.

2. When is your birthday? March 11th. The big 2-5 is coming up! Hubby is taking to me to Vegas to celebrate this weekend (we found a great package so decided we could go a little early!) I can’t wait to see a Cirque show and visit the hotels and museums.

3. Have you ever met a bloggy friend in real life? I actually am friends with Tess at Adventures in Being a Homeowner – I kind of introduced her to the bloggy world. I also have plans to meet Katie F sometime in March.

4. Brad Pitt or George Clooney? . George for sure. He’s just got that funny/bad boy with a sweet side thing going on. Plus, I can’t handle Brad & Angelina. Who in the world leaves Jennifer Anniston? Honestly….

5. If you could change one thing about your body what would it be? My thighs. I’ve always had rather large thighs – they are not proportionate to the rest of my body at all. No matter how many squats, lunges or miles ran, they just won’t go away. It’s irritating to say the least!

6. How often do you wash your hair? Pretty much every day. Everyone once in a while if I’ve had a rough night’s sleep or if I’m running really behind I will do a cute ponytail and skip washing my hair – but that’s rare and I never go more than two days without washing. I’m a natural blonde with baby fine hair – I look like a complete grease ball if I go too long without washing.

7. Do you have pets? Of course I have children pets. We have two beautiful, excited, loving, drive-me-crazy boxers: Dixie and Bauer. For super cute pictures of them in the snow click HERE

8. How many social networks do you belong to..if you had to give up one, what would it be? Facebook, Linked In & the blogging community. I have been considering giving up FB for a while now. I rarely “stalk” anymore. I just go one quickly, update my status and tell everyone happy birthday. That’s about all I’m interested in – I spend too much time blogging – I can’t balance both! LOL

Now that I've bored you with random knowledge about myself you can get back to what I hope is a productive Monday!!  :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Sunshine Award

Yay for awards - such a great way to end my week (I consider Monday the start of the week - I guess it's debatable!)  Katie F over at Life of an Army Wife awarded me the Sunshine Award.  What a great name for an award. 
The rules are pretty simple:
1. Post the logo on blog
2. Pass the award on to 12 fellow bloggers
3. Link the nominees blogs so other can get to know them
4. Let nominees know they have won this award by commenting on their blog
5. Share the love and link to the person who received this award from.

So in an attempt to spread the Sunday evening cheer - I pass this award along to the following fantastic bloggers.  I hope it brightens your day as much as it did mine!
-*b* at Confessions of a New Mom
-Kathryn at A Nerd and a Free Spirit
-Annie at Chapters of our Lives
-Heather at Live.Love.Laugh
-Hailey at Destined For Royalty
-Alissa at Newlywedded: Life, Love & Me
-Brittany at Simplicity in Baltimore
-Short Southern Momma
-Brittany at XoXo, Brittany
-Taylor at Jimmy Choos and a Baby Too
-Laura at Cowboy Boots and Baby Booties

You should check them out - they are fantastic bloggers.  Wishing all my readers a fabulous week!!

Keeping Foxes Out Of Your Marriage

Steven and I experienced another Sunday under the spotlight at Five Stones this morning.  Once again, it was as if Pastor Greg had a hidden camera in our house and preached a sermon directly targeted at our marriage and ways we could improve our communication with one another.  So again, I figured if his words of wisdom are valuable to me, they might be valuable to other married couples - or really anyone in any kind of relationship - romantic or not.

Pastor Greg cautioned against four "foxes" that are detrimental to marriage - allow these attributes to fester in your marriage too long and you just might end up divorced or in a contemptuous, love-empty marriage.  Like a menacing fox in a beautiful garden, these acts of malice and destruction wreak havoc on our marriages.

  • Criticism - this act targets a particular person in an accusatory manner.  For example - "You always...", "I can't stand it when you...."  When you begin criticizing your spouse, you immediately put them on the defensive - instead of addressing their actions, you address them.  It isn't that you want them to change their action, it's that you want them to change themselves.  Instead of addressing them - try to address their actions.  Use phrases such as "I feel XXX when you..." or "It makes me frustrated/concerned/upset when..."  This will help your partner understand what they are doing that causes you to become upset without making them feel attacked or belittled.

  • Contempt - contempt manifests itself as an attack through harsh words, tones or mannerisms.  Phrases such as "You idiot!", "How could you be so stupid!?!",  "What were you thinking?"  Once again, this fox causes your partner to feel attacked.  Instead of name calling or going for the "low blow", take a time out.  Breathe - focus on what the fight is really about - don't lash out and make things personal.

  • Defensiveness  - this fox is a direct result of criticism and contempt.  When a partner becomes defensive it becomes even more difficult to address the problem.  We become less likely to listen and communicate clearly - the purpose of the fight is now to prove ourselves, prove our worth - the fight is no longer about the original issue, it has become personal

  • Stonewalling - stonewalling also occurs as a result of criticism and contempt.  This happens when a partner shuts down completely.  When a fight becomes too much, one partner may retreat emotionally and all lines of communication close.  Facial features go blank, responses become non existent and it becomes impossible to reach an understanding or settle the argument.
When Pastor Greg first started talking about criticism I thought, "Oh yeah - that's right Greg - you keep talking to Steven because he is WAY too critical."  Almost everything he said about criticism mirrored Steven's actions in our big fights.  I sat there with a big smile on my face feeling a little self righteous.  Then Greg moved onto contempt.  Oh no!  Just keep talking about criticism!  He pretty much put a HUGE nail in my shiney self righteous coffin.  I resort to name calling and low blows far too often when our fights get out of hand (this could be one of the main reasons our fights get out of hand!)  I know exactly where Steven's sensitive buttons are and I go for the kill shot.

Not only did Pastor Greg call us out regarding our unfair fighting tactics, he also described how each of us respond perfectly.  Steven becomes incredibly defensive.  My harsh words leave him feeling as if he must prove his worth as a man, prove that he is a good husband and it isn't pretty when he is on the defense.  I on the other hand resort to stonewalling.  When things become too hot to handle, I shut down completely.  Although I am more than happy to contribute to the heated argument, I rarely am willing to take the steps necessary to make amends - I'm too exhausted, too fragile, too hurt.  So the fight ends. I refuse to speak anymore, I retreat to another room and 10-15 minutes later we pretend as if World War III never happened - we're magically happy again.

Mind you - this doesn't happen often.  Thankfully, we are learning to communicate well enough that these knock down dragouts happen less and less frequently, but when they do, they always end badly. 

Once again, I feel like we have both learned a little something about each other.  We are committed to "fighting fair".  I look forward to hearing what Pastor Greg has to say next week - I feel as if this is the best free marriage counseling I've ever gotten!  If you want to hear Pastor Greg's sermon for yourself, feel free to visit Five Stones Online

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shame On Me

Do you ever wonder when enough will finally be enough? I think I have passed blown through reached that point. I’m not trying to be a brat about all of this. I’m not trying to throw some pity party. “Poor Amber – she just has it so bad!” Because the truth of the matter is, that I am blessed – and I fully aware of that. I have an amazing husband who loves me even when I am a terror a brat selfish destructive unlovable. I have a successful career and we own our own home. We are blessed with parents and families who care for us and nurture us. But still…yesterday when I slammed into an oncoming car I felt like I had hit rock bottom.

The short and simple version goes something like this: I was turning left onto a busy, four lane street. Traffic on the right and left stopped and both drivers gave me the friendly wave to come on out. I peeked around the car to my right to see if another car was coming up the second lane and saw nothing. Sure as hell as soon as I started to make my left hand turn a white car came hurtling up a hill. I slammed on my breaks, but I was too late. We collided. And my car now looks something like this….

Surprisingly, I did not cry at first. My mind began to play through the “what next?” Check on the other driver – she’s fine. Call the police – no one is hurt, please send a traffic officer. Call the insurance company – how do I file a claim and have my car repaired. Try and move my car to a parking lot where it is safe. In the mix of all the commotion about 6 or 7 “gentleman” approached me asking if I needed help. Two of them actually offered to stay with me until the police came. Shockingly – none of them offered to help the older lady who was also in an accident. I guess my sweet little, “ohhh I can’t believe this – please feel sorry for me” face really does work.

The traffic officer was incredibly helpful. he was polite and issued no citations nor did he assign fault. He offered to call a tow truck for me at which point he asked, “Is there anyone who can come pick you up?” And that’s the point where I lost it. OMG – Steven is flying home from Indianapolis. I have no one to call. I am all alone. My parents are hours away. My in-laws are hours away. I am stranded in Uptown Charlotte with no one to care for me. Okay so maybe I was being a little crazy ridiculous dramatic – but I just couldn’t shake the feeling of loneliness. What if I had been really hurt? What if I had gone to the hospital and my closest loved ones were hours away? Ugh…it makes my stomach hurt to think of it.

Then I made the call I was dreading the most:
Steven: Hey babe! What’s up – I’m headed to the airport.
Me: I want you to know that I am fine, but I’ve been in a car accident. I’m okay though.
Steven: You’re kidding me?
Me: Nope – working with the police officer right now. I’ve already called State Farm and a tow truck is coming. I’m so sorry – I’m so sorry!
Steven: Honey, why are you apologizing? This is why we have insurance. Mistakes happen. I’m so glad you are okay – this is not a big deal. It’s okay.

I mean seriously? Couldn’t he just have freaked out on me a little bit? Because I certainly would have if the shoes were reversed. My biggest downfall is that I can’t keep a positive outlook in a crisis. I immediately start thinking gloom and doom. And to make matters worse I don’t keep the gloom and doom thoughts to myself – I share them so that everyone else starts to panic with me. But my perfect husband said exactly what I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed to hear and it and some irrational part of me was kind of annoyed about it.

I was even more annoyed that Steven was traveling when it happened. I mean, isn’t that what you get married for? So when you get into an accident you have someone to come and pick you up and just take care of everything for you? So you can mindlessly go through the motions until the shock wears off? But no…I was stuck in the cold making all the calls for myself and finding a ride to the car rental place and then filing all the forms myself. I was square in the middle of a prime time pity party and it wasn’t pretty.

I was irritated that Steven was compassionate and understanding when I made a mistake? I was mad that Steven was traveling when an unforeseen emergency happened– which by a way he travels as a requirement for his job that he performs so well and does in order to provide a wonderful life for us?? Oh yeah – I was in full on crazy mode and there wasn’t much stopping me. Thankfully by the time Steven made it home, I had calmed down significantly. I was just happy to see him. I was happy to hug him and know that everything truly would be okay. Accidents do happen. Unforeseen events in life are going to occur, but as long as I can run home to him, I think I’m going to be okay.

And now, almost a day later I feel like an ungrateful, selfish brat. As I complain about having to pay a $500 deductible to get my car fixed, there are people who have lost their jobs and are unable to provide food and shelter for their families. As I complain about a little paperwork, there are men and women losing their lives overseas to protect this country. As I complain about “life stresses” that just get me down, there are families fighting cancer and praying for one more day with their loved one.

Oh yeah – I’m a brat and I need to cheer up. Truth be told, I’m fortunate. I’m blessed. I’m saved by the grace of God and I’ve been given more mercy than I deserve. I’m young – I’m healthy – I’m free and I take it all for granted. Shame on me…shame on me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

And The Hits Keep Coming

As many of you know, hubby and I have been having a rough couple of weeks.  The stresses of life are starting to stack up against us.  Unfortunately, today brought more bad luck.

I was in a car accident this afternoon.  Yes, Steven was sideswiped last Friday night and I was in an accident today.  I know...I know...  Thankfully no one was hurt.  I'm a little sore and stiff, but I will manage.  I'm mainly annoyed.  Can't a girl just catch a break?

Details to come tomorrow - but for now I'm just exhausted and craving chocolate.  Oh and BONUS - I decided to give up candies & sweets for Lent.  So I'm sad, sore and craving something that I'm not allowed to have.

Pictures and my sad story to come tomorrow...maybe by then I will have a better outlook and find some humor or good in all this.

Thank God tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Need A Makeover

That's it - I'm fed up.  No matter how many times I play around with my background and colors - no matter how many hours I spend trying to figure out blog coding and formatting - I just can't find a blog style that I'm happy with.  I feel ugly...and no woman likes feeling ugly.

So I'm breaking down and hiring a professional.  I figure, if I can spend good money on my real life persona why not spend a little dough on my online persona??  I was trying to hold off until my upcoming birthday (yeah - let's not talk about that), but I just can't wait any longer.  I've enlisted the assistance of Krystyn at Krizzy Designs.  She's done some great work and I can't wait to see what she comes up with for little old me.

Now if only real life makeovers could be this easy.....

My Top Fives

I am having one of those days where I just don’t feel like posting anything too deep or meaningful – I just don’t have it in me. So I thought I would share some of my Top Fives!

Top 5 Hygiene/Makeup Products
1) Benefit Erase Paste – Best concealer I have ever used! Works anywhere on the face!
2) Jergens Naturals Total Nourishment – This lotion leaves my skin feeling smooth, moist & fresh. I use it daily.
3) Pantene ProV Restoratives Conditioner – It’s like a little bit of heaven for your tired, dry hair
4) Differin Gel – I have always struggled with bad skin – this prescription gel has whipped my skin into shape!
5) Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara – L.O.V.E I.T.

Top 5 Celebrity Men
1) Justin Timberlake – Let’s face it – he brought sexy back!
2) Channing Tatum – I don’t care if people say he can’t act – I could stare at him all day.
3) Petyon Manning – He’s arguably the best quarterback to ever play pro football – enough said!
4) Taylor Lautner – Yes – this makes me a cougar – but I don’t care. Have you seen this kid!?!?!
5) Bradley Cooper – He’s funny, rich and gorgeous. Total package?

Top Snacks/Junk Food
1) Salt & Vinegar Chips – I could eat these every day!
2) Krispy Kreme Doughnuts – It’s take every ounce of will power I have to keep driving when I see the “Hot Now” sign flashing!
3) Chips & Salsa – I could eat my weight in restaurant style chips and salsa. The hotter the better!
4) Hot & Spicy Cheez Its – Half the box is gone before I even realize it…so yummy!
5) Snickers – Hungry? Why wait??

Top 5 Bands/Artists
1) Justin Timberlake – He is always on my workout mix. I love his hip-hop collaborations!
2) Black Eyed Peas – Another workout mix favorite – they just make me want to move!
3) George Straight – Nobody sings country music like George – nobody.
4) Taylor Swift – why wasn’t Taylor around when I was in high school? I swear every song she writes is about my teenage angst filled love life! She takes me back!
5) Pink – I love her lyrics and I love that she’s hard core and still makes hits. My alter ego is something like Pink.
Top 5 Books
1) Twilight Saga: Stephanie Meyer - Yes, I count them as one because if you read one, you read them all. AMAZING!!!
2) The Last Song: Nicholas Sparks – My most recent favorite Sparks read. Such a great love story!
3) The Secret Life of Bees: Sue Monk Kidd – One of my favorite novels from modern literature in college.
4) Wuthering Heights: Emily Bronte – It’s gothic, harsh love story. Plus I love that it was written by a woman during a period when women writers were looked down upon.
5) The Middle Place: Kelly Corrigan – A true life story about Kelly’s battle with breast cancer. Inspirational and thought provoking.

What about you??  What are some of your top fives?  Do we have anything in common??  Happy Wednesday - half way to Friday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Housework Tuesday - My House Is A Mess

I truly cannot believe that I am actually going to admit this for all the world to see, but my house is a mess. Not “so disgusting you don’t want to sit anywhere for fear of catching a serious disease” mess – but a mess nonetheless. I consider myself to be a pretty clean, organized housewife. But somehow I have let things get out of control.

Remember about a week and a half ago when I was dealing with a mini life crisis and didn’t have the time or energy to blog? Not only did my blog suffer serious neglect during that week time span, but my house did as well. Fortunately for my blog, I have picked up where I left off and things have returned to normal. Not so fortunately for my house, I just haven’t been able to get back into the swing of things.

I have at least four loads of clean, unfolded clothes sitting in my closet just waiting to be folded and put away. Every time I walk past my master or guest bedroom I swear I hear my furniture shouting, “Dust me! Dust me!” While I thoroughly enjoyed the snow this weekend, my dogs’ wet paws have wreaked havoc on my hardwood floors. Steven and I stop and wipe their feet every time they come in the house (which is a pain in and of itself) and still I have muddy paw prints all over my house. And bonus – not only do we have muddy paw prints but the dogs are actually dragging in DIRT – so I don’t even want to walk barefoot on the floors! No matter how often I sweep or vacuum I just can’t keep the floors clean!

I haven’t glanced at my Motivated Moms Chorelist once in the past two weeks – and it this point I’m scared to look. I need to just thoroughly clean the house and start from scratch. Conveniently, I have offered to host a new member sleepover as an advisor for my collegiate sorority this weekend. So come rain or shine my house must be immaculate by Friday morning. Steven is traveling for an overnight tomorrow which means I can come home and focus on some deep cleaning. I think at this point I need a plan of attack, so here’s my goals (hopefully by putting this out there I’ll stick to it!)
- Tonight – fold laundry & sweep entire house
- Wednesday – dust entire house, clean all glass & mirrors, clean both bathrooms
- Thursday night – clean baseboards and hardwood floors (2 hour project – hopefully I can get done in time for Greys!)

If all goes well I will wake up Friday morning to clean house.  What about you? Do you consider yourself to a “neat freak” but sometimes find your house to be in complete disarray? How do you bounce back? Isn’t it just so much easier to be messy?

Wish me luck as I tackle my messy house this week!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Man Is GOOD!

Apparently Steven has taken Pastor Greg's sermon yesterday to heart because he is pouring on the compliments and "love".  I'm certainly not complaining, it's wonderful to feel so loved and appreciated.

For example, just last night Steven looked at me and said, "In all seriousness, what is the most beautiful sight you've ever seen?"  At first, I thought it was a trick question and stared at him confused. "Honestly - what's the best thing you've ever seen" he asked again.  Wanting to impress him with something really "beautiful" I silently reviewed all the exotic places I have been - Victoria's Peak, Hong Kong, Negril, Jamaica, view of snow covered mountains from a recent flight.....

So I responded, "Probably the bronzed, seated Budda in the mountains of Hong Kong that we saw on our trip Junior year.  What about you?"  Without skipping a beat he replied, "You - walking down the aisle to me on our wedding day."

Two points to the hubby...I hope he keeps this up.  :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day - Words of Wisdom

Happy Valentine's Day!  Hubby and I celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday, so I thought today would just be another normal day, but was pleasantly surprised by an amazing sermon from Pastor Greg this morning.  His words are so applicable to today's holiday that I thought I would share his words of wisdom my readers.

As I have said before, I am so grateful that God lead Steven and I to Five Stones.  I feel like Pastor Greg is preaching directly to Steven and I every Sunday.  This morning was no different. In honor of Valentine's Day, Pastor Greg started a series titled "Explosive Love".  Over the next 6 weeks we will study our way through Song of Solomon and look at love and marriage as God intended for it to be.

The sermon focused on aspects of marriage that many take for granted.  It is important for us to remain attractive to our spouse - no you don't need to look like a supermodel every single day, but it doesn't hurt to get dolled up every once and a while for your special someone.  It is important for married couples to do fun and exciting activities together - share special time together and enjoy spending quality time with your spouse.  It is also important to guard your marriage from harmful friendships.  If your friends constantly bad mouth your husband or wife - how great of friends are they really?  Do you have a relationship with a person of the opposite sex that might cause your devotion to your spouse to stumble??  Lastly Pastor Greg discussed creating an "oasis" at home that both you and your spouse will be happy to come home to.  The outside world is so critical, so difficult - life can eat you up and spit you out in a split second.  Work to create an environment of love and peace in your home so both you and your spouse always feel welcomed and content.

I wish I could articulate Pastor Greg's words more clearly.  I sat there listening to his sermon as if he were speaking directly to me.  Too often I am so hard on Steven.  Instead of welcoming him home after a long day at the office, I immediately start asking him questions or requesting that he complete some chore.  Instead of telling him how grateful I am for how hard he works to provide a nice life for us, I focus on all the fact that he hasn't taken out the trash yet.  Instead of giving him a knee buckling kiss that says "Your my man and I love you", I brush right past him and start tending to the dogs. 

Throughout his sermon Pastor posed multiple questions that I think any married couple should ask one another - whether you are a Christian or not, these truths can be applied to your marriage.  As your spouse these questions - listen to their answers without arguing or becoming defensive - and try to apply their answers to your marriage. 

-What is one compliment you wish I told you more often?
-Is there anything I could do to be more attractive to you - physically or otherwise?
-Is there a fun activity that we could do together?
-Are there any names that I call you that are hurtful?
-Do I have any friendships that you feel may be hurting our marriage?
-What can I do to make our home an oasis for you?  A safe place from the harsh realities of life??

I know after talking with Steven and asking him the questions above, I feel like I have a better understanding of how I can make him feel respected as my husband and loved as my partner.  I'm looking forward to the remaining five weeks in Pastor Greg's series and discovering God's will for our marriage and our life together.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Holy Crow! That's A Lot Of SNOW!

It finally has happened - Charlotte got dumped with a ton of snow last night!!  Unfortunately for us, the evening ended with a car accident.  Steven and I went out to grab a couple necessities before the roads got too bad. In the span of 45 minutes the roads got really, really bad.  On the way home we saw a van stranded in a ditch.  There was a woman with two small children inside and Steven decided to pull over to help pull them out.  We were well off the side of the road and as he opened the driver side door to get out of the car, a driver on the road lost control and side swiped him.  Thank the Lord that he was able to jump back in the car and avoid being hit - not so thankfully his door is completely messed up.  It won't close!!  But again - thank God no one was truly hurt.  Now let's see how this insurance thing plays out and if her insurance company will pay for the damages.

Just trying to do a good deed - Poor Yukon

But we have decided not to let this little accident ruin our Valentine's Day weekend.  My puppies absolutely love the snow.  They have stayed outside all morning long prancing and playing.  They LOVE it! So here is a little photo shoot of the beautiful snow we received here.  :)
That's 6 Inches!
Steven left me a message in the snow! 
Playing tough with daddy

My handsome man - Bauer

Pretty Dixie with snow on her face - she loves to eat it!

Snow covered downtown Waxhaw
Hope you're having a great Saturday wherever you may be!

Young, Fabulous, Newlywed

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