Insert witty title here

So, um, have you noticed that I'm not doing well at blogging lately? I'm not the world's best writer and it takes me forever to come up with an idea of what to go on about and then I have to actually remove the idea from my brain and move it to my fingers so it can be disposed of on this here little blog.

My days have been filled with not exercising as much as I'd like and stressing about Derick leaving me and the holidays and a bunch of random stuff that I shouldn't even worry about. So by the time I sit at a computer all I really want to do is read other people's well written blogs and leave unwitty like comments.

In the spirit of being even more lame I fully intend on using bullets. In no particular order...

  • Derick and I fly out on the 30Th which is exactly 7 days from today. He's been un-enrolled from the school here and enrolled at his new school in Maryland. He's started a massive cleaning effort of his room because I refuse to let him leave me for possibly ever and leave his room looking like it could qualify for a disaster zone and smelling equally gross. I cried for days over him leaving to live with his dad and I'm sure I will cry some more tears but for now I'm focusing on the positive.
  • On to the positive. I'm potentially going to get to meet a few people that I've known via the Internets for years so I'm excited about that. I also might get to see another blogger that I haven't seen since BlogHer.
  • I made the vegan cornbread stuffing that was made for the Foo Fighters on Top Chef a few weeks ago. Let's just say that I may have eaten 1/2 of if in one sitting it was that good. (The recipe is worded wrong if anyone feels the need to make this, and you SHOULD. It should say something simple like '6 vegan cornbread muffins'. Also, I used my favorite vegan cornbread recipe and it worked like a dream.)
  • Speaking of cooking. I made the tastiest oatmeal pumpkin cookies last night. Derick had a friend spending the night last night and when I got up this morning I discovered they had eaten 2 dozen of them all by themselves. I intend on making these again and mailing them to Derick.
  • Oh! More cooking. OK, it wasn't really cooking, but it did involve cookie sheets and a microwave and chocolate. My lovely friend, Danielle, helped me make dozens of peanut butter cups. Unfortunately I ate all of mine in less than 2 days. Make these and then tell me what you think.
  • I know it's the holidays and I'm "supposed" to be buying for others but I was all done with the others so I bought some goodies for me. This top looks much better on me than the model, I think. I got it in this plum color and black. I just fell in love with this Nine West bag in Nero. It's been hard to find well made, non-leather bags and I just love this one. I just couldn't resist getting this one too in the Nero color.
  • I still love my iPhone. I think I've told everyone that it's the best relationship I've ever had. Unlike most of the men I've dated (or been married to) it's reliable, it never lets me down and it never talks back.
  • Jackson is quite possible the most spoiled almost 2-year-old I've ever known. For Christmas he's getting a tricycle, a swing set, a slide, TONS of toys and clothes, an Elmo Live and I'm sure many other things I don't know about. I stopped buying him stuff when I heard what the Grandparents were getting him.
  • After this holiday, Derick will have ANOTHER gaming system that he desperately NEEDS. (His words, obviously.) My children never want for anything and I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
  • I think I won't be asking my cleaning lady to come back. Every time she leaves she makes me feel like I'm living in squalor. There's a reason I pay you! And it's no so you can make me feel bad. Hell, I even clean before she comes!
  • I'm not looking forward to tax season. We are short one person this year and that means that I will have to make up for it or everyone will suffer. I intended to not work as much so I could spend more time at home with Jackson but now that won't happen and I'm really bummed about it.
  • I finally got my entire bedding set for my bedroom makeover. I think I've found the paint I will be using and I'd love to get Flor tiles for the rug. It's still a work in progress, but it's coming along nicely.
  • And finally. Last night I didn't sleep well because my dog, Emma, decided that she could only sleep if she was curled into the tightest little ball and taking up my side of the bed. I swear she was slowly pushing me off the bed to get to my pillow.


Who needs a matching tree? Not me.

A lot of people decorate their Christmas trees in themes. Red/green themes, Charlie Brown themes, pink/black themes, candy cane themes, etc... I think it's such a cute idea but I could never do it with my Christmas tree. My tree is a cornucopia of mismatched ornaments that span over 30 years. None of them go together and some are missing pieces. There are ornaments I can't remember where they came from and others I have vivid memories of their origins. I have a few favorite ornaments that make me smile every time I unwrap them from their protective encasing every Christmas. It feels like the holiday season when I see these.

It's a bit fuzzy, I know. Ignore my lack of photography skillz. They are obviously lacking. I love how Derick has his hands shoved into his armpits.

Ah Strawberry Shortcake! Maybe my mom can shed some light on this ornament. It's obviously handmade and not a mass produced ornament. I just love her. I used to have all sorts of Strawberry Shortcake things when I was a kid. I specifically remember having a stuffed doll that smelled like strawberries. I'm sure I was inhaling some toxic chemical that has hampered my logical thinking in my later years, but boy did I love that doll.

One of my new favorites. I just adore personalized ornaments and I was thrilled when I got this one that commemorates Jackson's birthday. The resemblance is there, too. He's a little chubby kid like this snowman.

This ornament is so delicate and lovely. Derick's first Christmas was celebrated in 1995 and to mark that occasion my mom got him this gorgeous Wedgwood ornament. It's decorated on both sides and it's just so lovely. I look forward to Derick inheriting this to hang on his tree someday.

It's tough to see but the date on this ornament says "1977". This is my very first ornament. It's seen some wear over the years but it's held up quite nicely. I love this ornament so much.

My oriental Santa. I don't know why, but his eyes remind me of oriental eyes. I just love this Santa. This dates from the mid 80's.

I remember, amazingly, when I got this ornament. I was a teenager and it was one of my last Christmas' that I didn't have to drive to my parent's house. My mom gave this to me as my first ornament to keep and take with me someday. Why McDonald's french fries, I don't know. But I think it's cute.

Derick on a role of toilet paper! It's seen some tough times but this is an cardboard tube with batting and glitter over the top. His hands were traced and glued to the sides and he has a shiny pipe cleaner over the picture of his head to make an angel. Love!

Another Wedgwood ornament. It has no particular significance other than I think it's precious.

Who doesn't love a disco ball for an ornament?

It's not an ornament but I treasure these. Santa's boots that my mom made. On the bottom of one of the boots it says "LR 68". My mom's initials from 1968. When I grabbed these from the box a few weeks ago, I handed them to Derick and told him to pretend that these were the holy grail and be extra SUPER careful with them. (My Christmas card stack is in the background.)

Who needs a fancy stocking? Not when I have my old felt one from when I was a kid.

And finally, one of my Christmas cards (made by my sweet friend Abbie). Happy holidays everyone, whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or nothing at all. May your season be bright and full of love.


Family and friends and big changes.

When I was pregnant with Jackson I found a group of lovely women who were pregnant also, with their babies due around the same time. Over the last few years we've supported each other through deaths, births, love lost and found, new home purchases, job losses and recipe success'. We share the mundane and the mighty with each other. We share pictures and the stories of our lives. We mail each other cards and make the occasional phone call and sometimes even pay each other a visit. I've had the pleasure of meeting many of these women face to face and meeting their families and they've met mine. In just a few short weeks I hope to meet two more mommas from my mom's online group and I'm excited and nervous and hopeful that they will accept me and help to comfort me in my time of need. I'll be in Maryland for a few days and I never thought I'd ever be going there and I'll be needing all the support I can get.

You see, my teenager, Derick, has decided to move in with his dad. Since his dad lives over 1,000 miles away I'm completely heartbroken and will need all the support I can get. One of my few silver linings will be those mommas that I will get to meet while I'm far away from home. While I'm obsessing over the fact that I won't be able to turn the corner into the living room and see my oldest son lounging on the sofa wrapped in his ugly, but soft brown blanket that used to be his Great Grandpa's, I know that I can get a hug or two and a few laughs to carry me through.

I've had my son for the better part of his 13 years and I know there comes a time when a son needs his dad and vice versa, I just didn't think that time would come so soon. The need is there for a change and this change will be the best thing, I hope.

I have fears and worries and unnecessary scenarios that run through my head. I worry that my youngest son will forget his older brother. I worry that I'll never have both my boys at home, where they belong, together permanently and not just during a mandatory 2 week visit. I worry that my oldest son will never come home again for good. That he will choose his dad over me forever. See? Unnecessary worries. My head and heart are at war right now and I'm working on making them cooperate and make peace with each other. But man, it sure is tough.

I'm so fortunate to have the parents I do during this time. The support they've shown (and always have shown) carries me through the dark fog. The reason I'm able to take my son to his dad is because of the generosity of my mom and dad. If you ever need a set of caring, loving, generous parents I might consider loaning them out for a short time. They really are my rock. And I hope that in some small way that I am my oldest son's rock. I hope. Even if I am a distant rock.


Online Dating distasters

No, I'm not dating. I have no hopes to be anytime soon, but I was talking about online dating with Kristin last week and lamenting about some of my online dating disasters. She's venturing out there in the land of the Internet to find love and I've done that too with zero success. But it sure makes for some good stories. Here are my top three worst online dating adventures.

I met a charming man in downtown Fort Worth to have dinner at a local bar/restaurant. He drove a really nice car, was exceedingly handsome and had a really good job. He was a little older than me but I overlooked it because he was just so sweet. I still remember the shoes I wore that night, baby pink, kitten heel, sling back shoes. I still have them in my closet. Anyway, this man was polite and seemed to be someone I could really spend some serious time with. We sat down to dinner and made small talk about our jobs and children (he had none) and our pets. He asked if I wanted to see a picture of his dog and of course I said yes. He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and showed me a picture that he carried with him at all times. I remember thinking how sweet it was that he loved his dog so much. That shows character, to me. After I said all the right things about his cute pup I gave him the picture back and I wrongly assumed the picture would be placed back into his wallet and we'd move on to other things. He gently placed this picture of his beloved dog on the table and proceeded to talk to the picture during our entire dinner conversation.

Crazy dog guy: "Oh, little princess, you are sooooooooo cute! Who's daddy's girl? You're daddy's girl!"

Me: ????

Needless to say I never went out with him or his dog again.


The next disaster date actually took time to turn into a disaster. I had been on three dates with this man, he had met my family and my son. I'd even made out with him twice. (Hey, no judging!) I found him attractive and a good dad to his two children from what he'd told me. He had a fairly good job in a good field and I was hopeful that our relationship was growing. We had made plans to go on a 4Th date and I was really looking forward to it. The 4Th date's a big deal, right? Hours before we were to meet I got a phone call from him:

Dude, who's an idiot: Hey, I've got to cancel for tonight, I need to meet Mary.

Me: Huh? Mary?

DWAI: Yea, Mary Jane, we have a date.

Me: Who's Mary Jane?

DWAI: You know. Mary Jane.

Me: Wait. You mean like pot? You are cancelling our date to get pot?

DWAI: Don't judge me, you don't even know me.

Me: Later, jackass.

The next day I got an e-mail from him that said that I shouldn't judge him just because he has children and smoked a little pot now and then. I wrote him back and told him it was OK, I didn't mind getting cancelled on in place of getting DRUGS.


And now for my last online dating disaster. I swear, people, I cannot even make this shit up if I tried.

I'd talked to "Jeff" a few time on the phone to hammer out the details of our first date. It annoyed me that I was always on speaker phone when I talked to him, but I didn't make that my deal breaker because that would be a petty reason. We decided to meet in downtown Fort Worth to get dinner and head over to the Bass Performance hall to see a musical that was playing. I'm cultured enough to agree to that and I was looking forward to it. As I made my way down the long city block Jeff called me on my cell phone and asked if I was almost there and I told him I was about to cross such-and-such street and I'd be there in just a minute. He told me he was at the same intersection but across the street from me. I took inventory of the people across the street to check him out at a distance first. I saw a man in a wheelchair, another man walking briskly in the wrong direction and a woman waiting to cross the street. I was sure Jeff was confused, or maybe I was, as to where we were supposed to meet. That was until the man in the wheelchair smiled a big smile at me and called out my name. I crossed the street, still dumbfounded and I decided that I would proceed with my date. It was the least I could do, or so I thought. I had no idea that I'd be cutting his food into tiny pieces, or pouring his drink into a special cup that he could use. I didn't realize that we would get handicapped seating for our show or that it would dawn on me midway through the show that he never needed to go to the restroom. He was a quadriplegic (due to a childhood accident) and failed to tell me. Now I knew why I was always on speaker phone and it annoyed me that I'd be lied to by omission. As kind and interesting he was I just couldn't fathom caring for someone the way he needed to be cared for. I had a 5-year-old at the time. He was supremely angry when I told him I just couldn't date him. As if.

Jeff was my last online dating experience and will likely be my last. I fully intend on meeting someone in person at a local drug free rally for cat lovers who don't carry photos of their cats with them.

Oh, also, these were my top three dating disasters. But also, they were my ONLY online dating experiences. I have awful luck apparently.

I'd love to hear your online dating disasters. Please tell me I'm not the only one.


It's good to be Queen

Exercise has always been one of those things that I know I should do but I've never really been motivated to do it. Sure I've joined my share of gyms and purchased a decent amount of workout gear. I've made the effort to exercise for a week or two and then life always seems to get in the way. Or maybe I get in my own way. That's probably more like it. We are our own worst enemies, aren't we?

Something shifted a few months ago and I stopped getting in my own way. I stopped making excuses for why I couldn't get the exercise I knew I needed. I still have days when I lace up my shoes a little slower than usual and I sometimes still reduce the speed on the treadmill even though I know I am capable of much more. But most days I work out everyday. I started running not long ago and the first time I ran I made it a quarter of a mile before I thought I might pass out. Just last Sunday I ran almost 2 and a half miles and I probably could have kept going if I wouldn't have needed to be somewhere.

The first time I ran an entire mile without stopping tears actually came to my eyes because I had done it! Even in high school gym I walked after barely an eighth of a mile. It just wasn't important to me then. It's still not the act of running itself that's important, it the act of pushing myself and taking care of the only body I have. I only get this one shot to take care of this body that takes care of me and I want it to last a long long time.

Yesterday I was rewarded for all the hard work and perseverance I've put forth. At my gym the person who comes to workout the most in each month is crowned "Queen of the Gym". Last night I was give a dozen roses, a certificate for a free one hour massage, 2 free personal training sessions and my name prominently displayed on my very own locker. In the middle of my workout I was taken to the front of the gym, made to wear a tiara and a feather boa while it was announced to the whole place that I was the Queen. My friend, Debi, even brought her camera to take pictures because I think she knew what a big deal it was for me.

Sure, it sounds hokey to some, but it was positive proof that my hard work is paying off. When the gym owner told me I had made it this month I swelled with pride and I proved to myself that I could do it, all it took was a little pushing myself out of my own way.



My parents are sort of extravagant with the new fangled technology things they get. My mom got a digital camera when they were fairly new and spent a small fortune. My dad has a thing for these new blue ray players now. I'm still not entirely sure what a blue ray player is besides to play a movie. I have been known to splurge on new technology from time to time, too. I remember my first DVD player, it cost me well over $200. The one in my living room now? DVD/VCR combo that cost maybe $50.

The one item I just cannot justify spending money on right now is a wall mounted plasma television. Boy how I drool when I see them and I just want to sell my first born (and second if need be) to obtain such a non bulky piece of technology. The price is what keeps me far far away from children's black market. (And also maybe the love of my children.)

But, people, guess what. I will be getting a wall mounted plasma television on my very own living room wall any day now! As I said just a few paragraphs ago, the parental unit loves the new fancy technology so they are replacing there barely 3 years old plasma television with a fancier, larger television. I have no idea the size, 40 inches? 36? It's doesn't matter because I love that television. I look forward to seeing it hang on the wall in all it's (FREE!!!) glory.

Here's my dilemma, though. I am getting rid of the television that I currently have which means that the stand that the television sits on must go to. My DVR box, DVD/VCR and tuner will have no home. And since I'm on a budget I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of furniture. Since it won't even hold a television it's only requirement is that it must look nice and hold the above items.

As I was searching for a style I liked I found my dream cabinet/used to be a dresser.

This is the before picture.

And after. It's glorious, no?

I realize it's not for everyone, but it's definitely for me. I just love how the old is new again and it's just so lovely. I'm pretty sure I've convinced my dad to help me do this project. I'm on the hunt for a cheap solid wood dresser/buffet to convert into an awesome media cabinet. I love the gorgeous shade of blue and who knows, I might use a similar color. I'm not a dumpster diver, but maybe now would be a good time to start?


These go to eleven*

My son, Jackson, is very loud. REALLY LOUD. So loud that the caps lock doesn't do him justice. He's found his vocal cords and is intent on breaking them in, mostly when we are at the grocery store or praying before Thanksgiving dinner.

I almost abandoned my grocery cart the other day because he was yelling "RAPES, RAPES!!" as loud as he could. You see, he hasn't gotten down the 'g' sound so grapes turn into rapes and it's all quite embarrassing. Even more so because people within 1,000 feet can clearly hear his every word.

Sure, the people smile and chuckle and give me a knowing look as if to say, "I'm a mom (or dad), I remember. No need to blush". Even so, my face turns a lovely shade of horrified and I pick up the pace a little faster to hurry and get back into the comfort of the car so then at least the talking loudly will be contained somewhat.

Honestly I never really paid much attention to my youngest offspring's exceptionally exceptional lung capacity until a friend pointed it out. I just chalked it up to being a toddler quickly approaching the terrible two's. And now I can't help but notice. Every time I would try and figure out where he got to be so loud I just couldn't think of anything that made any sense. Until I really stopped be ridiculous and knew exactly where he got his pipes from.

My family, well, we are a loud bunch of people. My immediate family is very small but if you could only hear us and not see us you'd think we had 100 people all crammed into a room. We talk loud, we talk over each other, we argue about stupid things, there's always someone farting or burping and always someone (my mother) being horrified (loudly of course) at every get together.

When I was younger I would turn that same shade of horrified when I went out with my family because lordy, do they have to be so loud? Does someone always have to laugh full on belly laughs at a joke and call attention to us? Really, did I have to endure another loud evening? I received a few knowing glaces from other teenagers and younger people in those days. They must have felt my pain. I can only assume that my children will someday be embarrassed at the level of loudness we have.

I have a loud family and a loud kid and now that I'm old enough to get over myself I realize that I, too, am loud. I talk to much and too fast and about things that don't make any sense. I laugh when someone farts at the dinner table and I start the stupid arguments and I think I've even yelled in the grocery store to my oldest son. I often have full on belly laughs complete with throwing my head back and laughing louder than your average human being. And boy do I love it. I wouldn't trade my loud kid or family for the most demure, quite, respectful family on the planet. Bring on the loud, I say.


*Gold star if you know where this quote came from.


The intention was there

I wrote this longish post about what I was thankful for last week and I intended on tweaking it and adding to it because it was embarrassingly short considering all the things I am really thankful for and then, well, life got in the way. OK, really having an iPhone got in the way. My brother did something to my phone called "jail breaking" and well now I have a TON more things I can do and I just couldn't stop for a minute to post my latest blog. Lame, I'm aware. But I just can't stop!


This year for Black Friday I choose to wake up at 8am and instead of shopping for things no one probably even wanted I participated in a "turkey burner" that my gym hosted. One of the instructors (my favorite one) did a 3 hour class that you could do all of or part of. I jumped in at 9:30 and last the rest of the 2 hours. I am still sore from the ass kicking but it was so fun.

Speaking of exercise. I weighed myself the other day and I've gained 4 pounds in a month. WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE. I have only missed 3 days of working out in that month and yes I know, muscle weighs more than fat, but this is so annoying. Yes my jeans fit better and I'm pretty sure I've lost some inches, but it sure would be nice if the scale would reflect this. I go in for my once a month measurements sometime this week and I'm liable to go mental if the inches haven't gone down.


Tax season starts in about 1 1/2 months and every year I dread it. But this year I don't think I will dread it as much. I'm going to make it a point to find time to exercise and keep up my workout routine as best I can and also make the extra effort to be home in the evenings as much as possible to do mommy things for my boys. As of now there will be one less person working at our office so I'm not exactly sure how that will work but I determined to not lose my life so I can make a few extra dollars. Not that the extra dollars aren't important, but I think I do OK even when I'm not killing myself working all day everyday.


Tonight I intend on lugging the tree and ornaments from the attic and decking the halls. I'm not quite in the Christmas spirit yet, but my delightfully colorful neighborhood tells me otherwise. I suppose I will also listen to some Christmas music also. My favorite Christmas music is the old vinyl record of Alvin and The Chipmunks, it's a classic and it makes me laugh. I also might open the container of soy eggnog that I got a few weeks ago, I may need to get some rum today, though. Or whatever you put in eggnog.


Here's to a safe and happy holiday season to everyone. May all your wishes come true and may you and your be safe and happy.


Hello, love

I never intended to really get one. It just sort of happened. Welcome home you lovely gorgeous fun thing you.


Here's why I got an iPhone. Basically, it's because I suck at directions. I get lost at the drop of a hat and I know it infuriates people because it infuriates me to no end.

I intended on getting a GPS for my car and I also needed a new cell phone because my contract with Sprint is up and I loathe Sprint and their wonky billing. So, you see, I'm really saving money getting one piece of technology rather than buying two separate items*. Plus, now Derick can have my mp3 player and he'll owe me for being the coolest mom ever so there's always that, too.


*I'm aware that I probably won't save money in the long run, but that's neither here nor there.


Here ya go, Internet. Bearing my checkbook isn't easy.

My 30 days of tracking every single penny that goes in and out are finished. And I'm shocked to say the least. As I was adding several columns up, I thought I must have pushed a multiplication button on the calculator or something crazy like that. I was utterly dumbfounded at what I spent over the last 30 days.

I choose to go all old school and hand write everything. For each category I would write the name of the place I spend money at, what I bought, how much I spent and if I used cash or a debit card. I only used a credit card once and I didn't notate that amount because I did note the credit card payment I made on that particular card.

The one real difference this past 30 days has been compared to most of the year is that I was on vacation for 3 weeks. This really had a huge impact, I think, on my spending in certain areas where I'm normally very lean on such things as dining and entertainment. But that leads me to believe that my grocery bill would be less because I ate out more. WRONG. I also drove more this past few weeks than I normally do also which means that fuel was much higher than I expected. I'm just glad that gas prices have dropped some otherwise I really would have been shocked.

I'm not one of those people who's insanely private about my income or expenses so I'm just going to put it all out there. Here's the categories with amounts and income for the last 30 days.


Household: $402.66
I was truly shocked when I got this total. After I examined what the total included I realized that my trip to IKEA and my new bedding for my bedroom makeover are included in this. Normally I would expect this amount to be much less.

Grocery: $356.98
Holy crap. I had no idea. I'm almost embarrassed to say that when I started this I estimated I would spend around $250.00 for the month. Boy was I wrong. In my defense I cook almost every single dinner at home and for 2 of the 4 weeks I was packing Derick's lunch for school.

Charity/Donations: $43.95
This must sound horrible but I don't normally donate this much in monetary ways to charity often. But there were a few people who needed some help and I opened my wallet. Only $4 of this total is actually tax deductible but the good feelings I got from the rest was worth it.

Dining/Entertainment: $260.14
HOLY SHIT. I must sound delusional but I estimated $50 at the start of this project. I rarely eat out. I almost always take my lunch to work and since I cook most nights it's a treat to order a pizza, usually I just make my own pizza. The only time I eat out is when I meet a friend for dinner. I blame this high amount on being on vacation from work. This total does include a trip to the zoo, a night out on the town (which included drinks and parking) and my morning coffee that I've started making at home instead of buying.

Telephone/Cell Phone/Internet: $122.42
This is actually lower than I expected. My cell phone carrier charges me $50 one month and $120 the next for no apparent reason so I lucked out this month and was charged less than $50.

Mortgage: $1363.65
I hesitate putting this number down for all to see because well, it's misleading. Instead of a 30 year traditional mortgage I have a 15 year mortgage and I add additional money to pay down the principal every month. I'm determined to have my house paid off in about 9-10 years even though I have 12 left. This number included all taxes and insurance that are in escrow.

Savings: $250
Part of this includes money that I set aside in my traditional IRA and some includes money that goes straight into a regular savings account. The sad part about this? Every single penny that I saved came back into my checking account because I ran low on money. The money into the IRA stays put at all times which means I'm putting money into regular savings only to pull it back out within the month and take a little more than I put in. It's like this every month. I save some and take even more.

Personal: $368.19
Lord. This is exceptionally higher than I expected, also. I switched gyms this past month and had to pay $54.07 to sign up which I wasn't expecting. This also includes $40 to take a vegan cooking class (I've taken a few of them and really enjoy them). I also got a few pairs of jeans and a jacket during the month. I expect that soon I'll have to spend more money for clothes because my weight is still slowly moving down the scale and I'll need some work clothes soon.

Fuel: $230.73
I guess this isn't too bad. But I had estimated $125 which is way off.

Cable TV: $59.95
I loathe paying this bill, but how would I watch Project Runway and Top Chef without it?

Alarm system monitoring: $22.57
It's a necessary evil. My daddy might beat me if I didn't have an alarm.

Childcare: $350.00
This amount is misleading because I'm fortunate that Eric's parents pay for childcare. But I included the income from them reimbursing me into my total income for the month so it evens out.

Insurance: $345.91
This only includes my health insurance and Derick's health insurance. Self employed health insurance? Sucks. This is also a tad misleading because I'm reimbursed for this also which is reflected in my income total.

Credit Cards: $269
Oh credit cards. How I hate thee. One I paid off so this total is higher than normal.

Gifts: $12.98
I swear I'm not a cheapskate. I got the kids some small stocking stuffers for Christmas.

Kids: $50.91
This includes haircuts, clothing and books for both kiddos. I didn't spend much this month which I'm surprised about.

Total outgoing: $4,566.40 (HOLY CRAP)


Returns: $47.07
This includes a Target return which is included as an expense above so it cancels itself out.

Income: $4,813.12
This amount includes a myriad of things. Salary, child support, childcare reimbursement, medical expense reimbursement, $1 that I found on the ground at Barnes & Noble (I said I was going to count every single penny, didn't I?), transfers from my savings account and $.41 from the balance of a gift card that the cashier gave back to me in change.

BOTTOM LINE: +246.72

Technically I didn't spend more than I took in. But truthfully I really did. If I hadn't have transferred $250 from my savings account to my checking account I'd be in the hole $3.28.

I'm actually quite pleased that I was so close to my income and not over, by much. But that's because I was afraid I'd be over spending by hundreds of dollars. This exercise has taught me a few things that I need to sit down and put pen to paper to determine how I'm going to arrange my future finances. I need to get back into the habit of meal planning instead of buying out the store and making random dishes for dinner each night. I also need to set a strict budget for a few areas. I'd also like to increase my savings and the amount I put toward my house each month.

After I finish this post and close the computer down for the night I'm going to grab my old school notebook, find a calculator and a pen and make myself a budget based on my findings. It will be a bold grownup move that I'm quite old enough for and quite ready to embark upon.

Even though I'm shocked with what I spend my money on I'm glad that I took the time to track everything. Tell me, have you tracked your money for 30 days? Were you surprised? If you did, did you find that you were more aware of where your money went from then on?


So, I wrote this on Tuesday night, and as of today (Thursday), I have a new budget in place and I'm ready to take on the world. Tomorrow is payday so I start from scratch tomorrow and I'm going to track the next 30 days again to see what adjustments need to be made. I'm excited and nervous!

Tuesday babble

A little over 3 months ago I decided to become a vegan. It was an intensely personal, and some may say radical, choice. I stocked my whole kitchen and pantry with new cookbooks, pantry staples and an ever changing assortment of fresh veggies and fruits that make their way to my plate. I also choose to change the diet of my youngest son, Jackson. As for the teenager, Derick, he makes his own choices away from home and that's his right, but at home he eats as a vegan, mostly without complaining. He is a teenager, so I don't really go a day without the complaining.

I've gotten some really interesting reactions to my diet change, some I was expecting and some I would have never even thought I'd get. For the most part the teasing and making jokes is over with. I think everyone has accepted this for what it is, a choice that I made. I try to not be a burden on family and friends with my new diet. I can, for the most part, find something to eat at most restaurants with a few modifications. A few places have zero options which still amazes me. The vegans of the world aren't a HUGE group, but we exist and it sure would be nice to have an option or two everywhere.

I've slipped up a few times, mostly on accident. Over Halloween I did intentionally not read an ingredient label because I was sure it contained some animal derived ingredient. Sure enough, after I ate the candy in question, I kicked myself because it did indeed contain milk. Milk chocolate usually does contain milk. But I didn't beat myself up over it. One tiny piece of milk chocolate wasn't going to matter in the whole scheme of things and my purpose.

Along the way I've read some fascinating books, ate some delicious food and met some really groovy people. I've become more aware of products that are coming into my home and how they affect my life, my kids lives, the animals in the world and my planet.

This diet change is so much more than what passes through my lips. It's about awareness and a positive feeling I get from making a choice everyday to do what is right for me. One of the very few negative comments I've gotten was when someone told me that they thought I was doing this to be morally superior and to feel better than everyone else. What they person failed to understand is that my choice has nothing to do with other people. I don't feel like I'm a better person or morally superior. What I do feel is better. I feel healthier, lighter and overall better. It may be a mental thing, but it works for me.

This will be my first holiday as a vegan and it's going to be interesting. I have no doubts that I won't be tempted to eat the things I once did. But I do worry that people around me will be uncomfortable or feel the need to point out that I'm not eating certain things and make me uncomfortable. In the end though, the holidays aren't about food, they are about being with family and friends and enjoying each other. That I can count on for sure, no matter what food is served.

I look forward to meeting more people and answering questions about what I do and don't choose to eat. I look forward to learning to cook more things that I'm not used to cooking (artichokes scare me!*). I look forward to showing people that being a vegan doesn't mean the end of the world. Mostly, though, I look forward to teaching my children that even if they don't want to be vegans that it's OK to be different and to embrace it. Because it is OK to be different, sometimes it's even kind of fun.

I don't talk much about being a vegan on my blog and I'm not really sure why. It's become a large part of my life in so many ways. Everything from the obvious food choices to the more obscure choices like what eyeliner I buy are all connected. I guess I don't want to be judged or pigeonholed by anyone. But just as I am trying to teach my kids, I need to celebrate being different.

It's what makes the world go 'round, as they say.


*Anyone wanna tell me the best way to cook an artichoke? Anyone?


United we stand, divided we e-mail.

Today I got an e-mail that literally made my stomach fall. It had no typed words, just an attached picture for me to download.

I see this sort of stuff all the time, especially recently and this one disturbs me more than any other e-mail "forward" I've gotten in a long time. Why? Because some are equating their new President with the horrific and desperate act of suicide.

I have a (fairly distant) relative who committed suicide not long ago and I can assure you it was not over the President. That seems obvious, right? I just can't let it go that this "headstone" was made by someone who put such little thought into what that bottom word means.

I e-mailed back the person who sent this to me and I like to think I was level headed and to the point without being accusatory or a crazy liberal, but I hope that if you get this e-mail forward and you agree that you will carefully select who you send it to.

If you get this forward and are as disgusted as I am, thank you, I don't feel so alone in my shame of some of my fellow human beings.


Today has been a trying day for some reason. Jackson has officially welcomed his Terrible Two's into our home. I have asked Terrible Two's to be a nice guest and stay out of the way but it seems that he's just here for a long stay to be an asshole. He probably won't even pick up after himself.


I need a nap.


Finally, I found love.

Remember my very recent post about my stove? How someone (Eric) left a plastic bowl on the coil and it melted? Well, I didn't get much into the disdain I have for my stove. It is not fancy by any means, it doesn't even have an oven light for goodness sake! I won't even talk about how it lacks a timer or clock or even self cleaning capabilities. It's literally the cheapest model my home builder could find short of picking one up on the side of the road.
After I posted that blog my mother read it. This is nothing new, she reads my blog often (Hi Momma!) but the thing that makes this time special is that she was in the middle of the ocean on a large cruise ship, surfing the Internet and read my blog. How sweet, right? Well, it turns out that there was a Home Depot gift card sitting at my parent's house because they had returned some of the left over flooring from when I did my massive home improvements. Because my Momma read my blog she sent me a text when she got on dry land and told me to go get a new stove. Sweet Jesus, I literally thought I was going to jump out of my skin.

So, dear readers, I am here to sing the praises of my lovely stove and how if I could, I'd marry it. But I'm sure that's illegal because some people think they need to be in the bedrooms of others unnecessarily.

Excuse the fingerprints smack dab in the middle of the back of the newest addition to my household. I was too excited to notice them until now. These prints belong to the gentleman who installed (read: plugged in) my range. This is the same gentleman who saw me in my pj's and pink fuzzy slippers.

Do you see it? FIVE places for pots! FIVE, PEOPLE!!! The middle spot in the back is a warming burner! It keeps things warm! And the front two burners can be either small or large! And I got a smooth surface cook top instead of burners! (Can I add any more exclamation points!?)

Oh, it's so shiny. Even with my horrible picture taking capabilities. This range has an oven light, self cleaning, a clock AND a timer! I've hit the mother load.

See! Warming zone!

I was extremely fortunate that my brother and sister-in-law came with me to help in the selection process and I was able to get the best deal for my price point. Also, they helped to save me 20% off the list price which makes me even happier. I cook almost every single day, often more than once a day so this new appliance is sure to make life a tad easier and Lord knows I need all the help I can get.

As for the old range, I plan in fixing the coil and donating it to Habitat For Humanity.


This is not even remotely related but do you guys watch The Biggest Loser? Did you absolutely CHEER when (evil) Vicky's husband was sent packing?


Can I talk about money for a second? Oh, and a makeover.

I've been tracking my spending, every red cent, for about three weeks now. I'm eleven days from adding up all the columns and falling over dead at the shock. When I decided to track what I spend, I knew I'd be surprised a little, sure, but I had no idea that I might be looking at needing CPR to bring myself back to life.
I've actually been mindful of what I've been spending and careful that I don't go crazy. Hell, I bought the $1.39 container of cooking spray as opposed to the fancy $3.79 container. That counts right? But I think I may have screwed myself this month with eating out which I rarely do. Eating out for me is a treat, it just doesn't happen often. But since I've been on vacation for the last few weeks I've been splurging and eating the yummiest Thai foods and Taco Bell (lots of vegan options!) and pizza.
Oh and I also decided to revamp my boring bedroom. This costs money, sadly. Of all the rooms in my house, including bathrooms, my bedroom has remained untouched since I bought it in 2005. To keep myself in check I gave myself a budget for the entire room. Holy shit people, I'm making budgets left and right! Is it possible I'm becoming a REAL adult?
After purchasing (500 thread count Egyptian Cotton) sheets last night, a bed skirt and satin pillowcases (tacky?) I'm at a grand total of $109.84 and my budget is $500. What remains on my list of things to procure are as follows:
  • Comforter. I have one picked out at Linens N Things and because that store is closing it's on sale, 20% off but I may wait it out and see if it will be discounted further. That's where I got the sheets from regularly $79.99 and I got them 20% off.
  • Pillow shams. I want lots of pillows, ones to sleep on and ones that just look pretty. I want a Martha Stewart bed. Minus the Martha Stewart.
  • Rug. Since I replaced the floor from carpet to wood I'd like an area rug around the bed to warm up the space some. I found one I liked at Target that's on sale through Saturday, but I think I'll hold off because it may not be the perfect rug.
  • Paint. OK, I know this sounds so tacky but I want to paint the headboard wall gold. I'm sure I can buy gold colored paint. Trust me, in my head it's fabulous.
  • Chair. My bedroom is quite large and I have room for a seating area. I want something comfy, medium sized and not expensive. Damn the budget.
  • Small lamp. This is a maybe. I think a small table, lamp and the above chair would make a nice sitting area. But I'm still on the fence about it.
  • Art. Even though I have art on the walls in my bedroom now, they are too small for the space and need to be moved. Plus, they won't fit in with my color scheme.
  • Curtains. Curtains are my nemesis. I want drama but I know with drama comes a big price tag. And usually I hang curtains and hate them.
  • Throw blanket. Momma gets cold at night in the winter and I'd love to have a coordinating blanket as opposed to the army green blanket I have now.

That's a lot for a budget of $500 isn't it? I'm already sweating! I'm up for thrifty ideas if you care to share.

Also, here are some pictures of what I have and what I'm thinking about getting. I'm always leery of sharing my design ideas because what if someone looks at it and thinks it's a sucky idea? I feel the same way about cooking for people, I don't want to be judged. (So much for the grown up feeling.)

The color scheme is a glacier blue, gold, browns and white.

This is the comforter and pillow cases I have my eye one. In person it's a pretty slightly shiny glacier blue. I love the alternating monochromatic stripes in different sheen's. To me, it looks rich. And the comforter is plush and not at all flimsy. I don't want all the bedding to be this color. I want accent pillows in brown and gold and white. The bed skirt will be a crisp white. God, I know it sounds awful doesn't it? But in my head it sounds lovely.

Here are the gold satin pillowcases I got. I think the color combination will be lovely with the whites and browns.

See the top sheet? In white? That's what I got yesterday. The 4Th sheet from the top is the same color as the comforter.

And lastly, here's the rug I'm eyeing. It's way out of proportion, but you can see the idea. It has the shades of the blue and brown. I'm not normally a floral fan but this rug coordinates so well and I actually like the graphic pattern of the mums.
So far I've not even thought much about curtains. But if I paint the back headboard wall a gold color and keep the other walls white I'll probably get gold colored curtains or maybe white. See, I suck at curtains. So, what do you think? Lame? Perfect? I think I have enough colors to make it interesting if done right, but not so many colors that it won't be a restful place.

ETA: Sarah asked to see pictures of my bedroom. So I grabbed my camera, attempted to straighten the bed somewhat so it didn't look like someone was sleeping in the bed and took a few pictures. I'd like to point out that I'm a single mother to a toddler and a teenager and therefore my bedroom is my dumping ground for all things with no home. Feel free to feel bad for me instead of judge me.

Upon entering my bedroom:

That pile you see? I told Derick that I was confiscating all his clothes that he leaves on the floor and I now have a pile as tall at the dresser.
And a random roller skate. I have a todder, remember?


Also, thanks for the suggestions for my stupid coil on my stove. I have yet to attempt to fix it, but I will soon. But the only reason I'm fixing it now is because I want to sell it for a few bucks. That's right, I got a new stove!!!!!!!! I'm positively giddy! Pictures to follow soon because I know you want to see my new range.


Are you handy? Or maybe you could ask your husband?

I have a problem. It's a house problem and I honestly don't know how to fix it. I've been dealing with this for months now and I'm so embarrassed to say I've done little to remedy the issue. I thought I could figure out a way to fix it, because I try to be self sufficient as much as possible, but no amount of power tools or shop vacs will help me know.

Months ago I was cooking something on my (electric) stove top and someone (Eric) put a plastic bowl on my still warm burner and I didn't notice it until the bowl had melted over the entire coil.

I removed the coil from the stove and carried it to Home Depot and begged for assistance and they showed me where replacement coils were but apparently my cheap ass home builder left me with the shabbiest oven/stove in the history of appliances and I'd have to special order the coil for over $50.

What's really sucky about this is that it's my biggest burner so I've been cooking on the tiny, itty bitty burners for months. Why my stove only has one large burner and the others are tiny is more proof that my builder sucks and should have karma come bite them in the ass. While they are cooking on their billion dollar 8 large burner stove (covet!!).

So, ladies, can you help me? Can you tell me how to remove burned on plastic from a coil burner so I can just use it again instead of spending money on a new one? Maybe enlist your husband's to answer? Or send one of the over here? I pay in cookies.


Change starts now

It's 10:31 pm on November 4, 2008. Approximately 30 minutes ago it was declared that Barack Obama is our countries newest President elect. As I heard the news I walked around the living room pumping my fists in the air and felt goose bumps form on my arms. I thought of my Dad, far away on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean , and hoped that he is watching the news while in his state room. I wanted to wake Derick up to tell him the news, to tell him that his new President has been elected. I felt proud to be one of the ones who voted for my new President. I'm waiting anxiously for my new Presidents speech and I just know that he will not disappoint.

The thing I am most proud of right now, though, is John McCain's concession speech. He was gracious and honorable and humble. I got tears in my eyes when he said that Barack Obama was his President now. For some reason it had never occurred to me that the loser to the Presidency would have a President of his own. That must sound ridiculous but I never thought of it that way. McCain was a gracious loser and I respect his decision to call Obama and congratulate him. I admire him for his desire to tell his supporters to project that support to their new President. I've not paid much attention to many concession speech's but I think that was a respectful, mindful and honest speech.

To me, this election was not about black or white, male or female, Republican or Democrat, it was about the best person to fix our broken country not just slap a band aid on it and call it a day. I hope this is the beginning of new things to come and positive changes heading our way.

I hold out hope that my children will live in a more peaceful world and I hope that change starts today.


Kids really are smart

I was chatting with Derick a few minutes ago and I told him that in 2 days we would have a new president. I'm the most excited about this election than I ever have been. Derick is excited, too. In his school (and most schools in the area it seems) the kids voted for president and it seems that kids these days are really getting into the voting process.

Case in point. Nickelodeon has a special page set up for kids to vote. I think this is way cool. There is information on each candidate and I think this a positive step for kids to see that they do matter, even if they are only one vote. Plus, it seems that kids are smart. They voted for Obama. (There's my one and only plug for who I support.)

If every person who didn't vote because they didn't think their one vote would make a difference would just go out and vote, our country would be completely different, I'm sure of it. Don't be lackadaisical, people. Get out there and vote.

I honestly don't care who you vote for, I just care that you do vote. People who don't vote and have the ability to do so don't get the right to bitch and moan about what happens. Period. So, go vote for real. Let your voice be heard.


After the candy high went away

We had a great Halloween. Saw some cute kids, told a guys dressed as Darth Vader that he was NOT Jackson's father and ate my weight in Twizzlers. Still sort of in a sugar coma, so pictures will have to replace normal sentences and strung together thoughts.

He's got a tail, people. It was my sole criteria for his costume. Oh, and the ears, too. Pay no attention to the weeds behind him.

See my yard? See how it needs to be edged? My HOA is probably mad at me for being the only house that doesn't have a perfect yard.

Derick wore an old mask that belongs to my dad. Every time Jackson sees it he smiles and says "Silly Garrett" because he can't say Derick yet. Also because I didn't want him to be scared so we laugh at Derick when he wears the mask. Eric is an (aging) hippie. If you know Eric, then you know why this fits him perfectly and made me roll my eyes.

He has some hairy feet and needs his nails trimmed. Also, his stroller is on it's side so I can replace the wheels.

What does any sane person do when their stroller is on it's side? Bite the tires, of course.

Derick had a friend spend the night and this is the aftermath. Apparently people give away sodas in large quantities which I find odd. It's also important to note that they didn't sleep at all last night. Also, it's more important to note that I had no idea they had the entire candy bucket in the room with them. I'm waiting for them to crash hard.


Happy HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!

It's the time of year again. Time to dress up and beg for candy. This year will be especially fun for me because BOTH my boys are going to trick or treat, although I intend on confiscating most of the candy from both kids and replacing it with good stuff like raisins and a new! toothbrush! I know, I'll be the most hated mother in America.

Happy Halloween everyone, be safe, have fun and see you in November!

P.S. We pretend to eat the pumpkin guts every year and it never gets old. Oh and excuse my attire, I had been working out and well, you know.


3 weeks and a thank you

Thank you all for your kind words on my last post. It was a tough one to write in that it was hard to post a picture of my not so awesome belly. But you guys totally lifted me up and mad me feel like a million dollars. So, thank you.

I have 3 weeks off of work that started this past Monday. Normally I make a mental list of things I want to accomplish while enjoying my time off. Unfortunately I'm not going anywhere on my vacation so I need to fill up my time.

I'm complied a list of things I'd like to accomplish while getting paid not to be at work. SCORE!

  • Workout at the very least every other day. (So far this is happening. I'm trying a new gym out for a week to see if I want to switch. I did a turbo kick class Monday night that I can still feel in the depths of my bones.)
  • Transfer spices from ugly store containers to pretty glass containers that I got at IKEA earlier this week.
  • Organize and purge the guest bedroom/office closet. (It's my dumping ground for all the random crap that I don't know what to do with. It's an awesome large closet which means it's stuffing potential is excellent.)
  • Keep up with tracking every single penny I spend. (So far, so good. I am truly amazed that I've already spent over $250 in groceries and it's barely been two weeks since I started writing everything down.)
  • Start writing down what I eat in a journal. (I have hit a plateau in weight loss and it's probably because I keep eating Swedish Fish (VEGAN!) at every chance I get.
  • Organize all of Jackson's clothes. (The kid has more clothes than your average fashionista. Speaking of Fashionista, have you guys seen this show? It's annoying and I can't stop watching it.)
  • Get a stupid lawn edger and edge my stupid yard, already. (My #1 dreaded chore.)
  • Organize my clothes by color and type. (I used to have a super organized closet, then I get pregnant, then I lost a few pounds, then all hell broke loose. I have clothes in 3 closets and I need to edit and purge and see what is worth hanging onto.
  • Keep up my running routine. (People! I started running! And I haven't died once!)
  • Organize pantry.
  • Take as many naps as humanly possible. (This should really be #1.)



I religiously read the Post Secret blog every Sunday and have for a long time. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I feel like I want to cry, sometimes I cringe and sometimes, rarely, do I nod and understand.

As women we are bombarded with images of body perfect models. Stick thin women who make us exam our own bodies, every inch, and wish we could look a certain way. I've wished for tanner skin, to lose 10 pounds, to lose 50 pounds, to have long straight hair, to have pretty knees, to have a tighter stomach, everything! It's hard when every time you flip open the newest issue of whatever magazine that showcases fashion and celebrities to not wish something was different about our bodies.

I've been ashamed of one particular area of my body for years. I cover it up on purpose, even when I've just showered. My most intimate moments are clouded with the panic that I need to cover my not so perfect part. I wish I could live just one day with this body part 'normal'. I've lost weight and it doesn't change. I've seriously considered how much it would cost to have it surgically fixed. But, recently, this all changed.

It must have been months ago this particular secret was revealed on Post Secret and it spoke to me like no other secret ever has. It changed my whole outlook and perception of my hated body part. I am forever changed and I am so grateful.

Thank you to the beautiful woman who took the time to reveal her secret to the world. You have enabled me to reveal my secret and I'm proud to show my badges of honor. They are my most prized scars.

It's not pretty and it's not anything to envy. But it's mine and I have two children that are my life that I owe these scars and sagging belly button to. I wouldn't trade this belly for the world. No sir.


Mom and Dad

I took my parents to get routine medical procedures done this morning. They are both in their 50's and that's about the time certain preventative things are done to ensure that a long, healthy life is in the future.

They were required to be put to sleep and my role was to help drive them home afterward. It hadn't occurred to me that I might be participating more than as just a chauffeur.

After they were both in recovery rooms I made my way back to sit with them and do whatever I needed to do. The doctor came in to speak to me and give me the good news of clean bills of health (Phew!) and to give me follow up instructions. He said it was a great idea that they both came in together and had someone to help them out. I casually said that it was their turn to be the kids and I was the temporary parent. He replied, just as casually, "Get used to it, it will happen again".

I get what he means. He must have been in his 50's himself and I bet he has aging parents he's cared for or knows someone who's care for an aging parent. My parents are young and healthy and I have no worries that I'll be caring for them long term anytime soon. But my first thought after the doctor said that to me was "Bring it".

My parents have taken such good care of me and my brother's. Whenever the time comes, many years from now, I'll be ready to do what I can to care for them. No matter what it is, I'm willing and ready to be that person who takes care of them and to be their advocate and their voice, just like they've done with me.

I'm honored to be the ones who's asked to help them. I consider it a privilege to be given such intimate access to their most vulnerable moments in life.They are my rock and I hope that I repay them the best way I can.


It's that time of year again.

It's October and around my household that means we are sucking wind, as my mom would say. (Mom, where on earth did that saying even come from? It doesn't make any sense.) Sucking wind, to us, means that all that money I diligently socked away in my savings account during the most recent highly profitable tax season is dwindling faster than stink on you-know-what.

Every year this happens. I float along in the months after tax season spending with wreckless abandon only to come dangerously close to having $9 in my checking account (this recently happened.) Then I'm forced to transfer money so that I can buy unimportant things like Twinkie pans. (I totally made vegan corn dogs with the pan and it was AWESOME.)

I have never been one to budget. I've tried, I swear. I make a list of the essentials like housing and fuel and electricity and I start out with a valiant effort but it always ends in a slow implosion. Strewn papers lie around with my awful penmanship. Numbers crossed out with newer numbers scribble beside it. Paper bits torn and crumbled and generally in a pile of chaos. Some efforts are followed through for a week or maybe two at the most and then I give up, accepting defeat.

Today is a new budget day. I have finally discovered what my problem is. Why I can't manage to stick to a budget. The reason I can't is because I really have no clue how much I spend on things. Sure I know exactly how much my house payment is and my monitored alarm system is the same each month. But, fuel? clothing? food? All variable. I used to give myself a budget of $150 on food a month, which made no sense because I knew I spent at least $300 a month. Now that I have an extra mouth to feed I'm positive that amount has gone up. Let's not even discuss the cost of food.

As a result of my epiphany I'm going to write down every single cent I spend including my $1.18 coffee that I get on the mornings I go to work. It's not much but I bet it adds up to more than I expect when this is all done. My plan is to do this for a month. I'm extremely nervous that I will look at my spending habits and realize that I've been wasting money with little regard to how it's affecting me and my family.

I'm aware that this tracking every expense for a month plan is nothing new. I certainly didn't invent it, nor do I take credit for it. But I do hope to take credit for getting myself in touch with my own financial destiny.

ETA: Just got an e-mail from Macy's. $.99 shipping ends today. GOD GIVE ME STRENGTH.


Internet, would you buy this dress?

Details are as follows:

Machine washable
Boat neckline
Removable synthetic patent belt at waist
Pleated below waist
On-seam pockets
Colorblocking at hem
Hits at knee; approximate length from center back neckline: 39 inches
ETA: It's on sale for $77.40 at Macy's


My new obsession is 'bananas'. That doesn't mean that I'm obsessed with bananas.

Um, I'm sort of embarrassed to say that I am currently obsessed with The Rachel Zoe Project. Since I stumbled across it last Saturday I've watched 6 episodes and it's like I'm a deer and this show are the headlights that are barreling toward me at high speed. I just can't look away. No matter how hard I try.

Even thought I think Rachel could stand to gain 10 pounds (which I don't mind at all passing along to her) and I think Taylor reminds me of my cousin, Rachel, except a way bitchier version and I want to strap Rodger down and give him a proper haircut, I just love this show. As for Brad, I adore him and want to stick him in my pocket. I won't even really bring up the fact the Rachel has this awful habit of wearing furs that make her look like a Yetty.

The clothes! and shoes! and especially the jewelry!!!! Some of the dresses that Rachel thinks will 'shut it down' are so not my style and I think should be given away to the Goodwill. But there are other dresses that I covet and wish I was independently wealthy enough to afford them. Or even to just touch them.

Recently I've really been into fashion. Really I'm into looking at fashion and how people dress. One of my favorite shows is What Not To Wear and I'm certain I've seen every episode. I love seeing how ordinary people learn to dress well. As I get older I am realizing that fashion is more than just a cute pair of shoes or a nice jacket. It's a way to express yourself and show confidence. Dressing well (even on a budget) is important for self esteem and one's overall well being.

Sure, I wear t-shirts and ill fitting running shorts and old crappy tennis shoes when I don't have to be anywhere important. But when I go to work or meet a friend for dinner I take the extra time to make sure I look good even if it's only for me. It makes me feel good and that's what's important.

I think the excitement that you can see on Rachel Zoe's face when she sees a dress or accessory that she loves is what I get excited about. I have a closet full of clothes that I like for the most part and a few things that I love but I want to love every item I have with such enthusiasm as Rachel. Maybe that's why I'm obsessed with her show. Or it could be I just like the shoes.

Do you watch either show? Do you think they are brilliant or total crap? What's your new obsession?


Happy Monday. Please enjoy a few pictures.

Before the weather turns cold and because it's not scorching hot anymore (for the most part) I've been trying to get outside more. Fortunately I have people who go with me and fortunately I like them and fortunately they like me. I've taken my kids on 3 outdoor picnics in the last 3 weeks and I fully intend on squeezing in a few more while I can.
We have some amazingly gorgeous parks in the area and even though I've lived in North Fort Worth for most of my life I rarely take advantage of this. No longer! I want my kids to remember going to the park for picnics and playing outside. It's such a shame to waste the opportunity to get outside and just have a fun weekend with friends and family.
I no particular order, here are a few photos from the past weeks...
My niece, Sadie and me. She's all holding her head up like she's a big girl now!

This photo makes me think of celebrities that are hounded by the paparazzi while doing normal, everyday things with their kids. Except I'm not famous. And I don't have a $900 pair of sunglasses on. In fact, these sunglasses cost me $20 and they just broke in half.

Quack Quack! These ducks about attacked us when we ran out of bread. Side note: when I was in high school and didn't feel like attending my first class I'd drive my car around this park until I got bored and then head to school. (Hi mom! Did I ever tell you that?)

This is a HUGE tree that's magnificent. Poor Jackson didn't think it was fun when his momma made him go inside the tree. I'm so mean.

Because I couldn't really get inside the tree thanks to nature giving me hips, Derick and I posed outside of the tree.

My sister-in-law, Jenni, me and Jackson. Jackson's face turns bright red when he's been outside playing. He looks miserable doesn't he? I promise he was just fine.

My sweet baby, Jackson.

I gave

Sadie an acorn hat! And apparently it was 12:54pm.

I don't normally pass up an opportunity to make retarded faces. See my brother, Thomas? He looks thrilled doesn't he?

Momma and baby.