Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Best Way To Spread Christmas Cheer...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And yet another deep thought by this momma

So I am having a girl as you all know by now.

And I am so excited.

But I am also so scared.

Women are so hard on themselves (including this woman). And I was hard on myself as a girl, teen, and young adult too.

So I was at a baby shower today of a friend who happens to also be having a girl. There were 34 other beautiful women there...some I knew, most I didn't from all walks of this friends life. I listened (probably looked creepy but whatevs) to these girls talk about their jobs, their friends, their lives. I find people so interesting so this is always fun for know to be the creepy one listening in! HA!

Anyway...then it came time to take the group photo. We all gathered on this pretty staircase and that's when it started.

"I would prefer to be in the back"
"Please take this shot from the waist up"
"Could you hide my hips"

...and those were just a few.

I have to admit that earlier at this same shower one of my friends and I were discussing our Christmas cards and I sooo said I hate having my own face on them as I criticize almost all pictures of myself. To which she replied "oh whatever you are soo freaking photogenic" which I replied "oh no I am not"...but then followed it up with "I do realize that I am my worst critic." And I look back at that conversation and just want to stop myself and say instead "THANK YOU."

In her eyes, perception is probably reality. Meaning in her eyes I AM photogenic. And paying someone a compliment like that is extremely sweet. Next time, I promise to say thank you. Whether I believe it or not.

Speaking of BELIEVING it...I actually have come a long way from the days where I would look in the mirror and only see my flaws. I actually do like ME. Even my growing a** from the baby growing inside of me. :) Even that. And that, my dear readers is a HUGE STEP for this girl.

But this brings me to the responsibility I feel to my unborn daughter.

I realize that society will play a part in how she looks at herself.

I realize that I (and P-Daddy) will play the LARGEST part.

Yes, this may sound or read as if I am only focusing on vanity. But if you are a girl and you are reading this, you know what you think about yourself to the core of your being. And it starts with what you are looking at in the mirror. Yes, sure you may see wrinkles and not love them...but if you look at your eyes you see your core. This is what I am talking about. And you may not really be able to pin point WHY you feel the way you do but I can tell you from all the therapy this girl has came from your family. And how you feel at the core of yourself does spill out of you. Whether you like it or not. Like when you are 30 something and have to take a group picture at a baby shower.

My husband, by the way looks at himself fondly in the mirror every single day. And always has since the day I met him. And I love this quality. He likes himself. I want both my kids to feel this way too.

So as I am aware this CAN be something men deal with, I know this IS something women deal with.

When I hear friends who already have little girls criticize them I cringe. They hear you is what I want to say. You are shaping them NOW. And I don't think calling a 2 year old chubby is ever okay. Mostly because its just allowing YOU to think its okay to say it later too.

So I may be a bit sensitive because of my own experiences...and I may take this way too seriously for some...but no matter your thoughts of what I am writing if you are a woman...YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT and you know how it affects YOU!

I have always said "you do better when you know better." And we all know better. We are all smart, we have all seen the way this whole thing plays out. I want our baby girl to grow up and say "THANK YOU" to a compliment without even thinking twice about it. Because at her core, she knows that she is beautiful inside and out. I want her to truly love herself.

By the way your parents did the best they knew how. Just as mine did. We all carry our baggage and unfortunately this is given to our children. I don't blame my parents as what good does that do? I just want to learn from my own experiences. And NOT repeat history.

And so I am scared.

Because this is a HUGE responsibility.

For both our kids.

But believe me when I say I am thrilled to be given this opportunity. To be a parent. To love my children and show them how to love.

Dear God thank you for the gift of my me do your will along the road of raising them! AMEN!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cookie Time!

Its Cookie Time, Cookie Time, Coo-kie TI-ME! Who else LOVED Beverly Hills What a Thrill? Aka-Troop Beverly Hills the movie! Early 90's classic if you ask me!

Anyway, thought I would share the cookie love in blogger world today with a new recipe I made up this year*! With JD's peanut allergy the last few years I have felt rather limited on my Christmas cookie baking because everything I USED to make included peanut butter. But alas, I have gone back to the drawing board and come up with something I think is fun and different!

Introducing: Sugary White Chocolate Candy Cane Cookie Cups

1 cup butter flavored shortening (or you could use just one cup unsalted butter)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 bags of white chocolate chips
1 package of candy canes, crushed
Mini muffin pan
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix Shortening (or butter), sugar and eggs until creamy. (use hand mixer)

Mix the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. (Just use a wooden spoon for this)

Mix together the wet and dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.

Take 1 inch pieces of dough and push into the bottom of your mini muffin pan (I used a dark non-stick muffin pan so I didn't have to grease it...use your own discretion for what you own). Bake for approximately 10 min or until dough is brown around the edges (all of mine also kind of rose and fell in the oven...I always took out right when the centers fell). Have your white chocolate chips and crushed candy canes handy because you will want to sprinkle each cup with a few chips and candy canes right out of the oven! Let them cool a bit in the muffin tin and then pop them out on a cooling rack for the remainder of the cooling process!

Makes about 48 mini's.
*FYI/Disclaimer-Cookie Recipe is actually a Snickerdoodle recipe (minus the cinnamon and sugar) I found on a few years back that I LOVE. Also, I am quite aware that I am probably not the first to think of this recipe so I claim no rights to it at all. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A month?

How did this happen? November seriously went by in the blink of an eye. And I have been TERRIBLE about blogging. Terrible. A month people...that's just not like me.

So in a nutshell...or a blink of an is what I have been up to (cause I just know you are curious).

Turned 30, celebrated with friends and family at a surprise party P-Daddy put together.

Saw Oprah's LAST (two) Favorite Things...this is momentous people, don't hate. And just in case you were wondering the peeps who were at the FIRST round got it so much better.

Found out we are having a BABY GIRL...and for those 5 of you who voted, thank you for your patronage. Your GRAND PRIZE is being CORRECT! Go you!

Created and ordered our 2010 Christmas Card and stressed WAY too much about this.

JD started and finished his first round of swim lessons. Round two coming soon! I am pretty sure he will be swimming by himself this summer (no floatation devices needed) and we are pumped about this.

Found a new lady to get my hair did by and love her.

Pretty sure I was ill with a cold half the month (this pregnancy is kicking my immune system's bootie...but in other news that same bootie seems to be not getting as LARGE this time-can I get a WOOHOO, and a knock on wood for good measure...)

Started purchasing 5T clothing for my 3 year old and am pretty damn sad about it. He is giant Toddler officially.

Bought a new (fake) Christmas tree and decked our halls.

JD started soccer and did fabulous on his first day! They give these little guys and gals uniforms which I find HILARIOUS and love it. He really was a sweaty mess after the 50 minute class!

Watched Butler get beat by Duke...again. Brutal.

Started to feel baby girl move around, always fun...wish she would cut out the bladder kicking though! Its her current favorite!!

Finally ordered a family stamp and I am super excited about this. I am OVER return address labels and feel so fancy now! :)

Took my car into the shop 3 times (or rather P-Daddy did this) and got super annoyed about it because the problem was a defect that they wouldn't fix until each "coil" went out. We are finally fixed but and it was FREE but I am over having car issues!!

FINALLY hired a painter and getting the rest of our house painted. Every color has been chosen, the floors have been covered in plastic and the painting starts TOMORROW! woohoo!

Implemented a "chore chart" for JD...the "chores" are currently
Eating a good dinner (meaning at least one sampling of each item on the plate)
cleaning up toys at the end of each day
going to bed ONCE (he has been known to reappear downstairs and have to be put BACK in bed)
staying in bed ALL NIGHT, until its light outside (also been known to appear at my bedside in the middle of the night and freak this momma out)

Still working on what the "rewards" should be...don't want them to be too complicated or food oriented. Perplexed...

I have done a ridiculous amount of baking! Which I plan on sharing the wealth of the recipes soon with all of you, so get yourself excited! :)

Happy December! Happy Advent!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

To Celebrate Growing Older...

This week I turn 30. Thursday to be exact. 11-11...a beautiful day (in my humble opinion-ha!). I am excited about my next 30 years as the first 30 were filled with so much I can't imagine what God has in store for me!

I was sent the below as an email forward by a great friend the other day and thought it was worth sharing! I always love getting advice from those who have been around the block more times than I!

This was written by Regina Brett, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009 and 2008. Oh and contrary to what the email forward says...she is 54, not 90. And if you click on her name above it will take you to her web site to confirm! Pretty funny story actually!


To Celebrate Growing Older...

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone, everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Its about time...

I know its been WAYYYY too long since I shared the cuteness of JD. Or updated you on his life and social calendar. So here it goes people. Get excited.
Just call him Farmer JD because he would MUCH rather be "mowing" than doing ANYTHING else!

He met Sid the Science Kid...a current favorite.

Had his very first hayride that he LOVED because a tractor pulled us!

Went to the driving range for the first time with Daddy!

Had girls in our bed for the first time! Luckily it was just to wake him up from a nap because they were their for his birthday party and he was sleeping through it!

Went to the pumpkin patch and rode on the moo train. Again, pulled by a tractor so you really can't go wrong!

And he is still avoiding taking a nice picture with his momma! Pretty sure this is always going to be a struggle! :)

Happy Fall everyone!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Are You?

My mind is rather full right now. I have an overly active brain as it is and then with the extra blood flow because of being prego...well, to put it nicely, the brain is on overdrive.

It doesn't feel any different than my normal over-active brain but I know with the amount of stuff I have swirling around, it is. And also what kind of stuff. Its everything from the national attention on bullying, to worrying about JD (normal), to thinking about exactly how I should re-arrange, oh, you know, the WHOLE house, to what I will wear for Christmas Eve mass and, and, and. Insert any topic and its probably running through my brain.

And I already have the perfect dress for Christmas Eve mass. But I still wake up in the middle of the night and think about how the ENTIRE outfit will look together. So I guess in the end it better be great cause its only October! :)

But honestly, mostly I think about the people closest to my heart. And this is NOTHING new. A lot of women say "its so hard to put myself first, put myself on the list, think of myself." And yes, I find this hard too...especially after having JD. And yes I went through some serious "where did mamalouise go/identity crisis" stuff. But I believe I came out better for all of that so I don't dwell.

It is not in my human nature to think of myself first. I would MUCH rather ask how you are and talk about you and your life and your cheers and fears. MUCH rather. If you read my diary I kept from 5th grade through high school you would know that this is so true its a bit ridiculous. I read my middle school diary somewhat recently and in most posts I wrote how I was worried about so and so and needed to pray for so and so.

I am this way to a fault.

Now that doesn't mean I can't dominate conversations like the best of em. I can. And that is not my best quality. Even though while dominating I am most likely just trying to help by sharing a story from my own personal experience that I think may be a good parallel. NOT EVERYONE WANTS HELPED MAMA! But my brain always goes there.

Sometimes, no more than sometimes I think I would have been better suited as a therapist.

I have lots of personal stories to draw upon. Believe me. I was telling one just last night to a few friends at dinner (my dad going to jail one) and even as I was sharing what I have shared a million times I still thought to myself (this doesn't even sound real...I bet this friend of mine is questioning how truthful this all is). And yet the whole thing is real and true. So anyway I kind of have the shock and awe stories that have to make people feel better about their current situation, right?

On a side note, I think this is one of the reasons I have issues with liars. Why would people make up stories about their own life/experience for a shock and awe type of reaction? Coming from someone who has lived through some actual shock and awe, its insulting.

P-Daddy told me the other day how awesome he thought it was that I could laugh about my family's dysfunction. That he believes a lot of people would walk through life bitter and defensive if they had lived through some of the same stuff I have. And its funny, because the word bitter has NEVER even crossed my mind. The feeling bitter has never been in my soul.

I feel blessed actually. I feel blessed to have a life story already.

To have known what I wanted before entering a marriage because of seeing my parents mistakes...

To be able to help friends (and sometimes complete random strangers that I get into weird conversations with) with my story...

To have been adult enough to demand that I go to the college I want when I had very little support from my parents at age 17...

To live through a lot of adults in my life acting more like children than adults and having to pick up their pieces...

To know that I never want to have any sort of permanent addiction because I have seen what doing anything in excess can bring you...

To have already felt somewhat prepared as a parent because I have somewhat already been one to my brother...

I look at everyone and see their beauty first. Sure, once I get to know you I may see the demons you have too but I always see the beauty first. I could give a 45 minute (minimum) speech on every one of my friends and tell them all of the beautiful things about them. The things they see, and the things that they don't.

My point in sharing that is because I guess P-Daddy was right, I could have been the girl to have wallowed in her family's dysfunction. And yes, I am in therapy. Its one of the most selfish things I have done in my life to date honestly. That and smoking way too many cigarettes for too many years. Therapy just helps me see the beauty within my family, my story. It doesn't make me bitter.

I have ALWAYS said that God put me on earth so that I could help others. That everything that has happened in my life was only so I could help others with their trials. I am so glad that He also gave me the strength to laugh, cry, yell and even scream through all of my experiences.

Please know I have my days. I HAVE my days. :) I am just so freaking lucky to have found P-Daddy. To be able to be sharing my life with someone I truly enjoy spending time with, who is my best friend in a sense that no one has ever been to me (and its not because he gets to make sweet love to me-HA!!)

And for my take on the bully's and bullying...bully's have more pain than they know what to do with and that sucks. The bullying they do sucks worse because they are hurting others in their pain. And its a no win situation because there is always two victims in the end. I know the world doesn't see the bully's like that but I do. They were already hurting for some reason and decided to inflict pain on someone else...and then they hurt someone to the point of killing themselves in some cases and now that bully has to live with the pain they already had AND the fact they lead someone to death. Its awful. Parents need to hug their kids more. Get off their Facebook page and hug their kids more.

Oh and I think some of this said bullying is complete crap (the ones that make the news that don't end in death) I think it is over-reacting, sue happy, want to be famous parents who jump at any opportunity. Sad truth.

So blog stalkers...How Are You today?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This one almost reads like an agenda or checklist...but it is sooo not

First things my left you will see a brand new poll on whether or not Baby #2 will be a boy or a girl. Only 29 days left to vote your blog stalker thang and cast your vote today! Go Baby Dumas #2! :)

Second things second. We had some of our friends over on Friday night and it was so much fun! By SOME of our friends I mean my college girlfriends and their significant others. It has been FOREVER since we were all together so I was extra excited! The boys sat in our living room and watched the Reds game (or tried) as we did our usual thing and yelled over each other trying to just get a word in edge wise amongst ourselves. This is normal, right?

I did realize a few things worth sharing from that evening.

One is I couldn't have a more diverse group of friends by means of personalities. I am pretty sure everyone was offended at least once by another's comment throughout the evening, including comments that I am sure I made. We are ALL definitely not afraid to use our First Amendment right with each other. Although this is nothing new to the group it still shocks me a little every time we are together.

Another is I am not doing a very good job when it comes to being myself as a Christian amongst my friends. I realized that they don't see me as a religious person at all that evening (because yes religion came up) and I am disappointed in myself.

And finally I realized that one of the reasons we don't get together that often anymore is because we all don't have a lot in common anymore. This is probably one of the saddest factoids. However, I don't walk away from this realization sad at all...because all of those beautiful and talented ladies are wonderful people and friends. And we will always have our get togethers. Just not Desperate Housewives style where it is in the neighborhood and we have our morning coffee together. Its a lot more like we live in separate cities and our get togethers are to catch up on each others lives. Which is probably the "normal" for a lot of people. It just wasn't the normal for us for a lot of years.

I realized this summer especially how much I haven't let myself branch out from these girls because I didn't want to offend any of them. I realized this because I did branch out...and found myself having a lot of fun with other friends...friends that have been around for a lot of years that have had the patience to stay in my life without me putting much effort in until recently. Its just that I never really let other friends IN. Because I had MY circle of friends. I was cheating myself by not being REAL friends with anyone else besides the ladies I once lived on Hampton Drive with (well them and my Dvegas girlfriends-but my Dvegas friends are a breed of their own because I never had trouble letting them in...and they all have known me since I was 10 or younger even, chubby, boy haircut, you know the lovely awkward years).

I think its because it took me a long time to really let my college friends in. My life in college to many of my now close friends seemed at one time (because they have told me) as careless and care free. And there definitely was a part of my college days that were exactly that. But behind the scenes, those who really got to know ME found that I had been an ADULT in my family for years and years. And I was in a lot of ways parenting my brother at the time. My carelessness and carefreeness was my release from my real life. Its also how I buried pain but that's for another day and another blog. But not everyone knew what they knew about me and my personal life and I have always revered their friendships...for being there when I was in a rough spot...helping find lots and lots of laughter and being a shoulder to lean on.

So in many ways I feel grateful for all of the above. That I have these amazing women in my life that are great friends... but that I have many others in my life that I have finally let IN and am having so much fun with. Yes I still have fun with my college friends (reread above). Lots of it... we have had some amazing times and I know we have more amazing ones in our future.

I have to be somewhat careful in writing this because a lot my college girlfriends read this (hi ladies) and again I was so fiercely loyal to them for so many years that its somewhat hard for me to be so honest. Even with myself on this subject. I sat in bed and thought long and hard about this blog and realized that my favorite blogs are ones where I am here I am.

I feel fortunate for all the wonderful people in my life and love them all dearly. I just love to share my thoughts in hopes that I can help another. And I am quite sure that I am not alone in trying to stay true to my friends, those friends drifting a part, struggling to let new friends in and balancing life, friends, family, God, work, kids. And that is all I have to say about that.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Who has two thumbs, a new found love of strawberries and is growing at the age of 29?


Hmmm....wonder what I am talking about? Well lets see, I have spent the past 15 weeks being nauseous, craving lots and lots of fruit and cereal, gained some weight, my breastesses are large and in charge, I am starting to seriously look at wearing elastic wasted pants....

...thats right folks, this girl is PREGNANT with Baby #2!! I know, right?! We never thought I would do it again!! But alas, I am going down the long 40 week road of the gift of pregnancy. And am trying to embrace all the lovliness that goes along with it.

I didn't blog when prego with JD so this is new territory for me. I only took ONE photo of me and my prego belly with JD, and am planning on reluctantly doing the same with this babe. So really, no fun for you on that front. BUT I am sure I will share some lovely details along the way.

First up will be if this babe is a boy or a girl. And that, dear readers is a detail that I am NOT patiently awaiting this time around!! I want to know so bad for some reason!! And I think its because everyone near and dear to me has decided I am having a girl (gasp). Oh and the reason for the gasp is that P-Daddy is one of 3 boys, there is all boy cousins (one girl somewhere in there), I only have one brother, my mom had I kind of always assumed I would just have all boys. It really never occurred to me that I would EVER have a girl. So they all have me curious and interested that it could actually be a girl. And be prepared if it is...I will literally start peeing in pink I think. :) But this will FOR SURE be uncharted territory for me, for US!

So for now we wait. We find out this detail in November and that feels like a year away (dramatic). But we are thrilled, blessed, and so excited to share this news with you and you and you!

JD is so excited he agreed to a photo shoot. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last Official Day of Summer

Its kind of hard to believe that we are in the middle/end of September, have already gotten a few teaser Fall days and yet TODAY is the final day of summer. I wouldn't have even known this factoid if my mom hadn't told me as summer basically ended for us at the end of July. Plus the only reason she knows this is because apparently TODAY is setting record heat indexes in Hoosierland.

That always happens...we are gung ho ready for nice weather by the time June arrives, pissed off if it even thinks about getting chilly or raining...and then a whole month later we are all burnt out of pool days and overwhelming heat and humidity that we can't WAIT for Fall to get here! Which is ridiculous because I HATE WINTER! Except for the month of December of course. Apparently I like my seasons to last a month and then I am over them. HA! Anyway, I am sure as JD gets older this will change as activities will keep us busy all summer long but for now this is our story.

Plus I LOVE (understatement) Fall. I love the smell, the wonderful temperature, the colors, the clothes (new jeans, sweatshirts), the decorations, Thanksgiving...well you name it I love it. If Fall could last all year I would be in heaven (side note: it does, you just have to move to Southern California...and in that case you do miss out on the fall colors but you DO get the wonderful temperatures!!)

But alas, I realized that I did not do ONE pool post this year...which is ridiculous because Mr. JD is quite the fish! This season brought some swimming with no floaties which is a far cry from LAST YEAR, holding our breath under water, swimming down to get sticks at the bottom of the shallow end AND jumping off the diving board for the first time (WITH floaties!). So on this last day of summer I thought I would share some of our highlights...

Happy Last Day of Summer everyone!! Fall 2010 HERE WE COME!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tivo Talk-Fall 2010 Premier Week!!

It sure is that time of year again! The leaves are turning beautiful shades of orange, the kids are back in school (not my kid but you know what I mean), bonfires with smores are going on somewhere around here, and, you guessed it-FALL PREMIER WEEK has arrived! So get excited, and get those TIVO's and DVR's ready because this season is sure to entertain us all!!

What's New:

Monday at 10pm EST Chase. Featuring the handsome Jesse Matclaf who we all remember as Jon Rowland, the frisky lawn boy from Desperate Housewives.

Thursday at 9:30pm EST Outsourced. I already heart NBC's The Office and Community which are both a play on sitcom meets reality TV and am thinking this will be along those same lines. Looking forward to laughing out loud.

Friday at 10pm EST Outlaw. Who doesn't love Jimmy Smitz? I mean hello?! But really the season premier of this was last week for some reason and we tuned in. So far so good. Think quirkier Law and Order with a main character trying to make positive changes within our system. We shall see how this goes...could be a great one!

The Apprentice really isn't new but has received a face lift. Celebrity Apprentice is the route that The Donald had gone the past few seasons and I was yawning. so I guess its a good thing for him that he has changed it up. The premier was this past week but you can catch it on Thursdays at 10pm. The previews have me intrigued because it appears he is taking peeps on that lost their jobs due to our current financial crisis. Could be very interesting...

The Whole Truth premiers Wednesday at 10pm EST. If you were a fan of ER get excited because this is bringing back Maura Tierney. I am not so sure if I will love this but am going to give it a try. Sounds like another spin off of a Law and Order but we shall see where they take us.

Shows I was excited to see return:

Parenthood, already premiered this week as well but can be seen on Tuesday nights at 1opm EST. And this just in via PEOPLE magazine...Lauren Graham and Peter Kraus (who play brother and sister on this show) are DATING! I know, so weird and yet so right.

Premiering NEXT week on Tuesday September 28th (but still WAY worth mentioning) is The Good Wife. I think this actually may be my *FAV* Drama of the year. It was a great first season last year and it seems like they have a great plot coming at us this year! YAY for a good drama. :)

Premiering Wednesday at 9:30pm EST Cougartown is BACK! This is one I wasn't so sure of last season but it did just continue to keep me laughing and coming back for more so I am a in now. I still don't like Courtney Cox's son...he creeps me out but everyone else is hilarious!

As if there was any question this was going to return, but still it was a new show last year...Modern Family is BACK and premiers this Wednesday at 9pm EST. Cam and Phil, I have missed you and can't wait until Wednesday to see your shiny faces!

Oldies but goodies:

Survivor: Nicaragua. This premiered last week so if you missed know you haven't missed much. Its on Wednesday's at 9pm EST now and I am not sure how I feel about that but am excited it is still going strong. Amazing that they can still think of new challenges after all these seasons.

Monday September 20 at 8pm EST, How I Met Your Mother. I am SO glad we are getting into a new season because P-Daddy has just about burned me out with the Lifetime re-runs of this show. He is officially obsessed with Barney and all of his antics and I am convinced he could watch this show 24-7 over and over and still giggle out loud.

Desperate Housewives, premiers Sunday the 26th at 9pm EST. The website says tonight at 9pm but my TIVO is showing "The Gates." So I think their site is wrong. But anywho...I am way excited about the return of the Housewives. I can't get enough actually.

Private Practice, premiering Thursday at 10pm EST. Although I have ditched my beloved Grey's Anatomy as it just got to be too much I still heart this show. Addison and the gang still keep me excited to come back week after week. I really hope Addison gets herself some Taye Diggs this season. :)

Shows that are set to tape on my TIVO but I am about to breakup with:

Brother's and Sisters, premiers Sunday September 26. This USED to be on my favorites list but I am telling you it went a little too far last season and I don't know how they are going to come back from it. So my story is I am going to go ahead and watch the first episode and see how it goes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thinking out loud Thursday

I am having one of those days where I just feel like blogging but I don't necessarily have anything to blog about. So brace yourself people. This could get interesting.

I am exhausted. Literally I wake up every day after a crappy night of sleep as of late (thanks to my dear son) and think "I'm not that tired, I am going to be good to go today." And I am that way until about noon and then I crash. Except I don't crash because I work. But I mentally crash. Oh and the crappy night of sleep we are getting nightly I hear is due to the fact that we now have a 3 year old. A very strong willed 3 year old. But we will prevail this, don't you worry. I just may eventually need an IV of caffeine to get myself through a day.

We are in the midst of making some large furniture purchases right now. And if you know us you know that we were REALLY good at making these types of purchases (minus couches, we always suck at buying couches) early on in our relationship and now we second guess every move and spend WAY too much time shopping, negotiating and then sometimes never buying. We will buy this time. It just may take a year. Sometimes I wish I was young and stupid least on this front. I am way too worried about big decisions now... the robins egg paint samples I have had on my bathroom walls for a year with still no final decision made. Its just paint mama, its just paint. I act like its wallpaper. Now THAT is a marriage I just cannot enter.

I have a girls day planned on Saturday that includes a fancy breakfast and manicures and pedicures. I am so looking forward to this! I wonder if I can talk any of them into allowing me to come back to their house and take a nap after? Too much? HA!

I am losing followers lately...wonder what I did? Its like losing Facebook friends. You really don't care but you are always curious as to what happened.

It is taking everything I have not to bust out my all of my fall decor. I heart this time of year so much and with the brutal summer we had I am embracing all things FALL. Including the lovely breeze outside today! Now, Fall go ahead and stay around until December and we will be good to go. And yes, I just spoke to a season.

If stand up comedy existed for 3 year olds Jacob would be making millions. I laugh out loud every day at his funny stories. And kids, as you know, have no filter and have no idea what being really scared of anything means. Its such a beautiful thing.

I feel like I have said this before in some form or fashion as I guess I am just eternally perplexed at the complexity of how women interact with each other...but friendship in many ways isn't what I thought it was. Sometimes better, sometimes surprising, sometimes worse, sometimes the exact thing you needed...its just an interesting breed in our lives. I just hope I am a good one. I sure do try to be...but that doesn't always matter.

I realized the other day that my day instantly gets better when I hear (and sing) a good song on the radio with the windows down. I used to do this a LOT more. Its good for my soul. Favorite current song: "Half of my Heart" by John Mayer (featuring the lovely Taylor Swift).

Its about that time for me to do a Fall Tivo Talk. I am so excited I could pee my pants as I have missed good TV. Except for the fact that Entourage, Weeds, and Project Runway have kept me somewhat occupied. Especially PR as it is hands down the greatest reality show on television. And I don't sew and can't afford high end designer.

And finally...its the Farewell Season of Oprah people. Get excited.

Monday, September 13, 2010

3, as in years old

You know what is coming next as I have realized I am pretty predictable when it comes to JD and his birthday's. Turn up the volume people, its not the same without the music. You will all be excited to know that this year's picture montage has some new features AND is shorter. :)

Happy 3rd Birthday JD! He woke up just about the time he was born three years ago this morning (and so of course I had a moment...sniff, sniff) and had the birthday tradition of a doughnut for breakfast! Birthday party post coming soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Your Love, Your Love, Your Love is my Drug

Who doesn't love K$SHA?! I mean, hello?!

P-Daddy thinks I sounds just like her when I sing "Wake up in the morning feelin like P-Diddy" as I sing that often 'round here. And when he says that I am all "I know, right?! And I look sorta like her too, right...right?" And then I say "I could have soo done her gig and totally been makin her millions...DANG!" Then he does the whole song and dance where he pretends like he's mad about it and says "thanks a lot...I wouldn't have to sell insurance if you would have just been K$SHA." And then I say the obvious..."umm my stage name would have totally been something way cooler than K$SHA" and we move on...What? You and your hubby don't have conversations like that? Daily? You should try it out sometime,its a blast. We are a blast. Just ask us.

Anyway...back to K$SHA and her fabulous tune "Your Love is my Drug." Actually P-Daddy's love drug is what I am referring to as we celebrated our 6th year of marriage on Saturday. Awww...I know, we are so cute! After we were done patting ourselves on the back for staying together and still loving each other in the mean time for 6 years (actually we have been together 9 total...but who's counting?) we celebrated this anni by going to the place where it all started. Well, sort of. We packed our pretty bags and took our pretty selves to the hotel in Indy where we had our wedding reception...that also happens to host their famous Heavenly Beds. Just in case you were wondering, they are still oh so heavenly. :) And since I haven't blogged about our recent gap in sleep...I will tell you was important to have a wonderful bed to sleep all the way through a wonderful night in. Just least a months time.

We were classic P and M and instead of going out to a fancy meal (which we do enjoy by the way but on momentous relationship occasions history has shown that we will do a bit more comfort food than fine dining. Like the night we got engaged...Arby's pot roast sandwiches was our celebratory dinner of choice. I know this just made you want to be friends with us even more!)we ordered one of our favorite pizza's that won't deliver to us in God's Country and ate in our hotel room while watching HGTV. Oh and for those of you who know me and care, yes I sure did go to the gift shop and purchase myself some Pringles...because we all know how I feel about pizza and chips. We did a lot of laughing (at our own jokes and each others) and a lot of relaxing. It was a wonderful way to spend a day with each other in celebration of our love!

And since we were too lazy to take any pictures to mark this occasion...I will share one of my favorites of us!

Love you forever P-Daddy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Your So Vain...

(sing it with me)..."you probly think this song is about you...your so vain (your so VAIN) you probly think this song is about you, don't you, DON'T YOU!" :)

So apparently Mr. JD got a hold of my camera the other day and learned himself how to take pictures. I say this because I plugged in my SD card today and up pops what you shall see below. The funny thing is there were about 40 total of he, himself and him! These are just the ones that you could see his pretty face! Kind of a fun surprise for mommy!

Also fun that he didn't break the camera while it was in his little curious hands! And pretty great that he didn't lose said camera while it was in his possession. Never underestimate the power of his creepiness! :)

Happy Friday!

Oh and sorry about the boogies in his nose...we are fighting something and as much as we try to keep on top of them, they are coming back faster than we can grab him and wipe him up. And remember, he was apparently roaming the house and MIA during this "photo shoot." (insert mom of the year award HERE).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Yesterday was one of those days where you realize that life is fragile and God is in control. Yesterday was one of those days that makes you realize how much love runs through family. Yesterday was one of those days that makes you realize how powerful prayer can be.
Yesterday was one of those days that reminded me of how GOOD people can be.

Let me go back a few days actually...because its not just about yesterday...

About a week ago P-Daddy and I packed up the family truckster to brave the grocery store on a weekend morning. We had been playing with JD outside for most of the morning and our arms were really tired from swinging him so we decided this would be a good idea. I had laid my cell phone on my back bumper for play time and noticed it before we packed up, making a mental note I needed to grab it before we left. But I forgot. And we went on our merry way to the store and back home again. The store by the way is about 10 miles away. So we get home and I remember that I had left my cell on the bumper and forgot and we had driven off with it there. CRAP!!! But my optimistic self got back in the car with P-Daddy's cell phone and thought I would slowly drive down our street and down the main road of our hood on the off chance it was still out there and still in one piece. I did have a pretty sinking feeling in my gut that I was wrong though. Well...I drove down our street calling my phone and get to the stop sign at the end of our road and there I hear it. In the MIDDLE of the main road in our neighborhood, ringing. I get out of my car, walk over to my untouched phone, laugh, shake my head and say (out loud)"God I have NO idea why you are so good to me because I don't deserve it."

To you this may be silly because it is just a cell phone, and believe me when I say I completely realize this. It was just one of those rare moments where it was kind of a miracle that it was still in one piece based on where it was laying and it was going to be a real pain to have to get a new phone (and expensive) and I really felt God was saying "see I am in your life, even for the small things." (insert chills)

Flip back to the present...

It has truly been a powerful couple of days. We have been battling (made up) monsters in JD's room, lots of allergies turned into sickness (for me, JD, and Granbeck), lots of family in town, some days off of work for both me and P-Daddy, a dear loved ones surgery, lots of worrying, lots of praying, lots of laughter to break through the fear, and a huge blessing.

The surgery went well, better than well actually. And we are blessed. May we all see God's blessings through the good and tough times in our lives...the small and the big ways he shows us he is there.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


B.O. is not something a woman should deal with (even if she does sweat like a man in the armpit region)

B.O. may be a result of the fact that I have an obscene amount of hair under my pits (TMI?)

B.O. means I can't wear satin, even in the winter, unless I want to show off serious sweaty pit stains.

B.O. knows no boundaries and has ripped through every antiperspirant on the market (normal and "clinical") and one prescription deo too.

So as you can see I have a problem. And its of the smelly variety. I mean, don't get me wrong...I don't smell like a 7th grader who just went through puberty and doesn't yet realize they need some deodorant but by the end of every day I don't smell so hot. In fact, every night when P-Daddy gets home from work we hug it out and typically he gives me a smell check. Most days the verdict is: "you've smelled worse." Which is kind of gross. And I really hate it.

Right now I have a stick of deo in the center console of my ride, just in case. I used to have it there AND in my desk drawer at work. Yep peeps, its THAT bad.

Currently I start the day with a little SECRET and end with applying some Mitchum (for women). Always, ALWAYS of the powder fresh scent as it smells a little LESS bad when it is wearing of! Its working for me, for now. I think I need botox in the pits. I hear it works. And at the ripe age of 29 I am thinking this is a problem that won't go away without a serious intervention.

The deo's currently in my bathroom...

Aren't you glad you stopped by this here blog and read about Body Odor today? I'm sure glad you did. Now don't go off and forget your deodorant today! :)

Monday, August 16, 2010


As a parent you find yourself doing things you never thought you would do. A few examples shall we?

Allowing your baby to take naps in their swing (guilty)
Sometimes having a potty mouth in front of your child (guilty)
Allowing your child to watch more than the recommended half an hour a day of television (very guilty)
Opening a box of cookies in a store just so he will stop screaming and disrupting the public (guilty)

Believe me when I say these are LIGHT examples, there are many, many more. The bottom line is you do these things mostly out of desperation, which doesn't make it OKAY and as a parent you know this....but it does help you survive the early days of parenting.

One of the things that P-Daddy and I were pretty convicted about not getting was a swing set for our yard. Mainly because they are VERY expensive, we don't have a lot of flat yard space and we have a neighborhood park that we can practically spit on (oh and selfishly they can be sort of an eye sore). Insert=eating your own words.

One of our neighbors has grown children, had one of these said swing sets and was looking to get rid of it. We actually looked into this for one of our friends who were interested in a swing set, not for us. But when he told us the price (umm think deal of the century), P-Daddy perked up and said "maybe we should buy it." I was all "WHAT?" Of course JD had walked down with us to our neighbors house and had already gone down the slide about a million times. He's a good salesman to his dear old dad.

So we made the big purchase. And after a much needed face lift we have the happiest boy on the block. To say that this purchase was priceless is an understatement.

This is the "after face lift" pic...sorry about the fuzziness...don't know what happened.

Sometimes its nice to eat your words.

Next up: Teaching JD how to SWING himself! My arms are tired. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Love Technology...Always and Forever

If you don't know the movie my title is from, well, you just haven't lived. HA! (its from Napoleon Dynamite-go watch it and prepare to LYAO).

I haven't really mentioned the big J-O-B on here at all and since I spent half of my week away from the fam and on the job this past week I thought it might be a great time to enlighten.

I do work for a technology company in their financial services department. I have personally never worked in the financial services industry but my hubby does so I feel very comfortable talking that language...and I did help peeps with their mortgage process in my former life. But anyway, my job doesn't have much to do with actual financial services. Its just a nice thing that I kind of know it.

As I mentioned above I just spent a few days away from home in the windy city for my job. Its been a while for me to be that involved with work. Meaning I work from home and attend all my meetings via webcam all day (again I heart technology) and IM to get the rest done etc. This was my first time meeting anyone from my company in person. It was two hard core days of intense rah rah for the company's next fiscal year, which kicks off August 1st.

So here is what I observed (being out of this game for approximately 3 years and all...)

  • I am so lucky to be working for a company that is so positive on their outlook and honestly feels that the recession is behind them.
  • I attended meetings in 7 different cities over two days, well, kind of. 75 people overall attended these meetings but we used our handy dandy technology so that very little travel was required for anyone. I am a nerd but I think this is cool.
  • I realized one of the reasons I loved my former life is because when I was in it things were booming and it was thrilling to be a part of it. Insert I really don't like down turns.
  • I forgot how much I missed listening and learning from others. I can't believe how many quotes I wrote down from my peers who spoke. Personal Favorite: "we have to have ambition greater than ourselves."
  • I have always worked for mostly men but in this situation the main boss is a woman. Its an interesting change.
  • I love working with other people who have passion for what they do
  • I don't think I will ever be a traditional working woman. That many days away from home on a regular basis for work isn't the mom I want to be. But interestingly enough, it is a LOT of the women I work with. And I once thought I would be just like them. Its funny to look through a window at them up close and realize how much I love my life exactly how it is.
  • I do still want to dabble in my former life and (eventually) flip at least one house. Although I think this technology gig is really cool, I love homes.
  • I think its fun to know things before the rest of the world knows it. And I do. HEHE!
  • No matter what the demographic, everyone loves a little reality TV. Especially the "Real Housewives" series. Which is funny because I consider myself a TV junkie and that is the ONE reality series I don't watch. Well that and the Bachelor.
  • I think eventually my company will help the likes of others get out of this recession and we will all work in a way that no one thought feasible 10 years ago. And that my friends is cool.

I have always thought it was very important to love what you do if you are going to work. I know not everyone is afforded this luxury but I pray someday we all will be. There is nothing better than spending your days doing something you believe in and are passionate about. Some days I still think for me, eventually this is just being a mom. I do miss my playgroup, going to the gym every morning, raising my son. But for now, I do believe this is what God has planned for our family. And while I am on it, I am going to enjoy the ride...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bible Beater

Mamalouise's definition of a BB: a "Christian" who knows more about the Bible than anyone else (so they claim) and beats that said Bible in anyone and everyone's face that they can. Very Christian like eh?

I have some family that I would categorize as BB's (nothing like the pot calling the kettle black know this being such a "christian" like and un-judgemental statement and all!) member of the good old fam even sent out Christmas cards to everyone that said that all of us were going to go to hell because we didn't follow God's ways. Now isn't that a way to encourage people to go to church?! Laughable.

So our fam went to church with GranBeck and Fwank this weekend. They are of the Lutheran type and we wanted to check out their churchy digs. There was a band (if your understanding of a band is a synthesizer a guitar and a few middle aged woman on the mics rocking it out) which had great music but the clapping thing is a bit too much for P-Daddy. Its the Catholic in him, so he just stands there as we tease him. JD on the other hand dances his little heart out just like he dances to the rap music I allow him to listen to...apparently he is a non bias' music lover just like his mommy. Can I get an AMEN! :)

The gospel verse this week was Luke 10:25-37 which is the parable of the "Good Samaritan." This jist of this story is that a man is talking to Jesus and tells him that he thinks being a good christian means to "love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus is all like-duh-yes but asks him what that means? Then tells the story of a man getting robbed and left for dead. Three men pass him...a priest, a levite (don't ask me what this kind of man is, I am assuming a rich man?), and, you guessed it-the good samaritan...who is the only one that stops and then helps this poor man who was just robbed. The moral is that the man who stopped was truly living out God's love...not that the other's weren't Christians but that they didn't show God's love to the robbed man.

Lots of good modern day parallels were drawn, including personal stories that the pastor told of walking away from people who he now looks back and realizes he could have helped...but at the time it seemed too much to deal with. I love it when pastors are honest about being real people and not holier than thou types.

One of the best things that I think were said out of the whole thing was this:
"It is far easier to be GOOD than it is to be COMPASSIONATE."

First of all, I think there are a lot of good people who don't love themselves enough to be able to love and be compassionate towards their neighbors...

Second...I think being good is easier to pull off as we were taught good/bad, right/wrong from birth. Compassion is so much harder to come by because if you weren't shown compassion by any growing up then how are you to know how to be compassionate towards others? Also I think a lot of us were raised (including children today) with expectations set higher than can be achieved with little compassion or leeway if those expectations are not met. Insert here why a lot of people have trouble loving themselves...vicious circle I tell ya!

Third...I realized (especially after looking at point #4 below) that I am pretty darn compassionate. My therapist may beg to differ as she would say I am more of a "rescuer" because it makes me feel good to help everyone else with their problems and not focus on my own (see point one about loving yourself first-ha-you following me...Bueller?)

Finally...the definition of Compassion is: Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.

Anyway its always a good pray for those around open your eyes to the way you can affect people. To realize that everyone suffers a bit in their own way. To understand little old me or you can have an impact on those around us just by reaching out. Even if it is rescuing. :)

I was always taught in Baptist like church digs to lead by example. To radiate God's love in your life so that others will want to learn more about God just by the way you live. Not by beating the bible over their heads. I am not always good at leading by example. Oh lets be serious, I pretty much suck at it. Which is why I seriously pray every day to be a good influence on those around me. As much as I know God knows my heart and yours, I am still a believer in the Good Samaritan and the impact that being compassionate can have on someones life. It may not lead them to have a relationship with God, but it will allow them to believe that there is good in this world.

And the Bible Beater thing...well I probably just beat down the Bible a bit too much for some right here...I will pray that everyone can read this with an open heart. I have said it before and I sure will say it again...I am by NO means a perfect Christian and my relatives are very correct in saying I would be going straight to hell on a turbo jet rocket if God wasn't a forgiving God. Thank God! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Little Bit of Chicken Fried...

...Cold beer on a Friday night, pair of jeans that fit just right, and the radio uuuuuuuuP! Oh yes, I heart this Zac Brown Band tune. And I didn't want to. Too twangy. But I heart it. Especially the part about a pair of jeans fitting just right...cause there is NOTHING better now is there?!

Last weekend we headed to northernish Indiana where my in-laws live (ahem, excuse me...where Grandma Principal and Grandpa Menard reside) for some Independence Day fun. Although we did NOT have Chicken Fried, we did have a LOT of food (breakdown below...yes it was THAT noteable) and it was really too hot for beer to stay cold so instead we consumed other forms of alcoholic beverages. :) P-Daddy has 2 brothers (ahem, Uncle Badgeman and Uncle Stinky) and they came along with Aunt Ricky and Rae Rae for a whole family affair of fun in the sun!

Grilled chicken tacos
fresh guac
a whole turkey was cooked for lunch meat
hot dogs and bratwurst purchased from a fancy butcher shop (only reason I mention this is that a. it was the best hot dog I have ever had and b. apparently this is due to the fact that it was a "no filler" real dog..hmmm, oh and...mmmmmm).
the biggest Cowboy Ribeye Steaks I have ever seen
Cheesy Potatoes
Baked Mushrooms
Salad (of 2 different varieties)
grilled garlic bread
Cherry Pie
Apple Pie
Peanut Buster Bar Dessert (JD was not present)
Green Beans
and a whole pork shoulder was also slow cooked but it really was not consumed...

...Needless to say I came home really full.

Oh but I did manage to throw on workout clothes and walg (walk/jog) with Rae Rae one day and walk the city of Rennsy with Aunt Ricky one day. As if it made a difference...

We did manage to squeeze into our swim gear and utilize their pool for some sun and fun. JD discovered that jumping off a diving board is a blast, and that lounging rafts are actually "boats" used for jumping off of, forward and backward somersaults (duh).

Us gals (and JD) also hit up the local farmer's market and a garage sale. No we didn't buy MORE food at the FM, but I totally would have if it hadn't been mostly closed up.

We did not manage to sleep well because it was a slumber part of fun with P-Daddy, JD, and separate the same room. Oh I haven't told you before? Well, P-Daddy's old room in his 'rents home has twin beds and typically we choose to sleep in there. Call it nostalgic for my hubs or call it that we enjoy falling asleep like the people in the 50's did every once in a while (or that there is a tv in this room and we heart falling asleep to tv)...its our room of choice. So we squeezed in another twin bed on the floor this time, which somehow I got the pleasure of getting...and there you have it. Our family slumber party. I wish I could have gotten this shit show on camera somehow because (and I kid you not)...every night of our three night stay I was awakened in the wee hours of the morning to my son grabbing me and getting right in my face saying "I need to go pee." And then he was up at 5am because he heard Grandpa Menard (who chooses to get up that early) and wanted to go play with him. I also came home exhausted...actually, we all did.

But it was a whole lot of fun. Kind of like a mini family vacation. Filled with lots of love and dysfunction.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dear Mlouise,

This is a fun post I found via OHML and COEX. Very therapeutic. Highly suggest it to one and all.
Dear 9 year old Mlouise,

You are in 5th grade and you just found out you have scoliosis bad enough to be sent to a specialist. This brings a whole new set of challenges to your life, including a not so fun experience with an x-ray technician. I look back at you and wonder how you handled this so well. All of it. I can't believe all that you have already been through in your life, from the FBI to your house burning down while your whole family was sleeping inside, its crazy to me that you were so put together. You get an absolutely AWFUL perm and started to realize that being pretty was something to worry about. You were freaking awesome at softball, although this was one area that you doubted yourself. You shouldn't have because you were great.

Dear 12 year old Mlouise,

You recently found out you have to have back surgery because your scoliosis is so bad. You wore a back brace at night for over a year and your spine didn't stop curving. You are now growing side-ways. Its a great look. Your grandmother just died and this completely rocked your world. But don't worry, because somehow for the rest of your life you will feel her with you. You get back surgery and you rocked it. Grew two inches in a 4 hour time period and now have a cool scar on your back that will be a conversation starter for years to come. You are in show choir and you LOVE it. Your dad has already been to jail and is back again. Your family didn't lose the business and things are starting to fall back into "normal." You start to suspect that your parents aren't going to be together forever. You start dying your hair blonde. I kind of want to go back and give you a big hug. You are cute and you don't think so and you are WAYYYYY to worried about it. You also fret about getting fat wayyy too much. xoxo girlfriend.

Dear 13 year old Mlouise,

You get your first solo in show choir this year and you rocked it. You don't think so though...but I have VHS video to prove it girl. I am so proud of you. You also help your basketball team in ways you never thought you could. You are a bit too caddy to your friends for my own taste...which is too bad but I know it was because you were so insecure. Again, wish I could go back and tell you how fantastic you were. You dyed your hair auburn for a hot second (and have a picture to prove it as 8th grade pictures were the next day)...this was not a good look for you sweetie. You had your very first kiss at the movie theater with your boyfriend watching "So I married an ax murderer." That boyfriend would go down in history as being one of the kindest. That break up was way too brutal for 8th grade though. You wore a white dress with white panty hose to your eighth grade graduation that you purchased at DEB.

Dear 16 year old Mlouise,

A lot has happened in three years! You are driving a sweet teal Chrysler Lebaron convertible...and you love it. You are on the dance team, something you cherish and are thriving in show choir. All of the sports you grew up loving have gone by the way side and you have officially become a girly girl. Your parents get divorced. This doesn't come as a surprise but is so dysfunctional that you change as a person. You wore your heart on your sleeve before and now you bottle everything up inside. I so wish I could go back and tell you NOT to do that. I so wish someone in your life would have realized how badly you just needed a hug. You become your brothers rock and your relationship with him grows in ways you never thought possible. You get accepted to every college you apply to. You don't get into Butler University's singing program. You do get into Butler. You are so excited to LEAVE Dvegas.

Dear 19 year old Mlouise,

You LOVE Butler. You are a sophomore/junior in college already...time sure does fly. You are dating the man you THINK you are going to marry. Turns out you are really wrong about that but learned a whole lot about relationships and yourself. You are in a sorority but most days regret making that decision. Although your greatest friends are a part of it and I am positive that is the only reason you stayed. You smoke a LOT of cigarettes. Its how you deal with most anything stressful (and lets be honest...goes hand in hand with the large amount of cocktails you are consuming). Your mom lives in California and this is cool and devastating all at once. Your dad dates a woman you loathe so going "home" is hard. You throw the biggest millennium New Years party Dvegas has seen. You didn't have fun though. Wish I could have told you to have fun! You are a bit more secure with yourself but in general you still worry way too much. You have great friends. Ones that do give you hugs when they suspect you need one.

Dear 21 year old Mlouise,

You became a fair queen and handed off your crown already. It was fun for sure, but you didn't believe in yourself enough. I know it is because you didn't feel like anyone else did either, but you should have believed in yourself more. You were a great public speaker and totally could have won the state title. I am glad you didn't though. You officially graduate from college and officially find yourself BROKE. Your friends all left the city after graduating. You didn't. You got the worst job ever and hated going every single day. You barely paid your bills. But you are strong woman. You do pay them, you do go to work (most days), and you do look for something better. You are dating the man you will marry and he is and has been the best thing to walk in your life. Ever. You don't worry so much about anything when you are around him. Turns out that landed you a bit chubby for a while but turns out he loved you anyway. You find your dream job. You find yourself a bit more too.

Dear 23 year old Mlouise,

You are engaged, and about to be married to P-Daddy. You are a homeowner. You are freaking rocking out at your job that you LOVE in ways many never thought you would. Your mom has remarried and is living in Tennessee now. You go on your first real cruise and learn how to play blackjack and roulette. These are skills that carry you well throughout the coming years as you will work mostly with men who like to take manager trips to casinos! You marry the man of your dreams on the hottest day of the year in a big ole church with no AC (with many other blips including a HORRIBLE DJ that people still laugh about today) and yet it still goes down as one of the best days in life thus far. You take lots and lots of vacations and go to places you never thought you would. You become Catholic. This is the most confident you have felt, maybe ever, about everything. Life is really good.

Dear 26/27 year old Mlouise,

You are a manager now and are working on a commercial construction design project that you love. You are a homeowner for the second time as you and P-Daddy have already sold and built a new home again! You are pregnant with your first child and you kind of hate it. Pregnancy hasn't been awesome to you as there have been a lot of trials. Two of your best friends are pregnant and as much as you want to love this, it isn't as fun as it sounds. You start to feel the most insecure you have in a LONG time and you aren't real happy about that. You quit your job because you think you are moving to Cincinnati for your husbands job but it doesn't happen. You lose your management role because of this. I want to go back and tell you that its all going to be okay and work out in the end. Because it did. Just not the way you ever thought it would. You plan your first wedding and realize in the mean time this may be something you want to pursue full time. You train for a mini marathon but are too freaked out to run it. You are the most sleep deprived you have ever been in your life and yet are still functioning (sort of). You deliver a healthy baby boy who rocks.

Dear 29 year old Mamalouise,

You kind of can't believe what you just wrote above. Its been a great life so far. Even with all the stuff. Because all of the stuff. You are really happy to be sitting here writing on this beautiful day about how far you have come... how many times the road of life split off and somehow you have always ended up on the right path. Your husband really is one of the best gifts that God sent you. You look at your son in awe most days because you cannot believe that you made him and how much he is like you (loud mouthed, opinionated, stubborn...all of the qualities I heart! :). You worry a lot and I want to tell you to stop. What you worry about is out of your control and you need to have more faith in God, take a few more deep breaths and pray. You have recently just fallen into a dream job and are grateful. You have really started to love yourself again and take care of yourself. You think all the time about what a gift this is. Your mom just moved back and this rocked your world a bit. But in such a good way. You are excited about the big 3-0 and what this next decade in life will bring. You are good at asking for hugs when you need them now. Life isn't exactly what you thought it would be, most days its better.