Monday, May 30, 2011


Survival is not so much about the body, but rather it is about the triumph of the human spirit. - Danita Vance

This past week: our Dad continued to lay unconscious on a ventilator and underwent a series of surgeries, a dear friend’s Mom passed away while another’s father went into hospice, a cherished friend laid her beloved pup to rest, our son underwent minor surgery, we hosted a family bridal shower in another state, not to mention we traveled eight hours in a car with a toddler to another state, we let go another manager on our team, a friend’s father sits in the ICU, devastating tornados ripped through counties nearby while we also made two trips to the basement and our parents’ house suffered some damage, a dear colleague/friend’s grandfather is suffering extremely while another sits at Children’s with her sick child…

Did I mention this all took place in the last seven days?

But here’s the thing - we survived, just like we always do, with the most amazing support system surrounding our hearts, homes and souls. Cradling food dishes, sending love via text and phone calls, taking care of all the little things that get left behind when tough situations strike. Providing perspective, comfort, motivation, support and all things real as the blows hit, one by one. So if you were to ask us what we’d take to a desert island where we’d be left for stranded and our only goal would be to survive?

Hands down…we’d take you.

So thank you, dear family and friends, for being the reason we keep putting one foot in front of the other, sustain positive spirits, find delight in the day’s smallest things even when it seems there is nothing we should be grinning about and taking it one hour at a time. And to any and all of you who we all know suffers in this life, big and small, may you always lean on our little team in time of need, celebration and love like we do with you. Because we all have sh*t, life can be tough and gah knows you too will have a week like this too. Not to mention those that suffer their entire lifetime with worse experiences…heartbreaking.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a little survival kit tucked away when you need it most. Gah knows you deserve it.

Cheers to a fresh start this week where the word “survival” doesn’t even need to play a role. And much love to you and yours, surviving in laughter, humor, comfort and endless, unconditional love.

As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed. - Vincent Van Gogh

PS: As of yesterday, the hubs received the his Dad came off the ventilator and even sent on a video singing a celebratory tune. From here, it will only go up with fast healing and a speedy recovery. Just another tale of amazing survival…

Monday, May 23, 2011


As an unexpected, unbearable experience makes it's way into our family this week, I thank you for your patience as the ol' blog goes on hiatus. And, if you have a bit of extra energy, perhaps you can cross your hands, get down on your needs, silently speak a few words or shoot positive mojo to this amazing man who remains in critical condition and on lthe ventilator, etc. the next few days:

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. ~C.C. Scott

To the hub's Dad and one I also call my own: may you feel the loving touches and gazes of those that love and adore you and may you return to us just as you were before...kind, gentle, giving, nurturing loving and well, hilarious!

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival. ~Winston Churchill

And in case you need a little pick me up in the restful place you're currently jumping in and out of consciousness, here's tribute from a grandson who adores you immeasurably:

We're fighting for you. Counting on you. Loving you unconditionally. And will see you soon...

Once you choose hope, anything's possible. ~Christopher Reeve

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hooray for the Tray!

My friend Jenny has the kind of taste one can only be born with…you know, the one with the home you immediately want to cozy in and settle for awhile (long while), gorgeous clothes and accessories, well kept lawn and automobiles, gifts wrapped perfectly in taffeta and toile, flawless makeup and hair…and did I mention she is sweet as pie, bright and an incredible female and friend?

So speaking of Jenny, taffeta, wrap and presents, she gives the most darling wedding shower gift for her dear friends. She creates a little “breakfast in bed” soiree on a beautiful, wooden tray that includes accessories such as monogrammed tea towels, a place setting from their registry tucked with tea and homemade jams, perfectly folded and embroidered napkins, a few more tasty treats and more. Very Nell Hills. Personalized. Beyond tasteful. Thoughtful. One-of-a-kind. And just.plain.darling.

It makes you want to hug her Ashley-Juddesque gorgeous face and beg her to open a bed and breakfast.

So thanks for the inspiration, dear Jenny – here’s hoping I can recreate it with an eighth of your skills and your coaching very soon!

Hooray for the tray!

PS: If you feel like giving one to me for no reason at all, that’d be perfectly acceptable. And perfectly fine. Just…perfect…

Monday, May 16, 2011


First things first: I’m down 10 pounds total this week, which is week six. And I gotta admit I’m pretty pumped. All those hours of battling emotional eating, hitting the treadmill and missing perfect nights with my son in my arms…sure wish I would’ve thought of some fabulous reward for this milestone. But there’s still time, right? Maybe I should pluck from that Mother’s Day list that didn’t quite get checked off…

So two pounds off this week, which is amazing given my love affair with vodka drinks and SkinnyGirl margaritas on Saturday evening for Sarah’s graduation soiree. Not to mention the little smokie, bit of cookie cake and buffalo chicken dip that wandered it’s way into my pie hole…whoops. But hey, those delinquent, forbidden items still made the food log, ok? In fact, they practically ate the entire log for breakfast, but Wednesday starts for a new week – phew!

But enough about that, let’s talk endurance. One Webster definition of endurance is:The fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way

I may have been drawn to this portion of the meaning because I had to run 30 minutes solid at the fastest speed I could, leaving me feeling limbless and more than annoyed with that dang camel drink thingy my husband so kindly gave me last week. Or maybe it’s the fact I may have played a small part in potentially getting our trainer the boot…

Did I actually write that out loud?

Um, yah.

So I knew I was getting more crochety, persistent, “finding my voice” and “providing feedback” due to, I don’t know, life experiences? Exposure? Exhaustion? Or maybe this is who I really was all along. Yikes. But in my little world, I like to call it: not.settling.

In some areas and ways, I demand excellence. And if I demand it, I sure as hell will return the favor. And one of these areas definitely is when I fork over 500 bucks to slave away on the treadmill three days a week, away from my family, the boob tube, the iPhone, drinks with friends or a quick catch up with the hubs. Because if I could motivate and train myself, I sure as heck wouldn’t be showing up to the gym soiree with a bunch of strangers only to go home with a soaked tee, aching body and bad taste in my mouth. And I wouldn’t be using this lovely time to work with Jillian Michael’s potential sis-in-law.

Actually Jillian – she’s not all that bad.

And S wasn’t either. In fact, I really, really wanted to give her the opportunity to improve. I had prepped all weekend to share feedback, starting with the heart and positives, even getting some coaching at work so she would know it wasn’t personal but that we needed a true motivating leader week after week for the rest of the program.

And perhaps a little less talk about herself. More focus on us. Less chat about food, 300 pound family members, the fact that she’s HUNGRY and endless amounts of spinach. And more running through intervals and zones so it didn’t feel like we could just grab a piece of paper and do it ourselves.

And it would’ve been really cool had she arranged for a sub this evening so I didn’t get in the middle of the drama of being asked to run the class (um, no personal training degree here…in fact, that’s why my fat behind is in attendance) that ended with a perfectly fine chat with the head manager who said we’d see improvements by Wednesday.

But not so much S on Wednesday.

In fact, I’ve received word she’s being fired.

So now I don’t know what’s worse – fighting for what the group desired and deserved to achieve maximum results or being the straw that broke that camel’s back on this poor woman’s “career.”

They say choose your battles, but what about endurance? When is enough, enough? How long can you go and when should you settle? Because these days I seem to be putting my endurance into the wrong areas.

So here’s to endurance in all the places it counts: love, life, happiness, family, friends, marriages, careers, kiddos and more…

But not so much running on treadmills.

Or getting someone potentially fired.

And definitely not planks or pushups…which is exactly why we need a trainer there. Because otherwise we just skip those bad boys.

May endurance where it counts be a part of your life where it counts the most for you, and thank you for enduring mine. And to my special FIL, who is enduring plenty at his hospital surgical stay today.

Endure. Strive. Support. Love. And endure again…

Disclaimer: those are so not my legs.

Disclaimer 2: I so wish those were my legs.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I'll Take Seconds...

even if it does cost me all my stupid points for the day…

Because Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip is to die for. I mean, delectable. Tasty. Delicious. Yum, yum, gimme some! And I don’t think it’s because I’ve been living on protein shakes and celery for nearly five weeks now. I mean, check out the visual:

The dip will make its debut at Sarah’s graduation party tonight.

I’ll keep you posted on the consumption rating of guests. That is if I don’t barge down to the fridge and eat it all myself first.

And tonight? Yah – I’m taking seconds…

Friday, May 13, 2011

All Blocked Up...

and no where to go…that’s the situation with the little dude’s tear ducts.

So for the second time in less than two years, he will strap on his Superman cape and go quickly under the knife. Less than 10 minutes, painless, with amazing docs at Children’s, killer anesthetics and a team of nurses by his side. Not to mention two anxious, unconditionally loving parents tapping their feet impatiently in the waiting room.

So yah, while it’s not something we’re looking forward to, we will delight in gazing into his big blue eyes a little deeper and tear free. Unless he’s having a melt down of course…but noooooo, that’s never our little angel! Plus, no more itching and paths of salt lining his cheeks, which, let’s face it, just isn’t the trendy look he’s going for at his ripe 20-months age…

The only other thing we can think about is thank goodness we don’t have a little girl because gah knows what she might ask for …did you read about the Mom and her 8-year old with Botox this week??? And 10-year olds asking for nose jobs and breasts? Yikes…

Nah – all we’re walking away with is another small set of tubes, but this time in the eyes versus the ears. And apparently in four months we’ll just drop on by and they’ll pop them out, no anesthetics or circus tricks. Leaving me to believe that medicine continues to be miraculous. Pediatrics is an amazing field. And that we are very, very blessed that it’s nothing more than this.

So adios wonky tear ducts…soon we’ll be unblocked with plenty of places to go!

Picture: the dude at 9 months

Aromatically Awesome

“WHERE is that candle in this adorable store?!” I ask the shop owner, her perfectly coifed curls framing her face as she unwrapped delicious jewels behind the counter.

“Oh man – we always sell out because that’s what we burn in the store and people fall head over heels for it,” she unfortunately states, leaving me with a pouty face. Oh, and a 60-dollar shirt, darling pair of earrings and unique vase/picture holder.

Months later we return to In Clover, a just-the-right-size and manageable priced boutique in Corinth and there she sits in all her glory:

Volcano No. 6.

A scent to make you swoon. Perfect for the house or office and even the hubs. And in neutral packaging (mine's white).

In other words: aromatically awesome.

Leave a Wish

Make a wish. Leave a wish. All on this adorable ensemble:

Its first debut will be at Ms. Sarah’s graduation par-tay tomorrow evening and then it will make a trek to MN for the beautiful bride and groom to be. After that, I’m sure it will show its support with little sprouts of love for all the amazing babies preparing to be born!

Won’t it be nice for the guests of honor to know just how fabulous they are with trails of wishes left behind?

Because besides a money tree, we could all use one with leaves of wishes…

Available on Amazon and at the store “Statements” in Hawthorne…

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cellar Rats

“Now where do I go lady?!” I mutter to myself in the car, glaring at the closed Broadway exit and praying I arrive in time to meet up with a fabulous group of gals. Tossing aside the GPS that I had anticipated would send me a new way in the event a key exit wasn’t up and running, I peered around corners, my eyes begging to find the right spot, then caught a glimpse of the building perched on the left – a huge relief to those who can’t find their way out of a box.

The sign read “Cellar Rat,” a well-known wine retailer on the Missouri side, known for their engaging classes, fun events and killer vino selection. Among the sparkling bottles of wine stood familiar, friendly faces, a group of gals I’ve grown to love and adore for sharing their advice, stories and support in good times and bad. A gaggle of chicks that meet once a month, perhaps never knowing one another before, to swap pictures, time with their kiddos and words of wisdom when another Mother needs it most. The Mom’s Group…a gang of more than 20 women with younger children that meet monthly at a pre-planned event to…well…be a Mom.

This particular afternoon we were meeting for the “Mom and Babycakes” event, something we only knew as a few hours that would include cupcakes and wine samples. We waited patiently after paying to see what was next, and as our octaves grew too high, we were kicked over to the side so as to let the class learn near us, and the event began.

Sips after delicious sips occurred, coupled with a few bites of delectable mini cupcakes in between as we discussed biting, sleep patterns, the “terrible” twos, the laughter we have to suppress when they’re really in trouble but so darn cute, potty training, how often the hubby helps, making time for you and more. Red velvet, lemon, Spanish wines, white and red…the hours flowed smoothly like the very drinks we were tipping down our throats.

As the last extra pour was consumed, we digested the afternoon and found it delightful, thanking one another for the experience over the past year and sending well wishes for a day filled with spoils the next. And although no gift could ever be good enough for these wonderful women that serve as my AA in life, I gave them these:

Yet another goofy poem written by me and expressing my gratitude for who they are and all that they do, and a super fun free printout that would look darling with just the right frame. So yah, it wasn’t so much lavender candles, manis/pedis and facials…but it’s the thought that counts, right?! If only I had that dang money tree growing out back…

And so the Cellar Rat soiree ended, hugs were exchanged and sentiments for a stress-free Mother’s Day sent out on the wind and we parted ways. But just for now – the month of June holds a kid and Mom event at Loose Park on swings, sprinklers and slides…woo hoo!

Thank you, Mom’s Group, for being the kind of women that any female looks up to for their leadership, role modeling, friendship and most of other, mothering. You are phenomenal and I adore you.

In fact, you’re so fabulous, I’d get stuck being a rat in a cellar anytime with you…especially if it involves wine and cupcakes…


The age my kiddo was when we had the most memorable.soiree.ever. The weight of a shoe or wall clock. The number of hours I wanted to push snooze this morning.

And the number of pounds I lost at weigh in this week for TEAM.

Ok, not stellar, but at least it wasn’t a gain, right?

And those Mimosas, the TCBY run, delectable quiche, cheese-dripping pizza and time out of the gym were totally worth it for Mother’s Day…

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Would You Ever...

No, I'm not conning you into an adult beverage game. In fact, I'm not even asking you anything profound...

I just wanna know if you'd drop 50 bones on this:

Because it's pretty darn cute, right?

And I just can't get up the cahones to ask my SVP where she got her darling owl one so I can copy her...

I'm a sucker for a monogram. But without touching the item and I'm sure no returns on custom orders, I'm just not sure. Maybe the solution is to quit reading Style Scout so I quit getting the urge!

Because 50 bucks could also mean: a mean mani/pedi, a fabulous gift for the kiddo, a nice donation to tornado relief, a few Kindle books and so on and so forth.


Mug Shots

“O.m.g – our baby looks five!” I squeal in half delight, half disappointment at the darling school “head shots” that lay before me. “How are we going to pick?!”

The hubs snatches them out of my hand, and for a moment, I watch as his face softens, an expression cascading across his cheeks as one I hadn’t seen in months, the corners of his mouth turning up at amazement at how our remarkable little guy was changing right before our very eyes. In silence, we shared a glance, knowing that it was all moving too fast, and we should continue to note the small things and make every moment count. Because as they say, it won’t be like this for long…

So, here they are, in all their glory – his bi-annual mug shots done so nicely from his day care.

I’m obviously too biased being a proud Mama bear and all, so holler and let me know what your fav is! And thanks for letting me every once in awhile gloat, beam with pride, share endless stories and even shed a tear or two over this miraculous journey…one that, like mentioned before, slips by way too quickly…

Good thing for mug shots…

PS: These are pics of pics, so apologies for the quality…but you get the “picture…”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Six Pounds

Is the weight of the smallest horse in the world. A nearly full tank of gas. Some newborns. Most Chihuahuas.

Yah, they all weigh around six pounds.

But me? I’m six pounds lighter. After about three weeks of TEAM and WW. And I’m pretty darn happy about it so far.

Because when you stick a five pound weight in your hand and couple it with a book or something, it feels kinda heavy. And I’m glad it ain’t on my body no more.

So cheers to progress and about 20-25 more.

What do you think that will be…the average two-year old?

Here’s to finding out!

All I Want for Mother’s Day…

Is a couple extra minutes of sleep, tucked in clean sheets (ok, that I didn’t have to wash for the week), listening to the birds welcome the morning. Extra Sunday morning bounce time that results in endless giggles, tent-making and family of leisure activities. The kind of breakfast where calories don’t count. A day not to have a wardrobe change, but stay in my vintage tee and wild polka dot pants. Twelve hours agenda free and with no expectations but those of spontaneity. Some fun in the sun watching my son march his mower down the drive. A minute with a glossy magazine. A friendly, meaningful, adult conversation with the hubs. A long shuffle with a little pinkie finger entwined in mine. Friendly text exchanges with the Mommies I love and adore. And a whole lotta doting. Oh, and maybe a 60-minute massage…

And if you “force” me to get a bit more descriptive of tangible, desirable objects, they’d include:

1. New carpet. Gah, yes. Ours hardly qualifies as the stuff anymore. Ew.
2. Painted cupboards. Got the bid. Got the dude. Let’s do it! Oh wait, you have to have the dough???
3. A sassy yellow tote
4. Any pampering activity with emphasis on the massage menu item
5. Any jewels or gems

Did I mention big, adoring grins? Lots of laughter and cheer? The only exhaustion being that of having too much fun?

Mother’s Day is the BEST. May it be everything you’ve been wishing for and a whole lot more. And may you call your Momma and tell her she’s the most amazing super hero you know.

"It's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have...One pair that see through closed doors. Another in the back of her head...and, of course, the ones in front that can look at a child and reflect 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word."-Erma Bombeck

Monday, May 2, 2011

With Appreciation

"CRAP - that's tomorrow!" I said out loud to no one in particular, looking around shyly at my ridiculous outburst. My response was to that of a gal pal's post of her darling son rolling cookie dough in preparation for Teacher Appreciation today tomorrow, a task I had not yet documented on my growing agenda for the evening. So in a cool five minutes, I threw together this little limerick:

What are Canterbury teachers made of?
Sugar and spice
and everything nice
that’s what Canterbury teachers are made of.
A hand to hold
When emotions begin to unfold,
A hug to spare
when leaving parents is too much to bear,
that’s what Canterbury teachers are made of.
Remembering “Pickles” when off goes the light,
and grace and ease when a child chooses to bite.
Activity times that are such a blast,
And enough love and care to last.
That’s what Canterbury teachers are made of.
Lessons so strong they stick day by day,
growing their little minds in every way.
Patience, persistence and calm voices to boot,
even when you just want to tell the children to “scoot!”
That’s what Canterbury teachers are made of.
Understanding the tears, fears, questions and calls,
of the crazy helicopter Mom trying to control it all.
Knowing she just wants a piece of her child,
but trusting you in all situations, good, bad or mild.
That’s what Canterbury teachers are made of.
The only place we’ll ever go,
to watch our child flourish, delight and grow,
tucked in arms so giving and sweet,
there isn’t a single place that can compete.
That’s what Canterbury and its teachers are made of!

Ok, so not the most impressive piece of work for these amazing girls who help raise my child each day, fielding my phone calls barking about food, rashes and moods, helping him become the amazing little man he grows more and more into each day. The same girls who can describe his every move, the funny things he's quoted, the friends he's nudged elbows with for the day, the ones that tuck him quietly into his cot and celebrate his quirkiness as if he were their own. Young girls who don't even have their own children, but seem to have a deep understanding of the meaning of what it means for Moms to have to leave theirs behind to tackle the day, heartbroken and alone, with aching arms that long for their tots to be by their side. The same gals that get toddlers to listen, respond, grow, explore, develop and become remarkable, authentic little human beings.

So yah, there are no words for these girls we call teachers.

But there is appreciation...immeasurable gratitude that seeps through my very soul for the comfort, trust and love they provide for me and my family so that we can provide the best life for the three of us.

Thank you Canterbury and friends, not just on this day, but all days.

We adore you...

PS: Don't worry - the girls will get a sassy gift they'll enjoy too. After all, they probably have enough of my kiddo's art work piled around to add this piece and they are hip, youngsters who need Starbucks or nail polish or something, right?!

P.S.S.: Cheers to my besties, most of whom positvely influence youngsters each and every day with their intelligence, patience, wit and care. You girls are amazing and I can only hope my little guy gets one of you someday. Our system could use a few more of you around - thank you for all you are and all you do!