Thursday, July 28, 2011


As you probably read in my last blog, Jeremy and I left right after church on Sunday for our little getaway. Well, when I say “right after” I mean we started to get ready to leave right after church. We had to stop for wine. And for ice. And for lunch. And for me to use the bathroom. So by the time we got on the road, it was probably over an hour “right after” church. The drive wasn’t long... or at least, it didn’t seem so. Except for when he made me listen to Alice in Chains. And when he sang along and air drummed (while driving) to Stone Temple Pilots for a SOLID. HOUR. After that I drew the line. If he refused to listen to Death Cab for Cutie, then I refused to listen to Stone Temple Pilots. We had to meet somewhere in the middle. So we ended up listening to The Beach Boys and hollering at the top of our lungs. But my favorite part of the drive by far was when he prank called me using an app on his phone. When I picked up, thinking it was my mother in law, and said “Hello?”, this is what I heard (without the video, of course) :

For some reason, that silly little thing made my day. I laughed till I cried. It touched me that he would prank call me and use one of my favorite Potter Puppet Pals songs. I just reread that. “It touched me that he would prank call me”. Well... I never claimed our relationship was typical.

When we finally got to the cabin, around 7 that night, we were exhausted and starving. We had stopped at Wal-Mart on the way to pick up some groceries, so after we peeked around a little:

Some of the things INSIDE the cabin

(and discovered that the cabin was without air conditioning- thank God the weather was cool!), we starting making dinner. It’s strange how something as simple as cooking dinner together can be so much better when it’s only for 2 people. I didn’t have to make chicken nuggets or pizza. I didn’t have to search out and fill juice cups. I did, however, stab myself in the hand with a shish kebob skewer. Repeatedly. After about the 4th time Jeremy heard me say “ouch”, he took over for me. He’s chivalrous like that. We stayed out on the deck while he grilled out:

The dangerous dinner my hero saved me from

This picture made me giggle. I told JT it was the two of us.
I, of course, am the tall, willowy one on the right.

just taking in our surroundings and breathing in air that didn't have any "ozone level" warnings attached to it:

Some of the things OUTSIDE the cabin 
Our neighbor for the night. I named him Blanket.
But Jeremy said we should call him Flipper. O.o

The night wasn’t eventful. We just ate dinner, sat in the hot tub for awhile and stargazed, and then watched a movie until we passed out. But it was perfect. It was just what we needed- a little reconnection. Our lives are so busy that sometimes it seems like our paths barely intersect. It was nice to look at each other and think, “Hey... this is actually the person I married.”

Stay tuned, I’ll be telling more about our adventures, and posting more pictures!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Surprise, Surprise

Jeremy is terrible at keeping secrets. He really is. The thing is, he just gets so darn secretive. If he’d act normal, I’d never suspect. So, with our anniversary coming up, and his starting to say things like, “Don’t check my email!!!” (side note: I never, ever check his email), I knew he was up to something (that and a horrible blunder by the USPS involving a returned envelope and a sticker covering all of the address except for the word “Cabins”, which I tried my best to ignore). On Saturday he finally told me, which was a relief to both of us. Him, because it was killing him to keep something from me; and me, because it was killing me to play dumb.

So, next Sunday after church, we’ll be headed out for a 7 hour road trip to the mountains (I’m ridiculously stoked about the road trip). We’ll be staying here:

This is the first time in our *almost* 8 years of marriage that we’ll be going somewhere by OURSELVES (we did go to Disneyworld last year without the kids, but we shared a room with some friends. Which was fun, but not exactly private), for more than one night.

I’ll be spending a lot of time in this:


While looking at this:

 I might even do THIS.


(But with Jeremy- not a random woman. And I definitely won’t be wearing a leather vest/shirt.)

And if I do those, I’ll definitely need this:

I might find some other things to do... but this is a G rated blog. Well... PG at most. ;)

I don’t know if I’ll have the web up in them there hills or not. So I’ll be off the map for a few days. You’ll just have to make do without me. I’ll be sure to post some pictures when I get back!

Images taken from Google and

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy(ish) Birthday

I turned 28 this past Thursday. I know. I feel so old. I also know, before any of you say it, that I’m not that old. And that in ten, fifteen, twenty years, I’ll look back at 28 and think what a young’un I was. But even so, every birthday seems to get harder. I’ve pretty much planned off my face drunkenness for my 29th and 30th birthdays. Those will be fun blogs, right?

So here, 2 days later, I am feeling a little melancholy. My actual birthday passed in a blur. Due to my poor scheduling skills, I managed to have a dentist appointment for my kids, a photo shoot, about a hundred miles worth of driving, and a midnight movie (more on the movie in a minute) all in one day.

The dentist appointment was fairly uneventful, aside from Ashton having a teeny tiny cavity that they scraped and sealed on the same day, with the help of a little nitrous oxide (Ashton on laughing gas is hilarious- at one point he started flapping his arms like he was flying, saying, “My hands feel weeeeeeak!”)- oh, and the fact that my kids’ adorable dentist has shifted the majority of his practice one city over. The kids were not too affected. I, however, was slightly devastated.

By the time we got home from the dentist, I had just enough time to shower and straighten up my house a little before taking the kids over to my mother in law’s for her to watch them during my photo shoot. We stayed at her house for a little over an hour. I did manage to doze on the couch for about a half hour. I drove home to meet our clients, to begin the 30-40 minute drive to our photo site. On the way there, we dropped my sister off at a mechanic’s for her to pick up her car.

The shoot was a blast (understand, I’m not complaining about the shoot. I love taking pictures, so it wasn’t punishment to do it on my birthday. It was, however, extremely exhausting)... the couple was fun to work with, and are possibly two of the most beautiful people in America.

Sorry, folks... that's all you get to see for right now!

 But I had hoped to be done by 7, and we didn’t wrap up till around 8. Then driving the 40 minute drive back home.... by the time I dropped them back off and headed to pick up my kids, I had 25 minutes to meet my family for drinks...

The orange slice from my sangria... I was trying to smile, but the cold hurts my teeth.

My good friend Justin and my brother Adam

My brother Ben. He's going to adore this picture.

My dad, the "Patriarch".



Ben, me, and Adam in our homemade HP shirts.
This movie was the highlight of my birthday, possibly of my year. I’ve been waiting for it for 8 months. Call me a geek, if you will, and I will gladly accept that (although I wasn’t as extreme as some of the other moviegoers that night). Most of my family are avid book readers... so book movie premieres are a huge deal to us. Those of us who don’t read, we kind of carry along on the wave of our zeal. Jeremy, for instance: He hates watching movies with my family. We talk. A lot. And convey feelings with our eyes. And text each other. And lean across and give high fives. And, more often than not, complain audibly about how the movies differ from the books (purists, you see...). When he decided he was going to come to this midnight premiere with us, I tried to dissuade him. I really did. Not because I didn’t want him there... mostly because I knew how miserable he would be, in a theater full of Harry Potter nuts, dressed up, having costume contests and wizard duals, and worst of all, surrounded by 12 members of my family and friends, talking and yelling and laughing. He was stubborn though. Said he demanded to see the movie with his wife on her birthday. But the very first time he leaned over to me and said, “You really need to be quiet. You’re being disrespectful to other people trying to watch the movie!”, I about clocked him. I managed to refrain, though, and merely said, “I told you to stay home.”

I don’t know how many of you have read the books and/or watched the movies. So don’t hold it against me for what I’m about to say. Going to that movie was very bittersweet. Having read the series, watched the movies, basically watched those kids grow up, it was very sad to see it all end. And the fans! Regardless of your thoughts or opinions on the Harry Potter franchise, you can’t deny that no other series can compare to its fan following. I sat around and watched costumed Bellatrix LeStranges and Molly Weasleys have pretend fights, saw everyone in their cardigans and Gryffindor colors, and I thought, “Man, I’m going to miss this.” Nothing else is going to compare. Couple those feelings with my already subpar 28th birthday, my abhorrence of growing older, and the poignancy of the film itself, and needless to say, I was pretty much a wreck that night.

I don't really know what's happening here. Neither does Ben, apparently.

Our family, minus my brother Nathan, who had to work. :(
This was AFTER the movie, ie: After I had cried all my makeup off.

Anyway, it’s all over now. But yesterday I woke up and realized my birthday had passed me by, and I didn’t even notice. Hence the melancholy. I know I’ll have more birthdays. I’m trying not to let it get me down. Maybe I can chalk my erratic emotions to my old(ish) age.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hat Trick

Last summer, I took some photos of Ashton wearing an Army issue boonie hat (he won it at a VBS, of all places)... it epitomized summer for me (well, my memories of summer, which are heavily tainted with "boy" games, being surrounded by four brothers), seeing this six year old man child racing around in the middle of a "battle", clutching his Nerf gun, with his face covered in war paint. I loved the photos so much that I made copies and gave them to both of my veteran grandfathers.

This summer, just for fun, I took Chloe outside to model in the same hat- minus the war paint, because obviously, princesses do NOT wear war paint. And of course, after Chloe modeled, Atleigh had to model as well, although her brand of modeling is vastly different from Chloe's. While Chloe preens and makes goo goo eyes at the camera, Atleigh is more of what my dad would call a "space cadet": "Oh, Mommy! I see a plane! Look, Mommy! There's our house (it was 10 paces behind me- at least she doesn't miss the obvious)!"

Anyway, here are a few photos of my little Army brats. I just thought they were fun. :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Edge of Madness

Okay. Let’s be honest here. I am a woman. I know. It’s a shocker. Being a woman comes with... certain baggage. Well. This is my week to carry that baggage. This week has been worse than most. Along with the “baggage”, I’ve been having problems with my knee. My dad says it might be my meniscus. My mom says it might be a cyst. I say, I don’t have health insurance, so I guess we’re not finding out any time soon. This is the same knee that attaches to the femur that attaches to my Granny Hip (if I’m missing a few bones or connecting pieces in that sentence, don’t correct me. Not today, anyway). Oh yeah, and let's not forget the massive cold sore that popped up on my lip earlier this week and has continued to grow to the size of a small country despite my best efforts to shrink it. To say I’ve been in pain is an understatement. To say I haven’t been drugging myself up would be a lie.

I woke up this morning with a horrible headache. I wouldn’t say migraine. But maybe a potential one. I went out to the shed where Jeremy was practicing his song set for church this weekend. I told him, “I have a horrible headache.” He said, “Listen to this!” and proceeded to play me his latest arrangement, kick drum and all. He must have finally noticed my face, because he asked me, “Do you want me to go pick some medicine up for you?”

This is kind of a huge deal. I’m always making spur of the moment trips to Walgreens for him. He gets debilitating sinus headaches, and Advil Cold & Sinus is the only thing that works. When his headaches get too bad for him to drive, I’m always happy to run up to the store for him and get him a box. Every time I do, I have to sign the little thingy, and show them my ID so they can enter my purchase into the computer. I’m sure the pharmacists are convinced I’m trying to start up my own meth lab. I tell them every time, “It’s for my husband. He gets really bad sinus headaches.” I don’t know if they believe me.
Anyway, he offered to get me medicine. Yay! He loves me! I told him we would need a few other things too, lunch stuff for the kids, etc., since he was taking my car to work and we’d be stuck at home all day. He told me to give him about 30 minutes and he’d be in.

So I went and tossed myself on our bed. Stared at the ceiling in a stupor. Settled a few disputes between the kids by hollering out to them. Debated on whether I needed a reaching stick. Jeremy came in and made a few phone calls, and I waited for him to come and ask me what he needed to get at the store. He finally came in the bedroom, looked at me lying on the bed, and said, “Babe, if you’re gonna go to the store, you need to go! I’ve got to leave soon!”

Double speaking husband say what?

My reaction was immediate. And irrational.

“He doesn’t love you. Of course he doesn’t love you look at you you’re crazy you're completely crazy and fat you’re so fat and look at those sweatpants no man likes a fat crazy girl in sweatpants and you’ve been wearing them for two days you big fat slob and when was the last time you took a shower and aren’t you out of deodorant you are so disgusting with your big cold sore and did I mention the FREAKING SWEAT PANTS?!”

Big, blubbering, “ugly cry” tears leaked down my face. I shrieked incomprehensibly, “But you said YOU were going to go!!!!” He managed to get out, “What the-??” before I swooped in again, standing on unsteady legs. “Never mind!!! I’ll just go! I’ll just GO! Get out of my way!” I pushed past him into the bathroom, slammed the door shut. Stared at my face through a hormonal haze, and thought, “He doesn’t love you”, and crumpled into tears again, all while putting my contacts in. It’s no mean feat to put contacts in your eyes in the middle of an irrational crying jag. I definitely get points for that on some Drama Queen chart somewhere.

If you’re waiting for Jeremy’s redemption, waiting for me to say he knocked on the door and gently took me into his arms, soothing me with loving words, telling me sweatpants are sexy and offering to go to the store for me, you’re waiting in vain. I marched out the front door, right past a very bewildered man saying, “I... I just don’t understand.” If I had completely snapped in Food Lion, holding the cashier hostage until she gave me every package of Chips Ahoy in the store, and then shoved tampons into the eye sockets of every man I passed, it would have served him right, for unleashing me on the public like that. Any jury would have found him guilty of negligence.
Thankfully, I managed to control myself. I only bought the jumbo bag of Tyson’s Fajita Chicken Quesa Dippers. Which I will NOT be sharing with my husband.

In Jeremy’s defense... He did call me after he left the house (presumably where he felt safe enough to speak to me without fearing I would rip his heart out and eat it), and apologized profusely. I still don’t know where we got our wires crossed. I KNOW he offered to go the store for me. Somewhere in between his telling me that, and his coming into the house, it got lost in that big man brain of his, lost amongst the list of all the things he had to do before he left for staff meeting.

I’ve come back from the brink a little bit. Talked myself down with frozen, store bought quesadillas and Diet Dr. Pepper, a hefty dose of ibuprofen, and Phil Wickham’s “Songs for Christmas” album (not a word about my choice of music. Not if you know what's good for you. Also if you don't own  it yet: buy ittttt).

Lucky for Jeremy, he’s gone for the rest of the day. It would only have been a matter of time before he pushed me completely over the edge.

(I realize this post is ironic coming so shortly after my last. Again- best not to mention it, mmk?)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Making an Investment

I know my kids’ birth certificates are in my house somewhere. At least I hope so. If they are, they’re hiding in a deep abyss. And rather than tear my house apart looking for them, I would rather just order new ones.

I hate that the 4th is the tacit “beginning of the end” of summer. Summer has just started, especially for the students in our area, since school doesn’t get out until the 3rd week of June. Now, does that seem fair? But I know, that if I go to any Target or Wal-Mart, I’ll see back packs and notebooks and school uniforms. That’s the reason I need the birth certificates- for school. My kids start in 7 weeks. SEVEN. WEEKS. That is just depressing. I’m trying not to think about it, otherwise it will go by that much faster. It’s like the little trick I use if I wake up before my alarm goes off. I refuse to look out the windows or at any clock to gauge what time it is. Even if I go in the kitchen for a drink of water, I studiously avoid looking at the microwave or oven clocks. I know if I do, I’ll just spend the last hour or so before my alarm goes off wondering if it’s time for me to get up yet.

So today I drove to Richmond with my dad to get some new birth certificates. Richmond is a little under an hour and a half from where I live. But between traffic and Dad’s and my conflicting GPS’s (cough cough- translation: we got LOST), it took around 2 and a half hours. My dad had to get a copy of his and my mom’s marriage certificate so she could get her Florida driver’s license. I don’t know why they require it, but they do. Dumb. Anyway, they couldn’t find it. The marriage certificate, I mean. They told him it might be on the microfiche. I guess that’s where they store all the old people records. My parents would have been married 33 years this week.

Now. Before I go into this. My parents have been separated for 10 years this winter (it’s so surreal typing that out). They’ve both moved on, they’re cordial to each other. I don’t say this to make anyone feel guilty or point fingers, or assume feelings that aren’t there. I believe they’re both happy. But I watched my dad study that marriage certificate when they finally found it. I watched his eyes scan the names and the date. I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel. 23 years is a huge chunk of life. I said to him, flippantly, in reference to our drive and the wait, “Well, that was virtually painless, wasn’t it?” And he shrugged and kind of half smiled, said, “Yeah.” All while looking at that sheet of paper. I know it wasn’t painless. Like I said, both of my parents have moved on. I’m not trying to imply anything. But I know he felt regret. Over mistakes made, words unsaid. It makes me want to strive harder than ever at my marriage, to always remain open and honest, even if honesty is brutally painful sometimes. To make sure my investment in my marriage is always at the top of my list, so that I don’t wake up one day and realize it’s bankrupt.
I love both of my parents, and I’m proud of them both. I know that the decisions they’ve made haven’t been easy on them, or on our family. We’ve adjusted, and we’ve found a new normal. But I don’t ever want to have to experience that kind of grieving and regret.

With all that said, I’ve made a new resolution today. One that says I’m never going to have to stand there and scan a document that equals regret. Not without knowing that I did everything in my power to breathe life and love into my marriage, to speak up when words need to be spoken, and to keep quiet when they don’t (now THAT will be the hard part). That I invested myself 100%, not holding back, not keeping a little part of me safe, “just in case”. Today I decided there is no “just in case”. I know relationships aren’t black and white- that’s not what I’m saying at all. There’s plenty of gray area to get lost in. I’m just deciding to do everything in my power to not get lost in it, and if I do- to hold my husband’s hand all the way through that fog.