Friday, December 28, 2012

Boheme, interrupted

Rent is one of my favorite movies ever. I have the soundtrack and listen to it almost every day on my way home from work. I love it. My favorite song from the movie, like many others, is La Vie Boheme (click for the video). Since I have a longish commute, I tend to ponder different things. For instance, what draws me to this song so strongly?

Finally, it hit me. In another life, if I was braver and more free, that could have been me. I would have loved living in New York City, using my creativity, surrounding myself with friends who are also creative. I could have fit right in with the arty world. Sure, in the movie they don't make lots of money, but the freedom they enjoy is incredible. Freedom to create what they want, perform how they want, love who they want, make friends with who they want. No judgements, just love and acceptance.

Not that I don't love my life now - but a different version of me... That could have been my dream.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Something new

On my way to work this morning, I had an idea for a blog post. Then I thought about making a series of posts. Then I realized I had enough for an entirely seperate blog like this.

And so, Letters to my Daughters was born.

This is not a blog to replace Inspired Life, but a sister blog. It is my hope that my oldest will read this regularly, and when my youngest is old enough that she will read the letters also. Some will be for one or the other, some will be for both. It's a place for me to say to them the things that are hard to say in person.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I'm conflicted about something. I seem to have a contradiction in my brain and can't figure it out.

Lately, I've been reading some silly, cheesy romance novels.  Hello, free Kindle books! But, they're fun, easy reads, take my mind of the stress of the past few months, and I can generally knock one out on my lunch break.  On the other hand, I hate romantic movies. We watched a Hallmark movie today and I couldn't stop rolling my eyes at the ridiculousness of it - not to mention the formulaic predictability. But how is that different than the books I've been reading? It's not, I suppose. Although if the ending of the books I read is too over the top cheesy, I get mad and hate the entire book. Like there was one I read, I can't even remember which one by name, where the heroine had just gotten out of a 3 year relationship/engagement. Something major had happened to make her lose trust in men; the ex cheated or something like that. Doesn't matter - she was weeks out of this. She meets the male lead, they go out on a couple dates, are consumed with passion for each other like two hormonal teenagers whose parents are away, and within weeks are engaged to be married.

Seriously? What sane woman would jump into an engagement with that much baggage? What sane man would want her to? Every time the books end with an engagement after mere weeks I get irritated.

But then I feel like a giant hypocrite. Because my husband and I were engaged within weeks, and married four months after we met. But, I'm not a romantical person, so I'm conflicted still.

Then, I think "Forget it." In the end, it's all brain candy.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all! This is our Christmas card picture.

And just for fun, here are some outtakes.

Almost-three-year-olds don't always cooperate, and the results are hilarious.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Help wanted

So overwhelmed.
Drained of energy.

I want normal back.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas wishing

We are having a small Christmas this year. Since I prefer our girls to love the holiday more for the togetherness and family time than the presents, I'm okay with that. But, presents are fun. And daydreaming is fun. So, here is my imaginary Christmas wish list.

Books. I have been doing so much reading lately. Almost all of the books I've read, literally 5-10 a week, have been brain vacations, little escapes. But I have several great books on my Kindle wish list that I can't wait to dig into.
Kindle (amazon) gift cards. See above.
Gift cards to JC Penney and New York & Company. I need new clothes desperately. I have very few casual clothes, and many of my dress clothes are showing their age. I can only do so much in the way of repairs.
The latest Sims 3 expansion packs, and time to play. (Excuse me while I pull my geeky side out of the closet.) I love this game so much.
Dark chocolate. The good kind, not a bar of Hershey's. And Toblerone - although I prefer that in milk. It's the only time I prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate.
And since I'm dreaming, I'll throw in a really good DSLR camera. And the knowledge to use it.

That's it - my materialistic side's Christmas wish list.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In memory

For the children and their teachers. And for the parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family, and friends who have just had their lives shattered.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

We went to the zoo again!

This week we got a postcard in the mail from the zoo, telling us that Santa would be there starting yesterday. Also, with our membership, we could bring guests! So, we went to the zoo with my parents.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Um... Hi again :)

My Thanksgiving weekend break from blogging ran a bit long - sorry!
I thought about blogging a few times, but didn't know what to say. I had a fresh blank post all ready and waiting to be filled, several times the past couple weeks, but then nothing would come out. That filter I mentioned once? It has been a real downer lately. I can blog about internal struggles all day long, but things that go on with my family as a whole - I just can't do it. But after some tense times and a near-hysterical breakdown one morning, we are hopeful things are looking up. At least my hope is back and the panic has subsided. (BTW, no I'm not pregnant. Don't start any rumours - that's permanently prevented.)
So what have I been doing?
I've been downloading lots of free Kindle books and reading. I love to read. I like these sites:
Kindle Buffet
Book Bassett
New Free eBooks Discovered for you Daily (She really should shorten that title)
I do love to read. Have I mentioned that yet?

We put up our Christmas tree. You can see one of our new windows, too.

(There's a little elf behind the tree, too!)

Saturday we watched our town's Christmas parade, the first one we've had at night. It was lots of fun, and the lit-up floats were beautiful.

Today I had to make an emergency shopping trip on my lunch break (RIP zipper on my pants) and found a cute little LIVE Christmas tree at Walgreens! I brought it back to my office to liven things up a bit.

Isn't it adorable?

By the way, when I was out at lunch it was 67 degrees. And Christmas is in three weeks.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 24

I'm thankful for naptime.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21

Today, I am thankful for a four day weekend.

Very thankful.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20

I don't have a photo for this one, so just insert your own mental photo :)

I'm thankful for friendship.

Everyone needs friends who support you unconditionally, who have your back, who cheer you on, and make you laugh even when you're a hysterical mess from stress. We have various backgrounds and perspectives and views, but also we all have each other.

I know it's been said, but I love all you crazy ladies!

Thank you for being there.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday randomness

I don't like egg nog.

I make a good salad. Today's consisted of spring mix, sprouts, sliced cucumber, pomegranate, and mandarine oranges, all topped with balsamic vinaigrette. Yum.

Turns out I make good hummus, too.

Peppermint mocha Coffeemate is amazing.

The frosting recipe on Pinterest called "That's the best frosting Ive ever tasted!" is misnamed. Either that or the writer needs to try more frosting. It was "meh" at best. Great consistency, though!

The countdown to the Doctor Who Christmas special makes me excited every day, until I realize that it's also the countdown to Christmas itself, then I panic. It's 60 today! While I love these temperatures, I cannot get into the holiday spirit when it's this nice out.

I think I'm more excited about my upcoming four day weekend than the holiday itself. I'm so tired lately.

Today we're getting new windows in our house. My husband is texting me photos of each window as it's completed, and I am loving it. I can't wait to get home and see them in person. Our old windows were horrible. Four of them wouldn't stay up by themselves, and one was duct-taped together to keep it where it belonged. Not kidding.

Last month we had new insulation put in our attic space. Instead of fiberglass that needs to be replaced periodically, we went with a radiant barrier insulation. Over the weekend we got our first electric bill with the insulation. It was around $100 less than the past few months. After the windows are complete, we're anticipating our bill will be half what it had been.

Day 19

I'm thankful for bedtime stories.

This book is one of Sophie's current favorites. We read it every night. She calls it the "Find sheep book" and delights in pointing out all of Bo Peep's wandering sheep each time we read it. There are other nursery rhymes also.

Last night, she was going to bed late. We were busy, trying to finish last-minute weekend things like getting the laundry put away. When she started wandering the house crying I realized how late it was & scooped her up for bed. Since it was way past her bedtime and she could barely keep her eyes open, I told her we would only read one book instead
of the usual two. I chose the other one.

Big mistake.

As soon as I finished reading about bedtime hugs for forest creatures, she started. "Want find sheep book!" And the tears. I thought she'd be happy if I just told her the rhymes.

Um, no. If looks could kill, I'd be a pile of ashes. She wailed and flew off the bed in tears. She really loves that book!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012


Emma at age six
Something has happened that I honestly didn't think would happen. The teenager stage of "My mom is an idiot and I can't believe I have to coexist with her" has been reached. We've always had such a great relationship that I just assumed hoped that would continue.

Apparently, I've fallen out of favor.

Sure, there are moments when she talks to me normally. But an increasing percentage of time she ignores me, or answers me with a tone of derision. I get the huffs, the eyerolls, the attitude for as little as saying dinner is ready. Heaven forbid I should enforce a long-established rule. You'd think I was an evil dictator.

She won't even return a hug anymore. If I get close enough to give her a hug, she just stands there. Nothing. Maybe if I'm lucky a half-hearted pat with one arm, but that's it. Forget our talks of the past, when she'd confide in me or tell me about her friends. Those days seem to be over, too.

And it breaks my heart. I miss my daughter.

Day 18

I am thankful that my husband successfully took two stink bugs outside without any incident.

However, I am NOT thankful for the one that was hiding and apparently I squished.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 17

Sophie and I made a cake today.
I'm thankful for time spent together.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16

Chats on the morning drive to school.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15

I'm thankful for washable markers & patient pets.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14

I'm thankful for playtime.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13

Reading is my addiction. A good book is like a drug - when I force myself to put it down, I still think about it, wondering what happens next, forcing myself to wait until an appropriate time to read more. More than once I've been awake almost all night because I just couldn't sleep until I've finished a particularly good book.

I am thankful for free Kindle books on Amazon. The photo is my count as of last night. I also remove books as I finish them, so you can imagine how many I've downloaded!

I'm in book heaven.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12

Yes, I'm thankful for Curious George. Sometimes, he is necessary for a little sanity.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11

I'm thankful for health.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10

Sleepy baby snuggles

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9

I'm thankful for transportation. Gasoline. The ability to go to work, visit family, go on outings. Not everyone has that luxury.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8

I'm thankful for pets. These are our dogs. Tucker is on the left, Daisy on the right. They are cuddly, happy, and a joy to own. Also, they are testaments to the adage "Every kid should own a dog."
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7

I am so grateful for music to get me through the paperwork portion of my job. Sitting still and doing a repetitive task is torturous for me! But putting my iPod on shuffle and closing my door helps get me through.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6

I'm thankful for the courage and sacrifice of generations before me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 5

I'm thankful for my husband.
He's a wonderful husband and father. Every day I'm happy we are together.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4

Today, I'm thankful for our zoo membership. Sophie & I visited the zoo this afternoon and had a great time. We weren't in a hurry, and took the time for her to play in the kids' areas and enjoy herself. Most of the animals were out & active, too.

We're both tired now, but it was a great day.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3

Day 3: I'm thankful for our community. I love our town. It's not very big, but not tiny. We have a beautiful lake and great parks. The people are friendly and supportive of each other.

Today, our vet hosted a Fall Festival at her office. There was food, face painting, balloon animals, dogs in costumes, games, a petting zoo, and animals for adoption. (For the record, I used great restraint. We are still a two-dog family.) Sophie had such a good time, especially with the chickens in the petting zoo. I am so glad we went.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 2

Day 2: I'm thankful for my daughters. I know this photo is blurry, but I still love it. I didn't even take it - I found it in my phone's camera roll. The fact that this was not a posed picture makes me love it even more. I love the love my girls have for each other.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 days of gratitude

I'm seeing lots of these 30 days of gratitude posts on Facebook. I decided to do it as a photo a day challenge. Enjoy!

Day 1: Coffee
I never was a coffee drinker, until we became a family of 4. Now I have it every morning. Yum.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Boo at the Zoo!

Dancing in the party tent
 Saturday we went to the zoo for Boo at the Zoo. It was our first time going, and it was lots of fun. Sophie was a little apprehensive of all the costumed people at first, but then we found the trick or treat trail. One stop, and she was excited and ready to go! She'd run to each booth, hold out her bag, then say "Thank YOU" to the person handing out goodies. Luckily we got more than just candy - there were little toys, too. Out of all her candy, she had one piece she could eat. Thank goodness we took some "safe" lollipops for her.

We saw a few animals, but since it was a night event many were in their indoor homes for the evening. We saw zebras, a penguin, a camel, and the biggest turkey I'd ever seen!  At the end of the trick or treat trail was a party tent and "haunted' carousel (it went backwards). Such a fun event!
Such excitement!

We took a picture of both girls on this tortoise over the summer. Sophie saw it, and called to her sister to come back and "Sit with me! Picture!"

More dancing

I made hair clips to match her costume!

"Tome on, Daddy! Candy!"

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fifteen years

"Have you heard from Chris? He and Jeff are missing."

That's how my mother woke me up fifteen years ago today. Imagine waking up on your wedding day to news that the groom and best man can't be found? Oddly enough, I wasn't as panicked as you'd think I would be. I guess deep down I knew he wouldn't have abandoned me. And I was right - they had just escaped and stayed in a nearby motel for the night and were back in time for breakfast.

That evening, we were married.

It doesn't feel like fifteen years. It feels like forever in that it's hard to remember him not being part of my life, but at the same time it feels like no time has passed at all. It's still surreal at times to think that we've been together so long, that our baby girl is a teenager and now a big sister, too. The time has passed so quickly.

I've learned that marriage is not a fairy tale, but it's not meant to be, either. We have had rough patches, but I think they make us better. How strong would our marriage "muscle" be if things were always easy and we didn't have to work ever? Through it all, though, one thing has remained true: We each married the person who is perfect for us.

For better or worse, in sickness and in health, we are together. We are content. We are happy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Death by Neti?

So I tried to use a Neti pot tonight. I've had a bad cold all week, and the usual medications aren't helping at all. Three people recommended a Neti to me today, so I broke down & bought one at Walgreens.

I think it tried to drown me.

I had my husband come in the kitchen with me for moral support/encouragement. We read the directions, and he helped me mix the solution. I checked the instructions again, and started. I tilted my head like it said, and...

Nothing happened. I stood there for a minute or two, thinking I was more stopped up than I realized. Waiting... Waiting... Then, I thought maybe I wasn't tilted exactly right. It didn't seem like it. So, I moved my head a little.

That's when my Neti pot tried to kill me.

I had already been warned to breathe through my mouth. I was definitely doing that (in fact, that's the only way I COULD breathe, hence the need for the Neti in the first place). I still had a rush of saline in my nose, down my throat, and in my mouth. I choked and coughed, and it went in my EAR. From the inside! That was uncomfortable.

Oddly enough, once I blew my nose a few times, I could breathe a bit better. So I tried the other side.

Once again, it tried to drown me. More water down my throat. More in my mouth. I found that if I just held my breath, it was better, but I already had some water draining and it was making me cough. The more I fought it, the worse it was.

Clearly, I do not have the necessary coordination to cleanse my sinuses.

Christine 0, Neti pot 1

There may be a rematch. I'll keep you posted.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'm coming back

It feels like I haven't blogged in so long! And I suppose I haven't. But September was a month of ups & downs, and some things I don't blog about. It doesn't seem like it, I'm sure, but I do have some boundaries. :)

But I will be back to regular blogging soon. I have a couple posts in drafts that I'm working on. Just be patient with me please.

In the meantime, some photos.

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