Monday, December 27, 2010

New Years Resolution!

Wow! It's been three months since I blogged, and this after telling myself I was going to be much better at it. Yikes! So I am making it my New Years Resolution! BLOG MORE! Normally I would say that my New Years Resolution is to lose weight, to work out more, to eat better, to spend my money wiser...but I find that is dangerous territory. So my New Years Resolution is to blog more. Even though I find it hard to believe that many people could be interested in what I do in my daily life, or what I say, it might not be that far fetched. I find that I enjoy and look forward to reading about the daily lives of other "regular people" bloggers, especially other Kansas City bloggers. I even discovered my now FAVORITE cupcake bakery -- Cupcake A La Mode -- thanks to a KC blogger that I follow.

And while it's my New Years Resolution, I'm going to start it right now, with a brief recap of 2010. Honestly, it hasn't been the most exciting year, but that's ok by me. My baby girl started preschool and is doing fantastic! I can't believe she starts kindergarten in the fall. My baby boy is almost 2 and is hilarious. At the beginning of November, after several ear infections, he finally got tubes in his ear. In the few weeks since, he has had two ear infections and seems to always be sick in some form. But since he got his tubes, his vocabularly has picked up tremendously! My favorite words of his are "Emmy" and "Cheeks."

In June, I became one of 12 competitors in Kansas City Fitness Magazine's Weight Loss Challenge. I lost 18.8 pounds in just 9 weeks, and while I didn't lose as much as the majority of my fellow competitors, I was very proud about what I did do. So because of that I had a nice photo in the magazine, and also got a non-paying gig writing a regular column in the magazine. It's called "Enough is Enough" (not my idea) and is about a working mom who is trying to lose weight and get healthy while juggling a job and family. So far, it's been tough. I took a break from the gym and gained a few pounds, then got back to the gym and was doing pretty good for a few weeks, but started having joint and muscle pain so I've backed off a little bit. I went to the doctor today and will be having some tests run the end of the week to try to figure out what might be wrong, but I think I've decided to go back to the gym this week and just take it easy until we know. I haven't gained much, I fluctuate between 4-7 lbs, but I need to start losing again, so I vow to get back to in in 2011 and reach my goal weight.

So now that the holidays are over, I'm concentrating on my daughter's 5th birthday. Her birthday was in December, but because of Christmas we decided to hold off on her friend party until February. It's a "Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale" inspired party, which means french, fashion, glitter, and pink! I'm having fun coming up with ideas, but now I have to figure out a way to incorporate all of those ideas on a budget!! Wish me luck! And see you soon. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall is in the air!

Let me just start by saying that I absolutely LOVE this weather!! But I’m sure it will be short lived, and before we even have time to enjoy Fall, Winter will be banging on the door. I just pray it’s not another winter like last year! UGH! But I love the fact that I have had my AC turned off since Saturday and that I’ve been able to open up the windows! Love it, love it, LOVE IT!!

It was a great weekend, even with the rain on Saturday. Since I had planned on house cleaning anyway, I didn’t mind the rain – except for the fact that I had to shut things up on the north side of the house because the rain was soaking the floors. The morning started out relaxing. I finally woke up for good around 9:30, got dressed, made coffee and sat on the back deck reading the internet for a bit.

Then we finished getting ready and Emily and I headed outside to start cleaning the car. I started with the inside, and BOY did it need it! Crumbs and toys and trash littered the backseat and floor, dust had settled very nicely all over the dash, soda stains on the console…it was beautiful! It took about 2-3 hours to clean, wipe down and vacuum the whole thing, but it looks awesome now. I am very excited to have a clean car, and I’m hoping it will stay that way for a long time!

I spent the rest of the day cleaning out Brendan’s closet…bagging up what doesn’t fit and seeing what he has, so we don’t get surprised one day when we go to dress him and realize he has nothing to wear! I need to now do the same thing with Emily’s closet. I also cleaned out some of the toys that were stuff in the living room. I put several items in the closet and figure we can trade them out in a month or so, and they will be like brand new toys to him!

Along with the cleaning I did SIX loads of laundry, most on Saturday and a couple on Sunday. That’s always fun! After spending most of the weekend hanging out at home, Sunday night I enjoyed some time with a couple of girlfriends, drinking wine, eating chips and salsa, and getting a hand and foot massage!! Then on Monday night about eight of us got together for “Ladies Night” at 54th Street. We had some appetizers, I had a couple martini’s, and we had a lot of fun! The martini’s were good, but I will say they still don’t compare to what I’ve had a Houlihans!! Three words you need to know if you go: Key. Lime. Martini. Do it!!

And my busy week continues… Tonight is Emily’s final soccer game, tomorrow is dance, and Thursday I have to pack for a trip home AND make a dozen cake pops for a friend at work. Friday is a half day at work and then we are heading up north for my niece’s first birthday party! I’m helping create the decorations and making cupcakes, so it’s been fun! It was sort of last minute, to it’s been hectic too. Hopefully we will be able to make it a special party for a very special little girl. I will be sure to post pictures next week!

So that is my life…as exciting as it is!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Night

It feels like it has been a crazy week that all began Friday. The weekend was full of friends and fun, camping with several families from church. Even with Saturday night's microburst a/k/a scariest night of my life, the weekend was great! It was Emily's first camping trip and my first in several, several years, and neither of us can wait to go again. Kevin and Brendan visited us Friday and Saturday evening, but didn't stay due to Kevin's disinterest and Brendan's age. We had a great time hanging out, Emily riding around and playing with all the other kids, and enjoying the beautiful weekend. Saturday night it got a little scary, though. About as soon as we hit the tent, the storm kicked up. Lightning and thunder were constant, the wind was terrible, the rain was heavy, and I spent the first 30 minutes or so praying for our safety. Eventually our time in the tent ended, when the rain started leaking through, then the tent collapsed. I grabbed Emily's Bear, Bear Blankie, Cold Blankie, threw them in my pillow case, we all got our shoes on, I grabbed the pillow, grabbed Em, and ran for the car. We barely got comfortable when we got a call from the families in the pop-up camper and ran in there. Things were great, until the final and fiercest part of the storm came (pretty sure that's when the microburst hit). All of the adults stood there holding onto the straps and metal parts of the ceiling trying to keep it from blowing off. Literally.

But after about an hour and a half, it finally ended and everyone was ok. I got three hours of sleep that night, but Sunday was another beautiful day, and I thank God even tonight that we all made it ok.

Sunday was filled with laundry, laundry, laundry, and I didn't get to bed until midnight. Monday I was just exhausted, and I've kind of felt that way ever since. Tuesday was Em's soccer, Wednesday was Em's dance, and I spent all of Thursday evening making Cake Pops for a friend at work.

So tonight was dinner, clean up, bedtime for the kids, and a little bit of cleaning prior to tomorrow's house cleaning. The plan is to clean up the car, inside and out, do a more thorough job of cleaning the house, figure out what clothes the kids have for the upcoming season, try to clean out some old, unneeded clothes and toys, and all of that before Sunday evening's Ladies Night spa party a friends.

But before the big cleanup this weekend, I'm going to turn off of the computer and enjoy this...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting back to blogging

I know I've said this before, but this time I mean it. I need to, want to, and will get back to blogging. My life is so exciting, I'm sure that everyone wants to read about it!! Ok, maybe not, but I'm doing it anyway.

So what have I been doing with myself since I haven't had enough time to blog? Glad you asked! Starting in June, I began competing in a weight loss competition with the Kansas City Fitness Magazine. Myself and 11 others worked our butts off for nine weeks trying to lose as much weight as possible. For me, that meant two workouts a day -- one at 5:00 a.m and another after work or later in the evening. I worked out with my trainer Sherry Mack of StudioFit in KC North (near Liberty) twice a week and she usually kicked my butt. She also provided me with a meal plan which pretty much consisted of the same menu every day. Oatmeal for breakfast, cottage cheese for morning snack, chicken/fish/turkey and asparagus/green beans for lunch, a mid-day snack, and chicken/fish/turkey and asparagus/green beans for dinner. I would be lying if I said there weren't a few times that I "cheated" but I stuck to it more than I thought I would!

In the end, it was all worth it. In 9 weeks I lost 18.8 lbs. 12.8 of that came in the final four weeks during which I re-aggravated my sciatic nerve and pulled something in my arm (neither happening during an actual workout). Even with almost two weeks of very limited workouts, I still managed to lose the weight. I didn't win the competition -- that honor went to Chris Wilson who was a mad man during the whole challenge. But I did gain confidence, new friends, and of course, lost 18.8 lbs in the process. I'm now very anxious to see the upcoming issues of Kansas City Fitness Magazine, to see what they did with the professional photographs they took at our results party! Not sure when it comes out...I believe the first week of October. If you are interested, you can find the magazine and many retailers -- Barnes & Noble, Borders, Walmart, Price Chopper, and others...

While this challenge and my goal of weight loss consumed a large amount of my summer, it wasn't the only thing. In July, my family drove from KC to Hays, Kansas while my mom, brother and his family drove from Lincoln. We met up to take all the kids to see where my Great Grandparents' farm used to be. Several years ago -- maybe 20 years ago -- the farm was destroyed by a tornado, so obviously they didn't get see exactly what we experienced growing up, but my mom's uncle still lives in his place down the road, and his son has taken over the old property and has his trailer there, along with some new buildings. Pretty much the only thing standing from when I was growing up is the cow barn and the old chicken coop turned garage. Despite the literally 115 degree air temp, it was a great experience for the kids, and it was a lot of fun for my mom, brother and myself to relive some of those old memories and to see some family members we haven't seen in awhile.

Aside from that, there was a visit to the pool twice, some good times with friends, and hanging out with my kiddos. There was also a very exciting camping trip this last weekend, which I will save for another post.

While summer was great, I'm looking forward to Fall. I miss the smell and feel of it, even though it seems to turn into winter too quickly. This year I'm hoping to get the family more involved in fall festivities. I really want to take the kids apple picking for the very first time. I'm sure there will be a visit to a pumpkin patch somewhere in there, and this year I want to actually carve jack-o-lanterns. We will see about that part, though!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Must Visit Blog Alert (and a GREAT giveaway)!

So it's been WAY too long since I've blogged, and once I'm finished with the Kansas City Fitness Magazine Weight Loss Challenge (less than two weeks, hooray!) I definitely plan on blogging more.

But I just had to write about a great new blog I've discovered -- Tidy Mom She's another Missouri mom (from near St. Louis) who seems to have a good handle on something I don't -- organization! I admit I haven't had a chance to thoroughly investigate this blog (although from what I've seen, it's a lot of fun!), but I had to post about it now because she is having a FABULOUS giveaway this week and it must not be missed!

She is giving away a Silhouette crafting machine, which for those who haven't seen it, is quite possibly the coolest "toy" around! For a chance to enter, visit her blog here There are several ways to win, but you must enter this week! While you are there, please check out the blog! Good luck!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where has the time gone?

Wow...has it really been almost two months since I posted? I've been busy, and exhausted, so I guess I will give myself a break.

Well, since I posted, I've turned another year older. 35. Wow. I remember when I thought 35 was "old." Ha! And not only have I turned a year older, but so has my baby boy. Well, he's actually turned one year old on March 23rd. They grow up so quick... He crawls all over the place -- he even started crawling up the stairs -- but he isn't walking yet. I keep saying I want him to walk, but I know once he does it will drive us crazy! He's already into everything.

So along with the birthday came the birthday party that I have been planning and fretting over months. It was scheduled for Saturday, March 20th, and wouldn't you know it...it snowed. Since the majority of invitees were coming from out of town, we had to reschedule the big party. However, since we did have some friends locally that could come, and since it was my actual birthday, I baked cupcakes, decorated the house a little, and the 7 of us (four adults, three kids) had our own little party. It was nice to catch-up with them. Even though they don't live that far away, he is a teacher and soccer and basketball coach, so they've been pretty busy. The sad thing is that up to this point, they hadn't even met our son, and we had only met there daughter (who turned one last December) once, shortly after her birth. So it was indeed fun to catch up and watch the kids play together.

So the party was rescheduled for April 17th and it was actually a beautiful day! Unfortunately, not all of our invited guests were able to make it, but my mom was in town from Lincoln, along with my brother, sister-in-law, two neices and two nephews. We were also joined by one of my best friends and her daughter who live about 30 minutes away. We really had a good time and the kids all had fun playing together, since they hadn't seen each other since Thanksgiving! My mom had to head back that night because of her dog, but my brother and his family were able to stay the night. Emily and I spent the evening at the hotel pool with them, and had a lot of fun.

The next day, we all went out to the Legends shopping center across the state line. We cruised the mall for a bit and had lunch at T-Rex restaurant. I have to agree with what I've heard: the food is just ok, and it's way overpriced. I guess at those kind of restuarants you pay for the ambiance, but we could have had the same experience just walking around and leaving. I can't say I'd ever do it again. But the kids had fun, and in the end we did, too. We don't get much time to just all hang out like that, so it was definitely worth the price of lunch for the time we spent!

So now we are all just battling one illness after another. A week before the party, my daughter got a fever and had some other issues, and it took her a week to recover. Now my husband, my daughter and myself all have colds of varying degrees and my son has allergies, or something, that are causing some respiratory issues. He is VERY VERY happy, but at his one year checkup last week, they said he sounded wheezy and recommended using a nebulizer and some meds for two weeks to see how he does. Even with that and a double ear infection, he is still the smiliest guy I've ever seen! And while he does not like his nebulizer (especially when I'm administering it), he is the best medicine taker ever. These last few days, along with the two different breathing treatments, he has been taking a steriod of some sort, an antibiotic, and Zyrtec, and takes each one like I'm giving him candy. I could not ask for a better medicine taker, and he is SO much better than his sister. We had to fight with her for an hour a couple weeks ago when she wouldnt take something, and I ended up having to pour it down her throat! So I am blessed to have him!

And wow...if anyone is still reading this after I've rambled on so long, the award goes to you!

I hope to post some birthday pics here soon...and I plan to write more often, even if my readerships is down to...well....maybe I have one??

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

LOVE Surprises!

I mentioned a little while ago how I love little surprises, especially when I'm at work. Yesterday I got another little surprise. Last week, I threw a baby shower for my boss who is due in April. Yesterday, I was walking down the hall and saw two vases of flowers sitting on the desk. It's not unordinary to see someone getting flowers; however, it isn't very often I hear "Nikki, these are for you."


While I thought they were a thank you from my boss, they were actually a thank you from her husband for throwing the shower. How many guys think to buy flowers for others like that? Needless to say, it really made my entire week!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Baby Shower

Last Wednesday I finally got to throw the baby shower I had been planning for weeks. One of the attorneys that I work for is having a boy in April, so I offered to throw her shower. I was very excited about it, because every since I started visiting many of the homemade craft/party planning blogs on the net, I've wanted to throw my own. Unfortunately, at the time I started all of this, my daughter's 4th party was only a couple weeks away, so there was no way I could possibly do all the things I would want to do in that short amount of time. So I looked forward my next possible opportunity, and that was the baby shower.

Since it was a work baby shower (meaning we did it over the lunch hour with other attorneys and staff), it was quite a typical baby shower, but I wanted to make it special.

Since she is having a boy, the color theme was, of course, blue. I started off creating party circles for the cupcakes, inspired by TomKat Studios. That also inspired the "It's a Boy!" banner that I created to match. The cupcakes themselves were vanilla with an almond buttercream frosting, and very, very yummy!


For her nursery, she used a few Amy Butler fabrics to make the bedding and some of the room decor, and luckily I was able to find Amy Butler scrapbook paper at Michaels that matched. I took the paper that matched the patterns she used for her bumper pad and decorated the cupcake stand, alternating the paper. The frosting actually matched the cupcakes very well, too.



Along with the cupcakes, I also made baby bottle candy pops. For the first few batches, I tried to use blue candy melts for the bottle rims and then do the rest in white, but it didn't work out so well. Towards the end, after discovering that candy making may be a little harder than I thought, I added brown chocolate pops and raspberry flavored pops in solid colors. That was easier. I displayed them by sticking them in styrofoam inside blue containers that I got on clearance at Michaels, that kind of look like cupcake liners. I then covered up the visible sytrofoam with light blue and gray M&M's.

The party decorations weren't my only project. Part of my gift to her was a frame to match her room decor. I purchased a wood frame from Michaels, and used one of the Amy Butler patterns to cover it. I used Modge Podge for the first time, and sealed it with stuff I got at Hobby Lobby. After it was finished, I finished it off with a few faux rhinestones to give it a bit of bling. I was very excited about how it turned, and she was very appreciative of the gift!

So now I turn my attention to the most important party -- my baby boy's first birthday!! The party is now just three weeks away and I have a lot to do. We're going with a car theme, so I'm busy trying to collect ideas and items for decorating and party favors. One of my big ideas is to make car soaps as party favors. I purchased a very cute soap mold online and purchased some soap making supplies, but since I've never tried to makes soaps before, I probably need to get moving on it!!

I'll keep posting updates on the birthday party, and if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Productive Weekend

Originally, this weekend was supposed to be one that the kids and I spent in Lincoln at my niece's baptism. However, as I figured would happen, the weather forced us to cancel those plans. I woke up on Sunday a little annoyed that we decided to stay put, because it was perfectly sunny. However, a text to and from my mom and I learned that the same could not be said for Lincoln. And apparently, their experience driving to church, to lunch, and back home was a pretty "interesting" one. And then later, after seeing the 40+ car pile-up in Wyandotte County and another multi-car accident in Johnson County, KS (which was totally surprising to me, because where I live I never saw anything close to those conditions), I was very thankful that the kids and I spent the weekend home instead of on the road.

So while I was home, I tried to use the time wisely and start really working on the decorations for the work baby shower I'm throwing in nine days and my son's 1st birthday party in March. For the most part, I've created the cupcake/party circles I'll be using for both events (inspired by the creative The TomKat Studio), I just need to finalize the colors and what is printed on them, print them, punch them out and assemble. I also sent out the "Save the Date" emails for Brendan's 1st birthday party in March, and created the invitation. It's pretty basic, but I'm very happy with them.



(The little yellow sticky notes are not part of the invite).

Now to actually get them labeled and mailed out!

And now that I've got the invitations done, I plan to concentrate more on getting the stuff done for the baby shower, since I obviously have less time for that. I need to finish the cupcake toppers, cover my cupcake display with paper, make my banner, make one of my baby shower gifts, AND next weekend and early next week I'll be making about three dozen cupcakes -- make, bake and decorate. Busy times!

This weekend was also Valentine's Day. Thinking we were going to be out of town this weekend, we did our Valentines dinner with the family on Wednesday. So Sunday shortly after we got up we gave Emily and Brendan their Valentines gifts, and eventually I settled in to watch the Daytona 500. I wanted to enjoy the race so I put my crafts aside for awhile, but little did I know the race was going to take six hours! During red flags I worked more on my party stuff, but in the closing laps of one of the most exciting Daytona 500's that I can remember, all I could do was sit on the edge of my seat. (Yay for Jamie McMurray's win - a group of friends and I were in Charlotte for his very first Cup race/Cup victory, and he's from Missouri, so I have a soft spot for him.)

After dinner and Em's bath, we baked Valentine's cookies and made cards for the kids at daycare. Em did the stamping, I did the rub on transferring, and she signed the cards.

This was actually the first time I'd seen her write her own name, and I was VERY impressed at how quick she picked it up. Then I found out that they've been practicing at daycare : ) But I still think it's very good for a four year old!

So party progress is being made and fun is being had. I will continue to post updates and pictures as I go along.

Friday, February 12, 2010

STOP SNOWING!

I'm not a snow person. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm freaked out to drive in it. And it's not so much me -- especially since I know have a Hyundai Santa Fe with new tires and all wheel drive -- but I just dont trust others. I've seen way too many people do stupid things that cause stupid accidents, and they really freak me out. I save PTO days JUST for the snow so I can stay home when it's too bad. But this is a bad season for that, because I had to take over a week off in November when my son got H1N1, and that along with the other times I've had to stay home because he's been sick leaves me with just two days left of PTO before my anniversary date the END OF APRIL! The way he's been getting sick and the way the snow has been going, I will be in the hole by the time April roles around.

And driving to work isn't the only bad part of it. The kids and I haven't been back home to Lincoln since New Years, and even then we spent most of our visit in bed with the stomach flu. That means we haven't seen my neices and nephews since our Thanksgiving visit. We were supposed to go up there this weekend for my neice's baptism, but with the predicted snow here, there and in between, there is no way I can risk not making it back on Monday. So, thanks to the snow we will not be seeing the family. Two months may not seem like a long time, but for us, it is. We usually make the visit (or my mom comes down here) once a month or so, but now it's looking like it will be two, maybe three months before we visit.

It may be a good thing that we stay here this weekend. My boss's baby shower, which I am throwing, is February 24th, and my son's first birthday party is March 20th, so I have a lot to do in that time frame. I will probably spend most of this weekend trying to get some of the paper craft stuff done, and then the following weekend I'll be preparing to make at least 3 dozen cupcakes. Yikes! I am very excited about both, however.

What is frustrating for me is my son's birthday party. I decided to go with cars as a theme because he loves playing with the wheels, mainly. And not Disney Cars, but just cars. I want to make his invitations and cupcake picks, etc., and have been looking for car paper punches and car stamps. And all I really want is something that looks like the outline of a VW Bug from the side. Nothing fancy. Yet is amazes me how impossible it's been to find! I found ONE pack of clear stamps that has a car, but after buying it, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I also found ONE car paper punch, from Martha Stewart, but after trying it out last night it's just too small for what I want. I was hoping to have embossed or flocked car embellishments on the invitation, but now I'm thinking I'll just settle for some really cute car clip art. IF I can even find that.

After reading several homemade party blogs over the last six months, I've been really excited about all the ideas I've been able to see and think up for both the shower and the birthday party. Unfortunately, I'm quickly discovering that dreaming and executing those visions are two totally different things. [Sigh!!]

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Racing Returns

I've been a NASCAR/racing fan for a little over 10 years now. It all started when my husband began watching, but I couldn't stand it. However, after being "forced" to watch it enough, I decided to pick a driver so at least I'd have someone to root for. I picked Mark Martin, and I picked him because I found a plastic "doll" of his and recognized his name, so I thought, "I'll pick him." I didn't know it at the time, but it ended up being a great choice. It didn't take me long to become a big fan. Some may have said I was obsessed. Po-ta-toe/Po-ta-tah.

About seven years ago, I joined the website "Frontstretch.com" as a writer, writing about NASCAR. At that time, my dream was to work in NASCAR, preferrably in PR. For me, The Frontstretch was a good starting point. It ended up being an awesome experience. My first season, I went with the site's owner to Texas Motor Speedway and spent the weekend hanging out in the media center. As a race fan, it was beyond cool!
Later that year, I got credentials to the Truck Series race at the Kansas Speedway. Unfortunately, the only access the credentials gave me were to the garage. I couldn't get into the media center, just the garage. Sounds great...get to walk around, watch the cars, see the drivers, and make all the fans staring through the fence jealous. But there was one problem. It was July, and it was HOT. And there are no concessions stands in the garage. But I was very lucky. I had made friends with the PR gal for driver Brendan Gaughan (she actually had to help me get the credentials), and she and the team took pity on me, so I got to spend the weekend cooling off and refreshing in their hauler. And they couldn't have been nicer, especially the driver, Brendan Gaughan.

In the years that I wrote for The Frontstretch, I got media credentials for the Kansas Speedway (several races), Texas Motor Speedway (two races) and Gateway Raceway (St. Louis, MO; about three races); got to sit with all the media goobs (who were usually fun) in the media center, watch driver press conferences, cruise the garage, and watch races from pit road. I even got to hang out in Victory Lane a couple of times, with David Starr and Brendan Gaughan, both in the Truck Series. The best part -- especially for the race fan in me -- was that I got to interview several drivers, both in person and on the phone. That list includes (currently in the series list, but may have been in a different series at the time): Truck Series drivers - David Starr (my personal favorite), Johnny Sauter; Nationwide Series drivers - Terry Cook, Brendan Gaughan, Jason Keller, Kenny Wallace; Cup Series drivers: Kasey Kahne, David Gilliland, Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers; drivers that are in between or not yet big names: Mike Wallace, Scott Riggs, Scott Wimmer, David Stremme; and racing personalities Rick Allen and Bob Dillner, both of SPEED TV. I know there are more, but for the life of me I can't remember them. I'm getting old.

I had a lot of great experiences and had big dreams of joining that group everyday as a PR rep, or just covering the series somehow. But then, a crazy thing happened. I had Emily. Suddenly my priorities and my dreams totally changed. Life on the NASCAR circuit, especially the constant traveling, no longer interested me. I used to think I couldn't imagine not wanting to be involved in NASCAR, but now I can't imagine not seeing my babies every day. While being a secretary isn't my dream job, and I hope one day to find it, being a mom is my dream, and I wouldn't change that for anything.

But I also had the opportunity to do things some NASCAR fans never ever get to experience, and for that I feel extremely lucky! After writing for Frontstretch for several years, and after deciding that my career probably wasn't going to involve NASCAR, I've lessened my role at the site in the last few years. For about the last two, my only real involvement has been helping to facilitate the David Starr Driver Diary (I would call and interview him once a month, turn his answers into an article, and run it by him for approval), and that was ok with me. However, following the 2009 season, the powers-that-be at The Frontstretch and myself decided that after five years (or something like that) the Starr Diary had probably run its course, so we ended things, and that officially ended my relationship with The Frontstretch.

I think I've kind of veered off course from where this whole thing started... Oh yeah. So after a few months off, the racing season starts tonight with the Shootout. For the last few weeks, I haven't really been looking forward to racing season again. It's a really long season, and the last few years I've kind of been a little bored by the end of the season, and not really ready for it when it starts. So when it finally hit me two weeks ago that racing was right around the corner, I wasn't very excited.

But this morning I watched Daytona qualifying, and right now I'm watching the ARCA race. Apparently, all it takes is the sound of those engines to bring back the excitement!! So I'm writing to say, I'm ready for some racing!! And please, let's have someone other than Jimmy Johnson win the championship! : )

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another Sicky in Our House

I hate it when the family gets sick. It started out with the boy last week...runny nose, low grade fever, fussy, and not wanting to eat. It soon transferred to the hubby, who has had a congested head, dry heaves, and generally ickiness. And now...my sweet little girl. It started yesterday with a runny nose, and by bedtime she was coughing. She ended up waking up at about 1:00 coughing and complaining, so I gave her some Tylenol and brought her into bed with me, where she slept restlessly the rest of the night. She's at daycare today, but isn't feeling very well. Apparently, she was telling everyone at the daycare that she was sick, and had a fever and mommy gave her medicine. True, she is sick. And also true, I did give her medicine. But never, at any time, did she have a fever that I am aware of. Our daycare gal had to call me JUST to be sure! So I'm really hoping whatever she has isn't bad enough that she can't go in tomorrow. While I wouldn't mind staying home and out of the snow they are calling for, I only have 3 days of PTO left until late-April, so I need to work as much as possible!

Can I just say, UGH!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My First Attempt at Decoupage

So I got this "great" idea to make a picture frame for my boss for her upcoming baby shower, using Amy Butler paper to match the material she used for her baby bedding. Today I purchased the supplies so that I could try it out myself before trying it on her's. I did learn online AFTER making mine that most actually paint the inside ridge (that goes to the glass) and the edges. Instead, I tried to cut and glue the paper to wrap around, which worked for the outside edges but not so well for the inside.


Anyway...for her's I will use the painting idea, and I'm actually really excited about it! I might even do two separate frames, different sizes, with two of the different patterns she had. Now, if I could find the car stamp and punch that I need for my son's birthday party invitation and cupcake picks, I'd be very happy!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

There She Is...

I've never really been a pagent watcher, and definitely have never sat through an entire show. I paid more attention if I knew that Miss Nebraska (or Miss Missouri, after moving to KC) was doing well, but if she was out, I usually was, too. This year, though, I sat through the whole Miss America pagent, and was actually entertained. They were trying to shake it up a bit, including having a few viewer picks in the top 15, 11 picked by the judges, and the final spot picked by the remaining contestants. There were a couple other things they did that made it a little more interesting, so I was actually getting into it.

But I have to say my biggest reason for watching was Miss Nebraska, Miss Nevada, and Miss Idaho's hair! You see, a friend of mine, who I went to high school with is a hairdresser. Not JUST a hairdresser, but a FABULOUS hairdresser. She actually did my hair for my wedding, along with my two flower girls, and now co-owns her own shop. She spent all week in Las Vegas doing the hair of Miss Nebraska,Idaho and Nevada. While Idaho and Nevada did not make it past the first round, Miss Nebraska made it all the way to the top 10, competing in swimsuit, evening gown, and talent, but just missing the interview portion. And all the while, her hair was GORGEOUS!

Congratulations, Fawnia, on doing such a fabulous job and helping Miss Nebraska make it that far! And that's why I drive to Lincoln to get my hair cut!! :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hooray for Friday!

I am very happy it's Friday. It's not like it's been a particularly busy week, but I'm tired and ready for it to be over. I only worked two hours on Tuesday and not at all on Thursday, due to a sick little boy. A low grade fever and a VERY runny yet congested nose kept him out of daycare, so I used yet more PTO time to care for him. Not that he isn't worth it, but I'm running VERY low. The way this winter has been going -- both weather-wise and family health-wise -- I'm in trouble! For that reason, April can't get here soon enough!

It's supposed to be cold this weekend, but that's ok. It's not like I had big plans anyway. Tonight Emily has dance from 5:30-6:30. After dance we may run to Michael's so that I can pick up some paper that I plan on using for a lot of projects for my boss's baby shower. I had dreamed of doing SO much more, but I've had to back off some of my plans, thanks to car repair bills. I still have some ideas that I think may turn out very cute, so I'm very excited to get started. The shower is Wednesday, February 24th, so I really need to get cracking on some of my paper crafts.

She is doing all her bedding with Amy Butler fabric, so I want to use the Amy Butler paper at Michael's to cover the cupcake stand, make the banner, and make the cupcake toppers. I'm also thinking of making a frame, inspired by the ones I've seen on the TomKat Studios website, with the paper to match some of the fabric she used. The fun part might be trying to find a plain, wood craft frame to cover.

Once I get the baby shower stuff done, it will then be time to work on my little boy's first birthday party, which is scheduled for March 20th. I have a lot more work to do on that one, and I still haven't 100% decided what the theme will be. I'm thinking cars, as he likes things with wheels. I just want it to be something special, so I am scouring websites and blogs daily for ideas.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"One Car Family" is NOT for the Weak...

There is a commercial on television these days, State Farm I think, where the opening couple says, "We've decided to be a one car family." For the last week, everytime I see that commercial I want to throw something at the TV. For the last nearly two weeks we have been FORCED to be a one car family after the wiring into and the fuse panel broke. Two tow bills, five days at our mechanic, seven days at the dealership service department, and several hundred dollars later, we finally have our car back! This means no more bumming rides to work from friends, no more packing the kids up at 7:30 to pick Kevin up by 8:00...it's a wonderful thing!

It's so wierd how anything that deviates from the routine makes life feel so abnormal. I am such a creature of habit and really dislike change, so it's been a difficult 12 days for me. The even wierder thing is that there is a part of me -- a very small part -- that feels like I might actually miss it. I kind of enjoyed the extra "family time," even though it was just driving in the car to and from downtown. The weather, with the exception of the fog in the early days, has been pretty good, the traffic has been good, and it's just kind of been nice. But overall, I am happy to have it over and done with so "normal" life can resume.

Now that the car drama is over, I'm hoping to be able to focus more time on the list of Want-to-do's, like finishing the purse, planning my boss's baby shower, and planning my baby's first birthday party! So this post OFFICIALLY ends the car drama portion of my blog, so now on to the FUN THINGS!! I promise :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Enough Already!

My thoughts have been consumed recently with all this car drama. Are they going to be able to figure it out? Will they be able to fix it? Will it be expensive? Will we ever get it back? That, along with the pretty miserable weather we've been having, and I've been very melancholy. And today, for some reason, was probably one of my most "unhappy" days. After I picked up the kids from daycare, I started feeling even more down about feeling so bad around the kids. It wasn't until after I got the kids to bed and got on the computer that I realized what a bum I'm being.

Yes, the car thing is a mess, an inconvenience, and very possibly a bigger expense than we can really take right now (already spent $150 on two tows), but really...life aint so bad.

Just when I needed something to put it all into perspective and knock me out of my fog, I logged into my blog and there it was, plain and simple -- Love and the Little Things. I need to remember that I have more love from my family and friends then I deserve, and its the little things that really make life special, and that's what it's all about.

And it's FRIDAY!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Car drama...

So after 5 days with our mechanic (who didn't charge us a dime for all of the work he did) he could not figure out what the heck is going on with the car, so it has now been towed to the dealer. Great thing about that is that the dealer is two days behind and MAY be able to get to it by Monday. Yay. So it looks like more wonderful evening drives to downtown KC are in our future!

Hopefully once they get into it they will be able to diagnose it quickly and get us back on the road. I pray it's not something terribly difficult and expensive. I am so ready to move on from this and on to happier times!! I expect that it's much like the inconvenience we had in June, when we were rear ended very hard while the whole family was in my Hyundai Sonata. Dealing with insurance, and rental cars, and car dealerships was a pain in the bottom, but within a few months we barely remembered the inconvenience and the few sleepless nights.

Once all of this done and I have my evenings back again, I hope to get this blog back to what it was supposed to be about...FUN! I am still working on the purse, I want to create cute Valentines cards for my daughters daycare, I need to start working on my boss' baby shower, and it's only about eight weeks until my baby boy's first birthday party! So...once the car drama is over, look for more fun on this blog!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What is going on?

I'm really starting to think 2010 is not my year. I am lucky and very thankful that nothing BIG has really happened, but I continue to be annoyed by all the little things.

With all the other things that have happened, we are currently a one car family, and with our work schedules, it really doesn't work too well. Last Thursday, my husband's car decided to just die for no reason, and would not restart. We had it towed to our mechanic who has had it for three days now and cannot figure out what's wrong. He has a few more ideas, but more than likely we will be driving it to the dealership tonight to have them work on it. Yay. That sounds like a cheap plan! I just hope they can figure it out, and quick. I'm having to load the kids in the car around 7:30, drive all the way back downtown to pick up my husband by 8:00, and we dont get home until after 8:30. Evenings are short enough the way it is, the extra hour out of the night is not good. And we are just lucky that, although we've had fog, the weather has been pretty good, because if it were snowing and icing, I'd be too freaked to pick him up and he'd be living at work.

And that's another thing. This weather! The last five or six days/nights, it has been so foggy that I'm almost too scared to drive. I have rarely seen my neighbor's house down the street in almost a week. I think it's finally going to get better, but now we'll have rain and drizzle moving in. I saw the sun for a few hours on Sunday, but I think it's now gone for good. So it's either been snowy, or below freezing, or foggy, or drizzly for about a month now. I am SO ready for Spring.

I really don't want to seem like all I do is complain. If I ever do get blog visitors, I don't want you all to run and never look back because I'm such a downer. I have a great life -- a wondeful supportive family and group of friends, two healthy, adorable kids, and a job. However, the stress of the last month or so is really starting to rain on my usual sunny, happy attitude!

So here is hoping that the car issues are the last of my problems. At least for awhile anyway.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cupcakes!

I love little surprises -- especially when they come during an ordinary day at work! Today, one of the attorneys that I work for, who is also a mommmy-to-be, brought me homemade cupcakes as a thank you for the baby clothes and things that I've recently given to her. I shared a few with some friends at lunch, but will be taking the rest home for the family to enjoy! Aren't they lovely?



Not only are they very pretty, but they are VERY good, too! I may be borrowing the receipe for the cupcakes I'm making for her baby shower!!

Yummy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy New Year -- Again!

Since the first week of 2010 wasn’t too great (family stomach flu, snow and cold, and a job offer not made), I decided to start it all over again on Sunday. I celebrated my New-New Years Eve with two glasses of wine, then celebrated Sunday by leaving the kids with the hubby and catching a movie – by myself.

I never would have thought I’d go to movies by myself. I don’t even like going to lunch by myself (just ask my co-workers) so a movie was just crazy talk. However, last year I decided that since (1) my husband and I don’t usually agree on movies, and (2) we don’t really have anyone to babysit for us, if I wanted to see a movie, I would just have to go by myself. The first time was sometime last year. First, I took the day off of work, took the kids to daycare, and came back home to “sleep in.” When I finally woke up sometime around noon, I got dressed, and went for lunch. On the menu was KFC’s grilled chicken! And the bonus – I had a coupon for a free meal. Score! Then I hit up Target for a little bit of shopping, but I don’t think I bought much if anything. Then I headed to AMC to see “My Sister’s Keeper” – and I had a gift certificate for a free movie courtesy of the law firm I work for (a gift for Secretary’s Day). Score again!

Of course, I cried like a baby during the movie. But what’s more important is that I walked out of there with a little sense of empowerment! Ok, maybe empowered is too strong, but at least I knew that I could do a movie by myself, and that was really exciting!

So back to Sunday night…my movie of choice was “The Blind Side,” a movie I’ve been wanting to see. Let me say I did not regret my decision. Usually, somewhere close to the end of a movie, I’m just kind of ready for it to be over. I’m just not a HUGE movie person. But this was so different. I didn’t want it to end. Sandra Bullock (who I love anyway) was AMAZING! Tim McGraw was also very good, even though he was in a limited role. Quinton Aaron, who plays Michael Oher, was also amazing. This movie left me completely inspired and motivated, and I can’t even really tell you what it was about it that accomplished that. All I know is I laughed a lot more than I cried in this movie, and I may even cheer for the Ravens to make the Super Bowl (even if they did beat the Patriots – sorry, honey).

I have many 2010 Goals (I’m trying not to call them “Resolutions”). One is to get to bed at a decent time, and wake up early enough to get everything done that I need to, and out the door by 7:10 at the latest. Sunday night I went to bed at 10:30, asleep around 11:00, up at 5:45, got dressed ready, kids up, dressed, and ready, out the door and on the road by approximately 7:20, and clocked into work at 8:04. Not on time, but early enough to make the 7 minute leeway we are given. Monday night – not quite as good at the going to bed thing. I was busy cutting material for the purse I’m trying to make, so I was actually getting ready for bed around 11:10 – 40 minutes after my “bedtime.” Instead of going straight to bed, I decided to read a chapter in a book I’ve had for five years. It’s been so long since I’ve sat and read, and I also decided this was going to be one of my 2010 Goals – to read more. I actually starting reading this book about five years ago, but then I think once I had my daughter I put it up. Not surprisingly, I can’t remember much about the book, so I have decided to read it from the beginning.

This morning was another good morning. I didn’t have to fight my daughter much on the whole getting dressed, brush your hair thing, so we were out the door in good time and I clocked into work at 8:02. Would have been early had traffic not been pretty backed up on the highway to work. But anyway, I’m happy with the way that Goal is panning out – but it has been only two days.

Another one of my goals is less internet play. MUCH less internet play. I’m addicted, I admit it. And it’s not like I do anything really important when I’m on. I find myself sitting there, lap top on lap (duh), going to Facebook, then my Gmail, then say…People.com, or USMagazine.com, or TMZ.com, then to Facebook (I have to see if anyone has updated their status in the last three minutes), then to CNN.com, then to Twitter, then back to Facebook, then to our local stations, then to PerezHilton.com, then to one of the many blogs or other fun websites I frequent, then to my Gmail again, then to Facebook, back to Twitter… Before I know it, its 10:30, I’ve accomplished nothing and plain wasted my entire evening. And it hits me even more when, at the end of the night I think back to my daughter coming up to me and saying “I wanna sit on your lap” and I remember telling her, “Not right now.” And every time I tell myself that the next time, I will put the computer down and hold her. But when the next time comes, I do the same thing. It’s the addiction, I tell you. But no more! Last night, after dinner, I jumped on the computer to check a couple of things, but then remembered how much of my evening I’m wasting by sitting there doing nothing. So I put the computer down, went into my room, grabbed the material and the pattern I bought over a year ago, and started cutting on the patterns pieces and the material to make my very first bag.

It’s going to be a mess – that’s one thing I can pretty much guarantee. I can tell that just by looking at the very uneven pattern pieces I cut. How in the world do you cut even pieces of folded over material? I got about half of the pieces cut before it was time to turn in, so tonight I hope to finish cutting. And if I actually get that thing sewn into something that resembles the bag in the picture, I will carry it with pride!!



I have so much I want to change or do in 2010. I want to be a better wife. I want to be a more patient mother. I want to be a cleaner person so I don’t spend so much of my free time cleaning up (although I do have a 4 year old and a 9 month old, so I suppose that goes with it). I want to spend more time learning and practicing things like sewing, paper craft, knitting, crocheting, baking/decorating, cooking… I want to spend LESS time on the internet and MORE time doing things that really matter to me and my family. I want to stop being late for everything, all the time.

And of course there is the standard lose weight, exercise more, eat better…and I really do want to and plan to do those things to. And also the yearly getting out of debt and STAYING out of debt thing. I’ll be working on that, too.

I’m pretty sure writing a two page blog entry might also constitute spending too much time on the internet, especially when I really should be working (although I’m waiting for my bosses to give me something) so I’ll end this now. But I will be back…

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, Blog More

I swore to myself that when the new year came, I would make a very concious effort to blog more. I had every intention of making good on that "resolution" beginning on January 1, however, life had other plans. The kids and I traveled up to Lincoln for our Christmas with my mom, brother, and his family, but Friday night both my 4 year old daughter and I came down with the stomach flu. We spent most of the weekend laying around groaning, while my wonderful mother took care of my 9 month old son. So unfortunately, we weren't able to celebrate Christmas with my nieces and nephews, but Emily loved the presents she received from Gramma.

And the fun wasn't saved for just Emily and I. Saturday night, while we were on the mend, my husband became the third victim of the stomach flu and spent most of Sunday asleep on the couch. The kids and I avoided him and stayed in Lincoln on Monday, and I've spent most of the evening washing all the sheets, wiping the toys and remotes down with Lysol wipes, and spraying the furniture with Lysol. Now that's how you spend an evening!

And now I sit here, about ready to head to bed. Unfortunately, all I can do is stare at the Christmas tree and dread putting it all away. I hate the process, but I'm SO ready to reclaim my living room and get the tree outta here. Maybe I'll wait and do it on Wednesday. I hope to be working, but we are expecting yet another snow event, so depending on the timing of the snow I will either take a day off or leave early. So maybe the tree will come down Wednesday. Or maybe this weekend. Whatever.

So here is the exciting first blog of 2010. Don't let the excitement scare you away from coming back for the next blog! And by you I mean...um... Well. I guess me. Or are there more of you????