Monday, December 31, 2012

And it's over.....

New Years Eve.  I hate this day.  I don't know why, but it's my least favorite day of the year.  I don't care for December in general.  My birthday, Christmas, New Years....I should love all the things this month holds.....but I don't.  I think that I think it's sad.  I get older and I don't adore change.  Whatever.  Time.....ya can't stop it, so I'll recap it.

January....2012 started off by Lauren saying farewell to private school.  IDK.  There will always be a part of me that regrets it.  It always felt safe there.  But quite frankly the bullshit that accompanied it wasn't worth it anymore.  I miss interacting with certain people, but oddly enough the ones I loved the most I still talk to.  I do miss all the peeps knowing my name.  Nobody calls me "Mrs. B" anymore.  Nobody at the new school even knows my name.  Again....maybe it's better that way.

February....I don't particularly remember.  No seriously.  My memory isn't worth shit anymore.  Nick tells me things sometimes and I have no clue what he's talking about.  Kinda freaks me out.  I think it was a leap year?  If something important happened the only way I'd know is if I referenced FB.

March....My baby Lauren turned 10.  I'm still digesting that.  How did that happen?  She still likes me like 70% of the time but that's fading.  (she just read this and said the 70% of the time isn't true).

April....Lucas was born.  Oh my sweet boy.  Thanks for tolerating all my pics.  But OMG isn't he the cutest?  I'm so in love with that baby.  I take being the little mans godmother seriously.  I will spoil him until the day I die. 

May....My Tootie graduated from preschool.  She seemed to be quite entertaining the entire school year.  She even got honorable mention during the ceremony about ruby slippers.  She IS Dorothy.

June....Summer.  I adore summer for everything it has to offer.  Ava also turned 5.  June also happens to be my favorite month of the year.  I wish it would never end. 

July....Florida.  OMG...that trip was a trip.  I still don't know what to think about it.  I don't think I even blogged about it.  The never-ending car ride there with the throwing up (Ava).  Ava going into an illness everyday (apparently homesick).  It was stressful.  My poor sister will never go on a vacation with us again.  I loved watching Ava's reaction to the ocean for the first time and Lauren fall in love with it again.  Nick and I also celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.  Wowzers....I think I deserve diamonds or something.

August....Back to school.  Mother wasn't happy about this one.  Ava was off to kindergarten and Lauren to 5th grade.  I won't lie.  It was one of the hardest days EVER.  Thankfully she adjusted and Lauren...well she adjusts to just about anything.  Turns out those Fridays to myself are pretty nice too. 

September....Beginning of the month lots of fam from TX and UT came to visit.  Sweet little Eliza made her St. Louis debut.  OMG she's sooooo cute.  I wonder if we could bribe my cousin Rachael to send her back to us.  End of the month...Lucas and I became Godmomma/Godson <3.

October....SAN FRANCISCO!  I loved San Fran.  I loved spending so much time with my BF Carrie.  I never blogged about all of our adventures and I totally should have.  From the Nelly sighting at Lambert, the plane ride, the afternoon adventures, the nightlife, the Cards games, the venture to Haight and Ashbury and all the way to Mission Street.  Loved, loved, loved it.  And turns out Carrie and I could travel the world together.  She really is one of my best friends and am so glad we spent so much time together. 

November.....Whaaaaa?  It was like 2 months ago, or a month ago.  IDK.  I just remember Obama being reelected.  No shock....I was in favor.  Love or hate...doesn't matter.  Some people take this shit way to seriously.  Ultimately we're not in control so make the best and move on.  What else happened?  I painted the kitchen chairs, and still haven't finished them.  Slacker.

December....I turned 35.  30freakingfive.  It feels so old.  Like sooner or later some of the shit I pull isn't going to be acceptable.  WTF?  I don't want to be old, I don't wanna die either so I guess we'll move onto 36.  Oy that's old. 

Now after I read that it seems that it was a pretty boring year.  I swear it was entertaining from time to time.  I just read it again and it was still boring.  Shit.  I'll try to liven it up a bit in 2013. 

So Happy New Year friends.  I hope that 2013 treats you all with kindness and love.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

N S E W....this blog's going in too many directions

this sums it up
How can summer be over already? 
I love summer.  I love 100 + temperatures.  I love the sunshine.  I love daylight that lasts late into the evening.  I love the sound of baseball on the radio, the smell of people barbecuing, pruney little fingers and toes from being in the pool all day long, and the feeling of exhaustion after a day of yard work.  And now it's over.  Boo.  I loved this summer in particular.  So many things happened. 
*My best friend found out she's having a baby.  After 3 years of fertility treatments and 2 days shy of undergoing surgery by fluke she took a pregnancy test and saw something she thought she'd never see.  +  Amazing.  I picked up my phone and saw 19 missed phone calls and 1 text.  As I picked up my phone to read the text she called again and said "did you see that?".  After prompted me to check the text she hung up on me.  I opened the pic, called her back and confirmed we saw the same +.  Then she said "I have to go.  Andy's home and I'm not allowed to tell anyone".  Click.  WTH?  She's now almost 5 months pregnant and tomorrow they find out if it's a boy or girl.  Thankfully I'm high on the list so she's been given the green light to call me asap.  (dr. ewing it's just that important that i might have to ditch you during an intense procedure).  I can't wait to love this baby.  Kim has loved my kids beyond words.  They adore her.  There's something about watching and playing with your best friends kids.  There's a connection....and they know....they understand the bond you have with their mom.  (MaryJane and know how much I love you.  Muah).  Anyway....hurry up February! 
*My baby turned 5.  I still can't believe I'm baby/toddler/preschooler-less.  Ava's a mess, but the little lady has me wrapped around her finger.  I definitely understand the whole "momma's baby" thing now.  The plays me like a fiddle.....and I don't care.
*My dad decided to take his girls to Florida.  My mom, Lauren, Ava, my sister and yours truly.  Lots of fun.  I don't think my sister will ever vacation with us again.  My dad told my mom that they needed another vacation. too.  Lauren loves the ocean and became obsessed with the bogey board.  Ava just wanted to hang out on the sandbar.  I didn't know that's where sharks hang out.  Ignorance is bliss.  We didn't get attacked by any sharks, but I did defeat my fear of the water.  (we all know that the stupidest things terrify me.  oceans, rivers, water i can't see through, fish, butterflies and birds.  i know, i know.  i take shit for it all the time.  but step at a time).
*The girls returned to school.  I'm still not sure how I have a daughter in 5th grade and
one in kindergarten.  Lauren excels in school and Ava....well she doesn't comment on her schooldays.
God help her teacher.  I think she's coming around.  She's had good behavior the last 2 weeks and got to go to the treasure chest.  I wasn't sure how I felt about being kidless on Fridays.  It's been 10-1/2 years since I've had a chunk of time all to myself on a consistent basis.  Turns out....I really, really like it. 
*My dear friends Tim and Leah welcomed their first baby, Luke, into the world 10 weeks early. 
This little guy's a fighter.  4lbs.  Has been breathing on his own since day one and growing stronger everyday.  Next Saturday I'm throwing her a baby shower.  It's my baby shower debut.  I nailed the wedding showers.  I could plan one in my sleep, this is new territory.  I'm going for a classic nursery rhyme theme.  Nobody makes decor for this theme.  I've completed the handmade banner, baby blocks, invitations, table decorations.  I've stumbled upon the most amazing cake.  It looks like
a story book.  I had nursery rhymes printed on edible paper.  Here's the scary part....I'm making it.  God help me.  I can't wait to give Leah the blanket I had made for her.  Finally I thought of something to do with the tons of bridesmaid blankets.  I hope she likes it.
*In two weeks my sweet little Lucas and I officially become Godmother/Godson.  I think this is a huge deal.  I love that baby beyond words.  He's amazing.  I love his laugh, his smile, his slobber, the way he flaps his arms and legs when I walk into the room.  If he could run to me he would.  I love that he loves me.  I love that he reaches for me.  He's got me wrapped around his finger for sure.
Anyway that's the last 3 months in a nutshell.  Doesn't look like a lot but it was pretty dramatic and jam packed.  If I could hit the rewind button I would.  There's so many things I'd love to write about that's happened.  Somethings have to be left for my memoir.  So for now I'll simply
say thank you.  I think there's definitely some unfinished business.  I think there always will be. 
I have as many thought running through my head as footprints in that sand.
Sorry about the randomness of this blog.  Most definitely not my finest.  That's what happens on hangover Sunday.  Oh more thing.  (and this is my blog so i can say whatever i want and
not take any shit for it)  4 MORE YEARS!  YOU BET YO MOMMA I'M VOTIN' OBAMA.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In the blink of an eye....

See that picture?  That's a small portion of the Boitano Mob.  That picture was taken October 7, 2006.  We went to a winery that day to celebrate Kori's birthday.  Nick's mom had died just 2 weeks before.  That had to be one of the most horrible times of my life.  Those smiles come from many, many bottles of wine.  I had no idea what the future was about to hold.  I love that I have this picture (thank you Kori).  Actually, it's quite funny.  I'm not pregnant in that picture....yet.  How many poor kids can be told the exact time of their conception?  Um...Ava can.  Yeah, you guessed it.  It was the wine!  That's the honest to God truth.  Ava, Ava, Ava.  I can't begin to imagine what my life would be without you sweet girl.  We can skip over the details, but I can very vividly remember the intro scene to Look Who's Talking playing in my mind.  23 days from the time this picture was taken I had 100% confirmation that a baby existed.  There was never supposed to be a second baby.  I had Lauren.  My world revolved around her and there was no way I could love another human as much as I loved her.  Time passed and as it did this little bun in the oven and I were getting well aquainted.  For the next 7 months (yes months) this baby made me as sick as a and night.  I remember laying in bed feeling like crap watching the Cardinals win the world series, falling asleep at 9:00 on New Years fun had come to a complete stop.  Lauren wasn't to fond of this baby either.  She was about to get knocked off her pedestal and she wasn't happy about it.  We tried to get her excited.  She was there for the ultrasound when we found out we were having a girl and she got to make the phone calls telling people the news.  That excitement faded....quickly.  Before I knew it July 3rd was quickly approaching.  Natalie, Layla, Elizabeth....this kid needed a name.  Oh yeah...Ava.  I liked that name.  I was once friends with a lady named Ava Lorraine who was a nurse at Children's Hospital.  She was so nice.  I have no clue whatever happened to her but that name wouldn't leave my head.  So Ava, Ava Jewel it is.   I begged and pleaded with my doctor to enduce labor.  I WAS DONE!  No deal.  She compromised and told me if I hadn't gone into labor by the end of June she would schedule and inductioin.  WooHoo!  A whole 3 days early.  Sign me up.  7:30am on June 30th, 2007 I checked myself into Missouri Baptist.  I was ready to get the show on the road.  The nurses came in, started the usual procedure...blah, blah, blah.  It was a slow go in the beginning and then Boom!  Epidural please.  Funny how you can be so eager for someone to shove a needle in your spine.  And then we were smooth sailing.  My parents arrived with Lauren mid afternoon.  She thought it was great.  All the nurses made over her and gave her like a million cups of chipped ice.  The clock kept ticking and no baby.  Nick took Lauren out of the room for a while and I remember laying in the bed half asleep and seeing my dad sitting next to me....just that man.  Well apparently action started and I became fully focused.  Holy broken epidural Batman!  I come from a family of hospital oriented people.  If there's one thing I know it's "Do not whine".  So I didn't.  I didn't say a word.  I could take it...kind of.  Nick and Lauren went down to get dinner.  My mom was in the room with me.  And as any good mother would know, she knew something was wrong.  She kept asking me if she should go and get a nurse.  I repeatedly told her no.  They would come check.  As big of a baby as I can be at times, I can suck up pain pretty well.  I wasn't crying...I swear, but I could feel a tear run down my cheek.  Next thing I knew my mother was gone and nurses came in.  She said "sweetheart, why didn't you call for me?  are you trying to have this baby on your own?"  It seemed like a matter of minutes....3 pushes and there she was.  All 7lbs, 4oz, 20-1/2" of perfection.  And my God this kid had a set of lungs on her.  And just like you see on tv, I was handed a baby (covered in all that funkyness) and kissed her sweet little face, told her I loved her and Happy Birthday.  They took her across the room where I watched the nicest nurse help Lauren give her baby sister a bath.  And then she was all mine, still screaming, but she was mine.  Instant love, unspeakable love.  There's nothing like holding your own baby.  I shared her for a bit with Nick, Lauren, my parents and my loyal best friend Kim that waited outside the door.  And all this time she was still screaming.  I gave her a bottle....the kid was starving!  I miss that screaming sometimes.  The sleepless nights, the diaperbag, the carseat that weighed a thousand pounds, washing bottles.  My baby's about to be 5 on Saturday.  Five years old....that's not a baby anymore.  I'm not handling this well.  This is going by way to fast.  The constant need for me is fading.  I wish I could freeze her at 4 years old.  She loves me, hell she adores me.  She runs to me when I come home from work and kisses me and tells me how much she misses me and just wants "tomorrow to be a mommy day".  Ugh... Ava I love you so much.  You make me laugh so hard.  I love that you quote every line from The Wizard of Oz, you are still in love with Michael Jackson, you have to take your baby doll with you every place you go, you only want to wear dresses and fancy shoes, you climb into my bed almost every night and wrap those little hands around my neck and just want to lay close to me.  But 5 already?  I love you every second of everyday.  You light up my life little lady.  I can't wait until next week when I show you the ocean for the first time and watch you play in the sand.  We'll have picnics and go for long walks on the beach.  I love you so much Ava Jewel.  Happy Happy Birthday my sweet doll.  "I love you to the moon (kiss, kiss) and back".

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and yes, some people are gay. Get over it.

OK so a while ago I posted a youtube video on my facebook page.  It was a clip of Anderson Cooper interviewing a lady named Stacey Pritchard.  She attends Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina.  The ass-clown leader of this "church" is Pastor Charles Worley.  He made several comments which lead to a protest.....and extremely pissed me off.  His sermon called for gays and lesbians to be locked behind electric fences so they would "die out".  If you haven't watched this I highly suggest you'll want her to get hit by a car just as much as I do.  Anderson Cooper called this chick out every single time she opened her mouth and shit came out of it.  I bet I watched it 15 times.  Each time I laughed harder than the time before.  Idiots like this really exist.  Now I might joke around a lot but you'll never see me blog or have a status update concerning serious, sensitive topics like politics or lifestyle choices.  Well that is until now.  I'm not a person who advocates a particular religion or gender choices etc.  Quite frankly it's not my business.  What is my business is to raise my children and teach them that you don't hate someone because of their sexual orientation, skin color or race.  (I'll also teach them to defend themselves...verbally of course...when necessary.  Rule #74626538....Don't take shit from people). 

When I watched that youtube video it struck a nerve.  You see I .... once upon a time .... was that teenage kid who thought that if you were gay, it was totally wrong.  Why?  I don't know.  Society's influence I suppose.  What I do know is that I'm eternally grateful for everyone who has been put in my path and for the lessons they've taught me.  I'm also thankful for the timing of these lessons. 

1994.  I was 16 years old.  Fun times, fun friends, learned how to drive and my first job.  I was a receptionist at Great Clips on Butler Hill.  (gravy job)  My first day on the scene was pretty typical.  You know...sweep the hair up, fold the towels, answer the phone, greet the people, blah blah blah.  Now here's where it gets interesting.  In walks this person/thing....I didn't know what the hell I was looking at.  This freakishly tall person who appeared to be a woman but at the same time was very much a man.  Red teased hair, huge hands, tall, awkward, the voice....squeaky, deep, then high pitched.  For real....what the hell??????  Freak.Of.Nature.  To my surprise he/she wasn't there for a haircut, it worked there.  Now what?  I guess I wandered around for a few hours trying to orientate myself with my new job and my new, ummmm co-worker.  Little did I know I was about to learn a huge life lesson, and so thankful I did.

It was break time.  I went to the back where we kept our things and was on my way to sneak a smoke (yes, a cigarette Ahhhh).  And then you know who strolled in the room by me.  He extended that very large hand to me and said "Hey, I'm Jeri...with an I".  Um ok.  I introduced myself to him.  I'm sure I had a perplexed look on my face.  He asked if I was going outside.  He said "Everyone deserves a break".  Guess this meant he was going with me.  I have no clue what we conversed about out there.  But I do know that the extension of his hand and the willingness to befriend a 16 year old girl started a lovely friendship.  Over the next 2 years we became good friends.  I learned a lot about his life and the changes that were going on in it.  I think it's disrespectful that I refer to Jeri as "him".  He is a "her" and her name is Alexis now.  I can't help it.  He was a boy we met.  Plus I don't talk to him anymore, nor have I seen him in 16 years, nor did I ever call him Alexis.  Whatever.  I'm losing my train of thought.  He was in the middle of gender transformation.  I know all about how a boy makes himself to appear to be a girl....I mean EVERYTHING.  More than my mother would have wanted me to know.  Lesson learned....don't judge a person from the outside. 

That was stage one of my lesson that gay people were just normal everyday people that didn't deserve to be judged.  This was just the tip of the iceberg.

I moved on from that hair sweeping job.  My next career move led me to local retail store.  I hung out at the jewelry counter.  This job was a blast.  I made a ton of friends and a lot of my good friends worked there.  We were the evening crew.  That meant lots of late nights hanging out at Steak N Shake, Dennys and that little hidden farm field by Lambert where we'd sit and watch planes take off and land.  Ahhhhhh....those were the days.  Some of the best times of my life.  No big responsibilities, blowing and entire paycheck on clothes : )  Loved it.  The electronics department was directly across from me.  I had a nice view....a nice view of a hot guy.  Ugh, he was beautiful.  We started hanging out, I developed a small crush on him, we were tight.  Time passed by and then a few random people told me he was gay.  Um yeah right!  My hot side kick was NOT gay.  Over time he'd drop a few clues here and there and then I realized he was in fact gay, even though he never came out and said it.  So there I was....19 and in love with a hot gay guy (by the way doll I know you're reading this).  I had myself a gay husband and I DIDN'T CARE.  Our friendship grew and grew.  We went to a wedding together a few months later.  After lots of drinking and dancing he and I went outside to catch some air.  He was standing right in front of me and suddenly it became crystal clear what was about to happen (in my fairytale he would have kissed me and turned straight, but noooooo).  I looked into his glassy eyes and I'll never forget the look on his face, the tone in his voice or what he said to me.  "I'm gay Nichole".  I was completely prepared for my response....and it was "Do you really think that would make me love you any less?".  Barrier broken, tension released, true friendship revealed.  I miss him.  (yes doll, I miss you....all the time.  can you imagine how much fun we'd have if we hung out?  I'd also remind you that you told me, and I quote, "Nichole if I wasn't gay I'd marry you".  Still makes me giggle).  He took my perception of gay people to the next level.  The next level would be changing that last sentence to "He took my perception of people to the next level".  No label needed. Thank you. 

All those little lessons led up to me knowing the exact words to say to my 3 year old daughter.  You immediate family member of mine is gay.  One night after dinner Lauren asked us "why does ____ and ____ come here together?  where's their wife?"  We cracked up.  This wasn't a conversation I thought I'd have with my young daughter, but the words easily rolled off my tongue.  "Sometimes a man loves a woman and sometimes a man loves a man.  It doesn't matter as long as they love each other".  And you know what....she never asked another question.  100% acceptance.  My child doesn't have a prejudice against gay people.  My child has learned to love a person for who they are, not what they are or who they love.  And if my daughters ever came to me and told me that they were gay my response to them would be "if that's the worse thing you have to tell me then we're going to be ok". 

So to you ass-clowns that call yourself "Christians", the ones that feel they have the right to judge people even though your bible tells you that you have no right to judge another human, I feel so very sorry for you.  I feel sorry for your children.  I feel sorry for your soul.  I'm sorry that you may have missed out on amazing friendships.  I feel sorry for you that someone has pulled the wool so tightly over your eyes that you can't see how wrong you are.  But then again you aren't my problem.  Someday you'll be the ones that have to meet face to face with the higher power and then you can tell Him how you judged people and wished harm upon people you didn't even know.  Boo hoo hoo....remember a sin is a sin in the eyes of God, right?  I guess that doesn't make you any better than anyone else.  Ironic. 

Jeri (with an I) and my Sweet Danny Boy....see what you did to me?  xoxo forever.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

2450 Crestline Dr

Just a heads up, this is probably going to be an extremely boring blog.  You might want to turn back. 
So yesterday I stopped by my parents house and my mom asked Lauren to walk two doors down to let the neighbors dogs out.  Now that house is the residence of my moms boss, but it used to be ours.  Like true blooded Oakvillians we lived in several houses while I was growing up but never outside the border of Oakville. 3 of the 4 houses my parents have lived in are within 2 blocks of each other.  Right after high school we moved ALL THE WAY down Telegraph, off Christopher, behind Queen.  It was a great house, gigantic, in ground pool, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, all the bells and whistles.  It only lasted about 5 years.  I left home, my brother grew up and wasn't always around.  The house began to feel gigantic to my parents, especially my mom (dude....still can't talk about it around my dad.  i don't think he wanted to move.  if you want to aggravate my mom just say "wasn't Coffee Springs the best").  Anyway, they moved.  They moved all the way back down Telegraph, two doors up from the house I lived in from the age of 6 to 18.  I never lived in the house they currently own.  I guess it was nice though.  They were back in the hood.  All the same neighbors, same Telegraph noise, the same "slow down!" as people fly up and down the street. This time they moved right next door to the Linnemans.  This was probably the best part of the move.  They're more like family than neighbors.  I started babysitting for them when I was 12.  I think I basically lived at their house for a huge majority of my teenage years.  They have 3 kids who became more like my little brothers and sister.  My Lauren Nichole is actually named after their Lauren Nicole.  The mom....Debbie is Ava's Godmother.  We're tight...  (see this blog isn't making much sense, maybe i should start over? much work).  Anyway where was I going with this?  So they moved back.  Now the strange thing is when you go in the backyard and look to your right you're staring into our old backyard.  It doesn't really look the same.  The pool is still there, the shed, maybe a few of the trees.  This old house has seen 3 different owners since we've moved.  Our house backed up to Cliff Cave Library.  There's a subdivision behind the library now, but when I was a kid it was nothing but thick woods.  We had bike trails and forts and "indian burial grounds" back there in that shit.  It was THE shit.  The backyard is now overgrown, crappy grass, they even have a freaking chicken (gross).  When we lived there....manicured.  The grass was always cut, trimmed, edged.  The trees were perfectly placed.  The bushes, flowers....nothing ever over grown.  Doing yard work is what my parents do, and they're damn good at it.  (see where i get the obsession with the grass cutting?)  The inside of the house was the same.  Never a mess.  My dad HATES a mess.  I don't think we had a ton of money when I was really small but my parents always took care of what we had and eventually redid the entire house.  It was really nice.  Ok so back on track.  I have to walk down to this house to get Lauren and my mom says "I thought you'd like to go inside and see what it looks like".  Yeah...ok.  Now I've been in the yard since we'd left the house, but never inside.  It's so weird to walk up the driveway, look at all the little things you remember.  I went through the side gate.  Walked around in the yard for a minute (far away from the freaking chicken).  Hung out on the deck of the pool.  Same deck.  My uncle built it.  It's seen better days.  Made my way to the side door and went in.  Wow....really weird feeling.  I was standing in our breakfast room.  The floor was different, same shelves hung, same stove, same kitchen cabinets.  I opened the door to the garage, yup....same.  It started to get strange.  I stood in the living room and glanced around.  Kinda the same, but different to.  Until I turned around.  I looked over at the fireplace.  It looks identical to the way I remember it.  The same mantle, fire place screen.  It was beautiful.  And then...oh shit...was this going to get emotional?  I wasn't expecting this.  I went down the hall, second room on the room.  Lump in throat I walked in.  Um this room was a freaking mess.  They have shit laying every where.  Not much connection, until I looked up at the ceiling fan (dumb right?).  That was my fan.  I remember when my dad installed it.  It was a big deal to have ceiling fans I guess.  I always thought it was ugly.  It was white with the gold scrolls outlining it.  Nevertheless it was a major memory trigger.  It was like my whole childhood existed in one big bubble.  And speaking of bubble....  I walked over to the corner of my room, moved a ton of crap and searched until there it was.  Green Apple HubbaBubba gum that I had gotten stuck in my carpet when I was 12.  Cue the tears.  OMGawd.  I balled like a baby.  That freaking gum was still there.  I was still there.  This was my room.  I wanted to rewind time so badly, just for a few minutes.  A rush of memories came back.  Standing in the backyard and my grandma telling me my dad was on the phone and I had a brother!, the scary laundry chute, the lemon yellow shag carpet that I had when we moved in, the smell of the cedar closet in the basement, my Raggedy Ann wallpaper, the gum in the carpet, Kim and I hanging out my bedroom window smoking (LOL), me almost giving Kim alcohol poisoning with the straight EverClear, the parties....parties were the best.  (and dad if you're reading this i didn't really have any parties...ok?), the time Traci and I set the woods on fire (its was small, and eventually contained). So weird to have gone back in there.  I wish I would have walked out of my room and out of the house.  I walked in my parents room, my little brothers room, downstairs.  It was all different.  The basement wasn't even recognizable.  Nothing was the same down there.  Walls were up that didn't exist, my dads bar was gone, the cedar closet was gone, a bathroom now existed.  And then it was just time to go.  This wasn't our house anymore.  Other people had been here to make changes, memories.  But my house....that tan and brown house with the manicured lawn and the loved that filled the's there.  It's right inside my head and I can go visit it anytime I want.  I lived the childhood that everyone should have.  The fantastic parents, the security, the friends next door, my grandparents across the road.  Dude...I had it.  I lived the childhood dream.  I lived the childhood dream....right there in the middle of Oakville, down Crestline, first house on the right.  2450
Just incase you didn't figure it out....that's a pic of the green gum in the carpet : )

Friday, April 6, 2012

Saint Norma Jean

My grandma.  I don't even know if there are words to describe this woman.  Everyone should have one just like her....but she's mine.  I just got home from her house.  It's like a time warp there.  Once you enter you lose total concept of time.  I think it's my favorite place in the whole wide world.  This joint's a high traffic zone.  It's just kind of normal that when I go in I sweep the kitchen floor (hey, I like to sweep).  She always says "Nikki just sit down".  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  She always feels the need to repay me in some way.  You've got to be kidding me.  Repay?  Norms off her rocker.  Lets rewind a bit (I love to rewind) and see if any repaying is necessary.  When I say she's a saint I'm not shit....this woman's near perfect.  She's the mother of 5, grandmother of 19, great-grandmother of 22-1/2 (Sweet Baby Lucas will be making his debut within the next 2 weeks).  She was a stay at home mom.  After her kids were grown (except for two very fun aunts still at home....cue the fighting over me aunties) she was offered a job at Prince Gardner Leather Company.  Now about this time, circa 1977, I was preparing to make my debut.  My grandpa told her "you  can either stay home with the baby or go to work and let some stranger watch her".  Um, yeah...she stayed home.  And thank God!  That's when we fell in love.  I've never had a babysitter, not even once.  I had grandma.  We spent everyday together.  The earliest memory of my entire life I have is laying in bed with her watching The Lone Ranger.  My mom says she'd drop me off around 6:30 in the morning.  I was there all day and never wanted to go home.  We watched Sesame Street, The Letter People, The Electric Company and Mr. Rogers (my all time favorite) all day.  We went to Dierbergs to drop off our glass pepsi bottles and always went to Venture.  One day when I was 3 we went to Venture.  I asked her for a doll I'd found in the toy aisle.  She'll tell you it was the best $2.87 she's ever spent.  (I'm about to reveal some personal/embarrassing information....for real).  I named the doll Holly.  She went every where with me.  I cut her hair off, left her in the sun until her face became cracked.  It's bad.  I'm 34 years old and that doll is still tucked under my pillow.  I can count on my hands how many nights in the past 31 years that the doll hasn't been under my pillow. name's Nichole and I still have my dolly.  (go ahead and call my strange obsession or something).  She's old and worn, some people even say scary, but we have a history together.  Ok....lets move on.  Grandma and me : ) We played outside, inside....where ever.  It was a blast. We even had our own special breakfast/lunch menu.  (prepare...this is an odd one).  Bologna sandwiches with dill pickles (the big kosher ones) and we dunked it in coffee loaded with milk and sugar.  Holy mother of God it sounds disgusting, but at the time it was delicious.  A lot of days I flat out refused to go home when my mother came for me.  Grandma never made me leave.  She just told my mom to go home. (by the way, home was a whole 30 seconds away).  The fun just continued.  We would have to get dinner ready for my grandpa.  I should mention that this woman is an amazing cook.  Every night we'd have to get grandpas lunch ready for work the next day.  I think we always made him a salad.  God love her for letting me be pinned to her side.  After the day was done it was time to settle down into the living room.  I mean come on...we had episodes of Dallas, As the World Turns and Guiding Light to catch up on.  At this time I only had to share the spotlight with my cousin Donny, but soon I was joined by a whole clan.  This is when the place turned into our own version of Disney World.  Endless fun, endless.  Weeble People galore, the rock garden, the vegetable garden, the pool, the apple tree, the back yard which seemed to be gigantic (and it really is).  The best part of the yard was playing croquet.  I don't think we ever knew what we were doing, but those balls were weapons.  I don't know how we avoided getting injured.  And then there were the slumber parties.  Hells yeah!  Best.Times.Ever.  The entire living room was converted into a mass of tents.  They even had cable!  Cue the intro for "HBO's feature presentation" and bring in the vanilla ice cream with Hershey's syrup in the aluminum can with the yellow lid.  A-freaking-mazing.  All while this saint of a lady waited on us hand and foot, laughed with us and loved us.  Not just regular love, grandmas love.  I love and admire this woman to no end.  There are no words to describe my love for her, it's simply a feeling.  She's not replaceable.  She's established such an intimate relationship with everyone of us, established a trust like we have with no other.  Not once in my life have I ever told this woman a lie.  She sees straight through me.  The very thought of one day having to be alive without her around wells my eyes up with tears and my heart hurts.  Twice in the past 10 years she's developed a life threatening illness (which she bounces back from beautifully).  Those times were horrible.  I remember having a conversation with the higher being and informing him that he had no right to take her away.  I was extremely pissed and I think he knew it.  My cousin Donny and I sat at the hospital that night until she was out of surgery and into recovery.  Neither of us were going any where until we saw for ourselves that she was ok.  We went in and kissed her good night and she opened her eyes long enough to whisper that she was ok and she loved us.  Yeah she loves us, but I hope she knows how much we love her.  Irreplaceable, one of a kind, and never taken for granted. 

Grandma....I love you more than you'll ever know.  You are the kindest, sweetest soul ever put on the earth.  I'm a lucky girl to have you.  I love that I always hear your voice in my head guiding me in life decisions.  I love your beautiful face and the way you giggle when I sneak up on you and scratch your back.  I love our Sundays together.  I love when you tell stories and I love when you tell me that when I was small I made you realize what unconditional love is....because I loved you no matter what.  The last part of that sentence couldn't be anymore true.....xoxo

Donny-Jo, Laurie, Danny, Rachael, Jacob, Josh, Rich, Chrissy, Nikki, Billy, Shane, Jessica, Karri, Michael, Angie, Jay,Joey, Elizabeth and Michelle, Ryan, Ashton, Addison, Naveya, Daxton, Eliza, Miranda, Jessica, Brooke, Cody, Lauren, Ava, Justina, Landon, Braydon, Lilly, Lana, Kristina, Caytlin, Alexis, Jay, Riley and Lucas

Equal the luckiest kids ever.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Not acceptable

Last night I actually got to go out with my girlfriends.  Had such a great time and it was so overdue.  I hate that I typed that it was "overdue".  What the hell happened?  The 3 of us were inseparable.  You'd never find just two of us....always three.  And now our main form of communication is via text.  It went from being together everyday, to talking everyday, to daily text, to a text here and there.  This is no longer acceptable.  For the past 19 years we've seen each other through graduations, weddings, births, deaths, struggles.  I love them dearly....and I miss them.  I miss the days when we all worked together, throwing forbidden parties, skipping school and sleeping in the park, driving around aimlessly.  So much fun. 

Kellie:  My focus driven, brilliant, beauty queen of a best friend.  I found her in drivers ed.  I seriously have no memory of how our friendship began.  It just was.  I can't imagine the trouble that I would have gotten in if she weren't there as the voice of reason.  We were such good friends that when her older sister got married she asked me to be in her wedding.  I had to walk with this hot guy named Nick.  I thought he was so cute.  After the wedding I spent the night at Kel's house.  We stayed up late eating spaghetti-o's and reviewing the day.  I told her I liked that Nick guy and the sensible friend spoke up and said "Nichole, how can you like him?  You don't even really know him".  She was right.  Three years later she drug me against my will to her sisters house because they were hell bent on fixing me up with that Nick guy.  Today my best friends sister is also my sister-in-law and we share 3 charming nephews.  She's officially banded to me for life.

Kimberly:  Hilarious, entertaining, dare devil of a best friend.  (I shake my head and smile).  This girl is ONE OF A KIND.  How I met Kim could possibly be one of my favorite stories ever.  Summer school 1994, Consumer Ec.  I rounded the corner into the classroom.  All the available chairs were sitting up on the table.  I searched the room for a familiar face.  I found Kevin Walker in the corner but he was alreay surrounded by people.  Still searching....nothing.  Down the center isle to the right, last row sat that snotty girl that had given me a dirty look earlier in the school year.  She was a year older than me.  I knew she was the girl that had given me a dirty look because she had broken her ankle and we'd passed each other in the hall...alone.  What the hell .... there was no other halfway normal looking person in the room so I had no choice but to bite the bullet and approach her.  I said " Is anyone sitting here?"  A reply in her snotty, snotty voice (which we still laugh about) "Um I guess not".  I don't know what happended in the next 2 hours but she drove me home that day.  So glad I took my chances sitting next to that snob on that hot June day.  I can't imagine my life without her. 

And now it's come down to the three of us being in the same room together only a handful of times each year.  No longer acceptable.  We get each other, we speak volumes without saying a single word, we laugh at the same time, we can sit silence next to each other and it not be uncomfortable, we can go weeks without having a conversation and it being ok, or talking every single day and always having things to tell each other. Our bond together is unbreakable....they are  my BFF's.  I'll love you both forever.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wow....That went fast.

My Lauren turns 10 this week.  TEN....double digits.  Where in the world did the time go?  Ten is more baby.  I've been at this parenting gig for 10 whole  Bear with me for a bit while I get a little sappy.  Let's rewind for a bit.  July 2, 2001...pregnancy test = positive.  If I only knew then what I know now.  This kid was loved from day one.  Nick and I were thrilled, my parents and his were over the moon...especially his mother.  All my sweet mother in law ever wanted was a little girl to play with.  When we found out we were having a girl we bought a card and a bib that said "Grandma's Little Girl".  We put the card in a blue envelope and the bib in a blue bag.  (this is one of those moments that I'll remember every detail of for the rest of my life).  She was expecting us for dinner.  We walked in and she was standing at the top of the stairs.  We handed her the gift and she smiled and said "oh good, another boy".  It was sincere.  She would have loved this child regardless.  When she opened the gift and saw that it was really a girl she broke into tears and fell to her knees and said "oh my god, oh my god.  i can't believe it.  is it really true?".  She was beyond thrilled.  (Nick's mom passed away when Lauren was 4-1/2 years old.  She loved her so much.  They were shopping buds and I'm so thankful that they spend so much time together.  She was truly the greatest mother in law any girl could ever ask for).  Any who....the waiting game began.  The house began to overflow with pink decor.  Nick had to install a double rack in the closet to make room for all the clothes this girl had acquired.  Onto bigger tasks....she needed a name.  #1. Natalie Rose  #2.  Caroline Elaine  #3. Cara Jane  #4. Lauren Nichole.  Well obviously #4 was the winner.  Fall and winter passed....tic toc, tic toc.  February 10th was her baby shower.  Probably should have added on a wing to the house at that point (who knew a baby needed all these things).  I worked all the way up to my due date.  March 1st I went to my scheduled doctors appointment.  My due date wasn't until March 10th (my great grandma...ole ma's....birthday).  Slight change in plans.  Elevated blood pressure and pre eclampsia speed up the waiting game.  Off to Barnes Jewish we went.  They refused to let me walk so Nick had to push me through the parking garage and the hospital in a wheelchair.  I felt like a complete idiot.  After a few hours they decided I wasn't going home and labor would be induced.  So there we sat and waited.  Nick fell asleep.  I on the other hand was hooked up to every freaking wire in the room and a blood pressure cuff that went off every 2 seconds (it was probably more like every 20 minutes but never the less it was annoying). sleep for the mother (not much has changed).  6AM....whoa...what the hell was that????  Um yeah....a contractions.  I'm pretty sure that got intense for a while.  I was never so happy to see a man with a needle in my life.  The rest of the day was pretty normal.  And then in one moment everything changed.  I mean EVERYTHING.  At 6:22 pm a beautiful baby girl was born.  (you know when you hear people say they have a realization of life...I had it....never had it again since)  I heard her cry.  Reality smacked me right in the face.  I remember thinking "Wow....that's my baby.  That's MY baby".  Instant love.  Truly a love that you've never felt before a day in your life....indescribable.  Pure, honest, unconditional, ever lasting love.  7lbs, 4oz, 20-1/2" of perfection.  I held her, I kissed her, I told her I loved her and then they took her away to the nursery.  Her temp was low and she had to go in the "baby warmer".  And you know what....everyone went with her.  Nick, my parents, his parents, my brother and sister in law.  There I was all alone.  It was clear who'd stolen my spotlight.  Never the less she was perfect.  I remember laying in the hospital bed waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to bring her to me.  I was beyond tired.  I could barely keep my eyes open.  I just wanted to lay my head down and go to sleep.  Around 11PM Lauren's baby nurse (Mary) carried her in and asked if I wanted to hold her or if I was to tired.  I said I wanted her and she wheeled her over to me and placed her in my arms. this is what it feels like.  I was a mom.  I real mom.  Amazing.  The next day I think every single family member and friend packed my room to get a view of Lauren.  She was pretty popular.  She slept with us in the room that next night and we played the roll of the typical new parents who sat and watched her sleep to make sure she was breathing.  The following day we brought her home.  Nick's parents and my parents were waiting at our house.  My dad had decorated the house and the front yard announcing to the world that she had arrived.  We all ate dinner and then our first dose of reality set in.....our parents left to go home.  WTH?  We were on our own.  Just the 3 of us.  I laid on the couch that evening with her lying on my chest.  I remember that night The Cosby Show debuted on Nick at Night.  Laughing at Bill Cosby and holding my baby....what could have been better that first night?  And here we are 10 years later.  Unbelievable.  Lauren Nichole....I love you so, so much.  I'm so thankful everyday to be your mom.  You make me laugh, cry, keep me on my toes, scare me, entertain me, love me and teach me.  You're perfect and I'm so glad you're mine.  Happy 10th Birthday Baby Doll.....I'll love you forever. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Oops I did it again.

When Lauren was a baby I made the mistake of letting her sleep in our room. It started with the bassinet.  When she out grew that I actually thought it was a good idea to mover her baby bed in our room.  I don't know what I was thinking, actually I do know.  I thought she was going to stop breathing or something.  Whatever the reason....I did it.  By the time she was a year old she'd made herself quite comfortable sleeping between myself and the husband.  I don't know if it was working mother guilt or what but I felt that I had at least spent time with her (even if we were asleep) if she laid next to me. continued.  Eventually we started running out of room.  She fell in love with this sweet little toddler bed we saw in Pottery Barn and I was suckered in.....$500 later (ok, that was including bedding....stupid I know).  She slept in that bed for the grand total of 3 hours.  Back to the drawing board.  We went out and bought her a "big girl bed".  That lasted, NOT.  For the next few years (I know this is really, really bad) Nick enjoyed his pretty little girls room.  Now from time to time we tried putting her in her room.  I'm not saying I gave it 100%....obviously not.  Then BOOM...along came Ava and I swore that I would never, ever, ever, ever start that bad habit again.  I was successful.  The child learned to lay down in her own bed and fall asleep.  We moved her to a toddler bed....she stayed in it.   We moved her to the big girl bed.....fantastic!  Of all the things this little lady gives me trouble on sleeping in her own bed has never been one.  That is until now.  Last week when she was sick I got really, really worried about her.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I guess I wanted to make sure she was breathing ok.  The doctor freaked me out.  Now that things have returned to normal returning to her bed isn't going so well.  Last night she got a free pass and ended up sleeping with me again.  Who's fault is this?  I'm pretty sure it's mine.  She's so cute, and little, and she loves me, and she misses me, and everyday that goes by she's a whole day older and pretty soon my baby isn't going to be a baby anymore.'s me.  It's me.  Now what?  Now I've created a little monster that doesn't want to sleep in her bed anymore.  OY.  I'm just going to pretend that I'm going to put her in her own bed tonight and she'll stay there and this will be one happy household.  Cross your fingers people. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just B

So most of you know that Lauren started a new school after Christmas break.  It's going well.  I was shocked that she adjusted so quickly.  She's known as LAUREN at this new school, not LAUREN B. She went from a classroom of 25 kids including Lauren B, Lauryn J and Lauren O.  She's always been Lauren B.  Poor kid still signs her name like that at times : ) Going from a private school to a public school is a big change.  I was more nervous than she was the first day.  I walked her to her classroom and introduced her to Ms. Malle.  (funny side note....after a week or so I realized that her teacher was a year behind me in high school and we actually know each other.  what are the chances?)  A little girl walked over to her and helped her gather some books and get things put away in her desk.  She acted very grown up but I knew she was nervous.  I was nervous!  I thought God please let someone befriend her, sit with her at lunch, play with her at recess....  It turns out that switching schools in the middle of the year was a good thing.  She was the new face and kids were excited to get to know her.  She even rode the bus home that afternoon (gasp...made me nervous).  She survived : )  I still weigh the pro's and con's of public vs private.  I'll always be thankful for the time she spent at Abiding and the foundation it gave her.  She has a very strong faith and knows far more than her mother does.  The downside of a small school is that it's just that...small.  She was ready to expand her world, meet new kids, try new activities.  Public school definetly has a lot to offer.  Tons of clubs to choose from, kids from different backgrounds and is a little more laid back.  I was shocked to discover how far behind my little darling was in math though.  These kids are almost an entire semester ahead of where she left off before Christmas.  OY!  Thank God my cousin Michelle is a math major and has saved my ass on more than one occasion.  They do things that I didn't do in high school.  If this is what 4th grade is all about I fear for 5th!  On the upside public school offers a lot of resources to help (free of charge may I add).  I do however miss my 2020's.  (everyone always wanted to know what "2020's" were.  at Abiding each class' parents had a nickname for their little group.  our kids will graduate in 2020....hints the name).  I'm thankful for the friends that I made during our time there.  Reprogle's, Madlinger's, Fritsche's to name a few : ) 
I hope we always remain in touch and when we hang out Miss. Lauren will turn back into LAUREN B.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The maid quit, but she had to come back

So last weekend I was sick.  Not much got accomplished around the house.  Our house isn't in perfect order, but I like to keep the joint clean.  I especially hate laundry.  Lauren no longer being in private school means we had to say bye bye to the uniforms (life was so much easier).  So now I can't afford to get backed up in the laundry department.  Anyways when I was sick last weekend I didn't feel like doing the laundry, or any house work for that matter.  We reverted back to our old "wash it as you need it" routine.  Big mistake.  Monday and Tuesday passed with not much motivation.  Wed....Thurs.....Fri.....and here I sit today.  Who's idea is it at E! to play back to back episodes of Kim and Kourtney take New York.  That spells disaster for me.  Say what you will about the Kardashian's....I LOVE them (Khloe, Kourtney, that order).  During the last commercial break I looked around.  I'm not loving what I see.  I guess the maid's week off is over and she has no choice but to return to work.  It's 4:30 now....Hopefully by 7:00 we'll be back in order around here.  Guess I'm off to laundry (will never be done by 7), bathrooms, floors, de-clutter toys in Ava's room, spot check Lauren's closet blah, blah, blah.   Now where's my timecard?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Just a little whistle

Well it's official....Ava learned to whistle.  This kid has been wanting to whistle forever.  She's extremely proud of herself.  As the day went on her whistle got stronger and she became more and more excited.  Funny how something so small can be such a big deal.  I think it's a little depressing.  First if was talking, then whistling?  I know she has to get bigger but gee....  I wish I could freeze her at this age.  Today I thought about what it'll be like in the fall when she starts kindergarten.  I don't want my baby to get big.  Next thing you know she'll want to drive a car....OY.  I love it that she still wants to (on very rare occasion) crawl in my lap and snuggle.  I love the "baby talk" or phrases she still uses like "I want a dinkadink of chocolate milk".  Dinkadink = a cup (that's how she referred to a bottle).  Maybe I'm afraid that my want to be needed will start to fade.  It's surely disappearing from Lauren aka Miss. Independent.  I love these days even though they're crazy busy and I'm usually acting like a mad woman.  Watching Lauren grow has shown me how quickly these years will pass and soon I'll be an old lady sitting around in my nightgown waiting for them to come home from a night out.  OY!  Who knew a whistle could put me in such a funk?  Oh well....what can you do?  Well that's my dose of daily depression.  I'm going to go kiss those sweet little marshmallow cheeks while she's sleeping.  xoxo my little whistler.