marriage

Like A Flame You Must Be Wild (Pictures & Useless Rambling)

I had an awesome day Monday, July 27. The most important thing is that it was my and Adam’s first wedding anniversary. We’ve been married a year! :) A good year! During the year, I learned what it was like to have a husband’s 100% unconditional support. I learned what it was like to be spoiled rotten. I mean, I’ve never come home from work and had a cup of champagne rose tea waiting for me before. (Speaking of that tea, I need to get more. Where’d you get it again, Rosa?)

He indulges my doll habit. He sits through The O.C. with me, and laments about how dumb Marissa is. If I am the least bit irritated or uncomfortable, he does what he can to help me get better. I don’t think I do enough for him. I have to do more. ‘Cause I love him.

I was up pretty early this morning (well, early for me anyway). Adam came in and gave me a package–a thick envelope from M.E.I. Travel! Our Disney travel documents!!! YEA! When those things come… well, you know the trip is soon. And now we’re down to 19 days! But, in addition to the travel documents, luggage tags, etc., Suzy, my awesome travel agent, included some gifts. A Minnie Mouse antennae topper (which I can’t put on my car b/c kids in Chicago will steal it), a Peter Pan slap bracelet, and a lanyard for holding Keys to the World. I was thrilled to open that package!

Then, Adam took me to American Girl Place, and he bought me a doll and clothes for her. Then I talked him into letting me buy a doll for myself as well, so these two lovelies came home with me:

Peyton & Celeste

The one on the left is Peyton Elaine. She’s the one I paid for myself.
The one on the right is Celeste Rayn. She was my anniversary gift from Adam. Aren’t they cute? I could not decide between the two, even back when Adam told me weeks ago that he was going to take me to get a doll for our anniversary. I’m happy to have them both. :)

Spaghetti for dinner (Aidan had Ramen; he’s probably sick of spaghetti even though he cleans his plate and asks for seconds every time I make it), and a brownie/ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins and cranberry wine for dessert while watching Make It Or Break It on TiVo. Yeah, it was a good day.

I’ve been stocking up on pre-Disney stuff. It’s all in a cute little bag I got at The Disney Store. It’s a yellow bag with green seams, and the picture is of Mickey Mouse hugging Earth. In it, there is sunscreen, sunglasses for Aidan (they were $1.62 at The Disney Store!), ponchos, one of those spray bottles with a fan on it, Disney dollars for Aidan’s rewards, and other things of that sort.

Speaking of Aidan, isn’t he cute?

Cutie Aidan

Aidan, Wall•E, and Eve

He’s been doing MUCH better with bedtime stuff. I read him a chapter from Ramona the Brave every night before bed. I give him kisses and hugs. And no more nighttime yelling or crying. He does sleep under his covers, head and all, but Adam said he did the same thing when he was Aidan’s age. It makes Aidan sweat like mad, though. But if that’s what helps him cope, then….

Now we’re back to the regular problem of him wetting the bed at night. Accidentally, but still. It’s a pain in the butt. I have to get one of those waterproof covers asap. When we were in Iowa this weekend, Aunt Cindy gave me an alarm and some info about bed wetting and trying to stop it. I hope to God I put it in my suitcase and didn’t leave it in Iowa by mistake. It’s all great information and will really come in handy… provided I didn’t forget to bring it home! I’ve been taking him to the bathroom–but the problem is that I sometimes don’t get to him in time. And he’s already wet by the time I go to take him. The alarm seems like the best bet–I really hope I didn’t forget to pack it.

And another thing. I’ve been using EyeTV and moving the Disney videos to digital so I can make DVDs of them. It’s a LONG process. And I watch the videos as they’re being digitized. Aidan, at age two, did not listen to direction. There are so many times that Chris told him not to run off, and the next thing you know, Aidan is gone. I’m screaming at the tape “TURN THE CAMERA OFF AND GO GET HIM!!” I yelled at myself a few times, too. Ha. And I’m paying for it now. Adam and I are really trying to drive it into him that he needs to follow directions and do what we tell him. He seems to think that the things we say are optional, or he tries to flat out ignore us. Privileges get snatched away when he pulls that stuff. I can understand being really involved in TV or something, and needing to be called a few times to get his attention… but when he is spraying air freshener and I tell him to stop and he sprays again anyway? Oh hell to the no. I’m not having it. Right now it’s air freshener. What will it be in ten years? It’s best to nip that stuff in the bud right now.

It’s challenging still. Every day there is a new challenge… but every day there is a new joy, too.

ANYWAY, we did go to Iowa again over the weekend. Adam’s high school reunion, even though he officially graduated from high school in Georgia, he considers Urbandale his true class. Most of the people remembered him, too. It was nice to visit family as well. We had a picnic, and Uncle Pat managed to get a kite in the air.

Flying A Kite Flying A Kite
Flying A Kite
Uncle Pat, Turner, Aidan, Adam flying a kite

Aidan’s cousin Turner, who is nine, kept Aidan pretty busy. They pretty much entertained themselves which was really nice. I can see why parents have more than one kid! Not that we’re going to do that or anything. But I can see the advantage.

While we were there, Adam once again entertained the thought of moving to Iowa in a few years. I am on the fence. On the one hand, I didn’t realize how much my eyes crave seeing fields of grass, horses grazing, and tons of trees. When we were on our way to the picnic (and coming back), we’d pass these farms and things. You’d have thought my eyes were dying of farmland dehydration! I forgot how much I liked the country. I guess the grass is always greener, ’cause I bet I’d be craving the city once I moved to the country. Anyway…you can get cherry pies at McDonald’s in Iowa (and probably every other state except freaking Illinois). I love the slower pace, the reasonable cost of living, and the fact that the traffic lights and traffic patterns MAKE SENSE. And 6% sales tax! Such a far cry from Chicago’s 10.25% tax, plus tax on groceries, and the 13.25% sales tax on pop, and the bottled water tax and the breathing tax and the pooping tax and the…what was I saying?

Oh yeah. There are plenty of reasons to think about moving. In addition to the stuff I listed above, in Iowa, we’d stand some semblance of a chance of owning a house someday. In Chicago? Forget it. With properties averaging around $400K, and that’s not for freestanding. That’s for stuff attached to other people. Eff that. I don’t want to be stuck living next to some stark raving moron for 30+ years. No way. I mean, it’s not like we’ll be owning any property for about 10 years anyway unless one of us hits it big somehow, but it’s way more reasonable and feasible there.

However, there are a few drawbacks. I’ve mentioned the job thing before. There are magazines there, but what are the chances they’ll be hiring proofreaders? And it doesn’t seem very diverse, and I would like some diversity. It’s unnatural for me to go a whole weekend and not see any Latino or Asian people. There is always something to do in Chicago. It’s diverse. There is so much food to try and love. There is American Girl Place. And Michigan Avenue.

Oh well. There are years to think about such things.

Getting to Iowa was great. I slept the whole way there. But the trip back was awful. Well, not awful. Just annoying. There’s this long stretch of road on I-88 with NO rest stops or gas stations or ANYTHING. I mean, nothing. There are signs that imply businesses or something, but then you pull off onto the roads and there is nothing. So when Aidan had to potty, we had to pull over and let him whiz into the night air. And I was about to burst until we finally found a grocery store. I was sure they were going to be like “Um, this is for paying customers only. You need to buy something before you can use our bathroom.” But no such thing happened, thank goodness. It took ages to get home, though. Ugh. I do not like road trips… if I am awake for them.

I am trying to go natural with my hair again. It’s been almost 12 weeks with no relaxer. That’s not a huge accomplishment, though. I’ve gone 12 weeks before. I haven’t flat-ironed my hair or used a curling iron in weeks. I just let it air dry. It’s a challenge. But it’ll be nice to be at Disney World and not have to freak out about my hair if we get caught in a downpour. Not to mention not having to spend hundreds of dollars a year on relaxers.

My mom is coming to visit on August 5 through the 12. August is going to be a busy month for us. Mommy visit, Disney World, then Aidan goes back to Ohio. :( He starts school on the 26th! I mean, it’s already less than a month until he goes back. :( No fair. As hard as it is being a mommy some days, it’s harder when he is not here.

I guess that is all for now. I’m off to read and then go to sleep. Well, I’ll have a snack first. And some wine. Mmm cranberry wine. OK, good night.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Finally, A Weekend! (Pictures, Long)

This will be my first full weekend in over a month. I’m so glad I like the work and the people I work with, because otherwise, working six days a week would be awful. As it is, I feel weird not going in tomorrow. If I hadn’t already turned in my time sheet for the week, I probably would reconsider and pop in for a few hours! I care that much about the work and I like the job that much. But I am tired and was encouraged by team members to take a break because I really shouldn’t work six days a week for ten weeks in a row. Plus, I got sick twice the past couple of weeks, and even though the colds were fairly minor, last Saturday, I was miserable! I came home, took medicine, fell into bed and stayed there until Sunday evening! Still, I remember last year this time, I was starting that horrific three-month sore throat. I am SO GLAD I’m not dealing with that this year!

I started to get melancholy this week, because my assignment is slated to end on November 26th. I’ve never been SAD about leaving a job before, but with this one, I really will grieve! I love the work, the culture, the commute, everything, even the six day weeks and sometimes ten hour work days. Today, some people dressed up for the holiday, and people were passing out candy, and the company bought pizza and salad and beverages for all of us to enjoy for lunch.

I leave work at the end of the day with a spring in my step, because I just spent all day working my butt off and loving every minute of it. And the thought of going back to combing the job boards, sending out a billion resumes to get maybe one or two bites, then going on interviews and doing hours of interview homework frankly depresses me. It seriously makes me want to cry.

I believe that if you put the energy out there, then something can happen with it. So this is what I’m going to put out there. I want to work full time at Schawk. I want to be a permanent employee. Everyday I go in and hope that they see something in me that makes them say “You know, this girl is good. Her attitude is awesome, and we can really tell that she cares about and likes the work. We’re going to offer her a position here because we know she’ll bring value to our team and our company.”

We’ll see what happens. I know the economy, and the reality though, and I’m going to try not to cry too much that day. In the meantime, I’m trying to enjoy the time I do have there for sure. It’s the best job I’ve ever had in my life. And I mean that 100%.

Today is Halloween, and I didn’t dress up. I did wear a tee-shirt to commemorate the occasion, though.

Me on Halloween

I got a lot of compliments on my headband. :)

Adam did dress up, though. Here he is with Hector before their crazy night of Weird Chicago tours.

Halloween 2008

Helena has been a very good girl and hasn’t peed on the bed in a long time. I’m proud of her. She’s gotten used to me being gone, and I give her a little extra attention in the mornings before I leave for work which she seems to like. Some of my best evenings are when she and Crookshanks curl up beside me while I play on Flickr or something.

Honestly, though, I’m only missing one thing from my life and that’s Aidan’s hugs and kisses. It’s so hard not hearing his little voice every day and having him clinging to me and touching my cheek. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and wonder how he’s doing. The other day I was talking to him, and he said “Mommy, I was looking at the picture of you and me and Daddy and I started cwying.” I asked him why, and he said because he missed me. That’s a big void, and even though I don’t regret moving to Chicago and being with Adam, I miss my son terribly and I want need to see him soon.

Other than that, I’m really happy. And I’ve been happy for a long time now. I like working. I like coming home to Adam at the end of the day. Some nights he makes the most delicious dinners. Wednesday night, I told him I wanted something light, and he made tomato basil soup with chicken. It was perfect and amazing. Tonight, he made beef and noodles. The beef had been simmering all day in the Crock-Pot. And one day last week, he made the most delicious homemade beef stew. I have to watch so I won’t gain a ton of weight–my pants are all fitting snugly! It’s time for me to really put the Wii Fit to use.

Yes, that was a major splurge I made a couple of weeks ago! I went to Best Buy in search of a new external hard drive because my original one is almost full. Well, I found a 1T hard drive for a good price, and ventured over to the video game section. I was shaking me head at the Wii Fit towel. I mean, really? $8 for a towel because it says Wii Fit on it? And I was thinking “well, that’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to a Wii Fit….” then I walked out of that aisle and over to a center pallet that was stacked with Wiis and Wii Fits! I debated for about 30 seconds on getting it, then decided to go for it, and I am so glad. Working out with that thing is SO fun. I love the step aerobics and the yoga. Before I know it, I’ve clocked 35 minutes of exercise and for something like me who does NOT care for exercise, that is a big deal. Wii Fit = PURE WIN.

I’m trying to think of what else I’ve been up to besides working, resting, reading, and playing Wii Fit, and I can’t come up with a whole lot. I did finally get to read the latest Leven Thumps novel. I devoured the thing in a day and a half and was very sad when it was over. I have to wait probably at least a year for the next one!

Another writer friend of mine finally got a book contract, and I’m very happy for her. Out of that little group, I’m the only one who still hasn’t been published, and right now, I’m OK with that. I’m not even sure I want to pursue a writing career so much anymore. I’m getting so much joy out of the agency proofreading work, I wonder if I shouldn’t focus on that career path? We’ll see where my heart takes me. I still have the soul of a writer, and I’m always thinking of characters and making up people and scenarios in my head, so maybe it’ll come back one day. At this point, I’m at peace with where I am now, career-wise. Who knows what will happen?

A few days ago. Rosa asked me to post 7 things about myself that most people don’t know. This is going to be a challenge, as I am pretty open on my blog. But let’s see.

1. I have a terrible singing voice. I mean, it’s awful. But that doesn’t stop me from singing along with the stereo when I am home alone.

2. About twelve years ago, the house I lived in for most of my growing years was foreclosed on. I didn’t get a lot of stuff out of it, and some of that stuff includes rare 12-in. album singles with remixes of songs like Killing Me Softly by Al B. Sure and Lucky Charm by The Boys. I really, really wish I had a way to get digital copies of those songs–but the 12-in. singles were rare enough when I bought them. I’m sure it’s impossible to get them now.

3. Even though I do not like winter or the cold, I love cold-weather accessories. I have tons of scarves and hats and gloves and mittens. I like to change them up depending on my mood, and I just love the new cute ones that come out every year. Monday, when I was at Aeropostale to get a few sweaters for the upcoming winter, I started considering a new winter coat. Adam, with an exasperated look, told me that I have QUITE enough coats, thank you very much. OK, he didn’t say all that, but he did point out that I have four winter coats and I probably really don’t need a new one. But we’ll see how my coats hold up against Chicago winters. I might need to take a trip to Eddie Bauer soon. Macy’s has beautiful wool pea coats, but I really don’t want to spend $500 on a coat that may or may not keep me warm when the single digit temperatures hit.

4. I wish I had a best girlfriend. But then I wonder if I really want the time and commitment that comes with having a best girlfriend. Jen and I are pretty close–we’ve known each other since the early 1990s–but I don’t have that *best friend* who is local and who I see all the time, who I can yap on the phone with for hours and then turn around and email/IM her as soon as I hang up. It’s been so long that I’m not even sure I KNOW how to have a best friend anymore, not like I did when I was in grade school. I remember Charla and I used to get on the phone and yak yak yak for hours (13 of them once). Now, it just seems strange to call someone other than my mommy just to talk, even though when someone does catch me at a good time, it’s always great to hear from that person, and I enjoy catching up and chatting. I think every girl needs a best friend, but I guess I’m scared and not so sure how to go about it.

5. I’m generally not a phone person. I will email you long, long letters, I’ll write you letters, I’ll text you, but I’m not huge on the phone. Again, I like when people call me, but it’s hard for me to take the initiative to make the call to anyone unless I really feel driven to action. I even had a hard time calling Adam, the man I was dating, then engaged to, because I always worried about bugging him. But if someone calls me, I’m terrible about letting him or her off the phone, and we can talk for hours and hours easily. Ask anyone about my marathon phone calls with my mom. Last time it was five hours.

6. I enjoy good, long, late night conversations. I love talking to friends about anything and everything in the middle of the night, when the inhibitions are down just a bit, and we’re comfortable sharing everything.

7. I really really want to take Aidan to Disney World within the next year. Just a mommy-son trip. I know it’s probably crazy and ambitious to do a single-parent trip of that magnitude, but we both LOVE Disney World and I think the time together would be amazing. I just wish something would happen to make that a possibility very soon, before he outgrows Disney World… and hanging out with his parents. For the record, I also want to take a huge trip to Disney World with Adam, Aidan, Chris, Matt, my mom, and Adam’s mom.

Because traveling for Thanksgiving will be a logistical nightmare for me this year, Adam and I are staying in town and having Thanksgiving here. We’re going to make a turkey and stuffing, and I’ll make a bit of dressing (hopefully not as dry as I made it for Christmas–eep). I’m also making my famous macaroni & cheese and we’re having gobs and gobs and gobs of mashed potatoes. Probably some corn and/or green beans too. And a Jell-O cake for dessert! Local friends who have no other plans are DEFINITELY welcome to join us. Just RSVP to me or Adam and let us know so we can have enough food to go around.

Tomorrow is November, which means I need to start thinking about Christmas. Once Halloween is over, I feel OK thinking about it, making plans, etc. So far, I plan to fly to Columbus on Christmas to surprise my little Aidan. How much fun will that be? :) That’s all I have so far. Has anyone else started thinking about the December holidays?

I think I got everything out that’s been building up in me the past few days and/or weeks. If you read all this, thank you. ♥ I leave you with a picture of my street in Chicago. I took it as I was walking home from work one evening.

Down the Block

‘Til next time!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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In Sickness and In Health

Throughout our relationship, Adam and I have dealt with things here and there. Colds, migraines, me and my explosive digestive tract, plus my terrible four month long sore throat… but nothing was like yesterday, when poor Adam’s top left wisdom tooth decided that the frequent “get me out” requests weren’t enough and that he needed to be taught a MAJOR lesson.

I felt so helpless yesterday. I hated watching him suffer and being powerless to stop the pain for him. He was in so much pain and no matter WHAT drugs (or how many) I pumped into him, the pain wouldn’t go away. Or it would go away for about five minutes–just enough time for him to drift off to a fitful sleep, before he was jerked awake by another spasm of pain. He munched on lots of bread and buns because chewing helped alleviate the pain a little bit, and I made him soup. We were frustrated because he was obviously in horrible pain and we couldn’t do a thing about it. The dentists were closed or booked, and no one would call in some good drugs for him so he could get through the night. Finally, about 10:30 or so, he managed to fall off to an exhausted sleep. I think enough of the sleeping meds had gotten into him that his body couldn’t fight it anymore, pain or not. Plus, he’d been NOT sleeping for two nights because of the pain. He was worn out. I was happy that he finally passed out.

Now I know how he felt last Christmas, when I was in so much pain because of that horrible sore throat.

This morning, I drove him to the dentist and packed a bag full of activities to keep myself busy while he went “under the knife.” The extraction didn’t take very long, and he came out proudly holding his tooth wrapped in gauze. It was FREAKY looking! Now, he’s sleeping, but also cracking me up because he wants everything to eat that he can’t have. Beef, especially. The poor guy…. I remember getting my wisdom teeth out four years ago (I got all four out; and they were impacted, so there was NO solid food for me for about a week!) and craving chicken wings and fries, Cream of Wheat and bacon, and everything I could not eat. One can only take so much soup, yogurt, ice cream, and Spaghetti-Os.

He’s not done yet… lots of dental work in his future, but the most painful and important thing has been taken care of. And that’s a good thing.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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