american girl

It’s Just Life & It’s Good! (Pictures, Long)

Oh, hi y’all. As you know, I haven’t updated in a while, so I apologize in advance for the longevity of this post. I’ve been around, as those of you who are on my Facebook know, but typically it’s been a busy few months, what with four quarter at Schawk (can’t believe another one has passed), family visiting, friends visiting, and just… life, really.

Which is great, by the way. So much to be thankful for these days. :)

Earlier this month, Aidan came to visit for several days. It was awesome! He’s so mature and smart. And he’s turning out to be quite the bookworm. Hmm, wonder where he could have possibly gotten that? Seriously, one day, he read five books. Impressive! Anyway, when he was here, I took a day off from work to spend time with him. He loved that. I took him downtown to look at the Macy’s store windows, and he got to see Santa Claus!

Macy's State Street Windows

Aidan and Santa

Poor thing was totally tongue tied when Santa hugged him, but it was such a sweet scene. I had to keep blinking back tears. Santa was an absolute sweetheart to Aidan. :) Aidan also wrote and sent a letter to Santa that day, and he was beside himself when we peeked into the news studio (a couple of them have their windows uncovered and passersby can watch live broadcasts) and someone inside waved at him. The most random thing happened to me that day, too. We were looking at the windows and interacting or whatever, and a stranger came up to me, told me I was a good mom, and gave me a hug! :)

Later that week, Adam’s family came to town to visit. They loved spending time with Aidan and he loved spending time with them:

Family Pix

Aidan went home that Sunday, and I was sad to see him go. He is always excited to fly alone, so the good-byes aren’t terrible (for him).

That Monday, I scarfed down a cheeseburger from Portillo’s and saw the burger again a few hours later. :( I woke up Tuesday morning feeling sort of OK, so I headed out to work, only to end up exhausted and weak from the commute. I ended up leaving a few hours early. I wasn’t feeling good at all. Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling sort of OK, so I decided to brave it again even though my brain/body was telling me not to. I was 100% worn out when I got to work. I must have looked like hell. My manager eventually came and suggested that I go home. I left work at one, and was in bed by two. Thursday morning, I woke up very hungry, ate a big breakfast, and was back to normal by Thursday afternoon.

The next weekend, I got to hang out with Ricky Luna. For those of you who have known me for some time, you’ll know that I’ve been a fan of this former Mouseketeer for several years now. We had an awesome time together. He, his manager and family, and Adam and I just hung out, doing the touristy thing. Navy Pier (mmm churros), Pizzeria Due, parade, and then we came back here and hung out for hours. It was one of the best days ever.

Ricky & Me

Ricky just recently dropped an album that is super amazing. If you love electronica, you’ll love his music. The album’s called Electro Bomba, and I seriously cannot stop moving when I listen to it. I can’t even describe it, except to call it Electro Bomba, but it has a lot of what I like in good dance music. You can download a free 45-minute mix here, and you can buy the album here on iTunes. If you want to only get selected tracks, I recommend My Fitted Hat (Raw Mix) and Eyes Wide Shut and Smile (Sonrisa). Arms In The Air is also pretty damn awesome, as is the title track. Seriously, trying to choose a favorite on this album is like trying to pick a favorite child. I can’t do it. I don’t say that about a lot of music. So, download the free mix. What have you got to lose?

After all that excitement, last Monday, Adam took me to the American Girl store, where he had me pick out my birthday present. Yes, it was about a month too early, but he knew I’d want to pick her out myself, and neither of us wanted to deal with the store as the Christmas holiday draws closer. And when your husband is Adam Selzer and he asks you if you want to go to American Girl Place, you say yes!

Anyway, I came home with …….

Me & Julie

Julie is the 1974 doll, which is special to me because that’s the year I was born. So it was cool to get a doll for my birthday who represents my birth year. And she’s so pretty. Why did I wait so long to get her? I’m in LOVE with that doll! :) I think she is going to be the one doll I actually keep in her time period. She’ll be my 70s girl.

Last Wednesday was my last day at Schawk 2009. I made it through this fourth quarter with no printed errors (Go Ronni!). It’s kind of weird knowing I don’t have to go to work tomorrow–all I have scheduled is a 2:30 massage at the Cortiva Institute. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be a homemaker, something I’ve never been! I mean, I stayed home with Aidan when he was a newborn, but this will be different. For one thing, I’m not sure where my next job will come from, or when. But Adam’s working full time now, so it’s going to be my job to keep the house, which he’s been doing all this time. I’m excited about it.

I figured that I need to make a schedule, though. Else I’ll end up playing FarmVille, Cafe World, and The Sims all day. So, here are things I MUST do every day:

1. exercise for at least 45 minutes (conveniently, the Electro Bomba free mix is 45 minutes)
2. write for at least an hour
3. some sort of special project (with Christmas coming up, this will be easy)

I’m actually going to write stuff down in my planner and hold myself accountable. It’s important.

Thanksgiving was awesome. Jeff and Deborah came over and we ate GOOD food. Four different kinds of dressing/stuffing, cheddar mashed potatoes, corn, pumpkin peanut butter soup, macaroni & cheese, and of course, a nice, juicy turkey. We played Super Mario Bros. for Wii (awesome game), and hung out and had a good time. Friday, I stayed in. Had to avoid those crowds, but Adam and I went out on Saturday. Dropped off laundry, and I just about finished Aidan’s Christmas. I’d like to get him something EPIC though. We’ll see. I haven’t begun to shop for most people. Will wait until December 1st. Same to put up my tree and decorations.

I’m looking forward to having December off from work. Just me recovering, and getting things done around the house. It’s going to be nice. And it’s my favorite season! It’s going to be more awesome because Aidan will be here in Chicago! YAY!!!

With that, I’m off. The ZzzzZZzzzZs are catching up with me. Til next time!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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The Winding Down of Summer (Long, Multimedia)

I can’t believe how fast the summer went. My mom was here for a week; that sped by. I can’t believe I’ve already been home from Disney World for a week. Life’s too short, babe, time is flying….

My mom was here and that was cool. She made us fried chicken and meatloaf, and she bought me a new doll. (I am up to 11 dolls now–and just when I think I have enough, I find out that a bunch of new ones are coming out next week. Aye yi yi.). Here is my mom, Aidan, and me at McDonald’s for lunch one day:

Isn’t my mommy pretty? :)

And here are a bunch of pictures from the week she was here. She had her first Chicago hot dog, she spent lots of time with Aidan, and even went to American Girl Place with me. We also went to Naperville, where I love to go to get away from the city and shop at the indie stores, especially Anderson’s Bookshops.

DSC02094 Buzz Mommy! Mommy at Hot Doug's Cuddle Wuddle


Goofy Family Portrait

Riverwalk Crime Scene

Sonali Matthews
New doll, Sonali

After my mom left, it was time to throw ourselves into preparing for Disney World. That meant last minute trips to Target for stuff, laundry, and packing. And then, the night before, the neighbors behind us had a guest who was drunk and yelling from 7pm until 5am, when I had to get up. I got NO sleep. I’m pretty sure they were still yelling when we left at 6am for the airport. I thought, foolishly, that I’d get to sleep on the plane. Nope. I mean hello, a flight to Orlando, where Disney World is? Kids and babies. Babies hate flying. Babies were screaming the whole time. My iPod Skullcandy ear buds were pretty good but I still didn’t sleep well. Fortunately, I had enough adrenaline running that I was able to hit the parks at about 2:15pm and I kept going until 1am, when the awesome Extra Magic Hours ended. Woohoo.

Family Photo
We really are having fun. It’s just that the sun is all up in our faces. :D

A few highlights that we didn’t get video of pix of. On our first night, we were eating at Liberty Tree Tavern. There were LOADS of people celebrating birthdays. There was a birthday in our room. After everyone sang Happy Birthday and applauded, Aidan yelled out the biggest YAY I’d ever heard. My first instinct was to be kind of mortified, but then the entire room burst out laughing. Another thing happened at LTT. Aidan had asked for a root beer and was given a Coke. I told him to ask the server nicely for a root beer instead, which Aidan did. Not only did the server replace Aidan’s Coke with a root beer, he gave it to him in one of the $7 souvenir cups with a light-up Lightning McQueen!

Aidan's Bonus!

Watching Aidan during the parades was SUCH a treat. I remember how I felt the first time I saw a parade, but it was nothing compared to watching Aidan see Celebrate a Dream Come True and Spectromagic.

Aidan also got to help the, well, I call them Magic Makers. They’re the guys with fancy brooms that paint Disney characters on the ground with water.

Magical Characters

Aidan was so enthusiastic during the shows that he got singled out at Crush’s Turtle Talk, and it was hilarious. He was next to the man who got picked on during Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor so he was on the big screen quite a bit. During two parades/parties, he was pulled out into the street by characters and performers to dance, and at the end of the Toy Story Block Party Bash, he got a little Nerf ball that says “Block Party Bash” on it. He was terrified of Soarin’, but when we got off, he said he loved it and said “Can we do that again???”

Garden Grill, as usual, was a pleasure. The characters there are TOP NOTCH, you get to see them tons of times, and the food is outstanding, especially the blueberry buckle. YUMMMM. 1900 Park Fare’s characters were hilarious. And autographs are fun.

I watched the High School Musical 3 show, and we got to meet the $heriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood and Marie from The Aristocats. And THE FAIRY GODMOTHER!

Fairy Godmother

But you don’t want to read my jabber. You want to see MORE pictures, right? Here goes!

Southwest FTW! Adam and Aidan

On the Magical Express

Daisy Duck Aidan and Goofy Me and Lilo

Us With the Mouse

Aidan and Dale Aidan, Adam and Mickey

Aidan and Stitch Aidan and the Gang

Aidan and Spaceship Earth Love! Aidan and Buzz

Here’s a slide show of the whole trip, minus the Photopass pictures, which are not here yet:


And if you’re still reading, I encourage you to check out this video of highlights I made of the trip (if you haven’t seen it already).

About halfway through the trip, Adam said “We’re coming back next year.” :) Wheeee! He mentioned trying out Chef Mickey’s, and I sure do wish we could stay at the Polynesian, but hey, I’ll be happy with Pop Century again if it means having more money to spend in the parks. Shopping for Disney stuff is FUN (especially during the parades when the stores are pretty empty)!

Aidan went back to Ohio on Sunday. :( Fortunately, he didn’t cry at the airport. When he cries, I cry. Or at least a lot worse than normal. But when he doesn’t cry, I feel OK. It’s been so quiet here, though. I miss kissing his little cheeks, and I keep watching videos of him over and over just to hear his voice. He started first grade yesterday. Apparently, he’s popular. Kids leaping out of their seats because they were so excited to see him! How fun is that? Today, he rode the school bus to school. I can’t believe my baby’s a first grader now. First grade is like REAL school, you know? Next summer should be fun, with all the reading he’ll be able to do.

OK, I guess this entry is long enough. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go and continue recovering from a busy August. I’ve been hit with a cold or mini-flu or something and I’m been drained. Hope you enjoyed my recap and my Disney memories! :)

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Just Thinking (Pictures, Long)

2 Mountain Dews + 1 Afternoon Nap + 1 Life Dilemma = Night Owl Ronni In Full Effect.

Although I’ve been doing some thinking, and I’m coming to peace with the life dilemma. Now I just have to wait it out. That part will be hard.

Ordered my mom a Molly American Girl doll. She told me how she always wanted one, and always wanted to get ME one. She doesn’t have to get me one now (although I’d LOVE it if she did), but I did want to get HER one. I ordered it Friday night. Not sure when it will get there because of the holiday and all.

Lilacs are growing in the neighborhood. They smell amazing.

It’s 3am and there are people outside running up and down the street and screaming.

Here’s a few pictures of Jess. These do a bit more justice to her. I wish I was better with a camera, though when it comes to photographing the dolls.

The Real Jess Jess

I cleaned today. I mean yesterday. Cleaned my room and the bathroom. Both look much better now.

Crookshanks is sleeping on the other end of the couch. He’s sort of snoring. It’s cute. Today, he managed to get on the cabinet above the stove. Once he got up there, he had this look on his face like “Oh crap. How do I get down?” Adam and I were laughing, and Crookshanks’s expression changed to “What are you laughing at? This is not a laughing matter. How the hell am I supposed to get down?”

Crookshanks Up High Crookshanks Up High

He made it down, though.

Jeff and Deborah came over for a cookout. They brought steaks and ribs. Jeff had marinated the ribs and they tasted amazing. I haven’t had ribs in years. Mmmm. Meat.


Seeing those two is always a treat. Deborah is a total sweetheart and we get along so well. I really hope we can all see each other more often this summer. I wish I could see ALL my friends more often. Getting around Chicago can be a pain when all your friends live way north. *sigh* The train takes forever, and driving is a nightmare! But some things are worth the hassle.

Hung out with Becky last weekend. We had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. It was good, and the cheesecake was yummy. Becky time is always good.

Thank goodness for this 3-day weekend. I need it. Then next week, Rebecca will be released! I plan to be at the store when it opens, and meeting up with some other AG Collectors. It should be a lot of fun. And the week after that, some friends will be in town and want to do lunch. Then a con. Then Aidan comes. Busy busy. I hope I get time to rest in all that. AND clean Aidan’s room. Because for some reason, even though I NEVER go in there, that room keeps getting very messy. I don’t get it. Adam must be doing stuff in there.

I never did announce my Disney blog. Oops. It’s here. I pretty much only talk about Disney and dolls these days (Aidan if not those two things), so I started the Disney blog to jabber on about my upcoming trip and stuff like that. Maybe I should do something like that with my dolls, too. Just so I won’t bore poor Adam talking about them all the time. He says that he loves seeing me so happy when I play with them or even just look at them, but come on. He’s a typical guy. Typical guys don’t dig dolls. Although he is very supportive of people playing with toys, no matter what their age!

Sarah Dessen posted her tour dates. She and Laurie Halse Anderson will be TOGETHER at Anderson’s Bookshop either July 11 or 12 (I have to confirm with someone, I am seeing differing dates on different websites). I AM SO GOING. I’ve met Laurie before, and she is simply amazing and awesome. I’ve been dreaming of meeting Sarah for a long time, and I HAVE MY CHANCE. !!!!!!!!! So yes, I am definitely going to make it to that event one way or another, I don’t care what it takes. I mean, it’s SARAH DESSEN, you guys. I will probably faint when I see her, or cry, or something else equally embarrassing. I remember when I met Meg Cabot, how nervous I was. But I am so excited. Not only is Anderson’s one of the best indie bookstores EVER, but two of my favorite authors will be there, AT THE SAME TIME. It’s too much!

We went to the Illinois Young Authors Conference with Adam last weekend. It is so awesome to see how the kids respond to Adam. He’s wonderful with them. A good speaker, inspiring, and realistic. Plus, meeting authors, getting out of Chicago for a night is always good for me. Normal, IL reminds me a lot of Columbus, OH.

I was sick last weekend until Tuesday. Monday was the worst of it, though. My sinuses hurt SO bad I could barely keep my eyes open. Once that part broke, though, I was on my way to being normal again. Being sick stinks.

That’s all for now. Shall I think that my eyelids are ACTUALLY starting to grow heavy? Dare I hope? Oh well. Even if they aren’t, I’m signing off for now anyway. Ciao.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Hopped Up! (Pictures)

White Flowers

I don’t know why I have the urge to update now that I’ve been hopped up on cold medicine and should be trying to sleep. My body is tired and the drugs are telling me to go to bed, but my mind is kind of moving, so yeah.

If this entry doesn’t make sense, blame it on CVS brand nighttime sleep medicine.

– So, I’ve become obsessed with American Girl dolls. It’s so weird because my mom and I agree that I definitely was not deprived of dolls when I was a little girl–I had plenty and I still have most of my Barbie dolls, actually–so what is it about THESE dolls that’s making me go crazy?

I suppose it’s because I’ve wanted one for years and now that I am in a position to get one (or more), I’m doing so. It helps that Adam is pretty supportive of me (although he did tell me I needed to slow down!), and he likes that I’m so happy with them. Sometimes, I just look at them and smile. And yes, I do play with them. Mostly I comb their hair and change their clothes. And photograph them. OH yes. I enjoy taking pictures of them.

Ruthie Marisol

I just got Jess, who is the 2006 Girl of the Year.

(I will take a better picture very soon; this one doesn’t do her justice)

I plan to get Rebecca, the new historical who is coming out on May 31st. THEN I should try to stop buying dolls (except the one I plan to get my mommy) because I want to enjoy the ones I have. Not that I don’t, because I do, but you know what I mean. I think. *shifty eyes*

– Aidan came up for Mother’s Day. I had a great time with him. He has lost his first tooth, and a second one is loose. But here is the kicker. There are already two permanent teeth growing in! There’s no room yet!

Friday, he arrived. I had to get up really early, so I was pretty dead at work that day. Saturday, it was raining and icky, so I declared it Pajama Day, and we stayed in our pajamas and watched DVDs, played games, and played with the dolls. We also took a nice nap together. It was a good day. Sunday, we went downtown. I love taking him to FAO Schwartz.

Aidan at FAO Schwartz Aidan at FAO Schwartz
Aidan at FAO Schwartz Aidan at FAO Schwartz

And of course, we went to the American Girl store. I didn’t buy a doll, but Aidan and I had a great time looking at the displays and things. I love that he plays dolls with me. I know one day he probably won’t. He is truly amazing.

And such a good artist!!! Here is his drawing of all my dolls:

He is prolific, too. Adam took down the “Corner of Mystery” and changed it to “Aidan’s Art Museum.” We have tons of drawings by him up. He’s really good, and he’ll draw for hours. He’s always been pretty good. I’ll have to scan and post more pictures of his work.

The first time he left to get on the plane, there were tears from both of us and almost Adam, too. But this time, he was as cheerful as could be. When he doesn’t cry, I am less likely to cry. He’ll be back in 37 days, and this time it’ll be for the summer!

– Only 94 days until Disney World.

– I’m happy with the winner of America’s Next Top Model. I would have been happy with either of them this season, to be honest.

– I have discovered Feist. And she is good.

– Work is OK. Today I was on my own for most of the day and it was cool. I was pleasantly busy, which I like. Not overwhelmed, but not bored. Looks like I might be in this weekend. I escaped working last weekend which was great because I got to be with Aidan. But I may not be so lucky this weekend.

Which is kind of a bummer because I caught Aidan’s cold. So I’m feeling kind of under the weather, but at least it’s not terrible or anything. Nothing rest and fluids shouldn’t be able to take care of. This is the first time I’ve been sick in months.

This is how I knew I was under the weather. Usually at work, I am FREEZING. I wear layers and layers and I just shiver. Well, the past two days, I’ve been hot. I attributed that to the fact that I was wearing a sweater, but I’ve had on sweaters in the past and still froze my butt off. I was actually working in a tank top and bare feet at one point today I was so hot (after hours, of course). This is quite abnormal for me, and a clear indication that something is off. But again, everything’s fairly mild except for the mysterious being hot all of a sudden (which is a welcome change from being cold all the time, let me tell you), and my nose CONSTANTLY running!

Hmm, what else? See, I thought I had a lot to say and I really don’t. Oh, I rode to work in a school bus this morning. Really. This isn’t the cold medicine talking.

But I should go lie down anyway. I leave you with this picture of me waiting for the bus one Sunday morning before work.

Waiting for my Bus

Good night.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Mayday! MAYDAY! (Picture)

Holy banana, it’s May! The first part of April went so slowly, until Aidan got here. Then it sped by. Now, it’s already MAY. Which means only one week until Aidan’s here for Mother’s Day weekend! He lost his first tooth last week, and another is loose.

Chicago weather doesn’t seem to know which direction it wants to go. Some days, it’s nice, in the low 70s, but then it goes to the 40s or 50s and hovers around there. One day last week, there was a 30 degree temperature drop within an hour’s time. Insane!

Work hasn’t been too crazy, but things are supposed to ramp up like mad next week. I did end up working last Sunday and will have to work this coming Sunday as well. This past week, I just have not really been feeling myself. Burned out and tired is how I’ve been feeling. Kind of listless and blah. But tomorrow, I will go and get my hair done and even a manicure (the salon said they had a special because I booked over the phone–$15 manicures!), and hopefully feel relaxed and pampered enough to go into another… well, it’ll be at least a six-day work week. (I really need a 90 minute full body massage, but I don’t know when I’ll have time for such things, with my unpredictable work schedule.)

Aidan flies in on Friday morning to spend Mother’s Day weekend with me. That’s a YAY. I’m excited to see him. :) The BOO is that he’ll probably be spending a lot of next weekend with me at my office. We had a really crazy pitch in March, and the one coming up this week is supposed to be about three times the size. So… that means I’m going to be exhausted for a couple weeks there. Should have nice paychecks, though.

Which is always a good thing, right?

So, I haven’t posted for a few weeks. In those few weeks, I got a new messenger bag. It’s pretty big, but it’s pink and grey and it’s not canvas which is good because it’s definitely rainy season around here. I got two more American Girl dolls (and I promise, this is it for new dolls for a while!) and some clothes for them. This brings my total to five, which is a nice round number. I doubt I get any more. That’s not to say that same for little adorable doll outfits and clothes. ;) I also got Riley’s ears pierced, and the piercing came with a box of 6 pairs of earrings for her to wear. Adam thought I’d want to get all the other dolls’ ears pierced too, but I don’t think so.

Some people buy old dolls that need a lot of help and customize them. I think that would be a lot of fun. I’d make a Hannah Montana one. Haha. Anyway, here are ALL my girls:

My American Girls
Riley, Marisol, Molly, Kit, Ruthie
(None of them are in their original outfits, or what is known in the AG community as their “Meet” outfits.)

Today, I got to help a bit on the set of At Last, Okemah. I had a small part in the movie, but I had to drop out because of work being so crazy and unpredictable. Today was my first visit to one of the filming locations. I worked the clapboard. That means I had to hold it up in front of the camera and say “Scene 14, Shot 35, Series” or things of that sort. It was cool, but it made me nervous! I was told I did a good job, though. :)

I’m sitting here listening to music on my computer and singing along with some of the songs. Every time I start singing, Crookshanks, who is curled up against me, looks up at me and starts purring. :) I guess he doesn’t think my voice is all that terrible.

I’ve read two books recently. SUCKS TO BE ME by Kimberly Pauley, and PURE by Terra Elan McVoy. Getting ready to start on SLEEPAWAY GIRLS by Jen Calonita, which I got for free from a tweet from Book Divas! YAY for free books, right? I also picked up some books at Borders last weekend. There were a bunch of $3.99 ones all over the place. I grabbed a couple that sounded interesting: THE TEN BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE and THE SLEEPING BEAUTY PROPOSAL. They’re *gasp* adult books! :) But back into familiar territory, I need to get hold of Elizabeth Scott’s newest one because I love her writing.

Today, I got out of work early, and Adam picked me up. On our way back to the apartment, the car ran over a BAD pothole/railroad track. This nasty knocking sound came. We pulled over and couldn’t see anything. Fortunately, our car fixer-upper was really close, so we drove there and walked home. After an hour, Adam walked over. The tracks or something had knocked some stuff out of alignment and flattened the tires and bent some rims–it was not pretty. The guy told Adam a fix up like that would normally be $500, but since we live in the neighborhood, it was only $40. :D Now, I’m pretty sure it really wasn’t a $500 fix up, but it’s cool that it was only $40. And apparently, if we whine enough to the city, they’ll reimburse us for the costs. Not sure if Adam will pursue that, though.

Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be 62? and sunny, so my outing should be really nice. It’s also likely to be the last day I get to enjoy any warm spring weather for a while! But there are pros to working some of those late nights:

– They buy dinner.
– I don’t have to take the bus home; the company springs for a cab.
– I can wear my slippers and track suits or running pants.
– The money!!!!!!

And that, my friends, is about all. My brain is now fried. Good night.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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