Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Spring Break

One of the few things that I enjoy about having a stranger raise my child daycare is the fact that it forces you to take breaks from work (not that I really need an excuse not to want to come to work). Our daycare just so happens to be closed a week at Christmas, a week in the summer, and a week for Spring Break. So, we are making the most of our forced time off and heading south for some (hopefully) warmer weather and to visit family.

This trip just so happens to fall on the half birthday of our little tot. She has reached such a fun stage where everything we say and do is hilarious (which I absolutely thrive on), and she is continuously full of happiness, love, and the sweetest little baby giggles. However, this trip also means our first road trip with a baby in tow. Pray for us, please, as I have about thismuch patience when it comes to being confined in a car for an extended period of time. Tay has also developed a gnarly cough over the last few days, so that should be fun to add to the mix. Regardless, our bags are packed, and we are ready to hit the road as soon as the clock strikes noon and this momma is able to leave work. This little lady is obviously ready to roll.

A very happy Spring Break to those of you lucky enough to receive time off work! And for those of you who aren't so lucky, hang in there. Summer's just around the corner.

For now, I'll leave you with these sweet smiles from our 6 month photo shoot last night. This kid is such a ham.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Twenty Something

As I continue to fumble my way through the last chapter of my 20's, the hubby suggested that I write a post regarding all the life lessons that I have learned over the past decade. I should probably preface this by saying that although these are my personal experiences, I am in no way saying that you should agree or engage in any of the activities listed below. I had a few choice years where the best decisions were not always made. However, if I could do it again, would I do anything differently? Abso-friggin-lutely not. But my choices and the way I have lived my life are not for everyone. My mother has made me vastly aware of this on many occasions...

So here we go, life lessons (learned the hard way):

1. Don't be afraid to let loose.  I pride myself on being a very confident person, but get a little booze in me and there is very little that I won't do. I'm not talking about dangerous or illegal activity, but the "Oh my gosh! Did she really just do that?" kind of behavior. Your 20's are the only time in your life that you can get away with almost anything. For example, it is not socially acceptable for a 40 year old drunk to be dancing on a bar. That is just sad and pathetic. But your 20's are made for dancing on bars, taking dares, and throwing your inhibitions to the wind every now and then. Responsibilities and burdens can wait, but you're only young once. Yes, I may have stayed out too late, drank more than I should, and trusted people when I probably shouldn't have, but without those questionable choices I never would've experienced half of the amazing things that I have. If I could do it again, I'd do it the same. No question. Every. Time.

2. Be there for your friends.  In my life, most things tend to happen at inopportune times. This story is no exception.  Our sophomore year of college, my best friend just so happened to find herself deep in boy crisis mode the night before a major exam. Being the rock star friend that I am, I snatched up a cheap bottle of whiskey and headed to her house where we proceeded to toast said boy's inadequacies shot for shot until the bottle was gone. I'm not quite sure what took place next, but I'm sure it was along the lines of dancing in our underwear and eating cheese roll ups until the sun came up (not that we'd ever done that before).  Regardless, the next morning we somehow managed to get to campus and take our exam all while still intoxicated. The result? World's Most Intelligent Drunk Best Friend received an A and I received a C (too bad the exam wasn't on How to Be a Stellar Friend - I would've dominated). In the end, friend eventually got over the boy, we both passed the class, and we have a night that neither of us will never forget. Oh, and I spent a few hours of my life cleaning vomit out of best friend's hall carpet with Scrubbing Bubbles. The cheese roll ups must've gotten the best of me.

3. Not everything will be rainbows and butterflies.  Don't be afraid to live in a rundown, shoe box apartment eating Ramen noodles for dinner every night. There were many times in my early 20's where I had to choose going to work rather than having fun with my friends.  I do not come from a wealthy family, and Mommy & Daddy weren't there to bail me out when I didn't have enough money to make rent. In life we make choices and, if we make the wrong ones (which I often do), we have to live with those consequences. The good news is the struggle won't last forever (At least it shouldn't. If it does, you may need to reevaluate.). Believe it or not, it will actually built your character. And once you have made something of yourself, you'll look back on those days and smile because the struggle and sacrifice will make you so much more grateful.

4. Love is complicated.  There's a reason that so many TV shows and movies are centered around relationships - they're constantly changing and they provide endless amounts of drama. My love life has been no exception. I met my now-husband at the start of my junior year in college. Was it a love-at-first-sight, life-changing event? No. It was far from it.We became friends as he was still recovering from a break-up with a girl in which he moved across the entire country to be with. Then, one day, we decided to become more. Now, our pasts have been muddled with issues (so I'll spare you the details), but just know that this wasn't your typical courtship. In fact, we never even had our real first date until we moved in together. It has been a long and arduous nine years full of break-ups, make-ups, and lots of fighting, but through it all one thing remained the same - we knew we couldn't live without each other. That's the thing about love: even when you think you know better, your heart tends to prove you wrong. Such was our case. And I'm glad we struggled through all of the mess, because now life is so unbelievably wonderful that I often can't believe that we made it. We spent our 20's growing up together, and through it we became the best of friends. I honestly can't imagine sharing my life with anyone else. And to this day it is constant work and sacrifice, because nothing good in this life comes for free. Some things are worth the effort and some aren't, but that's a lesson you have to learn for yourself.

5.  At some point, the party will stop.  One day, you will graduate college, be thrown out in the real world, and be forced to start making it on your own. Bills and responsibilities will become a real thing and no one will reach out to hold your hand or help you along the way. Such is life. And while this sounds like a bummer (and trust, for me this realization really sucked), this is a great thing. I needed that wake up call to force me to grow up and decide who I wanted to be in this life. It was scary and involved a great amount of risk, but that's what your 20's are for. It's for making hard decisions and taking risks. For if you fail, you have so much less to lose. Move across the country, travel overseas, take that internship that pays nothing if you think it will aid in landing you your dream job. If you learn nothing else from this post, know that it's okay to make mistakes. And your 20's are the best time to make them.

6. A college degree does not guarantee you success.  I was the girl who partied her way through college. My first few years were a blur. A fun blur but a hot mess, nonetheless. It wasn't until my senior year that I realized I needed to buckle down and decide what I wanted to do with my life. Now, I'm sure you're wondering how one manages to pass classes with this sort of behavior and, honestly, I couldn't tell you. I literally did the bare minimum. Thankfully, I got my act together long enough to learn a thing or two and was able to graduate with a pretty decent GPA. What I didn't realize was that all of my energy spent partying and making friends should have been focused on things like extra curricular activities. I graduated with a BA in Communications, but the only job experience I had was waitressing (which is not very impressive on a resume). So I spent the next 6 months working full-time at Chili's praying that something decent would come along until one day I had enough and I quit. Then, I had the brilliant idea to become an insurance salesperson, but that dream was short lived when I realized I hated cold calling and I hated selling stuff. Then, I stumbled across an ad in the paper for my current job. I never would've envisioned myself in this position, but it has more than paid the bills and it has allowed me to make some pretty awesome contacts. Is it a lifelong career? No. But that's what you get when you jack around for three years. My advice? Suck it up and pay your dues in your 20's. There will be plenty of time to reap the benefits later. Trust me, when you're 30 and working your dream job, you'll be happy that you did.

7. There comes a time when you have to decide who your true friends are. And this time will come a couple of years after you head out into the real world. Things are fun and easy when you're young, but as soon as responsibility and real world obligations enter the picture, people tend to show their true colors. Yes, it will hurt when someone betrays you, but you cannot let that define you. No one wants to be that person who holds a grudge for 30 years. Take life lessons for what they're worth. Send that person on their merry way and hold your head high as you do the same. You really will be better off without them in the long run. And it's funny how much easier you will find life to be without them. Time will move on and soon they (and whatever they did to damage the friendship) will be a distant memory. Easier said than done (I get that), but we're looking at the bigger picture here. And in the bigger picture, they're an asshole and you're awesome. 'Nough said.

8. You will become your mother.  No matter how hard you try to fight it, you will. It will make you stop clean in your tracks the first time you realize it, too. And, if you are like me, you will try everything in your power to fight it. Until one day, when you realize that your mom is not the horrible monster that you have made her out to be and, actually, there is a reason that she behaves the way she does - she loves you. And she was right. And turning into her really isn't such a bad thing. It means that you're growing up and making the right decisions now. And once you have your first child (not that this will happen for everyone in their 20's, but that just so happens to be my case), you will call her freaking out about X, Y, and Z and she will immediately comfort and calm you because that's what mothers do. And that's when you'll realize that you want to be the kind of mother that she is. Then you will thank your lucky stars that you have such an amazing woman in your life, because you could've ended up like your friend's weird mom.

9. Our society thrives on stress. Seriously, people make things way more complicated than they need to be. Mortgages, car payments, daycare, doctor bills, insurance - it's enough to make anyone go insane. The amount of crap that you have to deal with as an adult is ridiculous. For example, we wanted to buy a house. We saved our pennies and found the perfect one and decided to buy it. Enter stress. We didn't realize you had to pay taxes to everyone and their Aunt Sally upon buying said house. We also didn't know homeowner's insurance was going to be outrageous. Further, we didn't realize you had to do so much annual upkeep. We just wanted to buy a house, paint the walls, plant some flowers, and have our friends over for cocktails in the backyard. Had we realized the amount of stress involved, we may still be in our shitty rental with a backyard full of cats. Fast forward a year later, we were finally settled with the house, things were going well, and we decided to have a baby. Enter more stress. Not only are there 9 million baby books to read (all of which contradict each other to the fullest extent), but there are classes to take, hospitals to consider, items to register for, and birth plans to create. And then the fun decisions like Do we circumcise if it's a boy? Should we immunize? Congratulations, you now have another million pamphlets to read. Again, we just wanted to have a baby and love it and take it for walks in the stroller - not freak out about things that hadn't even occurred yet. Fast forward 6 months, and here we are, all still alive and seemingly well. Then the other day someone brings up baby proofing and started listing off all the necessities we will need when our baby becomes mobile.  Dear Lord, when does it end?! I highly recommend waiting until your 30's to deal with all of this nonsense. Had I known it was going to be such a headache, I would've ridden out the last few years of my 20's in complete and utter oblivion. Enjoy the party while you still can, kids.

10. Family makes life worth living.  Growing up, my immediate family consisted of my parents, my older sister (of a mere 14 months) and myself. My sister and I were the best of friends...until we weren't. Now, when you have children who are 14 months apart in age, things are going to go one of two ways: they'll either be the best of friends or they'll hate each other. Unfortunately, my sister and I were the latter. And in an effort to be as different from her as I could, I did the only thing I knew how to do - I rebelled (making my teenage years an absolute nightmare for my parents). It wasn't until I moved off to college that I started to appreciate my family. Growing up in a small town, I counted down the days until I could leave, and while I was stuck there I took my frustrations out on those closest to me (which made sense at the time, because it was their fault I had to live there). Regardless, I spent the better part of my early 20's mending a lot of fences and doing a lot of soul searching, and I finally came to the realization that family is the only constant in this life. Friends come and go but family will always be there when you need them. And now, having a family of my own, I can appreciate that sentiment even more. If there's one lesson I hope my daughter learns, it's that family is irreplaceable. Although we may disagree at times, we are fortunate to have a pretty good one - and that's something to be thankful for.

And lastly, here is the very first picture that Jake and I took together. I had just turned 20 and had no idea that this guy would forever change my life. Mostly I'm just posting this because he hates this photo. But I think it's adorable.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Lately, I've found myself in a rut. I have been at the same job for the past 5 years. This job used to challenge and excite me. My days used to fly by as I was continuously testing my abilities and strengthening my skill set, but now the days drag on and rarely do new and exciting things come across my plate. It's the same, mundane tasks day-in and day-out. Now, for some people, this would be fine. This would be easy. This would be ideal. But I am not one of those people. I need to constantly be challenged. I need something new and fresh. I need...change.

Change can be so exciting, but it also carries a great deal of risk. And as a new mom, I realize that that risk now has an even greater stake - for if I fail myself, I also fail my family. My current job is safe and comfortable and, in reality, it meets all the criteria that most people look for in a job. It's steady, pays well, has good co-workers, and I can easily perform its daily functions. It would be so easy for me to just settle in and ride this thing out until retirement. If only I were wired that way. But, alas, I'm not. So the search for more continues.

A few new opportunities have recently presented themselves, and I'm hoping that patience and hard work will pay off in the long run. It's time to stop thinking so realistically and get back to being the dreamer that I used to be. I was not made to sit in a box for 9 hours every day. I am the square peg attempting to jam herself into the round hole. And I've come to the conclusion that I'm never going to fit.

So I'm seeking something new. It's scary and risky yet it gives me such a thrill. And just yesterday, my sweet, sweet husband who has stood by and watched me ride this emotional roller coaster for the past year sent me this quote:

He gets it. And he supports me. And that in itself is invaluable. So with his blessing and all of my fingers and toes crossed, I am attempting to make a change. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with Technology

Like so many people I know, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Some aspects are easy while others are just too complicated to wrap my simple brain around. For example, I enjoy the daily conveniences that my iPhone has to offer, yet I have to have my husband walk me through the process of syncing it to iTunes because 4 years later I still don't get it. And while I more-often-than-not despise technology, I can agree that there are pros and cons to each new advancement that is made.

Back in the day (oh dear Lord, here she goes...), things like GPS didn't exist. You had a giant fold-out map (that took up the entire contents of your car once unfolded) or you'd actually stop and ask people for directions. Sure, having a British lady telling you where to turn makes traveling much easier, until you find yourself in a super sketchy part of northern Illinois after being stuck in the car for three hours while you're 8 months pregnant with a bladder that is about to explode. Seriously, can you JUST find me a route back to the highway instead of constantly "recalculating?!"

And while it can be annoying at times, I have to admit that technology does have its extreme advantages. For example, having the ability to take, edit, and print photos from my phone has turned out to be a lifesaver. If this convenience were not readily available at all times, Taylor would have about five baby pictures (which will likely remain on my SD card in my camera forever), and we would have zero video footage of her since we don't even own a camcorder. And while I'm being Positive Patty, I'll go even further and acknowledge the vast role that technology has played in keeping our wide-spread family in contact with one another. My husband's family split is between Idaho and Tennessee, and we love that we are able to keep in touch via photo streaming and Skype. Because, let's face it, plane tickets aren't cheap and getting my husband to take time off work is nearly impossible (unless it's 75 degrees out and someone suggests playing 18 holes).

And even though I enjoy the occasional Skype session, I will be the first to state that I hate, hate, triple hate talking on the phone. My friends and family know that if they want a response, the last thing they should do is call me. Which is why I absolutely adore e-mail. Although I realize it can be impersonal, it's so much easier when trying to communicate with a large group of people. Especially when it comes to my job. For those of you who also work in a typical office setting, I'm sure you can appreciate the convenience that e-mail offers. What I can't stand, however, are those people who send an e-mail and then immediately follow it up with a phone call. The entire premise of an e-mail is to allow the recipient to respond at his/her convenience and unless you want some half-ass answer, please allow me to take the time to thoroughly read the entire document and then think about a proper response. I don't understand why this concept is so difficult for some people, but I assure you such idiocracy does exist.

And while not everyone grasps the concepts as they should, I understand that technology will only continue to expand. Even to my dismay. Today, computers are everywhere. They're in our pockets and vehicles, and - quite frankly - it's too much for me.  I don't like feeling like I'm always accessible, and I hate that we have become so dependent upon technology that if we don't receive an immediate response, it's like the world has come to an end. It frustrates me to my core when I go out to dinner with my husband or a group of friends and the first thing they do is set their cell phone on the table. Really?! Am I such bad company that you feel the need to text/Facebook/Instagram/[insert other random app name here] during our brief meal together? Call me old fashioned, but I think it would do us all some good to disconnect for a while. Prior to constantly having everything we ever needed at our fingertips, people managed to live just fine. Growing up, I didn't have a cell phone. My parents had a single land line, and texting didn't exist. People actually memorized phone numbers - they didn't rely on an electronic device to remember things for them. It was a simpler time, and, occasionally, I actually miss it.


As we are rapidly approaching Taylor's six month birthday (yes, you read that correctly, six months already),  I thought it necessary to recount the many special events that she has already encountered in her short lifetime. Our daughter was born four days after my 29th birthday (mine falling on September 23rd and hers falling on September 27th). Personally, I have always loved having a fall birthday. It's far enough away from the other holidays that you feel like you have your own special day, the weather is typically ideal, and it falls within the school year so you're able to have a party at school (unlike those unlucky summer birthday people). However, when the doctor officially announced an anticipated October 1 due date, I had mixed emotions. I was happy that our child would get to enjoy the perks of a fall birthday, but I was also somewhat distraught that she may actually arrive ON my birthday. Now, I know what you're thinking, "What could possibly be a greater gift?!" And while that sentiment is true, you must know that I am an extreme lover of birthdays (mine in particular), and the thought of having to share mine made me somewhat sad. I have had this one special day (who am I kidding? I celebrate all month long...) all to myself for 29 years and then *poof* like that it could be taken from me? I mean, I get that it would always be my birthday, but we all know that once a baby comes along the parent's lime light is gone forever. That part, I'm okay with. But not on my birthday. No, sir. That I will not share.

So, fast forward 9 months and a stubbornly breech baby changed everything. Upon electing to have a C-section on Friday, September 27, 2013, all birthday faith was immediately restored. And this little bundle of magic came into our lives and changed our world forever...

That day marked her very first and, in my opinion, most important holiday celebration! And the absolute BEST part about having a September birthday is that it begins the start of a long string of other fun and festive holidays! 

Just after Taylor's one month birthday came Halloween. As you can tell, she was obviously less than impressed with her glow-in-the-dark skeleton costume (which was one of the few costumes we could find that would actually fit the tiniest 7 lb. baby you've ever seen). We were very lucky that my husband's family just happened to be in town and was able to share this holiday with us!

Her two month birthday brought Thanksgiving, and we experienced our first overnight trip to Granny & Papa's house (which included bringing 3/4 of our house with us). Babies, although such tiny creatures, need a lot of junk in order to get by. And it turns out all of my worrying and over planning were for nothing as she was A-mazing and slept a solid 8 hours each night we were there!

A few weeks later, prior to Taylor's three month birthday, we lost my grandfather to Alzheimer's which made Christmas a rough holiday for everyone. Luckily, Taylor was a dream baby through it all and even managed to provide some relief during those difficult days. It's bittersweet that we will always associate her first Christmas with the passing of her great-grandfather, but we managed to make the best out of an unfortunate situation and it's safe to say she still had a memorable occasion.

Shortly thereafter, we rung in the New Year - a quiet night at home, just the three of us. This was a first for the hubby and I as we typically get all dressed up, go out with friends, and drink ourselves silly until the wee hours of the morning. But it turns out that a night at home with a new baby can be just as entertaining...and much cheaper.

At four and a half months old, Taylor celebrated Valentine's Day by giving homemade valentines to her friends at daycare and rolling in her first complete circle! The weekend also brought a visit from Granny & Papa which meant a much needed date night for the hubby and I, followed by the worst hangover I've had since NYE 2012 and proof that we definitely cannot party like we used to.

Then, yesterday, at five and a half months, I finally dropped the ball. I woke up yesterday morning recovering from a long weekend of traveling solo with the babe and anticipating a hot mess of a work day (which it was) and completely blanked on St. Patrick's Day. All day long, I anticipated how I would make up for my complete-and-utter brain fart until I had to work late. But, being the sweet man that he is, the hubs picked up Taylor from daycare, rushed her home, threw on her special outfit, and snapped a few pics for me. Thankfully, she is none the wiser.

So, as you can see, we have constantly been celebrating something since our little babe arrived, and that has made the past six months even more special. Words cannot express how much I love this girl, and I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful memories she has given us thus far. I just hope she can forgive me for the numerous costume changes and countless antics we have displayed in order to capture these photos. This child does not hold a future in modeling...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring, is that you?

To say it has been a long, intense winter would be an understatement. This has been one for the books. Not only have we been covered in snow and ice for months, but we have been battling negative and single digit temperatures for far too long. I think I speak for everyone when I say, "I'm over it."

Now, as a native Missourian I am no stranger to extreme changes in the weather. As the old saying goes, "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes." This week has been a true testament to that saying. Monday and Tuesday brought sunshine and beautiful weather. Then Wednesday came and felt like a swift kick in the face. What started off as a lovely day quickly took a turn for the worse when the temperature dropped in half that evening causing horrible winds, storms, and even resulting in snow. What. The. Hell.

I'm glad to report that today we are back to pleasant temperatures, clear skies, and upbeat spirits. Taylor was even able to spend her first afternoon basking in the sunshine at daycare yesterday. It only took five months of her precious life before she was able to enjoy a day of nice weather! She was a very happy babe indeed.

And while I hate to jinx anything, I am going to go out on a limb and say that spring has officially arrived in the Midwest. And none too soon. I think everyone has become a little too grouchy after being confined to their germ-infested houses since December. It's time to open the windows and let in a fresh start. One that I can't wait to share with this sweet face...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I Should Really Start a Blog...

For months now, this thought has crossed my mind. Daily.

Growing up, I was always scribbling away in journals - thoughts, poems, song lyrics, fictional stories, dreams, ingenious ideas that would, of course, be life altering. I would even manage to create the ugliest doodles that somehow seemed like works of art to me. It was a great escape that allowed me to To be whoever I wanted to be. And even now when those years feel like an entirely different lifetime, I pull out those old journals and read those messy pages and I am happy. And while I don't consider myself to be a very creative person, I do consider myself to be an expressive person. I need a mode of communication that allows my thoughts to flow freely. I cannot keep them pent up in mind with nowhere to go, and my husband can only handle so much meaningless yammering.

So, here I am. I'm not quite sure what this blog will be about or if it will ever have a set direction at all. If it doesn't, I'm okay with that. I'm quite random and chaotic in my thoughts, and I tend to go on tangents without ever meaning to. So, as long as I have a place to harbor those thoughts, I'm content. And although I no longer have to worry about my best friend stealing my boyfriend or how my life will never be the same now that 'N Sync is no longer together (a genuine concern of mine for far longer than I'm willing to admit), I still need an outlet to vent and praise all of life's experiences.

So, a blog.

Please be kind to me.